In the last post I began to discuss what we can know about the history of the community that produced (or that produced someone who produced) the Gospel of John.  My argument is that you can use hints in the Gospel to reconstruct what appears to have happened in the community in which and for which it was produced, and reconstructing what these events were can help make sense of how and why the distinctive views of the Gospel developed (or rather, the *various* views, some found in one of its sources, others in another).

To make best sense of this post it will probably be of some use to read the preceding one.  Again I am taking this discussion from my textbook on the New Testament.



Stage Three: Against the Synagogue

Sociologists have studied a number of religious communities that have been excluded from larger social groups and forced to carry on their communal activities on their own.  The findings of these various studies are of some interest for understanding how the views of the Johannine community appear to have developed with the passing of time.

Religious groups (sometimes called “sects”) that split off from larger communities often feel persecuted — many times with considerable justification — and build ideological walls around themselves for protection.  That is to say, a kind of fortress mentality develops, in which the small splinter group begins to think that…

To see the rest of this post, all you need to is join the blog.   Incredibly easy just now: we have an offer of FREE MEMBERSHIP to anyone who wants one.  Want one?  Know others who do?  Spread the word!  And if you can pay the regular membership fee, even better!  Every penny you pay will go to help deal with the crisis, especially among the hungry and homeless.