New Testament Studies


‘Some were saying, “He is good”’ (John 7.12b): ‘Good’ Christology in John's Gospel?*

Jane Heatha1

a1 School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, King's College, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3UB. email:


Far from being the banality suggested by commentators, John's use of the vocabulary of ‘goodness’ for Jesus (ἀγαθός and καλός) is christologically significant. It points to Jesus' unity with God. The Johannine treatment of Jesus' ‘goodness’ and interpretation of the Shema contrasts with and complements the Synoptic treatment of these themes in the rich man pericope (Mark 10.17–22 parr.).


  • John's gospel;
  • monotheism;
  • goodness;
  • rich man;
  • Shema;
  • Christology;
  • commandments


* Earlier versions of this paper were presented in 2009 for the John Seminar at the British New Testament Society Conference and for the New Testament Seminar at the University of Aberdeen. I am grateful to both audiences and to the editor of this journal for very helpful feedback. Errors and infelicities remain my own.