John 6:4 - And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. - one year ministry

Steven Avery

TOC - this post
Ludolph of Saxony
Thomas Cajetan


Ludolph of Saxony - (c. 1295 – 1378)
Vita Christi
The Life of Jesus Christ: Part One, Volume 1, Chapters 1–40
mentioned in John Pilkington Norris



Thomas Cajetan (1469-1534)
mentioned in John Pilkington Norris


Gerardus Joannes Vossius (1577-1649)

one year was a view in his age (not his position though)
De annis Christi dissertatio secunda - Amsterdam 1643 - p. 66 maybe 0r 52-53 per Jan Krans (1701 p. 84)
translate Latin to see how common and be sure of his position
Jan Krans
"Vossius argues against the conjecture, and does not mention whose idea it is. It may be his own, but rejected immediately as well."
Later Vossius is often mentioned as favoring an emendation, as in the Christian Examiner.


John Lightfoot (1602-1675)
explains the Hebraic timing of passover was night

Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733)
the winter being now past; and he healed their sick, and in the desert fed them to the number of five thousand men, besides women and children, with only five loaves and two fishes, Matth. xiv. Luke ix. at the doing of which miracle the Passover of the Jews was nigh, John vi. 4. But Jesus went not up to this feast; but after these things walked in Galilee, because the Jews at the Passover before had taken counsel to destroy him, and still sought to kill him, John vii. i.

John Ernest Ernst Grabe -
(1666 – 1711)
referenced by Joseph Priestley

Johann Christoph Wolf (see Jan Krans)
(1725 Curae p. 855)
Jan Krans - says he is contra conjecture
"Wolf knows the conjecture from Vossius. He refers to Vossius’ Opera 6. Tractatus theologici (Amsterdam: Blaeu, 1701), p. 84a."

William Whiston (1667-1752)
Six dissertations: The testimonies of Josephus ... vindicated. The copy of the Old Testament made use of by Josephus .... A reply to Dr. Sykes's Defence .... The chronology of the sacred Scriptures .... Remarks on Sir Isaac Newton's Observations .... A demonstration that our Saviour's ministry continued at least four years ..., Volume 6 (1734)
Jan Krans quoting Mann says he objects to a point of Vossius
(This is Jesus walking 1,000 miles, which is a circular argument.)

Nathaniel Lardner (c. 1738)
referenced by Waterford to Priestley

Nicholas Mann
De veris annis D.N. Jesu Christi natali et emortuali dissertationes duæ (1742)
check this 1733 book
Jan Krans - "Mann refers to Vossius"
Mann de Veris Annis Christi Natali et Emortuali. Dissert. 2 a, cap 2o;
Michaelis and Lant Carpenter and Horne has Mann as -
"True Years of the birth and death of Christ" 1733 London p. 161 part of p. 145-165 - p. 166-177 chronological synopsis of the 4 gospels

William Bowyer (1699-1777)
Critical conjectures ... on the New Testament (1742)
(Bowyer in 1742 mentions Mann)
Jan Krans
"Bowyer presents the conjecture as made by Vossius. As he reacts to an objection made by Whiston, it seems he is in favour of the conjecture."

John Gill
(Luke 13:7)

Zachary Pearce
Commentary, with Notes, on the Four Evangelists, and the Acts (1777)
Jan Krans
"Pearce agrees on the problem, but prefers to omit the entire verse (see cj10781, also for the citation)."


Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)
A Harmony of the Evangelists in Greek: To which are Prefixed Critical (1777)
Jan Krans
"In the dissertations, not in the Greek text. For Mann see s13747. " (check this in Jan Krans)

Priestley has correspondence with the bishop of Waterford - mentioned by Willan.
Jan Krans
"Joseph Priestley, Two Letters to Dr. Newcome, Bishop of Waterford, on the Duration of Our Saviour’s Ministry (Birmingham: Pearson and Rollason, 1780)"
Section IV
Of the interpolation of the word passover in John vi. 4.
p. 57-70


William Newcome (1729 –1800)
The Duration of Our Lord's Ministry Particularly Considered; in Reply to a Letter from Dr. Priestley on that Subject, Prefixed to His English Harmony of the Evangelists (1780)


Monthly Review
Review of A Harmony of the Evangelists in English
Generally sympathetic to Priestley mangling the Bible, p. 84 an important correction of Priestley regarding Mann (not) referencing Justin Martyr.
Other Monthly Review articles are mentioned in Robert E. Schofield and:
Thomas Horne


Robert E. Schofield (1923-2011) on Joseph Priestley
The Enlightened Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1773 to 1804 (2010)

An interesting history of Priestley on the length of ministry and John 6:4 and his correspondence with Newcome. The harmony project starts on p. 29 and the John 6:4 and Newcome correspondence starts on p. 35.
"he studied the Greek text of the New Testament and decided to print the Greek Gospels, rearranged to harmonize them (i.e., to bring them
into the same chronological order), and prefixed by the rewritten dissertations from his Theological Repository papers of 1770 respecting Nicholas Mann’s harmony of the Gospels. ...."
"Within a year of the publication of Priestley’s Greek Harmony, William Newcome published a Greek harmony. He disagreed with Priestley’s arguments and defended those for a three-and-one-half-year ministry. Priestley responded with a letter included in his English Harmony, to which Newcome replied. Priestley answered with another letter, reprinted with the first, in Two Letters to Dr. Newcome. Newcome rejoined, and Priestley replied in a Third Letter to Dr. Newcome, ending the debate with an extract from Newcomces letter of 19 April 1782, declaring that, each having had his full say, no point remained for continuing the discussion.23" ... There was, however, one singularity in this debate. It remained friendly throughout. There were no charges and countercharges between Trinitarian and Unitarian, no claims that one was an idolator and the other an atheist, no claim of churchly oppression or of willed destruction of the state. It was, as Priestley wrote, a contest for truth, not victory (38), and demonstrated that Priestley could, when addressed with respect and candor, respond in kind. Attending sufficiently to the great truths of religion, “we shall all love as brethren notwithstanding all lesser differences” (Two Letters, 129).24

