The Gospel of John: A Commentary Volume One & Volume Two

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9781598565379: The Gospel of John: A Commentary Volume One & Volume Two
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2004 Christianity Today Book Awards" Award of Merit, Biblical Studies Category

Keener's commentary explores the Jewish and Greco-Roman settings of John more deeply than previous works, paying special attention to social-historical and rhetorical features of the Gospel. It cites about 4,000 different secondary sources and uses over 20,000 references from ancient literature.

"Craig Keener's academic commentaries are among the most important in print, because they not only summarize former scholarship but add so many new insights from primary literature of the time."
-- David Instone-Brewer, Senior Research Fellow in Rabbinics and the New Testament, Tyndale House

"Keener's commentary on the Gospel of John is a work of stunning erudition. Aimed primarily at situating the Gospel in its intellectual, theological, and historical context, this monumental commentary cites an unparalleled array of ancient sources. Scholars will be mining its references and citing its interpretations for decades to come."
--R. Alan Culpepper, McAfee School of Theology

"Keener's new commentary on the Gospel of John represents a striking achievement in the history of Johannine scholarship. It is meticulously researched, cogently argued and clearly presented, and will not soon be surpassed either in comprehensiveness or in depth. Keener's commentary on John belongs on the shelf of every student of the Fourth Gospel."
--Prof. David E. Aune, Professor of New Testament, University of Notre Dame

"Sixteen hundred pages is a lot of pages for a commentary on the Gospel of John, surpassing Raymond Brown and almost matching Rudolf Schnackenburg's three volumes. But Craig Keener has given us far more than a commentary. He has invited us into the world of that Gospel and made it a magnificent window into the thought and practice of early Judaism and, to a lesser extent, the whole Greco-Roman world of the first century. At the same time, he has made those first-century worlds a lens through which to view the Gospel of John itself. The reader will find this work a treasure trove of information about the origins of Christianity, shedding light on such questions as what is a Gospel? how reliable are the four Gospels in their portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth? and in particular how reliable is the Gospel of John? Keener presents a compelling case for viewing Jesus himself within the framework of early Judaism, and for both the Jewishness and the essential reliability of the traditions about Jesus preserved in John's Gospel. Keener's introduction runs to well over three hundred pages, and his bibliography to almost two hundred.

"The book is a remarkable achievement, and all who work on early Christianity in general or on John's Gospel in particular, whether they agree with Keener or not, will have to pay attention both to his facts and to his argumentation. In that sense, it is something of a milestone, not only in Johannine studies but also in the scholarly world's ongoing investigation of Christian origins."
--J. Ramsey Michaels, Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus, Southwest Missouri State University

"Keener's commentary is marked by intelligence as well as comprehensiveness. In the marshalling of relevant materials from John's own milieu and in the canvassing of modern scholarly literature, Keener is unsurpassed in his generation of Johannine scholars. . . . Serious interpreters of the Gospel of John will not always agree with Keener's conclusions, but they must take account of his work."
--D. Moody Smith Jr., George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, Duke University, past President of Society of Biblical Literature

"With his comprehensive treatment of the relevant ancient literature Keener plants the Fourth Gospel deep in the soil of its time and place. The author's meticulous and encyclopedic documentation of both ancient and contemporary literature makes this a commentary of supreme importance for any who wish to crack the Johannine puzzle. You may not always agree with Keener, but I am confident you will admire and learn from his careful scholarship."
--Robert Kysar, Emeritus Bandy Professor of Preaching and New Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"Keener's detailed knowledge of the ancient sources is enviable. He provides a wealth of documentation on the ancient Mediterranean cultural, social, political, religious, and literary milieu of the Fourth Gospel. On numerous occasions his discussion of Jewish and Greco-Roman cultural conventions aids appreciation of the details of John's narrative. His commentary is therefore a mine of illuminating background material for all students of this Gospel. Its social-historical focus makes it an excellent complement to those commentaries which concentrate more on literary and theological matters."
--Andrew Lincoln, Portland Chair in New Testament Studies, University of Gloucestershire, England

"This exhaustive commentary on the Gospel of John is an example of evangelical scholarship at its best. Keener relentlessly pursues all the possible sources for the Johannine story. The historical Jesus, early Christian tradition, Palestinian, rabbinic, and the Mediterranean worlds are his regular points of extensive reference. Keener's reading of the Fourth Gospel as a story written for a rejected Jewish community, claiming they are the true Israel, and that Jesus is the perfection of the gift of Torah, raises questions that must be taken into account by future Johannine scholarship."
--Francis J. Moloney, SDB, Katharine Drexel Professor of Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America, past President of Catholic Biblical Association

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About the Author:

Craig S. Keener is Professor of New Testament at Palmer Theological Seminary, Eastern University. He is also the author of many books, including commentaries on Matthew and Revelation.

Review:

"Warned that mature scholars who began full-scale John commentaries have usually died before they finished them, Keener (New Testament, Eastern Seminary) decided to start young, and did indeed outlive his endeavor. He admits that the Fourth Gospel is a text, and so provides attention to literary and similar issues, but says his main contribution to the scholarship is the social data he presents and his overall awareness of the social and historical context. He analyzes the book section by section. The two volumes are paged and indexed together." --Book List, Inc.

"Keener has compiled a massive commentary on John's Gospel. The introduction alone is over 300 pages long and is educational in itself. This commentary does not concentrate so much on theology but one the social, political, religious, literary, and historical milieu of the Fourth Gospel period. Keener invites the reader into that intriguing world to see the practice and thought of early Judaism, the origins of Christianity, and the entire Greco-Roman world of the first century. Keener asks, What is a Gospel? How reliable are the four Gospels in their portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth? How reliable is the Gospel of John? He also examines the Jewishness and the essential reliability of the traditions about Jesus as preserved in John's Gospel.

"Keener's commentary is a mother lode of illuminating source material in this Gospel and the era in which it was written. The mine includes a bibliography of almost 200 pages, footnotes on every page, and indexes of modern authors, scripture, O.T. Apocrypha, and other ancient sources. Kenner's writing style is clear, engaging, and readily understood." --Church and Synagogue Libraries

"If there is one word to describe this commentary, it is `mammoth.' I don't know any other way to describe a commentary that includes an indices section (bibliography, textual and scholars indexes) which stretches to nearly 400(!) pages. . . . I have great respect of Keener as a scholar; his judgments are sound, his assessments of the issues and the opinions of others are accurate and helpful, his desire to bring the meaning of the Gospel of John to bear in the modern world commendable. . . . If you are looking for a good all-rounder, one which keeps abreast of serious scholarship without forfeiting readability, then this is worth the investment. I am happy to recommend it warmly. Even if you already have a good, older commentary on John, this one is a worthy replacement." --Regent's Reviews

"Most modern commentaries on the Gospel of John are massive, and this new commentary is no exception. However, a substantial number of pages are devoted to introductory issues (330 pages of Volume 1) and bibliography and index (393 pages of Volume 2). That is an indication of the character and strength of this particular Johannine commentary. Keener gives particular attention to the background and context of John's Gospel within first-century Judaism. While situating the final redactor of John in Diaspora Judaism, Keener believes that the wider context of Palestinian Judaism and its first-century tensions are also important for understanding the Fourth Gospel. Far from being anti-Jewish, John's Gospel is actually claiming that his Christian community is the true emergent of Judaism, unlike the "Jews" (John's ironic name for the community's opponents) who oppose the Johannine community. This is a serious commentary that will also serve as a rich bibliographical resource." --The Bible Today

"The publication of a major new commentary on John's Gospel is always a significant event in NT studies. While somewhat different in orientation, the scope of Keener's two-volume work puts him in the league of the likes of Raymond Brown and Rudolph Schnackenburg, each of whom produced multi-volume commentaries on the Gospel. As the accolades on the dust jacket from a "Who's Who" of Johannine scholars attest, Keener's commentary is set to make a major contribution to the field for years to come." --Journal of Evangelical Theological Society

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