This study in Johannine ecclesiology by Raymond Brown reconstructs the history of one Christian community in the first century - a community whose life from its inception to its last hour is reflected in the Gospel and Epistles of John. It was a community that struggled with the world, with the Jews and with other Christians. Eventually, the struggle spread even to its own ranks. It was, in short, a community not unlike the Church of today.

This book offers a different view of the traditional Johannine eagle. In the Gospel, the eagle soars above the earth, but with talons bared for the fray. In the Epistles, we discover the eaglets tearing at each other for possession of the nest.

This book pulls together twenty-five years of Brown's research into John. It explains why he calls Johanning thought "the most adventuresome theology in the New Testament".

Raymond Brown, who has taught both at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, and at Woodstock College, was Auburn Professor of Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary, New York until his death in 1998. He was chosen outstanding American Catholic theologian of the year in 1971, and was also elected president of the Catholic Biblical Association. In 1972 he was named an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Edinburgh, the first American priest to be so honored. At the same time, he was the only American named by Pope Paul VI to the newly reconstituted Roman Pontifical Biblical Commission. This appointment, the pope stated, was accorded to twenty scholars "outstanding for their learning, prudence, and Catholic regard for the magisterium of the Church," and was granted after consultation with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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