Book Notice: Stan Porter on John, His Gospel, and Jesus

Book Notice: Stan Porter on John, His Gospel, and Jesus January 7, 2016

Stanley E. Porter
John, His Gospel, and Jesus: In Pursuit of the Johannine Voice
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015.
Available at

This volume is a collection of studies on the Gospel of John, based on a mixture of conference papers and previously published studies. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing several of them at ETS, IBR, and SBL.

Porter’s objective in the book is to try to identify the unique “Johannine Voice.” Porter is convinced that John’s Gospel is really, really about Jesus – not the Gnostic Revealer, not a Johannine Community, or anything else. Chapters include a comparative study on P. Egerton 2 and P52 (chapter one), John’s public proclamation of Jesus where Porter contends that John’s Gospel is intended as a public dissemination to everyone not just all Christians (chapter two), the sources of John’s Gospel including instances of independence from the Synoptics and the historicity of several episodes (chapter 3), there is an intriguing essay on the prologue through “musical-liturgical criticism” and “functional criticism”  (chapter four), a detailed analysis of Christology, esp. the “I am” sayings (chapter five), the controversial topic of “the Jews” is covered and Porter believes that it signifies the Jewish religious-ethnic group as a whole, though not necessarily in an anti-Jewish sense (chapter six), the notion of truth is covered (chapter seven),  the Johannine usage of the passover theme (chapter eight), and finally, John 21 where Porter argues for the chapter’s historicity, unity, and integrity (chapter nine).

Some good stuff in this book, esp. on John’s Gospel and P. Egerton 2 (contra H. Koester), the Johannine prologue chapter is a great read, and I liked the chapter on John as a public proclamation of Jesus. I wasn’t convinced by everything, particularly the early date that Porter assigns to John’s Gospel “as early as 70” (p. 31) and I wish he had been able to interact with Armin Baum’s argument about editorial editions to John 21 in the Martin Hengel Memorial volume. In any case, a good collection of studies for those interested in John’s Gospel and certainly worth putting on a reading list for courses in the Fourth Gospel.

On another note, Porter has an insane number of books either just out or coming out.

Romans (Sheffield Phoenix, 2015)
Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism (Eerdmans, 2015) – with Andrew Pitts
Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Baker 2015)
When Paul Met Jesus (Cambridge, 2016)
Sacred Tradition in the New Testament (Baker, 2016)
The Apostle Paul: His Life, Thought, and Letters (Eerdmans, 2016)

That’s quite a cache of books. I’m now convinced that McMaster’s Divinity College has finally made advances in cloning that are helping Porter write this many books.



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