- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Trinity Pr Intl (April 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1563381990
- ISBN-13: 978-1563381997
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,420,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Christology of the Fourth Gospel: Its Unity and Disunity in the Light of John 6 Paperback – April 1, 1997
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Critical Acclaim for
The Christology of the Fourth Gospel continued...
"Students of John will want to read this book."
Charles Sturt University, Australia
"So far as I know, his book is the first to use Mikhail Bakhtin's understanding of dialogic imagination and James Fowler's stages of faith in the analysis of Johannine theology and literature. This is a significant work that deserves careful reading."
"As an expositor and preacher of the Bible, I found The Christology of the Fourth Gospel by Paul N. Anderson to be a very stimulating and immensely helpful study of chapter six. This is a benchmark book on Christology. The author shows how John's Christology has its origins in transforming encounters with the historical Jesus and continuing encounters with the eternal Christ. A careful reading of this scholarly work will enrich a scholar-preacher's proclamation of the Johannine witness to the pre-existent Word, the incarnate Christ, and the eternal, living Lord. This book is a must for serious communicators who want to have roots in sound, intellectually responsible exegesis."
Lloyd John Ogilvie
Chaplain of the U.S. Senate
"One is treated to a suggestive book that knows well the Johannine world, is well developed, and puts into play the most recent exegetical bibliography."
Francisco Contreras Molina
Facultad de Teología, Granada
"Anderson's work should be counted among the important works on John 6, if only for his thorough discussion of the classical works on this chapter. Anderson effectively argues for the 'literary unity' of the passage in complete recognition of the 'theological and contextual tensions' that dwell within. The exhaustive argumentation will quickly shake the disinterested reader, while the experienced reader will recognize the innovative and finely nuanced argumentation."
"Paul Anderson's work is a careful, intensive, and fruitful look at the most central question to Christianity: How was/is Jesus to be understood as Christ? Clearly, to answer this Christological question one must go through the fourth gospel. And Paul is an avid and able guide!...Like Kant in philosophy, no one doing Johannine scholarship can "go 'round" Bultmann. Since the publication of Bultmann's commentary in 1941, Johannine scholarship was revolutionized....
In what is a creative - but, I am sure, will be a controversial - move, Paul introduces the world of faith development into Johannine scholarship. He looks at people such as James Fowler and James Loder to gain a critical sense of the way faith is born in people's hearts....This is a remarkable book. It will cause ripples. It will be the focus of attention. It is good!"
"This book is a thorough work of scholarship which is not to be disregarded by anyone, whatever their views on the Fourth Gospel. Anderson's book.... My own regret is that it reached me after I wrote my article on John 6!"
"This massive study of Johannine Christology uses chapter six of the Gospel as its testing ground. Anderson seeks to understand the inherent literary and thematic tensions within John's text in order to discover the grounds for its coherence and overall unity. His probing review of the literature and his own thoughtful analysis make this a model study for New Testament scholarship."
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
"It is a landmark in the research focused on John 6, and will remain for years to come the most helpful and insightful discussion available."
Princeton Theological Seminary
"Anderson's dissertation has many merits. He formulates a relevant problem in Johannine research, and with energy and creative analyses he works through the secondary literature and primary sources. In a fruitful way he points to the interplay between, on one hand, one's understanding of John's distinctive unitive and disunitive Christology, and on the other hand, one's understanding of the literary sources....Moreover it is impressive that he is able to tie together into his solution of the problem insights gained from the research of C. K. Barrett (the dialectical character of John's thought), of C. H. Dodd (oral tradition), of B. Lindars and P. Borgen (homiletic use of tradition and Scripture), of R. E. Brown and J. L. Martyn (a situation of tension within a synagogal context), and of E. Käsemann (anti-Petrine understanding of the church)."
University of Trondheim
"Anderson has contributed considerably to the study of the Fourth Gospel, especially regarding the multiple source theory. I suspect, however, that his use of Fowler and Loder will make more of an impact on biblical scholarship and literary analysis. Biblical scholars constantly solve conflicts by finding multiple sources....Or are we biblical scholars actually 'fourth stage' thinkers who cannot comprehend a 'fifth stage' redactor - one who does hold together dialectical tensions and who portrays a divine being that embodies the seemingly disparate points of view?"
Chicago Theological Seminary
"The strengths of this book are manifold. I will simply mention three. First, Anderson makes a remarkably synthetic effort. The interpretative enterprise is not lost beneath a quagmire of disjunctive details. Second, Anderson's treatment of the 'agency' motif goes a long way in terms of helping one to make sense of the 'exalted' and 'subordinated' Christology (and has great implications for the development of Christian monotheism). Third, Anderson clearly recognizes that the gospel traditions were passed on by human beings (rather than being disjointed nebulously ideas), and that it is therefore appropriate to examine a text for evidence of a human mind. Hence, his cognitive analysis of John's dialectical Christology is novel and perceptive. In sum, Anderson's book is a feast for all who are interested in the theology of John's Gospel."
