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John, Jesus, and the Renewal of Israel
POD; Published: 11/11/2013
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6872-5
Price: $ 21.50
207 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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In this book Richard Horsley and Tom Thatcher trace the Gospel of John's portrayal of Jesus as a prophet of renewal by reading the text against a double backdrop -- the social history of Roman Palestine and the media world of John.

This innovative study is the first to consider the Gospel of John as story in the ancient media context of oral communication and oral performance. Horsley and Thatcher creatively combine concerns from the fields of Jesus studies and ancient media studies in their analysis. Taking the main conflict evident in John's story of Jesus as the key to its plot, they discern how this Gospel -- usually read as "spiritual" -- portrays Jesus engaged in a concrete program of renewal and resistance.

Read a blog post on reading John by Tom Thatcher on Eerdword.
“Scholars, students, and preachers will appreciate this interdisciplinary work not just because of the new findings in Johannine research, but also because of the rich historical non-biblical resources that this book brings into the discussion.”
Craig R. Koester
-- Luther Seminary
"Recent scholarship on John's Gospel has opened fresh perspectives on the book's historical context and its significance for the study of the historical Jesus. This welcome volume by Richard Horsley and Tom Thatcher invites readers to consider the Gospel in light of the socially complex world of Roman Palestine. Following an interdisciplinary approach, they engage not only the best recent literary and historical work on John but also major developments in the field of media studies. The result is a contribution that will engage the attention of scholars and students alike."
Craig S. Keener
-- Asbury Theological Seminary
"Two skilled scholars here provide a brilliant and creative synthesis of literary and social-historical-political approaches. Richard Horsley and Tom Thatcher offer fresh ideas in an area of scholarship that has sometimes become stagnant. . . . Their holistic approach to the Fourth Gospel is innovative, well-informed, and informative."
Werner H. Kelber
-- Rice University
"Challenging an established scholarly history of isolating sayings from Gospel narratives and dissecting texts into sources, Horsley and Thatcher exhibit an admirable aptitude for synthesis. Their approach combines narrative criticism, text criticism, media studies, performance criticism, and a sociology of power relations into a unified theory. Thoughtfully perceptive and genuinely innovative, this timely book may well change the way we think about the Gospels as historical narratives, the feasibility of the Jesus quest, and the conventional divide between the Gospel of John and the Synoptics."
Bible Today
"A provocative and thoughtful study that prompts seeing John's gospel in a new light."
Regent's Reviews
"Provides an insightful introduction into the growing understanding of the oral development of the gospels and embeds this effectively in a plausible portrait of an antagonistic relationship between rural Galilee in the north and the religious establishment in Jerusalem. The book offers a filter that highlights the historical background to Jesus' ministry as this is portrayed in John's gospel. . . . If anyone is inclined to dismiss John's gospel as a valuable source of information about the historical Jesus and his mission, reading this book may make them think again."
Reviews in Religion & Theology
"This brief but challenging book will be an excellent additional textbook for an introductory Gospels or Historical Jesus course."
Theological Book Review
"Solidly makes the case for Jesus' mission involving the renewal of the people of Israel over against the corrupt Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and the brutal Roman authorities. Readers are sure to gain insights into the historical climate and many tensions among the distinct communities of Palestine. . . . A worthy contribution to helping scholars better understand the work of Jesus and his accomplishments."
"Horsley and Thatcher have produced a book that presents an effective synthesis of their understandings of Jesus and his mission in the Gospel of John. . . . The book is clear and accessible and will benefit biblical scholars, pastors, and students alike. It deserves a broad readership, especially among those with a keen interest in Johannine studies. It is a book to which I will return again and again."