Collationes: Vlaams tijdschrift voor theologie en pastoraal vol:38 issue:3 pages:293-314
The Johannine key words in 19,35 “to see” (horaō), “to testify” (martyreō) and “to believe” (pisteuō) are the object of research in this article. Paul Ricœur understands the Johannine testimony as dialectical. Testimony and confession are unified without distance. Testimony, starting from the visible reality, becomes confession when characters in the gospel recognise Jesus as the incarnated Logos (e.g., 1,29-34). The Johannine seeing, which lays the foundation of the eyewitness, creates the possibility to believe. Seeing the signs (sēmeia) performed by Jesus, means to recognise in these material deeds Jesus’ glory as of the only begotten from the Father (cf. 1,14). In the Fourth Gospel Jesus acts as symbol of God. The evangelist wrote his gospel as testimony so that we, by reading the gospel, may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (cf. 20,30-31). The encounter with God in Jesus is no longer limited to the words and deeds of the historical Jesus but occurs in reading the gospel. Therefore the gospel has to be understood as essentially symbolic. The encounter with God occurs in the dynamics of testimony and the faithful answer. Seeing, testifying and believing are hermeneutical concepts. Past, present and future are put together and represent the salvation history for the reader.