An Introduction to the New Testament

By Adolf Jülicher


Chapter 1 - Section 31


§ 31. The Johannine Question

[Besides the books mentioned in the foregoing section, ef. E. Schürerʼs ʽÜber den gegenwärtigen Stand der johanneischen Frageʼ (1889), and, following upon this, A. Meyerʼs ʽDie Behandlung der johanneischen Frage im letzten Jahrzehnt,ʼ in the ʽTheologische Rundschauʼ for 1899, part ii. pp. 255-263, 295-305 and 333-345. Also P. Corssenʼsʼ Monarchianische Prologe zu den 4 Evangelien,ʼ in ʽTexte und Untersuchungenʼ xv. 1, 1896, esp. pp. 103-117.]

1. Ever since, in 1820, Prof. K. G. Bretschneider brought forward strong reasons for declaring it impossible to conceive the Fourth Gospel as the work of an Apostle, the dispute as to whether the tradition were right or wrong has become ever keener. The orthodox opinion, that in his old age the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, wrote his Gospel at Ephesus as a last testament to the Church, is held by the one side as positively as it is rejected by the other.

The favourite argument for the Fourth Gospelʼs Apostolic authorship is the particularly distinct and early attestation of it. It is certainly true that wherever John was used in the Church from the third century onwards, it was regarded as the work of the son of Zebedee; only the Alogi of Asia Minor rejected it, even before the end of the second century, but that was scarcely on the ground of better or even of divergent tradition; their contemporaries Irenaeus and the author of the Muratorian Fragment, whose dogmaticideas took no exception to the book, had no doubt whatever that it originated with the Apostle John. The still older traces of acquaintanceship with John prove nothing either way, because no statements are made concerning its author. For instance, although in Irenaeus V. xxxvi.2, the ʽPresbytersʼ quote the words ʽIn my Fatherʼs house are many mansionsʼ as a Saying of the Lord, it is certainly probable that they had read those words in the Fourth Gospel; but this does not help us in any way to decide under what name they read that Gospel. It is our duty to examine the tradition narrowly, and to test its various constituents according to their antiquity. Thus it is proved by the absolutely trustworthy testimony of Irenaeus,1 that about the year 130 Polycarp boasted of the fact that he had known and had intercourse with John and others who had seen the Lord. No one has any doubt that by this John Irenaeus meant the son of Zebedee, the same whom he mentions in II. xxii. 5 as the witness for a fragment of tradition concerning Jesus; and in III.i.1 he declares expressly that this John, the disciple who leaned on Jesusʼ breast, published the Gospel at Ephesus in Asia. Innumerable witnesses now follow in his. train, whose information as to the occasion for this production and especially as to the reason why the Apostle took up his pen even after the Church had received three Gospels from the hands of Apostles or of their disciples, becomes more and more precise. Thus about the year 200, Clement of Alexandria2 had heard from older authorities that after the other Evangelists had imparted the corporeal Gospel, John had at the instigation of his friends and in the might of inspiration created a spiritual Gospel. Thus a satisfactory formula was at the same time provided for the enormous difference—of which even that age must have been sensible to a certain extent—between the picture of Christ given by the Synoptics and that given by John.

Apart from this distinction, however, between the corporeal and spiritual Gospel, the information concerning John in the Fragment of Muratori agrees with that of the ʽauthoritiesʼ of Clement. The author of the Fragment, however, takes greater pains to prove the rank of the Fourth Evangelist as eye-witness, and the unity of spirit in all four Gospels, and he gives a more romantic description of its origin3; he represents the fellow Apostles of John as urging him to write, and relates how it was revealed to the Apostle Andrew that John was to record everything under a sort of joint responsibility of all, but in his own name. According to this account, then, the writing of the Gospel could only be placed at Jerusalem and before the year 66, since the other Apostles were still alive; but not only does Eusebius4 assign the Gospel to the period of Johnʼs extreme old age (declaring him, moreover, to have been actuated by the desire of fillmg up the gap left by the Synoptics in the first half of the history of Jesus), but even the much earlier Irenaeus seems to have held this view, and he certainly looked upon Ephesus as the place of its composition. The ʽHistoria Ecclesiastica,ʼ somewhat freely reconstructed by Corssen,5 tells us that on his return from Patmos to Ephesus after the death of Domitian, and at the request of all the bishops of Asia and of deputations from many communities, the virgin apostle John wrote in an exalted style concerning the divinity of Christ, in order to provide a bulwark against Cerinthus, Ebion and others who denied the preexistence of Christ; that after a solemn fast in which all partook, a revelation had been vouchsafed to him in consequence of which he felt empowered to write down things worthy of the Lord. The Monarchian prologue to John of the third century, which was discovered in 1895,6 assumes as well known that, although the Fourth Gospel occupied the second place, it was written last of all, and written by the Apostle John after he had written his Apocalypse on the island of Patmos.

All other tradition concerning the Gospel is dependent on the above-named sources; and are these particularly remarkable for their antiquity and credibility? So far as their statements do not contradict one another, they are obvious legends invented according to the taste of the age in order to convince the world of the authorʼs inspiration and of the exalted nature of his motives in writing; the γνώριμοι of Clement, for instance, and the ʽcondiscipuliʼ of the Canon of Muratori were of course deduced from i. 14. and xxi. 24—ʽwe beholdʼ and ʽwe know.ʼ For the rest, all we know is that from the year 180 onwards John was almost universally recognised in the Church as the work of the Apostle John who died at Ephesus.

But the fact that the same men without exception ascribe the Apocalypse with equal confidence to the same John, although it is impossible seriously to suppose that these two works are from the hand of a single author, makes us somewhat suspicious of their information; if we were obliged to choose, we should give the preference to the Apocalypse, which is attested by Justin (about the year 155) as being the work of the Apostle John. It is certainly true, however, that Irenaeus was not the man to spin traditions out of his own brain. He appeals to Polycarp, who in his turn declares that he had had trustworthy information concerning the Lord Jesus from the eye-witness John. We do not mistrust either of the two, but it is most certain that this statement does not constitute Polycarp a witness to the Evangelist John. Those who picture the matter in the following light—that, when Irenaeus as a boy heard the aged Polycarp preach and tell of his experiences, he asked him whether the disciple of whom he was thus speaking were the same as he who had written the wonderful Logos-Gospel, and that Polycarp thereupon made him a kindly sign of assent—such may look upon the chain of tradition from Jesus to Irenaeus, through John and Polycarp, as marvellously complete; but others must consider it equally possible, precisely because Irenaeus does not appeal to Polycarp as a witness to the Fourth Gospel, that on the occasion of this visit the young Irenæus was as yet unacquainted with that Gospel. The one fact established by Polycarp is that a disciple named John sojourned in Asia for a considerable time; since he alone among other eyewitnesses is mentioned by name, he must have been a conspicuous personage and have possessed unusual authority; he must also have lived to a great age, since he met the heretic Cerinthus in the Baths of Ephesus,7 and his death occurred, as Irenaeus expressly asserts, in the early years of the reign of Trajan. That this John was buried at Ephesus is told by Polycrates, Bishop of that city, about the year 1908; he adds the words ʽHe who lay on the Lordʼs breastʼ and extols him as Witness and Teacher (this probably in reference to the Apocalypse and the Epistles), while he also adds the mysterious title ʽPriest who wore the brow-band.ʼ

