A mensagem revolucionária do Natal

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O Natal deve ser olhado como uma mensagem política ousada dos cristãos ao dizer que é preciso confiar em Deus e resistir ao império.

Christmas is intended to be a bold political profession by Christians to trust God and to resist empire.

O Natal é a história da promessa de Deus de derrotar os poderes do mal. O Natal nos lembra que Jesus nasceu para resgatar as pessoas da tirania do poder imperial.

Christmas is the story of God’s promise to defeat evil powers, Jesus born to rescue people from tyrants, resistance to imperial powers and faithfulness in the face of empire.

 

O verdadeiro significado do Natal: Confie em Deus, resista ao império!

The true meaning of Christmas: Trust God, resist empire! – By Michael F. Bird: The Washington Post – Dec. 24, 2019

When most people think of the message of Christmas, they normally think about angels, wise men, shepherds, joy to the world, peace and goodwill, and “to us a child is given.” True, Christmas celebrates the incarnation of the Son of God as a baby born to a Galilean teenage girl named Mary in Bethlehem. Christmas is indeed a time to celebrate God’s blessings and peace to all.

But there is another side to Christmas! Christmas is the story of God’s promise to defeat evil powers, Jesus born to rescue people from tyrants, resistance to imperial powers and faithfulness in the face of empire.

Take the nativity story in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

According to Matthew, Jesus is a new Moses, born to save the people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He delivers them from Herod, the ruthless Roman puppet king of Judea, who acts like the old Pharaoh in the massacre of infants in his desperation to murder the child destined to replace him as king of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-18). Whereas Herod turned the land of Judea into a place of misery and weeping, Jesus will lead his people in a new return from exile, a new escape from a wicked king, and into a new promised land called “the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke takes an explicitly political approach to the Christmas story. Luke situates the birth of Jesus in the context of a decree by Caesar Augustus for families of the empire to register for a census (Luke 2:1-3). Setting up the story this way, Luke immediately challenges us as to who we think is in charge of the world.

Is it Rome’s son of the divine Julius Caesar or Israel’s son of David? Rome’s Caesar or Israel’s Messiah? Rome’s Sebastos, the venerable one or Israel’s Christos, the anointed one? In particular, the various songs and prophecies uttered by characters in Luke’s nativity make explicit that God’s purposes in Jesus, summarized as “the kingdom of God,” entail social and political liberation from exploitative foreign powers.

Mary’s famous Magnificat could be the manifesto for a Marxist guerrilla group. She celebrates how, “God has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).

For Matthew and Luke, the nativity story is not meant to occasion our “oohs” and “aahs” at cute babies and 6-year olds dressed as wisemen and shepherds. Rather, the nativity is hope for justice, deliverance, and redemption in a world run by predatory empires. Christmas for the evangelists marks the beginning of God’s revolution to make things on earth as they are in heaven all through the son of Mary.

The anti-empire script of Christmas is accented by John of Patmos in his apocalypse, which unveils God’s plan to defeat the Roman empire and to replace it with the reign of his Messiah. This book, The Revelation of St. John, is not a coded mystery of the end times that religious enthusiasts of the 21st century unravel for us. More properly, Revelation shows us what the Roman empire looks like from the perspective of those under its lash, under its boot, and facing the threat of imperial violence. Revelation, as a Jewish apocalypse, is a symbolic species of writing that uses metaphor and marvel to describe in cryptic insider language how God will triumph over the pagan powers of the reader’s day.

How does John describe the nativity? Imagine this: A woman is in the final throes of childbirth, screaming in agony, her legs spread apart, ready to expel the baby from the birth canal. And waiting there with her is a dragon, poised, hungry, leaning over her, eagerly waiting to devour whatever is ejected from her loins. Yet the child escapes from the dragon and he soon rules over the nations with an iron scepter. Sound weird? Well, this is the Christmas story of John as narrated in Revelation 12!

The scene depicts the cosmic battle between the forces of evil and the hosts of heaven as the context for the birth of Jesus. The woman in question is not Mary, rather, she is the messianic community through whom Jesus is birthed. The child is obviously the Messiah, hence the citation of Psalm 2:9 about his rule over the nations. The removal of the child from the dragon is allusive of Jesus’ ascension and exaltation.

Importantly Jesus’ birth and the blood that he sheds as the Lamb of God constitutes the victory of God’s salvation, power, and kingdom over the evil one. In John’s vision, God’s plan to repossess the world from the dominion of darkness is launched in the birth of a child who is destined to defeat the dragon that rages against God’s people.

For the faithful, Christmas is a celebration that God is for us, God is near us, because God was one of us. God comes to us, in the vulnerability of child, to save us from our sins, and to rescue us from the evil forces that oppress us.

Christmas promises us that the despots of this age, political or spiritual, are living on borrowed time. The Christmas story is God’s answer to all the evil, injustice, brutality, suffering and death that we see around us.

Christmas is not meant to be about cheap trinkets for consumer religion. Rather, it is the annual reminder that God’s liberating love will always find us in the darkest corners of the world. Christmas is intended to be a bold political profession by Christians to trust God and to resist empire.

Michael F. Bird is academic dean of Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia, and senior research fellow with the Australian College of Theology.

 

 

Doze coisas importantes sobre as histórias de Natal que devem ser lembradas

Twelve important things to keep in mind about the Christmas stories – By Andrew Perriman: P.ost – 20 December, 2019

1. Let’s be blunt. Christmas has nothing to do with God coming to earth as a helpless babe to save humanity from sin, etc. That is another matter, it’s not what’s being said, it’s not the burden of the stories in Matthew and Luke. These narrate the birth of a king who will deliver first century Israel from a national crisis. When the angel says to Joseph that Mary’s son will “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21), he means that Jesus will save Israel from the concrete social-political-religious transgressions that have brought the nation to the brink of catastrophe.

2. The key question to ask about the virgin conception of Jesus is not “Did it happen?” but “What did it mean?” Neither Matthew nor Luke understood it as the metaphysical process by which God became man. Rather it makes Jesus’ birth an outstanding prophetic “sign” of things to come.

3. A sign of what? It’s in the name “Immanuel”. During the Syro-Ephraimite war in the 8th century BC, Isaiah told a nervous king Ahaz that a boy would be born to a young woman in the royal court who would be given the name Immanuel, which means “God with us”. The mere existence of this significantly named child would be a “sign” to Ahaz that the alliance between Rezin and Pekah would fail and that YHWH would preserve Jerusalem from the Assyrians (Is. 7:10-17; 8:5-10). The birth of the boy, therefore, was a sign that God is with his people at a time of great political crisis. Same for the boy Jesus, who is not given the name Immanuel but a name meaning “YHWH is salvation” (Matt. 1:21).

4. Luke puts a different prophetic spin on the miraculous conception of Jesus. The child being born will be called not Immanuel or even Jesus but “holy, Son of God”. By this he means not that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity or God incarnate, true though that may in some sense be, but that he is the Davidic king who will bring peace to a people under Roman occupation and will rule over the house of Jacob for ever (Lk. 1:32-33, 35; 2:1, 11, 14).

5. I wonder if Luke is not also pointing his readers to Isaiah’s description of a restored Jerusalem when he says that the Spirit will come upon and overshadow (episkiasei) Mary, and that the child will be called “holy”: on that day, what is left behind in Jerusalem “will be called holy, all who have been recorded for life”, because the Lord will wash away the filth of his people; then he will come, and as a cloud will “overshadow” (skiasei) the city (Is. 4:2-6 LXX).

6. Mary expects God to keep his promise to Abraham and help Israel at this time of grave crisis by scattering the proud, bringing down the powerful from their thrones, raising up the wretched and low-born, filling the hungry with good things, and sending the rich away empty-handed (Lk. 1:51-55). Simeon says that “this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed…” (Lk. 2:34). This was inflammatory, revolutionary talk.

7. People like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, need salvation not on account of their own sins but because of the sins of the nation. These are righteous folk, but they are suffering the consequences of the wilful disobedience of a people that is on a broad road leading to destruction.

8. For the priest Zechariah the redemption of Israel simply means that he can go about the business of serving God in the temple without fearing for his life (Lk. 1:68-75). But he knows that redemption will begin with a devastating judgment against a corrupt priesthood (Lk. 1:76; cf. Mal. 3:1). The prophetess Anna expects no less and no more than the “redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk. 2:38).

9. Whereas the story of the coming of the magi is told against Herod, the angelic announcement to the shepherds has a ring of anti-imperial propaganda to it (Lk. 2:8-14). The Priene calendar inscription, celebrating the birth of the god Augustus, is now quite well known:

Whereas Providence, which has regulated our whole existence… has brought our life to the climax of perfection in giving to us Augustus, whom it filled with strength for the welfare of men, and who being sent to us and our descendants as Saviour, has put an end to war and has set all things in order; and having become [god] manifest, Caesar has fulfilled all the hopes of earlier times… in surpassing all the benefactors who preceded him…, and whereas, finally, the birthday of the god [Augustus] has been for the whole world the beginning of good news (euangeliōn) concerning him….

10. The infant Jesus is hailed as the Davidic king who will at the very least overthrow an unrighteous régime, deliver his people from oppression, bring peace and justice to Israel, and restore the international reputation of the nation—so that kings and magi and peoples would come to pay tribute. This was the good news.

11. Joseph and Mary presumably stay with family in Bethlehem. The guest room (katalumati) being already occupied or too small, Jesus is born in the animal stalls beneath the main living area and is laid in the feeding trough. This will be a sign to the shepherds (Lk. 2:12). Why? Perhaps because Isaiah says that “the donkey knows its master’s manger”, but Israel has not known the Lord (Is. 1:3 LXX); or because Jeremiah says that when Jerusalem is restored, there “shall again be in this place that is waste and in all its cities, lodgings (katalumata) of shepherds resting sheep” (Jer. 40:12 LXX). Again, a revolutionary message.

12. Simeon says that he has seen the salvation that YHWH has prepared “in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Lk. 2:31–32). What he means is that the coming judgment and restoration of Israel will reveal the power and character of Israel’s God to the nations and that this will bring glory and renown to Israel. This is clear not least from the allusion to Isaiah 52:10: “The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” When God redeems his people from captivity in Babylon and brings them back to the land, the nations will see and wonder at this extraordinary act of salvation.

Given the poor reputation of the church and of the God of the church in the West today, I feel that we are in need of another such act of wonder-engendering redemption.

My name is Andrew Perriman. My wife, Belinda, and I have lived in various parts of the world over the last 30 years: the Far East, Africa, the Middle East, the Netherlands, and now London. I’ve combined theological studies and writing with pastoral and missional work in a wide range of contexts. I have a degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford and an MPhil and PhD from the London School of Theology, of which I am an Associate Research Fellow. I teach New Testament occasionally, and I am an extension studies tutor and examiner for LST’s MA in Aspects and Implications of Biblical Interpretation. My overriding theological interest at the moment is in how we retell the biblical story as we negotiate the difficult transition from the centre to the margins of our culture following the collapse of Western Christendom.

Isaías 7,14 em Mateus 1,23

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Inclino-me a pensar que o objetivo principal de Mateus ao contar as origens de Jesus é mostrar o status legal de Jesus como enteado de José, como herdeiro legal de Davi.

I incline to the view that the primary purpose, as Matthew tells the origins of Jesus, is for him to prove Jesus’ legal status as the stepson of Joseph, as a legal heir of David.

 

A young woman? A virgin? Pregnant? About to give birth? (Isa 7:14 in Matt 1:23) – John T. Squires: An Informed Faith – 21.12.2019

The passages set in the lectionary for this coming Sunday place alongside each other a prophetic oracle spoken by Isaiah, and an angelic announcement delivered toA young woman? A virgin? Pregnant? About to give birth? (Isa 7:14 in Matt 1:23) - John T Squires: An Informed Faith - 21.12.2019 Joseph. The two passages seem to sit side-by-side very comfortably. The Gospel selection from the book of origins recounts how the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. The prophetic selection from Isaiah declares that the Lord himself will give you a sign and looks to the conception, birth, and naming of a child.

The oracle of the prophet speaks about a child to be born to a young woman. The message of the angel announces a child to be born to a young woman who was a virgin. The author of the book of origins (whom I refer to, following tradition, as Matthew) quotes the prophetic oracle about the birth of a child and claims that it has been fulfilled in the angelic announcement about the birth of a child to Mary and Joseph. The angel follows the prophet in affirming that child to be born would be a sign to the people, that God was still with them, in the midst of their difficulties. But the status of the young mother is a question that has long vexed interpreters.

The Hebrew word found in the original oracle of the prophet, almah, refers simply to a young woman of childbearing age; it had no connotation at all relating to virginity. It occurs in eight other places in Hebrew scripture—with reference to Rebekah and Miriam, in three references to female musicians, and in wisdom texts relating simply to young women. In none of those places does it have any reference to the virginity of the young woman.

There is also, in Hebrew, the word bethulah, which refers specifically to a young woman who was a virgin; but it is important to note that this word was not employed by the prophet Isaiah. He clearly was referring to a young woman aged around puberty, who was now able to bear a child. He was not referring to a young woman who had never had sexual intercourse, who was still a virgin.

The Greek translation of these Hebrew texts was made some centuries before Jesus. The translation is known as the Septuagint, attributed to seventy wise scholars. In this translation, the Hebrew word bethulah is usually rendered in Greek as parthenos. This Greek word can refer quite generally to a young woman, but it can have a more specific reference to the virginity of the young woman.

Now, on two occasions in the Septuagint, the word almah is rendered as parthenos: Gen 34:3 and Isa 7:14. The first refers to Dinah. It occurs in the story at the point where the powerful prince Schechem rapes the young woman. The point is being made that her state of virginity has at that point been lost, so the Greek word is appropriate.

But the oracle of Isaiah 7 refers simply to a woman who, at an early stage in her capacity to bear a child, is indeed pregnant. So there appears to be no reference at all to her lack of sexual activity prior to this pregnancy. This much is clear in the Hebrew. But the Septuagint translators chose the Greek word parthenos.

We must wonder: is the choice of parthenos when translating Isa 7:14 from Hebrew a strategic move by the seventy wise scholars? Is it an inspired insight into the meaning of the Hebrew text? Or is it an unguarded moment, a slip of concentration, amongst the translators?

I incline to the latter view. I don’t think the intention of the Septuagint translators was to insist that we know more than what the original prophet knew—that is, the precise sexual status of the young woman in question, not just young, but still a virgin.

Nevertheless, Matthew uses the version of the prophet’s oracle that includes this Greek word. He quotes the Greek version of the Septuagint, since he is writing in Greek. Mind you, Matthew regularly and consistently quotes the Septuagint translation, rather than other options that would have been available to him. So this is not really a surprise.

Whatever identity we accord the author of this book of origins, it is quite clear that he was an educated Jewish male. As such, he would have known and used the scriptures of the people of Israel, in Hebrew. And yet, he is writing his account of Jesus in Greek—so he makes use, on a regular basis, of this version.

And this version places a focus on the virginal status of the young woman, who was to give birth to Jesus of Nazareth. So Matthew has deliberately chosen to include this in his story.

Why? That is a good question! Why?

Rather than seeing Matthew as trying to prove the historical veracity of the virginal status of Mary, however, I incline to the view that the primary purpose, as Matthew tells the origins of Jesus, is for him to prove Jesus’ legal status as the stepson of Joseph, as a legal heir of David. Whilst the infancy narrative in Luke places Mary at the centre of the story—and the angel makes his announcement directly to her—in Matthew’s version it is Joseph who is centre-stage—and the angel speaks to him, and only him, in this version (continua)

Quem é John T. Squires?

My name is John Squires. I live in the Australian Capital Territory. I have been an active participant in the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) since it was formed in 1977, and was ordained as a Minister of the Word in this church in 1980. I have served in rural, regional, and urban congregations and as a Presbytery Resource Minister and Intentional Interim Minister. For two decades I taught Biblical Studies at a theological college and most recently I was Director of Education and Formation and Principal of the Perth Theological Hall. I’ve studied the scriptures in depth; I hold a number of degrees, including a PhD in early Christian literature. I am committed to providing the best opportunities for education within the church, so that people can hold to an informed faith, which is how the UCA Basis of Union describes it. This blog is one contribution to that ongoing task.

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Sobre o nascimento e o nome de Jesus de Nazaré

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Sobre el nacimiento y nombre de Jesús de Nazaret

¿Nombre?
Yeshua bar Yosef.
¿Fecha y lugar de nacimiento?
….

¿Que habría respondido Jesús, ya de adulto, si un soldado romano, quizás para cumplimentar un censo, le hubiera hecho estas preguntas? Para la tradición cristiana, las respuestas son obvias. Jesús nació en Belén el 25 de diciembre del año 1 a. C., apenas seis días antes de que comenzara el año 1 de nuestra era.

Vayamos por partes. Para el mundo actual, se trata de Jesús de Nazaret o Jesucristo. Sin embargo, todas estas denominaciones son fruto de la tradición cristiana. Jesús es la versión griega del nombre original hebreo, Yeshua. Jesucristo supone la fusión de dos conceptos, el nombre propio y el de la palabra griega jristós, “ungido”, traducción a su vez del hebreo meshiah, que designaba al heredero al trono de Israel, que era ungido con aceite sobre su cabeza como forma de coronación. Por su parte, Jesús de Nazaret indica el lugar de residencia o nacimiento (ya lo veremos), quizás incluso una especie de apodo si, en lugar de Nazaret, se entiende como Nazareno, Nazireo, Nazir, aquel que se consagraba a Dios mediante un voto personal y se comprometía a no cortarse el cabello, y a no consumir licor ni alimentos impuros, tal como se describe en Jueces 13, 4-7 a propósito de Sansón. Sin embargo, ninguna de estas formas refleja el modo habitual de nombrar a alguien en la Judea del siglo primero. Lo normal es que fuese conocido como Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesús, hijo de José) en su forma aramea (bar en lugar del hebreo ben), pues el arameo era la lengua que se hablaba en aquel tiempo, mientras que el hebreo había quedado como lengua litúrgica, de un modo similar al latín en el mundo católico actual.