23. Joseph Priestley, Two Letters to Dr. Newcome, Bishop of Waterford. On the Duration of our Saviour's Ministry (Birmingham: J. Johnson, 1780); A Third Letter to Dr. Newcome, Bishop of Waterford, on the Duration of our Saviour's Ministry (Birmingham: J. Johnson, 1781).

24. On 23 May 1782, Newcome wrote Priestley about their friendly controversy and added, “I was often struck with the learning, ingenuity, and liberal spirit of my antagonist, and ... considered him as a diligent investigator and sincere lover of truth.” As late as 1794, when Priestley was on the point of leaving England for the United States, he sent Newcomc a copy of his sermons on the evidences of Revelation as a mark of esteem; sec W. 2C:12ln.


Herbert Marsh (1757-1839)
Introduction 3.2 (11801), pp. 61–62 (1801)
Jan Krans
"Marsh acknowledges the difficulty, but prefers Pearce’s conjecture (cj10781), if a conjecture is allowed (see s27852, also for the citation)."
Marsh's Michaelis, Vol. III, Part II. p. 63; - so this is
Johann David Michaelis - German translated to English by Marsh - wait the notes are by Marsh
Introduction to the New Testament, Volume 3
"G. J. Vossius, and Mr. Mann are of opinion that the word pascha is an interpolation: and I think that the whole verse is so, because in ch. v. i. mention is made of a feast, (probably the feast of Pentecost), and in ch. vii. a. of the feast of tabernacles, between which two no feasts appointed by the law of Moses intervened."
Looking ahead, he pushes back on his own view later on p. 76:
"I will only obferve, that, as far as I am able to judge, the Gospel of St. John prefents almolt insuperable obstacles to the opinion of those. who confine Christ’s ministry to one year: for in order to effect this purpose, it is nccessary to make omssions and tranfpositions in St. John’s Gospel, which are not warranted a priori by the laws of criticism, but are attempted merely to support a previously affirmed hypothesis."
Continues with length of ministry and ECW. p. 62-65
Shows chronology difference of Mann and Priestley - p. 66
1779 - Korner
1796 - Hanlein

John Pope (1743-1802)
Observations on the Miraculous Conception and the testimonies of Ignatius (1792)

Enrico Sanclemente

Griesbach (1796) - NTG 1 (21796), p. 455


Andrews Norton (1812) -- includes Lant Carpenter

An objection thought by many to be entirely decisive against our opinion must first however be noticed* It is drawn from the express mention of a passover in John, vi. 4, a passover which is clearly distinct from the first, because a feast mentioned John v. 1. intervenes, and cannot, say the objectors, mean the last, because a feast of Tabernacles and a feast of Dedication are mentioned between the sixth chapter and the eleventh, in which last the history of the last passover is given. With those who adopt our own opinion, as to the mode in which St. John’s gospel is written, this objection is of no weight, as we have concluded that the passover here alluded to must be the last. Mann,and after him Dr. Priestley, endeavoured to remove the difficulty by placing the sixth chapter before the fifth, (which transposition they supported by very plausible arguments,) and expunging the word passover in the fourth verse of the sixth chapter, and supposing the feast referred to, to be the same mentioned in chap. v. 1. which they thought to be the feast of Pentecost. The omission of this word was also thought necessary by G. J. Vossius. They considered it as an exposition of the verse, at first written in the margin by some scribe, and afterwards introduced into the text. Could this alteration of the text be supported, and the transposition also he admitted as a correction of the error of a copyist, the objection would indeed be removed, even from the minds of those who adhere to the arrangement of John. Bishop Pierce would avoid the necessity of the transposition, by supposing the whole verse vi. 4. to be an interpolation.* But to both these propositions for altering the sacred text we make but one reply, with which every friend to its purity must be satisfied; which is, that they are supported by no authority of manuscripts, versions, or quotations by the fathers. A transposition of any portion of the narrative is not so objectionable, therefore we were much better pleased with the new and ingenious solution proposed by Dr. Carpenter. He considers the passover referred to, to be the last, and proposes to place the whole of the sixth chapter, except the two first verses, between the fifty-fourth and fifty-fifth verses of the eleventh chapter. If a transposition must be made, we admit this to be the best, and if the narrative of John is to be made orderly, it is necessary. But we confess we look upon the attempt as hopeless, for if John himself intended to write in strict chronological order, that order is now lost; if he did not, we may ascertain the relative places of the events, (which indeed is quite sufficient for harmonists,) but we cannot produce perfect continuity of relation. Thus, although we believe Dr. Carpenter to be correct, as to the place he assigns for the feeding of the five thousand, yet we perceive an unnatural repetition when we connect the first and second verses of the sixth chapter with the beginning of the seventh.* This however is of little consequence, as we have before observed, as to the making of an harmony.

