Examine the key theological themes of the prologue to the Fourth Gospel (18)
The prologue, though only eighteen verses, is one of the most analysed pieces of text in the Fourth Gospel. This is mainly down to the 'most puzzling' (Kysar) nature of the scripture, with Ruth Edwards agreeing that it is 'difficult to examine because the prologue's good ideas, open ended images, and abstract terminology that defy precise description.' Although there is argument over whether the prologue may be a redactional addition, or whether it was written by John (as it does not follow his writing style), there is clear thematic evidence that through the prologue we can come to a greater Christological understanding. Barrett believes 'The prologue stands before us as a prose introduction which has not been submitted to interpolation and was specifically written to introduce the Gospel.'
One of the key themes that is present in the prologue is Logos, Logos being Greek for 'word'.
There has been debate amongst scholars on the origin of this term: it has been seen as a thoroughly Greek term, since Stoic philosophers, among others, spoke of a logical principle of order. Logos can mean both 'word' or 'reason' and is seen as the core and heart of the universe. But it is also a thoroughly Jewish concept, since the OT speaks of God creating the world by 'his word' and of his word powerfully accomplishing his will (Isaiah 55:11). The first verses of the prologue "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Ã¢ÂÂ¦ the word became flesh" and the following reference to 'light in darkness,' show a clear Genesis motif, reminding the reader of God's creative word and its power. Furthermore,