Unfortunately, however, at the critical point in Irenaeus's book this John of Asia is merely designated as a ʽdisciple of the Lord,ʼ and not as ʽone of the Twelve,ʼ as the ʽson of Zebedeeʼ or as ʽthe Apostle.ʼ Considering the frequency of the name of John, then, this pillar of the Asiatic Church might after all have been another than the son of Zebedee. As early as the year 260, indeed, Dionysius of Alexandria proposed to distinguish two Asiatic teachers of the name of John, since two graves of John were shown at Ephesus—the one perhaps being the author of the Apocalypse, and the other, of course, the great Apostle who wrote the Gospel and the Epistles. Eusebius, who is still less favourably inclined than Dionysius towards the Apocalypse, joyfully agrees to this hypothesis9 and urges in support of it the testimony of Papias, who throughout his five books frequently called himself a hearer (αὐτήκοο) of a ʽPresbyterʼ John whom he clearly distinguished from the Apostle (and Evangelist, adds Eusebius). This distinction is, in fact, unavoidable, unless indeed one were so frivolous as to credit Eusebius with wilful falsification, or else so fanatical a Eusebian as to ascribe to Papias, merely because Eusebius calls him a man of limited intelligence, the manner of speech of a child of eight or of a greybeard of ninety, who forget what they have said within a minute of saying it. Papias is reported by Eusebius10 to have written, in describing his fruitful efforts to obtain authentic information concerning the Lord and his teaching, the following words: ʽIf 1 met with anyone who had been a follower of the elders anywhere, I made it a point to inquire what were the declarations of the elders, what was said by Andrew, Peter or Philip, what by Thomas, James, John, Matthew or any other of the disciples of our Lord, and what is said by Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord.ʼ It is clear that Papias here sets the Presbyter John, mentioned after Aristion, nearly on the same level as that other John whom he places before Matthew; but the context establishes it beyond question that the latter is meant for the son of Zebedee, while the other does not belong to the circle of the Twelve any more than does Aristion. On both Johns are bestowed the honourable titles of ʽDisciple of the Lordʼ and ʽElder,ʼ for both were representatives of the first Christian generation—that of the eye-witnesses. But while the one had said, the other was still saying, and it is therefore implied that he was alive at the time of Papiasʼs investigations—though whether Papias held any direct intercourse with him is not stated, at any rate in this passage— and since the John mentioned in the midst of none but Apostles can scarcely be any other than the famous Apostle, the son of Zebedee, it is obvious that the surviving John was no Apostle, but merely a ʽPresbyter.ʼ

Papias, then, said nothing of any Evangelist John; had he done so, Eusebius would scarcely have kept his knowledge of such a fact to himself, and the recent childish hypothesis that John dictated his Gospel to Papias is hardly worth a mention. But Papias places the son of Zebedee in the majestic list of the Apostles from whose lips he had still been able indirectly to procure utterances; side by side with him, however, another John, who was an Elder too, but also his own contemporary and one of his chief authorities. If the son of Zebedee had lived at Ephesus—that is, in the neighbourhood of Papias—down to the time of Trajan, we should expect that the latter, in his thirst for information, would have made use of him to a very considerable extent; but now it seems as though our informant never approached any nearer to him than he did, say, to Thomas or Matthew Papias does not breathe a syllable of the two Johns in Asia whose existence Eusebius concluded from this passage: he merely tells us of two disciples and elders named John. And since the inventors of the hypothesis of the two Johns had an all too obvious interest in doing so, and since the story of the two graves at Ephesus will scarcely impose upon any historian acquainted with the Legends of the Saints, the long-lived son of Zebedee dwelling in Asia seems by the testimony of Papias to be replaced by another John who lived far on into the time of Papias and was accessible to: him, so that he may in truth have dwelt in Asia; and this John we may perhaps designate—even though the title was by no means regarded by Papias as peculiar to him alone—as the Presbyter, in order to distinguish him from the Apostle.

This assumption appears to be confirmed by the testimony of Polycrates,11 who in enumerating the Pillars of the Church in Asia gives the first place to Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles (though he is here labouring under a delusion, for it was the deacon of Acts vi. 5 and viii. 5 fol.), and to his prophesying daughters, and only the second to John, who leaned on the breast of the Lord, and who lay buried, at Ephesus, while the third he assigns to Polycarp of Smyrna. The order is remarkable; and why does not John receive the title of Apostle if he belonged to the ranks of the Apostles? These and the like considerations have given rise to the hypothesis (urged with particular energy by Bousset, Delff and Harnack) according to which the John of Asia Minor— and of the Johannine writings—was only converted into the son of Zebedee by an early confusion of ideas, and was in reality another John, who had indeed seen Jesus, but who did not belong to the circle of the Twelve—in short, the Presbyter. The testimony of Justin is, however, very unfavourable to this hypothesis, for he regarded the John of Patmos and Ephesus as the son of Zebedee, and yet must surely have acquired this opinion in Asia, where he was converted. Nor does the appeal to Polycrates hold good, for in the emotional style of that Prince of the Church the titles bestowed on the Ephesian John must have been meant to exalt him in comparison with that of ὁ τῶν δώδεκα. ἀποστόλων assigned to Philip of Hierapolis, to whom the first place in Polycratesʼs list was perhaps given merely on the ground that he had been the first to die. We surely cannot believe that Polycrates considered it possible for a man to have leaned upon the breast of the Lord without having been one of the Apostles? And if there is here a question of an early confusion of persons, might not Papias himself have shared it? Might he not on occasion have cited sayings of ʽJohnʼ side by side with those of Thomas without observing that that same John was still alive, and was in fact the ʽElderʼ who was labouring at Ephesus, in his own neighbourhood? If the HKphesian John never applied the title of Apostle to himself, but always that of Disciple only, if as time went by he was more and more generally hailed with pious affection as ʽthe Elder,ʼ since of all the generation of the first eye-witnesses he had survived almost alone, then the error into which the Bishop of Hierapolis fell would not be wholly unintelligible.

