Though the majority of scholars argue against semantic distinction between ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in John 21:15–17 (recent articles by Shepherd and Böhler being significant exceptions), the oddity of the double juxtaposition of the two terms does not so easily vanish away. But rather than arguing for semantic distinction, this article proposes a neglected intertextual solution to the anomaly: John 21:15–17 is an allusion to the Old Greek version of Prov 8:17, and the significance of the two verbs lies in their discourse function, not difference in meaning. “Parallelomania” can be avoided due to the relative rarity of a juxtaposed ἀγαπάω-φιλέω in the LXX and the fact that the context of Prov 8–9 contains similar themes to John 20–21’s context, namely, the “banquet,” “seeking-and-finding,” and “mutual love” motifs, increasing the possibility of deliberate intertextuality (especially in light of potential Wisdom allusions elsewhere in John). The final section of this article examines both the theological role played by such an allusion to Prov 8:17 and how this coheres with the rest of John’s Gospel.

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