Having then removed this principal, and almost solitary objection to Dr. Carpenter’s hypothesis of the duration of the ministry, the same hypothesis which those Christians who lived nearest the time of our Saviour adopted, and which in mod-ern times Mann revived, and Priestley more fully defended, we proceed to mention some of the arguments in its favor.

• •• There does not seem to be any reason for the Evangelist’s inserting this verse, nothing in the chapter having any relation to the feast of the
passover, or to any other of the Jewish feasts. G. J. Vossius, and W.Mann, (in De Anno Emortuali Christi, p. 173,) are of opinion that the word irmr&t, fpattover,J is an interpolation; and I think that the whole verse is so; because in chap. v. 1. mention is made of a feast, (probably the feast of Pentecost,) and in chap. vii 2. of the feast of Tabernacles, between which two no feast appointed by the law of Moses intervened. It does not appear from the Evangelists’ account, that Jesus was present at the feast of the Passover here mentioned; and yet it seems probable that be who fulfilled all righteousness would not have been absent from a feast of die Passover, which, (as is here said,) was Uien nigh at hand.’* See Bishop Pierce’s Comment, in loco.

Thomas Horne
An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Volume 2 (1825 edition, check later)
"not warranted by the laws of criticism" words from Michaelis"
has details about Michaelis Chronology commented on by Marsh -
Arthur Clarke - Thomas Bowles - C. Benson 2.5 years - Gilpin - Townsend - Newcome - Macknight - Doddridge

Lant Carpenter (1831) and John Gorham Palfry
Harmony of the Gospels, on the Plan Proposed
To reconcile John vi. 4, with that opinion of Christian antiquity, which included hut two Passovers in the ministry, different methods have been proposed. Dr. Priestley thought the
Harmony of the Gospels, on the Plan Proposed

Preface of Lant Carpenter and John Gorham Palfrey

Christian Examiner (1831) review of Lant Carpenter - Harmony of the Gospels
On p. 377-381 is John 6:4
He says that Irenaeus
"Even Irenaeus, who professes to enumerate ail the Passovers mentioned in the Gospels, to extend the ministry of our Saviour to as great a duration as possible, has taken no notice of a Passover in John vi. 4, while he strongly insists upon the feast mentioned in John v. 1, which is nowhere said to have been a Passover, and probably was not." - and continues on that point.
interpolation - "an unauthorized alteration of the text" p. 378
Priestley's chronology is "improbable" (note above that it is different from Mann.)
Very good summary of Carpenter on p. 378,
Generally favorable, with a concern for the distance travelled in one period.


Arthur William Trollope (1798-1863)
Analecta Theologica: A Digested and Arranged Compendium of the Most Approved Commentaries on the New Testament, Volume 2 (1835)
Good information

Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1810) - mentioned in Bakhuyzen
Jan Krans
Einleitung in das Neue Testament. Zweyter Band (Leipzig: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1810) [b2090]
Einleitung in das Neue Testament 2 (1810), p. 127 - footnote B

General Repository (1812)
the arrangement of John. Bishop Pierce would avoid the necessity of the transposition, by supposing the whole verse vi. be an interpolation.* But to both these propositions for al-

Georg Christian Knapp (1813)
Jan Krans
Knapp, “Sylloge” (1813), p. 770

Christian Examiner and General Review (1824)
Jan Krans
Notes on the Bible p. 418-419 (should be 418-420, the 3rd page is important)
See below, Lyman Beecher asks if this is by one of the editors James Walker
Favorable to Lant Carpenter.
Wait, it is
Henry Ware (1794-1843),_Jr.
who is the author (which makes more sense.)

Lyman Beecher to Dr. Wisner, relates to 1824 Notes on the Bible in the Christian Examiner - maybe by Rev. James. Walker
Autobiography, Correspondence, Etc., of Lyman Beecher, D.D. (1865)
Correspondence of Lyman Beecher

Henry Browne

John Pilkington Norris (1823-1891)
Journal of Philology -(1870)
On the Chronology of St John V. and VI -
Similar to Lant Carpenter

Jan Hendrik Adolf Michelsen
Submission to “Prijsvraag G 94: een verhandeling over de toepassing van de conjecturaal-kritiek op den tekst van de schriften des Nieuwen Testaments (1877)”, ATS 1258 (Archief Teylers Stichting, Haarlem) (1879) [b2474]
Jan Krans
"Michelsen only mentions Mann " - contra emendation

Willem Hendrik van de Sande Bakhuyzen (1880)
Over de toepassing van de conjecturaal-kritiek op den tekst des Nieuwen Testaments (VRNGG n.s. 9.2; Haarlem: Bohn, 1880) [b1048]
Jan Krans:
Van de Sande Bakhuyzen gives his own conjecture (cj10781; earlier already proposed by Pearce and Eichhorn [s12356]; see there [s11233] for the citation).

New Testsament in the Original Greek
Jan Krans:
Hort has a very long note; in the conclusion, cited here, he refers to Vossius; also to Lipsius and E. Abbott.
For Mann see s13747.
The opinion that τὸ πάσχα should be omitted would seem to belong to both editors (see p. 77b).

0 - mentions in Hort

John William Burgon (1813-1888)
Revision Revised - 3rd part is:
“New Testament Revision. Westcott and Hort’s New Textual Theory,” QR 153 (1882): pp. 309–377 [b3291]

(b) Another specimen of conjectural extravagance occurs at S. John vi. 4, where Dr. Hort labours to throw suspicion on the Passover (τὸ πάσχα),—in defiance of every known Manuscript,—every known Version,—and every Father who quotes or recognizes the place.790 We find nine columns devoted to his vindication of this weak imagination; although so partial are his Notes, that countless various Readings of great interest and importance are left wholly undiscussed. Nay, sometimes entire Epistles are dismissed with a single weak annotation (e.g. 1 and 2 Thessalonians),—or with none, as in the case of the Epistle to the Philippians.

