John the Evangelist

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Saint John the Evangelist
Grandes Heures Anne de Bretagne Saint Jean.jpg
Miniature of Saint John from the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany (1503–8) by Jean Bourdichon
Evangelist, Apostle
Bornc. AD 15
Diedc. AD 100 [1]
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Catholic Churches
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Eastern Orthodox Church
Anglican Communion
Aglipayan Church
Feast 27 December (Western Christianity); 8 May and 26 September (Repose) (Eastern Orthodox Church)
Attributes Eagle, Chalice, Scrolls
Major works Gospel of John
Epistles of John
Revelation

John the Evangelist (Greek : Ἰωάννης, translit.  Iōánnēs; Coptic : ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ or ⲓⲱ̅ⲁ) is the name traditionally given to the author of the Gospel of John. Christians have traditionally identified him with John the Apostle, John of Patmos, or John the Presbyter, [2] although this has been disputed by modern scholars. [3]

Contents

Identity

The Gospel of John refers to an otherwise unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved", who "bore witness to and wrote" the Gospel's message. [4] The author of the Gospel of John seemed interested in maintaining the internal anonymity of the author's identity, although interpreting the Gospel in the light of the Synoptic Gospels and considering that the author names (and therefore is not claiming to be) Peter, and that James was martyred as early as 44 AD (Acts 12:2) it has been widely believed that the author was the Apostle John (though some believe he was pretending to be). [5]

Christian tradition says that John the Evangelist was John the Apostle. The Apostle John was one of the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death. [6] He was one of the original twelve apostles and is thought to be the only one to have not been killed for his faith. It had been believed that he was exiled (around 95 AD) to the Aegean island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. However, some attribute the authorship of Revelation to another man, called John the Presbyter, or to other writers of the late first century AD. [7]

Orthodox Roman Catholic scholarship, most Protestant churches, and the entire Eastern Orthodox Church attribute all of the Johannine literature to the same individual, the "Holy Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian", whom it identifies with the "Beloved Disciple" in the Gospel of John.

Authorship of the Johannine works

The authorship of the Johannine works has been debated by scholars since at least the 2nd century AD. [8] The main debate centers on who authored the writings, and which of the writings, if any, can be ascribed to a common author.

Orthodox tradition attributes all of the Johannine 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). [9] Historical critics sometimes reject the view that John the Apostle authored any of these works.

Most modern scholars believe that the apostle John wrote none of these works, [10] [11] although some, such as J.A.T. Robinson, F. F. Bruce, Leon Morris, and Martin Hengel, [12] hold the apostle to be behind at least some, in particular the gospel. [13] [14]

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 originated from the same community. [15] The gospel and epistles traditionally and plausibly came from Ephesus, c. 90–110, although some scholars argue for an origin in Syria. [16]

In the case of Revelation, most modern scholars agree that it was written by a separate author, John of Patmos, c. 95 with some parts possibly dating to Nero's reign in the early 60s. [2] [3]

Feast day

The feast day of Saint John in the Catholic Church, which calls him "Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist", and in the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Calendars, which call him "John, Apostle and Evangelist", is on 27 December, the third day of Christmastide. [17] In the Tridentine Calendar he was commemorated also on each of the following days up to and including 3 January, the Octave of the 27 December feast. This Octave was abolished by Pope Pius XII in 1955. [18] The traditional liturgical color is white.

Freemasons celebrate this feast day, dating back to the 18th century when the Feast Day was used for the installation of Presidents and Grand Masters [19] .

In art

John is traditionally depicted in one of two distinct ways: either as an aged man with a white or gray beard, or alternatively as a beardless youth. [20] [21] The first way of depicting him was more common in Byzantine art, where it was possibly influenced by antique depictions of Socrates; [22] the second was more common in the art of Medieval Western Europe and can be dated back as far as 4th century Rome. [21]

In medieval works of painting, sculpture and literature, Saint John is often presented in an androgynous or feminized manner. [23] Historians have related such portrayals to the circumstances of the believers for whom they were intended. [24] For instance, John's feminine features are argued to have helped to make him more relatable to women. [25] Likewise, Sarah McNamer argues that because of John's androgynous status, he could function as an 'image of a third or mixed gender' [26] and 'a crucial figure with whom to identify' [27] for male believers who sought to cultivate an attitude of affective piety, a highly emotional style of devotion that, in late-medieval culture, was thought to be poorly compatible with masculinity. [28]

