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The World-View of the Fourth Gospel

The World-View of the Fourth Gospel

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS WEARING
BY THOMAS WEARING

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 26, 2013
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THE WORLD-VIEW OF THE FOURTH GOSPELA GEETIC STUDYA DISSERTATIOSUBMITTED TO THE FACULTYOF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS AD LITERATUREI CADIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYDEPARTMET OF EW TESTAMET ADEARLY CHRISTIA LITERATUREBYTHOMAS WEARIGTHE UIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESSCHICAGO, ILLIOIS1918Published July 1918Composed and Printed ByThe University of Chicago PressChicago, Illinois. U.S.A.COTETS
 
CHAPTER PAGEI. TYPICAL PRE-CHRISTIA HELLEISTIC WORLD-VIEWS .... iII. THE JOHAIE UIVERSE: ITS ORIGI, STRUCTURE, AD DESTIY 17III. MA AD THE UIVERSE I THE JOHAIE WORLD-VIEW ... 35IV. EW TESTAMET WORLD-VIEWS AD THEIR IFLUECE ... 53SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY . . 68IDEX 71CHAPTER ITYPICAL PRE-CHRISTIA HELLEISTIC WORLD-VIEWSThe primary purpose of the following investigation is to presentvarious thought-phenomena which constitute the intellectual universeinhabited by the writer or writers to whom civilization owes thatremarkable Christian literary effort known as the Gospel of John. Itmust constantly be borne in mind that the Gospel is literature of a dis-tinctive religious cast. The paramount concern of religion is not so muchthe creation as the conservation of such values as best meet the experi-ential test in the life of the individual or the community. 1 As a writerholding a brief for the Christian religion of certain thinkers in theMediterranean area of the late first century A.D., the author of the FourthGospel naturally presents the data of that religion in such a way as toconserve the values accepted and approved by that particular group andapprehensible also to the wider group of prospective Christian convertsfrom the other Hellenistic religions. It is this which distinguishes theFourth Gospel from the rest of the ew Testament writings, certainlyfrom the other three Gospels. The group of Christians represented bythe writer has a different world- view from the groups associated in theappearance of other early Christian writings. The historical figurestanding at the center of religious life and thought is the same for all.It is the world-view, the point of view of the universe, that is different foreach.Every self-conscious human has a world-view. The unreflectivemind may not relate very cogently the various elements in its cosmos.Yet in so far as that mind finds religious expression a particular andcharacteristic world-view, accepted uncritically through the media of group-inheritance or modified according to the personal attainments of the individual, will reveal itself in the religion held as satisfying personalneeds. The theology of the average man, as well as that of the eruditephilosopher, is set in molds which are fashioned by his whole view of the1 "Thus Plato, like every honest philosopher, utilized his own personal experiences
 
as the key with which to interpret human life, nay, all things in general." Paulsen,Ethics (trans.), p. 48.: 2....... .T^R -WORLD-VIEW OF THE FOURTH GOSPELuniverse and his relation to it. 1 Sanctions administered by group-authority will to a certain extent retard this remolding of world-view.Especially is this true with regard to sanctions operating under the aegisof religion. Athens in the name of religion puts the cup of poison hem-lock to the lips of Socrates. The zealous churchmen of Italy make life aburden for Galileo. In the latter connection it is interesting to note thatcenturies before Galileo the same heliocentric view of the universe hadstirred up trouble for its protagonists. It had been put forward tenta-tively by Aristarchus of Samos, and Plutarch quotes Cleanthes theStoic to the effect that the Greeks should have put Aristarchus on trialfor his impiety as one who proposed to disturb " the hearth of the uni-verse." The trouble was not so much the matter of giving the sun acentral place in the universe, but rather of considering the earth assimply one of the attendant planets. This last notion was humiliatingindeed to the Stoic theologian, who felt that human beings inhabitingthe earth held first rank in creation and that the entire universe evi-denced but one purpose, namely, the ministration of welfare to gods andmen. To preserve the dignity of man, therefore, he must maintain atall hazards his geocentric theory. 3Apart from overt obstruction of the reshaping process by group-authority there is also the group thought-habit which is ever potent ineven the reflective and well-furnished intellect. The most finishedproduct in the way of a world- view cannot in the very nature of thingsbe other than a compromise between the heritage of the past and theachievements of the present. The mind of the Hellenist moved alongthought-pathways well marked out by earlier intellectual wyageurs.Intellectual orthodoxy played an important part in the evolution of Greek speculation. To think correctly made the measure of the man,for, according to the Socratic doctrine, right knowledge meant virtue.With the Jew the necessary lay in the realm of practice rather than inthe realm of the intellect. As far as philosophizing belonged to theHebrew mind the widest latitude obtained so long as the ritual require-ments of the Torah received due observance. For the Greek, orthodoxy1 "A man's religion, if it is genuine, contains the summed-up and concentratedmeaning of his life; and indeed it can have no value except as it does so. And it iseven more obvious that the theology of a philosopher is the ultimate outcome of hiswhole view of the universe and particularly of his conception of the nature of man.It is therefore impossible to show the real effect and purport of the former withoutexhibiting very carefully and fully its relations to the latter." Caird, Evolution of Theology in Greek Philosophy, Preface, p. viii.

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