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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Johannine Footwashing as the Sign of Perfect Love: An Exegetical Study of John 13:1–20
Matthew, Bincy

Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018 pp. xxiii + 516. $160.00

Series Information
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/464

Description: The account of the footwashing in the Fourth Gospel has no proper parallel in antiquity. Bincy Mathew provides a critical and thorough exegetical analysis of the footwashing (Jn 13:1–20) and shows that an explanation of the footwashing as humble service or Christian humility or a reversal of social roles fails to fully capture the revelatory character of the footwashing. She argues that the footwashing is a symbolic prefiguration of Jesus' death on the cross enacted during the last supper to manifest his perfect love for his own and continue to make its effect through the disciples whom he sends. This loving action is Jesus' gift of life to those who commit themselves to this washing, which is expected to flow out from the participants of the footwashing to others unconditionally because the source of such action is the normative action of the Master and the Lord. In this book, Bincy Mathew addresses the literary, structural, and semantic unity of the footwashing pericope within the intra-textual contours of the Fourth Gospel.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Johannine Literature, John, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Literary Approaches

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Review by Steven M. Bryan
Published 4/16/2020
Citation: Steven M. Bryan, review of Bincy Matthew, The Johannine Footwashing as the Sign of Perfect Love: An Exegetical Study of John 13:1–20, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2020).

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