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The Fourth Gospel and Its Predecessor: From Narrative Source to Present Gospel
by Robert Tomson Fortna
List Price: Paperback $45.00

Sigler Price: Paperback $34.00 

Cloth - 332 pp
ISBN 0800608607
Fortress Press


This is the long-awaited sequel to Fortna's The Gospel of Signs which reconstructed a source underlying the Fourth Gospel narrative.  Here he not only brings that reconstruction up to date but also provides commentary, section by section, on both the text of the reconstructed Johannine source and its redaction in canonical John (Part One).

In Part Two, Fortna systematically draws together the theological movement from source to present Gospel covering such topics as Christology, the value of signs for faith, salvation, Jesus' death, eschatology and community, and "the Jews" in relation to geography in the Fourth Gospel.  This work, then, provides a comprehensive and unique redaction-critical treatment of the whole Johannine narrative.

Several excursuses examine the hypothetical predecessor of the Fourth Gospel in its own right as another important Gospel Volage available to us, possibly the earliest Gospel, and, apart from Paul's letters, the oldest Christian Jewish document known.

Editorial Comments

This work is precise, persuasively argued, and most important of all, does something that no previous study has done.  John's Gospel seems to have dropped from the sky, and has long perplexed even the ablest exegetes.  Fortna has scarcely resolved all its enigmas, but by driving a wedge between John and his predecessor, he is able to open a space for interpretation that casts light on a multitude of otherwise intractable problems.  It is in that sense a fundamental piece of original scholarly research.

Walter Wink
Professor of Biblical Interpretation
Auburn Theological Seminary

Investigation into the origin of the Fourth Gospel is one of the most intriguing areas of New Testament scholarship.  Bringing decades of research to fruition, this volume offers 'state of the art' source and redaction criticism.  Fortna not only reconstructs the narrative source of the Gospel but also shows ho and why the Fourth Gospel differs from its predecessor.  The result is a readable adventure with a sizable payoff for the interpretation of the Fourth Gospel and its theology.  Seldom has such painstaking analysis been set forth in such a comprehensive and provocative synthesis.

R. Alan Culpepper
James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

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