Bible Commentator


Rabbi Moshe Reiss



Geza Vermes has suggested that John is the odd-man out of the Evangelists. He further stated that ‘everything in this Gospel – its story, chronology and structure – is sui generis. . . .  So little, in fact the straight correspondence are limited to a single chapter, precisely to the first twenty-five verses of John, chapter 6.’ 1 There are twenty-one chapters in the Gospel of John composed of 888 verses. Of these verses 386 include statements directly from Jesus. A group of over 100 scholars went through the Gospels to attempt to determine how many of the statements by Jesus seemed to be based on an historical Jesus versus theological statements. They conclude that of the 386 statements by Jesus in the Gospel of John 383 could not be said by the historical Jesus. Two are highly unlikely (Jn. 12:24; 13:20) and only one is clearly from the historical Jesus  ‘a prophet is not honored in his own town’ (Jn. 4:44); that statement is stated in each of the synoptic Gospels: (Luke. 4:24; Matthew 13:57; Mark. 6:4). 2 I am aware of the controversy of this study, but the findings are nonetheless remarkable. Geza Vermes believes that the statements in this Gospel ‘are indeed irreconcilable’ with the synoptic Gospels. 3

The Gospel of Mark begins with Jesus and John, the Baptizer; Matthew with David and Abraham, as Jesus ancestors; Luke begins as an historian in the days of Herod. The Gospel of John begins ‘In the beginning’ as if it were another Genesis. 

It might help if we knew who made up this Johannine community and where they were located. Unfortunately scholars have answers to  these questions that differ significantly. Culpepper in trying to locate the community states they may be from Ephesus, Antioch or Alexandria. These places differ geographically, 750 kilometers from each other. 4 Other scholars also see the Johannine community as being located in ‘a great Hellenistic city such as Ephesus under the Roman Empire’. 5 Another scholar Klaus Wengst suggested that the community was located in what is today the Golan Heights. This is not generally accepted. However if the ban of Jewish believers in Jesus is correlated to the ‘Birchat Ha’Minim’ (which is a disputed correlation) the Jewish authorities creating the ban were located in northern Israel and the community the ban affected could not be as far away as Ephesus, Antioch or Alexandria.

Martyn suggests the community itself was originally a Jewish community believing in Jesus as the Messiah and Moses as the prophet; all quite acceptable Jewish ideas. They began conflicting within each other and with the establishment synagogue. The conflict resulted in a ‘blazing family row’. 6  It ended with the ‘ban’ or a similar ban excluding this community from the synagogue. ‘What had been an inner-synagogue group of Christian Jews now became – against its will – a separated community of Jewish Christians’. 7 According to Martyn this is a second stage of the communities development. The third stage represents the high christology of the Gospel itself. Ashton agrees with this basic development. 

In the Synoptic Gospels Jesus is a teacher or sage arguing with other sages. We have earlier suggested that as a teacher he followed the teaching of Hillel and opposed the teachings of Shammai. In John Jesus  is commissioned by God (Jn. 3:2).  ‘He who speaks on his own seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true’ (Jn. 7:18).

The Gospel of John created a new title for Jesus ‘The Lamb of God’. John, the Baptist does not in fact baptize Jesus in this Gospel which might make Jesus subordinate to John, but rather called him ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’ Jn. 1:29). The lamb is the sacrificial animal used in the first Passover in Egypt whose blood protected the Jewish homes 8 and it continued at the Temple for the Passover meal. In Jesus “Last Supper’ when he compared the wine to his own blood he was using the metaphor of the lamb’s blood. Just as the original Passover celebrated the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt so John (as well as Paul) saw Jesus’ last supper as liberating humanity. In Exodus the Hebrews sacrificed a lamb, in John (and Paul) Jesus himself became the sacrifice. The Lamb of God also became a metaphor for the Lamb  (or goat) sacrificed for Isaac.

In the Gospel of John, the preferred title for Jesus was Son of Man and Son of God.  John rarely uses Christ as a title alone, he adds Son of God. Most times when Christ - Messiah - is used, John is referring to Jewish or Samaritan expectations of the Messiah (14 times). 9  John does not consider Jesus a Davidic Messiah but a Son of Man and Son of God. In the prologue, John the Baptist denies that he is Elijah, the precursor to the Davidic Messiah. The Baptist, not being Elijah, confirms not the Messiah but `the Chosen of God' (1:34). The Chosen One is a designation in 1 Enoch for the Son of Man. 10 Considering that is mainly Jews and the Samaritans who call Jesus the Messiah, it is clear that the Davidic designation is not sufficient for John. In Chapter 7 Jews pose the question that the Christ must come from Bethlehem and be a descendent of David (7:42). No one answers them saying Jesus is from Bethlehem or is a Davidic descendant.

The titles Son of Man and Son of God while part of the historical Jesus have a special meaning for the Gospel of John. We discussed the concepts in chapter two. For John the Son of Man gives the ‘food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you’ (Jn. 6:27). In order for eternal life to be granted the Son of Man must be sacrificed. ‘Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him; (Jn. 3:14-15). The original Son of Man ‘bar enosh’ in Aramaic is a vision from Daniel; ‘I saw coming on the clouds of heaven as it were a son of man’ (Dan. 7:13).  This Son of Man uses the cloud as a vehicle to travel to earth from heaven and back up. ‘No one has ascended into heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man’ (Jn. 3:13).

The Son of God tells his listeners ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world’ (Jn. 8:23), and ‘I came from the Father and have come into the world; again I am leaving the world and going back to the Father (Jn. 16:28). Jesus has come to the world to redeem it, offer salvation and to offer eternal life. The Son not only represents the Father the Son can do ‘only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever He does, the Son can do likewise’ (Jn. 5:19). We see this development of the Son becoming more like the Father. ‘For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son’ (Jn. 5:22). And finally ‘For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last days’ (Jn. 6:40). This is the highest Christological statement that belief in Jesus overcomes all judgment; all evil is forgiven by faith in Jesus. 11


I asked the question before about how the did ‘Jewish proclaimer became the proclaimed’ as Christ’? 12 While Jesus is the Jewish proclaimer who became the proclaimed many who claim that the credit belongs to Paul. The true credit belongs to John! John proclaimed Jesus’ Christology. Jesus is the central figure in the Gospel of John; the central figure in the Pauline letters is Paul. In John Jesus replaced the Torah which is equally true for Paul but in John ‘Jesus is to God (Theos) [as] . .  Yahweh is to God  (Elohim). 13

The Gospel of John created the idea of the Incarnation of God. He states that ‘ the Word (logos) was God’ (Jn. 1:1), ‘the Word was made flesh and the Word was God’ (Jn. 1:14) and Jesus ‘called God his own Father, making himself equal to God’ (Jn. 5:18) and ‘I and the Father are one’ (Jn. 10:30). Jesus sees everything the Father does and he does everything he sees, he is an equal ‘divine agent of equally divine works’ (5:20). ‘To fail to honour the Son, who is sent, means to fail to honour the Father, who sent him (5:23). 14 In this Gospel ‘the deity and incarnation of Jesus are unequivocally proclaimed’. 15 ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’ (Jn. 14:9). Jesus’ forefathers Abraham and Moses are no longer relevant. Even David as an ancestor is no longer necessary. The complete rejection of the law is clear. ‘My Father worked until now, and I work’ (Jn.5:17). All of these suggest that the Torah can only be seen through the Christological lens.

