How the Gospels got their attributions...

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rgprice
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How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by rgprice »

When it comes to the four canonical Gospels we of course know their names, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All of the orthodox claims about where these Gospels came from and who wrote them are extremely consistent, to the degree that it appears really one person came up with an explanation and everyone else is just copying what that person said.

My theory on this is that these Gospels were given names by the editor of the earliest orthodox New Testament collection, or at the very least the editor of the Four Gospel collection. This is a collection that came into the possession of Irenaeus, who is the first person to identify these four Gospels and to call them by name. It appears that all orthodox Christians worked exclusively from this four Gospel collection.

Now, it would appear that what came into the possession of Irenaeus was a collection of these four Gospels, with names already given to them, "The Gospel according to Matthew", etc.

We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed perfect knowledge, as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles. For, after our Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them], were filled from all [His gifts], and had perfect knowledge: they departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from God to us, and proclaiming the peace of heaven to men, who indeed do all equally and individually possess the Gospel of God. Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.
- Irenaeus, Against Heresies: Book III Chapter 1 ~180 CE

But who were these people. The collection didn't specify who exactly these people were, it just gave their names. So how did Irenaeus identify who these figures were exactly? How did Irenaeus come up with the claim that the Gospel of John was written by John Zebedee, that Mark was a companion of Peter, that Luke was a companion of Paul, that Matthew was the tax collecting disciple?

What I think to be the case is that whoever assigned the names to these Gospels was working from names that were indeed already associated with at least most of these writings. In other words these Gospels were individually associated with the names that they were given in the collection. But, they weren't necessarily who Irenaeus claimed them to be.

The most obvious case is the Gospel of John. Orthodox Christians tell us that the Gospel of John was written by John Zebedee, a disciple of Jesus. But I seriously doubt that was the original association of the name.

The "Gospel of John" talks about John the Baptist more than any other Gospel. In fact, John is sort of the co-star of the Gospel, right behind Jesus. John 1 tells us:

6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
...
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

We are told at the very opening of the writing that "John was sent by God to testify so that all might believe through him", but this isn't John Zebedee, this is John the Baptist. And in this Gospel, John is never arrested and he repeatedly shows up to offer testimony and narration.

At the same time, "John Zebedee" doesn't even appear in the Gospel AT ALL! That is until John 21, which everyone knows was added by the editor of the four Gospel collection.

So here we have this Gospel that gives John the Baptist the biggest starring role of any Gospel, and we are told that this Gospel is the "testimony of John so that others may believe," yet we're supposed to believe that this Gospel was called "the Gospel of John" because it was associated with some other John who isn't even mentioned in the whole damned thing? Nonsense.

No, this was the "Gospel of John the Baptist", not the Gospel of "John Zebedee". Irenaeus and orthodox Christians just invented the association of this Gospel to John Zebedee in order to fulfill their desire to have Gospels associated with apostles, of which John the Baptist was not.

So that's one. Now what about the Gospel of Mark? The names Luke and Mark both appear in the Pauline writings:

Colossians 4:10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him);
...
Philemon 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.

Acts makes the following statement about Mark:
Acts 15:37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Here is my theory regarding Mark, yes this is a bit elaborate, but there are good reasons for it.

It is now increasingly recognized that the writer of the "Gospel of Mark" knew and made use of the Pauline letter collection. In the Gospel of Mark references to all of the letters in Marcion's collection can be found, except Philemon. So it must be that the Gospel of Mark was originally produced in association with the Pauline letter collection and was at some point part of a collection that included the Pauline letters, much like Marcion's collection. It also "happens" to be the case that there are number of very distinct parallels between the first person passages in Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Mark. My contention is that at one point much of what we call the Gospel of Mark was part of a larger story that included material now found in Acts.

The reason that the first verse of Mark says, "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" is because someone identified this writing as "the beginning" of a longer story when they extracted the part we know as Mark from the longer account, which included the revelation of Jesus to Paul and an account of Paul's ministry. So the ending of Mark very likely would have been followed by an account of Paul "persecuting" the "assembly of God" and then being sent to Damascus, where along the way in Galilee Jesus was revealed to him.

The first person parts now found in Acts of the Apostles very likely come from this original account of Paul's ministry, which was originally attributed to Mark. In the original story Mark was a traveling companion of Paul, but when the orthodox writer appropriated the material, they manufactured the split between Mark and Paul that is now found in Acts 15. Originally, the account of Paul's ministry was supposed to have been narrated by Mark. And it was this Mark to which the "Gospel of Mark" was attributed.