Legends from the Acts of John contributed much to medieval iconography; it is the source of the idea that John became an apostle at a young age. [21] One of John's familiar attributes is the chalice, often with a snake emerging from it. [29] According to one legend from the Acts of John, [30] John was challenged to drink a cup of poison to demonstrate the power of his faith, and thanks to God's aid the poison was rendered harmless. [29] [31] The chalice can also be interpreted with reference to the Last Supper, or to the words of Christ to John and James: "My chalice indeed you shall drink" (Matthew 20:23). [32] According to the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia, some authorities believe that this symbol was not adopted until the 13th century. [32] There was also a legend that John was at some stage boiled in oil and miraculously preserved. [33] Another common attribute is a book or a scroll, in reference to his writings. [29] John the Evangelist is symbolically represented by an eagle, one of the creatures envisioned by Ezekiel (1:10) and in the Book of Revelation (4:7). [32]

See also

Related Research Articles

First Epistle of John book of the Bible

The First Epistle of John, often referred to as First John and written 1 John or I John, is the first of the Johannine epistles of the New Testament, and the fourth of the catholic epistles. It is attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two Johannine epistles. This epistle was probably written in Ephesus in AD 95–110. It defined how Christians are to discern true teachers: by their ethics, their proclamation of Jesus in the flesh, and by their love.

Luke the Evangelist One of the four traditionally ascribed authors of the canonical Gospels

Luke the Evangelist is one of the Four Evangelists—the four traditionally ascribed authors of the canonical Gospels. The Early Church Fathers ascribed to him authorship of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, which would mean Luke contributed over a quarter of the text of the New Testament, more than any other author. Prominent figures in early Christianity such as Jerome and Eusebius later reaffirmed his authorship, although a lack of conclusive evidence as to the identity of the author of the works has led to discussion in scholarly circles, both secular and religious.

Matthew the Apostle Christian evangelist and apostle

Matthew the Apostle, also known as Saint Matthew and as Levi, was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. According to Christian tradition, he was also one of the four Evangelists and thus is also known as Matthew the Evangelist.

New Testament Second division of the Christian biblical canon

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.

John the Apostle apostle of Jesus; son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James; traditionally identified with John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, and the Beloved Disciple

John the Apostle was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. Generally listed as the youngest apostle, he was the son of Zebedee and Salome or Joanna. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. The Church Fathers identify him as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder and the Beloved Disciple, and testify that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one to die of natural causes. However, modern scholars believe these to be separate people. The traditions of most Christian denominations have held that John the Apostle is the author of several books of the New Testament, although this has been disputed by some scholars.

Mark the Evangelist Author of the Gospel of Mark and Christian saint; traditionally identified with John Mark

Mark the Evangelist is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.

Marriage at Cana A miracle in the New Testament of the Bible

The transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana or Wedding at Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel account, Jesus, his mother and his disciples are invited to a wedding, and when the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of his glory by turning water into wine.

Four Evangelists authors of the four canonical gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)

In Christian tradition, the Four Evangelists are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the authors attributed with the creation of the four Gospel accounts in the New Testament that bear the following titles: Gospel according to Matthew; Gospel according to Mark; Gospel according to Luke and Gospel according to John.

Authorship of the Johannine works

The authorship of the Johannine works—the Gospel of John, Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation—has been debated by scholars since at least the 2nd century AD. The main debate centers on who authored the writings, and which of the writings, if any, can be ascribed to a common author.

Disciple whom Jesus loved phrase found in the Gospel of John (21:20 etc.), traditionally identified with John the Evangelist and John the Apostle

The phrase "the disciple whom Jesus loved" or, in John 20:2, the disciple beloved of Jesus is used six times in the Gospel of John, but in no other New Testament accounts of Jesus. John 21:24 states that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of this disciple.

John of Patmos Christian saint and author of the Book of Revelation

John of Patmos is the author named as John in the Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic text forming the final book of the New Testament. The text of Revelation states that John was on Patmos, a Greek island where, by most biblical historians, he is considered to be exiled as a result of anti-Christian persecution under the Roman emperor Domitian.

Johannine literature New Testament works traditionally attributed to John the Apostle or to a Johannine Christian community

Johannine literature refers to the collection of New Testament works that are traditionally attributed to John the Apostle or to Johannine Christian community. Johannine literature is traditionally considered to include the following works:

Life of Christ in art Set of subjects in art

The Life of Christ as a narrative cycle in Christian art comprises a number of different subjects narrating the events from the life of Jesus on Earth. They are distinguished from the many other subjects in art showing the eternal life of Christ, such as Christ in Majesty, and also many types of portrait or devotional subjects without a narrative element.

