What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

The Mirror or the Mask is now fully available!

It's here!

The Mirror or the Mask: Liberating the Gospels From Literary Devices is now fully available. Here is the link to the page of my publisher, DeWard Publishing, with fulfillment through Amazon.

Please do share this information to your social media accounts if you have them. You can follow me on Facebook and share from there as well.

With blurbs by John Warwick Montgomery, J. P. Moreland, Peter J. Williams, Craig Blomberg, Jack Collins, Jonathan McLatchie, Tom Gilson, Paul Nelson, and more!

Comments (8)

It is an excellent book, too long for me to relate in a comment, and which you'd well know anyway. I'm looking forward to your book on John, not just because John is my favorite gospel, but also because if it is even half as good a book as this one, it will be a fine book indeed.

I still have a 150 pages to go on The Mirror or the Mask, so perhaps you mention something there. But I was reciting John 21 and noticed how the particular remarks Jesus said to Peter while at least he and John were listening sparked a rumor that John would not die (perhaps others listened, too, or Peter and John related it to others who misunderstood). But Jihn points to what would have to be more or less the exact words of Jesus both to explain the origin of the rumor and rebut it. "He did not say," "Rather, he said."

I'm not sure evidential import of this to show that either John is reliable or that the evangelists could accurately the particular words of Jesus not just loose paraphrase. But I figured I'd mention it to see if you thought of it.

Thank you! (I was in New Orleans for a couple of days last week and catching up since then, which is why I just now saw this comment.)

You have a good point, and one that I had not thought of before. It is a fairly conservative position to take John 21:23-25 to be a short "coda" to the Gospel, written by another hand, though Bauckham, rather surprisingly, argues that even those three verses were written by the Beloved Disciple. I would argue that *at most* those three verses were a coda, not (as other scholars try to argue) the entirety of Chapter 21, *much less* that this coda means that the entire book was significantly written by an editor other than the Beloved Disciple.

Now, suppose we thought that verse 23 was written by an immediate follower of the Beloved Disciple. That still would show us how the original audience (in quite a strong sense) understood the verbal reportage in the Gospel. And as you imply, it would mean that it was not being taken as any kind of loose paraphrase. I think that I should probably include this in The Eye of the Beholder and credit you with the point.

Thanks, that would be pretty neat.

When I shared some information about your book to a friend of mine, Ben Fischer, a professor at the university I attend, he said, "That is the kind of stuff they should be teaching in the theology classes." From which you can tell that the books assigned in those class are typically suboptimal. But hopefully there will be some academic audience for your book, or at least the ideas in it will find their way to students, laymen, and apologists in greater number.

When are you hoping or expect to publish "The Eye of the Beholder"?

I was familiar with the idea that John 21 is thought by some to be a latter addition, or maybe just vv 23-25, as you mention. But I didn't think of applying it to the nugget of a suggestion I gave, as you did. But now that you have done so, it occurs to me to ask, do you think that assuming that vv. 23-25 are a latter addition (as opposed to what John himself wrote) would actually strengthen the idea that John's reportage of Jesus' words was perceived to be faithful to the words Jesus spoke: a high fidelity approximation, at least? I'm not sure if that strengthens the conclusion, or that the conclusion goes through with equal force either way.

Relatedly, if v. 23-25 was a latter addition, do you think that what started the rumor was v. 22? Or do you think that the rumor started earlier on, before those words were written into either vv. 22 or 23?)

Whether John is the author of v. 22 and vv. 23-25, or only v. 22, it seems that vv. 22-25, and particularly vv. 22,23, are good evidence that John intended, and was able to report Jesus' words fairly well, and that his audience would take him to be doing that (even if they may have misinterpreted them).

Certainly if the rumor predated the gospel, as v. 23 seems to say (and it would be weird for John to make up the claim that there was already a rumor going around if there was none), vv. 22,23 couldn't be a broad paraphrase, since then it would neither explain the origin of the rumor nor answer it.

But if John only wrote until v. 22, and if the rumor was not caused at the time Jesus spoke to Peter, but in response to what Jesus said to Peter only when John preached or wrote it in the gospel, then it still shows that they took him to be reporting what Jesus said, not a broad paraphrase, as you said. (What the heck would it even mean to take v. 22 as a broad paraphrase? A paraphrase of what?)

Heck, even if chapter 21 is a later addition, it seems that it would (1) be based in what John taught, (2) have intended to report Jesus' words accurately. And supposing if was written by John's disciples, it would still provide some evidence to how John 1-20 operated.

"Whether John is the author of v. 22 and vv. 23-25, or only v. 22, it seems that vv. 22-25, and particularly vv. 22,23, are good evidence that John intended, and was able to report Jesus' words fairly well, and that his audience would take him to be doing that (even if they may have misinterpreted them)."

I mean, vv. 22,23 are good particular evidence to this effect. vv. 24 and 25 are clearly good general evidence that John intended and was able to be reliable in these ways.

I think the point that John is trying to report something very close to what Jesus said is supported either way (either if 23ff are written by John or someone later), just in slightly different ways. If John wrote those last verses, then that means that John himself was emphasizing the specifics of what Jesus said, and that prima facie means that he is claiming to report them quite accurately. (He'd have to be a really eyebrow-raising deceiver if he made up the saying and then made a big deal about the specifics of the saying!) If someone else wrote them, then that shows how John's reportage was perceived in a very near audience--indeed, the very "community" that is sometimes said to have made up up parts of Jesus' words in the Gospels!

I'd say that the rumor started because the saying of Jesus was reported orally. Probably John preached about it and talked about it, and probably the other disciples talked about it as well.

It's interesting that even a somewhat loose paraphrase of the words of Jesus there would destroy the point of the coda. Suppose that Jesus had really said, "If I want him to tarry for a thousand years, what is that to you?" instead of "until I come." And suppose that the author had changed it to "until I come," which started the rumor. It would take a lot of gall for the author himself solemnly to explain that Jesus only "said" "if," if he himself knew that he altered that part! And if the last verses were written by someone in the community, that person clearly thought that Jesus really did say "if I want him to remain until I come."

As far as when The Eye of the Beholder will be out, I wish I could say more precisely. If you follow me on Facebook, you'll see that I recently gave in to the inevitable and decided to make some positive evidence I'm writing up into an additional chapter. This is partly because I want to talk about some new undesigned coincidences for John that didn't go into Hidden in Plain View. That means a projected twelve chapters plus an appendix. (The appendix will be on Bauckham's "elder John" theory of authorship. There is already a chapter on authorship, but I defer discussing the "elder John" theory to an appendix.) I've drafted nine of these and am drafting X right now. I'm not as satisfied with the writing on this so far as on T-MOM and will probably want to do substantial polishing before handing it off to the publisher. Then I want to take plenty of time to find blurbers and reviewers. I may even do some special reviewing of particular chapters with specific people/experts. And my publisher (rightly) always gives blurbers lots and lots of time to read and review, which is what probably causes the biggest delay in publication. (It was five months for TMOM just giving blurbers time to read.)

So my suspicion is that it might not be quite out by a year after TMOM was out and may be early 2021. But I could be wrong about that. It might be about exactly a year.

Enjoying the Kindle version of the book. In Chapter VII, the sections seem to be numbered 1-2-3-5-6 etc. with no section 4. Is this a typo or formatting problem unique to the Kindle version?

Looking forward to buying the printed edition of the undesigned coincidences book after I finish this Kindle book.

By Jove, you appear to be right. It looks like it is found in the paper version as well. My apologies. If we have an opportunity to do another edition, we will fix it! Thanks for the heads up!

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