IRWIN, LUKE,DANIEL (2022) JESUS AND THE VISIBILITY OF GOD: SIGHT AND BELIEF IN THE FOURTH GOSPEL. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
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This thesis establishes the value of the physical incarnation of God for belief. It asserts that the theological nature of belief derives from a God who can make himself physically visible in the world. While scholars have often debated the relationship between the empirical senses and belief in John, few have queried the presuppositions about God’s invisibility that inform their positions. In response, this thesis argues across six chapters that unless God becomes physically visible in Jesus, belief does not obtain. Chapter 1 shows that God himself is ultimately the cause, content, and consequence of the belief that John 20:30-31 describes as the purpose of the Gospel. It establishes the theological nature of belief and thus the fact that the Gospel endeavours to draw humanity close to God via faith in Jesus. The remaining five chapters argue that seeing God in Jesus is both possible and desirable. Chapter 2 re-evaluates the metaphysics of divine visibility in Early Judaism and in John and concludes that God can be physically visible in Jesus’s body. John does not regard divinity as invisible in itself; rather, he claims that seeing Jesus is seeing God. Two long chapters follow and substantiate the claims of Chapter 2. They point up the entwined nature of divine presence and material reality by arguing that Jesus’s body is a divine place. This fact – coupled with John’s depiction of Jesus as a man in divine places – stresses his divinity on earth even as it reveals his localized humanity. Chapter 5 argues that sight itself is the primary catalyst for belief in John. Although human hearts occlude proper vision, seeing remains key to human apprehension of God and belief in him. Chapter 6 draws the foregoing together by arguing that seeing Jesus is seeing God across the Johannine narratives, both despite and because of their deeply counterintuitive climax in the crucifixion.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||God, Fourth Gospel, Theology, Invisible, Place, Jesus, Embodiment|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||04 May 2022 10:55|