Writing a doctoral thesis is a journey through rough seas and dark lands. There are moments of oasis, of course, as insights emerge and connections are made. For me, there were also moments akin to worship. After all, I was rigorously studying Scripture while laboriously trying to put meaningful words to the page.

One of the great delights of writing a book is the opportunity to share it. That reward only comes at the end of the journey through those rough seas and dark lands. Once the Word doc becomes an actual thing—something that others can hold and thumb through—a writer then anticipates the book’s reception.

For academic monographs like my most recent book, this is an anxious time—the reception could well be negative. Almost worse: it could well be that no one reads the thing at all.

I have seen no reviews yet of Ecclesiology and Theosis in the Gospel of John, but I was humbled by recent endorsements provided by two senior scholars (and friends) who took the time from demanding schedules to give the book a read—

Andrew Byers argues that John’s theological vision includes a narrative ecclesiology of transformative participation in the divine community that is appropriately characterized as corporate theosis. Byers both breaks new ground and prepares the exegetical and theological soil for others to cultivate. Creative and provocative, this is a major advance in Johannine studies that echoes, paradoxically but appropriately, patristic interpreters of John.

Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St Mary’s Seminary & University

And this one—

This sophisticated study refocuses the study of the Fourth Gospel, moving away from conjectural reconstructions of a sectarian Johannine community and moving towards an expansive account of John’s vision for the church as a community bound together in union with God through Jesus. Byers’s work offers a significant contribution to Johannine studies, a refutation of individualistic spiritual interpretations of John’s Gospel, and a salutary stimulus to theological reflections on New Testament ecclesiology.

Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University

Though most readers of this blog may not be interested in reading a pricey monograph, those of you who are prone to such bizarre behavior may find it a interesting read. And I would be grateful for the feedback as I work on another major study on New Testament ecclesiology…

[Image from Unsplash by @andrewtneel]

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