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Literary Analyses of Some Johannine Characters
by Randy Lopez


Biblical criticism is not complete without the study of the characters in the narratives. The same is true for the Gospel according to John.  It is important to study these characters because they are the moving force of the narrative. They provide the movement of the story and life within the tale. Their actions present the themes and moods of the narrative.

In  these web pages, the Johannine characters are examined primarily in their literary setting.  Most of the information is derived from the narrative itself. Secondary sources, such as commentaries and articles regarding character analyses, were used  primarily for verifying or finding new information. 

Such investigation is difficult because many who begin to study the text may apply their personal biases, thus tainting the information and prejudicing the data. For example, people who know western idioms may automatically label the disciple Thomas as the "Doubting Thomas" and base their views on the presupposition that Thomas hesitates to believe.

On the other hand, using the text alone may lead the untrained eye away from the themes of the narrative in which the character is involved.  Ideas, actions, speeches, description, and themes may be overlooked or interpreted subjectively.  Novice readers may fall into this trap and be unable to analyze the text properly.

In any method, both primary and secondary texts are important.  It is imperative to learn the proper use of both to gather data for a good characterization.  A good character interpretation is one that is thorough, comprehensive, and accurate.  To be thorough, complete, and accurate are the goals of the character interpretations in these pages.


The Set-up of These WebPages

Table of All Active Characters in John's Gospel

Tables of Characters Sorted by Categories

Tables of Characters by Johannine Episodes

Detailed Analyses of Some Individual Characters:
Mother of Jesus
Samaritan Woman
Man Born Blind


The Johannine Literature Web was created and is maintained by Felix Just, S.J.
This page was last updated on  09/27/01
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