Ecclesiology and Theosis in the Gospel of John
Publisher Cambridge University Press
For the author of the fourth Gospel, there is neither a Christless church nor a churchless Christ. Though John's Gospel has been widely understood as ambivalent toward the idea of 'church', Andrew Byers argues that ecclesiology is as central a Johannine concern as Christology. Rather than focusing on the community behind the text, John's Gospel directs attention to the vision of community prescribed within the text, which is presented as a 'narrative ecclesiology' by which the concept of 'church' gradually unfolds throughout the Gospel's sequence. The theme of oneness functions within this script and draws on the theological language of the Shema, a centerpiece of early Jewish theology and social identity. To be 'one' with this 'one God' and his 'one Shepherd' involves the believers' corporate participation within the divine family. Such participation requires an ontological transformation that warrants an ecclesial identity expressed by the bold assertion found in Jesus' citation of Psalm 82: 'you are gods'.
- Proposes a new approach to Gospel studies, that of 'narrative ecclesiology'
- Brings John into the recent discussions on theosis in the New Testament
- Argues for the Shema as a foundational source for John's oneness motif
- Provides a new reading of the Prologue, showing that 'Johannine individualism' is a misreading of John's Gospel
- Table of Contents
- 1. The Johannine vision of community: trends, approaches, and 'narrative ecclesiology'
- Part I. The Narrative Ecclesiology of the Prologue: No Churchless Christ, nor Christless Church:
- 2. The inclusive divine community: the Prologue's reinterpretation of God and God's people
- 3. The ecclesiology of filiation and the incarnation
- 4. Characterizing the Prologue's ecclesiology: the ambiguation and assimilation of John the Baptist
- 5. The Prologue's 'ecclesial narrative script': ecclesiology as story arc
- Part II. The Narrative Ecclesiology of the Shema: A Reappraisal of the Johannine Oneness Motif:
- 6. The Shema as the foundation for John's theological use of 'one': identifying and addressing reservations
- 7. The Shema, John 17, and Jewish-Christian identity: oneness in narrative development
- Part III. John's Narrative Ecclesiology of Participation and Deification:
- 8. The Fourth Gospel and deification in patristic writings
- 9. Johannine theosis: deification as ecclesiology
- 10. Characterizing Johannine theosis: divinized characters within the narrative
- 11. Narrative pneumatology and triadic theology: the Spirit-Paraclete as the character who divinizes beyond the narrative
- 12. John's narrative ecclesiology of deification: a synthesis