¿Cuán nació Yeshua bar Yosef? Contamos como fuentes de información con los relatos de los dos Evangelios de la Infancia, el de Mateo (capítulos 1 y 2) y el de Lucas (Capítulos 1 al 3), y en ellos se nos ofrecen dos anclajes cronológicos: el primero, en Lucas 1, 5 y Mateo 2, 1, que Jesús nació en tiempos del rey Herodes el Grande (40-4 a. C.), y el segundo, en Lucas 2, 1-2, que coincidió con el censo que, en tiempos de Augusto, Quirino llevó a cabo en la provincia romana de Siria, y del que también tenemos noticias por Flavio Josefo, quien tanto en sus Antigüedades de los judíos XVII, 355 y XVIII 1.2.26.102, como en su Guerra Judía VII, 253, se refiere a él y destaca su carácter novedoso y sin precedentes. El problema es que Quirino solo fue gobernador de la provincia de Siria (que en ese momento ya incluía Judea) en el año 6 de nuestra era. Así pues, las dos noticias son irreconciliables desde un punto de vista cronológico.

Sin embargo, la mención de este censo puede explicarse como un recurso de Lucas para explicar por qué José y María hubieron de marchar desde su lugar de residencia en Galilea hasta Belén, todo ello para hacer que se cumpla la profecía del nacimiento del Mesías en la ciudad natal del rey David (véase más abajo). Además, esta fecha se contradice igualmente con otro dato que nos ofrece el mismo evangelista, a saber, que Jesús tenía unos treinta años cuando comenzó su predicación (Lucas 3, 23). Asumiendo que su predicación duró unos tres años, y que fue crucificado siendo gobernador de Judea Poncio Pilato (26-36 d.C.), deberemos situar su nacimiento entre los años 7 a.C. y 3 d.C., lo que, en las fechas más bajas nos sitúa en el reinado de Herodes pero en ningún caso lo ponen en relación con el censo de Quirino.

Pese al relato del milagroso nacimiento en Belén que podemos leer en Mateo y Lucas, lo más probable es que se trate de una elaboración literaria para identificar a Jesús con el Mesías anunciado en el Antiguo Testamento. De hecho, así lo indica el evangelista Mateo, que no pierde la ocasión de señalar que, con el nacimiento de Jesús en Belén, se cumplen las palabras del profeta Miqueas 5, 1:

“Pero tú, Belén de Efratah, aunque pequeña para figurar en los clanes de Judá, de ti me saldrá quien ha de ser dominador de Israel, cuyo origen viene de antaño, desde los días antiguos”.

Más allá de estos versículos, a nadie se le escapaba que Belén había sido la cuna del rey David y que, por lo tanto, resultaría lógico que también naciese en esa ciudad el Mesías, descendiente de David y en el que se encarnaba la promesa hecha al rey en 2Samuel 7, 12-16: “cuando tu vida llegue a su fin y vayas a descansar entre tus antepasados, yo pondré en el trono a uno de tus propios descendientes, y afirmaré su reino. Será él quien construya una casa en mi honor, y yo afirmaré su trono real para siempre. Yo seré su padre, y él será mi hijo. Así que, cuando haga lo malo, lo castigaré con varas y azotes, como lo haría un padre. Sin embargo, no le negaré mi amor, como se lo negué a Saúl, a quien abandoné para abrirte paso. Tu casa y tu reino durarán para siempre delante de mí; tu trono quedará establecido para siempre”.

Pero no sólo el lugar de nacimiento es fruto de la necesidad de situar a Jesús dentro del esquema del esperado Mesías, sino que hay otros elementos de la historia que cumplen esta misma función. Cuando los magos de Oriente se presentan ante Herodes para preguntarle por el recién nacido, el rey, asustado ante la posibilidad de perder su trono, ordena el asesinato de todos los niños menores de dos años de Belén. Resulta sorprendente que Flavio Josefo, enemigo acérrimo de Herodes el Grande, no consigne este hecho en su Guerra de los Judíos, cuando puso el mayor empeño en citar, uno por uno, todos los crímenes imputables al monarca idumeo. ¿Cómo se explica pasar por alto semejante masacre, la prueba concluyente de la abyección de Herodes? Sencillamente, porque nunca sucedió. Hay que hacer notar la similitud entre este episodio y otro del Antiguo Testamento, en Éxodo 1, sobre el nacimiento de Moisés, donde el faraón ordena la muerte de todos los niños hebreos de su reino. El propósito de esta narración es doble. Por una parte, al atribuir el crimen a Herodes, se proporciona un marco histórico adecuado y creíble a la profecía deJesus, em esboço de Joan Taylor,  What Did Jesus Look Like?  London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018, p. 192 (Figure 76) Jeremías 31, 15:

Una voz se oyó en Ramá,
Un llanto y un gran lamento:
Raquel llorando a sus hijos
¡Y no quería consolarse, porque ya no existen!

Este versículo, trasladado al Nuevo Testamento, identifica a Raquel con el pueblo de Belén, donde se encuentra su tumba. Y así, los hijos de Raquel son los niños asesinados en Belén por orden de Herodes.

Por otro lado, dentro de este relato, Jesús sufre una persecución que es típica de aquellos niños llamados a cumplir una misión fuera del alcance del común de los humanos. Es un peligro que no sólo amenaza a Moisés, sino también a Rómulo y Remo o Ciro, entre otros. De este modo, el lector del Nuevo Testamento, fuese judío o gentil, vería claro desde el principio que el protagonista del relato que estaba leyendo era un personaje fuera de lo común, alguien que encajaba en el prototipo de héroe nacional o mitológico. Pero la identificación va más allá. A ningún lector del siglo primero se le pasaría por alto la similitud ya mencionada entre la matanza de los inocentes y la del faraón en tiempos de Moisés. Hay que recordar que Moisés es el encargado de recibir la Ley de Dios en el monte Sinaí, y que Jesús es el encargado de darla por superada en su Sermón de la Montaña. Así pues, el relato de Mateo presentaba a Jesús como el nuevo Moisés, llamado a superar al primero.

Fuera de estas menciones en los llamados Evangelios de la Infancia de Mateo y Lucas, todos los indicios del resto de textos evangélicos apuntan en otra dirección diferente a Belén: Jesús nació probablemente en Galilea, unos trescientos kilómetros al norte de Jerusalén y de la propia ciudad natal de David. En numerosas ocasiones recibe el nombre de Iesous ho nazarenos o ho Nazoraios, lo que, para algunos, significa que era natural de Nazaret, en Galilea, que se suele citar como patria de Jesús y su familia (“y llegó a Nazaret, donde se había criado”, Lc 4, 16, aunque nótese que no dice que naciese allí).

En la época que nos ocupa, Nazaret era un lugar tan ínfimo que a duras penas obtendría la consideración de pueblo. Las excavaciones arqueológicas han revelado poco más que algunas grutas donde vivirían en condiciones muy precarias una pocas familias. Al contemplarlas, no podemos sino recordar la incredulidad de Natanel cuando le cuentan que han encontrado a aquél del que había escrito Moisés en la ley y los profetas: “Jesús, hijo de José, el de Nazaret”, y Natanel pregunta sorprendido: “¿De Nazaret puede haber algo bueno?” (Juan 1, 46).

Sin embargo, aunque no exista ninguna prueba que lo confirme, creo que no debería descartarse la posibilidad de que Jesús naciese en Cafarnaún, un pueblo de cierta importancia situado en la orilla norte del Mar de Galilea, y en cuyos alrededores se desarrolla la acción de la mayoría de los episodios del comienzo de la predicación de Jesús. Por ejemplo, Jesús enseña en la sinagoga de Cafarnaún, y cerca de allí tiene lugar el milagro de la multiplicación de los panes y los peces, la curación de la suegra de Pedro, la vocación de los discípulos, la tempestad calmada, etc. De hecho, sus primeros discípulos son todos originarios de Cafarnaún o de la vecina Betsaida.

Sea Nazaret o Cafarnaún el pueblo natal, Jesús procedería de Galilea, una región situada al norte del actual Israel en la que se daba una enorme mezcla de población, por lo que los judíos más ortodoxos la consideraban pagana (de ahí su nombre de Galilea de los gentiles, es decir, de los no judíos). Además, Galilea tenía fama de estar habitada por gente con gran sentido de la independencia y difícil de gobernar, y allí habían surgido, y surgirían en el futuro, numerosos movimientos revolucionarios de liberación.

