SBL 2000
Papers Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature
Nashville, TN - November 18-21, 2000

The Politics of the Johannine Drama
by Colleen M. Conway

Presented to the SBL "Johannine Literature Section" on Monday 11/20/00
[Copyright 2000, by Colleen M. Conway.  All rights reserved.  This is a draft version of a work still in progress; please do not copy or cite anything from this paper without explicit permission of the author.]


Judging from a line of scholarship that has persisted in Johannine studies for nearly a century, it is safe to say that the Fourth Gospel invites dramatic production. It entices its readers into the theatre. It asks them to assume roles as producers, directors, reviewers, even playwrights. Consider the following depiction of John 1:35-39 from Clayton Bowen's 1930 JBL article:

Now Jesus, striding in solemn silence by, has passed John and his two companions. The latter, at their master's words, turns and begins to follow Jesus as he walks toward the far end of the stage. [A?] moment the three walk silently thus, leaving John a deserted and eloquently wistful figure where he stood.[1]
Or listen to the Rev. E. Kenneth Lee's conclusion to his 1965 article in the Expository Times:
As in a great drama our attention is secured from the very first and we endure one throbbing hour of suspense until the crisis has come and gone. So in this gospel, the hour of agony is long drawn out, the climax to which we are hastening postponed time and again, while the plot slowly ripens to catastrophe and the glory of God is revealed in suffering and sacrifice.[2]
The Gospel invites this kind of response because it does have dramatic qualities. Yet, for the purposes of this paper, it is not John's dramatic qualities per se, in which I am interested, nor in the history of composition of the Gospel that may have contributed to its dramatic nature. Instead, what I wish to explore is the effects of reading the Gospel as a drama, rather than as something else. After all, the gospel, in its final form, is not a play with isolated scenes, a cast of characters and stages directions.

Thus, to read the Gospel as drama, that is, to accentuate its dramatic aspects to the point of transforming the narrative into a dramatic production is a choice. And making this choice has implications for the Gospel's reception. Moving the Gospel into the theatre increases the exercise of artistic license and transforms the text into a genre designed for audience impact. With this in mind, I want to explore the history of reading the Gospel as drama, the motivations for such readings, and most significantly, their effects. The theoretical context for my work are the ideas associated with New Historicism and Cultural Materialism since both have been concerned with recovering the political dimension of drama.[3]  I begin, however, with an illustration of how the dramatization of the Gospel belies particular ideological concerns.

The Johannine Drama and Apostolic Authority

As would be expected, motivation for reading the narrative as drama has changed during the history of interpretation of the Gospel. Initially, those emphasizing the dramatic qualities of the Gospel did so over against historical critical readings that focused on the composite nature of the text. Paradoxically, the dramatic readings were designed to prove the historical validity and apostolic authority of the Gospel over against historical critical readings that threatened both. If one could read the text as a drama, a unified drama, then one could also posit a single dramatist behind the gospel, who must be the apostle John, as the argument went. As Mark Stibbe as pointed out, this is seen most clearly in the work of F.R.M. Hitchcock. His 1923 article, "Is the Fourth Gospel a Drama?" concludes with the following words:

The scenes are constructed and marshalled by one whose eye for the dramatic enabled him to sort his materials, to compose the settings of his scenes, and to arrange and use his dramatis personae with effect. His genius for characterisation and the sense of representing the men he had known in all their strength and weakness, or delineating human character in all its complexity and depth, and of seizing just those episodes in the Master's life which were the real turning-points of the tragedy of the Cross, making this Gospel a tragedy, real, intense, progressive..Judged by such internal evidence of mind and art, structure and character, the organic unity of the Gospel may be said to be established.[4]
Of course, Hitchcock's argument did not hold sway in the scholarly world. In the end, Rudolf Bultmann's theories of fragmentation and reconstruction drew far more attention. But these early twentieth century readings of the Gospel as drama reveal the ideological implications of choosing to read the text in this way. Here, the motivation for dramatizing the narrative is quite explicit-to establish the organic unity of the text. Producing the Johannine drama becomes a way to promote a theologically orthodox view of scriptural authority over against the challenges of the current academic orthodoxy.

