“The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel”

“The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel” April 20, 2022


A 1919 Wikimedia Commons public domain image of the Camp of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai by Adolf Hult (1869-1943)




Precisely nobody appears to be clamoring for this information right now.  But here it is, nonetheless:


It seems very probable that I’m going to be speaking at a YSA stake fireside in southern Alberta (possibly in Lethbridge, though I’m not yet certain about that) on Saturday, 16 July 2022, and maybe in a sacrament meeting there in Lethbridge on the following Sunday, 17 July 2022.


It also seems that I’ll be the keynote speaker at an Orange County conference for Latter-day Saint singles, in Irvine, California, on Sunday, 31 July 2022.


So some of you may want to be in California on 17 July and in Alberta on 31 July.




The Interpreter Foundation’s website continues to share new material at absolutely no charge to you.  A lot of effort goes into these, so we hope that you’ll enjoy them.  Here are three recent offerings:


Audio Roundtable: Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 18 “My Presence Shall Go with Thee” (Exodus 24, 31–34)

The Interpreter Radio Roundtable for Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 18, “My Presence Shall Go with Thee” on Exodus 24, 31–34, features Mike Parker, Kris Frederickson, and Bruce Webster. This roundtable was extracted from the 20 March 2022 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show. An archived recording of the complete program may be accessed at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-March-20-2022/. The  Interpreter Radio Show can be heard at it happens — no net!  no retakes! no practice runs! — on Sunday evenings, every single week of the year, from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640.  Or, if you would prefer (or if you live outside of the Salt Lake Valley, in which case, frankly, your personal preference is no longer relevant because the broadcast signal won’t audibly reach your radio), you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.


Come, Follow Me — Old Testament Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 18, April 25–May 1: Exodus 24, 31–34 — “My Presence Shall Go with Thee”

Once again, Jonn Claybaugh kindly provides concise notes on this important section of the Old Testament.


Nibley Lectures: One Eternal Round — Lesson 5

In 1990, Hugh Nibley presented a series of twelve lectures on Facsimile 2 in the Pearl of Great Price. The lectures occurred almost weekly, beginning on June 27, first in the Maeser Building and later in the Joseph Smith Building auditorium.




The open house for the newly renovated Washington DC Temple is underway, and it’s getting quite a bit of publicity — in the Washington Times, on CBS Baltimore, in the Washingtonian, on Axios Washington DC, on yahoo!news, in the Bangkok Post, on the Religion News Service, in the Washington Post, on france24.com, in The Times of Israel, on the national CBS News (with a supplementary piece here), and, I have no doubt, in other places as well.


And there is this, as well:  “Washington D.C. Temple Open House Inspires Interfaith Reverse Open House Series: Latter-day Saints and friends visit other faith’s sacred sites and events to learn and foster interfaith relationships”


From the Deseret News:


“Here’s what was learned when journalists from top media companies descended on the Washington D.C. temple: In a series of press conferences and tours on Monday, Elders David A. Bednar and Gerrit W. Gong had a clear message for national media outlets at the renovated Washington D.C. Temple.”


This represents yet another great opportunity — see my blog post of yesterday — for Latter-day Saints, especially those on the eastern seaboard of the United States and particularly in the area between Baltimore, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia, to engage in conversations about their faith.  I hope that members of the Church in the Washington DC Temple district are inviting friends, family members, and neighbors to attend the temple’s open house.


Staples Mill Road
Latter-day Saints in Virginia will soon have their own temple open house and, with it, a great opportunity.  My wife took this photograph of the Richmond Virginia Temple while we were there back in December.  The new temple, which is now much further along toward completion, is very prominently located at a fairly busy intersection on Staples Mill Road in Glen Allen, essentially north of downtown Richmond.


On rather a different subject:  A few days ago, a reader here expressed his great enthusiasm for the gospel of John while, at the same time, expressing his strong skepticism regarding its credibility as history.  I immediately thought of this book, which I confess I have not read.  I wonder whether anybody out there has.  I’ve had several interactions with its author, Craig Blomberg, and I think highly of him:


Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel: Issues and Commentary


Here is what the blurb on Amazon.com has to say about the book, which I presume has been taken from the book’s jacket cover:


Throughout much of the twentieth century the Fourth Gospel took a back seat to the Synoptics when it came to historical reliability. Consequently, the contemporary quest of the historical Jesus discounted or excluded evidence from the Fourth Gospel. The question of the historical reliability of John’s Gospel is well overdue for a thorough reinvestigation and reassessment. In this foundational study, Craig L. Blomberg sheds new light on persistent questions. He presents his conclusions largely in commentary form, following the principal scenes of the Gospel. His introduction frames the pathway into the discussion, taking up critical issues such as

  • authorship, date and provenance of the Fourth Gospel
  • sources and omissions of the Fourth Gospel
  • points where John’s Gospel interlocks with the Synoptics
  • general indications of historicity
  • literary genre and unique audience of this Gospel
  • burden of proof and criteria of authenticity

In his commentary examining the text of the Fourth Gospel, Blomberg asks two essential questions. First, using the recently nuanced criteria of authenticity, “What positive evidence do we have that the actions or words of the characters in John’s narratives are indeed historical?” Second, “Is there anything in the text . . . that is implausible within the historical context to which it is attributed, particularly if we assume the general historical trustworthiness of the Synoptics?” The result is a seminal work for the present day–one that affirms the historical reliability of John’s Gospel with intelligence and sure-footed care.



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