Biblical Theology Bulletin: A Journal of Bible and Theology
http://btb.sagepub.com/ Worship in the Fourth Gospel: A Cultural Interpretation of John 14−−17
Jerome H. Neyrey Biblical Theology Bulletin: A Journal of Bible and Theology 2006 36: 107 DOI: 10.1177/01461079060360030301 The online version of this article can be found at: http://btb.sagepub.com/content/36/3/107
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range of meaning therefore is very great . special revelations to a special group. . and for good reason. such as warning. feasts and their objects of prayer and celebration. God also communicates to his devotees.” If prayer is communication to God. in turn. embracing piety as well as liturgy. the Broker. oracles of many sorts. Neyrey. He is currently finishing a manuscript on prayer and worship for Eerdmans. things he said but were not understood. D. (2) purpose of worship = to honor the deity (“to recognize and describe the worth of”). The
Downloaded from btb. all of which is facilitated by the Advocate/Spirit. (Yale University) is professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Notre Dame (neyrey. Critical interpretation of the shape of human relationships with God. . Henton Davies offers this definition of Old Testament worship:
Worship is homage . the personnel of worship are clearly defined: the Patron Father who bestows benefaction on his clients by means of Jesus. it is hoped. this paper examines first the cultural phenomenon of worship and then with it in mind. We find a particular focus on the words of Jesus. Hence we find exhortations to remain and to love.
Part I: Speaking and Listening to God
s the title indicates.1@ nd. He is the author of sixteen articles on the Fourth Gospel and one book.edu). will advance our understanding of the Deity.Worship in the Fourth Gospel: A Cultural Interpretation of John 14–17
Jerome H. and the like. brokers the concerns of the clients to the Patron. He is also a member of The Context Group. Jesus. and Hypothesis
Our initial task is to define worship. assurance. John 14–17. 2010
. These remain miscellaneous pieces until seen in the light of a cultural model of worship. for the form of a farewell address simply misses all that Jesus has to say about worship in the group. primarily in words.sagepub. But in John 14–17 we are told about prayer: Jesus’ own prayer to God and his instructions to the disciples to petition “in my name. Most importantly. and he has authored a socio-rhetorical commentary on John for the Cambridge University Press which will appear shortly. Worship is thus synonymous with the whole of a reverent life. the attitude and activity designed to recognize and describe the worth of the person or thing to which homage is addressed. which studies the Scripture in its social and cultural context. mountains for worship.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. His most recent book is Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine. Ph. (3)
Jerome H. Finally. But that hardly exhausts its contents. salvation and the like.
Three elements are worth our notice: (1) object of worship = a worthy figure. From the gospel’s beginning we find a steady focus on temple. Neyrey
Abstract Typical readers interpret John 14–17 as a Farewell Address. the household with many rooms is not space out of the world. not at all an easy job. the section of the Fourth Gospel where this is richly found and formally treated. but relationships brokered by Jesus.
State of the Question. judgment.
com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. While descriptive catalogues of early Christian “worship” are helpful. Thus Jesus broadly negates all fixed places of worship. is mute on specific forms of worship. we learn that special significance was given to the “first day of the week” (20:1) and the “eighth day” (20:26). for which we need a model of fixed and sacred space from cultural anthropology. who is spirit. “He spoke of the temple of his body” (2:21). how not to worship. then. In defense. . Yet the author of the Fourth Gospel is formally concerned with worship. these places (“house. I go to prepare a place for you” (14:2). Jesus. Balancing these replacements. the prayer of Jesus would seem to be a most promising place to start. Second. Finally. the sheep and oxen out of the temple”) and its revenue collection. Inasmuch as so much attention is given to prayer(s) in John 14–17. the rains/ water (7:37–38) and the sun/light (8:12) sought at Tabernacles. and perhaps when not to worship. homily. we search for a formal definition of it and a social science model which will help us interpret its forms. for they think that he refers to a physical building.Neyrey. If this definition emphasizes the value of honor and its manifestations. Much more needs to be learned about worship so as to interpret the Fourth Gospel. The Gospel does not tell us of what worship consists. And in this light we will examine other aspects of where worship occurs: “being in” and “dwelling in. then. But is there any formal pattern to relationship of those who worship? What. Who? Worship. scholars argue that he replaced both feasts and the benefits sought from them with himself. seeks worshipers who worship in spirit and truth. we need a model that compares and contrasts fixed and fluid sacred space. then. There is.sagepub. This remark. and in three days I will raise it up” (2:19). he declares: “Destroy this temple. Jesus declares that “in my Father’s house there are many rooms . is directed to God. . piety. How? True worshipers will perform actions that do not consist of sacrifice or require temple clergy. Thus where one worships remains throughout the Gospel a major question. given the topics he himself raises: (1) where to worship? (2) how to worship? (3) of what does worship consist? (4) when to worship? and (5) who participates? Where? At Jesus’ inaugural visit to Jerusalem’s temple.
Worship in the Early Church
The Shape of Early Christian Worship. much more to be done in understanding worship. as well as liturgy. do we know? Oddly. God.” “rooms. prophecy. of course. But other figures function in this worship: Jesus. Martin) and in most commentaries worship does not even rate a place in the topical index. From this perspective. . the Passover lamb (19:33–34).” (4:21). and the Paraclete. but modern scholarship often misunderstands the structural place of Jesus and the Paraclete in Johannine worship. or in Jerusalem?” (4:20). It is a top-down model. Nor does it take up issues such as where and how worship is offered. nor does it define the role and status of members of the worshiping group. . . But it seems improbable that Johannine disciples kept a calendar of this sort. Jesus sweeps away the question with his answer: “neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem . James McCaffrey argues that we not consider these as geographical spaces: “The text describes the redemptive work of Christ in terms which pertain to the family and its intimate personal relationships” (McCaffery: 21).” physical closeness to Jesus. .” “place”) suggest a “where” for worship. nor will they worship in fixed sacred space. which his hearers misunderstand. The truth is. . Richardson) of early Christian worship agree that: (1) the early church borrowed heavily from
Downloaded from btb. and group in worship. . since the author puts so much emphasis on where the group worships. Discussions of worship in the Fourth Gospel are rare (Cullmann. judgment. Scholarly surveys (Delling. 2010
. But where is “his body”? The Samaritan woman asks Jesus-the-prophet to settle a dispute about where to worship. On the one hand. we know where not to worship. Clearly. The roles of God and group are clear. etc. tithes and revenues. we turn to the model of patron-broker-client. in attempting to understand the structural relationships between God. Spirit. Martin. Worship in John 17–Part One
forms of worship = reverent life. But those who refused to or are afraid to acknowledge Jesus as sent from God are not true worshipers (17:3). When? Although Jesus attended certain feast days in Jerusalem. another fixed sacred space. Our first task begins with “worship” itself. we will interpret four forms of worship: prayer. both God and a worshiping group are envisioned. but they do not refer to any fixed sacred space. This will aid us in interpreting Jesus’ remarks about “my Father’s house” and “many rooms” (14:2). however. Finally. Jesus is now the benefit sought at festive worship: the bread come down from heaven (6:33–51). it also excludes any notion of worship as communication of the Worthy One to the worshipers. in whose name the disciples petition God. At least this seems to be the substance of Jesus’ remark: “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (4:23). “this mountain . who mediates Jesus’ words to the group. Interpretation of texts is impossible without it. he upsets its sacrificial worship system (“he drove .
This definition/model derives from the communication theory articulated by Berlo (47–60) and then by Rogers & Shoemaker (11. namely. to the breaking of the bread.sagepub. 14:1–36). Christians comtant things: (1) worship is “primarily verbal”. (4) to God. and performed with the purpose of getting results from or in the interaction of communication [Malina: 214]. the object of worship (receiver). then. sacrifice offered receiver: God effect: see many types of prayer below = effect
The importance Worship as listensender: God message: informachannel: Jesus or receiver: Chriseffect: reform of ing to God tion. but could be practiced virtually anywhere. We suggest a social science definition of prayer by Bruce Malina. The two directional flows of worship. (4) to a receiver. exhort. 251–52). (2) its activities were not tied to particular places.Yet Christians did have religious gatherings where various types of rituals were practiced. etc. . teaching. the transmission of the Jesus tradition. Intimately associated with it particularly in the assemblies of the community is the transmission of Jesus’ words and Worship as speaksender: mortals message: petitions. or Spirit-inspired utterances. however. Cullmann’s comment suffices:
The proclamation of the message of salvation had a fixed place not only in the early missionary preaching. narratives concerning to God confessions. communication also comes from God. creeds. the letters of Paul (e. hymns. 2010
. but also in the worship services of the community.). inform. (2) sends a communication (message). . (2) members municate with the “living and true God” and in turn lis“pray and sing hymns and thanksgivings”. (3) in language and gesture (channel). (3) using certain mediating figures (channels). are rare. include one more element which is not always clear in these surveys. the words of Jesus. David Aune’s description best represents this consensus:
Christian worship had a primarily verbal character. exhort our project lies in having the most comSince our definition of worship controls what we label plete index of typical verbal forms of worship as we begin our reading of John 14–17. (5) in order to have some effect on the deity (purpose). but also listen to God through the
Downloaded from btb. songs. homilies. These activities were not tied to particular places. who sends a (2) message. We must. such as Acts 2:42 (“they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship. and public reading of the Scriptures. bearing directly upon persons perceived as somehow supporting. This basic description is grounded on worship in New Testament documents. look like this:
channel: voiced prayer. 18–19. . and in this respect it was similar to synagogue Judaism. Malina’s model explains how in the worshiping action of prayer (1) worshipers (senders). most social science dictionaries and encyclopedia exclude it (although they attempt to define “religion”). It contains five elements: (1) a sender. inform. (3) by means of some channel. incense burned.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. to pray and sing hymns and thanksgivings to God. maintaining.. (4) to worshipers (receivers). 1 Cor 11:20ff.” let us be clear about the object of worship. ing him [48–49]. who now listen instead of speaking: (1) God (sender). and reconstructions of early synagogue worship (Martin: 18–27). etc. psalms. which we judge can be be readily adapted to describe all forms of worship. and 3) the central forms of worship were verbal. Pliny’s letter to Trajan (Ep 10.B I B L I C A L T H E O LO GY B U L L E T I N • VO LU M E 3 6
synagogue worship both in form and in content. to experience healing.96). of this material for rebuke. (5) for the purpose of having an effect (bless. however. g. especially prayer and the study of the Scripture. its purpose. we know several imporas “worship.
Scriptures. to read Scripture. exhortation. (3) they not only ten to God’s word(s). What is worship? why include this or that action? Definitions. to listen to God speaking through other Christians.
[Worship is] a socially meaningful symbolic act of communication. Christians gathered to eat together. Yet in worship. etc. prophecy. Holy Spirit or group tian group behavior.