What I suggest is that later in the twentieth century, dramatic readings once again look to preserve the authority of the gospel, though in a more nuanced and less explicit way. And while the early productions of the Johannine drama stood in opposition to historical criticism, later dramatic production will combine with historical criticism for dramatically new results. In order to analyze the effects of the dramatization of the Gospel in the second half of the 20th century, I turn first to a discussion of productions of a different sort of canonical material-William Shakespeare. Specifically, I draw on Alan Sinfield's essay "Royal Shakespeare: Theatre and the Making of Ideology" since it points to a number of striking analogies between productions of Shakespeare and production of the Fourth Gospel.[5]

The Resurgence of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Emergence of the Johannine Community

Sinfield's concern is to explore the reasons behind the successful resurgence of the Royal Shakespeare Company from its post-WWII near death experience. From the 1960's to the 1980's, the theatrical company moved, according to Sinfield, from a place of artistic, cultural and political insignificance to "one of the most prestigious companies in the world, the repeated winner of major international awards."[6]  What was responsible for the turn-around? According to Sinfield, the answer can be found in a formula--"Shakespeare-plus-relevance" or a combination of traditional authority with urgent contemporaneity.

The two elements of this formula sprang from diverse cultural assumptions of England in the 1960's, the ineluctable status of Shakespeare and the demand for radicalism and relevance to address the main impetus in English society. Significantly, the formula is seasoned with a respect for scholarship, as reflected in the words of Peter Hall, the director of the Royal Shakespeare Company who began its recovery process. Hall states, "You should approach a classic with the maximum of scholarship you can muster-and then you honestly try to interpret what you think it means to a person living now."[7]  This addition of scholarship to the Shakespeare-plus-relevance formula is understood as a check against wayward productions. So John Elsom, writing on post-war British theatre remarks, "the search for social relevance could easily get out of hand, but at the Royal Shakespeare Company it was tempered by a concern for textual accuracy and scholarship."[8]  Sinfield illustrates how the company's programs also reveal the combination of Shakespeare, relevance and scholarship, peppered as they are with

bits from Shakespeare's sources, original contextual gobbets, even discussion of the provenance of the text-spliced in with modern material, especially quotations of political significance and commentary from modern critics.
All of this, I would hazard to guess, sounds familiar to those working in biblical studies. Here too, we operate with a formula of traditional authoritative text plus relevance, combined with, in our case, an insistence on good scholarship. We want the bible and we want it to speak to us today, but not without passing through the screen of academic integrity.

Sinfield goes on to review the next twenty years of leadership in the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as the plays that resulted from the Shakespeare + relevance formula. He cites productions designed to appeal to the working class, the younger generation, to highlight the continuities between twentieth century history and the political violence of Shakespeare, and so on. More often than not, Sinfield also illustrates how the company's radical productions were often the bearers of fundamentally conservative ideas. Indeed, cultural containment of radical impulses is a major theme of Sinfield's cultural materialist analysis. He explains, for example, how The War of the Roses, an important play in establishing the radical image of the RSC, was actually undergirded by a powerfully conservative philosophy, namely the belief in a divinely instituted order, the absence of which results in anarchy. Sinfield makes a convincing case of how much of the rewriting of Shakespeare's text for this production was in the service of this conservative viewpoint.[9]

One notable exception to this sort of cultural containment, however, was the "more purposeful and precise radicalism" of Jonathan Miller's productions of The Tempest and The Merchant of Venice. Miller made a very particular point by presenting Ariel, Caliban and Shylock as members of oppressed racial minorities. This radicalism was seen as pushing Shakespeare too far and was repudiated in the press. I quote one critic, Benedict Nightingale, at length as his comments on Miller's production of The Merchant of Venice will bring us back to the Fourth Gospel. The Merchant, according to Nightingale,

"is pro-Christian and anti-Shylock, while Miller is anti-Christian and pro-Shylock. This is, of course, an emphasis any good contemporary radical would prefer. Just now, it looks like the play Shakespeare ought to have written. The only trouble is he didn't..Still, it could be that the relevance [Miller] is trying to achieve is of too limited a kind. It could be that it is too merely social. It could be that he is forgetting that the reason Shakespeare has survived is that he speaks to generation after generation, not merely or mainly about the public issues that happen to preoccupy them, but about the elemental, lasting problems of human nature."[10]
These comments reveal the problem inherent in canonical texts when they espouse values not our own. It's the fundamental problem of canonical literature deemed to be timeless in a time-bound world. Values and perspectives change and we are left wanting a play that is not there. Often, as in the case of Nightingale, the impulse is to turn away from the unpalatable aspects of the text, in order to feast on its more tasty "timeless" morsels. But as Sinfield bluntly states, if we read the Merchant for some "elemental, lasting problems we will get the anti-Semitism as well." In this vein, Johannine scholars have been all too aware of the problem of reading the Fourth Gospel for timeless truths.[11]

