Sorting by


Jesus’ Miracles in John and the Synoptics

I’m trying to explain how John is so very different from the other three Gospels in its presentation of Jesus’ words and deeds.  As I have shown, John tells different stories from the others. More striking when it tells the same kinds of stories, there are stark and compelling differences.  Here is how I explain it in my New Testament textbook. ****************************************** The differences between John and the Synoptics are perhaps even more striking in stories that they have in common. You can see the differences yourself simply by taking any story of the Synoptics that is also told in John and comparing the two accounts carefully.  A thorough and detailed study of this phenomenon throughout the entire Gospel would reveal several fundamental differences. Here we will look at two differences that affect a large number of the stories of Jesus’ deeds and words. First, the deeds. Jesus does not do as many miracles in John as he does in the Synoptics, but the ones he does are, for the most part, far more spectacular. [...]

2020-04-03T01:59:10-04:00October 3rd, 2017|Canonical Gospels, Public Forum|

Differences Between John and the Synoptics

In this sub-thread I'm trying to explain why I do not use the fourth Gospel extensively in trying to decide what Jesus actually taught (specifically about the afterlife, but about much of anything else as well).   One of the main issues involves the differences between John and the three Synoptic Gospels (all of them earlier than John), Matthew, Mark, and Luke.   Here I discuss one aspect of these differences: at the very fundamental level, John simply has Jesus say and do different things than he does in the others.  This is how I put it in my introductory textbook. ************************************************************ Even to the casual reader, the Fourth Gospel may seem somewhat different from the other three within the canon. Nowhere in the other Gospels is Jesus said to be the Word of God, the creator of the universe, the equal of God, or the one sent from heaven and soon to return. Nowhere else does Jesus claim that to see him is to see the Father, that to hear him is to hear the Father, [...]

2020-04-03T01:59:16-04:00October 1st, 2017|Canonical Gospels, Public Forum|

Why Jesus Does Miracles

I seem to be taking a very circuitous route (as you may have noticed) to the question of why we might think that the author of the Gospel of John had access to a written source that gave him his information about the “signs” that Jesus did during his public ministry.   To get to that point, I have been discussing how John’s view of Jesus’ spectacular deeds differed significantly from the view of the Synoptics.  I have stressed that whereas in John Jesus does signs in order to prove that he is the Son of God so that people would come to believe in him, in the Synoptics Jesus refuses to do signs in order to prove his divine identity. But why then does he do miracles in the Synoptics?   I suppose the common answer is probably right: he does miracles out of compassion for those who are suffering.   But there is more to it than that.   The miracles in the Synoptics do demonstrate that what Jesus says is true.  But in these Gospels what [...]

2020-04-03T13:38:45-04:00May 26th, 2015|Canonical Gospels|

Evidence that the Synoptics Are Copying (one another? other sources?)

In yesterday’s post, when talking about the one-time existence of Q, I indicated that scholars have long recognized that there must be some kind of literary relationship among Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Synoptic Gospels, since they have so many similarities: they tell many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes – lots of times – in the very same words.  That is to say, someone must be copying someone else, or they are all using the same written sources. Some of my students have trouble seeing that if two documents are word-for-word the same, one must be copying the other (or they both are copying a third source).  Older adults don’t seem to have any problem seeing that, right off the bat.  But younger adults need to be convinced.  And so I do a little experiment with them that more or less proves it.  I do this every year in my New Testament class, which normally has 200-300 students in it. I come to class a minute or two late [...]

2020-04-03T13:54:50-04:00March 17th, 2015|Canonical Gospels|

Discrepancies in the Resurrection Narratives

I’ve been having a great time with my undergraduate course this semester, “Introduction to the New Testament.” It has 240 students in it. I lecture twice a week, for 50 minutes at a shot; then for their third class period each student has to meet in a recitation group of 20 students, each one led in discussion by one of my graduate teachings assistants (four TA’s altogether; each one has three recitations). I meet with TA’s for an hour each week to talk about what we want to have happen in the recitations that Friday. The students taking the class, as I’ve pointed out before, have to do a two-page “position paper” each time in preparation for recitation. So far I think *most* (not all!) students are enjoying the course. A lot of them are finding it challenging – not so much because of its inherent difficulty as because of the perspectives being put forth in the readings and the lectures. We have spent a *lot* of time on the differences among the Gospels, and [...]

2020-04-03T17:20:48-04:00February 10th, 2014|Canonical Gospels, Teaching Christianity|
Go to Top