John 21 portrays seven disciples fishing all night yet catching nothing. In the morning, a shoreline stranger instructs them to recast their net. Surprisingly, the disciples fail to recognize him. After a miraculous catch and subsequent breakfast, however, there is no doubt as to who this stranger is. Jesus then questions Peter about his love and commissions him to feed Jesus' sheep. Using narrative criticism, Lowdermilk examines this recognition scene, asking, ""How would a reader, well acquainted with recognition and deception as portrayed in Genesis, understand John 21?"" He discards ""trickster"" terminology and argues that biblical recognition occurs within a context of ""manipulation."" After proposing a detailed taxonomy of manipulation, he ventures further and argues for patterns in Genesis where manipulators are ""counter-manipulated"" in a reciprocal manner, ironically similar to their own behavior, providing a transforming effect on the manipulator. These findings, plus a careful examination of Greek diminutives, inform Lowdermilk's new reading of John 21:1-19. Peter withholds his identity as a disciple in John 18 and later Jesus actively withholds his identity in ironic counter-manipulation, mirroring Peter's denials. Jesus' threefold questioning of Peter continues the haunting echoes of Peter's earlier denials. Will it result in a disciple transformed? ""In the beginning, God created stories. Great stories keep readers on edge by way of thick plot lines, complex characters, manipulation of tricksters, and reversals that lead to tragedy or redemption. Lowdermilk likens recognition scenes (aha moments) of the Patriarchs in Genesis to the life of Peter in the Gospel of John. Spoiler alert: just when you think the show is over, Jesus the counter-manipulator appears out of nowhere and changes everything."" --Martin Mittelstadt, Professor of New Testament, Evangel University ""By reading the characterization of Peter and Jesus in John against the background of the trickster motif in Genesis, Eric Lowdermilk demonstrates the importance of manipulation as a rubric for analyzing character interactions--which is especially appropriate for ancient literature produced in an agonistic society. This volume will be instructive for anyone working in Genesis and the Gospels, the dynamics of character interactions in ancient literature, the trickster motif, recognition scenes in Jewish and Christian literature, or the place of John 21 in the narrative of the Fourth Gospel."" --R. Alan Culpepper, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University ""Lowdermilk proposes an insightful alternative to the trickster motif--that of manipulation and counter-manipulation. He demonstrates that this motif better represents biblical character development and more clearly highlights the plot function of the transformative potential of character interaction. Lowdermilk's careful, creative reading across testaments will be of interest to biblical narrative, rhetorical, and performance critics, as well as to all who delight in the story of the Bible."" --Kathy R. Maxwell, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Palm Beach Atlantic University Eric Lowdermilk serves as Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies and Coordinator of the Orlando Ministry Program at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Orlando, Florida. He is the author of various writings in student affairs, a grounded theory study of the transformation of inner-city youth, and biblical studies.