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Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community [Paperback]

By Craig R. Koester (Author)
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Item description for Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community by Craig R. Koester...

Koester's respected study uses the symbolic language of the Gospel of John as a focus to explore "the Gospel's literary dimensions, social and historical context, and theological import."

Publishers Description
Craig Koester's respected study uses the symbolic language of the Gospel of John as a focus to explore "the Gospel's literary dimensions, social and historical context, and theological import." This edition is fully revised and updated and includes a number of new sections on such topics as Judas and the knowledge of God. Fresh treatments are given on a number of issues, including the Gospel's Christology. This new edition offers both new insights and proven worth for students and scholars alike.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Fortress Press
Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.26 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2003
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0800635949  
ISBN13  9780800635947  

Availability  0 units.

More About Craig R. Koester

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Craig R. Koester is the Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Craig R. Koester currently resides in the state of Minnesota. Craig R. Koester was born in 1953.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community?

A Solid Exegetical Title...  Apr 21, 2005
Koester thoroughly presents the symbolism in John. He discusses some of the different symbols in John, such as light, darkness, and water, as well as the representative figures and symbolic actions (i.e. the "miracles") in the Fourth Gospel. His work is near exhaustive and applicable to the work of the preacher, teacher, or scholar.

While at times Koester's Lutheran heritage wins the day (for instance, in finding countless examples of Eucharistic language all throughout John, even where common sense says there is none), for the most part this book stays the course of scholastic neutrality.

Only one serious complaint about the book (and this has more to do with Fortress Press than Koester): The binding of the book came completely apart the third time I opened it. Hoping this was not my fault, I contacted several others fellow-students who have the book and they complained of the same problem. Other than this one small downfall, Koester's book is quite good!
Extensively detailed, thoughtful, & insightful  Aug 7, 2003
A work of impressive scholarship by Craig R. Koester (Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota), and now in its second edition, Symbolism In The Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community is a seminal study of the Christian Gospel's "literary dimensions, social and historical context, and theological import". From exploring representative figures; to symbolic actions; to views of light and darkness, water, and crucifixion, and more, Symbolism In The Fourth Gospel is an extensively detailed, thoughtful, insightful, and strongly recommended contribution to Biblical Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
Best of both worlds  May 11, 2001
Approaches to the symbolism in the biblical texts is a thorny issue for many readers. That is why this book is so wonderful. Koester stands more-or-less in the evangelical camp, so gives an honest historical reading of John. On his reading, there really was a Samaritan woman, there was a wedding in Cana, there was a Lazarus, etc. This is good, of course: to strip away the historical underpinnings (however tenuous, especially in John) of the pericopes is to eviscerate them. On the other hand, a coldly historical approach to John misses the point(s) of the text completely. The most symbolic of the gospels deserves a thorough symbolic reading in its historical setting. That is what Koester gives. "Balanced" is an overused word, but this book is balanced in its presentation of the Johannine material and the debates surrounding its interpretation.
a pretty good mainline commentary  Apr 11, 2000
Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel is an examination of the way the Gospel of John works with symbols and real people. Koester takes the stance that just about everything in the Gospel of John functions not only as a real event, but also as a symbol. For example, when Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well and they talk about her having five husbands and the man she is with now is not her husband, this is also a discussion of how the people of Samaria have been unfaithful to the people of Israel.

Theologically, Koester is somewhere between mainline and evangelical. He does a very nice job of keeping these events as both real factual events (water was turned to win) and at the same time examining the symbolism in that event (renewal).

The book reads well and is not written so densely to be incomprehensible. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a commentary on John and want to look deeper into the background and the symbolism. I would not recommend it if you are just starting to read the Bible. Overall, I would give it a week four star rating.


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