Which brings us back to the Fourth Gospel. In the late 1960's, during the very time the Royal Shakespeare Company was making a comeback, J. Louis Martyn wrote a small volume which he titled, History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel.[12]  Few would contest the lasting impact this small book has had on Johannine scholarship. Indeed, John Ashton goes so far as to call it "the most important single work on the Gospel since Bultmann's commentary."[13]  Martyn's work is perhaps most remembered specifically for his analysis of John 9 and its supposed link to the Birkath-ha-Minim and more generally for the notion that the Gospel reflects events in the life of particular community. What has not received attention is the way Martyn introduces his study. He begins his volume with a discussion of John 8 and the problems it evokes. He points to the

disquieting, sharp, even unpleasant exchange between Jesus and a group of Jews. For reasons which will certainly take some explaining, Jesus accuses his questioners of trying to murder him, contests their claim to be descended from Abraham, and furthermore suggests that these Jews have as their father neither Abraham nor God, but the devil.[14]
This, as Marytn admits, takes some explaining, and that is precisely what he sets out to do. His goal is to "say something as specific as possible about the actual circumstances in which John wrote." This is quite the opposite approach to problematic canonical texts than the approach advocated by Nightingale. Far from looking for some general timeless truth, Martyn wants to be able to hear the Fourth Evangelist speak in his own terms, since he believes that "initially it is only in his own terms that he can speak to our time." So in Martyn's approach we find the same combination of canonical authority, investigative scholarship, and demand for relevance that Sinfield identifies in the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Most striking for me, however, is the means by which Martyn achieves his goal-like the early twentieth-century scholars before him, Martyn brings John onto the stage. His study is a transposition of the Gospel into a dramatic rendering, with scene changes, a cast chosen of members from John's community, and offstage voices. The set construction is a bit complicated-it's a two-level stage with pairs of actors playing two parts simultaneously. It demands careful attention of the audience as we watch the drama of Jesus in opposition to the Jews while viewing the identical events taking place in the Evangelist's community. Some thirty years later, we might better imagine a split-screen TV with the story of Jesus on one half and the story of the community on the other. To carry the image a bit further, we are to believe that one side of the screen is "real TV." And this is the side of the screen that captures our attention.[15]  These characters are real Christians thrown out of a real synagogue by real Jewish authorities. This is high drama. It is exciting, with enormous audience appeal.

In other words, Martyn's two-level drama was a production designed for the twentieth century audience. And similar to the early dramatic productions of the gospel, it was designed to preserve the authority of the Gospel and to keep it relevant. To put it directly, I suggest that the underlying ideological concern of Martyn's Gospel production was how to make relevant a canonical text that contains fiercely anti-Jewish rhetoric. In the political climate of the late 20th century, explaining the anti-Jewish language of the Gospel became an imperative, at least in the academic world of New Testament scholarship.

The Political Effects of the Drama as Explanation

The drama of the Johannine community explains the Gospel's anti-Jewish language by placing it in the context of a very particular situation--expulsion from the synagogue of one group of Jews who confess Jesus by another group of Jews who do not. This historical contextualization through dramatization has two potential interpretive effects with respect to the on-going relevance of the text. First, as the drama unfolds, we may recognize that this historically contingent context which gave birth to the anti-Jewish language is not our context. In a somewhat paradoxical move, we are to understand that such language is no longer relevant to our context, enabling us to preserve the authority and relevance of other aspects of of the Gospel.

Martyn himself never made this move explicitly, but Johannine scholars who followed him have. For example, David Rensberger, a scholar who is clearly sensitive to the problems associated with the anti-Jewish language of the Gospel, argues

the Gospel of John is of no use in attempting to establish, or reestablish, Christian-Jewish relationships today..Because the Gospel of John is so intimately tied to a state of relations between Jews and Christians that no longer exists, and that ceased to exist shortly after the Gospel was written, it must simply be ruled out of order in seeking a foundation for contemporary Christian-Jewish relations.[16]
Rensberger then proceeds with a discussion of the ways that the sectarian nature of the Johannine community may speak to the Christian community today (especially in a third-world context) as it feels more and more alienated in its late 20th century context. One way of making the text relevant then is to contextualize and explain the Gospel's polemical language and the situations in which such language may or may not be useful. One weakness of such an approach, in my view, is that it seemingly places value in the sectarian mentality and the polemical language that accompanies it, as long such language is properly directed--in this case, against the oppressive and ungodly structures of the secularized world.[17]

