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The Nature of John’s Signs Source

I have given one of the major pieces of evidence that there was a Signs Source that was used by the author of the Gospel of John, a written document that enumerated seven miraculous deeds of Jesus that were designed to show that he was a divine being, the Son of God.   There is another piece of evidence.  It is the concluding comment of chapter 20 of the Gospel, which I have already quoted a couple of times: “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, but these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life in his name.” (20:30-31) The reason this verse seems to suggest the existence of a signs source is that it doesn’t really make very much sense where it now occurs, at the end of the stories of Jesus’ resurrection (Note: as I’ve indicated before, scholars frequently think that chapter 21 of John was tacked on later, in a second edition; [...]

2020-04-03T13:37:43-04:00May 28th, 2015|Canonical Gospels|

Some Evidence for a Signs Source in John

I started this mini-thread by mentioning one of the now-lost documents of early Christianity that I would love to have discovered, the alleged “Signs Source” of the Gospel of John.  Before giving the evidence that there may have been some such source, I went off on a tangent, in order to show that John has a different view of Jesus’ spectacular deeds from what you find in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.   In these earlier Gospels, Jesus does “miracles,” both because he feels compassion for those in need and in order to illustrate his teaching that the Kingdom of God was soon to appear.  In John, however, he does “signs” to prove that he really is a divine being. So, what evidence is there that John’s accounts of Jesus’ signs derive from a previously existing, but no longer surviving, written source?   The evidence does not make a slam-dunk case, and so the matter is debated among scholars.  I’ve long thought, though, that there probably was some such source. First, some basic factual information.  These are the [...]

2020-04-03T13:37:51-04:00May 27th, 2015|Canonical Gospels|

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. ****************************************************************** Thus the theory of written sources behind the Fourth Gospel can explain many of the literary problems of the narrative. These sources obviously no longer survive. What can we say about them? Character of the Sources in John (1) The Signs Source. Some of the seams that we have observed appear to suggest that the author incorporated a source that described the signs of Jesus, written to persuade people that he was the messiah, the Son of God. There are seven "signs" in the Gospel; it is possible that these were all original to the source. You may recall that "seven" is [...]

2020-04-03T17:15:42-04:00March 19th, 2014|Canonical Gospels|
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