Talk:Authorship of the Johannine works

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In that bullet-list about arguments for authorship, there is a lot of talk about "the book", even references to bible verse. However, the heading concerns the authorship of "the books", and it is not even clear what book the article author refers to. vintermann ---

The dates given for the writings of John as well as his age at the time were greatly skewed toward the argument and left out a lot of fact. The age for the apostles was 17-26 (estimated of course, but more accurate than "in his twenties") and the writings are dated as having been written in the last years of the first century (The Catholic Encyclopedia being the most complete on this subject is my main source for dates, not theology, folks.) The age is still significant, but the placement of 102 as the minimum age for John when he wrote the Gospels is not based in any fact whatsoever. Of course, the piece itself is contrasting opinions on which neither on has a whole lot of basis in provable fact, but again, this way is more accurate. --TheGrza 05:18, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

As for the first point on the truth of the Apostle John's claim to the authorship, the use of language seemed to have a POV, regardless of intention. I took it out of the parentheses and reworded slightly. Hope it's better. --TheGrza 05:23, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

I think, given the title, this article is about Authorship of the Gospel of John. I.e. "of John". Thus should only be "book".
I think also, given that the Catholic encyclopedia is the development of the views on truth of the Church which developed from the Early church, it is going to be POV about dates. It has a vested interest in the Gospel of John's date being plausibly connected to a still living Apostle. CheeseDreams 21:14, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Check out the Catholic Encyclopedia and some other reputable sources. They match on everything except theology.


If this article is to be exclusively about the gospel of John, the title should be, as it is now "Authorship of John". If the article is to be about the Johannine works, the title should be "Authorship of the Johannine works". In addition, the article should be split into sections more , e.g.

  • "Authorship of the Gospel of John"
  • "Authorship of Revelations (also called The apocalypse of St. John the Divine)" - (note that Divine merely means one who has had a revelation, and apocalypse is greek for revelation, and that this is the older title of the book, revelations being a nick name)
  • "Authorship of the Johannine letters"
  • etc.

Comments? CheeseDreams 21:20, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC) If no-one comments, I will either add a disclaimer "this is about the gospel of John" or something. Or change the title and add the sectioning. Haven't decided which I prefer yet. CheeseDreams 23:34, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't see any point in having several articles, as they will be rather short and have considerable overlap. There is enough difference to support division into different sections, of course. Leaving a redirect here, of course, I'd support Authorship of the Johannine works, if you want a more complete name. Mpolo 09:21, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)
By the way, as you can see, I've been adding quite a bit... I got so carried away with "criticism" in general that I have hardly touched on authorship. We'll have to see afterwards if some material has to go back to Gospel of John. Mpolo 18:58, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)
No, it looks good. However, it still looks like its just about the gospel. CheeseDreams

Illiteracy of John[edit]

The supposed illiteracy of John the Apostle comes from Acts 4:13 which says "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." (NIV) See B.W. Johnson's Commentary on John (not an unbiased source, but we're talking about Bible Scholars here). There is nothing about illiteracy. Also, if you note the point immediately after the illiterate point, they are strikingly similar so I just merged the two. Hope this clear up the confusion. --TheGrza 07:09, Nov 8, 2004 (UTC)

Im going to edit it, as your last edit has half a sentance which ends with the word "an". CheeseDreams 07:56, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
N.b. at the link you give, the author uses church father's witness to Justify the authorship. This is a highly POV thing to do. The church fathers were biased, and if Iranaeus forged the gospel of john, then one should be unsurprised that he, and his supporters after him, should attest to its genuinness. A point the author of the link fails to mention. CheeseDreams 08:03, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The only point really to take from the piece I had you look at was the fact that the only evidence of his illiteracy was Acts 4:13 which mentions no illiteracy except in the DARBY translation and the Wycliffe New Testament versions of Acts 4:13. So nowhere in the Bible in 95% of the translations does it mention something about being "unlettered and plebeian." If you are going to say that the bible insinuated that John was illiterate, first of all, do it right and find where it mentions this and put that in the article.

