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Conspectus 32

October 2021


Author: Cornelia van Deventer

Jesus in Johannine Perspective: Inviting a Fourth Quest for Jesus

Author: Paul N. Anderson

Prof. Paul N. Anderson serves as Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon. He also holds the position of Extraordinary Professor of Religion at North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Keywords: Johannine riddles, historical Jesus, a bi-optic hypothesis, interfluentiality, John’s dialogical autonomy, historicity, memory theory, archaeology, realia, verisimilitude
Despite the fact that the Fourth Gospel has been a puzzlement to modern scholars seeking to construct a solid, bare-minimum understanding of Jesus and his ministry, a parsimonious approach cannot suffice critically. If all worthy sources are to be utilized, the Gospel of John cannot be neglected. The question is how to do so…

Is Jesus John’s Mouthpiece? Reconsidering Johannine Idiom

Author: Lydia McGrew

Dr. Lydia McGrew is a widely published analytic philosopher and the author of Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts, The Mirror or the Mask: Liberating the Gospels from Literary Devices, and The Eye of the Beholder: The Gospel of John as Historical Reportage.

Keywords: Johannine idiom, historical Jesus, paraphrase, Fourth Gospel, Johannine discourses, Gospel historicity
Scholars commonly move from the premise that Jesus in the Fourth Gospel speaks in Johannine idiom to the conclusion that the evangelist elaborated Jesus’s teachings. We can evaluate this claim better if we distinguish paraphrase from elaboration, restricting the former concept to reports that would be recognizable both in content and in historical context…

Jesus, our Liberator: An Intercultural Dialogue

Author: Elizabeth Mburu

Prof. Elizabeth Mburu (Liz) is the Regional Coordinator of Langham Literature in Africa. She is an Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek and teaches part-time at Pan Africa Christian University, Kenya and is an extraordinary researcher at Northwest University’s Faculty of Theology (Subgroup: African Spiritualities and Leadership), Mahikeng, SA. She completed her PhD in New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, NC. She is the author of Qumran and the Origins of Johannine Language and Symbolism, African Hermeneutics, several chapters in various books, and numerous articles. She is currently on the Africa Bible Commentary Board as the NT editor, chairperson of the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology, and co-convenor of the Africa Baptist Theological Education Network.

Keywords: contextual, Christology, intercultural hermeneutics, four-legged stool, Johannine Jesus
Do contextual readings have value? And by contextual is meant re-readings of the text that take into account the contextual situatedness of the reader. With advances in the study of hermeneutics, there is the recognition of the two-sided nature of historical conditioning. While the text stands in a given historical context and tradition, so does the interpreter, and the two are in constant engagement. In addition, the Christian faith is a multi-dimensional faith…

On Understanding and Translating ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν in John’s Gospel against the Backdrop of English and a Selection of African Languages

Author: Lynell Zogbo

PhD in Linguistics (UCLA), Dr. Lynell Zogbo has served for over 30 years as a translation consultant with United Bible Societies in West Africa. Co-author of many UBS translation handbooks and translation-related articles in English and French, she has taught at FATEAC in Abidjan, UFS, and Jerusalem Center for Bible Translation. She has recently joined the South African Theological Seminary as a thesis supervisor.

Keywords: amen [amen], Gospel of John, Bible translation, transliteration
While the Hebrew word אָמןֵ and its transliterated borrowing into Greek μήν in the New Testament epistles generally signal agreement at the end of a prayer, doxology, or blessing, the “Amen (Amen), I say to you” formula in the gospels (with the repeated “amen” only in John) occurs clause-initially and serves to introduce certain direct quotes of our Savior. In the first part of this paper, we seek to confirm Clark’s 2004 and 2007 observations on the discourse and pragmatic functions of the “amen” formula…

The Use of πιστεύω in the Gospel of John: Some Considerations on Meaning and Issues of Consistency and Ambiguity

Author: Tony Costa

Dr. Tony Costa serves as Professor of Islam and Apologetics at Toronto Baptist Seminary, instructor at the University of Toronto in Gospel Studies and Archaeology of the Bible and the Near East, and adjunct Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis, Systematic Theology, and Christian Apologetics at Providence Theological Institute, Franklin, Tennessee.

