‘Vrijheid’ en ‘slavernij’ in Johannes 8:31-36 | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 48, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



In this article it is argued – over against the – that (Christian) freedom was not a conception of any importance in the Johannine communities. In John 8:31-36, the only passage in the Johannine writings where the terms έλενθεροῡν/έλεύθερος occur, they have been introduced only because of their ambiguity. A fine parallel is found in Epictetus, 4, 1, 7-10. In contrast to the claim of the Jews (or particular Jewish-Christian groups) of being sons of Abraham and consequently ‘free’ men, the author of John argues that they are ‘slaves’, and this implies that they do not belong to the house of Abraham any longer. The exegesis leads to a new interpretation of verse 35. ‘The house’ mentioned here does not refer to the house of God but to the house of Abraham. By not accepting unconditionally Jesus Christ as the Son of God Jesus’ discussion partners show, in the author’s opinion, that they have left their father’s house.


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