As regards the content of early Christian worship. doxologies. Thus. to baptize new members. But what is meant by “worship”? Worship: Definition and Anthropological Model. but could be practiced virtually anywhere [Aune 1992: 973]. (2) send a communication (message). prophet confirm. and (4) these activities are detached from any particular place. the following synopsis contains the typical verbal forms of worship described by scholars: prayers. (5) for the purpose of having some effect. and controlling the order of existence of the one praying. Worship’s manifold purpose includes speak to God in prayer. such that there should be a second direction of the communication model which accounts for a flow from God to mortals. and its forms of communication. and the prayers”).
and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you. praise. Magnificat prayers that identify the self (individual and social) to God.” or “You have searched me. And as speech from God. Lament. . I will do it” • 14:15–16: “I will pray the Father and he will send
another Counselor” • 15:7: “If you abide in me and my words abide in you. such as “Alleluia. • 14:12–14: “Whatever you ask in my name. . enlightenment. with particular emphasis on the various purposes of communication. and you know me” or “Into your hands. Although the Gospels contain material on prayer spoken by Jesus and even his modeling of prayer (e. prayer) and (2) listening to God (i. 12–13).. praise. doxologies (1 Tim 1:17 & 6:15–16
Worship in John 14–17
Although readers generally know John 14–17 in terms of its form-critical classification as a Farewell Address (Segovia).” Malina provides a taxonomy of seven purposes for which prayers are said (Malina: 215–16. Jesus maintains his role as broker by indicating that the petitions will be made “in my name.Neyrey. . petition. meditative prayers. he will give it to you” • 16:23–24: “In that day you will ask nothing of me . g. petitionary prayer. the other eleven instances of petition occur only in the Farewell Address. prayers in tongues (1 Cor 14) and those recited in languages unknown to the pray-er prayers that communicate information: prayers of acknowledgment and thanksgiving. we observe a prayer composed of a variety of types. the various prayers of Jesus and especially the so-called “high priestly” prayer in John 17 suggest that “worship” is not a misleading category. Malina & Rohrbaugh: 246–47. namely. for the Father himself loves you. moreover. prophecy. Lord. Jesus’ Multi-Purposed Prayer in John 17. hearing the Jesus tradition. most commentators recognize only one type of prayer. homily and judgment). . boasting. and superiority prayer that explores the world of God and God’s workings within us individually and collectively. In general. confessions (Rom 10:9. confession. Worship in John 17–Part One
speech to God. We can classify the statements of Jesus as instrumental/petitionary. Yet petitionary is but one of many types of prayer classified by Bruce Malina. prayer of simple presence.sagepub. judgment. Scholars regularly note Jesus’ repetitive instructions in John 14–16 about “asking” the Father for some benefit. Let us now take this definition of worship and examine the materials in John 14–17. homilies. Except for Martha’s remark that Jesus could petition God for Lazarus (11:22). which in the typology we are using means “petitionary” or instrumental prayer. which might be thanksgiving. and the like. The petitionary verbs used here differ from the more common ones such as beseech and pray. listening to the Scripture. Malina’s taxonomy of prayer provides the means to distinguish different types of prayer occurring in John 17. worship consists of listening to various forms of speech from God: prophecy. e.” Yet this is by no means the only kind of prayer in John 17. Speaking to God: Prayer. whose effect might be exhortation. ask whatever you will” • 15:16b: “Whatever you ask the Father in my name. he will give it to you in my name” • 16:26: “In that day you will ask in my name. 2010
.. O Lord. Luke 11:1–13. Thus it is heuristic in that it discovers and uncovers interpersonal perspectives implicit in all the actions culminating in Jesus’ “hour. Matt 26:36–44). . pray-ers may seek to have an effect on God by expressing other thoughts and desires. self-focused. if you ask anything of the Father. as the following chart indicates:
Downloaded from btb. such as Ps 22. Malina’s original use of the communications model was to define and describe prayer. we consider the whole of John 17 as an heuristic prayer: it explores the world of God and God’s workings within the Son and his disciples.” Petitionary prayer. Petitionary Prayer in John 14–16. and so constitute a distinct body of materials on prayer. We propose to examine John 14–17 in terms of the two directions of worship described above: (1) speaking to God (i. and (2) while the Patron being petitioned is always God. because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father” We note several things: (1) the object of the petitions is both vastly expansive (“whatever” and “anything” and specific (the “Counselor”). and informative. individually and collectively (Malina & Rohrbaugh: 244–48). But when we turn to John 17. It is not a search for meaning so much as a revelation of the state of the relationship of the pray-er and God. Petitionary prayer is but one form. I will do it.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29.. and the like. see the table at top of the next column). self-revelation of the person praying (contrition. e. humility. and the like. is the only type of prayer found in John 14–16. who has examined biblical prayer in terms of social-science communication theory.
Instrumental Interactioinal Self-focused
petitionary prayer to obtain goods and services for individual needs prayer to maintain emotional ties with God. If you ask anything in my name. I commend my spirit. perceptions of the spirit in prayer prayer to create an environment of one’s own with God.
