In this volume, Smith views the Fourth Gospel within several contexts in order to illuminate its specific purposes and achievements. A growing consensus of recent scholarship (including Martyn, Raymond E. Brown, Meeks) seeks the roots of this Gospel and its traditions in the conflict between Jesus' followers and opponents within Judaism. In their struggles, Jesus' followers are encouraged and strengthened by his continuing presence in the Spirit, which articulates his meaning for new situations. Although distinctive, Johannine Christianity does not develop in complete isolation from the broader Christian Gospels. Out of a fascinating, if complex, setting develops the strikingly unique statement of Christian faith, practice, and doctrine found in the Gospel of John. The purpose of this commentary is to enable the reader to comprehend that statement in historical perspective in order to appreciate its meaning and significance.
Moody Smith, a George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at The Divinity School, Duke University.