Gospel of John Prologue Three Interpretations Essay

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Boring notes that early church hymns were constructed around a core of theological content, and were largely instructional in nature. According to Boring, the Prologue was one such hymn, and was used in catechism. Boring also points out the historical and sociological function of the Prologue, which would have been to “bridge the minds of the Semitic and Hellenistic worlds,” through the central and unifying concept of logos. Both the Semitic and the Hellenistic worlds shared an appreciation for the power of the Word. Moloney (1989) points out that the Prologue presents Christ as the incarnation of the Word.

Boring also points out that the Prologue emphasizes the first person plural to engender a sense of community among readers. From a theological standpoint, though, the Prologue also tackles the central mystery—and controversy—of the incarnation of Christ. Christ embodies the paradox of a God that is at once transcendent and immanent. Neyrev also draws attention to the central paradox on the Gospel of John, which affirms, “Jesus alone makes God known.” Thus, Christ links the temporal with the eternal. The Prologue tackles the cosmological mysteries of time and incarnation.

The Prologue also presents Jesus as mediator, with the ability to transmute God’s love into a love that is received directly in human life. As such, the Prologue helps to lead the reader into the Christian cosmology.

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Moloney presents the Prologue in a matter-of-fact way, presenting it as the opening segment of the gospel, one of the gospel’s “four major sections,” (p. 23). Neyrey describes the Prologue as an overture, adding a musical dimension in accordance with the hymnal quality of the text. Yet Neyrey also uses the term “topic sentence,” which would seem to oversimplify its purpose as introducing the theology of Christ. Moloney’s (1989) explication offers rich detail and shows a depth of consideration for how the author presents the theological implications of Christ as well as the way the Word become Flesh entered human history. The Prologue affirms Christ’s identity as the Logos, and then shows that the responsibility now lies within human beings to receive that Word, that Light of God.

Embedded in the Prologue is an express injunction to believe in Christ. The remainder of the Gospel that follows the Prologue further explains why and how, allowing the reader to better understand Christ’s mission and the salvific function of the incarnation. All interpretations of….....

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References

Moloney, F.J. (1989). The Gospel of John. Liturgical Press.

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