The Johannine Discourses And The Teaching Of Jesus In The Synoptics A Comparative Approach To The Authenticity Of Jesus’ Words In The Fourth Gospel -- By: Philipp Fabian Bartholomä

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 62:1 (NA 2011)
Article: The Johannine Discourses And The Teaching Of Jesus In The Synoptics A Comparative Approach To The Authenticity Of Jesus’ Words In The Fourth Gospel
Author: Philipp Fabian Bartholomä


The Johannine Discourses And The Teaching Of Jesus In The Synoptics
A Comparative Approach To The Authenticity Of Jesus’ Words In The Fourth Gospel1

Philipp Fabian Bartholomä

The main subject of this dissertation is the correlation between the alleged relationship of the Johannine discourses with the teaching of Jesus in the Synoptics on the one hand and the assessment of the authenticity of Jesus’ words in the Fourth Gospel on the other. Generally speaking, the Johannine discourses have received comparatively little attention as reliable and thus valuable sources for the teaching of the historical Jesus, not least owing to the fact that even a cursory glance at John and the Synoptic Gospels reveals obvious differences between how Jesus’ words are presented. These differences have frequently been perceived as too great to accept the Johannine discourses as authentic representations of Jesus’ teaching, especially when placed alongside Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Chapter one provides a critical review of the literature regarding the question of the authenticity of Jesus’ words in the Fourth Gospel. A detailed representation of the history of modern research brings clearly into focus the causality between Johannine-Synoptic relations and the scholarly judgement about the authenticity of the Johannine discourses. Especially those scholars holding a more or less sceptical view of Johannine authenticity frequently based their conviction on an assumed incoherence between how John and the Synoptics present the teaching of Jesus. Yet, even though the relationship between John and the Synoptics seems to be one of the key issues in assessing the authenticity of the Johannine discourses, no sustainable attempt to either support or falsify such an argument based on a thorough investigation of the data has been put forward in the literature. Thus,

the primary purpose of this dissertation is to examine through a detailed comparison whether a negative judgement concerning the authenticity of Jesus’ words in the Fourth Gospel can be significantly substantiated by the differences between the two major strands of canonical gospel tradition.

Chapter two is devoted to several methodological considerations. Since the Fourth Gospel itself claims a historical intent, it is argued that the authenticity of the Johannine discourses should be evaluated in light of the standards that existed in ancient historiography. According to contemporary standards, the Johannine discourses should be considered as historically authentic as long as they reliably reproduce the basic substance of the words of Jesus. The insight that differences in wording are n...

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