This post is part of an ongoing series examining the relationship between the Odes of Solomon and Gospel of John.
This study has sought to recast the relationship between the Odes of Solomon and Gospel of John by calling for the application of contextualized methodological criteria in a comparison of these two texts. Such a methodology was argued to incorporate considerations of literary citation, genre, linguistic differences, geography, and purposes in writing as important aspects of understanding possible instances of literary connection between ancient texts. Instead of affirming a “common milieu” connecting the Odes and Fourth Gospel, the application of this contextual methodology illustrates that signs of literary dependence exist between the Odes and John’s Gospel, especially Ode 3’s apparent use of an exegetical motif derived from the Upper Room Discourses of John 14 and 15.
While this study is by no means comprehensive, such a conclusion does suggest that perspectives which fail to recognize the literary connection between the Odes and Gospel must be reevaluated. Methodological precision will only further clarify scholarship intending to understand early Christian literary culture. Another implication of this study indicates that greater care must be taken in attempting to recognize exegetical motifs at work in early Christian writings, especially those which are liturgical or poetic in nature. Further, the insights of this study suggest further cross-specializational analysis among scholars of early Christianity, as the methods of those studying the Apostolic Fathers have proved useful in this study of the Odes. In this regard, it is somewhat puzzling that the Odes are largely not studied along with other early Christian writings from a similar period and provenance. Such a project may prove insightful in the future.
Continued investigation of the Odes of Solomon remains a field ripe with opportunity, especially through the application of contextually informed methodological principles for discerning the use of scriptural themes and language in early Christian literature. It is my hope that this paper may provide some starting point for discovering more fully the manner in which worship, scripture, and interpretation functioned in the early Christian Church.