5534Re: [John_Lit] 4G redactions
- Dec 28, 2006Marco,
At last I have some time to reply to your comments
regarding the redaction theory of the Gospel of John.
I very much appreciate this opportunity to reply to
your list of reasons for supporting the redaction
By way of dialogue, I'll weave my replies into the
text of your list of reasons.
--- Fabbri Marco <mv.fabbri@...> wrote:
> I share Jack's inclination to think that John 21 isthe contrary is proved, I understand John 20,30-31 >
> not written by the same person that wrote John 1-20.
> I find the following reasons:
> 1. Chapter 20 ends in vv. 30-31 with a fully-fledged
> conclusion, that refers back to the SHMEIA (signs),
> that can be found in John 2-12. Therefore, unless >
as the conclusion of John 1-20 (whether you include >
the Prologue or not).
Marco, the logic of your argument suggests to me that
Jn. 20: 30-31 should be considered the conclusion of
the Gospel of Signs, which as you indicated is found
in Jn. 2-12. (I would argue that the Signs component
of the Fourth Gospel begins at Jn. 1: 19 (after the
Prolog) and ends at Jn. 13: 20 (with the account of
the footwashing and before the Farewell Discourse or
what Brown calls the Book of Glory begins - though I
differ with Brown as to when that book begins: at Jn.
13: 21, not at Jn. 13: 1, but that's another issue.)
The rationale for such a conclusion being, as you
suggested, the reference to signs in those concluding
I see no reason to assume, if we are going to put
forth a theory that the work of a redactor is evident
in the Fourth Gospel, that Jn. 20: 30-31 belongs at
the end of chapter 20. Why not at the end of chapter
12 (or as I have suggested after 13: 20)?
If the redaction theory is related in any way to what
may be observed in the Gospel of Mark (where there are
at least two different endings) as, for example, a
struggle by first century Gospel writers to provide an
appropriate ending for the Gospel story, then might it
not be appropriate to suggest that 20: 30-31 could be
placed at the end of chapter 19, supporting the idea
that the resurrection narratives are all the work of
one or more redactors?
My point is that those two verses (Jn. 20: 30-31) can
stand alone. They may be placed where they are at the
end of chapter 20 or virtually anywhere else we might
want to suggest is the "earliest ending" of the
proto-gospel or first draft of the Gospel or whatever
we end up calling what we believe to be the oldest
part of the text.
Is it not more sound from a scholarly point of view to
challenge the redaction theory than to challenge the
text as we have it? I stand with Culpepper (Anatomy,
p. 49), Brown (Introduction p. 86) and Barrett (citing
Lindars in The Gospel According to John Second
Edition, p. 25) on this. Each of these scholars has
theories about how the Gospel may have been redacted,
but none of them conclude that it is possible to
discern the earliest form of the text with any degree
The redactor theories serve to explain how or why some
of the material may have been incorporated into the
Gospel, but they remain theories and cannot be used to
isolate some of the material in the Gospel as we have
it today from the rest of the material. These
theories, therefore, are best used AFTER the text has
been studied as a whole, not as a way of organizing
the material BEFORE the study begins.
>to what comes before, that is to the Gospel as a
> 2. John 21,24 says the the beloved disciple wrote
> TAUTA. It is reasonable to think that TAUTA refers >
> whole down to the first conclusion in John 20,30-31.I'm afraid I don't see your point. What you suggest
is that the use of TAUTA makes it reasonable to say
that this verse is the conclusion to the entire
gospel, which you say ends with chapter 20. How do
you conclude that TAUTA in 21: 24 refers to the
material that ends at 20: 30-31 but not to the
material preceding it in Jn. 21?
As I see it Jn. 21: 24 is referring to Jn. 21: 23c,
explaining that when Jesus is quoted saying, "If it is
my will that he (IE: the disciple whom Jesus loved
identified in 21: 20) remain (continue to abide) until
I come, what is that to you?"
It is as though the author(s) has (have) placed
parentheses around the phrase (this is the disciple
who is testifying to these things and has written
them). The TAUTA, in other words, refers to Jesus'
statement in 21: 23c, not necessarily to the entire
I see 21: 24 as the kind of language found at 19: 35.
