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History in the Bible

Nov 18, 2018

The gospel of John reads nothing like the other gospels. John defines Jesus as a cosmological figure, not the man adopted by God at his baptism that the other gospels talk about. John has a quite different biography of Jesus. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus travels to Jerusalem once in his life, to meet his destiny. The gospel of John has Jesus travelling to Jerusalem several times, and places the cleansing of the Temple at the beginning of Jesus' career, not at the end. John's gospel is clearly the product of a community, rather than a single author. This community also produced the letters attributed to John. We have no idea how this community related to the Jesus-clubs founded by Paul, nor to the communities who read the synoptic gospels. I throw in an introduction to some of the ideas that the gospel used: from Platonism, from Philo Judeaus, and from Gnosticism. I finish with the Gospel of Thomas, another Gnostic-influenced gospel.