But, thankfully, that is all behind us for 11 months and I can look forward to studying the New Testament in Disciple IV, specifically the Gospel of St. John the Evangelist and the Revelation of John the Revalator. It is safe to say that these are the most unique books in Scripture. Pure poetry and metaphor, John and Revelation burn with a white heat of creativity and message. It is not hard to see why these books were imbraced by the Gnostics as they defy systematic theologic categorization. Where Mark's Gospel ostensibly arose from the Roman-Jewish conflict and Matthew's Gospel is an appeal to the more orthodox Jewish sensibility, and Luke to the Greek, John is universal. It is written in code, one that is open to interpretation. An example of this interpretation is Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, which made the American religous right swoon from the heady display of religiousity blasting out of the rear end of Hollywood.
In a bit of late recliner quarterbacking, accepting John's account of the last hours of Christ is naive. Jesus would not have lived through the scourging to make it to the cross. The account is an allegory of suffering and its ultimate reward, deliverance. The Passion of the Christ is a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. But, I am finding I am way ahead of myself here.
1: in principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum
2: hoc erat in principio apud Deum
3: omnia per ipsum facta sunt et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est
4: in ipso vita erat et vita erat lux hominum
5: et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non conprehenderunt
6: fuit homo missus a Deo cui nomen erat Iohannes
7: hic venit in testimonium ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine ut omnes crederent per illum
8: non erat ille lux sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine
9: erat lux vera quae inluminat omnem hominem venientem in mundum
10: in mundo erat et mundus per ipsum factus est et mundus eum non cognovit
11: in propria venit et sui eum non receperunt
12: quotquot autem receperunt eum dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri his qui credunt in nomine eius
13: qui non ex sanguinibus neque ex voluntate carnis neque ex voluntate viri sed ex Deo nati sunt
14: et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis et vidimus gloriam eius gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiae et veritatis
15: Iohannes testimonium perhibet de ipso et clamat dicens hic erat quem dixi vobis qui post me venturus est ante me factus est quia prior me erat
16: et de plenitudine eius nos omnes accepimus et gratiam pro gratia
17: quia lex per Mosen data est gratia et veritas per Iesum Christum facta est
18: Deum nemo vidit umquam unigenitus Filius qui est in sinu Patris ipse enarravit
And in our own Revised Standard Version:
1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2: He was in the beginning with God;
3: all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
4: In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6: There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7: He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.
8: He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
9: The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.
10: He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.
11: He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.
12: But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;
13: who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
15: (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'")
16: And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace.
17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18: No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.
I would opine that John the Evangelist was a bit of a dreamer. These first 18 verses are densely mystical and veiled, far afield of the Synoptic Gospels. Here is pure poetry:
By the time of the Big Three (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) logos came to represent human reason, with Aristotle extrapolating the term's meaning into logic. That is a far cry from the King James Translation. Hellenistic as it is, the reader cannot deny that the interpretation of the word logos as narrowly as has been custom in Christianity is at least problematic and at most misleading.
© Copyright, C. Michael Bailey, 2007