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The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel: Issues & Commentary [Hardcover]

By Craig L. Blomberg (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   346
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.22" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.23"
Weight:   1.43 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2002
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830826858  
EAN  9780830826858  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Through much of the 20th century, the quest for the historical Jesus plumbed only the synoptic Gospels - the authenticity of John was considered suspect. Blomberg reopens the investigation, sheds new light on persistent questions, and addresses all significant issues in this thorough, contemporary, and conservative commentary of the Fourth Gospel. Critical issues addressed are:
  • authorship, date and place of origin of the Fourth Gospel
  • sources and omissions of the Fourth Gospel
  • points where John's Gospel overlaps with the Synoptics
  • general indications of historicity
  • literary genre and unique audience of this Gospel
  • burden of proof and criteria of authenticity
Blomberg affirms the historical reliability of John's Gospel with intelligence and care. Includes an extensive bibliography. 346 pages, hardcover from InterVarsity.

Publishers Description
Throughout much of the twentieth century the Fourth Gospel took a back seat to the Synoptics when it came to historical reliability. Consequently, the contemporary quest of the historical Jesus discounted or excluded evidence from the Fourth Gospel. The question of the historical reliability of John's Gospel is well overdue for a thorough reinvestigation and reassessment. In this foundational study, Craig L. Blomberg sheds new light on persistent questions. He presents his conclusions largely in commentary form, following the principal scenes of the Gospel. His introduction frames the pathway into the discussion, taking up critical issues such as
  • authorship, date and provenance of the Fourth Gospel
  • sources and omissions of the Fourth Gospel
  • points where John's Gospel interlocks with the Synoptics
  • general indications of historicity
  • literary genre and unique audience of this Gospel
  • burden of proof and criteria of authenticity
In his commentary examining the text of the Fourth Gospel, Blomberg asks two essential questions. First, using the recently nuanced criteria of authenticity, "What positive evidence do we have that the actions or words of the characters in John's narratives are indeed historical?" Second, "Is there anything in the text . . . that is implausible within the historical context to which it is attributed, particularly if we assume the general historical trustworthiness of the Synoptics?" The result is a seminal work for the present day--one that affirms the historical reliability of John's Gospel with intelligence and sure-footed care.

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More About Craig L. Blomberg

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Craig Blomberg is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary.

Craig L. Blomberg currently resides in the state of Colorado.

Craig L. Blomberg has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 3 Crucial Questions
  2. Biblical Theology for Life
  3. Comentarios Biblicos Con Aplicacion NVI
  4. Perspectives (B&H Publishing)
  5. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on New Testament

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Compelling Defense of the 4th Gospel  Jul 27, 2004
Craig Blomberg, a scholar that specializes in the studies of the historical reliability of the Gospels, has written a volume that is an essential-read for those seeking a solid, in-depth defense of this Gospel's historicity and for those wishing to collect and become familiar with material (positive or negative) that deals with this subject.

The reviewer below has given the basic outline of the book so I'll just elaborate briefly on the most important section. The meat of the book, which is the commentary section, moves through each chapter analyzing all of the events and discourses, discussing positive indicators of historicity and interacting with typical objections to it.

The major objection to the Gospel of John is how different the book is, theologically, from the Synoptic Tradition. Why is there so much of a difference in outline? Why is Jesus portrayed as being more explicit about his divinity in this book? Another major problem scholars face when approaching this book is differentiating the actual words of Jesus (that John is quoting) from the author's own theological reflections. Scholars, evangelical and critical, as a whole, are not nearly as optimistic about the historicity of this Gospel in comparison with the Synoptics.

Nevertheless, I find that Blomberg makes a great case for the overall reliability of John. The commentary section starts off with a discussion of the crucial question of authorship. If indeed the disciple John is the author of this Gospel, then the probability that the Gospel is generally historically reliable becomes very likely. After all, John, as a disciple that accompanied Jesus during his ministry, would have certainly been in a great position to record accurate history regarding these events, which in most cases he was an eyewitness. Not surprisingly, the majority of scholars reject traditional authorship. However, Blomberg manages to piece together a very solid case for Johannine authorship, beginning with the very important data of the testimony of the early church on this issue.

As far as the actual commentary is concerned, one aspect that is particularly helpful, and very revealing I might add, is how Blomberg constantly demonstrates that the concepts in John can be gleaned from references to the Synoptic Tradition as well. It may be somewhat surprising to the reader to discover that certain phrases and concepts propounded by Jesus in John's Gospel can be found, though usually in less explicit form, in the Synoptics themselves.

The discussions of the various miracles, including the turning of water into wine, the raising of Lazarus, the feeding of the 5,000, and Christ's resurrection also prove to be helpful as each passage is broken down, arguments against historicity are countered, and favorable indications of historicity are given.

While more could be said, hopefully this will suffice. A more detailed review that may be more helpful to the reader can be accessed from I'll conclude by stating emphatically that Blomberg has written a volume that demands consideration from the scholarly world, particularly those that are the most critical of John's Gospel.

A worthy read  Jul 19, 2004
I haven't finished with this book yet, but I see it has been around a while, and there are no reviews at all, so I thought I'd at least add some preliminary observations to help prospective readers.

Blomberg, of course, writes from the perspective of a fairly conservative evangelical. I am not (or, more accurately, no longer) an evangelical, and yet I find Blomberg is one of a handful of evangelical biblical scholars who deserves to be read and taken seriously by non-evangelicals.

The format here is very simple: a) an introduction to the historical issues surrounding John's gospel, a rundown of the Johannine distinctives that cause scholars to doubt its historicity, and a survey of the main arguments concerning authorship, genre and critical methodology; b) a commentary on the text of John, dealing with the historical issues as they arise; c) a conclusion.

By no means does Blomberg simply opt for the most conservative interpretation available, although he certainly argues for the general historical trustworthiness of John's gospel. My biggest concern is what he'll do with all the theological padding, especially the high christology of some of the discourse attributed to Jesus himself -- for me personally, that is one of the most historically dubious aspects of the gospel (and I say that as a trinitarian who has no problem affirming the deity of Christ). I haven't gotten very far into the commentary itself yet, so it remains to be seen what Blomberg argues.

Two things that would have made the book an easier read are footnotes, rather than the awkward references scattered in parentheses throughout the book as it is, and also the text of John itself alongside the commentary, for convenient reference.


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