« Prev 16. Silence in the Synoptics as to the Miracles… Next »


As compared with the stories in the Synoptics, the only one in Jn. that can be said to contain an actual contradiction is that of Jesus’ walking on the sea, since Jesus crossed not merely a part but the whole of the sea, and is not supposed to have been taken into the boat (see above, p. 19 f.). In the other miracle stories in this Gospel (apart from that of the Feeding), contradictions are impossible, because the Synoptics do not include the stories. But this silence on their part is the very thing that cannot fail to make us feel the most serious doubts. These miracles which are known only to the Fourth Gospel are actually the most stupendous recorded: the turning of the water into wine at Cana, the healing of the man who was thirty-eight years a paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda, the cure of the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus. (It is difficult to say whether by the cure of the son of a royal official at Capernaum, iv. 46-54, the same event is intended as the cure of the son or servant of the centurion at Capernaum in Mt. viii. 5-13 and Lk. vii., 1-10; see p. 99 f.)

Why these particular miracles should have been passed over by the Synoptics, if they really happened, it is absolutely impossible to imagine. What real arguments have those scholars who hold them to be true to offer, in order to explain the fact that there is not a word about them in the Synoptics? Once more it will be sufficient to fix our attention on the Raising of Lazarus.


We are told, for instance, that among the great mass of persons who were raised (!) by Jesus, the Synoptists might easily have forgotten Lazarus; or that they did not think themselves gifted enough to be able to gather up the preeminent importance of the event for the career of Jesus; or that they did not credit themselves with sufficiently delicate and lively feeling to be able to report it worthily; or that they were silent out of respect for the relatives of Lazarus who were still living (as if the story would not, on the contrary, have redounded to their honour); or that they did not think themselves to be sufficiently well instructed as to the details; or that the matter did not come to their ears because it took place before the arrival of the pilgrims from Galilee for the Easter festival (this would be to disregard xi. 16, where it is expressly said that all the twelve disciples of Jesus were present); or that it did not come to their ears because, when they arrived in Jerusalem, it was already too well known; or that the plan which they followed in their Gospels, apart from the last week of the life of Jesus, did not allow of their reporting events in Judaea. but only those which happened in Galilee; or that they were already aware that John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, would write his Gospel after them, and they wished to leave him to relate the Raising of Lazarus.

It could not really be shown in a more lamentable way that we cannot discover a single intelligible reason why the Synoptists have not related the Raising of Lazarus. To make such statements is at the same time to pronounce sentence that the event never happened. We see then that to arrive at this conviction it was not necessary to be shy of miracles; the way in which the story is told is in itself quite sufficient for our conclusion. And this is equally true of the other miracle stories which are found only in Jn.

« Prev 16. Silence in the Synoptics as to the Miracles… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection