by Jo-Ann A. Brant


416pp.  $30.00

Publication Date: October 2011

Read an excerpt



“This marvelous commentary is packed with substantive information and fresh insights. Brant draws on current literary approaches and an array of useful sources from antiquity to illumine John’s Gospel. She likewise makes the complexities of the Greek text intelligible for English readers. One may disagree with interpretations at points, but I find them consistently stimulating and well thought-out. As with other volumes in the Paideia series, this one is masterfully designed to provide optimum access for readers.”–Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Among the spate of commentaries published on John’s Gospel, Brant’s is distinctive and distinguished. Informed by Greco-Roman rhetoric and sources, archaeology, maps, and arresting sidebars, the commentary excels for the classroom. It may well become the text of choice for the university classroom and will enhance appreciation of the Bible as literature. The author and publisher merit commendation, especially for the layout and the inclusion of many illustrative figures that catch the eye and tables that facilitate grasp of content.”–Willard Swartley, professor emeritus of New Testament, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

“Brant skillfully mines the Greco-Roman literary, rhetorical, and social world of the Fourth Gospel and writes with brevity that moves the reader briskly along from one fresh insight to the next. The result is paideia–a wonderfully formative experience!”–R. Alan Culpepper, dean, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

“Jo-Ann Brant has written a commentary that thoughtfully leads the reader deeply into the Gospel of John as well as the Greco-Roman world that shaped it. Students who read carefully will be rewarded with not only with a profoundly enriched understanding of the Gospel but also a solid introduction to Greco-Roman literary, rhetorical, and dramatic traditions.”–Colleen M. Conway, professor of religious studies, Seton Hall University

“Jo-Ann Brant is attentive to both the background and the reception history of the Gospel. She first traces the narrative flow of each section of the Gospel and then explores some of the theological issues that emerge from it. Drawing on everything from Greco-Roman rhetoric to Shakespeare to modern American pop culture, Brant offers fresh perspectives on specific points in virtually every chapter, provides a coherent picture of the Gospel as a whole, and identifies resources for the reader to explore further. By any measure, a significant and welcome contribution.”–J. Ramsey Michaels, professor of religious studies emeritus, Missouri State University

“Jo-Ann Brant has written a commentary on the Fourth Gospel that is ideal for the classroom and the pastor’s study, while also proving useful to the scholar. She serves as an authoritative guide to the world of ancient literature and makes two major contributions. First, by paying close attention to the intricacies of the Johannine narrative, she demonstrates in considerable detail the sophistication with which the Fourth Gospel was constructed. Second, she gives attention to both the Jewish and Hellenistic backgrounds of the Fourth Gospel without overemphasizing one at the expense of the other. I recommend this commentary highly.”–Chris Keith, assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins, Lincoln Christian University

“Brant engages extensively with both ancient and modern sources in such a way that the student receives an introduction to major figures and currents in both the ancient world and modern scholarship on John. Her special focus on ancient rhetoric includes explanation of the terms and techniques, providing the student with a lively working introduction to this field of study. Her commentary is clear, concise, and engaging, with many insights that provide an important supplement to the more conventional and comprehensive commentaries.”–Rodney A. Whitacre, professor of biblical studies, Trinity School for Ministry


“This helpful series is designed for students who want to explore the New Testament writings in depth, including the cultural, literary, and theological dimensions of a particular New Testament book and its continuing significance for today. Brant . . . gives particular attention to the rhetorical and narrative features of John’s gospel, situating these dimensions within the context of first century Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures.”–Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today

“Although commentaries on John abound, both the Paideia series in general and Brant’s commentary in particular add something fresh to the study of John’s Gospel in terms of the packaging of material and the content of the volume. . . . Brant’s commentary admirably fits the aims of the series to be accessible as a teaching tool, to draw upon relevant background materials, to inform the understanding of the text with newer methodological approaches, and above all to engage readers in the closer study of the New Testament text. In each of these areas Brant succeeds, and in the process makes a valuable contribution to Johannine scholarship.”–Paul Foster, Expository Times

“[Brant] clearly knows her way around the study of John as well as the ancient world. . . . She brings great wisdom from studying Greco-Roman literature, including social values, history, and the arts. . . . What I appreciated about the commentary is that she brings something fresh to the table of study. It is like the Gospel of John is treated as a play and she sits next to you as you watch and coaches you on how plays work in the Greco-Roman world and what you are supposed to ‘get’ as you watch it. She is your guide to the ins and outs of symbols, coded language, dramatic technique, and the identification of types in these settings. At the end of each section of commentary, there are short discussions of key themes and some pointers towards application. She does quite well here, dealing with thorny issues. . . . If you love all things Johannine (as I do!), this won’t disappoint. So many things in this book I never knew and it opens a window of study (the theatrical perspective) that is rather appropriate to this Gospel in particular.”–Nijay Gupta,