John is a common English name and surname:

John of Patmos is author of the Book of Revelation.

The historical reliability of the Gospels refers to the reliability and historic character of the four New Testament gospels as historical documents. Some believe that all four canonical gospels meet the five criteria for historical reliability; and others say that little in the gospels is considered to be historically reliable. Almost all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, but scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. Elements whose historical authenticity is disputed include the two accounts of the Nativity of Jesus, the miraculous events including the resurrection, and certain details about the crucifixion.

Apostles The primary disciples of Jesus

In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, particularly the Twelve Apostles, were the primary disciples of Jesus according to the New Testament and the Qur’an. During the life and ministry of Jesus in the 1st century AD, the apostles were his closest followers and became the primary teachers of the gospel message of Jesus.

Saint Peter apostle and first pope

Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, Simon, Sham'un al-Safa, Cephas, or Peter the Apostle, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, and the first leader of the early Church.

New Testament people named John

The name John is prominent in the New Testament and occurs numerous times. Among Jews of this period, the name was one of the most popular, borne by about five percent of men. Thus, it has long been debated which Johns are to be identified with which.

Annette Marianne Volfing, FBA is a literary scholar and academic. Since 2008, she has been Professor of Medieval German Literature at the University of Oxford.

References

  1. Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem (2007) [c. 600], "The Life of the Evangelist John", The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to John, House Springs, Missouri, United States: Chrysostom Press, pp. 2–3, ISBN   1-889814-09-1
  2. 1 2 3 4 Stephen L Harris, Understanding the Bible, (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985), 355
  3. 1 2 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.
  4. Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition). Chapter 2. Christian sources about Jesus.
  5. Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition)
  6. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "John" p. 302-310
  7. In Encyclopaedia Britannica, Britannica concise encyclopedia. Chicago IL: Britannica Digital Learning. 2017.
  8. F. L. Cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 45
  9. Since the 18th century, the Decretum Gelasianum has been associated with the Council of Rome (382), although historians dispute the connection.
  10. "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
  11. Kelly, Joseph F. (1 October 2012). History and Heresy: How Historical Forces Can Create Doctrinal Conflicts. Liturgical Press. p. 115. ISBN   978-0-8146-5999-1.
  12. Hengel, Martin. Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ, |page=40 | ISBN   978-1-56338-300-7. Trinity Press International; 1st edition, 2000. p. 40
  13. Morris, Leon (1995) The Gospel According to John Volume 4 of The new international commentary on the New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN   978-0-8028-2504-9, pp. 4–5, 24, 35–7. "Continental scholars have ... abandoned the idea that this gospel was written by the apostle John, whereas in Great Britain and America scholarship has been much more open to the idea." Abandonment is due to changing opinion rather "than to any new evidence." "Werner, Colson, and I have been joined, among others, by I. Howard Marshall and J.A.T. Robinson in seeing the evidence as pointing to John the son of Zebedee as the author of this Gospel." The view that John's history is substandard "is becoming increasingly hard to sustain. Many recent writers have shown that there is good reason for regarding this or that story in John as authentic. ... It is difficult to ... regard John as having little concern for history. The fact is John is concerned with historical information. ... John apparently records this kind of information because he believes it to be accurate. ... He has some reliable information and has recorded it carefully. ... The evidence is that where he can be tested John proves to be remarkably accurate."
    • Bruce 1981 pp. 52–4, 58. "The evidence ... favor[s] the apostolicity of the gospel. ... John knew the other gospels and ... supplements them. ... The synoptic narrative becomes more intelligible if we follow John." John's style is different so Jesus' "abiding truth might be presented to men and women who were quite unfamiliar with the original setting. ... He does not yield to any temptation to restate Christianity. ... It is the story of events that happened in history. ... John does not divorce the story from its Palestinian context."
    • Dodd p. 444. "Revelation is distinctly, and nowhere more clearly than in the Fourth Gospel, a historical revelation. It follows that it is important for the evangelist that what he narrates happened."
    • Temple, William. "Readings in St. John's Gospel". MacMillan and Co, 1952. "The synoptists give us something more like the perfect photograph; St. John gives us the more perfect portrait".
