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Scholars have debated the authorship of the Johannine works (Gospel of John, the first, second, and third epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation) since at least the third century. Beasley-Murray notes, "Everything we want to know about this book [the Gospel of John] is uncertain, and everything about it that is apparently knowable is [a] matter of dispute (sic)."[1] The main debate centers on (1) Whether these works were authored by the same person, and (2) The identity of the author(s).

Ancient tradition attributes all the books to John the Apostle.[2] In the 6th century, the Decretum Gelasianum argued that Second and Third John have a separate author known as "John, a priest" (see John the Presbyter).[3] Higher criticism, representing most liberal Christian and secular scholars, disputes whether John the Apostle authored any of these works.

Modern scholars conclude that the apostle John wrote none of these works.[4] There may have been a single author for the gospel and the three epistles.[2] Some scholars conclude the author of the epistles was different from that of the gospel, although all four works probably originated from the same community.[5] The gospel and epistles traditionally and plausibly came from Ephesus, c. 90-110, although some scholars argue for an origin in Syria.[6] In the case of Revelation, many modern scholars agree that it was written by a separate author, c. 95 with some parts possibly dating to Nero's reign in the early 60s.[2][7]

El Greco's rendition of John the Apostle shows the traditional author of the Johannine works as a young man.

Early use of the Johannine works

"Saint John on Patmos" by Hans Baldung Grien, 1511

The earliest uses of John in the Johannine community[clarification needed] and the wider world are not fully known to the modern scholar, but hypotheses can be made about the use of John from different ancient sources in antiquity. Some scholars, such as Craig Keener, note the gospel was not widely quoted in the first and early second century (Keener cites Justin Martyr as the earliest source within the church fathers to quote John's gospel).[8] Others argue, because Justin cites John only once, that in antiquity John was probably considered less important than the synoptics.[9] Walter Bauer suggests:

Can it be a coincidence that immediately after Justin, the enemy of heretics who took aim at the Valentinians (Dial. 35. 6), we note the appearance in Italy-Rome of two representatives of this latter school who especially treasure the Fourth Gospel--namely Ptolemy and Heracleon (Hillolytus Ref. 6. 35)? To be sure, Justin's disciple Tatian placed the Gospel of John on the same level as the synoptics, but he also broke with the church on account of profound differences in faith--poisoned, so Irenaeus thought, by the Valentinians and Marcion (AH 1. 28. 1 [=1.26.1]).[10]

Robert Grant argues that the synoptic gospels were theological only in certain areas, and the theologies in the synoptics were inadequate in the second century world. The fourth evangelist was attempting to write a “gospel for the church” in the new context of the second century.[11] One reason for this ‘orthodox ambivalence' was gnostic acceptance of the fourth gospel.[12] The early Gnostic use is referred to by Irenaeus and Origen in quoted commentary made on John by the Gnostics Ptolemy and Heracleon. In the quote below, one can see how passionately Irenaeus argues against this gnostic heresy from his book [Against Heresies] against the gospel of John:

For, summing up his statements respecting the Word previously mentioned by him, he further declares, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." But, according to their [gnostic] hypothesis, the Word did not become flesh at all, inasmuch as He never went outside of the Pleroma, but that Saviour [became flesh] who was formed by a special dispensation [out of all the Æons], and was of later date than the Word.[13]

Several Church fathers of the 2nd century never quoted John, but the earliest extant written commentary on any book of the New Testament was that written on John by Heracleon, a disciple of the gnostic Valentinus.[14] Origen, Augustine, John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria all provided commentaries on the Johannine works (Augustine being the most numerous).[15] In the Middle Ages, important mainstream commentaries were written by Rupert of Deutz and Thomas Aquinas.[16]

Below you can see the amount of time various church fathers cited John compared to the synoptic gospels

Gospel Barn. Did. Ign. Poly. Herm. II Clem. Papias Basilides
Synoptics 1? 1? 7(+4?) 1 0 1(+3?) 2 1
John or Epistles 0 0 2? 1 0 0 ? 1
Gospel Marcion Justin Valentinus Hegesip. Ptolem. Melito Apollin. Athenag.
Synoptics Luke 170 1 3? 4 4 1 13
John or Epistles 0 1 0 0 1 4 1 0

