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Ethics in the Johannine Literature

To follow up on an earlier post on “love” in 1 John, a potential critique is that “love” is directed towards the members of the group(s). That is, they are to love one another to the extent of laying down their lives for their brothers and sisters, whereas the successionists who abandoned them “hate” their brothers and sisters, but missing seems to be Jesus’s admonition in the Sermon on the Mount and Plains to love one’s enemies. Indeed, much of the ethical teachings in this section do not seem to appear in the Gospel of John and commentators have noted that the primary concern of John is rather on confessing Jesus’s status as Revealer (e.g., Rudolf Bultmann). However, I wanted to call attention to a recent book edited by Christopher W. Skinner and Sherri Brown entitled Johannine Ethics: The Moral World of the Gospel and Epistles of John that gives a positive presentation of the ethical system in this corpus of literature and corrects the previous lack of attention to this area. It sounds like a helpful volume for all those interested in New Testament ethics.

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