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John, Gospel According to

The Greek superscription kata iōannēn (According to John) is traditional rather than original; in other words, the gospel itself is anonymous, but the conventional title, added in the second century, reflects the opinion in the ancient church regarding its authorship.

Canonical Status and Location in Canon.

The Gospel of John is placed fourth in the books of the New Testament canon, hence its designation the “Fourth Gospel.” The position reflects the ancient opinion that this gospel was composed later than the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), as well as the recognition that it differs significantly from them. By the middle of the second century, the Fourth Gospel was being cited in various locations throughout the Roman Empire, including Egypt, Rome, and Asia Minor. The gospel held particular attraction for Gnostic theologians; for example, both Basilides (Egypt, c. 130 C.E.) and Ptolemy (Alexandria or Rome, c. 160 C.E.) appeal to it, and Heracleon (southern Italy, c.175 C.E.) composed the earliest known commentary on it. This Gnostic enthusiasm, as well as the gospel's distinctiveness when compared with the synoptics, made universal acceptance of its authority slightly more controversial than that of the other three canonical gospels. Tatian did include it in his Harmony of the Gospels around 170 C.E., and Irenaeus, a bishop in Gaul, argued for its authority at approximately the same time (Against Heresies 3.3.4). By the end of the second century it was considered authoritative at least in North Africa, Egypt and Rome.


Evidence internal to the Gospel (21:24–25) identifies its source and the guarantor of its tradition, if not its actual writer, as the unnamed figured referred to as the Beloved Disciple (“the disciple whom Jesus loved,” 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7). The early Christian writers were unified in identifying the Beloved Disciple as one of the “twelve”: specifically as John the son of Zebedee, although the Gospel itself nowhere makes that identification. Irenaeus claims that John lived in Ephesus until Trajan was emperor (98 C.E.) and that that disciple “who also leaned upon his [Christ's] breast, did himself publish a gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia” (Against Heresies 3.1.1; cf. the Muratorian Canon, from Rome c. 200 C.E.). According to the noted Christian teacher Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215 C.E.), the apostle John returned to Ephesus in Asia Minor following the death of the Roman emperor Domitian (96 C.E.; The Rich Man's Salvation 42).

Some modern scholars entertain the possibility that John the apostle was an important source of information for the Fourth Gospel and perhaps the author in a technical sense at some point in the history of the Gospel's composition (e.g. Morris 1971; Carson 1991; Keener 2003). Primary arguments for identifying the Beloved Disciple with the apostle John are: (1) the ancient testimony; (2) the likelihood that Jesus' final meal was, as the Synoptics imply, shared only with the Twelve; (2) that Peter, James, and John are the most likely candidates because the Synoptics portray them with Jesus at crucial moments during his ministry (e.g. Mark 14:33); (3) that Peter is an impossible candidate, since he appears with the Beloved Disciple in the Fourth Gospel (e.g. 20:2–8), while James was martyred early in the movement (Acts 12:1–2), and (4) that Peter and John appear together in the early chapters of Acts (chs. 3–4).

Other considerations, however, diminish the case for John the son of Zebedee as author of the Fourth Gospel. The bishop Papias of Hierapolis (writing c. 120–140 C.E., quoted in Eusebius, Church History 3.39.3) does not attribute the Fourth Gospel to John. Arguments based on the Synoptics and Acts are not clearly relevant to the Fourth Gospel, and even if they are, the portrayal of the faithful Beloved Disciple in Jerusalem bears little similarity to the synoptic picture of the Galilean John (cf. Mark 1:18; 3:17; 14:50). Many other options have been considered. James H. Charlesworth (1995) surveys twenty-two suggestions, from Lazarus whom Jesus loved (11:3) to an anonymous symbol for witness of the entire community (see the “we” passages in 1:14; 3:11; 21:24), before making his argument for the apostle Thomas, (a proposal that has not been widely adopted). The most attractive authorial choice is that of a Johannine “school” in line with those well-documented in the Greco-Roman cultures, which in turn implies that the gospel was the production of such a community rather than of a solitary genius (e.g. Culpepper 1975; Schnelle 1992). That hypothesis takes into account the contemporary context and also helps to explain the “we” passages cited above and the complex historical contexts and literary history of the gospel.

Date(s) of Composition and Historical Context(s).

During the nineteenth century, scholars dated the Gospel to the last half of the second century because of its perceived gentile Hellenistic influence. In the twentieth century, however, two factors combined to push the likely date of composition somewhat earlier. First, the John Rylands Library Papyrus (P52), a small fragment of a papyrus codex with a few verses from John 18, was discovered in 1935 and dated variously from 117–150 C.E., indicating a date of composition no later than the end of the first century, given the time needed for the text to spread to Egypt. Second, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in 1948 and their subsequent analysis provided additional evidence both for the complex diversity and thorough Hellenization of first-century Judaism and also for the Jewish background of Johannine motifs previously thought drawn from the gentile world, such as the light/dark duality so prominent in the prologue (1:4–5). A latest reasonable date for the Gospel's composition, then, is before 100 C.E.

Finding an earliest possible date, however, is more difficult. An important consideration is whether or

John, Gospel According to

Fragment of St John's Gospel.

Discovered in Egypt in 1935, the Rylands Papyrus (P52) is the oldest fragment of any gospel and dates to the early second century C.E. The papyrus contains John 18:31–33 and 37–38. Size: 3.5 × 2.5 inches (9 × 6 centimeters). Photograph by Zev Radovan.


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to what extent the Fourth Gospel drew upon the Synoptic Gospels, since dependence on them would provide a date relative to their composition. For much of the twentieth century, the consensus was that John did not know the synoptics but that the Fourth Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels drew upon a common set of traditions. By the 1970s, however, this consensus began to erode as some scholars forcefully argued for the Fourth Gospel's direct use of one or more of the Synoptics (Smith 2001). More would accept today that the Fourth Gospel engaged with the synoptics at some stages of their composition (Keener 2003, 1.42), and many continue to favor a completion date in the nineties C.E., despite the occasional significant challenge (e.g. Robinson 1985).

The ancient tradition cites Ephesus as the location of the Fourth Gospel's composition, and the city's complex mixture of pagan religions, Judaism, and imperial presence still makes it an attractive option (e.g. Tilborg 1996; Carter 2008). A variety of other provenances have been suggested, especially Syria-Palestine, considering the geographical and topographical accuracy of the Fourth Gospel (for a recent summary, see Keener 2003 1.142–149). It is likely that more than one provenance contributed to the formation of the final product, since travel of and between Christian communities was common, especially after the Roman-Jewish War of 66–70 C.E. (Bauckham 1998).