may be with me where I am. that they also may be consecrated in truth. 20–21. I have manifested Your NAME to the men whom You gave me out of the world Yours they were. Prayer Text Classification instrumental acknowledge instrumental self--focused self-focused
v9 v 10 v11 v 12 vv 13–14
self-focused & instrumental self-focused instrumental self-focused self-focused
v 15 v 16 v 17 vv 18–19 vv 20–22 vv 22–23
instrumental self-focused instrumental self-focused self-focused & instrumental self-focused
v 24 vv 25–26
We observe that Jesus petitions God frequently (vv 2. that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. All mine are thine. I desire that they also. glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made. but also for those who believe in me through their word that they may all be one. which You have given to me. etc. whom You have given to me. 13–14. and these things I speak in the world. which celebrates the record of Jesus’ past good deeds (vs. 5. and I in them. that they may be one. that they may be perfectly one. As You sent me into the world. I made known to them Your NAME. 18–19. O just Father. another type of prayer. but keep them from the Evil One. whose form is also clearly expressed in first-person speech: “I made manifest”. They are not of the world. 16.). that they (ack)know(ledge) You the only true God. For their sake I consecrate myself. This self-focused prayer by Jesus may also be seen as a claim to the virtue of piety or justice. and they have believed that You sent me. which you have given me. (3) he has given the divine words to them. Throughout the Greco-Roman world. and I will make it known that the love with which you have loved me may be in them. 10. 14) • I have kept them in your name (12a) • I have guarded them (12b) • I have sent them into the world (18)
• I have consecrated myself (19) • I have given them the glory which you have given me
• I have “known” you (25). . (2) he has manifested to the disciples the divine Name and kept them in it. and (2) a request for a specific benefaction from God (glory. 12.sagepub. and they have received them and know in truth that I came from You. We see. that they may be one. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world. Father. which Malina calls “self-focused” (6–8. “I kept them in your name”. 11. see the excursus at the top of page 6). 26) • I have given them the words which you have given me (8. I am not praying for those in the world. 15–16.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. 9. “I have given them your word” (vs. While I was with them. 20. even as we are one. But now I am coming to You. and thine are mine. Now they know that everything you have given me is from You. although the label does convey the sense that Jesus enjoys the role of mediator or broker of God’s benefaction. and these know that you have sent me. Labeling John 17 a “high priestly” prayer is clearly anachronistic. In John 17 Jesus reveals to God that he has fulfilled his apostleship and done what God sent him to do: • I have glorified you on earth (4) • I have manifested your name (6. for they are Yours. Sanctify them in Your truth. so that the world may believe that You have sent me. I do not pray for these only. the world has not known You. unity. I kept them in Your NAME. and (4) he has extended his work by sending them into the world (Cullmann: 5. and the world has hated them because they are not of the world. The glory which you have given me. such as “ask. the self-focused prayer celebrates that Jesus’ prime accomplishment has been to channel God’s benefaction through himself to the disciples. that they may be in us. 17. Jesus declares to God before his disciples his perfect fulfilment of the mission he was sent to accomplish: (1) he has glorified God on earth. I have given them.
Unlike petitionary prayer. future benefactions in petitionary prayer (see Downing). I am praying for them. and they have kept Your word. 24). but I have known You. . even as I am not of the world. but for those whom You have given me. this is eternal life. that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 22–23. and I am glorified in them Keep them in Your NAME. even as we are one. even as You. special relationship.B BI IB BL LI IC CA AL L T TH HE EO OL LO OG GY Y B BU UL LL LE ET TI IN N • • V VO OL LU UM ME E 3 36 6
Jn 17 v2 v3 v5 v6 vv 6–8 glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee. moreover. Benefits came through Jesus and will continue to come through him. to behold my glory which You have given me in Your love for me before the foundation of the world. V 14: I have given them Your word. the form of which is easily discerned: (1) a verb. and You gave them to me. and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 2010
. . I have guarded them and none of them is lost but the son of perdition. are in me and I in You. justice was thought of as the noble fulfilment of one’s basic
Downloaded from btb. 25–26).” in the imperative mood. even as I am not of the world. Father. for I have given them the words which You gave me. I in them and You in me. second-person speech used in petitionary prayer). so I have sent them into the world. Similarly.
” or a prophet. 32). the only true God. (4) to the receivers. But these same clients should make the prayer-confession in v 3 to their heavenly Patron while acknowledging that Jesus is the true agent sent from heaven. Here Jesus acknowledges that he has fulfilled his duties to God (“I have glorified you.” This confession is not possible in Temple and synagogue (see. The disciples’ “knowing” of Israel’s “only. true God” is not simply knowledge.2–3]. g. the process is reversed as God speaks to mortals.” Instead of a petition.” etc. Delling: 77–91). I have not made anyone sick. medium = prophet (& Spirit). In the case of prayer. a sender sends a message via some channel to a receiver to have an effect.” that is. and excellence of God. Thus acknowledgment of the “only true God” is a appropriate confessional honoring of God. receiver = Christian group. as a representative of the community. nor does his definition indicate the various purposes of speech beyond enlightenment. Boring’s definition. who is Father and Patron and “kin. among these claims is piety.” is your name. we maintain that God is the sender of prophetic messages through the channel of the Risen Jesus and/or the Spirit of Truth.Neyrey. to the public [Boring: 38]. the “Spirit of Truth. defined prophecy as follows:
The early Christian prophet was an immediately inspired spokesperson for the risen Jesus. a catalogue of the varieties of prophetic speech which can clarify both the situation of prophecy and especially its diverse purposes. who received intelligible messages that he or she felt impelled to deliver to the Christian community or. Lord of Justice. and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (5) for the purpose of enriching them with esoteric information. Behold. Second. V.
Excursus: A Self-Focused Egyptian Prayer: The deceased stands before his god. This prayer consists of two elements: (1) we read “to know” in the sense of “to acknowledge. e. As the Pseudo-Aristotle puts it:
First among the claims of righteousness are our duties to the gods. Righteousness is also accompanied by holiness and truth and loyalty and hatred of wickedness” [Virtues and Vices. 2010
. The local prophet should be considered a sub-broker or auxiliary channel to Jesus and/or the Spirit. but in the case of prophecy. the leading prayer in the synagogue (see Mark 12:29. (2) sends a verbal message. sender = Jesus. According to our model of communication. John 17:3 is situated in a continuous address to
In this case. But 17:3 also includes confession of “Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have not done violence to a poor man. then those to the departed. the members of the Johannine group. communicating his innocence in a self-focused prayer. This description of prophecy from the social sciences is worth comparing with the functional definition developed by the SBL Seminar on Prophecy (1973–77). I have not defamed a slave to his superior. I have brought you justice. manifested your name. I have not had sexual relations with a boy. which reflects the judgment of the Seminar. we find here a confessional formula whose aim is to honor God and Jesus.. I have expelled deceit for y ou. First. and also in John 17. 9:22. Jesus (see John 5:23–24). the sender. We do well to note the differences between the two definitions of prophecy. At the end of his comprehensive study of prophecy in early Christianity and the Hellenistic world. And God? Nothing is said about the purpose of the prophecy.
