• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A2 Religious Std Authorship of the Fourth Gospel

Extracts from this document...


A2 Religious Std - Authorship of the Fourth Gospel "The author of the Fourth Gospel must have been someone who knew Jesus." Examine and evaluate. (30 marks) The authorship of the Fourth Gospel is much of an enigma, as Marsh suggested, "The identity of the author must remain wrapped in anonymity". Whilst it is difficult to establish the actual author of the Gospel; through the use of internal and external evidence backed up by scholarly views we might be able to agree on our broader position of whether or not the author must have been someone who knew Jesus. We must also decide on the criteria on which to classify someone to have known Jesus. The traditional view claims the author to be an apostle, therefore includes "the disciple Jesus loved", which is believed to be John (the son of Zebedee) although some suggests it could have been Lazarus or Mary Magdalene. Nevertheless, if it were to have been written by "the disciple Jesus loved", the author would have been someone who knew Jesus. ...read more.


This supports the argument that it was John the Apostle who wrote the Gospel as it would have made sense for him not to have felt the need to distinguish between the two. It is also worth mentioning that the Muratorian Fragment also testifies John to be the author; this adds strengths to the argument as the Muratorian Fragment was a well respected document. Internal, biblical evidence can also be used to support the claim. The most obvious evidence would be John 21:24 where the author suggests the author "is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true." The detailed accounts which the author of the Fourth Gospel points to also strengthen the argument that the Gospel must have been written by someone who knew Jesus well. Taking John 21:11 as an example: "Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn." ...read more.


However, even if John was alive and his health condition and memory did not prevent him from writing the Gospel; the fact that he was poorly educated raises points against him being the author of the Gospel. Dodd pointed out that the discourses in the Gospel are revolved around complex themes which support the claim about John's lack of academic qualifications. Other doubts are also raised suggesting the Gospel was not written by someone who knew Jesus. First of all, the sequence of events in the Gospel differs with that of other Gospels therefore suggesting the author did not have to be an eyewitness. The inaccuracy in detail is also reinforced by the fact that some facts are wrong with the author using the term "Sea of Tiberius" instead of "Sea of Galilee" as a clear example. One may also point to the Gnostic influences on the Fourth Gospel where there are shared ideas of the existence of entities such as light, evil, physical and spiritual. However the belief that those who had "divine light" would reach the spiritual world was not stated in the Gospel which does not agree that knowledge alone is sufficient in getting us into heaven. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christianity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christianity essays

  1. Luke's Gospel

    The importance of the proto-Luke theory lies in fact that it narrows the gap between which Mark and Lukes' were written and possibly Luke being written at an earlier date than the writing of Mark. On the other hand, the existence of such an earlier 'gospel' of Luke is denied

  2. St.Mark's Gospel

    A winged lion is the symbol of Venice. When is his feast day celebrated? Mark's feast day is on 25th April. Of what is he the patron saint?

  1. Outline the arguments of scholars for and against the view that the author of ...

    of the Fourth Gospel is supported by Bishop Theophilus of Antioch who cited the beginning of the Fourth Gospel as the words of John the Apostle. Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, who was a disciple of John, also supports this view with his claims that he wrote down the gospel at John's dictation.

  2. Examine why the writers of the synoptic gospels edited the material they used.

    Form critics argued that that the materials used in the Gospels was somehow preserved in an oral tradition; stories passed down from mouth. Most Hebrew Scriptures were transmitted by word of mouth before it was written down, and some of it contains written text that was originally delivered orally.

  1. Discuss and assess the view that according to the author of Lukes gospel it ...

    (Luke 14:5) The Pharisees remained silent since their answer was obviously a positive one whether their son's life is in danger or not. This caused intense tension and conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus' actions were regarded as breaking the Sabbath laws by the religious authorities yet he was

  2. Assess the role of faith in supporting religious belief

    He disputes Pascal's wager as necessarily being a genuine option as it is not necessarily forced (one could deny the possibility of going to hell) nor is it necessarily living (one might be a devout follower of a different religion).

  1. Define Religious Authority

    Tradition allows the ability to apply Jesus?s teachings of equality and love and adapt them to new circumstances which is a factor as to why tradition maintains a firm sense of authority.

  2. 1.) Examine the evidence and reasons to support belief in God based on religious ...

    If religious experience occurs in the mind, how can it be verified as an experience with a transcendent being rather than an abnormal chemical reaction in the brain? Donovan albeit less provocatively takes this stance by arguing ?for those who experience God know he?s real and that?s all there is to it? suggesting an argument from religious experience is redundant.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work