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Community of the Beloved Disciple, The Paperback – 1 Jan 1978

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; New edition edition (1 Jan. 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809121743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809121748
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In Appendix I below I shall digest five different reconstructions of Johannine history offered by scholars in the last three years. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Bevan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Even a fairly cursory reading of John's Gospel will tell you that it's very different from the other three New Testament synoptic (or `common viewpoint') Gospels. John's Jesus is a figure who in some sense `pre-existed' with God before coming to earth; whose teachings set the community of fellowship much more sharply over against `the world' and `the Jews' than is the case with Matthew, Mark and Luke; and whose community, closed in on itself, seems to be centred around Spirit-filled personalities like the Beloved Disciple. And these stresses are as strong if not stronger in the letters of John, written (probably) by a different person from the one who wrote the Gospel.

In this short but profound and scholarly book, Catholic New Testament scholar Raymond Brown explores just why it is that John's Gospel and the Johannine letters are so distinctive. He begins with an exploration of how an anti-Temple group among early followers of Jesus might have focused on particular memories about Jesus, and fostered the development of a high and exalted view of his nature (a high `Christology', in the theological jargon). He then postulates a `school' of Johannine writers that went on to elaborate the Gospel itself later in the first century AD, mostly in opposition to Jewish groups that had remained faithful to the synagogue. Tracing the further evolution of the school's thought through the letters, amidst growing tension over whether leadership structures in the community should be more, or less, formal, he concludes that one `strand' of the school merged with the great (or `Catholic') church, while the other spun off into what would become Gnosticism in the second century.

It's a fascinating reconstruction, very lucidly argued, and eminently readable.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Aquinas on 10 July 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book about a year ago and its themes hauntingly remain with me. Why did to the Johannine community become schismatic? Who were the secessionists? What is it about John's gospel which, if not read in a canonical context can lead to distortions. Fr Brown answer these questions and paints a mesmerising picture of the Johannine communities and the tensions which caused the split in the community. And, we can learn so much from the past - why is that fundamentalist and bible christians often quote the Johannine literature rather than the synoptics - is it not because such groups are exclusionary by nature and they find the Johannine texts (if misread) particularly apt for sectarian interpretation?
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By catspoo on 19 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
this book was pretty good
it gave alternative opiniond on the formation of the fourth gospel.
claims there was a group linked with John that wrote the gospel with a spin in favour of John rather than peter.
interesting arguements, nicely written great for New tastament class.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
After Twenty Years, Still an Important Work! 5 Aug. 2000
By Dr. John Switzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Have you ever purchased a book that seemed promising in regard to helping you understand the Bible, but when it came it was either far too simplistic or just over your head? For most readers, this book provides insight and commentary that will avoid both pitfalls.
Using the uncommon characteristics of the Fourth Gospel, Raymond Brown laid out in this readable volume his theories of why this account of the gospel is so unique. With accompanying charts that lay out the various groups which may have composed the "Community of the Beloved Disciple," Brown makes his theory especially easy to grasp.
Losing Raymond Brown was a great loss for the entire Christian Church. Having heard him speak in person and having read many of his works, I strongly urge this particular volume upon you if you have an interest in the Fourth Gospel.
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Brown is big 14 Jan. 2000
By J. C. Woods - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In 1965 Father Brown published his great magisterial two volume commentary on the Gospel of John in which he advocated the traditional view the John the son of Zebedee was the evangelist. In 1965 J. Louis Martyn published his monumental work "History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel," wherein he proved, once and for all, that John the son of Zebedee could not be the evangelist. Now what would be Brown's reaction? This is it. He simply admitted that he was wrong and builds on Martyn's work in this marvelous book. Hopefully you can also read Martyn's book with this one, but this one alone will give you a glimpse into a first century religious community.
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Required reading for a study of the Fourth Gospel! 14 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The late Raymond E. Brown (1928-1998) is renowned worldwide by many biblical scholars as THE foremost authority on the Johannine Literature in the New Testament. This book is a "must read" for anyone doing serious research on the Gospel of John. If you are beginning a study of the Fourth Gospel I highly recommend that you buy this book. I also suggest that you read Joseph Grassi's THE SECRET IDENTITY OF THE BELOVED DISCIPLE.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Good Introduction to John's Gospel 2 Mar. 2005
By Timothy Kearney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Words such as poetic, beautiful, challenging, baffling, and perhaps even confusing can come to mind when reading or studying the Gospel of John. The fourth gospel is believed to have been written after the three gospels known as the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and unlike the synoptic gospels which share similar backgrounds and sources, John's Gospel takes a completely different direction.

