Item description for Interpreting Biblical Texts Series - The Gospel and Letters of John (Interpreting Biblical Texts) by R. Alan Culpepper...
Overview Culpepper begins with a close examination of the relationship between John and the Synoptics and a summary of John's distinctive thought and language. He then looks at the origins of the Gospel and the letters, the history of the Johannine community. After a brief orientation to narrative criticism, readers move to the traditional concerns of John's theology. The student is then led through the texts of the Gospel and the letters. The final chapter examines the challenges and potential of these writings as documents of faith.
In this volume, R. Alan Culpepper considers both the Gospel and the Letters of John.
The book begins with a close look at the relationship between John and the Synoptics and a summary of John's distinctive thought and language. The second chapter addresses the fascinating issues regarding the origins of the Gospel and the letters: authorship, sources, and composition. The history of the Johannine community is reviewed in chapter three. Chapter four interprets the plot of the Gospel and prepares the student to read John as literature by providing a brief orientation to narrative criticism.
The fifth chapter turns to more traditional concerns: John as theology. This chapter provides a digest of the Christology, theology, and eschatology of John. The sixth through the eighth chapters, the heart of the book, guide the student through a reading of the Gospel. The ninth chapter serves as an introduction to the Letters, noting especially their relationship to the Gospel. Each letter is treated in turn. The final chapter examines the challenges and potential of the Johannine literature as documents of faith.
"In previous writings Alan Culpepper has shown himself to be one of the best Johannine scholars of our time. He not only conveniently draws together his research but also shows himself to be an excellent teacher." --Raymond E. Brown
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Studio: Abingdon Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 1998
Publisher Abingdon Church Supplies
Series Interpreting Biblical Texts
ISBN 0687008514 ISBN13 9780687008513
Availability 0 units.
More About R. Alan Culpepper
R. Alan Culpepper is Dean of the McAfee School of theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, Georgia.
R. Alan Culpepper currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.
R. Alan Culpepper has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Interpreting Biblical Texts Series - The Gospel and Letters of John?
Readable scholarship May 15, 2007
I thoroughly recommend this title to anyone who wants to seriously study John's gospel and letters - and also to people who simply want to extend their knowledge of the scriptures for the purposes of deepening their relationship with the protagonist of this gospel. This highly readable book provides up to date scholarly information on the text: but it also provides indepth discussion of each section of the gospel in a way that would be very useful for personal reflection and prayer. There are many books on John, but I think this is one of the better ones.
Great work; disappointing conclusion Jan 11, 2004
Culpepper's treatment of the Fourth Gospel is remarkable. His ability to concentrate on the issues that matter, ignoring rabbit trails, and his command of the familiarity with the Johannine materials is evident.
Much like a commentary, Culpepper begins his work with issues of authorship, history, community, theology and literature that are all very well done. These are all tied together in the main body of his work that interprets the gospel and shows its intricate composition. All the main themes - sin as unbelief, death as exaltation, identity of Jesus as Christological (and overriding) issue - are developed and commented on superbly.
As another reviewer noted, the chapter covering the Johannine epsitles seemed a bit of an afterthought and are tied so closely to the gospel that they lose their distinctiveness and message. Nonetheless, these are exposited adequately as well.
If the book had ended there it would have been very satisfying, but Culpepper instead sought to add an addendum to the book, evaluating John's (that is, the gospel's) use as a document of faith. This, of course, makes sense, but his review of the issues is too brief to really justify such a section; it seems as if the book has ended and he is starting another avenue of discussion.
Furthermore, his conclusions seem very tenuous. He examines the theological and historical challenges that the gospel faced in the past and then outlines three areas of what he calls ethical challenges.
First is the issue of Anti-Semitism (or Anti-Judaism) the gospel promotes. His discussion here is worthwhile, but seems to have a hard time dinstingiushing between anti-semitism and anti-judaism (as D. Moody Smith does in his theology of the gospel of john). This issue, ultimately, is tied to the issue of exclusivity below.
Second is the issue of whether the gospel gives a voice to the oppressed and marginal in society. This is also a worthy topic but not one which should dominate the acceptance of the gospel. The issue seems far-removed from the gospel itself and more germane to NT scholarship in general.
Finally is the issue of its exclusivism in light of the pluralism found in modern western culture. This topic, more than any other, is poorly addressed. Culpepper seems to allow the climate of society to control the agenda for the gospel rather than vice versa. Not that this is an inappropriate issue to wrestle over, but it seems that two important observations are over-looked.
1) If we can celebrate the blessings of diversity in pluralism (of which there are many) we should also be aware of its dangers. An unchecked, all-embracing pluralism is just as dangerous as an unchecked, choking exclusivity. While the issue of exclusivity is one that does need questioning and struggling over, we must not take as self-evident the axiom that pluralism is all flowers and butterflies. If we must abrogate our reading of John in view of society today, ultimately John may force us to abrogate our life in society or it fails have any authority whatsoever as a part of the canon of the churches' scripture.
2) John, as the rest of the NT, was written in a pluralistic society vastly similar to our own. Early Christians were accused of athiesm, not because they confessed Jesus as Lord, but because they would not confess Ceasar as Lord, along with the whole pantheon of Hellenistic dieties (and principles). And yet Christianity thrived. Of course, the reality is more difficult than such a reductionistic summary, but it is a mistake to think that our value of pluralism is any greater or more noble than that of the ancient world (from which we borrowed it).
So, then, overall Culpepper's work on the gospel is very well-done, insightful and lucid. His coverage of the letters seems somewhat truncated and standing in the shadow of the gospel but still solid. His evaluation of the gospel's religious value, though, is both too short and too pointed to garner much help from. A mixed bag in the end.
Excellent Introductory Overview Jul 29, 2000
R. Alan Culpepper is most noted for his ground breaking literary study of John's Gospel, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel. This new work is not a verse by verse commentary, but rather an overview of the Gospel and letters of John. It is very good on the Gospel of John, but sketchy on the Johannine letters (only one chapter out of ten). His introductory material concerning the author and situation of the Gospel is a bit one-sided with little or no imput from any evangelical perspective, but it does introduce some of the problems associated with these issues. Chapter four, "The Gospel as Literature" with its theory of anagnoriseis or recognition scenes, is an excellent chapter when it comes to understanding the flow of this Gospel. Graphs and maps and sidebars seem to be the "in" feature of many new commentaries, sometimes overwhelming the actual commentary itself. Culpepper's sidebars are very judicious and actually very helpful.From a literary perspective this is certainly one of the best introductory commentaries overviewing John's Gospel around (again, the section on the Johannine letters is perhaps too brief).