Thursday, 23 May 2019
Annette Weissenrieder: Birth, Rebirth, and the Resurrected Body in the Old Latin Gospel of John
Insofar as Christianity can be said to have begun with the disappearance of a body, namely the absence of Jesus’ body in the grave, this disappearance occasioned not so much a disjuncture with Jesus’ preceding work as a new start, by way of a salvific turn, according to multiple accounts in the New Testament. It is through the absence of Jesus’ body and subsequent appearances of the risen Jesus that the messianic promise is fulfilled.Christian faith was thus marked, from the earliest time, by questions regarding the meaning, representation, and transformation of the body and the notion of “new life.” In the Gospel of John, after Jesus is resurrected he blows (ἐμφυσάω, accipite) the holy spirit into his disciples (John 20:22). Here the spirit evokes the framework of ancient embryology, in which spirit brings life. Ancient embryology illumines the recurrent passages in John referring to birth, being reborn, and children of God, especially 1:13–14 and 3:3–8.