Friday, June 29, 2012

Some Notes on Genesis 45:21-50:26

A main focus of both the Jacob and Joseph material is God’s unfolding of this portion of his plan of salvation for the whole world, the goal being the redemption of all creation and the undoing of all the evils recorded in Genesis 3-11.  With the call of and promises to Abraham in 12:1-3, the plan is set into motion.  Jacob and Joseph represent its continuation with chapters 12-50 as a whole telling us about the beginnings of God’s plan to undo 3-11.  Genesis is thus always forward-looking, anticipating the next and final stages of God’s plan, and backwards-looking, remembering God’s promises and his original creation intentions to give life and blessing.  This wider perspective gets played out throughout the stories of the patriarchs and recurs throughout the historical writings of the Old Testament. 
Life and blessing and salvation or rescue from God, however, are always available in the present even if only imperfectly in the present time.  In chapters 45-50 of Genesis we see just this work of God, anticipating the final redemption, already manifested in his dealings with Jacob and his family.  As part of his plan to bring that great redemption, God has chosen a particular family to make into a nation for himself as a vehicle to move his plan forward and bring redemption, life and blessing, to all nations. 
In Genesis 3-4 we see a broken relationship between God and humans but also between humans and humans.  Cain, the older, kills his brother Abel, the younger, in his jealousy.  This fallenness manifesting even within the human family has been manifested again in Jacob’s own family – the family which is to be part of the solution is itself also part of the problem, as the nation of Israel will learn again and again throughout their history. 
45-50 shows us, however, that it is God’s plan to heal that breach (the reunion with the brothers heals the separation through guilt, the reunion with the father heals the separation through grief) – this time, the plans of the older to kill the younger brother are transformed in God’s hands and turned into blessing rather than curse, unlike the case of Cain.  The sin of Cain is in some sense undone in the reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers.  God’s plan and promises are not simply for the future but bear fruit in the present as well.  He can use the evil purposes of fallen humanity to further his plan to redeem them (Romans 8:28) – like Jesus, Joseph was handed over for God’s greater purpose.
God’s promises and plan always win out ultimately, since God is the one in ultimate control.  It is his desire not to complete wipe out all of humanity, but to preserve life and bless humanity in redeemed form.  45:7 describes God as preserving a “remnant” (She’erit), a concept common in the Ancient Near East and throughout the Bible, emphasizing continuation of life in the form of a remaining group.  In the Old Testament (especially Isaiah), this notion of a remnant often has an emphasis of faithfulness to God and a vehicle of blessing – it is in the form of the remnant that Israel will survive its Exile and the nations of the world will themselves be preserved by God in the form of remnants faithful to Yahweh, the idea being that God’s people as a whole, embracing all nations, will be the form in which humanity will survive and receive blessing and redemption from God.  The preservation of the remnant is how God saves the human race.  Through Joseph, the remnant has been preserved, not for the last time (in fact, his adoption and blessing of Joseph’s may be in part motivated to preserve Joseph in the form of his sons by guaranteeing that they, though born in Egypt and not in Canaan, are part of the family and hence heirs of God’s promises). 
The blessings of God for all nations through Jacob’s family find their way through the preservation of that family into the nations with which they come into contact.  These nations may not yet achieve any ultimate redemption (though perhaps some do turn to Yahweh), but some aspect of blessing and preservation spill over to them nonetheless – the promises of God are powerful beyond human measure.  God’s saving of Jacob’s family from starvation has resulted in Egypt’s salvation from starvation as well, as imperfect as it may be in either case.  In 47:7 Jacob appears like Abraham in chapter 12 and the nomadic shepherd blesses the powerful king as a spiritual superior – the one who once ungenerously tricked his brother for blessing is himself now a generous source of blessing.  Jacob’s blessings, whether of Pharaoh or of his own sons (or grandsons) here are an expression of the future work of God in history looking forward to the fulfillment of his ultimate plan. 
Jacob is himself, however, also a recipient of the blessings of God’s plan.  Whereas he previously seemed to have lost all hope and despaired of life, seemingly failing to rest in God’s promises in 37:33, 35; 42:36, 38, now in 45:28 all of this is reversed.  God has graciously looked out for Jacob and been faithful even when Jacob seemed to have lost any hope of that.  Jacob himself experiences God’s salvation, a foretaste of the final redemption, receiving Joseph “from the dead”.  In response to this, he has himself become alive from being dead – his spirit, the life-giving principle (see 2:7; 6:17; 7:15, 22), is said to be revived.  After a long hiatus, God once again speaks to Jacob in 46:2-4, affirming that going into Egypt is part of God’s plan to bring salvation and Jacob, strengthened by his revival of hope, hopes in and believes in God’s promises here as well. 
