This book is a dissertation written under Professor R. Piper at the University of St Andrews. At the outset, the author acknowledges her debt to scholars such as Elliott and Malina for the method of social-scientific criticism and to Berger and Luckmann for the sociology of knowledge. She also notes her dependence on Philip Esler who believes that both John’s Gospel and the Qumran documents are the products of introverted, sectarian communities.
Brown’s primary model is that of patron-client relations, which are the subject of the first chapter. According to the author, the ‘salient features of the patron-broker-client relationship at various point in John correspond to and illuminate the relationship between God, Jesus, the spirit [sic] and the believer’ and patronage ‘is the background against which it [Johannine pneumatology] functioned meaningfully for the Evangelist and his readers’ (24).