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Befriending the Beloved Disciple and the Beloved Apostle: A Study of the Diverse Unity of John's and Paul's Theologies

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The richness of the writings of the New Testament lies both is their unity as well as in their diversity. This article endeavors to “befriend” the theologies of both John and Paul. Despite many obvious differences, there are a number of points of
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  •  PHILIPPINIANA SACR  ,  Vol. XLIX, No. 146 (January-April, 2014) pp. 3-24. Befriending the Beloved Disciple and the Beloved Apostle:  A Study of the Diverse Unity of John’s and Paul’s Teologies  Pablo Muñoz Te richness o he wriings o he New esamen lies boh is heir uniy as well as in heir diversiy. Tis aricle endeavors o “beriend” he heologies o boh John and Paul. Despie many obvious differences, here are a number o poins o convergence in John’s and Paul’s Chrisology, Ecclesiology and Soeriology. A leas hree aspecs manies proound similariies in heir Chrisologies: (1) Teir oundaional experience o Jesus-Chris, (2) heir relaionship wih Jesus-Chris ounded in he experience o love, and (3) he radical affirmaion o he pre-exisence and diviniy o Jesus. Teir Ecclesiologies converge: (1) In he concep o “new creaion in Chris,” applied o he believers and o he Church as a whole, (2) he image o he “oal Chris” as he preerred represenaion o he Church, and lasly, (3) John and Paul’s paricular relaionship wih he recognized auhoriies in he primiive Church. Soeriologically boh converge in presening ha aih ha Chris is he Messiah is necessary or salvaion. Keywords:    Paul, John, Unity, Convergence, Christology, Ecclesiology, Soteriology   Introduction  his paper explores he similariies o he spiriual experiences and he heologies o he Beloved Disciple o he Fourh Gospel and he aposle Paul, o whom I atribue he qualificaion ‘Beloved Aposle,’ since he is he only aposle o claim in his wriings o have been loved personally by  Jesus: “He loved me and gave himsel or me” (Gal 2:19-20) and o having received   PHILIPPINIANA SACR  , Vol. XLIX, No. 146 (January-April 2014)4 | PABLO MUÑOZ a special personal grace and encouner wih Jesus (c. 1 Cor 15:8-10, Gal 1:13-15). 1   We can affirm ha he mos influenial heologies o he New esamen are he heology o Sain Paul and his school and he heology o he Johannine Communiy. 2   Johannine lieraure includes a Gospel, hree leters and he book o Revelaion  while Paul and he Pauline school wroe almos hal o he New esamen, and his consiue he earlies wriings o he Chrisian canon. Much has been writen abou he supposed-o-be conrasing Chrisologies o John and Paul, he ormer ocussing on he Incarnaion, and he later sressing he cenraliy o he Cross. Tus, radiionally, he differences beween hem have been overemphasized by playing up he conrasing perspecives o heir heologies: “Te grea Pauline words ‘jusificaion’ and ‘grace’ are virually absen rom John. Cerainly hey play no role in he basic srucure o he Gospel. ‘Son o man’ and ‘he Son’, on he oher hand, so imporan o John, are enirely absen (in he case o ‘Son o man’) or virually so (in he case o he absolue use o ‘he Son’) in Paul. One can summarize: wha is imporan o Paul John ignores; and wha is imporan o John was no learned rom Paul.” 3 In he recen decades, a new curren o hough sared o emerge as scholars  began o research on he differen ways in which he heologies in he New esamen acually converge oward he same inenion or derive rom he same experience. One o hose scholars is J. N. Sanders who in his Commentary to the Gospel o John  saes: “I is no surprising ha heir [John’s and Paul’s] eaching on he person o Chris is similar. Bu i requires a very close resemblance beween   hem o prove ha  John is acually dependen on S Paul or he wrier o he Hebrews.” 4  R. Scroggs as  well made a valuable research on he similariies in he Chrisologies o Paul and John and concluded ha “boh Chrisologies show sriking undamenal similariies.” 5  An aricle o Frank Maera, “Chris in he heologies o Paul and John: a sudy in he diverse uniy o New esamen Teology,” 6  which presens a coninuiy  wihin he diversiy o he heologies o he New esamen, moivaed his wrier o research and discover some proound spiriual and heological connecions beween  John and Paul. 7  F. Maera also warns any heologian who embarks on he ask o 1  Tis poin will be discussed a lengh below; or now wha is given is jus a brie jusificaion or he appellaion given o he aposle Paul in he ile o his paper. For he sake o simpliciy he sudy  will reer o hem as John, represening he wriings o he Johannine communiy, and Paul, since ha is how hey are reerred o by mos auhors. 2  Robin Scroggs, Christology in Paul and John (Philadelphia: Forress Press, 1988), 105. 