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The Two Angels in John 20.12: An Egyptian Icon of Resurrection

  • Izaak J. de Hulster (a1)

The scene with two angels that Mary Magdalene sees in John 20.12 could have been visualized as an icon of resurrection by the first readers of the Fourth Gospel, especially by those familiar with the iconography of the Isis cult which was spread over the Roman Empire. Using traditional exegetical, hermeneutical, historical, and iconographic methods, this article stresses the importance of the resurrection in John 20, as corroborated by the motif of Isis and Nephthys flanking Osiris while mourning his death and assisting him in his resurrection.

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E. Ferguson , Backgrounds of Early Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2nd ed.1993) 252

J. Dieleman , De wereld in evenwicht: Goden en mensen in het Oude Egypte (De Oudheid; Amsterdam: Amsterdam University, 2006) 53

U. Schnelle , Einleitung in das Neue Testament (UTB 1830; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 3rd ed.1998) 486

S. van Tilborg , Reading John in Ephesus (NTSup 83; Leiden: Brill, 1996)

D. L. Balch , ‘Suffering of Isis/Io and Paul's Portrait of Christ Crucified (Gal. 3:1): Frescoes in Pompeian and Roman Houses and in the Temple of Isis in Pompeii’, Journal of Religion 83 (2003) 2455

S. Petersen , Brot, Licht und Weinstock: Intertextuelle Analysen johanneischer Ich-bin-Worte (NTSup 127; Leiden: Brill, 2008) esp. 181–99

B. M. Metzger , ‘Recently Published Greek Papyri of the New Testament’, Biblical Archaeologist 10/2 (1947) 2544, esp. 38–41

C. J. Bleeker , ‘Isis and Nephthys as Wailing Women’, Numen 5/1 (1958) 117 (esp. 17)

J. Hahn , ‘Die Zerstörung der Kulte von Philae. Geschichte und Legende am ersten Nilkatarakt’, From Temple to Church: Destruction and Renewal of Local Cultic Topography in Late Antiquity (ed. J. Hahn , S. E. Himmel , and U. Gotter ; RGWR 171; Leiden: Brill, 2008) 204–43

A. A. Barb (‘Three Elusive Amulets’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 27 [1964] 122)

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New Testament Studies
  • ISSN: 0028-6885
  • EISSN: 1469-8145
  • URL: /core/journals/new-testament-studies
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