Two aspects of the historical context are generally accepted. First, by its very existence in the Mediterranean world of the first century C.E., constant engagement with the structures of the Roman empire would have been inescapable, an engagement that should be taken into account in the interpretation of the Gospel. Second, the overwhelming concern in the Fourth Gospel with understanding the meaning of Jewish traditions, feasts, and rituals, make a Jewish provenance likely.

Literary History.

Even a cursory reading reveals that tensions abound in the Fourth Gospel, tensions so profound that they frustrate the modern desire for a cohesive narrative and consistent theology. For example, do the signs serve true faith or frustrate it (2:11; 6:26)? When Jesus says to the disciples, “rise and let us be on our way” (14:31), why do they remain in place for another two chapters? Does the evangelist support ritual in the community such as baptism and Eucharist, or does the indirect narration of Jesus' baptism and the lack of a “last supper” with words of institution reveal an ambivalence toward early church practices?

By the turn of the twentieth century, scholars suggested that the literary tensions in the Fourth Gospel testify to the use of various literary sources. Source criticism of the Gospel was brought to the fore of Johannine studies by Rudolf Bultmann. In his major commentary (1941; Eng. trans. 1971), Bultmann suggested that several sources had contributed to the Fourth Gospel by the author he calls the “evangelist,” but another editor, whom he called the “ecclesiastical redactor,” later reconstructed the Gospel and added sacramental passages that addressed new issues. Of Bultmann's hypothetical sources, the suggestion of a compilation of Jesus' miracles, “a signs source,” continues to gain some attention (Fortna 1988), but it is difficult to excise the signs narratives from the Gospel and imagine a coherent source that is useful in reconstructing its literary history (Van Belle 1994).

During the 1960s, the hypothesis that the literary stages of the Gospel reflected the actual social history of the Johannine community became prominent. J. L. Martyn (1968) interpreted the passages that predict expulsion from the synagogue for Jesus-belief (9:22; 12:42; 16:2) as referring to the Birkat ha-minim (“blessing of the heretics”), a curse against Jewish heretics, supposedly added to a Jewish liturgical prayer called the Eighteen Benedictions when the leading rabbis met in the nineties C.E. at Jamnia (modern Yavne, Israel). Building on this suggestion and other literary tensions, Raymond Brown in his momentous Anchor Bible Commentary (1966; 1970) postulated five stages in the history of the community.

Though the hypothesis dominated the latter portion of the twentieth century, the reconstructions have been successfully challenged on many fronts, only a few of which can be mentioned here: (1) the dating of the Birkat ha-minim is inconclusive; (2) the “blessing” probably referred to a cluster of potential Jewish heresies; (3) no evidence supports the idea that expulsion from synagogues was ever a result or even a goal of it, and therefore (3) its relevance to the entirety of Johannine passages with regard to “the Jews”—which are in any case far more complex in their entirety than the three “expulsion” passages would indicate—is doubtful (Kimelman 1981; Reinhartz 1998; 2001, pp. 37–53; Boyarin 2002).

In fact, any split with traditional synagogue worship may have been more a fear of the Johannine community than an actuality (Kysar 2005, p. 240). This entire portrayal of “the Jews” is best understood as “a literary and theological expression that points to the unbelief of the world in a concrete manner” (Matera 2007, p. 296), a literary motif to explain why most Jews ultimately did not accept Jesus as messiah, similar to the Gospel of Mark's messianic secret (Mark 7:36). By the nineties C.E., moreover, “the Jews” who in the narrative threaten expulsion could stand as much for the community's own perceived heretics as for the traditional synagogue (see 2 John 7–11; 1 John 2:18–19; Talbert 1992; Schnelle).

These challenges to the Martyn-Brown consensus, however, does not leave the question of coherence abandoned. Many still question in particular whether or not (1) the prologue, with its Logos vocabulary unique to the Fourth Gospel, was added late in its composition history, and the final chapter can be read as consistent with the rest of the gospel, especially since the narrative seems to conclude at the end of chapter 20. Other significant avenues to understanding the tensions in the Fourth Gospel include consideration of the primary author as a dialectical thinker (Barrett 1955; Anderson 2008) and determining strategies of oral literature that may bear on the Fourth Gospel (Dewey 2001). Most commentators currently choose to comment on the text in its received, canonical form as a literary work that reveals considerable unity.


A.The prologue as conclusion (1:1–18)

1. The intimacy between the God and the Word (1:1–5, 16–18)

2. Authentic witness (1:6–8, 15)

3. The World and the Tabernacle (1:9–11, 14)

4. Benefaction: Intimacy eternal (1:12–13)

B.Seeking and finding community (1:19–51)

1. Whom should we seek? The witness of John the Baptist (1:19–34)

2. Seeking disciples (1:35–51)

C.The wedding motif from Cana to Cana (2:1—4:54)

1. The bridegroom at Cana and more than purity (2:1–12)

2. Confronting the Temple and its powers (2:13–25)

3. Nicodemus: The powers seek (3:1–21)

4. John witnesses to the bridegroom (3:22—4:3)

5. Wedding Samaria (4:4–42)

6. The powers find: Healing the official's son (4:43–54)

D.Claiming Moses and fulfilling feasts (5:1—10:21)

1. The framework: Healings on the Sabbath (5:1–47; 9:1–41)

2. The core: Israel in the wilderness reinterpreted (6:1—8:59)

3. The hinge: The shepherd discourse and true leadership (10:1–21)

E.From Bethany to Bethany: The Temple resolved (10:22—12:11)

1. Dedication and the Temple (10:22–42)

2. Lazarus lives and death approaches (10:43–57)

3. The household prepares for death (10:58—12:11)

F.The passion week: The new community as the beloved spouse (12:12—20:31)

1. The Farewell Discourses (13–17)

a. Models and anti-models: Footwashing, a new commandment, and two denials (13:1–38)

b. The agents show the way (14:1–31)

c. A new intimacy: the vine and the branches (15:1—16:33)

d. The World and the Glory in the Son's prayer (17:1–26)

2. The lifting up begins: Betrayal to burial (18:1—19:42)

a. The final denials: Priest, Pilate and Peter (18:1—19:16)

b. Crucifixion, death, and burial (19:16B–19:42)

3. “That you might continue to believe”: The living Bridegroom (20:1–31)

G.The epilogue (21:1–25): The community moves forward


The Fourth Gospel is best read on two levels: (1) as incorporating a continuing understanding and shaping of the memory of Jesus' life and teachings, and (2) as reflecting realities in the life of the Johannine community. The many intricate themes of the Gospel point to two overriding arguments of the implied author, whom we will for convenience call the evangelist, keeping in mind the likelihood that this evangelist is more a corporate identity than a single individual.

