The Gospel of John

Adele Reinhartz

in The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199544486
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Gospel of John

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  • Religion
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Christianity
  • Religious Studies



Like other books of the New Testament, the Gospel of John can be viewed from a variety of perspectives. For the Christian church, it is sacred Scripture that enshrines eternal truths about God, Jesus, humankind, and the relationships among them. For historians, it is a potential source of information about the historical Jesus. This article introduces the literary-critical study of the Gospel of John. It considers the following issues: the Fourth Gospel's literary structure and the basic narrative elements such as plot, setting, characterization, and chronology; some of the literary devices that pervade the Gospel; the ways in which literary approaches to the Fourth Gospel resonate in English literature; and a number of the major literary-critical approaches which have been applied to the Gospel. Finally, the article addresses the question of the Gospel of John and historical criticism, to show how literary-critical approaches can actually complement and even illuminate historical concerns.

Keywords: Gospel of John; New Testament; Fourth Gospel; English literature; historical criticism; historical Jesus

Article.  9588 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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