The Gospel of John: A Commentary

Craig S. Keener

The Gospel of John: A Commentary
The Gospel of John: A Commentary

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Categories: John

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Keener’s commentary explores the Jewish and Greco-Roman settings of John more deeply than previous works, paying special attention to social-historical and rhetorical features of the Gospel. It cites about 4,000 different secondary sources and uses over 20,000 references from ancient literature. "Sixteen hundred pages is a lot of pages for a commentary on the Gospel of John, surpassing Raymond Brown and almost matching Rudolf Schnackenburg’s three volumes. But Craig Keener has given us far more than a commentary. He has invited us into the world of that Gospel and made it a magnificent window into the thought and practice of early Judaism and, to a lesser extent, the whole Greco-Roman world of the first century. At the same time, he has made those first-century worlds a lens through which to view the Gospel of John itself. The reader will find this work a treasure trove of information about the origins of Christianity, shedding light on such questions as what is a Gospel? how reliable are the four Gospels in their portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth? and in particular how reliable is the Gospel of John? Keener presents a compelling case for viewing Jesus himself within the framework of early Judaism, and for both the Jewishness and the essential reliability of the traditions about Jesus preserved in John’s Gospel. Keener’s introduction runs to well over three hundred pages, and his bibliography to almost two hundred.

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4.59090909090909 out of 5 based on 11 user ratings
Graham Ware March 5, 2015 5 5
Keener has earned his reputation as perhaps the top scholar in the area of New Testament background. This commentary demonstrates Keener's excellence on this front. It's a beast of a commentary, especially the introduction, and his interaction with John's prelude. This is well worth the investment if you want to get into contextual issues.
Phillip J. Long May 25, 2012 5 5
Keener’s introduction to John runs 330 pages, then he tags another thirty pages of introduction to the prologue. This introduction ought to be required reading for anyone who wants to seriously study John. In fact, it should probably be separated from the commentary and sold separately as a monograph on interpreting John’s gospel. His section on the Jewish Context of John’s gospel (pages 171-232) is excellent. The body of the commentary deals with every imaginable aspect of the Greek text, drawing on the Hebrew Bible as well as the literature of the Second Temple Period. A scan through his footnotes demonstrates Keener’s mastery of both Jewish and Hellenistic literature. He deals with problems of historicity as well as special Johannine features in the body of the commentary. The main criticism of this commentary is related to its strengths – there is so much material here it is difficult to digest to all. [Full Review]
J L Smith August 27, 2011 5 5
This is a monster of a commentary! It is fantastic to read through as well. I really like the way Keener makes a punchy point quite quickly. It makes me struggle to understand why Ramsey Michael's even bothered with his very disappointing commentary when you see scholarship on this book like this!
Peter Krol June 5, 2010 4 5
This commentary was quite expensive, but totally worth it if you're looking for more information on the historical background of John's Gospel. Keener is excessively thorough, but also amazingly readable. He defended the historicity of the text well. Often his conclusion was along the lines of "well, we can't prove that the story is historical; but there's no reason to clearly doubt its historicity either." For me, this was enough. This wasn't the best commentary for und...more This commentary was quite expensive, but totally worth it if you're looking for more information on the historical background of John's Gospel. Keener is excessively thorough, but also amazingly readable. He defended the historicity of the text well. Often his conclusion was along the lines of "well, we can't prove that the story is historical; but there's no reason to clearly doubt its historicity either." For me, this was enough. This wasn't the best commentary for understanding the flow of thought or literary nature of the text. But my study of John benefited tremendously by a greater understanding of the cultural and historical background.
Scot McKnight April 21, 2009 4 5
C. Keener's commentaries are fast becoming favorites for many of us [Full Review]
John Glynn September 20, 2008 5 5
Craig Keener's massive two-volume commentary is an impressive achievement. As with his commentary on Matthew, Keener's focus is on setting John within his first century context. He does so admirably. The commentary is so exhaustively researched that its footnotes are a virtual reference work. Keener also includes an extensive bibliography (over 150 pages). Those who are doing in-depth study of John cannot afford to be without this outstanding work. [Full Review]
D. A. Carson May 26, 2008 5 5
University of St. Andrews St. Andrews, Scotland KY16 9JU In New Testament studies, research in the Johannine literature has almost become a subdiscipline on its own. Although John is similar to the Synoptics in its co-Gospel character and general subject matter, the differences and its connections to the Johannine epistles have made Johannine research all the more complex. It is with this in mind that we evaluate Craig S. Keener’s recent two-volume commentary on the Gospel of John. Certainly a commentary of such length (1,636 pages!) can still not deal comprehensively with all aspects of the Fourth Gospel. Thus, for the purpose of this review, we shall attempt to do two things. First, we shall discuss Kenner’s commentary on its own right and evaluate how well it succeeds in doing what it claims to do. Second, we will place Keener’s John commentary in the context of other commentaries on John, thus giving it its rightful place in contemporary scholarship and providing the reader with a basic knowledge of where and when it is useful. In the preface to the commentary, Keener explains that in this commentary he has focused on the area(s) where he believes he can make the greatest contribution to Johannine studies: the examination of the Fourth Gospel in light of its social-historical context (xxv). [Full Review]

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