Voices of the Mystics
The Gospel of John has always been perceived as a more mystical Gospel than the Synoptics. This book explores the mysticism of John in its historical context and puts forward evidence that the mysticism developed in this text is the result of the textualization of a dialogue between the Johannine and Thomasine Christians on the subject of soteriology. In contradiction to the Christians who revered the Gospel of Thomas and taught salvation through ascent and vision mysticism, the Johannine Gospel argues for a mysticism based on the faith experience. Evidence from the Preachings of John, the Gospel of the Savior (P. Berolinensis 22220), the Apocryphon of James, the Ascension of Isaiah, and the Dialogue of the Savior is examined to show that this soteriological controversy did not end with the composition of the Gospel of John but continued well into the second century. This book not only sheds new light on the development of Johannine ideology, but also forges a new path in New Testament socio-rhetorical criticism, particularly by developing the field of tradition intertexture.