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The Johannine School
R. Alan Culpepper
Publication Date
January 2007


“Somewhat surprising is the general critical agreement that the fourth gospel is the product of a school without further definition of what precisely is the meaning of the term ‘school.’ Culpepper’s investigation of nine schools—the Pythagorean, that of the Academy, the Lyceum, the Garden, the Stoa, Qumran, the House of Hillel, the school of Philo, and finally that of Jesus—lends clarity to the hitherto underdeveloped theory of a Johannine school. Thus the Johannine school has clear counterparts in antiquity. … It is a merit of this excellent book that it outlines a configuration of new components for Johannine research while at the same time presenting a coherent hypothesis of exactly how the Johannine school merits the name.”
— P. Joseph Cahill, Journal of Biblical Literature

”In this dissertation Culpepper attempts to delineate the precise nature of an ancient school. … His thesis is that if the Johannine community shows evidence of characteristics common to ancient schools, it may be said to be a Johannine school. … Culpepper begins by tracing and analyzing the history of the Johannine school hypothesis. In his next chapters, he points out the importance, traditions, origins, nature, history and influence of each of the nine Greek and Jewish schools. His strict adherence to the above categories makes this book useful as a ready reference. After 258 pages of exacting research, primarily from original sources, Culpepper ventures a definition of an ancient school [by listing] nine characteristics common to these schools.… In his final chapter, Culpepper then applies these characteristics as criteria to the Johannine writings and concludes that, since the Johannine community ‘shared the essential characteristics of the ancient schools studied … the Johannine community was a school’ (290).”
—Rea McDonnell, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

R. Alan Culpepper is the Dean of the McAfee School of Theology and author of a number of books, including Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel, The Gospel and Letters of John, the commentary on Luke in the New Interpreter’s Bible, and John, the Son of Zebedee: The Life of a Legend, as well as numerous articles for journals, periodicals, and books.