Monday, May 29, 2023

John and the Synoptics: Towards a Deeper Vision of Jesus Christ

Moving away from the politics of resetting the Anglican Communion and back to reflections on John's Gospel, as I continue to re-read John Ashton's brilliant book Understanding the Fourth Gospel, I am minded to continue to work on "who" Jesus is. That is, to keep reflecting on who Jesus is according to the gospels - all four gospels - which at some points are formally contradictory but always, for orthodox Christians, complementary and comprehensive in their revelation of God in Jesus Christ.

Incidentally, thinking about the current ripples of controversy in the Anglican Communion, one way to approach John's Gospel is to think of it as "resetting" the story of Jesus!

In thinking about the differences between John's Gospel and the Synoptics, it is always worth remembering that noticing their differences in not some modern theological problem invented by liberal German scholars in the nineteenth century.

Eusebius, writing his Ecclesiastical History (6:14) in the fourth century says this:

"But that John, last of all, conscious that the outward facts had been set forth in the Gospels, was urged on by his disciples, and, divinely moved by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel."

One of the great questions about this spiritual Gospel is, How does John arrive at such a different Jesus from the portrayals in Matthew, Mark, and Luke?

To a degree, explanation can be given that John draws on a more "Jerusalem" than "Galilee" oriented knowledge of Jesus' itinerant history (so, e.g., we can account for John's three visits by Jesus to Jerusalem, rather than the Synoptics' single visit (apart from Luke's account of the child Jesus visiting Jerusalem when he was twelve) because John (or his key source or sources) knows lots more about Jesus-in-Jerusalem than Matthew, Mark or Luke.)

But such explanation does not deal with, say, John 1, in which the calling of the first disciples is quite different to the Synoptic accounts (no fishing or fish or fishing metaphors are involved!).

Bultmann, in Ashton's view the most intelligent ever commentator on the Fourth Gospel, is somewhat famous for proposing that a "Gnostic Redeemer myth" influenced John to draw up his portrayal of his "different" Jesus. Scholars, including Ashton, have moved beyond Bultmann's myth (while continuing to acknowledge the brilliance of Bultmann's many insights), but that still leaves the question in need of an answer. How does John's portrayal of Jesus end up being so different to that of the Synoptics?

It is a question that, in my view, Ashton himself does not quite answer, because he is uncertain whether the significant difference in John's Gospel was something which entered into the sources John used or was John's own contribution. And, if the latter, then a related question is the extent to which the "Johannine community" - its unique character, its particular experience of being driven out of Jewish synagogues, its location or locations (was it once in Samaria? Did it, per historical tradition, end up in Ephesus?) - shaped John's understanding of Jesus-in-relation-to-this-community?

When, for example, John's Jesus emphasises "love one another", without any hint of "love your neighbour/love your enemy", familiar from the Synoptics, this Jesus lays down a commandment of special interest to the beleagured Johannine community: i.e. be united, resist persecution together, stay strong through tight internal bonds of love. 

In other words, the situation of the Johannine community is such that it cannot afford the "luxury" of teaching "love your enemies" because its enemies are not just horrid people (like, say, Romans in relationship to Jews and Christians) but potential destroyers of the Johannine community.

Reading through Ashton's book again, the following has struck me as, arguably, very important for answering the question I pose above (aside from the Johannine community's experience shaping John's portrayal of Jesus):

1. A lot can be explained by recognising that John works from the Synoptics but develops them through the power of his own formidable insight into the true meaning of Jesus Christ as presented in those gospels (or at least two of them, Mark and Luke).

2. More should be explained by scholars in terms of John's identification as he writes with the risen Christ - his experience of the indwelling presence of Christ in his own life - and his assurance that the Paraclete continues to teach him about the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth's words and deeds.

1. The Synoptics as launchpad for John

Read any set of papers, articles, books about John and the Synoptics and they go something like this: There is no association between the two, apart from a generally agreed "gospel" outline and some reminiscences of the Synoptics in John. Here is a list of all the differences between John and the Synoptics ...  Or, although it looks like there is no connection between the two, on careful analysis, there are profound connections ... and thus John almost certainly knew Mark's Gospel, probably Luke's as well.

My reflection on reading Ashton goes in a different way. Something like this. What if John did know the Synoptics (say, both Mark and Luke)? Then, what if he deliberately eschews following them closely? (Perhaps he knows Matthew as well - why write a fourth gospel of a similar kind?). 

