The New Revelation of God: How Δόξα Frames the Ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of John

My paper argues that the Gospel of John (GJohn) frames Jesus’ public ministry (~chs. 1-12) by the use of δόξα such that it provides a hermeneutical lens to understand the Johannine presentation of Jesus’ ministry. J. T. Nielsen in an NTS article (“Narrative Structures of Glory and Glorification in the Fourth Gospel”) pointed out how tempting it would be to call 2007 a “glorious year in Johannine scholarship.” Rainer Schwindt (Gesichte der Herrlichkeit) and Nicole Chibici-Revneanu (Die Herrlichkeit des Verherrlichten) published monographs on the Johannine concept of glory, and Jörg Frey followed with a keynote lecture at the SNTS conference on the retrospective character of glory in the GJohn. Nielsen then goes on to critique the works of Schwindt and Chibici-Revneanu for not analyzing the terms δόξα / δοξάζω in reference to the narrative plot of the Gospel. Frey, however, does so but Nielsen believes Frey’s analysis effectively collapses or dissolves the narrative structures themselves. Nielsen proceeds then to interpret John’s use of δόξα / δοξάζω using criteria from Aristotle’s Poetics. I too seek to interpret John’s use of δόξα / δοξάζω in light of the narrative structure. However, rather than using criteria from Aristotle’s Poetics, I take John’s explicit purpose statement in John 20:31 and then ask how his use of δόξα / δοξάζω within his explicit narrative structure accomplishes that purpose. My paper summarizes my analysis of the occurrences of δόξα in John 1-12 and makes an argument for how the use of δόξα provides an “inner frame” (2:11; 11:4, 40) and “outer frame” (1:14; 12:41, 43) through which the Gospel presents the public ministry of Jesus. The “outer frame” (1:14; 12:41, 43) shows that a new definitive revelation of Yahweh has dawned in Jesus, Jesus’s δόξα is Yahweh’s δόξα. The “inner frame” (2:11; 11:4, 40) provides the pattern for how Jesus’s δόξα is revealed—it is revealed in the signs he performs for the purpose of belief. The “outer frame” and “inner frame” bracket the public ministry of Jesus and characterize it as a ministry of revealing Yahweh’s glory in signs for belief, while also providing an apologetic for why many did not respond with belief. Therefore, the Johannine presentation of Jesus’ public ministry should be understood as one that presents Jesus as the new definitive revelation of Yahweh’s glory, such that to believe in Jesus is to believe in Yahweh, and to reject Jesus is to reject Yahweh.