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The Gospel According to John (Κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγέλιον, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, kata Iōannēn euangelion, to euangelion kata Iōannēn) commonly referred to as the Gospel of John is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details the story of Jesus from his Baptism to his Resurrection. In the standard order of the canonical gospels it is placed fourth, after the three inter-related synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke; but in the earliest surviving gospel collection, Papyrus 45 of the 3rd century, it is placed second in the order Matthew, John, Luke and Mark, an order which is also found in other very early New Testament manuscripts. In syrcur it is placed third in the order Matthew, Mark, John and Luke.[1]

The Gospel is anonymous, but in chapter 21 it is stated that it derives from the testimony of the 'Disciple whom Jesus loved', whom Early Church tradition identified with John the Apostle, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. It is closely related in style and content to the three surviving Epistles of John, such that most commentators routinely treat the four books together.[2]:p.63 Scholarly opinion is divided as to whether these epistles are the work of the evangelist himself, or of his followers writing in his name. The epistles are addressed to a particular but unnamed church community, and most scholars presume that the Gospel too is addressed to the specific circumstances of that community. The evangelist urges his church to beware of internal factions and reject false teaching, and also seeks to strengthen their resolution in the face of hostility and persecution from the Jewish leadership of the synagogue; " ...it is now widely accepted that the discourses are concerned with the actual issues of the church and synagogue debate at the time when the Gospel was written."[2]:p.53 It is notable that, in the gospel, the community still appears to define itself primarily against Judaism, rather than as part of a wider Christian church. Lindars points out that Christianity started as a movement within Judaism, but he says that gradually Christians and Jews became bitterly opposed to one another.[2]:p.60

Of the four canonical gospels, John presents the highest Christology. It describes Jesus as the incarnation of the divine Logos, through which all things were made, and declares him to be God.[3] Only in the Gospel of John does Jesus talk at length about himself and his divine role, including a substantial amount of material Jesus shared with the disciples only. Here Jesus' public ministry consists largely of miracles not found in the Synoptics, including raising Lazarus from the dead. Contrary to the Synoptics, Jesus' miracles in John are signs meant to engender faith. In John, Jesus is the object of veneration.[4] Certain elements of the synoptics such as parables and exorcisms are not found in John. In terminology close to that found in later Gnostic works, one tract, generally known as "The Trimorphic Protennoia", must either be dependent on John or the other way round."[2]:p.65 John teaches that salvation can only be achieved through revealed wisdom, specifically belief in (literally belief into) Jesus.[2]:p.62

Prominent contemporary scholars regard the Gospel of John as more theological and less historical than the Synoptics, and they dispute that the Apostle John was the author.[5] Critical scholarship in the 19th century distinguished between the 'biographical' approach of the three Synoptic Gospels and the 'theological' approach of John, and accordingly tended to disregard John as a historical source. This distinction is no longer regarded as sustainable in more recent scholarship, which emphasizes that all four gospels are both biographical and theological. According to Barnabas Lindars, "All four Gospels should be regarded primarily as biographies of Jesus, but all four have a definite theological aim."[2]:p.26 Nevertheless, prominent mainstream scholars emphasize that the John's picture of Jesus is very different from that which emerges as a recognisably common theme, underlying the accounts in the Synoptics. Lindars writes that John's picture of Jesus, however, is different.[2]:p.27 In discussing these differences, scholars distinguish anecdotes from discourses. Anecdotes about Jesus' ministry in John are similar in style to those found in the Synoptics, and often cover recognisably the same events. In several such instances John appears to draw on distinct source material, which often appears to be historically more reliable.[6] However this anecdotal material also appears to have been extensively reworked, especially in order to dramatise the narrative.[7] The discourses in John are considered by mainstream scholars to originate in homilies and sermons, that are predominantly the evangelist's own composition but which expound on a saying or action of Jesus from the tradition.[8] There is no consensus in current scholarship as to how far the material in John may derive from a historical 'Disciple whom Jesus loved',[9] but it is broadly agreed that the authorship of the Gospel should be credited to the person who composed the finished text, rather than to the source of material in the text;[10] and that this composition is to be dated around 85-90 AD,[11] a decade or more later than the most likely dates for composition of the Synoptics. On account of this later dating, and also of the greater degree of editorial reworking detected in John, the Synoptic accounts are generally considered to be more historically reliable,[12] except in those anecdotes where John's sources may be superior.

Contents

Composition

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Authorship

A series of articles on
John in the Bible
Johannine literature
Gospel of John · First Epistle of John · Second Epistle of John · Third Epistle of John · Revelation · Authorship
John the Apostle · John the Evangelist · John of Patmos  · John the Presbyter · Disciple whom Jesus loved
Communities
Twelve Apostles · The Early Church
Related literature
Apocryphon of John · Acts of John · Logos · Signs Gospel

The Traditional View has been that the Gospel of John was an eyewitness account, composed by John, the Beloved Disciple of Jesus.[13] Modern Historical Criticism [14] has cast serious doubt on the validity this position. However, interest in demonstrating that the author was an eyewitness to the historical Jesus is still very much alive.[15]

Cerinthus

The Alogi, a 2nd-century sect that denied the doctrine of the Logos, ascribed this gospel, as well as the Book of Revelation, to the Gnostic Cerinthus.[16] Irenaeus, on the other hand, asserted that John wrote his gospel to refute Cerinthus.[17]

Traditional view

This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

As the gospel's name implies, the author has traditionally been understood to be the Apostle John. This understanding of the authorship of the Fourth Gospel remained in place until the end of the 18th century.[18]

According to the Church Fathers, John the Apostle, was the last of the Evangelists to compose a gospel. The Bishops of Asia requested he write such a gospel in response to Cerinthus, the Ebionites and other Hebrew groups which they deemed heretical.[19][20][21]

The second reason given for this work, was that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, only gave a history for the one year, of and following the imprisonment of John the Baptist. Therefore, the Evangelist expanded on the Synoptic gospels of which he had read and approved.[22][23] Johannine authorship was also evidenced by Polycarp, (who is said to have known the apostles), Irenaeus and Eusebius.[24][25] [26][27]

Internal evidence that the author was the Apostle John

The express testimony of the author states that he is an eyewitness to Jesus and that his testimony is true. The Gospel of John explains that the author is the Disciple whom Jesus loved. In other words, we are told that the disciple giving this account has born true witness. [28]

The text implies that the unnamed author is an apostle. John 21:20–25 contains information that could be construed as autobiographical. Some believe that the first person "I" in verse 25, the disciple in verse 24 and the disciple whom Jesus loved (also known as the Beloved Disciple) in verse 20 are the same person.[29] Critics point out that the abrupt shift from third person to first person in vss. 24–25 indicates that the writers of the epilogue, (who are supposedly third-party editors) claim the preceding narrative is based on the Beloved Disciple's testimony.[30][31]

In the Synoptics, John is close to Peter, the chief apostle, in a way that, in John, the beloved disciple is close to Peter.[32] The consistent omission of John has traditionally been taken as evidence that John authored the Gospel.[32]

External evidence that the author was the Apostle John

The external evidence and documentation up to and including Jerome is unambiguous and virtually unanimous.[33] Before the end of the 2nd century, the Church had identified the author, the "disciple Jesus loved," as the Apostle John.[34] The writings of Papias, Justin, Dionysius of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Irenæus of Lyons and Jerome provide a sound historical basis for this assertion.[18][24][35] Furthermore, scholars are unaware of any cogent historical document from the first three centuries that seriously challenges the authenticity of John.[33]

John the Evangelist
Russian Orthodox icon of the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, 18th century (Iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhi Monastery, Karelia, Russia).

The traditional view is that the Apostle John was an historical figure who, along with James and Peter, John was one of the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church, as reported by Paul.[36] In the synoptics, he was one of the inner circle of disciples.[34][36]

Modern critical scholarship

Some modern scholars hypothesize that John was an illiterate, hence precluding him from authorship of the gospel attributed to him.[14][37] In their view, the Gospel of John is a falsified account, forged by an unknown writer who never met Jesus.[38] This stance is not popular within Christendom.

