John within Judaism

Religion, Ethnicity, and the Shaping of Jesus-Oriented Jewishness in the Fourth Gospel


In John within Judaism, Wally V. Cirafesi offers a reading of the Gospel of John as an expression of the fluid and flexible nature of Jewish identity in Greco-Roman antiquity. While many have noted John’s general Jewishness, few have given it a seat at the ideologically congested table of ancient Jewish practice and belief.
By interrogating the concept of “Judaism” in relation to the complex categories of “religion” and “ethnicity,” Cirafesi argues that John negotiates Jewishness using strategies of ethnic identity formation paralleled in other Jewish sources from the Second Temple and early rabbinic periods. In this process of negotiation, including its use of “high christology” and critique of Ioudaioi, John coalesces with other expressions of ancient Jewish identity and, thus, can be read “within Judaism.”

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Wally V. Cirafesi, Ph.D. (2018), University of Oslo, is Visiting Researcher in the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo. He has published on a range of topics related to the New Testament, ancient Judaism, and early Christianity, including Verbal Aspect in Synoptic Parallels (Brill, 2013).

1 Introduction: John and Judaism, Then and Now
 1 The Questions, the Problems, and the Argument
 2 Scholarly Conceptions of “John and Judaism”
 3 Some Prolegomena to the Study of John and Judaism
 4 The Contribution of This Study

2 John and the Problem of Ancient “Judaism”
 1 Introduction
 2 “Judaism” in Antiquity: Religion and Ethnicity, Unity and Diversity
 3 The Meaning Potential of Ioudaios in Antiquity: Methodological Observations
 4 Conclusion

3 The Jewish People and the Children of Israel’s God in John
 1 Introduction
 2 Ethnos and “Peoplehood” in Greco-Roman and Jewish Antiquity: Between Genealogy and Way of Life
 3 The Ioudaioi, Jewishness as Genealogy, and the Birth of God’s Children in John’s Gospel
 4 Conclusion

4 “We Have a Law …” (John 19:7)
 The Ancestral Law and Its Laws in John
 1 Introduction: Ethnos and Law in Greco-Roman and Jewish Antiquity
 2 The Ancestral Law in John
 3 Ancestral Laws in John
 4 Conclusion

5 Reterritorializing Jewish Identity: John and the Ancestral Land
 1 Introduction
 2  Ethnos and Land in Greco-Roman and Jewish Antiquity
 3 John and the Ancestral Land
 4 Conclusion

6 The National Cult, the Public Assembly, and Jewish Associations: John between the Institutions of Temple and Synagogue
 1 Introduction
 2 National Cult, Public Assemblies, and Associations in Greco-Roman and Jewish Antiquity
 3 National Cult, Public Assemblies, and Jewish Associations in John’s Gospel
 4 Conclusion

7 Conclusion
 1 What This Study Did Argue
 2 What This Study Did Not Argue
 3 What Next? How John Became ‘Christian’
Index of Ancient Sources
All interested in Johannine studies, Second Temple and rabbinic period Judaism, early Jewish –Christian relations, and the study of religion and ethnicity in antiquity