Many people in our day argue that John is the latest of all the four gospels, and that as such it reflects the most idealized portrait of Christ, rather than the actual Jesus of history. But is this story accurate? Can any of its historical claims be verified? How does John differ from later spurious texts such as the Gnostic Gospels? On this program Shane Rosenthal will discuss these questions and more with New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg, author of The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel.
“If you travel to Jerusalem today, you’ll go to the Pool of Bethesda and you will see it was a long, thin, rectangular-shaped structure. And then, a dividing section down the middle—those are the five porticos.”
“So it looks like the author of this text had actual first-century, geographical details. This isn’t an author who is making things up for realistic effect.”
Term to Learn
The science of textual criticism deals with (a) the making and transmission of ancient manuscripts, (b) the description of the most important witnesses to the New Testament text, and (c) the history of the textual criticism of the New Testament as reflected in the succession of printed editions of the Greek Testament. The art of textual criticism refers to the application of reasoned considerations in choosing among variant readings.
The results of the practice of textual criticism have differed from one generation to another, partly because the balance in the quantity and the quality of witnesses available has gradually altered owing to the acquisition of additional manuscripts, and partly because theories and procedures of evaluating textual evidence have varied over the years.
(Adapted from Bruce Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament, “Preface to the First Edition”)