Gospel of John

Gospel of John

Overview
The Gospel According to John (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 τὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγέλιον), commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry
Ministry of Jesus
In the Christian gospels, the Ministry of Jesus begins with his Baptism in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry...

 of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

. It begins with the witness and affirmation by John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 and concludes with the death, burial, Resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

, and post-Resurrection appearances
Resurrection appearances of Jesus
The major Resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Canonical gospels are reported to have occurred after his death, burial and resurrection, but prior to his Ascension. Among these primary sources, most scholars believe First Corinthians was written first, authored by Paul of Tarsus along with...

 of Jesus. This account is fourth of the canonical gospels, after the synoptics Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

.

The Gospel's authorship is anonymous.
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Encyclopedia
The Gospel According to John (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 τὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγέλιον), commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry
Ministry of Jesus
In the Christian gospels, the Ministry of Jesus begins with his Baptism in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry...

 of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

. It begins with the witness and affirmation by John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 and concludes with the death, burial, Resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

, and post-Resurrection appearances
Resurrection appearances of Jesus
The major Resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Canonical gospels are reported to have occurred after his death, burial and resurrection, but prior to his Ascension. Among these primary sources, most scholars believe First Corinthians was written first, authored by Paul of Tarsus along with...

 of Jesus. This account is fourth of the canonical gospels, after the synoptics Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

.

The Gospel's authorship is anonymous. Its states it derives from the testimony of the 'disciple whom Jesus loved
Disciple whom Jesus loved
The phrase the disciple whom Jesus loved or, in John 20:2, the Beloved Disciple is used five times in the Gospel of John, but in no other New Testament accounts of Jesus. claims that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of the "Beloved Disciple".Since the end of the 2nd century,...

.' Along with Peter, the unnamed disciple is especially close to Jesus, and early-church
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 tradition identified him as John the Apostle
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. The gospel is closely related in style and content to the three surviving Epistles of John
Epistles of John
Three books in the New Testament, thought to have been written between 90-100, are collectively called the Epistles of John:*First Epistle of John*Second Epistle of John*Third Epistle of JohnThe traditional author of these letters is John the Evangelist....

 such that commentators treat the four books together, yet, according to most modern scholars, John was not the author of any of these books.

Raymond E. Brown did pioneering work to trace the development of the tradition from which the gospel arose. The discourses seem to be concerned with the actual issues of the church-and-synagogue debate at the time when the Gospel was written c. AD 90. 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. Though Christianity started as a movement within Judaism, gradually Christians and Jews became bitterly opposed.

John presents a "higher" Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

 than the synoptics, meaning that he describes Jesus as the incarnation of the divine Logos through whom all things were made, as the object of veneration, and more explicitly as God incarnate
Incarnation (Christianity)
The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos , "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos .The Incarnation is a fundamental theological...

. Only in John does Jesus talk at length about himself and his divine role, often shared with the disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

 only. Against the synoptics, John focuses largely on different miracles (including resurrecting Lazarus
Lazarus of Bethany
Lazarus of Bethany, also known as Saint Lazarus or Lazarus of the Four Days, is the subject of a prominent miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus restores him to life four days after his death...

), given as signs meant to engender faith. Synoptic elements such as parables
Parables of Jesus
The parables of Jesus can be found in all the Canonical gospels as well as in some of the non-canonical gospels but are located mainly within the three synoptic gospels. They represent a key part of the teachings of Jesus, forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings...

 and exorcisms are not found in John. It presents a realized eschatology
Realized eschatology
Realized eschatology is a Christian eschatological theory popularized by C. H. Dodd that holds that the eschatological passages in the New Testament do not refer to the future, but instead refer to the ministry of Jesus and his lasting legacy...

 in which salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 is already present for the believer. The historical reliability of John is debated, particularly by secular scholarship. In contrast, Grace-oriented
Free Grace theology
Free Grace theology is a soteriological view within Protestantism teaching that everyone receives eternal life the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. "Lord" refers to the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore able to be their "Savior"...

 churches argue for the total pre-eminence of John.

Authorship


The gospel identifies its author as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." The text does not actually name this disciple, but by the beginning of the 2nd century a tradition began to form which identified him with John the Apostle
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

, one of the Twelve (Jesus's innermost circle). Today the majority of scholars do not believe that John or any other eyewitness wrote it, and trace it instead to a "Johannine community" which traced its traditions to John; the gospel itself shows signs of having been composed in three "layers", reaching its final form about 90-100 AD. According to the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

, the Bishops of Asia Minor requested John, in his old age, to write a gospel in response to Cerinthus
Cerinthus
Cerinthus was a gnostic and to some, an early Christian, who was prominent as a "heresiarch" in the view of the early Church Fathers. Contrary to proto-orthodox Christianity, Cerinthus's school followed the Jewish law, used the Gospel according to the Hebrews, denied that the Supreme God had made...

, the Ebionites
Ebionites
Ebionites, or Ebionaioi, , is a patristic term referring to a Jewish Christian sect or sects that existed during the first centuries of the Christian Era. They regarded Jesus as the Messiah and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish religious law and rites...

 and other Hebrew groups which they deemed heretical. This understanding remained in place until the end of the 18th century.

The Gospel of John developed over a period of time in various stages, summarised by Raymond E. Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

 as follows:
  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, around 85-90 AD.


In view of this complex and multi-layered history it is meaningless to speak of a single "author" of John, but the title perhaps belongs best to the evangelist who came at the end of this process. The final composition's comparatively late date, and its insistence upon Jesus as a divine being walking the earth in human form, renders it highly problematical to scholars who attempt to evaluate Jesus' life in terms of literal historical truth,

Order of material



Among others, Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Karl Bultmann was a German theologian of Lutheran background, who was for three decades professor of New Testament studies at the University of Marburg...

 suggested that the text of the gospel is partially out of order; for instance, chapter 6 should follow chapter 4:
4:53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
4:54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.


