An excellent thought provoking piece!

Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception

The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.’

(NRSV)

Ram bearer The Kriophoros (Ram Bearer), 5th cent B.C.E. Barracco Museum, Rome. Image: reocities.com

John 10: 1-18 contains two of the seven so-called ‘I am’ (εγω ειμι) statements that characterise the teaching of Jesus in John’s Gospel; the gate (v.9) and the shepherd (v.11).* However, unlike the other εγω ειμι statements, this metaphor is developed in a much richer way. For the image to work, it is contrasted with two negative and opposing images – ‘the thief’ (vv. 1 & 8-10) and ‘the hired hand’ (vv. 11-13). Unsurprisingly, attention is generally placed upon the image of the Good Shepherd, the focus of this teaching (παροιμια – proverb/parable), and most commentaries tend to dismiss these figures as little…

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