I, II, and III John
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Commentaries by Female Scholars by John Dyer
- Women and BIPOC by Jamie Davies
- The Pastor’s Bookshelf by Scot McKnight
- New Testament Commentaries & Monographs by Princeton Theological Seminary
I would highly recommend this one, even ahead of other commentaries more often held up as the standard. Lieu may disagree with some of the more touted commentaries esp. her work on hilasmos in 2:2 and 4:10 which she argues means forgiveness rather than propitiation (e.g. Marshall and Witherington) or even expiation (e.g. Thompson). I believe she is on solid ground on this, though the language of expiation is perhaps preferable. She is largely skeptical about connections between 1 John and the Gospel According to John, and also the tradition that 1 John is responding to early gnostic influences. This does run counter to other commentators, but her careful analysis does show that perhaps those conclusions have gone beyond the evidence. Her approach may be a bit more critical than some are comfortable with, but she demonstrates a careful analysis of the text, and a strong concern for allowing the text to speak on it's own terms.
Mainstream scholarly commentary, dissociating the epistles from the Gospel of John. [Full Review]
I thought this book had some good offerings and Lieu being an Oxford academic writes very well, although often times the Oxford branch can delve too far out of the box. Some of her insights were good but her disregard for the book being written against Gnosticism was unfounded as she argued that we could not just say the book was a polemic without further evidence. Well I would point out that history (including Polycarp) says otherwise. I think you must disprove historic tradition before coming up with your own ideals. Having studied the book I think John Stott nailed most of her positions in his simple Tyndale Commentary. I did like her take on the author's use of apocalyptic warnings.
A new and useful commentary, with a sensitivity to early Christian identity is Judith Lieu [Full Review]
This major commentary adds to the author’s already impressive list of publications on the Johannine Epistles. The earlier writings include two important books: The Second and Third Epistles of John (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1986); and The Theology of the Johannine Epistles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). The title of the first of these does not adequately indicate the extent to which it takes account of the Gospel and first Epistle while maintaining a clear focus on the smaller works, 2 and 3 John. The present commentary, entitled I, II, and III John, builds constructively on the foundation of the earlier studies. This title sidesteps the issue of whether the texts for commentary are letters, epistles, a mixture of the two, or something else. However, the previous volumes each used Epistles in their titles, and Lieu soon makes clear that a sharp distinction between letters and epistles is not helpful in this case and happily uses both categories at times in the commentary. It is likely that the title was the choice of the series editors. In its title and in much of its interpretative work, I am glad to find agreement with my Sacra Pagina commentary of 2002. I hasten to add that I would not wish to suggest that the present work should be judged in terms of its agreement with mine. What marks the distinctive contribution of this commentary is the insistence that the anonymity of authors is a studied rhetorical strategy. [Full Review]