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.

But the most fascinating symmetry in this reconstruction of the original edition of the gospel is that there are three acts, each of which has three groups of scenes, with each group having three scenes.

Number of Pages in First Edition

In total there were 70 pages (on 70 sheets) in the First Edition.

Contents, order and structure of the First Edition


chapter:verse Greek pages suggested
range letters   section title
 
Act 1 Jesus has come down from heaven 
     It is not John the Baptist, but Jesus who is the Messiah
1:1-42 3093 4       John the Baptist: the witness sent from God
3:22-30 740 1       The friend of the bridegroom
4:1-42 [...] 3202 4       The Samaritan woman
     Introduction to the signs
2:1-11 847 1       Jesus turns water into wine
2:12-22 [...] 874 1       The cleansing of the house of God
2:23-3:21,31-6; 4:46-54 3222 4       Miracles of new life
     Bread
6:1-21 1640 2       By lake Tiberias
6:22-29 802 1       Looking for Jesus
6:30-71 3221 4       The bread from heaven
 
Act 2 Jesus is the light of the world 
     In the temple at the Feast of Tabernacles
7:1-14, 25-39 2341 3       Controversy at the feast
8:12-30 1580 2       Sent by the Father
8:31-59 2394 3       Sons of Abraham
     A light to the blind; a shepherd to the sheep
9:1-41 [...]; 10:19-29 4039 5       The blind man
10:1-18,30 1536 2       The good shepherd
10:31-42 870 1       An accusation of blasphemy
     Life comes through death
11:1-53 3977 5       The raising of Lazarus
12:1-11 [...] 821 1       The anointing at Bethany
12:12-50 [...] 3180 4       The entry into Jerusalem
 
Act 3 Jesus returns to the Father 
     Jesus' last supper
13:1-20 1621 2       Jesus washes the disciples' feet
13:21-30 727 1       The betrayal is revealed by a piece of bread
13:31-14:31 3147 4       Jesus' gifts to his disciples
     The hour of Jesus' glorification
17:1-18:14 [...] 3152 4       What the Father gave to the Son
18:15-19:16a [...] 3933 5       Jesus is tried and condemned, while Peter fails his master
19:16b-42 2449 3       The crucifixion of Jesus
     The risen Lord
20:1-10 781 1       The empty tomb
20:11-18 784 1       The message about the risen Jesus
20:19-29 [...] 809 1       The risen Jesus inspires faith


The 7 signs and the 7 "I am"s in the First Edition


SCENES pages GROUP TOPIC SEVEN SIGNS SEVEN "I AM"s
Act 1 Jesus has come down from heaven
1:1- 42
3:22-30
4:1-42  [...]
4
1
4
It is not John the Baptist who is the Messiah, but Jesus (none) *he
2:1-11
2:12-22 [...]
2:23-3:21,31-36; 4:46-54
1
1
4
Introduction to the signs * water into wine ;
* healing of the official's son
(none)
6:1-21
6:22-29
6:30-71
2
1
4
Bread * feeding the 5000 ;
* walking on water
* the bread of life
Act 2 Jesus is 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 [...]; 10:19-29
10:1-18,30
10:31-42
5
2
1
A light to the blind, a shepherd to the sheep * healing of a blind man * the good shepherd ;
* the gate
11:1-53
12:1-11   [...]
12:12-50 [...]
5
1
4
Life comes through death * the raising of Lazarus * the resurrection and the life
Act 3 Jesus returns 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)
17:1-18:14   [...]
18:15-19:16a   [...]
19:16b-42
4
5
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