Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

“It Is the Spirit That Gives Life”: A Stoic Understanding of Pneuma in John's Gospel
Buch-Hansen, Gitte

Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010 pp. xvii + 502. $182.00

Series Information
Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und Kunde der älteren Kirche, 173

Description: Since Origen and Chrysostom, John´s Gospel has been valued as the most spiritual among the New Testament writings. Although Origen recognizes the Stoic character of John´s statement that ""God is pneuma"" (4:24), an examination of the gospel in light of Stoic physics has not yet been carried out. Combining her insight into Stoic physics and ancient physiology, the author situates her thesis in the major discussions of modern Johannine scholarship - e.g. the role of the Baptist and the function of the Johannine signs - and demonstrates new solutions to well-known problems. The Stoic study of the Fourth Gospel reveals a coherent narrative tied together by the spirit. The problem with which John´s Gospel wrestles is not the identity of Jesus, but the transition from the Son of God to the next generation of divinely begotten children: how did it come about? A reading carried out from a Stoic perspective points to the translation of the risen body of Jesus into spirit as the decisive event. The provision of the spirit is a precondition of the divine generation of believers. Both events are explained by Stoic theory which allows of a transformation of fleshly elements into pneuma and of multiple fatherhood. In fact, in his Commentary on John, Origen described Jesus´ ascension as an event of anastoixeiôsis, which is the Stoic term for the transformation of heavily elements into lighter and pneumatic ones.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Johannine Literature, John, Literature

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBL’s login procedure is now synched to SBL’s. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.

Email Address
SBL Password
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership

Review by Cornelis Bennema
Published 4/17/2011
Citation: Cornelis Bennema, review of Gitte Buch-Hansen, “It Is the Spirit That Gives Life”: A Stoic Understanding of Pneuma in John's Gospel, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2011).

Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.


Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us