First, all that God has promised the Jews in the covenant is now fulfilled in one person, Jesus of Nazareth. The evangelist is convinced that God has revealed this truth, with the result that previous understandings of Judaism have been transcended.

Second, knowing that most eyewitnesses to Jesus are gone, the evangelist chooses a narrative strategy by which the reader may still encounter and understand this fulfillment in the resurrected Jesus, to “believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (20:31). He chooses the well-established genre of ancient biography (Talbert, pp. 62–64; Burridge 1992, pp. 109–239) by which he provides testimony about the founder and connects that witness to the fulfillment of the familiar “loci” of God's presence with the Jewish people: especially Moses, the Temple, and feasts. Strategies that, moreover, differ significantly from the Synoptics, such as the long discourses of Jesus, are constructed to lead the reader to a Jesus-encounter and, simultaneously, to a correct understanding of that encounter.

The Prologue as Conclusion (1:1–18).

Just as Genesis 1 is not a list of historical events but rather a statement about the relationship of God to the world and the fruits of it for humanity, so also the Johannine prologue presents a statement about the relationship of God to the world through the intimacy between God and his eternal and now incarnate Logos, and the fruits of that union for humanity. The concentric structure of verses 1–18 emphasizes: (1) the power of the Jewish traditions of wisdom and Torah for understanding God's plan (vv. 1–5 and 16–18); (2) the necessity of authentic witness for correct understanding (vv. 6–8 and 15); (3) examples of correct versus incorrect understanding (vv. 9–11 and 14), and (4) the benefaction granted to those who make and act upon the correct judgment: true life, which is intimacy with the eternal God (vv.12–13).

Verses 1–5 and 16–18, the outer rings of the pattern, emphasize the intimacy between God the creator (“in the beginning,” Gen 1:1) and the Logos: “the WORD was God” (1:1). The passage draws upon a collection of Jewish Wisdom motifs that picture the Wisdom of God as preexistent and active in the process of creation (e.g. Prov 8:22–26; Sir 24:1–23; see Talbert, pp. 68–70 for a concise summary). The prologue's parallel to Wisdom is the Moses tradition, through which the Jews received the Torah as an expression of God's love and commitment to them (v. 17). Those traditions provide foundation of the intimacy which is now perfected in the incarnation of the Logos and its unparalleled intimacy with God as “only Son, who is close to the Father's heart” (v. 18). Any other claims of sovereignty, divine revelation and beneficence, such as those of the Roman Empire, are of naught (Carter, pp. 151–153).

The next ring, verses 6–8 and 15, underscores the importance of correct testimony for understanding and belief (Lincoln 2000); in this case, that of John the Baptist, who in the Fourth Gospel functions primarily as witness to God's present action in Jesus. In 1:6–8, the fact of John as witness is emphasized; in verse 15, the content of that witness is underlined: the superiority of the preexistent incarnate one.

In verses 9–11 and 14, two opposite reactions to the Logos are depicted. The “world” that does not recognize its own creator (vv. 9–11) is contrasted with those who do recognize the presence of God (v. 14). The evangelist emphasizes the incarnate one as the locus of God's presence by using the language “to tabernacle” (skēnoō) and “glory” (doxa) traditionally associated with God's presence with Israel first in the wilderness (Exod 25:8) and later the Temple in Jerusalem (e.g. Ezek 43:1–5; Tob 1:4). Recognizing the Logos incarnate as the focus of God's presence, fulfilling the earlier promises to Israel, is a primary key to understanding the Fourth Gospel (e.g. Coloe 2001).

At the center of the concentric ring (vv. 12–13) the benefaction is accentuated. The Fourth Gospel presents the incarnate Logos as the Father's agent, a role commonly understood in both Judaism (Deut 18:19) and the wider Roman world as one who represents and speaks for a human master or a god and is fully identified with the sender, doing nothing on his or her own (Meeks 1967; Borgen 1997; Carter, pp. 378–380). In the Fourth Gospel, complete intimacy with God is guaranteed through belief in the agent.

Seeking and Finding Community (1:19–51).

One goal of an ancient biography is to defend correct understandings of the main character and to correct erroneous ones. To accomplish this, the Fourth Gospel emphasizes the importance of seeking as it presents questions and potential answers about Jesus' identity: some correct, some incorrect, some merely limited. The result is that as Jesus in the story seeks to draw the core of the new community to himself, the reader is seeking and finding a correct Christology along with the actors in the narrative (1:38; 5:30; 13:33; 18:4–7; 20:15). A dizzying array of human and christological titles is presented from various characters in the narrative: Christ (by implication; 1:20) Lamb of God (1:29, 35 by John the Baptist); Son of God (1:34 by John the Baptist); Rabbi (1:38 by two of John the Baptist's disciples and 1:49 by Nathanael); Messiah (1:40–1 by Andrew, “one of the two”), Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth (1:45 by Philip); Son of God and King of Israel (1:49 by Nathanael), and Son of Man (1:51 by implication by Jesus himself). Having encountered the Logos of the prologue, the reader already suspects that all of these titles will ultimately fall short of the reality.

The crucial theme of “abiding” (Gk. menō) is introduced, especially in the “abiding” of the Holy Spirit on Jesus to indicate that Jesus will give the ultimate baptism of Spirit, leading to John the Baptist's judgment that Jesus is the Son of God (1:32–34). The two disciples ask with apparent innocence immediately afterward in the narrative, “where are you staying (abiding)?” The reader understands the double entendre and delights in Jesus' support of their tentative seeking: “Come and see” (1:38–39; to see = to understand). Philip also insists to Nathanael, “Come and see” (1:48), leading Nathanael to an encounter with Jesus that culminates in Jesus' assertion that “You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (1:51). In other words, authentic seeking will be rewarded with an encounter with God equaling or even surpassing that of Jacob (Gen 28:12) and Ezekiel (Ezek 1:1). The seeker can enter into that intimacy with God, abiding permanently, only when she or he understands and judges correctly, a theme which reaches its climax in the True Vine Discourse (John 15).

The Wedding Motif from Cana to Cana (2:1—4:54).

