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Summer Reading Suggestion: Douglas Estes’ The Questions of Jesus in John

May 15, 2013

I have just finished writing a sympathetic review of the recent volume, The Questions of Jesus in John: Logic, Rhetoric, and Persuasive Discourse (BIS 115; Leiden: Brill, 2013) , written by Douglas Estes. Estes provides two valuable services in the book: first, he demonstrates how the Western intellectual tradition has largely overlooked the value of questions, preferring propositions as the locus of meaning; second he shows how this has also been done in Johannine scholarship. He argues (I think) correctly, that much Johannine research overlooks Jesus’ questions and treats them as implicit propositions. I know that I have been guilty of this very offense in my own teaching. After dealing with the way questions work, Estes identifies five types of questions (open, reflective, decisive, responsive, and coercive) which he further subdivides into seventeen categories. He uses these categories as a springboard to discuss specific questions posed by Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. If you are interested in the Gospel of John, specifically Johannine discourse, this is a book you will want to consult.

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