Many congregations simply hand out John-Romans as tracts (which I find a bit incomprehensible, but…) focusing on the recognizable deity of Christ found in John and the Gospel of Grace demanded in Romans. For a very long time, the Gospel of John has been seen as a work which couldn’t contribute to the History Jesus (although, I reckon, to the Christ of Faith). It is, as many of the early readers of the Gospel said, a ‘spiritual Gospel’. Easily seen the differences between John and the Synoptic. In the essay recently published on the Bible and Interpretation site, Anderson argues that the Gospel should still be used as Johannine lens is demanded by critical concerns, regardless of what the outcome might be.
Think of it! What would happen if the National Geographic Channel ran a special on a recently discovered gospel text from the late first century, which was different from the Synoptics but also developed an alternative rendering of Jesus and his ministry? If the third-century Gospel of Judas created a stir, with virtually no historical-Jesus tradition within it, imagine what sort of a ruckus would emerge if John were taken seriously as an independent Jesus tradition, differing from the Markan gospels with at least some knowing intentionality. That’s what I believe will happen if the Fourth Gospel’s historical features come out from being eclipsed by its theological ones.
Read the rest here,
And then, when you do, check out Dr. McGrath’s take, as he has done more than considerable work in this field.
I have to admit, John is a favorite among the Four Gospels for me, right next to Matthew, Mark and Luke, and in no particular order either.
Larry Hurtado has a piece up, which sort of fits into this discussion.