Chapter 5 deals with a visit to Jerusalem, and chapter 7 opens with Jesus again in Galilee since "he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him" — a consequence of the incident in Jerusalem described in chapter 5. There are more proposed rearrangements.

Signs gospel



One possible construction of the "internal evidence" states that the Beloved Disciple wrote an account of the life of Jesus. However, this disciple died unexpectedly, necessitating that a revised gospel be written. It may be that John “is the source" of the Johannine tradition but "not the final writer of the tradition." 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.

The hypothesis of the Gospel being composed in layers over a period of time had its start with Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Karl Bultmann was a German theologian of Lutheran background, who was for three decades professor of New Testament studies at the University of Marburg...

 in 1941. Bultmann suggested that the author(s) of John depended in part on an author who wrote an earlier account. This hypothetical "Signs Gospel
Signs Gospel
The Signs Gospel is a hypothetical gospel account of the life of Jesus Christ. Some scholars believe it to be a primary source document for the Gospel of John. This theory has its basis in source criticism...

" 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
Christian heresy
Christian heresy refers to non-orthodox practices and beliefs that were deemed to be heretical by one or more of the Christian churches. In Western Christianity, the term "heresy" most commonly refers to those beliefs which were declared to be anathema by the Catholic Church prior to the schism of...

 proceedings were instituted against him and his writings. (See: Images of Jesus and more detailed discussions linked below.)

Nevertheless, scholars such as Raymond Edward Brown continue to consider this hypothesis a plausible possibility. They believe 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
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 before joining Jesus.

Discourses


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

Inspiration


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

The Trimorphic Protennoia



In terminology close to that found in later Gnostic works, one tract, generally known as "The Trimorphic Protennoia
Trimorphic Protennoia
The Trimorphic Protennoia is a Sethian Gnostic text from the New Testament apocrypha. The only surviving copy comes from the Nag Hammadi library ....

", must either be dependent on John or the other way round."

Date



The gospel was apparently written near the end of the 1st century. 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 he believes clearly do not belong to their context, and believes that these suggest redaction
Redaction criticism
Redaction criticism, also called Redaktionsgeschichte, Kompositionsgeschichte, or Redaktionstheologie, is a critical method for the study of Bible texts. Redaction criticism regards the author of the text as editor of his or her source material...

.

The so-called "Monarchian Prologue" to the Fourth Gospel (c. 200) supports AD 96 or one of the years immediately following as to the time of its writing. Scholars set a range of c. 90–100. The gospel was already in existence early in the 2nd century. John was composed in stages (probably two or three). Since the middle of the 2nd century writings of Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

 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. The Rylands Library Papyrus P52
Rylands Library Papyrus P52
The Rylands Library Papyrus P52, also known as the St John's fragment, is a fragment from a papyrus codex, measuring only 3.5 by 2.5 inches at its widest; and conserved with the Rylands Papyri at the John Rylands University Library , Manchester, UK...

, which records a fragment of this gospel, is usually dated to the first half of the 2nd century.

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, sufficient evidence that the gospel was composed before 100 and perhaps as early as 50–70: in the 1970s, scholars Leon Morris
Leon Morris
Leon Lamb Morris was an Australian New Testament scholar.Born in Lithgow, New South Wales, Morris was ordained to the Anglican ministry in 1938. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England on the subject which became his first major book, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross...

 and John A.T. Robinson
John A.T. Robinson
John Arthur Thomas Robinson was a New Testament scholar, author and a former Anglican Bishop of Woolwich, England....

 independently suggested earlier dates for the gospel's composition.

The noncanonical Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 suggest an early Jewish origin, parallels and similarities to the Essene Scroll, and Rule of the Community. 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 and that it shows marked non-Jewish influence.

Textual history and manuscripts


Probably the earliest surviving New Testament manuscript, Rylands Library Papyrus P52
Rylands Library Papyrus P52
The Rylands Library Papyrus P52, also known as the St John's fragment, is a fragment from a papyrus codex, measuring only 3.5 by 2.5 inches at its widest; and conserved with the Rylands Papyri at the John Rylands University Library , Manchester, UK...

 is a Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

 papyrus fragment discovered in Egypt in 1920 (now at the John Rylands Library
John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library is a Victorian Gothic building on Deansgate in Manchester, England. The library, which opened to the public in 1900, was founded by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her late husband, John Rylands...

, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

). Although P52 has no more than 114 legible letters, it must come from a substantial codex
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

 book; as it is written on both sides in a generously scaled script, with on one side and 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. Metzger and Aland list the probable date for this manuscript as c. 125 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 2nd century. P52 is small, and although a plausible reconstruction can be attempted for most of the fourteen lines represented, the proportion of the text of the Gospel of John for which it provides a direct witness is so small that it is rarely cited in textual debate. Other notable early manuscripts of John include Papyrus 66
Papyrus 66
Papyrus 66 is a near complete codex of the Gospel of John, and part of the collection known as the Bodmer Papyri.-Description:...

 and Papyrus 75
Papyrus 75
Papyrus 75 is an early Greek New Testament papyrus.- Description :Originally '[it] contained about 144 pages ... of which 102 have survived, either in whole or in part.' It 'contains about half the text of ... two Gospels' – Luke and John in Greek...

, 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
International Greek New Testament Project
The International Greek New Testament Project began in 1926 as a cooperative enterprise between British and German scholars to establish a new critical edition of the New Testament. Early results of the work were critical apparatus of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark produced by S. C....

.