    • Edwards, R. A. "The Gospel According to St. John" 1954, p 9. One reason he accepts John's authorship is because "the alternative solutions seem far too complicated to be possible in a world where living men met and talked".
    • Hunter, A. M. "Interpreting the New Testament" P 86. "After all the conjectures have been heard, the likeliest view is that which identifies the Beloved Disciple with the Apostle John.
  14. Dr. Craig Blomberg, cited in Lee Strobel The Case for Christ, 1998, Chapter 2.
    • Marshall, Howard. "The Illustrated Bible Dictionary", ed J. D. Douglas et al. Leicester 1980. II, p 804
    • Robinson, J. A. T. "The Priority of John" P 122
    • Cf. Marsh, "John seems to have believed that theology was not something which could be used to read a meaning into events but rather something that was to be discovered in them. His story is what it is because his theology is what it is; but his theology is what it is because the story happened so" (p 580–581).
  15. Ehrman, pp. 178–9.
  16. Brown, Raymond E. (1997). Introduction to the New Testament . New York: Anchor Bible. p.  334. ISBN   0-385-24767-2.
  17. Frandsen, Mary E. (4 April 2006). Crossing Confessional Boundaries : The Patronage of Italian Sacred Music in Seventeenth-Century Dresden . Oxford University Press. p.  161. ISBN   9780195346367. On the Feast of St. John the Evangelist (the third day of Christmas) in 1665, for example, peranda presented two concertos in the morning service, his O Jesu mi dulcissime and Verbum caro factum est, and presented his Jesus dulcis, Jesu pie and Atendite fideles at Vespers.
  18. General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII
  19. "Today in Masonic History - Feast of St. John the Evangelist". www.masonrytoday.com. Retrieved 2019-12-28.
  20. Sources:
    • James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), 129, 174-75.
    • Carolyn S. Jerousek, "Christ and St. John the Evangelist as a Model of Medieval Mysticism," Cleveland Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 6 (2001), 16.
  21. 1 2 3 "Saint John the Apostle". Encyclopædia Britannica Online . Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  22. Jadranka Prolović, "Socrates and St. John the Apostle: the interchangеable similarity of their portraits" Zograf, vol. 35 (2011), 9: "It is difficult to locate when and where this iconography of John originated and what the prototype was, yet it is clearly visible that this iconography of John contains all of the main characteristics of well-known antique images of Socrates. This fact leads to the conclusion that Byzantine artists used depictions of Socrates as a model for the portrait of John."
    • James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), 129, 174-75.
    • Jeffrey F. Hamburger, St. John the Divine: The Deified Evangelist in Medieval Art and Theology. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), xxi-xxii; ibidem, 159-160.
    • Carolyn S. Jerousek, "Christ and St. John the Evangelist as a Model of Medieval Mysticism," Cleveland Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 6 (2001), 16.
    • Annette Volfing, John the Evangelist and Medieval Writing: Imitating the Inimitable. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 139.
    • Jeffrey F. Hamburger, St. John the Divine: The Deified Evangelist in Medieval Art and Theology. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), xxi-xxii.
    • Carolyn S. Jerousek, "Christ and St. John the Evangelist as a Model of Medieval Mysticism" Cleveland Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 6 (2001), 20.
    • Sarah McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 142-148.
    • Annette Volfing, John the Evangelist and Medieval Writing: Imitating the Inimitable. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 139.
    • Carolyn S. Jerousek, "Christ and St. John the Evangelist as a Model of Medieval Mysticism" Cleveland Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 6 (2001), 20.
    • Annette Volfing, John the Evangelist and Medieval Writing: Imitating the Inimitable. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 139.
  23. Sarah McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 142.
  24. Sarah McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 145.
  25. Sarah McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 142-148.
  26. 1 2 3 James Hall, "John the Evangelist," Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, rev. ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1979)
  27. J.K. Elliot (ed.), A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation Based on M.R. James (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993/2005), 343-345.
  28. J K Elliott, "Graphic Versions: Did non-biblical stories about Jesus and the saints originate more in art than text?", Times Literary Supplement, 14 December 2018, pp. 15-16, referring to the El Greco painting.
  29. 1 2 3 Fonck, L. (1910). St. John the Evangelist. In The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company). Retrieved 2017-08-14 from New Advent.
  30. J K Elliott, "Graphic Versions: Did non-biblical stories about Jesus and the saints originate more in art than text?", Times Literary Supplement, 14 December 2018, pp. 15-16, referring to a thirteenth-century manuscript in Cambridge known as the Trinity College Apocalypse.