The distinction of the triple focus of justice is found regularly in the philosophical and rhetorical literature of antiquity. I have not mistreated cattle. I have not defiled myself.” So the complete honoring of God must also acknowledge both praise of the unique God of Israel and respect for God’s unique agent. then our duties to the spirits. for an essential part of that confession is also to “(ac)know(ledge)” Jesus as the one “whom God has sent. In prophecy. I am pure! I am pure! I am pure! I am pure! (Prochard 1969:34)
duties. namely. exhortation and the like. 12:42). David Aune offers the following list of
Downloaded from btb. I have not done that which the gods abominate.sagepub. While “confession” and “creed” are no strangers to New Testament scholarship. (3) through the channel of Jesus. Thus Jesus celebrates his virtuous completion of the duties he owes to God. rarely if ever have they been examined as “prayer” (Martin: 52–65. sovereignty. to honor and confess the worth. such as rebuke. the senders are the Johannine members through Jesus-as-channel to God. Listening to God: Prophecy. Boring is not clear that the situation is one of worship. but confession of the Deity’s existential plans. which is either a part of righteousness or a concomitant of it. We need.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. Worship in John 17–Part One
God which petitions God for the disciples. I have neither increased nor decreased the grain measure. (1) God.” “guarded them. then.” Yet in 17:3 we find still a third type of prayer. “acknowledgment”: “This is eternal life. that they know You. message = information. then those to country and parents. not listens to them. “Sati-merfiti. The first part of 17:3 closely resembles the confession known as the Shema. given them your words”) and his duties to “kin” (“I have kept them.
if not control of. nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. it informs. after repeating the remark “I go away and I will come to you. this pattern functions to make and maintain boundaries. but by doing so marks and confirms certain persons as elite insiders. which the receivers do not fully
Downloaded from btb. “Remember the word that I said to you. Thus Jesus’ prophecies about the group’s future are part of his role as the broker who mediates God’s words to God’s clients. then disciples (servants) must do likewise. he adds. ‘A servant is not greater than his master’” (15:20).” 14:6). (2) prescriptive oracles. insiders and core disciples require special information about the cryptic world of Jesus. 18–19. Misunderstanding. (3) announcements of salvation. which is provided for them. Among the many remarks about “going away” and “coming back” (14:3. 6:14. (4) announcements of judgment. In several places Jesus himself asks the question which sets up his subsequent answer.” Jesus states the reason for telling this to the disciples: “Now I have told you before it takes place. we presume in this discussion that the Spirit is operative. But where is God in this communication? Jesus labors to convince people that “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me” (7:16). we find three statements that serve a special purpose that surpasses the mere communication of esoteric information. 7:40 (52).” But prophet/prophecy in John 14–17. also makes specific note of predictions of future events. especially trials awaiting the disciples.” 14:4).com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. 16:16). which is misunderstood (“Lord. And in both cases. Similarly. that is. the truth. “Prophet” in the Fourth Gospel. such as Nicodemus and the Jerusalem crowds. the context has changed. a “prophet mighty in word and deed. while it focuses on the words of Jesus. and the like. Previously this pattern served either as catechetical enlightenment of enlighten-able disciples. Some predictions by Jesus serve a prophylactic purpose of confirming loyalty in times of conflict. that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them” (16:4). and “The words which you hear are not mine but the Father’s who sent me” (14:24). painful events. Thus past words can be prophetic of future events. In John 14–17. Jesus makes a statement (“You know the way where I am going. you may believe” (14:28–29). Prophecy may also be understood as the communication of esoteric information needed to understand Jesus’ cryptic words.B I B L I C A L T H E O LO GY B U L L E T I N • VO LU M E 3 6
“basic forms of Christian prophetic speech”: (1) oracles of assurance. For example. Throughout the Fourth Gospel the author regularly casts Jesus’ discourse with friend and foe in terms of a pattern known as “statement. (5) legitimation oracles. Now “hate” is the fate of both master and servants. While in 15:18–25 the words are the same. Statement. when Jesus declares that the disciples will be hated (15:18–25). “I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me” (8:28). misunderstanding. asked “How is it that you will manifest yourself to us. Although we will take up the topic of the “Spirit of truth” enlightening or reminding the disciples. ameliorates a future crisis by indicating a providential knowledge of. Jesus questions the failure of the disciples to ask about his cryptic remark (16:5). after Jesus discloses the bleak future awaiting the disciples (16:1–2). and not to the world?” (14:22). The Fourth Gospel occasionally records people favorable to Jesus acclaiming him as a prophet (4:19. such as the Samaritan Woman. Clarification. we do not know where you are going. how can we know the way. to which Jesus offers a clarification (“I am the way. and clarification” (Neyrey: 98–101. which. or the raising of a wall which shuts out un-enlighten-able disciples. Thus. not the Iscariot. Although Jesus’ question to Philip has much of the reproach in it (14:9). Thus. the purpose of this prophetic communication is exhortation to faithfulness. At the very least. and (6) eschatological theophany oracles (1983: 320–25). In addition to the question of Thomas noted above (14:5). by prophets speaking in the name of Jesus. generally referring to his wisdom or powers. 107–08). and the life. The Fourth Gospel would have us read these statements as communication from Jesus in the course of his career. we find a concentration of it in chapters 14 and 16. this pattern indicates that Jesus’ speech was filled with esoteric meanings and double-meaning words. In a similar vein.” 14:5). we suggest. Similarly.sagepub. so that when it does take place.