Egerton gospel


The mysterious Egerton Gospel
Egerton Gospel
The Egerton Gospel refers to a group of papyrus fragments of a codex of a previously unknown gospel, found in Egypt and sold to the British Museum in 1934; the physical fragments are now dated to the very end of the 2nd century AD, although the date of composition is less clear – perhaps 50-100 AD...

 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 1st century and early in the 2nd century, and it was probably written shortly before the Gospel of John. Liberal scholar
Liberal Christianity
Liberal Christianity, sometimes called liberal theology, is an umbrella term covering diverse, philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century and onward...

 Robert W. Funk
Robert W. Funk
Robert W. Funk , an American biblical scholar, was co-founder of the controversial Jesus Seminar and the nonprofit Westar Institute in Santa Rosa, California....

 and the Jesus Seminar
Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar is a group of about 150 critical scholars and laymen founded in 1985 by Robert Funk under the auspices of the Westar Institute....

 place the Egerton fragment in the 2nd century, perhaps as early as 125, which would make it as old as the oldest fragments of John.

Position in the New Testament


In the standard order of the canonical gospels, John is fourth, after the three interrelated synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke. In the earliest surviving gospel collection, Papyrus 45
Papyrus 45
Papyrus 45 is an early New Testament manuscript which is a part of the Chester Beatty Papyri. It was probably created around 250 in Egypt. It contains the texts of Matthew 20-21 and 25-26; Mark 4-9 and 11-12; Luke 6-7 and 9-14; John 4-5 and 10-11; and Acts 4-17...

 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.

Narrative summary (structure and content)



After the prologue, the narrative of the gospel begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts. The first part 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 presents Jesus in dialogue with his immediate followers and gives an account of his Passion
Passion (Christianity)
The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

 and Crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 and of his appearances to the disciples after his Resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

. In the "appendix", Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 restores Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 after his denial, predicts Peter's death, and discusses the death of the "beloved disciple".

Raymond E. Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

, 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.

Hymn to the Word


This prologue is intended to identify Jesus as the eternal Word (Logos) of God. Thus John asserts Jesus' innate superiority over all divine messengers, whether angels or prophets. Here John adapts the doctrine of the Logos, God's creative principle, from Philo
Philo
Philo , known also as Philo of Alexandria , Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew, was a Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria....

, a 1st-century Hellenized Jew.

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. Some scholars argue that the prologue was taken over from an existing hymn and added at a later stage in the gospel's composition.

Seven Signs


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

Last teachings and death


This section opens with an account of the Last Supper that differs significantly from that found in the synoptics. Here, Jesus washes the disciples feet instead of ushering in a new covenant of his body and blood. This account of foot washing might refer to a local tradition by which foot washing served as a Christian initiation ritual rather than baptism. John then devotes almost five chapters to farewell discourses. 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. 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. Verses represent a conclusion, and the Jesus Seminar
Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar is a group of about 150 critical scholars and laymen founded in 1985 by Robert Funk under the auspices of the Westar Institute....

 says the next three chapters were inserted later and the discourses assembled over time, representing the theology of the "Johannine circle" more than the message of the historical Jesus.

John then records Jesus' arrest, trial, execution, and resurrection appearances, including "doubting Thomas." Significantly, John does not have Jesus claim to be the Son of God or the Messiah before the Sanhedrin or Pilate
Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

, and he omits the traditional earthquakes, thunder, and midday darkness that were said to accompany Jesus' death. John's revelation of divinity is Jesus' triumph over death, the eighth and greatest sign.

, 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. There had been a rumor that the End would come before the beloved disciple died.

Detailed contents


The major events covered by the Gospel of John include:
Hymn to the Word
  • Jesus is the word become flesh 

Book of Signs, Seven Signs
  • John the Baptist
    John the Baptist
    John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

  • Jesus is the Lamb of God
    Lamb of God
    The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

  • The calling of Simon, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael
  • Marriage at Cana
    Marriage at Cana
    In Christianity, the transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana or Wedding at Cana is the first miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of John....

    : the first sign
  • Jesus and the Money Changers
    Jesus and the Money Changers
    The narrative of Jesus and the money changers, commonly referred to as the cleansing of the Temple, occurs in all four canonical gospels of the New Testament....

     
  • Nicodemus
    Nicodemus
    Saint Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, who, according to the Gospel of John, showed favour to Jesus...

     the Pharisee
    • The need to be born again
      John 3:16
      John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible, and has been called the most famous Bible verse...

  • Jesus surpasses John
  • Samaritan woman at the well
    Samaritan Woman at the Well
    The Samaritan woman at the well is an episode in the life of Jesus that appears only in the Gospel of John, in . In Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, she is known as Photina.According to the John 4:...

    : Jesus as the Water of Life
    Water of Life (Christianity)
    In Christianity the term Water of Life is used in the context of living water, specific references appearing in the Book of Revelation , as well as the Gospel of John. In these references, the term Water of Life refers the Holy Spirit....

     
  • Healing the royal official's son
    Healing the royal official's son
    Healing the royal official's son is one of the miracles of Jesus that appear in the Gospel of John. This episode takes place at Capernaum in and Jesus heals the son of a royal official at a distance.In the Gospel of John :...

    : the second sign
  • Healing the paralytic at Bethesda
    Healing the paralytic at Bethesda
    Healing the paralytic at Bethesda is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels .According to the Gospel of John, this miracle took place near the Sheep Gate close to a founatain or a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the...

  • Authority of the Son
  • Resurrection of the Dead
    Resurrection of the dead
    Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

  • Witnesses to Jesus
  • The feeding of the five thousand
    Feeding the multitude
    Feeding the multitude is the combined term used to refer to two separate miracles of Jesus in the Gospels.The First Miracle, "The Feeding of the 5,000" is the only miracle which is present in all four canonical Gospels...

