• "'They Did Not Belong to Us:' Johannine Language and Social Identity"

    Chance Bonar (see profile)
    Biblical Studies, Religious Studies
    Bible, Bible. New Testament, Criticism, Textual, Religion
    Item Type:
    1 John, Gospel of John, Johannine Community, Paraclete, Biblical studies, New Testament textual criticism
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    The Johannine group formulates for itself specific characteristics that differentiate it from three major Johannine opponents. The language of Social Identity Theory makes it evident that the Johannine group acts as an ingroup, according to its own text(s). As an ingroup with an emphasis on true knowledge, loyalty to Christ, and lived experience of Jesus’s teachings, outgroups could be seen as threatening due to their ability to persuade members of the failure of their Messiah, change loyalties toward the Roman Empire, or pull some out of an intimate relationship with God through the Paraclete. In order to emphasize that the Johannine tradition is more "correct" and brings about a more positive social identity for the ingroup, the authors of John and 1 John reveal the supposed misunderstanding and ignorance of the outgroups. Opponents of this early Christian sect are stereotyped as completely ignorant so that ingroup members will not look upon them as having any religious truth or as knowing a non-Johannine path to positive distinctiveness, which would increase social competition between the groups. The Johannine worldview is not interested in encouraging more competition or diversity of belief, but instead stresses the orthodoxy and homogeneity of their Jesus tradition. This stress placed upon truth encourages the high-commitment ‘die-hards,’ but also (as seen in 1 John) can create an extremist group like the antichrists. The mainline Johannine belief is defended and defined by their stress on love, truth, commandments, and the direction of the Paraclete, so that no outgroup can be mistaken for such radical early Christians.
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    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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