Temple Christology In The Gospel According To John: A Survey Of Scholarship In The Last Twenty Years (1996-2016) -- By: Mzayifani H. Mzebetshana

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 24:1 (Sep 2017)
Article: Temple Christology In The Gospel According To John: A Survey Of Scholarship In The Last Twenty Years (1996-2016)
Author: Mzayifani H. Mzebetshana


Temple Christology In The Gospel According To John: A Survey Of Scholarship In The Last Twenty Years (1996-2016)

Mzayifani H. Mzebetshana

and
Annang Asumang1

Abstract

There have been several different proposals advocated in the last couple of decades about the role of temple Christology in John’s gospel. These proposals have moved Johannine scholarship significantly forward, based on the renewed appreciation of the Jewishness of the Gospel of John which has focused attention on the temple. The sheer volume of the contributions, however, demands that from time to time a concerted effort at surveying and summarising the new insights is in order. This article aims to summarise and analyse the different proposals suggested in the last twenty years (1996-2016). The contributions are categorised into four, namely, historical, Christological, soteriological and eschatological perspectives. It is evident from this survey that Jesus in the Gospel of John is a promised true temple replacing the Jerusalem temple including its cultic activities. Therefore,

Jesus-believers no longer need a physical temple as new temple worship is in Spirit and truth.

1. Introduction

There is a frequent reference to the Jerusalem temple in the Gospel of John. These references appear to be strategically positioned in John’s narrative. There are explicit references which occur 16 times (hieron, appears 11 times, naos appears 3 times and hypēretēs appears once). There are also implicit and alluded references to the temple in the Gospel of John. The implicit and alluded references to the temple are based on the use of hieron and naos. This article is interested in the use of hieron and naos in the Gospel of John. Hieron refers to the temple building, specifically, the Jerusalem temple which was destroyed in 70 CE. Naos refers to the temple as dwelling place of God where worship and cultic activities are performed.

The explicit references to the temple start very early in the gospel account. First, John 2:13-22 records Jesus’ first public appearance in the Jerusalem temple during the Passover festival. While in the temple courts, Jesus clears it using the ‘whip of cords’ and calls it ‘my Father’s house’. Jesus in his dialogue with the Jews pointed to his death at their hands and His resurrection (vv.19-22). Importantly, it is only in John 2:13-22, wher...

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