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CHAPTER VIII.

CHRIST’S SECOND JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM.377377   John, v., 1. The chronology of the life of Christ depends a good deal upon the question whether the feast mentioned John, v., 1, was or was not the Passover. The indefiniteness of the word “feast” in this passage, and the mention of the Passover itself in John, vi., 4, might lead us to infer that the feast of Purim was meant, which occurred a few weeks before the Passover; but every thing else is against this inference. The Purim feast did not require of the pious Jew ἀναβαίνειν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα; had this feast, therefore, been in question, we might expect in John, v., 1, a statement of Christ’s reason for going up to it, instead of waiting for the Passover. The most ancient interpretation favours the Passover (Iren., ii., 22), which feast was attended by most of the foreign Jews, and required the ἀναβαίνειν. The omission of the definite article in the text is not so important as some suppose. The text says ἦν ἑορτὴ—“it was feast”—further defined by ἀνέβη, showing that the chief feast is intended. Even in German [or English] we might say, loosely, “it was feast,” omitting the article, as in the Greek. It is unlikely, too, that Christ, who had already roused the prejudices of the Pharisees against him, should have gone to the Purim feast, where he would have had to contend with them alone in Jerusalem, instead of continuing his labours undisturbed in Galilee until Passover. John’s omission to say more of Christ’s ministry up to the time of the next Passover (vi., 4) may be accounted for on the ground that it was not his purpose to recount his labours in Galilee, which were preserved in the circle of the ordinary traditions. The two first verses of chap. v. show how summary his account is. Only in chap. vii., 1, is an occasion offered for assigning the reason for Christ’s stay in Galilee; we can the more readily account for the surprise of the brothers (vii., 3, seq.) if he spent the whole year and a half in Galilee.


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