Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Erik Larson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Oren Stier

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Whitney Bauman

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


reception history, gospel of john, early christianity, patristics

Date of Defense



The identification of the speakers in John 3:13-21 and 3:31-36 has remained a longstanding question in biblical studies, confirmed by the difference of opinion in commentaries and the lack of agreement over the placement of quotation marks in contemporary versions of the Bible. The scholarly debate has centered on whether these passages ought to be interpreted as continuations of the words of Jesus and the Baptist, or as authorial commentary appended to their respective discourses. The purpose of this study was to remedy this interpretive difficulty by approaching the question from a wholly different angle: that of tracing the reception history of John 3 in the patristic period (up to A.D. 450). By critically surveying how these earliest readers of John’s Gospel interpreted the speakers, this thesis provides a fresh basis for evaluating the divergent theories of modern commentators and for reconsidering the placement of quotation marks in Bible versions.





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