47:29-30 reaffirms Jacob’s hope and trust in God’s promises, his own burial in Canaan looking back to God’s promise of the land and forward to Israel’s return by God’s hand.  Hope here, as elsewhere, seems to be a response to God’s faithfulness to his promises and plan which will ultimately be expressed in the final redemption.  Jacob’s foretaste of this returns him to hope.  The promised return to Canaan, however, will not happen until after his death – for himself, not long after his death, but for the rest of his family not until after a long time under a yoke of slavery.  50:24-25 expresses the same hope in a much later fulfillment by God.  God’s promises require patience and their fulfillment may not be realized even prior to our own deaths, as this emphasizes. 
By contrast with Jacob and Joseph, the other sons of Jacob have failed to trust God’s promises or his plan and so are stuck in their guilt over what happened to Joseph and imagine still that he may harm them, despite the blessings of Jacob.  Joseph, because of his trust in God’s fulfilling of his plan to fulfill his promises and preserve Israel for blessing and for life, rules that their concerns are overruled by God himself, thus completing their reconciliation.  
The changes in our characters and the blessings bestowed on them in 45-50, as we look closely, are expressed in terms that do not dwell as much on the characters’ interior faith or faithfulness or in their own initiative or worthiness or even repentance.  Rather, the force of change in the story and initiation of salvation is always on God’s side.  It is his work alone – Jacob’s family is imperfect and God’s faithfulness to them is not directly dependent on their own faithfulness to him.  As is constantly emphasized throughout the Old Testament, God’s favor of Israel and his relationship to them is based on his grace, not their merit (even in the Old Testament, salvation is not by works, contrary to many popular presentations – obedience to the Law was seen as a proper response to God’s grace and election, not a means to these).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is John Anti-Jewish?

Another paper:



The goal of this paper is to examine the role of the Jews in the Gospel of John, particularly their relation to the people of God given to Jesus in the Gospel.  Contrary to some “anti-Judaic” interpretations, I intend to argue that, at a literary level, we can read the Gospel not as creating a strict dichotomy between Jews and followers of Christ but rather that the Jews, like all peoples, are presented as part of the world which is joined against Christ yet that they, like all peoples, can take part in the people of God which transcends ethnic distinctions, a people composed of believers chosen out of the world from amongst all of humanity.
While such a reading will no doubt deal with some questions relating to the issue of supposed anti-Judaism or anti-Semitism in John, it is not intended to deal with every problem.  In fact, rather than an exhaustive demonstration, the present paper aims merely to show the plausibility of reading the Gospel in the way being proposed; I will not argue that this is the only legitimate way of reading it nor that my own reading solves all problems related to the possibility or plausibility of an anti-Judaic or anti-Semitic reading.  Nor will I say very much about the effect of various possible historical reconstructions concerning the background of the Gospel when these are allowed to interact with my proposed reading.  Dealing with the foregoing issues would require a much more extensive examination and adjudication of the evidence – and a certainty beyond what is achieved here – than is possible in the scope of the current paper, if such a project were to succeed at all.  Because of the limited scope of the present paper and its nature as treating of a particular theme in the Gospel rather than detailed exegesis of a single pericope, treatment of many passages will be necessarily cursory (although, hopefully generally sufficient).  The purpose here is merely to propose a reading that makes some sense of a variety of evidence, not one that solves all the problems or successfully deals exhaustively with every verse.
The present paper will be divided into two main parts.  Part I will focus on the universality of Jesus’ mission, which includes but is not limited to the Jews.  Part II will then examine the role of the Jews vis-à-vis Christians in light of that mission – they are part of the world against Jesus yet Jesus has died for them so as to bring them into a universal flock which transcends the boundary between Jew and non-Jew.  The conclusion will follow from these two parts.

Part I: The Universality of Christ’s Significance
In the current section I will argue that the Gospel tends to partly qualify the divinely privileged status of the Jews and their particular practices by placing them in the context of God’s broader, more primal plan of bringing salvation and restoration from sin and death to all peoples, Jews and non-Jews alike.  This thus works to place the role of the Jews in a more universal perspective.
Universal and Particular in General
The prologue of the Gospel in 1:1-18 sets the stage for the rest of the Gospel, already establishing its universal scope and setting the Jews within that scope.  It does this by going back to the very beginning in the first few verses, reaching back to creation itself rather than the more specific creation of Israel as could have been done, even before Abraham (cf. John 8:58).  Instead, it begins with a universal scope before narrowing down to one particular group, the Jews (who, further befitting the universal scope of the prologue, are not even actually named here in the prologue).  1:9-10 specifies that Jesus’ divine mission is for the benefit of the whole world, but the world did not know him.  It then narrows the scope, giving what seems to be one particular instance of this – his own (οἱ ἴδιοι), presumably the Jews, did not receive him. 