In the original story, the account of the disciples is a polemic against Peter and the other disciples, which sets the stage for the revelation of Jesus to Paul. The account of Jesus's ministry is attributed to Mark, the traveling companion of Paul, who gives a "first hand" account of Paul's ministry and thus is taken to relay Paul's "knowledge"/"gnosis" of the ministry of Jesus.

Now, obviously such a story would never be an account from an associate of Peter's. The whole story was meant to throw Peter under the bus and demonstrate that Paul was the only valid apostle!

But Irenaeus, who is the first person to tell us about this collection of Four Gospels, don't know any of this back story. What Irenaeus knows is that he saw something in the writings of Justin Martyr that seems to indicate the Gospel of Mark was written by a companion of Peter's:

And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of him that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder

This is a confusing statement, that can be taken to mean that the changing of the names to "Boanerges" was recorded in the "memoirs of Peter". And Irenaeus, trying to figure out who "Mark" is, pounces on this statement and concludes that what he has in his hands are the "memoirs of Peter", but they are attributed to someone called "Mark", not Peter, so he concludes that Mark must have been the scribe of Peter, who recorded "the memoirs of him". However, I don't think Justin meant the "memoirs of Peter". I think what Justin intended to say was, "He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of Jesus..."

But again, Irenaeus was desperate to come up with an explanation for who Mark was that complied with his concept of what the Four Gospel collection must be, so "companion of Peter" was a good enough explanation.

Now, this must be what happened, and everyone else took what Irenaeus said as the truth.

What's clear is this: The original ten Pauline letter collection was used by the writer of the Gospel of Mark. As such, this Gospel must have originally been part of a collection that included the Pauline letters. There is no reason why anyone would think that the Gospel would have originally been associated with Peter of all people, especially given that Mark was a known named companion of Paul's. The association of the Gospel of Mark with Peter has to have occurred only when the Gospel was included in the four Gospel collection and an association to the original apostles was desired. It couldn't have been associated with Peter independently.

The Gospel of Luke was of course associated with Paul as well, and this association was retained given the context. There was no reason to change this one.

The Gospel of Matthew is the most recent of them all. That Matthew was originally written in Hebrew is total nonsense. Instead, Matthew was likely translated into Hebrew, or there was a Gospel in Hebrew that merely resembled Matthew in some way, and from this was born the claim that Matthew was the oldest Gospel, written by an original disciple, and written in Hebrew. Of course Matthew was originally written in Greek. Perhaps there was a Hebrew/Aramaic Gospel attributed to Matthew, and the naming of the Aramaic one led to the naming of the Greek one. I don't know why the Aramaic one was attributed to Matthew, but whatever the case, canonical Matthew is not a translation of an originally Aramaic Gospel, but the naming of it as such was an attempt to make this association, which Irenaeus gladly endorsed.

So in sum, the "Gospel of John" was originally given this name because it was the Gospel of the testimony of John the Baptist, not because it was associated with "John Zebedee". The Gospel of Mark was of course the first Gospel and would have been part of a collection that included the Pauline letters and an account of Paul's ministry. It would have been recognized by its earliest readers as a polemic against the other apostles, most specifically against Peter. The associations of these Gospels with "John Zebedee" and "Mark companion of Peter" must have only happened once they were included in the Four Gospel collection, in order to provide acceptable explanations of where they came from that could be considered credible from the perspective of "apostolic succession".
davidmartin
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by davidmartin »

i think it looks like the gospels are being massaged to fit in with the Pauline narrative rather than they (or their sources) not existing prior to the epistles. why did Acts take pains to introduce Paul out of nowhere, because he wasn't originally there?
dabber
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by dabber »

I'm going to be radical here, and says it's possible Mk, Mt, Lk were the authors of the original gospels bearing their name. Or rather they may have been earlier versions of which they were authors.

Irenaeus has no reason to make up Mark and Luke as authors. Cause they weren't disciples. Arguably they could be thrown out of the Canon on that basis.

I'm thinking authorship of John least reliable by far as the content irreconcilable with the synoptic.
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by davidmartin »

the synoptics are not for sure early as 2 out of 3 of them are later revisions
so it's whether the proto-John is earlier than the original synoptic
how do we know that John doesn't preserve more ancient ideas?
rgprice
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by rgprice »

dabber wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:06 am I'm going to be radical here, and says it's possible Mk, Mt, Lk were the authors of the original gospels bearing their name. Or rather they may have been earlier versions of which they were authors.

Irenaeus has no reason to make up Mark and Luke as authors. Cause they weren't disciples. Arguably they could be thrown out of the Canon on that basis.

