At the beginning of his gospel, John refers to Jesus Christ as the Logos—the “Word.” Author John Ronning makes a case that the Jewish Targums—interpretive Aramaic translations of the Old Testament that were read in synagogues—hold the key to understanding John’s descriptive use of Logos as a title for Jesus. Ronning examines numerous texts in the fourth gospel in light of the Targums and shows how connecting the Logos with the targumic Memra (word) unlocks the meaning of a host of theological themes that run throughout the Gospel of John.
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- Discusses the influence of the Targums on the writings of John
- Contrasts Old Testament and New Testament themes
- Highlights theological themes throughout the Gospel of John
- Why John Calls Jesus “The Word”
- The Old Testament Background to John 1:14–18
- The Name of the Father and the Mission of Jesus
- The Son of Man Came down from Heaven
- Jesus of Nazareth, Man of War
- Jesus the Bridegroom of His People
- Jesus the Lawgiver of His People
- Jesus as the One in Whom We Must Believe
- The “I Am He” Sayings
- Unwitting Prophecies in the Targums
- “The Word Became Flesh” Elsewhere in the New Testament
- The Superiority of the Targum View
Praise for the Print Edition
John Ronning’s fresh and stimulating study of the Aramaic tradition and the light it sheds on John’s Logos theology represents another important, positive step in Johannine scholarship. The documentation is impressive and the arguments are compelling. There should no longer be any doubt about the role played by the targumic memra (‘word’) in Johannine Christology. Ronning’s book is must-reading for anyone interested in the Johannine writings.
—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia
Ronning identifies an astonishing number of parallels that shed new light on John’s theology more generally. Even those who may not be persuaded will surely acknowledge that this work is a wonderful education on the subject. More important, it is a contribution that changes the nature of the scholarly debate, and as such it cannot be ignored.
—Moisés Silva, emeritus professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
The work is well-done and by all means it will captivate biblical scholars and others as well. Ronning offers a bunch of original documents and considers a wide array of contemporary scholarship. The evangelical community will highly praise the newly published monograph on John’s theology rooted in Jewish sources. Furthermore, the work will be welcomed by scholars of Aramaic, Old Testament, and New Testament.
—Theological Book Review
Ronning’s work must be recognized for its value to Targumic studies and is a ‘must have’ for those engaged in that field of study. . . . Unlike other works in this field of study, this book is an easy read.
—Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Ronning’s argument is provocative and often convincing. . . . Some interesting points emerge, particularly in the argument that John’s logos theology counters that of the targums in its emphasis on the enfleshment of the word.
—Journal for the Study of the New Testament
An impressive and somewhat provocative study of the Jewish Targums and the light they shed on the Gospel of John. . . . Ronning is to be commended for a thorough and meticulous study. The number of parallels that he identifies between the Targums and John’s Gospel is striking, and his theological analysis is lucid. Ronning may not be the first to link John’s Logos theology with the ‘Memra’ of the Targums, but his is certainly the most comprehensive and convincing work to date. . . . It is a significant contribution that promises to be a part of the scholarly debate for many years to come and is a must-read for anyone interested in Johannine scholarship and/or Second Temple studies.
—Bulletin for Biblical Research
- Title: Jewish Targums and John’s Logos Theology
- Author: John Ronning
- Publisher: Baker Academic
- Publication Date: 2010
- Pages: 400
About John Ronning
John Ronning is a professor of biblical studies and the doctoral program director at Faith Theological Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland.