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Book Notice: Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel

October 1, 2013

Many of us have been anxiously awaiting the publication of this important new volume. In the works for nearly four years, this volume has been a labor of love for the editors (Steve Hunt, Francois Tolmie, and Ruben Zimmerman), and for many of us who had the privilege of contributing. This ambitious study considers every character (no matter how important or seemingly insignificant) in the entire Gospel of John. As with any book published by Mohr Siebeck, the price tag is a bit astronomical, but in this case, at least for Johannine scholars, I believe it will prove to be a worthy investment. If you are interested in the Fourth Gospel, Johannine studies, narrative-criticism, characterization, and other related areas, you will want to pick up a copy. Here’s a description of the book:

This volume represents the most thorough study of characters and characterization in the Fourth Gospel heretofore published. Building on several different narrative approaches, the contributors assembled here offer sixty-two essays related to characters and group characters in John. Among these are detailed studies presenting fresh perspectives on characters who play a major role in the Gospel (e.g., Peter, Mary Magdalene, etc.), as well as original studies of characters who have never been the focus of narrative analysis before, characters often glossed over in commentaries as insignificant (e.g., the boy with the loaves and fish, the parents of the man born blind, etc.). Clearly, characters in John stand in the shadow of the protagonist—Jesus. In this volume, however, they step fully into the light. Thus illuminated, it becomes clear how complex and nuanced many of them are.

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