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The gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective.

Jerome Neyrey, S.J., is professor emeritus of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely for more than thirty years. I his volume is a collection of eighteen essays previously published as far back as 1979, though most came out in the decades after 1990, and gathered as chapters here.

For the most part Professor Neyrey confirms common assessments of themes, characters, and dynamics of the Fourth Gospel by expressing them in the specialized terminology and categories of classical rhetoric and cultural anthropology Yet the book is sprinkled with surprising assertions, e.g., that we should. think of the Father's house "as God's family or household here on earth" (76).

Neyrey himself raises the question that dogs analyses undertaken from this particular perspective: "Does appreciation of honor and shame demand a reinterpretation of older scholarly opinions on various passages?" (434) This question invites a companion question: Are the innovative insights Neyrey draws out of certain passages the result of application of his interpretive model or the result of personal qualities he brings to the study, such as decades-long engagement with biblical texts, with extra-biblical ancient literature, with scholarly debates, and with Christian teaching and practice? No doubt to state my question as an either/or is an overstatement. Nevertheless, my general impression is that typical readers will be more satisfied with The Gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective if they approach it with an interest in hearing from Professor Neyrey more than with anticipation of sweeping reinterpretations of Johannine thought demanded by Neyrey's interpretive categories.

Readers will benefit well from Neyrey's summaries and critiques of scholarly viewpoints on the theme or topic he is taking up in that chapter. Among the worthy offerings in this volume, I most heartily recommend chapter eleven: "The 'Noble' Shepherd in John 10."

The Gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective. By Jerome H. Neyrcy. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8028-4866-6. xx and 489 pages. Paper. $37.00.

S. John Roth

Jacksonville, Ill.

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Author:Roth, John S.
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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