RE: Was: "a question from a novice"

From: Eric S. Weiss (
Date: Wed Mar 22 2000 - 08:57:17 EST

I know it's not a B-Greek discussion topic, but Carl's comment reminds me
of something.

Evan Powell wrote a book several years ago called THE UNFINISHED GOSPEL. It
went out of print, but I see it is now back in print.

I have sought in vain for scholarly reviews/comments on Powell's book and
its governing thesis/hypothesis, which is that John 21 was later added to
John's gospel (as many believe) - but, according to Powell, John 21 WAS
ORIGINALLY THE MISSING ENDING OF GMARK. He believes (and shows how) the
author of GJohn in subtle but surprising ways "warns" his readers of the
dangers of Simon Peter. But in order to "restore" Peter to respectability,
this later-written pro-Peter ending of Mark was placed at the end of the
earlier anti-Peter GJohn to make Peter look good in GJohn. Powell's thesis,
contra most scholarly opinion, makes GJohn the earliest gospel. He uses
vocabulary studies and statistical facts to bolster his point. Ignore the
ending where he ascribes Jesus's sense of divinity, etc., to a NDE
(near-death experience) while on the cross, if you will, and you are still
left with an intriguing and apparently ignored hypothesis. Powell is not a
"scholar" which may be why no one reviewed his book or the evidence he
suggests. Maybe it's hogwash and the gospel composition experts on this
list can show why it's hogwash - but I'd really like to read some comments
on the book by people who have the knowledge and skills to critique it.
Because if Powell is onto something, it really does affect how we read John

Again, I would appreciate anyone out there buying and reading Powell's book
and responding to me - off-list, if not germane to Greek stuff - with their
studied opinion.

On 03/22/00, ""Carl W. Conrad" <>" wrote:
> Moreover, speaking only for
> myself here, I have to say that I think this narrative is more
> fundamentally literary in its mode of formulation--that it was composed in
> Greek, than that it is a transposition into Greek of a well-remembered
> dialogue in Aramaic. I'm not saying that I think there's no tradition
> behind the story as told, but I think the story is told as it is for the
> evangelist's/redactor's purposes in completing a book for the church that
> is distinctly Johannine while nevertheless deliberately aligning itself
> with important synoptic perspectives. (That is my own perspective; it does
> have a bearing on how I understand the Greek, but it must fall into the
> line of speculative literary criticism and is not an appropriate topic for
> B-Greek discussion in its own right).
> --
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics/Washington University

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