Volviendo a la pregunta inicial, y teniendo en cuenta la información (a veces contradictoria, y casi nunca con verdadera intención historiográfica, sino más bien teológica) que nos ofrecen los evangelios, creo que si Jesús hubiera tenido que responder al soldado romano de nuestra escena imaginaria, habría respondido lo siguiente:

¿Nombre?
Yeshua bar Yosef.
¿Fecha de nacimiento?
Aproximadamente en el año 3753 desde la creación del mundo, que fue el trigésimo tercer año de reinado de Herodes en Judea, y también el vigésimo año del imperio del emperador Octaviano Augusto en Roma (7 a. C.)
¿Lugar de nacimiento?
Nazaret, Galilea.

Autor
Javier Alonso López – Licenciado en Filología Semítica (hebreo y arameo), DEA en Historia Antigua y Máster en lenguas y culturas del Oriente Próximo Antiguo, todo por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Profesor de la IE University, autor de varios libros sobre religiones e historia, en especial sobre judaísmo y mundo cristiano primitivo.

Fonte: Mediterráneo Antiguo – 23 diciembre, 2015

A ressurreição de Jesus segundo seus primeiros seguidores

Atualizado em

O artigo

The Logic of Jesus’ Resurrection – By Bruce Chilton – The Bible and Interpretation: October 2019

A apresentação convencional da ressurreição [túmulo vazio] tornou-se tão comum que precisa ser mencionada para ser deixada de lado, porque se opõe ao fato de que “o túmulo vazio” é uma tradição tardia entre as várias tradições sobre como Deus ressuscitou Jesus dos mortos. Segundo os textos do Novo Testamento, a ressurreição foi concebida como corpórea pelos discípulos de Jesus, mas eles afirmaram isto de modos diferentes e nem sempre conceberam seu corpo de maneira física.

The conventional presentation [empty tomb] has become so prevalent that it needs to be mentioned in order to be set aside because it flies in the face of the fact that “the empty tomb” is a latecomer to the traditions regarding how God raised Jesus from the dead. The resurrection was conceived of as bodily by Jesus’ disciples, but they did not all assert a single origin story, nor did they always conceive of his body in a physical way.

O livro

CHILTON, B. D. Resurrection Logic: How Jesus’ First Followers Believed God Raised Him from the Dead. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2019, 319 p. – ISBN 9781481310635.

Bruce ChiltonCHILTON, B. D. Resurrection Logic: How Jesus' First Followers Believed God Raised Him from the Dead. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2019 investigates the Easter event of Jesus in Resurrection Logic. He undertakes his close reading of the New Testament texts without privileging the exact nature of the resurrection, but rather begins by situating his study of the resurrection in the context of Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, and Syrian conceptions of the afterlife. He then identifies Jewish monotheistic affirmations of bodily resurrection in the Second Temple period as the most immediate context for early Christian claims. Chilton surveys first-generation accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and finds a pluriform–and even at times seemingly contradictory–range of testimony from Jesus’ first followers. This diversity, as Chilton demonstrates, prompted early Christianity to interpret the resurrection traditions by means of prophecy and coordinated narrative. In the end, Chilton points to how the differing conceptions of the ways that God governs the world produced distinct understandings–or “sciences”–of the Easter event. Each understanding contained its own internal logic, which contributed to the collective witness of the early church handed down through the canonical text. In doing so, Chilton reveals the full tapestry of perspectives held together by the common-thread confession of Jesus’ ongoing life and victory over death.

Atire a primeira pedra: o caso da mulher adúltera em João

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A perícope da adúltera (em latim: pericope adulterae) está em Jo 7,53-8,11. Mas muitos estudiosos pensam que o relato não faz parte do texto original do evangelho de João.

O livro To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story apresenta os resultados de mais de dez anos de pesquisa na história de transmissão e recepção da perícope da adúltera por Jennifer Knust, professora de Estudos Religiosos na Universidade Duke, USA, e Tommy Wasserman, professor de Estudos Bíblicos da Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole, Noruega.

A obra é composta de uma introdução, quatro seções contendo oito capítulos e algumas reflexões finais.

KNUST, J. ; WASSERMAN, T. To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019, 464 p. – ISBN 9780691169880.

The story of the woman taken in adultery features a dramatic confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees over whether the adulteress should be stoned as the law commands. In response, Jesus famously states, “Let him who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” To Cast the First Stone traces the history of thisKNUST, J. ; WASSERMAN, T. To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019 provocative story from its first appearance to its enduring presence today.

Likely added to the Gospel of John in the third century, the passage is often held up by modern critics as an example of textual corruption by early Christian scribes and editors, yet a judgment of corruption obscures the warm embrace the story actually received. Jennifer Knust and Tommy Wasserman trace the story’s incorporation into Gospel books, liturgical practices, storytelling, and art, overturning the mistaken perception that it was either peripheral or suppressed, even in the Greek East. The authors also explore the story’s many different meanings. Taken as an illustration of the expansiveness of Christ’s mercy, the purported superiority of Christians over Jews, the necessity of penance, and more, this vivid episode has invited any number of creative receptions. This history reveals as much about the changing priorities of audiences, scribes, editors, and scholars as it does about an “original” text of John.

To Cast the First Stone calls attention to significant shifts in Christian book cultures and the enduring impact of oral tradition on the preservation―and destabilization―of scripture.

 

Resenha na Bryn Mawr Classical Review em 07.10.2019 por Timothy N. Mitchell, Universidade de Birmingham, Reino Unido

The story of the woman caught in adultery (pericope adulterae, hereafter PA) has sparked devotion, art, and scholarship throughout the Christian ages. Even though it has traditionally been located in the Gospel of John, the account has an abnormal transmission history. Because of this, the story has been at the center of many debates involving the text and canon of the Gospels.

To Cast the First Stone codifies the results of more than ten years of research into the transmission and reception history of the PA by Jennifer Knust, Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University, and Tommy Wasserman, Professor of Biblical Studies at Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole in Norway. The work is comprised of an introduction, four sections containing eight chapters, and some “Concluding Reflections.”

Part I is composed of chapter 1 only which surveys modern scholarship on the PA. The emergence of modern methods of textual criticism and critical approaches to the study of the Gospels have often centered on this account. Even though modern textual criticism regards the story as not originally Johannine, scholars, pastors, and teachers continue to study and draw theological principles from the passage.

Part II consists of chapters 2-4 and discusses the development of the “Gospel book” and its connection with the gospel message. It is clear that the PA was not originally contained in the Gospel of John, and was not connected with any of the other canonical Gospels. Yet this did not prevent the account from being highly popular which resulted in its preservation. Whatever its origin, considering the scribal culture of the time, it is highly unlikely that the PA was deliberately suppressed or deleted from a gospel book.

Part III comprises chapters 5-6 and analyzes the preservation of the PA in the manuscript tradition and its representation in the art and teaching of the late antique and medieval periods. The evidence tells against the popular notion that the account was marginal to Christian belief. This section also considers Greek manuscript evidence such as the Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, and the canon tables of Eusebius which do not contain the account. The Latin tradition, however, such as Codex Bezae, and the Latin fathers Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine, accepted the story as authentically Johannine. All of this reinforces the knowledge that, even in the post Constantinian age, there were different Gospel texts circulating, those that included the passage and others that did not.

Part IV contains chapters 7-8 that consider the residue of the story that is located in the paratextual notes, headings and marginal comments in the Old Latin and Byzantine manuscript traditions. In the Old Latin, the paratextual features indicate the PA’s earlier absence from tradition, even though the account is retained in most Latin manuscripts. In the Greek tradition, the story is mentioned in chapter headings in late antiquity revealing that the PA was revered even in Greek contexts. The liturgical history of the account in the Latin and Greek traditions is also analyzed in this section. The liturgy ensured the PA’s textual preservation in both the Roman and Byzantine manuscript traditions.

There is one potentially confusing aspect of the book. At the end of chapter 1 the authors state clearly that they do not intend to solve “the textual standing of the passage” (46). This report appears to contradict their ‘Concluding Reflections,’ however, where Knust and Wasserman assert that “it is almost certainly correct that the story cannot be Johannine in its initial framing” (343). A little later they give a lengthy summary of the data, stating that, “Our survey of the evidence has convinced us that the story was interpolated into a Greek copy of John in the West,” and concluding that “the story was not actively suppressed on theological grounds, . . . despite the custom among some Byzantine scribes and scholars of identifying the passage as spurious.” (344).

Readers who are looking for a decision on the historical authenticity of the passage will be disappointed. Knust and Wasserman explain that, in the same spirit as Chris Keith’s treatment of the pericope, their book does not address the account’s canonicity or historicity (46).1 Yet there are hints that the passage may have emerged as an apocryphal account. This is because “the story of Jesus and the adulteress would have had a wide currency that could have served ancient Christians quite well, as the extensive second- and third-century Christian appreciation of the story of Susanna also demonstrates” (139).

The extent of Knust and Wasserman’s research is wide ranging, and space prevents a thorough overview of all the beneficial features. Thus, the following paragraphs will merely highlight a few examples that stood out as innovative to this reviewer.

The overview of the history of modern scholarship is rich in detail to such an extent that even Hitler and the Nazis receive a mention in a footnote discussing the scholarship of Walter Grundmann (37, n. 73). Knust and Wasserman insightfully compare the reception of the PA and the Longer Ending of Mark (hereafter LE) in modern scholarship. For example, though Samuel Tregelles viewed both the PA and LE as not original to the Gospels, he opted for treating both passages differently (18-19). The LE was inauthentic, yet “canonical,” and the PA was a “true narration” and a valid source for the “historical Jesus” (19). As modern criticism progressed into the mid-twentieth century, these attitudes became more widespread, the PA was increasingly viewed as a legitimate source for the “historical Jesus” and the LE was regarded as less and less historical (40). Because the LE contains material more difficult to assess historically, such as miracles and prophecies, this passage was “far less attractive” for those scholars reconstructing the “historical Jesus” (40). This comparison between the reception of the PA and the LE highlights the ways in which scholarly desires, such as a search for an “historical Jesus,” can deeply affect research outcomes.

Along with an overview of modern scholarship, book history and scribal practices are employed in reconstructing the history of the PA. Ancient book making, publication, circulation, borrowing, and collecting practices have rarely been brought to bear in discussing individual variation units. In a refreshing look at the evidence, Knust and Wasserman consider the private, and ad hoc circulation of books within Christian communities and the impact this would have had on the transmission of the story (70-76). Other features of Christian book making are examined as well, such as nomina sacra, and the early Christian preference for the codex format for their Gospel books (78-82). These features reveal that “convention, consensus, and the setting for which a book was produced” affected its “final form apart from any institutional check” (82). Even though an understanding of Christian book culture does not solve the mystery of when the account became Johannine, this knowledge “has helped us understand a book culture where such an event could have taken place” (83-84). Knust and Wasserman demonstrate that an understanding of Christian book culture can and should take an essential role in the study of textual variants and reconstructing a transmission history.

The scholarship of Origen is ingeniously utilized in order to test the plausibility of the PA being intentionally omitted from John (122). It is possible that the account was removed in late antiquity during the process of correcting (διόρθωσις) an edition (ἔκδοσις) of John (122). In his commentary on Matthew, Origen indicates that it was his practice not to delete a textually suspect passage from his edition of the Greek Old Testament, rather, he would retain variant readings and indicate where they were sourced, the Hebrew or other Greek editions (130). Origen’s response to Julius Africanus’s enquiry into the history of the Susanna story in Daniel is particularly relevant to the PA in John. Though the account of Susanna was indeed spurious, Origen was reluctant to athetize the story from his own Greek edition of Daniel because the account had a long standing in Christian worship (131-134). Knust and Wasserman rightly see this as evidence against the theory that the PA was deliberately removed from some additions of John.

One of the more fascinating elements of the book is the discussion centering on the liturgy, both in the Latin West, and in the Greek East and its role in shaping the text of John’s Gospel. In Byzantine manuscripts of John, the account is often marked with the indication “υπ(ερβαλε) (skip), identifying it as external to the Pentecost lection” (269-270). In the Greek tradition the Pentecost reading ran from John 3:37 to John 7:52, at which point the “skip” notation jumps over the PA and continues the lection at John 8:12 (269-270). This “skip” lection likely indicates that the story did not “enter Byzantine copies of John until the close of the fourth century, or even later” (299). The oldest Latin capitula known, “Type Cy,” has an abbreviated summary of the PA which stands in contrast to the other lengthier summaries (263). This feature may or may not indicate a later addition to these Latin capitula; it could also suggest that the story was present in contexts where Greek-Latin diglots were used (263-266). Along with this, Family 1 manuscripts, Codex 1 and 1582, give evidence of Greek kephalaia that included the PA as early as the 5th century (279-284). Though much more could be said in this review, Knust and Wasserman reveal that the Greek liturgy is a mine rich in data that assists in locating when an important textual reading may have entered into the Gospel of John.

To Cast the First Stone manages to be both exact in detail and broad in its use of data. Readers will both gain a deeper understanding of the transmission history of the PA and be exposed to a breadth of information on early Christian book culture, scribal and scholastic conventions, and lectionary practices. Knust and Wasserman’s work is a model of seemingly disparate elements being brought together in order to carefully examine an important textual variant.

This study differs from other books on the PA, such as Chris Keith’s, The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John, and the Literacy of Jesus, in that Knust and Wasserman do not attempt answer the question of origins of the PA, as Keith’s work attempts to answer. To Cast the First Stone also does not engage in an exegetical analysis of the theology or vocabulary in the text of the passage.

This work will appeal to a wide audience. Christian historians, theologians, textual scholars, and interested lay readers may find the work helpful. In the book can be found careful historical analysis of early Christian; attitudes towards “sinning” women and their influence on receiving or rejecting a passage of “scripture;” scribal culture and the probability of theologically motivated textual changes; and the role of book production and publication in shaping the text. This book is will likely become the standard reference for the textual history of the story of the woman caught in adultery.

Notes:

1. Chris Keith, The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John, and the Literacy of Jesus (New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents 38; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2009).

Sobre João 1,1-2

Atualizado em

Por que Jo 1,1c está invertido em grego? Veja no curso de grego como Jo 1,1 foi analisado.

καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος

Deve ser traduzido por:

E Deus era o Verbo

ou

E o Verbo era Deus?

 

Algumas observações

1. Do ponto de vista literário, para fazer sentido, é preciso ler os versículos 1 e 2 juntos. Pois os dois versículos estão encadeados em um formato literário conhecido como paralelismo de escada ou gradual. Neste paralelismo, cada linha acrescenta um elemento novo à linha anterior, refinando a compreensão do assunto. Como em uma caminhada, passo a passo, ou em uma escada, degrau após degrau, onde se avança gradualmente.

Veja os degraus em negrito:

1a ‘Εν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος,
1b             καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν,
1c                                            καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
2                                                                 οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν.

2. Esta escada se cria pela repetição de ὁ λόγος – ὁ λόγος | τὸν Θεόν – Θεὸς | ὁ λόγος – οὗτος   Por isso o texto inverte a ordem dos substantivos em 1c sem prejuízo do significado.

3. No grego, e em outras línguas que possuem declinação, a posição das palavras em uma oração varia sem que isto determine a sua função gramatical, dado que as funções gramaticais são identificadas pelos casos, onde a palavra tem sua grafia modificada de acordo com a função que desempenha na oração.

4. O prólogo de João é um hino e o paralelismo é um recurso literário muito utilizado na poesia bíblica. Há, na Bíblia, paralelismos de escada, como o acima, e há paralelismos sinonímicos, antitéticos e sintéticos.

5. Olhando de outro jeito, pode-se dizer que estes dois versículos estão organizados em uma estrutura quiástica, no formato a-b-a’. Numa estrutura destas, o a e o a’ formam uma moldura em paralelo, enquanto o b é o elemento central, sem paralelo, o mais importante, para onde o olhar deve se dirigir. O quiasmo é uma construção literária em que os elementos são dispostos de forma cruzada, sendo o mais conhecido o a-b-b’-a’, como (a) João ama (b) Maria, (b’) Maria ama (a’) João. O nome quiasmo vem da letra grega X – ki.

Assim:

a. ‘Εν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν,

b. καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

a’. οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν.

6. Esta afirmação central καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος é bastante interessante, pois temos aí dois substantivos no caso nominativo unidos por um verbo de ligação. Enquanto o primeiro substantivo, Θεóς está sem artigo [dizemos, do grego, que ele é anártrico = sem artigo], o segundo, ὁ λόγος tem artigo.

7. Assim, ὁ λόγος é sujeito, enquanto Θεóς é o predicativo para o substantivo anterior. A gramática fala de predicado nominal, onde o predicativo do sujeito é um termo que caracteriza o sujeito, tendo como intermediário um verbo de ligação.

8. O Θεóς anártrico não pode ser nome próprio em grego, donde resulta que Θεóς não pode ser o assunto deste texto, não podendo ser o sujeito desta oração. Ele é o predicativo do sujeito. Portanto, a tradução correta é: E o Verbo era Deus.

9. WALLACE, D. B. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996, p. 42-43, aponta três critérios para se distinguir o sujeito do predicativo:
1. O sujeito deve ser um pronome determinado ou implícito no verbo, ou
2. O sujeito deve ter artigo, ou
3. O sujeito deve ser um nome próprio.

10. Lembrando que Jo 1,1-5, a primeira seção do prólogo, trata da relação do Verbo com Deus, com a criação e com a humanidade.

Referência
Byung Chan Go, ‘Belief’ and ‘Logos’ in the Prologue of the Gospel of John: An Analysis of Complex Parallelism. Thesis DTh – University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2009.

