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The Gospel of John and Christian Theology Paperback – February 25, 2008
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"Jürgen Moltmann, in the final essay of this collection edited by Richard Bauckham and Carl Mosser, offers a fascinating autobiographical insight. . . most of [the other essays] justify the wisdom of taking John as a contemporary theological guide. It is an exciting prospect: a well-grounded renewal of confidence in the Fourth Gospel supported by biblical scholars and theologians who engage with the text, with each other and with the contemporary world."
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There are some fantastic articles with rich and meaningful commentary on the issues. D. Bingham's short article on Irenaeus'soteriology and it's relation to John's gospel is insightful but in fact is perhaps too brief to fully develop his ideas. Terry Griffith's article also gives a very nice summation of anti-semitism in relation to John 8 where Jesus told his audience they were of the devil. He argues that this audience may have been primarily comprised of the audience spoken to in John 6 and argues that this is not an ethnic designation but a definition of an apostate. Tonstad' article was incredible and his perspective on the necessity of the Cross was not only intellectually stimulating but very compelling and moving. Andrew Lincoln's article on Lazarus examines literary features to see how John is addressing the issue of death for second generation believers. The first two articles on Christology by Hengel and Rae are also quite excellent and are a great point of reference for the prologue of the gospel and it's theological perspective.
Most of the other articles were good to fair. There were a couple that were almost inaccessible to most readers and thus this is not a book for someone who does have a theological background. For example; phrases in Greek were inaccessible to me. While I understand a smathering of Latin I do not unfortunately speak Greek as of yet. Some words or ideas were lost to me because I could not read them. A couple of articles were quite verbose and were so thick that it was truly distracting from the themes. While I appreciated the varied backgrounds I think it would have been advantageous for them to include a few traditions that were more favorable to the idea that John the son of Zebedee may have in fact been the author. There are very good teachers who still hold to this such as Andreas Kostenberger and D.A. Carson.
While this is not my favorite work on John it is certainly worth reading. There is a lot of nourishment for both soul and spirit. I would buy this volume for the Tonstad article alone. But there are a number of good articles and it gives a nice diversity.
The range of contributors is, similarly, considerable and of varying pedigrees, with a range of younger scholars finding voice as well as those of a more established (e.g. Martin Hengel, Rowan Williams and Richard Bauckham himself) and, one might say, in certain cases, a slightly more conservative disposition.
It is hard to see how most scholars of the Fourth Gospel are going to show an interest in most of the topics addressed through these 390 odd pages, but there are those - and the reader may either be one or know one - who seem to display a quite insatiable appetite for all things Johannine. That being said, no institutional theological library should be without this considerable resource as it is bound to prove to be a good 'first port of call' for essays and divers others inquiries into the Fourth Gospel for years to come.
Michael Calum Jacques