Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Bruce Schuchard

Scripture References in this Resource

John 12:1-7; John 13:2-30; John 19:38-42


Blanke, Jonathan A. "A Household to Be Gathered: The Anointing at Bethany and the Day of Jesus' Death in the Gospel according to John." Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2007.224 pp.

This dissertation focuses on the theological significance of the anointing at Bethany in the Fourth Gospel and its relationship to the passion and death of Jesus. The dissertation responds to the conclusion of much twentieth-century scholarship that John 12:1-7 is essentially meaningful as a text that evolved from an oral tradition comparable to other anointings of Jesus with perfume by unnamed women in the Synoptic Gospels. It supplements this prior scholarly study by focusing on the literary context of the Bethany anointing within the Fourth Gospel and its sociohistorical context in light of biblical and extra-biblical texts of the first-century. This investigation concludes that the Bethany anointing is especially meaningful with regards to the Gospel's household theme. The same holds true for two "narrative echoes" of John 12:1-7: John 13:2-30 and John 19:38-42. The dissertation demonstrates that these narrative echoes mark the beginning and the end of a final 24-hour period in the Fourth Gospel that first-century readers of the Fourth Gospel would have understood to be Passover. John 12:1 indicates that the anointing took place at the beginning of a six-day "week," ending on the Passover. Allusions throughout the latter portion of the Gospel to a new household of God, gathered by Jesus through his death, associate the Passover imagery in this portion of the Gospel with the gathering of the new household having Jesus as its focus. Thus, the dissertation finds the anointing at Bethany to be simultaneously anticipating Jesus as Passover lamb and head of a household which he gathers to his Father through his death. It demonstrates how Mary and her siblings, in addition to their status as unique individuals in the Fourth Gospel, nevertheless have a representative role to play for first-century and present-day readers. The anointing at Bethany in the Gospel of John depicts Jesus as one whose intention it is to die in order that he might gather unto himself a new household of God.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.