As to your other point that lack of schooling infers illiteracy, that's highly POV and really has no basis in fact. There are a number of other issues that could promote literacy without expanding one's knowledge, or having someone be known as a smart guy. Including reading the Torah and the rest of the Tanakh. Which they, as Jews, devout Jews who most historical accounts suggest were with John the Baptist before Jesus came around. John the Baptist known for running a completely insane and rigourously devout colony of people that wouldn't be inhabited by those who didn't know the Torah and Tanakh. So to infer from one passage the literacy of this man and to not include where you get any information is clearly POV and also clearly uninformed. I'm reverting it back to it's original state which makes the point that John was no genius and that for him to have written it probably would need something on the scale of a large deity but that no, he wasn't illiterate.--[[User:TheGrza|TheGrza]] 18:37, Nov 8, 2004 (UTC)

The Greek text has ἀγράμματοι meaning "without learning", "unlettered", used in the Greek corpus in this sense in Xenophon and in the Greek Anthology. The fact that John was "known to the High Priest" could indicate a certain amount of contact there, so that he would have at least some education... If John lived as long as he is reputed to have lived, the possibility of gaining those skills remains open as well. Mpolo 20:39, Nov 8, 2004 (UTC)
Indeed if he was Prester John he would be an amazingly good writer. But this is about the anti-John-did-the-gospel argument, which does quite frequently use the case that john was illiterate. If this article was about who did write the gospel of john then it would be fine to take into account the above. But this article is about the critical argument about John having written the gospel, and the argument against does frequently use the john-is-unable-to-write case. CheeseDreams 23:38, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
For example, Creation according to Genesis does not go "oh there is this counter argument, so Ill cut that case from the text", but rather it puts the counter argument in the counter argument part of the article. CheeseDreams 23:39, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I would suggest that the difference between "without learning" and "unlettered" are pretty far apart. I don't think there is nearly enough evidence to suggest that the man was illiterate at any point, regardless of learning. And, I point out as well, that all but two of the translations take the "without learning" angle, even the non-secular and historical study bibles that are not translated by religous people but by linguists and historians for the sole purpose of studying this age, not this religion. If they all disagreed because they had manufactured the idea that John was a leopard instead of a human being that would not merit inclusion. We should be including the points that have basis in fact, as all the others do. When it is argued that John could have learned to write by the time he hit old age, this is not a reason not to include the argument because that would belong in the "for" column. This is not that case. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this specific argument against. Also, we are not removing legitimate arguments against John having written the books, we are removing arguments with no basis in fact. Your reference to Genesis is a complete non sequiter. (I understand that you are referring to the article. I still maintain that it makes no sense at all in this context.) --[[User:TheGrza|TheGrza]] 00:47, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)

No, that is an important point of view too (though rather odd). If they had manufactured the idea of John as a leopard, then that ought to be mentioned too, along with an explanation of their motives. It is unencyclopedic to cut it out. CheeseDreams 22:06, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Anyway, exactly how many people could write back then? Why do you think that scribes existed as a profession? The point is that hardly anyone could write, and that doing so would make you instantly highly employable. John was a fisherman. CheeseDreams 22:06, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
P.s. it wasn't a reference to Genesis, it was a reference to the article. CheeseDreams 22:18, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, me and you will just have to disagree on the asinine leopard comment, but your point about scribes is a good one. However, literacy rates among the Jewish faithful were much higher and among the ultra-religious (and John was not just a fisherman, he had been a member of the Baptist collective with John the Baptist) it was very high. Many of the Gnostics actually came out of this tradition which is how THEY were able to write. --[[User:TheGrza|TheGrza]] 01:21, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)

Im confused now, the leopard was a donkey? CheeseDreams 19:59, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No, smartass, it was stupid. --[[User:TheGrza|TheGrza]] 01:21, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)

They manufactured the idea that John was a stupid leopard? Is this a reference to Yeshu ben Pandera?

What is literacy in the ancient age? Not many could sit down and read a letter through on a first reading, most readers had to sound it out and figure out the paragraphs and sentences. Thus, today, most would be considered functionally illiterate, even scholars. Ceasar was thought to be remarkable in that he could read a letter through at first look. However, the widespread use of graffiti shows that even the common people could read a little. So, even if John was "unschooled" in AD30 or so, he may well have been somewhat literate- and of course, he may have well become a scholar in the next several decades. Finally, unschooled or not, he certainly could have dictated the book to scribes. (talk) 18:09, 5 January 2011 (UTC)


So I'm idly reading this article, when I reach the bottom & notice that there are only three sources in the bibliography, & at least twice as many sources referred to in the article, e.g. "G.H.C. McGregor (1928)". Do I need to emphasize just how unprofessional this looks?

