Symbolism In The Gospel Of John

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The Gospel of John contains some of the most profound truth which is expressed in the simplest way. It is full of imagery and symbolism which though concise and limited bears deep spiritual meaning. In his book, The Interpretation of the fourth Gospel, C. H. Dodd must have been the first to identify the leading ideas and thus separate in form and function the allegories of the Gospel of John from the synoptic parables and connect them with the Old Testament and the Hellenistic-Jewish symbolic tradition. That is to say the author of this Gospel mostly uses common things present in the life and tradition of his listeners and uses them to make the divine understandable. Koester in his book on Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel says that:…show more content…
(and)...once in the world, Jesus called upon things that could be heard, seen, touched, and tasted to bear witness to the unseen God who sent him, so that the commonplace - bread made from barley meal, streams of cool water, and a glimmer of light - became vehicles of revelation.1 Prominent among these are the seven ‘I am sayings’, where Jesus uses such things as bread, light, a door and the shepherd to symbolize him. Koester points out that the fundamental structure of these symbolisms are twofold: the primary level of meaning concerns Christ and the secondary concerns the disciple.2 He says that by concentrating the primary meaning of each image on Jesus and the secondary on his disciples, the Gospel continuously drives the reader to accept the fact about Jesus’ divinity and the meaning of his life (the reader) in relation to him.3 A clear example of this is the last but not least of the ‘I am’ sayings where Jesus represents himself as the ‘True Vine’ which we will here explore more in depth. It seems that this discourse took place after Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples. He had predicted his betrayal, told them that he had to go to the Father and that he would not leave them alone, that he would send them the Advocate, his Holy Spirit. So in John 15:1-8 it seems that he was warning them not to be like Judas but to remain in the

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