Directly or indirectly, race makes many appearances in the Fourth Gospel. What is the meaning of all this attention to ethnic labels? Race in John's Gospel investigates how John reflects the racialized ideas current in its milieu, challenging some and adapting others. Ultimately, John dismisses race as valid grounds for prejudice or discrimination, devaluing the very criteria on which race is based. The cumulative effect of this rhetoric is to undermine the category itself, exposing earthly race as irrelevant and illusory. However, John's anthropology is layered, and looks beyond this unimportant earthly level. Above it, John constructs a heavenly level of racial identity, based on one's descent from either God or the devil.
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About the Author
Andrew Benko taught as an adjunct professor of biblical studies at Texas Christian University. He is an Episcopal priest.