Modern mainstream view

Modern mainstream scholarship has predominantly concluded that the author of the Gospel of John was not an eyewitness to the Historical Jesus.[39][40] Certain modern critical scholars concluded that the Gospel of John was largely unreliable.[5][41] These further argued that the traditional identification of the book's author—the Beloved Disciple—with the apostle John was false.[34][42]

Some see the Fourth Gospel as being so hostile towards Judaism that the author might not even have been Jewish.[43] The claim that John was the author was thought to be falsified and not backed by any solid historical evidence.[43] Since the author was fluent in Hellenistic philosophy, it could hardly have been John, described in Acts as "unschooled and ordinary."[Ac. 4:13][43] Furthermore, Jesus was recorded as foretelling that John would suffer martyrdom along with his brother, James.[Mk. 10:39][Ac. 12:2][32][34] In addition, 5th and 9th century writers referred to an alleged passage by Papias indicating that James and John had been killed by the Jews, and their deaths are recorded in several early martyrologies.[32] This evidence for John's martyrdom, however, is inconclusive.[32]

Some view the Gospel of John as being a largely unreliable written account forged by an anonymous author posthumous to the Apostle.[5][34][41][42] The Gospel was likely written c. 90-100, possibly in Ephesus.[44]

According to scholars such as Paul Anderson, debates about the authorship of the Gospel of John "are not as frequent" today as they were in earlier times. In many cases, the issue of authorship has been absorbed into the reconstruction of the Gospel's development over a period of time in various stages. It is thus more complex than simply identifying a single person as the document's author. However, the issue of the Fourth Evangelist being an eyewitness to the historical Jesus is far from settled.[45]

Raymond E. Brown summarizes a prevalent theory regarding the development of this gospel.[46]:pp.363-364 He identifies three layers of text in the Fourth Gospel (a situation that is paralleled by the synoptic gospels):

  1. An initial version based on personal experience of Jesus;
  2. A structured literary creation by the evangelist which draws upon additional sources;
  3. The final harmony that presently exists in the New Testament canon.
Other modern views

Different theories of authorship have been advanced by other biblical scholars and notable theologians.

One group of scholars has argued that Mary Magdalene was not just companion and confidante of Jesus, but also his spokesman, the disciple he most loved, possibly the Beloved Disciple mentioned in the Gospel of John. This could easily make her the "author" or "primary source" for that gospel. Marvin Meyer, a Chapman University scholar of religion, supports this position contending the author of John’s gospel was in fact Mary Magdalene.[47][48] Also among scholars, Ephesus in Asia Minor is a popular suggestion for the gospel's origin, which was the local of both Mary and John.[4]

Richard Bauckham, professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, presents his alternative approach to John. He has concluded that John’s gospel is an integral whole written by a single author—John the Elder, a Jerusalem disciple but not one of the Twelve, aka the Beloved Disciple. He is convinced that John’s gospel is not the product of, written for, or telling the story of a so-called “Johannine community”. Instead, it tells the story of Jesus for both believers and nonbelievers. It is intended for general circulation among all the churches. Bauckham claims that John’s gospel is a reliable source for the history of Jesus—at times even more so than the Synoptic gospels.[49] Baukham's claims, however, have come under dispute.[50][51]

Most scholars who disagree with the traditional view believe it likely that John was martyred around the time James was, as suggested by Mark 10:39 and Acts 12:1-2.[34]

There are scholars who continue to argue that the writer of the Gospel of John could not have been an eyewitness to the historical Jesus.[5][39][40][41] They also argue the traditional identification of the book's author, denoted in the text as the "beloved disciple", with the apostle John is false.[34][42]

Still other scholars continue to defend the traditional theory of apostolic authorship; and regard the Gospel as transmitting a fundamentally reliable narrative from the earliest phase of Christian tradition. John A. T. Robinson, a staunch defender of the apostolic authorship of the Gospel, says the Johannine tradition did not suddenly emerge about AD 100. He says there is "a real continuity, not merely in the memory of one old man, but in the life of an ongoing community, with the earliest days of Christianity."[52]

Sources

Signs gospel

One possible construction of the "internal evidence"[53] states that the Beloved Disciple wrote an account of the life of Jesus.[Jn 21:24] However, this disciple died unexpectedly, necessitating that a revised gospel be written.[21:23] In other words, it may be that John “is the source" of the Johannine tradition but "not the final writer of the tradition." [54] Therefore, scholars are no longer looking for the identity of a single writer but for numerous authors whose authorship has been absorbed into the gospel's development over a period of time and in several stages. [46][55][56]

The hypothesis of the Gospel of John being composed in layers over a period of time had its start with Rudolf Bultmann in 1941. Bultmann suggested[57] that the author(s) of John depended in part on an author who wrote an earlier account. This hypothetical "Signs Gospel" listing Christ's miracles was independent of, and not used by, the synoptic gospels. It was believed to have been circulating before the year 70 AD. Bultmann's conclusion was so controversial that heresy proceedings were instituted against him and his writings. (See: Images of Jesus and more detailed discussions linked below.)

Nevertheless, this hypothesis has not disappeared. Scholars such Raymond Edward Brown believe that the original author of the Signs Gospel to be the Beloved Disciple. They argue that the disciple who formed this community, was both an historical person and a companion of Jesus Christ. Brown goes one step further by suggesting that the Beloved Disciple had been a follower of John the Baptist before joining Jesus.[46]

Synoptic material

The structure of John is similar enough to the structure of the synoptic gospels that the author must have had access to a synoptic gospel or to some other source close to the synoptics.[5] Specifically, the author seems to echo the distinctive style of Mark, and his Passion narrative resembles Luke's.[34]

Discourses

The author may have used a source consisting of lengthy discourses,[58] but this issue has not been clarified.[5]

Inspiration

The author has Jesus foretell that new knowledge will come to his followers after his death.[59] This reference indicates that the author has included new information, not previously revealed, that is derived from spiritual inspiration rather than from historical records or recollection.[59]

Date

There is no certain historical evidence as to the date of its composition. Scholars most often date it to c. 90–100, decades after the events it describes.[4] Bart Ehrman argues that there are differences in the composition of the Greek within the Gospel, such as breaks and inconsistencies in sequence, repetitions in the discourse, as well as passages that clearly do not belong to their context, and these suggest redaction.[60]

The so-called "Monarchian Prologue" to the Fourth Gospel (c. 200) supports A.D. 96 or one of the years immediately following as to the time of its writing.[61] Most scholars agree on a range of c. 90–100.[62] The gospel was already in existence early in the 2nd Century.[63]:p.313 John was composed in stages (probably two or three).[64]:p.43 There is credible evidence that the Gospel was written no later than the middle of the second century. Since the middle of the second century writings of Justin Martyr use language very similar to that found in the Gospel of John, the Gospel is considered to have been in existence at least at that time.[65] The Rylands Library Papyrus P52, which records a fragment of this gospel, is usually dated to the first half of the second century.[66]

Conservative scholars consider internal evidences, such as the lack of the mention of the destruction of the Temple and a number of passages that they consider characteristic of an eyewitness,[67][citation needed] sufficient evidence that the gospel was composed before 100 and perhaps as early as 50–70. In the 1970s, Leon Morris and John A.T. Robinson independently suggested earlier dates for the gospel's composition.[68][69]:pp.284,307

Some modern scholars question the mainstream view. The non-canonical Dead Sea Scrolls suggest an early Jewish origin, parallels and similarities to the Essenne Scroll, and Rule of the Community.[70] Many phrases are duplicated in the Gospel of John and the Dead Sea Scrolls. These are sufficiently numerous to challenge the theory that the Gospel of John was the last to be written among the four Gospels[71] and that it shows marked non-Jewish influence.[72]

Textual history and manuscripts

The Rylands Papyrus is perhaps the earliest New Testament fragment; dated from its handwriting to about 125.