     
  • Walking on water
    Walking on water
    Jesus' walks on water, or Jesus walking on water, is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. Accounts of the miracle appear in three Gospels: Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52 and...

  • Bread of Life Discourse
    Bread of Life Discourse
    The Bread of Life Discourse is an episode in the life of Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John 6:22-59.The title Bread of Life for Jesus is based on this Biblical episode which takes place in the Gospel of John shortly after the Feeding the multitude episode after which the crowds follow...

    • Last Day
      Christian eschatology
      Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology. Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning last and study , is the study of the end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world...

  • Jesus deserted by many disciples
  • Feast of Tabernacles
  • Jesus and the woman taken in adultery
  • Jesus is the Light of the World 
  • Where I'm going, you can't come
  • The truth will make you free
    Veritas vos liberabit
    Veritas vos liberabit is a variant of Veritas liberabit vos , verse 8:32 of the Gospel of John. Pilate has the philosopher's response in verse 18:38: "Quid est veritas?" .It is the motto of St...

  • Your father is the Devil
    Devil
    The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

  • Jesus existed before Abraham
    Abraham
    Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

  • Healing the blind at birth
    Healing the blind at birth
    Healing the blind at birth is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels .According to the Gospel, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"Jesus replied:...

  • Good Shepherd
    Good Shepherd
    Good Shepherd may refer to:In Christianity:* The Good Shepherd , pericope found in John 10:1-21, and a popular image in which the Good Shepherd represents Jesus...

  • Jesus rejected by the Jews

  • Raising of Lazarus
    Raising of Lazarus
    The Raising of Lazarus or the Resurrection of Lazarus is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels in which Jesus brings Lazarus of Bethany back to life four days after his burial....

    • Let's return to Judea
      Iudaea Province
      Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

    • Jesus wept
      Jesus wept
      Jesus wept is a phrase famous for being the shortest verse in the King James Version of the Bible, as well as many other versions, though it is not the shortest in the original languages...

  • Plot to kill Jesus 
  • Mary anoints Jesus
    Anointing of Jesus
    The anointing of Jesus is an event reported by each of the Canonical gospels, in which a woman pours the entire contents of an alabastron of very expensive perfume over the head or feet of Jesus....

  • Plot to kill Lazarus
  • Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
    Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
    In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem takes place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion....

     
  • Son of Man
    Son of man
    The phrase son of man is a primarily Semitic idiom that originated in Ancient Mesopotamia, used to denote humanity or self. The phrase is also used in Judaism and Christianity. The phrase used in the Greek, translated as Son of man is ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου...

  • Last Judgment
    Last Judgment
    The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...


Book of Glory, Last Teachings and Death
  • Foot Washing
  • Love one another
    The New Commandment
    The New Commandment refers to the admonition given by Jesus to His Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper, as recorded in the Gospel of John :According to the Synoptic Gospels, a similar thought was expressed by Jesus two days previously when He spoke at the Temple in Jerusalem and quoted what is...

  • Peter's denial
    Denial of Peter
    The Denial of Peter refers to three acts of denial of Jesus by the Apostle Peter as described in the three Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament....

     
  • Jesus is the only Way to the Father
    New Covenant
    The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

     
  • Promise of the Paraclete
    Paraclete
    Paraclete means advocate or helper. In Christianity, the term most commonly refers to the Holy Spirit.-Etymology:...

     
  • Jesus is the true vine
    The Vine
    The Vine is an allegory or parable given by Jesus in the New Testament found only in the Gospel of John .-Old Testament:There are numerous Old Testament passages which refer to Israel as a vine: Ps 80:8-16, Isa 5:1-7, Jer 2:21, Ezek 15:1-8, 17:5-10, 19:10-14, and Hos 10:1...

     
  • High Priestly Prayer
    High Priestly Prayer
    The High Priestly Prayer or Jesus' prayer to the one true God is the final prayer of Jesus, from the Gospel of John in John 17. In many ways similar to the Lord's Prayer, and other prayers of Jesus.- John 17 :...

     
    • That they all may be one
      That they all may be one
      That they all may be one is a phrase derived from a verse in the Bible at John 17:21, which says:The phrase forms the basis of several ecumenical movements and united and uniting denominational traditions. It is also a common sermon topic on church unity....

  • Arrest
    Arrest of Jesus
    The arrest of Jesus is a pivotal event recorded in the Canonical gospels. The event ultimately leads, in the Gospel accounts, to Jesus' crucifixion...

  • Before the High Priests
    Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus
    The Sanhedrin trial of Jesus refers to the Canonical Gospel accounts of the trial of Jesus before the Jewish Council, or Sanhedrin, following his arrest and prior to his trial before Pontius Pilate...

     
  • Before Pilate
    • What is truth?
      John 18:38
      John chapter 18, verse 38 of the Gospel of John, is often referred to as "jesting Pilate" or "Truth? What is truth?", of Latin Quid est veritas?...

  • Crucifixion
    Crucifixion of Jesus
    The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

  • Joseph of Arimathea
    Joseph of Arimathea
    Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. He is mentioned in all four Gospels.-Gospel references:...

  • Empty tomb
    Empty tomb
    Empty tomb most often refers to the tomb of Jesus which was found to be empty by the women who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. They had come to his tomb to anoint his body with spices...

     
  • Mary don't hold on to me
  • Great Commission
    Great Commission
    The Great Commission, in Christian tradition, is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples, that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. It has become a tenet in Christian theology emphasizing missionary work, evangelism, and baptism...

  • Doubting Thomas
    Doubting Thomas
    A Doubting Thomas is someone who will refuse to believe something without direct, physical, personal evidence; a skeptic.-Origin:The term is based on the Biblical account of Thomas the Apostle, a disciple of Jesus who doubted Jesus' resurrection and demanded to feel Jesus' wounds before being...

