Fortress Press

Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John

Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John

Bruce J. Malina (Author), Richard L. Rohrbaugh (Author)


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Building on the unique format and success of their Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, Includes illustrations and photographs. Malina and Rohrbaugh extend their framework to the Fourth Gospel.

Unlike the usual historical, exegetical, or theological commentaries, this rich and engrossing work assembles and catalogs the pertinent values, conflicts, and mores of ancient Mediterranean culture. Its Gospel outline, detailed textual notes, and "reading scenarios" bring life and light to the social circumstances the Gospel text relates about childhood, money, divorce, military service, farming, family life, cities, demons, patronage, and a host of other aspects of the ancient world. In many ways, the authors disclose, the Fourth Gospel addresses an alienated anti-society, fundamentally at odds with the predominant culture. With its format, charts and photos, this social-science commentary is the ideal companion for the study of the Fourth Gospel.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800629922
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 336
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Publication Date June 24, 1998

Table of Contents


    The Gospel of John
    Outline of the Gospel and Reading Scenarios

  1. Prologue: Presenting Jesus, Israel's Messiah—The Source of Light and Life That Makes us Children of God

  2. Presenting Jesus of Nazareth, Israel's Messiah

  3. Jesus Began Bringing Life to Israel: From Galilee to Jerusalem and Back

  4. Jesus' Bringing Life to Israel Provoked Controversy in Jerusalem and Galilee

  5. Jesus Brought Light and Life to the Jerusalem Temple

  6. Judeans' Reaction to Jesus' Bringing Light and Life to Jerusalem

  7. As His Last Public Act, Jesus Brought Life to a Beloved Friend (Like Us)

  8. The Close of the Story of Jesus' Public Offer of Light and Life to Israel

  9. Passover in Jerusalem: What Jesus Said and Did during His Last Meal with his Friends (Like Us)

  10. Jesus was Lifted Up and Gave His Spirit to Us: His Process of Ascent

  11. God's Vindication of Jesus: Jesus Ascends to God and Descends to His Friends

  12. Addendum: Another Descent and Appearance of the Risen Jesus

  13. Epilogue: Group Attestation to the Author's Veracity

  14. Jesus Rescues a woman Caught in Adultery (7:53—8:1-11)

    Appendix: Gospel Notations
    Index: Reading Scenarios


"This is a splendid guidebook through the dense language of John's Gospel. The authors unmask new depths of meaning for any who puzzle over the Fourth Gospel. It is going to be a very important book."
— Robert Kysar
Professor of Preaching and New Testament
Candler School of Theology
Emory University

"This indispensable guide presents the Johannine reality in its first-century perspective. It is the best attempt yet to locate John within a specific cultural complex of meanings, and in the same accessible style that characterized the author's previous volume, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels."
— Carolyn Osiek
Professor of New Testament
Chicago Theological Seminary