Mar 20, 2009

John's Jesus and theTemple

For a nice summary on the history of the First and Second temples in Jerusalem as well as their relationship to the Gospel of John, my friend Chad did some research on the topic.

Chad's Paper

It cannot be overstated that the Jerusalem temple, as Chad stated was the center of the Jewish religion prior to 70 C.E. Chad does a very nice job of identifying the various factions, the Christian Jews, the Pharisaic Jews, and even the ever elusive Essenes, while locating their role in Jewish history and John’s story.

As Chad points out in John 4, the story of Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman can be seen as anti-temple centered religion narrative. The Johannine community, as Raymond Brown pointed out, had strong affiliations with the Samaritan community and John 4 may be a reflection of that. Jesus, ironically, shows zeal for the temple in John 2 and with what looks like his violent actions, may have stopped the worship of YHWH altogether that day in temple, since the sacrifice was so important. Jesus, in the Evangelist’s record of the good news, is the new Temple of God. Johannine theodicy does not, like the Pharisaic Jews replace the temple with the law, or reject the temple completely like the radical Essenes, but transforms the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus into the new Temple. Therefore, it is not a supercessionist argument where a construction of a temple is not necessary; rather, the temple was a sign (like Jesus’s miracles in John) that pointed to the presence of the Father. As Chad says, “people no longer had to go to God at the temple, but that God had approached them and dwells with them through the on going presences of Jesus.”

7 comments:

Celucien L. Joseph said...

Where does Chad place the writing of the fourth Gospel, before or post 70?

Chad said...

Quite a bit post-70. Around 90-100 C.E.

Celucien L. Joseph said...

This is a common assumption in Johannine scholarship.

Rod said...

Do you agree with that assumption, Celucien?

mike fox said...

this is a neat post. john goes to great lengths to depict Jesus as a sacred space - Jesus became flesh and "tabernacled among us" (Jn. 1). he told the disciples they would see angels ascending and descending, a reference to jacob's encounter with a sacred space in genesis (Jn. 2). John 4 is in the same vein - Jesus takes care of the "where" of worship, so start concentrating on the "how" (spirit and truth). sacred spaces aren't the focus anymore.

sorry, coffee kicked in. keep up the bloggin rodney

Rod said...

Mike,

Jesus' life basically revolves around the Temple/tabernacle festivals in the book of John. It is so funny, tonight at our singles' bible study on Nehemiah, I never noticed that they were celebrating in chapter 8 the Feast of Tabernacles. Just so interesting to see Jesus teaching during the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7 just as Ezra, the priests, scribes, and heads of the families taught at the Feast in Neh. 8.

mike fox said...

nice; it's funny how things come to light in the context of community