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Anamnesis and the Silent Narrator in Plato and John

Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
Academic Editor: Warren Smith
Religions 2017, 8(4), 47;
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 27 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plato among the Christians)
PDF [497 KB, uploaded 27 March 2017]


The Gospel of John is often compared to the dialogues of Plato by those who connect Johannine theology and Platonic philosophy. The comparison operates on the level of ideas. The present paper does not ignore issues of theology and philosophy but grounds a comparison of John and Plato first and foremost on the literary level. In several key places in John 1, 3, and 14, the Johannine narrator recedes from view and is unexpectedly silent where one would expect a narrator’s comment to organize the conversations and interactions between characters in John. Plato also renders the voice of the narrator silent in a dialogue like the Theaetetus. This paper argues that John and Plato both suppress the narrator’s voice in order to further their anamnetic efforts and to make later generations not only readers but participants in their original conversations. View Full-Text
Keywords: narrator; Anamnesis; mimesis; Diegesis; Theaetetus; genre narrator; Anamnesis; mimesis; Diegesis; Theaetetus; genre
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Parsenios, G.L. Anamnesis and the Silent Narrator in Plato and John. Religions 2017, 8, 47.

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