Probably the earliest surviving New Testament manuscript, Rylands Library Papyrus P52 is a Greek pypyrus fragment discovered in Egypt in 1920 (now at the John Rylands Library, Manchester). Although P52 has no more than 114 legible letters, it must come from a substantial codex book; as it is written on both sides in a generously scaled script, with John 18:31–33 on one side and 18:37–38 on the other. The surviving text agrees closely with that of the corresponding passages in the Gospel of John, but it cannot necessarily be assumed that the original manuscript contained the full Gospel of John in its canonical form. Most reference books list the probable date for this manuscript as c. 125[73][74] but the difficulty of estimating the date of a literary text based solely on paleographic evidence must allow potentially for a range that extends from before 100 to well into the second half of the second century. P52 is small, and although a plausible reconstruction can be attempted for most of the fourteen lines represented, nevertheless the proportion of the text of the Gospel of John for which it provides a direct witness is necessarily limited, so it is rarely cited in textual debate.[75] Other notable early manuscripts of John include Papyrus 66 and Papyrus 75, in consequence of which a substantially complete text of the Gospel of John exists from the beginning of the 3rd century at the latest. Hence the textual evidence for the Gospel of John is commonly accepted as both earlier and more reliable than that for any other of the canonical Gospels.

Much current research on the textual history of the Gospel of John is being done by the International Greek New Testament Project.

Egerton gospel

The mysterious Egerton Gospel appears to represent a parallel but independent tradition to the Gospel of John. According to scholar Ronald Cameron, it was originally composed some time between the middle of the first century and early in the second century, and it was probably written shortly before the Gospel of John.[76] Robert W. Funk, et al., places the Egerton fragments in the 2nd century, perhaps as early as 125, which would make it as old as the oldest fragments of John.[77]

Narrative summary (structure and content)

Gospel of John

After the prologue,[Jn 1:1–5] the narrative of the gospel begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts. The first part[1:6-12:50] relates Jesus' public ministry from John the Baptist recognizing him as the Lamb of God to the raising of Lazarus and Jesus' final public teaching. In this first part, John emphasizes seven of Jesus' miracles, always calling them "signs." The second part[13–21] presents Jesus in dialogue with his immediate followers[13–17] and gives an account of his Passion and Crucifixion and of his appearances to the disciples after his Resurrection.[18–20] In the "appendix",[21] Jesus restores Peter after his denial, predicts Peter's death, and discusses the death of the "beloved disciple".

Raymond E. Brown, a scholar of the social environment where the Gospel and Letters of John emerged, labeled the first and second parts the "Book of Signs" and the "Book of Glory", respectively.[78]

Hymn to the Word

This prologue is intended to identify Jesus as the eternal Word (Logos) of God.[24] Thus John asserts Jesus' innate superiority over all divine messengers, whether angels or prophets.[4] Here John adapts the doctrine of the Logos, God's creative principle, from Philo, a 1st-century Hellenized Jew.[4]

Philo had adopted the term Logos from Greek philosophy, using it in place of the Hebrew concept of Wisdom (sophia) as the intermediary (angel) between the transcendent Creator and the material world.[4] Some scholars argue that the prologue was taken over from an existing hymn and added at a later stage in the gospel's composition.[24]

Seven Signs

This section recounts Jesus' public ministry.[24] It consists of seven miracles or "signs," interspersed with long dialogues and discourses, including several "I am" sayings.[4] The miracles culminate with his most potent, raising Lazarus from the dead.[4] In John, it is this last miracle, and not the temple incident, that prompts the authorities to have Jesus executed.[4]

Last teachings and death

This section opens with an account of the Last Supper that differs significantly from that found in the synoptics.[4] Here, Jesus washes the disciples feet instead of ushering in a new covenant of his body and blood.[4] This account of foot washing might refer to a local tradition by which foot washing served as a Christian initiation ritual rather than baptism.[79] John then devotes almost five chapters to farewell discourses.[4] Jesus declares his unity with the Father, promises to send the Paraclete, describes himself as the "real vine," explains that he must leave (die) before the Holy Spirit comes, and prays that his followers be one.[4] The farewell discourses resemble farewell speeches called testaments, in which a father or religious leader, often on the deathbed, leaves instructions for his children or followers.[80] Verses 14:30-31 represent a conclusion, and most modern scholars regard the next three chapters to have been inserted later.[80] Most scholars regard the discourses as having been assembled over time, representing the theology of the "Johannine circle" more than the message of the historical Jesus.[80]

John then records Jesus' arrest, trial, execution, and resurrection appearances, including "doubting Thomas."[4] Significantly, John does not have Jesus claim to be the Son of God or the Messiah before the Sanhedrin or Pilate, and he omits the traditional earthquakes, thunder, and midday darkness that were said to accompany Jesus' death.[4] John's revelation of divinity is Jesus' triumph over death, the eighth and greatest sign.[4]

Chapter 21, in which the "beloved disciple" claims authorship, is commonly assumed to be an appendix, probably added to allay concerns after the death of the beloved disciple.[4] There had been a rumor that the End would come before the beloved disciple died.[81]

Detailed contents

The major events covered by the Gospel of John include:

Hymn to the Word

Book of Signs, Seven Signs

Book of Glory, Last Teachings and Death

Characteristics of the Gospel of John

The Gospel of John is easily distinguished from the three Synoptic Gospels, which share a considerable amount of text. Over 90% of the Gospel is unique to John.[82] The synoptics describe much more of Jesus' life, miracles, parables, and exorcisms. However, the materials unique to John are notable, especially in their effect on modern Christianity.

As a gospel, John is a story about the life of Jesus. The Gospel can be divided into four parts:

  • Prologue
  • The Book of Signs
  • The Passion narrative
  • The Epilogue.[83]

The Prologue[Jn. 1:1-18] is a hymn identifying Jesus as the Logos and as God. The Book of Signs [1:19-12:50] recounts Jesus' public ministry, and includes the signs worked by Jesus and some of his teachings. The Passion narrative[13-20] recounts the Last Supper (focusing on Jesus' farewell discourse), Jesus' arrest and crucifixion, his burial, and resurrection. The Epilogue[John 21] records a resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples in Galilee.

Following on from "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, scholars such as Adolf von Harnack[84] and Raymond E. Brown[46] have questioned the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[85][86]

Christology

John portrays Jesus Christ as "a brief manifestation of the eternal Word, whose immortal spirit remains ever-present with the believing Christian."[4]:p.304 The book presents Jesus as divine and yet subordinate to the one true God.[87] The gospel gives far more focus to the relationship of the Son to the Father than the other gospels and it has often been used in the Christian development and understanding of the Trinity. John includes far more direct claims of Jesus being the only Son of God than the Synoptic Gospels. The gospel also focuses on the relation of the Redeemer to believers, the announcement of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter (Greek Paraclete), and the prominence of love as an element in the Christian character.

Jesus' divine role

In the synoptics, Jesus speaks mostly about the Kingdom of God. His own divine role is obscured (see Messianic secret). In John, Jesus talks openly about his divine role. He says, for example, that he is the way, the truth, and the life. He echoes Yahweh's own statements with several "I am" declarations that also identify him with symbols of major significance:[4]:pp.302-310

  • "the bread of life"[6:35]
  • "the light of the world"[8:12]
  • "the gate of the sheep"[10:7]
  • "the good shepherd"[10:11]
  • "the resurrection and the life"[11:25]
  • "the way, the truth, and the life"[14:6] and
  • "the real vine"[15:1][4]

Critical scholars think that these claims represent the Christian community's faith in Jesus' divine authority but doubt that the historical Jesus actually made these sweeping claims.[4] Other scholars have argued that the "I Am" statements are in reference to YHWH, and have interpreted John 12:44 as meaning that Jesus expressly denied being God.[88]

John also promises eternal life for those who believe in Jesus.[3:16 and others]

Logos

In the Prologue, John identifies Jesus as the Logos (Word).[34] A term from Greek philosophy, it meant the principle of cosmic reason.[34] In this sense, it was similar to the Hebrew concept of Wisdom, Yahweh's companion and intimate helper in creation.[34] The Jewish philosopher Philo merged these two themes when he described the Logos as God's creator of and mediator with the material world.[34] The evangelist adapted Philo's description of the Logos, applying it to Jesus, the incarnation of the Logos.[34]

The opening verse of John is translated as "the Word was with God and the Word was God" in all orthodox and historical Bibles.[89][citation needed] There are alternative views. The explicit statement that Jesus was himself the Arche does not come from John's gospel but from the Letter to the Colossians.[Col. 1:18][citation needed] The Scholar's Version of the gospel, developed by the Jesus Seminar, loosely translates the phrase as "The Logos was what God was," offered as a better representatin of the original meaning of the evangelist.[90] On this interpretation, John presents Jesus' mission as bringing the Logos ("Word", "Wisdom", "Reason" or "Rationality") to his disciples.[citation needed]

Another divergent view is that of religious groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses. They accept that the Logos refers to Jesus, but deny the accuracy of the historical translation, "The Word was God", arguing that John meant "a god". Their analysis notes that the optional Greek article "hos" is present on "theos" in the phrase usually translated "The Word was God"[91] and then is missing from the subsequent "theos".[81]

John the Baptist

John's account of the Baptist is different from that of the synoptic gospels. John is not called "the Baptist",[24] though stress is laid on his being sent to baptize with water.[citation needed] John's ministry overlaps with Jesus', his baptism of Jesus is not explicitly mentioned, but his witness to Jesus is unambiguous.[24] The evangelist almost certainly knew the story of John's baptism of Jesus and he makes a vital theological use of it.[92] He subordinates John to Jesus, perhaps in response to members of the Baptist's sect who denied Jesus' superiority.[4]

In John, Jesus and his disciples go to Judea early in Jesus' ministry when John has not yet been imprisoned and executed by Herod. He leads a ministry of baptism larger than John's own. The Jesus Seminar rated this account as black, containing no historically accurate information.[93] Historically, John likely had a larger presence in the public mind than Jesus.[94]

Jews

In his Jerusalem speeches, John's Jesus makes unfavorable references to the Jews.[34] These references may constitute a rebuttal on the part of the author against Jewish criticism of the early Church.[34]

The author most likely considered himself Jewish, did not deny that Jesus and his disciples were all Jewish, and was probably speaking to a largely Jewish community.[95]

Gnostic elements

Though not commonly understood as Gnostic, John has elements in common with Gnosticism.[4] Like the gospel of Thomas and like Gnostic source proper, John portrays Jesus as the revealer of special a transcendent message that requires special understanding ("Gnosticism"), which is the source of salvation.[5]

Christian Gnosticism did not fully develop until sometime around the mid-second century. As Roger Olson noted, “second-century Christian leaders and thinkers expended tremendous energies examining and refuting it.”[96] To say John’s Gospel contained elements of Gnosticism is to assume that Gnosticism had developed to a level that required the author respond to it.[citation needed] Nevertheless, it should be noted that comparisons to Gnosticism are based, fairly or unfairly, not in what the author says, but in the language s/he uses to say it; notably, use of the concepts of Logos and Light.[citation needed]

However, to say the author was Proto-Gnostic, or even Docetic, would be a misinterpretation of the prologue contained in the first eighteen verses of the text.[citation needed] As noted by Gordon Fee, the proper exegete of any text begins with a survey of the historical context of entire document.[97]:p.34 Therefore, we must ask who was the author’s intended audience? Raymond E. Brown noted, "John is most often characterized as a Hellenistic Gospel."[46]:p.371 This is to say the author of John’s Gospel addressed people familiar with Greek thought and philosophy. When the author identified Christ as the Logos (Gk. word), Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles heard a philosophically charged word that evoked images of Platonic dualism. However, as the author noted, the “Logos” became “Sarks” (Gk. flesh) and was the true light which illuminates every person and overcomes all darkness. Theologically, this is inconsistent with classical Greek dualism and a repudiation of any form of Gnosticism and Docetism as well which held that Christ was not flesh but spirit.[citation needed]

Gnostics must have read John because it is found with Gnostic texts.[citation needed] The root of Gnosticism is that salvation comes from gnosis, secret knowledge. The nearly five chapters of the "farewell discourses"[13-18] Jesus shares only with the Twelve Apostles. Jesus preexists birth as the Word (Logos). This origin and action resemble a gnostic aeon (emanation from God) being sent from the pleroma (region of light) to give humans the knowledge they need to ascend to the pleroma themselves.[citation needed] John's denigration of the flesh, as opposed to the spirit, is a classic Gnostic theme.

Raymond Brown contends that "The Johannine picture of a savior who came from an alien world above, who said that neither he nor those who accepted him were of this world,[17:14] and who promised to return to take them to a heavenly dwelling[14:2-3] could be fitted into the gnostic world picture (even if God's love for the world in 3:16 could not)."[46]:p.375

It has been suggested that similarities between John's Gospel and Gnosticism may spring from common roots in Jewish Apocalyptic literature.[98]

Historical reliability of John

The teachings of Jesus in John are very different from those found in the synoptic gospels.[59] Thus, since the 1800s scholars have generally believed that only one of the two traditions could be authentic.[59] Today, prominent, mainstream historians largely tend to discount the historical value of John. Few scholars regard John to be at all comparable to the Synoptics in terms of historical value.[41][99] E. P. Sanders and other critical scholars conclude that the Gospel of John contains an "advanced theological development, in which meditations of the person and work of Jesus are presented in the first person as if Jesus said them."[100] The scholars of the Jesus Seminar assert that there is little historical value in John and consider nearly every Johannine saying of Jesus to be nonhistorical.[101] Geza Vermes discounts all the teaching in John when reconstructing "the authentic gospel of Jesus."[102]

The Gospel of John also differs from the synoptic gospels in respect of its narrative of Jesus' life and ministry; but here there is a lower degree of consensus that the synoptic tradition is to be preferred. In particular John A.T. Robinson has argued that, where the Gospel narrative accounts can be checked for consistency with surviving material evidence, the account in the Gospel of John is commonly the more plausible;[69]:201 and that it is generally easier to reconcile the various synoptic accounts within John's narrative framework, than it is to explain John's narrative within the framework of any of the synoptics.[69]:125 In particular he argues that, where in the Gospel of John, Jesus and his disciples are described as travelling around identifiable locations, then the trips in question can always be plausibly followed on the ground[69]:53 which he claims is not the case for the narrative accounts of any other of the four Gospels.

Some scholars today believe that parts of John represent an independent historical tradition from the synoptics, while other parts represent later traditions.[103] The Gospel was probably shaped in part by increasing tensions between synagogue and church, or between those who believed Jesus was the Messiah and those who did not.[104]

Nevertheless, John is not entirely without historical value. Sanders points out the that author would regard the gospel as theologically true as revealed spiritually even if its content is not historically accurate.[100] The gospel does contain some independent, historically plausible elements.[105] Henry Wansbrough says: "Gone are the days when it was scholarly orthodoxy to maintain that John was the least reliable of the gospels historically." It has become generally accepted that certain sayings in John are as old or older than their synoptic counterparts, that John's knowledge of things around Jerusalem is often superior to the synoptics, and that his presentation of Jesus' agony in the garden and the prior meeting held by the Jewish authorities are possibly more historically accurate than their synoptic parallels.[106] And Marianne Meye Thompson writes: "There are items only in John that are likely to be historical and ought to be given due weight. Jesus' first disciples may once have been followers of the Baptist (cf. Jn. 1:35-42). There is no a priori reason to reject the report of Jesus and his disciples' conducting a ministry of baptism for a time.[3:22-26] That Jesus regularly visited Jerusalem, rather than merely at the time of his death, is often accepted as more realistic for a pious, first-century Jewish male (and is hinted at in the other Gospels as well: Mark 11:2; Luke 13:34; 22:8-13,53) ... Even John's placement of the Last Supper before Passover has struck some as likely."[107] Sanders, however, cautions that even historically plausible elements in John can hardly be taken as historical evidence, as they may well represent the author's intuition rather than historical recollection.[100]

The chronology of Jesus' ministry in John

A distinctive feature of the Gospel of John, is that it provides a very different chronology of Jesus' ministry from that in the Synoptics. Some commentators such as E.P. Sanders, suggest that John's chronology, even when ostensibly more palusible, should nevertheless be treated with suspicion on the grounds that the Synoptic accounts are otherwise superior as historic sources. Others, like C.H Dodd, propose that historians may mix and match between John and the Synoptics on the basis of whichever appears strongest on a particular episode. Robinson argues that John's chronology is consistently more likely to represent the original sequence of events.

