Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bultmann's order for John

As I mentioned in my 10 really good bibles you may not know about post, I've been recently reading Price's Pre-Nicene New Testament. This is a "new testament" that makes heavy use of both lower and higher criticism. One area that has bothered readers for thousands of years have been the discontinuities in John. For example Jesus leaving a place and then later in the gospel arriving there. Rudolf Bultmann in Das Evangelium des Johannes (1941) reconstructs the Signs Gospel (which is an theoretical older form of John that got redacted into a longer work). After having done this he is able to reconstruct what likely happened, the pages of the pre-redacted dropped, got scrambled and the redactor put them together incorrectly. Seeing continuity breaks he smoothed over the transitions and still today Canonical John is out of order. When I read the argument in Bultmann (English translation I don't speak German) it made a lot of sense to me, and wondered what John would read like in the correct order. In fact I wished that Bultmann's Gospel had been written more like a commentary with a correct John with Signs highlighted rather than an argument for these various changes. The Bultmann book when you read it, is taken up by the actual reconstruction and argument.

One thing that is very nice about Price's book is that John is in Bultmann's order. Having now tried it, wow does it make a difference! So since people aren't going to buy Price based on my recommendation I figured I would presents the corrected order to read John in, seriously give it a try. Because it is hard to follow visually for those trying to see how chapters break up, I've color coded each of the divided chapters.
1, 2:1-13a, 5, 7:15-24, 3:22-30, 4, 6, 7:1-14, 7:25-29, 7:40-43:, 7:30-32, 7:44-52, 7:37-39, 9, 8:12-20, 10:19-29, 10:1-18, 10:30-42, 11, 12:1-19, 7:53, 8:1-11, 2:13b-25, 8:31-59, 3:1-13, 3:31-36, 12:20-33, 7:33-36, 8:21-30, 12:34-36a, 3:14-21, 12:44-50, 12:36b-43, 13:1-35, 15:9-17, 14:15-24, 15:1-8, 15:18-27, 16:1-23a, 14:1-14, 16:23b-33, 14:25-30, 13:36-38, 17-21
As an aside Price writes a great introduction speculating on a Mandaeist origin with Cerinthus as a possible author. For Bultmann's Ecclesiastical redactor he thinks Huller's guess of Polycarp of Smyrna. Who knows, but if anyone wants to discuss those guesses I'm game.


Using the online bible browser you can read it in order here, except for the half verse issues

John 1, John 2:1-13a, John 5, John 7:15-24, John 3:22-30, John 4, John 6, John 7:1-14, John 7:25-29, John 7:40-43:, John 7:30-32, John 7:44-52, John 7:37-39, John 9, John 8:12-20, John 10:19-29, John 10:1-18, John 10:30-42, John 11, John 12:1-19, John 7:53, John 8:1-11, John 2:13-25 (13b-25), John 8:31-59, John 3:1-13, John 3:31-36, John 12:20-33, John 7:33-36, John 8:21-30, John 12:34-36 (36a), John 3:14-21, John 12:44-50, John 12:36-43 (36b-42), John 13:1-35, John 15:9-17, John 14:15-24, John 15:1-8, John 15:18-27, John 16:1-23a, John 14:1-14, John 16:23-33 (23b-33), John 14:25-30, John 13:36-38, John 17, John 18, John 19, John 20, John 21

See also:
2 of Bultmann's books are available online: Jesus and the Word, Kerygma and Myth


J. L. Watts said...

Let me read it in the order you suggested, and I'll get back to you

CD-Host said...

JL just rereading this post. If you subscribed to the comments. Did you ever try the revised order?