Becoming John: The Making of a Passion Gospel
Becoming John: The Making of a Passion Gospel

Becoming John: The Making of a Passion Gospel

in The Library of New Testament Studies

by Kari Syreeni

Pages 272
Publisher T&T Clark
Published 2018
ISBN-13 9780567681003
Syreeni argues that the gospel of John is a heavily reworked edition of an earlier Johannine work. Syreeni contends in this monograph that the original gospel ended at chapter 12 with the notion of Jesus' disappearance from the world, rather than with the passion narrative that completes the gospel in its present form. Parts of the farewell tradition in chapters 14-17 continue this plot by promising Jesus' spiritual presence as the Paraclete (14:16-19); the departing Jesus also prepares his disciples for living in a hostile world.

In Syreeni's view the passion redactor edited John 1-12 and the farewell tradition in order to incorporate the whole passion-resurrection storyline, freely using the existing gospels of Mark and Matthew. The letters of John, written after the predecessor gospel but before the final edition, reveal a schism in the Johannine community. Syreeni argues that this schism was caused by the majority faction's acceptance of Jesus' corporeal death and resurrection, as it was then recorded in the new gospel. The dissidents reckoned only with baptism as the decisive salvific rite, but 1 John 5:5-8 stresses that Jesus' salvific work consists in water (baptism) and blood (the blood shed by Jesus at crucifixion and commemorated at the Eucharist). Furthermore, Syreeni argues that the passion redactor designed a new character, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” to witness Jesus' passion, and particularly the water and blood from Jesus' pierced side (19:34-35). The doubting Thomas narrative (20:24-29) is another appeal to hesitating Johannine Christians to accept the crucified but resurrected Christ as their true Saviour.

  • Table of contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • 1. Introduction: A Passion for John
  • 2. John Among the Gospels: Rejecting False Dichotomies
  • 3. “In the Beginning”: The Scope of John's Prologue
  • 4. The Beloved Disciple: Legitimating the Passion Story
  • 5. The Greatest Sign: How the Lazarus Story became an Anticipation of Jesus' Death and Resurrection
  • 6. Remembering the New Past: The Passion Storyline in John 1-12
  • 7. The Bridegroom's Day: Tracing the Pre-Passion John
  • 8. A Long Farewell: The Watershed in Johannine Literary Evolution
  • 9. The Wounds of the Crucified: Understanding the Johannine Trauma
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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