Robinson offers three arguments for preferring the chronology of John's Gospel to that of the Synoptics. First, he argues that John's account of Jesus' ministry is always consistent, in that seasonal references always follow in the correct sequence, geographical distances are always consistent with indications of journey times, and references to external events always cohere with the internal chronology of Jesus' ministry. He claims that the same cannot be claimed for any of the three Synoptic accounts. For example, the harvest-tide story of Mark 2:23 is shortly followed by reference to green springtime pasture at 6:39. Again, the historically consistent reference to the period of the temple construction in John 2:20, may be contrasted with the impossibility of reconciling Luke's account of the census of Luke 2:2 with historic records of Quirinius's governorship of Syria.

Second, Robinson appeals to the critical principle, widely applied in textual study, that the account is most likely to be original that best explains the other variants. He argues that would be relatively easy to have created the Synoptic chronology by selecting and editing from John's chronology; whereas expanding the Synoptic chronology to produce that found in John, would have required a wholescale rewriting of the sources.

Third, Robinson claims that elements consistent with John's alternative chronology can be found in each of the Synoptic accounts, whereas the contrary is never the case. Hence, Mark's explicit claim that the Last Supper was a Passover meal is contraindicated by his statement that Joseph of Arimathea bought a shroud for Jesus on Good Friday; which would not have been possible if it were a festival day.

A two-year ministry

In John's Gospel, the public ministry of Jesus extends over rather more than two years. At the start of his ministry Jesus is in Jerusalem for Passover,[Jn 2:13] then he is in Galilee for the following Passover,[6:4] before going up to Jerusalem again for his death at a third Passover.[11:35] The Synoptics by contrast only explicitly mention the final Passover, and their accounts are commonly understood as describing a public ministry of less than a year.

In favour of the Synoptic chronology, E.P Sanders observes that a short ministry accords with the careers of other known prophetic figures of the time─who appear in the desert, raise large scale public interest, but soon come to a bloody end at the hand of the Roman military. In favour of the two-year ministry, John Robinson points out that both Matthew and Luke imply that Jesus was preaching in Galilee for at least one Passover during his ministry. The Temple tax[Jn 17:24] is only collected at Passover; moreover, the massacred Galileans of Luke 13:1 would appear to have been in Jerusalem for Passover, as this was the only pilgrim feast where the faithful slaughtered their animals themselves.

The cleansing of the Temple

In John, Jesus drives the money changers from the Temple at the start of his ministry, whereas in the Synoptic account this occurs at the end, immediately after Palm Sunday. In favour of the later dating of the Synoptics, it is noted by many commentators, especially Geza Vermes, that this event, which almost all commentators agree to have been historical, provides a clear context and pretext for Jesus' arrest, trial and execution. It makes more sense to suppose that events proceeded quickly. Against this, Robinson points out that all three Synoptic accounts explain the reluctance of the Temple authorities to arrest Jesus on the spot, as being due to their fear of popular support for John the Baptist. This would make more sense while the Baptist was still alive.

An earlier bapitizing ministry in Judea

In chapters 3 and 4 of the Gospel of John, Jesus, following his encounter with John the Baptist, undertakes an extended and successful baptizing ministry in Judea and on the banks of the River Jordan; initially as an associate of the Baptist, latterly more as a rival. In the Synoptic accounts, Jesus retreats into the wilderness following his baptism, and is presented as gathering disciples from scratch in his home country of Galilee; following which he embarks on a ministry of teaching and healing, in which baptism plays no part. In favour of the Synoptic account is the clear characterisation of Jesus and his disciples in all the Gospels as predominantly Galilean. Against this, Robinson points out that all the Synoptics are agreed that, when Jesus arrives in Jerusalem in the week before his death, he already has a number of followers and disciples in the city, notably Joseph of Arimathea. and the unnamed landlord of the upper room, who knows Jesus as 'the Master'.

Repeated visits to Jerusalem

In John, Jesus not only starts his ministry in Jerusalem, he returns there for other festivals, notably at John 5:1 and at 7:2. As noted above, E.P Sanders regards the short, sharp prophetic career as having greater verisimilitude. Against this John Robinson notes the numerous instances in the Synoptic account of Jesus' final days in Jerusalem, when it is implied that he has been there before. In two of the Synoptics (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34), Jesus appears to recall several previous preaching ministries in Jerusalem, when his message had nevetheless been generally spurned.

The date of the crucifixion

In John, Jesus dies on the day before Passover; the 14th of Nisan in the Jewish calender, and Passover itself (15th Nisan) falls on the Sabbath; i.e., Friday night and Saturday daytime. In the Synoptic accounts, the Passover falls on Thursday night and Friday daytime, so that the Last Supper is a Passover meal, and Jesus trial and crucifixion take place during the actual day of the festival. In favour of the Synoptic chronology is that in the earliest Christian traditions relating to the Last Supper, in the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, there is a clear link between Passion of Jesus, the Last Supper and the Passover lamb. In favour of John's chronology is the near universal modern scholarly agreement that the Synoptic accounts of a formal trial before the Sanhedrin on a festival day are historically wholly impossible. By contrast, an informal investigation by the High Priest and his cronies (without witnesses being called), as told by John, is both historically possible in an emergency on the day before a festival, and accords with the external evidence from Rabbinic sources that Jesus was put to death on the day before the Passover. It is further agreed by most scholars that astronomical reconstruction of the Jewish Lunar calendar tends to favour John's chronology, in that the only year during the governorship of Pontius Pilate when the 14th Nisan is caclulated as fallng on a Thursday was 27 CE - which appears too early as the year of the crucifixion; whereas 14th Nisan fell on a Friday in both 30 CE and 33 CE. Consequently many scholars, including many who otherwise favour the historicity of the Synoptics, regard John's dating of the crucifixion as correct.

John and the Synoptics compared

John is significantly different from the Synoptic Gospels in many ways. Some of the differences are:

  • Jesus is identified with the divine Word ("Logos") and referred to as a god (but not as "the God").[108]
  • The gospel of John makes no mention of Jesus' baptism,[42] but quotes John the Baptist's description of the descent of the Holy Spirit.
  • John the Baptist publicly proclaims Jesus to be the Lamb of God. The Baptist recognizes Jesus secretly in Matthew, and not at all in Mark or Luke. John also denies that he is Elijah, whereas Mark and Matthew identify him as Elijah.
  • The Temple incident appears near the beginning of Jesus' ministry. In the Synoptics this occurs soon before Jesus is crucified. The author probably had a theological motive for putting the Temple incident near the start of Jesus' ministry because it emphasizes Jesus' opposition to "the Jews," a theme in John.[59]
  • Most of the action in John takes place in Judea and Jerusalem; only a few events occur in Galilee, and of those, only the feeding of the multitude and the trip across the Sea of Galilee are also found in the Synoptics.[42]
  • The Gospel of John contains four visits by Jesus to Jerusalem, three of which associated with the Passover feast. This chronology suggests Jesus' public ministry lasted three or two years. The synoptic gospels describe only one trip to Jerusalem in time for the Passover observance.
  • Jesus washes the disciples' feet instead of the Synoptics' ritual with bread and wine (the Eucharist).[34][42] Foot washing might have been a local initiation ceremony instead of baptism.[79]
  • The crucifixion of Jesus is recorded as Nisan 14 in contrast to the synoptic Nisan 15. Many scholars consider it more historically plausible that Jesus was executed the day before Passover rather than on Nisan 15.[5] The author might have chosen this date to associate Jesus with the Passover lambs, which are slaughtered on Nisan 14.[59]
  • The earthquake and the Crucifixion eclipse, mentioned in Matthew, are absent.[34]
  • No other women are mentioned going to the tomb with Mary Magdalene.[citation needed]
  • John does not contain any parables, that is stories each illustrating a single message or idea.[109] Rather it contains metaphoric stories or allegories, such as The Shepherd and The Vine, in which each individual element corresponds to a specific group or thing.
  • Major synoptic speeches of Jesus are absent, including the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet discourse.[110]
  • While the Synoptics look forward to a future parousia (second coming), John presents an eschatology that has already been realized. The most plausible theory is that the references to a futuristic eschatology, such as John 5:25–28, represent corrections added after the gospel was written.[111]
  • The Kingdom of God is only mentioned twice in John.[112] In contrast, the other gospels repeatedly use the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven as important concepts.
  • The exorcisms of demons are never mentioned as in the Synoptics.[42][112]
  • John never lists the Twelve Disciples and names disciples not found in the Synoptics. While James and John are prominent disciples in the Synoptics, John mentions them only in the epilogue, where they are referred to not by name but as the "sons of Zebedee."
  • Thomas the Apostle is given a personality beyond a mere name, as "Doubting Thomas".

