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Excerpt: "As the essays in this volume demonstrate, the evidentiary basis for excluding the Gospel of John from the historical quest for Jesus is extensively flawed, critically. Many dozens, perhaps hundreds, of instances in which the Fourth Gospel arguably contributes to a fuller understanding of the life and ministry of the prophetic figure from Nazareth require renewed consideration if the fuller database of historical information about Jesus is to be consulted. The question, of course, is how to do so. While it might be safer and less likely to err to exclude John from the quest, such a conservatively reductionistic approach runs the risk of garnering only a partial sampling of the first-century historical record of Jesus and his ministry, thus producing a distorted portraiture of Jesus. Therefore, while the de-Johannification of Jesus might make a Synoptic quest easier and more straightforward, historians committed to consulting the full range of historical resources in the venture can no longer exclude the one canonical account claiming first-hand contact with the ministry of Jesus. Such a claim may be scandalous, or even wrong, but it is the character of the material itself that requires a new quest, given the critical contributions of the essays in the present volume and other recent work."


Originally published in John, Jesus, and History, Volume 3: Glimpses of Jesus Through the Johannine Lens. Editors, Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, S.J., and Tom Thatcher, Early Christianity and its Literature 18 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016).