Ezra Abbot - (1819-1884) mentioned in Hort
Special post below using:
The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel: And Other Critical Essay (1888)

Hermann Von Soden (1852-1914),_Freiherr_von_Soden
Cheyne's Encyclopaedia Biblica (1899)
"must have had at 6.4 a different text from any known to us"

Arthur Wright (1906)
compares Hort, Eusebius - rejects one year

Zellinger 1906 - gives Vossius ref

Joseph Carter Swaim (1904-1987)
The Historical Character of the Fourth Gospel - (1931) PDF Online
p. 157


excellent on giving one-year ministry supports

George Ogg - fantastic resoruce for history of one year and three year minstry beliefs in the early church
The Chronology of the Public Ministry of Jesus (1940)
"no compelling reason has been given for questioning the genuineness of these words" p. 56
Good Review - T. W. Manson

Rudolf Karl Bultmann (1884-1976)
Gospel of John, 1971 - p. 156 - redaction (1971) (2014)

Malcolm Lowe
Who Were the ΙΟΥΔΑΙΟΙ? (1976)
"Now this is a remarkable case of the exception proving the rule: this verse did not exist in versions of John’s Gospel known to some early authorities, and it has often been regarded as the main obstacle to reconciling the chronology of this gospel with the Synoptics 61). So on the one hand we have an extra reason for questioning the authenticity of this verse, while on the other hand there is reinforcement for the suggestion that for the principal author of John’s Gospel (but not for whoever was responsible for this verse) these phrases had a connotation of Judea." p. 117

p. 117 note 52 mentions a future paper on chronology planned

Gerald L. Borchert
John 1-11 (1996)
Excellent commentary below on post 5 - connects with Lant Carpenter and John Pilkington Norris.

Walter J. Cummins
The Acceptable Year of the Lord (2005)

Roy G. Pittman
60 Days That Shook the World: The Last Days of Jesus Christ (2008) - uses KJB

Someone could ask, “Why would a one-year ministry be more valid than a three and one-half year ministry?” The answer is quite simple when it is understood that Jesus Christ was (and is) the Lamb of God, meaning the Passover lamb. According to Exodus 12 (previously indicated in the study), the Passover lamb had to be a lamb of the first year, meaning it had to be a lamb that had not yet reached one full year of life. For Jesus Christ to have fulfilled being the Passover lamb, it plainly and significantly meant that some part of his life had to be only one year. As Jesus was 29 years old when he began the ministry given to him by God, his age could not have been the reference to the one year requirement of the Passover lamb. So what was? It could only have been the time of his earthly ministry which is clearly evidenced in the Gospel of John from the 15 th of Abib, the Passover of AD 26, to the 14th of Abib just three hours before the Passover began when the meal was eaten after sundown on the 15th of Abib, ad 27.

The final piece of the intriguing enigma regarding the one-year ministry of Jesus Christ is found in the Gospel of Luke. ... Of the scriptures Jesus read in Nazareth that Sabbath, the most significant to understanding his one-year ministry is from Isaiah 61:2 as quoted by Luke in 4:19. When Jesus quoted that he had come to “preach [‘proclaim” in Isaiah 61:2 ] the acceptable year of the i.ord,” he was not making just an idle or flippant statement, he was indicating to those present and to those of future generations who would read and live according to his words, that he was fulfilling that prophecy by Isaiah that day in those people’s hearing. But what was so significant in understanding a one-year ministry? When Jesus stated he came to “preach the acceptable year of the LORD,” he stated the prophecy exactly as a “YEAR” of the LORD, not three and one-half acceptable years of the lord! Jesus himself identified his ministry was only one year long by indicating he was fulfilling the prophecy from Isaiah.

Michael Allen Daise
Ritual Transformation and Johannine Identity (2009)
In this paper I employ Catharine Bell’s discussion of ‘ritual transformation’ to build upon a thesis I have argued elsewhere (Feasts in John [2007]) in dialogue with Adriana Destro and Mauro Pesce (primarily Antropologia delle origini cristiane [1997] and Come nasce una religione [2000]). In that monograph I contended that the Passover at John 6:4 is not to be read as a regular Passover, observed on 14 Nisan, but as a ‘Second Passover’, to be observed on 14 ’Iyyar; and that, in an earlier recension—when John 5 and 6 were inverted—the feasts in John (read as such) unfolded in a liturgical sequence of one year that functioned in service to (rather than in dialectic with) the coming of Jesus’ ‘hour’. (continues)

William L. Peterson
The Genesis of the Gospels
(footnote connects John 6 and John 11, like Lant Carpenter and J. P. Norris)

Worthy Christian Forums
Did Jesus die on the 4000th year?
However, the reason John 6:4 is there is simply because it was added into the texts during the early history of the New Testament and for which there exists physical evidence; A thirteenth century manuscript called Minuscule 472 housed in the Lambeth Palace library in London, has an editor’s mark next to John 6:4 indicating that there were other manuscripts that had this verse missing from them but the scribe had decided to add the verse anyway, as they also had a manuscript that included John 6:4 which was considered either older or more reliable. This manuscript is not alone, a second (fourteenth century) manuscript called Minuscule 1634, housed at Great Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos, in Greece, also has a similar editor’s note made next to verse John 6:4, indicating that other manuscripts in the copyists possession were missing John 6:4. ... others continued to try and argue the case back for the one year ministry, such as Sulpicius Sererus (sic Severus) who died in 410 AD. In his work ‘Historia Sacra’ he stated Jesus’ ministry was one year in length and that He was 31 years old at His crucifixion.

