The Bread of Life Discourse as Dialogue


Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints


As a jeweler uses different lenses to look at a diamond’s facets, we can review the Gospels using a number of techniques. We can look at the materials and sources available to the writers, how much the writings tell us about the Savior and about those for whom the Gospels were written, how interpretations of what was done or said change between when they occurred and when they were recorded, the doctrinal purposes behind what the writers chose to record, and what variations may exist among the different manuscripts.[1] Such “traditional methods of interpretation [are] more concerned with what [lies] behind NT narratives than with their form and their literary, artistic features. Although most of these methods [comprise] meticulous exegesis of NT narrative, none of them [seeks] to answer the question, ‘What artistry is there in these NT stories?’”[2] In keeping with this question of artistry, this chapter will explore how the literary structure of a dialogue contributes much to our understanding of the discourse of the Bread of Life in the sixth chapter of John.

Original Publication Citation

“The Bread of Life Discourse as Dialogue,” How the New Testament Came to Be, editors Kent P. Jackson and Frank F. Judd, Jr. (Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah: Deseret Book and Religious Studies Center), 2006.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Religious Studies Center




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor