Thursday, February 12, 2015

NT: John 9-12

The Gospel According to John continues to demonstrate extensive differences from the Synoptics. Chapter 9 is consumed by the pericope “Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind” - and nothing else. Chapter 10 contains the passages “I am the Good Shepherd”, “Division among the Jews again”, “Jesus at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem”, and “Jesus Withdraws across the Jordan” ... all totally unfamiliar to Matthew, Mark and Luke.

In Chapter 11, we also are treated to new stories, such as “The Raising of Lazarus”, “The Chief Priests and Pharisees Take Counsel against Jesus” and “Jesus Retires to Ephraim" ... all of which are unfamiiar to the Synoptics. It isn’t until the start of Chapter 12 that we again see some concordance between John and the other three. The similarity is short-lived, with “The Anointing at Bethany” a clear parallel, a divergence into “The Plot against Lazarus”, then converging again with “The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem”. After that, John differs from the Synoptics through the end of the chapter.


There are precious few parallels between these four chapters in John and anything found in the Synoptics. I won’t / can’t make an educated guess as to why this is the case. Since John appears to have been written so much later than the other Gospels (90 or 100 AD), critics imply that John is a polemic that reflects a different geopolitical context, with different concerns and a different audience. This will be interesting to research further.

In summary, from John 7 through 11, there are no parallels with the other Gospels. If you include Chapter 5 (which is completely new), you have a stretch from 5 through 12 in which John is 95% unique. Amazing!

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