Theological Studies 80(3) recently published a nice review of my book, “Proving Jesus’ Authority in Mark and John.” A couple of briefexcerpts:
” The result is a fine inquiry which. . . represents a positive contribution to Johannine and Synoptic scholarship. “
“Some of G.’s keen observations are well taken and should generate further discussion. In fact, their presence makes the book recommended reading for serious students of John’s Gospel.”
“As for his readers, both the general audience and specialists will be treated to a well-written, provocative, and informative inquiry into a lingering mystery in New Testament studies.”
I’m pleased to report that Bible and Interpretation just published an article by me titled The Eucharist Problem: John versus Paul. It argues that John, writing about a half-century after Paul, preserved a pre-Pauline form of the Eucharist teaching and that Paul’s revelation is a radical reinterpretation and explanation of what Jesus must have meant when he delivered the version preserved by John.
One of the most significant disagreements between John and
the synoptic gospels (Mark, Luke, Matthew) revolves around Jesus’ last visit to
Jerusalem. The synoptic gospels place the incident over three days in the last
week of Jesus’ life. John places the visit over several months and ends it at
about three months before Jesus is arrested. Where the synoptic gospels say
Jesus went to the Temple during those three days, John says Jesus was hiding
away to avoid arrest (on the theological principle that his hour had not yet
Paul, Matthew and Luke all portray Jesus as a descendant of David. Matthew and Luke even provide Jesus with a lengthy genealogical trail showing his Davidic relationship. Mark, on the other hand, has no birth story and does not appear to recognize or accept that Jesus was a descendant of David. Let’s look at the evidence.
The Triumphal Entry scene in the Gospels depicts a large crowd hailing Jesus as King of the Jews. From a political-historical standpoint, this is problematic. The Romans would not tolerate an unauthorized individual being hailed as the king of the Jews and would likely crack down on such a demonstration and take such a person into custody as soon as possible. The Romans simply didn’t tolerate such actions. However, Mark shows Jesus coming back to Jerusalem day after day with no Roman interaction, although the Romans would have had large numbers of troops stationed in and around Jerusalem during the Passover holiday period. From a literary standpoint, I also note that after Mark depicts Jesus being hailed by the large crowds as the Davidic Messiah that adulation disappears from Mark throughout Jesus’ return visits to Jerusalem. No one during the subsequent visits declares him to be the Davidic heir. Why not?
The Criterion of Embarrassment has come in for a lot of hard knocks lately, and with good reason. John Meier describes it as follows: “The point of the criterion is that the early Church would hardly have gone
Prof. James Davila, at PaleoJudaica.com links to my essay on Bible and Interpretation about “Roman Days, Jewish Nights and the Gospel Calendar Problem.” He also comments, “I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel more confused about the chronology of the Gospel Passion narratives. But after reading this I am.” Mission accomplished.
My essay, Roman Days, Jewish Nights, and Gospel Calendar Problems is now online at Bible and Interpretation. You can read it here or go to the Bible and Interpretation site and click a link there.
I recently submitted an article to Bible and Interpretation titled “Roman Days, Jewish NIghts, and the Gospel Calendar Problem.” It should appear in the latter part of July and I’ll post a link when it is published. The article examines some of the chronological issues affecting the gospel narratives that arise from the fact that the authors of the Gospels used a Roman calendar day (sunrise to sunrise) to describe events unfolding according to the Jewish Calendar day (sunset to sunset.) It discusses the impact on such issues as when the Sabbath started and ended, on what days Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread occurred, and the so-called Day of Preparation.
My latest book, Proving Jesus’ Authority in Mark and John: Overlooked evidence of a synoptic relationship, is now available. The book offers a new theory of John’s composition techniques and his relationship to the other gospels. A picture of the book jacket and links to the book description, jacket blurbs, and a short excerpt are available in the sidebar. I want to thank Paul Anderson, Adam Winn, and Barrie Wilson for their generous book endorsements. This is an academic study and priced accordingly, so if you’re interested you might want to encourage your local library to buy a copy. Here is the book’s description.
In this innovative study of the Fourth Gospel, Greenberg introduces important new perspectives on synoptic problems and challenges many theories about the nature of John’s sources and composition practices. His analysis shows that the author of John knew a written version of Mark’s gospel, had strong theological objections to how Mark depicted the nature and story of Jesus and the gospel message, and composed his gospel as a theologically corrected rewrite of Mark, using the latter’s gospel as a narrative guideline for his own composition.
By focusing on several seemingly different stories in Mark and John that deal with issues relating to how Jesus proved his authority, Greenberg places each of the incidents in their narrative, sequential, and theological context, demonstrating that John knew Mark’s specific stories in the same sequential order that appeared in Mark, and that John’s stories represented theologically altered rewrites of the ones in Mark. The study examines the nature of John’s objections to Mark, what changes John would want to make to Mark, and the formulaic editorial techniques John used to transform Mark’s gospel into John’s gospel. Of particular interest, Greenberg shows how John transformed Mark’s stories about proof through exorcisms into Johannine stories about proof through words.