The story of Lazarus in John 11-12 typically has been understood by scholars to act as a prototype for what was to follow in the form of the resurrection of Christ. In this book, Esler and Piper examine the raising of Lazarus, the relationship between him and his two sisters Mary and Martha, and examine the theological implications of a social scientific critique of this relationship and the Lazarus story in general. By this we mean that the authors examine the story using social identity theory, an approach that forms part of the flourishing field of social psychology. The authors set out what social identity theory actually means, how it works, with specific reference to group identity, and they apply it to John's Gospel. In addition, the authors have taken examinations of the catacomb art from Rome to provide empirical confirmation of their argument. The book concludes by setting out some of the theological dimensions of the investigation, and ultimately provides fresh theological insight into this New Testament text.
This is the best book to date dealing with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. There's something about a Philip esler book that makes it impossible to put down. I don't know what his trick is, but he's got some failsafe - you just have to keep turning the pages. That relects well on Piper too (though I have to read more of him). For whatever my opinion is worth as an infidel, the way these authors bridge historical criticism and modern theology represents the best approach I'm aware of." Review written by an Amazon customer under the name Loren Rosson III (New Hampshire, USA). Reviewer Rank 2284. www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/