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Assess The View That The Prologue Is Key To Understanding The Teachings Of The Fourth Gospel

812 words - 3 pages

Assess the view that the prologue is key to understanding the teachings of the Fourth Gospel. (12)"The Evangelist's maturest reflection and high point of his theology….picturesque and powerful, yet obscure language." Edwards is clear on the deep underlying significance which is found in the prologue, however there is argument that despite this rich theology, it is not key to understanding the teachings of the Fourth Gospel. The complex language of the text can be 'puzzling' (Kysar) and adds to the mystery surrounding the origin of the scripture.The origin of the scripture is one of key debate. Bultmann believes that there a stylistic inconsistencies between the prologue and the gospel, mainly with the structure and the linguistics of the text. For example the chiastic structure of the prologue is not present anywhere else in John, adding to the debate it may be an Aramaic hymn (Burney & Weiss) placed in reflection of the revelation of Jesus. In addition to this, there are some elements in the prologue that do not occur in the gospel, such as the use of Logos, and Percy answers Edwards question of 'are there major themes of the gospel unheralded in the prologue?' by pointing out the missing Eucharistic theme. Therefore if it is not by the same author, and has these inconsistencies, then it is probably not key to understanding the gospel.On the other hand, the 'beginnings' of narratives in Greek tradition when John was writing, were of upmost important to plays, scriptures or any text. Hooker explains this function: "It was customary for the Greek dramatist to introduce the theme of his play in a 'prologue,' which provided members of his audience with the vital information that would enable them to comprehend the plot, and to understand the unseen forces.' The prologue, in this sense, prescribes the reader's comprehension of the plot and explains the behind-the-scene activities of God. What is explained is the "unseen forces" that are at work in and around the real events described by the narrative. The prologue is guiding the reader to see the invisible (God) in the visible (historical persons and events). The prologue of John functions, therefore, as the cornerstone for the entire gospel, the lens through which the gospel must be read (Culpepper). It is of great importance that the complex language and imagery of the prologue do not detract the reader from grasping its functional significance...

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