Best Gospel of John commentary as textbook for seminary course?

Next summer (2011), I am teaching exegesis of  the Gospel of John for Asbury Theological Seminary and I will require students to work through a commentary (as one of a few textbooks).  I am undecided, as I want something extensive, but engages well in theology and ethics (and not just historical and philological details). I welcome you to participate in my poll (below) keeping in mind this is for seminary students (primarily training for ministry) [i.e. longer and more complex is not necessarily better].

When you make your choice in the poll, if your opinion is strong, I would appreciate if you give your reasons for your choice (or against the other options) in the comments. If you think there is a better one out there that is not on the list, do share with a comment. Thanks for your votes!


13 thoughts on “Best Gospel of John commentary as textbook for seminary course?

  1. Nijay,

    For the target audience that you’ve mentioned (mostly Protestant seminary students?) Brown is too redactional and overloaded (although it is technically still superior to most). Keener is short on philological and textual issues but is up to date and brings the discussion forward since Carson. McHugh (ICC) and von Wahlde (ECC) would be best but are incomplete as of now. F. J. Moloney in the Sacra pagina series (1998) is also excellent. But for the audience that you have stated Keener would be best in my opinion.

    R. E. Aguirre
    Editor., Paradoseis Journal
    Contributor., Paradoseis Journal Blog
    Contributor., Called To Communion

  2. C. K. Barrett [commentary] and Craig Koester –
    Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel. Gopd exegesis
    and theology.

  3. Carson is an ugly commentary on the inside. Crammed margin to margin with text. Kostenberger is basically a better laid out Carson with an updated bibliography, especially literary studies of John. Plus Kostenberger has a Theology of John book out. Might be interesting to see how his commentary translates into theology. Barrett is awesome just old. Keener is great for footnotes and obscure cross references.

  4. Nijay
    The two best one volume commentaries are Lincoln in BNTC and Maloney in Sacra Pagina – both are better by some yards than equivalent volume and were the must buys for my John course over 6 years. Anyone (Carson or Kostenberger) whose main aim is to defend historicity, will, for me, always underplay the theological, ideological elements that make John so fascinating. Brown is too big for your purposes and now dated in some respects, though still the go to reference commentary. Keener is all about the footnotes, only half of which are actually relevant to the actual text of the gospel.

  5. As a protestant seminary graduate who has preached through the whole gospel of John, I found Carson pitched at the right level and the most helpful of commentaries I referred to, which is why it gets my vote.

  6. I’ve preached through John a couple of times in my ministry and have always found George Beasley-Murray’s commentary in the Word series. It is theologically rich, historically well-informed and full of pastoral insight. No one has yet bettered it.

  7. My vote is for Lincoln, BNTC. Keener & Brown, though superb, are too exhaustive, Kostenberger not exhaustive enough, and Carson is too exhausting.

  8. I have found Carson to be quite edifying and only occasionally long-winded; he’s especially at home with OT references and nitty gritty word studies. Burge’s NIVAC is helpful for those with little to no knowledge of John.

  9. Nijay,

    Perhaps J. Ramsey Michaels’ replacement volume in the NICNT (scheduled for release Sept ’10) will find the middle ground for which you’re looking.

  10. If I may suggest a text, one of the more influential texts on the Gospel of John I have read is Greater Than Caesar by Tom Thatcher; it is a nice contribution to Johnannine Studies even though it is not a full blown commentary.

  11. Bruner’s commentary on John – his followup to his two volumes on Matthew would be an excellant teaching tool

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