Several years ago I reviewed for RBL Cor Bennema’s Encountering Jesus: Character Studies in the Gospel of John (Paternoster, 2009). I thought that it was a helpful work, especially methodologically, and just needed filled out a bit. Cor does a great job in this second edition addressing concerns of reviewers and offering a stronger work overall.
One will notice two major elements of this edition – (1) Cor’s discussion is more detailed, which leads to a second edition almost double the size of the first; (2) this edition contains a study of Jesus as the main character (an omission in the first edition that I highlighted in my review, and apparently other reviewers pointed to this as well).My blogger-comrade, Chris Skinner, happens to be highly knowledeable in Johannine studies and narrative criticism/characterization, and it was nice to see Cor interact significantly with Chris’s work. (While I am at it, I should mention Chris’ Characters and Characterization in the Gospel of John which is very affordable).
Last word: I will confess that much biblical “scholarship” is really not all that useful for everyday Christians and I am highly selective about what I choose to emphasize with my students. But narrative criticism is definitely something every seminarian should learn in a thorough way in his or her education. The kind of thing Cor is doing here is very fruitful and can furnish preachers and teachers with major insights. I look forward to reading Cor’s work again in this new edition and kudos for publishing with Fortress.