We have no idea of giving a verdict. All that is certain is that the tradition concerning the two Johns of Asia is worthless—since their fusion into a single person could not have been accomplished there in so short a time—and that a Disciple named John, whom some call the son of Zebedee and others the ʽPresbyter,ʼ laboured on in Asia up to a very great age, having probably left his Palestinian home for ever in consequence of the troubles caused by the Jewish War. But that this disciple wrote the Fourth Gospel, Irenaeus, at the end of the second century, is the first to attest. Such a tradition can hardly be called first-rate; the writerʼs Own testimony to himself will be found to be far more valuable.

2. What, then, is the evidence of the Gospel and the three Epistles—for we must take these also into account because of their intimate connection with the Gospel—as to their authorʼs identity? The superscriptions are the work of their collectors, and therefore the self-testimony of the writer is reduced to certain vague and doubtful indications. In the two short epistles of the ʽElderʼ (2. and 8. John) we can indeed scarcely expect any enlightenment on the writerʼs past, but the silence he maintains as to his real name in the addresses is nevertheless remarkable. On the other hand, in the First Epistle12 and the Gospel (e.g. i. 14, ʽand we beheld his gloryʼ) the rank of eye-witness is certainly claimed for the writer with regard to the Gospel story. xxi. 24 of the Gospel clearly shows how much importance the writer attached to this ocular testimony, and by the mysterious word οὄδαμεν (we know) the Evangelist is supplied with authoritative testimony to the truth of his witness, for of course this could only have been said by those who had themselves been eye-witnesses, by the circle of the Condiscipuli, of whom later legend tells. But what, then, was the name of this man of trust to whom they gave the task of recording truth so -momentous? It was, according to this verse, merely ʽthe disciple,ʼ and from the context (οὗτός ἐστιν) we may read, with verse 20, ʽthe disciple whom Jesus loved.ʼ The same circumlocution is met with elsewhere,13 and we may take it for granted that the same man was meant in xviii. 15 fol. by ʽanother discipleʼ or ʽthe other disciple, which was known unto the high priest.ʼ This item, by the way, is of no use to us, since we learn nothing further concerning an acquaintance of the high priest among the band of disciples.

In former times it was believed as a matter of course—on the ground of tradition—that the Beloved Disciple was no other than John the son of Zebedee. Chapter xxi. seems to support this view, since in verse 2 those who took part in the miraculous draught of fishes are named as Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, the sons of Zebedee and ʽtwo others of his disciplesʼ; and since nothing is said as to a subsequent change of scene, it is among these that we must look for the Beloved Disciple whom, according to verse 20, Peter, turning about, saw by his side following the Lord. But why should he not just as well have been Nathaniel, or one of the unnamed pair? The sons of Zebedee, who are mentioned nowhere but here throughout the Gospel, while the names of James and John do not appear at all, might be mere padding, like the mention of Philip in xiv. 8. If we only knew, at any rate, whether the Beloved Disciple were one of the Twelve! But this is by no means rendered certain by xxi. 2, for Nathaniel and the nameless pair cannot very well be included in the ranks of the Twelve. True, we are expressly told in verse 20 that this disciple was the same as he who had leaned on Jesusʼ breast at supper and said, ʽLord, who is he that betrayeth thee?ʼ (Cf. xiii. 28: ʽThere was at the table reclining in Jesusʼ bosom one of his disciples,ʼ and xiii. 25: « He leaning back, as he was, on Jesusʼ breast said unto him,ʼ etc.) This supper was the last meal of which, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus partook in company with his disciples, and it was also that at which he performed the washing of their feet and finally pointed out Judas as his betrayer. According to the Synopties,14 too, none but the Twelve were with him on this occasion, but the Synoptic account is not conclusive for the Fourth Gospel; John, as we know, says not a word of the ʽinstitution of the Last Supperʼ at that parting ceremony, which to the Synoptics is the point of greatest importance, and what they represent as the Paschal meal is in John merely an ordinary supper. The ʽdisciplesʼ are indeed present, according to xiii. 5, but it seems scarcely probable that this idea, which occurs with such extraordinary frequency in John, should coincide absolutely with that of the Twelve,15 when we remember that after the Risen One had appeared to his disciples in xx. 19 and bestowed the Holy Ghost upon them, we are told that Thomas, one of the Twelve, had not been with the disciples when Jesus came, whereas eight days later he is to be found among them in the same room.16 In the ʽHigh Priestlyʼ prayer of chap. xvii. as well as in the parting discourses, we are left with the impression that ʽthe disciplesʼ represent the whole body of believers—all those whom God had given to Jesus out of the world17 and of whom but one alone was lost18—a ʽstatement which, by the way, we hear with astonishment after reading vi. 66. If, in short, the Fourth Gospel did not con4ain that saying of Jesus ʽDid not I choose you the twelve?ʼ19 we should learn from it nothing whatever of a privileged circle of twelve Apostles. These few verses, then, vi. 67-7 i stand as a modest concession to the traditional story; but to the Evangelist himself the title of ʽdiscipleʼ seemed far more glorious than that of ʽone of the twelve,ʼ which he bestows. only on the traitor Judas and on the faithless Thomas, while. the word ἀπόστολος is used but once, and that as a parallel to the word δοῦλος. This, indeed, almost has the air of a certain animosity against the Twelve and their special authority, and this impression is further heightened by another consideration.:

The Beloved Disciple, who is here professedly the narrator,. and whom not even the third person of xix. 3520 deposes from the rôle of writer to that of authority, regularly appears side by side with Simon Peter, and as regularly eclipses him. In the account of the Last Supper21 Simon Peter wishes to know whom Jesus regards as his betrayer; he does not, however, dare to ask the question himself, but makes a sign to the Beloved Disciple, who immediately asks it and receives the desired answer. At Jesusʼ arrest but two of his disciples follow their Lord, Peter and the nameless one; the latter first procures admittance for Peter into the High Priestʼs palace by virtue of the consideration in which he is there held, but then, while Peter cowardly denies his Master, the other accompanies him faithfully along the whole of the road to death, he alone stands beneath the Cross, and he it is who is given by the dying Christ to Mary as her son, becoming thereby in the fullest sense the heir of Jesus. Further on,22 again, he: and Peter, alone among the disciples, go to the tomb at the. bidding of the Magdalene, but he, the ʽother,ʼ reaches it before Peter, steps up to the opening and sees the linen cloths. lying empty. Upon this Peter enters the tomb itself before him, but this is no proof of greater faith—on the contrary, it is only of the other that we are definitely told ʽhe saw and believed,ʼ even though he too, as well as Peter, ʽas yet knew not the Scripture.ʼ Finally in xxi. 15-28 it is surely not. intended to confer on Peter a degree of love to Jesus to which no other had attained, but rather politely to refuse this claim to a πλέον τούτων; Peterʼs very question in verse 21 betrays the fact that-he regarded the Beloved Disciple as a rival, and it is also noteworthy that the latter follows Jesus of his own accord, whereas Peter does so only by express command. Lastly, in verses 22 and 23 we are given to understand that a4 saying became rife among the brethren that the unnamed disciple would not die, for this was thought to have been foretold him by the Risen One as distinctly as had his death upon the cross to Peter; but the writerʼs faith in this saying had passed away, and he impresses it upon us that Jesus did not say ʽhe shall not die,ʼ but only ʽif I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?ʼ

