By Paul N. Anderson
Over the past centuries, many students have thought of the Gospel of John off-limits for all quests for the old Jesus. That stance, even though, creates a brand new set of difficulties that have to be addressed thoughtfully.
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Extra info for John, Jesus, and History. Volume 1, Critical Appraisals of Critical Views (Society of Biblical Literature Symposium Series)
ANDERSON: WHY THIS STUDY IS NEEDED 27 ▶ ἄρτος: Jesus is tempted to turn stones into bread (Matt 4:1–4; Luke 4:1–4), and he feeds the multitudes with bread (Matt 14:13–21; 15:32–39; Mark 6:32–44; 8:1–10; Luke 9:10–17). ▶ φῶς: Jesus’ disciples are the light of the world (Matt 5:14–16). ▶ θύρα: The (narrow) gate is emphasized (Matt 7:13–14; Luke 13:24) as the way to life. ▶ ποιμὴν: The parable of the shepherd and the sheep (Matt 18:10–14; Luke 15:3–7) emphasizes the care of Jesus for his fold. ▶ ἀνάστασις: Debates over the resurrection arise between Jesus and Jewish leaders (Matt 22:23–33; Mark 12:18–27; Luke 20:27–40), and the raising of Jarius’s daughter (Matt 9:18–26; Mark 5:21–43; Luke 8:40–56) brings life out of death.
Likewise, the presentation of the theological significance of Jesus’ miracles is also rooted in the reflective process of the Evangelist’s thinking. Even the emphasis upon the existential value of Jesus’ signs betrays the theological engagement of the Evangelist’s thinking, operating on a stage 5 level of faith (Conjunctive Faith, according to James Fowler’s approach), contrasted to less dialectical and more conventional 33. For further details, see Anderson 1996, 33–36. 34 On theologizing explanations of John’s distinctive chronology, the “paschal theology of the Evangelist” gets credited with the placement of the temple cleansing early and the location of the Last Supper on Thursday, the day the paschal lambs were slain.
This being the case, at least some of John’s presentation of Jesus history emerges in dialogue with alternative perspectives. 32 In these and other ways, the Johannine memory is thoroughly engaged in history, but the question is: Which history? All of John relates to history; the question is whether particular material reflects originative history in the ministry of Jesus, the religious history of ideas and typologies attached to Jesus narratives, the history of the Johannine tradition itself, or an echo of the historical Johannine situation evolving from one period to another.