Disponível em https://scholar.sun.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10019.1/1383/go_belief_2009.pdf

As origens da devoção a Jesus

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Larry W. Hurtado escreve, em 23 de agosto de 2019, em seu blog, sobre as origens da devoção a Jesus nos primórdios do cristianismo. Um tema no qual ele é especialista.

The Origins of Devotion to Jesus in its Ancient Context

(Several months ago, I was asked to write a contribution to a multi-author work on Jesus to be published in French, my contribution to deal with the origins of Jesus-devotion. I was given a word-limit, and so had to be brief. The result is something of a capsulized treatment of the matter. I post below the English version, which will be translated for the French publication. As will be clear from this posting, I’m still around and actually feeling better than expected, at least for now.)

Reverencing Jesus in prayers, hymns, and other devotional actions may be so familiar a part of Christian life and worship that we may not realize how much it was an innovation in the historical setting in which it first appeared. To be sure, in the larger Roman religious environment of the early first century A.D. there were many deities and divinized human figures, all of whom received worship of various types in the general populace. But the Jesus-movement (which became “Christianity”) emerged in the more specific setting of ancient Jewish tradition, in which the exclusivity of the one biblical deity was of paramount concern. In Jewish practice, public worship, including especially sacrifice, was to be restricted solely to the God of Israel, and it was considered idolatry to worship any other figure. The many gods and deified heroes of the larger Roman world were regarded in Jewish tradition as false and blasphemous. In this context, the inclusion of Jesus in the worship practices of the early circles of the Jesus-movement was a remarkable and, indeed, unique development.

This gave earliest Christian devotion a distinctive “dyadic” shape, with God and Jesus both featuring centrally in beliefs and worship. Over against the polytheistic patternHURTADO, L. W. Senhor Jesus Cristo. Devoção a Jesus Cristianismo Primitivo. São Paulo: Paulus/Academia Cristã, 2012, 936 p. - ISBN 9788598481494 of the larger pagan world, early Christian teaching advocated an exclusivity, with solely one God, and this same exclusivity applied to the one Lord Jesus. In the context of ancient Jewish tradition, the duality in early Christian beliefs and devotional practice was also distinctive. The duality did not comprise a di-theism of two deities, however. Instead, Jesus was reverenced in his relationship to God “the Father,” as the unique Son of God, the Image of God, and Word of God, who had been exalted by God to be Lord of all creation.

It is also important to note that this development happened quite early and quickly, and was more like a volcanic explosion than an incremental process. Already, in the earliest Christian texts, the undisputed letters of the Apostle Paul, we see reflected a body of christological claims and beliefs, and a pattern of devotional practices that are more taken for granted than explained. This indicates that by the time of these letters (from ca. 50 A.D. and thereafter) all these phenomena were familiar features of the religious life of circles of the Jesus-movement, both in the various diaspora cities where Paul founded his congregations and also in the Jewish homeland. So, for example, in these letters Paul refers to Jesus as God’s unique “Son,” indicating a distinctively close relationship of Jesus with God (e.g., Galatians 2:20; Romans 1:4, 9; 8:32. He also still more frequently refers to Jesus as “Christ” (= Messiah), indicating Jesus’ role and status as the agent of divine redemption (among many examples, Romans 1:1, 8, 21. Moreover, some two-hundred times Paul refers to Jesus as “the Lord” (Greek: Kyrios) who has been exalted to supremacy over all things by God (e.g., Philippians 2:9-11). In these texts, for believers in particular, the exalted Jesus is their Lord to whom they owe obedience and reverence.

Moreover, Paul’s letters also reflect the understanding of Jesus’ crucifixion as part of the divine plan of redemption, and foretold in the Old Testament scriptures (e.g. Romans 3:21-26; 4:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7). Already by the time of these Pauline letters, believers had been searching their scriptures and discovering foreshadowings of Jesus in them. As well, Paul’s letters show the belief that Jesus had been designated from before creation, and, indeed, had been “pre-existent” and was the agent through whom all things were created (e.g., 1 Corinthians 8:4-6).

In addition to these titles and christological claims, Paul’s letters also reflect a developed devotional practice in which Jesus was integral and central. This included, for example, the invocation and ritual confession of Jesus in early Christian circles. We see this reflected in Paul’s reference to the confession “Jesus is Lord” and to the ritual invocation of Jesus: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13). In this statement we have a biblical expression (“call upon the name of the Lord”) that originally referred to the invocation and worship of God, adapted here to designate the invocation of Jesus (e.g., Genesis 13:4; 21:23; Psalm 116:4, 13). Indeed, Paul refers to believers simply as “all those in every location who call on the name of our Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2), and this ritual acclamation of Jesus as Lord is also reflected in 1 Corinthians 12:3. Note also Acts 2:21. Moreover, Paul also refers to this invocation or acclamation of Jesus in an Aramaic expression in the concluding lines of his letter to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 16:22). The expression used here, “Marana tha,” (“Our Lord, come!”), reflects the ritual appeal to the risen Jesus as “Lord” in circles of Aramaic-speaking Jewish believers as well as his own Greek-speaking churches. Paul does not translate the Aramaic expression here, probably because he had conveyed it to the Corinthians earlier in his time with them. Similarly, in other texts Paul refers to the practice of addressing God prayerfully in the Aramaic expression “Abba” (“Father,” Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15). Paul apparently used these two Aramaic expressions and practices, one addressing God as “Father” and one addressing Jesus as “Our Lord,” to give verbal links between his Greek-speaking converts and the devotional practices of their Aramaic-speaking brothers and sisters.

To cite other devotional practices, the early Christian initiation rite, baptism, was from the first distinguished from other water rituals such as the baptism of John the Baptizer by being done “in Jesus’ name” (e.g., Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5). This likely meant that those who were baptized called upon Jesus by name as part of the ritual, and were thereby marked as belonging to him. Unlike many other water rituals, early Christian baptism was a one-time rite of initiation into Christian fellowship, which was identified specifically with reference to Jesus.

Early Christian circles also typically had a shared meal as part of their gatherings. In a text where Paul addresses some problems about this meal in the Corinthian congregation, he refers to it as “the Lord’s supper,” and connects it specifically with Jesus’ redemptive death and his future return (1 Corinthians 11:17-34, especially v. 20). He also likens this corporate meal that honors Jesus to the sacrificial meals in honor of pagan deities, the cup and bread of the Christian meal comprising a sharing (koinōnia) in the blood and body of Christ. As a further indication of the strong liturgical meaning of the Christian meal, he demands an exclusivity of believers, who are to desist from all such pagan rites and participate only in “the table of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 10:14-22).

In other early Christian texts, we have references to ritual healings and exorcisms done “in the name of Jesus,” which likely means that they too involved calling upon the risen Jesus to effect these deeds (e.g., Acts 3:6; 16:18). As noted already, the Gospels portray Jesus as himself a healer and exorcist, and the early Christian healing and in one sense exorcism practices are a continuation of his ministry. But, whereas the Gospels accounts have Jesus healing and exorcising without invoking any other name or power, the early Christian practice of invoking Jesus by name means that his name and power were regarded as the power by which they were able to perform these acts.

As further reflection of the high and central place of Jesus in the early Christian circles, notice the dyadic formula of greeting in Paul’s letters, “grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2). Similarly, he refers to “the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:1). These formulae link God and Jesus uniquely as the sources of grace and the basis of the churches. Paul’s letters also typically conclude with a benediction from Christ, as in 1 Thessalonians: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (1 Thessalonians 5:28, with slight variations also in Philippians 4:23; Galatians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 16:23; Romans 16:20, and there is also the triadic benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:10). These expressions at the beginning and ending of his letters are now commonly thought to be Paul’s use of phrases that originated in group worship settings, and Paul appears to have used them to fit his letters for reading in the churches to which the letters were sent. On this basis, these expressions also give us glimpses of how Jesus was included with God in liturgical practices of greeting and blessing in early Christian circles.

Indeed, Paul’s letters also reflect the practice of including Jesus in prayer-appeals as co-recipient with God, as in 1 Thessalonians, “Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you.” And Paul continues with a prayer-wish that “the Lord” (Jesus) may cause the Thessalonian believers to increase in love and be strengthened in holiness (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13). In another letter, Paul refers to his own repeated prayer-appeals directly to Jesus to remove an affliction (2 Corinthians 12:8). In still another context, where he directs the Corinthian church to discipline an erring believer, Paul refers to pronouncing judgment “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” and to acting “with the power of our Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:3-5). This apparently involved a ritual expulsion of the offender from the church, but the point here is that the authority and power of the ritual is ascribed to the risen Jesus.

