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The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John Paperback – April 1, 2011
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1. Outlining the Johannine Riddles. Anderson presents, in tabular form, the theological, historical, and literary riddles that are spread throughout the Gospel.
2. Addressing the Johannine Riddles. Who wrote the Fourth Gospel, when, how, and why? Multiple theories are presented, emphasizing origin and character.
3. Interpreting the Johannine Riddles. Anderson takes a stab at answering John's conundrums, and calls for a "fourth quest for Jesus" with special consideration for the historical realism of John's Gospel.
If you're familiar with Anderson's work, you may be tempted to skip certain sections, as much has been covered before, but the emphasis on tension and prepared contradictions--what Paul labels John's "riddles"--forces you to reexamine familiar texts within a directed theme. Anderson drills into us the dialectical thinking of John. The Fourth Gospel appears to make a point of presenting both sides of every theology. Jesus is both the most human and the most divine in this gospel. He is judge, but he judges not. He is equal to the Father but subjective to the Father. He fulfills all prophesies yet promises a future eschatology. Perhaps most frustrating of all to me as a scholar of Johannine writings, John's esoteric, spiritual passages encourage non-literal interpretation, but are liberally peppered with verifiable historical accuracies. These tensions are frustrating but intentional, purposefully forcing us to examine all sides.
My conclusion: This is an important, well-organized book whose careful research demands consideration.
Finding a solution to cohere the historical, theological and literary contradictions is much more perilous. Anderson's standpoint is clear and controversial. He claims that tensions as a factor of multiple sources falls short in terms of evidence. For him John is essentially a one man's cognitive crisis delivering his message to various audiences. He considers the author to have been a brilliant ecclesiastical writer followed by a less brilliant ecclesiastical refactor.
Anderson's explanations are in my mind the feeble part of the book. I consider that John is a hybrid composition, for reasons that can't be developed here. But readers will gain considerable and clear information from the first part that discloses all the difficulties a learned scholar encounters in John.
Sujaya James, Ph.D.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting perspective on the Gospel of John. It was very helpful in providing a deeper understanding of John for my students.Published 19 months ago by Ron Owens
The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel is probably the longest introduction to anything that I have ever read, unless you consider actual intro-level textbooks on topics like the field... Read morePublished on December 27, 2011 by R. Sherwood