Jews & the World in the Fourth Gospel
Parallelism, Function, & Context
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchingen zum Neuen Testament 2. No. 220

By Lars Kierspel
December 2006
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed By Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161490699
293 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/8"
$99.50 Paper Original

In our post-Holocaust context, the Gospel of John has aroused the suspicion of being a Christian text with an anti-Jewish message. Statements such as "the Jews were persecuting Jesus", "the Jews were grumbling about him", or "the Jews said to Jesus, 'You have a demon'" are seen as vicious generalizations that wrongly blame a whole nation. New translations of the Gospel respond to these charges and either omit the term or limit its reference to 'Judeans' or 'Jewish leaders'.

Lars Kierspel shows that the Gospel's narrative focus lies not on "the Jews", mostly used by the narrator, but on the parallel term "the world" which is mostly used by Jesus, the main protagonist. Statements such as "the world hates me (Jesus)," "the world hates you (the disciples)", and "the world has hated them (the disciples)" reflect a conflict of the early church with an opponent that cannot be limited to the synagogue.

"The Jews" emerge as part of a theodicy which does not stigmatize one particular race but situates the opposition of the historical master Jesus in a post-Easter context of his servants who experience hate and persecution in the larger Greco-Roman world.


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