The burden of ambiguity : Nicodemus and the social identity of the Johannine Christians

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/217493

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Hakola , R 2009 , ' The burden of ambiguity : Nicodemus and the social identity of the Johannine Christians ' , New Testament Studies , vol. 55 , no. 4 , pp. 438-455 . https://doi.org/10.1017/S0028688509990014

Title: The burden of ambiguity : Nicodemus and the social identity of the Johannine Christians
Author: Hakola, Raimo
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

Date: 2009
Language: eng
Number of pages: 18
Belongs to series: New Testament Studies
ISSN: 0028-6885
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0028688509990014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/217493
Abstract: Nicodemus is an enigmatic literary character who is wavering in no man's land in John's narrative between Jesus' opponents and his true disciples. Some scholars have taken Nicodemus as an example of someone of inadequate faith who remains an outsider throughout the narrative, while others have traced his development from initial and tentative faith to open and public commitment to Jesus. The present article, however, agrees with those who have acknowledged that no single trait determines Nicodemus's portrait, but, in the end, this portrait remains ambiguous. In the article, a text-centered approach to Nicodemus is complemented by asking how this ambiguous literary character may have functioned as a symbol for those who shared John's dualistic tendencies. The article draws upon the social identity approach in order to explain how Nicodemus's ambiguity may have helped the Johannine Christians to accept the uncertainties in their social environment without abandoning the stereotyped and fixed thrust in their symbolic world.
Subject: 514 Sociology
613 Arts
614 Theology
311 Basic medicine
513 Law
520 Other social sciences
611 Philosophy
516 Educational sciences
517 Political science
615 History and Archaeology
518 Media and communications
612 Languages and Literature
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