The Miraculous Parallelisms is about teaching the reader that John's Gospel was composed of parallelisms marked with a complete symmetrical literary pattern.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK
Since the 1800’s, most establishment biblical scholars, both Catholics and Protestants, have tried to explain their difficult reading experience of the Gospel of John by theorizing that his Gospel has suffered from a history of being adapted to new audiences during the first century by “Ecclesiastical Editors,” who wrote Church doctrine and practice back into the text. They all operated on the theories of German biblical scholars whose work of over two centuries was masterfully summarized in Rudolf Bultmann’s book, “The Gospel of John: A Commentary,” written in 1941 (English Translation, 1971). Their procedures came to be called “historical criticism.” The end result of their subjective methods and opinions was to conclude, as Bultmann did, that “the more precise division of the Gospel is open to question for the original order has in many places been disturbed.” To this day, Bultmann’s book remains the most influential, with respect to the proper interpretation of the Gospel of John. Thus the reader can appreciate the overwhelming scholarly opinion (yes, opinion and not fact) that existed at the end of the 20th century to undermine the authenticity of this Gospel.
Yet Bultmann was not without significant critics.
- Pope Benedict XVI, while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, arrayed himself strongly against the opinions of “historical criticism” practiced by Bultmann and his followers. Ratzinger powerfully proclaimed in 1988 that “Bultmann wanted incoherence at any price.” Ratzinger believed that Bultmann wanted to undermine the inerrancy of the bible and thus give support to the Protestant standard of individual personal interpretation of the Gospel. Bultmann’s view clashed directly with the Roman Catholic Church’s concept of biblical inerrancy, as interpreted by the teaching Magisterium of the Church. It also gave encouragement to liberal Catholics bent on undermining the orthodoxy of the Church.
- Avery Cardinal Dulles recently (2006) confirmed such concerns about the deleterious effect of historical criticism on the orthodoxy of the Church, when he stated: “ In combination with the virtual monopoly of historical- critical exegesis, the neglect of tradition leads many Christians to think that nothing can be taught in the Church that does not pass the scrutiny of historical critical method.”
- The 1993 Pontifical Biblical Commission encouraged a study of the mode of composition and literary structure of biblical texts to directly counter the historical critics.
This book, following the instruction of the 1993 Pontifical Biblical Commission, directly challenges the historical critics and demonstrates that their subjective opinions fail of persuasion. It proves, with detailed and comprehensive objective evidence, that the text of the Gospel of John contains an extraordinary display of parallelisms, literary patterns and symmetries that demonstrate the brilliance of John’s literary and poetic genius. This book demonstrates, to a degree of virtual certainty, that the claims of the historical critics are in serious error. This new discovery supports Roman Catholic orthodoxy. It confirms that the continuity of the text of the Gospel of John is well ordered in accordance with the original inspired writing of its author. No dislocations or redactions by editors have destroyed the original continuity of the text. Therefore it is a solid basis for determining Christ’s message to us, as Pope Benedict XVI and the Magisterium have taught.
It is anticipated that this book will replace Bultmann’s 1941 speculative treatise as the standard reference for all future Johannine scholarship during the 21st century.
Author: JOHN J. GERHARD, S.J.
The author is a former professor of theology and biblical studies at St. John’s University in New York City. He has dedicated over 30 years of full-time research into the analysis of the literary structure of the Gospel of John and the discovery and identification of the parallelisms contained therein. This book is the result of his life’s work.