Raymond Brown, a respected scripture scholar, and perhaps the best known Catholic scripture scholar, gives the reader an excellent introduction to the community behind the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine epistles. He discusses this gospel, narrated by the so called "Beloved Disciple" who may or may not have been John, the struggle this community had with Jewish leaders, as well as the community's struggles with other Christian groups. This community was from a different geographic locale than many of the other Christian groups, most notably the Pauline churches, and theologically different from these groups as well. This history of this community spans a period of time that includes the Apostolic era, the Fall of the Temple, and its aftermath. We see the struggles of this community in the gospel itself, and how it derived strength and purpose from the Jesus Christ in the Gospel who is not afraid of controversy.

This book was published in 1979 and it has become a standard in studying John, at least from a Catholic perspective. Brown is not without controversy. Throughout his life he was always first and foremost a scholar and at times his writings ruffled a few feathers of more traditional Catholics and no doubt, some people who read the Bible literally. A few of the stronger negative reviews of this work and other works by Brown have stressed the difficulties some have with the writings of the late Fr. Brown. Brown did touch some nerves when he wrote, particularly his writings on the birth of Jesus Christ. For those who are concerned about this book based on some of the other reviews, I do not recall any major doctrinal errors in this book and found it to be solid theologically and biblically. Know too, I do not dismiss such concerns lightly. I did find when I was studying that this work did help me sort through the sometimes confusing elements that are part of John's Gospel and the work has helped me when I am preparing Bible studies and preaching.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Definitive Treatment of a Difficult Topic 31 Aug. 2006
By David E. Blair - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is rare indeed for a specialized monograph to still be the authority on its topic of choice after nearly thirty years. In the case of this book, "The Community of the Beloved Disciple," which stirred controversy at its publication and still does today, it is even more remarkable. Building on the seminal work of his associate, J. Louis Martyn, at Union Theological Seminary, Brown explicates a fully fleshed out historical and textual criticism of the Johannine Corpus. And what did Brown posit that still manages to raise such passions? He posits five persons named John plus an unnamed Beloved Disciple as responsible for the corpus instead of one solitary John the Apostle. For Brown, these persons named John were John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, John the Redactor, John the Presbyter, and John the Revelator. The only one that might not be important for the development of the Johannine corpus in Brown's read is the Apostle John.

Mainstream Reformed Protestant seminaries are still willing to to deal with only one John who was the Apostle and the Beloved Disciple and all else rolled into one. Generally, Conservative Catholics and Evangelical Protestants along with Fundamentalist Protestants all find Brown's work in this book anathema. Apostolic authority seems to be the rock upon which their textual acceptance is built in the case of the Johannine corpus. Therefore, against all odds and facts, they firmly reject Brown's well grounded historical analysis and textual criticism for what appear to be little more than dogmatic reasons. Upon the Reverend Father Brown's death recently, the Catholic Commonweal Magazine opined that American Catholicism had lost its greatest scholarly treasure. Few are willing to deny that Raymond E. Brown was one of the greatest if not the greatest of recent Johannine scholars. As well as this book, almost all his other far less controversial works are magisterial. In almost every other matter orthodox, in this case, Brown chose to depart from received orthodoxy based on the facts as he read them.

Anyone, deeply interested in the Johannine corpus must deal with this work. This is not a book for a beginner in Johannine or New Testament studies. However, considering the complexity of the material covered, the book is clearly understandable and very readable. Nothing here is surpassed or outmoded by later scholarship. Are there other ways to look at the Johannine corpus from a historical point of view? Certainly there are, but single author attribution is not one of them. The facts militate against such a reading. The work of Gunter Stemberger and others place the Johannine community in the Galilee/Syrian border area not in Ephesus. Unfortunately, most of that scholarship is not translated out of the German language. Can one avoid this controversy? Most assuredly, Leon Morris in his magnificent commentary on the Johannine corpus in the New International Biblical Commentary Series says nary a word about historical analysis. However, this work explains a great deal quite persuasively while still leaving intact a marvelous, faith affirming set of sacral documents for the reader's edification. I recommend this book most highly.
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