The conflict between Christianity and Roman Imperial theology manifested at very early stages in Christian history. Richard Cassidy argues that ignoring or downplaying such political-theological implications because of some supposedly manifest separation between spiritual belief and politics is both shortsighted and unbiblical. In this fascinating and original reading of the Gospel of John, it becomes clear that Christology is not merely theological theorizing, but a matter of immense political import.
"Succeeds in demonstrating a scarcely-noticed major concern of the Fourth Gospel: to provide guidance to Christians of the time in facing hostile Roman authorities. Cassidy interprets the work as a whole as well as selected passages on this basis, greatly enhancing the realism and depth of the story. Special praise is due to his lucid writing on so intricate a subject . . . His presentation is no less balanced for being original."
--David Daube, University of California, Berkeley
"This valuable study of the Gospel of John offers a new approach to the setting and purpose of the book. Cassidy relies on the Gospel itself to argue that it supports Christians facing persecution and possible martyrdom in a Roman imperial campaign against [them] at the end of the first century . . . [His] picture supplements and rounds the others out, shedding fresh light on old texts."
--Robert M. Grant, University of Chicago
"This startling thesis . . . illuminates an aspect of John virtually overlooked by Johannine scholars and [yet] not incompatible with [its] traditionally recognized purposes . . . With particular sensitivity to the Roman context, Cassidy solidly demonstrates the correlation between particular Johannine themes and elements of the text, and key terms and practices of the Roman authorities of the approximate time period . . . Cassidy's insights . . . call for elaboration by those concerned with the sociopolitical background of the Fourth Gospel."
--Susan F. Mathews, University of Scranton
"Well-known for his studies on the relationship of Luke-Acts and the Roman Empire, Cassidy here continues this line of research [examining] the Fourth Gospel as it consciously reflects knowledge of the Roman Empire, the cult of the Emperor, and the persecutions waged against the Christians. In this endeavor he utilizes John's particular Christological titles and the implicit or explicit indications of persecution. In this way, Cassidy illustrates a neglected aspect of the Fourth Gospel, and brings it more into relationship with the Apocalypse."
--Giuseppe Segalla, Seminario Vescovile, Padua, Italy