Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community

By Craig R. Koester | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Preface to the Second Edition

SYMBOLISM IN THE FOURTH GOSPEL IS A STUDY OF JOHN’S GOSPEL AS A whole. Using symbolism as its focus, it explores the Gospel’s literary dimensions, social and historical context, and theological import. One question that shapes the study concerns how people know God, since symbols are earthly images that bear witness to transcendent realities; and a second question is how particular things can have broader or even universal significance. In the chapters that follow we will make our way through John’s richly textured narrative, asking how this telling of the story of Jesus enables readers “from below” to know and believe what is “from above.”

For this new edition, many portions have been rewritten and new sections on theological issues have been added to most chapters. Chapter 1 establishes a framework for interpretation, proposing that the Gospel addresses a spectrum of readers, who have somewhat differing points of view. It also considers how a single image can encompass multiple dimensions of meaning and explores how the Gospel might help readers distinguish valid from invalid interpretations of its imagery. Chapter 2, which deals with representative figures, includes a fresh treatment of Johannine Christology, a new section on Judas, and a final piece on the Gospel’s understanding of human life in relation to God. Chapter 3 offers revised treatments of the Gospel’s signs and discourses, with special attention given to the way the narrative engages conflicting points of view. Themes of light and water are taken up in chapters 4 and 5, each with new material. The treatment of the crucifixion in chapter 6 explores the different layers of meaning in John’s presentation of Jesus’ death, and a new concluding section connects each layer to John’s focus on divine love. The discussion of Christian community in chapter 7 explores the social dimensions of the Gospel’s symbolism in light of divergent points of view, giving fresh treatment to the image of the vine and its branches. Chapter 8, which is entirely


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 348

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?