John 7 Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Stephen Westerholm

John 7  What are the Gospels? What genre do the gospels belong to? - Are they biographies of Jesus?  typical answer is no - Birth stories, but Jesus disappears until he is 30 years old - If it were a biography we’d expect more about his family, Joseph, his upbringing, and his education – all sorts of things we’d find in a biography now are not in a gospel - Ancient biographies don’t correspond with modern biographies - Interested in where someone came from, development of thinkings, but ancient weren’t interested in these questions - They were more concerned about peculiar virtues of an individual - Ancient Biography of a great person – more likely go focus on what you thought of as their peculiar virtues - biographies would constitute stories illustrating those particular virtues - Don’t worry about chronology much if you’re focused on development of virtues - Gospels are biographies if we understand the term as used in the ancient world not current biographies - One line descript of the NT gospels: passion narratives with extended introductions o Passion narratives refers to the suffering of Christ o Back wrote music for the Passion according to st. matthew, st. john, etc. – stories of the last supper, the arrest, the trial, and crucifixion of Jesus o Passion narratives refer of these events - The real focus / point of the gospels is the crucifixion of Jesus - Gospel writers place all the focus on the end - Modern people tihning about the story of jesus will think about various parables and miracles in combination with the crcufixion - But you get a sense early on in the gospel that this is what is coming - Periodically throughout the 12 - 13 chapters are reminders of what is to come at the end – the crucifixion - The passion narratives itself take 2 chapters but references to what is to come begins much earlier - Passion narratives of John are chapters 18-19 main theme of chapter 7 is the growing hostility towards Jesus that will lead to his crucifixion - Passion narrative itself is what takes the most space in the gospels - Chapter division between chapter 7 and 8 is artificial - Much of the narrative in John’s gospel is in Jerusalem, synoptics is mainly in Galilee (only speaks of Jesus going to Jerusalem once at the end), and much of it is connected to particular Jewish feats - Many think the author of John was a southern follower of Jesus since all the emphasis is on the south in Jerusalem and seems to speak of specific geography and people in the south - 3 annual pilgrimage feasts o Feast of Passover (Feast of Unlevened Bread) o Pentecost (Festival of Weeks, at the end of the wheat harvest, connected to giving of the law at mt. Sinai) o Feast of Tabernacles (end of the olive and grape harvest)  Jews had to make temporary huts / booths in which they lived for the duration of the feast, they didn’t live in their ordinary homes they had to temporarily construct booths for the feast and then taken down after  Represent the dwelling of the Israelites in the wilderness before coming to the promised land  Agricultural festival but also had a connection with God’s dealings with the people of Israel - All Jewish males of mature age were expected to be in Jerusalem for these pilgrimage feasts (rest of family could go too but required for the Jewish males of age.. they were expected to go) - Other feasts o Purim – the celebration of the story of Esther o Channukah – festival of redidcation of the temple - Celebration of tabernacles in john 7 & 8 – connection between Jesus words at this festival and what was going on at the festival - 2 things that happened at the festival of tabernacles: o Procession of the temple down to the fountain with a jug filed with water and brought back to the temple where it was poured out into the livation there, poured out as a prayer for rain  Jesus made a connection saying here to supply living water not temporary physical rain o On the first day, 4 giant candlesticks that were lit that ‘could be seen all throughout Jerusalem’  John 8 Jesus says I am the light of the world  Added point since there was a focus on a material light / physical light so you could see throughout Jerusalem, Jesus uses this as a metaphor for the spiritual light he gives that those who believe in him will not be walking in darkness o These are not the focus of these chapters – these are significant sayings but are not discussed any further o The focus is on the hostility and opposition he provoked and the division among the people he provoked – o Substance of
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