Rather, he fairly consistently works in another direction to them (except for following their broad outline: Jesus ministers, is betrayed, tried, crucified and resurrected in Jerusalem; and for picking up some of their miracles to become his "signs"), reworking the story of Jesus to incorporate the following insights.

Insight #1: Take, for instance, the Healing of the Paralyzed Man, Mark 2:1-12. Here, Jesus identifies himself (in the name of "the Son of Man", v. 10, a self-description often used by John's Jesus) with God - with the one who has authority to forgive sins. Mark does not make a lot of this, save for it being part of his cumulative case that Jesus is "the Son of God", a theme also found in John's Gospel). John, arguably, works on and develops the insight possible here, that Jesus thinks of himself in terms of identify with God, and this is worked out in many dialogues through the Fourth Gospel, as Jesus speaks about the unity of himself as "son" with the "Father." By working from a Synoptic "miracle" in this way, John is able to integrate his account of miracles as "signs" - events which signifies things about the meaning of Jesus Christ in relation to God and to the world.

Insight #2: Even without Insight #1, John could have started with the (so-called) Johannine thunderbolt of Luke 11:21-22 (//Matthew 11:25-27) which speaks of the intimate relationship of Father and Son and the sharing in privilege and power of the Father which the Son enjoys - developed at length in John's Gospel.

Insight #3: John has a lot to say about divine agency in his gospel. God is the one who sends Jesus to the world, Jesus is the one who has been sent into the world. For example, John 3:17 says, "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." But agency is found in the Synoptics, for example, in Mark 9:37 (//Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16):

"Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me."

Notably, here, Jesus is sent by God, but the reference is in the context of relationship: the welcomer of a child welcomes Jesus and the welcomer (in this way) of Jesus welcomes God, "the one who sent me." This chain of relationship features in John's Gospel as discourses set out the nature of relationship between believers and the Son and through the Son to the Father, with the climax of such talk taking place in John 17 as Jesus prays that the disciples may be one as he and the Father are one.

This is not a big Ashton-like book - just a modest length blogpost, so cutting to the summation of my point: an awful lot of John's Gospel (in comparison to the Synoptics) is explainable without recourse to other documents than the Synoptics (at least Mark and Luke), providing we allow for the spiritual and theological genius of John the author. (The point stands, whether we identify John as one of the sons of Zebedee or another John).

Postcript to this section: I am not at all dismissing possibilities and probabilities of other influences on the shape and content of the Fourth Gospel: that John has access to traditions the Synoptics know not; that John (if, perchance, a son of Jerusalem rather than a son of Galilee/Zebedee) has a background in close relationship to Jesus through visits of Jesus to Jerusalem which the Synoptics either do not know or choose to omit); and so forth. But even when these other streams of influence are allowed for, they do not cumulatively explain the distinct differences between the Synoptics and John's Gospel, differences which attest to a singular vision of Jesus Christ being cast in the form of a gospel.

2. John's identification with Christ and the Paraclete

Why would John have confidence, even daring to re-present the story of Jesus' words and deeds in the way he has done? What would give him the sense of authority which his gospel carries that this very different presentation of Jesus deserved the accolade of truth and the mantle of reliability in respect of its insights?

An obvious set of texts to cite (and scholarship does) are those concerning the Paraclete/Advocate/Counsellor/Helper: (here I substitute Ashton's preferred "Paraclete" for the NRSV's Advocate):

"But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you." (14:26)

"When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf." (15:26)

"I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." (16:12-13) 

Here, through Jesus' words, John articulates the conviction that the role of the Holy Spirit, as the special Paraclete (we might think here of a guide for the church, to walk with it on its journey through life), is both to remind the church of what Jesus taught and to develop the church's understanding of the full meaning of Jesus' words and deeds.

John's Gospel, then, is an attempt to give expression to that full meaning of Jesus' words and deeds (as, indeed, we could also say of Paul's Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews as they do this but differently to John).

But, is there something more happening in this mode of conviction about the full meaning of Jesus Christ? Reading Ashton (along with some other reflections I have been doing this year) prompts me to also ask whether John composes his gospel as one who understands that he is indwelt by Christ through the Spirit and himself dwells in Christ - think John 6 and the Bread of Life discourse, as well as the testamentary material through John 13-17? Does he write not only "about" Christ but also "as" Christ? Is the Paraclete not only teaching John but speaking directly through John to the church?

