NEUE STUDIEN ZU DEN JOHANNEISCHEN SCHRIFTEN. By Johannes Beutler, S.J. Bonner Biblische Beitrage 167. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012. Pp. 287. $62.
Beutler is a major figure in Johannine studies in Europe, but he is perhaps less well known in the United States. This is unfortunate, because he is a scholar with careful judgment and a remarkable grasp of the field of Johannine studies as well as other aspects of New Testament theology. His range of expertise is reflected in this collection of essays written since 2000. The majority of the essays were originally published in German, but five were published in English, two in Italian, and one in Spanish. This alone suggests remarkable erudition. (In the present collection 15 are in German and five are in English.)
A survey of the topics covered is another indicator of the range of B.'s interests and competence: Law and commandment in the Gospel and Letters* (* indicates article in German); the authorship and purpose of the Johannine writings*; the Johannine school*; the hermeneutic of the book of Revelation*; the identity of "the Jews" in the Gospel; Jesus' conflict with Jewish institutions reflected in chapters 5-12; the influence of the Synoptics on the Last Discourses in John; faith and confession in the Gospel; the "glory" of God and of humans*; the use of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34-36"; the meaning of John 14:31"; Jesus' dialogue with Martha in John 11:20-27"; relecture in John 6*; new approach to John 21"; resurrection and forgiveness in John 21; on John 1:5*; on the prologue in general*; on the introduction to the last discourses*; on John 21:20-25*; and on John 11:16*.
B. is judicious and careful in his analysis. His discussion of the interpretation of Psalm 82 through the Septuagint, the NT, the Peschitta, and the rabbis is thorough and displays an obvious comfort with such wideranging literature. That same comfort and skill is evident in the way he confidently traverses the wide-ranging issues of the meaning of the verb katelaben through the various textual and translational traditions. It is not lip-service; it is genuine engagement. In terms of methods, B. makes use of relecture developed by Jean Zumstein, and is convinced that the Gospel has been influenced by the Synoptics. Both impact his interpretation.
Over the years, B. has devoted considerable effort to the study of the attitudes in the Gospel toward Judaism. (He published a book on the topic in 2006 and has been regularly involved in ecumenical discussions on the topic in both Germany and Israel.) In his current essay, B. makes use of narrative criticism's helpful distinction between the "real reader" and the "implied reader. …