Comparison Chart of the Major Gospels [113]

The material in the Comparison Chart is from the Gospel Parallels by B. H. Throckmorton, The five Gospels by R. W. Funk, The Gospel According to the Hebrews, by E. B. Nicholson & The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition by J. R. Edwards.

Item Matthew, Mark, Luke John Thomas Gospel of the Hebrews
New Covenant The central theme of the Gospels - Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself [114] The central theme - Love is the New Commandment given by Jesus[Jn 31:34] Secret knowledge, love your friends [115] The central theme - Love one another[116]
Forgiveness Very important - particularly in Matthew[Mt 18:21] and Luke[Lk 17:4] Assumed[Jn 20:23] Not mentioned Very important - Forgiveness is a central theme and this gospel goes into the greatest detail [117]
The Lord's Prayer In Matthew & Luke but not Mark [118] Not mentioned Not mentioned Important - “mahar” or "tomorrow" [119][120]
Love & the poor Very Important - The rich young man [121] Assumed [122] Important [123] Very important - The rich young man [124]
Jesus starts his ministry Jesus meets John the Baptist and is baptized [125] Jesus meets John the Baptist [126] N/A- Speaks of John the Baptist [127] Jesus meets John the Baptist and is baptized. This gospel goes into the greatest detail [128]
Disciples-inner circle Peter, Andrew, James & John [129] Peter, Andrew, James & the Beloved Disciple [130] Peter, Andrew James & John [128] Peter [131]
Disciples-others

Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon the Zealot, Jude Thaddaeus, & Judas[130]

Philip, Nathanael, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon the Zealot, Jude Thaddaeus & Judas [130]

Matthew, James the Just (Brother of Jesus), Simon the Zealot, Thaddaeus, Judas [132]

Matthew, Thomas, James the Just (Brother of Jesus) [133]

Possible Authors Unknown;[134] Mark the Evangelist & Luke the Evangelist The Beloved Disciple [135] Thomas [136] Matthew the Evangelist [137]
Virgin birth account In Matthew & Luke, but not Mark [138] Not mentioned Not mentioned Not mentioned
Jesus' baptism Described [118] Not Mentioned [118] N/A Described great detail [128]
Preaching style Brief one-liners; parables[118] Essay format, Midrash[118] Sayings [118] Brief one-liners; parables [118]
Storytelling Parables [139] Figurative language & Metaphor [140] Gnostic, hidden [141] Parables [142]
Jesus' theology 1st Century liberal Judaism.[143] Critical of Jewish Authorities[144] Gnostic [118] 1st Century Judaism [145]
Miracles Many miracles Seven Signs N/A Fewer but more credible miracles [146]
Duration of ministry 1 year [147] 3 years (Multiple Passovers) N/A 1 year [147]
Location of ministry Mainly Galilee Mainly Judea, near Jerusalem N/A Mainly Galilee
Passover meal Body & Blood = Bread and wine Interrupts meal for foot washing N/A Hebrew Passover is celebrated but details are N/A Epiphanius [148]
Burial shroud A single piece of cloth Multiple pieces of cloth, as was the Jewish practice at the time.[Jn 20:5-7] N/A Given to the High Priest [149]
Resurrection Mary and the Women are the first to learn Jesus has arisen[Mt 8:1] [Mk 16:1] [Lk 24:1] John adds detailed account of Mary's experience of the Resurrection[Jn 20:11] Not Applicable as Gospel of Thomas is a collection of the "sayings" of Jesus, not the events of his life In the Gospel of the Hebrews is the unique account of Jesus appearing to his brother, James the Just.[150]

History

John was written somewhere near the end of the first century, probably in Ephesus, in Anatolia. The tradition of John the Apostle was strong in Anatolia, and Polycarp of Smyrna reportedly knew him. Like the previous gospels, it circulated separately until Irenaeus proclaimed all four gospels to be scripture.[151]

The Church Fathers Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, and Justin Martyr did not mention this gospel, either because they didn't know it or didn't approve of it.[110]

In the 2nd century, the two main, conflicting expressions of Christology were John's Logos theology, according to which Jesus was the incarnation of God's eternal Word, and adoptionism, according to which Jesus was "adopted" as God's Son. Christians who rejected Logos Christology were called "Alogi," and Logos Christology won out over adoptionism.

The Gospel of John was the favorite gospel of Valentinus, a 2nd-century Gnostic leader.[110] His student Heracleon wrote a commentary on the gospel, the first gospel commentary in Christian history.[110]

In the Diatesseron, the content of John was merged with the content of the Synoptics to form a single gospel that included nearly all the material in the four canonical gospels.

When Irenaeus proposed that all Christians accept Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John as orthodox, and only those four gospels, he regarded John as the primary gospel, due to its high Christology.[110]

Jerome translated John into its official Latin form, replacing various older translations.

Although very much in line with many accounts in the Synoptic Gospels and probably primitive (the Didascalia Apostolorum definitely refers to it and it was probably known to Papias), the Pericope Adulterae is not part of the original text of the Gospel of John.[152] The evidence for this view does not convince all scholars.[153]

