The Muratorian Tradition and the Gospel Text
C H A P T E R S I X: What Jesus Did Not Say
C H A P T E R S I X What Jesus Did Not Say Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple would not die: yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remains until I come, what is that to you?” John 21:23 ith the concluding verses of chapter 20 the Book of Glory is com- plete; the story has been told. Jesus has appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the seven, among whom, unnamed, is the Beloved Disciple. The great commission to forgive sins has been given to the disciples, showing that it was Jesus’ intention that the ministry of forgiveness should continue. Thomas the skeptic, otherwise represented only in 11:16 where he voices a faithless loyalty—“Let us also go die with him”–– has at last come to believe because he has touched, or has been invited to touch, the Lord’s wounded hands and side. Making the account of Thomas’s conversion from skepticism to belief the ultimate event in the Johannine narrative as it was originally composed supplies three purposes. In an environment in which a vibrant tradition about Thomas would be developed within the precincts of Gnosticism, verses 24– 29 serve to co-opt the faithful Thomas for Johannine orthodoxy.1 At the same time these verses effectively reject the doctrine of ‘spiritual’ resurrection, against which the great church fought stubbornly, while simultaneously foreseeing, with the line “Blessed are those who have...
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