The only touch in the picture of the unknown disciple which is in favour of his identification with the son of Zebedee is the designation ʽhe who leaned on Jesusʼ breast,ʼ because this reminds us of Mark x. 87, where the sons of Zebedee ask to be suffered to sit, one on the right hand and one on the left of Jesus in his glory—a request which would certainly lead us to suppose that they were accustomed even in this world to occupy the places of honour at his side. Besides we certainly have a feeling that Jesus could not have bestowed special marks of his love and confidence on a disciple whom he did not at the same time admit into the circle of the Twelve, and—which is still more important—of whom the other Gospels know absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, however, this chosen one, who in his turn stands opposed to the other chosen ones, is a figure which can find no place within the Synoptic tradition: he is, in fact, not a figure of flesh and blood at all. The self-testimony of the Fourth Gospel is bound to arouse the gravest suspicions on account of the airs of mystery and the ambiguity which surround it. If in xix. 35 and xx. 31, the writer addresses himself directly to his readers with the words ʽthat ye may believe,ʼ why does he keep his own personality—that of speaker or writer as the case may be—so mysteriously veiled? Considering the charges laid upon him and the events in which he had taken part, an ʽ1ʼ would in truth have been no less natural than a ʽyeʼ or a ʽwe.ʼ If a disciple were here setting down some of his recollections of Jesus—no matter from what point of view or after how long an interval the tone of personal reminiscence would be bound to assert itself more, and it is wholly impossible to conceive why the son of Zebedee or any other John should so anxiously have avoided all plain references to his own personality. On the other hand, the vagueness and mystery of the indications concerning the author, his cautious reserve on one page, followed by the highest claims on another, would become quite intelligible if a later Christian, writing in the name of the true body of disciples, of those blessed ones who ʽhad not seen, and yet had believed,ʼ had composed a spiritual, an idealist Gospel such as must have been written by a disciple who, leaning as he did upon his Masterʼs breast, had been enabled to gaze into his heart, and was therefore far better qualified to describe his greatness and glory than those who merely reported those things which their bodily eyes had seen.

But it is to be concluded from xxi. 22 fol. that the unknown writer did not create for himself the rôle of an ideal disciple quite independently. It is true that he promises his counterpart a spiritual ʽtarryingʼ till the Parusia of the Lord-—that is to say, within the Gospel, which was to win and work till the end of the world—but, on the other hand, he confesses that this personage was mortal, was in fact dead; and why this change if it were not founded on some historical fact? The aged John of Ephesus is the only disciple known to us who lived to such an advanced age that a belief in his immortality might have arisen; it is to him that tradition points; Polycrates claims the Beloved Disciple as a pillar of the Asiatic Church, and therefore his image must surely have hovered before the mind of our Evangelist too, whom it were idle to look for anywhere but in Asia. But was it the son of Zebedee or the Presbyter whom he thus idealised, and in whose name he sought to write? From the investigation conducted above we must conclude that we are not in a position to answer this question, or at most we can but say that he wished to be heard and read, not as the son of Zebedee nor yet as the Presbyter, but simply as the disciple who had understood Jesus best and loved him most tenderly. And for a true understanding of the Gospel it is a matter of indifference which of the two was the John whom the writer had in his mind, at any rate if we accept it as certain that it is not this John himself who speaks to us in the Gospel, but one of his later adherents.

3. It is, in fact, the one unassailable proposition which criticism, dealing solely with the internal evidence, can set up concerning the Fourth Gospel, that its author was not. ʽthe disciple whom Jesus loved.ʼ Those who can ascribe it to this actual John may just as well accept the Second Epistle of Peter as the work of Simon Peter. Nor does the Presbyter hypothesis affect this judgment in the least, for the Presbyter himself would still be a disciple who had leaned on Jesusʼ breast, who after his Masterʼs death had taken that Masterʼs mother into his own house, and had thus been enabled to obtain detailed information of his early history,—for a mere passing contact with Jesus such as even Aristion could boast (supposing that he was the fabricator of the wretched conclusion to Mark) is not sufficient to infuse. historical reality into this figure of the most intimate of the friends of Jesus which pervades the Fourth Gospel. The most intimate must, after all, have been a Hebrew; though that is not inconceivable in the case of the Evangelist, since the Semitic extraction of the writer may be observed both in the language, with its shrinking from the periodic sentence, and also in the forms of thought. For my part, however, I should prefer to look upon our Evangelist as the Christian-born son of Jewish Christian parents, for his attitude towards the Jews is so hostile and aloof that he uses the name no longer in a national sense, but merely to denote the unbelieving adherents of a superseded religion.23 It is true that, if we substitute for the quondam fisherman an otherwise unknown John who, as the friend of Caiaphas, had been in a position to acquire a high training in theology and philosophy, and had been an early convert to the fundamental) ideas of Paul, the objections which (considering that in Galatians John is named as one of the Pillars of the primitive community, who reserved to themselves the Apostleship of the Circumcision, and that the son of Zebedee was a Galilean fisherman) the writerʼs philosophical culture and wholly unprejudiced attitude towards the Law and the Circumcision must raise in our minds, lose in weight although they do not entirely disappear. And there is also the reflection that the son of Zebedee himself would in the thirty years or more which he is said to have passed in the Hellenic atmosphere of Ephesus before the composition of the Gospel, have had time for a thorough modification of his ideas. But the difficulty remains that John—whether Apostle or Presbyter— must have written the Gospel (and also the Epistles, which seem to belong to a still later date) in extreme old age, and such literary activity on the part of a centenarian is open to doubt; for the monotony of the Gospel has other causes than that of senility, and the writer gives sufficient proofs of alert attention and of a power of work that knew its own ends and dominated its material.