3  Scroggs, Christology in Paul and John, 105. 4  J. N. Sanders,  A Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John  (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1968), 23. 5  Scroggs, Christology in Paul and John  , Preace X. 6  Frank Maera, “Chris in he heologies o Paul and John: a sudy in he diverse uniy o New esamen Teology,” TeolStds 67 (2006): 237-256. 7  Tis paper will limi isel o hose leters whose Pauline auhorship is no dispued (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinhians, Galaians, Philippians, 1 Tessalonians and Philemon). Te Acs o Aposles will   PHILIPPINIANA SACR  , Vol. XLIX, No. 146 (January-April 2014)BEFRIENDING HE BELOVED DISCIPLE AND HE BELOVED APOSLE: A SUDY... | 5 reconciling hese heologies ha he will find hree main difficulies: • Firs, he naure o he wriings is radically differen: while Paul’s wriings are more oriened o problem-solving wihou any sysemaic descripion o his heology–excluding in a cerain way he leter o he Romans–John  wries a Gospel in which his heology is being expressed hrough he way he minisry o Jesus is being narraed. • Second, we know a big amoun abou Paul whereas we know so litle abou he auhor o he Fourh Gospel and he ideniy o he Beloved Disciple. • Tird, hey clearly have wo differen saring poins. Paul ocuses on he Cross while John ocuses on he Incarnaion. 8 Having hese hree elemens in mind one can embark on he noble atemp a discovering he uniying elemens o he heologies and spiriual experiences o he Beloved Disciple and he Beloved Aposle. aking inspiraion rom he ile o Adele Reinharz’ book  Befiending the Beloved Disciple,  his researcher will endeavour o “beriend” boh John and Paul and ge hem o “beriend” each oher, so o speak, by presening he poins o convergence o heir spiriual experiences and heologies, bu  wihou aking heir diversiy away. J. H. Bernard ound a grea number o similariies  beween he heologies o John and Paul, a ew o which will be exensively developed in his research: “In he our grea Episles (Rom, 1 and 2 Cor, Gal), Paul has many phrases which recall Johannine eaching. Jesus is no only he “he Son” (1 Cor 15:28), which is common o all he evangeliss (see on Jn 5:18), bu is God’s “own Son,” oJ ^qeo»ç to»n eJautouv uiJo»n  (Rom 8:3, c. Jn 5:18). Ta God “sen His Son” (Rom 8:3, Gal. 4:4) is a concepion common o all he Gospels, bu c. Jn. 3:16 in paricular. For he phrase te¿kna qeouv  (Rom 8:16,17,21) c. Jn 1:12. For Paul, Chris is ejpi« pa¿ntwn (Rom 9:5); c. ejpa¿nw pa¿ntwn ejsti¿n  (Jn 3:31). Ca¿riç  is a characerisic erm in Paul; i is only used in he Prologue o he Gospel by Jn., bu Paul means paricularly by “grace” wha Jn. means when he wries, “God so loved he world” (see noe on 1:14). Te Pauline conras beween he “law” and “grace” (Rom 4:16. 6:14-15, Gal 5:4) is, again, explicily enunciaed in he Prologue (see on 1:17). Jn. does no use Paul’s word pi¿stiç  in he Gospel bu he emphasis laid in “believing” is a prime eaure o Johannine docrine (see on 1:7). Finally, Paul’s “Chris in me” (Rom 8:10, 2 Cor 13:5, Gal 2:20) and “I in Chris” (Rom 16:7, 2 Cor. 5:17, Gal 1:22) are conjoined as inseparable in Jn 15:4-5. Paul’s ejn Cristw/  Ø  is no less mysical han anyhing in Jn descripive o he Chrisian lie (see on Jn 14:20, 15:16, 17:23).” 9  be used in he aspecs in which here in no conflic beween he inormaion ound in he Acs and in he Leters o Paul. 8  Maera, “Chris in he heologies o Paul and John,” 237-256. 9  J. H. Bernard,  A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John  , (Edinburg;  &  Clark, 1962), cxxxvii.   PHILIPPINIANA SACR  , Vol. XLIX, No. 146 (January-April 2014)6 | PABLO MUÑOZ I would cerainly be a wonderul enerprise o discuss in deail each and every one o he elemens described by J. H. Bernard. However, he necessary conciseness o he sudy compels he researcher o be selecive in he elemens ha  will be included in his paper. I is no he goal o his research o harmonize he major lines o he heologies o John and Paul, bu simply o find common elemens wihin heir general heological opics ha will help us o discover a similar experience o Chris and equivalen heological realiies expressed in differen ways. Christology of John and Paul Te sudy akes as is saring poin he similariies in John’s and Paul’s experience o Chris and heir Chrisology, since his will be he oundaion o heir Ecclesiology and Soeriology. R. Scroggs concludes in his book ha here are hree main reasons o hink ha here is “no hisorical connecion beween John and anyhing ha would coun as he disincive Pauline heology. I here was such a connecion, hen he Johannine communiy and he auhor o he Gospel have so compleely srucured and relanguaged Paul ha he is unrecognizable.” 