James H. Charlesworth begins from a burgeoning point of scholarly consensus: More and more scholars are coming to recognize that the Fourth Gospel is more historically complex than previously thought. Charlesworth outlines two historical horizons within John. On the one hand, there is the Jewish background to the text (complete with the evangelist's knowledge of Palestinian geography and Jewish customs) which Charlesworth perceives as offering a window into pre-70 Palestinian Judaism. On the other hand, the gospel also reflects a post-70 world in which non-believing Jews, with more unity, begin to part definitely with those who identified Jesus as the Messiah.
Split into four sections, this volume first examines the origins of the Fourth Gospel, its evolution in several editions, and its setting in Judea and Galilee. Charlesworth then looks specifically at the figure of Jesus and issues of history. He proceeds to consider this Gospel alongside earlier and contemporaneous Jewish literature, most notably the Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally, the volume engages with John's symbolism and language, looking closely at key aspects in which John differs from the Synoptic Gospels, and raising such provocative questions as whether or not it is possible that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. From one of the New Testament's most noted scholars, this book allows deeper understanding of the ways in which the Gospel of John is a vital resource for understanding both the origin of Christianity and Jesus' position in history.
James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Director of the Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Project at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA.
Preface: John's Symbolic Language: The Johannine Community and Its Jewish Background Foreword Abbreviations Introduction: The Genius in the New Testament I. Origin, Evolution, and Settings of the Gospel of John 1. Paradigm Shifts in Johannine Studies 2. The Priority of John 3. The Beloved Disciple: Criteria and Observations 4. The Historical and Social Setting of the Gospel of John in Light of the Essenes II. John and the Historical Jesus 5. John: A Neglected Source 6. Archaeological Discoveries Supporting the Historicity of John's Traditions III. The Gospel of John and Other Sacred Literature John and the Dead Sea Scrolls 7. The Dualism of Qumran and the "Dualism" of John 8. An Overview of the Dead Sea Scrolls and a Revolutionary New Perspective 9. John and Qumran: Almost Seventy Years of Research 10. John's Indebtedness to Judaism and the Self-Glorification Hymn John and Enoch 11. Did the Fourth Evangelist Know the Enoch Tradition? John and the Odes of Solomon 12. The Odes of Solomon and the Gospel of John 13. Qumran, John, and the Odes of Solomon IV. Symbolic Language in the Gospel of John 14. Jewish Purity Laws and the Identity of the Beloved Disciple 15. The Symbolism of the Serpent in John 16. Symbology in Johannine Christology 17. Is it Conceivable that Jesus Married Mary Magdalene?; Searching for Evidence in Johannine Traditions 18. Whence the Title Kata Ioannon: "According to John"? Conclusion Advances in the Study of the Fourth Gospel: A Selected Bibliography - Jolyon G. R. Pruszinski Indexes