The Gospel of John has always been perceived as a more mystical Gospel than the Synoptics. This volume explores the mysticism of John in its historical context. It puts forward evidence that the mysticism developed in this text is the result of the textualization of a dialogue between the Johannine and Thomasine Christians on the subject of soteriology.
In contradiction to the Christians who revered the Gospel of Thomas and taught salvation through ascent and vision mysticism, the Johannine Gospel argues for a mysticism based on the faith experience. Evidence from the Preachings of John, the Gospel of the Savior, the Apocryphon of James, the Ascension of Isaiah, and the Dialogue of the Savior is examined to show that this soteriological controversy did not end with the composition of the Gospel of John but continued well into the second century. This volume not only sheds new light on the development of Johannine ideology, but also forges a new path in New Testament socio-rhetorical criticism, particularly by developing the field of tradition intertexture.
“Tradition-rhetorical Criticism is an approach to literature that focuses on reconstructing the exchange and modification of religious traditions as they are discussed, evaluated, and textualized.” (Pages 14–15)
“rhetorical’ means the way in which the language in a text is used as a means of communicating among people.” (Pages 14–15)
“pays close attention to the details of the text and to the traditions of the people who wrote the text.” (Pages 14–15)
“ to understand the discourse which ellicited the textualization and creation of an ideology.” (Page 16)
April DeConick is Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University, Houston, USA. She is the author of Seek to See Him: Ascent Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas. She is co-editor of Thomasine Traditions in Antiquity: The Social and Cultural World of the Gospel of Thomas.