“Rethinking the Ethics of John: ‘Implicit Ethics’ in the Johannine Writings”, Eds. Jan G. van der Watt and Ruben Zimmermann

Posted: March 28, 2012 in General

[The publication of the book entitled “Rethinking the Ethics of John: ‘Implicit Ethics’ in the Johannine Writings” gives immense pleasure to me as it is the outcome of scholarly presentations held at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (Holland) in May 2010. I attended majority of the presentations during that time, especially of Professors Jan G. van der Watt, Ruben Zimmermann, Michael Labahn, Andrew T. Glickmann, Erik Eynikel, William R. G. Loader, Udo Schnelle, Tom Thatcher, Paul N. Anderson, and others. Special congratulations for Prof. Jan G. van der Watt for his continued scholarly initiatives.]

Rethinking the Ethics of John. “Implicit Ethics” in the Johannine Writings. Eds. by Jan G. van der Watt and Ruben Zimmermann
2012. 400 pages (est.). WUNT I — forthcoming in May 2012

ISBN 978-3-16-151830-0
cloth € 120.00 (est.)

Ethics is a neglected field of research in the Gospel and Letters of John. Judgments about even the presence of ethics in the Gospel are often negative, and even though ethics is regarded as one of the two major problem areas focused on in 1 John, the development of a Johannine ethics from the Letters receive relatively little attention. This book aims at making a positive contribution and even to stimulating the debate on the presence of ethical material in the Johannine literature through a series of essays by some leading Johannine scholars. The current state of research is thoroughly discussed and new developments as well as new possibilities for further investigation are treated. By utilizing different analytical categories and methods (such as narratology) new areas of research are opened up and new questions are considered. Therefore, aspects of moral thinking and normative values can be discovered and put together to the mosaic of an “implicit ethics” in the Johannine Writings. More familiar themes like the law or deeds in the Gospel are reconsidered in a new light, while the ethical role of the opponents or the ethical use of Scripture are explored as new avenues for describing the dynamics of ethics in the Gospel. The ethical nature of the Letters is also considered, focusing not only on the theological nature of ethics in the Letters, but also on the ethical impact of some rhetorical material in 1 John. The culminative result of these series of essays is to illustrate that the ethical material in the Gospel is not as absent as was believed by many in the past. The essays not only open up a wider spectrum of Johannine ethical material but also invite further exploration and research in this much neglected area of Johannine studies.

Survey of contents:

Introduction: Overview of Research
Michael Labahn : “It’s Only Love” – Is That All? Limits and Potentials of Johannine “Ethic” – A Critical Evaluation of Research – Ruben Zimmermann : Is there Ethics in the Gospel of John? Challenging an outdated consensus

Possible backgrounds for Johannine ethics
Andrew T. Glicksman : Beyond Sophia: The Sapiential Portrayal of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel and Its Ethical Implications for the Johannine Community – Erik Eynikel : The Qumran background of Johannine Ethics – Volker Rabens : Johannine Perspectives on Ethical Enabling in the Context of Stoic and Philonic Ethics

Ethics in the Gospel according to John
William R.G. Loader : The Law and Ethics in John’s Gospel – Karl Weyer-Menkoff : The Response of Jesus. Ethics in John by considering Scripture as Work of God – Jan G. van der Watt : Ethics of/and the opponents of Jesus in John’s Gospel – Christos Karakolis : Semeia Conveying Ethics in the Gospel according to John – Mira Stare : Ethics of life in the Gospel of John – Hermut Löhr : Ἔργον as an Element of Moral Language in John – Chrys C. Caragounis : “Abide in me”. The New Mode of Relationship Between Jesus and His Followers as a Basis for Christian Ethics (John 15) – Glen Lund : The Joys and Dangers of Ethics in John’s Gospel – Paul N. Anderson : Discernment-Oriented Leadership in the Johannine Situation – biding in the Truth versus Lesser Alternatives

Ethics in 1 John
Udo Schnelle : Ethical Theology in 1 John – Jeffrey E. Brickle : Transacting Virtue within a Disrupted Community: The Negotiation of Ethics in the First Epistle of John – Tom Thatcher : Cain the Jew the AntiChrist: Collective Memory and the Johannine Ethic of Loving and Hating

See more details about the book here: http://www.mohr.de/en/theology/new-books/buch/rethinking-the-ethics-of-john.html

  1. Paul Anderson says:

    Yes, this is a historic and important collection of essays by global authorities on the subject! Rather than seeing ethics in the Johannine writings as either absent or as taking a second seat to theology, the reverse is more likely the case. In the light of these new treatments, theological and literary themes in the Johannine Epistles are better understood as rooting in gounded, ethical concerns emerging from the movement of Jewish Christianity into its larger Hellenistic settings within the larger Johannine situation. In that sense, Johannine Christianity is less sectarian than its earlier Jewish parentage, which is why it is facing such cataclysmic struggles. This collection will thus help interpreters better understand central issues of Christian faith and practice in Johannine perspective, casting valuable light on meanings of these biblical writings in later generations.

  2. Dear Prof. Paul Anderson,
    We the younger generation Johannine scholars are privileged to have grand scholars at the forefront to guide and provoke us with innovative ideas and methodologies. It was my rare chance to meet you in person and hear your reading of two papers (both at Nijmegen). Looking forward to learn more from people like you, van der Watt, Thatcher, Zimmermann, Loader, and others.

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