The second and often subsequent effect of the drama as explanation is that of justification. Important to this justification process is that the drama removes the vitriolic language from the lips of Jesus and places it in the mouths of an alienated and defenseless minority group. Moreover, the drama stirs sympathy for this community's alienated status and their use of polemical language. After all, what weapon did this community have other than to lash out at "the Jews," that code word for those particular religious authorities who were especially bad to the community? Indeed, I would argue that this dramatic production of an outcast community appealed especially to the radical sensibilities of the late 60's and 70's. It played on the desire to align oneself with the marginalized over against the established institutional authorities.[18]  It is precisely the appeal of the historical drama that can lead Robert Kysar to say, "The historical origin of the Gospel of John makes its anti-Semitic tone understandable, perhaps even excusable."[19]

To be fair, Kysar's overall point is that even granting the excuse of historical contingency, problems remain with the polemical tone of the Gospel. As he puts it, ".contingency may count for something in the classroom but for little in the place of worship and even less in the privacy of the individual layperson's reading of the Gospel."[20]  Yet, the problem is not merely that readers or listeners outside the classroom are unfamiliar with the historical context of the Gospel. The explanation itself, especially in the dramatic form that it has been presented, is problematic on ideological, historical, and methodological levels.

Problems with the Drama of the Johannine Community

What I have argued so far is that the move to transform the Gospel narrative into a drama has particular ideological implications. In the case of Martyn's work, and those who followed him, dramatizing the Gospel provided a way to contextualize and thereby explain the "unpleasant" polemics between Jesus and the Jews. It also opened the way toward justifying the language. Because the Gospel's relevance was gained through a dramatic re-enactment of supposedly real events, it ultimately re-inscribed a polemical relationship between Christians and Jew. While the historical contextualization may have been intended to highlight the distance between the first century context and our own, the drama was cast in such a way that the audience-ourselves, our students, our churches were encouraged to identify with the Johannine community. The "Jews" remained the villains and the members of the Johannine community were their persecuted victims. Thus, as with The Royal Shakespeare Company's War of Roses, whatever radical ideological impulse led to the birth of the Johannine community, they were quickly contained within the broader culture of 20th century Christian sensibilities.

From a historical perspective, the dramatic reconstruction may simply be wrong. What if, for instance, the Johannine Christians were not actually thrown out of the synagogue, but opted out themselves? As Adele Reinhartz argues, there is at least some evidence to this effect in John 12:11, a text which highlights the desertion of the synagogue by Jews who were following Jesus ("since it was on account of [Lazarus] that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus").[21]  The text appears to presuppose the incompatibility of belief in Jesus as the Messiah and remaining in the synagogue fellowship.[22]  If this is the case, then the historical situation may not have been so much a rejection of Jesus confessors by other Jews, but a growing realization on the part of both sides that they could not sustain a relationship within the synagogue.

If this was the case, perhaps the texts that stress an expulsion from the synagogue (9:22, 12:42 and 16:2) are more indicative of the ambiguity experienced by those who, in actuality, "deserted" it. Reuven Kimelman suggests that such expulsion texts may function as a deterrent against returning to the synagogue, constructing a world in which such a return would be met with rejection.[23]  If so, the expulsion texts and the anti-Jewish language in general, could also serve to mollify any ambiguity associated with the choice to follow Jesus.

Alternatively, and also from a historical perspective, Martyn's most widely accepted idea may be more fundamentally wrong. Perhaps the Gospel was not written for a particular local community at all--perhaps there is no Johannine community with which to identify. Indeed, in some scholarly circles, the whole "community" approach to Gospel studies is now being sharply attacked. Since the advent of redaction criticism, not only the Gospel of John, but all the Gospels have been read as responses to particular historical events within the Evangelist's own local community. Yet, as Richard Bauckham argues, this assumption runs counter to the evidence we have of the early Christian church and ancient understanding of written versus oral traditions.[24]

On the first point, whereas most discussion about the Johannine community suggests that it was sectarian and inward-looking[25],  Bauckham cites evidence suggesting that the early Christians had a strong sense of themselves as a world movement. Furthermore, it is clear that Christian leaders made good use of the Roman transportation system, traveling from church to church and maintaining close ties between communities. Additionally, the mere fact that the Gospels were written, and written in the form on an ancient biography, suggests the transposition from local oral audience to wider audience.

