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Elizabeth Schrader on Preaching John 11

Elizabeth Schrader on Preaching John 11

Audio excerpts from her visit to The Cottage

The paid subscriber community at The Cottage recently had a live Zoom gathering with Elizabeth “Libbie” Schrader, the New Testament scholar whose work on Mary Magdalene in John 11 has sparked international debate. Schrader will submit her dissertation at Duke this spring, and she will join the faculty at Villanova University this autumn.

Next Sunday, the lectionary gospel is John 11:1-45. Since so many of you have preaching and teaching responsibilities, I invited Libbie back to the Cottage (her first visit was in October 2021) to talk about recent developments in her work and offer suggestions for sharing her research with congregations.

The longer, video recording of the live conversation with the complete Q&A is for paid subscribers only.

But many people who are part of the larger free Cottage community have requested access as well. In response to your requests, we’ve taken the audio from the Zoom recording, edited it, and left out the Q&A — and created this shorter audio “podcast” that is available and shareable to everyone.


Once again, Libbie Schrader rocked our spiritual imagination, especially in the last few minutes of the conversation when she shared her beliefs about the nature of the Bible and the deeper meanings of the Gospel of John. She offered a perspective on biblical interpretation that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before.

I think you’ll find this conversation inspiring and encouraging. And it is not just for preachers. But, if you are a preacher, I hope you’ll tackle John 11 next Sunday with her research in mind — and in your heart.

I invite you to consider joining The Cottage as a paid subscriber.

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Here’s the text of John 11:1-5 as it currently exists in the NRSV:

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill.

3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”

4But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. . .

Here’s Libbie’s reconstruction of the text based on her work with the textual changes discovered in ancient manuscripts:

Note from Elizabeth: “This reconstruction comes from readings in Codex Alexandrinus before correction (John 11:1-2), Papyrus 66 before correction (John 11:3-4), and Codex Colbertinus (John 11:5), which is uncorrected.”

1 There was a certain sick man, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary his sister.

2 Now this was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

3 Therefore Mary sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, the one you love is sick.”

4 But when Jesus heard he said to her, “The sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son may be glorified through it.”

5 Now Jesus loved Lazarus and his sister.

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