oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - Is John’s Λόγος Christology a Polemical Response to Philo of Alexandria’s Logos Philosophy? (Part 1) - research

Volume 28 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1996-8167



This journal article is the first in a two-part series that examines the Prologue to the Gospel of John (1:1–18) as a Christological statement for the purpose of repudiating Philo of Alexandria’s philosophical logos. The current essay explores the use of the word Λόγος2 in the fourth Gospel, John’s likely rationale for using a prologue motif to open the gospel, and an exegesis of the Prologue producing ten specific statements that encompass John’s Λόγος Christology. In Part II, we exegete Philo of Alexandria’s writings for the purpose of determining his logos philosophy that may then be compared and contrasted with John’s Christological Λόγος. We conclude that John used the prologue for two important reasons. First, he used a prologue for the commonly expected purpose of summarizing the entire gospel, introducing Christological themes and first-person testimony about the divinity and mission of Christ on earth, that would be more thoroughly explored in the remainder of the Gospel. However, John also adopted the Greek prologue motif as a literary device to introduce the eternal Logos of the Christian world while simultaneously redefining the commonly-known logos of the Greek world as the Christian Logos. John accomplished this feat by specifically refuting Philo of Alexandria’s philosophical logos with his presentation of his seemingly simple yet theologically robust Christological Logos.

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