This movement between universal and particular – including both universalizing the particular and using the particular as an example or instance of the universal – happens throughout the Gospel of John, as Lars Kierspel has convincingly shown.  Indeed, merely looking at the distribution of the Greek words for world (κόσμος) and Jews (Ἰουδαῖοι), respectively, one sees an alternation in the larger sections of the Gospel between a more universal and a more particular focus, so that the following chapters, with more occurrences of κόσμος than Ἰουδαῖοι, have a more universal scope: John 1, 13-17, 21.  Meanwhile, the other chapters – John 2-12, 18-20 – have a more particular scope.[1] 
Part of the explanation for the alternating emphases derives from the fact that, whereas Jesus’ speech has a marked tendency towards the universal, the narrator tends on the other hand more often to focus on particulars.  As Kierspel shows, eighty-two percent of all occurrences of the word κόσμος, for instance, appear on the lips of Jesus (sixty-four occurrences), whereas eighty-three percent of all occurrences of the word Ἰουδαῖοι appear in the narration proper (fifty-nine occurrences).  Jesus, meanwhile, uses Ἰουδαῖοι only four times (4:22, 13:33, 18:20, 18:36), and whether any of these is used negatively may be up for debate.[2]
Even when Jews are his opponents, Jesus tends to use only pronouns to refer to his opponents or to speak more broadly of the κόσμος instead.  And whereas the narrator uses place names quite often, Jesus more often simply speaks of his coming into the world.  In general, Jesus’ speech throughout the Gospel seems to function in terms of universalizing based on the local particulars present in the narrative.[3]  Indeed, Kierspel notes how 18:20, as the first time where both the world and the Jews show up in the mouth of a single speaker, “seems to indicate that the ministry of Jesus transcends the originally Jewish context.”[4]  In particular, we can see in Jesus’ farewell discourses a universalized picture of the passion, the following narrative focusing on certain Jews as the particular historical opponents of Jesus whereas Jesus’ speech takes the opposition in a universal sense.[5]
The effect of this is that while the Jews in the Gospel seem to be Jesus’ most prominent particular opponents during his earthly life, it is yet the universal significance of Jesus, his work, belief in him, and opposition to him that is at stake here.  The Jews function as a representative sample of the world; they, as we will see, oppose Jesus yet Jesus died for them and they may yet believe.  The question to be considered next is how this works in terms of the Jews’ status as possessors of the sacred tradition of Israel and, one would think, the rightful people of God to whom Christ was to come.
Jewish Particulars in the Context of Christocentric Universals
How do Jewish particularities fit into the universal significance of Jesus in the Gospel?  What we find is that the Jews in the Gospel, as seen in 1:9-10, are still Jesus’ own in some sense – they are descended from Abraham (8:33, 37), they have the Law (7:19), and so on.  But like in the writings of some of the Old Testament prophets, this will not guarantee their staying truly Jesus’ own or being part of God’s people – behavior and unbelief can disqualify some from truly belonging and no ethnic privilege can guarantee otherwise (3:36; 8:43-47; 10:24-30; 15:2).  One can, that is, break the covenant and place oneself outside the covenant people of God.  As R. Alan Culpepper puts it, “the Gospel of John does not say that God has abrogated the covenants but that the Jews have broken the covenants and therefore do not recognize Jesus as the son of God.”[6]  For the world and “his own” who do not do know Jesus, there is no true belonging to Christ.  The whole world, Jews included, has opposed Christ and failed to receive salvation.[7]  Indeed, in 19:15 the Jews who reject Jesus decisively disown their own heritage, siding instead with the world and accepting Caesar rather than God or Jesus as king.[8]  They are indeed the descendants or seed (σπέρμα) of Abraham and should therefore be the ones who accept Jesus but, not doing so, they fail to be children (τέκνα) of him or God (8:33-47).[9] 
Instead, as seen in 1:12-13, what sets one apart as belonging to God is not one’s ethnic origin but rather receiving Jesus and believing in his name.  For those who do believe, whether Jewish or not, there is belonging (see 10:4, 13:1, 15:19) – judgment has come to the world and to Israel (3:18, 36; 12:31, 48; 16:11) but a remnant[10] of both have received salvation, being gathered into one people of God.  Jesus has died for the Jewish people as well as for the whole world, to bring both Jews and non-Jews together in unity (11:50-52).   In this unity, the Jewish particulars of the Law and Jewish customs in general are transcended in that such particulars were given to and are for the Jews yet the flock contains both Jews and Gentiles. 
In John it is not so much, after all, the Law or Jewish custom which represents the world’s greatest need but grace and truth, which comes from Christ (1:17).  The latter is needed by both Jews and Gentiles and hence represents what, in Christ’s death, unites God’s people from a diversity of ethnic backgrounds.  What the entire world, Jews included, need is salvation from sin and death and the rulership of the devil (1:29; 6:49-50, 58; 8:24, 70; 11:25-26; 12:31; 13:2; 16:11).  The Jews are not exempt from this need, despite being possession of divinely given Scriptures and practices.  Their fathers died in the desert from their sin (6:49), but Jesus is here to deal with the problem of sin and death once and for all for Israel and all others.  Sin may lead to death, enslavement, or exile, but Christ is the means of exodus, of restoration from the exile of sin and death under which Israel suffers (see 3:14; John 10 in connection with Ezekiel 34; John 11:25, 52 – especially 11:25 in light of the connection of resurrection with restoration of Israel in Ezekiel 37).[11]  All humanity alike is portrayed as under sin, under the rulership of Satan, and the Jews not exempted from this – all are in need of the cleansing of Christ and his victory.  All are part of the sinful world which is in darkness, in need of light.  Such a universal problem requires a universal solution, not just a particular one for one particular people.
The Jewish Scriptures, however, are not abandoned in John nor is the Law necessarily set wholly by the wayside.  John still recognizes the authority of Scripture and of Moses and the Law; the authority of these is implicitly recognized in frequent citations, allusions, and appeals to them as authorities by both Jesus and narrator (e.g., 5:45-47, 7:19-24, 12:37-41, 13:18, 15:25, 17:12, 19:24; 20:9).  Yet in the new situation of the inclusion of both Jew and Gentile in Jesus’ flock, their role becomes different; Jewish particularities are universalized for the sake of a universal people of God and the Jewish Scriptures take on a key role as witness to Jesus, who fulfills the Scriptures.  The significance of things such as the Jewish feasts or temple correspondingly is universalized as they tend to be understood Christologically.  In 4:19-24, for instance, temple worship is universalized into worship for all since, having now the Spirit and truth which are present in Christ, God’s people now have that temple presence of God wherever they are and whoever they are – as 2:13-22 emphasizes, Jesus’ body takes on the role of the temple in housing God’s presence and as place of worship; at his glorification, this becomes available to all everywhere.  The significance of each of the various temple-oriented festivals therefore finds its end also in Jesus as well (see, e.g., the focus on the Passover in John 6, Tabernacles in 7-10, and Dedication in 10-12).  In a post-70 era, such a message would have been more important than ever to the Johannine community in the absence of a physical temple and would thus present the Christian faith as the proper continuation of the Israelite tradition, here embodied in the temple, in contrast to the differing efforts of non-Christian Jews to see that tradition forward.[12]
In other words, John presents the divinely-given Jewish particularities as fulfilled in Christ.  So much is fairly uncontroversial.  One might emphasize Jesus’ fulfillment, however, as a matter of the strict replacement of the temple and other Jewish particularities.  I would propose reading John, however, as portraying Jesus not so much in terms of a replacement but rather as the culmination of these particularities.  Whatever other main purpose the Scriptures or other Jewish things might have had in God’s plan, they are preparatory for Christ.  John’s emphasis on the divine plan surrounding Christ’s telos, which involves his glorification on the cross, resurrection, and bringing together Jew and non-Jew in the people of God (3:14; 4:34; 5:36; 11:51-52; 12:23-33; 13:1; 17:1-5, 23; 19:28, 30) and the constant connection of Christ to the fulfillment of Scripture and other Jewish things (e.g., 2:13-22; 4:19-24; 5:45-47; 6:32-35, 44-58; 8:56-58; 11:25-26; 12:37-41; 13:18; 15:1, 5, 25; 17:12; 19:24; 20:9) all seem to point to Christ and his mission as the culmination, completion, end, or goal of all these particularities rather than a mere replacement.  Even Christ’s own words become words to fulfill, being treated themselves like Scripture (18:8-9, 31-32).  Indeed, we can therefore see God’s particular plan for the Jews as part of his general plan for the world, with Jesus as culmination of that plan both for Israel and the world.[13]  Jesus thus brings out of historical Israel blessings for the whole world, Israel included, uniting all in one people of God. 
The pattern of qualifying terms related, usually, to the Jews and their history with the adjective ἀληθινός (true) points in the general direction already emphasized – Jesus is the culmination of the people’s history and the significance of their divinely-given particularities (e.g., 1:9; 4:23; 6:32; 15:1 – compare also 2:10 as well as the use of καλός in 10:11[14]).  Here, “true” is generally not opposed to “false”[15] – Jesus is not saying in 6:30-33, for instance, that the old bread from heaven was fake – but rather seems to be meant in the sense just given, of culmination or fulfillment, of completion of significance.  Jesus’ statement that a certain saying is ἀληθινός in 4:37 seems to have a parallel idea in mind – that is, that the saying is being fulfilled or instantiated in its full significance. 
In John 15:1-8, calling on Old Testament imagery of Israel as vine or vineyard[16], Jesus calls himself the true vine (ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή).  This seems to emphasize Christ as representative and the one who binds together God’s people – to be truly part of Israel or God’s people is to abide in Christ and those who do not are cut off, a point already mentioned above with regard to those who rejected Christ.  Christ is the fulfillment, the end, the culmination and representative of Israel and Israel’s history and, (reading this passage in light of the rest of the Gospel) dying for his people, he has cleansed them, uniting them together in him.  As 10:14-18[17] and 11:50-52 emphasize, Israel is not rejected or replaced but rather others are brought in to join them through Jesus’ death.  Yet there is still the threat of being cut off for those who do not believe, as we have seen; being part of Israel and therefore the people of God in John is a matter of a proper relationship with Christ.[18]  Hence, Nathanael, who is chosen as one of Christ’s first disciples, is called in 1:47 “truly an Israelite [ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης] in whom there is no deceit” – deceit, the opposite of truth, is absent from him and, as a new follower of Christ, who is the truth, he is a true member of God’s people.  As we have seen, then, God’s particular plan for the Jews is portrayed as part of his general plan for the world and Jesus is the culmination of each together, both Jews and Gentiles participating positively in the divine design through acceptance of him.

Part II: Jewish or Christian but not both?
In Part I, I proposed we read John not as rejecting or replacing the Jewish people but rather as engaging in a kind of prophetic refinement, with only a remnant turning to God, the rest remaining in their sin, and believing Gentiles being added to them as part of the culmination of the nation’s history and institutions.  The question remains, however, as to whether John allows that one remains a Jew if one successfully follows Christ.  Are these identities mutually compatible or is John’s picture of the Jews instead wholly negative, so that to become a Christian is to cease to be a Jew?  It would obviously count against the readings proposed in Part I if the latter were to hold, so the burden of the present part of the paper will be to briefly propose a preliminary answer to such questions. 
According to Raimo Hakola, the Jews in John are cast in a universally negative light, the enemies of Christ and Christians, and being Jewish is seen in John as no longer compatible with being part of the Johannine community – after all, no model followers of Jesus, he contends, are ever called Jews.[19]  I will deal with the issue of the portrayal of the Jews first.  As Kierspel has indicated, what we find in John is a more complex portrayal of those referred to as Ἰουδαῖοι than might otherwise appear when focusing one-sidedly on the negative uses of Ἰουδαῖοι in the controversies with Jesus in the Gospel.[20]  The Jews are more divided than might otherwise seem from Hakola’s work: In the story of Lazarus in chapter 11, for instance, they are mostly portrayed positively and many even believe (though some do not and instead play the role of opponents (see especially 11:45-46)).  Then in 12:9-11, again, many Jews come to believe in Jesus. 
Although scholars differ slightly in their lists as to which occurrences of Ἰουδαῖοι fail to be negative, the following verses contain occurrences of the term which many consider to be (perhaps) positive or at least neutral in tone: 2:6, 13, 16; 3:1, 22; 4:9, 22; 5:1; 6:4, 41, 52; 7:2, 11, 15, 35; 8:22; 11:19, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 45, 54, 55; 12:9, 11, 12, 13; 13:33; 18:12, 14, 20, 35; 19:20, 21, 30, 38, 39, 40, 42.[21]  Most positively of all, Jesus himself is explicitly labeled a Jew in 4:9, 20, a label he does not reject but rather accepts in 4:22, explicitly associating the Jews with the coming of salvation (cf. 2:16; 5:1; 18:33-35).  Meanwhile, the term Israel (Ἰσραήλ) and its cognates are used in John generally without any negativity (1:31, 47, 49; 3:10; 12:13).[22] 
Divisions between those Jews who oppose Jesus and ones who do not, meanwhile, occur in 9:16 (called Pharisees here, rather than Jews); 10:19-21.  Probably merely superficial faith, meanwhile, is said to be attributed to Jews in 2:23-25; 8:30-31; 9:16, 40-41; 10:19-21; 12:42-43.[23]  As James D. G. Dunn emphasizes, one can see in John a process of sifting and division among the Jews, particularly in 7-12 (see the uses of κρίσις or σχίσμα in 3:19; 5:22, 27, 29, 30; 7:24, 43; 8:16; 9:16; 10:19; 12:31).[24]  Given what was seen in Part I of the paper, this should not be surprising since it simply represents the Old Testament pattern of the sifting out of a remnant from Israel as the legitimate and faithful continuer of its life and tradition. 
