Jesus as means and locus of worship in the Fourth Gospel
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This dissertation argues that the Gospel of John was written (at least in part) as a response to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE and the resulting questioning that would have centered on the location of Jewish worship in that temple’s absence. Along these lines, the Fourth Gospel presents the person of Jesus as the locus of worship, both before and after the resurrection event. The risen Jesus abides with his faithful as the dwelling of the divine Presence/Glory, in the same way that the Presence/Glory had dwelt in the midst of Israel in the wilderness tabernacle during the Exodus. Hence, John presents those who embrace the Jesus-temple as “Israel.” The presentation of Jesus as worship locus relies entirely upon the portrayal of Jesus as sacrifice, which has strong parallels to Akedah traditions found in some rabbinic texts and in Philo of Alexandria, among others. Among the ramifications of such a view is the translation of the term Ἰουδαῖοι, typically translated into English as “Jews.” This thesis argues that the translation of Ἰουδαῖοι is overwhelmingly dependent upon the Fourth Gospel’s theme of Jesus as locus of worship, which depends upon the portrayal of Jesus as sacrifice. Because John’s use of Ἰουδαῖοι is centered on the problem of worship location, it should be translated as “Judeans” in nearly every instance: the Ἰουδαῖοι are those who do not have a temple, while Ἰσραήλ is comprised of those who have the Jesus-temple as their worship space.
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