I'm thinking authorship of John least reliable by far as the content irreconcilable with the synoptic.
This doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I'm saying. What I said was that Irenaeus was presented with a collection in which the names were already given to the Gospels by someone else. Those names, I argue, were likely associated with those Gospels before they were put into the collection. Whoever made the collection gave the Gospels the "correct" names, the names that those writings were indeed associated with independently.

But "John" can be any John, and "Mark" can be any Mark. The collection itself does not say that the "Gospel of John" was written by "John Zebedee", it just says it was written by "John". It was Irenaeus who made the claim that the "John" of the name was "John Zebedee", or "John disciple of the Lord".

My point is that the identification of "John" as "that John" is the fallacy that Irenaeus introduced. The reason that the Gospel was originally associated with "John" had nothing to do with John Zebedee. It was called the "Gospel of John" because it was associated with John the Baptist, which the Gospel itself says over and over and over again. It was originally the "Gospel of John the Baptist", but Irenaeus made the claim that it was the "Gospel of John Zebedee".

The same goes for Mark. The Gospel of Mark was not originally associated with Peter, it must have been associated with Paul. It was Irenaeus who made the claim that Mark was a companion of Peter.

I never said that Irenaeus made up the names, quite the opposite.
Last edited by rgprice on Fri Mar 29, 2024 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
rgprice
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by rgprice »

davidmartin wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 3:19 am i think it looks like the gospels are being massaged to fit in with the Pauline narrative rather than they (or their sources) not existing prior to the epistles. why did Acts take pains to introduce Paul out of nowhere, because he wasn't originally there?
My personal thesis is that all of the material developed out of a Pauline letter collection. The earliest set of "Christian" writings that was produced was a collection of 10 Pauline letters to "seven churches". This collection was ordered chronologically starting with Galatians. To that letter collection a narrative about the ministry of Paul was added. This narrative began by narrating the opening of Galatians, and presented the reader with a narrative account of what they would then read in the Pauline letters. The story began with Paul's persecution of the "assembly of God" and then his conversion through a vision of Jesus and subsequent ministry. This story may have gone all the way to a trial of Paul in Jerusalem and then his "escape" to Rome, or it may have ended earlier than that with Paul being imprisoned in Ephesus.

To this collection, someone then added a narrative about Jesus, which was based upon the existing material in the collection, using Paul as the inspiration for the Jesus character. Jesus basically pre-figures Paul and engages in a similar ministry to the one describing Paul's ministry, including dubious voyages back and fourth across the "Sea" of Galilee, much as Paul went back and fourth across the Aegean Sea.

At that point what existed then was a collection that opened with the story about Jesus, which was followed by the story about Paul, and it was tied together in such a way that from the ending of the story about Jesus, with the disciples abandoning Jesus and the women running away in fear and not telling anyone, the reader then reads on into the narrative about Paul and sees that Paul is the one that Jesus ends up revealing himself to after his death, not Peter or James or any other so-called disciple.

So that constituted an entire collection, consisting the story about Jesus, followed by the story of Paul's ministry and ending with the Pauline letters.

But this collection was later broken up, and someone copied just the story about Jesus out by itself and labeled it, "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ", because they were extracting just the first part of the longer story that included the ministry of Paul. That is what became the "Gospel of Mark". And I think its very likely that it was believed that the account of Paul's ministry had been written by "Mark" and that this was the same Mark who wrote the Gospel.

Somehow, I'm not sure how, the writer of canonical Luke and Acts came into possession of the whole collection and that person used the narrative about Paul as the basis for his "Acts of the Apostles", in which he appropriated parts of the original story, but also made a lot of changes and added on a whole new beginning about the other disciples.

So, the whole thing was originally all about Paul to begin with, which is exactly what so many of the heretics said all along.
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by Peter Kirby »

davidmartin wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 5:59 am the synoptics are not for sure early as 2 out of 3 of them are later revisions
so it's whether the proto-John is earlier than the original synoptic
how do we know that John doesn't preserve more ancient ideas?
Do we know? This is a topic worth exploring. Maybe you could develop an argument for the priority of a proto-John.
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by Peter Kirby »

dabber wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:06 am Irenaeus has no reason to make up Mark and Luke as authors. Cause they weren't disciples. Arguably they could be thrown out of the Canon on that basis.
With Luke, if it was viewed as being written by the same person as Acts, that did limit options to companions of Paul ("we" passages), which could constrain options for what would be said about its authorship.

Your point that this is most likely a story being repeated about Mark disciple of Peter as author seems valid. It's plausible and requires the least supposition and imagination.
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by davidmartin »

one argument for a proto john is if john were actually using a source for some of it's material and adding a narrative
John reminds me of the way a few gnostic texts do this
So this would be the first person Jesus stuff of an older revelation or treatise. maybe the prologue
John seems quite suited to that approach which the synoptics are different, granted i think they draw from a Thomasine source but they lack the theological stuff that John has which in John would be well suited to an earlier source

John can move around in the fourth dimension of time via earlier layers patterns showing up, and later by redactions. like a time traveler
all the gospels seem to be collecting earlier material. so the synoptics do not have to know john, if john wasnt originally a gospel like text
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Re: How the Gospels got their attributions...

Post by rgprice »

davidmartin wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:06 pm one argument for a proto john is if john were actually using a source for some of it's material and adding a narrative
John reminds me of the way a few gnostic texts do this
So this would be the first person Jesus stuff of an older revelation or treatise. maybe the prologue
John seems quite suited to that approach which the synoptics are different, granted i think they draw from a Thomasine source but they lack the theological stuff that John has which in John would be well suited to an earlier source

John can move around in the fourth dimension of time via earlier layers patterns showing up, and later by redactions. like a time traveler
all the gospels seem to be collecting earlier material. so the synoptics do not have to know john, if john wasnt originally a gospel like text
That were was a pre-canonical John should go without question at this point. Teeple's analysis of John is very good. It is also quite easy to see that John contains many Gnostic type passages and has some very consistently Gnostic type themes. But most important, everyone agrees that John 21 is both a later addition by a different writer than the rest of John, and that John 21 was present in the collection of Irenaeus and that all orthodox Christians who knew John knew the eversion with John 21. Origen also provides a commentary on John that contrasts his reading of it with that of the heretic Heracleon, and notes differences between the two.

Of course the main "source" used to create proto-John was either proto-Mark or *Ev or proto-Luke. To this a lot of material was invented by the writer. The theme of the original writer was to show that Jesus was the Son of God without reliance on prophecy. Thus the reason that this writer relies more heavily on John is because he wants John to testify to the divinity of Jesus instead of the scriptures. The same goes with the "miraculous signs" performed by John. The original writer of proto-John wants the "miraculous signs" to show that Jesus is the Son of God. He is indicating that Jesus proved he was the son of God through works, thus there is no need to rely on "Jewish prophecy" to show that he was the Son of God.

But John is edited by an orthodox redactor throughout, who is the same person that wrote John 21. Teeple shows this.

But here is where it gets very tricky. Because the end of John 21 says that the disciple that Jesus loved is the one who wrote this account, BUT that appears to be a later addition, since it is not present in all known manuscripts. So, if that was not present in the version that existed at the time of Irenaeus, then it was Irenaeus himself who made this connection and then someone later added the statement to the Gospel itself. If it was present in what Irenaeus read, then of course that would have led Irenaeus to that conclusion, but it is really the writer of John 21:24-25 that indicates that the account was written by "John the disciple", because without John 21:24-25 there is nothing to indicate that the account was written "by a disciple". So the orthodox redactor who introduced "the disciple that Jesus loved" sets the stage, but it is really only John 21:24-25 that indicates the work was written by a disciple of Jesus.

My contention is that prior to the writing of John 21:24-25, this Gospel would have been associated with "John the Baptist", not "John Zebedee".

This is what the "Gospel of John" says about John "the Baptist".
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
...
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ ”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why, then, are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal.” 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Chosen One.
...
22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there, and people kept coming and were being baptized. 24 (John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.)[Note this is an editorial comment made by the orthodox redactor]

25 Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”[l]
...
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. 33 You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.[Teeple assigns v34 and v36 to the orthodox redactor.]
...
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. 41 Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

So we can see that clearly John "the Baptist" plays a major role in this story, much more so than any other Gospel. And John Zebedee is NEVER actually mentioned by name at all. Even in John 21. John 21 simply says:

1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he showed himself in this way. 2 Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.

The "disciple that Jesus loved" is really only mentioned a few of times in John. Those mentions are:
John 13:21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining close to his heart;
...
John 20: 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’s head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed, 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.
...
John 21:6 He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he had taken it off, and jumped into the sea.
...
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” 23 So the rumor spread among the brothers and sisters that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Teeple indicates that all of these mentions about the disciple that Jesus loved come from the orthodox redactor, and Teeple notes that 21:24-25 is a "late gloss" because it is not in all known manuscripts.

So again what we have is an original story that was heavily associated with John the Baptist, which is later appropriated to "John the disciple".
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