As was also seen in Part I, however, the Jews as a people are part of the world, which is hostile to Jesus and under bondage to darkness.  The non-Jewish peoples, however, are all also in the same boat.  For instance, despite what many see as attempts to move some of the burden of blame for the crucifixion off of Pilate onto the Jews, Pilate is still portrayed as solidly on the side of the world – he is not on the side of truth, does not know or recognize Jesus, and willingly gives Jesus over for crucifixion (see especially 18:33-19:16).  The Jews are simply the most salient people of the world to confront Jesus during his lifetime since they were his own people.  Yet they are themselves but one of the peoples who are together in the darkness of the world and in need of the light offered by Jesus.  Pilate is but one example showing up in John that the world opposing Jesus and under Satan’s rule goes beyond just the Jews and extends to the Gentile peoples as well.[25] 
John, then, does not portray the Jews overwhelmingly negatively or as incapable of good.  Indeed, the fact that John portrays Jesus as a Jew should itself provide a good bit of evidence against Hakola’s reading according to which Christians in the Johannine community are thought of as no longer Jews.  Hakola is correct, of course, that John does have a tendency not to call any model followers of Jesus Jews (although Jesus does call Nathanael an Israelite).  As can be seen in some of the verses already listed several paragraphs above, although the term Ἰουδαῖοι is used of persons when they come to know Jesus, it is generally used of those who are already said to believe only when that belief is defective in some way. 
What is not noticed, however, is that the very few times other ethnic labels show up in John, the usage is similar to that noted for Ἰουδαῖοι.  On the two occasions, for instance,  when the term referring to Greeks (Ἕλληνες) occurs (7:35, 12:20), it is only used of those who have yet to or are in the process of coming to Jesus, not of anyone after they have already done so.  Similar things could be said for references to the Samaritans (Σαμαρῖται) in John 4 (even more negatively, see the one occurrence of Ῥωμαῖοι in 11:48). 
 In the above paragraph we have admittedly a very small sample, but it is instructive that in the Gospel of John no ethnic term is ever applied to any model follower of Jesus (1:47 may count as an exception) although Jesus himself is affirmed in his own ethnicity as a Jew.  Given the reading of John in Part I, I would suggest that in that light we see this phenomenon as part of the universalizing tendency of this Gospel.  In other words, the ethnicity of true believers is purposefully not emphasized since Jesus’ flock is intended to be universal, united in an identity in Jesus that transcends mere ethnic distinctions, but without thereby abolishing such distinctions (Jesus, after all, is still a Jew and salvation is from the Jews).  By de-emphasizing the ethnicity of model believers, John is better able to portray a people which is also universal and which is therefore inviting to non-Jews as well as Jews.  No matter their ethnicity, they too can join with Israel in the people God, joining thereby, as seen in Part I, the “true” Israelites (1:47). 
Similar things can be said for the ubiquitous use in the mouth of Jesus of “your own” or “their”, in reference to the Jews, to modify “the Law” (νόμος – see 7:19, 23; 8:17; 10:34; 15:25; cf. 7:22, 51; 18:31; 19:7).  As seen in Part I, the universal nature of the people of God due to the death of Christ drawing in all peoples (in addition to the Jews) lends a universalizing tendency to John – the Law in all of its Jewish particulars does not apply to the people of God qua people of God since it is universal and overflows the boundaries of the Jewish people.  Jews were still given the Law by God but now those who were not so given are part of God’s people as well.[26]  Hence, John tends often not to ascribe the Law to Jesus and his followers, again so as to better portray the universality of God’s people in Christ.  There is no strict dichotomy in John, then, between being a Christian and being a Jew, or being a Christian and belonging to any other ethnicity for that matter.

