« AnteriorContinuar »
“It is done. I am the alpha and the omega,
The beginning and the end. I will give to him who is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He who conquers shall inherit these things,
And I will be his God,
And he shall be my son. 8 But as for the timid and faithless and abominable and murderers and
fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars—their part is in the
lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” 9 And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full
of the seven last plagues ; and he talked with me, saying, “Come hither, 10 I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And in the Spirit he
bore me away to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city 11 Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, with the splendour of God;
her brilliance is like a very precious stone, as it were a jasper, crystal clear; 12 she has a great and high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve
angels, and names inscribed which are the names of the twelve tribes of the 13 sons of Israel. Three gates on the east, and three gates on the north, and three 14 gates on the south, and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city
has twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles 15 of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a golden reed for a 16 measure, to measure the city with her gates and her wall. And the city
lies foursquare, and her length is as great as her breadth. So he
measured the city with the reed, fifteen hundred miles; the length and 17 the breadth and the height of her are equal. And he measured her wall,
seventy-two yards by a man's measure, which is that of an angel. 18 And her wall was constructed of jasper,
And the city was pure gold, like pure glass. 19 [The foundations of the city were adorned with every precious stone;
the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, 20 the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh
chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprasus, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.]
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls,
Each of the gates was formed of a single pearl.
For the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are her temple.
For the splendour of God is her brightness,
And her lamp the Lamb.
(For night shall be there no more),
But only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.)
Bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit according to each month :
For the Lord God shall be their brightness.
6 And he said to me:
“ These words are sure and true ; and the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets has sent his angel to show his slaves what must shortly come to pass.
And lo, I come speedily!
Happy he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” 8 And I John am he who heard and saw these things. And when I
heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who 9 showed these things to me. But he says to me,
“Not so ! Beware!
Worship God !”
For the time is near.
Lo, I come speedily!
And my reward is with me,
I am the alpha and the omega,
The beginning and the end. 14 Happy they who wash their robes, that theirs may be the right to the tree of 15 life, and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs
and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and every one who loves and practises falsehood.
I Jesus have sent my angel to testify these things to you in the
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come":
And let him who is athirst come,
I testify to every man who hears the words of the prophecy of this book :
If any man add to them,
God shall add to him the plagues written in this book ;
holy city, written in this book.
He who bears this testimony saith :
“Even so, I come speedily!”
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints.
THE FOURTH GOSPEL
THE terminus a quo for this book is fixed by the date of the synoptic gospels, which it presupposes. As a certain interval must be allowed for their circulation and the rise of so independent a narrative, John cannot be placed earlier than the last decade of the first century. Mark, Matthew, and Luke are all sources for the author of the fourth gospel, who omits, corrects, supplements, and reproduces their narrative and sayings (E. Abbott, New World, 1895, pp. 459-483), incorporating as much as proved suitable for his purpose along with his own original materials.? This freedom in method is accompanied by an equal freedom in conception. Theological reflection upon the words of Jesus himself, which • already was at work in the synoptic gospels, and of which a casual example is given in the Oxyrhyncite Logia, assumes a wider function in the fourth gospel. In its Christology, the fourth gospel is an advance even upon Hebrews, which forms (like the tradition preserved in 1 Ti 316) an intermediate stage between the later Pauline epistles and the Johannine conceptions. Jesus is pictured in terms of a current metaphysic, and his pre-existence developed to an extent hitherto unparalleled. In fact, the whole spirit of the book points to an advanced period.2 Mystical v reflection and moralising upon reminiscences of Jesus is accompanied throughout by the use of antitheses (light and darkness, life and death, etc.). The treatment of the subject in form and contents constantly exhibits the careful skill and speculative grasp of a trained thinker who lived at a time when he was no longer overpowered by the primitive evangelic tradition, although he naturally professes to base his account upon the direct testimony 3 of an eye-witness (1935). The idealistic 4
Good summaries in Wendt, LJ, i. p. 251 f., Das Joh. Evglm. (1900), pp. 8-44, and Wernle, Die Synopt. Frage, pp. 234-248; also from another standpoint in Zahn, Einl. ii. pp. 498–518. On the supremacy of the fourth gospel in the development of early Christianity, cp. the appreciative paragraphs in T. H. Green, Works, iii. pp. 170, 171, 214–220.
2 Holtzmann puts it in a sentence, “Die johanneische Lehre ist der popularisirte, vereinfachte und durch seine Anwendung auf eine historische Erscheinung, überhaupt durch Combination mit der synoptischen und paulinischen Tradition modificirte Alexandrinismus.”
