Addison Hodges Hart
Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich. 96 pages
If you love language and the creative uses of it, you will enjoy this book. If you love theology, particularly from the Eastern tradition and the desert fathers, this book is for you. If you are bored by standard readings of John’s Gospel or uninterested in literalism of the left or right, you will find much to feast upon in this brief study. The author contends that the writer of the Gospel is using coded language to invite believers into a living relationship with God. Perhaps this argument is not new, yet by focusing our attention of The Woman, with related images such as The Garden and The Hour, we are given a window of experiential understanding of the deep theology of this Gospel. At least this is what the author, a former pastor and college chaplain, intends. “John’s Gospel, in its final shape, is a poetic work with a carefully chosen vocabulary that holds the key to its deepest meaning. Understand the language … and the ‘doors of perception’ will be cleansed.” This brief book is an encouragement to discover the Gospel truly as life-giving rather than as arcane doctrine. “It is an invitation to ‘come and see’ and experience for oneself a transformative way of living in relation to God, and within a community of spiritual participation.” I can’t think of a better reason to read this book and hear the Gospel. This is a joy to read.