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Jesus the Purifier: John’s Gospel and the Fourth Quest for the Historical Jesus

ISBN: 9781540962959
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The third quest for the historical Jesus has reached an impasse. But a fourth quest is underway—one that draws from a heretofore largely neglected source: John’s Gospel.

In this book, renowned New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg advances the idea that John is a viable and valuable source for studying the historical Jesus. The data from John should be integrated with that of the Synoptics, which will yield additional insights into Jesus’s emphases and ministry. Blomberg begins by reviewing the first three quests, reassessing both their contributions and shortcomings. He then discusses the emerging consensus regarding demonstrably historical portions of John, which are more numerous than usually assumed. Peeling back the layers, we discover in Jesus’s ministry an emphasis on purity and purification. The Synoptics corroborate this discovery, specifically in Jesus’s meals with sinners. Blomberg then explores the practical and contemporary applications of Jesus the purifier, including the “contagious holiness” that Jesus’s followers can spread to others.

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  • Advances the idea that John is a viable and valuable source for studying the historical Jesus
  • Reviews the first three quests, reassessing both their contributions and shortcomings
  • Discusses the emerging consensus regarding demonstrably historical portions of John
  • Introduction
  • The Original Quest for the Historical Jesus
  • No Quest and New Quest?
  • Launching the Third Quest with a Jewish Jesus
  • The Jesus Seminar and Its Kin: A Step Back in Time
  • Has the Third Quest Played Itself Out?
  • Foreshadowing the Fourth Quest: Rehabilitating the Gospel of John
  • Purification, Baptism, and Transformation in John 1-4
  • Purification Starting to Change in John 5-11
  • Ritual Purity Fades Away in John 12-21
  • Purity and the Historical Jesus of the Synoptics
  • Conclusion
This book is a treasure. Not only does it helpfully discuss the current state of debate over the third quest and criteria; it points the way to the reintroduction of John into the conversation. Recognizing the value of the third quest, it appropriately raises the need for a fourth. You will profit greatly from this read.

—Darrell L. Bock, senior research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Readers essentially get two good books here: a fair and extremely helpful survey of the history of Jesus research, suitable for a historical Jesus course, that does not leave out voices often marginalized by Bultmannians, and a case for why John’s Gospel belongs in historical Jesus research. A leading scholar on John and history, Blomberg provides historical context for the development of various views, critiquing them intelligently and fairly. When he turns specifically to the Fourth Gospel, he shows that a historical case can be made for considerably more of it than many of us Johannine scholars have dared hope.

—Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

What do the historical Jesus and John’s Gospel have in common? Much more than has been imagined, according to Craig Blomberg. In Jesus the Purifier, Blomberg takes up the challenge of bringing historical inquiry to the one Gospel that is often left out of the mix for understanding the Jesus of history. Blomberg not only argues that much more of John is amenable to sketching a portrait of who Jesus was; he also discerns from John an early interest in purification in Jesus’s ministry. Jesus the Purifier is required reading for all those interested in the ongoing quest for the historical Jesus.

—Jeannine K. Brown, David Price Professor of Biblical and Theological Foundations, Bethel Seminary

  • Title: Jesus the Purifier: John’s Gospel and the Fourth Quest for the Historical Jesus
  • Author: Craig Blomberg
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2023
  • Logos Release Date: 2023
  • Pages: 394
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Subjects: Jesus Christ › Historicity; Bible. N.T. John › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Bible. N.T. John › Commentaries
  • ISBNs: 9781540962959, 9781493439966, 9781493439973, 1540962954, 1493439960, 1493439979
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-04-25T17:39:48Z

In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Craig Blomberg

Craig Blomberg is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, where he has been teaching since 1986. Blomberg earned degrees from Augustana College, Trinity Divinity School, and Aberdeen University in Scotland. He previously taught at Palm Beach Atlantic College and spent one year in Cambridge as a research fellow with Tyndale House. He has been on translation committees for the New Living Translation, English Standard Version, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Blomberg is the author, coauthor, or co-editor of numerous books and more than 80 articles in journals or multi-author works. A recurring topic of interest in his writings is the historical reliability of the Scriptures, and he has also covered such diverse issues as wealth and poverty, hermeneutics, and women in ministry. His books include Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, 2nd ed., Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: James, A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis, Making Sense of the New Testament, Preaching the Parables, and The NIV Application Commentary: 1 Corinthians.


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