Spirit of Truth is the first of a two-volume study of the origin and development of the teaching of the Holy Spirit as it appears in the Gospel of John and in the First Epistle of John.
Scholarly works on the Apostle John’s teaching on the Holy Spirit have tended to concentrate on the image of Spirit as Paraclete or Advocate, and have neglected the specific Biblical interpretation of the role attributed to the Spirit throughout the New Testament and specifically in the thought of the fourth evangelist. The purpose of this study is to explore and explain how this specific interpretation developed in Johannine thought and ecclesial experience, and to stress its vital implications for scriptural interpretation and preaching within our church community today.
The first volume reveals the influence of the Old Testament, Zoroastrianism and Qumran texts on the shaping of the figure of the Spirit in Israel's religious experience. It traces the origin of the image of Spirit of Truth through the Old Testament and the two centuries period between the composition of the last book of the Old Testament and the first book of the New Testament. Its dualistic aspect ("spirit of truth/spirit of deception," as in I John 4:6) is shown to be rooted in the Dead Sea Scrolls and, ultimately, in the ethical-eschatological dualism of the Iranian prophet Zarathustra. This work shows, finally, how Israel came to know the Spirit as a blessing, sanctifying, protecting and revealing divine presence.
About the Author: The Very Rev John Breck was Professor of New Testament and Ethics at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary from 1984 to 1996. He is presently Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Ethics at St Sergius Theological Institute, Paris, France, and with his wife, Lyn, directs the St Silouan Retreat Center near Charleston, SC.