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The Vias Negativa and Positiva are evident in Jewish Scripture and Philo, but they also come across dialectically in the Fourth Gospel.1 Indeed, connections between these writings and the Fourth Gospel abound, as Peder Borgen and others have shown over the years, but this particular subject of overlap is an intriguing one. 2 Of special interest here are the apophatic and kataphatic thrusts of John’s historical, theological, and compositional interests with relation to the 9LD 1HJDWLYD and the 9LD 3RVLWLYD , as played out within histories of John’s situation and composition. Put simply, John’s presentation of Jesus and his ministry reflects a primitive theology of encounter (apophatically), designed rhetorically to lead people to believe in Jesus as the Messiah/Christ (kataphatically), followed by inviting believers to abide in Jesus and his community of faith in ways spiritually transformative (apophatically).


Published in From Jesus to Paul: Evangelizing the Joy of the Kingdom; Essays in Honor of Bernardo Estrada for his 70th Birthday (Da Gesù a Paolo. Evangelizzare la gioia del Regno; Scritti in onore di Bernardo Estrada nel suo 70o compleanno), edited by Giuseppe DiVirgilo (Rome: Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, 2020), 171-83. ISBN: 9788883338762

Originally presented at the 2019 Marburg SNTS meetings as a response to the paper of Athanasios Despotis on Philo.