Friday, August 22, 2008

...John is but a Dream

I'll start the critiques off with just a minor, little glitch. Just a small chink in the breastplate of righteousness. Larger battle scars are on the way.

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are the only books of the Bible where you can find the words which reportedly Jesus said, with the exception of a sparse few words at the beginning of Acts. Of the four Gospels, three are considered Synoptic Gospels because of their similar storyline; Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Gospel of John stands conspicuously alone in the tale it tells, and also has the honor of being the only Gospel to record the dogma of being born again, as well as containing some of the most quoted verses, like John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Verily, verily, verily, verily, John is but a dream.
One of Jesus' colloquialisms is that He would often start a sentence with “verily” to emphasize a point of God's philosophy or plan. All four of the Gospels record this. In fact, of the 136 times the term “verily” is used in the entire King James Version of the Bible, 101 of those occurrences are in the Gospels. Of those 101 times, John snags up more than its fair share with 46 instances!

Why? Because John records Jesus saying “verily, verily” every single time He says it. Meanwhile, the Synoptic Gospels never record Jesus saying verily twice in a row. (NOTE: If you have a newer Bible translation, you may not see this as the editors have often decided to “correct” the duplications which do actually exist in the source Greek text.)

So what? Remember that the legend goes that the Gospels were written by the Apostles of Jesus. These were guys that spent day and night with Jesus. They would have heard Him first hand. They would have learned the way that Jesus said things because they would have heard them over and over again as Jesus traveled to different places. Jesus was in the habit of saying verily either once or twice. In a three to one vote, John is wrong.

Well, perhaps John was just trying to emphasize the truth and authority with which Jesus spoke? (With satirical tone: Yes, because even though it was Jesus, the Son of God, speaking, John thought to himself that Jesus still didn't enough panache in His words!)

At the very least, this reveals a man made alteration of reality made for aesthetic reasons. One can only wonder if any of Jesus' words were further touched up by John in a less obvious manner. One can only speculate that John left the essential essence of Jesus' messages unmolested. And therefore, in the interest of intellectual honesty, one should be at least a little leery of revelations contained only within John.

About the Pictures
This bas-relief adorns an adjoining building to the Saint Francisco Cathedral in Salta, Argentina. What I find particularly interesting is that only the books of the Synoptic Gospel are included. John is left out. Hmmm....

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