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Only one Jesus: The voice of the Master--evidence

In this post I will be laying out some parallels between the way that Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John and in the synoptic Gospels. I am not trying to make an absolutely sharp distinction between verbal and conceptual parallels. When a conceptual parallel is close enough it becomes a type of verbal parallel, and a distinction between verbal and conceptual parallels can become artificial if pressed too hard. My examples will all be chosen, however, to represent at least very close conceptual parallels in Jesus' speech, and several are definitely verbal parallels.

I am not, of course, implying that, in all of the places where a word is translated by the same English word, the same Greek word is used. For example, the word Jesus uses for "Come" in Matt. 11:28 is different from the word he uses when he says that all that the Father gives him will come to him in John 6:37. On the other hand, the same Greek word is used for "believe" when he tells Jairus to believe (Mark 5:36) and when he tells Martha that she will see the glory of God if she believes (John 11:40). Whether or not the same Greek word is used varies, but the parallels are there nonetheless and often quite striking.

Most or all of these were taken from the pages beginning here of Stanley Leathes, The Witness of St. John to Christ, 1870, drawn to my attention by Esteemed Husband. I'm very privileged to bring back to the attention of modern apologists these treasures of the past.

Leathes is by no means unaware of the alleged problem discussed in my previous post. The difference between "how Jesus talks" in the synoptic Gospels and in John is not some new discovery made in the 20th or 21st century. Here is Leathes's judicious comment after many pages of parallels--some of them undesigned coincidences, some of them parallels in the words of Jesus, some in the character portrait, etc.

When we bear in mind that the difference between the fourth Gospel and the others, both in style and subject-matter, is obvious, it is certainly remarkable that there are so many traces of similarity of teaching and identity of thought between them as are here shown....[I]t seems to me that we may fairly say that, great as is the apparent difference between the teaching of Christ in the fourth Gospel and His teaching in the others, there is after all a very real and substantial identity between them--an identity which is the more remarkable because it is to be discerned in spite of the difference, and is such as could not have been produced by any writer with the intention of giving to his work the appearance of being a true record of Christ’s teaching when compared with the earlier Gospels. The likeness, so far as it exists, is a genuine likeness, and can only be the result of adherence to truth; while the equally strong features of contrast must either be referred to the writer’s own mind, or else must be taken as evidence of a wider and more varied kind of teaching on the part of Christ than we have been prepared to accept. (320-321 The Witness of St. John to Christ, 1870)

I wish to warn the reader against accepting a "heads John loses, tails John loses" approach to such parallels. Unfortunately critics sometimes find any stick with which to beat the Gospel of John. If Jesus' speech in John is not similar in some respect to what we find in the synoptics, John's historicity is questioned: Jesus is "too different." But if Jesus speaks similarly in John to his speech in the synoptics, we are then told that John must have borrowed and "adapted" this speech from a common tradition with the synoptics and placed it (ahistorically) in a different context! Hence in neither case is John allowed the possibility of being an historical reporter. For example, consider John 12:27ff: Jesus muses with grief and horror about his coming suffering, wonders rhetorically if he should ask the Father to save him from this hour, and says that he was born into the world for this cause. This is obviously the same mind and the same agony as we find in the Garden of Gethsemane, only it is a record of a different occasion on which Jesus had these thoughts. But it is sometimes said to be a Johannine "version" of Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, invented by John to replace the agony in the Garden, which for inexplicable reasons he decided not to include! Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel, pp. 181-182 mentions and rejects this view, while stating that it has "often" been claimed.

Such a method makes it impossible to notice the natural similarity between two historical portraits of the same person. If every similarity of concept and language, even when described in different contexts, is to be put down as drastic reworking of common source material, and every difference, even when not a contradiction, to be seen as a sign of ahistoricity on the part of the "odd man out," then we will blind ourselves to those natural overlaps of linguistic and conceptual style that occur when the same person is portrayed truthfully by different witnesses recounting different events.