Taken from Robert. M Grant, “The Fourth Gospel and the Church,” The Harvard Theological Review 35, no. 2 (April 1942): 95-116

John was considered the last to be written, traditionally given a date between 90 and 100, though modern scholars often suggest an even later date.[17] The Fourth Gospel may have been later also because it was written to a smaller group within the Johannine community, and was not circulated widely until a later date.[18] Though, most of the above is called into question due to Rylands Library Papyrus P52 which possibly dates a section of the gospel of John to between 125 and 160, as well as by the recent work of Charles Hill.[19] Hill gives evidence that the Gospel of John was used between CE 90 and 130, and of the possible use of uniquely Johannine gospel material in several works which date from this period. These works and authors include Ignatius of Antioch (c. 107); Polycarp (c. 107); Papias’ elders (c. 110-120); of Hierapolis' Exegesis of the Lord’s Oracles (c. 120-132). Hill assesses that many historical figures did indeed reference the Gospel of John.

History of critical scholarship

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The modern era of critical scholarship on the works opened with K.G. Bretschneider's 1820 work on the topic of Johannine authorship.[20] Bretschneider called into question the apostolic authorship of the Gospel, and even stated on the basis of the author's unsteady grip on topography that the author could not have come from Palestine.[21] He argued that the meaning and nature of Jesus presented in the Gospel of John was very different from that in the Synoptic Gospels, and thus its author could not have been an eyewitness to the events. Bretschneider cited an apologetic character in John, indicating a later date of composition. Scholars such as Wellhausen, Wendt, and Spitta have argued that the fourth gospel is a Grundschrift or a, " which had suffered interpolation before arriving at its canonical form; it was a unity as it stood."[22]

F.C. Baur (1792-1860) said John was solely a work of synthesis of thesis-antithesis according to the Hegelian model—synthesis between the thesis of Judeo-Christianity (represented by Peter) and the antithesis of Gentile Christianity (represented by Paul). He also cited in the epistles a synthesis with the opposing dualist forces of Gnosticism. As such, he assigned a date of 170 to the Gospel.

Early criticism

The first certain witness to Johannine theology among the Fathers of the Church is in Ignatius of Antioch, whose Letter to the Philippians is founded on John 3:8 and alludes to John 10:7-9 and 14:6. This would indicate that the Gospel was known in Antioch before Ignatius' death (probably 107). Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 80 to 167) quotes from the letters of John, as does Justin Martyr(c. 100 to 165).[23][24]

The earliest testimony to the author was that of Papias, preserved in fragmentary quotes in Eusebius's history of the Church. This text is consequently rather obscure. Eusebius says that two different Johns must be distinguished, John the Apostle, and John the Presbyter, with the Gospel assigned to the Apostle and the Book of Revelation to the presbyter.[25]

Irenaeus's witness based on Papias represents the tradition in Ephesus, where John the Apostle is reputed to have lived.[26]. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, thus in the second generation after the apostle. He states unequivocally that the apostle is the author of the Gospel. Some critics reject the reference of Ignatius of Antioch as referring to the Gospel and cite Irenaeus as the first to use it.[27] Some of these go as far as to claim that Irenaeus was the author (or at least final editor) of the book. These scholars claim that the theory of Johannine authorship was created by the early Church to give more authority to the work which they were using to combat Gnosticism.

The Rylands Library Papyrus P52, typically dated to around 100-175 , suggests, according to Christian apologists, that the text of the Gospel of John spread rapidly through Egypt. The front of the fragment contains lines from the Gospel of John 18:31-33, in Greek, and the back contains lines from verses 37-38. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 to 211) mentions John the Apostle's missionary activity in Asia Minor, and continues, "As for John, the last, upon seeing that in the Gospels they had told the corporal matters, supported by his disciples and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he wrote a spiritual Gospel."[28] Origen (185–c. 254) responded, when asked how John had placed the cleansing of the Temple first rather than last, "John does not always tell the truth literally, he always tells the truth spiritually."[29] In Alexandria, the authorship of the Gospel and the first epistle was never questioned. Bruce Metzger stated "One finds in Clement's work citations of all the books of the New Testament with the exception of Philemon, James, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John."[30]

Rome was the home to the only early rejection of the fourth Gospel. The adversaries of Montanism were responsible. Irenaeus says that these persons tried to suppress the teaching about the Holy Spirit in order to put down Montanism, and as a result denied the authorship of the Gospel and its authority. Later Epiphanius called this group, who were followers of the priest Caius, the Alogi in a wordplay between "without the Word" and "without reason".

