Richard Bauckham, “Divine and Human Community in the Gospel of John” « Biblical and Early Christian Studies

Some very interesting points in this RBECS report of Richard Bauckham’s paper on “Divine and Human Community in the Gospel of John”:

– Early Jewish background:

The word ‘one’ is hugely potent theologically in the Jewish Second-Temple readings (Deut 6:4; Ezekiel 37:16-22, 24; Micah 2:12; Hosea 1:11; Isaiah 45:20a), as it appears in the Shema (pg 2). In Bauckham’s view, any passage that says ‘God is one’ represents an echo of the Shema, which was central to the Jewish theology of the time.

– The (re)uniting of the peoples:

Two divided parts of the people of God will be united, and this idea is related to the ‘oneness’ of their leader. In Ezekiel, the two tribes are the northern and the southern, whereas in John, they point to the Jewish and gentile ‘tribes’.

– And a very helpful summary of “social trinity” theology, to which I am inclined:

Social Trinity represents an interpretation of the Patristic doctrine of the Trinity, a community of love between the three persons. Systematic theologians such as Karl Rahner, Jürgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, John Ziziulas, or Ernst Wolf, amongst many others, share the doctrine of the social trinity. Their views have four common elements:

a) they do not give priority to the one substance over the three persons;

b) they understand the three persons as relating subjects;

c) they use the concept of perichoresis (or Interpenetration) to point to a kind of relation that constitutes their unity;

d) they see a correspondence between this unity and the one within the community of believers.

The doctrine of perichoresis corresponds to the ‘in-one-another’ language in John. They see the divine unity not as something prior to the relationships between the divine persons. It is not three-theism, because these persons are constituted as persons within this unity.

These aren’t the main points of the paper, just the ones that jumped out at me as relevant to my interests. The whole report is worth reading.

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