Keywords: believe, believer, unbeliever, πιστεύω, Jesus, Father
John uses the verb πιστεύω (to believe) more often than do the Synoptic Gospels. The action of believing is important and central to John. There are references to people who are said to believe in Jesus and follow him. However, there are others who also believe but then turn away from Jesus. John uses the same verb πιστεύω throughout his gospel to indicate true believers in Jesus, but sometimes this identification appears unclear and/or ambiguous…

The Purpose of σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα in the Gospel of John: A Socio-Rhetorical Reading of John 4:46–54

Author: Daniel Nii Aboagye Aryeh

Rev. Dr. Daniel Nii Aboagye Aryeh holds a PhD in New Testament Studies. He is a Senior Lecturer and also the Acting Rector of Perez University College and adjunct faculty at Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon Ghana. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), Ghana Association of Biblical Exegetes (GABES), Missiological Society of Ghana (MSG), West Africa Association of Theological Institutions (WAATI), and Institute for Biblical Scholarship in Africa (IBSA). His recent publications include, Biblical, Traditional, and Theological Framework for Understanding Christian Prophetism in Ghana Today (2019) and Ethnicity, Miracle, and Lepers in Luke: Inner Texture Analysis of Luke 17:11–19, in Troubling Topics, Sacred Texts: Readings in Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Qur’an (2021), edited by Roberta Sterman Sabbath.

Keywords: σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα, John 4:46-54, miracles, faith, rhetoric
This article contributes to the critical issue of “signs” in the Gospel of John. It discusses the purpose of the synonym σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα in John 4:46–54 as a factor for soliciting faith from the audience and recipients of the gospel, and presents Jesus being above miracle-workers of his day. Although some scholars have discussed σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα in John 4:46–54…

Denial Versus Betrayal: A Case Study Analysis of Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot in the Fourth Gospel

Author: Dan Lioy

Prof. Dan Lioy is a professor of biblical theology at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, a senior research academic at the South African Theological Seminary, and a project faculty advisor at Portland Seminary.

Keywords: Simon Peter, Judas Iscariot, Synoptic Gospels, Fourth Gospel, denial, betrayal, suicide, repentance, restoration
This journal article undertakes a case study analysis of Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot in the Fourth Gospel. A review of the extant academic literature indicates this is a relevant lacuna, one meriting further consideration. Methodologically, the article situates the endeavor within the context of the Synoptic Gospels. This is followed by a descriptive analysis of the Fourth Gospel’s portrait of Peter and Judas, respectively…

Spiritual Birth, Living Water, and New Creation: Mapping Life-Giving Metaphors in the Fourth Gospel

Authors: Cornelia van Deventer and Bill Domeris

Dr. Cornelia van Deventer obtained her PhD in New Testament from Stellenbosch University in 2018. Her dissertation explored a drama-critical reading of John’s prologue and crucifixion scenes. Her research interests lie in the literary dimensions of the Fourth Gospel, including its rhetorical effect(s) in the lives of its hearers. Cornelia serves as a senior lecturer and the coordinator of Faculty Research at the South African Theological Seminary. She has also recently taken over as editor of Conspectus.

Dr. Bill Domeris is a Senior Academic at South Africa Theological Seminary and a Research Fellow from the University of the Free State. He wrote his doctorate under the supervision of the late Professor Kingsley Barrett, on the Holy One of God (John 6:69). His studies range across the testaments, from Deuteronomy, through Amos and Jeremiah, to the Gospels including, of course, the Gospel of John. His present research interests include re-reading the Beatitudes in the light of their intertexts and the Shame-Honour reversals of the marginalized in the Psalms.

Keywords: life, [living] water, birth, metaphor, Gospel of John
The Gospel of John contains various memorable metaphors, drawing on the lived realities of its audience to encapsulate the depths of its Christology and central message. Seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of the gospel is the metaphor of (life-giving) water, offered by Jesus and ultimately provided by him. A related metaphor is that of new birth, signifying the changed allegiance and ethos of those who come to believe…

Of Sheep, Shepherds, and Temples: A Social Identity Reading of the Good Shepherd Paroemia on the Way to a Destroyed Temple

Author: Christopher A. Porter

Dr. Christopher Porter, PhD (Ridley College, ACT) is a New Testament scholar working as postdoctoral research fellow at Trinity College University Theological School of Divinity. Originally trained in Psychology at the Australian National University, he brings a Social Identity (Tajfel & Turner, et al.) framework to the consideration of the biblical text and theology. His recent work has been in the identity formative function of the Fourth Gospel in the context of a post-Temple milieu and the particular environment of religious enmity in the first and twenty-first century.