A word on setting: While I am not closed to the idea that at least the Farewell Discourse in John chapters 14-17 may be in some measure a composite discourse (as some parts of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount are taken to be), the firmness of John's placement of some of this material on the night in which Jesus was betrayed, including various references to that particular time period (e.g., John 14:28ff) and to the group's movements (John 14:31, 18:1) is at least prima facie evidence that this material was given at some point on that evening. And in many other cases (see below) the placement of Jesus' words in a particular time, place, and incident in John is quite specific and unequivocal. As Richard Bauckham has remarked ("Historiographical Characteristics of the Gospel of John," p. 23), one of the distinctive things about John is that we always know where Jesus is. (This stands in contrast with certain sections of Luke that are more vague about Jesus' physical location.) This list gives us good reason to believe that Jesus used similar language on more than one separate occasion, with some recorded in the synoptics and some in John. This variation of occasion combined with similarity of thought and speech undermines the idea of a very different Jesus in John and the synoptics.

I will always list below the apparent setting of each of the quotations given. If there are several synoptic Gospels that contain the same saying in what appears to be the same setting, I will quote only one while usually indicating the parallel passage(s) in the other synoptics. I will bold strikingly parallel phrases, but be sure to read the entire quotation and the notes to get the full impact. There are far more parallels than I list here. These are selected. I strongly encourage browsing Leathes for more.
These parallels show us the same mind, the same speaker, the same voice of the Master.

Mark 13:13 "And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Also Matt. 10:22 Apparent setting: Olivet Discourse during Passion Week, probably Tuesday evening

John 15:18-19 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." Apparent setting, Farewell Discourse on Thursday evening

Matt. 10:23-25 "When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household." Apparent setting: Commissioning of the twelve disciples for a mission to the villages

John 13:14-16 "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him." Apparent setting: Thursday in Passion Week, spoken apropos of foot washing.

John 15:20 "Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." Apparent setting: Thursday evening in Passion Week, Farewell Discourse. Notice here that the context, as in Matthew 10, is that of persecution, not that of mutual service. A reasonable conjecture, then, is that the saying that he is reminding them of is not his earlier saying that evening but rather his saying as recorded in Matthew apropos of persecution.

Matthew 10:37-39 "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Apparent setting: Galilee, Commissioning of the twelve

Mark 8:34-35 "And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.'" Also in Matt. 16:24-25 Apparent setting: Galilee some time in the middle of Jesus' ministry, certainly prior to his final trip to Jerusalem

John 12:23-26 "And Jesus answered them, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.'" Apparent setting: Jerusalem during Passion Week, spoken in the presence of crowds

Extra note: Compare also Matt. 10:32 "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven" with the statement in John "If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." In the passage spoken in Passion Week in John, Jesus brings together the ideas of being willing to lose one's life and being "with him" both in his death and in gaining honor from the Father. Therefore, in these three passages we see that Jesus tended to repeat the saying about saving one's life and losing it (found twice in Matthew itself), the extremely close verbal parallel when those words are found again in John, and a set of interesting conceptual parallels among all three Gospels, combined in John specifically with Jesus' reflection on his near-approaching death. This is the kind of thing one would expect from witnesses of the same person who spoke in the same way at different times and places.

Matt. 10:40 "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me." Apparent setting: Commissioning of the twelve.

Luke 10:16 "The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Apparent setting: Commissioning of the seventy-two

Mark 9:37 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me." Apparent setting: Controversy over who was the greatest, shortly after Jesus' transfiguration Also found in Matthew 18:5 (without the reference to the one who sent him) and almost identical to Mark in Luke 9:48

John 12:44-45 " And Jesus cried out and said, 'Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.'" Apparent setting: Speaking to the crowds during Passion Week.