The decisive argument is, however, furnished by literary and historical criticism, which is obliged to protest altogether against assigning the book to an eye-witness. The writer of the Fourth Gospel was acquainted with the three Synoptics, and his indebtedness to them is conspicuous in certain parts; but is it probable that the eye-witness would have made use of second-hand authorities for his narrative, and that many (according to Luke) would have vied with one another in writing Gospels, while one of the Pillars, the authority κατ̓ ἐξοχήν for these matters, was still living at Ephesus and could at any moment have consigned all these productions to oblivion by publishing his own recollections? It is true that John does not merely follow the Synoptics in what he tells us, for by far the greater part of his Gospel has no Synoptic parallels at all. Nor is he ever a mere copyist, for it is precisely the differences between his account and that of the Synoptics which strike us most forcibly. The fact that he passes over many things which they agree in relating, ought to raise no difficulties, for he presupposes some acquaintance with the ʽSomaticʼ Gospels. Again, that certain stories—concerning the miraculous power of Jesus, for instance—are peculiar to him might at first sight be taken to prove that much continued to exist in his memory which had not yet become the common property of wider circles. But the miracles peculiar to John—the changing of the water into wine, the healings of the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda and of the man born blind, and the raising of _Lazarus—do not give us the impression of actual fact, but rather of artistic intensification of well-known Synoptic stories. None of the disciples can have had any motive in keeping secret these brilliant proofs of the miraculous power of Jesus, and we ask ourselves in vain why none of the Synoptists appear to know anything about them. The simplest explanation is that they arose in later times under the influence of a theology firmly convinced that the Son of God possessed omnipotence on earth and exerted it in all directions, and creating its examples for this almighty power, now in close agreement with the tradition and now with but slight reference to it. Jesus had in fact, according to xxi. 25, done so many deeds that ʽeven the world itself would not contain the books which should be writtenʼ concerning them; therefore, no matter where the imagination might range in order to behold him, the creator of the world, at his work of transformation, it could never light upon an empty spot, nor could it ever ascribe to him deeds too vast or too extraordinary. In describing the appearances of the Risen Christ, for instance, the Fourth Evangelist lays special stress on the fact that he came when the doors were closed24; the element of the miraculous is thereby greatly increased in comparison with the earlier version of Luke; and the story of the Passion, too, when contrasted with that of the Synoptics, bears throughout this amplifying character, which tends to obliterate every trace of weakness or of inward struggle, and which in all other cases of a comparison of authorities counts as a sign of later origin.

The foreknowledge of Jesus cannot be insisted upon too emphatically in John25; no scene in Gethsemane is here to be found; Jesus goes to meet his captors of his own accord, and, on condition that they let his disciples go, delivers himself up voluntarily to those who had already been flung to the ground by his mere word. The Jesus of the older Evangelists, who kept silence during the interrogation, is here transformed into the accuser and judge26; his dealings with Pilate are those of a king with his subordinate, and only in xix. 9 does the prophecy ʽhe opened not his mouthʼ obtain a momentary recognition. The words which John puts into the mouth of Jesus on the Cross serve only to waken faith and to convert the Saviour into an emblem of brotherly love; the cry ʽMy God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?ʼ is far more intolerable to John than it had been to Luke.

But the entire framework of the public career of Jesus is different in John from what we find it in the Synoptics. It is not merely that the latter represent Jesus as being crucified on the fifteenth day of the month Nizan, after he has celebrated the Passover with his disciples on the previous day, in accordance with the Law, while, in John, Jesus dies on the fourteenth day of Nizan, before the beginning of the Jewish Passover: it is that the activity of Jesus is transferred in quite overwhelming proportions by John to Judea and Jerusalem and is distributed over several years, whereas in the Synoptics we are told of but one journey of the Messiah to Jerusalem—that which led him to the fatal Passover. A very remarkable difference also exists between the Synoptics and John with regard to an occurrence which could never have been displaced in the memory of one who had taken part in it. The cleansing of the Temple, that act of Messianic omnipotence, is placed by Mark, Matthew and Luke in the last days before the death of Jesus, and forms the main ground for the action of the authorities against him; John, on the other hand, relates it as early as chapter ii., placing it in the first Easter visit of Jesus to Jerusalem, and in his account the Jews content themselves with asking him for a sign of his authority to dosuch things. That the statement of John is here the less probable of the two is admitted by almost all who allow any criticism whatever to be applied to his Gospel, so obvious is the connection in this case with the idea that pervades the whole of John,—that the Son ship of Jesus was attested continuously from the very first moment of his appearance in public both by himself and by his disciples and followers, particularly by John the Baptist. According to the Synoptics, on the other hand, the Twelve themselves did not realise whom they had in their midst until comparatively late; this is evidently a fragment of real historical knowledge, and Johnʼs is the dogmatic reconstruction. For if in John vi. 68 etc., Peter in the name of the Twelve answers Jesusʼ question ʽWould ye also go away?ʼ with the words—ʽLord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of God,ʼ—this is an obvious heightening of Mark viii. 29, but it contains nothing new, since as early as i.49 Nathaniel makes the same acknowledgment. In my opinion the Synoptics are also right as to the day of Jesusʼ ʽdeath and as to the duration of his ministry. For to reconstruct, solely on account of the one prophetic utterance ʽHow many timesʼ etc. of Matthew27 and Luke,28 several visits of Jesus to Jerusalem out of the Synoptics themselves, against their obvious intention, is almost as childish a pastime as that of determining the number of years of the ministry from the parable of the fig-tree in Luke.29 But John had a definite interest in making Jesus appear in Jerusalem several times and for various different feasts; Jerusalem was to him the stage on which Jesus was meant to fight out his battle with the Jews, and this battle must be depicted in more scenes than one. And is it easier to believe the account of the Passion in John, according to which Jesus dies on the fourteenth of the month Nizan, at the very hour at which, as the Law directs, the Paschal Lamb was being prepared for the Passsover (a combination of events which was more than welcome to the theology of fulfilment, since it visibly represented Jesus as the Lamb of God) or the report of the Synoptics, in which Jesus is still able to celebrate the Passover with his disciples, and is slain on the day after the Feast, in gross violation of the festal ordinances?