Thomas Constable - Expository Notes (b. 1939) DTS
Evidently John identified the nearness of the Passover because of Jesus’ later references to Himself as the Bread of Life (vv. 33, 35, 51), the fulfillment of what the Passover bread typified.
“The people were thinking in terms of blood, flesh, lambs, and unleavened bread. They longed for a new Moses who would deliver them from Roman bondage. [Note: Blum, p293.] "

Textkit Forum -John 6:4 τὸ πάσχα (2018)
Barry Hofstetter
TC on classical texts often deals with a very poor manuscript base, and so conjectural emendation becomes much more important. The more manuscripts you have, the less need for conjectural emendation. What we are discussing here concerning John 6:4 is in the realm of sheer speculation. It "doesn't quite fit into the story?" Why would that be? Or could it possibly be that John is organizing his narrative in a way different than a modern reader might expect? This could be more of a genre/literary issue than a text critical one. Hint: the fact that we have "almost the same twice earlier in John" might be a clue that this is not incidental or an addition, but that it's intentional on John's part. So I would suggest that "doesn't quite fit" is a judgment that may not be concordant with the full context and John's careful use of devices to move that narrative forward.

Wieland Willker Commentary-John.pdf

Mark Uraine - 2019

Could John 6:4 be a mistake or an addition? (2019)
Rich Pierce
Evidently John identified the nearness of the Passover because of Jesus’ later references to Himself as the Bread of Life (vv. 33, 35, 51), the fulfillment of what the Passover bread typified.
“The people were thinking in terms of blood, flesh, lambs, and unleavened bread. They longed for a new Moses who would deliver them from Roman bondage. .....
“The movement from the miracle to the discourse, from Moses to Jesus (vv. 32-5, cf. i. 17), and, above all, from bread to flesh, is almost unintelligible unless the reference in v. 4 to the Passover picks up i. 29, 36, anticipates xix. 36 (Exod. xii. 46; Num. ix. 12), and governs the whole narrative.”
The Passover was an intensely nationalistic celebration in Israel. This accounts for the extreme zeal that many of the Jews demonstrated when they sought to draft Jesus as their political deliverer (v. 15). (continues

Jan Krans
(place pic in separately)

Nehemia Gordon and Michael Rood and John

Tim Hegg - Jan, 2014

Miles R. Jones
Response to Tim Hegg’s critique of Michael Rood’s Chronological Gospels (2018)

Judith Hannah
disputes Michael Rood material, including some ms. issues

Facebook - Nehemia Gordon

Steven Avery
While Eusebius could influence the Greek copies to an extent, other languages like Latin, Syriac and Coptic would have been untouched by the Eusebius action.

Can find various additional comments here:
Last edited:

Steven Avery


Phlegon of Tralles (c. 150) - interpretation of Daniel and Luke 13:32 could support 3 year

Melito of Sardis (c. 175) earliest three year

Tatian (c. 180) - Diatessaron (3 year)?

Irenaeus (c. 180) Adversus Haeresies book 2 chap 22 section 3 Lists 3 Passover's 2.13 /5.1 / 13.1 doesn't mention Passover in 6.4
Valentinians (c. 180) - Irenaeus opposed

Clement of Alexandria (c. 200) first supporter of one-year - Isaiah 61:2 Luke 4:19
Stromata 1, 21 145 ...preach only a year... acceptable year this spake both the prophet and the Gospel.. -

Tertullian (c. 210) - one year

Julius Africanus (c. 220) - one year - from Clement

Origen (c. 240) - one year from Clement (with complications?) and 3-year
Commentary on John book xiii,258
Homilies on Luke 4.19 Following the simple sense of the text, some say the saviour preached in Judea for only one year, and that is what the passage "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" means...
First principles book iv,5 taught only during a year and some months...

Hippolytus (c. 250) - one year - three year

Lactantius (c. 305)- one year

Eusebius (c. 310-325) - special post (acceptable year is last year

Athanasius (c. 340)

Ephraim - (c. 350) - 3 year

Hilarion .(c. 350) Q, Julius Hilarianus

Epiphanius (c. 380)
Alogi (c. 380) accourding to Epiphanius
Tyconius (c. 380) - on Matt 23.2-3 ...from beginning of his preaching it would have been a year...
Philastrius (c. 390)
Chrysostom (c. 390)

Gaudentius (c. 400) " if not altogether satisfied that his (3-year) view can be securely grounded on Lk. iv, 19, seeks further confirmation of it in Ex. xii, 5."

Sulpicius Severus (c. 410)

Augustine (c. 420) - one year, apparently per Abbot

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 430)

One year
De Pascha Computus
The Abgar Saga
Doctrina Addai

Three year
Acts of John
Anonymous auctor liborum in Job

One year
The Gnostics—Basilidians—Valentinians—Docetae—Marcionites—
Alogi—Pseudo-Clementine Homilies. The Manichaeans.

Archelaus (per Abbot)
Ps Cyprian (per Abbot)
Evagrius the presbyter,
Clementine Homilies, ,


Additional references are in the 8-column Westcott Hort text.

