“Temple Cleansing” in John’s Gospel

In theological debates about violence, patriots/realists will often cite Jesus’ anger in the temple as an example of God’s wrath being manifest in the Son. The argument goes something like “Jesus is violent, therefore Christians are not prohibited from violence.”

There is a lot going on in these passages, but violence may not be the emphasis so much as economics.

Recently, I rediscovered an in-depth textual  analysis of John’s gospel that I did as a graduate student that might be helpful. My interpretation suggests there is a pattern Jesus follows, of Telling followed by Reflecting. The whole scene, while seemingly about violence in the usual way it is used, actually uses much more commercial and financial language than it does overt ‘political’ language. Head over to my Academia.edu profile and let me know what you think, or leave me feedback in the comments below!

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