10  R. Scroggs urher enunciaes ha he hree main objecions o consider any possible dependence o John on Paul or even a hisorical connecion are he differen vocabulary, he differen Chrisological srucure and he differen rajecories o radiion. 11  Despie he “evidences” o heir heological independence, R. Scroggs suggess ha he radical difference in he level o language and radiion does no exclude “some proound similariies o undersanding abou wha really is a issue beween persons and he God revealed in Jesus Chris.” 12  Regarding he Chrisological hough he ollowing hree aspecs manies ‘proound similariies’ beween John and Paul: he oundaional experience, a relaionship wih Jesus-Chris ounded in he experience o love, and he radical affirmaion o he pre-exisence and diviniy o Jesus. Foundational Experience  John and Paul, apparenly, did no know each oher during he ime o he minisry o Jesus, since “mos scholars oday are prepared o see Paul’s pre-conversion knowledge abou Jesus as having been obained enirely rom Pharisaic sources, which he rused.” 13  Because o ha, and according o he way each o hem narraes his own encouner wih he Lord, hey seem o have very differen oundaional experiences. On he one hand, he esimony o he Beloved Disciple is based on he experience o having winessed he minisry o Jesus and having discovered he love he expressed hrough his incarnaion, public minisry, passion, deah and resurrecion (1 Jn 10  Scroggs, Christology in Paul and John  , 106-107. 11    Ibid.  , 105-106. 12  Scroggs, Christology in Paul and John  , 107. 13  Richard N. Longenecker, Te oad fom Damascus: Te Impact o Paul’s Conversion on His Lie, Tought, and Ministry  (Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 20.   PHILIPPINIANA SACR  , Vol. XLIX, No. 146 (January-April 2014)BEFRIENDING HE BELOVED DISCIPLE AND HE BELOVED APOSLE: A SUDY... | 7 1:1). On he oher hand, he experience o he Beloved Aposle is an exraordinary personal encouner wih he Glorified Chris (Acs 9:1-9), 14  o which we have no oher records o somehing similar in he whole hisory o he Church. I seems ha he experience o Paul is no he same experience ha he aposles had when hey saw he resurreced Chris bu an asonishing experience o he Glorified Chris. 15 Tus, considering he difference beween he Resurreced Chris and he Glorious One who appeared o Paul 16  , we end up wih he surprising conclusion ha he Beloved Disciple experienced wha he Beloved Aposle was never able o and he Beloved Aposle experienced, in urn, wha he Beloved Disciple never did. Te Beloved Disciple winessed he human Jesus, His deah and His Resurrecion  beore going o Heaven. On he oher hand he Beloved Aposle experienced he Glorified Jesus, he one who already sa a he righ hand o he Faher and appeared o him in a very excepional inervenion in he hisory o Chrisianiy. Ta leads us o he wonderul picure ha shows he complee “ace” o Jesus hrough he complemenariies o heir experiences.Despie he differences, i is very ineresing o discover he same patern in heir experiences. Te Johannine communiy summarizes heir experience o Jesus in he beginning o he firs leter which is acually a summary o he experience ha has been expressed already in he Prologue o he Gospel: 17 1 Jn 1:1-4   Something which has existed since the beginning  , which  we have heard  , which  we have seen with our own eyes  , which we have wached and touched  with our own hands  , he Word o lie -- his is our heme. 2 Ta lie was made visible;  we saw i and are giving our esimony, declaring o you he eernal lie, which was presen o he Faher and has been revealed o us. 3  We are declaring o you wha we have seen and heard, so ha you oo may share our lie. Our lie is shared wih he Faher and wih his Son Jesus Chris. 4  We are wriing his o you so ha our joy may  be complee. 17  Jn 1:1-14   In the beginning was the Word : he Word was wih God and he Word was God... 4  Wha has come ino being in him  was lie, lie ha was he ligh o men; 5 and ligh shines in darkness, and darkness could no overpower i… 9 Te Word was the real light that gives light to everyon e; he was coming ino he  world… 14 Te Word became esh  , he lived among us, and we saw his glory, he glory ha he has rom he Faher as only Son o he Faher, ull o grace and ruh. Te conceps o Word, Ligh, and Flesh are he hree differen ways in which he Second Divine Person reveals himsel and gives way o a kind o experience ha 14  Marin Hengel and Anna Maria Schwemer,  Paul: Between Damascus and Antioch (Louisville:  Wesminser John Knox Press, 1997), 38. 15  Xavier Leon- Duour,  Dictionary o Biblical Teology  (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1997), 29. 16  Hengel and Schwemer,  Paul: Between Damascus and Antioch  , 40. 17  Scripural quoaions are aken rom  New evised Standard Version  (1989).
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