The Historical Reliability of John

water2wine

By Craig L. Blomberg

Of the four New Testament Gospels, the one that least resembles the other three is the Gospel of John.  While some of those most skeptical Gospel scholars dismiss all four as fairly untrustworthy, many are willing to give significant credence to the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) but still doubt that more than a small handful of details of the fourth Gospel can be deemed historical.  After all, John alone contains the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine or the resurrection of Lazarus; the three-year framework for Jesus' ministry, including numerous visits to Jerusalem at festival time replete with unique challenges to the Jewish leaders; a series of claims about Jesus' identity that virtually equate him with God and make more explicit self-disclosures more consistently than anything we find in the other three canonical accounts.  Numerous other differences emerge as well:  John contains none of the parables or exorcisms characteristic of the Synoptics, but does have consistently longer discourses of Jesus than are found in those earlier Gospels.  Overall, both in the total number of passages included and in the particular details John chose to include in otherwise paralleled passages, the fourth Gospel more commonly goes its separate way.  And at many points the language of John the narrator and that of Jesus the speaker seems identical.  In light of all these differences, can the overall credibility of John be salvaged in any way?  Fourteen arguments converge to suggest an affirmative answer…

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          The Historical Reliability of John