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The Literary Unity of John 13:1-38

Moloney, Francis J. (2015) The Literary Unity of John 13:1-38. Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, 91 (1). pp. 33-53. ISSN 0013-9513

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Abstract

The so-called final discourse of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel is regarded by the majority of scholars as opening with Jesus’ solemn statements on glory and glorification in 13,31-32. Closer investigation questions this. John 13,31-38 is not discourse, but a narrative peopled with characters. Looking at the macrostructure of 13,1–17,26, there are close links between 13,1-5 and 17,1-4 (ἡ ὥρα, τὸ τέλος), and parallels between 13,1-5 and 17,24-26 (ἡ ἀγάπη) and between 13,31-38 and 17,1-4 (δόξα). But the theme of love also links 13,1-5 with 13,31-38, as the theme of glory links 17,1-4 with 17,24-26. At the centre of this macrostructure (15,12-17) the command to love is again dominant (vv. 12-13, 17). Turning to the micro-structure of 13,31-38, on the basis of the Johannine use of the double 'amen', a good case can be made for a tripartite structure of 13,1-17.18-20, and 21-38, with close parallels between vv. 1-17 and 21-38. The action and the characters in 13,31-38 look back to vv. 1-21 (Judas, Peter, gift of example/gift of new commandment, later understanding, failure and misunderstanding). While there is much in the narrative of 13,1-38 that prepares for the discourse of 14,1–16,33, these characters and themes to not appear there. This also suggests the literary unity of 13,1-38.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Metadata Only
Keywords (separated by commas): literary unity, John 13, Bible
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Strategic Basic Research
Subject Area(s): B - Biblical Studies, general
Association with University of Divinity: CTC: Catholic Theological College
Depositing User: Dr Suman Kashyap
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2017 14:41
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2017 14:41
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2724

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