What was the purpose of John’s gospel? What sort of changes did John hope to affect in and around his community? Just who made up his community? And by what means did he work to bring about these changes through his account of the ministry of Jesus?
In this entry I will begin arguing that John’s mission for his gospel is two-fold: On the one hand, John aims to present Jesus as a universal, salvific figure congenial to both educated Jews and Gentiles; and on the other, John looks to compete with rival traditions which threaten his message and community. John’s method for accomplishing these goals is this: to construct an evangelistic, narratival polemic for a mixed audience which will both confront the various claims of his opponents about the Messiah, and offer the Jewish-Christian versions of Hellenistic trends.
I will also be introducing one peculiar and prominent polemical method in GJohn which may provide us with a way to better discern just who the targets of the Fourth Gospel were.
John’s Mission and Method (H&J Part 03):