Modern criticism

Modern Criticism can be broken down into three main sections: (1) Foundations with Bauer to Braun (1934-1935), (2) Heyday with Schnackenburg to Koester (1959-60), (3) Uneasy supremacy from Hengel to Hangel (1989-2000).[31]

Walter Bauer opened the modern discussion on John with his book Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum.[32] Bauer's thesis is that "the heretics probably outnumbered the orthodox" in the early Christian world and that heresy and orthodoxy were not as narrowly defined as we now define them.[33] He was "convinced that none of the Apostolic Fathers had relied on the authority of the Fourth Gospel. It was the gnostics, the Marcionites, and the Motantists who first used it and introduced it to the Christian community."[34]

J.N. Sanders, who wrote The Fourth Gospel in the Early Church, examined "the alleged parallels with John in Ignatius, Polycarp, Barnabas, and the Epistle to Diognetus, and concluded that there was no certain traces of the Fourth Gospel's influence among any of the Apostolic Fathers."[35] Sanders argued the book originated in Alexandria[36]

The Gospel of John states explicitly in its text that it was written by the "disciple whom Jesus loved", so a great deal of effort has been put into determining who this person might be. Traditionally he is identified as John the Apostle, since otherwise, one of the most important apostles in the other Gospels would be entirely missing in the fourth gospel. However, critical scholars have suggested some other possibilities.

Filson, Sanders, Vernard Eller, Rudolf Steiner, and Ben Witherington suggest Lazarus, since John 11:31 and 11:36 specifically indicates that Jesus "loved" him, and it is perhaps also implied in the Secret Gospel of Mark.[37] Keener notes that "Lazarus of Bethany would have readier access to the high priest's house (if the disciple of 18:15-16 is the beloved disciple, which is uncertain); the Synoptics might also have omitted Lazarus to protect him because of his location."[38] This would fit well with the author's interest in the Judean activity of Jesus.

Parker suggested that this disciple might be John Mark; nonetheless, the Acts of the Apostles indicate that John Mark was very young and a late-comer as a disciple. J. Colson suggested that "John" was a priest in Jerusalem, explaining the alleged priestly mentality in the fourth gospel. R. Schnackenburg suggested that "John" was an otherwise unknown resident of Jerusalem who was in Jesus' circle of friends. The Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary identify Mary Magdalene as the disciple whom Jesus loved, a connection that has been analyzed by Esther de Boer[39] and made notorious in the fictional The Da Vinci Code. Finally, a few authors, such as Loisy and Bultmann and Hans-Martin Schenke, see "the Beloved Disciple" as a purely symbolic creation, an idealized pseudonym for the group of authors.

Gnosticism scholar Elaine Pagels goes further and claims that the author himself was a Gnostic, citing cited similarities with the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip.[40] It is to be noted that the first commentary on the Gospel of John was written by a Gnostic, and the Gospel was popular among the Gnostics at least as early as among the "orthodox".

Various objections to John the Apostle's authorship have been raised. First of all, the Gospel of John is a highly intellectual account of Jesus' life, and is familiar with Rabbinic traditions of Biblical interpretation. The Synoptic Gospels, however, are united in identifying John as a fisherman. The Acts of the Apostles refers to John as "without learning" or "unlettered" (Acts 4:13).

