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

Outline the arguments of scholars for and against the view that the author of the Fourth Gospel was John the Apostle

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Outline the arguments of scholars for and against the view that the author of the Fourth Gospel was John the Apostle There are many different views of scholars towards the argument of whether the author of the Fourth Gospel was John the Apostle, despite the fact that Christian tradition since century AD has associated the fourth gospel with John the Apostle. The issue of authorship of what we call 'John's Gospel' is still greatly disputed today and I am going to discuss the views of different scholars. The view that the author of the Fourth Gospel was John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee and brother of James, is the most traditional theory. Stephen Smalley mentions that the main evidence on which this belief relies upon is that of St. Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons in AD 177. In two passages of his work, 'Against Heresies', Irenaeus testifies that the author of St John's gospel was 'John the disciple of the Lord'. He also mentions that John delivered the gospel to the elders of the church in Ephesus where John lived until the time of Trajan (98-117 AD). Smalley views that Irenaeus proclaims are believed to be accurate as he said that his information came from Polycarp (Bishop of Smyra) who is thought of as a reliable source as he heard this claim from John the disciple himself. ...read more.

Middle

For example, in chapter 18 v.13 he seems to have believed that the high priest only ruled for one year, and the Sea of Tiberius mentioned was not called such until the second century, 'and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.' However, Barrett has a theory, that "it was drawn up, edited and published by persons who had no personal historical contact with Jesus, and perhaps no contact with Palestine; certainly not by an apostle." Another identity which people use for the Evangelist is often the Beloved Disciple mentioned in the Gospel. As C.K. Barrett writes, "he was either an unidentified, and unidentifiable, figure, or John the son of Zebedee, represented by an author with much more admiration for his hero than sound historical fact." Many scholars, including A. M. Hunter, have noticed that for the author of the Gospel to be the Beloved Disciple would mean that he was arrogant to describe himself as 'the one whom Jesus loved' (chapter 20 v. 2) and therefore it is very unlikely for the author to be John the Apostle. However, some people could argue that the term 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' could be looked on as humble wonder at the amazing fact, rather than a claim to a special position. There are a couple other suggestions for the author of the Fourth Gospel, John the Elder or Lazarus. ...read more.

Conclusion

The 'Egerton Papyrus' which contained passages similar to John and the Synoptics was also found in the second century and both pieces of papyri were found in Egypt. This implies that the Fourth Gospel must have been written quite before 150 AD as time would have needed for copies of the Gospel to be made and for the Gospel to be circulated and to reach Egypt. There are some other arguments to place the gospel at the end of the first century, one being that John's Gospel has been accused both of being doceitic heresy, and a book against these heretics at the same time. Doceitism does not seem to have existed before the end of the first century so, unless John developed that heresy himself and believed in it, it is unlikely that it was written before this time. Despite the substantial evidence leading to the belief that the Gospel was in fact composed at the end of the first century, there are also some arguments against this. Some people believe that the gospel was written later, in the second century as there is no evidence by any second century writer, e.g. Iranaeus to John earlier than 150 AD. Also, John was familiar to gnostics like Ptolemaeus and used by him in the middle of the second century. Also, John was used by the writers of the apocryphal 'Gospel of Peter' (150 AD) and the Valentinian document called 'The Gospel of Truth' (around 150 AD). ...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

    Luke may also, of course, have kept a diary or have recorded material in notebooks, but there is no way of proving or disproving this. Nor is there any satisfactory means of determining from which of many possible informants he derived any particular incident or parable.

  2. The Status of Women In the New Testament.

    sensitivity regarding woman's rights and the need to redress injustices committed in the past. This new freedom has opened up new roles in all fields of work. The church although slow and reluctant to incorporate ' a true evaluation of women' (Galatians.

  1. The Ideas of Hell and Purgatory: A Wide Shift from Then to Now.

    Prior to July of 1999, the Catholic Church claimed that hell is a place where people who have died and not been wiped clean by church rituals will be severely punished for eternity. The level of punishment depends on the sin committed, and there is no hope of relief.

  2. St.Mark's Gospel

    If Mark got his information from Peter, the Gospel is accurate. Mark was with Peter in Jerusalem at the start of the Gospel. Mark lived in Jerusalem. At the time, it was very easy to travel. Peter went form Jerusalem to Rome.

  1. Outline and Examine Jesus attitudes towards outcasts in Lukes Gospel.To what extent do these ...

    Be made clean." This shows that Jesus is willing. What is interesting to note is that when Jesus tells the leper to go show himself to the priest, he is hinting at the amount of exclusion there is at the time and that it is a major problem.

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

    According to this commandment the Sabbath should be kept holy and no work should be done but saving a life is allowed. However, Jesus took the concepts of the Sabbath and slightly expanded the boundaries by his teachings and actions.

  1. A2 Religious Std Authorship of the Fourth Gospel

    Smalley believes that such a source is reliable as Irenaeus had received the information directly from Polycarp, Bishop of Smyra who heard from John first hand. In one of Polycarp's letters he speaks of John being the one who "Reclined on the breast of the Lord" to be "a witness and teacher".

  2. Jesus Did Not Intend For His Parables To Be Easily Understood - Discuss.

    If they cannot understand even this parable they will be unable to understand any parable.

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