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As for the intertextual connections with LXX Gen 1.1-5, the first and most obvious is evn avrch|. Both texts, begin with ‘beginning.’ Crossing paths here are the likes of LXX Prov 8.22-23, Sir 24.9, Wis 6.22, all of which place wisdom at the beginning, and Col 1.15-20, 1 Clem 33.4, Diogn. 7.2, which place a Christ-figure at the beginning. Also, we can count here Philo's understanding of the divine lo,goj. Two of Philo's texts also included in this chapter are illustrative. In both Opif 31 and Somn 75, Philo equates the divine lo,goj with the incorporeal light of Day One. While it is difficult to say with any measurable certainty that there is a deliberate relationship (e.g. the author of John knew the writings of Philo) between John and Philo, it does appear that Jn 1.1-5, like Philo, ‘was part of the larger world of Hellenistic Jewish speculative interpretations of biblical texts,’ specifically of Gen 1.1-5.210 E. Haenchen, John 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of John Chapter 1-6, (trans. R.W. Funk; ed. R.W. Funk and U. Busse; Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984) asserts that ‘the agreement is intentional.’ (109) There seems to be a solid consensus about this among modern commentators.

R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, (trans. G.R. Beasley-Murray; Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1971 [first German edition, 1964]) 13. Similarly, R.H. Lightfoot, St John's Gospel: A Commentary, (ed. C.F. Evans;

Oxford: Clarendon, 1956) 78.

See R.E. Brown, The Gosepel According to John, 2 vols. (AB 29-29A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966-1970) 1.3-37, also T.H. Tobin, “The Prologue of John and Hellenistic Jewish Speculation,” CBQ 52 (1990) 252ff. Contra this view, C.K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, (2nd ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978) holds the position that Jn 1.1-18 is original to the author of the whole (150-151).

Brown, John, 1.3-37. G. Rochais, “La formation du prologue [Jn 1, 1-18],” ScEs 37 (1985) outlines a variety of different scholarly parsings of the ‘logos hymn’ from the rest of the Prologue (5-9).

E.g. Tobin, “Prologue of John,” 252-269. Also of note is the revised doctoral thesis (St Andrews, 2000) of M.

Endo, Creation & Christology: A Study on the Johannine Prologue in the Light of Early Jewish Creation Accounts, (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002), a study quite similar to this one, which examines a variety of creation texts covering the breadth of genres during the late Second Temple period, including both Wisdom texts and those of both Philo and Aristobulus.

E.g. E.H. Pagels, “Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John,” JBL 118 (1999) 477-496.

That said, Endo, Creation & Christology, wades fairly successfully through the confluent traditions that come together in John 1.1-5.

Tobin, “Prologue of John,” 268.

–188 –


The light/dark dichotomy introduced in Jn 1.4-5, bears at least an intertextual resemblance in particular to LXX Gen 1.2, 4-5 for sko,toj211 and LXX Gen 1.3-5 for fw/j. While it has been suggested that this light/dark imagery is dependent upon the Treatise of the Two Spirits (1QS iii.13-iv.36) from Qumran,212 R. Bauckham has rightly corrected this scholarly over-stretch based on the ‘basic symbolism’ of light and darkness.213 More aptly, as pointed out by Bauckham,214 and as noted above by Tobin,215 there is a general pool of Second Temple Jewish imagery from which the Prologue, Philo, and others drew.

One further note on the difference between the use of light/dark imagery in John 1 and Genesis 1. It is possible to understand that darkness as part of the whole of creation is declared good in Gen 1.31. It is also possible that darkness, along with the rest of Gen 1.2, does not fit the category of stuff mentioned in Gen 1.31, as it is not expressly stated that God created darkness anywhere in the text. Either way, darkness is either good or neutral.

Genesis 1 does not judge darkness as good or bad. Rather, God's separation of light and darkness is a fundamental ordering of the cosmos. John 1.1-5, however, does make a value judgment about light and darkness, to the point that the language used about the pair is conflict language. Light is equated with life, and light shines in the darkness.

This is not a separation from but a battle with darkness, which is ultimately not able to overpower (katalamba,nw) the light.

Shepherd of Hermas Visions 3.42164.3.6

ivdou. o` qeo.j tw/n duna,mewn( o` avora,tw|217 duna,mei kai. krataia/| kai. th|/ mega,lh| sune,sei auvtou/ kti,saj to.n ko,smon kai. th/| evndo,xw| boulh/| periqei.j th.n euvpre,peian th/| kti,si auvtou/( kai. tw/| ivscurw/| r`h,mati ph,xaj to.n ouvrano.n kai. qemeliw,saj th.n gh/n evpi. u`da,twn kai. th/| ivdi,a| sofi,a| It ought to be noted that it is the feminine skoti,a used here rather than the masculine sko,toj.

