India Commentary on the Gospel of John

Posted: May 27, 2018 in General

gospel-of-john-logoAfter completing the monographs Dialogue in the Book of Signs: A Polyvalent Analysis of John 1:19-12:50 [BINS 136; Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2015] and Saint Thomas the Apostle: New Testament, Apocrypha, and Historical Traditions [Jewish and Christian Texts Series 25; New York/London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2018], I was seriously thinking of writing a contextual commentary on the Gospel of John. For my surprise, I was approached by Primalogue (Bangalore) and Fortress Press (Minneapolis) for this significant task. I thank Dr. Brian C. Wintle (Series Editor), Mr. George Korah (Publisher), and other editors for this wonderful opportunity. Herewith I request all my friends for your support in multifarious ways.

The India Commentary on the New Testament (ICNT) series aims to give a well-informed exposition of the meaning of the text and relevant reflections in everyday language from contemporary Indian and South Asian context. The intended audience is the theological seminary students and faculty. The commentaries are also ideal for pastors and lay people with an interest in theology or responsibilities for preaching in the local congregation. The commentaries are culturally rooted, and the various applications relating to culture, society, and religious life will help those involved in cross-cultural witnessing and missional engagements. There is no direct equivalent to the ICNT, and hence this is the first Indian commentary serving India, the entire subcontinent (that means, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) and the world. The ICNT is an affordable evangelical commentary series written by respected academics in everyday language, providing a well-informed meaning of the New Testament and practical reflections for modern Indian and South Asian contexts. It will be published by Primalogue (Bangalore) and Fortress Press (Minneapolis).

The rhetoric of John’s Gospel can encompass the feelings and aspirations of people both “there and then” and “here and now.” This unique characteristic of the Gospel is evident as it manifests in particular times and places its gnomic significance, its significance for all times and places, when context-specific issues arise that require context-specific readings. John’s narrative masterpiece takes into consideration both the individual and the corporate aspects of humanity. The gnomic rather than descriptive nature of the text directs our attention to its global hermeneutical significance. The Gospel of John speaks equally to secular Americans and Europeans, to pluralistic Indians, to Hindu Nepalese, and to Muslim Bangladeshis. Its message of peace, love, faith-centered life, holistic salvation, and the mission of God has the potential to liberate and transform diverse communities of the world. In the Indian and the South Asian contexts, a missional hermeneutic that crosses traditional boundaries of interpretation and builds dialogical bridges between the world of the Bible and that of our own time may be very effective. Such boundary-crossing and bridge-building will enable contemporary Indian readers of the Gospel of John to direct their community to a “third space” for dialogue. This should be paradigmatic for the South Asian Christians.

By Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.

  1. Rev. Moses Boosa says:

    Dear Dr. Johnson, prayers and best wishes for you. Thanks for your contribution to the Indian subcontinent in relation to the New Testament Commentary.

  2. Yes, indeed I need your moral and intellectual support. My observations when it comes to a commentary: (1) in other research writings, we can develop our ideas from ‘narrower’ to ‘broader’; but in commentary writing, I find it difficult; (2) in other research writings, our research is circumscribed around a single or double or at the most triple issues; but in commentary writing, we need to deal with almost all the issues of the text; and the like. When I begin writing a commentary, I feel that I am moving away from the usual to the unusual. It may be because of the fact that I am moving toward an entirely different genre of writing. Especially, when it comes to write a contextual and culturally-oriented commentary, I may have to bridge among the ‘there and then,’ ‘here and now,’ and ‘everywhere and ever’ perspectives. I was expecting responses toward these sorts of questions from the experts.

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