Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Jesus in Johannine Tradition

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Jesus in Johannine Tradition

Article excerpt

Jesus in Johannine Tradition. Edited by Hoben T. Fortna and Tom Thatcher. Louisville, Ky. and London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. xviii + 38.1 pp. $29.95 (paper).

Jesus in Johannine Tradition is an engaging and provocative collection of twenty-seven essays by scholars on oral and written materials the fourth evangelist used to create the gospel of John. The essays are indeed creative presentations of fresh ideas; while often short and shorn of footnotes, they will delight educated laity and clergy anxious to update their seminary education and learn what is new in Johannine scholarship. Essays approach the Johannine Jesus tradition from both a diachronic and a synchronie perspective. We read how Robert Fortna's groundbreaking work on identifying the Signs gospel is still sound. Several essays extend its arguments. We hear more about the role of the beloved disciple. We learn to refer to the "temple incident" rather than the question-begging temple cleansing. Finally, we see arguments for reading John in light of noncanonical texts like the gospel of Thomas.

Part 1 discusses the fourth gospel and Jesus; part 2 the fourth evangelists sources; and part 3 the fourth gospel and noncanonical literature. In each section, everyone will find something stimulating. David Rensberger's opening essay in part 1 discusses how John supports readings by Christians whose sacramental and Christological beliefs differ, and that its paradoxical, ironic, ambiguous, and symbolic language is essential to its mode and content of communication. Gail O'Day indicates ways in which John's literary techniques intend to open up the world of the gospel story to the worlds of the reader's experience. …

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