Monday, June 10, 2013

C.H. Dodd on John's Prologue

I was reading a bit of C.H. Dodd's classic, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, and came across this great, albeit lengthy quote regarding the Johannine prologue (John 1.1-18):
Charles Harold Dodd (1884-1973)

 In the case of the Prologue, I suggest that the true solution of the problem may be found if we take with the fullest seriousness the implications of the proposition, ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, in the light of the whole story that follows. The Logos did not merely descend upon Jesus, enter into Him, or abide in Him. The Logos became the σάρξ or human nature which He bore. The life of Jesus therefore is the history of the Logos, as incarnate, and this must be, upon the stage of limited time, the same thing as the history of the Logos in perpetual relations with man and the world. Thus not only verses 11-13, but the whole passage from verse 4, is at once an account of the relations of the Logos with the world, and an account of the ministry of Jesus Christ, which in every essential particular reproduces those relations. 'The light shines in darkness'—that is a description of the created universe, in which pure reality is set over against the darkness of not-being: it is also a description of the appearance of Jesus on earth, as this evangelist sees it, and as he describes it in detail in the whole of his gospel. 'The darkness did not overcome it'—the world, in spite of the presence of non-divine elements in it, does not relapse into not-being, because light is stronger than darkness, reality and the good than unreality and evil. Similarly, the opposition to Jesus, even when it seemed to triumph in the crucifixion, failed to conquer Him. 'The real light that enlightens every man who enters the world' is to be seen in the universal mission of Christ, to draw all men to Himself, to gather together the scattered children of God. For that purpose He was in the world, but unrecognized by the world. As the Logos comes to men, who, as λογικοί (unlike irrational creatures, ἄλογα), are its proper home, but is not truly 'received' by them, so Jesus came to the Jewish people, His own people, and found no response. As those who admit the divine Logos, or Wisdom, to their souls, become sons of God, so Jesus gave to His to His disciples 'words of eternal life', and they were born again (283-84).

No comments: