Dec 13 - 23
Ships from: Blackwell's U.K. *dispatched from UK* Sold by: Blackwell's U.K. *dispatched from UK*
Other Sellers on Amazon
Follow the Authors
1, 2, and 3 John (Sacra Pagina series, Vol. 18) (Volume 18) Hardcover – July 1, 2002
Enhance your purchase
The Johannine Epistles are today read as an important part of the Johannine literature. Yet the meaning of the text is often unclear. Part of the problem arises because, although 1 John is called an Epistle, it lacks the formal marks of an Epistle. In 1, 2, and 3 John, John Painter illuminates the relationship 1, 2, and 3 John have to each other and to the Gospel.
Painter explains the historical context of the Johannine Epistles using a socio-rhetorical approach. The writings are shown to reflect a situation of conflict and schism within the Johannine community; they seek to persuade the readers of the truth of the writer's message. In this truth, the readers are encouraged to abide if they would have the assurance of eternal life.
Painter also examines the inseparable connection between belief and ethical life in active love for one another. Through the socio-rhetorical approach Painter brings to light the continuing relevance of these writings.
1, 2, and 3 John is divided into two parts. Chapters under 1 John are "Introduction to the Exegesis of 1 John," "Outline of 1 John," "First Presentation of the Two Tests (1:6-2:27)," "Excursus: Sin and Sinlessness," "Excursus: Love of the Brother/Sister: of One Another," "Excursus: The Antichrist," "Second Presentation of the Two Tests (2:28-4:6)," "Third Presentation of the Two Tests (4:7-5:12)," "Conclusion (5:13-21), and " Excursus: 'A Sin Unto Death.'"
Chapters under 2 and 3 John are "2 John," "Introduction to the Exegesis of 2 John," "Outline of 2 John," "Prescripti 2 John 1-3," "Body of the Letter (4-11)," "Notice of Intention to Visit (12)," and "Final Greetings (13)," "3 John," "Introduction to the Exegesis of 3 John," "Outline of 3 John," "Prescript: 3 John 1-2," "Body of Letter (3-12)," and "Final Greetings (13-15)."
John Painter is the Foundation Professor of Theology at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia.
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
From the Inside Flap
About the Author
- Publisher : Liturgical Press (July 1, 2002)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0814658121
- ISBN-13 : 978-0814658123
- Item Weight : 1.75 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.33 x 1.49 x 9.34 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,811,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In the opening Historical Prolegomenon, a 24-page chapter, Painter situates the commentary in relation to other scholarship by reviewing some of the history of interpreting the Johannine Epistles and stating his own position. We learn that he has built on the interpretive tradition going back to Theodor Haring (German analytical article, 1893), Robert Law (influential study - The Tests of Life, 1906), Alan Brooke (ICC, 1912), and the commentaries of C.H. Dodd (1946) and Rudolph Schnackenburg (1953); also that Painter's work on the commentary started with research done with C.K. Barrett (Durham 1965-1967). He presents some key views and proposals of these scholars (except Barrett) and of others from Westcott (late 19th c.) to Judith Lieu (late 20th c.), including Bultmann (briefly) and R.E. Brown. From the start, then, the reader gets the impression that Painter will deliver a serious, well-conceived study.
The Prolegomenon is followed by an important multi-section Introduction. I found especially significant the long and detailed section 7 (Relationship to the Gospel of John), section 15 (A Profile of the Opposition) bearing on the claims of the "opponents" (see below) and the response of the Johannine author, and section 16 (The Theology of 1 John).
Painter assumes that "literary analysis is the necessary point to begin the work of interpretation." But the texts have a specific historical context as well. Painter sees the Epistles as almost entirely shaped by the split that had occurred in the Johannine community; polemics are pervasive in 1 John, not confined to two passages as some scholars have maintained. "The split is indeed over. The trauma remains." The author of 1 John senses a danger that the faithful who remained may yet be influenced to follow those who have seceded; therefore he writes to the faithful to point out the confessional and ethical errors of the secessionists (or opponents) and to bring reassurance of faith to his readers. The texts are pastoral as well as polemical.
1 John in particular is replete with grammatical and syntactical problems. Therefore, in both Notes and Interpretation of the commentary proper, Painter resorts to detailed examination of the text. The extensive analysis of Greek words and syntax, more than you would find in the typical SP volume, is closer to what one gets in WBC or NIGTC, except that the Greek is transliterated. One inclined toward meticulous exegesis would see it as a valuable resource.
But analysis is not the only strong point of the commentary. To give some examples, Painter hits the target with his insights into the rhetoric of 1 John as an expression of the historical (polemical) situation, and into the link between ethical behavior (defined in terms of loving one another) and the christological confession of faith. His argument against Brown on 1 John's use of the term "koinonia" (fellowship) appears at first sight pedantic; in fact it bolsters his conception of what the Johannine author was up against, adding coherence to the commentary (149-152). On the contrast between "God loved the world" (as in John 3:16) and "Do not love the world" Painter's exposition perceptively shows God seeking to transform the world, while the other kind of love seeks to possess the world - and those who practice it end up being transformed by the world. Other examples are not hard to find.There are four useful excursuses variously located in the commentary on 1 John, and a final one after the commentary on 3 John.
Along with this quality work by Painter I would recommend Stephen Smalley's commentary on the Greek text in the Word series. Simpler but nonetheless illuminating study that is a joy to read is the commentary by Colin Kruse in the Pillar series.
TOTALLY recommended for those wanting to understand more the message of the New Testament.
Painter takes a moderate view on the authorship question, believing that while we can't be sure that the Apostle John wrote any of these letters, it's irresponsible to completely rule it out either. In addition, when it comes to favoring either a 'polemic' or 'pastoral' interpretive emphasis to the letters, Painter seems to opt for the polemic. His interaction with Lieu, while charitable, is often in the form of critique rather than endorsement, and his exegesis regularly ties the text to the opponents of the author. This is very much in the Brown tradition of interpreting the letters, at least on an overall level. As one who thinks the letters are both polemical and pastoral, I can see how a reader might find Painter's treatment a bit imbalanced in his stress on polemic. However, I think Painter is mostly on target in his treatment of polemic. The pastoral thrust of the letters, however, might be a bit neglected in this commentary.
Painter's exegesis is mostly good, as is his interaction with other scholars. His focus on hospitality is predominately good, though it could have been better. In addition, I was pleased that Painter conversed with Kruse's commentary here. It is a regretably common practice for non-evangelical commentaries to ignore evangelical scholarship almost entirely in formulating their own proposals. 40 years ago, perhaps this was justified. But not any more. Painter thankfully does not adopt such an elitist framework in his consultation of the commentary encyclopedia. This alone tells the reader something very positive about the author.
I'm giving the book 4 stars primarily because there is not a whole lot here that advances the ball very much. Painter is thorough in retilling the earth that has already been dug, but he doesn't seem to do a lot of new digging. For some readers, this might actually be a plus. Someone who is looking for a thorough commentary on the Johannine letters that gets the reader apprised of the interpretive issues that have long been debated in the Academy will find it here. But someone who is looking for a commentary that will offer a unique interpretive approach/emphasis, or will take Johannine scholarship beyond where it already is (and has been) will not really find this commentary to be the resource that does it. While Carson's take on this commentary is a bit harsh in my judgment, his critique that Painter doesn't really do anything new is mostly well taken.
So in summary, this is a thorough commentary that responsibly interacts with a wide spectrum of scholarship and often provides a sufficient amount of analysis for the reader to better understand the Johannine letters and the interpretive issues that are in play. But there is not a lot of new ground being broken here, and this makes the commentary solid, but not spectacular.