John 13:20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me." Apparent setting: Last Supper

The step-wise, parallel structure of speech is the same in most of these--from the first entity (the child, the disciple sent by Jesus) to Jesus himself and from Jesus to the Father who sent him. The John 12 passage has only Jesus and the Father in the structure, but John 13:20 has all three steps. The settings are all different and the actions required (receiving, believing, hearing, etc.) also vary. Notice, too, that we have multiple instances of this type of speech in different settings in the synoptics and also multiple instances in John. It was apparently a structure and set of concepts that Jesus was fond of.

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Apparent setting: Not highly specific but may be shortly after messengers have come from John the Baptist. Hence, relatively early in Jesus' ministry. Note that this occurs just after the verses known as the "Johannine thunderbolt" (because they sound so Johannine but occur in the synoptics) but are not included in it. I will be discussing the "Johannine thunderbolt" in the next post.

John 6:35, 37 "Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst....All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.'" Apparent setting: Capernaum synagogue, Bread of Life discourse. Uniquely Johannine discourse, the historicity of which is often questioned by critical scholars.

John 7:37 "On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.'" Apparent setting: Feast of Booths, Jerusalem

Luke 16:29-31 "But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Setting: Parable of the rich man and Lazarus (not found in John); part of a long segment of collected parables in Luke without other apparent time indicators

John 5:45-47 "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" Apparent setting: An unspecified feast in Jerusalem, discourse to the people on the authority of the Son, unique to John

Matt. 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Apparent setting: Sermon on the mount

John 16:24 "Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." Apparent setting: Farewell discourse on the night of the Last Supper

For similar statements by Jesus on prayer, compare also Mark 11:24/Matt. 21:22; John 14:13-14; John 15:7. John evidently learned the lesson well and repeats it in his epistles, I John 3:22; I John 5:14-15. I gave the two verses in full above because of the striking verbal parallel "ask, and you shall receive."

Matt. 18:14 "So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Apparent setting: Moral of the parable of the lost sheep, not found in John

John 6:39 "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day." Apparent setting: Bread of Life discourse, unique to John

Mark 5:39-40 "And when he had entered, he said to them, Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.' And they laughed at him." Also Matt. 9:24; Luke 8:52 Setting: Raising of Jairus's daughter

John 11:11-13 "After saying these things, he said to them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.' The disciples said to him, 'Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.' Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep." Setting: Death and raising of Lazarus

Note that in both of these cases, Jesus' use of "sleep" to refer to death is not understood by others. While the term was presumably used as a euphemism at that time (the Apostle Paul uses it in this way), both the synoptics and John show it as not so very common that it is immediately understood. Yet it is Jesus' idiom in both, though in different deaths.

Mark 5:36 "But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, 'Do not fear, only believe.'" Also Luke 8:50 Setting: Raising of Jairus's daughter

Mark 9:23 "All things are possible to him who believes." Setting: Spoken to the father of a demoniac boy, just before healing him

John 11:40 "Jesus said to her [Martha], 'Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?'" Setting: Raising of Lazarus, after Jesus has said to open the grave and Martha has demurred on the grounds that it will stink. Note: The earlier place to which he seems to be alluding is his conclusion, "Do you believe this?" after identifying himself as the resurrection and the life in vss. 25-26. Asking the relatives of a sick or dead person if they believe and telling them to believe appears to have been one of Jesus' motifs.

Mark 10:38 "Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" Also found in Matt. 20:22 Apparent setting: Spoken to James and John in response to their request to sit on his right and left hands. Appears to be after Jesus has left Galilee for the last time but prior to Passion Week.

Mark 14:36 "And he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me.'" Also in Matt. 26:39, 42 (He prays the same thing twice); Luke 22:42 Setting: Garden of Gethsemane prayer

John 18:11 "So Jesus said to Peter, 'Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?'" Setting: Garden of Gethsemane after the arresting officers arrive and Peter has cut off the ear of one of the servants.

