Paul M. Hoskins, Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Temple in the Gospel of John, Paternoster Biblical Monographs. Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2006. xiv + 265pp. $35.00. Paper.
This volume is a revision of a dissertation done by Paul Hoskins, who now teaches at Southwestern Seminary, at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School under the supervision of D. A. Carson. Carson pens a foreword to the book that points to the feature of this volume that sets it apart from the many others that treat Jesus and the temple in John. That distinctive feature is the fine treatment of typology offered by this volume.
Hoskins opens with a chapter that provides a helpful summary of what is happening in Johannine studies, a clear methodological framework, and a very important survey of the state of the scholarly discussion on the issue of typology. Anyone interested in typology should begin their research with this excellent, up to date discussion of the issue.
Chapter two then examines the significance of the temple in the Old Testament and in some extra-biblical Jewish literature. The Old Testament establishes key patterns that will be matched and exceeded by Jesus. Chapter three exegetes passages in John that point to Jesus fulfilling and replacing the temple: John 2:18–22; 1:14; 1:51; and 4:20–24. Chapter four takes up the relationship established in the Gospel of John between the temple and the Jewish feasts and the provision Jesus brings in his death, resurrection, and exaltation.
Chapter five moves on to a key issue in the discussion of typology. A typological relationship between the temple and Jesus is established on the three points that in fulfilling the temple, Jesus has (1) fulfilled an Old Testament institution (2) through the significant correspondence between the institution and himself, and (3) he has also surpassed the temple in the greater provision he makes. The question Hoskins moves to in chapter five is whether the Old Testament temple typology is to be understood as “prospective or predictive.” In other words, did the temple point forward to what Jesus would do? Or, alternatively, should the temple typology only be understood retrospectively, since its import was unknown to the Old Testament author? Hoskins identifies the position that the typology was predictive as the traditional view, and he points to the way that this view highlights divine intention in the Old Testament patterns. This position is informed by what Hoskins argued in the introduction to the volume: that proponents of the traditional understanding of typology “can appeal to a canonical approach that views one divine author as ultimately responsible for the unity of the whole canon” (25). As indicators that the Old Testament types are understood by John as predictive, Hoskins points to John recounting statements that Moses wrote about Jesus (John 1:45; 5:46) and to the words of John 19:36, which state that what happened to Jesus happened in order to fulfill Scripture, and these considerations imply that “John is comfortable with the idea that a type can predict or prefigure its antitype” (188).
Chapter six summarizes the findings of the study and compares them to similar material in Paul and Revelation. Hoskins finds that John provides the basis for Paul’s identification of the church as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and he suggests that the temple blessing of God dwelling with his people finds its consummation in what is described in Revelation.
This book is perhaps the most important study of typology to have been produced in many years, and the clarification of the typological nature of the relationship between Jesus and the temple in John makes a significant contribution to Johannine studies. The temple has received a good deal of attention lately, with G. K. Beale showing the connections between The Temple and the Church’s Mission, my own study, God’s Indwelling Presence, exploring the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in terms of new covenant believers enjoying blessings that were found only at the temple under the old covenant, and Paul Hoskins helps us to see that Jesus is the antitype of the temple. The implications of this volume extend beyond the boundaries of Johannine scholarship, for in some circles there is a good deal of confusion regarding the way that the New Testament authors understand and refer to the Old Testament. A renewal of interest in and consideration of typology is a development that will bring clarity to much of this confusion. This volume can move that discussion forward and deserves significant attention, worthy as it is of careful reading and frequent citation.