Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Gospel of John

The opening words of the Gospel of John,
in syriac, a dialect of Eastern Aramaic
 Literally, According to John; Greek, Κατά Ιωαννην, Kata Iōannēn of Hebrew origin יוֹחָנָן Yowchanan, The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel in the biblical canon of the New Testament, traditionally ascribed to John the Apostle. Like the three synoptic gospels, it contains an account of some of the actions and sayings of Jesus, but differs from them in ethos and theological emphases. The purpose is expressed in the conclusion, 20:30-31:
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

According to Trinitarianism, of the four gospels, John presents the highest christology, implicitly declaring Jesus to be God.

Compared to the synoptics, John focuses on Jesus' cosmic mission to redeem humanity. Only in John does Jesus talk at length about himself, and John includes a substantial amount of material that Jesus shared with the disciples only. Certain elements of the synoptics (such as the parables of Jesus, exorcisms, and the Second Coming of Christ) are not found in John.

Since the "higher criticism" of the 19th century, historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus. Some commentators regard the work as anonymous.

After the prologue (John 1:1-5), the narrative of the gospel begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts. The first part (John 1:6-chapter 12) relates Jesus' public ministry from the time of his baptism by John the Baptist to its close.

In this first part, John emphasizes seven of Jesus' miracles, always calling them "signs." The second part (John 13-21) presents Jesus in dialogue with his immediate followers (John 13-17) and gives an account of his passion and crucifixion and of his appearances to the disciples after his resurrection (John 18-20). Raymond E. Brown, a scholar of the Johannine community, labelled the first and second parts the "Book of Signs" and the "Book of Glory," respectively. In Chapter 21, the "appendix", Jesus restores Simon Peter after his denial, predicts Peter's death, and discusses the death of the "beloved disciple".

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