"Anti-Judaism" in the Gospel of John

1. Evidence that the author stands removed from Judaism

2:13; 11:55 "the Passover of the Jews"
5:1; 6:4; 7:2 "feast of the Jews"

2. Negative Portrayal of "the Jews"

3:1-4; 6:52; 7:35; 8:57 the Jews fail to understand Jesus
5:16-18; 7:1; 10:31, 39; 11:8, 53 the Jews persecute Jesus and seek to kill him
5:39-40; 7:19; 8:39-44; 10:31-39 the Jews are untrue to their tradition/Torah

3. Negative Portrayals of the Leaders

19:15 the leaders seem more faithful to Caesar than to God
9:40-41; 11:46-53 the Pharisees are blind, false teachers
4:1; 7:32; 8:13; 12:42 the Pharisees oppose Jesus
12:10; 19:6, 15, 21 the chief priests oppose Jesus

4. Jewish Responsibility for Jesus' death

18:3, 12, 19-24; 19:15-16 Jewish responsibility declared
18:31, 38-40; 19:4-8, 12-16 Pilate succumbs to the desires of the Jewish leaders
18:38; 19:4, 6, 12 Pilate declares Jesus innocent

5. Jewish Links with the Devil

John 8:44: "You are of the [= your?] father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and did not stand in the truth, because truth is not in him. Whenever he speaks the lie, he speaks of his own [voice, nature, native language], because he is a liar and the father of it."

6. Occasional Positive Portrayals

7:15; 10:24; 11:26-27 neutral or positive stance toward Jesus
3:1-15; 7:50-52; 19:39 Nicodemus seeks Jesus, defends Jesus, helps bury him

7. Possible Historical Setting for the Composition of John's Gospel

It is commonly suggested that John's Gospel was composed during a period of intense Jewish/Jewish Christian conflict, perhaps shortly after the Jewish-Christian community was expelled from the synagogue, at a time when the synagogue community itself was struggling for its identity in the aftermath of the temple's destruction in 70 CE. If so, John's Gospel may afford glimpses not only into the Jewish cultural milieu in which Jesus ministered, but also into the Jewish-Christian conflicts of a later period.


Further reflections on "the Jews" in John's Gospel

the Pharisees

the Jews

the chief priests 

 7:32

7:35

 

8:13 (& 19)

8:22

 

9:13-16, 40

9:18, 22

 

18:3

18:12

 
 

19:7

19:6

 

19:14

19:15

 

 Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

the Jews (plural)

5

6

5

67

Pharisees

30

12

27

19/20

Sadducees

 7

1

1

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priests

3

2

5

1

high priest

25

22

15

21 (14 in Jn 18-19)

scribes

23 

21

14

(1) (Jn 8:3)

Zealots

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1

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Herodians

1

2

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