Does the authority of John's Gospel lie, not in some feat of historiography, where we develop arguments to assure readers that the Synoptics and John are wholly complementary or consistent and not one whit contradictory, but in a shared confidence (our confidence together as the church, our confidence as readers united with John the author) that the Jesus of the Synoptics, the Holy Spirit of Acts work in union with John to compose the Gospel that bears his name?

In short, is John's Gospel the consequence of a fusion between John and Jesus, a binding of the mind of John with the mind of Christ through the agency of the Paraclete?

In John's Gospel, we have a guide to all the truth about Jesus Christ, a way into the way of Jesus Christ and a lifegiving message inviting us into life in Christ.


MsLiz said...

So worth the wait.. I enjoyed finding where the discussion leads in your final paragraphs!

Anonymous said...

Peter, you might be interested in B.J. Capper's essay 'With the oldest monks' in JTS 1999 (?) which explores Johannine theology and expressions through Essene ideas and language: did John come from the Essene community in Jerusalem? Although the Essenes are never mentioned in the NT, some of them must have engaged with the Jesus-movement, as did every other known branch of Judaism, including the Samaritans.
On pre-existence in the Synoptics, Professor Simon Gathercole of Cambridge wrote an insightful little book a few years ago, focusing on the 'I have come' statements. (Gathercole has also just produced a major work on the distinctiveness of the canonical gospels compared to their contemporary competitors, which is on my ever-expanding to read list.)
For myself, I have long been impressed how closely John's Christology (pre-existence and divinity of the Son) closely tracks Paul (cf. Phil. 2 etc) and Hebrews. John's theology isn't as unique as some have claimed: an argument for the catholicity and unity of Scripture. Of course, it is the clarity with which John speaks on Christology, Incarnation and the Spirit that no doubt gave him his supreme status as theologian in Orthodoxy - and why his Gospel and letters underlie the Nicene Creed.

Pax et bonum
William Greenhalgh

Mark Murphy said...

Following the distinctive way that the gospel of John opens, can we say that every Gospel writer (and more) is writing from the Light and Life of Christ within them, (and not just out of their historical-cultural sources)?

That John's gift is being both especially attuned to this (deep, pre-cosmic, spiritual) Light, while bringing it to bear on his earthly knowledge and experience of Jesus's life and ministry?

That it is also therefore impossible to affirm that "in John's gospel we have a guide to all the truth about Jesus Christ" (Peter). John isn't the "seal" of the gospel, just as Muhammad isn't the "seal of the prophets". The Light continues to enlighten everyone coming into this world; the Spirit continues to guide us towards a truth we can't bear now.

Mark Murphy said...

Triumph for the Gafcon lobby

MsLiz said...

Thanks for the update Mark.. so ugly. I wonder if an intervention will yet still be possible?

I dislike the term culture wars. I think it's because to me the term is a 'soft' expression covering for what's really a religious-political crusade. No doubt there are righteous warriors out there right now, full of praise, and asserting their prayers have been wonderfully answered. Ugh!

Mark Murphy said...

Hi Liz,

Yes, they are talking of protecting the sanctity of the family and curtailing the advance of homosexuality which will lead to rapid population decline. I mean, it's scapegoating at its very worst, and Christian justification for this makes me very cross but a very old story.

But I don't mean to distract from Peter's important piece on John, so let's leave the Uganda stuff there.

I like where Peter is heading because, in a more thorough way than I could ever manage, I think he's trying to integrate historical and spiritual readings of John. I like this. It seems more true to John (and God!), and moves us beyond tired rational-historical modern biblical hermeneutics.

Anonymous said...

"... a binding of the mind of John with the mind of Christ through the agency of the Paraclete".
Actually that is what I have always believed about John's Gospel, and I first heard this way of putting things many years ago by a Protestant preacher in Dunedin (the Campbellite Church of Christ), who proposed that the Synoptics reported what Jesus said while John disclosed the mind of Christ, rendering explicit what was implicit in the Synoptics. One can readily see why the Orthodox consider St John the Theologian par excellence. I find this line of thinking congenial but we still have to reckon with the historical question: did Jesus actually say these things and have these conversations? So we must avoid easy dichotomies (history vs. theology) which are only a hostage to fortune. Years ago David Wenham wrote a little booklet on John and the Synoptics and the key thought, iirc, was that there is less distance than we think between parables of lost sheep, feeding miracles etc and dominical utterances "I am the good shepherd bread of life" etc.
But the general point pertains. If Paul could say "we have the mind of Christ", so too could John.

Pax et bonum
William Greenhalgh

Mark Murphy said...

Incidentally Liz, I understand the term 'culture war' has its origins in recent Christian history...

"The term culture war is a loan translation (calque) of the German Kulturkampf ('culture struggle'). In German, Kulturkampf, a term coined by Rudolf Virchow, refers to the clash between cultural and religious groups in the campaign from 1871 to 1878 under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of the German Empire against the influence of the Catholic Church. The translation was printed in some American newspapers at the time." (Wikipedia)

MsLiz said...

Mark, brilliant! Thanks.. I'd no idea. Wow.

"Shortly after unification in 1871, Bismarck and his minister of culture, Adalbert Falk (1827-1900), inaugurated a series of legislative initiatives designed to undermine the Catholic Church’s autonomy in Germany. In July 1872 the Anti-Jesuit Law, reproduced below, banned the Jesuit Order."

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Peter, for another OP on the scriptures.

After nearly a century, your third Rätsel for the study of the Fourth Gospel (FG) seems to be--

Given that there is a necessary choice between affirmative forms of A and B, and that C prempts a reasonable choice of A, must we accept B by default?

A: "Does the authority of John's Gospel lie, not in some feat of historiography, where we develop arguments to assure readers that the Synoptics and John are wholly complementary or consistent and not one whit contradictory..."

B: "Does the authority of John's Gospel lie... in a shared confidence (our confidence together as the church, our confidence as readers united with John the author) that the Jesus of the Synoptics, the Holy Spirit of Acts work in union with John to compose the Gospel that bears his name?"

C: "an awful lot of John's Gospel (in comparison to the Synoptics) is explainable without recourse to other documents than the Synoptics (at least Mark and Luke), providing we allow for the spiritual and theological genius of John the author."

For theological interpretation of the FG, this is as seminal as the two famous Rätsel of 1925: (1) To what trajectory of early Christianity does it belong?, (2) If the FG reveals Jesus to be the Revealer, then what is he revealing?

There could be resistance to (3). To some, (A) and (B) might not be mutually exclusive or exhaustive, and (3) should be reformulated. Others intentionally read the FG as a text isolated both from backstories of its origin and from theories of its historical veracity, and their scruples do not permit them to directly take up (1), (2), or (3).

There could also be Noes. Some might deny (C). Some may agree that (A) is preempted, but deny that (B) can be accepted by default.

Answering (3) with a Yes opens further inquiries about the FG's first readers. (3a) What sort of authority was confidence in the author? (3b) What did its broad congruence with the Synoptics and eyewitness accounts contribute to that confidence? (3c) Where does this confidence sit in the horizon of Yahwism?

Pilgrims stop along their ways; readers choose heuristics for puzzles. Disagreements over (3) may obscure actual affinities among readers of the FG. For example, a reader scrupulously ignoring all three Rätsel may actually read the gospel in ways admired by others who take them very seriously.

Anonymous said...

To my mind, your thoughtful OP sits among a few other topics.

(i) The Prologue to the FG perfectly exemplifies "the spiritual and theological genius of John the author," but today-- after Hengel, Hurtado, Macaskill, Bauckham, Hays, Soulen-- we are likely to read all of the NT as an apocalyptic ressourcement of the traditional Yahwism that was already complex in Canaan. So on one hand, we read the FG and the NT generally as correlating venerable language about the divine to Jesus, to his Father, and to the Spirit. And on the other hand, with John Ashton, many of us answer Rätsel (1) above by locating the FG in the trajectory of Second Temple Jewish apocalyptic. We understand now that texts on this trajectory show not just eschatology but also cosmology and *darshan* (Sanskrit: sight, vision, appearance), but this insight presses Rätsel (2) above all the more. What is St John's Jesus saying about seeing God?

