The role of the Lazarus story in the redaction of the Fourth Gospel
Three types of theories have been set forth to resolve the problems with the FG as it now stands: that the original order of the manuscript was destroyed by an accidental displacement of the leaves; that the Fourth Gospel is the combination of several independent sources; that one body of material has been edited several times. The purpose of this study is to test and refine those theories. The raising of Lazarus has been chosen because it provides a useful means of investigating these theories and holds the key to resolving a number of the problems with the FG. In Chapter I consideration is given to the problem with the present position of the Lazarus story. The cleansing of the temple was transposed to make room for the raising of Lazarus; the conversation with the brothers was transposed to make room for the cleansing of the temple; and the raising of Lazarus was transposed to make room for the conversation with the brothers. Chapter II focuses on the problem with the present version of the Lazarus story. Chapter III given to the formation of the Lazarus story. There are four distinct stages: (1) creation of a traditional story; (2) addition of theological material; (3) addition of historical material; and (4) revision of an eschatological addition. Chapter IV focuses on the reason for the present position of the Lazarus story. A comparison of the references to Lazarus in chapters 11-12 with the references to the beloved disciple in chapters 13-21 shows that after the death of Lazarus, he was idealized as the first beloved disciple. In Chapter V examination of the references to present and future eschatology in the FG reveals that after the death of John the son of Zebedee, the Lazarus story was modified to explain what happens to those believers who die before the Lord returns. One may conclude that some of the problems with the FG as it now stands stem from an editor's desire to make Lazarus the beloved disciple, while others are due to concerns about the delay of the parousia. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Dale R Larder,
"The role of the Lazarus story in the redaction of the Fourth Gospel"
(January 1, 1991).
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