Johannine Seminar: Master of Theology Class [2015-2016]

Posted: August 26, 2015 in General
The Gospel According to John in the Christian New Testament Bible

The Gospel According to John in the Christian New Testament Bible

During the current academic year [2015-2016], I had another opportunity to organize a Johannine Seminar at the Master of Theology [MTh] level. At the initial ten sessions we discussed seven of the Johannine commentaries in nutshell, i.e., of Rudolf Bultmann, Rudolf Schnackenburg, Raymond E. Brown, Andreas Köstenberger, Francis Moloney, D.A. Carson, and Leon Morris. Moreover, at the New Testament Departmental level we discussed “The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John” [Paul N. Anderson; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011]. Anderson’s monograph enabled us to focus on the historical, theological, and literary riddles of the Fourth Gospel. The book suggested several solutions for some of the problems with which the Johannine students grapple with. I used some of the sessions to present the following articles for discussion: [1] “Dialogical Nature of John’s Prologue,” Union Biblical Seminary Journal, Vol. 8.2-9.1 (Sep., 2013-Mar., 2015): pp. 1-17; [2] “Reading John’s Gospel to the Nepali Context,” Nepali Theological Journal (ACTS College, South Korea, 2015); [3] “Glo[b/c]alization and Mission[s]: Reading John’s Gospel,” New Life Theological Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Jan.-June, 2015): pp. 56-77; and [4] “Dialogue as a Literary Genre in the Book of Signs” (an Unpublished Paper). The publication of my dissertation entitled “The Nature and Function of Dialogue in the Book of Signs (John 1:19-12:50)” [Nijmegen: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 2014] and its revised edition in monograph form entitled “Dialogue in the Book of Signs: A Polyvalent Analysis of John 1:19-12:50” [Leiden/Boston: E.J. Brill, 2015] further added flavor to our discussions.

Students of our class presented the following topics as seminar papers: [1] The Thought-World of Johannine Literature; [2] The Similarities and Differences between Synoptics and John’s Gospel; [3] Johannine Community Aspects; [4] Johannine Eschatology; [5] Johannine Christology; [6] Johannine Soteriology; [7] The Nature and Function of Signs in John; [8] The “I AM” Sayings in John; [9] Dualism in John; [10] The Role and Function of ‘Paraclete’ in John; [11] Women in John; [12] The Use of Old Testament in the Fourth Gospel; [13] Metaphor in the Gospel of John; and [14] The Use of John by Indian Christian Theologians. These topics were discussed extensively by taking into serious consideration the Dalit, tribal, feminist, and ecological issues and other related socio-political and religio-cultural concerns both at the Indian and at the global levels. These were occasions for us to see the Johannine ideas from a gnomic perspective rather than merely looking at it descriptively.

By Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.

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