statement misunderstanding clarification 14:1–4 14:5 14:6 14:7 14:8 14:9–11 14:18–21 14:22 14:23–24 16:16 16:17–18 16:19–24 16:25–27 16:29–30 16:31–33
Although instances of this pattern occur regularly throughout the Gospel. the purpose of the communication is to exhort and encourage. Judas. An earlier word in 13:16 reads: “A servant is not greater than his master. The quest for esoteric information may be observed also in the patterns of questions and answers found in John 14–16. he explains once again the prophylactic reason for his remarks: “I have said these things to you. when remembered. 2010
. it issues in a remarkable revelation of Jesus’ union with God (14:10–11). 9:17). future.” But this remark occurs in the context of the mandate of Jesus that the disciples wash one another’s feet: if Jesus (master) did so. courage.
the “yelammedenu. especially deliberative (Black: 5. the speaker draws a conclusion as though he were finishing a syllogism: “Therefore . . which consisted of a passage from the Torah and then the Prophets. based on the exempla and indicating their significance to those addressed (often expressed with a participle and “what then. this Gospel records Jesus declaring that “I have said this to you in figures. a hint of its hidden meanings. but considers it in terms of the types of classical rhetoric.sagepub. and by him everyone is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses” (13:38–39). and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (2:38–39). There is no captatio benevolentiae here. the preacher chose the “proem” to be remote from the readings. Does this cover only the metaphor of hard times resembling childbirth (16:20–24) or also the cryptic statements about “going away” and “coming back”? Minimally. The “proem” form takes its name from “proemium” or introduction. . 2. Here at least. The speech ends with a classic conclusio or
Downloaded from btb. It matters whether a “homily” was delivered in a synagogue or in a Greco-Roman assembly. a propositio (13:26). It introduced the synagogue Scripture readings.” liable to “misunderstanding” or containing double meanings. The second form. a conclusion. hearers would have a taste for it.
His parade piece is Acts 13:14–41 in which the speaker begins with a reprise of salvation history from Exodus to Conquest to the good news about Jesus (13:16–33) and concludes with a citation of Scripture which is interpreted to refer to Jesus (13:33–37). . 2010
. formerly ignored by the inhabitants of Jerusalem. esoteric knowledge marks and confirms elite membership. based on self-interest or future benefit” (Black: 5). a prophet would access the questions and provide an enlightened answer. Wills’s notion of deliberative rhetoric is narrowly focused on “arguments of policy usually before a governing body. and 3. C. Black then examines Acts 13:14–41.. As regards function. often accompanied by “then” [278–80].Neyrey. teachings. but also in terms of the traditional parts of a speech. . studies. .” for example: “Repent. But the veil is lifted when a prophet remembers.” which Black expands to embrace “speeches that entail consideration of future action. . Furthermore. examines and interprets Jesus’ words. as such it was not an exegesis or explanation of either reading. or reasoned exposition of theological points. but one does find narratio in the detailed recitation of God’s saving acts to Israel (13:16–26). followed by the probatio or demonstration (13:27–37). In this the author demonstrates that “the significance of Jesus. Heineman). Wills surveyed many NT and early Christian speeches and concluded that the shape of a homily typically contained three elements:
1. “by this. This conclusion about Jesus’ mediation implies that the hearers should ally themselves with Jesus to share in his mediation.” or some such particle or conjunction). a choice between two or more forms of conduct. which was not found in either reading. An indicative or exemplary section (exempla) in the form of scriptural quotations. lest the dire prophecy of Habbakuk 1:5 be fulfilled (13:40–41). a communication is given to the disciples which is admittedly “in figures. After urging acceptance.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. . Homilies/sermons in Israelite contexts tend to be concerned with exegesis of Scripture or legal precision over what is proscribed or allowed. Clifton Black. but by his pursuit of some inner connection between this verse and the Scriptural readings he might suggest explanations and clarifications of them so that when the homily concluded. Clifton Black basically endorses Wills’s study. and a intellectual satisfaction. Homily. the hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures” (16:25). After this. which is followed by an answer introduced by “Thus our rabbis taught us. He is on the cusp of describing many exhortations to choose good or avoid evil as “deliberative. namely the “proem” and the “yelammedenu” (Browker. the providing of special.” (“yelammedenu”). and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. But in terms of group worship. has been vindicated by the resurrection and corroborated by the Scriptures” (Black: 8–9). . Rather. 8–10).” “therefore. authoritative examples from past and present. We build on the works of Lawrence Wills and C. through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed . an exhortation (usually in the imperative or hortatory subjective. They have more of school teaching than exhortation to virtue. . Each sermon begins with “Let our rabbis teach us [about]. the author exhorts the audience not to fail to act. Jesus can lead the disciples into fuller insight by his subsequent clarifying statements. Worship in John 17–Part One
perceive at first.” In general it might be said these synagogue homilies tend to be instructions.” takes its name from the introductory formula of many sermons found in a collection of them named the Tanchuma. not only as deliberative rhetoric. Two types have been identified. We turn now to consider homilies written for a GrecoRoman audience. and interpretations. The “proem” was a verse chosen by the speaker. who have provided a fresh measure of clarity about the form and content of ancient sermons/homilies.
