The structure of the First Edition

Symmetry comparison with the Second Edition

The three major sections described above for the Second Edition were devised by the Evangelist and already present in the First Edition.
However the symmetry in the number of pages in an act (28 pages in each act) was not present in the First Edition. This symmetry must have been created by the Redactor when he added extra pages, mainly in the first and third acts.

Symmetry of sections

But the First Edition had other symmetries which were not retained in the Second Edition. Each major section or 'act' had three groups of scenes. Chs. 7 & 8 are linked by mentions of the temple (7:14,28; 8:2,20,59). Ch. 10 is linked to ch. 9 by a reference to the healing of the blind man (10:21). Ch. 12 is linked to ch. 11 by references to Lazarus (12:1,2,9,10,17). Chs. 13 & 14 portray an extended 'Last Supper'. Chs. 17-19 present the passion of Jesus, and ch. 20 his resurrection.
The earlier groups are unclear until we get back to the First Edition. Then it becomes obvious that 1:1-42; 3:22-30 and 4:1-42 constitute a first group linked by the question of who is the Messiah. It is not John the Baptist (1:20; 3:28) but Jesus (4:26). [1]
The second group is framed by the first and second notable miracles in 2:1-11 and 4:46-54, c.f. 4:54.
The third group comprises ch. 6, concerning the bread of life.

Another symmetry is that although the number of scenes in a group varies, each act has 10 scenes.

Number of Pages in First Edition

In total there were 70 pages (on 70 sheets) in the First Edition. This is consistent with the Evangelist's liking for the number seven.

Contents, order and structure of the First Edition


SCENES pages GROUP TOPIC SEVEN SIGNS SEVEN "I AM"s
Act 1 The messengers of God come down from heaven
1:1- 34
1:35-42
3:22-30
4:1-42  [...]
3
1
1
4
It is not John the Baptist who is the Messiah, but Jesus (none) *he
2:1-11
2:13-22
2:23-3:21,31-36
4:46-54
1
1
3
1
Introduction to the signs * water into wine ;
* healing of the official's son
(none)
6:1-21
6:22-71
2
5
The Bread from Heaven * feeding the 5000 ;
* walking on water
* the bread of life
Act 2 The light of the world
7:1-14,25-39
8:12-30
8:31-59
3
2
3
In the Temple at the Feast of Tabernacles (none) * the light of the world ;
he (again)
9:1-41   [...]
10:1-18
10:19-42
4
2
2
A light to the blind, a shepherd to the sheep * healing of a blind man * the good shepherd ;
* the gate
11:1-44
11:45-53
12:1-11   [...]
12:12-50
4
1
1
4
Life comes through death * the raising of Lazarus * the resurrection and the life
Act 3 Jesus' return to the Father
13:1-20
13:21-30
13:31-14:31
2
1
4
Jesus' last supper (none) * the way, the truth and the life ;
he (again)
17:1-18:12
18:13-40   [...]
19:1-16
19:17-42
4
3
2
3
The hour of Jesus' glorification (none) he (again)
20:1-10
20:11-18
20:19-29   [...]
1
1
1
The risen Jesus * the raising of Jesus (none)
[...]   Less interpolations as already explained.   Go to explanation of interpolations

Notes for this page

1. E.D.Freed, The New Testament: a Critical Introduction (London; SCM, 2nd. edn., 1994) p.335