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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the development of social-scientific readings of the Johannine Gospel and Letters in roughly chronological order from the introduction of the sociology of knowledge and sectarianism to Johannine scholarship by Wayne Meeks in 1972, and the application of sectarian perspectives, especially influenced by Bryan Wilson’s typology of sectarianism, in the 1980s and 1990s. Sociolinguistic insights into anti-society and anti-language to understand the Johannine Sondersprache were also introduced in the 1980s together with Mary Douglas’ notions of grid and group and notions of Mediterranean culture. Applications of sectarianism and Mediterranean culture continued into the 2000s, but were accompnaied by new interests in identity, including the tension between Judean ethnic and Christ-movement identities in the Fourth Gospel, and in collective memory studies. All of these approaches continue to have a role in understanding the Johannine corpus.

Keywords: sectarian, Mediterranean culture, anti-society and anti-language, grid and group, social identity, ethnic identity, collective memory

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