Discovering John: Essays by John Ashton

By Christopher Rowland and Catrin H. Williams (editors)

Hitherto unpublished essays by the renowned Johannine scholar, shedding light on the fourth Gospel itself and on current biblical scholarship more widely.

ISBN: 9780227177518


The renowned Johannine scholar John Ashton (1931-2016) left a large number of unpublished essays at the end of his life, representing his ongoing exegetical work. Introduced here by Christopher Rowland and Catrin H. Williams, they explore important themes such as mystery and Christology arising from his ground-breaking study, Understanding the Fourth Gospel.

Alongside them is an intellectual autobiography originally intended for that volume, contextualizing Ashton’s work both in the wider context of biblical scholarship and the particularities of his life. This in itself is an exceptional contribution, and together with the essays it sheds light not only on the current state of Johannine studies, but also on the situation of those involved with both church and academy in the closing decades of the twentieth century.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 207

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Christopher Rowland is Dean Ireland’s Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture Emeritus, University of Oxford, and was for many years a colleague of John Ashton at the University of Oxford. They shared a common interest in apocalyptic themes in the New Testament, and both edited volumes of essays that were presented on their respective retirements.

Catrin H. Williams is Reader in New Testament Studies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Research Fellow in the Department of Old and New Testament Studies, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. The Gospel of John is her main research interest and, with Christopher Rowland, she has edited a volume of essays on apocalyptic themes in the Gospel of John engaging with one of the most original contributions of John Ashton’s magisterial study of the Gospel.


Introduction by Christopher Rowland and Catrin H. Williams

1. Discovering the Gospel of John: A Fifty-Year Journey of Exploration
2. Really a Prologue?
3. John and the Johannine Literature: The Woman at the Well
4. Riddles and Mysteries
5. “Mystery” in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Fourth Gospel
6. The Johannine Son of Man: A New Proposal
7. Reflections on a Footnote
8. Browning on Feuerbach and Renan

John Ashton (13 June 1931 – 3 February 2016) by Christopher Rowland



Endorsements and Reviews

Reading this book is a moving experience. Equally, however, one comes away from having done so with a head brimming with new ideas and perspectives to return to the Gospel and see it again in a fresh light. John Ashton was a gifted exegete, who brought phenomenal scholarship, literary sensibility and insight, and a seasoning of delicious humor, to the task of interpreting the work of the gifted author of the Gospel of John.
Wendy E. S. North, Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham

This volume provides a feast of ideas on John’s Gospel from the latter career of John Ashton, a colossus of international Johannine scholarship. Particularly remarkable for its detailed and moving autobiographical account of his fifty-year engagement with the Fourth Gospel, its essays amplify and develop the insights, and exhibit the exegetical sensitivity, of Ashton’s magisterial Understanding the Fourth Gospel. Every serious student of John’s Gospel should read this book and absorb its wisdom.
Philip F. Esler, Portland Chair in New Testament Studies, Director of the International Centre for Biblical Interpretation, University of Gloucestershire