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Rome and the Gospel of John (Part One)

July 16, 2011

Lately I’ve been doing some research in the area of Empire studies, specifically as that discipline relates to the Fourth Gospel. In recent years a great deal has been written about the Roman background of the NT. It has become something of a trend to see a subtle–and in some places a not-so-subtle–response to Rome behind many of the NT writings. Specifically the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the letters of Paul, and the Apocalypse have been the writings most often identified as containing anti-imperial polemics. Over the past few years three different works have been published that deal directly with the Fourth Gospel and it’s Roman imperial context:

(1) Lance Byron Richey, Roman Imperial Ideology and the Gospel of John(CBQMS 43; Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2007)

(2) Tom Thatcher, Greater than Caesar: Christology and Empire in the Fourth Gospel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008)

(3) Warren Carter, John and Empire: Initial Explorations (New York: T & T Clark, 2008).

In the next few posts I plan to discuss these works as well as the general direction of Empire studies and the Fourth Gospel.


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