  • Appendix
  • Appendix to the Appendix
    John 21
    The chapter John 21 in the Bible contains an account of the post-Resurrection appearance in Galilee, which the text describes as the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples...

    • Catch of 153 fish
      Catch of 153 fish
      The miraculous catch of fish is either of two miracles attributed to Jesus in the early Christian canonical literature known as the Gospels. The miracles are reported as taking place years apart from each other, but in both miracles apostles are fishing unsuccessfully in the Sea of Galilee when...

    • Prophecy of Peter's crucifixion
    • Disciple whom Jesus loved
      Disciple whom Jesus loved
      The phrase the disciple whom Jesus loved or, in John 20:2, the Beloved Disciple is used five times in the Gospel of John, but in no other New Testament accounts of Jesus. claims that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of the "Beloved Disciple".Since the end of the 2nd century,...



Characteristics of the Gospel of John


Though the three Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 share a considerable amount of text, over 90% of John's Gospel is unique to him. The synoptics describe much more of Jesus' life, miracles, parables
Parables of Jesus
The parables of Jesus can be found in all the Canonical gospels as well as in some of the non-canonical gospels but are located mainly within the three synoptic gospels. They represent a key part of the teachings of Jesus, forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings...

, 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
    Passion (Christianity)
    The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

     narrative
  • The Epilogue.


The Prologue is a hymn identifying Jesus as the Logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

 and as God. The Book of Signs recounts Jesus' public ministry, and includes the signs worked by Jesus and some of his teachings. The Passion narrative recounts the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 (focusing on Jesus' farewell discourse), Jesus' arrest and crucifixion
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

, his burial, and resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

. The Epilogue records a resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

 in Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

.

Following on from "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, Adolf von Harnack
Adolf von Harnack
Adolf von Harnack , was a German theologian and prominent church historian.He produced many religious publications from 1873-1912....

 and Raymond E. Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

 have questioned the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus
Historical Jesus
The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the 1st-century figure Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions are based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and...

.

Christology


According to one scholar, John portrays Jesus Christ as "a brief manifestation of the eternal Word, whose immortal spirit remains ever-present with the believing Christian." The book presents Jesus as the divine Son of God, and yet subordinate to God the Father. 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
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

. John includes far more direct claims of Jesus being a Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

 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
Paraclete
Paraclete means advocate or helper. In Christianity, the term most commonly refers to the Holy Spirit.-Etymology:...

), and the prominence of love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

 as an element in the Christian character.

Jesus' divine role


In the synoptics, Jesus speaks often about the Kingdom of God; his own divine role is obscured (see Messianic secret
Messianic Secret
In Biblical criticism, the Messianic Secret refers to a proposed motif primarily in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is portrayed as commanding his followers to silence about his Messianic mission...

). 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:
  • "the bread of life"
  • "the light of the world"
  • "the gate of the sheep"
  • "the good shepherd"
  • "the resurrection and the life"
  • "the way, the truth, and the life" and
  • "the real vine"


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. Spong
John Shelby Spong
John Shelby "Jack" Spong is a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church. He was formerly the Bishop of Newark . He is a liberal Christian theologian, religion commentator and author...

 argued that the "I Am" statements are in reference to YHWH, and interpreted as meaning that Jesus expressly denied being God.

John also promises eternal life for those who believe in Jesus.

Logos



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

The opening verse of John is translated as "the Word was with God and the Word was God" in all orthodox and historical Bibles. 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. The Scholar's Version of the gospel, developed by the Jesus Seminar
Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar is a group of about 150 critical scholars and laymen founded in 1985 by Robert Funk under the auspices of the Westar Institute....

, loosely translates the phrase as "The Logos was what God was," offered as a better representation of the original meaning of the evangelist.

John the Baptist



John's account of the Baptist is different from that of the synoptic gospels. John is not called "the Baptist." John's ministry overlaps with Jesus', his baptism of Jesus is not explicitly mentioned, but his witness to Jesus is unambiguous. The evangelist almost certainly knew the story of John's baptism of Jesus and he makes a vital theological use of it. He subordinates John to Jesus, perhaps in response to members of the Baptist's sect who denied Jesus' superiority.

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. Historically, John likely had a larger presence in the public mind than Jesus.

Jews



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

The author likely considered himself Jewish, did not deny that Jesus and his disciples were all Jewish, and was probably speaking to a largely Jewish community. While passages in John have been used to support anti-semitism, these passages reflect a dispute within Judaism, and it is highly questionable whether the evangelist himself was anti-semitic.

Gnostic elements



Though not commonly understood as Gnostic, John has elements in common with Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

.
Christian Gnosticism did not fully develop until the mid-2nd century and 2nd-century Christians concentrated much effort in examining and refuting it. To say John’s Gospel contained elements of Gnosticism is to assume that Gnosticism had developed to a level that required the author to respond to it. Comparisons to Gnosticism are based not in what the author says, but in the language he uses to say it, notably, use of the concepts of Logos and Light. Gnostics read John but interpreted it differently than non-Gnostics. Gnosticism taught that salvation came from gnosis, secret knowledge, and Gnostics did not see Jesus as a savior but a revealer of knowledge. Some scholars assert that the gospel teaches that salvation can only be achieved through revealed wisdom, specifically belief in (literally belief into) Jesus.

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, and who promised to return to take them to a heavenly dwelling could be fitted into the gnostic world picture (even if God's love for the world in could not)." It has been suggested that similarities between John's Gospel and Gnosticism may spring from common roots in Jewish Apocalyptic literature
Apocalyptic literature
Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians....

.

