School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology


School of Theology and Seminary

First Advisor

William J. Cahoy

Second Advisor

Charles A. Bobertz

Subject Categories

Biblical Studies | Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The Gospel of John emphasizes both the humanity and the divinity of Jesus, simultaneously and in such a way that it is impossible to separate them. In fact, it is precisely in revealing His humanity that Jesus' divinity comes to light in the gospel. Similarly, the full meaning of His humanity is revealed in the gospel through His divinity. In other words, it is not possible to see clearly either the divinity of Jesus or His humanity except in the light of both.

The primary task of this paper is to analyze the text of the prologue and fourteen major stories from the Gospel of John, stories that enflesh the thesis set forth above. Each portrays something of the interplay between what are often considered human qualities of Jesus (as, for example, His weeping at the tomb of Lazarus) and qualities usually considered divine (including His raising Lazarus from the dead). A major focus is on how the evangelist portrays the human death of Jesus as the supreme testimony to His divinity, through which He is lifted up and God is glorified. In addition to presenting the author's reading of the texts as they bear on the thesis, the paper explores relevant commentaries of major Christian theologians from patristic times to the present.

The final portion of the paper explores briefly some of the implications of the thesis for theology, Christology, and anthropology. For example, if we see Jesus' weeping at the death of a friend as human only, and not divine, what does that say about our concepts of God-- and about our understanding of grief? Essentially, this portion of the paper makes use of the narrative of the Gospel to do theological reflection in areas more often addressed in systematic theology through more philosophical approaches. It concludes that we risk adopting inadequate, misleading views of God and humans if we seek to draw sharp divisions between what is human and what is divine in Jesus.


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