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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Jews and the World in the Fourth Gospel: Parallelism, Function, and Context
Kierspel, Lars

TŁbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006 pp. xii + 283. Ä54.00

Series Information
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/220


Description: 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.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Johannine Literature, John, Literature

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Review by Adele Reinhartz
Published 9/8/2007
Citation: Adele Reinhartz, review of Lars Kierspel, The Jews and the World in the Fourth Gospel: Parallelism, Function, and Context, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2007).


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