- The Oxford Handbook of Johannine Studies
- The Text of The Gospel and Letters of John
- Literary Sources of the Gospel and Letters of John
- John and other Gospels
- The Story of the Johannine Community and its Literature
- The Beloved Disciple, the Fourth Evangelist, and the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel
- The Gospel of John and Archaeology
- The Jews of the Fourth Gospel
- The Johannine Literature in a Greek Context
- The Johannine Literature and Contemporary Jewish Literature
- The Johannine Literature and the Gnostics
- The Fourth Gospel as Narrative and Drama
- Ideological Readings of the Fourth Gospel
- Gender and the Fourth Gospel
- Social-Scientific Readings of the Gospel and Letters of John
- Symbolism and ‘Signs’ in the Fourth Gospel
- Dualism and the World in the Gospel and Letters of John
- Eschatology and Time in the Gospel of John
- The Person of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John
- The Purpose of the Ministry and Death of Jesus in the Gospel of John
- Faith, Eternal Life, and the Spirit in the Gospel of John
- Ethics in Community in the Gospel and Letters of John
- Temple, Festivals, and Scripture in the Gospel Of John
- The Johannine Literature and the Canon
- Johannine Commentaries in the Early Church
- Index Locorum
- General Index
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.
Philip F. Esler is the Portland Chair in New Testament Studies in the University of Gloucestershire, at Cheltenham, UK. He specializes in the social-scientific interpretation of biblical and extra-biblical texts and ancient legal papyri. He is the author (with Ronald A. Piper) of Lazarus, Mary & Martha: A Social-Scientific and Theological Reading of John (2006) and Babatha’s Orchard: The Yadin Papyri and an Ancient Jewish Family Tale Retold (2017).
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