Historical reliability of John


The differences between the Synoptics and John were acknowledged in the early Church. Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria noted that John's gospel was a "spiritual gospel", distinct from the Synoptics. However, there is some degree of debate regarding Clement's exact meaning of "spiritual gospel"; care must be taken not to ascribe to his phrase modern prejudices or expectations. Critical scholarship in the 19th century distinguished between the "biographical" approach of the synoptics and the "theological" approach of John, and began to disregard John as a historical source. Current scholarship, however, emphasizes that all four gospels are both biographical and theological.

According to the majority viewpoint for most of the 20th century, Jesus' teaching in John is largely irreconcilable with that found in the Synoptics, and scholars have chosen the version found in the Synoptics as representing the teaching of the historical Jesus
Historical Jesus
The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the 1st-century figure Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions are based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and...

. The teachings of Jesus in John are distinct from those found in the synoptic gospels. Thus, since the 19th century many historical Jesus scholars have argued that only one of the two traditions could be authentic. J. D. G. Dunn comments on historical Jesus scholarship, "Few scholars would regard John as a source for information regarding Jesus' life and ministry in any degree comparable to the synoptics." E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
Ed Parish Sanders is a New Testament scholar, and is one of the principal proponents of the New Perspective on Paul. He has been Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University, North Carolina, since 1990. He retired in 2005....

 concludes 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." Sanders points out that the author would regard the gospel as theologically true as revealed spiritually even if its content is not historically accurate and argues 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. The scholars of the Jesus Seminar
Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar is a group of about 150 critical scholars and laymen founded in 1985 by Robert Funk under the auspices of the Westar Institute....

 identify the historical inferiority of John as foundational to their work. Geza Vermes discounts all the teaching in John when reconstructing his view of "the authentic gospel of Jesus."

While a large number of 20th century biblical critics argue that the teaching found in John does not go back to the historical Jesus, they usually agree that gospel is not entirely without historical value. Several of its independent elements are historically plausible, such as Jesus having been executed before Passover, as John reports. Former followers of John the Baptist probably joined Jesus' movement. 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.

Recent discoveries and trends have cast doubt on the certainty that many mid-20th century biblical scholars had about the historical inferiority of John's Gospel. A prominent example is the archaeological discovery of the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem in 2004—a discovery that in a small way undermines much of the criticism leveled at John during the 20th century. Recent evidences such as the pool and a turn away from the vestiges of positivism as evidenced by the growing number of books addressing the historicity of John reveal that the final word has not been said on how much of the historical Jesus inhabits John's gospel.

Throughout the 20th century a minority of prominent scholars, such as John A.T. Robinson
John A.T. Robinson
John Arthur Thomas Robinson was a New Testament scholar, author and a former Anglican Bishop of Woolwich, England....

, have argued that John is as historically reliable as the synoptics. Robinson wrote 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; 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; and that, where in the Gospel Jesus and his disciples are described as travelling around identifiable locations, the trips in question can always be plausibly followed on the ground, which he says is not the case for any synoptic Gospel. Scholars such as D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo
Douglas J. Moo
Douglas J. Moo is a New Testament scholar who, after teaching for more than twenty years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, has served as Blanchard Professor of New Testament at the Wheaton College Graduate School since 2000. He received his Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrews,...

, and Craig Blomberg
Craig Blomberg
Craig L. Blomberg is an American New Testament scholar. Since 1986 he has been Distinguished Professor of the New Testament at Denver Seminary in Colorado.-Life:...

, often agree with Robinson. Henry Wansbrough
Henry Wansbrough
The Very Reverend Dom Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA , STL , LSS , is a biblical scholar and a monk of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire, England....

 says: "Gone are the days when it was scholarly orthodoxy to maintain that John was the least reliable of the gospels historically."

Development of the gospel


Some scholars today believe that parts of John represent an independent historical tradition from the synoptics, while other parts represent later traditions. 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.

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. E.P. Sanders suggests that John's chronology, even when ostensibly more plausible, should nevertheless be treated with suspicion on the grounds that the Synoptic accounts are otherwise superior as historic sources. C.H. Dodd proposes that historians may mix and match between John and the synoptics on the basis of whichever appears strongest on a particular episode. Robinson says 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 is shortly followed by reference to green springtime pasture at . Again, the historically consistent reference to the period of the temple construction in , may be contrasted with the impossibility of reconciling Luke's account of the census of 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, then he is in Galilee for the following Passover, before going up to Jerusalem again for his death at a third Passover. 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. Recent studies in ancient narrative historiography argue that it is possible for John's Gospel to record multiple Passovers—as historical testimony not theological literary-devices—and yet not represent three years as it was not uncommon for ancient historians to organize their histories without an absolute timeline. If true this would mean John's chronology is much closer to Synoptic chronology than often assumed.

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 is only collected at Passover; moreover, the massacred Galileans of 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 favor of the later dating of the synoptics, Geza Vermes says that this event provides a clear context and pretext for Jesus' arrest, trial and execution. It makes more sense to suppose that events proceeded quickly. Robinson says 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 baptizing ministry in Judea


In 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 and at . 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 ( and ), Jesus appears to recall several previous preaching ministries in Jerusalem, when his message had nevetheless been generally spurned.

The date of the crucifixion


In the Jewish calendar, each day runs from sunset to sunset, and hence the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 (on the Thursday evening), and Jesus's crucifixion (on Friday afternoon), both fell on the same day. In John, this day was the 14th of Nisan in the Jewish calendar; that is the day on the afternoon of which the Passover victims were sacrificed in the Temple, which was also known as the Day of Preparation. The Passover meal itself would then have been eaten on the Friday evening (i.e. the next day in Jewish terms), which would also have been a Sabbath. In the Synoptic accounts, the Last Supper is a Passover meal, and so Jesus's trial and crucifixion must have taken place during the night time and following afternoon of the festival itself, the 15th of Nisan. 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 favor 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 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 of Preparation for the Passover. Astronomical reconstruction of the Jewish Lunar calendar tends to favor John's chronology, in that the only year during the governorship of Pontius Pilate when the 15th Nisan is calculated as falling on a Wednesday/Thursday was 27 CE, which appears too early as the year of the crucifixion, whereas the 14th of Nisan fell on a Thursday/Friday in both 30 CE and 33 CE.

