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If John is a Chiasm...

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  • Matthew Miller
    I don t believe Peter Ellis in the Genius of John achieves the final word on John s structure. The Cana to Cana chiasm is just one indication that he has
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2010
      I don't believe Peter Ellis in the Genius of John achieves the final word on John's structure. The Cana to Cana chiasm is just one indication that he has overlooked something important. If the whole of John is a chiasm than there are at least two parallel passages which must play a part. Ellis misses both of them.

      1) The Disciples first and last encounters with Jesus (John 1:35-51; John 20:1-31)

      John sees Jesus and tells two disciples. (1:35-36)
      Mary can't find Jesus and tells two disciples. (20:1-3)
      Two disciples respond by following Jesus (1:37)
      Two disciples respond by running to look for Jesus. (20:3-4)
      Jesus Turns to see Disciples (1:38)
      She (Mary) Turns to see Jesus (20:14)
      Jesus asks Disciples, “What do you seek?” (1:38)
      Jesus asks Mary, “Whom are you seeking?”(1:15)
      Disciples addresses Jesus: “Rabbi (Which translated means Teacher)” (1:38)
      Mary addresses Jesus: “Rabboni (Which means, Teacher)” (1:16)
      Disciples ask Jesus,“Where are you (Jesus) staying?” (1:38)
      Mary asks Jesus, "Tell me where you have laid Him?” (1:15)
      Andrew tells Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (1:41)
      Mary tells Disciples, “I have seen the Lord” (20:18)
      Philip tells Nathaniel : “We have found Him...” (1:45)
      Disciples tells Thomas: “We have seen the Lord” (20:25)
      Nathaniel expresses doubt, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" (1:46)
      Thomas expresses doubt, "Unless I see... I will not believe" (20:25)
      Jesus grants evidence: "I saw you under the fig tree" (1:47-48)
      Jesus grants evidence: "Put your finger here... (20:27)
      Nathaniel declares his belief in Jesus,"Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." (1:49)
      Thomas declares his belief in Jesus,"My Lord and my God!" (20:28)
      Jesus: "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than these." (1:50)
      Jesus: "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (20:29)
      2) The healing of the Lame Man and the Blind Man (John 5:1-16; John 9:1-41)

      Jesus is in Jerusalem at the time of a feast (5:1)
      Jesus is in Jerusalem at the time of a feast (7:1, 10)
      Jesus heals man who wants to be healed in the pool of Bethesda. (5:7-9)
      Jesus heals man by having him wash in the pool of Siloam. (9:6-7)
      After the healing: “Now it was the Sabbath on that day” (5:9)
      •After the healing: “Now it was the Sabbath on the day” (9:14)
      The man is interrogated about his healing (5:10-15)
      •The man is interrogated about his healing (9:8-34)
      The healed man did not know who had healed him. (5:13)
      The healed man did not know where Jesus was. (5:12)
      The Issue of sin and suffering, "Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." (5:14)
      The Issue of sin and suffering, "Who sinned this man or his parents that he would be born blind?" (9:2)
      •Since these passages are linked in narrative detail and not in the Greek alone, their commonalities are easily seen in translation. If John is creating some sort of larger structure through these parallels than I think these parallels tell us something fundamental about the way in which he creates connections.

      I offer the following alternative structure for consideration.

      A) Seeing and Believing (1:35-51)
      B) Wedding of Cana (2:1-12)
      C) Foreshadowing and Meeting 2:13-3:21)
      D) John the Baptist and a Woman (3:23-4:54)
      E) Voice of Life (5:1-54)
      G) Call to Discipleship (6:1-79)
      E') Voice of Life (7:1-10:41)
      D') Two Women and Caiaphas (11:1-57)
      C') Foreshadowing and Meeting (12:1-50)
      B') Crucifixion (19:25-30)
      A') Seeing and Believing (20:1-29)

      G') Call to Discipleship (21:1-25)

      This proposal certainly isn't as tight as Ellis' but that may count in its favor. It certainly reflects John's apparent redactional insertions (i.e. John 14-17 and 21) as well as explains the supposed displacement of John 5 and the Temple Cleansing. Not every connection in this structure is equally compelling and that may suggest its error or its need for further refinement. Some connections, however, just seem to good not to be true. For instance, John the Baptist's short conversation with his disciples appears to be parallel with Caiaphas' discussion with the Sanhedrin...

      John and Caiaphas (John 3:22-4:2; John 11:45-57)
      Issue of Purity: "Therefore there arouse a discussion on the part of John's disciples with a Jew aboutpurification" (3:25)
      Issue of Purity: "Many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves. So they were seeking Jesus..." (11:55)
      Concern: John's disciples inform him of there concern that "all are going to Him (Jesus) (4:26)
      Concern: Some come and inform the Pharisees. Pharisees fear "all men will believe in Him..." (11:46-48)
      Correction: John corrects his disciples about the plan of God (3:27-30)
      •Correction: Caiaphas corrects the Sanhedrin about the plan of God (11:49-52)
      Departure: "Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples then John... He left Judea and went away again into Galilee" (4:1-3)
      •Departure: "So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away into a city called Ephraim; and there he stayed with the disciples."(11:53-54)
      Your comments and questions would be most appreciated.

      Matthew Miller
      Canby Bible College

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