I know of no point, in fact, in which our knowledge of the life of Jesus receives an incontestable increase through the Fourth Gospel. But even if we could value its author more oiten as a witness of the first rank, it would still be impossible to assume any more than that he made use of certain valuable authorities, and not that he was an eye and ear-witness. Some critics are inclined to attribute certain definite statements in John, especially those indications of place which have no connection with the writerʼs general design (Tendenz)—such as ʽBethany beyond Jordanʼ as the scene of Johnʼs: baptising,30 or afterwards ʽÆnon near to Salim,ʼ31 or the mention of Jesusʼ walking in Solomonʼs porch32—to the studious: researches of the Evangelist. And he may certainly have had some knowledge of Palestine, for the remark about the High Priest ʽof that yearʼ in xi. 49, which corresponds so ill with the established custom of the Jews, affords no direct proof to the contrary, since in Asia men would easily become accustomed to such inaccurate phraseology. But the names of persons which are occasionally introduced in order to give animation to the narrative inspire but little confidence, and still less the numerical statements of xxi. 8 or vi. 19 (ʽwhen therefore they had rowed about five-and-twenty or thirty furlongsʼ etc.). If, then, these data have no higher value than,. say, the statement of Josephus that Balaam was led by Balak to a mountain sixty furlongs distant from the camp of the Israelites, have we any right to ascribe those other details as to places, feasts and days to anything but the authorʼs literary pleasure in making his representation more detailed?

Unfortunately, the verdict that John, while loosely dependent on the older authorities, created his own materials. freely, and derived them from his faith rather than from trustworthy sources, is not least true when applied to the discourses of Jesus which fill the greater part of his book.

Not only does his Jesus speak in the language of the Evangelist and pray in the way in which the Evangelist narrates, but what he says has scarcely two or three sentences in common with the Sayings as given in the Synoptics. Instead of the parables of the latter, we have here, at most, colourless: allegories and ambiguous metaphors; instead of the pithy practical wisdom of the Synoptics, we find theological speculation; instead of the constant relation to actual circumstances and events, the prevailing character of timelessness. All the discourses whose sole theme is in reality the speaker himself must be considered just as unhistorical as the long ʽHigh-Priestlyʼ prayer of chapter xvii., which could scarcely have been uttered in the presence of the disciples and formally recorded by them immediately afterwards. If we leave a few doubtful sayings out of account, the only verse in the Synoptics which recalls the tone of the Johannine Discourses is Matt. xi. 27 (repeated in Luke x. 22); and we are thus confronted with the choice of looking for our historically attested materials either in John or in the Synopties—but not in both. For a Jesus who preached alternately in the manner of the Sermon on the Mount and of John xiv.-xvi. is a psychological impossibility; the distinction between his so-called exoteric and esoteric teaching a palpable absurdity. The defenders of the ʽauthenticityʼ of John do, moreover, as a rule admit that the Evangelist intended to make some sort of idealisation of the sayings of Jesus—that he was in a state of quasi ecstasy while writing —in other words, that he gives us a picture of his hero which exceeds the bounds of history. Science, however, cannot allow itself any such mysticism or phrase-making; in the Johannine discourses it is impossible to separate the form from the matter—to ascribe the form to the later writer and the matter to Jesus—no: sint ut sunt aut non sint! It is of course perfectly conceivable that as in John xii. 25 a saying of Jesus is corroborated by Synoptic parallels, so there may be certain others not so corroborated which spring from a different but trustworthy tradition (e.g. xiv. 2); in itself, for instance, Jesus might well have bequeathed such a consolation as that of xvi. 21 fol. to his disciples. But the specifically Johannine material, of which chapter Xvii. is the type, was produced and created by a single brain, and that the brain of the Evangelist. The party of Apology, moreover, who do their best to disguise this fact by all manner of explanatory hypotheses, defeat their own ends, for in reality they lower Jesus in order to exalt one of his disciples to the skies. Jesus must surely be regarded, to judge from the effects which he has left upon the worldʼs history, and quite apart from the religious aspect of the case, as a personality which either repelled or else completely subjugated others; but if Jesusʼ favourite disciple, after he had been withdrawn for many years from all personal intercourse with his master, could record a ʽhigher than the merely historicalʼ impression of him: if the Christ who is elevated to the levek of the Johannine individuality is more lovable, greater and mightier than the ʽstrictly historicalʼ Christ of the Synoptics: then Jesus has hitherto been consistently over-rated—then. the disciple is above his Lord.

4. If these considerations compel us to deny the Fourth Gospel all independent value as an authority for the history of Jesus, the book acquires an even greater interest as an authority for that of the early Church—in fact, of the Church in general, for it is certainly the original source of that conception of the Saviour to which, in the theology of the Church (not in the feelings of the people), the future was destined. Moreover it teaches us once for all how very far from any real clearness and fixity were the ideas of the early Church concerning Jesus, since it was possible in the second century for John to become a Canonical Gospel side by side with the three Synoptics. The high-handed manner in which the unknown author of John composes discourses and prayers to put into the mouth of Jesus and arranges the course of his activity on earth, might almost destroy our confidence in all tradition concerning Christ, if we did not still feel the contrast very markedly between John and the ephemeral glitter of the multitude of fancy-Gospels (Phantasieevangelien) which sprang into existence soon afterwards, and if we did not see that even John respects the fundamental lines of actual history, although, unfortunately, the sayings he records are far from suited to it. The story of the baptism of Jesus, for instance, which must have been particularly inconvenient to our Evangelist, he adapts indeed to his own ends, but without destroying all traces of the Synoptic narrative. He was certainly aware of the striking contrast between his own presentment of the Gospel story and that of the other Evangelists, with whose work, as we know, he was acquainted: he did not feel satisfied with the existing Gospels, and intended partly to improve upon and partly to supersede them. Here the question confronts us: whence this writer, who could not feel called upon on the ground of eye-witness-ship to charge the older Evangelists with falsification—whence he derived the courage for this bold task, and what it was that actually constrained him to take up his pen. In attempting to answer it we enter upon one of the most obscure passages in the history of the early Church.

