Augsburg Fortress

Encountering Jesus: Character Studies in the Gospel of John, Second Edition

Encountering Jesus: Character Studies in the Gospel of John, Second Edition

Applying a comprehensive theory of character to the Gospel of John, Cornelis Bennema provides a fresh analysis of both the characters and their responses to Jesus. While the majority of scholars view most Johannine characters as “flat,” Bennema demonstrates that many are complex, developing, and “round.” John’s broad array of characters and their responses to Jesus correspond to people and their choices in real life in any culture and time. This book highlights how John’s Gospel seeks to challenge its readers, past and present, about where they stand in relation to Jesus.
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451470062
  • eBook ISBN 9781451487497
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 240
  • Publication Date September 15, 2014


Preface to the Second Edition
1. Introduction
2. Jesus: The Life-Giving Revealer
3. John: Witness Par Excellence
4. The World: Enveloped in Darkness but Loved by God
5. “The Jews”: Opponents Par Excellence
6. Andrew and Philip: Finders of People
7. Simon Peter: A Shepherd in the Making
8. Nathanael: The Genuine Israelite
9. The Mother of Jesus: A Catalyst in His Ministry
10. Nicodemus: In the Twilight Zone
11. The Samaritan Woman: An Unexpected Bride
12. The Royal Official: His Word Is Enough for Me
13. The Invalid at the Pool: A Lame Response
14. The Crowd: A Faceless, Divided Mass
15. The Twelve: Slow but Sticky
16. Judas Iscariot: The Black Sheep of the Family
17. The Man Born Blind: Once I Was Blind but Now I See
18. Martha: The Ideal Johannine Confessor
19. Mary of Bethany: At Jesus’ Feet
20. Lazarus: The Dead Shall Hear His Voice
21. Thomas: Let Me See and Touch
22. The Beloved Disciple: The Unique Eyewitness
23. Pilate: Securing a Hollow Victory
24. Mary Magdalene: Recognizing the Shepherd’s Voice
25. Joseph of Arimathea: Faith and Fear
26. Conclusion


"This is a book I have been waiting for—a comprehensive, sophisticated analysis of the characters in the Gospel of John. Bennema gives us the tools to advance both our understanding of John's gospel and the theory of characterization."
—R. Alan Culpepper
Mercer University
"In this careful and creative study, Bennema challenges the widely held view that John's characters are types or symbols and successfully demonstrates that each character in John has a distinctive individual profile in their inter-actions with Jesus. This book opens an important new window on how John tells the story of Jesus."
—Gail R. O'Day
School of Divinity, Wake Forest University
"Bennema's thorough analysis offers further evidence for a more nuanced understanding of characters in the Gospel of John and moves the discussion about Johannine techniques of characterization forward in significant ways."
—Colleen M. Conway
Seton Hall University
"Bennema's use of a theory of character to illuminate all of John’s cast of fascinating characters is pioneering and productive."
—Richard Bauckham
Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies, University of St. Andrews