Review Of Craig L. Blomberg’s The Historical Reliability Of John’s Gospel: Issues & Commentary -- By: Edwin Ediger

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 32:62 (Spring 2019)
Article: Review Of Craig L. Blomberg’s The Historical Reliability Of John’s Gospel: Issues & Commentary
Author: Edwin Ediger

Review Of Craig L. Blomberg’s The Historical Reliability Of John’s Gospel: Issues & Commentary

Edwin Ediger

I. Introduction

As Craig Blomberg notes, the content of John’s Gospel is distinctive, was likely written after the Synoptic Gospels, and has been used and misused through the centuries.1 Blomberg provides a helpful list of distinctives of John’s Gospel under five headings: 1) selection of material; 2) theological material, particularly the affirmation of Jesus’ divinity; 3) a chronology that appears to contradict the Synoptics’ outline; 4) apparent historical discrepancies; and 5) a style of writing that differs markedly from the Synoptics (pp. 19–20). Blomberg does not provide an exegetical commentary on the text, although he does give his interpretation of key passages in the Gospel of John.

The main question addressed by this book is how John’s Gospel can be harmonized with the Synoptic Gospels. Throughout the book, Blomberg asserts that theology and historicity can coexist and in fact do so in John’ Gospel. A strength of the book is that it repeatedly demonstrates how the Apostle John has not written theology at the expense of historicity. As will be shown in this review, there is much to commend in this volume. It is an honest attempt to harmonize apparent contradictions between the Gospel of John and the Synoptics.

However, this reviewer has some concerns, particularly with Blomberg’s presuppositions and methodological approach. Blomberg views himself as occupying a middle ground between conservative and liberal positions. In this reviewer’s opinion, this is suspect. Blomberg mentions Robert L. Thomas and F. David Farnell’s book The Jesus Crisis2 on the conservative end of the hermeneutical spectrum and

criticizes their “fideism that simply presupposes the historicity of the Gospels as a necessary first move in authentic Christian faith” (p. 292). He places on the liberal extreme John D. Crossan and Robert W. Funk, who find very little in the Synoptic Gospels as authentic (p. 292). In Blomberg’s opinion there is a third option, which can limit one’s presuppositions (pp. 292–93).

As this review will demonstrate, Blomberg’s methodology, borrowed from the liberal end of the hermeneutical continuum, leads him to conclusions that he may consider to be conservative, but are in fact liberal, and contain the seeds of skepticism. This will eventually lead to the abandonment of inerrancy in any meaningful form.

One’s true position on the ...

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