There is so much I would like to say with regards to certain comments made in this thread, but so very little time, so I will only respond to one for now.
Moreover, going from a personification of wisdom in the Book of Wisdom to the Theology of the Logos in John is a huge step.
I couldn’t disagree with you more. Taking into account the fact that St John constantly quoted from or alludes to the Old Testament to make and substantiate many of his points; in addition to that fact that his Gospel is replete with parallels between Christ and the personified Wisdom of the Wisdom books available during the second temple period, it would be difficult not to acknowledge the fact that St John relied upon Jewish literature/tradition to convey his Christology/Logology. When considering such context, as well as the fact St John did come from a Jewish background, and probably had a Jewish audience in mind when formulating his Gospel, this becomes quite clear.
The Jews, although not having any form of a Trinitarian concept, did understand that there were certain “aspects” of God (“periphrasis” of God if you will), which were both a distinct reality from Him, yet intrinsic to His being and hence incapable of being disconnected from Him as if a separate or inferior entity; such as His Wisdom, His Word, His Law, His divine presence or Glory.
Proffessor Richard Bacukham in his book God Crucified
explains the nature of Jewish monotheism during the second temple period as a "strict" one, stating that the Jews of this day were “self-consciously monotheistic and had certain very familiar and well-defined ideas as to how the uniqueness of the one God should be understood." The two principle themes which he then goes on to discuss which are the citerion separating God from "all other reality" - is a) His being The Creator and b) His sovereignty and hence c) His exclusive right to be worshipped (which is the corollary from b) )
He then goes on to state: “The Second Temple Jewish understanding of the divine uniqueness does not define it as unitariness and does not make distinctions within the divine identity inconceivable. Its perfectly clear that distinction between God and all other reality is made in other terms, which in this case places God's Wisdom unequivocally within the unique divine identity.” - This he states after further disucssing how in fact these exclusive attributes of God which defined their strict monotheism (i.e. Creator and Sovereign) were attributed to the divine Wisdom in Jewish literature of the second temple period.
The main point he is trying to make is; the New Testament authors, coming from a strict Jewish monotheistic background, did not need to abandon or comrpomise such a strict monotheism in order to attest to a "high Christology"; but rather they simply employed Jewish preceden to identify Christ with certain divine aspects of God, especially the divine Wisdom, in order to identify Him directly with the Godhead.
St John hence best communicated that Christ was both distinct from God yet identifiable with Him such that He may be included within His unique identity, by identifying Christ with these very aspects, and in particular Wisdom.
Here are just a few of the parallels in question:
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ In the beginning was The Word (John 1:1) ---> Wisdom was in the beginning (Prov. 8:22-23, Sir. 1:4, Wis. 9:9)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ The Word was involved in the creation (John 1:3) ----> Wisdom was involved in the creation (Proverbs. 3:19, 8:25; Isaiah. 7:21, 9:1-2)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ The Word is light in contrast to darkness (John 1:5) -----> Wisdom is light in contrast to darkness (Wis. 7:29-30)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ The Word was rejected by His own (John 1:11) yet received by the faithful (John 1:12)---> Wisdom was rejected by its own (Sir. 15:7) yet received by the faithful (Wis. 7:27)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ Christ claimed to be the light of the world (John 8:12) ---> Wisdom is the light (Wis. 7:26-30, 18:3-4)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ Christ claimed to be the door of the sheep and the good shepherd (John 10:7, 11, 14) ---> Wisdom is the door and the good shepherd (Prov. 8:34-5, Wis. 7:25-7, 8:2-16; Sir. 24:19-22)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ Christ claimed to be the bread of life (John 6:35) ---> Wisdom is the bread or substance of life (Prov. 9:5, Sir. 15:3, 24:21, 29:21; Wis. 11:4)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ Christ claimed to be the way and the life (John 14:6) ---> Wisdom is the way (Prov. 3:17, 8:32-34) and the life (Prov. 3:16, 8:35)
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ Christ says that he who loves Him obeys His commands (John 14:15) -----> Wisdom of Solomon 16:18 says that he who loves wisdom obeys its commands.
These parallels are not restricted to St John’s Gospel, but are particularly stressed in this one Gospel; probably due to St John’s Christological emphasis.