The assertions of the narrative raise more questions. If Jesus is God's eternal Word, what are the implications for aspects of Israel that have previously provided its identity: the Moses traditions, feasts, the Temple, and the concept of Israel itself as covenant community? What now gives life and what does not? Who is potentially included, and who is not? The evangelist begins to answer these questions by turning to another image of intimacy. In the Jewish scriptures, two primary metaphors represent the relationship between God and Israel: (1) covenant, treaty language borrowed from the relationships between kingdoms to express the responsibilities on both sides (e.g., Gen 17:1–14), and (2) marriage, with God portrayed as the husband and Israel as the wife (e.g., Hos 1–2). The evangelist now expresses the intimacy between God and Jesus by transferring the husband/bridegroom image to Jesus. Who, then, is the bride?

This geographically bounded section begins “on the third day,” a phrase that both looks back to the revelation at Sinai (Exod 19:16) and ahead to the resurrection of Jesus (20:1). The expected abundance of the messianic time is fulfilled when Jesus, at the instigation of his mother, has the empty jars for purity rituals filled with water that becomes wine (2:5–9), and the new life from the empty ritual jars implies that Jesus is the true bridegroom (2:9–10), a claim made explicit by John the Baptist in 3:29. The Fourth Gospel, in distinction from the synoptics, refers to the miracles as “signs,” and this sign is the first to reveal his glory (recall 1:14), and it results in belief for the disciples (2:11).

The introduction of Passover and the Temple (2:13–14) provides a literary inclusion with the end of Jesus' life. While the Synoptics recount the cleansing of the Temple during that final week and make it the event that triggers the plot to kill Jesus (Mark 11:18; Matt 26:3; Luke 19:47), the Fourth Gospel places it near the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, where it serves two important purposes: (1) to initiate the conflict between Jesus and the religious authorities, and (2) to introduce the Temple, the crucifixion, and the resurrection as guiding themes for the entire narrative. Jesus' actions are more than an attack on the business transactions required for Temple functioning: they are a judgment against the Jewish Temple authorities, by implication the complicit Roman establishment, and on the need for the Temple itself as the primary locus of God's presence.

The Temple critique is not yet, however, the final word on the Jewish leadership. Immediately, the potential of that leadership is embodied in Nicodemus, the Pharisee who comes to seek Jesus by night (3:1–2). The riddle of being born from “above,” from “water,” and from “Spirit” (3:3–6) points toward what will define the new community: its gift of the Spirit that brings understanding, unity, and life (16:12–15; 20:21–23). In lifting up the serpent (Num 21:9) Moses pointed to Jesus but could not equal him, because Jesus as Logos descended from God, so that his “lifting up,” the crucifixion and resurrection, will bring life (3:13–15) The identification of Nicodemus by Jesus as “a teacher of Israel” who does not understand (3:10) marks the final mention of the exact term “Israel” until the beginning of the passion, when Jesus enters Jerusalem and is heralded, as with Nathanael, as the “King of Israel” (12:13). For the next chapters, the body Israel is divided on the question of Jesus, foreshadowed by the inconclusive fate of Nicodemus at this point.

An abundance of themes coalesce in the story of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman. First, we begin to notice the significant interactions between Jesus and women in the Fourth Gospel, a level of awareness which could indicate the presence of influential women in the community (Reinhartz 2003). The encounter at the famous well of scriptural betrothal scenes (4:6; Gen 29:2) and the private nature of the encounter, which surprises Jesus' disciples, point to the continuation of the marriage metaphor. The woman's anonymity indicates that she symbolizes Samaria (4:39–42); that the Samaritans will recognize the new locus of God's presence not at any mountain or temple but as Jesus (4:20–24) is a radical expansion of potential spouses to those not only outside but often hostile to the Jewish community.

The healing of the official's son (4:46–54) reveals not only another sign but also another potential inclusion into the new community. It is unclear whether the official is Jew or gentile; what is clear is that he has unquestionable faith in Jesus' word that his son is living, which leads his entire household to belief (4:53).

The potential spouses at this point include Jesus' mother, representing Jewish faithfulness; the woman at the well, symbolizing the Samaritans; the official, who represents at least a low level of the political establishment, and Nicodemus as an image of the religious establishment. The religious powers are the only ones as yet portrayed as dubious, pointing toward the final rejection of Jesus by much of the Jewish establishment and their Roman superiors.

Claiming Moses and Fulfilling Feasts (5:1—10:21).

Feasts, signs, and discourses interweave here as the battle to claim Moses comes to a head. The concentration of direct references to Moses in this section, nine of twelve in the Fourth Gospel, underlines the importance of the theme. The Sabbath healing stories of a lame (5:1–47) and a blind (9:1–41) man provide a framework around two stories that build upon God's liberating relationship with Israel in the wilderness (6:1—8:59; 8:1–11, the story commonly known as the “woman taken in adultery,” will not be treated since its textual history indicates it was a scribal addition).

The healing stories contain many parallels: (1) both occur on a Sabbath within another festival (5:1, 9; 7:2; 9:14); (2) the physical infirmities are long-standing (“thirty-eight years” 5:5; “from birth” 9:1) and neither man seeks the healing very actively (5:7; 9:1–7); (3) both occur near pools in Jerusalem that may have been used for purity washing (5:2; 9:7); (4) the actions on the Sabbath bring questions about Jesus' identity, condemnations from authorities, and divisions among people (5:10–18; 9:8–41), and (5) Jesus responds that he has authority from the Father to fulfill the blessings of the messianic age, as a proper understanding of both Moses and Ezekiel indicates (5:19–47; 9:35—10:21 on Ezek 34). The parallels indicate that the same interpretation applies to both: Jesus brings the fullness of life that

John, Gospel According to

Pool of Siloam.

Three sets of steps (upper left to lower right) lead into the northeast corner of the pool. In John 9:7, Jesus sent a blind man to the pool of Siloam to wash mud from his eyes.


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God intends, as represented in the Jewish tradition by the Sabbath. What can we say about that fullness of life other than physical wholeness?

Within that framework, the evangelist builds upon themes from Israel's wilderness period: (1) the feeding (6:1–71), set near Passover and focusing on the miraculous giving of manna (Exod 16) and, (2) the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles, 7:1–8:59; Lev 23:34–43). The miraculous feeding narrative is a familiar type-story in the Jesus tradition, told here with eucharistic implications: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (6:53). The more direct implication, however, is that the giving of the manna and the agency of Moses point toward Jesus as the new Exodus, fulfillment of the Moses traditions, whose very self is the source of eternal life. While the interpretation offered by Jesus is rejected by many (6:66), the “twelve” through the voice of Peter (though the narrative points out the one exception) come to a fuller understanding than they held previously: “You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (6:68–69).

