Exegeting the Jews: The Early Reception of the Johannine “Jews”


In Exegeting the Jews: The Early Reception of the Johannine "Jews", Michael G. Azar analyzes the rhetorical function of the Gospel of John’s "Jews" in the earliest surviving full-length expositions of John in Greek: Origen’s Commentary on John (3rd cent.), John Chrysostom’s Homilies on John (4th cent.), and Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John (5th cent.). While scholarship often has portrayed the reception history ( Wirkungsgeschichte) of the Gospel’s “Jews” as simply and uniformly anti-Jewish or antisemitic, Azar demonstrates that these three writers primarily read John’s narrative typologically, employing the situation and characters in the Gospel not against contemporary Jews with whom they regularly interacted, but as types of each patristic writer’s own intra-Christian struggle and opponents.
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Biographical Note

Michael G. Azar, Ph.D. (2013, Fordham University), is Assistant Professor of Theology/Religious Studies at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Table of contents



1 The Modern Reception of the Ancient Reception of John’s “Jews”
Theologians and Historians of Jewish-Christian Relations
Enter the New Testament Scholars
Readings of the Johannine Jews in Late Antiquity: Summary of Argument

2 Origen of Alexandria
Origen’s Commentary on John: Backgrounds
Origen and the Johannine Christ: Teachers of Divine Things
Corporeal Christians, Johannine Jews, and the Resistors of Divine Things
Origen, Contemporary Gnostics and Jews, and John

3 John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom and the Homilies on John
John Chrysostom as Imitator of Christ
John Chrysostom’s Audience as Imitators of the Johannine Jews
The Jews of Antioch and John Chrysostom’s Reading of the Johannine Jews

4 Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril’s Commentary on John: Backgrounds
Cyril and the Johannine Christ: Teachers of Orthodox Doctrine
The Johannine Jews as Catalysts of Orthodox Doctrine
Cyril’s Reading of the Fourth Gospel and Contemporary Jews

5 Conclusion
Summary: Ancient and Modern Readings of John’s Jews
Reflections on the Ancient and Modern Readings


All interested in the Bible and its reception history (Wirkungsgeschichte), the Gospel of John, anti-Judaism or antisemitism, and ancient and modern Jewish-Christian relations.