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Durham e-Theses
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‘Good News to the Poor’? Socio-Economic Ethics in the Gospel of John

WILLIAMS, MATTHEW,NANTLAIS (2021) ‘Good News to the Poor’? Socio-Economic Ethics in the Gospel of John. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines what the Gospel of John has to say regarding socio-economic ethics. It thus seeks to determine the extent to which the Johannine message is good news to the poor. Taking its cue from relevant developments in the contemporary debate, it approaches the text by beginning with its central ethical requirements. Through a literary-theological mode of reading, it establishes both the rationale for these requirements and their socio-economic import.
After setting out the dimensions of the project and its approach (chapter 1), the two main ethical requirements in John are then examined (chapter 2). These are believing (20:30–31) and loving (13:34), with the latter identified as that which deals with social relationships. The meaning of the command to love is developed in relation to its primary exemplar, Jesus’ foot washing (John 13:1–17; chapter 3). Its theological basis is explored in Jesus’ ‘high-priestly’ prayer (John 17:1–26, chapter 4), and its practical outworking is shown to be present in Jesus’ signs (chapter 5).
Such analysis demonstrates that Jesus’ aim in the Gospel is the formation of a divine-human community that is characterised by the dynamics of household. Participating in this community is what lies at the heart of Johannine ethics. It entails cruciform mutual love through addressing one another’s needs within a household-like configuration. In this community all, regardless of status, have equal access to resources (including material resources) as children of God. How this works in detail is borne out by a reading of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1–71; chapter 6), before drawing final conclusions (chapter 7).

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Nov 2021 10:49

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