I was privileged to have Dr. Michael Labahn of Halle University, Germany, as one of the resource persons during the “John and Genre” conference at Aarhus University, Denmark. His paper entitled “A Narrow Gate to the Johannine Gospel? Rethinking the Relationship between the Johannine Prologue and the Gospel of John” was an attempt to find the interrelationship between the prologue of John (1:1-18) and the gospel proper (1:19-21:25). In his paper, he attempted to outline some of the genre dynamics at work in the process of reading the prologue and the gospel proper interactively. Prof. Labahn discussed this dynamism with the help of literary and narrative theories.
Prof. Labahn contributes largely to the church and to the academia. He is both a committed Christian and a productive thinker and scholar of New Testament studies. His monographs include: (1) Jesus als Lebensspender. Untersuchungen zu einer Geschichte der johanneischen Tradition anhand ihrer Wundergeschichten, BZNW 98, Berlin – New York, 1999; and (2) Offenbarung in Zeichen und Wort. Untersuchungen zur Vorgeschichte von Joh 6,1-25a und seiner Rezeption in der Brotrede, WUNT II/117, Tübingen, 2000. He also contributed numerous articles and book reviews in academic journals and books.
In our one-on-one conversations Dr. Labahn took special interest in understanding the status and development of New Testament scholarship, church growth, and poor and the bible in the Indian and South Asian context. In turn, my four days long interactions with him helped me to understand the relationship between the church and academia and the current status of New Testament scholarship in Germany. As a person who was much inspired by German NT scholarship, my interactions with a German scholar in person was encouraging and persuasive. I would love to honor him for his simplicity and friendly interactions with me all through the conference.
Go to his CV here: http://www.theologie.uni-halle.de/nt/labahn/
By Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.