 If Jesus had said these he, as a Jew would be guilty of blasphemy. The Synoptic Jesus do not make any of these or similar statements like them. P.M. Casey has written that ‘John’s misleading picture of Jesus is at the center of this. It makes him divine and infallible and has him condemn the Jews, to whom the historical Jesus preached, and from whom he selected his disciples, Apostles and his supporters. We cannot reasonable believe in all the results of that developmental process.’ 16 It is accepted by New Testament scholars that the historical Jesus did not claim or understand himself to be a divine or incarnate God. ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone’ (Mk. 10:18). According to John Hick today even those who follow the Caledonian dogma have ‘decided that the doctrine of incarnation does not require the knowledge or consent of the historical Jesus himself’. 17 Could Jesus be God and unaware of it? ‘It is incoherent to suppose that a human mind could be conscious of its own divinity’. 18 But what did divinity mean 2000 years ago; to a community who may have been Gentile identified? Gentiles meant pagan identified. Not only were Greek heroes thought of as divine but so were Egyptian Pharaohs. John Dunn concludes that ‘the language of divine sonship and divinity was in widespread and varied use in the ancient world and would have been familiar to the contemporaries of Jesus, Paul and John’. 19 The author has noted that God called Moses a god twice (Ex. 4:16; 7:1) and was considered a god by some Jews during his lifetime. 20 Thus the concept of divinity in ancient times may have been more elastic that currently understood.

This Jesus is a metaphysical being, a transcendental heavenly figure come to earth to redeem and then to return, eventually for a second coming – the Paraclete. But even the Incarnate God, the metaphysical being cannot be reasonable be expected not to come from an historical background.  Pope Leo the Great (440-461) who believed in an Incarnate God stated ‘to speak of our lord, the son of the blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man, is of no value to us if we do not believe that he is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospels’. 21 Thus it appears even the great pope recognized the importance of the historic Jesus.

John’s definition of the Eucharist (already stated by Paul 1 Cor. 11:24-25 and Mk. 14:22-25) is defined in a particularly anti-Jewish way.  ‘I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day, for my flesh is true and my blood is true drink is true drink’ (Jn. 6:53-56). ‘Moses has not given you the bread from Heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from Heaven . . . I am the bread of life’ (6:32,35).

In the Holiness Code ‘The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the alter to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul’ (Lev. 17:11). As we shall see one on the principals of Judaism is respect for life – saving a life overcomes any of the commandments – and rejection of the cult of the dead. James tells us in front of Paul that God-fearers and those who wish to join the Jesus movement are required ‘to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from illicit marriages, from meat of strangled animals and from blood’ (Acts 15:19-20, also Acts 21:25-26). Meat from ‘strangled animals’ is the need to slaughter animals; an act against cruelty to animals and ‘blood’ is against murder.

Ritually slaughtered animals are then drained of the blood since ‘you shall not partake of the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood’ (Lev. 17:14). Cruelty to animals is further elaborated in the Torah. We are told not to take a mother from the herd to be slaughtered on the same day as the young (Lev. 22:28). Similarly ‘you shall not take the mother bird with the young (Deut. 22:7). 

The Torah also states ‘You shall not boil a small goat in its mother’s milk’.

This has been defined as not eating meat and dairy together. What is the connection? Milk, mother’s milk, is life, the child is nursed by its mother’s milk as is the small goat. Cooking is death, especially cooking meat.  Thus using milk to cook meat is like the previous prohibition against mixing life and death – do not eat blood. As noted by Jean Soler laws against incest are in the same section, ‘ you shall not put a mother and her son in the same pot, and more so into the same bed. 22

The connection of blood and life is elaborated in the strange story of Zipporah (Moses’ wife) circumcising their son (Ex. 4:24-26). During this event she incants ‘you are my bridegroom of blood’ thus saving Moses life. You who were already my bridegroom are now my bridegroom of blood.  Umberto Cassuto stated ‘I am restoring you to life by means of our son’s blood’. Our son’s blood restored your life. 23

Later on blood will save the eldest child of each family from the angel of destruction. Before the plague of the first-born God tells the Hebrews to slaughter a lamb (the paschal lamb) put its blood on the doorposts of their houses to protect them from the angel of death. By taking the foreskin of her son and placing the blood at ‘his feet’, Zipporah is making a sign of protection similar to the sign on the doorposts. ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over you’ (Ex. 12:13, 23). 24 The plural bloods (damim in Hebrew) is used to connect the blood of circumcision to the blood of the lamb. This mingling of blood, despite that blood is forbidden to eat and ritually impure, is required.