Keywords: Fourth Gospel, John 9, paroemia, Zechariah 10-11, Ezekiel 34, intertextuality, social identity theory, Temple destruction, parting of the ways, sheep of another fold
The Good Shepherd paroemia of John 10 is often read as an inserted soliloquy between the once-blind-man of John 9 and Jesus’s actions in the temple at the Feast of Dedication. In this context many readings perceive a two-level engagement drawing upon the perceived intertextual allusions to Ezekiel 34—and the further host of shepherd imagery in the Hebrew bible—and relating it to the context of a Johannine Community…

Exegetical and Theological Reflections on John 10:1-18: Implications for Contemporary African Christian Leadership

Author: Isaac Boaheng

Rev. Isaac Boaheng recently completed a PhD program (awaiting graduation) at the University of the Free State, South Africa, where he also serves as a Research Fellow. He holds a Master of Theology degree from the South African Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity degree from the Trinity Theological Seminary, Accra, Ghana. Boaheng serves the Christian Service University College, Ghana and has over fifty publications in Translation Studies, Systematic Theology, Biblical Studies, Methodist Studies and African Christianity, among others.

Keywords: Africa, Shepherd leadership, Christian, sheep, servant
One of the major challenges facing the contemporary African society (and church) is ineffective leadership. The problem of leadership in Africa has led to an increased scholarly interest in the theology of leadership; yet, the problem of ineffective leadership still persists in many African communities…

Engaging Youth Worldviews in Africa: A Practical Theology in Light of John 4

Author: Kevin Muriithi Ndereba

Mr. Kevin Muriithi Ndereba (PhDc, University of South Africa; to graduate end of 2021) lectures in youth ministry, theology, and apologetics at Pan Africa Christian University. He is the current secretary for the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology (ASET) and has contributed to the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry (IASYM). He worked as an electrical engineer before pursuing his call to pastoral ministry and theological education, currently serving with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.

Keywords: Apologetics, Johannine Christology, Practical Theology, worldviews, youth ministry
This essay problematizes worldview engagement in Africa from a Kenyan context. The author suggests that robust youth engagement must straddle the traditional/animistic, modern, atheistic, and postmodern worldviews. The essay approaches the study using a practical theological methodology, which deepens the interplay of theory and praxis…

The Prologue of John: A Conceptual Framework for African Public Theological Discourse

Author: Reuben Turbi Luka

Rev. Dr. Reuben Turbi Luka (PhD, ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos) is a Senior Lecturer at the ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos (JETS) in Farin Gada, Jos, Nigeria. His current research interests include African Ancestral Christology, African Public Theological Discourse, Christian engagement with the Society, Christian Apologetics, and Worldview. He serves as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos (JETS).

Keywords: incarnation, society, Africa, hermeneutics, theology
One of the recurring concerns in public theology is the possibility of arriving at a normative methodology. Some are of the opinion that a normative methodology is not necessary, while others think it matters and have proposed normative methodologies of their own. Furthermore, some think it matters but the nature of “public” and “theology” are too diverse to have a normative method…

Book Review: Origins: The Ancient Impact and Modern Implications of Genesis 1–11 by Paul Copan and Douglas Jacoby

Author: Dustin Burlet

Dustin Burlet, Millar Bible College (MB)

The controversies surrounding the book of Genesis have lasted for millennia and show no signs of abating anytime soon. Incontrovertibly, few exegetical matters require as much circumspection and pastoral sensitivity as dealing with those things that concern science, creation, and the Bible…

Book Review: Majority World Perspectives on Christian Mission, edited by Nico A. Botha and Eugene Baron

Author: Moses Vongjen

Moses Vongjen, Theological College of Northern Nigeria

The book is a compendium of extracts from the Majority Christian Leaders Conversation with a “rich diversity of perspectives on mission.” The material has 241 pages and contains 13 articles by different authors (except for Hwa Yung who has two articles)…
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