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.
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