Engaging with C. H. Dodd on the Gospel of John

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Contents

  1. Engaging with C. H. Dodd on the Gospel of John | Cokesbury
  2. Top Authors
  3. The Apostolic Preaching & Its Developments
  4. VOTING & ELECTIONS

This is an empirical fact. The Johannine evangelist may have known Mark, but he certainly did not copy Mark with a text in front of him. Therefore, the strongest evidence for Markan-Johannine dependence is virtually nil, and the case is likewise weak regarding synoptic parallels with John The third critical approach to John involves an independent tradition developed within two or more editions.

On this score, the commentaries of Schnackenburg, Brown, and Lindars offer some of the strongest examples of how to make sense of the Johannine tradition and its composition, while all would agree that whoever wrote this narrative and however it came together, it must be read as a whole with Barrett and Culpepper. Nonetheless, within such an independent tradition view, chapter 21 seems to have been added following the apparent 21 Barrett, The Gospel according to St. John, Another couple of additions appear to have been John which is quite similar to 1 John 3 and John as appears to have originally led into And, the concerns for unity and abiding in these chapters appear to be addressing the schismatic tensions referenced in the Epistles.

Engaging with C. H. Dodd on the Gospel of John | Cokesbury

Interestingly, Brown does not reference Lindars in his later works. Moloney SDB, ed. Sanders with A. Baumgarten and Alan Mendelson, eds. Philadelphia: Fortress, —81 , —36; Steven T. Maloney, trans. Minneapolis: Fortress, As an alternative to the posteriority of John, the priority of John was argued programmatically by John A. This approach is followed also by Peter Hofrichter and Klaus Berger,37 and it certainly is not impossible to infer the three known synoptic traditions, and even Q, may have been familiar with the Johannine narrative.

John ; —is found in Matthew and Luke , and thus in Q; and, Luke departs over seventy times from Mark in ways that just happen to coincide with John. John thus appears to augment Mark, while also defending its non-duplicative autonomy. Advocating such a perspective is the work of Robert Funk, carried out programmatically in the agenda and results of the Jesus Seminar.

Robinson, The Priority of John, J. Coakley, ed. London: SCM Press, Funk et al eds.

Top Authors

In my analysis of the feeding narratives in the canonical Gospels, however, Matthew and Luke do not add details and mundane material to their treatments of Mark. Rather, they omit such details as and denarii, the green grass of the setting, names of persons and places, and other realism-features that are distinctively common to Mark and John.

If followers of Jesus ministered together, as is reported of Peter and John in Acts 8 as they traveled through Samaria, such a practice would explain the presence of distinctive Johannine-Markan contacts, reflecting oral- tradition interfluence between these two arguably primitive traditions. Thus, some of the distinctive commonalities between John and Mark—omitted by Luke and Matthew in their redactions of Mark—reflect buzz-words and mundane details characteristic of oral traditions and their earlier narrations.

That being the case, Mark and John reflect dramatized histories rather than historicized dramas. Trask, trans. Princeton: Princeton University Press, While Auerbach says that his theory does not apply to the canonical Gospels, some of his interpreters fail to heed his judgment while making use of his theory. While authorial certainty may be elusive, far less certain is the assertion of Johannine non- authorship. That also 43 Champions the traditional view include B.

Carson, The Gospel according to John. Charlesworth, The Beloved Disciple, Other minority-view possibilities include: Matthias, Apollos, Paul, Benjamin, the rich young ruler, Judas Iscariot, Andrew, Philip, Nathanael, one of the two anonymous disciples in ch. It is the assumedly established non-authorship of John that forces alternative explanations, and yet, each of these default theories is invariably encumbered with new and even greater problems than the near-unanimous second-century view.

It certainly is a more realistic rendering on several scores. Again, if an alternate theory were advanced, based on new evidence or compelling reason, that would be one thing. Robinson nonetheless describes some of the challenges with reconstructing the historical parameters of the ministry of Jesus based upon attitudes towards history in Markan Christianity: The Problem of History in Mark, Studies in Biblical Theology 21 London: SCM, Anderson, Felix Just, S. Interfluentiality abides! In nineteenth century Germany we have no scholar in the conservative camp who could match him in the extent or accuracy of his knowledge.