The obvious function of writing was its capacity to communicate widely with readers unable to be present at its author's oral teaching. Oral teaching could be passed on, but much less effectively than a book. Books, like letters, were designed to cross distances orality could not so effectively cross. But whereas letters usually (though not invariably) stopped at their first recipients, anyone in the first century who wrote a book such as a bios expected it to circulate to readers unknown to its author.[26]
Such evidence needs to be taken seriously, not only as we reevaluate the drama of the Johannine community, but also as we consider the scholarly assumptions about Gospel audiences.

Finally, perhaps the most problematic assumption of those who brought us the drama of the Johannine community is that the text represents historical reality. Here I turn again to New Historicism since this is the very idea and this theory and just about any other post-modern critical theory has brought into question. Jean Howard states the case clearly in her essay, "New Historicism and Renaissance Drama."

First, . 'history' is not objective, transparent, unified, or easily knowable and consequently is extremely problematic as a concept for grounding the meaning of a literary text; second that the binarism we casually reinforce every time we speak of literature and history, text and context, is unproductive and misleading. Literature is part of history, the literary text as much a context for other aspects of cultural and material life as they are for it. . Rather than passively reflecting an external reality, literature is an agent in constructing a culture's sense of reality. It is a part of a much larger symbolic order through which the world at a particular historical moment is conceptualized and through which a culture imagines its relationship to the actual conditions of its existence. In short, instead of a hierarchical relationship in which literature figures as the parasitic reflector of historical fact, one imagines a complex textualized universe in which literature participates in historical processes and in the political management of reality.[27]
Where would this understanding of the relationship between text and history take us in interpretation of the Fourth Gospel? Obviously, we would have to consciously renounce the idea that whatever production we undertook was simply reflecting historical reality. Instead, we might imagine various scenarios in which the Gospel may have participated, and currently participates, along with other social texts, in the political management of reality. This does not mean we would abandon any attempt to set the Gospel in historical context, but it does mean that we take seriously the text's capacity to contribute to the formation of that context, more than merely reflecting it. We would also need to consider the "textualized universe" of the 21st century in which the Gospel participates. How does it participate in our contemporary context in the political management of reality when it is read in churches, or read in the study? Along this line, we might consider contextualizations of an experimental nature--experimental theatre, as it were.

As a beginning point, we might offer several productions, perhaps on multiple screens, that imagine different social realities the text may help to construct. Perhaps one dramatization would feature our more contemporary experience of sectarian communities-the Johannine community as the Waco sectarians. Perhaps another could present "the Jews" as an alienated minority, with Jesus inciting fear and suspicion against them. Perhaps a third would have no "community" at all. It might be a one-man act-a solitary Evangelist scratching out his own imaginative life of Jesus in contest against the dark force.

Such creative productions would make clear the arbitrariness of aligning the text with one particular historical reconstruction. They would also make clear that finding relevance in a text may or may not mean finding a link to our values. They would bring forward the possibility, as Sinfield suggests, that canonical literature can be presented in such a way as "to implicate the values which are not ours but which can in production be made to reveal themselves and can become contestable." As Sinfield goes on to say, "relevance then develops through our critical response to that representation, the questions about modes of human relationships which it provokes.[28]   In short, rather than placing John 8 in a hypothetical ancient context and explaining it away, we might read the text and consider the dichotomous human relationships it depicts. A discussion of John 8 might include the way it reveals the human tendency to use religious language and symbols in polarizing, alienating ways. Perhaps that is the real truth that will set us free-a truth we would learn from our engagement with the canon as we construct ourselves through dialogue with it.