See also

References

  1. ^ Thomas Spencer Baynes, The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature, 9th Ed., Vol. 5. A. & C. Black, 1833 pp.13
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990
  3. ^ A detailed technical discussion can be found in Raymond E. Brown, "Does the New Testament call Jesus God?" Theological Studies 26 (1965): 545–73
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition). Chapter 2. Christian sources about Jesus.
  6. ^ "Where there are parallels with the Synoptics (e.g., the cleansing of the temple) it is arguable that John preserves the more reliable version" Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990; p.50.
  7. ^ Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990; p. 31.
  8. ^ "...in nearly every case a saying of Jesus from the tradition is the 'text' of the sermon" Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990; p. 57.
  9. ^ Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990; p. 42.
  10. ^ "it is the evangelist who comes at the end of the process who is the real author of the Fourth Gospel" Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990; p. 20.
  11. ^ "" Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990; p. 16.
  12. ^ "The picture in the Fourth Gospel needs to be corrected by the less consciously contrived indications furnished by the Synoptic tradition" Lindars, Barnabas; 'John'; Sheffield Academic Press 1990; p. 42.
  13. ^ Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the eyewitnesses: the Gospels as eyewitness testimony, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007 p.358
  14. ^ a b Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, interrupted: revealing the hidden contradictions in the Bible (and why we don't know about them) HarperOne, 2009 p.103
  15. ^ Paul N. Anderson, John, Jesus, and History: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views, Volume 1, Symposium series, no. 44, Society of Biblical Literature Pub, 2007 p.77
  16. ^ "Alogi." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  17. ^ "Cerinthus." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  18. ^ a b Fonck, Leopold. "Gospel of St. John." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 9 Jun. 2009.
  19. ^ Hill, Charles E. (2004). The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 391, 444. ISBN 9780199291441. 
  20. ^ Victorinus, CA 11.I
  21. ^ Irenaeus AH 3.11
  22. ^ Hill, Charles E. (2004). The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 387. ISBN 9780199291441. 
  23. ^ Eusebius HE 3.24.5-13
  24. ^ a b c d e f g "John, Gospel of." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  25. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 6.14.7.
  26. ^ Thomas Patrick Halton, On illustrious men, Volume 100 of Fathers of the Church, CUA Press, 1999 p.19
  27. ^ Jerome De Viris Illustribus, New Advent, Chapter 9
  28. ^ D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1991
  29. ^ A Historical Introduction to the New Testament
  30. ^ Goodspeed: Early Christian writings
  31. ^ Goodspeed: Gospel of John
  32. ^ a b c d e "John, St." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  33. ^ a b D. A. Carson , The Gospel according to John, Pillar New Testament Commentary Series, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1991
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "John" p. 302-310
  35. ^ Gospel According to John, Encyclopædia Britannica
  36. ^ a b Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "Glossary" p. 367-432
  37. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: the followers of Jesus in History and Legend, Oxford University Press US, 2006 p.25
  38. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, interrupted: revealing the hidden contradictions in the Bible (and why we don't know about them) HarperOne, 2009 p.112
  39. ^ a b Gospel of John, Early Christian Writings p. 1
  40. ^ a b Francisco Lozada New currents through John: a Global Perspective, Society of Biblical Lit, 2006 p. 208
  41. ^ a b c d "The Gospel of John is quite different from the other three gospels, and it is primarily in the latter that we must seek information about Jesus." Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. p. 57.
  42. ^ a b c d e f g Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993. "Introduction," p 1-30.
  43. ^ a b c Vermes, Geza. The authentic gospel of Jesus. London, Penguin Books. 2004. A note on sources, p. x-xvii.
  44. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "The Gospels" p. 266-268
  45. ^ Paul N. Anderson, John, Jesus, and History: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views, Volume 1, Symposium series, no. 44, Society of Biblical Literature Pub, 2007 p.77
  46. ^ a b c d e f Brown, Raymond E. (1997). An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Anchor Bible. ISBN 0-385-24767-2. 
  47. ^ Meera Lester, Mary Magdalene: The Modern Guide to the Bible's Most Mysterious and Misunderstood Woman Adams Media Pub, 2005 p.58
  48. ^ Meyer, Marvin and Esther De Boer. The Gospels of Mary: The Secret Tradition of Mary Magdalene, the Companion of Jesus." HarperCollins, 2006. ISBN 9780060834517
  49. ^ Bauckham, Richard. The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007. ISBN 978-0801034855. See review by Cornelis Bennemaby in Evangelical Quarterly 81.3 (2009), 277-278
  50. ^ Wendy E. Sproston North, John for Readers of Mark? A Response to Richard Bauckham’s Proposal, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2003 25: 449-468.
  51. ^ David C. Sim, The Gospels for All Christians? A Response to Richard Bauckham, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2001 24: 29-50.
  52. ^ Robinson, John A. T. Twelve New Testament Studies. Fortress Press, 1984. ISBN 0334016924
  53. ^ Ockham's razor is the principle that the simplest explanation tends to be the best one.
  54. ^ Paul N. Anderson, John, Jesus, and History: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views, Volume 1, Symposium series, no. 44, Society of Biblical Literature Pub, 2007 p.78
  55. ^ The Muratorian fragment dates from around 180 It states that while John was the primary author, several people were involved, that mutual revision was part of the original intent of the authors, and that the editors included the apostle Andrew. Geza Vermes, The authentic gospel of Jesus, London, Penguin Books. 2004. A note on sources, p. x-xvii.
  56. ^ Paul N. Anderson, John, Jesus, and History: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views, Volume 1, Symposium series, no. 44, Society of Biblical Literature Pub, 2007 p.77
  57. ^ Das Evangelium des Johannes, 1941 (translated as The Gospel of John: A Commentary, 1971)
  58. ^ Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993. Glossary, p 542-548.
  59. ^ a b c d e f Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. Chapter 6, Problems with primary sources. p 57-77.
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  61. ^ Fonck, Leopold. "Gospel of St. John." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 7 Aug. 2009 .
  62. ^ Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? p.7
  63. ^ Livingstone, E. A. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. ISBN 978-0198614425
  64. ^ Mark Allan Powell. Jesus as a figure in history. Westminster John Knox Press, 1998. ISBN 0664257038 / 978-0664257033
  65. ^ Justin Martyr NTCanon.org. Retrieved April 25, 2007.
  66. ^ Nongbri, Brent, 2005. "The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel." Harvard Theological Review 98:23–52.
  67. ^ John 13:23ff, 18:10, 18:15, 19:26–27, 19:34, 20:8, 20:24–29
  68. ^ Morris, L. The Gospel According to John p.59
  69. ^ a b c d Robinson, John A.T. (1977). Redating the New Testament. SCM Press. ISBN 978-0334023005. 
  70. ^ Rule of the Community "And by His knowledge, everything has been brought into being. And everything that is, He established by His purpose; and apart from Him nothing is done."
  71. ^ Roberts, “An Unpublished Fragment of the Fourth Gospel in the John Rylands Library”, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library XX, 1936:45-55.
  72. ^ [1] Out of the Desert
  73. ^ Bruce M. Metzger. The text of the New Testament: its transmission, corruption, and restoration. Oxford University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-19-507297-9. p.56
  74. ^ Kurt Aland, Barbara Aland. The Text of the New Testament: an Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1995. ISBN 0802840981 / 978-0802840981. p.99
  75. ^ Tuckett, p. 544; http://www.skypoint.com/~waltzmn/ManuscriptsPapyri.html#P52; http://www.historian.net/P52.html.
  76. ^ Ronald Cameron, editor. The Other Gospels: Non-Canonical Gospel Texts, 1982
  77. ^ Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993. page 543.
  78. ^ Studies in John
  79. ^ a b Johnson, Maxwell E. "The Apostolic Tradition" in The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Oxford University Press, USA. 2005. page 32-75. ISBN 0195138864
  80. ^ a b c Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993.
  81. ^ a b May, Herbert G. and Bruce M. Metzger. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 1977.
  82. ^ Marshall, Celia Brewer and Celia B. Sinclair. A Guide Through the New Testament. Westminster John Knox Press, 1994. ISBN 0664254845
  83. ^ C. Marvin Pate, et al. "The Story of Israel: a biblical theology" (InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, 2004), 153.
  84. ^ "In particular, the fourth Gospel, which does not emanate or profess to emanate from the apostle John, cannot be taken as an historical authority in the ordinary meaning of the word. The author of it acted with sovereign freedom, transposed events and put them in a strange light, drew up the discourses himself, and illustrated 22 great thoughts by imaginary situations. Although, his work is not altogether devoid of a real, if scarcely recognizable, traditional element, it can hardly make any claim to be considered an authority for Jesus’ history; only little of what he says can be accepted, and that little with caution. On the other hand, it is an authority of the first rank for answering the question, What vivid views of Jesus’ person, what kind of light and warmth, did the Gospel disengage?" Adolf von Harnack What is Christianity? Lectures Delivered in the University of Berlin during the Winter-Term 1899-1900
