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The Incident of the Blood and Water in John 19.34

  • John Wilkinson (a1)

Extract

There is no doubt that John intended his record of the spear thrust which produced blood and water from our Lord's side to be taken as historical fact. The description of the incident is concise and matter of fact. The character of the gospel as a whole makes it ‘unlikely that John is simply manufacturing an event for the sake of its allegorical significance’.1 Finally, it is followed by what amounts to a legal affidavit attesting its truth, which has been called ‘the most solemn protestation of accuracy to be found in the whole work’.2 However, the record has not always been taken as historical fact. It has sometimes been interpreted as primarily symbolical of the sacraments, and occasionally as fiction, or as ‘ecclesiastical redaction’ as by Bultmann.3 This is partly because the incident has been difficult to explain medically. This difficulty arises from the lack of detail in the description of the event, and not from its impossibility. The purpose of this article is to show that the incident is medically possible even though the exact medical diagnosis must remain in doubt because of the lack of precise medical information.

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References

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page 149 note 1 Barrett, C. K., The Gospel according to St. John (S.P.C.K., London, 1962), p. 461.

page 149 note 2 Burkitt, F. C., The Gospel History and its Transmission (T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1911), p. 233.

page 149 note 3 Bultmann, R., The Gospel of John. A Commentary (Blackwell, Oxford, 1971), p. 677.

page 149 note 4 Streeter, B. H., The Four Gospels (Macmillan, London, 1924), p. 142.

page 150 note 1 Hoskyns, E. C., The Fourth Gospel, edited by Davey, F. N. (Faber and Faber, London, 1947), p. 532.

page 150 note 2 Brown, R. E., The Gospel according to St. John in The Anchor Bible (Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1971), vol. 2, p. 935.

page 150 note 3 Ford, J. M., ‘“Mingled blood” from the side of Christ (John xix, 34)’, New Testament Studies, vol. 15 (19681969), pp. 337338.

page 150 note 4 Smith, W., Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (John Murray, London, 1901), vol. 1, p. 936, s.v. ‘Hasta’.

page 151 note 1 Wevers, J. W., Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon Press, New York, 1962), vol. 4, p. 823, s.v. ‘Weapons and implements of war’.

page 151 note 2 Kilpatrick, G. D., ‘The transmission of the New Testament and its reliability’, The Bible Translator, vol. 9 (July 1958), p. 134.

page 151 note 3 C. K. Barrett, op. cit., p. 462.

page 151 note 4 Acts of Pilate 16.7. See Hennecke, E., New Testament Apocrypha (Lutterworth Press, London, 1963), vol. 1, p. 469.

page 151 note 5 Cross, F. L. (editor), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press, 1957), p. 820, s.v. ‘Longinus’.

page 152 note 1 Calvin, J., Commentary on St. John 11–21 and First John (Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, 1961), p. 185.

page 152 note 2 Michaels, J. R., ‘The centurion's confession and the spear thrust’, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, vol. 29 (1967), pp. 102109.

page 152 note 3 R. E. Brown, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 936.

page 152 note 4 Bernard, J. H., International Critical Commentary on St. John (T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1928), vol. 2, p. 645.

page 153 note 1 Creighton, C., Encyclopaedia Biblica (A. and C. Black, London, 1914), col. 960, s.v. ‘Cross’.

page 153 note 2 Cowan, H., Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1920), vol. 11, p. 857, s.v. ‘Stigmata’.

page 153 note 3 Barbet, P., A Doctor at Calvary (Doubleday, New York, 1963), p. 132.

page 153 note 4 Siwek, P., The New Catholic Encyclopedia (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1967), vol. 13, P. 713, S.v. ‘Stigmatization’.

page 153 note 5 R. E. Brown, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 935.

page 153 note 6 Bengel, J. A., Gnomon Novi Testamenli (G. Schlawitz, Berlin, 1855), p. 263.

page 154 1 See the list of quotations given in Westcott, B. F., The Gospel according to St. John (John Murray, London, 1892), pp. 284286.

page 154 note 2 P. Barbet, op. cit., pp. 145–6.

