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Abstract reads : "Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” (20:17 ESV)λέγειαὐτῇἸησοῦς·μήμουἅπτου, οὔπωγὰρἀναβέβηκαπρὸςτὸνπατέραπορεύουδὲπρὸςτοὺςἀδελφούςμουκαὶεἰπὲαὐτοῖς· ἀναβαίνωπρὸςτὸνπατέραμουκαὶπατέραὑμῶνκαὶθεόνμουκαὶθεὸνὑμῶν.(20:17 NA28) What does Jesus mean when he speaks of his ascension in John 20:17? When and where does this ascension occur? How does the Johannine ascension relate to the way the ascension is depicted in Luke-Acts? Many commentators approach John with the assumption that where there are tensions in harmonizing John with Luke-Acts, the chronology of Luke-Acts is to be preferred. This has a significant impact on how they read the text. Readings of John 20,preoccupied with harmonization questions, tend to misread elements in John’s narrative and read into the text elements of the Luke-Acts account that are not present in John’s narrative. This is particularly evident when the presentations of the ascension in John and Luke-Acts narratives are compared. This paper conducts a reader-response experiment that postpones questions of Gospel harmonization and seeks to understand the Johannine ascension announcement in John 20:17, firstly within the immediate context of the John 20 narrative, then within the wider narrative context of the entire Fourth Gospel, and finally seeking to understand how the Johannine ascension relates to the ascension account in Luke-Acts. Reading John and Luke-Acts as texts in their own right that challenge and complement the perspective of the other, yields a rich and well-rounded theology of the resurrection, the ascension, the exaltation and the role of the Spirit. Counterintuitively, reading John first, before asking questions about harmonization, opens up intriguing and satisfying possibilities for harmonizing John 20 with Luke-Acts. This paper demonstrates that the Johannine ascension is a relational reunion with the Father, as distinct from the spatial translation to heaven in Luke’s account. The Johannine ascension is more akin to what Systematic Theologians call the exaltation of Jesus. " Chapter 1 : Setting the scene Chapter 2 : Issues of method Chapter 3 : First reading : the ascension in John 20 Chapter 4 : Second reading : the ascension in John Chapter 5 : Third reading : the Johannine ascension for readers of Luke-Acts Chapter 6 : Some observations about reading A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Theology Moore Theological College, July 2015


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