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Among modern analyses of the origin and development of John’s Christology, the socio-religious analysis of Wayne A. Meeks advances one of the most compelling and suggestive theses in recent years, addressing the riddles pertaining to the puzzling presentation of Jesus as a prophet-king like Moses in John 6:14-15. Whereas the Logos motif of the Johannine Prologue and the Father-Son relationship in the Johannine narrative convey high-christological thrusts, his receptions as a rabbi, teacher, and prophet elsewhere in John’s story of Jesus are far more mundane and earth bound. While he is rejected in Judea for failing to live up to Davidic royal expectations (7:40-52), Jesus is declared to be “the King of Israel” by Nathanael of Cana (1:49) and the crowd in Jerusalem (12:13), and he is labeled “King of the Jews” by Pilate at his trial and crucifixion (18:39; 19:19-22). In his appearance before Pilate, however, Jesus also affirms his being a king, but rather than asserting political prowess, his kingship is one of truth (18:36-37). Rather than a king, though, he is acclaimed as a prophet by the Samaritan woman, the Jerusalem crowd, and the blind man (4:19; 7:40; 9:17), and when the Galilean crowd seeks to rush him off for a coronation as a prophet-king like Moses in John 6:14-15, Jesus responds by fleeing into the hills. The question is why? Was the origin and development of John’s presentation of Jesus here political, historical, theological, sociological, or some combination of the like? These are the issues Wayne Meeks addresses in his first of several important monographs, and his work continues to impact New Testament studies to this day.


Originally published as the foreword in The Itinerary of The Prophet-King by Wayne Meeks, Johannine Monograph Series 5 (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2017, edited and critical introduction by Paul N. Anderson, xi-xxx).

Used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers.

ISBN: 9781498288842