Dube, Zorodzai. "Discursive investigation into John's Internalised Spirit Identity and Its Implication." HTS Teologiese Studies 72 (1) 2016, a3113.
Dube evaluates ethnicity and inclusion based on John 8:44-47 (Dube 2016, 1). In the passage he finds a description of a relatively closed and limited ethnic group. Here, Jesus describes "the Jews" as living in a state of unbelief which results in their being children of the devil. Dube concludes that John understood the Jews as evil outsiders who deserved no place in the community. Truth does not enter the "insider" community, it flows from the inside out. The understanding of community brings Dube to think of the racial and ethnic discrimination he has seen in South African history (Dube 2016, 2). He therefore questions whether it is possible to overcome the identities which are understood as negative by an "insider" group. In his conception, South African society has not made such a shift.
Dube notes that there is debate as to whether the community of John, likely Ephesus, was primarily exclusive. His opinion is that it was an exclusive community which, based on statements such as those of 8:44-47 and the paraclete sayings in chapter 17, would not freely embrace outsiders. Other commentators have found in John a relatively robust view of mission to the "outsiders," as Jesus commissions his disciples to reach their world. Dube considers this a weak way to read John, as it emphasizes what he would consider to be a theological reading of the community in a missional manner rather than dealing with ethnic conflicts rooted in the Johannine community (Dube 2016, 3).
Dube goes on to discuss the social conflicts he perceives in John's Gospel. The ideal community is to associate with Jesus, the true prophet. As it does so, Dube sees a requirement that people become "true Jews" who follow Jesus (Dube 2016, 3). In his mind, this is a(n) (illegitimate) disenfranchisement of the "outside" group. They become irredeemable children of the Devil.
Dube moves on to consider the implications of a society which is divided into various identity groups, such as his native South Africa (Dube 2016, 4). He sees it as inherently hostile to those who are identified as "outsiders" and who are treated as irredeemable. He sees labels in John such as "the Jews" as discriminatory and divisive.