Objections are also raised because the "disciple whom Jesus loved" is not mentioned before the Last Supper.[41]

The title ("beloved disciple") is also strange to Beasley-Murray because "if the beloved disciple were one of the Twelve, he would have been sufficiently known outside the Johannine circle of churches for the author to have named him."[42]

Raymond E. Brown, among others, posit a community of writers rather than a single individual that gave final form to the work.[43] In particular, Chapter 21 is very stylistically different from the main body of the Gospel, and is thought to be a later addition (known as the appendix). Among many Christian scholars the view has evolved that there were multiple stages of development involving the disciples as well as the apostle; R.E. Brown (1970) distinguishes four stages of development: traditions connected directly with the apostle, partial editing by his disciples, synthesis by the apostle, and additions by a final editor. At the very least, it seems clear that in chapter 21 someone else speaks in the third person plural ("we"), ostensibly as the voice of a community that believes the testimony of this other person called the "beloved disciple" to be true.

Most scholars date the writing of the Gospel to c. 90. John the Apostle, if the principal author, would have been a remarkably old age for the time, when life expectancies were much shorter. On the other hand, if the apostle had actually lived to such an age, it would explain the tradition reported in John 21, that many believed that Jesus had said the apostle would not die (which may have led to the legend of Prester John). A date later than the early second century is excluded because P52, our earliest manuscript evidence of the Gospel, dates from before the middle of the second century. Even in the early church there was a doubt over its authenticity, and both Marcion (heretical founder of Marcionism) and Celsus (a pagan critical of Christianity in general) heavily criticized it as a clear forgery. The debate focused around not only its differences from the other Gospels, but also its teaching about the Paraclete, which was important in the early "charismatic" movement known as Montanism.

Literary criticism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Theories such as the two-source hypothesis have been circulated for the Synoptic Gospels, but there has been little agreement about the literary sources for the Johannine works. Julius Wellhausen, one of the fathers of documentary hypothesis, argues that there are "different sources" that make up different parts of the Torah.[44] He claimed to be able to separate the base document from the editings. He praised the base document, while condemning the later editor for intrusion. Other critical scholars, such as E. Schwarz, listed dozens of "apories" or indications of rupture in the narratives and discourses.

Criticism in the early twentieth century centered on the idea of the Logos (word), which was perceived as a Hellenistic concept. Thus H. J. Holtzmann hypothesized a dependence of the work on Philo Judaeus; Albert Schweitzer considered the work to be a Hellenized version of Pauline mysticism, while R. Reitzenstein sought the work's origin in Egyptian and Persian mystery religions.

Rudolf Bultmann took a different approach to the work. He hypothesized a Gnostic origin (specifically Mandaeanism which maintains that Jesus was a mšiha kdaba or "false prophet," ) for the work. He noted similarities with the Pauline corpus, but attributed this to a common Hellenistic background. He claimed that the many contrasts in the Gospel, between light and darkness, truth and lies, above and below, and so on, show a tendency toward dualism, explained by the Gnostic roots of the work. Despite the Gnostic origin, Bultmann commended the author for several improvements over Gnosticism, such as the Judeo-Christian view of creation and the demythologizing of the role of the Redeemer. He saw the Gospel as an investigation into a God who was wholly Other and transcendent, seeing no place in the vision of the author for a Church or sacraments.

Bultmann's analysis is still widely applied in German-speaking countries, although with many corrections and discussions. Wide-ranging replies have been made to this analysis. Today, most Christian exegetes reject much of Bultmann's theory, but accept certain of his intuitions. For instance, J. Blank uses Bultmann in his discussion of the Last Judgment and W. Thüsing uses him to discuss the elevation and glorification of Jesus.

In the English-speaking world, Bultmann has had less impact. Instead, these scholars tended to continue in the investigation of the Hellenistic and Platonistic theories, generally returning to theories closer to the traditional interpretation. By way of example, G.H.C. McGregor (1928) and W.F. Howard (1943) belong to this group.

More recent criticism

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran marked a change in Johannine scholarship. Several of the hymns, presumed to come from a community of Essenes, contained the same sort of plays between opposites – light and dark, truth and lies – which are themes within the Gospel. Thus the hypothesis that the Gospel relied on Gnosticism fell out of favor. Many suggested further that John the Baptist himself belonged to an Essene community, and if John the Apostle had previously been a disciple of the Baptist, he would have been affected by that teaching.