I'm not arguing any POV -- except that if you refer to a source, provide the referent -- name, title, publication details. If you care about this article, please fix it. Otherwise I'll let my inner grumpy nature out, & let it make a large number of edits to prove my point. -- llywrch 02:06, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • I've deleted and removed here the historically incorrect and self inconsistent statement concerning the rapid dissemination of John in Egypt: "which would not be expected for a Gnostic text, since the Egyptian church of the era was fighting against Gnosticism."--Wetman 18:16, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • "According to J.N. Sanders (1943) and C.K. Barrett (1955), the first persons to use the Gospel of John were Gnostics in the second century to early third century. They cited similarities with the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip." This cannot mean the Gospel of Thomas, which was not discovered until 1945. Is there any value to the rest of this statement? Would someone rewrite it so that is at least sounds believable, please. --Wetman 00:52, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I have fixed this up with correct information about Ptolemy and Heracleon. --Peter Kirby 02:33, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
  • FYI, like many "lost" works, the existence and name of The Gospel of Thomas was known to us long before an extant copy was discovered. For example, both Origen and Eusebius mention it by name in the third century, but a complete copy was not discovered until Nag Hammadi, in 1945. RBarryYoung (talk) 23:59, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Isn't the Letter of Ignatius to the Philippians generally considered spurious? It seems to me that its inclusion in this article is inappropriate. Perhaps a scholar can comment? Brucelange 03:30, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Confusion over authorship[edit]

My opinion, from reading the article, is that the article is a bit confused concerning authorship. Sometimes very strong statements are given that the historical apostle John is completely eliminated as a possible author. Then, at other times, the article gives positions iterating the possibility of John's involvement in authorship. Also, there doesn't seem to be a very coherent approach to discussing the issue, rather the treatment is more frenetic. As a result the reader is jolted into one position, then out of it, with nothing more than statements like "most scholars agree..." I think there is room for subtle improvement here. Lostcaesar 23:43, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

In addition, there is little to no mention at all of any recent conservative scholarly works which have thoroughly, effectively, and logically defended an Apostlic Johannine scholarship of the Gospel. Just to prove my point, there was not much effort put forth to mention well respected Biblical scholars such as Friedrich Schleiermacher, B.F Westcott, Adolf Schlatter, P-Gardener Smith, A.T. Robinson, Martin Hengel, Richard Bauckham, D.A. Caron, Leon Morris, F.F. Bruce, Herman Ridderbos, Andreas Kostenberger, and many other "modern scholars" who have vehemently defended a Johnainnie authorship of the Fourth Gospel. I will say, however, that the article did a decent job at showing support for Johannine scholarship by the early Apostolic and Patriarchial Fathers of the Church (such as Ignatius, Polycarp, Papia, Irenaeus, and etc...). My main problem is that an unaware reader would come across this article and believe it to be a fact there there are no credible schoalars who would dare to believe that, yes, the apostle John did in fact write the Gospel of John... - which is heavily supported by both external and internal evidence within the Gospel itself (As shown very thoroughly by P-Gardner Smith's work and A.T. Robinson's essay titled "The New Look on the Fourht Gospel", 1959). - just to note, I compiled the list of modern scholars who support Johnannine scholarship from Adreas Kostenberger, Encountering John (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1999), 213. - Jesse Nelms, July 11, 2009. For more dicussion: —Preceding unsigned comment added by JesseNelms (talkcontribs) 17:53, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

weasel words[edit]


History of critical scholarship "Many modern critics follow him in this late dating."

More recent criticism

"Many suggested further that John the Baptist himself belonged to an Essene community, and if John the Apostle had previously been a disciple of the Baptist, he would have been affected by that teaching."

Otherwise inexplicable is misleading referring to the temple courts narrative. There are other explanations, so I've reworded it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:34, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Modern criticism

"Many critical scholars today conclude (with the tradition) that the "disciple whom Jesus loved" was intended to be understood as John the Apostle"

"Most scholars posit a community of writers rather than a single individual that gave final form to the work"

"Most scholars date the writing of the Gospel to the last four or five years of the first century"

"However, as noted above, a few choose a much later date, typically around the time of Irenaeus - circa 180AD."

"Consequently several scholars have proposed that the Gospel was deliberately written in the late second century to explicitly oppose those heresies"

"Some scholars have even proposed that Irenaeus himself, who had a similar writing style, theology, and knowledge of literary Greek, was the author"

First epistle

"Given the similarity with the Gospel, most critical scholars assign the same authorship to the epistle that they assign to the Gospel. Most refer to a Johannine school from which the letter stemmed, possibly even from the hand of the apostle himself."

Second and third epistles

Thus most scholars assume that some personality in the circle of disciples of John was the author of these books.

This article is riddled with mistakes and would take a long time to correct. You have people misquoting misquotes.

LoveMonkey 03:22, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

No, actually you are just looking too much into it, the article is written that way for an easy reading, if the text would give sources every time a setence would come up then it would be 10 times as big as it is right now. If an article uses words like "some" or "most" is not because it lacks sources, its because the information must be simplified to fit an encyclopedic format. You have a pretty naive understanding of what a weasel word is, in my opinnion.
I think the weasel word criticism is a bit much and am removing it.--Nowa (talk) 02:34, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

from article[edit]

-Cut from article-

As well as the recent work of Charles Hill's The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church. In which Charles Hill gives evidence that the Gospel of John was used between CE 90 and 130, the possible use of uniquely Johannine gospel material in several works which date from this period. These works and authors include Ignatius (c.107); Polycarp (c.107); Papias’ elders (c.110-120); Hierapolis' Exegesis of the Lord’s Oracles (c.120-132). Hill assesses that many historical figures did indeed reference the Gospel of John.

-End of Cut-

I've cut this because Charles Hill doesn't seem to be a notable scholar - see Appropriate sources for wikipedia, and doesn't seem to have affected the views of notable scholars. He just seems to be "some evangelical protestant seminary teacher" (that probably should make his bias clear as well). Clinkophonist 21:22, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Charles E Hill received his PHD from Cambridge this book I quoted was published by Cambridge-Oxford university. Please restore your deletions. According to this article it directly contradicts the works of Elaine Pagels as noted on her wikipedia article.

LoveMonkey 13:30, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Please restore your edits. LoveMonkey 13:34, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't see how you can say that a book published by OUP is inappropriate for wikipedia. It's perhaps the premier academic press in the English-speaking world. There are also, at the link, favorable blurbs about his book from mainstream journals. On what basis do you claim, Clinkophonist, that Hill is only "some evangelical protestant seminary teacher"? john k 15:05, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Just to add to this - having looked up Reformed Theological Seminary, it does seem to be a fairly dubious enterprise, with its support for Biblical inerrancy, and what not. That said, the book was still published by OUP, and that means it counts as a proper scholarly publication, whatever its author's biases may be. john k 15:10, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

In my view, excluding an academic work simply because the author is a religious teacher itself may represent a bias, and also a kind of ad hominem. I know too little of the work in question to pass judgement, but its worth ought to be dependant on its ability to manifest rational arguments. Lostcaesar 22:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Wow, this had me ROFL! The scholar is (gasp!) an evangelical Protestant who supports (gasp!) Biblical inerrancy. Therefore he is surely biased. I can only hope that the irony was intentional. :) --SlothMcCarty (talk) 05:50, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

John the Priest &c[edit]

This text doesn't seem quite right:

In the ancient traditions, these books were attributed to John the Apostle[ref]Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. p. 355[ref], assumed to be identical to John the Evangelist. In the 6th century[ref]Since the 18th century, the Decretum Gelasianum has been associated with the Council of Rome (382), but historians dispute the connection.[ref], the Decretum Gelasianum named 2 John and 3 John as having a separate author, "John, a priest" (see John the Presbyter).

The identification of some of the texts with a "John the Priest" may be seen in Eusebius, long before the sixth century. And the slow acceptence of Revelation among the Eastern Fathers is enough to show some hesitency about identifying John the Apostle as author. The same may be said of one of the epistles. My point is, even with the ref to Harris, I think the info is wrong - an oversimplification. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, granted, but its something we might want to think about. Lostcaesar 15:56, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the 6th centruy bit is strange. Ehrman doesn't go into specifics, but says that the authorship of the Johannine works was controversial during the first 4 centuries of Christianity.--Andrew c 16:42, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

John of Patmos[edit]

John of Patmos contains info on the authorship of Revelation. I have redirected it here and checked that all information is copied here. --Ephilei 16:51, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I do not agree with the redirect/merger. John of Patmos has been a motif in western art, and a religious figure for a number of Christian churches. Therefore, someone may be search of John of Patmos and be disappointed when they show up at a discussion on biblical authorship. I suggest that we restore the JoP article. Why did you want to merge it in the first place?-Andrew c 22:33, 5 March 2007 (UTC)


As I have been following the links on this page, I have noticed that the first paragraph on "History of the Use of Johannine works is blantantly plagarized from As a result, I feel it necessary to this section, and to have a new beginning to this article. This is a shameful way to use wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:45, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Please read the note at the bottom of this link. They clearly indicate that they used the wikipedia article as their source (not the other way around), so this is not a case of plagiarism.-Andrew c [talk] 00:09, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

another use of plagarism I have found:

Texts of the Nag Hammadi library show that many of the Gospel of John's earliest readers responded to the text "in surprising and imaginative ways." The whole sentence should be in quotations because the whole sentence is taken from Pagel's book. Now, we must also admit that Pagel's book is focused on the Gospel of Thomas. Why are we using it for comment on John? I'm pretty sure the person has not read the book, or they would have presented her views more distinctly. In what surprising and imaginative ways did the readers respond? Since this sentence has no power, I believe it should be taken out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

disputed statement[edit]

A recently added sentence says that John the Presbyter probably never existed. That's strange, since he claimed to write 2 John and 3 John. I added a dubious tag because this statement doesn't match my research or seem to fit the evidence. It also seems to come from a source that implies John the Apostle wrote 2 and 3 John, which doesn't square with my textbook. Maybe we could get a quote from the source (an evangelical scholar). Leadwind (talk) 15:18, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Eusebius believed that "John the Elder" was a different person than "John the Apostle". He most likely did this to discredit the statements in Revelation against the Roman Empire. This "John the Elder" who is not also "John the Apostle" never existed, but was an invention of Eusebius. Perhaps the wording could be improved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Osprey9713 (talkcontribs) 21:01, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Why are you bringing John the Apostle into the equation? He didn't write any of these works, nor does the Bible ever say he did. Leadwind (talk) 23:32, 8 July 2010 (UTC)


Robert Fortna's work appears to be completely overlooked. See [1]. He provides evidence for two (or three) stages in the writing of the gospel, the earliest dating to before Mark. Harry.Erwin (talk) 08:42, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Modern criticism[edit]

The final paragraph of the section entitled "Modern criticism" (Most scholars date the writing of the Gospel to c. 90 ... which was important in the early "charismatic" movement known as Montanism) appears to be misplaced: it doesn't cite any modern writers or movements. Indeed it doesn't cite anything and its concerns with John's age appear to be WP:OR while the remainder recaps early criticism. Any objections if I delete this paragraph? -- Timberframe (talk) 12:37, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


Hi RomanHistorian, As a Christian, I like your editing, but many of your edits show a Christian POV. Remember at Wikipedia we must fairly reflect the scholarship in reliable sources. Keep up the good work. - Ret.Prof (talk) 13:19, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Seems to me to be a major edit war brewing. (No, not you Ret.Prof). If those involved can't solve this maybe they should seek mediation. Just a suggestion. PiCo (talk) 09:35, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
PiCo, how does mediation work? Dylan Flaherty (talk) 09:49, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not an admin and not very knowledgeable about these things. Try approaching User:Dougweller, who's both an admin and very knowledgeable. I think the basis thing is that both parties should agree that an impartial mediator is needed, and both should accept the mediator. PiCo (talk) 11:21, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Its difficult to mediate when Dylan Flaherty makes clear in his most recent reversion that his method is just simply reverting everything I write ("your changes are controversial and your edit comments are misleading, so the best thing is to revert").RomanHistorian (talk) 16:48, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
If you discuss your controversial changes in advance and get buy-in, they will not be reverted. Instead, your boldness is rewarded with an immediate counter-reaction. I'm a Christian, too, but I don't believe the articles should enshrine fringe views or exclude Catholicism. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 00:07, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not going to continue to fight this. It isn't worth it. I do think my last change should be restored, to make it clear that a non-fringe minority of scholars holds that John was behind some of his works. Currently it is rigid on this point, as though it is a fringe view to hold this opinion. I know a good deal of scholars personally who hold this. Dismissing this as fringe is wrong, as it is not.RomanHistorian (talk) 06:15, 23 September 2010 (UTC)


I've examined the article in its current form, and I've looked at the history and discussion that led to its creation, but I think the time has come to reevaluate this article's existence.

The original thinking was, you have five canonical books attributed to "John", and you have several Johns who may or may not be identical and who may or may not be the author(s) of these books, so rather than discuss this mess on a dozen different pages, create one central page—this article—where everything is sorted out in a single coherent discussion.

But what we have is a lengthy discourse on the origin of the Gospel, a very brief treatment of the epistles, and a separate treatment of Revelation that could well stand separately. So, the benefit of discussing authorship in a single article is mostly lost. Only very briefly is the similarity in style between the Gospel and 1 John or Revelation brought forth as a point of discussion.

The more serious issue, apart from this fragmentary treatment, is that sorting out the Johns encompasses more than issues of authorship. Suppose that John the Elder wrote all the Johannine works, while John the Apostle wrote none of them. Or suppose that some second-century writer (even, perhaps, one coincidentally named John) actually composed some of these works but passed them off as the work of an earlier John, perhaps the apostle, about whom much was still remembered. What do we know about the Johns who may not have written anything? Were they identical or distinct? Whose tombs were the two tombs of John in Ephesus?

My tentative suggestion is:

  • Return to separate articles on Authorship of John, Authorship of the Johannine Epistles, and Authorship of Revelation—or, if the latter two are not too long, make them sections in the main articles for the respective books.
  • In Authorship of John, discuss in detail the ancient evidence, historical views on the matter (19th-20th century), and modern views. Here, discuss in detail the possibility that the Beloved Disciple (whoever that may be) is the author, and the overlapping possibility that the ancient ascription to "John" (whoever that may be) is grounded in truth, but go no further. (If there's any argument that the author is a New Testament figure who was neither the Beloved Disciple nor John, clearly that would also go here.)
  • In Beloved Disciple, discuss in detail the possibility that he wrote the Gospel, and the possibility that he is identical with John the Evangelist (bearing in mind that it is possible to accept either while rejecting the other). Also discuss who else he might be besides anyone named John.
  • In John the Evangelist, discuss in detail the evidence that the Gospel was written by someone named John (and refer the reader to the Authorship article for the possibility that it was not), mention the possibility of being identical with the Beloved Disciple, and list the Johns who may be identical with the evangelist (i.e., John the Apostle, John the Presbyter, John the Revelator, some other John). Discuss in detail the reception of the composite figure (feast days, artistic portrayal, and such). This article should not repeat the Authorship article, but rather should complement it. The current article needs to be trimmed down a lot.
  • In John the Presbyter, discuss in detail what refers us to such a person at all (2 John 1 & 3 John 1, Papias, etc.). Discuss in detail the possibilities that he was or was not identical with John the Apostle and John the Evangelist. (I have in mind especially Bauckham's fascinating argument that Presbyter = Beloved Disciple = Evangelist ≠ Apostle.) Also mention John the Revelator.
  • Authorship of Revelation probably does not need its own article, actually. The main article on Revelation will refer to John the Revelator, and can briefly discuss alternative possibilities including pseudonymity and multiple authorship.
  • In John the Revelator, detail the internal and external evidence about the author of Revelation. Briefly mention any serious non-traditional possibilities. Discuss in detail the possibility that he was or was not identical with John the Evangelist, John the Presbyter, John the Apostle, and/or John the Baptist(!).
  • In John the Apostle, mention his frequent and ancient identification with the Evangelist, the Beloved Disciple, the Presbyter, and the Revelator, and thus author of all the Johannine works. Refer to the other articles without going into detail.
  • I vaguely recall suggestions for identifying John Mark with one or some of these Johns. Such a theory would, I think, merit just a brief comment in each article (i.e., in John Mark and in the other John).
  • Clean up Template:John accordingly.