Thus eating my flesh and drinking my blood is clearly repugnant to Jews.   Could the person who stated this be identified by Jewish ‘blood’ or culture? (Jewish dietary laws, an issue with Paul and the synoptic Gospels is not even mentioned by John.) The concept is clearly more Greek than Jewish. All of the above statements suggest that John and his Johannine community are gentile-identified. 25

 Eating blood and human flesh would have been repugnant to Jesus the Jew. Jesus had previously criticized the Temple sacrifices as had Jeremiah and Isaiah (among other prophets) as had the Qumran community in their own way. Just as he had challenged the money-changers at the Temple he was now challenging the sacrificial system. The blood and flesh were the sacrificial blood and flesh and Jesus was criticizing the whole cultic system as impure.  His words about ethical behavior, the kingdom of God and the coming day of judgment were more important than sacrifices. Jesus ‘had made his meal into an altar that rivaled the Temple’s’. 26 Jesus was asked did he not say he would destroy the Temple (Mt. 26:61; Mk. 14:58). Did not Jeremiah say God would destroy the Temple because of the people sins? Did not the Qumran community believe the Temple was impure. Jesus was challenging Caiaphas the High Priest. He was anticipated and expecting his own death.


There is little doubt that the Gospel of John contains the most anti-Judaic statements in the Christian Bible. As Kaufmann Kohler wrote John’s Gospel is ‘a gospel of Christian love and Jew hatred’. 27

The anti-Judaic statements could only come from a community and writer with an  ‘Anti-Jewish self-identification’. This can be seen in the narrator or Jesus stating ‘now the Passover of the Jews was near’ (Jn. 2:13), ‘your law’ (Jn. 8:17, 10:34) and ‘their law’ (Jn. 15:25) as well as the most blatant Anti-Semitism in the Christian Bible. 28 In addition to be anti-Judaic ‘John is more responsible for Christian anti-Semitism than any other New Testament writing’. 29 Despite this most scholars believe John and his community were originally Jewish. David Rensberger states that the ‘conflict [is] between a group of Jewish Christians and their fellow Jews, and to be addressed primarily to those Jewish Christians’. 30 But the community is seeking an identification different than the Jews.

The Gospel of John creates a new identity; a Jesus centered religion. Judaism is a Torah centered religion. To quote Rensberger again ‘if the Johannine Christianity is already a separate religion, the fourth evangelist does not yet seem fully aware of this fact; if it is not yet separate, the evangelist has nonetheless contributed to making the breach inevitable’. 31 This is close to admitting that John can be called a Christian and no longer a sectarian Jew. The main thesis of Rensberger is his claim that John is not anti-Judaic because they still consider themselves Jews, therefore the conflict in inter-Jewish. ‘The hostility that John expresses is fundamentally that of one group towards others within the same religious/ethnic group’. 32

But even he admits that the fourth evangelist writing ‘endangered Jewish lives and the Jewish religion for centuries’ by developing replacement theology a religion that superceded Judaism. 33 ‘John serves as a very sobering reminder that words once written leave their writer’s control, and that no one can expect to utter violent words without facing violent consequence. The fourth evangelist’s use of such violent language is, in the long view, difficult to defend’. 34

There is little doubt that the Gospel of John, in general, is the most anti-Judaic book of the Christian Bible. The word Jew is mentioned seventy one times in the gospel of John and sixteen times in all the synoptic gospels. The ‘world’ that the Jews inhabit is used seventy eight times in John and fourteen times in the synoptic gospels.  35 In the other books of the New Testament the word Jew or Jews is rarely used; in the Gospel of John it replaces the use of specific Jewish groups, pharisees, scribes, priests, sadducees and elders.

John claims that the Jews rejected Jesus (17:9), they refused to believe in him (10:31), they persecuted him (5:16), and they attempted to kill him on several occasions (5:11; 7:1,20,25,; 8:37,40,59). That some Jews rejected Jesus, refused to believe in him, persecuted him and perhaps tried to kill him may be true, that `Jews' (i.e. all or even most Jews) did so is highly unlikely. In the Gospel of John, the tone toward the Jews is hostile and  accusatory.

