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The gospel of John

Sexton Blake

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Things were much simpler for christians when they assured us online 15-20 years ago that the gospel of Mark was written about 37 AD, Matthew and Luke in the forties and John about 50 AD. Now just about no one claims such early dates.


Some give a date of 90-120 AD for John but like the authorship, that too is uncertain:




True we have a scrap of manuscript from about 125 AD that found itself into John but that may have been from one of many letters that passed between early christian communities. Such letters would have been contradictory too since there were many stories about the early life of Jesus that were later discarded as untrue. Rather than having piles of papers about, at some point, someone decided to write it all down, and rather than contradictions which discredited each other, a uniformity of story would be decided though that could be changed as people add their infallible biases in place of what they can see is "obviously wrong".


John was clearly not written by a 100 year old man, in a time we are told by Bruce M Metzger and others that the average lifespan was just 30 years, with many ways of not reaching even middle age. So as the writing content tells us, it was a hearsay account and not eye witness.


If you had the most important news ever, about Jesus, you would get it down ASAP so it would not be lost if you died or whatever and not wait decades. If you could not write, a scribe would write it for you, for little money.


Mark is the source gospel for Matthew and Luke, with up to 90% of Mark appearing in the other two synoptic gospels. But the gospel of John is 90% unique to John. The author, not being the disciple Jesus loved as some would like to claim, one wonders where he got his "new" information from, if not from the earlier Mark, Matthew and Luke, which he almost totally ignored?


Some more points on John:




John's gospel is said to be more theology than history, with it concentrating on who Jesus is rather than the miracles, and there are discussions in it with Nicodemus and the Jews, to show people who Jesus is. The gospel is someone trying to get his own views across, often using metaphors and even presenting his own version of Pilate and the crucifixion, something he could have had no firsthand knowledge of.


The so often quoted start of the gospel, verses 1-18, are probably a hymn, added later, with verse 19 starting "And this is the record of John". Also the last chapter, 21, seems to have been a late addition and has a very strange ending.


Verse 23  This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.


"His testimony" makes it seem like a different author wrote this chapter.


Verse 24  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.


Has Jesus leading a long and busy life after the disciples leave, and presumably dying a normal death, as he had had a "normal" birth.


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