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Excerpt: "Between C. H. Dodd’s two landmark magna opera on John, addressing the religious background behind and the historical tradition within the Fourth Gospel (1953; 1963), Raymond Brown published several essays in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, later appearing in his New Testament Essays.1 In doing so, Brown picks up where the appendix to Dodd’s first major work left off – the central subject that Dodd expanded in his second volume. Both Dodd and Brown challenged inferences that similarities between John and the Synoptics suggest John’s literary dependence upon one or more of the Synoptics, inferring instead John’s essential autonomy as a historically grounded rather than derivative tradition. While Dodd sought to demonstrate the many ways in which Johannine similar-yetdifferent parallels to the Synoptic accounts argued for the Fourth Evangelist’s use of independent historical tradition of comparable historical value as that which underlay the Synoptic traditions,2 Brown worked more with analysing the character of the similarities and differences among the traditions, making critical deductions as a result. Lest it be imagined that Johannine narratives were cobbled together out of synoptic-type material, serving the theological interests of the Evangelist rather than historical ones, Brown’s early analyses effectively challenge several of the bases for preferring Synoptic over Johannine historicity, thus bolstering Dodd’s overall programme."


Originally published as chapter ten of Engaging with C. H. Dodd on the Gospel of John: Sixty Years of Tradition and Interpretation, Edited by Tom Thatcher, and Catrin Williams, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Online ISBN: 9781139565165