Early reception of the Gospel of John

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
rgprice
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Early reception of the Gospel of John

Post by rgprice »

What are some good resources that address the early reception of the Gospel of John in the second and third centuries?

In the second and third centuries, Roman Christians were embroiled in their opposition to the so-called Gnostic heresies. Thus it seems quite strange that they were accepting of the Gospel of John, which displays so many Gnostic tendencies.

Were there any doubts about John? Was there criticism of it?

In reading Origin's commentary on John (which is quite hard to follow) it seems that he basically glosses over any potential Gnostic readings of it. He seems to often pull in the Synoptic Gospels as a lens through which to interpret John, but overall he seems quite happy with John.

So, does anyone know of any insightful or critical assessments of John from the second and third centuries?
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billd89
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Re: Early reception, or Late Dating

Post by billd89 »

rgprice wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:34 amIn the second and third centuries, Roman Christians were embroiled in their opposition to the so-called Gnostic heresies.
I don't follow your logic.

Group X is intensely battling the "heresies" of Groups Y,Z in 140 AD. Doesn't this presuppose that Group X already HAS an ideology to defend? When was said ideology established? Culture takes time; it was slow-cooked in Antiquity.

Given how complex myths developed and spread c.50 AD, over generations, how does jamming all events & everything into the Second & Third Centuries make sense, even to Late Daters?
rgprice
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Re: Early reception, or Late Dating

Post by rgprice »

billd89 wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:03 am I don't follow your logic.
Church fathers from the 2nd & 3rd railed against various Gnostics. They documented many of their teachings. They claimed over and and over how those teachings were wrong.

Yet many of the teachings that they railed against can be found in the Gospel of John. So how did they deal with the fact that that many of the teachings they called heresies exist in a Gospel that they felt compelled to defend?

Irenaeus says that the Valentians used the Gospel of John, so he at least acknowledged that it could be interpreted in a way that was compatible with Gnostic heresy.

Those, moreover, who follow Valentinus, making copious use of that according to John, to illustrate their conjunctions, shall be proved to be totally in error by means of this very Gospel, as I have shown in the first book.

But as far as I know, we have no record of how other sects actually interpreted the Gospels.

For example, Irenaeus, Origen and others quote from the opening of John in order to prove that there is only one God and that the world was created by the Highest God through Jesus, as opposed to the world having been created by some other deity or angel, but they ignore the fact that the Gospel of John never says that Jesus was born. John does mention a "mother" of Jesus, but very tenuously.

Likewise, the early apologists claimed that the coming of Jesus was foreseen by the Jews, whose prophets came from Jesus' Father, the one and only true God. Yet the Gospel of John claims that they Jews had never known the Father of Jesus and that is why they fail to recognize him now. John can easily be read as promoting the view that Jesus came from a Higher God than the Jewish God, who had been unknown to anyone on earth until Jesus came to reveal him. Yet I find no commentary from early apologist that addresses this.
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billd89
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Re: Redux

Post by billd89 »

rgprice wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:34 amIn the second and third centuries, Roman Christians were embroiled in their opposition to the so-called Gnostic heresies.
I still don't follow your logic. Gnosticism was all over southern France - it was 3-5 generations older in Egypt and Syria.

Irenaeus (170 AD) is condemning literary "heresies" of older Gnostics, nominal Xtian groups using the yet-older Gospels already well-known and circulating in 125 AD. Valentinians (c.125 AD) using period works such as GJhn (c.90 AD) is entirely consistent with what we should expect to see: a generation-old work read as scripture.

Irenaeus (c.170 AD) is defending canonical scripture, quotes from 21 of the 27 New Testament books. Almost by definition, he is defending Church ideology. And said ideology wasnt established in his generation; by definition it was older still. Tatian (c.150 AD) shows that, nor is he the beginning either. We should see the creeping migration of ideas in Antiquity as a centuries-long process: 'Christianity' in its basic elements is more likely to have developed c.100 BC - 300 AD rather than 'overnight', c.175-325 AD. As foundational texts, the Gospels probably date c.50-100 AD to be known & 'established' in Tatian's day. (First attestations are almost never early nor immediate: culture is a slowing-cooking, especially factoring the oral tradition. Recall: 'Against Celsus' was written two generations AFTER that opponent had died.)

So jamming all events & everything into the Late Second & Third Centuries looks illogical, wishful thinking of Late Daters.
ABuddhist
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Re: Early reception of the Gospel of John

Post by ABuddhist »

rgprice wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:34 am What are some good resources that address the early reception of the Gospel of John in the second and third centuries?

In the second and third centuries, Roman Christians were embroiled in their opposition to the so-called Gnostic heresies. Thus it seems quite strange that they were accepting of the Gospel of John, which displays so many Gnostic tendencies.

Were there any doubts about John? Was there criticism of it?

In reading Origin's commentary on John (which is quite hard to follow) it seems that he basically glosses over any potential Gnostic readings of it. He seems to often pull in the Synoptic Gospels as a lens through which to interpret John, but overall he seems quite happy with John.

So, does anyone know of any insightful or critical assessments of John from the second and third centuries?
I hope that the following words from me can help you.