The liberation from Egypt and its fundamental importance in understanding God's continuing salvific relationship with the people, first underlined by the manna motif, is emphasized again by the Feast of Booths (7:2), a seven-day festival whose most dramatic elements by the first century were water libations and the lighting of great lamps in the Temple. The question of “where” indicates the seeking but not finding; the Temple is not the “where,” nor is the dispersion, nor is Galilee (7:25–29, 32-36, 40-42, 52). They are looking for a literal “where” rather than a “locus” chosen by God for God's presence (8:12–30).

By the first century, the themes of these festivals pointed not only to God's previous liberation of Israel but also forward to future liberation in the messianic age. That the evangelist believes Jesus to be the fulfillment of both, and therefore of the messianic promises, is made clear by the cluster of “I am” identifications in this center section: “I am the bread of life” (6:35); “I am the light of the world” (8:12), and “before Abraham was, I am” (8:58). The language of the revelation of God to Moses (Exod 3:14) emphasizes the intimacy between Jesus and the Father and the expectation that the wholeness symbolized by the Sabbath will include liberation from oppressive powers: once the Egyptians, now the Romans. As such, Jesus provides the fulfillment of the feasts for the present, even if the community continued to celebrate the traditional feasts while considering Jesus as its present meaning (Spaulding 2009). As the section ends, the divided Pharisees seek a material location (9:29) and so remain blind to the meaning of the life-giving relationship to which Moses testified. As this section transitions to the next, the distinction is clear between those confused, rejecting leaders and Jesus as the Good Shepherd (10:1–21), echoing the shepherd discourses of Jeremiah (23:1–6), Isaiah (40:10–11), Ezekiel (34:1–24), and 2 Maccabees (3:4—5:26).

From Bethany to Bethany: The Temple Resolved (10:22—12:11).

While tied to the previous section by the mention of the blind man miracle (10:21), the Good Shepherd discourse and its allusion to the Maccabean period also points ahead to the Feast of Dedication and the final address of the Temple question first presented in chapter 1: if Jesus is the locus of God's presence, what does that mean for the Temple? The Temple's administration had often been a source of debate and division in Jewish history (e.g. Ezek 8; Jer 6; 1–2 Macc; and see Carter, pp. 343–384 on the threat of Gaius Caligula in 40 C.E. to place a statue of himself as Jupiter in the Temple). The Feast of Dedication (10:22) celebrated the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean victory over the Syrians in 164 B.C.E. (2 Macc 4:36–59). The reintroduction of the Temple theme recalls Jesus' attack on the Temple (2:13–25). Now in the Temple, the Jewish authorities demand a clear statement concerning whether or not Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus' identification of himself (not them) as the true leader who brings life and is one with God results in violence (10:27–30). Jesus, notably away from the Temple, will immediately prove his case.

The Bethany sections connect the previous narrative to the passion week. Parallels show that the Lazarus story is a narrative fulfillment of the temple-cleansing story. Just as the Temple cleansing occurred in the context of a feast of liberation from the gentiles (Passover and the Egyptians), the Lazarus sign also occurs during a feast of liberation from the gentiles (Dedication and the Syrians). The Temple administration is critiqued in both and the question of signs is raised but no belief ensues (2:18; 10:37–38). A woman's faith precedes the sign, first Jesus' mother (2:3–5) and now Martha (11:27). The body that is predicted destroyed is actually destroyed when Lazarus is known to be dead (11:39); however, life is assured (2:21; 11:44) and belief results for many (2:22–23; 11:45). The “resurrection and life” (2:22; 11:25) do not take effect at the Temple but at the locus of God's presence for Israel, Jesus.

Simultaneously, the pointing forward to the “hour,” the “lifting up,” and the new community continue in Jesus' farewell discourse, death, and resurrection. Jesus returns to Bethany, to the household of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, just before Passover (12:1). The story of Mary's anointing of Jesus foreshadows treachery in the sheepfold (Judas, 12:4–6) and Jesus' death itself (12:7–8); it also models the loving care of the ideal household of God that will be dramatically portrayed in the Farewell Discourse (Coloe 2007). The very existence of Lazarus as witness sets in motion the plot to kill both Jesus and Lazarus (11:45–53; 12:9–11), so that the entire passage underlines the conflict with authorities both Jewish and Roman (11:48). The raising of Lazarus foreshadows the defeat for the Roman Empire that could not keep Jesus dead, just as God's gracious provision made possible the defeat of the Syrian Empire.

The Passion Week: The New Community as the Beloved Spouse (12:12—20:31).

As the third Passover approaches, the crowd who welcomes Jesus' prophetic entrance into the city as king (12:13) reintroduces the question: Who is Israel? Is it the crowds who go out because of the sign (12:18)? Is it the Pharisees who claim Moses but fear the world (12:29)? Can true Israel be allied with Rome any more than with Egypt or Syria?

Though the Farewell Discourse (13–17) is complex and repetitious, its goal is clear: to show how the Johannine Jesus provides the foundation for the new community. The footwashing as prophetic action provides the paradigm. Jesus lays aside his garment for the menial task of washing his followers' feet, as he will soon lay aside his life (13:4; cf. 10:17). The double washings discussed—of feet (13:6, 8) and entire body (13:9–10)—refer to the cleansing of sin by baptism (the entire body) and the future need for daily forgiveness in community, as provided for by the actions of Jesus (Talbert, pp. 191–194). Illustration completed, Jesus then takes back up his garment/life (13:12; 10:17) to speak to the disciples in the narrative as a prefiguring of the resurrection; to the Johannine community, he speaks as he always addressed them, as the resurrected Lord present with them.

Between the predicted betrayals of Judas (13:21–30) and Peter (13:36–38), Jesus provides a new commandment for the beloved community: “love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (13:34; 15:12). Though surrounded by human failing, self-giving love remains the ideal identity of the new community. But how can the community maintain such a love after the leader departs? When the Son is physically absent, another Advocate will be sent to indwell them and guide the community to the true understanding and belief that will ensure their indwelling, despite the absence of the original witnesses (14:15–31). The Johannine emphasis on indwelling reaches its pinnacle as the evangelist introduces yet another image of intimacy: the vine and the branches. The Jewish scriptures often portrayed Israel as the vine and God as the vinedresser (cf. Ezek 15; Isa 5); now, the intimacy of the Father and the Son is shown as Jesus becomes the vine itself, from which the community (the branches) draws its sustenance. The concentration of the term “abide” (menō), just as the Spirit abides permanently with Jesus (1:32–33), underlines the bond that unites disciples with God, Jesus, and Spirit. Not all will believe (16:1–11), but for those who abide, the evangelist promises joy and peace, courage and victory (16:16–33), and a participation in the glory of God's eternal love, presence, and unity (17:5–24).

