Heavenly journey and divine epistemology in the Fourth Gospel

L.T. Witkamp, J.L.H. Krans-Plaisier

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The Fourth Gospel has two travel scenarios, one mundane or earthly, the other heavenly or spiritual. On the earthly level Jesus travels from and to Jerusalem, on the spiritual level he travels from and to heaven. The first level is real, but the second level shows us what really is at stake. What is more, the mundane is there not for its own sake, but in order to direct us towards the heavenly spheres. The dialogue with Nicodemus (John 3) is crucial in this respect. Here it becomes clear that the way in which Jesus is depicted as a traveler from and to heaven, as the one who is sent by the Father and who will return to his Father, is closely intertwined with the question of epistemology. In other words, here we see what it means that “no one has ever seen God” and that “the only son has made him known” (John 1:18). We analyze the logic of the dialogue and its background in (mostly) Jewish apocalypticism. This results in a “thick” interpretation of the words “no one has ascended into heaven” (John 3:13) and what these imply for claims to spiritual knowledge. It is argued that the dialogue with Nicodemus centers around such claims. What is more, the theme runs through the gospel as a whole. The implications for Johannine sectarianism and the didactic outlook of the Fourth Gospel are discussed in the final section of the paper.
Originele taal-2English
TitelJewish, Christian, and Muslim travel experiences
Subtitel3rd century BCE – 8th century CE
Plaats van productieBerlin
Uitgeverijde Gruyter
Aantal pagina's16
ISBN van elektronische versie9783110717488
ISBN van geprinte versie9783110717419
StatusPublished - 2023

Publicatie series

NaamJudaism, Christianity, and Islam – Tension, Transmission, Transformation
Uitgeverijde Gruyter
ISSN van geprinte versie2196-405X

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