Women at the Tomb

Here I’ll continue my thread on topics that I changed my mind about or came to see in doing my research for How Jesus Became God.   One of the most important things I changed my mind about was the idea that Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty three days after his death.

When I was a Christian, of course I thought that was the case.   But even when I had become an agnostic I thought it was probably a historical ...

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Radio Debate on How Jesus became God: Part 1

As is my wont, I was in England for Spring Break, and while there I was invited to participate in a radio program devoted to my book How Jesus Became God (as I’ve indicated before on the blog).   The program was set up to be a radio “debate,” or, well, “friendly exchange of ideas” (it was the latter more than the former) between me and Simon J. Gathercole, who is a Senior Lecturer in New Testament at Cambridge ...

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John from a Socio-Historical Perspective

Now that I have explained what the socio-historical method is in general terms (in my previous post) I can go on to show how it can be applied to a particular Gospel, in this case, the Gospel of John.  Again, none of this is new and fresh scholarship that I myself came up with; two of the real pioneers of this method were two of the greats of New Testament interpretation in the latter part of the twentieth century, both ...

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The Socio-Historical Method

More on the Gospel of John!  In previous posts I explained how it can be studied following a variety of methods that I had introduced earlier in relation to Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  In my textbook I go on to introduce a different method altogether, which is concerned with a *completely* different set of questions and issues.  It will take me a couple of posts to explain the method, and a couple to apply it to the Gospel of John.  ...

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Sources of the Fourth Gospel

I have given evidence so far that the Gospel of John is not a single composition written by a single author sitting down to produce the account at a single time, but is made up of written sources that have all been edited together into the finished product. Here I lay out a bit more information about the sources that appear to lie behind this account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

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Thus the theory of written sources behind the ...

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More on John from a Redactional Perspective

In the previous post I started to give the evidence that the Gospel of John is based on previously existing sources (probably written – that it ultimately goes back to oral sources goes without saying) (even though I just said it). The argument for sources is a cumulative one, and in my judgment this third one clinches the deal. Again, from my textbook:

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The two preceding arguments may not seem all that persuasive by themselves. The third kind of evidence, ...

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John from a Redactional Perspective

In my previous post I asked whether many of you were getting tired of this discussion of methods of analysis, in relationship to the Gospel of John. Almost everyone who replied wanted me to continue, and so I do! I move on to the question of whether redaction criticism can be useful for studying the Fourth Gospel. This will take two posts. Again, I am drawing from my textbook, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction….

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The ...

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More on John from a Comparative Perspective

Continuing my thread on methods for studying the Gospels. In yesterday’s post I began to talk about the “Comparative method” and showed how, in comparison with the Synoptics, just how different John is, purely in terms of contents. But even when John and the Synoptics contain similar stories (e.g., miracles; teachings; passion narrative) they are very different. That’s what I try to show in this excerpt today.

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Comparison of Emphases

The differences between John and the Synoptics are perhaps ...

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The Gospel of John from a Comparative Perspective

So far in my discussion of John’s Gospel I have tried to show how different methods of analysis can tell us different things. And so I’ve talked about the literary-historical method, which determines the literary genre of a work and asks how that genre is used in its historical context, and the thematic method, which ignores genre and simply looks for outstanding themes of a work, for example in its opening chapters and in its speeches. Now I move on ...

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The Gospel of John from a Thematic Perspective

In previous posts I’ve discussed how a literary-historical approach to John can yield interesting results. Other methods of analysis are available as well. Here I discuss another one that I have not yet explained, but should be understandable simply from the following extract from my textbook. I call this other method, simply, the “thematic” approach. Here is what I say about it, in relation to the Gospel of John.

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The Gospel of John from a Thematic Perspective

Whereas the ...

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