Baker Academic

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Interview with Adele Reinhartz (cont.)

In the first part of this interview, Adele discusses her most recent book, her interest in film, and her entry into New Testament studies. This is the second and final portion of my interview with her. Enjoy!

ALD: You were working with E.P. Sanders during a really important time in his research. Did you have a sense then that his work would have the impact that it did?
AR: It seemed pretty obvious to all of his students that Sanders’ work would have a major impact. As I mentioned, I began studying with him just at the point that he was completing the book PPJ. Although I was only beginning my reading of the secondary literature, it was quite clear that his approach, and his willingness to address the difficult issues within the field of NT scholarship, were new, and his ideas were articulated forcefully and persuasively. So no, I can’t say I was particularly surprised, but it was nevertheless very exciting. Working with him is truly what made me aware of how interesting and dynamic our field is. I must say I still subscribe to the “New Perspective” on Paul that Sanders’ work helped usher in, although I have read much of the recent scholarship that argues against it. 
ALD: Where do you think that your research will focus next?
AR: At the moment I am on research leave (sabbatical) for the semester, and hope to make significant progress on my current book project, which is called The Johannine Community: A Counter History (to be published by Fortress). In this book I suggest that while the expulsion theory has been compelling for many, there are other ways to construct this particular community using exactly the same primary sources (Gospel and letters of John) but viewing them through a different methodological lens. I propose that we not look at the Gospel as a window to or mirror of the past history of a community but that we look at the Gospel as a rhetorical document that is intended to persuade its audiences not only of particular truths (“Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God” - John 20:31) but also to take particular steps in terms of their community life. I am not sure yet of exactly where this will lead but I believe it will be a fruitful approach. 
After that, who knows? Perhaps a book on religion in Quebec cinema, as I have been watching quite a bit of French-language Quebec movies lately. Quebec cinema is fascinating because of the way in which it addresses the religious and cultural issues raised by the “Quiet Revolution” of the 1960s, a decade when Quebec society underwent a rapid social transformation from a strongly conservative Catholic society to a highly secularized society.
My sincere thanks to Prof. Reinhartz for her time and generosity. I, for one, am looking forward to her work on the Johannine Community. It is bound to generate a great deal of discussion.



  1. As a current McMaster student, I've really enjoyed this interview. It sounds like Mac was a very interesting place to be in the early 80s. In many ways, the RS department here is still very much influenced by both Sanders and Meyer.

    I too am very much looking forward to Dr. Reinhartz's new work on the Johannine Community. I wonder what her conclusions might look like, especially vis a vis the recent work of Jonathan Bernier that was posted on this blog not too long ago.

    - Jordan

  2. As a recent McMaster grad, I too have really enjoyed this. As someone who specializes in Johannine literature, definitely looking forward to Dr. Reinhartz's new work in that area. As someone of Québécois descent I would also be very interested in a study of religion in Québec cinema.