In all of these beliefs and devotional practices (and still others) the risen and exalted Jesus is central, and is joined with God as unique focus of faith and co-recipient of reverence. Note, for example, how Acts refers to the church in Antioch “worshipping the Lord” (Jesus), who is then depicted as speaking through Christian prophets, directing that Paul and Barnabas should be commissioned for the ensuing mission-travels related in the ensuing chapters (Acts 13:2-3). In a vision-scene, the book of Revelation portrays heavenly worship of God (“he who sits on the throne”) and the risen Jesus (“the lamb”) jointly, which likely reflects the sort of dyadic worship pattern long familiar to the author (Revelation 5:9-14). To underscore the chronological point here, this body of beliefs and practices clearly emerged and became familiar features of circles of believers within the scarcely two decades between Jesus’ crucifixion and the earliest of Paul’s letters.

Indeed, we should probably judge that this remarkable development emerged within the very earliest years, perhaps more accurately within the earliest months, after Jesus’ death, ca. 30 A.D. For prior to the experience that produced his profound religious re-orientation, Paul (then a zealous Pharisee) was a determined opponent of the young Jesus-movement seeking, in his own words, to “destroy” it (Galatians 1:13-16; Philippians 3:4-6). Paul refers to the “Damascus road” experience that produced his remarkable change in his religious stance as a “revelation” of Jesus as rightfully God’s unique Son (Galatians 1:16). This suggests that the core content of the experience was a radical revision of his view of Jesus in particular, whom Paul may initially have regarded as a false teacher and perhaps even as accursed by God. Now Paul’s revelatory experience is commonly dated within one to two years after Jesus’ crucifixion. So, already at that point, in the earliest years after Jesus’ crucifixion, this young Pharisee, who professes to have been exceptionally zealous for his ancestral tradition, found the young Jesus-movement sufficiently offensive to generate his outrage and his efforts to oppose it strenuously.

As to what may have generated his outrage, it is a reasonable proposal that the sort of strong claims about Jesus and the devotional practices that are reflected in his letters were at least one factor. That is, initially he likely found these christological claims and practices to be blasphemous infringements on the exclusivity of the one God that all Jews were expected to maintain, but his revelatory experience led him to embrace the very stance that he had opposed. In his sense of being specifically called to conduct an evangelical mission to gentiles, Paul seems to have felt a distinctive role. But in the core christological beliefs and devotional practices reflected in his letters, Paul was neither distinctive nor creative. Instead, he reflects beliefs and devotional practices that he accepted as part of his religious re-orientation from opponent to proponent of the gospel message.

One of the factors that generated this remarkable devotion to Jesus in earliest Christian circles was, of course, the impact of the historical figure, Jesus of Nazareth. During his own lifetime he generated and became the leader of a movement that was identified specifically with him. Jesus was regarded by his immediate followers and more widely as an authoritative teacher, a healer exercising miraculous power, a prophet sent from God, and perhaps God’s Messiah. But he also generated opposition. With the collusion of the Jerusalem temple authorities, Jesus was executed under the authority of the Roman governor. This appears to reflect the judgement that he claimed to be, or at least was acclaimed by his followers as, the Messiah-king, which amounted to sedition against Roman rule. On the other hand, his followers especially, but also others such as those who sought his favour in healing, revered him, as reflected in the many Gospels scenes where supplicants approach him. But there is no indication that this reverence included the sort of devotional practices that we see reflected in Paul’s letters. In short, although Jesus became the polarizing issue for followers and opponents already during his earthly activity, and was even held to be Messiah by at least some of his followers, he was not given the remarkably high level of reverence that appears to have erupted quickly and early after his crucifixion.

HURTADO, L. W. One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism. 3. ed. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015, 288 p. - ISBN 9780567657718So, additional factors and forces must have played a role in generating what was an unprecedented “mutation” in Jewish devotional practice. Indeed, it is likely that self-identifying Jews could have given Jesus the sort of devotion that we have noted only if they believed that God demanded it. The conviction that God had exalted Jesus to a supreme status and now required him to be reverenced accordingly is reflected in texts such as a passage in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which declares, “God highly exalted him [Jesus] and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Similarly, the Gospel of John makes the claim that God requires “that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father,” and that “anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 5:23). So, how could early believers have come to this remarkable conviction?

At the earliest stage, we should probably posit powerful experiences as a factor. These likely included visions of the risen and exalted Jesus, perhaps prophetic oracles declaring his exaltation, and also a fervent searching of scriptures to find the meaning and validation of their experiences. As noted already, Paul certainly claimed that his own affirmation of Jesus’ high status was generated in an experience that he took to be a divine revelation. The early encounters with the resurrected Jesus such as those recounted by Paul to the Corinthians likely conveyed more than simply the joy that he had been made alive again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Those who had these experiences seem to have been convinced that Jesus’ resurrection also included his installation as Lord over all things. This seems reflected, for example, in Paul’s linkage of Jesus’ resurrection and his supreme rule in a passage in 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).

But the exaltation of Jesus to such a lofty status did not involve any diminution of the primacy of God. In fact, practically every christological claim in the New Testament texts is at the same time a theo-logical statement. It is, for example, God who raised Jesus and installed him as supreme Lord. Jesus did not displace God in the beliefs and devotional practices of early believers. Instead, as noted already, their beliefs and practices formed a dyadic pattern involving both the one God and the one Lord, and their reverence of Jesus was understood as obedience to God, and to the glory of God.

For further reading:

Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2003). French edition: Le Seigneur Jésus Christ: La devotion envers Jésus aux premiers temps du christianisme. Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2009.

Larry W. Hurtado, God in New Testament Theology (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010). French edition: <<Dieu>> dans la théologie du Nouveau Testament. Lectio Divina. Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2011.

 

Lembro que o primeiro livro acima citado está traduzido para o português:

HURTADO, L. W. Senhor Jesus Cristo: Devoção a Jesus no cristianismo primitivo. São Paulo: Paulus/Academia Cristã, 2012, 936 p. – ISBN 9788598481494.

Este excelente livro apresenta um estudo histórico detalhado sobre a posição de Jesus na vida religiosa, fé e adoração dos cristãos desde os primórdios do movimento cristão até o fim do segundo século. Ostentando uma abrangência sem precedentes (o livro trata com propriedade desde a história do cristianismo primitivo passando por temas relacionados aos estudos bíblicos até a cristologia do novo Testamento). O livro Senhor Jesus Cristo de Larry Hurtado é de grande importância para diversos estudiosos e bastante acessível para o grande público interessado nas origens cristãs.

Leia também Hurtado Books on Jesus-Devotion – Larry Hurtado’s Blog: December 12, 2017.

Mês da Bíblia 2019: Primeira Carta de João

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O tema do Mês da Bíblia 2019 é “Para que n’Ele nossos povos tenham vida – Primeira Carta de João”. Trata-se do quarto e último ano do ciclo do tema “Para que n’Ele nossos povos tenham vida”. No primeiro ano em 2016 refletiu-se sobre a Profecia de Miqueias. No segundo ano em 2017 foi a Primeira Carta aos Tessalonicenses. Em 2018 no terceiro ano foi o Livro da Sabedoria. Neste quarto ano 2019 é a vez da Primeira Carta de João.

Mês da Bíblia 2019: Primeira Carta de João - Texto-baseO lema do Mês da Bíblia 2019 é “Nós amamos porque Deus primeiro nos amou” (1Jo 419). O verbo amar é uma palavra chave da Primeira Carta de João. O lema recorda que o amor provém de Deus e chega a todas as criaturas. O amor é convite que pede uma resposta que é amar. Assim a resposta ao amor de Deus é o amor aos irmãos.

O mês de setembro se tornou referência para o estudo e a contemplação da Palavra de Deus, tornando-se em todo o Brasil, desde 1971, o Mês da Bíblia. Desde o Concílio Vaticano II, convocado em dezembro de 1961, pelo papa João XXIII, a Bíblia ocupou espaço privilegiado na família, nos círculos bíblicos, na catequese, nos grupos de reflexão, nas comunidades eclesiais.

Este ano, 2019, será o 48º em que a Igreja no Brasil comemora o Mês da Bíblia. Neste sentido, a Comissão Episcopal Pastoral para a Animação Bíblico-Catequética da Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil (CNBB), dando continuidade ao ciclo do tema “Para que n’Ele nossos povos tenham vida” propôs para o Mês da Bíblia o estudo da Primeira Carta de João, com destaque para o lema “Nós amamos porque Deus primeiro nos amou” (1Jo 4,19).

Dom Peruzzo, presidente da Comissão ressalta que o texto-base não se trata de um livro para especialistas, tampouco para quem desconhece a Primeira Carta de João. “Certamente servirá de aprofundamento para agentes de pastoral, para animadores de comunidades, para catequistas (…)”, afirmou o bispo.

Ele garante também que a boa didática e a sensibilidade pedagógica presentes nas páginas escritas pelo autor, o professor Cláudio Malzoni, de Recife, ensejarão grande apreço por este escrito do Novo Testamento. “Que o estudo da Primeira Carta de João mova-nos e comova-nos a diálogos fraternos e a convivências pacificadoras, amando-nos uns aos outros”, exorta o bispo.

