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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Imperfect Believers: Ambiguous Characters in the Gospel of John
Hylen, Susan E.

Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009 pp. ix + 206. $24.95

Description: This book is a solid study of characters in the Gospel of JohnóNicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the disciples, the Jews, Martha and Mary, Peter and the Beloved Disciple, and Jesus. Hylen argues that Johnís characters are not simply one dimensional depictions of belief and unbelief, but are in fact far more complex and ambiguous. This ambiguity has an important literary function: it invites the reader to understand biblical characters within the context of the inherent logic of the Gospel. The Gospel establishes ideals like believing and abiding in Jesus. The reader is left to decide to what extent a characterís actions and speech reflect these aims. Individual character portraits explore what readers may learn from studying Johnís complex characters.

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

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Review by R. Alan Culpepper
Published 4/17/2011
Citation: R. Alan Culpepper, review of Susan E. Hylen, Imperfect Believers: Ambiguous Characters in the Gospel of John, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2011).

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