n HTS : Theological Studies - Telling time in the Fourth Gospel




When we begin the task of telling time in the Fourth Gospel, we bring something not found in any previous study, namely, a model of time articulated by cross-cultural anthropologists (Bordieu, in Pitt-Rivers 1963:55-72, Ayoade, in Wright 1984:71-89). As much as we admire Davies' study, she has no notes to her chapter on time nor any citations in her bibliography to indicate that she has any conversation partners, much less cultural experts, a deficit to be filled in this study. Learning to tell time entails three theoretical considerations : a definition of time, key classifications of it, and special attention to what the ancients meant by past, present and future. With these lenses we are prepared to do as thorough a study as we can on telling time in the Fourth Gospel. As we consider each classification, we will suggest a brief meaning of it from the experts on time, then present a body of Greco-Roman materials illustrative of the classification, and finally use it to gather and interpret data in John. Proving the native existence of these classifications for telling time in antiquity is essential for readers to have a background against which to compare their usage with that of the Fourth Gospel.


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