3 The exact relation of this tradition to the author is hard to understand. If the identity of the eye-witness and the incognito “disciple whom Jesus loved ” (1323 1926.27 202-5) were beyond dispute, it might be concluded (i.) that a historical tradition due to the apostle John lies at the basis of the fourth gospel, and (ii.) that the gospel was written by an adherent of the Johannine school in Asia Minor, possibly by John the presbyter. In both of these conclusions there is pith and moment.
4 A candid and ingenious attempt has recently been made by Loofs (Die Auferstehungsberichte und ihr Wert, 1898, pp. 33-36 ; RTK, iv. p. 29 f.) to explain this feature of the book, by means of psychological considerations drawn from the personality of the apostle John. Loofs frankly admits the lack of historicity in (a) the speeches of Jesus, (b) the representation of the Jews, (c) the miraculous element. On its apologetic and polemical features cp. Baldensperger, Prolog. pp. 152–165 ; and Bruce, Apologetics, pp. 476–492. '
method of the author, coupled with his strong mental idiosyncrasies, leads him to treat the preceding i tradition of the synoptists in quite a free manner. His attitude to them is independent and unfettered, dominated strongly by the mystic's sense of “repose and hope amid eternal things." Yet all the traces of omission, tacit correction, and variation, shown in his treatment of the earlier histories, are less notable than his adherence notwithstanding to the historical plan, upon which his own work is often a symbolic comment. It evidently constituted an acceptable channel for conveying new Christian teaching. The fourth gospel certainly proves that the first three were not considered adequate or authoritative by the whole mass of Christians at that time, and that they did not satisfy some circles in the church. But it also signifies that, especially for those who were deprived of direct evidence (2029), the historical tradition was a welcome method of instruction and impression, although for the “esoteric”2 purposes of this writer it had to be freely and freshly handled. If it can hardly be said that his aim was to produce a semi-philosophical romance (eine philosophische Dichtung mit religiöser Tendenz), it was at least to furnish an exposition of God's mind and providence in the personality of Jesus, by which these might be accessible and intelligible to his readers as they were defined in terms of a current philosophy, and with reference to an environment of Hellenistic thought and feeling. “Christianity,” in fact, at that epoch “had to become speculative, if it was to coalesce with human intelligence" (Denney, CR, 1900, p. 258).
It was owing to the Alexandrian culture of the author and his circle that the term Xóyos came to be adopted, and adapted as a practical and timely category for the person of Jesus. It was intelligible 3 to
1 It is most unsafe to imagine that after the fourth gospel (c. 100 A.D.) the synoptic gospels were finally edited in so trenchant a style as to permit of the omission of certain discourses and narratives because John had already recorded them (Wilkinson, Four Lectures, pp. 99-100). This is to invert what evidence we possess for the historicity of the synoptists. Similarly, all the evidence contradicts clever attempts like those made by Wuttig (Das Joh. Evglm. und seine Abfassungszeit, 1897), and independently by Halcombe (Historic Relation of Gospels), to date the fourth gospel before the synoptists. Indications of the late period are to be heard unequivocally in passages like 438 1016 154. 6 1720 ; cp. especially Thoma, Die Genes. d. JohannesEvglm. (1882) pp. 353-372. Discussions on Halcombe's theory in Exp. Ti. iii. iv. ; reviews of Wuttig by Dr. H. A. A. Kennedy (CR, 1897, pp. 354-356), Blass (PG, 241–243), and Holtzmann (with suitable severity, ThLz, 1897, pp. 379-384). Havet remarks of Luke (IV. 296): “Son évangile a été alors par excellence celui des simples, comme le quatrième était celui des raffinés”; and later (p. 367): “Il semble que les premiers évangiles répondent autour d'eux ces fleurs des champs dont ils nous parlent, qui poussent partout, pour la joie de tors; celles du quatrième sont des fleurs de serre d'espèce rare, réservées à quelques unes seulement, qui en sont éblouis ou enivrés.”
2 The expression is Zahn's (Einl. ii. p. 528). He lays stress upon the obvious fact that the gospel's purpose were not to introduce the knowledge of Jesus for the first time to men hitherto unacquainted with the synoptic tradition. “It is not the herald of the gospel preaching to the whole people, but the later pastor of individual souls committed to his care, who has drawn it up in order that those who already believe on Jesus may believe more fully, and become truer disciples.” Cp. on this E. H. Hall, Papias (1889), pp. 199–240.
3 Weizsäcker (AA, ii. 226–236), 0. Holtzmann (Das Joh.-Evglm. 1887, p. 91). Harnack (HD, i. p. 329 n. ; ZTAK, 1892, pp. 189–232) carries this a step further. “ The prologue to the gospel,” he writes, " is not the key to the comprehension of the book, but it prepares the Hellenistic readers for this comprehension. It starts with a familiar object, the Logos, works upon it, transforms it--implicitly opposing false Christologies—in order to substitute for it Jesus Christ as the movojovús decs, or in