Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel

Article excerpt

Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel. Edited by Reimund Bieringer, Didier Pollefeyt, and Frederique Vandecasteele-Vanneuville. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. xiii + 322 pp. $34.95 (paper).

Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel originated from a research program at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) to study the alleged anti-Judaism of the gospel of John. At the research seminar in Leuven on January 17-18, 2000, twenty-four leading scholars in the fields of Johannine exegesis and Jewish-Christian dialogue met, and some of the contributors rewrote their essays for the present volume. The complete set of essays from the seminar has already been published. This volume is the definitive collection on a central problem in the New Testament.

In the first essay, "Wrestling with Johannine Anti-Judaism: A Hermeneutical Framework for the Analysis of the Current Debate," the editors structure the debate in the volume around five questions: (A) Is the gospel of John anti-Jewish?; (B) Who are "the Jews" in John?; (C) How do we have to understand the presumed conflict between the Johannine community and "the Jews"?; (D) Is John supersessionist?; and (E) What is the possible contribution of berineneutics to reading John?

In regard to (A), no one denies that anti-Judaism has found its way into the interpretation of John, but did it originate at the level of the interpreter, the level of the text, or the level of the author? Those agreeing that John depicts the relationship between Jesus and "the Jews" in a negative way (B) sometimes limit, relativize, and even deny the anti-Judaism implied in it. Important here is how to understand John's frequent negative use of the term "the Jews. …

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