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In the first two chapters of his book The New Testament in Its Literary Environment,7 he gives a perfectly adequate defense of this thesis. ”8 Many readers like myself, however, content with Aune’s more concise exposition, will not have needed Burridge’s rather more labored treatment of the same subject to persuade them that, while the Gospels are not biographies in the modern sense of the word, it is reasonable to put them in the same category as Greek and Roman bioi, not because they have borrowed from any individual Greek bios or Roman vita, but because they meet the not very stringent criteria—they were written at the right time, in the right language, and with the right focus on a single individual.
I will argue in Excursus III that if we want to use the Gospel as a historical source, with the aim of reconstructing as far as possible the birth and development of the Johannine community, we have to read it diachronically: we cannot take for granted that the Gospel was composed in the order in which it is printed. Of every passage in the Gospel the historian is entitled to ask what it can tell us about the author and his community—what stage of the history of the community it reflects. If we take this approach (excluded a priori, of course, by the self-styled literary or narrative critics), the Prologue confronts us with an immediate challenge.
Lindars, Gospel, 234. See Excursus II below on the problem of the position of chapter 6. 24. Peder Borgen, “Observations on the Midrashic Character of John 6,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 54 (1963): 232-40. 25. Martyn, History and Theology, 122. “Only in the final analysis,” Martyn says, “do I think Borgen’s suggestions are misleading” (121 n. 187). ”26 But the gift of the bread from heaven in the original quotation (6:31) is rapidly interpreted to refer to the true bread of life, a gift stated in such a way that even the name of Moses is deliberately excluded.