Chiastic Structure in the Book of John

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Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Book of John

#11 Post by Bobcat » 9 months ago

A Mr Craig Fairweather posted at Biblical Chiasm Exchange (here) on what he saw was a chiastic arrangement of the eight miracles that can be found in the fourth gospel account. Craig says:
I believe there are Eight Signs in John. As eight they do form a chiasmus. There are seven before the Resurrection of Jesus, and one after it, like the eight lamps gradually lit in households at the Feast of Dedication, or Lights.

Below is the arrangement that I reformatted for this forum. The numbers are the numbering of the miracles (1 thru 8):

A. (1) Changing ‘no wine’ to abundant wine at Cana in Galilee (Jn 2:1-11)

. . . B. (2) Healing the son of the official from Capernaum from a deadly disease (Jn 4:46-54)

. . . . . . C. (3) Healing the man paralytic 38 years at Bethesda pool north of the Temple (Jn 5:1-15)

. . . . . . . . . D. (4) Feeding the 5000 beside the sea (Jn 6:5-14)

. . . . . . . . . D^ (5) Jesus walking on the sea and stilling the storm on the sea (Jn 6:16-24)

. . . . . . C^ (6) Healing the man blind from birth using the Siloam Pool south of the Temple (Jn 9:1-7)

. . . B^ (7) Raising the brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus, from death, in Bethany (Jn 11:1-45)

A^ (8) Changing ‘no fish’ into abundant fish at the Sea of Tiberias, Galilee (Jn 21:1-11)

There are a number of interesting parallels and contrasts within the details of the chiasm.

Mr Fairweather's chiasm above was in a post in response to a proposed chiasm of the miracle in the book of John that can be seen below. The only difference (that I can see) is that "D" & "D^" are combined into one. In abbreviated form it looks like this:

A. Water into wine when wine had run out (Jn 2:1-11)

. . . B. Raising up the nobleman's son, in Capernaum (Jn 4:46-54)

. . . . . . C. Healing man by Pool of Bethesda, on Sabbath (Jn 5:1-15)

. . . . . . . . . D. Feeding of five thousand, and walking on water in same context (Jn 6:5-24)

. . . . . . C^ Healing of man born blind, by Pool of Siloam, on Sabbath (Jn 9:1-7)

. . . B^ Raising of Lazarus, in Bethany (Jn 11:1-45

A^ Great catch of fish when no fish were caught (Jn 21:1-11)

Bobcat

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Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Book of John

#12 Post by Bobcat » 9 months ago

As taken from the book, Chiasmus: An Important Structural Device Commonly Found in Biblical Literature, (Brad McCoy), below is a chiasm of Genesis 17. The author of the book argues that the prologue to the fourth gospel (Jn 1:1-18) bears more than a passing resemblance to Genesis chapter 17. Both chiastic structures are reproduced below for comparison:

A. Abram’s age (Gen 17:1a)
. . . B. Yahweh appears to Abram (Gen 17:1b)
. . . . . . C. God’s first speech (Gen 17:1c–2)
. . . . . . . . . D. Abram falls on his face (Gen 17:3)
. . . . . . . . . . . . E. God’s second speech (emphasizing “names/kings/nations”) (Gen 17:4–8)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X. God’s third/most important speech (emphasizing “the covenant”) (Gen 17:9–14)
. . . . . . . . . . . . E^ God’s fourth speech (emphasizing “names/kings/ nations”) (Gen 17:15–16)
. . . . . . . . . D^ Abraham falls on his face (Gen 17:17–18)
. . . . . . C^ God’s fifth speech (Gen 17:19–21)
. . . B^ Yahweh goes up from Abram (Gen 17:22–23)
A^ Abraham’s age (Gen 17:24–25)
A. The Word with God (Jn 1:1-2)
. . . B. The Word's role in creation (Jn 1:3)
. . . . . . C. God's grace to mankind (Jn 1:4-5)
. . . . . . . . . D. Witness of John the Baptist (Jn 1:6-8)
. . . . . . . . . . . . E. The Incarnation of the Word (Jn 1:9-11)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X. Saving faith in the Incarnate Word (Jn 1:12-13)
. . . . . . . . . . . . E^ The Incarnation of the Word (Jn 1:14)
. . . . . . . . . D^ Witness of John the Baptist (Jn 1:15)
. . . . . . C^ God's grace to mankind (Jn 1:16)
. . . B^ The Word's role in re-creation (Jn 1:17)
A^ The Word with God the Father (Jn 1:18)

An extract from the author's publication with the discussion of the above can be found starting here and over the next few pages of the PDF.


Bobcat

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Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Book of John

#13 Post by Bobcat » 9 months ago

The writer of this web page offers a draft of a chiasmus of the whole of the fourth gospel.

The chiasmus, which I will recreate below is not very detailed, although, the writer attempts to explain some of his reasons for structuring the book as he does in the web link. I believe he accidentally left out John chapter 10. In the recreation of it below I added chapter 10 with chapter 9 since the account in chapter 10 appears to be a continuation of chapter 9. (Notice how Jn 10:1 reads, as if it were part of an ongoing discussion. And contrast with how Jn 9:1 NET and Jn 11:1 NET begin, written in a style suggesting the start of a new scene.) I also added some links to other related posts in this thread.

A. Narrative of Chap 1b to 4a - Jesus as Israel’s defiled Bridegroom. (See also here)

. . . B. Narrative of Chap 4b - Life to Royal Official’s Son.

. . . . . . C. Narrative of Chapter 5 - Sabbath Healing with weak belief.

. . . . . . . . . D. Narrative of Chap 6-8 - Jesus Nourishes His Family

. . . . . . C^ Narrative of Chap 9-10 - Sabbath Healing with strong belief

. . . B^ Narrative of Chap 11 - Life to Lazarus.

A^ Narrative of Chap 12-19 - Jesus as Israel’s defiled King. (See also here)

Further down in the link the writer raises some points that he argues that the chiastic structure of the book helps to explain. See under the section entitled, Table 5. Unfortunately he doesn't expound on those points. It would have been interesting to see his detailed thoughts on them.

Interestingly, this chiasm seems to pair fairly well with the chiasm of the miracles as shown in post # 11 above (here). Notice that the general arrangement of the miracles overlays well with this chiasm. For example, in post # 11 the two miracles in chapter 6 form the center of the symmetry. In this chiasm, chapter 6 also fits at the center of the chiasm. At any rate, it is curious.

Attempts to outline symmetrical structure for various individual parts of the fourth gospel can be seen here.


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Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Book of John

#14 Post by Bobcat » 1 week ago

See this post for a link to a PDF (33 pages in length) discussing the historical and archaeological accuracy of the 4th gospel.


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