n Journal of Early Christian History - Drawing and transcending boundaries in the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus : fresh perspectives from John’s Hellenistic background and Chrysostomic reception

Volume 8 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2222-582X
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This article offers fresh perspectives on the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3 by considering both the dynamic interaction of the author(s) of the Gospel of John with ancient Mediterranean philosophical and religious traditions and the Homilies of John Chrysostom on the Fourth Gospel. The current analysis demonstrates that the idea of “being begotten from above” refers to a transcending of ontological and epistemological borders by the power of the Spirit, which presupposes a ritual baptism. The way the Fourth Gospel describes the “process of being begotten from above” answers contemporary Jewish and Greco-Roman questions in an unconventional way. This is due to the fact that it links the convert’s transformation to the narrative regarding the descent of the Logos from above (v.31): A birth anōthen ontologically transforms the believer, for he/she receives the same origin with Jesus who comes anōthen. Lastly, the Chrysostomic exegesis helps the modern reader to read the Johannine text anew from the perspective of the discussions regarding human union (henōsis) with God and divine condescension (synkatabasis) in late antiquity.

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