George Ogg
p. 131 - while at first the one-year theorists were in a majority, later and notably after the time of Eusebius that party shrank and ultimately disappeared, leaving the other in undisputed possession.
p. 61 - 2014 edition

Church Fathers Scripture Index
Irenaeus Tertullian Lactantius - Origen - Tatian Diatessaron - Augustine - Chrysostom - Athanasius 6:4

Cheyne Encyclaedia
One Year
Irenaeus 15 - Clement of Alexandria - Julius Africanus - Philastrius - Hilarion,_volume_8.djvu/441



Origen (c. 240) Latin needed on Daniel 9:27 - ministry of 3 years (3rd century, he says 2)- (in 3rd Nehemia)

Irenaeus holds: after his Baptism he continued to preach for one year. Against heresies book 1 chapter 3.3

John Chrysostom says: Jesus doesn't goes up to Jerusalem as required because he was quietly annulling the law, taking occasion from the wickedness of the jews? Homilies on the gospel of John (npnf 1 14:151) Guess Chrysostom didn't have rom 11 and eph 2.1-12 in his bible.

Last edited:

Steven Avery


Bernard Muller is starting point.
Notes removed for now


In his 'Demonstratio Evangelica' (published before 311) VIII, 106, 8, Eusebius stated,

The whole period of our Savior’s teaching thus was not even a full four years, since four high priests in four years from Annas to Caiaphas held the office for a year. Naturally, the Gospel named Caiaphas as high priest in the year of the Savior’s passion, and so the time of Christ’s teaching accords with this evidence.19

19. The chronologies of Josephus and the Gospels do agree, but Eusebius’s argument is faulty. In trying to interpret Luke 3:2 (“during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas”) as meaning the period between the two, he constructs his less-than four-year time grid for Jesus’ ministry. But this founders on the fact that Annas was dismissed by Gratus in a.d. 1 5. A better explanation of Luke’s passage would point out the honorific nature of Annas’s title as “high priest” even after leaving office, since he was the gray eminence in Jerusalem, the priestly patriarch who set a record in having five of his own sons and a son-in-law, Caiaphas, succeed to the high priesthood.
Eusebius of Caesarea, the proof of the Gospel
...For it is written that before his passion he shewed himself for the space of 3.5 years...

Alternate - might be off.
"the whole period of our Savior's teaching and marvel-working is recorded to have been three years and a half, which is half of a week This, I take it, John the Evangelist accurately establishes by his presentation in the gospel."


"Since, then, he (Jesus) began in the high priesthood of Annas and continued to the reign of Caiaphas the intervening time does not extend to a full four years ('History of the Church' (published 311-325) I, 10, 2)


Eusebius church history, book iii chap xxiv,8
... For it is evident that the three evangelists recorded only the deeds done by the saviour for one year....


Later in the same book (III, 24, 11) Eusebius explained John's gospel covers a longer period than the others, but did not mention three years.


'Chronicles' (published 325) he ascribed the crucifixion to the eighteenth year of Tiberius, basing himself on an eclipse and :

"It is written [in John's gospel] that after the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar the Lord preached three years."

Note: Eusebius repeatedly claimed that John's gospel represents a three-year ministry, but he offered no specific arguments.

The quote above is not yet found.

Last edited:

Steven Avery

Luke 13:7 - 3 year ministry?

Luke 13:7-9 (AV)
Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.


Luke 4:19 Isaiah 6:12 - 1 year ministry ?

Isaiah 61:2 (AV)
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all that mourn;

Luke 4:19 (AV)
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord


See Roy G. Pittman above.

Allegories on the right, prophetic typology patterns on the left :)


Church Fathers Scripture Search Engine
Luke 13:7 13:7#mnf_ix.iv.xv-p26.2

John Gill
behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree,
and find none; or "behold, there are three years since I came"; so read the Vulgate Latin and Persic versions, and Beza's most ancient copy. Some think Christ here refers to the three years of his public ministry, which he had now gone through among the Jews with little success; but he seems rather to allude to the nature of fig trees, which, if fruitful, bear in three years time; for even (Hebrew) , "a sort of white figs", which are the longest before they bring forth fruit to perfection, yet their fruit is ripe in three years time. These trees bear fruit once in three years; they bear fruit indeed every year, but their fruit does not come to maturity till after three years F9; and this may be the reason why this number is fixed upon; for if such fig trees do not bring forth ripe fruit in three years time, there is little reason to expect any from them: and thus it was time after time with the Jewish nation; and so it is with carnal professors: hence it follows,

F9 T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 35. 4. Jarchi, Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 1. & Sheviith, c. 5. sect. 1.

Origen ?

What are these three years? Are they not, perchance, those in which the Lord came to the earth and could not find fruit on the fig-tree, according to that which is written: “Behold, there are three years that I came seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none.”


Church Fathers Scripture Search Engine
Luke 4:19

Last edited:

Steven Avery

Gerald L. Borchert
John 1-11 (1996)

Perhaps no text in the Gospel of John has created greater problems for historians than the positioning of the cleansing of the temple at this point in John.26 For those expecting a chronological arrangement, the fact that the cleansing of the temple comes at the end of Jesus’ ministry in the Synoptics and at the beginning of his ministry in John is difficult to resolve. Arguments abound in which one cither posits an error on the part of John or the Synoptics or one argues for two cleansings of the temple. The suggestion of error involves a questionable presupposition and really does not solve much. But the familiar argument of two cleansings is a historiographic monstrosity that has no basis in the texts of the Gospels. There is only one cleansing of the temple in each Gospel.