Rather than hating the world and the Jews along with it, John portrays God’s love for the world and his desire for the world, Jews included, to believe in his Son (1:29; 3:16-20; 11:47-53; 12:30-33; 14:30-31; 17:20-23).  God wants to draw all to himself through the death of Jesus and hence Jesus died for the Jewish people as well as others.  As Udo Schnelle has noted, the world as a whole in John is represented with a similar complexity to that of the Jews.[27]  Both are hostile to Jesus, but the people of the world also go after Jesus and become his disciples.  In 12:18-19, for instance, we hear of both the Jews and the world going after Jesus.  With qualifications then (see 4:19-24), the Jews are presented as in some sense on par with the rest of the world – they do not have exclusive rights to a standing before God vis-à-vis the other peoples of the world nor is their birth a matter of automatic belonging to God if they do not believe.  Both Jew and Gentile, instead, belong to Christ in the people of God on the same basis, that of the work of Christ in his glorification on the cross, where ethnic differences are thereby transcended in the King of the Jews (19:19-20).[28]  In Christ, this is the ultimate culmination of God’s plan, in which both Jews and others play their own parts, the wider, more universal scope within which, for John, the story of Israel must be understood. 
If the historical hypotheses of people like J. Louis Martyn[29] are correct, then, given my reading of John, the non-Christian Jews who ejected the Johannine Christians from the synagogue would be, on a Johannine view, by definition still allied with the world in its opposition to Jesus; they have failed to be faithful to their heritage and believe in Jesus and hence stand opposed to God in Christ, right along with the pagans.  And though all are under the rulership of Satan, Christ has overcome Satan and the world in their opposition to him, a fact which would give comfort to the Johannine community.  But since Jesus also died for the world, Jews included, there is therefore on this reading perhaps some hope for the Johannine community to see their onetime opponents, whether Jew or Gentile, see the truth and join the universal people of God alongside them.

Ashton, John. Studying John: Approaches to the Fourth Gospel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Barrett, C. K. The Gospel according to St. John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text. Second Edition. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978.
Brown, Raymond E. The Gospel according to John I-XII: Introduction, Translation, and Notes. AB. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966.
_____.  The Gospel according to John XXIII-XXI. AB. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1970.
Culpepper, R. Alan. Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983.
_____.  “Anti-Judaism in the Fourth Gospel as a Theological Problem for Christian Interpreters.” In Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, edited by R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, 68-91. Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001.
de Boer, M. C. “The Depiction of ‘the Jews’ in John’s Gospel: Matters of Behavior and Identity.” In Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, edited by R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, 260-280. Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001.
Dunn, James D. G. “The Embarrassment of History: Reflection on the Problem of ‘Anti-Judaism’ in the Fourth Gospel.” In Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, edited by R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, 47-67. Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001.
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_____.  The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volume II. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 2003.
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Motyer, Stephen. Your Father the Devil? A New Approach to John and ‘the Jews’. Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1997.
_____. “The Fourth Gospel and the Salvation of Israel: An Appeal for a New Start.” In Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, edited by R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, 92-110. Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001.
Pansaro, Severino. “‘People of God’ in St John’s Gospel?” New Testament Studies 16 (1969-1970): 114-129.
Reinhartz, Adele. “‘Jews’ and Jews in the Fourth Gospel.” In Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, edited by R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, 341-356. Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001.
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_____.  The Gospel according to St John, Volume Three: Commentary on Chapters 13-21, translated by D. Smith and G A. Kon. New York: Crossroad, 1982.
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von Wahlde, U. C. “The Johannine ‘Jews’: A Critical Survey.” New Testament Studies 28 (1982): 33-60.
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[1] Lars Kierspel, The Jews and the World in the Fourth Gospel: Parallelism, Function, and Context (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 77.  Contra, e.g., John Ashton, Studying John: Approaches to the Fourth Gospel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 61-63, where the world and the Jews are equated without remainder.  See Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 31-50.
[2] Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 92.
[3] See Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 93, 102, 103, 144, 148.
[4] Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 108.
[5] Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 127.  Cf. Herman N. Ridderbos, The Gospel according to John: A Theological Commentary, trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997), 45, 328.
[6] R. Alan Culpepper, “Anti-Judaism in the Fourth Gospel as a Theological Problem for Christian Interpreters,” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, ed. R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville (Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001), 85.
[7] Culpepper, “Anti-Judaism,” 86;  Adele Reinhartz, “‘Jews’ and Jews in the Fourth Gospel,” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, ed. R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville (Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001), 345; Jean Zumstein, “The Farewell Discourses (John 13:31-16:33),” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, ed. R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville (Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001), 475.
[8] Cf. R. Alan Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983), 169; Zumstein, “Farewell Discourses,” 475.
[9] Cf. Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volume I (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 2003), 764; Severino Pansaro, “‘People of God’ in St John’s Gospel?” New Testament Studies 16 (1969-1970): 116; Ridderbos, John, 312-313, 317; Rudolf Schnackenburg, The Gospel according to St John, Volume Two: Commentary on Chapters 5-12, trans. C. Hastings, F. McDonagh, D. Smith, and R. Foley (New York: Crossroad, 1982), 210; Ben Witherington III, John’s Wisdom: A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox, 1995), 178.
[10] Cf. Keener, John I (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 2003), 398.
[11] Cf. Stephen Motyer, Your Father the Devil? A New Approach to John and ‘the Jews’ (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1997), 129, 136-140.
[12] See Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel, 169; Hakola, Identity Matters, 22; Motyer, Your Father the Devil?, 140, 195; “The Fourth Gospel and the Salvation of Israel: An Appeal for a New Start,” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, ed. R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville (Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001), 98-102.  Cf. Raimo Hakola, Identity Matters: John, the Jews and Jewishness (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 87, 93-94.
[13] Cf. Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel according to John I-XII: Introduction, Translation, and Notes (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966), lxxiii; Zumstein, “The Farewell Discourses,” 475.
[14] Cf. Witherington, John’s Wisdom, 256.
[15] See Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volume II (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 2003), 993; Ridderbos, John, 515; Witherington, John’s Wisdom, 256.  Similarly, see Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel according to John XXIII-XXI (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1970), 669, although ibid, 674 entertains the possibility that in 15:1-8 there may also be a historical contrast here between the true vine and the synagogue as false.
[16] Such imagery appears in various places such as Psalm 80:8-16; Isaiah 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Jeremiah 2:21; 5:10; 6:9; 12:10-11; Ezekiel 15:1-6; 17:5-10; 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1; 14:8(7); outside the Hebrew Bible, also in II Baruch 39:7; II Baruch 1:2; II Esdras 5:23; IV Ezra 5:23; in the New Testament, also in Matthew 20:1-16; 21:28-32; Mark 12:1-11; Luke 13:6-9.  See Brown, John XII-XXI, 669; Keener, John II, 988-993; Ridderbos, John, 515.  Against other backgrounds to this passage, see Brown, John XIII-XXI, 669; Keener, John II, 990-993; Rudolf Schnackenburg, The Gospel according to St John, Volume Three: Commentary on Chapters 13-21, trans. D. Smith and G A. Kon (New York: Crossroad, 1982), 104-106.  For a slightly different point of view, emphasizing the vine as wisdom imagery drawn from, e.g., Sirach 24, see Witherington, John’s Wisdom, 255-256.  Cf. Schnackenburg, John 13-21, 107.
[17] Cf. Barrett, John, 376; Keener, John I, 818-819; Ridderbos, John, 362-363; contra the replacement reading of Schnackenburg, John 5-12, 300, 350.  Compare Brown, John I-XII, 387, 396. 
[18] Cf. C. K. Barrett, The Gospel according to St. John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text, Second Edition (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978), 406-407; Brown, John I-XII, 442-443; Keener, John II, 992.
[19] Hakola, Identity Matters, 229-230.  Similarly, Reinhartz, “‘Jews’ and Jews,” 353.  A good formulation of the problem, but set in a slightly different dialectical context, can be found in M. C. de Boer, “The Depiction of ‘the Jews’ in John’s Gospel: Matters of Behavior and Identity,” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, ed. R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville (Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001), 270.
[20] Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 55.
[21] James D. G. Dunn, “The Embarrassment of History: Reflection on the Problem of ‘Anti-Judaism’ in the Fourth Gospel,” in Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel: Papers of the Leuven Colloquium, 2000, ed. R. Bieringer, D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville (Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2001), 56; Kierspel, Jews and the World, 63; Motyer, “The Fourth Gospel,” 105.  For an idea of which of these others have argued have a negative function, see Culpepper, “Anti-Judaism,” 72; U. C. von Wahlde, “The Johannine ‘Jews’: A Critical Survey,” New Testament Studies 28 (1982): 33-60.
[22] Cf. Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 63-64.
[23] Barrett, John, 344; Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 74; Motyer, “The Fourth Gospel,” 107.
[24] Dunn, “The Embarrassment of History,” 56-57.
[25] Cf. Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 127-130.
[26] Cf. Brown, John I-XII, lxii.
[27] Udo Schnelle, “Antijudaismus im Johannesevangelium?  Ein Gesprächsbeitrag,” in “Nun steht aber die Sache im Evangelium…” Zur Frage nach den Anfängen des christlichen Antijudaismus, Second Edition, ed. R. Kampling (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1999), 225.  For discussion, see Kierspel, The Jews and the World, 57-58.
[28] Cf. Witherington, John’s Wisdom, 256.
[29] See especially J. Louis Martyn, History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel, Third Edition (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox, 2003).