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The Fourth Gospel And the Quest for Jesus:…

The Fourth Gospel And the Quest for Jesus: Modern Foundations Reconsidered…

by Paul N. Anderson

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A boring looking book, eh? Don't let the blandness of the cover fool you. This skinny little book may be one of the most important theological efforts of the last five years. My next book will be about the Gospel of John, and Anderson's book contributed significantly to my research.

John's Gospel differs so significantly from the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) that the question arises often between scholars: Do we trust John, or the other three? In one simple example, the Synoptics present a one-year ministry of Jesus, whereas John indicates at least a three-year ministry. But since John's Gospel reads so mystically (a more acceptable word may be "spiritually"), and since he seems outnumbered 3-to-1, most scholars through the centuries have given it little weight. It gets relegated to the pulpit as the "fourth Gospel," as if it didn't deserve a name.

Recent archaeological discoveries, however, have proven John's Gospel spot-on in a number of its claims. John is also the one Gospel that claims to be an eye-witness account. Anderson jumps on the bandwagon of recent scholarship and presents his argument that this Gospel is equally historically accurate, and as important to understanding the life of Jesus, as the Synoptics. And, of course, I believe he is right.

The casual reader may find little to hold their interest in this book, but the scholar and the pastor cannot afford to be without it. ( )
1 vote DubiousDisciple | Mar 21, 2011 |
At many points, the book rightly exposes the manner in which much of critical scholarship can become so entrenched in its own orthodoxy that it fails to consider other alternatives that are on the table. However, that being said, Andersen's own book, ironically, seems to suffer from the same problem. On the one hand, he is quick to point out logical inconsistencies and outdated arguments in the critical consensus, while on the other he retains logical inconsistencies and outdated arguments in his treatment of the traditional approach to John's origins. It seems that Anderson is asking the reader to break out of a critical paradigm that he himself is still upholding. For that reason, it is difficult to find the book's overall thesis compelling. That problem aside, this volume makes a positive contribution to the areas of John-Synoptic studies and should be read by all those interested in joining the dialogue.
added by Christa_Josh | editJournal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Michael J. Kruger (Mar 1, 2008)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0567033309, Paperback)

This book engages critically one of the most pervasive sets of assumptions within modern biblical studies: namely, that because John is theological and different from the Synoptics, it cannot be historical - nor does it contribute anything of substance to the quest for the historical Jesus. Part I develops a brief history of the debate. Part II assesses critically the strengths and weaknesses of six planks comprising the foundation for two major platforms. The first involves 'the de-historicization of John', the second 'the de-Johannification of Jesus'. Part III takes on centrally the question of how John's tradition may have developed in ways that are largely autonomous and individuated, but also holding open the possibility of contact with parallel gospel traditions. Part IV develops the particular contributions made by the Synoptics to the historical investigation of Jesus, and likewise those made by the Johannine tradition. Part V then develops an array of implications emerging from the present study, sketching trajectories for further investigation and paths of extended inquiry. While this approach may be mistaken as an appeal for the traditional view or a post-modern exploration, it is neither. It intends to be a critical analysis of the so-called 'critical consensus' on John's historicity and expulsion from historical Jesus resources. This book could contribute to opening a new approach in Johannine and Jesus studies alike.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

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