Note: I give the connection between Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane and his words to Peter as an undesigned coincidence in Hidden in Plain View. Jesus has already prayed (though not recorded in John) that the Father might let "the cup" pass from him. The arrival of Judas and the arresting soldiers shows Jesus that the Father has actually given him "the cup." Hence, he states that the Father has given him "the cup" and that he must drink it (not recorded in the synoptics) in telling Peter to put up his sword. This is the only use of the language of "the cup" to describe Jesus' death in John, and it fits perfectly with the record of his prayer in the synoptics.

Mark 14:36 "And he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.'" Also Matt. 26:39; Luke 22:42 Setting: Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane

John 5:30 "I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." Apparent setting: Jerusalem, earlier festival, spoken to the crowds after the healing at the pool of Bethesda, unique to John

John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." Apparent setting: Capernaum synagogue, Bread of Life discourse, unique to John

See also this post which discusses what I call Jesus' "conceptual punning" concerning different Sabbath controversies in the synoptics and John.

These are not all of the parallels by any means. I will be discussing a few more in the next post; quite a few parallels of personality and behavior were discussed in earlier posts in this series, and there are more still. It is a rich vein to explore. My next post will concern specifically language that has been thought of as specially "Johannine" or "synoptic." I will argue there that this is far more a matter of emphasis and selection than anything else.

The wealth of evidence for the voice of the Master in both John and the synoptic Gospels means that we do not merely assert or take it by faith that we are seeing the same Jesus in all four Gospels. Rather, the portraits overlap and intersect in precisely the ways that we would expect them to do when different witnesses watch and truthfully record the actions and words of the same overwhelming one Person.

Comments (10)

A note (or question) on parallel word structures: The gospels were written in Greek (with some debate about whether Matthew was in Hebrew or Greek or both originally). But Jesus almost certainly did not speak in Greek to the crowds or to the disciples, he probably used Aramaic much of the time and perhaps used a bit of Hebrew in tussles with the Pharisees or in the synagogues (perhaps more so in Jerusalem than in the hills). And probably used some Greek as well. So when the NT scholars talk about listening to the "very voice of Jesus" by reading the gospels in the original language ... aren't they barking up the wrong tree? The gospel writers were (mostly) translating what Jesus said into Greek, and where two gospels differ in the Greek word that they use to give what Jesus said, it may be that Jesus did not differ in the Aramaic word he used. And vice versa - he may have used 2 different words in Aramaic (on different occasions) where the gospel writers use the same Greek word to translate. One wonders whether the snooty (if not snotty) demand that the nay-sayers (to their theories) first read it in the original Greek is fundamentally empty - at least from the point of view of getting "the very voice" of Jesus. (Not so much, in getting the entirety of the gospel writer's thought.)

Well, of course, they will make much of the fact that it was probably a translation anyway of Jesus' words in Aramaic. The idea of reading it "in the original Greek" isn't to help one get at Jesus' voice particularly. On the contrary. As I understand it, the idea is to see things like, for example, how much the diction of the "Johannine Jesus" differs from that of the "synoptic Jesus." This, in turn, is supposed to enlighten the student to come to believe that John *must* have changed Jesus' words *very much*--and indeed more so even than the synoptic evangelists--into his own (John's) idiom. This, to take the matter further, is supposed to cause the student to be willing to believe more that he might be told--for example, that Jesus did not recognizably go around and say, even in Aramaic, "I am the bread of life." Not because he said the Aramaic equivalent of something recognizably extremely similar, such as, "I am the very food of life" or "I am the manna of life." But because he said nothing *recognizably* of that kind at all. Then, when it is suggested further that Jesus never claimed, "I and the Father are one" in such a public and clear manner as that would be but rather only implicitly showed himself to be God in *entirely different scenes and sayings* such as we find in the synoptics, the student, having studied John "in the original Greek" and seen the difference in Jesus' voice there, and its similarity to that of the narrator, is supposed to acquiesce in this further theory, even accepting the writing of dialogue "parts" for people other than Jesus. And when he is told that John changed, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" into "I thirst"--meaning it as a spiritual metaphor for being forsaken by God--he is supposed to say, "Well, having studied the Greek, I know that John *did* very much paraphrase Jesus' words, and I know that all Johannine scholars accept that John adapted the Jesus tradition, so I should accept this as well."