J.H. Charlesworth, “A Critical Comparison of the Dualism in 1QS 3:13-4:26 and the 'Dualism' Contained in the Gospel of John,” in John and the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. J.H. Charlesworth; New York: Crossroad, 1990) 76-106.

R. Bauckham, “The Qumran Community and the Gospel of John,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years After

Their Discovery, Proceedings of the Jerusalem Conference, July 20-25, 1997 (ed. L.H. Schiffman, et al.; Jerusalem:

Israel Exploration Society with The Shrine of the Book, 2000) 111.

Bauckham notes five areas more likely to have influenced the Prologue than 1QS: (1) the light/dark imagery of Day One [Gen 1.1-5] as interpreted in the likes of 4 Ezra 6.40, LAB 28.8-9, 60.2; 4Q392 1.4-7; 2 Enoch 24.4J, 25;

Aristobulus [Eusebius PraepEvang 13.12.9-11]; JoAsen 8.9; and Philo, Opif 29-35; (2) a prophet/teacher who would shine as a light in the darkness; (3a) Torah as a light which illuminates the path for people to walk and (3b) Torah as a light for the world; (4) Christ as light for the world as an interpretation of Isaiah's prophecies of illumination (Isa 9.1) and a light to the nations; and (5) an association of Jesus with the eternal light in the Holy of Holies. (112-113) Bauckham's #5 is also bolstered by the idea that the high priest bore/wore the whole of creation when in the Holy of Holies in his vestments (e.g. Philo, Spec 1.296-298, Vita 2.133, etc.). Similarly, Josephus writes about how during the night a light as bright as day shone around the altar in the Holy of Holies (War 6.290).

Tobin, “Prologue of John,” 252-269.

This numbering follows the renumbering of Hermas in M. Whittaker, Der Hirt des Hermas. Die apostlischen Väter, vol. 1, (2nd ed.; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1967). The more traditional reference is 1.3.4.

o` avora,tw| is a correction to the Greek text from invisibili in the 2nd c. CE Latin version L1. The 4th c. CE L2 reads sustentabili. The Greek mss – Codex Sinaiticus (4th c.), Bodmer Papyrus 38 (late 4th/early 5th c.), and Codex Athous (15th c.) – all read o]n avgapw/. The Ethiopic (possibly 6th c. CE) reads in misericordia sua et in amore suo. Cf.

Lindemann and Paulson, Apostolischen Väter, 336. Bodmer Papyrus 38 also follows the Greek as noted above, cf.

Ehrman, ed., Apostolic Fathers, 183. The correction of the Greek from the Latin of the Vulgate was first suggested by Adolphus Hilgenfeld, Leipzig, 1873.

–189 –


kai. pronoi.a218 kti,saj th.n a`gi,an evkklhsi,an auvtou/( h]n kai. huvlo,ghsen( ivdou. meqista,nei tou.j | ouvranou.j kai. ta. o;rh kai. tou.j bounou.j kai. ta.j qala,ssaj( kai. pa,nta o`mala. gi,netai toi/j evklektoi/j auvtou/( i[na avpodoi/ auvtoi/j th.n evpaggeli,an( h]n evphggei,lato( meta. pollh/j do,xhj kai.

cara/j( eva.n thrh,swsin ta. no,mima tou/ qeou/ a] pare,labon evn mega,lh| pi,stei) Behold, the God of power(s), who by his invisible power, might, and great understanding created the world, and by his glorious plan encompassed his creation with beauty, and by his powerful word fixed heaven and founded the earth upon [the] waters, and by his unique wisdom and foreknowledge created his holy church, which he also blessed – behold, he transforms the heavens and the mountains and the hills and the seas, and everything becomes level for his elect, that he may deliver over to them the promise he made, with great glory and joy, if they keep the ordinances of God, which they received in great faith.

