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While scholarship has raised a number of issues with the text, called aporias, there are a number of things

to be gained from literary criticism. The following are three ways to examine the texts literary seams. One way is source theories based in style, searching for stylistic differences that would indicate multiple editors (Burge, 60). Burge notes how different words, such as: word, grace, and fullness, are used for a chapter, and then dropped, not to be used again. This is largely disproven; with it generally being accepted that the same hand wrote chapters 1-21 (Burge, 60). The second is to dissect the text according to ideological tendencies. This is when the text indicates that a source and its editor/ author evidence conflicting views. While some, like Bultmann, may be indeed be experts at recognizing such nuances in the text, it appears subjective and shaky ground to try and discern ancient ideological strata (Burge, 61). The third and best tool is contextual evidence. It includes textual examples, parenthetical remarks, and literary seams. For example, comparing textual evidence in manuscripts from different traditions. Burge notes that while there are myriad mysteries to the content and order of the text in John, the textual variations are minor (61). There are a lot of parenthetical remarks in John explaining the text. This may have been necessary if the author was in a place where customs differed than those where the events happened. It would make sense if John were writing in Ephesus, to explain Cephus, an Aramaic name, means Peter (Burge, 62). The last contextual evidence is literary seams. There are major rifts of time, topic, and dramatic flow in John; Burge lists thirteen of them. One example is the placement of chapters 5 and 6 where Jesus seems to skipping around from Jerusalem to Galilee and back again in haphazard fashion (64). In places it would make more sense to switch the order, but doing so would create a problem in another area. Barrett and Dodd propose a series of redactors that use traditions found in Mark or oral sources older than those of the synoptic gospels, respectively (Burge, 67). While it seems evident that multiple sources were used for John, Burge warns against thinking that uncovering earlier sources would lead to a better version. Others cautions include superimposing subjective data on the text as in trying to discern ideological tendencies. I am reminded of last weeks study where one evidence against the authenticity of John was his Hellenistic language, only to be refuted with the Ryland Papyrus were found and it was seen that this way of speaking was in fact particular to a Jewish sect. As far as these approaches enhancing my understanding of John? Well they certainly will increase my data and knowledge about John and more immediately I am in awe of how God works, the activity of the Holy Spirit in coordinating so many sources, traditions, editors, etc. Yet Gods Word is intact, powerful, and alive. That is my main take away as of now. I do not think I have a comprehensive and solid enough grasp on the literary criticism of John to help me in presenting it to others. I would sound foolish talking about something I only know about topically.