Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Scholars have long recognized that the Good Shepherd discourse reflects a realistic picture of the ancient Palestinian shepherd and his relationship to the flock. But how far should the details in this metaphor be pressed? It is often asserted that any halfway decent shepherd would have been willing to die on behalf of his flock and that Jesus’ statement to that effect (10:11, 15, 17) reflects a common expectation. This scenario, however, would actually leave a flock more exposed to danger. Thus, it is appropriate to understand Jesus’ pronouncement as falling outside the realm of historical verisimilitude and better to regard the “laying down of the shepherd’s life” as the singular element of the discourse that is intended to advance the story’s christological agenda.
Skinner, Christopher H.. 'The Good Shepherd Lays Down His Life for the Sheep' (John 10:11, 15, 17): Questioning the Limits of a Johannine Metaphor. Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 80, 1: 97-113, 2018. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Theology: Faculty Publications and Other Works,
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