--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, "Matson, Mark
\(Academic\)" <MAMatson@m...> wrote:
> Frankly I have never found John's dialogues to contain that many
> redundancies. Rather, the scheme of argumentation seems to be
> working from point A to point B through carefully calibrated
> the argument. So I guess I am a little cautious about your
Yes, and I need to be more cautious as well. This hypothesis is
still in the fermentation stage. My enthusiasm gets the best of me
at times and hence the hyperbolic "mind numbing redundancies". The
situation is far more nuanced and complex than my recent posts would
> I'm not sure there is an original underneath it all to unearth.
Here's what I think. Jesus actually gave a sermon soon after the
multitude feeding in which he referred to himself as the bread of
life. It was a controversial sermon. So controversial that many of
his followers/disciples decided they'd had enough and left (this is
not something the evangelist would invent). There were scribes and
pharisees ("the Judeans") in attendance. Some might have been
sympathetic, many might have been hostile to Jesus. They did not
have video cameras, tape recorders, lap tops, or ball point pens but
they were capable of taking notes either during the sermon or shortly
thereafter. The scribes were in the business of
writing/documentation. They would have prided themselves on their
objectivity/accuracy in recording important public discourses. And
they were very interested in what Jesus said, what he did and what
his disciples did.
At some point in the future, copies of these scribal notes came to
the attention of and eventually into the hands of the beloved
disciple/Johannine community. For whatever reason(s), these notes
were not included in the first edition of GJohn or the synoptic
gospels (perhaps because it was so controversial/shocking). After
the beloved disciple left (either by death or relocation), the editor
of the gospel (the elder?) decided to include previously unreleased
Jesus tradition that he had in his possession. He had at least two
or three different accounts (or fragments of accounts) of this
controversial sermon. The differences in these accounts display
precisely the kinds of variation we find in the common synoptic
material, in other words, relatively superficial/insignificant. The
same kinds of variation we might expect were our list members to
attempt to reproduce a short pithy speech/sermon moments after its
Each account was not necessarily complete or equal but there were
variations (some slight others more significant) in their common
material. Rather than risk losing an authentic saying or snippet of
a saying of Jesus, the editor includes ALL his sources and includes
some of his own typical Johannine commentary (as per Jn.3:16-21,31-
36; 17:3, etc.) He also has a collection of questions that were
asked by Jesus' audience which he incorporates into his chiastic
structure (actually two overlapping chiasms). He creates a beautiful
work of art, utilizing his sources, leaving nothing out and
embellishing at points (which he has done throughout this gospel).
The following examples are all from John 6. Again, a certain amount
of repetition is to be expected in public discourse. What we have
here prompts me to look in another direction.
35 I am the bread of life.
48 I am the bread of life.
51 I am the living bread...
51 bread will live...
58 bread will live...
51 the bread... is my flesh
53 eat the flesh...
54 eat my flesh...
55 My flesh is true bread...
56 eat my flesh
57 eats me...
58 eats this bread...
32 from heaven...
32 from heaven.
33 comes down from heaven...
38 come down from heaven...
41 came down from heaven.
42 come down from heaven.
51 came down from heaven.
40 all who... have eternal life.
47 Whoever... has eternal life.
51 Whoever... will live forever.
53 Unless you... have no life.
54 Those who... have eternal life.
58 The one who... will live forever.
35 Whoever comes to me
37 Everything... will come to me.
37 Whoever comes to me...
44 No one can come to me...
45 who... comes to me.
39 raise it up on the last day.
40 raise them up on the last day.
44 raise him up on the last day.
54 raise them up on the last day.
38 the will of Him who sent me.
39 the will of Him who sent me.
40 the will of my Father.
> doubt Jesus said this as written (there may be a core set of sayings
> that were expanded by John)
That's exactly what I'm saying! Expanded and COMBINED in places.
the dialogues we have show every sign, in
> my opinion, of an original composition that moves the argumentation
> slowly forward.
Original primarily in structure, organization, arrangement and
editing (with some composition). The argumentation that moves slowly
forward of which you speak is more reminiscent of Jn. 8:31-59, where
there is a clear, logical (non-redundant) progression. I'm NOT
saying that this particular use of multiple sources (if true) is the
writer/editor's modus operandi. Chapter six is perhaps the most
striking example of something that occurs sporadically, unevenly.
There seems to be a little in chapter five (19-30) and in ten (1-30)
and very likely in chapters 15 to 17. Much of John is missing
this "redundancy" (for lack of a better word) and yet there are also
pericopes and small blocks of material throughout that could very
well be seperate accounts of the same pericope that were kept
seperate (of which we have similar examples in the synoptics). We
see a variety of approaches within John which is fascinating.
I'm excited about this hypothesis because it might lend support to a
growing body of evidence that suggests a primitive, early core of
material out of which GJohn was fashioned. What's really cool is how
very synoptic-like the variations in the snippets are (meaning, the
kinds of differences we see in their respective sayings of Jesus). I
am committed to the historicity of John. What I see at work in the
editor's choices is not pious fiction but a creative, respectful and
perhaps innovative way of working with his historical sources.
David Trapero M.Div.
818 2nd St. PL NE # 95
Hickory, NC 28601