Thus all Jews are evil.  ‘Indeed to all intents and purposes the Jesus of John was almost from the start of his career the target of repeated Jewish murder plots.’ 36 The ‘Jews’ are ‘blind’, ‘hard of heart’ and a veil lies over their eyes’ and they are ‘carnal men’. Rudolph Bultmann, the great Christian scholar of the Gospel of John and The New Testament describes the term Jew from the Gospel of John as follows:

     "The Jews are spoken of as an alien people, not merely from the point of view of the Greek readers, but also, and indeed only properly, from the standpoint of faith: for Jesus himself speaks to them as a stranger and correspondingly, those in whom the stirrings of faith or of the search for Jesus are to be found are distinguished from the `Jews' even if they are themselves Jews." 37 When the Jews claim they do not know where Jesus comes from (9:29) they do not know because they cannot know; ‘if they knew they would not need to ask; since they ask they can never understand’. 38

Among the many anti-Judaic statements Bultmann probably recalled is Jesus saying to ‘Jews who believe in him’ (Jn. 8:31) ‘You are from your father the devil, and you prefer to do what your father wants’ (Jn. 8:44). John was stating that Judaism is the exact opposite of Christianity. Despite John telling us that Jesus was sacrificed for political expediency instigated by the high Priest Caiaphas (Jn. 11:50) to protect the nation; he claims that Jesus was killed by the Jews for religious reasons: breaking the Sabbath and blasphemy. We have already discussed that issue of breaking Jewish Halakha and the lack of any such unity of the law. There is nothing in the synoptic Gospels that is blasphemous; John’s Gospel does include such statements but it appears nowhere else. John developed this high end of Christology – ‘a supercelestial Christ’ 39- partly from Paul, but it appears nowhere in the synoptic Gospels.

When we discussed Paul we noted that the term and concept ‘Christian’ did not exist. John was written 40-60 years later. Is this still true? Rensberger and other still make the case that when John was written 90-100- CE Johannism was a form sectarian Judaism. It is clear that Paul beginning his mission within several years of Jesus’ crucifixion was creating a sectarian form of Judaism for Gentiles. By the time of the writing of John and particularly if its final form as we know it (perhaps ten or so years after (110) can this still be true? The three synoptic Gospels as well as Acts of the Apostles had already been written. Christians were common in Northern Africa, Asia and Europe including the British Isles.

Rensberger asks ‘when did someone born a Jew cease to be one by becoming and remaining a Christian’? 40 I would suggest that after the Bar Kokhba debacle all those confessing Jesus (a dead Messiah like Bar Kokhba) would be happy to be called Christians, Jewish born or not. Certainly the statement the Jesus is ‘equal to God’ (Jn. 5:18) would be sufficient theological and practical grounds for a different religion.

John Townsend stated that ‘by the time that the Gospel of John had reached its present form [that is the form we currently read] the Johannine community no longer considered itself Jewish. Since the movement of the community was away from Judaism, the Gospels relatively pro-Jewish elements must belong to earlier stages of its development, while the more anti-Jewish aspects would have entered the text with later editing’ 41 It is worth noted that community ‘considered itself Jewish’. That may be different that the author. It is possible that the original author considered himself Jewish but his later community involved in the Book as we read it did not. Alan Culpepper, a noted Johannine scholar stated that the “’intra-Jewish’ debate positions do not recognize the extent of the breach with Judaism that is already reflected in John. And John Gager stated that in the Gospel of John those ‘within the total framework of the Gospel this [belief in Jesus] surely means that such individuals cease thereby to be Jews’. 42

It appears that the Johannine Community and its Gospel rejecting the Torah basis of Judaism, Judaism’s strict monotheism and their replacement theology with Jesus as the linchpin of their religion they can no longer  be called a Jewish sectarian group.

D. THE KEY TEXT 8:31-59

8:37 ‘I know that you [the Jews] are descended from Abraham; but you want to kill me’ . . . .8:40 ‘you want to kill me’, (also Jn. 11:54).

8:44  ‘You [the Jews] are from your father, the devil and you prefer to do what your father wants. He was a murderer from the start, he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all. When he lies he is speaking true to his nature, because he is a liar and a father of lies’.

