New Testament text critics are fueled by a search for origins. But in the absence of an autograph, questions of origins are complicated at best. The fruit of that search for origins has resulted in the creation of hypothetical, eclectic texts—texts which have left us translating and interpreting the Bible in a form that no community in human history has before. Far from being failed projects, however, these eclectic versions aptly represent the problem of the One and the many, a problem not easily solved: When faced with hermeneutic duties, can we effectively speak of New Testament texts without speaking of their thousands of various and actual instantiations in the world? The answer, of course, is both yes and no; but the timid no has typically taken a back seat to the boisterous yes. This thesis develops a new literary historical hermeneutic based on the Categories of C. S. Peirce, a philosophical approach that will demonstrate the need for both an ideal (the yes) and a concrete (the no) approach to New Testament criticism. After this need has been demonstrated, the Gospel of John will then be under examination, both in its ideal and in one of its more concrete forms: P66, a second century Greek papyrus manuscript of the Gospel. The nature of the interpretive communities that have made use of the Gospel will also be considered.



College and Department

Humanities; Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature



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Gospel of John, C. S. Peirce, Hermeneutics