Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Adele Reinhartz
While scholars uniformly recognise John 13-17 as a unique literary unit within the Fourth Gospel, these chapters contain various difficulties that distract from their cohesive integrity. Some argue that the problems result from an incomplete or careless editorial redaction, and might even provide evidence of the changing theology of the Johannine community as it moved through successive historical developments (diachronic reading). Others attempt to resolve the inner tensions by positing that the supposed difficulties actually signal changes of mood or spiritual insight, and for that reason belong where they fall (synchronic reading). A third alternative, suggested more frequently in recent years, tries to bring these divergent readings toward some harmony though a different exegetical approach. Reflecting on the influence of the Hebrew Bible on the content and style of the Fourth Gospel, these interpreters see patterns of both micro-chiasm and macro-chiasm in its literary development. They then read John 13-17 as an expression of macro-chiasm. While scholars generally acknowledge the presence of micro-chiasm in biblical literature, there is wide disagreement as to whether macro-chiastic readings are possible. This thesis explores chiasm in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament on both the micro and macro levels, concluding that it is indeed possible to read passages in each collection as developed macro-chiastically. Further a set of criteria for governing such readings is outlined. These criteria are then applied to the Johannine Farewell discourse. Other chiastic readings of the discourse are reviewed and a new chiastic reading is offered, based on the criteria deduced in the first half of the study. A final section shows how this chiastic reading of John 13-17 allows a new assessment of the points of difficulty, and provides a bridge between the perspectives of synchronic and diachronic interpreters.
Brouwer, Wayne, "The literary development of John 13--17: A chiastic reading" (1999). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1901.