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The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (English and Greek Edition)

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521095174
ISBN-10: 0521095174
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A challenge from one of the leading and most universally read of the English biblical scholars of today, which cannot be ignored, on the question of the theological meaning and historical value of the Gospel of St John ... to which the future will undoubtedly be indebted for much illumination.' The Listener

'A monument of erudition and a fascinating exposition of some aspects of St John ... the indispensable work for every serious student of the Gospel.' Professor G. W. H. Lampe, Church of England Newspaper

'An erudite volume which is of essential importance for all who study this Gospel closely. In recent years many scholars have affirmed the pervasive influence of Hellenistic religious thought upon the Evangelist's presentation of the story and teaching of Jesus, but no one has treated this question so comprehensively and with so much detail ... There cannot be any doubt that here is a work of first rank.' Cambridge Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 1, 1968)
  • Language: English, Greek
  • ISBN-10: 0521095174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521095174
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barry S. Riehle on December 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel by C.H. Dodd is rightly considered a classic commentary on the Gospel of John. Despite the fact that it was originally published in 1953 it is still very insightful and offers ideas not found very often in commentaries.

However, it is not what most people would consider to be a good contemporary commentary. Contemporary commentaries have an introduction that explains the themes, context, author, and other issues that will appear in the book. However, the introduction will usually be relatively short with the bulk of the commentary offering either verse-by-verse or paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of the text. In the case of Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel the introduction comprises more than half of the book and the commentary section offers only limited comments on the text.

The other down-side is that the Dodd liberally uses the Greek character set for both words and phrases in the analysis. An interlinear Greek/English Bible would be needed for someone who is not familiar with biblical Greek.
For serious students and pastors this book will be helpful, providing excellent lengthy discussion on various religions and philosophies at the time of the writing of the gospel and the leading ideas (themes) developed in the gospel. This will offer an excellent, in-depth lens through which to understand what the author of the gospel teaches about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

There is another way to access the insights in this volume and in the sequel, Historical Tradition of the Fourth Gospel. George R. Beasley-Murray, who counts Dodd as his most important mentor, has written the Word Biblical Commentary: John (2nd edition) which heavily incorporates Dodd’s insights into his commentary. The Word Biblical Commentary series also liberally uses the Greek character set for both words and phrases in the analysis.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was first recommended to me by an atheist NT scholar who said that, despite the conservative bent of Dodd, this book is very good. At my seminary (a conservative one) the book is considered to be very good as well. So polar opposite ends of the spectrum agree on something, which is usually a positive sign.

Dodd provides extensive historical data that factors into exegesis of John's gospel. He does not transliterate the Greek or Hebrew so those with little or no knowledge of either may become bogged-down; however, using an interlinear or diglot of some kind may help. I would encourage beginners to get acquainted with this work since it will introduce them to a wealth of literature and provide in-depth information on John. That said, this isn't a 'toy' and shouldn't be wielded as such. The work is definitely geared more toward scholars or at least those with a little language/exegetical training under their belt. I bought it before taking five years of Greek and I can say that it is much more useful to me now than before.

(Side note: the 3-star review before mine appears to be a review of the seller from whom the reviewer bought their copy; not Dodd's book itself.)
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Dodd's work is a must read for those engaging in Johannine studies. Though it is a bit dated regarding backgrounds to the Fourth Gospel (the Dead Sea Scrolls were not available at the time he originally published this monograph), it still contains many valuable insights regarding the use of background information. The real strength of the book, however, is Dodd's outline and panoramic overview of John's Gospel. His influence is still felt today as most Johannine scholars still follow Dodd's outline of the Fourth Gospel or some adaptation of it.
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Dodd's.Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel helps advance one's understanding of John's Gospel while honoring its mystery and depth. It's like looking at the Grand Canyon with an "ace" Geologist. The Geologist can give you all kinds of insights into the formations you're looking at and what it took to make them, but at the end of the day, even the Geologist has to step back and say, "Wow,". My "Wow" at reading Gospel of John is much more informed and nuanced thanks to Dodd.
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