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Among the weighty treatments of the Gospel of John over the last half-century, one of the most incisive has been Bread from Heaven, by Peder Borgen. As the unity and disunity of the Fourth Gospel had been debated extensively among Johannine scholars for the previous half-century, approaching this issue from a text-based comparative standpoint posed a new window through which one could assess key issues and contribute to the larger discussions. Whereas Rudolf Bultmann and Wilhelm Bousset had envisioned the context of John’s composition as Hellenistic Christianity leading into Gnostic trajectories, Borgen focused on particularly Jewish writings as John’s primary backdrop—albeit within a diaspora Hellenistic setting. More specifically, the writings of Philo and the Palestinian midrashim offer a text-based way forward in discerning the origin and development of John’s presentation of the feeding and sea-crossing in the ministry of Jesus in John 6, followed by ensuing discussions and the confession of Peter. Given the numerous explicit and implicit cases of John’s citing of Jewish biblical motifs, if the case could be made for the Johannine narrator’s following Jewish patterns of thinking and writing, then implications would extend to understandings of the Johannine tradition’s origin and contextual development, elucidating also its character and meaning.


Originally published as the foreword in Bread from Heaven, An Exegetical Study of the Concept of Manna in the Gospel of John and the Writings of Philov by Peder Borgen, Johannine Monograph Series 4 (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2017, edited and critical introduction by Paul N. Anderson, ix-xliv).

Used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers.

ISBN: 9781498288859