It is an assertion that the Beloved Disciple is the
source of this witness. 21: 24 is not necessarily
written BY that witness, but appears to have been
written ABOUT the witness, who is the subject of a
discussion between Peter and Judas in Jn. 21: 20 and
This goes to the theory as to the role of the BD in
the composition of the Gospel. It seems right to me
that the BD may have been the SOURCE of much of the
material or could have been the AUTHORITY that
influenced an entire community to develop the Gospel
as we now have it, but that does not necessarily mean
that a single author, the BD or anyone else, wrote the
original manuscript or even the proto-gospel which was
later redacted by one or more other writers.
>1-20. I list them so:
> 3. I find six reasons to think that Chapter 21 is
> not written by the beloved disciple who wrote John >
I'm assuming that you DO think that the material
before Chapter 21 WAS written by the beloved disciple.
Is that correct?
>ever is speaking can be easily distinguished from
> 3.1. John 21,24 says that "we know that his witness
> is true". The verb is in first plural, so that who->
> the beloved disciple, that is referred to in thirdAs I've just pointed out, Jn. 19: 35 can be given that
> person: "he".
same value. If 21: 24 is evidence that a different
hand wrote Chapter 21, is 19: 35 evidence that a
different hand wrote Chapter 19 or Chapters 18 AND 19?
If so, should we consider that a redactor wrote the
>testifies on his own behalf. As John 5,31 says:
> 3.2. If the person speaking were the same as the
> author of John 1-20, he would be a person who >
> "If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannotJn. 5: 30-38 presents Jesus' own defense against the
> be verified".
legal charge of blasphemy (Jn. 5: 18 "calling God his
own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.") In
5: 30-38 Jesus points his accusers to John the Baptist
as a witness, but says that he does not need human
testimony, because the works (that the Father had
given Him to complete) testify on his behalf and the
Father who sent Him "has himself testified on my
behalf." In other words, Jesus sites two unassailable
witnesses as required by Hebrew law to refute the
legal charges against him.
If we understand that the beloved disciple has played
an important role, even a central role in the creation
of the Fourth Gospel, it would seem that the BD does
not fall into the trap of testifying on his/her own
behalf, because Jesus affirms the BD's testimony, even
the BD's abiding presence in 21: 23 and the gospel
itself is evidence of that disciple's faithfulness to
the task entrusted to him (or her - as I have
suggested in an exegesis of Jn. 12: 7 - See Let Her
Keep It pp 247-252). Thus the witness of the BD has
an authority similar to that of Jesus Himself!
>word spread among the brothers. These verses make >
> 3.3. John 21,20-23 says that Jesus didn't say that
> the beloved disciple wouldn't die, contrary to the >
sense if they were written after the death of the >
beloved disciple: the author seems worried that >
some brothers might think that Jesus was wrong.
> Therefore the beloved disciple didn't write theseAs indicated above, I don't think one must attribute
authorship of chapter 21 to the beloved disciple in
order to consider chapter 21 to have been woven into
the entire Gospel in a manner similar to the skillful
way that other material was woven into the Gospel. My
theory is that an entire community of scholars
(probably under the leadership, inspiration and
authority of the beloved disciple) were involved in
the composition and refinement of the gospel. You
have found evidence that supports my theory. Thank
>modified when chapter 21 is added leads to think >
> 3.4. The fact that we find a conclusion in John
> 20,30-31 make it plausible that once the Gospel
> ended there, and chapter 21 was added subsequently.
> The fact that the conclusion in 20,30-31 is not >
that the author of John 21 didn't think he could >
change what was already written. This doesn't
> happen in John 1-20, whenever the test is modified.doesn't take the same liberty.
> For instance, in chapter 4,2 a correction is
> inserted within the text. The author of John 21 >
I understand you to be asserting that Jn. 4:2 is a
redaction of an earlier text. Is there a manuscript
extant of this pericope that does not include what I
assume you see as the inserted phrase (vs. 2)? I'm
not aware of one (which doesn't mean there isn't one);
Absent such a manuscript, why couldn't this be a style
used by the original writer: a clarification for the
reader offered to prevent any confusion caused by what
Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, a rumor
(namely: "Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples
The clarification is consistent with the theology of
the gospel, namely that as the disciples were abiding
in Jesus, as he was abiding in them, they were able to
bear fruit. Otherwise they were not able to do
anything (Jn. 15: 4-5).