C. Kavin Rowe
"I have always been fascinated by the breaks and gaps in the text of the Fourth Gospel as well as by the sense of development and forward movement in the Gospel as a whole....Paul Anderson's wonderfully researched study of John's Christology focuses these questions around a discussion of John 6 and directly confronts the most significant challenge to a view of the chapter's unity, that of R. Bultmann. What he proposes is a reading of the evangelist's thought which recognizes its dialectical character...and sees this as a central characteristic of the evangelist's thought: theological reflection on the mystery of the incarnation which requires a disciplined wrestling with opposed modes of thought none of which can ever exhaust the reality of what is being contemplated. Such an approach brings in turn exegetical benefits, which Anderson exploits fully."
John K. Riches
About the Author
Paul N. Anderson is Associate Professor of New Testament and Quaker Studies at George Fox College, Newberg, OR.
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While much of Bultmann's source-composition theory has remained unappropriated, his identification of Christological tensions has been widely influential. Scholarship is unanimous in affirming that there is a measure of unity and disunity in John's Christological thinking. Yet, the question remains, how can this unity and disunity be accounted for? Paul Anderson, in The Christology of the Fourth Gospel: Its Unity and Disunity in Light of John 6, seeks to answer just that question.
While the title suggests a rather narrow focus, Anderson's study has far-reaching implications for the whole of the Johannine Gospel. As his jaunt through the history of scholarship shows, how one solves the Christological tensions determines the solutions to many of the remaing Johannine riddles. And signficantly, these Christological tensions are most evident in John 6. Thus, John 6 is able to serve as "the 'Grand Central Station' of Johannine historical, literary, and theological issues" (pp. 7).
There are several ways in which John's Christological unity and disunity have been treated. Some have simply denied that there is any disunity, others have attributed that disunity to a conglomeration of sources, as did Bultmann, while others (e.g. C. K. Barrett) have attributed it to the internal thinking of the Evangelist. Anderson follows Barrett in locating the tension within the Evangelist's own theological thought. Thus, when Anderson turns his attention to John 6, he must demonstrate, contra Bultmann, that it is a coherent literary and theological unit.
He devotes a chapter to evaluating the literary unity of John 6. He shows convincingly that Bultmann's linguistic argument for underlying and differing sources is invalid. Indeed, many of Bultmann's claims when inspected are simply not true. John 6 is linguistically and stylistically unified. The next Bultmannian proposal to be deconstructed is his argument that Jesus' sign and the following discourse are unrelated - that they reveal a conjoining of two disparate sources. Once again, Anderson shows persuasively that the Jesus' sign and the following discourse are bound together by a strong narratival logic. Lastly, Anderson evaluates Bultmann's theological argument that John 6 represents two clashing views of the sacraments. He demonstrates that the passage neither represents instrumentalist sacramentology, nor anti-sacramentalism, rather, it is unified in understanding the incarnate Jesus as the ultimate sacrament. Thus, in all three chapters Anderons argues forcefully against Bultmann's radical source-composition theory, and in turn, suggests that the remaining Christological tension is the result of the Evangelist's dialectical thinking.
Basing his theory off of psychological research conducted by J. Fowler, Anderson suggests that the Evangelist's dialectical thought is the result of his faith maturity. Fowler identifies six stages of faith development, the fifth of which is "Conjunctive faith" - the stage Anderson's attributes to the Evangelist. In this fifth stage, the faithful are comfortable with ambiguity in their theological and philosophical thought. They have moved past black-and-white thinking, and accept tensions within their worldview. Anderson argues that this is the case with the fourth Evangelist: He is a conjunctive thinker - a dialectical thinker. That is the root of his Christological tension.
Anderson concludes his work with a meticulous exegesis of John 6. Here he presents what he has termed the Bi-Optic Hypothesis, which argues that John represents a Jesus tradition independent of the Synoptics. Thus, in the four Gospels we have two independent understandings of Jesus, the Petrine (Synoptic) and the Johannine. Throughout his exegesis Anderson demonstrates the similar yet dissimilar relationship between John and the Synoptics. A relationship which, in Anderson's view, reveals both the independence of the traditions and their historical grounding.
Many of Anderson's exegetical insights are illuminating and persuasive. He has a keen eye for identifying John's use of irony and the existential quality of his thought. Every reader will benefit from his detailed engagement with the text.
I will say that I differ with Anderson pretty significantly regarding methodology. He is very much so indebted to form-criticism while I distance myself from that tradition. Likewise, I was unpersuaded by his use of the Petrine tradition as a foil to the Johannine. While I recognize a difference between the Synoptics and John, I do not think that they a represent irreconcilable ideologies. Anderson seems a bit too ambitious to paint the traditions in competition.
For example, I am not convinced that Peter's confession in John 6:68-69 is meant as a corrective to Mark's installation of Peter - that Peter is shown as "returning the keys of the kingdom to Jesus". If that were the case, it seems that it'd be necessary for John to have known the Marcan tradition - something that Anderson's Bi-Optic Hypothesis denies. And if John were trying to combat the Marcan story, it seems a very unclear way to go about it.
However, these concerns should not taint the overall accomplishment of the book. There is much to gain from Anderson's volume. He succesfully deconstructs Bultmann and offers a rhobust alternative. An alternative that may lead the way to new insight regarding the historical Jesus.
I should also add that the new edition contains previously unpublished outlines, as well as a new introduction and epilogue. With these additions, The Christology of the Fourth Gospel becomes a near comprehensive proposal for understanding the Gospel of John. It deserves careful study and serious engagement. Anderson has shown himself to be an important voice in Johannine studies.
NOTE: This book was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
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