Jesus the Samaritan

Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John


In Jesus the Samaritan: Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John, Stewart Penwell examines how ethnic labels function in the Gospel of John. After a review of the discourse history between “the Jews” and “the Samaritans,” the dual ethnic labeling in John 4:9 and 8:48 are examined and, in each instance, members from “the Jews” and “the Samaritans” label Jesus as a member of each other’s group for deviating from what were deemed acceptable practices as a member of “the Jews.” The intra-textual links between John 4 and 8 reveal that the function of Jesus’s dual ethnic labeling is to establish a new pattern of practices and categories for the “children of God” (1:12; 11:52) who are a trans-ethnic group united in fictive kinship and embedded within the Judean ethnic group’s culture and traditions.

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Stewart Penwell, Ph.D. (2017), the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St. Mary’s University (Twickenham, U.K.). He completed his S.T.M. at Drew Theological School (2010) as well as two M.A.s (Old Testament and New Testament) at Cincinnati Christian University (2008).


 Key Methodological Terms in the Study

1 Surveying Jesus’s Ethnic Incarnation
 1 Jesus the Jew
 2 Jesus the Samaritan
 3 Conclusion: Jesus’s Ethnic Incarnation

2 Ethnicity and Labeling
 1 Delineation of Terms: “Ethnic” & ἔθνος
 2 Theories of Ethnicity
 3 Socialization: Establishing Social Norms
 4 Labeling: Types and Functions
 5 Conclusion

3 Naming Narratives
 1 The Judeans’ Narratives: The Label “Judean” in the Texts of the Hebrew Bible
 2 The Samaritan’s Narrative: The Label “Israelite” for Self- or Group-Identification
 3 Labeling the Samaritans in Josephus
 4 Labeling the Samaritans in the Synoptic Gospels & Acts
 5 Conclusion

4 Labeling an Ethnic Jesus
 1 The Father, the Son, and the Children of God
 2 Jesus “the Jew”
 3 Jesus the Samaritan
 4 Intra-Textual Labeling of an Ethnic Jesus
 5 Conclusion

5 Ethnic Assessments in the Gospel of John
 1 Who are “the Jews” in the Gospel of John? A Retrospective
 2 “Misrecognizing” Jesus in the World
 3 Ethnic Assessments in the Gospel of John
 4 Implications of John’s Employment of the Ethnic Label “Jew(s)”
 5 Conclusion

For anyone interested in understanding the issues of ethnicity in the Gospel of John and particularly Jesus’s relationship with the Samaritans and “the Jews.”
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