In the Fourth Gospel, the story of the crucifixion is one of glorification, inseparable from the resurrection, as the political execution is defeated through association with the continuing life and ascension. In the account of the arrest, the seeking motif arises again: two times Jesus asks the Roman soldiers whom they seek (18:4, 7), an echo of his question to Andrew and the unnamed disciple (1:38). The soldiers fall to the ground with his declaration indicating divinity (“I am he,” 18:5), but the invitation to discipleship goes no farther as they deliver Jesus to his imperial execution. More than the Synoptics, the focus of John's trial narrative is squarely on the extended discourse between Jesus and Pilate, that is, God and Rome. Pilate does not seek truth (18:38) but merely an expedient condemnation by the standards of the world, standards set by the imperial power he represents.

In the Fourth Gospel, the crucifixion takes place on the afternoon before the Passover begins at sunset (19:14), rather than on the morning of Passover (Mark 15:25), perhaps a symbolic statement that Jesus is the sacrificial Passover lamb who has no bone broken (1:29; 19:33; cf. Ps 34:20–21; Exod 12:10, 46; Num 9:12). Provisions are abundant for the new community as the glorification ensues: the beloved disciple as guarantor of the authentic tradition is united with the always believing community, symbolized by the mother (19:26–27), and life as water and blood (baptism and Eucharist?) are poured out for their sustenance (19:34–35). The burial provides an almost comically redemptive gesture as the fearful ones, Joseph of Arimathea (19:38) and Nicodemus, weighed down by an outrageous amount of spices (19:39), publicly bury the King of the Jews in a garden tomb with linen and spices, in a manner fit for royalty (Brown 1970, 2.940, 959; Moloney 1998, pp. 510–511; for a negative assessment of their actions, see Meeks, p. 55).

“That You Might Continue to Believe”: The Living Bridegroom (20:1–31).

The four episodes that comprise this chapter emphasis two points: (1) the reality of the resurrection, and (2) the identity of the resurrected Christ with the Jesus they knew on earth. The Fourth Gospel's attention to women recurs as Mary Magdalene becomes the first to encounter the resurrected Jesus. Mistaking him for the gardener, she knows “whom she seeks,” though she seeks not a living Jesus but his corpse; nonetheless, as one of his sheep she knows his voice and responds to the intimacy with which it speaks (20:15–16). The metaphor of God and Israel, the bridegroom Jesus and the believers as faithful spouse that began in chapter 1, underlies this poignant passage.

The assurance of the wounds and the fulfilled promise to bring the Holy Spirit clarifies the identity between the earthly and resurrected Jesus (20:20–22). Thomas provides the pinnacle of the chapter with his confession “My Lord and my God!” (20:28). Here the ideal reader, without being physically present during Jesus' life, nonetheless reaches for herself the insight of the prologue, “the Word was God” (1:1C). The Gospel concludes with a statement of purpose: “so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (20:31 lit.).

The Epilogue: The Community Moves Forward (21:1–25).

The majority of commentators consider chapter 21 an epilogue to the Gospel, but its intricate connections with the first twenty chapters suggest that it is the work of someone in same community to assure the struggling believers that Jesus continues to be present (Moloney 2008). If any questions about Peter lingered in the community, they are addressed in this chapter by his thrice profession of love echoing his thrice denial, and the command by Jesus for Peter to stand in as a shepherd and the conclusion of life as martyr (21:15–19). The narrator also explains that the death of the Beloved Disciple, while not expected by some, is not a challenge to the Gospel's message (21:20–24).

Reception History.

The influence of the Fourth Gospel is so pervasive that we can only point to some representative examples and encourage a perusal of a recent tour-de-force of reception history, the Blackwell Bible Commentary by Mark Edwards (2004).

Aspects of the Fourth Gospel have entered common parlance; for example, it is common to apply the term “Lazarus” to someone who feels reborn, to label the cynic a “doubting Thomas,” or to refer to a seemingly miraculous possibility as “turning water into wine.” In medieval times, John 1:1 was used as an incantation; copies of the entire Gospel were purchased in seventeenth-century Europe as “a talisman against witchcraft,” and the weapon that pierced Jesus' side on the cross was sought along with the Holy Grail (Edwards, p. 7).

The Christology of the Fourth Gospel was a major influence on the development of Christian theology (Pollard 1970; Hill 2004; Keefer 2006). In the second century, the existence of both the Apocryphon of John and the Acts of John reveal the continuing importance of Johannine themes as well as the popularity of legends regarding John himself (Bremmer 1995; King 2009). The early theologians wrote copiously on it: Origen's thirty-two books on John 1–13 and Augustine's one hundred and twenty-four homilies stand out. In the ninth century, the important neo-Platonist monk and scholar Jean Scot Eriugene wrote an influential commentary on the Fourth Gospel (unfortunately, only fragments remain). Eckhart composed a commentary on the prologue, and Thomas Aquinas has been shown to base some of his more speculative theology on his exegesis of the Fourth Gospel (Dauphinais 2005). Rather more spectacularly, Joachim of Fiore (1135–1202) based his wildly popular apocalyptic schema partly on the Johannine promise of the Paraclete. In the early modern period, Martin Luther preached copiously on the Fourth Gospel, and in 1553 John Calvin completed his massive commentary.

In the visual arts, significant scenes and images from the gospel have been influential in many artistic venues. Ancient Christian art often shows the influence of the Fourth Gospel in the catacombs as well as on sarcophagi, for example, the Good Shepherd in the Catacomb of Callistus (Jensen 2000). As a saint in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, Lazarus has received much attention, for example, in the early tenth century Greek Orthodox Church of St. Lazarus on Cyprus, while the apostle John was particularly important in the worship of the medieval period (Hamburger 2002). Scenes from the Fourth Gospel are prominent in art, including famous works such as Giovanni Lanfranco's Christ and the Samaritan Woman, Hogarth's Christ at the Pool of Bethesda, and Sebastian del Piombo's The Raising of Lazarus. Many representations of Jesus' crucifixion portray Jesus' mother and the Beloved Disciple, among others, at the foot of the cross (cf. John 19:25–27).

Movies depicting the life of Jesus generally harmonize all four canonical gospels, but most also include scenes unique to the Fourth Gospel, such as the woman taken in adultery in Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth (1977) and the stunning scene of the trial before Pilate in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). Though no film on the Fourth Gospel has been made to compare to Pier Paulo Passolini's The Gospel according to Matthew (1964), the recent The Gospel of John by Philip Saville (2004) is a respectable depiction using the literal text of the gospel, while traditional George Stevens' traditional The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) favors aspects and characters from the Fourth Gospel in its

John, Gospel According to

The Raising of Lazarus (11:1–44).

