The relation of the festivals of the Jewish calendar year to the structure of the fourth gospel
Jondrow, James W.
In this study It has been concluded that in the Fourth Gospel, the following sections of the text are related to the feasts of the Jewish calendar year: 2:13 - 25 The introductory Passover 6:1 - 15; 25 - 65 The Passover 5:1 - 47; 7:15 - 24 Pentecost 7:1 - 14; 25 - 52; 8:12 - 59; 9:1 - 41; 10:19 - 21 Tabernacles 10:22 - 29; 1 - 18; 30 - 39 DedicationFrom the beginning of chapter 5 (or from the beginning of chapter 6 in the restored order of the text) to the end of chapter 10, the only sections of the Fourth Gospel not related to one of the feasts are: 6:16 - 25 and 6:66 - 70. These short sections are necessary to indicate transitions from one phase of the narrative to another. It is clear that since such a large block of the "Book of Signs" of the Fourth Gospel is related to the feasts of the Jewish year, these feasts, their sequence and symbolism, form a major theme of this section of the Gospel.In the restored order of the text of the Fourth Gospel, the sequence of the feasts forms one complete cycle of the Jewish feasts with one Introductory feast - the Passover of 2:13. In this scheme: 1. The cleansing of the Temple at the introductory Passover indicates the theme to run through the remaining feasts, that Jesus in himself now super¬ sedes the worship of the Temple. 2. The "going up" of Jesus to the pilgrimage feasts is a sign of the ascension of the Son of Man to the Father. 3. The progress of the festival cycle toward the coming of the last Passover conveys the increase of tension as the ministry of Jesus proceeds to the Crufcifixion and Resurrection. 4. In relation to each of the feasts, Jesus, through his death and Resurrection, is shown to be the one fulfilling beyond all the highest expectations of Judaism, the hopes symbolized in the feasts. The fulfillment goes beyond expectations in that this Christ is not only the One who leads the people when they receive the Messianic blessings, but he is himself the source of these blessings. .He does not merely purify the Temple cultus, but in himself supersedes it. The blessings of the Messianic age, corporate in prevailing Jewish thought, were given an intensely personal interpretation in his fulfillment of them. 5. The symbols and motifs of the feasts used by the an Evangelist are selected and used inindependent manner, not always reflecting the prevailing interpretations of the feasts in Judaism.If the Fourth Gospel were read according to the lectlonary which would make some of the feasts coincide with the time when the synagogue observed them, it would constitute a very strong argument to the Jew, or Jewish Christian, that the new Christianity properly supersedes and fulfills the Jewish cultus. This would be a particularly pointed argument just following 70 A.D. when the Temple was destroyed. It would be a much weaker argument to a Hellenistic audience.