All the more. he will give it to you” (v 16b). a word from God through Jesus. Judgment. vine. so have I loved you” (v 9). (2) conditional sentences explaining this “love. which places before the disciples the decision of “remaining. Jesus labors to confirm to the clients that the relationship with the patron is to be had only by remaining “in” God’s broker. wither .” “bear fruit” and “your fruit remain. which he is calling in through this exhortation: “You did not chose me. Yet it is most compatible with sermon and homily (see Heb 3:1–4:13. as he has throughout the Gospel. branches). Evidently the focus is on “love. “Remaining” brings great advantage. and concludes with “love one another” (v 17). branches that “remain” may petition God for “whatever you will” and expect God’s positive response (v 7)—advantage indeed! In contrast. This exhortation builds on current relationships and urges the disciples to maintain them in the future. We find telltale signs of an argument from advantage. The three types of rhetoric are not confined to three genres only. In language that clearly uses the argument from advantage. 4b. effective petitionary prayer: “whatever you ask the Father in my name.” “appointed. but he says all and only what the Patron has authorized him to say.” The benefit of “remaining” and “loving. are David Aune’s reflections worth
Downloaded from btb. The exhortation argues that the past be continued in the present: Jesus as broker will continue to provide life to the branches. “remain in my love” (v 9). we are told of the sanctions imposed on those who do not “remain. is part of a status elevation of the disciple. then. . Jesus’ final argument here is to remind the disciples of their debt in justice to him. A branch that remains and is cleansed by the vine dresser “bears much fruit” (v 2). John 15: 9–17. The relationships are these: Jesus = vine. we consider 15:1–8 to be a crisp example of deliberative rhetoric. it urges the hearers to make a choice that will affect their future. the speaker exhorts the disciples to “remain. 6. The argument from advantage is a regular feature of homilies and/or sermons. 5. while the Father = the vine dresser (vv 1–2. the value of which relationships provides the argument. just as “not remaining” leads to severe sanctions.” which are both clearly in an exhortatory or deliberative mode. In the allegory of the vine and branches in 15:1–8.B I B L I C A L T H E O LO GY B U L L E T I N • VO LU M E 3 6
epilogue (13:38–41). 4c. Few scholars who list the various elements of Christian worship include mention of “judgment” as part of it. Thus 15:1–8 and 9–17 should be seen as parallel and linked exhortations. Yet we have parallel exhortations in John 15 to “remain” and “love.” such as “if you keep my commandments.” Because of its exhortatory character. and (3) analogies that clarify the topic: “as the Father has loved me. it stands apart from all other parts of the Farewell Address.sagepub. and its argument primarily rests on pointing out the advantage to those choosing to “remain” and “love. Who speaks this? Is it a word from God? Jesus identifies the basic patron-broker-client relationship at the start (vine dresser. But is “homily” or “sermon” the appropriate classification? And do such things belong in worship? The type of rhetoric in 15:1–17 is deliberative. but only if the relationship with Jesus the broker remains. 16).” for Jesus and because of him for one another. which are admittedly parts of Christian worship. A second exhortation follows immediately.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. moreover.” there seem to be few other homiletic materials of either the Israelite or the Greco-Roman type.” They are taken away (v 1). and worse. you will abide in my love” (v 10). and it resumes the most important behaviors that the Fourth Gospel urges.” Similarly. 8) to underscore the advantage that comes from “remaining. not merely information imparted. Jesus is indeed speaking. which begins with a command. the exhortation in vv 9–17 is argued by (1) imperatival urging: “Love one another!”.” a deliberation richly rewarded or severely sanctioned. which traditionally recapitulates the major points of the speech and excites the emotions: (1) recapitulation of the basic argument (13:38–39) and (2) arousal of emotions (13:40–41). As was the case with vv 1–8.” then. thrown into the fire and burned” (v 6). 5. . Sent by God to the world. It is. which creates the debt of justice: “chose. is linked with vv 1–8 by means of four more references to “remain” (vv 9–10. . The verbs indicate the extent of Jesus’ benefaction. 5). the disciples = the branches. then. which suggests that we consider this material an example of deliberative rhetoric which appeals for future action on the basis of future benefits. 7a. Thus. . the author first tells the disciples that “remaining” and “loving” elevate their status from that of “servants” to that of “friends. an argument being made. and 7b).” Such rhetoric is not exclusive to homily or sermon and may occur in many types of public speaking. a phrase repeated three times (vv 4. Although one might argue that the Bread of Life discourse in John is a word-by-word exegesis of “He gave them bread from heaven to eat. This is exhortatory material.” an exhortation which occurs seven times (vv 4. 6:1–12). We observe. “remaining” and “loving. “cast forth . that is. sometimes in the imperative form and sometimes in a conditional clause. then.” To this he appends one more benefaction. but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain” (v 16). 2010
(false) righteousness. the world would love its own (15:19) . In The Cultic Setting of Realized Eschatology in Early Christianity. at which he speaks with pneumatic authority and declares that he enjoys the “power of the Lord. fear not. not as the world gives peace do I give to you (14:27) the ruler of this world is coming .” because the world did not believe in Jesus. . Thus in this context we read 16:7–11 as an oracle of judgment. whether we translate the verb here as “convict” or “convince” (Brown: 181–84). Thus they are equipped with ready arguments to judge the synagogue and so prove it hopelessly wrong. g. . . who communicates through the channel of the Paraclete to the disciples for the purpose of shoring up the disciples even as it condemns their adversaries. g. Rom 9:3). In the second part.. pertains to John 16:7–11. (3) announcements of salvation. know that it has hated me before . this criticism serves also to firm up the group’s own beliefs of superiority and its necessary separation from the world. the declarations of salvation and judgment. The above list.” because the synagogue judged Jesus a sinner and deceiver. . at which there take place oracles of judgment. Later. he argued that two elements of eschatology. no one is cast out of the group. . In terms of Johannine logic. illustrates the studied emphasis on group boundaries. oracles enjoining a particular type of action). . my peace I give to you . I came from the Father . .” then. Thus the Paraclete will prove to the disciples that the synagogue/ world is wrong and so guilty of sin. g. . . 16:1–2). and (false) judgment (Carson: 547–66).sagepub. have their proper place in “the worship. “of [false] righteousness. (2) prescriptive oracles (e. a final ritual occurs. but you will see me (14:19) how is it you will manifest yourself to us Peace I leave with you. the Paraclete will serve in a judgmental role similar to the presentation of Jesus in his various trials in the Gospel. . the man is publicly expelled from the group (5:3–5. 34. in which we have investagated communication “upwards. . but I chose you out of the world. and not to the world (14:22) . we argue that John 16:7–8 is a judgment oracle. 2010
. For example. as the disciples were taught how to pray. You will weep and lament . The task of the Paraclete in 16:8 consists in some form of judgment. at least to confirm the synagogue’s utter depravity.” because it persecutes and judges Jesus. Should the person prove incorrigibly wicked.Neyrey. Unlike what takes place in 1 Corinthians 5 and Matthew 18:15–17. in his study of early Christian prophecy. he has no power over me (14:30) But because you are not of the worlds. . yet Jesus will shortly be in the presence of the all holy God. therefore the world hates you. which we consider to be a judgment oracle. He cites with approval Käsemann’s “Sentences of Holy Law” (66–81) as illustrative of cultic judgment speech. we recall Paul’s judgment. . God is the sender. Both of these examples envision a community assembly. If the world hates you.” which means that he has the authority to censure the man. . “Announcements of judgment and salvation. . Thus. . On the other hand. If you were of the world. This cultic “coming” of the Son of man to save and to judge. . for they were types of sanctioned speech. of the man in an incestuous marriage.. The judgment oracle serves to make and maintain boundaries with “the world” by emphasizing in dualistic terms how and why the Johannine group is right and therefore does not belong in the world. This material. . are not foreign to Christian worship. Worship in John 17–Part One
our attention. in 1 Corinthians 5. then. “Of sin. (4) announcements of judgment (e. . and have come into the world
In the world you have tribulation
The discourse in the Farewell Address. preaching and teaching of that community (1972: 45–135). and (6) oracles concerning an eschatological theophany. makes and maintains boundaries with “the world” to emphasize the chasm that separates the disciples from the synagogue and to make any crossing back impossible.
Jesus and His Disciples the Spirit of Truth you know him for he dwells in you and will be in you (14:17) . . (5) oracles of legitimation. . see anathema in 1 Cor 16:22. Käsemann’s “sentences of holy law”). whereby “the church” declares him an outsider.com by Eduardo de la Serna on September 29. . Matthew 18:15–17 records a group ritual in which an errant member progressively receives correction. . 12:42. to bless and to curse. but by doing so it brings judgment upon itself. the Johannine group will surely have much to criticize the synagogue for. On the one hand. know that it has hated me before it hated you (15:18). was a corporate worship experience which the Johannine community conceptualized in terms of the traditional Christological expectation of the Son of man (Aune 1972: 126). We thus conclude the first part of the present study. Paul locates the sentencing of the sinner within a group meeting (“when you are assembled”). I am leaving the world and going to the Father (16:28) . Similarly.” from the disciples to God. and “of [false] judgment. I have overcome the world (16:33)
The World whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him the world will see me no more.. . Found guilty of corruption. . we shall reverse the emphasis and exam-
Downloaded from btb. drawn from the Farewell Address. although on the contrary the group has experienced expulsion from the synagogue (9:22. Gal 1:8–9. but the world will rejoice (16:20) . Aune lists the following forms of prophetic speech: (1) oracles of assurance (e. “fear not”). . we suggest.
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Downloaded from btb. Segovia. Social-Scientific Commentary on the Gospel of John. Rohrbaugh. 66–81 in his New Testament Questions of Today. 1980. The Function of the Paraclete in John 16:7– 11. Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World. & Richard L. Interpreters’ Dictionary of the Bible 4. 1972. GA: Scholars Press. Journal of Biblical Literature 98: 547–66. MN: Fortress. M. 18: 214–20. The Temple Theme of Jn. 1979. PA: Fortress Press. KY: Westminster/John Knox. Atlanta. The Continuing Voice of Jesus. Worship. Richardson. Martin. Worship in the Early Church. Delling. McCaffery. 1983. David K. edited by Fernando F. 2–3. C. Brown. Speeches in Acts: A Study in Proem and Yelammedenu Form. Malina Bruce J. Black. Tricia Gates. Boring. Leiden. 1988. K. Philadelphia. Pp. 2010
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ine how Jesus taught the disciples to listen. Minneapolis. Oscar. NY: Free Press. Pp. Cullmann. Morgan & Scott. J. What Is Prayer? The Bible Today. 1953. 14. MN: Fortress. Downing. The Process of Communication. Browker. Everett M. New York. Grand Rapids. C. Neyrey. Longman & Todd. Ralph P . Rinehart and Winston. 1971. Catholic Biblical Quarterly 54: 80–99.
ton. Käsemann. Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible 4. Carson. Worship in New Testament Times. 1962. Communication of Innovations. London. NY: Holt. Segovia. Early Christian. Berlo. The Farewell of the Word. ABD 6. The Ambiguity of “The Pharisee and the Toll-Collector” (Luke 18:9–14) in the Greco-Roman World of Late Antiquity. Fernando. Sentences of Holy Law in the New Testament.. 79–110 in What is John?” Volume II. Rome.