A Priori is a series in which we put three simple questions to scholars undertaking important research in biblical studies, theology, ethics, and more. We seek out the authors whose work may be poised for future renown in this early stage in their career, whose mission is the church, whose vocation is research. This week we hear from Chris Seglenieks and his work on the concept of “faith” in the Gospel of John.
1. Who are you, where did you study, and what work have you published so far?
My name is Chris Seglenieks, and I have just recently completed my PhD at the Bible College of South Australia, an affiliated college of the Australian College of Theology. My research so far has focused on the concept of belief in John’s Gospel. I have published several articles including “Faith and Narrative: A Two-Level Reading of Belief in the Gospel of John,” Tyndale Bulletin 70:1 (2019), and “Untrustworthy Believers: The Rhetorical Strategy of the Johannine Language of Commitment and Belief,” Novum Testamentum 61:1 (2019). My thesis Johannine Belief and Graeco-Roman Devotion will be published later this year with Mohr Siebeck. My published work is also available on my personal webpage.
2. What research/writing project are you currently working on that you are most excited about? Have you presented papers related to this topic, and can you give us a little taster from your writing?
I am continuing to work on the topic of faith, both in John but also extending that work to consider the Synoptic Gospels. I am still really engaged by the question of what it means to believe, and how the different NT authors give us different perspectives.
To give you a taste of my big idea when it comes to belief in John, here is a sample from my forthcoming book:
“The central argument of this study is that the purpose of John’s Gospel is not only to present the object of belief, but also how to believe in order to have life. This is especially understood when the Gospel is read in its Graeco-Roman context, where the author reshapes devotion to the gods – cognitive, relational, ethical, ongoing, and public aspects – into a pattern of believing that aligns with the identity of Jesus, the Christ and Son of God. Reshaping the devotion of the audience requires a multi-faceted and pervasive presentation of belief, which informs the way the ideal audience is to respond to Jesus. Understanding the function of the Gospel within its context highlights the purpose of the Gospel, to teach the audience the nature of the ideal response to Jesus.”
3. Which readers is the final product intended for, and when do you anticipate we might see the fruit of your research in published form?
My first book, as a revised thesis, is very much an academic monograph, and it should be available later this year. I am also working on a project to make the fruit of that research more accessible. It will also include some of the research I am currently doing on faith in the Synoptic Gospels and putting the different Gospel presentations of faith alongside each other. At this stage it is probably still a year or two from appearing as a book, although some parts of the new research are in the works in the form of journal articles and conference papers.
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