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Abiding Words

Abiding Words: The Use of Scripture in the Gospel of John

Alicia D. Myers
Bruce G. Schuchard
  • Book Info
    Abiding Words
    Book Description:

    A collection of essays by experts from around the world

    Like the other New Testament Gospels, the Gospel of John repeatedly appeals to Scripture (Old Testament). Preferring allusions and "echoes" alongside more explicit quotations, however, the Gospel of John weaves Scripture as an authoritative source concerning its story of Jesus. Yet, this is the same Gospel that is often regarded as antagonistic toward "the Jews," especially the Jewish religious leaders, depicted within it.


    Introduces and updates readers on the question of John's employment of ScriptureShowcases useful approaches to more general studies on the New Testament's use of Scripture, sociological and rhetorical analyses, and memory theoryExplores the possible implications surrounding Scripture usage for the Gospel audiences both ancient and contemporary

    eISBN: 978-1-62837-095-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Abiding Words: An Introduction to Perspectives on John’s Use of Scripture
    (pp. 1-20)
    Alicia D. Myers

    As with numerous other New Testament writings, Israel’s Scriptures form the foundation on which the narrative of the Gospel of John is written. Ushered in with the opening verses of the prologue, Scripture appears throughout the Gospel and is even identified as one of the “witnesses” for Jesus’s defense (5:31–47), showing up in explicit quotations along with a number of varyingly transparent allusions and references. Indeed, so crucial is Scripture to the Gospel’s plot that the narrator winds the sequence of events tightly to the Jewish festival calendar whose own roots stretch into Israel’s scriptural past.¹ Yet it is...

  5. Part 1: The Form of John’s Citations

    • Form versus Function: Citation Technique and Authorial Intention in the Gospel of John
      (pp. 23-46)
      Bruce G. Schuchard

      In 1985, Maarten Menken’s essay “The Quotation from Isa 40,3 in John 1,23”¹ signaled an important development in the direction of the work being done at the time to characterize the form of the explicit Old Testament citations in the Gospel of John.² Over a roughly ten-year time span, Menken continued to publish one after another article devoted to a focused treatment of each of the Gospel’s citations³ until, in 1996, his bookOld Testament Quotations in the Fourth Gospel: Studies in Textual Formrepublished the revised sum of his previous work, adding to it an introduction, a conclusion, and...

    • Quotations of Zechariah in the Fourth Gospel
      (pp. 47-74)
      William Randolph Bynum

      It is well known that Zechariah, particularly what is commonly called Second Zechariah (Zech 9–14),¹ had a significant impact on the writers of the four gospels, as well as on the authors of various other New Testament books.² The Fourth Gospel (FG) indeed exhibits an unmistakable preference for Second Zechariah,³ for the only two explicit citations in the FG from the Minor Prophets, or Book of the Twelve,⁴ are from this part of Zechariah. The first is in 12:15, citing Zech 9:9 at the triumphal entry, and the second is in 19:37, citing Zech 12:10b at the end of...

    • Quotations with “Remembrance” Formulae in the Fourth Gospel
      (pp. 75-92)
      Michael A. Daise

      Research on the Fourth Gospel’s biblical quotations has perhaps come of age. Begun by August Franke in the late nineteenth century,¹ it surfaced as a brief skirmish between Alexander Faure and Friedrich Smend in the early twentieth century² before coming into its own as a palpable subfield of Johannine studies with Edwin Freed’sOld Testament Quotations in the Gospel of Johnin 1965.³ Since then, it has yielded no less than six full monographs or major book sections, and, with the recent adoption of new approaches, it shows little sign of having yet run its course.⁴

      The issues traditionally addressed...

  6. Part 2: Social and Rhetorical Perspectives

    • Scripture Cannot Be Broken: The Social Function of the Use of Scripture in the Fourth Gospel
      (pp. 95-118)
      Jaime Clark-Soles

      InScripture Cannot Be Broken: The Social Function of the Use of Scripture in the Fourth Gospel, I contend that the author of the Fourth Gospel deploys Scripture in order to achieve certain goals for his or her sectarian community. What I wrote then still largely inheres:

      To inquire after John’s use of Scripture is not to ask an unusual question. But to inquire after thesocial functionof John’s use of Scriptureis. Oddly, those who have worried about the social history of the Johannine community have not addressed the way John usesScriptureto do somethingforand...