The resulting revolution in Johannine scholarship was termed the new look by John A. T. Robinson, who coined the phrase in 1957 at Oxford. According to Robinson, this new information rendered the question of authorship a relative one. He considered a group of disciples around the aging John the Apostle who wrote down his memories, mixing them with theological speculation, a model that had been proposed as far back as Renan's Vie de Jésus ("Life of Jesus ", 1863). The work of such scholars brought the consensus back to a Palestinian origin for the text, rather than the Hellenistic origin favored by the critics of the previous decades.

In any case, the "Qumran fever" that was raised by the discovery of the Scrolls is gradually dying down, with theories of Gnostic influences in the Johannine works beginning to be proposed again, especially in Germany. Some recent views have seen the theology of Johannine works as directly opposing "Thomas Christians".[40][45]

Hugh J. Schonfield, in the controversial The Passover Plot and other works, saw evidence that the source of this Gospel was the Beloved Disciple of the Last Supper and further that this person, perhaps named John, was a senior Temple priest and so probably a member of the Sanhedrin. This would account for the knowledge of and access to the Temple which would not have been available to rough fishermen and followers of a disruptive rural preacher from the Galilee, one who was being accused of heresy besides. And probably for the evanescent presence of the Beloved Disciple in the events of Jesus' Ministry. On this reading, the Gospel was written, perhaps by a student and follower of this Disciple in his last advanced years, perhaps at Patmos.


Writing non-fiction in antiquity differs greatly from modern autobiography.[46] Authors such as Dodd note that even Plato would have probably changed the words of Socrates quite a bit.[47]

With the exception of Renan's Vie de Jésus, which praised the historical and geographical details present in the Gospel, virtually all critical scholars before the 20th century denied any historical value of the work, largely basing their conclusions on seven particular theses: first, that the tradition of authorship by John the Apostle was created ex post facto to support the book's authority; second, that the book does not proceed even indirectly from an eyewitness account; third, that the book was intended as an apologetic work, not a history; fourth, that the Synoptic tradition was used and adapted very freely by the author; fifth, that these deviations are not due to the application of other sources unknown to the authors of the Synoptic gospels; sixth, that the discourses in the Gospel express not Jesus' words, but those of the evangelist; and therefore, that the fourth Gospel has no value in supplementing the Synoptics.

In favor of the historical and eyewitness character of the Gospel, a few passages are pointed to. John's chronology for the death of Jesus seems more realistic, because the Synoptic Gospels would have the trial before the Sanhedrin occurring on the first day of the Passover, which was a day of rest. However, this could simply be due to the authors of the gospels having a clearer and more neutral account of events than would be held by someone present at the time. Schonfield agrees that the Gospel was the product of the Apostle's great age, but further identifies him as the Beloved Disciple of the Last Supper, and so believes that the Gospel is based on first hand witness, though decades later and perhaps through the assistance of a younger follower and writer, which may account for the mixture of Hebraicisms (from the Disciple) and Greek idiom (from the assistant).

Fredriksen sees the Fourth Gospel's unique explanation for Jesus' arrest and crucifixion as the most historically plausible: "The priests' motivation is clear and commonsensical: 'If we let [Jesus] go on.... the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.' Caiaphas continues, 'It is expedient that one man should die for the people, that the whole nation not perish' (John 11:48,50)[48]

First epistle

The phraseology of the first letter of John is very similar to that of the fourth gospel, so that the question of authorship is often connected to the question of authorship of the gospel. There are several turns of phrase that occur only in the Gospel and First Epistle and nowhere else in the New Testament, such as "have a sin", "do the truth", "remain" in some mystical state (in the Father, in the Son, in my love), and so forth. Both works have a very Semitic flavor to the Greek -- many sentences use of "literary inclusion" (the repetition of a phrase to indicate that the material between the inclusions belongs together), minimal use of the Greek illative particles. Both works have the same basic concepts that are being explored: the Word, the Only Begotten, the incarnation, the passing from death to life, the truth and lies, etc.

The book was not among those whose canonicity was in doubt, according to Eusebius; however, it is not included in an ancient Syrian canon. Theodore of Mopsuestia also presented a negative opinion toward its canonicity. Outside of the Syrian world, however, the book has many early witnesses, and appears to have been widely accepted.

