Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Notice: Judith Lieu - Johannine Letters

Judith Lieu
I, II, & III John (NTL)
Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2009
Available at Alban Books in the UK and in the US

This is a good commentary on the Johannine letters with fine discussions of classic texts like 1 John 2.2 and 4.8. Lieu is concerned to take the Johannine Epistles out of the shadow of the Fourth Gospel and evaluate them on their own merits. I especially enjoyed the opening paragraph of the commentary:

"The three Letters of John represent a distinctive voice among the epistolary literature of the New Testament; together with the Gospel of John, forming the 'Johannine corpus,' they also contribute to a major thread within New Testament and early Christian thought, one that is to be set alongside and balances the Pauline tradition in influence and importance. Central to this contribution is the understanding of God, of the place of Jesus within any experience and articulation of God's acting, and of the transformation that becomes a lived reality for those who share that understanding and experience. Alongside the general impact of these theological achievements, 1 John is the source of a number of formulations that have become familiar in subsequent Christian liturgy and language, for example, the exhortation to confession and the assurance of forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9) or the lapidary, 'God is love' (1 John 4:8, 16)" (p. 1).

My biggest quibble is that Lieu has failed to mention and interact with another fellow-methodist I. Howard Marshall and his commentary in the NICNT series!!!

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