His editions and commentaries. While most critical scholars do not question the authorship of the Roman histories of the Caesars, or the authorship of a play by Sophocles or of a speech by Demosthenes, it is odd that they question the apostolic authorship of John despite being attested far more extensively than virtually any other ancient text, canonical or otherwise.

The Apostolic Preaching & Its Developments

The Fourth Gospel was not published around CE, as Baur and others had argued, but it was likely finalized, with Eusebius, into the reign of Trajan, around CE. Further, both of these aged leaders are reported to have been living links between John the Apostle and Irenaeus. It is the most robustly attested and unanimous claim to apostolic authorship in the entire second century; this is a daunting fact, inviting critical humility before claiming to have overturned an earlier opinion without compelling evidence for an alternative proposal.

Gardner-Smith and C. Then again, with Barrett and the Leuven School, if the Fourth evangelist operates in theologizing ways, might a good deal of his work reflect theological expansions upon synoptic or synoptic-like traditions? Of course, Martyn assumes an underlying non-Johannine source, and his doctoral student, Robert T. These are reasons why identifying John the Elder as the source, or at least the final editor of the Johannine narrative, seems compelling to the likes of Hengel, Bauckham, and others.

It is precisely that inference that continues to invite critical assessment. Hammering hard on this issue is thus required if critical scholarship on the Johannine Question is to be its best. Put otherwise, to question a traditional view is not to overturn it. However, there are many unattractive features of these objections; among them are the tendency to give documents other than the GosJn priority in discerning the meaning of the GosJn, and the propensity to impute historical accuracy to documents that were not primarily intended to represent bruta facta, and assuredly are not, by genre, histories.

Therefore, they still deserve critical analysis, as do three other bases for excluding the traditional view from critical consideration. Although Parker considers the first three bases less than compelling, some scholars are still swayed by their influence, forcing default explanations to account for the historical origin and development of the Johannine tradition.

The first clear testimony to this tradition is offered Irenaeus III, 1.


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But John the son of Zebedee must have been killed by the Jews very early, as Mk. Moreover the Gospel itself makes no claim to have been written by an eye-witness and in no way does it give occasion to presume that an eyewitness lies behind it, rather it completely contradicts such and assumption.

What the facts will show, however, is that the exact opposite is true. Not only is John the son of Zebedee the only person associated with the Fourth Gospel before Irenaeus, but a first-century clue to Johannine authorship has been completely overlooked by all sides of the debate.

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Given that James the son of Zebedee was martyred in 44 CE, killed by the sword under Herod Antipas Acts , and that Jesus predicted that James and John would indeed drink his cup and be baptized with his baptism Mark , it might be assumed that they died at the same time. John, Vol. Second, both Philip and George assert that John the son of Zebedee lived a long life, culminating in Ephesus, where he died after the reign of Domitian According to Philip Frag. During this, he also banished the Apostle and Evangelist John to Patmos.

Third, continuing to build on the work of Eusebius, Philip asserts that Papias and Polycarp were earwitnesses to John the Theologian, whom he identifies as the brother of James, to whom he attributes martyrdom Frag. George Hamartolos supports this association in a slightly different way, asserting that Papias was an eyewitness to John the Apostle—the last of the remaining twelve apostles.

While Irenaeus referred to Papias as an earwitness to John the Apostle, despite the earlier claim of Papias that he had not known any of the apostles, this report represents either a distortion of that tradition, or it could represent an alternative memory regarding the five books of Papias, corroborating the report of Irenaeus. Might Papias even have written that he had not met 58 First noted by C. John, The Son of Zebedee, While Papias explicitly claims that he did have contact with John the Elder and Ariston, at least these disciples of the Lord provided a bridge to the living voice of the apostles, among whom Papias valued the testimony of John supremely.