[1]  Clayton Bowen, "The Fourth Gospel as Dramatic Material," JBL 49 (1930) 296.
[2]  E. Kenneth Lee, "The Drama of the Fourth Gospel," ExpT (1965) 176.
[3]  See Jonathan Dollimore, "Introduction: Shakespeare, Cultural Materialism and the New Historicism," in Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism (Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, eds.; Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1985) 7-10.
[4]  F.R.M. Hitchcock, "Is The Fourth Gospel a Drama?" Theology 7 (1923) 307-17. Reprinted in Mark W.G. Stibbe, The Gospel of John as Literature: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Perspectives (Leiden/New York/Koln: E. J. Brill, 1993) 15-24..
[5]  Alan Sinfield, "Royal Shakespeare: Theatre and the Making of Ideology" in Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism (Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, eds.; Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1985) 158-181.
[6]  Sinfield, 158.
[7]  Sinfield, 175-176, citing the quotation from David Addenbrooke, The Royal Shakespeare Company (London: Kimber, 1974) 129.
[8]  Sinfield, 176, quoting John Elsom Post-War British Theatre, 2nd edition (London: Routledge, 1979) 171.
[9]  Sinfield, 160-161.
[10]  Thus Nightingale offers his own version of relevance in response to Miller's "savage reduction" of  The Tempest. For him it is "a celebration of youth and spring, an unsentimental declaration of faith in the future, a marvelously mellow confession of love and charity for men."
[11]  See Robert Kysar, "Anti-Semitism and the Gospel of John" in Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity: Issues of Polemic and Faith (Craig A. Evans and Donald A. Hagner, eds. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1993) 113-127, esp. 124-125.
[12]  J. Louis Marytn, History and Theology of the Fourth Gospel (New York: Harper, 1968).
[13]  John Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel  (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) 107.
[14] Martyn, 16.
[15]See J. Ramsey Michael's, "one could read, "in, with and under" the story of Jesus other stories about a Jewish Christian community struggling for survival against "the Jews" in an unidentified synagogue somewhere in the Mediterranean world, with one eye on Gnostic secessionists and another on stray followers of John the Baptist waiting in the wings. Like would-be novelists, Johannine scholars created a "world" behind (or was it in front of?) the text, an imaginative social world that fascinated us all."
[16] David Rensberger, Johannine Faith and the Liberating Community (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1988.
[17] Rensberger, 143.
[18] Along this line, Stephen C. Barton asks, "How much of the current interest in "community" has its roots in the quest for new forms of community in the 1960's.?" The question forms part of his critique of the notion that the gospels were written for specific local communities. See "Can We Identify the Gospel Audiences?" in The Gospels for All Christians: Rethinking the Gospel Audiences (Richard Bauckham, ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998) 174.
[19] Robert Kysar, "Anti-Semitism and the Gospel of John," in Anti-Semitism in Early Christianity (ed. Craig E. Evans and Donald A. Hagner; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993) 124.
[20] Kysar, "Anti-Semitism," 124-125. He proposes that Gospel's "authoritative value must be seriously and carefully defined and meticulously controlled" in the broader context of a new and more precise understanding of canonical authority .
[21] Adele Reinhartz, "The Johannine Community and its Jewish Neighbors: A Reappraisal in What is John? Vol 2 Literary and Social Readings of the Fourth Gospel (Fernando F. Segovia, ed. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998) 111-38. Reinhartz's very useful article critiques Martyn's two-level approach from a different angle--presenting evidence from 11:1-44 and 12:11 that other models of Christian/Jewish relations are present in the Gospel that are not taken into account in the two-level reading strategy.
[22] Reinhartz, p. ? (I'm working with a version that Adele sent me and have not had a chance to check this reference in the published version).
[23] Reuven Kimelman, "Birkat Ha-Minim and the Lack of Evidence for an Anti-Christian Jewish Prayer in Late Antiquity," in Jewish and Christian Self-Definition (ed. E.P. Sanders; Philadedelphia, Fotress Press, 1981) 226-244, 391-403. Cited in Reinhartz, p.
[24]  "For Whom Were the Gospels Written?" in The Gospel for All Christians: Rethinking the Gospel Audiences (Richard Bauckham, ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998) 9-48.
[25] Here Wayne Meeks article, "The Man from Heaven in Johannine Sectarianism," JBL 91 (1972) 44-72, has been particularly influential.
[26] Bauckham, "For Whom," 29. See also Loveday Alexander, "Ancient Book Production and the Gospels, in The Gospels for All Christians, 71-105. Alexander argues that the early Christian choice of codex suggest a preference for a practical medium that would travel easily, and be useful for easy reference and teaching situations. For a detailed argument of the Gospel as bios, see Richard A. Burridge, What Are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography (Society for New Testament Monograph Series 70; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
[27] Jean Howard, "New Historicism and Renaissance Drama," in The New Historicism in Renaissance Studies (Richard Wilson and Richard Dutton, eds.; London/New York: Longman, 1992) 28.
[28] Sinfield, 179.

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[Copyright 2000, by Colleen M. Conway.  All rights reserved.  This is a draft version of a work still in progress; please do not copy or cite anything from this paper without explicit permission of the author.]

For questions or comments about the content of this paper, please e-mail Colleen M. Conway.

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