Monday, April 03, 2006

John Appendix: Westcott's Concentric Proof

I. The author of the Fourth Gospel was a Jew.

  1. He is familiar with current Jewish opinions.
    1. Messianic Expectations —1:21, 4:25, 6:14 ff, 7:40 ff, 12:34 ff.
    2. Attitude toward Women —4:27
    3. Importance of religious schools — 7:15
    4. Disparagement of Jews of the Diaspora (Hellenistic Jews) —7:35
    5. Hostility of Jews and Samaritans —4:9
  2. He is familiar with Jewish observances, customs, etc.
    1. Ceremonial pollution of entering a gentile court —18:28
    2. Feast of Tabernacles (hinted at) by symbolism of “living water” and the “light of the world”—7:8 and 8:12
    3. The last day of the feast was the “great day”—7:37
    4. Customs at marriage feast —2:1-10
    5. Customs of burial—11:17-44
  3. Vocabulary, sentence structure, symmetry and numerical symbolism, expression and arrangement of thoughts are essentially Hebrew. “The source of the imagery of the narrative…is the OT. The words are Greek words, but the spirit by which they live is Hebrew.” (Westcott, Introduction, vii)
  4. The Old Testament is the source of the religious life of the author.
    1. Judea was the “home” of the Word become flesh; these people were “his own people”—1:11
    2. Judaism is constantly taken as the starting-point for Christianity.
      1. The writer assumed as axiomatic that Scripture cannot be broken—10:35
      2. That which is written in the prophets is assumed to be true —6:45
      3. OT types are mentioned as Christ applied them to himself:
        1. Serpent —3:14
        2. Manna —6:32
        3. Water from the Rock —7:37 ff., etc.
II. The author of the Fourth Gospel was a Jew of Palestine.
  1. His local knowledge is precise.
    1. Bethany beyond the Jordan (1:28), a place forgotten by the time of Origen, is distinguished from Bethany near Jerusalem (11:18). The location of the latter is given as 15 stadia away.
    2. Aenon near Salim (3:23) is not mentioned anywhere else—indicating direct acquaintance of the writer.
    3. Topography —especially of Jerusalem—is precise
      1. The pool at Bethesda—5:2
      2. The pool of Siloam—9:7
      3. The wadi Kidron—18:1
      4. [Points a. - c. are not mentioned in the Synoptics.]
      5. The Pavement (Gabbatha) with its raised judgement-seat—19:13
      6. Allusions to the Temple:
        1. 46 years in building—2:20
        2. Mention of the Treasury—8:20
        3. Solomon’s Portico—10:22

  2. The author’s use of OT quotations shows that he is not dependent on the LXX, and at least suggest he was acquainted with Hebrew:
    1. These agree with both the Hebrew text and LXX, where both agree (Hebrew text and LXX in agreement):
      1. 12:38, cf. Is. 53:1
      2. 19:24, cf. Ps 22:18
      3. 10:34, cf. Ps 82:6
      4. 15:25, cf. Ps 34:19
    2. These agree with the Hebrew text against the LXX:
      1. 19:37, cf. Zach. 12:10
      2. 6:45, cf. Is. 54:13
      3. 13:18, cf. Ps 41:9
    3. This differs from both Hebrew and LXX where they both agree: 2:17, cf. Ps 69:9
    4. These differ from Hebrew and LXX where they do not agree:
      1. 12:14-15, cf. Zech 9:9
      2. 12:40, cf. Is. 6:10
    5. These are free renditions (paraphrases?) of various OT passages:
      1. 19:36, cf. Exod 12:46, Num 9:12
      2. 7:38, no exact OT quote is parallel
      3. 1:23, cf. Is. 40:3
      4. 6:31, cf. Ps 78:24, Exod 16:4, 15
    6. But nowhere does a quotation of the OT in the Fourth Gospel agree with the LXX against the Hebrew text.
  3. The author’s doctrine of the Logos is Palestinian and not Alexandrian—he views the Logos as representing the divine Will manifested in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Philo, on the other hand, viewed the Logos as abstract divine Reason.
  4. Qumran documents have many parallels, which indicate that the Gospel is essentially a Palestinian document. See A. M. Hunter, Expository Times 71(1959/60), 166, 202.
III. The author of the Fourth Gospel was an eyewitness of the events he describes:
  1. Descriptions of persons—in minute detail.
    1. Nicodemus—3:1 ff, 7:50, 19:39
    2. Lazarus—9:1 ff, 12:1 ff
    3. Simon, father of Judas Iscariot—6:71, 12:4, 13:2, 26. Note: The author was aware “Iscariot” was a local or family name; he applies it both to Judas and to his father Simon: 6:71, 13:2, 26, 12:4, 14:22
  2. Details of time:
    1. Number of days before the raising of Lazarus—11:6, 17, 39
    2. Duration of Jesus’ stay in Samaria—4:40,43
    3. Specific mention of the hour at which events occurred:
      1. “the tenth”—1:40
      2. “the sixth”—4:6
      3. “the seventh”—4:52
      4. “about the sixth”—19:14
      5. “it was night”—13:30, etc.

  3. Details of number:
    1. two disciples of John the Baptist—1:35
    2. six waterpots—2:6
    3. five loaves and two fishes—6:9
    4. twenty-five or thirty stadia—6:19
    5. four soldiers—19:23
    6. two hundred cubits—21:8
    7. two hundred fifty-three fish—21:11
  4. Details of manner or circumstance:
    1. The boy had barley loaves—6:9
    2. When Mary poured the ointment, the house was filled with the fragrance—12:3
    3. The branches used at the triumphant entry were palm branches—12:13
    4. Roman soldiers come with the officers of the priests to arrest Jesus—18:3
    5. Jesus’ tunic was seamless—19:23
    6. The facecloth in which Jesus was buried was wrapped and lying in a place by itself—20:7
    7. Peter was grieved because the Lord said to him a third time, “Do you love me?”—21:17
IV. The author of the Fourth Gospel was an Apostle.
  1. This is clear from the scope of his descriptions of Jesus’ ministry from the call of the first disciple to the appearances after the resurrection.
  2. He is acquainted with the thoughts and feelings of the disciples at critical moments: 2:11, 17, 22; 4:27, 6:19, 60 ff.; 12:16, 13:22, 28, 21:12.
  3. He recalls words spoken amont themselves: 4:33, 16:17, 20:25, 21:3,5.
  4. He is familiar with the places to which they withdrew for time alone: 11:54, 18:1-2, 20:19.
  5. He is acquainted with imperfect or erroneous impressions they received initially: 11:13, 12:16, 13:28, 20:9, 21:4.
  6. He stood very near the Lord:
    1. He knew the Lord’s emotions: 11:33, 13:21.
    2. He knew the grounds of the Lord’s actions: 2:24 ff, 4:1, 5:6, 6:15, 7:1, 16:19.
    3. He knew the mind of the Lord in many cases: 6:6, 6:61, 6:64, 13:1,3; 13:11.
V. The author of the Fourth Gospel was the Apostle John.
  1. John 21:24 assigns authorship to “the apostle whom Jesus loved.”
  2. This disciple is mentioned by this title twice in the passion narrative (13:23, 19:26) and twice afterwards (21:7, 21:20).
  3. He is known to the high-priest (18:15).
  4. He stands in close relationship with Peter (13:24, 20:2, 21:7).
  5. From the list in 21:2 of those present, this disciple must have been one of the sons of Zebedee, or one of the two other unnamed disciples present.
  6. The synoptics present Peter, James and John as standing in a special relationship to Jesus. Peter is eliminated (see 20:21), James was martyred very early (Acts 12:2); this leaves John.
VI. Corroboration:
  1. John is not mentioned by name anywhere in the Gospel.
  2. While John is not mentioned by name, the author is very particular about defining names in his gospel—he frequently qualifies by using additional names; Simon is never called merely Simon after his call, but always by his full name Simon Peter or the new name Peter. But in spite of this tendency, the author of the Fourth Gospel never refers to the Baptist as John the Baptist (as the synoptics do) but only as “John.”