page 154 note 3 Gruner, F., Commentatio de morte Jesu Christi vera (Halle, 1805).

page 155 note 1 Hennecke, E., Mew Testament Apocrypha (Lutterworth Press, London, 1963), vol. 1, p. 184.

page 155 note 2 P. Barbet, op. cit., p. 145.

page 156 note 1 P. Barbet, op. cit., p. 40.

page 157 note 1 See the quotations given in B. F. Westcott, op. cit., p. 286.

page 157 note 2 Sava, A. F., ‘The wounds of Christ’, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, vol. 16 (1954), pp. 438443.

page 157 note 3 Origen, contra Celsum, ii, 33.

page 157 note 4 Hennecke, E., New Testament Apocrypha (Lutterworth Press, London, 1963), vol. 1, p. 460.

page 157 note 5 Geldenhuys, N., Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (Marshall, Morgan and Scott, London, 1950), p. 616.

page 157 note 6 Hennecke, E., New Testament Apocrypha (Lutterworth Press, London, 1963), vol. I, p. 185.

page 158 note 1 Wilkinson, J., ‘The physical cause of the death of Christ’, Expository Times, vol. 83 (January 1972), pp. 104107.

page 158 note 2 Creighton, C., Encyclopaedia Biblica (A. and C. Black, London, 1914), col. 960, s.v. ‘Cross’.

page 158 note 3 Sava, A. F., ‘The wound in the side of Christ’, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, vol. 19 (1957). PP. 343346.

page 158 note 4 Schmittlein, R., Circonstances et cause de la mart du Christ (Éditions Art et Science, Bade, 1950). This book has not been available to us and for a summary of the author's views we have been indebted to Dodd, C. H., Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge University Press, 1963), p. 136.

page 158 note 5 Stroud, W., A Treatise on the Physical Cause of the Death of Christ (Hamilton and Adams, London, 1871), chap. 4.

page 158 note 6 Primrose, W. B., ‘A surgeon looks at the crucifixion’, Hibbert Journal, vol. 47 (1949), pp. 382388.

page 159 note 1 Haughton, S. in an article which is extensively quoted in The Speaker's Commentary on the New Testament, edited by Cook, F. C. (John Murray, London, 1881), vol. 4, pp. 349 and 350.

page 159 note 2 Cameron, J. L. in a paper entitled ‘How our Lord died’, read to the Third International Congress of Catholic doctors at Lisbon in June 1947, and summarised in Tasker, R. V. G., The Gospel according to St. John in the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Tyndale Press, London, 1960), pp. 212 and 213.

page 159 note 3 P. Barbet, op. cit., chap. 7, pp. 129–47.

page 160 note 1 Origen, contra Celsum, ii, 36.

page 160 note 2 Creighton, C., Encyclopaedia Biblica (A. and C. Black, London, 1914), col. 960, s.v. ‘Cross’.

page 162 1 J. A. Bengel, op. cit., p. 263.

page 163 1 P. Barbet, op. cit., p. 145.

page 164 note 1 Short, A. R., The Bible and Modem Medicine (The Paternoster Press, London, 1953). P. 96.

page 164 note 2 Bailey, H. H., Demonstrations of Physical Signs in Clinical Surgery, edited by Clain, A. (John Wright, Bristol, 1967), fourteenth edition, p. 316.

page 164 note 3 Christopher, F., Textbook of Surgery, edited by Davis, L. (Saunders, Philadelphia, 1960), seventh edition, p. 117.

page 165 note 1 P. Barbet, op. cit., p. 140.

page 168 note 1 P. Barbet, op. cit., pp. 145 and 146.

page 169 note 1 W. B. Primrose, art. cit., p. 386. (The italics are Primrose's.)

page 171 note 1 Lindars, B., The Gospel of John in The New Century Bible (Oliphants, London, 1972), P. 587.

page 171 note 2 Brookes, A. E., International Critical Commentary on The Johannine Epistles (T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1912), p. 132.

The Incident of the Blood and Water in John 19.34

  • John Wilkinson (a1)

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