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Reading Darkness: The Burial of the Johannine Christ

Finch, Yasmin (2013) Reading Darkness: The Burial of the Johannine Christ. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis identifies and develops the discourse of darkness in the Gospel of John. It approaches the theme as both a textual motif, Johannine σκοτία, and a discussion of negative elements within the text, viewed from a feminist perspective. Scholars have long considered the aspect of light, φῶς, in the Gospel and Jesus’ characterisation as ‘the light.’ The motif of darkness, however, has been relatively underexplored and an association made between Jesus, his burial, and the theme of σκοτία, rarer still. This thesis considers Johannine σκοτία in terms of death, trauma, and abjection, and traces the descent of the motif through the passion account to its nadir in the burial scene. Historical enquiry is used to establish what might be considered expected first-century norms with regards to the crucified Jewish corpse in first-century Palestine and this thesis proposes a reading of the burial text which problematises positivistic interpretations of the burial ritual that Joseph and Nicodemus undertake. A study of the mother of Jesus in the Gospel reveals maternal abjection as a negative force within the text and identifies that when she fails to make the narrative journey from cross to grave, all is not well. Finally the thesis presents a detailed study of John 19:42b, the closing depiction of Jesus’ corpse laid out in the tomb. The painting of Hans Holbein the Younger The Dead Christ in the Tomb, the writing of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and the theory of Julia Kristeva, are drawn into a discussion of the image, or the ‘last look,’ at the corpse of Christ contained in this verse.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Gospel of John, feminist, feminism, Kristeva, Kristevian, darkness, light, death, burial, crucifixion, Johannine, John 19, Mary, mother of Jesus, Jesus, literary, literary theory, interpretation, biblical studies, women, tomb, funerary.
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Biblical Studies (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.729473
Depositing User: Dr Yasmin Finch
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2017 12:00
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18972

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