Of course, being sure of an author s intention is a major problem. But when the author has explicitly stated his purpose, it is appropriate to give attention to that purpose and remember that this Gospel is an organized selection of pericopes. Such is precisely what he told us the book is. and perhaps it is time to think about his purpose (20:30-31) and how it affects the placement of a pericope like the cleansing of the temple.

Given this dilemma, then, readers of John need to consider that the problem may be one of perspective and false expectation. Why should John have to write his Gospel as a modern newspaper reporter? His purpose was not to report but to proclaim and persuade (20:30-31). He was a great inspired artist and theologian who organized his episodes from the life of Jesus in such a way as to bring people to faith in Jesus as the Son of God. What is more, the evangelist viewed the story of Jesus in its entirety from a postresurrection perspective. 27 The evangelist even told us what he was doing in this very pericope (2:22). At the time of writing, Jesus was not then living on earth and facing death; he was reigning in power with God.

The task the evangelist faced then was to show his readers how the two sides of light and darkness (1:4-5), life and death (5:24-29; cf. 3:36), had been locked in the great eschatological battle even during Jesus’ life (cf. 1:10-13). What the evangelist as artist seems to have done here is what many great writers have done throughout history. He used a literary method that can be characterized as in medius res (“in the middle of things”). Similar dramatic patterns are frequently noted in television programs today. The point is to set the viewer in the middle of the most exciting and crucial part of the story in order to gain the viewer’s immediate attention.

But John was not simply interested in gaining the reader’s attention; he was concerned to have the reader understand the depth of the struggle in which Jesus was involved. Placing this pericope here was no mere superficial transposing of the temple story to the beginning of the Gospel to make room for the Lazarus scene, as R. Brown seems to suggest.28 It was a calculated move to make this account the centerpiece of the Cana Cycle, bringing to the forefront the determinative nature of Passover in the work of Jesus. To miss the function of Passover in this Gospel is to miss one of the crucial stepping stones in the development of John’s argument.29

Moreover, merely to count Passovers as is frequently done in studies on John and then to talk about a ministry of two and a half or three years for Jesus because of the Passovers involves. I believe, superficial reading of a profound book. Accordingly, I find unsatisfying most scholarly attempts at a chronological study of John’s temple cleansing in comparison with the Synoptics whether, for example, with Dodd, Lightfoot, and Barrett, who argue for the priority of Synoptic chronology,30 with J. A. T. Robinson and Lagrange, who argue for the priority of Johannine chronology,31 or with R. Brown, who argues for a combination of both. They all seem to me to be non-theologically instructive efforts. By letting John write from his own post-resurrection perspective, we do not give up on history but allow the book to be what the author intended it to be—a testimony.


26 Scc. e.g.. W. Howard. "The Position of the Temple Cleansing in the Fourth Gospel.'" ExpTim 44 (1933): 84-85: G. Lewis. "Dislocations in the Fourth Gospel: The Temple Cleansing and the Visit of Nicodcmus." ExpTim 44 (1933): 228-30: F. Lewis. "Disarrangement in the Fourth Gospel." ExpTim 44 (1933): 382:1. Busc. "The Cleansing of the Temple in the Synoptics and in John.” ExpTim 70 (1958): 22-24. and especially R. Lightfoot. "Unsolved New Testament Problems: The Cleansing of the Temple in St. John’s Gospel." ExpTim 60 (1948): 64-68.

27. G. Borchcrt. "The Resurrection Perspective in John,” RevExp 85 (1988): 501-13.

28. R. Brown. John, 1.118.

29 See Borchcrt. "The Passover and the Narrative Cycles in John.” in Perspectives on John (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen. 1993). 307-8.

30 See. e.g.. Dodd. Interpretation, 297-300; R. Lightfoot. "Unsolved Problems." 64-68; and The Gospel Message of St. Mark (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1950). 60-79: and C. K. Barrett. The Gospel According to St. John (London: SPCK. 1956). 162-64.

31 See. e.g.. J. A. T. Robinson. The Priority of John. ed. T. F. Coakley (London: SCM. 1985).

32 R. Brown. John. 1.113.

Steven Avery

Facebook and Forums - 2021

Facebook - Patristics for Protestants

Fitzmyer, Bock and Arndt can be placed on the top historical section.

Steve Miller
I thought 4 years based on Luke 13:7-9
Luke 4 quoting Isa 61 refer to the first year of Jesus' ministry. That is weaker evidence for a 1 yr ministry, esp considering 3 passovers in John.
Luke 13 refers to the Lord's ministry. Who is the one coming and seeking fruit from the fig tree these past 3 years? The fig tree is a symbol of Israel. It seems the Lord gave this parable 3 years into His ministry and had one more year to go.

Michael Blythe
Steve Miller that's a very minority interpretation, as Fitzmyer asserts regarding that text:
The “three years” cannot be understood allegorically of Jesus’ ministry; Luke knows nothing of a three-year ministry.

The Gospel According to LUKE (X-XXIV) Introduction, Translation, and Notes
Joseph Augustine Fitzmyer (1920-2016) 10-24 FitzmyerJA 1985-opt/page/n209/mode/2up
Darrell Bock:
Another image that should not be pressed is the three-year image (correctly Arndt 1956: 327). It does not refer to the length of Jesus’ ministry. The number merely provides background for the parable and indicates that an adequate time to be fruitful has been provided..?"