The Alogi, to quote the possibly unreliable Wikipedia, were "a group of heterodox Christians in Asia Minor that flourished c. 200 CE, and taught that the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse of John (Book of Revelation) were not the work of the Apostle, but his adversary Cerinthus".

Wikipedia's sources are

Gwynn, J. "Hippolytus and his “Heads against Caius”," Hermathena, 6 (1888), 397-418.
Bludau, A. Die Ersten Gegner der Johannes-Schriften (Biblische Studien, 22, Hefte 1 and 2; 1925).
Fisher, G. P. "Some Remarks on the Alogi," Papers of the American Society of Church History, 2,1 (1890), pp. 1–9.
Hall, S. G. "Aloger," in Theologische Realenzyklopadia 2. Edited by G. Krause, G. Muller, et al. Berlin: 1977 ff., 290-95.
The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III, Translated by Frank Williams. Leiden: Brill, 1997. ISBN 90-04-09898-4.
Rose, V. “Question Johannine. Les Aloges asiatiques et les aloges romains,” Revue Biblique 6 (1897): 516-34.
Smith, J. D. Gaius and the Controversy over the Johannine Literature (PhD diss.), Yale University, 1979.
Trevett, Chr. Montanism: Gender, Authority and the New Prophesy (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 29, 66, 138-41, 262-3.
rgprice
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Re: Early reception of the Gospel of John

Post by rgprice »

ABuddhist wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:42 pm I hope that the following words from me can help you.

The Alogi, to quote the possibly unreliable Wikipedia, were "a group of heterodox Christians in Asia Minor that flourished c. 200 CE, and taught that the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse of John (Book of Revelation) were not the work of the Apostle, but his adversary Cerinthus".

Wikipedia's sources are

Gwynn, J. "Hippolytus and his “Heads against Caius”," Hermathena, 6 (1888), 397-418.
Bludau, A. Die Ersten Gegner der Johannes-Schriften (Biblische Studien, 22, Hefte 1 and 2; 1925).
Fisher, G. P. "Some Remarks on the Alogi," Papers of the American Society of Church History, 2,1 (1890), pp. 1–9.
Hall, S. G. "Aloger," in Theologische Realenzyklopadia 2. Edited by G. Krause, G. Muller, et al. Berlin: 1977 ff., 290-95.
The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III, Translated by Frank Williams. Leiden: Brill, 1997. ISBN 90-04-09898-4.
Rose, V. “Question Johannine. Les Aloges asiatiques et les aloges romains,” Revue Biblique 6 (1897): 516-34.
Smith, J. D. Gaius and the Controversy over the Johannine Literature (PhD diss.), Yale University, 1979.
Trevett, Chr. Montanism: Gender, Authority and the New Prophesy (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 29, 66, 138-41, 262-3.
That is helpful, thank you.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Early reception of the Gospel of John

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:34 am What are some good resources that address the early reception of the Gospel of John in the second and third centuries?
Batovici, Dan. “The Second-Century Reception of John: A Survey of Methodologies.” Currents in Biblical Research 10, no. 3 (June 1, 2012): 396–409. https://doi.org/10.1177/1476993X10397593.

Zelyck, Lorne R. John among the Other Gospels: The Reception of the Fourth Gospel in the Extra-Canonical Gospels. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2013.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Early reception of the Gospel of John

Post by neilgodfrey »

Hill, Charles E. The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Martyn, J. Louis, and R. Alan Culpepper. The Gospel of John in Christian History,. Edited by Paul N. Anderson. 2nd ed. edition. Wipf and Stock, 2019.

Wahlde, Urban C. von, and Chris Keith. Gnosticism, Docetism, and the Judaisms of the First Century: The Search for the Wider Context of the Johannine Literature and Why It Matters. Reprint edition. London i pozostałe: T&T Clark, 2016.
rgprice
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Re: Early reception of the Gospel of John

Post by rgprice »

Thanks Neil.

On a side note. The dating question of John is interesting, but I'm now of the opinion that "John", or at least the core of the material, was produced before Matthew and canonical Luke. I do think it is derived from Marcion's Gospel. While there is a tendency to see it as perhaps a Gnostic Gospel with proto-orthodox revisions, I'm not sure really how much revision it received. I don't think there were many revisions throughout. Certainly 21, and maybe from 19-21, but for much of it, I think that if someone were revising it they would have made more changes than they did.
ABuddhist
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Re: Early reception of the Gospel of John

Post by ABuddhist »

rgprice wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:19 am Thanks Neil.

On a side note. The dating question of John is interesting, but I'm now of the opinion that "John", or at least the core of the material, was produced before Matthew and canonical Luke. I do think it is derived from Marcion's Gospel. While there is a tendency to see it as perhaps a Gnostic Gospel with proto-orthodox revisions, I'm not sure really how much revision it received. I don't think there were many revisions throughout. Certainly 21, and maybe from 19-21, but for much of it, I think that if someone were revising it they would have made more changes than they did.
Have you read Roger Parvus's theory about how GJohn was written (in its original form) by Apelles for the Apellean sect?
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