Added a substantially revised edition of The Justified Lie by the Johannine Jesus in its Greco-Roman-Jewish Context (2nd ed., 2022) by John MacDonald to the Biblical Criticism and Character of Jesus pages under Christianity in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In this article John MacDonald examines the possible lie by Jesus in John 7:8-10. The article begins by providing an analysis of the context of lying and deception in the ancient world. Given this background, it moves on to examine (mainly) the insights of Tyler Smith, Adele Reinhartz, Dennis MacDonald, and Hugo Méndez/Candida Moss about the Fourth Gospel and deception. Here John MacDonald explores the thesis that the Gospel of John’s Jesus does in fact lie, and that this lie is meant to be understood by the inner-circle reader. Jesus lying to his brothers is the method by which he is able to go up and preach to the crowd; the lie leads to belief or makes belief possible.
This essay has been significantly revised since its initial Secular Web publication. Most importantly, a connection has been made between this thesis and the famous Nazareth Inscription, pointing out that stolen bodies/empty tombs were a problem at the time. In addition, further analysis has been added to emphasize that with the Gospels we are not simply dealing with a writing form of pure biography (as conservatives argue), or pure historical fiction (as mythicists hold), but a combination of both with the focus being propaganda: that’s what the word “gospel” means in its Roman historical context, from which the New Testament writers appropriated the term “gospel.”