What John Knew and What John Wrote
A Study in John and the Synoptics
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of Pages: 174
Width: 15.4 cm
Height: 21.9 cm
In this book, Wendy E. S. North investigates whether or not the author of John could have crafted his Gospel with knowledge of the Synoptics. Unlike previous approaches, which have usually treated the Gospel according to John purely as a piece of literature, this book undertakes a fresh approach by examining how John’s author reworks material that can be identified within his own text and also in the Jewish Scriptures. An assessment of these techniques allows North then to compare the Gospel of John with its Synoptic equivalents, and to conclude at last that John indeed worked with the knowledge of the Synoptic texts at certain points.
North (Univ. of Durham, UK) provides a lively discussion of John's relationship to the Synoptics. She argues that despite numerous differences, there are noteworthy similarities. North points out the narratives that John has in common with the Synoptic Gospels: for example, the call of the disciples (1:35-51), the healing of the official's son (4:46-53), the feeding of the multitude, followed by a sea-crossing miracle (6:1-21), Peter's confession (6:66-69), the entry into Jerusalem (12:12-15), the cleansing of the temple (2:13-22), the anointing at Bethany (12:1-8), the Last Supper, with a prophecy of betrayal (13:1-11), and the basic story of the passion. North notes that even though the evidence is not decisive, the author of John appears to have been familiar with certain traditions common to the Synoptic Gospels. John also may have been acquainted with the Gospel of Mark and possibly Luke, but if he was he did not follow them closely. Well argued and richly researched, this book forwards the discussion of John's possible use of the Synoptics. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. * Choice * Fidelity and freedom characterize the Fourth Gospel's use of tradition. Wendy E.S. North explores this transformative process in her insightful volume on John's relationship to the Synoptics. By reframing the question of John's use of sources and giving close attention to his way of telling the Jesus story, she provides fresh perspectives on how John might have used the Synoptic Gospels. This is essential reading for those engaged in Gospel interpretation. -- Craig R. Koester, Luther Seminary By first examining how the author of the Fourth Gospel uses and re-uses or develops material internally, Wendy E.S. North offers a new approach to the long-debated question of John's knowledge and use of one or more of the Synoptic Gospels. Through careful analysis and exegetical sensitivity, particularly in four more extended case studies, she demonstrates how understanding his techniques moves that debate from a matter of introductory background to a key step in the interpretation of his message. The clarity of presentation means that this book will be valuable for students at various stages in their encounter with the Gospel, while its persuasiveness will make it important reading for specialists as well. -- Judith Lieu, FBA, University of Cambridge Writing with characteristic elegance and erudition, Wendy North builds a wonderfully careful and clear case. She convincingly demonstrates that the way John employs both previous material in his own narrative and allusions to the Jewish Scriptures has just the characteristics to be found on the assumption he worked with the Synoptic passages that are parallel to his story. The close readings she provides are full of illuminating exegetical insights and lead to the conclusion that John is not independent of the Synoptics but the combination of fidelity and freedom in his approach to them is independent of the approach of Matthew and Luke to Mark. This is an outstanding contribution to the continuing discussion about John and the Synoptics. Further research simply cannot afford to miss it. -- Andrew T. Lincoln, emeritus professor of New Testament, University of Gloucestershire The well-known differences between the Gospel of John and the Synoptics led a previous generation of Johannine scholars to conclude that the fourth evangelist had no knowledge of these earlier gospel texts. In this clearly written and meticulously argued book, Wendy North shows this presumption of Johannine independence to be without foundation. Careful comparisons between John and especially Mark show the later evangelist to be a creative interpreter of his predecessors, in line with his view of the Spirit-Paraclete as the one who leads into all truth. -- Francis Watson, Durham University