Saturday, 2 May 2015

Taras Khomych: Conflicting Choreographies? Dance as Doctrinal Expression in Ignatius’ Ephesians 19 and Acts of John 94-96

One of the earliest Christian references to a (ritual?) dance, found in Ignatius’ epistle to the Ephesians 19, has long puzzled interpreters. In a polemical context Ignatius pulls together different Christological topics and offers a “mythic” narration, which presents a circular dance of heavenly bodies, involving sun, moon and stars. Focusing on this problematic pericope, the present contribution will examine it in relation to another intriguing text, namely Acts of John 94-96, which depicts a ritual dance supposedly performed by Jesus with His disciples prior to His execution. It is worth noting that each of these descriptions conveys a particular Christological message. In this contribution similarities and differences will be pointed out with the aim of bringing these two enigmatic dance scenes into dialogue. It will be argued that the two passages represent conflicting Christological views but, at the same time, both can be situated in the Johannine tradition. This all taken into consideration, it will be shown that the two pericopes can illuminate each other as well as offer valuable material for the study of the development and conflict within Johannine Christianity.

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