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The constellation of the Johannine riddles—theological, historical, literary—and their implications for understanding the Jesus of history as well as the Christ of faith, and thus the historical and religious basis of western civilization, comprises arguably the most difficult set of biblical critical issues and discussions in the modern era: full stop. Just as John’s theological tensions precipitated and contributed to the most intensive and extensive of theological discussions in the patristic era, so John’s literary and historical tensions have contributed to most intensive and extensive literary and historical biblical discussions in the modern era. Understandably, the issues are complex. The discussions are multidisciplinary; the implications are momentous. That is why this study is needed and why it is needed now.


Originally published as chapter one of Jesus Research: The Gospel of John in Historical Inquiry. This is a pre-copyediting and typesetting version. This version is not to be cited.

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