In other words, the Greek reading is supposed to open the student's eyes to come to think of Jesus as, to no small extent, John's literary character, his literary creation, so that when other suggestions further along in that direction are made, suggestions far more radical than what the student in his uneducated days would ever have called "paraphrase," the student-initiate is supposed to adjust his ideas and accept them as well.

Tony: “But Jesus almost certainly did not speak in Greek to the crowds or to the disciples, he probably used Aramaic much of the time and perhaps used a bit of Hebrew in tussles with the Pharisees or in the synagogues (perhaps more so in Jerusalem than in the hills).”

In my view it is far from certain that Jesus did not speak Greek to the crowds. In a talk about the historical reliability of the Gospels Bible scholar Peter J. Williams from Tyndale House in Cambridge points out that the Beatitudes display a linguistic feature that strongly indicates that they were spoken in Greek. According to Williams they contain alliterations, and if they had been translated from Aramaic such a feature would be very unlikely. It also makes sense that Jesus would speak Greek when talking to large crouds of people. There were certainly many people living or staying in Palestine who could not understand Aramaic or Hebrew, such as Gentiles like the centurion of Capernaum, Roman soldiers, Jews from the diaspora, or Gentile converts to Judaism (the “Hellenists” mentioned in Acts 6:1 and 9:29 may have belonged to the group mentioned last). In order to make sure that all people listening to him would understand him it is quite reasonable to assume that Jesus would speak in the lingua franca everybody understood. When talking to his disciples or to other people who would understand Aramaic he almost certainly spoke this language.

In John’s Gospel the conversations Jesus had were, with the possible exception of the one he had with Pilate, almost certainly with people who understood Aramaic. But this means that the passages containing these conversations are translations from Aramaic into Greek. The stylistic differences between what Jesus says in the Synoptic Gospels and what he says in John’s Gospel may at least be partly due to the fact that unlike in the Synoptic Gospels in John’s Gospel the respective passages are translations into Greek from what Jesus originally had spoken in Aramaic.

In order to make sure that all people listening to him would understand him it is quite reasonable to assume that Jesus would speak in the lingua franca everybody understood. When talking to his disciples or to other people who would understand Aramaic he almost certainly spoke this language.

Patrick, from what I have read (several sources, but not a deep study), the lingua franca of the common people in the countryside WAS Aramaic. This was the language that the Jews brought back from Babylon, and was the language that most of that part of the world spoke as a result of the Babylonian influence. Greek, though somewhat common, was not the ordinary daily language of the farmers and such, it was more the language of commerce and of the cosmopolitan types. Very likely it would have been the language that Pilate used to communicate with the priests, and that the centurion would have used. (Educated Romans would have learned Greek in their schooling, and the Roman legions would have recruited a fair number of Greek-speaking men.) But especially outside of Jerusalem (which would have been far more cosmopolitan than the villages), Aramaic was the commonly used language by people other than traders.

There are passages in which the gospel writers provide Jesus' own words, and then translate it for their readers: "talitha Koum" which means "little girl, stand". That's Aramaic. When Jesus names Simon to be "Cephas", that's Aramaic. "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" is Aramaic. If Jesus had actually used Greek in those events, the writers would not have given the Aramaic and then translated it.

I think it very likely that Jesus switched his language around a fair amount to suit the specific target of his speaking, and this actually caused him to be misunderstood at times by others around who were not his specific targets. The gospel writers show him being misunderstood on several occasions. He probably spoke Hebrew when, at the age of 12, he amazed the learned scribes with his command of the Law and the scriptures. He probably spoke Greek to Pilate. He probably spoke Greek to the centurion. He probably spoke Aramaic to the Samaritans, and in Galilee (except, maybe, the major towns).

