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Doctor Witherington, Is the source from which you are drawing Lincoln’s vignettes available to ‘us’ or is this a restricted source from which you alone have access? If it is available, would you please indicate the source? Secondly, are you planning to continue your extended review of Self-designations and Group Identity? Both of these have been excellent resources to ‘think on these things.’ Thank you.
Matthew, this is available on YouTube.
Do you think Dr. Lincoln’s observation about the difference between John’s gospel and the synoptics could be expressed as follows?
The synoptics are the gospels of the Kingdom; John is the gospel of the King. I base this idea on what he said about John portraying Jesus not saying much about the Kingdom but a lot about himself. Would this idea have any merit?
It would be my view that John’s Gospel is less history and more theology, written at a time when factions within traditional Judaism and the early Church have become enemies. I was once preaching to a mixed audience, reading from John, and realized that the language sounded very anti-Semitic. I had to stop and explain the context, which requires more than a little effort. Without a comprehensive historical context, it’s easy to understand how an increasingly gentile church read John’s Gospel as an anti-Jewish screed.
I would be curious whether Ben or Professor Lincoln see the language of John as the actual words of Jesus (I don’t) or as the words of the evangelist, attributed to Jesus, in an effort to explain who he believed Jesus was. Even here, context is everything. Was John suggesting that Jesus was the true son of the living God, as opposed to The Caesars, Pharaohs and the various kings (Persia, Babylon, etc.) who were viewed, as the living embodiment, “The sons of the “Gods”? Likewise, John’s Gospel says more about the afterlife than the first three Gospels and the Hebrew Bible combined. Between the persecution by the Romans and the Jewish leaders, being a Christian could be hazardous to one’s health.
It many ways John’s Gospel reads like an apocalyptic history, more like The Book of Daniel than The Gospel of Mark. With an emphasis on the after-life as a kind of guarantee that God’s justice would win out in the end—If not in this life, then in the next.
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