The Johannine World

Reflections on the Theology of the Fourth Gospel and Contemporary Society

By David J. Hawkin

Subjects: Religion
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791430668, 198 pages, August 1996
Hardcover : 9780791430651, 198 pages, August 1996

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Table of contents



Introduction: The Johannine Enigma

1. Understanding the Context of the Johannine Enigma

The Study of Early Christianity


The Thesis of Walter Bauer
The Reply of H. E. W. Turner
Understanding Early Christianity


The Semantic Problem
H. E. W. Turner's "Fixed" and "Flexible" Elements
The Lex Orandi and Development


Politics, Community, and Faith


Edward Norman and the Politicization of Christianity
The Shadow of Albert Schweitzer, a Political Christ, and Liberation Theology
Ernst Käsemann: The Fourth Gospel and the Nexus of History and Theology


2. Understanding the Fourth Gospel

1. The Study of the New Testament


Historical Criticism and Biblical Studies
Hermeneutical Circles


The Circle of Reader and Text
The Circle of Things and Words
The Circle of Whole and Parts


2. Introduction to the Fourth Gospel
3. The Johannine Redaction
4. Studying the Fourth Gospel


The Johannine Transposition
Redaction Criticism and the Fourth Gospel


5. Johannine Motifs
6. The Beloved Disciple in the Fourth Gospel
7. Beyond the Fourth Gospel
8. The Fourth Gospel in the Modern Context

3. Understanding the Modern Context

1. The Phenomenon of Modern Technology
2. The Autonomy of Technology
3. Technology and Modern Society
4. The "Technological Fix" Syndrome and the Liberal Ideal
5. The Question of Technology

4. The Politics of Eternity: Johannine Theology Today



Chapter 1: Understanding the Context of the Johannine Enigma
Chapter 2: Understanding the Fourth Gospel
Chapter 3: Understanding the Modern Context
Chapter 4: The Politics of Eternity




Commentaries on the Gospel of John
Books and Articles on the Gospel of John, Early Christianity, and Biblical Theology
Books and Articles on the Technological Society



Argues that the Fourth Gospel has “political dimensions” which offer both meaning and challenge to contemporary Christians.


This book argues that within the pages of the Gospel of St. John, one can discern a twofold purpose: on the one hand to secure acceptance within the Church for a unique and radical theology, while on the other hand offering a sustained and unrelenting critique of all ideology.

The Johannine World reassesses some of the recent trends in Johannine scholarship. In much of the discussion, the self-understanding of the community behind the Gospel has either been simply ignored or inadequately understood. A close examination of the Gospel of John reveals, however, that this community self-consciously defined itself as within the broad stream of the Christian tradition. The theology of the Gospel of John is thus not sectarian. Its unique nature lies rather in the fact that it orchestrates themes and motifs such as "truth," "paraclete," and "beloved disciple" to secure acceptance while its sustained theology of revelation offers an unrelenting critique of the ideology of the world. The Gospel thus argues for its own acceptance within the Church but rejects acceptance of the world.

David J. Hawkin is Head of the Department of Religious Studies at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. His previous books include Gods and Men: A Survey of World Religions; Christ and Modernity: Christian Self-Understanding in a Technological Age and The Word of Science: The Religious and Social Thought of Charles A. Coulson.


"Further interpretations of the Fourth Gospel will have to take serious consideration of this presentation. Hawkins gives a balanced and original treatment of the orthodoxy/uniqueness of the gospel. The work is significant in several ways: it addresses some of the central issues of debate in Johannine studies and offers reasoned and balanced interpretations which are new or corrective; Hawkins shows an uncommonly wide familiarity with other fields of study and integrates them with his biblical expertise." — Elizabeth Bellefontaine, Mount Saint Vincent University