Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Configuring Nicodemus: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Complex Characterization
Whitenton, Michael R.

London: Bloomsbury, 2019 pp. xii + 170. $114.00

Series Information
Library of New Testament Studies, 549

Description: Michael Whitenton offers a fresh perspective on the characterization of Nicodemus, focusing on the benefit of Hellenistic rhetoric and the cognitive sciences for understanding audience construals of characters in ancient narratives. Whitenton builds an interdisciplinary approach to ancient characters, utilizing cognitive science, Greek stock characters, ancient rhetoric, and modern literary theory. He then turns his attention to the characterization of Nicodemus, where he argues that Nicodemus would likely be understood initially as a dissembling character, only to depart from that characterization later in the narrative, suggesting a journey toward Johannine faith. Whitenton presents a compelling argument: many in an ancient audience would construe Nicodemus in ways that suggest his development from doubt and suspicion to commitment and devotion.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Johannine Literature, John, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism, Narrative Criticism, Social-Scientific Approaches, Psychology

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBLís login procedure is now synched to SBLís. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBLís Terms of Use.

Email Address
SBL Password
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership

Review by Mark A. Matson
Published 7/2/2020
Citation: Mark A. Matson, review of Michael R. Whitenton, Configuring Nicodemus: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Complex Characterization, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2020).

Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.


Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us