Johannine Sectarianism in Perspective

A Sociological, Historical, and Comparative Analysis of Temple and Social Relationships in the Gospel of John, Philo and Qumran


The central aim of the investigation is to evaluate the claim that the Gospel of John was a product of a ‘sectarian’ milieu.
Fuglseth is using methods primarily derived from sociology and the study of new religious movements today. He discusses in particular the ‘cult’-model as an alternative to ‘sect,’ and compares the Johannine texts with texts from two contemporary milieus: Philo and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The thesis is embedded in a comprehensive survey of research and discussions of methods and of the existence of a Johannine community.
There are still serious debates going on about the existence and nature of the Johannine group, its ‘Jewish’ roots and settings, the attitude to the ‘Jews’ and the ‘synagogue’, and the two levels of meanings in the Johannine text according to Martyn and Brown. In this situation Fuglseth’s investigation is of great current interest and gives new answers to central questions in the Johannine research.

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Kåre Fuglseth, Ph.D. (2002), Department of Religious Studies at the University of Trondheim (NTNU), Norway. At present he is Associate Professor at Bodø University College. He has published articles on the Gospel of John, the Revelation of John, Philo of Alexandria and hermeneutics. Together with Peder Borgen and Roald Skarsten he published The Philo Index (Brill/Eerdmans 2000). He is also the author of A Comparison of Greek Words in Philo and the New Testament (Mellen 2003).
' Fuglseth’s work is a very helpful contribution to Johannine studies and the complex relationship between this community and post-70 Judaism. The application of sociological models offers precision and clarity to his analysis, and he paves a way out of supersessionist interpretations of John.'
Mary Coloe, Review of Biblical Literature, 2006