John presents Jesus from a much different perspective.

Instead of Nativity, he starts with a parallel to the very opening of the Bible, where God creates light and sees that it’s good.

John also invokes the ancient Greek philosophical concept of Logos, merges it with the light, and proclaims that they become flesh among us in the person of Jesus.


Logos, of course, presents a major difficulty for David Bauscher’s argument that observant Jews would have avoided anything Greek. My earlier encounters with the Wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha suggest otherwise, and I do want to know how much the concept of Sophia (Wisdom) overlaps Logos and at what points she differs.

Bauscher sticks with The Word in his translation, and instead of Christ, uses The Messiah.

Even so, unlike the other gospels, John casts Jesus at the center of the cosmos. Jesus repeatedly speaks of himself, I AM THE LIVING GOD — all capital letters in Bauscher’s translation. The teachings of social action and justice that were previously at the center of his biography now shift toward the identity of Jesus and his followers’ relationship to him and the Holy One.


Because of its emphasis on the Holy Spirit — what Bauscher translates as The Spirit of Truth or The Spirit of Holiness — and its proclamations of an indwelling presence of Jesus (17:21-26, for example), John is sometimes called the Quaker Gospel. The very name of the Quaker denomination, Society of Friends, comes from 15:15: “No longer do I call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master does, but I have called you my friends, because all that I have heard from my Father, I have taught you.”


While the three synoptic gospels nod toward the heart of the Hebrew Bible by blending history and law-giving, John departs from all the other books. Nowhere else does a figure assert himself to be one with God. Hearing the voice of the Holy One is one thing, but to proclaim oneself to be one with God and the son of God is unique and startling.


Some give the date of composition as 85 CE. Others place it as 90-110 CE. Either way, it cam be up to a generation later than the other three gospels.

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