(ii) As the destruction of the Second Temple approached, the pollution of the Land and the threat of its irreversible loss doomed most religious factions in Israel. But the apostles and the rabbis responded to the peril with undeniable success-- both movements survived and flourished in diaspora. Where readings of the New Testament posit some agency in persons, whether they stand with Jesus or against him, one wonders how their predicament moves and binds them. How did John, his Jesus, his circle, his readers, and their immediate opponents understand and engage the danger of absorption into Roman Hellenism?

(iii) After eight centuries of interfaith scrutiny, the fault between the Judaic and Hellenistic sides of the bedrock of monotheism still has passable bridges but continues to widen and deepen. Careful readers of the scriptures-- Christian, Jewish, and Muslim-- have experienced this as, on one hand, tension between YHWH as a character in sacred narrative, and on the other hand, the timeless divinity supposed by several varieties of Hellenism. That tension runs not only through episodes of the narrative, but also into the act of reading itself insofar as the scriptures themselves seem to participate or not in the respective attributes of YHWH or say the Unmoved Mover. So of course that tension has run through readers of the Fourth Gospel and experts have found passages on each side of the fault line. Is the Fourth Gospel a bridge?

(iv) How does the Protoevangelium of St James differ as history and hagiography from the Fourth Gospel? To the vast majority of the Body, the former text authorizes beliefs that enable some of the most solemn worship in the calendar. Yet even they do not recognize it as canonical scripture-- it is not in the lectionary of the very feasts it inspires-- and so it remains in the margin where the FG also long lingered. Like that gospel, the Protoevangelium perplexed moderns by not only harmonizing facts from the Synoptics as they themselves took pains to do, but also situating them in a romance that acknowledges yet eludes or defies history. In early tradition, the Fourth Gospel, the Protoevanglium, and the mother of Jesus are associated with same Syrian milieu. Does recognition of St John's insight in the FG open a path to irenic understanding of the Protoevangelium and the Theotokos?


Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bowman
Thank you for profound thoughts in response!
Looking at the Protevangelium makes me realise that a weakness with not attending to the historiography of John could mean a question is why then are we not (was the church back then not) welcoming other documents into the canon of Scripture.
Then, Is John’s Gospel welcomed into the canon precisely because, unlike the Protoevangelium, it is not offering a harmonisation of the Synoptics but a distinctive alternative?
Of course, much depends on what historiography was at work in the early church. It was not the same as ours of the past few centuries.
There is also, likely, the challenge that in ancient times, to accord each of the gospels to such significant figures as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (son of Zebedee) settled all issues of reliability; whereas in the past few centuries we have doubted that each such figure actually wrote the respective gospels and thus view their authenticity in respect of unimpeachable authorship differently.

Anonymous said...

parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. (Horace)

John's Gospel is "welcomed into the canon" (to use rather anachronistic language) precisely because it agrees with the original apostolic kerygma outlined in 1 Corinthians - as do Matthew, Mark and Luke - and no other Gospels of the first and early 2nd century (Gospels of Peter, Philip, Thomas the Egyptians etc). The primitive apostolic kerygma of 1 Corinthians is that Jesus the Messiah died "for our sins", was buried and raised the third day "in accordance with the Scriptures". This is *precisely the teaching of the four canonical Gospels - and NO other Gospels of the late first and early second centuries.
I will add that the Christology of John (pre-existence of the divine Son) agrees with Paul and Hebrews, i.e. pre-AD 70. James Dunn got this badly wrong.
In other words, John and the other three canonical Gospels were accepted because they taught the same message about Jesus "the Messiah, the Son of God", the sin-bearer who was crucified, buried and raised on the third day, as was already taught in the 30s by the apostolic church.
Speculation about a so-called "Johannine community" is a rather futile exercise in mirror-reading. The Gospel was "for all Christians", as Bauckham put it. The purpose of John's Gospel is explicitly stated in 20.31.
Further, John's Gospel is deeply Jewish in arguing that the events of Jesus's life are the fulfilment of the Jewish Scriptures.
The Protevangelium of James, for all is popularity in creating our Christmas legends, is not a Gospel, is from the middle second century and gets Palestine geography badly wrong. John, on the other hand, is a Gospel, is from the first century and knows the geography of Jerusalem (ch. 5) better than subsequent generations. So historicity and facticity do matter.

Pax et bonum
William Greenhalgh

Anonymous said...


