Andrew Byers – John and the Others

Episode: Erin speaks with Rev. Dr. Andy Byers about John’s Gospel, Jewish Relations, and the “sectarian hermeneutic” that dominates Johannine studies. Andy’s newest book on John’s Gospel, John and the Others, published by Baylor University Press in 2021, advances the bold thesis that John’s Gospel gives us a model of identity and alterity, an identity that is “other” without being “anti.”

Guest: Rev. Dr. Andrew Byers is Tutor in New Testament at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Before moving to Cambridge in 2021, he served as Director of the Free Church Track and Lecturer in New Testament at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham University. Originally from the States, Andy has 13 years of pastoral ministry experience and he writes not only for the academy but also for wider audiences and the church. He studied Forestry at the University of Georgia, earned an MDiv at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, and received a ThM at Duke Divinity School. He completed his PhD at Durham University; his thesis was on ecclesiology in John’s Gospel.

Book (from the publisher’s website): In John and the Others, Andrew Byers challenges the “sectarian hermeneutic” that has shaped much of the interpretation of the Gospel and Letters of John. Rather than “anti-Jewish,” we should understand John as opposed to the exclusionary positioning of ethnicity as a soteriological category. Neither is this stream of early Christianity antagonistic towards the wider Christian movement. The Fourth Evangelist openly situates his work in a crowded field of alternative narratives about Jesus without seeking to supplant prior works. Though John is often regarded as a “low-church” theologian, Byers shows that the episcopal ecclesiology of Ignatius of Antioch is compatible with Johannine theology. John does not locate revelation solely within the personal authority of each believer under the power of the Spirit, and so does not undercut hierarchical leadership.

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