Books: The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel
I’m currently reading ‘The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel’ by Craig L. Blomberg --- I haven’t read much of Blomberg aside from his Chapter in ‘Jesus Under Fire’ --- but I’m enjoying this work. I’ve debated picking up one of Blomberg’s other works “The Historical Reliability of the Gospels” but it just didn't strike me, and the lack of an appealing cover didn’t help (yes I know I shouldn’t judge!)
This work focuses almost exclusively on the Fourth Gospel and tackles the similarities, dissimilarities, writing style, and even outright apparent contradiction with the Synoptic Gospels. Bloomberg is unabashedly conservative in his view of the historical relevance and truthfulness of the Gospels, yet points out rightly this should be no reason to throw out his evidence, for the sake of ‘starting anew’ (a la the Jesus Seminar.)
The book is divided into two parts, first a short but well reasoned and logical defense of the traditional view of the Gospel of John, with some minor tangents and nods to interesting theories. Essentially Bloomberg reasons the fourth gospel was most likely written by the Apostle John, in or around 90 AD. The gospel was a bringing together of perhaps years of teachings, eyewitness testimony, and fair share of John ‘setting the record straight’ so to speak.
The second half (however it’s more like 4/5ths of the book) entails a passage by passage examination of events, theological significance, historical background and differences with the Synoptics. This suffices as one of the more interesting commentaries I’ve read, while not shying away from discussing out theological points, Blomberg goes into in-depth discussion of many aspects of each passage as it relates to the bible as a whole, and 1st century Jewish and Greek culture. He even at times delves into more literal and technically correct translations of verses to gain further insight into the Gospel.
I’m part of the way through the commentary section, and so far would very much recommend this book. The only thing that bugs me is the way he inserts references right into the text instead of relying on footnotes. It’s awkward to have references scattered mid-sentence ex. (yada, yada 1980) perhaps I’ll post more thoughts on this book later.