8:47 whoever comes from God listens to the words of god; the reason why you [the Jews] do not listen is that you are not from God’.

8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad’.

‘John gives the ultimate theological form to that diabolizing of the “Jews” which is the root of anti-Semitism in the Christian tradition’. 43 

What can one do with the anti-Judaism in the Gospel of John? What kind of ancient ‘Jews’ would accept the Gospel of John? How many twenty first century Christians distinguish between the ‘Jews’ referred to in the Gospel of John and their neighbors who go to the local Synagogue and help out in the Church’s soup kitchen? How do Christians connect the above statements with the historical fact that Jesus and all twelve of his disciples were synagogue going Jews following Galilean Halakha?

Rosemary Ruether, a Catholic scholar has stated that the above statements are ‘the root of anti-Semitism in the Christian tradition’. 44 The charge of deicide has only been rescinded in 1965 at Vatican II, twenty years after the ‘Shoah’. The Catholic Theologian editors of ‘Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel’ state that  ‘[T]he anti-Judaism is for us evidence of the fact that the human author of John as well as the Johannine community were human persons under the influence of sin. Anti-Jewish elements are expressions of their sinfulness  which found their way into the scriptural text. These are crooked lines.’ 45

It is as noted by those editors that it is difficult to determine whether  the author, the text or the interpreters are anti-Judaic. ‘To what extend is the author responsible for the potential alternative understandings that can emerge from his text?’ 46 Can a text go beyond the meaning of the author? Can an inner-Jewish debate be anti-Judaic? The comparison to the language used by the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls is not really applicable. In the scrolls we do not find the authors refer to ‘the Jews’ or ‘your law’. ‘The Fourth Gospel is most anti-Jewish just as the points it is most Jewish’. 47

The conflict between the `Jews' and the Johannine community is the central problem in the Gospel of John. 48  We read that ‘the Jews, who had already agreed to ban from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ’ (9:22). What did that mean – ‘acknowledging Jesus’? Acknowledging Jesus as a Prophet, as a legal authority, as an ethical teacher, as a one bringing the Kingdom of God? Perhaps believing in a crucified Messiah, as opposed to a live Messiah might preclude being Jewish since the Jewish Messiah was to defeat the Roman evil Empire. The Gospel tells us nothing about the reason for the Ban or its impact. It must have happened at an earlier stage of the community since it mattered to the community. If it happened when the community was already ‘Christian’ it would probably not even be mentioned.


Jesus of  Nazareth, King of the Jews
Jesus of  Nazareth, King of the Jews

1 Vermes, Geza, The Changing Faces of Jesus (Penguin, London, 2000) pg. 11. This chapter dramatically describes the difference between the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John.

2 Funk, R.W., Hoover, R.W., Eds. The Five Gospels, (Macmillan, N.Y., 1993).

3 Vermes, Changing Faces, pg. 22.

4 Culpepper, L., The Johannine School, (Missoula Press, 1975) pg. 258; quoted in Ashton, John, Understanding the Fourth Gospel, (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1991) pg. 196.

5 Dodd, C., H., The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, (Cambridge, 1953) PG. 9.

6 Ashton, Understanding, pg. 170.

7 Martyn, J.L., History and Theology of the in the Fourth Gospel, (Nashville, 1979) pg. 66.

8 See the chapter on Moses in ‘Messengers of God’ where a comparison is made of the blood of circumcision and the Passover lamb’s blood. 

9 John use of Christ as referring to Jewish or Samaritan      expectations -1:20,25; 3:28; 4:25,29; 7:26,27,31,41; 9:22;10:24; 11:27; 12:34; 20:31. In 1:17 and 17:3 he - John - refers    to Christ as a name in a Pauline manner.

10 Tthe suffering servant of Isaiah the servant is called my chosen one (Is. 42:1). For Jews the suffering servant are the Jewish people. 

11 In his classic Holocaust text, The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal (Schocken, N.Y., 1978) recounts the following experience. As a concentration camp prisoner, the monotony of his work detail is suddenly broken when he is brought to the bedside of a dying Nazi. The German delineates the gruesome details of his career, describing how he participated in the murder and torture of hundreds of Jews. Exhibiting, or perhaps feigning, regret and remorse, he explains that he sought a Jew—any Jew—to whom to confess, and from whom to beseech forgiveness. Wiesenthal silently contemplates the wretched creature lying before him, and then, unable to comply but unable to condemn, walks out of the room. Tortured by his experience, wondering whether he did the right thing, Wiesenthal submitted this story as the subject of a symposium, including respondents of every religious stripe. An examination of the respective replies of Christians and Jews reveals a remarkable contrast. “When the first edition of The Sunflower was published,” writes Dennis Prager, “I was intrigued by the fact that all the Jewish respondents thought Simon Wiesenthal was right in not forgiving the repentant Nazi mass murderer, and that the Christians thought he was wrong.”

12 Bultmann, R., The Theology of the New Testament, (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1957) Page 32. See also Wrede, W. The Messianic Secret, (J. Clarke, Cambridge, 1971) and Gunther Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth, (Harper and Row NY, 1960).

13 Beck, Norman, A., Mature Cristianity, (Selinsgrove:Susquehanna University Press, London, 1985) pg. 283

14 Barrett, C.K., The Gospel of John and Judaism, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1975) pg. 16.

15 Casey, P.M., From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God, (James Clarke, Cambridge, 1991) pg. 23.

16 Casey, pg. 178.

17 Hick, John, The Metaphor of God Incarnate, (SCP, London, 1993) pg. 29.

18 David Brown, quoted in Hicks, pg. 30.

19 Dunn, J, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament, (SCM, London, 1981) pg. 17.

20 See chapter on Moses in ‘Messengers of God’ in ‘’.

21 Quoted by William R. Kenan Jr. in a review of Dawson, J.D., Christian Figural Reading and the Fashioning of Identity, (University of California, Los Angeles, 2003) in First Things, April 2003, pg. 66.

22 Quoted in Alter, Robert, A New Theory of Kashrut, Commentary Magazine, August 1979,  pg. 49.

23 Quoted in Il. Pardes, pg. 86.

24 Kosmala, The Bloody Husband

25 Casey, Jewish Prophet, pg. 27-28.

26 Chilton, Bruce, Rabbi Jesus, (Doubleday, N.Y., 2000) pg. 255.

27 Quoted in Beck, Mature Christianity  pg. 248.

28  Bieringer, R., Pollefeyt, D., Vandecasteel-Vanneuville, F., eds. Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel,  (Royal Van Gorcum, The Netherlands, 2001). The Greek for Jew can in fact mean Judean, an argument discussed amongst scholars and mentioned in several of the articles in the Bieringer etc. book. It is however difficult for the ‘Passover of the Jews’ to mean the ‘Passover of the Judeans’.

29 E.J. Epp quoted in Farmer, W.R., Anti-Judaism and the Gospels, (Trinity Press, Harrisburg, PA, 1999) article by David Rensberger, pg. 121-122.

30 Rensberger, pg. 126.

31 Rensberger, pg. 143.

32 Rensberger, pg. 139.

33 Rensberger, pg. 143,145.

34 Rensberger, pg. 152.

35 Richardson, Peter, and Granskou, David, Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity, (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1986), article by Granskou, pg. 204.

36 Vermes, Changing Faces, pg. 18.

37 Rudolph Bultmann, The Gospel of John, Page 86.

38 Fredriksen, Paula, From Jesus to Christ, (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1988) pg. 21.

39 Vermes, Changing Faces, pg. 21.

40 Rensberger, pg. 139.

41 Quoted by Mark Goodwin, Farmer, Anti-Judaism, pg. 168, underline added.

42 Goodwin, pg. 168.

43 Ruether, Rosemary, Faith and Fratricide, (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Pr., 1995) pg. 116

44 Ruether, Rosemary, Faith and Fratricide, (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1995) pg. 116.

45 Bieringer and Pollefeyt, Pg. 41.

46 Bieringer, pg. 8.

47 Wayne Meeks, quoted in Culpepper, R. Alan, Bieringer, pg. 77.

48J. Louis Martyn, History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel, (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1968).