Yesterday I submitted my first paper proposal, for the the Johannine Literature Section at SBL national. Since I’ve never presented before, I also had to send in the full paper, which is essentially a cut down version of the first chapter of my thesis, so this is really more of a abstract than a proposal:
Several recent monographs on the Temple in John (particularly those by Coloe, Kerr, Hoskins, and Um) have looked to the prologue for evidence of Jesus’ “replacement” of the Tabernacle, Temple or Torah, and have stressed the “polemical” tone of 1:14-18. Fuglseth has rightly argued against this approach (Johannine Sectarianism in Perspective), but his brief treatment of this text leaves much still to be said. He is correct that John’s allusions to the Tabernacle and Sinai are not intended to show the “replacement” of any particular Jewish institution, but they are extremely significant, for they serve to tie the man Jesus to the divine identity in a way that is at once unprecedented and in explicit continuity with the history of Israel.
In the prologue, Jesus is not “the new Tabernacle;” he is the incarnation of the one that dwelled in the Tabernacle. On comparison with 12:41, the prologue’s claim that “no one has ever seen God” (1:18a), but “we have seen his glory” (1:14c) is not a polemic against Moses, but an affirmation that the very same glory that was seen by Moses has now become flesh. Moreover, John’s allusions to the beloved son tradition (monogenēs; cf. also Levenson, Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son), suggest that it is primarily through Jesus’ death and resurrection that the “grace and truth” revealed to Moses are fully seen, or rather, embodied: “no one has ever seen God, but the only son, (himself) God, has made him known” (1:18).
Fingers crossed! Hopefully they don’t notice the typo!