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CHAPTER IV

FUNDAMENTAL IDEAS OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL AND THEIR ORIGINS.

FROM all that we have said so far, it may have become more and more obvious, that what is decisive, in the thought and in the presentation of the Fourth Evangelist, is the conception of Jesus which exists in his own mind. This idea we must now follow up more closely if we are to advance from a mere comparison of Jn.’s picture of Jesus’ life with that of the Synoptics, and from the conclusion that it deserves less belief, to the most underlying reasons why he has left us so incorrect a description of Jesus’ life.

For this purpose, in the first place we shall deal with a section of his book about which we have not yet spoken because the Synoptics do not contain one like it, we mean the prologue, i. 1-18. Something to which hitherto our attention has only been directed occasionally—the fact that Jesus before his earthly life lived a life with God in heaven—is here, at the very outset and with the greatest emphasis, placed at the head of everything, and is even surpassed by the explanation, “he was the word” (in Greek “the logos”).

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