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8. LEAVES IN JN. WRONGLY ARRANGED

That, in spite of this, he should speak as if the healing at Bethesda had only just happened is so striking as to have given rise to the theory that the page which contained this continuation of the discourse got shifted in Jn.’s manuscript or in one of the oldest copies of it, from its proper place in the book, and was reinserted in a wrong place farther 76back. This is not in itself impossible; indeed, the existence of this kind of mistake in several ancient books has been made so probable that there can no longer be any question about it. Of course, if it occurred here, both the first words and the last in the wrongly inserted leaf must have caused some disturbance in the context of the book, and in the place where the leaf originally stood a lacuna in the narrative, as we have it, would be noticeable. But there is nothing of this in the passage under consideration; and, apart from this, there are very many other passages, in which, because the order of events is unlikely, or because the order in the Gospel of Jn. does not agree with that of the Synoptics, one would like to suppose that a leaf has been misplaced in some such manner. We wish any one who proposes by such expedients to bring the Fourth Gospel into good order and into agreement with the Synoptics a long life, but his labour is one which will never suffice for his task.

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