The view that ʽJohnʼ was published as a philosophical prose-poem, by an Asiatic theologian who might just as well have kept his Messiah to himself, should certainly be rejected as antiquated and narrow-minded. On the contrary, John is a work begotten by the actual needs of the time. The passionate zeal of the writer is not entirely concealed beneath the monotony of his discourses, and the idea which is so natural to us of the devout John wholly absorbed in the contemplation of his Saviour is in reality most ill-suited to such a man. Baldensperger tries to explain the Gospel as the manifesto of a Christian, writing during the acute stage of the struggle between the followers of Jesus and the Baptist sect, which latter had openly gone back into the camp of unbelieving Judaism. The remarkable interest in John the Baptist shown by our author, his almost importunate eagerness to compare him with Jesus and to emphasise his inferiority (e.g. x. 41: ʽJohn indeed did no signʼ), would certainly be explained by this hypothesis, and a flood of light is thereby shed on many a dark word in the Gospel. But in spite of Acts xviii. 24-xix. 7, the Baptist sect remains but a shadow, which it is difficult to imagine as entering upon so severe a contest as Baldensperger must assume, with what was by that time the comparatively old-established Church. And even if we could so think of it, we should still require another factor for the full comprehension of the peculiarities of John, for we can hardly suppose that the farewell discourses are directed against the Baptist and against those who over-rated him. Moreover, the Gospel contains not a single utterance hostile to or even slighting the Baptist; in v. 33 fol., for instance, contempt is poured by Jesus, not upon the Baptist, who had ʽborne witness unto the truth,ʼ but upon the Jews, who had sought testimony from a man, whereas Jesus neither asked nor needed any external witness, his works alone testifying to him as Saviour. Here, as in many other passages—even in such as contain no reference to the Baptist at all—it is clearly shown that the foes against whom the controversial element in John was directed were the unbelieving Jews. These had pressed the claims of the Baptist in order to destroy the authority of Jesus; they had contended that John had baptised unto the forgiveness of sins long before Jesus, that Jesus himself had received Johnʼs baptism and consequently the forgiveness of sins, and that he had thereby entered the ranks of Johnʼs disciples. And assuredly the disciple was not above his master. As against the exalted claims which the Christians attached to the baptism of their Church, the baptism of John must still retain the virtue of priority, and in Jewish thought the earlier is of necessity the greater. Had not Jesus himself been obliged to confess of the Baptist that he was the greatest of all men born of women? Nor did such opponents confine themselves to these few objections to the pretensions of the Christians; they ransacked the whole history of Jesus in order to discredit him. True, he had driven out unclean spirits, but he had himself admitted that the sons of the Pharisees could do the like; he had chosen out a band of disciples, but had looked upon the traitor as his friend until the very last day, and when misfortune overtook him, even the others had forsaken or denied him toa man. He had not dared to go up to Jerusalem, the true home of the Messiah, because he knew that he would not be able to subdue the wise of the great city, as he had the foolish mobs of Galilee, by a few high-sounding speeches; and when at last he had made the venture he had soon been rudely awakened out of his giddy dream of kingship, and had died in despair upon the Cross. Such were the reproaches hurled by their adversaries against the faithful in the disputes between Jews and Christians. Gentiles whom the latter were seeking to win over would suffer themselves to be imposed upon in this matter by Judaistic agitators, and even the believers themselves for the most part knew no clear and decisive arguments with which to refute such accusations. The enemy appealed to the Christian authorities themselves: ʽYour own Mark, Matthew or Peter say so-and-so,ʼ they would cry; and the attacked could not deny that such words were indeed to be found in their Gospels.

It was from such a dangerous situation that the Fourth Gospel took its birth. Its author did not indeed reject the existing Gospels, nor, we may be sure, did he declare them spurious, for in common with every Christian of his time he read in them traditions handed down from the cirele of the Twelve, springing from Peter or from Matthew; but even though they contained nothing false, they did not contain enough: they did not depict the whole Christ, the Christ from whose majesty the darts of Jewish calumny must glance harmlessly aside. The Church needed a Gospel that should preach the true Christ in his teaching and his suffering, in his miraculous power and his rising from the dead: a Christ, in fact, with whom the Baptist, mere mortal as he was, could not even be compared, who had manifested himself from beginning to end as a divine being, furnished with divine powers of action and of knowledge, who had brought salvation to his people and assured it them for all future ages, and who had only died that the Scripture might be fulfilled and the full assurance of salvation—founded upon water and blood—might be given. He had not stooped to win the favour of the multitude, but the aristocrats of mind and birth —so far at least as the might of Satan did not hold them captive—crowded to hear him, and whenever an injury was inflicted on him it was of his own free will.

These few examples must suffice to illustrate the position taken up by the Fourth Gospel. It is throughout Apologetic. The Gospel history is arranged and adapted in the most uncompromising manner with a view to repelling Jewish insinuations against the Gospel as it had hitherto existed. Nor if we wish to estimate both historically and psychologically the causes which led to the production of John, can we afford to overlook the depreciatory glance it casts upon the Synoptics, and upon those Christians who thought to rely on the—Synoptics alone—the expanded traditions of the Twelve—in the battle of the religions. Thus the Fourth Evangelist cannot have taken up his pen before the second century. There is no need to assume that an alarming increase took place in the Jewish propaganda during his time; the only necessary supposition is that the two monotheistic religions, each with its vigorous proselytising tendency, had become definitely separated, and were now openly striving—precisely in the interest of their missionary activities—to dispute one anotherʼs claims to precedence. This state of things, however, continued during the whole of the second century. As Justin championed the cause of the Church against Judaism in his Dialogue with Tryphon the Jew, so the Fourth Evangelist wished to champion it in his Gospel—only with still greater effect, because his demonstration was positive, was in the grand style, and was apparently carried out with all the impartiality of the historian.

But with whose authority should he endow his Gospel? His own name, that of a little-known and perhaps comparatively young Christian theologian, would have done more harm than good, and, on the other hand, he would scarcely have dared to issue it expressly under that of another. His source of information must be an eye-witness, and if possible one who. by his relation to Jesus possessed the highest qualifications for telling the story of Jesus. Well, he thought he was acquainted with such a man. The man to whom he, as well as the whole: Asiatic Church of his time, owed their knowledge of the Lamb of God, of his divine character and of the absolute nature of the redemption he had brought, was the disciple John. John had passed away, even though men had believed he would live to see the return of the Lord, but his witness—his Gospel —lived on in his communities, and assuredly it would be an act of which he would have approved to draw up this witness. of his in written form, now, when the need for a convincing. word of testimony was so urgently felt. But the writer would have been no true child of his age if in carrying out his plan his attention had always been anxiously fixed in the first. instance upon the tradition as delivered by John, instead of upon the needs of the Church. The greater part of the discourses of Jesus, and probably the bold modifications of the: Passion story in an equal degree, are his own work. How far there may already have existed in much of this a school tradition on which he worked, we cannot even attempt to ascertain, but what must have given him an inward confidence in his task was the conviction that he was reproducing the portrait of Christ exactly as he had received it from John. According to the standards of his time, the words ʽwe know that his witness is trueʼ (xxi. 24) would afford full excuse for the man who, in order to increase the effect of this witness, had shortly before added to the words ʽthis is the disciple which beareth witness of these things,ʼ which are subjectively true, the objectively questionable exaggeration ʽand which wrote these things.ʼ

