We are launching a new blog series featuring contributors to the new book, Cruciform Scripture. To kick us off, we have Dr. Christopher Skinner who also is one of the editors. Cruciform Scripture is a book in the field of New Testament theology, the work is written in honor of the scholarship of Dr. Michael J. Gorman.
Christopher W. Skinner: Chapter Four: “The Johannine Cross as Revelation of the Father: Finding a Cruciform God in the Fourth Gospel”
Tell us about your connection to the honoree, Michael J. Gorman?
I had the privilege of teaching at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute in Baltimore for five years (2005 – 2010) while Mike was the dean. He was the one who hired me and gave me my first opportunity in the classroom. As for what I appreciate about Mike, I think it’s clear to many that he is both an insightful scholar and a gifted teacher/communicator, but what I most appreciate about him is his humility. In these three ways his example has given me much to aspire to.
Your topic is cruciformity in John. Why did you choose this subject?
Mike is obviously well-known for his work on cruciformity and the letters of Paul (among other things), but he has also done some really fine work on the Fourth Gospel (cf. especially his book, Abide and Go: Missional Theosis in the Gospel of John [Cascade, 2018]). Since most of my work has been in the gospels, and much of that in John, it made sense that I would interact with Mike’s work in the context of my own understanding of John. I also thought such a chapter could be helpful, since Mike has not yet systematically explored notions of cruciformity in the Fourth Gospel.
Can you share more about your essay?
My chapter is devoted to the question, “Do we see a ‘cruciform God’ in the Fourth Gospel in ways that meaningfully coincide with Gorman’s description of the ‘cruciform God’ in Paul’s letters and elsewhere in the NT?” I begin by looking at the important notion of Jesus as “revealer of God” in John. I then explore proleptic moments in the gospel that announce or anticipate the cross, culminating in an examination of the revelatory events at the foot-washing. Against that backdrop, I ask what, if anything, the Johannine crucifixion reveals about the Father and how this intersects with Gorman’s articulation of cruciformity.