John and the synoptics compared


The Book of John is significantly different from the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

:
  • Jesus is identified with the divine Word ("Logos") and referred to as theos ("God").
  • The gospel of John gives no account of the Nativity of Jesus
    Nativity of Jesus
    The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus in two of the Canonical gospels and in various apocryphal texts....

    , unlike those of Matthew and Luke, and his mother's name is never given.
  • In Chapter 7:41-42, and again in 7:52, John records some of the crowd of Pharisees
    Pharisees
    The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

     dismissing the possibility of Jesus's being the Messiah, on the grounds that the Messiah must be a descendent of David and born in Bethlehem, stating that Jesus instead came out of Galilee (as is stated in the Gospel of Mark
    Gospel of Mark
    The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

    ); John made no effort to refute or correct (nor did he affirm) this, and this has been advanced as implying that John rejected the synoptic tradition of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem.
  • The Pharisees
    Pharisees
    The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

    , portrayed as more uniformly legalistic and opposed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, are instead portrayed as sharply divided; they debate frequently in the Gospel of John's accounts. Some, such as Nicodemus
    Nicodemus
    Saint Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, who, according to the Gospel of John, showed favour to Jesus...

    , even go so far as to be at least partially sympathetic to Jesus. This is believed to be a more accurate historical depiction of the Pharisees, who made debate one of the tenets of their system of belief.
  • John makes no mention of Jesus' baptism, 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 with Elijah.
  • The Temple incident
    Jesus and the Money Changers
    The narrative of Jesus and the money changers, commonly referred to as the cleansing of the Temple, occurs in all four canonical gospels of the New Testament....

     appears near the beginning of Jesus' ministry. In the synoptics this occurs soon before Jesus is crucified.
  • John contains four visits by Jesus to Jerusalem, three 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
    Eucharist
    The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

    ).
  • No other women are mentioned going to the tomb with Mary Magdalene.
  • John does not contain any parable
    Parable
    A parable is a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human...

    s. Rather it contains metaphor
    Metaphor
    A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

    ic stories or allegories, such as The Shepherd and The Vine
    The Vine
    The Vine is an allegory or parable given by Jesus in the New Testament found only in the Gospel of John .-Old Testament:There are numerous Old Testament passages which refer to Israel as a vine: Ps 80:8-16, Isa 5:1-7, Jer 2:21, Ezek 15:1-8, 17:5-10, 19:10-14, and Hos 10:1...

    , 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
    Sermon on the Mount
    The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew...

     and the Olivet discourse
    Olivet discourse
    The Olivet discourse or Olivet prophecy is a biblical passage found in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark 13, Matthew 24, Luke 21. It is known as the "Little Apocalypse" because it includes Jesus' descriptions of the end times, the use of apocalyptic language, and Jesus' warning to his followers that...

    .
  • While the synoptics look forward to a future Kingdom of God (using the term parousia
    Parousia
    Parousia is an ancient Greek word meaning presence, arrival, or official visit.-Classical usage:# Physical presence, arrival – The main use is the physical presence of a person, which where that person is not already present refers to the prospect of the physical arrival of that person, especially...

    , meaning "coming"), John presents an eschatology that has already been realized.
  • The Kingdom of God
    Kingdom of God
    The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a foundational concept in the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The term "Kingdom of God" is found in all four canonical gospels and in the Pauline epistles...

     is mentioned only twice in John. 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.
  • John never lists all of the Twelve Disciples and names at least one disciple (Nathanael) whose name is not found in the synoptics; Nathanael appears to parallel the apostle Bartholomew found in the synoptics, as both are paired with Philip
    Philip the Apostle
    Philip the Apostle was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Later Christian traditions describe Philip as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia....

     in the respective gospels. 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
    Thomas the Apostle
    Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

     is given a personality beyond a mere name, as "Doubting Thomas".

Comparison Chart of the Major Gospels


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 The central theme - Love is the New Commandment given by Jesus Secret knowledge, love your friends The central theme - Love one another
Forgiveness Very important - particularly in Matthew and Luke Assumed Not mentioned Very important - Forgiveness is a central theme and this gospel goes into the greatest detail
The Lord's Prayer In Matthew & Luke but not Mark Not mentioned Not mentioned Important - “mahar” or "tomorrow"
Love & the poor Very important - The rich young man Assumed Important Very important - The rich young man
Jesus starts his ministry Jesus meets John the Baptist and is baptized Jesus meets John the Baptist N/A - Speaks of John the Baptist Jesus meets John the Baptist and is baptized. This gospel goes into the greatest detail
Disciples-inner circle Peter, Andrew, James & John Peter, Andrew, James & the Beloved Disciple Peter, Andrew, James & John Peter
Disciples-others
Philip,
Bartholomew,
Matthew,
Thomas,
James,
Simon the Zealot,
Jude Thaddaeus, &
Judas

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

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

Matthew,
Thomas,
James the Just (Brother of Jesus)
Possible Authors Unknown; Mark the Evangelist
Mark the Evangelist
Mark the Evangelist is the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. He is one of the Seventy Disciples of Christ, and the founder of the Church of Alexandria, one of the original four main sees of Christianity....

 & Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist was an Early Christian writer whom Church Fathers such as Jerome and Eusebius said was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles...

 
The Beloved Disciple Thomas Matthew the Evangelist
Matthew the Evangelist
Matthew the Evangelist was, according to the Bible, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus and one of the four Evangelists.-Identity:...

Virgin birth account In Matthew & Luke, but not Mark Not mentioned Not mentioned Not mentioned
Jesus' baptism Described Not mentioned N/A Described in great detail
Preaching style Brief one-liners; parables Essay format, Midrash Sayings Brief one-liners; parables
Storytelling Parables Figurative language & Metaphor Gnostic, hidden Parables
Jesus' theology 1st century liberal Judaism Critical of Jewish Authorities Gnostic 1st century Judaism
Miracles Many miracles Seven Signs  N/A Fewer but more credible miracles
Duration of ministry 1 year 3 years (Multiple Passovers) N/A 1 year
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
Burial shroud A single piece of cloth Multiple pieces of cloth, as was the Jewish practice at the time N/A Given to the High Priest
Resurrection Mary and the Women are the first to learn Jesus has arisen John adds detailed account of Mary Magdalene's experience of the Resurrection 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
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...


History


John was written somewhere near the end of the 1st century, probably in Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, in Roman Asia. The tradition of John the Apostle was strong in Asia, and Polycarp of Smyrna reportedly knew him. Like the previous gospels, it circulated separately until Irenaeus proclaimed all four gospels to be scripture.

The Church Fathers Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

, and Justin Martyr did not mention this gospel, either because they did not know it or did not approve of it.

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
Adoptionism
Adoptionism, sometimes called dynamic monarchianism, is a minority Christian belief that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his baptism...

, 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
Valentinus (Gnostic)
Valentinus was the best known and for a time most successful early Christian gnostic theologian. He founded his school in Rome...

, a 2nd-century Gnostic leader. His student Heracleon wrote a commentary on the gospel, the first gospel commentary in Christian history.

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.

Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 translated John into its official Latin form
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

, replacing various older translations.

Although harmonious with the Synoptic Gospels and probably primitive (the Didascalia Apostolorum
Didascalia Apostolorum
Didascalia Apostolorum is a Christian treatise which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. It presents itself as being written by the Twelve Apostles at the time of the Council of Jerusalem, however, scholars agree that it was actually a composition of the 3rd century CE, perhaps around 230...

 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.

Representations


The Gospel of John has influenced Impressionist painters, Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 artists and classical art, literature and other depictions of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, with influences in Greek, Jewish and European history.

It has been depicted in live narrations and dramatized in productions, skits, play
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

s, and passion play
Passion play
A Passion play is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death. It is a traditional part of Lent in several Christian denominations, particularly in Catholic tradition....

s, productions, as well as on film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

. The most recent film portrayal being that of 2003's 'The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John (film)
The Gospel of John is a 2003 film that is the story of Jesus' life as recounted by the Gospel of John. It is a motion picture that has been adapted for the screen on a word-for-word basis from the American Bible Society's Good News Bible...

', directed by Philip Saville
Philip Saville
Philip Saville is a British television direction and screenwriting from the late 1950s...

 and narrated by Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

, and starring Henry Ian Cusick
Henry Ian Cusick
Henry Ian Cusick is a Scottish-Peruvian actor of stage, television, and film. He is well-known for his role as Desmond Hume on the United States television series Lost, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination....

 as Jesus.

See also

  • Egerton Gospel
    Egerton Gospel
    The Egerton Gospel refers to a group of papyrus fragments of a codex of a previously unknown gospel, found in Egypt and sold to the British Museum in 1934; the physical fragments are now dated to the very end of the 2nd century AD, although the date of composition is less clear – perhaps 50-100 AD...

  • Free Grace theology
    Free Grace theology
    Free Grace theology is a soteriological view within Protestantism teaching that everyone receives eternal life the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. "Lord" refers to the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore able to be their "Savior"...

  • Gospel harmony
    Gospel harmony
    A Gospel harmony is an attempt to merge or harmonize the canonical gospels of the Four Evangelists into a single gospel account, the earliest known example being the Diatesseron by Tatian in the 2nd century. A gospel harmony may also establish a chronology for the events of the life of Jesus...

  • Gospel of Mark
    Gospel of Mark
    The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

  • Images of Jesus
    Images of Jesus
    The depiction of Jesus in art took several centuries to reach a conventional standardized form for his physical appearance, which has subsequently remained largely stable since that time...

  • Jesus and the woman taken in adultery
  • John 3:16
    John 3:16
    John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible, and has been called the most famous Bible verse...

  • Last Gospel
    Last Gospel
    The Last Gospel is the passage from the Gospel according to St. John in chapter i, verses 1 to 14 inclusive, where Jesus is described as the Logos. It is so named because it is part of the concluding rite of the low Tridentine Mass of the Roman Rite....

  • List of Gospels
  • List of omitted Bible verses
  • Signs gospel
    Signs Gospel
    The Signs Gospel is a hypothetical gospel account of the life of Jesus Christ. Some scholars believe it to be a primary source document for the Gospel of John. This theory has its basis in source criticism...

  • Textual variants in the Gospel of John.
  • That They All May Be One
    That they all may be one
    That they all may be one is a phrase derived from a verse in the Bible at John 17:21, which says:The phrase forms the basis of several ecumenical movements and united and uniting denominational traditions. It is also a common sermon topic on church unity....

  • The Gospel of John (film)
    The Gospel of John (film)
    The Gospel of John is a 2003 film that is the story of Jesus' life as recounted by the Gospel of John. It is a motion picture that has been adapted for the screen on a word-for-word basis from the American Bible Society's Good News Bible...


External links


Online translations of the Gospel of John:

Related articles: