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Incarnation and Covenant in the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel (John 1:1-18)


Wilson Paroschi

This study deals with the structural and exegetical relationship between pre-existence and incarnation in the dynamics of John‘s Prologue (John 1:1-18). It discusses the point in the narrative at which the shift from the pre-existent Logos to the incarnate Christ takes place and, therefore, the perspective from which the individual parts of the passage (vss. 1-5; vss. 6-13; vss. 14-18) should be interpreted. By making a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the text and evaluating all contrasting views on the subject, the book shows the essential chronological order of the narrative, whose climax (vss. 14-18) is not the announcement of the incarnation proper, but rather a profound theological reflection on the significance of that event based on the covenantal traditions of the exodus story and later prophetic expectations.


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This volume contains a somewhat modified text of a doctoral dissertation pre- sented to Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, on October 31, 2003. In addition to a number of changes involving matters of style and argu- ment, the material has been shortened by the omission of two appendices. No conceptual change, however, has been made. It would be appropriate at this point to express a word of gratitude to my Doktorvater, Robert M. Johnston, who guided this work to completion with con- summate patience and skill, and to my committee members, Larry W. Richards, for his insight and counsel far beyond academic matters, and Jon Paulien, who stirred my interest in John's Gospel and whose academic rigor was always a challenge and an inspiration. My examiners, Peter M. van Bemmelen and Steve Moyise, also deserve a special recognition. Their friendly attitude made me feel at ease at my defense, even when we disagreed on a few points. It was Steve Moyise, from University College Chichester, England, who first encouraged me to publish the dissertation. I am also pleased to record my gratefulness to distinguished Johannine scholar Hartwig Thyen, Emeritus Professor of the University of Heidelberg, for his willingness in the summer 2002 to read specific parts of my dissertation and for several hours of fruitful talks on a number of relevant issues. At that time, Prof. Thyen was just about to finish writing a massive commentary on the Fourth Gospel, and I was indeed fortunate to have access to...

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