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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the symbolism of the Fourth Gospel. It demonstrates that religious symbol is substantial rather than decorative, containing cognitive meaning as well as affective impact. The metaphors of the gospel are linguistic forms of symbolism, apparent in the seven ‘I am’ sayings of the Gospel and in the use of the five senses as metaphors of faith. Johannine symbolism is inextricably linked to the narrative out of which it emerges. John’s symbols are not of equal value, some playing a core role in the narrative. The ‘signs’ or miracles of the Gospel are also important, functioning as Johannine symbols in revealing the divine glory in Jesus and summoning the reader to faith. The cross is the greatest of the Johannine ‘signs’. Theologically, the incarnation lies at the basis of John’s symbolism: the conviction that divine glory is apprehended in and through the flesh.

Keywords: cross, faith, flesh, glory, incarnation, metaphor, ‘sign’, symbolism

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