The verse above can be understood by readers of the
Gospel to mean "The Disciples of Jesus are making and
baptizing more disciples than John," but it would not
be expected that the Pharisees would have understood
that fine theological point.
When the disciples bring people to Jesus and those
people become disciples, Christ abides in them. When
they baptize others, it is the Christ abiding in them
that baptizes. That's confusing if not explained.
This of course is meaning that the reader of the
gospel gains after contemplating the meaning of the
entire text; it would not be expected that a Pharisee,
hearing the rumor, would have been able to "see" this
meaning. The writer is helping the reader distinguish
between what the words appear to mean to the
uninitiated reader and what they can mean to those who
have expounded upon the meaning of each part of the
text and upon the gospel as a whole.
>striking that they are never named in John 1-20.
> 3.5. Chapter 21 names some disciples that are never
> named before: that is, the sons of Zebedee. It is >
> Whatever the reason, it no longer stands when JohnYou may have noted that the Gospel of John does not
> 21 was written.
list twelve names to identify the disciples. The
names of James and John are not listed in the Gospel
of John specifically. Only Peter, Thomas, Judas and
Nathaniel are mentioned more than once. The fact that
the Sons of Zebedee are mentioned only in Chapter 21
does not suggest that chapter 21 was written by a
redactor or that this chapter was necessarily added to
the corpus of the text after all of the other chapters
were written. Philip is only mentioned in Jn. 1: 45.
Should we consider that reference an indication that
the pericope in which he is named (Jn. 1: 43-51) is
the work of a redactor?
> 3.6. Chapter 21 uses 174 different words. 27 of themchapter 6 fish is OPSARION. ICQUS is never
> are not existent in John 1-20. For instance, in >
> used. Chapter 21 uses ICQUS. It is unlikely thatJohn 1-20.
> the author of John 21 is the same as the author of >
Chapter 21, you say, uses 174 words. 147 of those
words (nearly 98%)are also used in John 1-20. Again,
you are assuming that the entire Gospel was written by
a single hand and is the witness of a single soul.
Consider the possibility that the Gospel is the
product of a community of faithful scholars inspired
by the witness and authority of one beloved disciple
of Jesus. Some differences are to be expected as the
work of separate scholars is woven into the text,
perhaps by the leader or leaders of the community (the
BD and others).
>reasons are indiciary. If consiered separately,
> I think that 3.1-2 are the strongest reasons, that
> give me certainty. I recognise that the following >
> they make it more likely that the author isagainst identity of author.
> different. All together, they make a strong case >
They make a case against the identity of a single
author having written the entire Gospel. I would
argue that there are several parts of the Gospel that
would illustrate that same point.
Barrett, for example, has wondered about the
authorship of chapters 11 and 12 in which Lazarus
appears, though he appears nowhere else in the Gospel
of John or in any other Gospel except in one of Jesus'
parables in The Gospel According to Luke. This is the
only parable in which Jesus names a character. (Does
that suggest that a redactor added it to the Gospel
According to Luke?)
The Prologue is widely accepted as a different kind of
writing than is found in other parts of the Gospel
(but then the farewell discourse material is different
from the Gospel of signs and the passion narrative
seems to have more in common with the Synoptics than
any other part of the Fourth Gospel.)
In short, the Gospel of John defies categorization.
If we are looking for a single author, or hoping to
separate the work of one author from that of others, I
suspect the effort will be largely fruitless, even
though we can see that there are differences. Those
differences are woven into a single fabric which
cannot be unraveled without harming or even destroying
the tapestry that proclaims our faith so powerfully.
>Marco, I have found responding to your reasons to be a
> I would be very interested to read a refutation of
> any of the given reasons.
stimulating exercise. I look forward to your response
to my refutations and the continuation of our
dialogue. I hope others on the list will contribute
to the dialogue as well.
Yours in Christ's service,
<DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
<DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
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