    • A Voice in the Wilderness: Classical Rhetoric and the Testimony of John (the Baptist) in John 1:19–34
      (pp. 119-140)
      Alicia D. Myers

      After the work of George Kennedy, interest in the light that classical rhetoric can shed on the New Testament has boomed among certain interpreters.¹ While initially the majority of this work was limited to dissecting the arguments found in the Pauline Epistles, the rhetorical nature of the gospels is now also being acknowledged.² The Gospel of John, in particular, is ripe for rhetorical exploration with its numerous discourses and clear persuasive intent expressed in 20:30–31. Andrew Lincoln, Harold Attridge, and George Parsenios have noted a number of connections between John and juridical rhetoric while Jo-Ann Brant emphasizes the Gospel’s...

    • Whose Zeal Is It Anyway? The Citation of Psalm 69:9 in John 2:17 as a Double Entendre
      (pp. 141-160)
      Benjamin J. Lappenga

      The editorial comment in John 2:17 (“His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’”) interrupts the narrative flow between the account of Jesus’s actions in the temple (vv. 14–16) and the inquiry by “the Jews”¹ as to what sign Jesus gives for acting as he does (v. 18). Interpreters disagree about the significance and function of the citation of Ps 69:9 in verse 17, but most agree that “will consume” (καταφάγεται) is a reference to Jesus’s death, and nearly all agree that “zeal for your house” (ὁ ζῆλος τοῦ οἴκου σου) refers to...

    • The Testimony of Two Witnesses: John 8:17
      (pp. 161-184)
      Ruth Sheridan

      John 8:12–20 depicts Jesus engaged in a debate with the Pharisees over the validity of his self-testimony. After Jesus claims to be the “light of the world” (8:12), the Pharisees reply that Jesus testifies to himself, which automatically invalidates the content of his testimony (8:13). Jesus counters their concern with a concession: “even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, because I know where I came from and where I go; but you do not know where I come from or where I go” (8:14). The Pharisees’ purported lack of knowledge about Jesus’s true identity corresponds to,...

  7. Part 3: Memory and Scripture in John

    • Patriarchs and Prophets Remembered: Framing Israel’s Past in the Gospel of John
      (pp. 187-212)
      Catrin H. Williams

      Over the past few decades the study of “John and Scripture” has been approached from a variety of perspectives and with a wide range of methodological tools. The textual form and function of the explicit quotations in John’s Gospel have, inevitably, received most attention to date, but a number of scholars are now venturing beyond the relative comfort zone of direct—and largely identifiable—quotations to explore the interpretative mechanisms at work within a narrative also saturated with a rich deposit of scriptural concepts and motifs. There is also a growing recognition that discussion of John’s engagement with the Scriptures...

    • Sympathetic Resonance: John as Intertextual Memory Artisan
      (pp. 213-236)
      Jeffrey E. Brickle

      In an intriguing essay reprinted inThe Fourth Gospel in First-Century Media Culture, Tom Thatcher suggests an unusual and provocative model with which to conceive of John’s Gospel.³ Thatcher’s proposed imagery of a memory theater reflects a hermeneutical approach not normally associated with gospel studies, nor for that matter with biblical interpretation in general. Thatcher, who sketches the essential evolution of classic memory arts through Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian—a craft extended and further developed in the Middle Ages—posits that John fashioned his Gospel by means of established Greco-Roman organizational devices and structures designed to aid the memory,...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 237-246)
    Bruce G. Schuchard

    This collection of essays provides an overview of past and present research on the use of Scripture in the Gospel of John, making it useful for those who have an interest in this kind of study as well as for those whose focus is more generally the use of Scripture in the entire New Testament. It will also be of use to those whose interest is in sociological, rhetorical, and memory theory studies and the New Testament. Though not intended primarily for the latter, this volume has the potential to be used in classes exploring any of these areas of...

  9. Subject Index
    (pp. 275-280)
  10. Modern Authors Index
    (pp. 281-285)