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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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5 Conclusion


This study proposed to establish exactly at what point in the Prologue the incar- nation occurs, the point at which the Prologue begins to speak about the histori- cal Christ. The analysis led to the conclusion that this point is in vs. 9, which re- fers to the coming of the Logos into the world, even though the modality of his coming is not spelled out until vs. 14. This conclusion has three subsets: vss. 1-5 refer essentially to the primor- dial time of creation; vss. 6-13 do not describe the work of the pre-incarnate Lo- gos in the Old Testament period; and vs. 14 is not the incarnational turning point in the Prologue. This verse is rather, together with vss. 15-18, a theological re- flection on the covenantal meaning of the incarnation. This interpretation pre- serves the significance and the climax of vs. 14. Inasmuch as every chapter ends with a comprehensive summary and con- clusion, only a brief review of the most significant results is necessary here. In addition, I present some directions for further research. Review of Significant Results Besides the Introduction (chapter 1) and this Conclusion (chapter 5), three main chapters form the bulk of this study. Each chapter covered one section of the Prologue: vss. 1-5; vss. 6-13; vss. 14-18. This arrangement basically corre- sponds to the different views on the point of incarnation. Chapter 2 considered the incarnation in vss. 1-5 and concluded that there is no evidence to support the Claim that the...

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