The connection between the Gospel and the long-lived disciple of Jesus in Asia, of whom we have certain knowledge through Polycarp and Irenaeus, is thus established, and where else should we look for this enthusiastic admirer of the disciple who leaned on the breast of the Lord than at Ephesus, the city where that disciple had stood for so many years like a steadfast pillar among his brethren? And in Asia Minor we may discover yet other elements of the Christology and the religious language of which the perfect type is offered by the Fourth Gospel; e.g. in the Apocalypse (see p. 281), in the quotations from the Asiatic Presbyters made by Irenæus, in the writings of Papias (e.g. the passage quoted by Eusebius in the Hist. Eccles. III. xxxix. 8: ἐντολὰς . . . ἀπ’ αὐτῆς παραγινομένας τῆς ὰληθείας) and of Polycarp.33 The divine Christ, Christ as the Truth, the Way, the Life, the bread of Life, etc., are not the creations of our Evangelist himself, but were found pre-existing by him as the creations of Johannine thought, and he himself merely erected his own artistic edifice upon the Johannine foundation.

Unfortunately, this John must, notwithstanding, always remain for us a figure wrapped in mystery. He must at any rate have been a determined and successful representative of ʽspiritualʼ (pneumatische) Christology, a believer, for whom to have Christ and all the treasures of time and eternity, on the one hand, and, on the other, to have love both to God and to the brethren, were identical conceptions, and moreover so strongly marked a personality, that although he but travelled further along the road laid down by Paul, the image of Paul was blotted out by him —though all unintentionally—in the Asiatic provinces. The Epistles of Paul were still preserved there, but all recollection of the man himself faded away. Was this great man, then, one of the ʽSons of thunder,ʼ or a disciple John who did not come into prominence until comparatively late? The title of πρεσβύτερος borne by 2. and 8. John merely establishes the identity of the John referred to there with him of xxi. 22 of the Gospel; it is the disciple who dieth not, the Elder among Elders. It is true that the Apocalypse is particularly refractory to the notion of Apostolic authorship, but neither would the Beloved Disciple of the Fourth Gospel have been a suitable author for it, since on that hypothesis we should have expected some reference to the past imperishable relations of the Seer with the Son of God. However cautious we ought to be in demanding a personal element in an Apocalypse, it certainly cannot be considered probable that the Revelation was the work of John, the aged disciple of Asia; at most it, too, can be said to belong to his ʽSchool,ʼ even though it may be of earlier date than the Gospel, and may perhaps be more directly dependent on his teaching. When this is said, however, the last reason for preferring the intangible ʽPresbyterʼ to the son of Zebedee disappears; the latter might well have given a mighty impulse to the Christianity of Asia in the years between 70 and 100, and have impressed the stamp of his personality upon the Church of that district for many years to come.

Of course, what he evidently prided himself upon most was, not his having once belonged to the circle of the Twelve, but the fact that as disciple he had been and still was bound to his Master by special and indissoluble ties of love; thus it was the character of disciple, eye-witness, Beloved of the Lord, which his unknown follower who dared to write the Gospel prized in him more highly than that of Apostle—especially since certain Apostles were not merely alleged by Jewish slanderers, but had proved themselves to be, guilty of treachery, cowardice, lack of understanding and of faith. His aged master, on the other hand, was for him the embodiment of the voice of truth. And when he had designed the Gospel in a manner he thought worthy of the ʽElderʼ himself, and when his work earned the approval of those who: had often sought in vain for such a weapon during the heat of battle, it became so sacred a task to him and so much his second nature to write in the tone of John, that when Gnosticism, with its errors both of theory and practice, appeared and demanded a speedy and telling refutation, he entered the lists against it in the same character of the aged witness—only, naturally, not with another Gospel, but with an Epistle, the form of literature whose utility for such disputes had been established by Paul. Isolated supplements he furnished in the shape of the two shorter Epistles. The clearer emphasis here laid on the authority by which these writings—appearing, as they probably did, suddenly and mysteriously—claimed attention, as well as the complaints in 2. and 3. of certain open refusals to receive them which had reached the writerʼs ears, confirm us in the assumption which we must in any case have made, that the Johannine writings were not welcomed with equal enthusiasm by all Christians who were brought into contact with them. Various motives. may have combined to produce the objections raised against all or some of them: in the East, for instance, many who had found a lifelong sustenance in Mark or Matthew would have rejected John in the spirit of Luke v. 39.34 But the new generation—and the young everywhere—accepted it; the self-consciousness of the new religion was more simply and sublimely formulated there than in the older Gospels, and whatever the fascination of the subject left unaccomplished was performed by the renown of the name under which these writings circulated. After the lapse of a few decades the embarrassment into which the Church was brought by the constant appeals of Gnostics, Montanists and Docetists to the authority of John, or the objections which the Quartodecimani were bound to raise against the new date for the Crucifixion, hardly so much as weighed in the scale against the name of John. He was the last survivor of the band of Jesusʼ personal friends, and therefore the last word was said by ʽhisʼ Gospel.



1) Euseb. Hist. Eccles. V. xx. 4.

2) Ibid. VI. xiv. 5 and 7.

3) Lines 9-33.

4) Hist. Eccles. III. xxiv. 7.

5) Texte und Untersuchungen, XV. 80. 2.

6) Ibid. p. 6.

7) Iren. III. iii. 4.

8) Euseb. Hist. Eccles. V. xxiv. 3.

9) Ibid. III. xxxix. 6 fol.

10) Hist. Eccles. III. xxxix. 4.

11) Euseb. Hist. Eccles. V. xxiv. 3.

12) i. 1-4.

13) xiii, 23, xix. 26, xx. 2 (here ἐφίλει instead of the usual ἠγάπα).

14) Mark xiv. 17-25 and parallels.

15) Except in vi. 67 and 70 fol. and xx. 24.

16) xx, 26.

17) xvii. 6.

18) xvii. 12.

19) vi. 70.

20) ʽHe that hath seen hath borne witness, and he knoweth that he saith rue.ʼ

21) xiii. 23 etc.

22) xx. 2 etc.

23) P. 398.

24) xx. 19, 26.

25) xviii. 4, xix. 28.

26) xviii. 20, 21, 23.

27) xxiii. 37.

28) xiii. 34.

29) xiii. 7.

30) i. 28.

31) iii. 23.

32) x. 23.

33) E.g., Philip. iii. 3, vii. 1, ix. 2.

34) ‘And no man haying drunk old wine desireth new, for he saith “The old is. better.ʼʼ’