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Durham e-Theses
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The idea of knowledge in the johannine gospel and epistles

Painter, John (1968) The idea of knowledge in the johannine gospel and epistles. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The study of the idea of knowledge in the Gospel and Epistles of John raises certain questions, the most important concerning the relationship of Gnosticism to the Johannine idea of knowledge. The problem is complicated by the late date of the Gnostic documents at our disposal. But Gnosticism did not suddenly develop in the second century A.D., though it is important to recognize post-Christian developments. There is a relationship between certain developments within Judaism and pre-Christian Gnosticism, and the important place given to "knowledge" in the Gospel and Epistles of John bears witness to the influence of the Gnostic development. Professors Bultmann and Dodd disagree over the question of the relationship of Gnosticism to the Gospel and Epistles of John with consequences important for the idea of knowledge. The Gospel stands in a different relationship to Gnosticism than the first Epistle. The Epistle is controversial in purpose, the claims of the heretics being used as the structure and basis of the refutation. But no controversy with Gnosticism is apparent in the Gospel, though the language of the Gospel is closely related to that of the Epistle, and would seem to reflect indirect Gnostic influence. In both the Gospel and the Epistles the idea of knowledge is wider than the specific vocabulary of knowledge. The content of, and means through which knowledge is communicated, presupposes the theme of revelation, and the means through which knowledge is experienced presupposes the examination of "seeing", "hearing", "abiding", "believing", "witness", and "love", as well as the specific verbs of knowing. From this examination it is clear that whereas "believing" is central in the Gospel, "love" is central in the Epistle, the change of emphasis being due to the confrontation with the Gnostic heretics.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1968
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 10:25

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