Structure and Background of the Fourth Gospel

I. Opening chapters display unique language and style

A. Language

1. Life

2. Light and darkness

3. Truth

4. "The World"

5. Knowing and seeing ("Come and see")

6. Lamb of God

7. Signs

8. "Truly, truly"

9. Above and below

B. Style and character of Jesus

1. Cosmic setting from the beginning

2. Jesus clearly knows who he is and says so at every opportunity

3. He does not pray; he divines others' thoughts

4. He is extrahuman

5. He does not speak in either parables or short sayings

6. Instead, long discourses

7. Healings and wondrous deeds are more spectacular but there are only 7 of them

II. Episodes in the other gospels missing in John

--Kingdom of God

--Markan secret

--Baptism of Jesus by John

--Temptation in the wilderness

--Exorcism of demons

--The conversation that leads to Peter's confession of Jesus's identity

--The transfiguration

--The agony at Gethsemane (instead, a stroll in the garden)

--Institution of the last supper

--Jesus's cry on the cross

III. Different chronology for Jesus's career

A. Jesus goes to Jerusalem three times, each time at Passover, not just once

1. Cleansing of the Temple occurs at the beginning of Jesus's career, not the end

a. The act that leads to his death is the raising of Lazarus

2. Jesus last meal is not a Passover meal, but occurs the day before Passover begins

3. Jesus dies as the arrangements for Passover are being made (slaughter of Passover lambs)

B. Jesus's ministry is concurrent with John the Baptist

IV. Episodes in John that are not in the synoptics

A. Wedding at Cana

B. Conversation with Nicodemus

C. Encounter with the Samaritan woman

D. Raising of Lazarus

E. Washing the feet of the disciples

V. Similarities with the other gospels

--Preaching of John the Baptist

--Feeding of the crowds

--Walking on water

-- Peter calls Jesus "the holy one of God"

--Basic narrative of the arrest, trial, and death of Jesus

--Some sayings

1. "Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." (12:25)

--see Matthew 10:39

2. "Truly I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me." (13:20)

--see Matthew 10:40

3. "Stand up, take your mat and walk." (5:8)

--See Mark 2:11)

VI. Theories about the relationship of John to the other gospels

A. John was familiar with the synoptics, and intended to write a supplementary gospel that assumed reader familiarity with the synoptics

B. Did not know the other gospels at all, but relied on a common oral tradition of memories

C. Had access to a tradition similar to, but also different in important respects, from the synoptics

1. Two segments of tradition developed, not entirely independently

2. Another source, called "the signs source" not available to the other writers

VII. Date and provenance

A. Date: Between 90 - 110 CE

B. Theories about John's community

1. Kysar: Does not "read" like a missionary document

a.Long discourses

b. Awareness of struggle between Jewish Christians who believed that Jesus was the Messiah and other Jews who did not

2. A polemic against "the Jews"

3. Kysar: Evidence of significan Jewish influence and knowledge, but also diaspora Hellenism

a. Kysar and Brown: A Jewish Christian group locked out of the synagogue and bitterly opposed

4. Frederiksen: A Greco-Roman community in opposition to "the Jews"

5. Brown: stages of composition

--Stage 1: signs source: still part of synagogue and apocalyptic

--Stage 2: more distinct with themes emerging: high Christology

--Stage 3: estranged and bitter -- anti-apocalyptic

C. Provenance: Palestine or Syria