And, after Domitian, Nerva ruled as king for one year, who, having called John back from the island, released him to house in Ephesus. Being then the only one still alive from the twelve disciples, and having composed the gospel according to himself, he was held worthy of martyrdom. For Papias, the bishop of Heirapolis, who was the eyewitness of this man, in the second volume of the lordly oracles claims that he was done away with by Jews, having clearly fulfilled with his brother the prediction of Christ about them and their own confession about this and submission.

While references to Papias might not confirm that John the Apostle must have written any of the texts bearing his name, so it cannot be held critically that he died early and thus cannot have written any of the texts bearing his name. B Gnostic Johannophilia and Orthodox Johannophobia. Indeed he wrote down the gospel, while John [the Apostle] was dictating carefully. Thus, it cannot be claimed that Gnostics and heretics were uniformly pro-Johannine. Nor can it be claimed that orthodox Christian leaders before Irenaeus avoided the Johannine Gospel. Echoes of Johannine content and associations are found in the letters of Ignatius and the writings of Polycarp and Papias, and nowhere are they disagreed with or disparaged.

The discovery of Papyrus cf. As Graham Stanton has pointed out, the Gospels of Matthew and John were used together as core teachings for the early Christian movement,66 so it cannot be said that the orthodox Christian movement held John at a distance. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, While there are a few mentions of John the Elder, his purported authorship is never directly associated with the Johannine Gospel. Far more likely are the following. First, that we have within the Johannine situation a plurality of leaders within one or more emerging Christian communities.

Barrett, Johannine Christianity was more central to the heart of the Gentile mission than some scholars have allowed, and it would have been in located in a cosmopolitan setting rather than a sectarian enclave. Second, Papias, Irenaeus, Dionysius, and Eusebius all describe two luminaries in Ephesus, whose tombs there are also commonly known—one of John the Apostle and the other of John the Elder. Third, as singular authorship of all five Johannine writings is contested, a more complex view, also cohering with patristic testimony, is more plausible.

If John the Elder was connected with the writing of the Epistles and possibly Revelation , he might also have served as the final compiler of the testimony of the Beloved Disciple—in unanimous second-century opinion: John the Apostle. He was of the tribe of Zebulun. He preached in Asia at first, and afterwards was banished by Tiberius Caesar to the isle of Patmos. Then he went to Ephesus and built up the church in it. Three of his disciples went thither with him, and there he died and was buried. He then [the Evangelist1, having lived a long time, died and was buried in Ephesus, in which he had been bishop.

Therefore, if something like this were the case, and if the author or source of the Johannine Gospel had passed away before the narrative was finalized and circulated, John the Elder and author of the Epistles at least 2 and 3 John, but likely also 1 John and perhaps Revelation may also have been the final compiler of the witness of his mentor—John the Apostle, regarded the Beloved Disciple especially after his death.

The Synoptics and Acts and Paul paint a clear and consistent portrait of this man. If any of these issues is definitive critically, that would be important to establish. If indeed John the son of Zebedee, from Bethsaida on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, was the author of the Fourth Gospel, Parker argues that it is unlikely that he should include the following material, which is distinctive to John.

The likelihood of that inference must be certainly not. Observant Jews in Galilee would have visited Jerusalem several times a year, especially during the three pilgrimage festivals as commanded in Exodus Pesach—Passover, Shavuot—Weeks, and Sukkot— Booths. If a family were to make half of these pilgrimages, and no other visits, a year old would have visited Jerusalem thirty times.

Further, if Jesus and his disciples visited Jerusalem between one and four times, whether one assumes the Synoptic or the Johannine account, it is inconceivable that a Galilean would not have been familiar with Judea and its environs. Atlanta: SBL Press, , citation p. Given the facts that John of Zebedee is reported in the Synoptics as being present in Jerusalem during the last days of Jesus as Parker himself acknowledges and that he is also reported as being in Jerusalem several times in Acts, it is impossible imagine that this particular figure from Galilee would never have been familiar with Judea or Jerusalem.

After all, Jesus was killed in Jerusalem, and it is there that he received his stiffest opposition. It bears no critical weight at all. A third objection here questions whether a son of Zebedee would be known to anyone within the household of the high priest, especially given the adversarial reception among the priestly household received by Peter and John in Acts 4. To be clear, the disciple in John 18 is not named, so it is not certain that this is a reference to the Beloved Disciple.