Luke : 2 Volumes (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (1996)
Darrell Bock (b. 1953)

Stan Meador
I had Gerald Borchert for a class on John during my MDiv. John is the only gospel that mentions three Passovers, or one Passover three times (Borchert’s view). He made a compelling argument for a one year ministry of Jesus. I don’t recall him citing any Patristic sources though.


Facebook - Early Church History Study Group

Greg Kroehnert
The Gospel of John is not arranged chronologically but thematically, so you can't use John's Gospel to figure out the length of Christ's Ministry (sorry about that)... You can try to get a chronology from John if you like, but you'll find it's like trying to nail Jello to the wall.

Dean Furlong Muratorian Canon, which likely was copying from Papias, says John wrote all his points in order ... Eusebius quotes an ancient source (probably Papias quoting John the Elder) who related that the Galilean ministry was for one year.

ørjan Myhre
Miles Jones has found one manuscript where the text says in joh 5.1 the feast of Shavuot was nigh in coptic i think it was i can find it if you are interested ... When you read the nt you clearly sees that not much time goes by? The statements are the next day joh 1.29-34 the next day after 35-42 the following day 43-51 the third day 2.1-11 and not many days 2.12. And then he leaves for Passover and then in joh 4.1-4 he travels to Galilee again. He leaves for Jerusalem in joh 5.1 (Purim does not require him to go to Jerusalem) so He leaves for Shavuot (Pentecost) And joh 6 he is in Galilee again. Chapter 7 Feast of Tabernacle which requires him to go up to Jerusalem again.
Galilean ministry doesn't make much sense to me. What makes sense is one continuous year where every Feast of the Lord are present one time except Passover which occur 2 times. And Hanukkah and Purim which are not required Feasts. ... He goes back and forth to Jerusalem and Galilee and the dead Sea valley several times Please read the text and not what others say about the text.

ørjan Myhre to Dean Furlong
Origen commentary on John book xiii,258

Origen, Homilies on Luke 4.19
Following the simple sense of the text, some say the saviour preached in Judea for only one year, and that is what the passage "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord means...

Origen First principles book iv,5 taught only during a year and some months...

Irenaeus Adversus Haeresies book 2 chap 22 section 3
Lists 3 Passover's 2.13 /5.1 / 13.1 doesn't mention Passover in 6.4

Clement of Alexandria Stromata 1, 21 145 ...preach only a year... acceptable year this spake both the prophet and the Gospel...

Eusebius church history, book iii chap xxiv,8
... For it is evident that the three evangelists recorded only the deeds done by the saviour for one year....

Tyconius on Matt 23.2-3
...from beginning of his preaching it would have been a year...

Eusebius of Caesarea, the proof of the Gospel
...For it is written that before his passion he shewed himself for the space of 3.5 years...
There are more proof from the church fathers for a one year ministry but I don't have it at hand right now.

I also have 8 manuscripts without Joh 6.4 in Greek. And 2 marked with asterisk in Greek
And many scholars up through the ages have marked Joh 6.4 as a doubtful verse

But Jesus couldn't possibly be the exo 12.5 lamb if he had more than under 2 year ministry from his Baptism to he was cut of (dan 9.27) (cross)
Luk 4.19 doesn't fit
Gospel narrative does not make sense, i can lay out the Gospels perfectly with a one year ministry.
All four is like a Xerox machine you need all four colours to get the perfect clear picture.
When we go from the feeding of the 5000 all four Gospels layers fit perfectly.
John record what's going on in the Feasts
The three others recorded in between the Feasts
I have also pretty good indications that it was Eusebius who inserted those 8 Greek words found in joh 6.4
And his intentions was together with Constantine.


Facebook - Textus Receptus Academy


Facebook - Pure Bible

Last edited:

Steven Avery

Three Writers Who Defend a One Year Ministry without claiming Emendation or Interpolation of John 6:4

Lant Carpenter (1780-1840)
John Pilkington Norris (1823–1891)
Gerald Leo Borchert (b. 1932)

Above, for more aspects of the Johannine usage, see also:

Barry Hofstetter
Thomas Constable
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Ezra Abbot - (1819-1884) mentioned in Hort

The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel: And Other Critical Essay (1888)

Again, Supernatural Religion asserts that “Justin contradicts the Fourth Gospel, in limiting the work of Jesus to one year.” (5. R. ii. 313.) Dr. Davidson makes the same statement ; ** but neither he nor S. R. adduces any proof of it. I know of no passage in Justin which affirms or implies this limitation. But, if such a passage should be found, the argument against Justin's reception of the Fourth Gospel would be worthless. The opinion that Christ’s ministry lasted but one year, or little more, was held by many in the early Church who received the Gospel of John without question. It was maintained by the Basilidians, the Valentinians, and the author of the Clementine Homilies, by Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Julius Africanus, Pseudo-Cyprian, Archelaus, Lactantius, Ephraem Syrus apparently, Philastrius, Gaudentius, Q. Julius Hilarianus, Augustine apparently, Evagrius the presbyter, and others among the Fathers, and has been held by modern scholars, as Bentley, Mann, Priestley (Harmony), Lant Carpenter (Harmony), and Henry Browne (Ordo Saeclorum).* The Fathers were much influenced by their interpretation of Isa. lxi. 2, — “to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” — quoted in Luke iv. 19. It is true that John vi. 4 is against this view ; but its defenders find means, satisfactory to themselves, of getting over the difficulty.

•• Introd. to the Sturdy of the N. T , ii. 387.


footnote of ECW refs.jpg
Last edited: