The NT and Presbyter Johns

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:19 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:58 pm
And if 1, 2 and 3 John (or even just 1 John) were written by John the pillar/son of Zebedee/the presbyter then that would also exclude him as being the author of Revelation since I gather those letters are not like Revelation in language style.
The conceptual divergences between the gospel and the epistles (such as who the Paraclete is: the Spirit in the gospel or the Son in the epistles; and rather many more) definitely keep me away from positing a common authorship for them all. And yes, the style of Revelation is very different than both the epistles and the gospel.
John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:03 pm
So perhaps there were only two Johns, the pillar/son of Zebedee/the presbyter who perhaps wrote 1, 2 and 3 John and taught Papias and was buried in Ephesus, and whoever wrote Revelation (who was perhaps just a guy named John), and the author of the gospel of John was perhaps pretending to be the former.
I do not see how it can be thought that the author of the gospel of John was "pretending" to be anybody in particular. The beloved disciple is always written of in the third person singular ("he"), and the editorship or authorship is always expressed in the first person plural ("we"). The big question is who the beloved disciple is supposed to be. John of Zebedee is one of the poorer guesses, given chapter 21's casual listing of the sons of Zebedee among the fishermen, and Papias knows of two Johns, the first apparently being the one known as the son of Zebedee and the second being the Elder. To try to combine these two Johns into one is to replace the existing evidence with modern reconstructions (one suggestion along these lines has been that Eusebius deliberately divided a single John in Papias into two Johns in order to handle the apocalypse; this requires Eusebius to have intentionally misquoted Papias, since Papias as quoted clearly distinguishes between the two Johns).
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:43 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:19 pm

I do not see how it can be thought that the author of the gospel of John was "pretending" to be anybody in particular. The beloved disciple is always written of in the third person singular ("he"), and the editorship or authorship is always expressed in the first person plural ("we"). The big question is who the beloved disciple is supposed to be. John of Zebedee is one of the poorer guesses, given chapter 21's casual listing of the sons of Zebedee among the fishermen, and Papias knows of two Johns, the first apparently being the one known as the son of Zebedee and the second being the Elder. To try to combine these two Johns into one is to replace the existing evidence with modern reconstructions (one suggestion along these lines has been that Eusebius deliberately divided a single John in Papias into two Johns in order to handle the apocalypse; this requires Eusebius to have intentionally misquoted Papias, since Papias as quoted clearly distinguishes between the two Johns).

I could take or leave that one, and Culpepper argues against the idea, though he discusses the arguments for it as well and mentions something in the "for it" column that caught my eye regarding the Beloved Disciple (if he was John the son of Zebedee) knowing the high priest on page 61:

... a fourteenth of fifteenth century manuscript [that I don't want to type out at the moment] reports that the Gospel of the Nazarenes contained [the] ... explanation: "In the Gospel of the Nazareans the reason is given why John was known to the high priest. As he was the son of the poor fisherman Zebedee, he had often brought fish to the palace of the high priests Annas and Caiaphas."
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:50 pm

Papias knows of two Johns, the first apparently being the one known as the son of Zebedee and the second being the Elder.

Ah, right, I overlooked that while thinking about Culpepper's idea. But that would have no impact on the idea that Papias' presbyter John was the pillar John. There would just be three Johns then, the son of Zebedee, the pillar/presbyter, and whoever wrote Revelation.
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:13 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:43 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:19 pm

I do not see how it can be thought that the author of the gospel of John was "pretending" to be anybody in particular. The beloved disciple is always written of in the third person singular ("he"), and the editorship or authorship is always expressed in the first person plural ("we"). The big question is who the beloved disciple is supposed to be. John of Zebedee is one of the poorer guesses, given chapter 21's casual listing of the sons of Zebedee among the fishermen, and Papias knows of two Johns, the first apparently being the one known as the son of Zebedee and the second being the Elder. To try to combine these two Johns into one is to replace the existing evidence with modern reconstructions (one suggestion along these lines has been that Eusebius deliberately divided a single John in Papias into two Johns in order to handle the apocalypse; this requires Eusebius to have intentionally misquoted Papias, since Papias as quoted clearly distinguishes between the two Johns).

I could take or leave that one, and Culpepper argues against the idea, though he discusses the arguments for it as well and mentions something in the "for it" column that caught my eye regarding the Beloved Disciple (if he was John the son of Zebedee) knowing the high priest on page 61:

... a fourteenth of fifteenth century manuscript [that I don't want to type out at the moment] reports that the Gospel of the Nazarenes contained [the] ... explanation: "In the Gospel of the Nazareans the reason is given why John was known to the high priest. As he was the son of the poor fisherman Zebedee, he had often brought fish to the palace of the high priests Annas and Caiaphas."
I have this passage on my thread about the Nazoraean gospel:

History of the Passion of the Lord, folio 35 recto, concerning Peter and John in the court of the high priest: In evangelio Nazareorum ponitur causa unde Iohannes notus fuerit pontifici. quia cum fuerit filius pauperis piscatoris Zebedei, sepe portaverat pisces ad curias pontificum Anne et Cayphe. exivit autem Iohannes ad ancillam hostiariam et ab ea impetravit quo Petrus socius suus qui ante ianuam stetit plorans fuit intromissus. / In the gospel of the Nazaraeans the reason is given for John having been known to the priest. It was because when he was the son of the poor fisherman Zebedee he often ported fishes to the curias of the priests Annas and Caiaphas. And John went out to the usher-maid and from her procured [permission] that his associate Peter, who stood before the door weeping, should be brought in.

My degree of confidence in the usefulness of this passage for our purposes is very close to absolute zero.
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:21 pm

The only question left for me would be why is the gospel of John thought to have been written by a John? I know we could ask the same for the other gospels (though in Mark and Matthew's case I would say it's simply because those were their names, as per Papias), but in this case, why John? That it is thought to have been written in Asia at least ties in with Papias' presbyter, but since I'm supposing that that John was the pillar John and perhaps wrote 1, 2 and 3 John, it would be strange if he (also) wrote the gospel of John considering how different it is from Mark and Matthew (which I view as being Jewish Christian or Jewish Christian-related in the case of Mark) as well as seeming anti-Semitic. But maybe that was just his name too and has no connection to any other Johns, though I gather it was a name that was imposed on the gospel by others.
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:22 pm

My degree of confidence in the usefulness of this passage for our purposes is very close to absolute zero.

That's cool. I'm happy to dump Culpepper's idea.
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:26 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:21 pm
The only question left for me would be why is the gospel of John thought to have been written by a John? I know we could ask the same for the other gospels (though in Mark and Matthews case I would say it's simply because those were their names, as per Papias), but in this case, why John? That it is thought to have been written in Asia at least ties in with the Papias' presbyter, but since I'm supposing that that John was the pillar John and perhaps wrote 1, 2 and 3 John, it would be strange if he (also) wrote the gospel of John considering how different it is from Mark and Matthew (which I view as being Jewish Christian or Jewish Christian-related in the case of Mark) as well as seeming anti-Semitic. But maybe that was just his name too and has no connection to any other Johns, though I gather it was a name that was imposed on the gospel by others.
The epistles of John and the gospel of John are clearly related to each other. The majority view is that the epistles were written with knowledge of the gospel; the minority view is that the gospel was written with knowledge of the epistles. I currently hold pretty firmly with the minority view.

Another thing to consider is the artificial nature of the beloved disciple pericopes. It is as if this disciple has been written into synoptic scenes like some kind of fan fiction. I for one do not think that such a disciple ever actually participated in those scenes; his entire presence in the gospel narrative is a fiction. Nevertheless, he himself was a real person, and his death caused consternation (as per John 21).

It is possible that whoever inserted this figure into the gospel narrative thought of him as John the Pillar or John the Elder; hence the title of the gospel. (This is much the same kind of idea I was offering about the authorship of the apocalypse of John, but it is a stronger notion for the gospel than for the apocalypse.)
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:32 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:22 pm
My degree of confidence in the usefulness of this passage for our purposes is very close to absolute zero.

That's cool. I'm happy to dump Culpepper's idea.
I am not sure which aspect of Culpepper's idea you are dropping. Culpepper certainly does not think that the beloved disciple was originally John of Zebedee.
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:41 pm

the minority view is that the gospel was written with knowledge of the epistles. I currently hold pretty firmly with the minority view.

Ah. Well, I'm still thinking that Papias' presbyter John and Polycrates' Asian John could be the same person (and that they could also be the pillar John), but even if they aren't, do you think either of them could have a) written all or some of the Johannine epistles; and b) that these epistles and/or the fame of either of these Johns could have inspired the author of the gospel of John to pretend be one of them (and/or could have inspired whoever called that gospel John)?
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Re: The NT and Presbyter Johns

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:42 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:32 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:22 pm
My degree of confidence in the usefulness of this passage for our purposes is very close to absolute zero.

That's cool. I'm happy to dump Culpepper's idea.
I am not sure which aspect of Culpepper's idea you are dropping. Culpepper certainly does not think that the beloved disciple was originally John of Zebedee.

That he is the pillar John. It doesn't fit with my idea that the pillar John is Papias' presbyter John.
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