It all sounds like Jesus to me!

Then there is the “Johannine thunderbolt” (Matt. 11:27 and Luke 10:22). Here, a fragment that sounds oh so Fourth Gospel (cf. John 8:19 and 14:7) which has fallen into the Synoptic tradition—and it got there through Q. This draws us into the murky world of pre-Gospel source material, which then surfaces in the suggestion of source document(s) such as Q and encourages investigation of such sourcing that may emerge in non-canonical Gospels (such as Thomas).

From my perspective, it seems likely that written traditions of Jesus’ words and deeds were produced before our four Gospels were written. This material reaches the historical Jesus. Traditions that surface in later non-canonical “gospels” are spurious and lack the ring of authenticity (just read Thomas, for example).

The academy will attempt to milk this murky realm for all its worth in suggesting that the early traditions were merely oral and subject to uncontrolled transmission. The academy also tends to set aside any claims to eyewitness authority.

By the way, and to carry forward the question and issue of the original spoken language(s) of Jesus and the impact of translating that into Greek of Gospel text, consider the word for “mercy.” It came to stand in for the Hebrew word chesed even in Septuagint. Later translators found love and kindness expressed in chesed contexts and defined accordingly. However, a more reciprocal relational dynamic that is tied to covenant makes a meaning such as “covenant faithfulness” far more likely. “Lovingkindness” just doesn’t play well in passages like Psalm 136:10, 17ff! And, “covenant faithfulness” works better than “mercy” in passages like Matt. 23:23. This difficulty arises, as Walther Eichrodt noted long ago, because we don’t have sufficient descriptions of covenant relating. We have to surmise the dynamics by observing the “living process” of partners in covenant, both when they succeed and when they fail in relationship.


Most of what you write doesn’t really contradict what I wrote. As for the issue of the use of languages in 1st century Palestine, I must admit that I haven’t studied it in depth. However, there are some facts to be considered. In Jesus’ time Palestine had been part of the Greek culture area for more than 300 years. Two of the twelfe disciples of Jesus, namely Andrew and Philip, had Greek names. In Palestine there were towns with Greek or Latin names, such as Tiberias, Sepphoris, Apollonia, Antipatris, or Caesarea Philippi.

John--Yep, I'll be getting to the Johannine thunderbolt in the next post, along with several other places where allegedly "Johannine" terms are found in the synoptics and the converse.

In this post what I decided to focus most on were topics that aren't alleged to be *particularly* one or the other, but where there are these rather startling overlaps. Perhaps the only one here that is possibly alleged to be distinctly "Johannine" would be the one about "receiving the one who sent me," which is of course also found in the synoptics.

I thought this was a very good post. I agree that it is good to argue in support of the eyewitness perspective of the author of the fourth Gospel, and if the author were an eyewitness, then we would expect common language to be relayed to us. Thus, you make a fine conclusion: "the portraits overlap and intersect in precisely the ways that we would expect them to do when different witnesses watch and truthfully record the actions and words of the same overwhelming one Person."

A spot-on distinction at the beginning, too: "When a conceptual parallel is close enough it becomes a type of verbal parallel, and a distinction between verbal and conceptual parallels can become artificial if pressed too hard."

I did myself a great service by consulting and citing Leathes, without whom I would not have known quite a few of these. He and others of the dead are important parts of my community, in conversation with whom I carry out my study of Scripture.

Right, we have to include the long history of biblical study in the conversation to have a balanced view of it. Simply starting at 1900 and going forward from there is senseless. Brilliant people for 2000 years have contributed to understanding the Bible, and cutting ourselves off from the past on this is as bad as cutting ourselves off from all scientific work before 1900. (Except in this case it is much worse, because however you cut it or slice it, it was through the apostles, evangelists, and the early Church Fathers that we got the books of the NT written, approved, and canonized to begin with, so their take on the material is necessarily foundational.)

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