And yet, his proximity to Peter, as well as the possible connection with unnamed disciples in John 1, could imply an identification with such a figure, even if not made explicitly. Assuming John could not have been known to the high priest or his household is worthy of consideration, but not definitive. If Salome the wife of Zebedee was related to Mary the mother of Jesus, whose cousin Elizabeth was married to Zachariah, a priest of Jerusalem, such connections are not impossible to imagine within extended clan associations.


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After all, there was a fish gate in Jerusalem Neh , and the fishing- commerce links between Galilee and Jerusalem are well established in antiquity. Familiarity breeds contempt every bit as much as alterity, and at times more so. Therefore, proof that a Galilean could not have written the Johannine narrative is certainly not compelling. Another form of judgment levied by Parker involves social-status and personal-interest inferences based upon the ways John the son of Zebedee is presented in the Synoptics and Acts.

These judgments are simply taken at face value, and speculative extrapolations are used to question the absence of material otherwise found in the Synoptics. Even if it is thoroughly known what standard customs were practiced by fishing-business families on the Sea of Galilee in the first century CE a subject that Parker does not even research , standard social-science assessments might not apply to children of fishing-business owners.

Nor are presentations of disciples within the canonical Gospel traditions free of bias or rhetorical interests, especially if they were rooted in apostolic memory. In all four Gospels, disciples are presented as quarreling, debating, and engaging with—as well as supporting—each other. Therefore, objectivity about disciples cannot be facilely assumed within canonical or extracanonical traditions, let alone delimiting what any of them might have narrated or not narrated over a lifetime. Harris, Kimberly R. Moffitt, Catherine R. Sunshine Hillygus, Todd G.

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It is not about a theological or doctrinal statement which can be narrowed down to a simple propositional statement. It demands the hearer respond to God like the prodigal. Preachers especially use the parables to demand people decide something. One cannot read these stories impassively, looking only for theological prooftexts.

But where does this allegorical reinterpretation stop? Can the reader take whatever they like from a give parable and see that as a legitimate interpretation? I think that Jones opens the door to interpretations of the parables that go far beyond the intent of Jesus or the gospel writer. What restraints ought we apply to literary approaches to the parables?

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These are areas in which he thought the early church had adapted the parables. Jeremias describes the Parable of the Banquet in Luke as an allegory of salvation. The characters of the Prodigal Son story represent other referents outside of the narrative world, such as the father as God. In the parable of the Ten Virgins, the oil represents repentance Like Dodd, the kingdom in the parables is fully realized in the ministry of Jesus.

I remain unconvinced that there is much hope of discovering the church-setting of the Parables. The first step in his method was to establish the parable in the world of first-century Judaism. This is something that still remains the first step in accurately reading a parable. Schweitzer suggested that Jesus thought of the kingdom as present in his own ministry and that his actions in Jerusalem would bring the kingdom fully into the world.

Dodd, on the other hand, understood the kingdom of God as having fully arrived with the ministry of Jesus. Jesus is not reforming Judaism or correcting their misunderstanding of the Kingdom, he is creating something new. The Parable of the Patched Garment and Wineskins, for example, indicates that the old age has already passed away and the new has already come.

There is no future eschatological climax to history. History reached fulfillment in the person of Jesus. The parables of the kingdom are therefore an attempt by the early church to take the words of Jesus and create a new eschatology as an alternative to that of the Jews of the Second Temple period. Dodd is aware of apocalyptic texts which describe the kingdom as appearing dramatically in the near future.

For example, the parables of the talents was originally about the Pharisees and ethical conduct but the early church adapted it to the delay of the parousia. But the eschatological parables are from Jesus himself, there is no long drawn out period of oral transformation within the life of the church Form criticism is correct that the parable must be taken out of the artificial context of the Gospels, but Dodd does not propose a method of determining the artificial context.

He had the chief scribes and teachers of the law in mind, not a future coming kingdom. This theological position will be extremely influential on subsequent parables studies. Were they devoid of any hint of a future kingdom?