Given the similarity with the Gospel, most critical scholars assign the same authorship to the epistle that they assign to the Gospel. Most refer to a Johannine school from which the letter stemmed, possibly even from the hand of the apostle himself.

Second and third epistles

Eusebius claimed that the author of 2nd and 3rd John were not John the Apostle but actually John the Elder[49], due to the introductions of the epistles. Eusebius was a high ranking official in the Roman Empire under Constantine in the 4th century, and John's Revelation makes strong claims that the Roman Empire is Babylon, so it's unlikely that John the Elder and John the Apostle are different people based by Eusebius a priori claim.[50] The vocabulary, structure, grammar of the Gospel of John is remarkably similar to 1st John, 2nd John and 3rd John. So it is highly improbably that "John the Presbyter" ever existed distinct from John the Apostle.[51] This author of the epistles may well have been the author of the Gospel of John, but modern scholars believe that he was not John the Apostle.[52]


Saint John of Patmos, by Jean Fouquet

The author of the Book of Revelation identifies himself as "John", so that the book has been traditionally credited to John the Apostle. Reference to the apostle's authorship is found as early as Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Tryphon.[53] Other early witnesses to this tradition are Irenaeus[54], Clement of Alexandria[55], Tertullian[56], Cyprian, and Hippolytus[57]. This identification, however, was denied by other Fathers, including Denis of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen, and John Chrysostom.[58] The Apocryphon of John claims John as both the author of its self and Revelation.[59] Donald Guthrie writes

So strong is this evidence that it is difficult to believe that they all made a mistake confusing the John of the Apocalypse with John the apostle. . . . It must be conceded that taken as a whole (the evidence) points very strongly to the probability that John of the Apocalypse was, in fact, John the apostle.[60]

In the third century, Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria rejected apostolic authorship, but accepted the book's canonicity. Dionysius believed that author was another man also named John, John the Presbyter, teacher of Papias, bishop of Hieropolis. Eusebius of Caesarea later agreed with this.[61][62]

The most common reason for suspecting an author different from the apostle John is its radically different style. The Book of Revelation contains grammatical errors and stylistic abnormalities whereas the Gospel and Epistles are all stylistically consistent. Contemporary scholars note that when Revelation and the Gospel refer to Jesus as "lamb" they use different Greek words, and they spell "Jerusalem" differently. There are differing motifs between the book and the Gospel: use of allegory, symbolism, and similar metaphors, such as "living water", "shepherd", "lamb", and "manna". The Book of Revelation does not go into several typically Johannine themes, such as light, darkness, truth, love, and "the world" in a negative sense. The eschatology of the two works are also very different.[63]

Revelation is written in a specific genre of apocalyptic literature which differs from the style of the gospels and the epistles. To account for the differences, some scholars have suggested a secretary was used in some works, but not others to smooth out the Greek style used in his other books.[64]

Other motivations for doubts to an apostolic authorship are the author's lack of reference to knowing Jesus, as the apostle John did, and the belief that John died too early as a martyr between 64 and 70. However, the apostle John is widely accepted as the only apostle not a martyr, living into his 90s.

The estimated dates of Revelation indicate it was written during the life of the apostle John. According to early tradition of Irenaeus, Eusebius and Jerome, the writing of this book took place near the very end of Domitian's reign, around 95 or 96. Others contend for an earlier date, 68 or 69, in the reign of Nero or shortly thereafter.[65] Because authorship was one of several considerations for canonization, several Church Fathers and the Council of Laodicea rejected Revelation. [66]

Minority views

According to Epiphanius, one Caius of Rome believed that Cerinthus, a Gnostic, was the author of the Book of Revelation.[67]

See also


  1. George R. Beasley-Murray, John: Word Biblical Commentary Volume 36 Second Edition (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), xxxii
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Stephen L Harris, Understanding the Bible, (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985), 355
  3. Since the 18th century, the Decretum Gelasianum has been associated with the Council of Rome (382), though historians dispute the connection.
  4. "Although ancient traditions attributed to the Apostle John the Fourth Gospel, the Book of Revelation, and the three Epistles of John, modern scholars believe that he wrote none of them." Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985) p. 355
  5. Ehrman, pp.178-9.
  6. Brown, Raymond E. (1997). Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Anchor Bible. p. 334. ISBN 0-385-24767-2. 
  7. Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. p. 468. ISBN 0-19-515462-2. 
  8. Craig Keener, A Gospel of John: A Commentary Volume 1, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), 93 notes that, "Earliest Christian tradition seems to have exercised some ambivalence towards this Gospel, however; it is not recognized in the Roman fathers until the late second century." Keener also notes that "it is possible that he [Justin Martyr] cites instead an agraphon from pre-Johannine tradition or a subsequent tradition based on John."
  9. C.H. Dodd, Historical tradition in the Fourth Gospel, (Cambridge: University Press, 1963), 13; J.W. Pryor, "Justin Martyr and the Fourth Gospel," ‘’Second Cent 9, no. 3 (1992): 153-169; Keener, The Gospel of John," 94 notes in one of the footnotes something quite interesting, "Although the analogy carries little weight, my first book cited Matthew over 150 times, Luke 13 times, 1 Peter 9 times, and John twice, though John was my dissertation area."
  10. Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (Philadelphia: 1971), 206
  11. Robert. M Grant, “The Fourth Gospel and the Church,” ‘’The Harvard Theological Review’’ 35, no. 2 (April 1942): 95-116
  12. Keener, The Gospel of John, 94; see also John Kysar, "The Gospel of John," in Anchor Bible Commentary David Noel Freedman eds., (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 912 notes that, "In its defense against Gnosticism the Church embraced the Gospel of John and attempted to demonstrate that the gospel affirmed the 'Orthodox Christian faith.' The affiliation of the gospel with gnostic Christian beliefs led some, however, to reject it along with Revelation, as Irenaeus witnesses (haer. 3.2.12
  13. Against Heresies 1.9.2., see [1]
  14. Fragments of Heracleon's Commentary on John can be found here:
  15. See [Origen's Commentary oh the Gospel of John|] here, see [Thomas Aquinas' commentary on First John|], John Chrysostom's commentary on John is located [here|], and Cyril of Alexandria has a commentary located [here|]
  16. Rupert of Deutz's commentary can be found here: and Thomas Aquinas' commentary can be found here:
  17. ibid., 94 suggests that, "John's very divergence from the synoptics had already led to is relatively slower reception in the broader church until it could be explained in relation to them."
  18. ibid., 94 notes also that "our early second-century papyrus fragment P52, discovered in Egypt, probably limits the value of this second proposal...However much the Fourth Gospel may have been directed toward a specific historical situation, it was only a matter of time before it began to circulate beyond its originally intended readership."
  19. The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church.
  20. Adolf Julicher, An Introduction to the New Testament, (New York: Smith, Elder, and co., 1904), 399 notes that "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 the an Apostle, the dispute as to whether the tradition were right or wrong has become ever keener.
  21. James Moffatt, "Ninety Years After: A survey of Bretschneider's 'Probabilia' in the Light of Subsequent Johannine Criticism," The American Journal of Theology 17, no. 3 (July 1913), 371 who notes that "...the opening chapter of Bretschneider is occupied with an incisive discussion of the differences between the synoptic and the Johannine conceptions of Jesus, and it concludes by depreciating the speeches of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel as unworthy of historical credence. Their style, says Bretschneider, is unlike the direct, simple utterances of the synoptic Jesus."
  22. James Moffatt, "Ninety Year After: A survey of Bretschneider's 'Probabilia' in the Light of Subsequent Johannine Criticism," The American Journal of Theology 17, no. 3 (July 1913), 370
  23. Polycarp at
  24. Justin Martyr at
  25. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.4-6
  26. Irenaeus Adversus haereses 3.11 = Eusebius Historia ecclesiatica 5.8.4
  27. Helmut Koester. Ancient Christian Gospels. Harrisburg, PA.: Trinity Press. 1990. p. 246
  28. Quis dives salvabitur 42,1.
  29. Origen, Commentary on John 10.4.6.
  30. Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 1987: p. 131.
  31. Charles E. Hill, The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 13
  32. The English version of this text can be found at Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (Philadelphia: 1971)
  33. Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (Philadelphia: 1971), 194; Charles E. Hill, The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 13 notes, however, that "Bauer's thesis has certainly been challenged by later scholars, and even his heirs today would not accept his theories without significant modifications. Nevertheless, as a grand, organizing principle for understanding the spread of Christianity in the second century, his approach has retained much of its force among scholars, particularly since the appearance of the English translation of the book decades later in 1971.
  34. Charles E. Hill, The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 15
  35. Charles E. Hill, The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 15; to see the Sanders original book, one can find it at J.N. Sanders, The Fourth Gospel in the Early Church: Its Origin and Influence on Christian Theology up to Irenaeus (Cambridge, 1943)
  36. Sanders, The Fourth Gospel, 86
  37. Vernard Eller, The Beloved Disciple: His Name, His Story, His Throught (sic), House Church Central, accessed at on 13 October 2007; Rudolf Steiner, "The Gospel of St. John" (Lecture, Berlin, 19 February 1906) accessed at; Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: Volume 1, 86 suggests that, " of the more commonly proposed and most defensible candidates is Lazarus, "whom Jesus loved" (John 11:3). This makes sense of the phrase, though ti makes less sense of the frequency with which, and locations in which, the disciples appears in the narrative, if an earlier anonymous disciples (1:37-40) includes him (which is uncertain).
  38. ibid., 86
  39. de Boer, Esther, 2004. Essay in Marvin Meyer, The Gospels of Mary. HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0-06-072791-8
  40. 40.0 40.1 Pagels, Elaine, 2003. Beyond Belief, ISBN 0-375-70316-0, pp 115-117. See also the response at
  41. Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: Volume One," 84 notes, "One could argue that the beloved disciple is not one of the Twelve because he is not mentioned by the 'beloved disciple' until the last discourse and passion narrative (one could also use this to separate sections of the gospels into sources).; Robert Kysar, John, the maverick Gospel, (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1976), 919)
  42. Keener, The Gospel of John: Volume 1, 84; See also George R. Beasley-Murray, John, (Waco: Word Books, 1987), lxxiii
  43. Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John, (Garden City: Doubleday, 1966), chapter 11.
  44. Jean-Louis Ska, "A Plea on Behalf of the Biblical Redactors," Studia Theologica 59 (2005): 4-18 notes that Wellhausen believes a "priestly redactor or editor is responsible for the present shape of the Pentateuch."
  45. Riley, Gregory J., 1995. Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy. Minneapolis.
  46. Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: Volume 1, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), 82 notes, "The question of authorship is not decisive for substantial historical reliability.
  47. C.H. Dodd, Historical tradition in the Fourth Gospel, (Cambridge: University Press, 1963), 17
  48. Paula Fredriksen, "What you see is what you Get: Context and Content in Current Research on the Historical Jesus," Theology Today 52, no. 1 (1995): 75-97
  49. Eusebius: The Church History
  50. The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (Hardcover). D.A Carson, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 1991) pg. 44
  51. The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (Hardcover). D.A Carson, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 1991) pg. 25
  52. "Although ancient traditions attributed to the Apostle John the Fourth Gospel, the Book of Revelation, and the three Epistles of John, modern scholars believe that he wrote none of them." Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985) p. 355
  53. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 81.4
  54. Against Heresies iv. 20. 11
  55. Who Is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved? xlii
  56. On Prescription Against Heretics 36
  57. Treatise on Christ and Antichrist xxxvi
  58. New American Bible: Revelation
  59. S. Giversen. Apocryphon Johannis Copenhagen: 1963 p. 49
  60. New Testament Introduction. IVP: 1990 p935
  61. Eusebius: Church History (Book VII), Chapter 25
  62. Euserbius: Church History (Book III, Chapter 39
  63. John, the Son of Zebedee By R. Alan Culpepper, pp. 98-102
  64. The Open Bible, copyright 1985 by Thomas Nelson Inc.
  65. Before Jerusalem Fell, ISBN 0930464206. Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1989.
  66. The Book of Revelation By Robert H. Mounce. pp. 23-24
  67. Cerinthus at