New Commentary on the Gospel of John

is out in the NICNT series.  It was done by J. Ramsey Michaels.  It is MASSIVE – at 1122 pages!!  There are few if any short well done commentaries on the Fourth Gospel – there is just too much there to overlook!  lol! and for Ramsey, his work was 17 years in the making and from 50 years of teaching on the book! Whoa.

You can download an excerpt of the book here, which in part shares the following:

The story to be told in this Gospel begins with the words, “A man came, sent from God. John was his name” (1:6). This means that the five preceding verses must be taken as a kind of preface or preamble, in keeping with the principle stated by John himself that “The One coming after me . . . was before me” (v. 15; see also v. 30). This will be new to generations of readers who are accustomed to setting the first eighteen verses of the Gospel apart as “The Prologue.” In identifying the first five verses of John as “preamble,” rather than the first eighteen as “prologue,” we are breaking with tradition, and within these five verses we break with tradition again by accenting “the light” rather than “the Word” as their major theme. John’s Gospel is classically remembered as a Gospel of theWord (ho logos), and its christology as a “Logos” christology to be placed alongside other New Testament christologies. But the significance of “Word,” or Logos, as a title for Jesus, real as it is, must be kept in perspective. It appears only four times in the Gospel, three times in the very first verse, once in verse 14, and never again in the rest of John. “Light,” on the other hand, is a dominant image through at least the first half of the Gospel. The preamble begins with “the Word” (v. 1) and finishes on a triumphant note with “the light” (v. 5), giving away at the outset the ending of the story, and succinctly describing the world as the Gospel writer perceives it: “And the light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.” The Gospel of John is about revelation; the text begins with audible revelation (“Word”), moving on to visible revelation (“light”), and thence back and forth between the two (embodied in Jesus’ signs and discourses) as the story unfolds.
— from “Preamble: The Light (1:1-5)”

This  could be really interesting reading!   Though pretty pricey – I think it might be worth it given how bloggers tend to evaluate the price of books by the number of pages and at 11oo pages, it might be worth the purchase and would sit nicely next to Keener’s two volume set on John!

HT: Jim West

(UPDATE): see part 1 of an interview with the author here.

14 responses to “New Commentary on the Gospel of John

    • Great! It’ll probably be a while before I have the spare $70 to buy it! Family first these days. lol! and I am not a significant enough a blogger to get a free review copy from Eerdmans like others are and will do. Hope you enjoy it!

      • Brian,

        The older I get the more I realize that one can only read so many books. And it should be both a theological and spiritual quest. The choice of books is really important also. Ecclesiastes 12:12 comes to mind. Though of course I love to read. But to read the Holy Scripture is always foremost! But just maybe Michaels work on John might be his classic work? And I too have read his Word Biblical Commentary on 1st. Peter, a fine Greek commentary.

        BTW, the John Commentary is $40 something from CBD. It is due out in the middle of this month.Just pre-order it, and they will send it when they get it.

  1. Eerdmans is somewhat snobbish with their review copies. I’ve received review books from Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, and Brill, but not Eerdmans–and their books cost a fraction of the books I do get!

  2. Well his opening is promising. It follows apparently in the vein of Lesslie Newbigin’s “The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel” which makes much (rightly) of the revelation and light motif (though in a much more condensed form than Michaelis). I do hope that it surpasses Leon Morris’ volume in the NICNT on John that I’ve been using over the last year and a half as one of my primary commentaries (it is another wonderful volume), but I would only wish it to surpass it because it is intended to replace it. I’ll have to consider adding Michaelis for my next go-round of John. Thanks Brian…I knew it was coming out eventually, but wasn’t aware it was finally published (a bit late for me to add for this time through John, but oh well…thanks for the heads up…its going on the Amazon list :-).

  3. Sorry, I just realized I wrote “Michaelis” instead of “Michaels”…my bad…I did enjoy his commentary on 1 Peter, but for whatever reason mis-wrote his name. Apparently, I had the 18th century German Hebraist Johann David Michaelis on the brain and simply made his last name to be J. Ramsey’s…oh well…

  4. Robert, I agree one can only read so many books and really the Bible needs to be put first and read over and over and over – it’s how we figure things out on our own sometimes and what you hint at, I think most “new” commentaries aren’t always that “new.” But like you I think Michael’s will be a worthy one to have. “Just pre order it” that’s easy for you to say Mister! lol!

    Rick, thanks for noting Newbigin, I would like to read that work sometime and I wonder if Michaels has been influenced by him or if it is a case of great minds thinking alike? Additionally Michaels has one in the IVP series on Revelation that I’d like to check out sometime too.

    • The American book: Light in a Burning-Glass – A Systematic Presentation of Austin Farrer’s Theology, by Robert Boak Slocum. This came to mind for me with Newbigin. But in reality Farrer is not easy to master, but worth the ride!

  5. Thanks Fr Robert for the recommendation. They sell this commentary through the WTS bookstore so I linked the book to them so I can get credit (click on it a every time you come here you love me so I can get it too! lol!) so, if and when I get my next check from them I just might go ahead and get it!

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