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One Story, Four Times

As part of my prep for Sunday, I've been doing a quick English language based redaction exercise with the story of the "Feeding of the Five Thousand" from all four gospels.

What struck me is that we usually tell this story in its Johannine form, which differs quite starkly from the other three, notably in the inclusion of the 'small boy' (which could be translated as 'servant').  This has got me wondering quite why this gospel alone has the child at this point, rather than the locations chosen by the writers of the synoptics.  Interestingly, rather than a mere 'object' or 'visual aid' the child has an active role in the story... which makes me more curious as to what John's purpose is here.

Such commentaries as I have are of little or no help, most just ignore this detail, but I am curious.  Any Bible scholalrs or people with decent commentaries who fancy checking and commenting, I'd be pleased to know.  In the meantime I'm working on my own interpretation, justified or otherwise, that sees this detail as significant within the narrative of the fourth sign.

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