The Gospel of John begins with a Logos, a Word sounding out the earliest origins of creation and measuring up even to God. After asserting that everything in existence resonates with echoes of the Logos, having come into being through it, John narrows his view and writes that this Logos is life (zōē), and that this life is the light of human beings (anthrōpōn). Human life (zōē) radiates as light from the Logos of God. But John’s text is not all light and life. John quickly modulates into a minor key and writes of a darkness that refuses the light. The world of humanity, the kosmos, is the site of this darkness; humanity fails to recognize the Logos as its very life. Despite John’s ominous tone, logos actually does pretty well in the world of humanity. Whether logos is rendered Reason, Speech, Argument, Thought, Logic, or Discourse, it is hardly a marginal and under-valued aspect of human existence. Logos frequently appears as the criterion to distinguish humans from other creatures. Humans are rational; animals are irrational. Humans communicate articulately; animals are mute and lack speech. Human subjects are formed in language; animals interact with the world directly without language’s mediation. So contrary to John, logos has not historically lacked for recognition, prestige, and honor. But perhaps there are two radically different logoi in play here?
DOI / Publisher URL
Meyer, Eric D., "The Logos of God and the End of Man: Giorgio Agamben and the Gospel of John on Animality As Light and Life." (2014). Theology Faculty Works. 5.