The Johannine Community as a Constructed, Imagined Community

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/333950

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Hakola , R T 2016 , The Johannine Community as a Constructed, Imagined Community . in Social Memory and Social Identity in the Study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity . Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus / Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments (NTOA/S) , vol. 116 , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen , pp. 211-240 .

Title: The Johannine Community as a Constructed, Imagined Community
Author: Hakola, Raimo Tapani
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Date: 2016-09-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 30
Belongs to series: Social Memory and Social Identity in the Study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity
Belongs to series: Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus / Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments (NTOA/S)
ISBN: 978-3-525-59375-2
978-3-647-59375-3
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/333950
Abstract: The article takes issue with recent attempts to deny that the New Testament Gospels were addressed to distinct early Christian communities and argues that it is still meaningful to trace how these writings construct distinct early Christian identities. The author applies the social identity approach and concepts related to the symbolic construction of communities and imagined communities to explain how an ideal portrait of the community of Jesus’ followers is created in the Gospel of John. The article argues that this portrait constructs social reality rather than reflects it in any transparent way. The author demonstrates how John anchors his story of Jesus to mythical beginnings and uses various dualistic polarities to express a clear demarcation between Jesus’ followers and the rest of world. In the Gospel, the knowledge of God communicated only by Jesus and the mutual love between Jesus’ disciples function as strong symbols of belonging for Jesus’ followers but also create an imagined boundary between them and those who have not received Jesus’ revelation. The author argues that the Gospel writer has embedded his story of Jesus in a mythical framework in order to naturalize and essentialize a distinct early Christian social identity that was actually blurred and in the making.
Subject: 614 Theology
The Gospel of John, Social Identity
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