John among the Apocalypses
Jewish Apocalyptic Tradition and the 'Apocalyptic' Gospel
Benjamin E. Reynolds
- Draws on modern genre theory to compare the Gospel of John and Jewish apocalypses
- Explains the importance of revelation in John and John's portrayal of Jesus as a figure descending from heaven
- Explores reception history, including Byzantine iconography, to consider historical explanations for the apocalyptic shaping of the Gospel
The Gospel of John has long been recognized as being distinct from the Synoptic Gospels. John among the Apocalypses explains John's distinctive narrative of Jesus's life by comparing it to Jewish apocalypses and highlighting the central place of revelation in the Gospel. While some scholars have noted a connection between the Gospel of John and Jewish apocalypses, Reynolds makes the first extensive comparison of the Gospel with the standard definition of the apocalypse genre. Engaging with modern genre theory, this comparison indicates surprising similarities of form, content, and function between John's Gospel and Jewish apocalypses.
Even though the Gospel of John reflects similarities with the genre of apocalypse, John is not an apocalypse, but in genre theory terms, John may be described as a gospel in kind and an apocalypse in mode. John's narrative of Jesus's life has been qualified and shaped by the genre of apocalypse, such that it may be called an 'apocalyptic' gospel. In the final two chapters, Reynolds explores the implications of this conclusion for Johannine Studies and New Testament scholarship more broadly. John among the Apocalypses considers how viewing the Fourth Gospel as apocalyptic Gospel aids in the interpretation of John's appeal to Israel's Scriptures and Mosaic authority, and examines the Gospel's relationship with the book of Revelation and the history of reception concerning their writing. An examination of Byzantine iconographic traditions highlights how reception history may offer a possible explanation for reading John as apocalyptic Gospel.
Published: 22 October 2020
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