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John's Use of Ezekiel: Understanding the Unique Perspective of the Fourth Gospel

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Scholars have long puzzled over the distinctive themes and sequence of John’s narrative in contrast to the accounts in the Synoptic Gospels. Brian Neil Peterson offers an explanation for some of the most unusual features of the Fourth Gospel, including the exalted language of the Johannine prologue, the use of imagery and prophecy, the early placement of Jesus’ “cleansing” of the temple and his relation to it, the emphasis on “signs” confirming Jesus’ identity, and the prominence of Jesus’ “I Am” sayings.

In this volume, Peterson analyzes new connections between motifs, themes and the macrostructure of Ezekiel at the points where John diverges from the synoptic narrative. Explore a new understanding of John as steeped in the theology of Ezekiel, and of the Johannine Christ as the fulfillment of the vision of Ezekiel.

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Key Features

  • Offers a new understanding of John as steeped in the theology of Ezekiel
  • Analyzes unusual features of the Fourth Gospel
  • Examines the Johannine Christ as the fulfillment of the vision of Ezekiel


  • The Uniqueness of John’s Gospel
  • John 1 and Ezekiel 1–3 Juxtaposed
  • John’s Use of Signs and Ezekiel’s Sign Acts
  • John’s Placement of the Cleansing of the Temple in Light of Ezekiel 8–11
  • John’s “I Am” Sayings in Light of Ezekiel
  • John 17, 20, and Ezekiel 37: Unity, Resurrection, and the Insufflation
  • Jesus’ Rebuilt “Temple” and Ezekiel 40–43
  • Conclusions and Implications

Top Highlights

“Of the sixty-six books in the Bible, only two begin with sustained exalted language for God: Ezekiel and John.9 In both cases we see a theophanic revelation of God in a terrestrial setting. For John it is the eternal λόγος (logos/Word) embodied in Jesus, whereas in Ezekiel his vision of the chariot-throne reveals the כבוד‎ (kāḇôḏ/glory) of Yahweh.” (Page 36)

“Similarly, Ezekiel ministered in Babylon to an equally hard-hearted people in the religious elite/elders (Ezek. 3:8; 20:3, 31; 33:32), and, when they would not listen, he took his message to the common folk through sign acts in particular (e.g., Ezek. 4; 5; 12; 24), a picture strikingly similar to the use of signs (σημεῖα sēmeia) in John!” (Page 16)

“‘In accordance with his esoteric, indirectly suggestive style, the emphasis in John (in contrast to Matthew) is on ‘allusions.’ He prefers the bare, terse clue, the use of a metaphor or motif more than the full citation.’” (Pages 12–13)

“Apart from the larger motifs mentioned in the opening paragraph of this chapter, there are no less than eighteen literary, thematic, and motif parallels between John 1 and Ezekiel 1–3.” (Page 35)

“C. K. Barrett notes that in Matthew there are 124 references to Old Testament passages, seventy in Mark; and in Luke 109; with only twenty-seven direct references in John.” (Page 12)

Praise for the Print Edition

Brian Peterson’s book John’s Use of Ezekiel is an intriguing intertextual journey into the prophet Ezekiel and the Fourth Gospel. While some scholars have worked along the edges of this complex topic, Peterson has sounded its depths with careful arguments and perceptive insights into why and how John drew upon Ezekiel, and in the process, has cast John’s methodology and purpose in a new light. Peterson’s innovative scholarship has set a new milestone in Ezekiel-John intertextual studies to which all students of the Fourth Gospel will need to give careful attention.

C. Hassell Bullock, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

In this volume, Brian Peterson offers a sustained discussion of numerous structural and thematic parallels between the book of Ezekiel and John’s Gospel, arguing that John consciously chose to fashion his book after Ezekiel’s visions, sign acts, and oracles. Peterson plausibly suggests that the similarity in presentation is grounded in the two authors’ shared experience of the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Without diminishing the formative contribution of other Old Testament books such as Isaiah, Ezekiel certainly makes an important (and often underestimated) contribution to John’s theology. Peterson is to be commended for giving Ezekiel his due in the study of John’s Gospel.

Andreas J. Kӧstenberger, senior research professor of New Testament and biblical theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Interpreters have long observed that the Gospel of John is steeped in the Old Testament and how it makes a rich theological contribution. . . . But Brian Neil Peterson, in his stimulating new study, highlights the significant role that themes and structures from Ezekiel have played in John's presentation of Jesus. This is an exciting book.

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College

  • Title: John’s Use of Ezekiel: Understanding the Unique Perspective of the Fourth Gospel
  • Author: Brian Neil Peterson
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2015
  • Logos Release Date: 2016
  • Pages: 241
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. N.T. John › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Bible. O.T. Ezekiel › Influence; Bible. N.T. John › Relation to Ezekiel
  • ISBNs: 9781451490312, 9781506400389, 1451490313, 1506400388
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T00:54:47Z

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches 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 research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Brian Neil Peterson teaches Old Testament and Hebrew at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. He is the author of The Authors of the Deuteronomistic History: Locating a Tradition in Ancient Israeland John’s Use of Ezekiel: Understanding the Unique Perspective of the Fourth Gospel.

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Digital list price: $30.99
Save $6.00 (19%)