The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel: Issues & Commentary

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9780830838714: The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel: Issues & Commentary

Throughout much of the twentieth century the Fourth Gospel took a back seat to the Synoptics when it came to historical reliability. Consequently, the contemporary quest of the historical Jesus discounted or excluded evidence from the Fourth Gospel. The question of the historical reliability of John's Gospel is well overdue for a thorough reinvestigation and reassessment. In this foundational study, Craig L. Blomberg sheds new light on persistent questions. He presents his conclusions largely in commentary form, following the principal scenes of the Gospel. His introduction frames the pathway into the discussion, taking up critical issues such as

  • authorship, date and provenance of the Fourth Gospel
  • sources and omissions of the Fourth Gospel
  • points where John's Gospel interlocks with the Synoptics
  • general indications of historicity
  • literary genre and unique audience of this Gospel
  • burden of proof and criteria of authenticity
In his commentary examining the text of the Fourth Gospel, Blomberg asks two essential questions. First, using the recently nuanced criteria of authenticity, "What positive evidence do we have that the actions or words of the characters in John's narratives are indeed historical?" Second, "Is there anything in the text . . . that is implausible within the historical context to which it is attributed, particularly if we assume the general historical trustworthiness of the Synoptics?" The result is a seminal work for the present day--one that affirms the historical reliability of John's Gospel with intelligence and sure-footed care.

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About the Author:

Craig L. Blomberg (Ph.D., Aberdeen) is Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary in Denver, Colorado. His books include Interpreting the Parables, Neither Poverty nor Riches, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel, commentaries on Matthew and 1 Corinthians, Making Sense of the New Testament: 3 Crucial Questions and Preaching the Parables.

Review:

"This is a book with extraordinary strengths. In form it harks back to the approach of Sanday in 1872: Blomberg not only tackles many topical questions but works through the Gospel itself, chapter by chapter, asking pertinent historical questions. The evenhandedness of the evaluation, the eminent good sense of so many of the judgments and the clarity of the exposition (not to mention the excellent bibliography) conspire to make this an outstandingly useful book." (D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Illinois)

"There has been no full-length defense of the historicity of John's Gospel for some years. Blomberg fills that void, taking us through the text and interacting intelligently with more skeptical scholars. I warmly welcome his sane contribution to the discussion and hope it will be given the attention it deserves by scholars and students alike." (David Wenham, lecturer in New Testament, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, England)

"Not since John A. T. Robinson's work has there been such a 'tour de force' argument about this Gospel and its origins and historical substance. Highly recommended." (Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary)

"The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel accomplishes exactly what is needed at this juncture in Johannine scholarship: a decisive vindication of the integrity of John's Gospel in matters of history." (Andreas Köstenberger, assistant professor of New Testament, Southeastern Baptist Seminary)

"A challenge to those who in the past have too easily dismissed the historical significance of John's Gospel and an encouragement to those who have felt that this dismissal has been arbitrary and premature. This is a prodigious piece of work and one for which a new generation of readers will be profoundly grateful." (Colin Kruse, lecturer in New Testament, Bible College of Victoria, Australia)

"Craig Blomberg's highly acclaimed volume The Historical Reliability of the Gospels is now matched by an equally persuasive and compelling treatment of John's Gospel. . . . This is an exceedingly valuable book that will serve students and academics alike." (Gary M. Burge, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College & Graduate School)

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