Original Research - Special Collection: A.G.van Aarde Festschrift

Disaffiliation in associations and the ἀποσυναγωγός of John

John S. Kloppenborg
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 1 | a962 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i1.962 | © 2011 John S. Kloppenborg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 September 2010 | Published: 14 April 2011

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John S. Kloppenborg, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Canada

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This article tries to understand what might have been at stake for the synagogue from which the Johannine Jesus partisans had been expelled and what was at stake in the coinage of the term ἀποσυναγωγός. It we refuse to accept naively John’s overlexicalised and retrospective account of the grounds for expulsions and pay attention to the practices of other groups in articulating a disciplinary code, I suggest that what was at stake was deviant behaviour on the part of the Johannine Jesus-partisans: either failure to comply with the larger group’s practices concerning Sabbath observance, or more likely, clique formation.


The Gospel of John; excommunication from the synagogue (ἀποσυναγωγός); anti-society language; birkhat haMinim; Sabbath observance; misbehavior towards the temple and the commandment of loving each other


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