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About us Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society Organization Staff PhD Research Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins

Jesse Meekins

The Authority of the Fourth Gospel

Just prior to his retirement and subsequent passing in 2013, Maarten Menken, then Professor of New Testament at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology in the Netherlands, published an article entitled "What Authority Does the Fourth Evangelist Claim for His Book?" The article represents Menken's attempt to identify the claims to authority present in the Fourth Gospel, to identify the claims to authority that are made by the Fourth Evangelist on behalf of his composition and the strategies he employs throughout his composition in order to establish these claims. The present study is an attempt to improve on Menken's contribution to Johannine scholarship, first, by restating his foundational question and, then, by redressing that question with increased methodological precision as well as greater sensitivity to both its relationship to and implications for current research concerns within the field.

The study describes the results of an examination of the authority that is claimed within the Fourth Gospel and of how this authority ought to be understood within the literary environment of early Christianity. The study examines:
  1. The scope of the authority exercised throughout the Fourth Gospel
  2. The claim to authority that is made in the Fourth Gospel
  3. The nature of this authority within the context of the gospel as a whole
  4. The strategies employed throughout the Fourth Gospel which are used to establish this authority
  5. How the authority claimed within the Fourth Gospel compares to the authority that is claimed in other early Christian gospels, Jewish writings, and Greco-Roman literature.
Last modified:12 June 2023 8.33 p.m.