It is in these controversial chapters that we most of all need to remember the quality of this Gospel as the interpretative expression of a memory. The discourses of the Lord recorded in it follow in general the same line that He followed, and indeed the Rabbinical type of dialectic employed is regarded by eminent Jewish scholars as evidence for the substantial authenticity of the account. But the discourses as reported by St. John represent, as was said earlier, the meaning which they were found to have after a lifetime of meditation. Just as the knowledge that He was the Messiah throughout the Ministry has coloured the record of His dealing with disciples and others in the early days—(for the real fact, though not then ascertained, was the intercourse of the Messiah with His people)—so the relationships which matured into antagonism and rejection are viewed in retrospect as having this quality from the beginning. Perhaps the temperament of the Son of Thunder, who wished to call down fire from heaven (St. Luke ix, 54), still survived to some extent in the aged apostle through whose consciousness these controversies have passed before reaching us.


Chapter VIII Eternal Life Bear Witness Divine Love Deep Truth 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1963

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  • William Temple

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