  85. ^ Gospel of Saint John, in Catholic Encyclopedia 1910
  86. ^ Harris says John's biography is "highly problematical to scholars..." p. 268. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  87. ^ Hurtado, Larry W. (2005). How on earth did Jesus become a god?: historical questions about earliest devotion to Jesus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. pp. 53. ISBN 0802828612. http://books.google.com/books?id=Xi5xIxgnNgcC&pg=PA53. 
  88. ^ John Shelby Spong. Jesus for the Non-Religious
  89. ^ New International Version (and Today's New International Version), New American Standard Bible, Amplified Bible, New Living Translation, King James Version, Young's Literal Translation, Darby Translation, and Wycliffe New Testament, to name a few.
  90. ^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus SeminarThe acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "John" p. 365-440
  91. ^ Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Zondervan, 1996)
  92. ^ Barrett, C. K. The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text. Westminster John Knox Press, 1978. p. 16
  93. ^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "John" p. 365-440
  94. ^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "John the Baptist" cameo, p. 268
  95. ^ Donald Senior, The passion of Jesus in the Gospel of John, Liturgical Press, 1991 (pp 155-156)
  96. ^ Roger E. Olson, The Story of Christian Theology, p. 36; InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1999
  97. ^ Fee, Gordon D. (1993). New Testament Exegesis, Revised Edition. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press,. 
  98. ^ Kovacs, Judith L. (1995). "Now Shall the Ruler of This World Be Driven Out: Jesus’ Death as Cosmic Battle in John 12:20–36." Journal of Biblical Literature 114(2), 227–247.
  99. ^ J. D. G. Dunn comments: "few scholars would regard John as a source for information regarding Jesus' life and ministry in any degree comparable to the Synoptics." James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, Eerdmans (2003), page 165
  100. ^ a b c Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. pp.71
  101. ^ http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jsem.htm Jesus Seminar
  102. ^ Vermes, Geza. The authentic gospel of Jesus. London, Penguin Books. 2004.
  103. ^ Brown (1997). "Introduction to the New Testament". (New York: Anchor Bible, 1997) p. 362–364
  104. ^ Thompson, Marianne Maye (2006). "The Gospel according to John". in Stephen C. Barton. The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels. Cambridge University Press. pp. 185. ISBN 9780521807661. 
  105. ^ Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition)
  106. ^ Henry Wansbrough, The Four Gospels in Synopsis, The Oxford Bible Commentary, pp. 1012-1013, Oxford University Press 2001 ISBN 0198755007
  107. ^ Marianne Meye Thompson, The Historical Jesus and the Johannine Christ in Culpepper, R. Alan, and Black, C. Clifton, eds. Exploring the Gospel of John. Westminster John Knox Press, 1996. p. 28
  108. ^ Ehrman, Bart D.. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4
  109. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Parables". http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11460a.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  110. ^ a b c d e Pagels, Elaine. Beyond belief: the secret gospel of Thomas. New York: Random House. 2003. ISBN 0375501568
  111. ^ "Biblical Literature." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. read online
  112. ^ a b Thompson, Marianne Maye (2006). "The Gospel according to John". in Stephen C. Barton. The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels. Cambridge University Press. pp. 184. ISBN 9780521807661. 
  113. ^ See Chart
  114. ^ "In the Synoptic Gospels this is the "Greatest" Commandment" that sums up all of the "Law and the Prophets"
  115. ^ Log 25
  116. ^ The Lord says to his disciples: ”And never be you joyful, except when you behold one another with love.” Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians
  117. ^ In the Gospel of the Hebrews, written in the Chaldee and Syriac language but in Hebrew script, and used by the Nazarenes to this day (I mean the Gospel of the Apostles, or, as it is generally maintained, the Gospel of Matthew, a copy of which is in the library at Caesarea), we find, “Behold the mother of the Lord and his brothers said to him, ‘John the Baptist baptizes for the forgiveness of sins. Let us go and be baptized by him.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘in what way have I sinned that I should go and be baptized by him? Unless perhaps, what I have just said is a sin of ignorance.’” And in the same volume, “‘If your brother sins against you in word, and makes amends, forgive him seven times a day.’ Simon, His disciple, said to Him, ‘Seven times in a day!’ The Lord answered and said to him, ‘I say to you, Seventy times seven.’ ” Jerome, Against Pelagius 3.2
  118. ^ a b c d e f g h Trite
  119. ^ In the so-called Gospel of the Hebrews, for “bread essential to existence,” I found “mahar”, which means “of tomorrow”; so the sense is: our bread for tomorrow, that is, of the future, give us this day. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 1
  120. ^ In Matthew's Hebrew Gospel it states, ‘Give us this day our bread for tomorrow.” Jerome, On Psalm 135
  121. ^ Matt 19:16, Mk 10:17 & Lk1 8:18
  122. ^ Jn 12:8
  123. ^ Jesus said "Blessed are the poor, for to you belongs the Kingdom of Heaven" Log 54
  124. ^ The second rich youth said to him, “Rabbi, what good thing can I do and live?” Jesus replied, “Fulfill the law and the prophets.” “I have,” was the response. Jesus said, “Go, sell all that you have and distribute to the poor; and come, follow me.” The youth became uncomfortable, for it did not please him. And the Lord said, “How can you say, I have fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, when it is written in the Law: You shall love your neighbor as yourself and many of your brothers, sons of Abraham, are covered with filth, dying of hunger, and your house is full of many good things, none of which goes out to them?” And he turned and said to Simon, his disciple, who was sitting by Him, “Simon, son of Jonah, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. ”Origen, Commentary on Matthew 15:14
  125. ^ Matt 3:1, Mk 1:9, 3:21
  126. ^ Jn 1:29
  127. ^ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 46
  128. ^ a b c Epiphanius, Panarion 30:13
  129. ^ Matt 10:1, Mk 6:8, Lk 9:3
  130. ^ a b c Jn 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20
  131. ^ Log 13
  132. ^ Epiphanius, Panarion 30:13, Jerome, On Illustrious Men, 2
  133. ^ Log 1- 114
  134. ^ Although several Fathers say Matthew wrote the Gospel of the Hebrews they are silent about Greek Matthew found in the Bible. Modern scholars are in agreement that Matthew did not write Greek Matthews which is 300 lines longer than the Hebrew Gospel (See James Edwards the Hebrew gospel)
  135. ^ Suggested by Irenaeus first
  136. ^ Preface to the Gospel of Thomas
  137. ^ They too accept Matthew's gospel, and like the followers of Cerinthus and Merinthus, they use it alone. They call it the Gospel of the Hebrews, for in truth Matthew alone in the New Testament expounded and declared the Gospel in Hebrew using Hebrew script. Epiphanius, Panarion 30:3
  138. ^ Matt 1:18
  139. ^ Parables
  140. ^ Language in the Gospel of John
  141. ^ Log 109
  142. ^ Parables of Jesus
  143. ^ Similar to beliefs taught by Hillel the Elder. (e.g., "golden rule")Hillel Hillel the Elder
  144. ^ [Jn 7:45]; [3:1]
  145. ^ Similar to beliefs taught by Hillel the Elder. (eg. "golden rule")Hillel Hillel the Elder
  146. ^ Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 2
  147. ^ a b Events leading up to Passover
  148. ^ Epiphanius, Panarion 30:22
  149. ^ Jerome, On Illustrious Men, 2
  150. ^ Jerome, On Illustrious Men, 2
  151. ^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.11.8 "For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the pillar and ground[1 Tim 3:15] of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh."
  152. ^ Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  153. ^ "If it is not an original part of the Fourth Gospel, its writer would have to be viewed as a skilled Johannine imitator, and its placement in this context as the shrewdest piece of interpolation in literary history!" The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text with Apparatus: Second Edition, by Zane C. Hodges (Editor), Arthur L. Farstad (Editor) Publisher: Thomas Nelson; ISBN 0840749635

Further reading

  • Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-515462-2. 
  • Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John Anchor Bible, 1966, 1970
  • Raymond E. Brown, The Community of the Beloved Disciple Paulist Press, 1979
  • Robin M. Jensen, The Two Faces of Jesus, Bible Review October 2002, p42
  • J.H. Bernard & A.H. McNeile, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary On The Gospel According To St. John. Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1953.
  • Robert Murray M'Cheyne Bethany – Discovering Christ's Love in Times of Suffering When Heaven Seems Silent, (a study of John 12) Diggory Press, ISBN 978-1846857027

External links

Online translations of the Gospel of John:

Related articles:

Gospel of John
Preceded by
Luke
New Testament
Books of the Bible
Succeeded by
Acts

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