Oil painting by Sebastiano del Piombo, c. 1517–1519.


view larger image

depiction. More general references to Johannine scenes can in fact be more intriguing. In Dead Man Walking (Tim Robbins 1995), for example, John 8:32 appeals to Matt (“you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”): “I like that. So I pass that lie detector test and I'm home free.” Helen's words to Matt “redefine the meaning of freedom.…  For Matt, real freedom does not entail release from death row but rather dying with dignity, that is, in full recognition of his own culpability” (Reinhartz 2003, p. 48).

In the world of music, J. S. Bach's Saint John Passion stands out, but other fine composers such as William Byrd, Heinrich Schütz, and Roland de Lassus have contributed exceptional Passions as well. At least thirteen Bach cantatas were inspired by texts from the Fourth Gospel, such as BWV 108, Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe (John 16:7, 13) and BWV 85, Ich bin ein guter Hirt (John 10:12). The Stabat Mater, a thirteenth century Latin hymn, has been famously treated by Vivaldi, Boccherini, Pergolesi, Rossini, Dvorak, Haydn, Cornysh, and Azymanowski. From Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem to the Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem by Arvo Pärt, the Fourth Gospel has not lost its muse-like ability to inspire the greatest western composers.

The permeation of the Fourth Gospel in literature is profound, and again only a sample is possible. Dante went so far as to weigh in on the tradition of John's assumption into heaven (based on John 21:20–23); Dante was against the idea, apparently for fear it would lessen the uniqueness of Mary's assumption (Jacoff 1999). Dylan Thomas' “In the beginning was the word, the word/That from the solid bases of the light/Abstracted all the letters of the void” (“On Logos”) is far distant from Prufrock's futile “I am Lazarus, come from the dead” (T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”), but both show the poetic range the Gospel can inspire.

The reception history of the Fourth Gospel would be incomplete without a mention of its most tragic aspect: its language toward “the Jews” as a part of anti-Semitism. Martin Luther's comments are, sadly, not unusual. After quoting “You are from your father the devil” (John 8:44), he adds “It was intolerable to them to hear that they were not Abraham's but the devil's children, nor can they bear to hear this today” (Luther's Works 1971, p. 272).

Fortunately, there are some glimmers of a more judicious attitude. Michael Marissen, for example, argues that while Bach's St. John Passion does not resolve or deny any anti-Jewishness in the Fourth Gospel, neither does it exploit the death of Jesus for obviously anti-Semitic ends; on the contrary, Bach excised some blatantly anti-Jewish passages in the text he inherited for the libretto, and encouraged the traditional Lutheran theology that argued that Protestant Christians are at the top of the “hierarchy of guilt” for Jesus' death (Marissen 1998). In the twentieth century, while theologians serving the Nazi regime created support in the Fourth Gospel for their thesis of the Aryan Jesus, they also had to cope (usually by excision) with John 4:22, “salvation comes from the Jews” (Heschel 1994).

In conclusion, the “surplus of meaning” of the Fourth Gospel, not only as a foundational Christian document but also as a classic text of world literature, after nearly two millennia shows no sign of diminution.



I. Commentaries

  • Barrett, C. K. The Gospel according to St. John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text. London: SPCK, 1955.
  • Beasley-Murray, George. John. Word Biblical Commentary 36. Waco, Tex.: Word, 1989.
  • Brodie, Thomas L. The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Brown, Raymond. The Gospel According to John. 2 vols. Anchor Bible 29–29A. New York: Doubleday, 1966–70. 2d ed., 1979.
  • Bultmann, Rudolf. The Gospel of John. Translated by G. R. Beasley-Murray, R. W. N. Hoare, and J. K. Riches. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971. English translation of Das Evangelium des Johannes, first published in 1953.
  • Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Pillar New Testament Commentaries. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1991.
  • Dodd, C. H. The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1968.
  • Edwards, Mark J. John. Blackwell Bible Commentaries. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.
  • Keener, Craig. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. 2 vols. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2003.
  • Kieffer, Rene. “John.” In The Oxford Bible Commentary, edited by John Barton and John Muddiman, 960–1000. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Kysar, Robert. The Fourth Evangelist and His Gospel. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1975.
  • Lindars, Barnabas. The Gospel of John. New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1981, c. 1972.
  • Malina, Bruce, and Richard L. Rohrbaugh. Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998.
  • Moloney, Francis. The Gospel of John. Sacra Pagina 4. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1998.
  • Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1971.
  • Neyrey, Jerome H. The Gospel of John. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • O'Day, Gail R. “The Gospel of John: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.” In The New Interpreter's Bible, edited by Leander Keck, 491–865. Nashville: Abingdon, 1995.
  • O'Day, Gail R. “John.” In Women's Bible Commentary, edited by Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe, 381–393. Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox, 1992.
  • Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. John. 3 vols. New York: Seabury, 1980–1982.
  • Segovia, Fernando F. “The Gospel of John.” In A Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, edited by Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah. New York: T & T Clark, 2007.
  • Sloyan, Gerard. John. Atlanta: John Knox, 1988.
  • Smith, D. Moody. John. Abingdon New Testament Commentaries. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999.
  • Stibbe, M. W. G. John. Readings: A New Biblical Commentary. Sheffield, U.K.: JSOT Press, 1993.
  • Talbert, Charles H. Reading John: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine Epistles. New York: Crossroad, 1992.
  • Witherington, Ben, III. John's Wisdom: A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1995.

II. Other Sources

  • Anderson, Paul N. The Christology of the Fourth Gospel: With a New Introduction, Outlines and Epilogue. Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2010.
  • Anderson, Paul N. “On Guessing Points and Naming Stars: Epistemological Origins of John's Christological Tensions.” In The Gospel of John and Christian Theology, edited by Richard Bauckham and Carl Mosser, 311–345. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2008.
  • Bauckham, Richard. “For Whom Were the Gospels Written?” In The Gospels for All Christians: Rethinking the Gospel Audiences, edited by Richard Bauckham, 9–48. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1998.
  • Belle, Gilbert van. Johannine Bibliography 1966–1985: A Cumulative Biography on the Fourth Gospel. Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 82. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 1988.
  • Belle, Gilbert van. The Signs Source in the Fourth Gospel: Historical Survey and Critical Evaluation of the Semeia Hypothesis. Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 116. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 1994.
  • Borgen, Peder. “God's Agent in the Fourth Gospel.” In The Interpretation of John, edited by John Ashton, 83–95. 2d ed. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1997.
  • Boyarin, Daniel. “The Ioudaioi in John and the Prehistory of ‘Judaism.’” In Pauline Conversations in Context: Essays in Honor of Calvin J. Roetzel, edited by J. C. Anderson, P. Sellew, and C. Setzer, 216–239. Journal for the Study of the New Testament: Supplement Series 221. London: Sheffield Academic, 2002.
  • Bremmer, Jan N., ed. The Apocryphal Acts of John. Studies on the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. Kampen, Netherlands: Kok Pharos, 1995.
  • Burridge, Richard A. What Are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Carter, Warren. John and Empire: Initial Explorations. New York and London: T & T Clark, 2008.
  • Charlesworth, James H. The Beloved Disciple: Whose Witness Validates the Gospel of John? Valley Forge, Penn.: Trinity, 1995.
  • Coloe, Mary L. Dwelling in the Household of God: Johannine Ecclesiology and Spirituality. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 2009.
  • Coloe, Mary L. God Dwells With Us: Temple Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 2001.
  • Culpepper, R. Alan. Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983.
  • Culpepper, R. Alan. The Gospel and Letters of John. Interpreting Biblical Texts. Nashville: Abingdon, 1998.
  • Culpepper, R. Alan. The Johannine School: An Evaluation of the Johannine-School Hypothesis Based on an Investigation of the Nature of Ancient Schools. Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series 26. Missoula, Mont.: Scholars, 1975.
  • Culpepper, R. Alan, and F. F. Segovia, “The Fourth Gospel from a Literary Perspective.” Semeia 53 (1991).
  • Dauphinais, Michael, and Matthew Levering, eds. Reading John with St. Thomas Aquinas: Theological Exegesis and Speculative Theology. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2005.
  • DeBoer, Martinus. Johannine Perspectives on the Death of Jesus. Kampen, Netherlands: Kok Pharos, 1996.
  • Dewey, Joanna. “The Gospel of John in the Oral-Written Media World.” In Jesus in Johannine Tradition, edited by Robert Fortna and Tom Thatcher, 239–252. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
  • Dube, Musa W., and Jeffrey L. Staley, eds. John and Postcolonialism: Travel, Space and Power. Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield University Press, 2002.
  • Fortna, Robert T. The Fourth Gospel and Its Predecessor: From Narrative Source to Present Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.
  • Hamburger, Jeffrey F. St. John the Divine: The Deified Evangelist in Medieval Art and Theology. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
  • Hazard, Mark. The Literal Sense and the Gospel of John in Late-Medieval Commentary and Literature. London: Routledge, 2002.
  • Heschel, Susannah. “Nazifying Christian Theology: Walter Grundmann and the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life.” Church History 63 (1994): 587–605.
  • Hill, Charles E. The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Jackoff, Rachel. “Dante and the Legend(s) of St. John.” Dante Studies, with the Annual Report of the Dante Society 117 (1999): 45–57.
  • Jensen, Robin. Understanding Early Christian Art. London: Routledge, 2000.
  • Keefer, Kyle. The Branches of the Gospel of John: The Reception of the Fourth Gospel in the Early Church. New York and London: Continuum, 2006.
  • Kimelman, Reuven. “Birkath Ha-minim and the Lack of Evidence for an Anti-Christian Jewish Prayer in Late Antiquity.” In Jewish and Christian Self-Definition, edited by E. P. Sanders, A. I. Baumgarten, and A. Mendelson, 2:226–44. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981.
  • King, Karen L. The Secret Revelation of John. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.
  • Kysar, Robert. “The Fourth Gospel: A Report on Recent Research.” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, II 25.3 (1985): 2389–2480.
  • Kysar, Robert. Voyages with John: Charting the Fourth Gospel. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2005.
  • Lincoln, Andrew. Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit Motif in the Fourth Gospel. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2000.
  • Marissen, Michael. Lutheranism, Anti-Judaism, and Bach's St. John Passion. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Martyn, J. Louis. History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel. 3d ed. The New Testament Library. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2003.
  • Matera, Frank J. New Testament Theology: Exploring Diversity and Unity. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2007.
  • Meeks, Wayne. “The Man from Heaven in Johannine Sectarianism.” Journal of Biblical Literature 91 (1972): 44–72.
  • Meeks, Wayne A. The Prophet-King: Moses Traditions and the Johannine Christology. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 14. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1967.
  • Painter, John. The Quest for the Messiah: The History, Literature, and Theology of the Johannine Community. Nashville: Abingdon, 1993.
  • Pollard, T. E. Johannine Christology and the Early Church. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 13. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1970.
  • Reinhartz, Adele. “‘Jews’ and Jews in the Fourth Gospel.” In Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, edited by R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, 341–356. Assen, Netherlands: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001.
  • Reinhartz, Adele. “The Johannine Community and Its Jewish Neighbors: A Reappraisal.” In What is John?, edited by Fernando F. Segovia, 2:111–138. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998.
  • Reinhartz, Adele. Scripture on the Silver Screen. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2003.
  • Reinhartz, Adele. “Women in the Johannine Community.” In A Feminist Companion to John, edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marianne Blickenstaff, 2.14–33. London and New York: Sheffield Academic, 2003.
  • Robinson, John A. T. The Priority of John. Edited by J. F. Coakley. London: SCM Press, 1985.
  • Schnelle, Udo. Antidocetic Christology in the Gospel of John: An Investigation of the Place of the Fourth Gospel in the Johannine School. Translated by Linda M. Maloney. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992. English translation of Antidoketische Christologie im Johannesevangelium: Eine Untersuchung zur Stellung des vierten Evangeliums in der johanneischen Schule, first published 1987.
  • Schneiders, Sandra M. “Remaining in His Word: From Faith to Faith by Way of the Text.” In What We Have Heard from the Beginning: The Past, Present, and Future of Johannine Studies, edited by Tom Thatcher, 261–276. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2007.
  • Segovia, Fernando F. The Farewell of the Word: The Johannine Call to Abide. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991.
  • Smith, D. Moody. “Johannine Studies Since Bultmann.” Word & World XXI.4 (Fall, 2001): 343–351.
  • Smith, D. Moody. John among the Gospels: The Relationship in Twentieth-Century Research. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.
  • Spaulding, Mary B. Commemorative Identities: Jewish Social Memory and the Johannine Feast of Booths. Library of New Testament Studies 396. New York and London: T & T Clark, 2009.
  • Thatcher, Tom. Greater than Caesar: Christology and Empire in the Fourth Gospel. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009.
  • Tilborg, Sjef van. Reading John in Ephesus. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 83. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1996.

Pamela E. Hedrick

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