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John, it seems to me that you read what I have written very selectively, with a view to maintaining a crude antagonism between orthodoxy and heterodoxy. I would take your comments more seriously if instead of simply dismissing the exegetical arguments regarding the three passages where syntax may allow an identification of Jesus with God (Rom. 9:5; Tit. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:1), you took the trouble to show where you think they are at fault. Otherwise, you are simply reinforcing my impression that in your view theological tradition must always overrule biblical interpretation regardless of the exegetical arguments.

As it is, the arguments against reading these texts as statements of divine identity seem to me to be very strong. The Fathers, in any case, relied not on these three ambiguous passages but on John’s Logos theology for the development of Trinitarianism.

John’s Gospel is part of the New Testament. I do not downgrade it; it is part of the witness of the early church to the significance of Jesus. My point is the historical-critical one, which is that we do a grave disservice to Mark, Matthew, Luke, Paul, and the writer to the Hebrews if we force their writings into a theological framework that patently emerged outside the mainstream apocalyptic Jewish-Christian tradition, even though it went on to have central significance in the deliberations of the Fathers.

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