No texto-base, lançado pela Editora CNBB, logo em suas primeiras páginas são dadas algumas orientações básicas sobre a Primeira Carta de João, importantes para situá-la em seu contexto histórico, literário e teológico. À medida que o leitor avança poderá encontrar informações básicas referentes ao gênero literário, ao autor e aos interlocutores, aos temas teológicos principais, à época e ao lugar de composição da Carta. Nos capítulos seguintes, o autor busca fazer uma exposição passo a passo.

O subsídio pode ser adquirido no site da Edições CNBB: www.edicoescnbb.com.br

Fonte: CNBB

 

Primeira carta de João. Vida Pastoral, São Paulo, n. 329, 2019.

A primeira carta de João é o texto escolhido para estudo no mês da Bíblia deste ano. Vida Pastoral traz até você nossa colaboração para reflexão, aprofundamento e vivência da riqueza deste escrito sagrado.

Sabe-se que a carta é um dos meios de comunicação mais antigos do mundo. Foi também a principal forma de comunicação entre as primeiras comunidades cristãs. A carta geralmente leva em conta circunstâncias próprias e contém informações de interesse específico do destinatário.

Escrita por volta dos últimos anos do século I, a primeira carta de São João se destina a um grupo de igrejas ligadas diretamente ao apóstolo, especificamente a umPrimeira carta de João. Vida Pastoral, São Paulo, n. 329, 2019. público misto de pagãos e de judeus convertidos ao cristianismo. O tema central diz respeito à fé na encarnação do Filho de Deus e ao amor ao próximo.

Havia nas primeiras comunidades cristãs uma confusão imensa acerca da identidade de Jesus Cristo. Certos grupos dissociavam o Jesus histórico do Cristo da fé, de modo que separavam a fé da vida como ela é. Alguns, inclusive, tinham uma visão totalmente negativa sobre a condição humana, concepção que os levava a não admitir que Jesus fosse verdadeiramente humano. Isso gerava a mentalidade de que não era necessário o amor ao próximo, mas somente o amor a Deus, bem como o conhecimento que a pessoa tinha de sua origem e destino. A primeira carta de João se insere justamente nessas circunstâncias, com o objetivo de conscientizar as mentes e resolver os conflitos na comunidade. O que interessa a João é esclarecer seus leitores sobre o verdadeiro Jesus. “Quem reconhece que Jesus Cristo veio na carne, esse vem da parte de Deus” (1Jo 4,2).

Em posse do texto da primeira carta de João, o leitor pode notar que cada capítulo é uma espécie de homilia ou meditação, exortando a comunidade sobre os perigos de uma concepção errada de Jesus e a necessidade de conversão; isto é, para um testemunho autêntico da fé, é necessário que cada cristão testemunhe em palavras e atitudes Jesus Cristo feito carne. Isso se dá mediante a experiência do amor ao próximo. O amor nos aproxima de Deus. “Quem não ama não conhece a Deus, porque Deus é amor” (1Jo 4,8). Quem ama não nega Jesus feito homem, verdadeira carne humana.

O amor é a verdadeira luz que ilumina a comunidade e a faz capaz de dissipar a treva da divisão. Portanto, no mundo os cristãos são chamados a realizar aquilo que Jesus realizou. O sopro de Deus que levou Jesus a realizar sua obra está também em nós. O sopro é o que nos faz perceber e sentir que no amor não há o medo. Em tempos de ódio e de imposição de medos, a leitura e meditação da primeira carta de João nos inspiram a ternura e a alegria de viver no amor.

Fonte: Carta do editor – Vida Pastoral: Setembro-Outubro de 2019

Ainda sobre o fragmento de Marcos

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O debate sobre o fragmento de Marcos voltou.

Do que se trata?

Especialistas avaliam que o P137 foi escrito entre 150 e 250 d.C. O manuscrito mede apenas 4,4 x 4 cm, e contém algumas letras dos versículos 7–9 e 16–18 do capítulo 1 do evangelho de Marcos. Mesmo que não seja tão antigo quanto muitos esperavam – fora divulgado que seria do século I -, o P137 ainda é uma descoberta significativa, pois é provável que este seja o mais antigo fragmento do evangelho de Marcos até agora descoberto.

Para entender o caso, três posts podem ser lidos:P137 ou P. Oxy. 5453

Descoberto fragmento de Marcos do século I?

Esclarecimentos sobre o fragmento de Marcos do século I

Fragmento de Marcos foi escrito entre 150 e 250 d.C.

Jim West fez um apanhado das várias intervenções no Biblical Studies Carnival 160, publicado ontem. É preciso conferir o original para os links. Ele diz:

So called ‘First Century’ Mark has returned… blerg. It is worth noting that the Green Collection, though having received title to the fragments (see point 10 of the purchase agreement), never took physical possession of the fragments. Instead, in accordance with other terms of the agreement (see points 10.1-10.2) the fragments were left in Obbink’s custody for research and publication (the intended venue of initial publication being specified in 10.3). You’ll have to read the post and its attachments to figure out what all that is supposed to mean. Blerg.

Larry Hurtado writes in connection with the scandal (this is as close to scandal as scholarship gets, unless you count Richard Pervo…): This new evidence is personally dismaying, as it raises questions about the actions of Obbink, in whom I placed trust earlier (as in my blog posting here). It now appears that my confidence may have been misplaced. In a comment on Nongbri’s posting [NB- It’s actually a comment on Elijah Hixson’s post, not Nongbri’s][JW], Peter Head says these developments now make me and Ehrman look “stupid”. I’m not clear how he reached that judgment. I may have been mistaken in my trust in Obbink, but trusting someone until there is reason to think otherwise is hardly stupid, Peter. Also chiming in is Elijah Hixson over on ETC. Enjoy the comments there too.

But the best analysis of the whole debacle is by Bart Ehrman. His take is here. And his response to demonstrably false claims and statements is here.

And then there’s this analysis of the receipt for the documents. Gonzo work! This first century (not) Mark thing will be made into a mystery film before long. I suggest ‘On the Trail of Mark: Fraud for Profit’…

But if you want a more Obbink friendly take on the whole thing, don’t worry. There’s this guy. He seems to think the whole thing is a setup…. And Larry Hurtado thinks the fragment probative. Allow me to remind you, however, that it is unprovenanced.

And, finally, as the month drew to a close, this shows up in Christianity Today. What a bunch of shady characters doing shady things. And worst of all, they knew they were.

Whew… That’s a lot of talk about an unprovenanced trinket. Hey, you know how these problems and scandals can be avoided in the future? Scholars can decide to have NOTHING to do with anything unprovenanced! ‘Oh, hey Bob, you have a trinket you think is ancient and you want me to stake my reputation on it but you got it from some dude in a back alley? Nah, hard pass, dude. You go ruin your reputation, I think I’ll keep mine’.

A isto acrescento algo que li hoje no blog Kiwi Hellenist e que nos ajuda a entender o imbróglio de 1903 até 29 de junho de 2019: The ‘FCM’ scandal: a timeline.

Recursos para os estudos joaninos

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Vi a dica em Larry Hurtado’s Blog: New Resource of Johannine Studies – May 18, 2019

Ele indica

LIEU, J. M. ; DE BOER, M. C. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Johannine Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 496 p. – ISBN 9780198739982.

LIEU, J. M. ; DE BOER, M. C. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Johannine Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 496 p.

:. Offers a comprehensive introduction to current scholarship on the Gospel and Letters of John

:. Features chapters written by leading researchers in the field covering major issues of background, ways of reading, style, and theology

:. Provides an authoritative guide for non-specialists and those in the early stages of study of the Johannine Literature, as well as offering new insights to stimulate further thought for those more familiar with the field

:. Suggestions for further reading and full bibliographies of works cited enable readers to pursue their interests further

The contribution of the Johannine literature to the development of Christian theology, and particularly to Christology, is uncontested, although careful distinction between the implications of its language, especially that of sonship, in a first century ‘Jewish’ context and in the subsequent theological controversies of the early Church has been particularly important if not always easily sustained. Recent study has shaken off the weight of subsequent Christian appropriation of Johannine language which has sometimes made readers immune to the ambiguities and challenging tensions in its thought. The Oxford Handbook of Johannine Studies begins with chapters concentrating on discussions of the background and context of the Johannine literature, leading to the different ways of reading the text, and thence to the primary theological themes within them, before concluding with some discussion of the reception of the Johannine literature in the early church. Inevitably, given their different genres and levels of complexity, some chapters pay most if not all attention to the Gospel, whereas others are more able to give a more substantial place to the letters. All the contributors have themselves made significant contributions to their topic. They have sought to give a balanced introduction to the relevant scholarship and debate, but they have also been able to present the issues from their own perspective. The Handbook will help those less familiar with the Johannine literature to get a sense of the major areas of debate and why the field continues to be one of vibrant and exciting study, and that those who are already part of the conversation will find new insights to enliven their own on-going engagement with these writings.

Sobre Oxford Handbooks Online já falei aqui.