The formation of the NT canon was not like compiling the short list for say the Booker Prize. Apart from Acts and Revelations, perhaps, most churches seem to have recognized a few sets of apostolic documents that were copied together-- four gospels, several pauline letters, some manuals-- so that discernment about any given text was about its membership in one of those sets. By this process, even widely admired texts such as I and II Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas were left out, except in conservative Ethiopia. Stored together, a collection of all of these sets is the canon of Athanasius's famous Festal Letter and the later provincial councils.


What historiography might an apocalyptic gospel have? Richard Bauckham has explained the authors' fact-finding as well as anyone is likely to do for a while, but apocalyptic insists on a further apprehension of those facts that although reasonable is accessible only to faith. As you know, Peter Brunner through his student Robert Jenson pressed the dogmatic necessity of just such knowledge in a question that several have taken up--

“But what if the church’s dogma were a necessary hermeneutical principle of historical reading because it describes the true ontology of historical being?”

Our criteria for such knowledge over against gnostic speculation are probably still those of St Irenaeus.

"not the same"

Yes. Speaking broadly, history was a navigable river to premoderns, but a series of chasms to moderns. And the former were more inclined to a Stoic worldview, while the latter tilt toward an Epicurean one.

But again speaking dogmatically, the scriptures are always in the present of their hearers, telling them a long unfinished story with episodes in a succession of past and future horizons. Knowledge of the documents' reticulated past is valuable to interpreting them, but that past is the whole career of their words in time.

So the general public may see the Bible as a storyless stack from the distant past that only experts on that past can understand-- how indeed could they see it otherwise?-- but this is never the view of the faithful Body.


MsLiz said...

"conservative Ethiopia"
~would like to learn more.. any intro-level info source you'd recommend?

"that past is the whole career of their words in time"
~typo I guess?.. I've read as isn't

"Bible as a storyless stack from the distant past"
~nice wording! :D

Anonymous said...

Or putting things a bit more directly without the metaphors, BW:
1. 1 Clement is a long and sometimes tedious exhortation to submit to the old leaders in Corinth, in which Clement makes it clear he isn't an apostle; while the Shepherd of Hermas is an elaborate visionary tale about post-baptismal sin. Neither is a "Gospel". (I read through Michael Holmes' edition of Tha Apostolic Fathers earlier this year. The Greek is not hard if you're familiar with NT koine.)
2. Where is "the church's dogma" to be found? The traditional answer has been in those churches of (supposed) apostolic foundation. There was a regula fidei, and the collection of the four gospels necessarily preceded the conflation of them in the Diatessaron.
3. Who are "premoderns"? Everyone is a "modern" in their own eyes. But first century people obviously lived in the first or second generation after the ministry of Jesus, when the apostles or their converts were still alive, and the story could be checked against eyewitnesses. This is the big point made by Bauckham, against Bultmann and the panoply of liberalism. But the real rock of stumbling is that liberals don't believe in the Resurrection or the other miracles, or in spirits, good or bad. This Humean-Kantian scepticism is the real point of departure for modern liberalism.
Simin Gathercole's 'The Gospels and the Gospel' 2022) explores the common apostolic kerygma of the four canonical Gospels in contrast to "other Gospels".

Pax et bonum
William Greenhalgh

MsLiz said...

I retract the is/isn't bit of my comment above (I failed to connect in with the "So.." that begins the next paragraph). My bad.

Anonymous said...

"intro-level" but entertaining





Ethiopian all-night vigils last from sunset to dawn.


Anonymous said...

A blessed Trinity Sunday to all.
Remember that it is above all to St John the Theologian we owe the revelation of this foundational doctrine of the triune identity of God: in John's Gospel we read of the Incarnate Son, the Word who is God yet not the Father, and the promise of the Spirit whose work is to glorify the Son and restore us to the Father; and in 1 John we learn that God is love, and not merely loving: his eternal and essential nature consists of the Father and Son loving each other in the vinculum caritatis of the Spirit; and this essential truth is played out in the economy of salvation, as thd Father sends yhe Son to do the work of salvation and the Spirit raises the Son.
All of this is taught or implied in the Synoptics but St John brings it into clearest focus.

Pax et bonum
William Greenhalgh

MsLiz said...

Ethiopia's fascinating! History, churches, music, culture, traditions .. wow.
~greatly enjoyed the youtube links .. thanks Bowman!