Signs of Salvation
The Theme of Creation in John’s Gospel
By Anthony M. Moore
Due for Release: 26/09/2013
In John 20:15, Mary Magdalene meets the risen Christ but does not recognize him, instead supposing him to be ‘the gardener’. In the original Greek, the word for gardener, ὁ κηπουρός, is a hapax legomenon, meaning that the world is used just once in all the New Testament. In this book, Anthony M. Moore demonstrates how, although exceptional, the use of this word is not accidental, but is used as a connection to the image of the Garden of Eden and the creation of the world, revealing Jesus, who is one with the Father, as the life-giving Creator-God: he is ‘the Gardener’.
The Fourth Gospel presents examples of the ancient rhetorical devices of lexical and conceptual amphibologia (double-meaning and double-reference). The most famous example is the play on the word ναός (temple), and its double-reference between the structure of the Jerusalem Temple and the ‘temple’ of Jesus’ body. Another one is the ambiguous use of τυφλός (blind), indicating both spiritual and physical blindness. The theory of the connection between the word “gardener” and the theme of creation is based on these examples of syntactic interpretation. Moore has searched the text for what he calls ‘creation indicators’ and has observed that these leitmotifs of the creation theme play a particularly significant role in the Signs narratives of the Fourth Gospel and goes on to suggest that the Signs are themselves re-presentations of the days of creation in the first Genesis account (Gen. 1:1-2:4a) in its Greek translation. Moore argues that throughout the whole of his narrative John is trying to direct the astute reader to a fundamental level of meaning that connects the story of the life and ‘works’ of Jesus with the gospel’s dominant theme, creation. To support his argument, Moore carefully analyses not just the narrative itself, but considers issues of its authorship, the purpose of the gospel and John’s original readership and audience, some of whom, he suggests, would have been being people of learning who could recognise and appreciate this lexographical implication.
Taking into full account the critical tools employed by biblical commentators in the past two centuries and recent Septuagintal scholarship, Moore approaches the text of the Fourth Gospel in a holistic way, seeking to engage with the overarching interpretative matrix and reflect on the broad canvas of Johannine theology. This book is an important new contribution to scholarship on the Fourth Gospel and will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in biblical studies, Christian environmental issues, or John in particular be they student, teacher or preacher.
About the Author: Dr Anthony M. Moore is Canon Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral. Previously he was Dean of Chapel, Chaplain and a Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He has taught at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield and has served in parishes in Lancashire and Central London where he was also Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music. He has lectured and led study days on his research in the Dioceses of Ely, London, Winchester, Lichfield, Wakefield and St Edmundsbury & Ipswich.
About the Publisher: The Lutterworth Press has been trading since the eighteenth century and is one of the longest established and best-known independent publishers in the United Kingdom. It has been associated with James Clarke & Co. since 1984.
– John: A New Covenant Commentary, By Jey J. Kanagaraj, ISBN: 9780718892845
– John’s Wisdom: A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel, By Ben Witherington III, ISBN: 9780718829452
– Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, By J.C. Ryle, ISBN: 9780227678862