This apocalypse,219 likely dating from the early second century CE,220 has little formal resemblance to LXX Nonetheless, it is a creation text with a ‘strong cosmogonic colouring.’221 and it has sufficient Gen 1.1-5.

intertextual markers (avo,ratoj(222 ouvrano,j( gh/( u[dwr) to warrant inclusion. This text comes from the first section of the Shepherd of Hermas, in the midst of a series of visionary encounters with an ancient lady, later identified as the church.223 The above pericope comes from the end of Hermas' first vision. Much of what he is told in this vision is reportedly too terrible to relate. He does, however, relay this final portion of his vision because these words ‘are useful and gentle.’224 (3.3) God's creative power provides the foundation for this passage that is ultimately about the creation of the church and an enticement of people to faithfulness. There are three products of God's creative work in this passage – the cosmos, including both heaven and earth, and the church. God's method of creation is the word (r`h/ma), which is similar to creation by speech in Genesis 1, but lacking any direct intertextual connection. One should also note, though not all the manuscripts support it,225 the creation of the church is said to come by means of God's wisdom (sofi,a) and foreknowledge (pro,noia), possibly placing this text in line with other wisdom creation texts. The closest connection with LXX Gen 1.1-5 comes in the phrase evpi. u`da,twn, which resembles evpa,nw tou/ u[datoj (LXX Gen 1.2). Finally, while this particular text does not expressly state that the church was created at the beginning, the th/| ivdi,a| sofi,a| kai. pronoi.a| is found in Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Athous, and the Ethiopic mss. The Latin mss – L1 virtute sua potenti and L2 potenti virtute – appear to agree with Bodmer Papyrus 38, which reads th/| dun@a,mei auv#tou/ th|/ krat@ai,a|#. A. Carlini, Papyrus Bodmer XXXVIII, Erma: Il Pastore (Ia-IIIa visione), (Bibliotheca Bodmeriana; Coligny/Genève: Foundation Martin Bodmer, 1991) prefers the text reflected in Bodmer Papyrus 38 and the Latin translations (68 n.5 – transcription at 41-42).

A. Yarbro Collins, “The Early Christian Apocalypses,” Semeia 14 (1979) 75.

See the rehearsal of the debate over the date of Hermas in C. Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas, (ed. H. Koester;

Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999) 18-20, noting that range of dates goes from the late 1st c. to the last half of the 2nd c. CE, possibly associated per the Muratorian Canon with the bishopric of Pius I in Rome (c.140-c.154 CE).

For a transcription of the Muratorian Canon, cf. S.P. Tregelles, Canon Muratorianus: The Earliest Catalogue of the Books of the New Testament, (Oxford: Clarendon, 1897) 58.

L. Pernveden, The Concept of the Church in the Shepherd of Hermas, (Studia Theologica Lundensia 27; Lund:

CWK Gleerup, 1966) 20.

I am including avoratoj as an intertextual marker in line with the correction, noted above, from Jerome's 2nd c. CE, Latin translation, and on the grounds that avoratoj fits better than o]n avgapw/, which makes little sense in this context.

, Also, Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas, 50.

First identified as h` evkklhsi,a, Hermas 8.1.

Herm. Vis. 3.3 (I.3.3).

See above, p.178, n.216.

–190 –


juxtaposition of the creation of the church with that of heaven and earth can lead one to place the creation of the church at the beginning,226 to which should be added that in at least one text the church is created first of all227 and that it is for the sake of the world that the church was created.228 Sibylline Oracles 1.5-21229 4.3.7

–  –  –

The above pericope comes at the beginning of Sibylline Oracles 1-2, ‘a unified collection of oracles’ that may be Jewish in origin and later adapted by Christians.232 The Christian interpolations in Sibylline Oracles 1-2 Elsewhere in Hermas the author suggests a variety of things that were created first: church 3.4, 8.1; angels 12.1, 58.3; Holy Spirit 59.5; and the Son of God 89.2, similarly 91.5.

pa,ntwn prw,th evkti,sqh – Herm 8.1.

kai. dia. tauthn o` ko,smoj kathrti,sqh – Herm 8.1.

The Greek text used is from J. Geffcken, Die Oracula Sibyllina, (Griechische Christliche Schriftsteller 8;

Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1902).

basilh/a is likely a variant of basile,a, the accusative singular of basileu,j.

fw/j gluku, in the nominative presents a difficulty here.

–191 –


likely date no later than mid-second century CE, with the original text possibly dating from around the turn of the Era.233 Sib.Or. 5-21 is roughly the first half of the creation account (Sib.Or. 5-37). Our pericope covers the creation of the cosmos absent the creation of humans, which is the focus of the remainder of the account.234 This is not the weightiest text as far as its intertextual connections with Gen 1.1-5. At the same time, there is some intertextual resemblance (ouvrano,j( gh/( fw/j( poie,w), along with a few additional similarities that ought to be mentioned.

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