Talk:Gospel of John

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Good article Gospel of John has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
July 17, 2016 Good article nominee Listed
July 19, 2016 Featured article candidate Not promoted
Current status: Good article

Expulsion from the synagogues[edit]

This is a tricky issue; the article currently states "rabbinical Judaism marginalised the Jewish Christians and eventually excluded them from the Jewish community"; and the scholarly suggestion that antagonism between the Johannine community and rabbinic Jews has been anachronstically read back into the narrative of the Gospel, is alluded to at several other points in the article. Much of this derives from Brown and Martyn; who both propose that the wording of the twelth of the 'Eighteen Benedictions', the Birkat haMinim was drafted by the Rabbis at Jamnia specfically to exclude Jewish Christians sometime around 85 CE. There is no doubt that this supposition was very congenial for many New Testament scholars; as it provided a plausible context for much of the material in John about 'the Jews'; and the date fitted very well into the their presupposed authorship of the Fourth Gospel. But it has never been accepted by authoritative rabbinic scholarship; which is problematic, since the theory is as much a claim about Rabbinic Judaism as about Christianity. Essentially, at any period consistent with the formation of the Fourth Gospel, the rabbis at Jamnia had many more important fish to fry. Nor is there any evidence that they could have enforced such a liturgical change, had they wanted to. The issues are well discussed in TomHennell (talk) 12:24, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

A few lines in that source like "...allows John to portray itself as both Jewish and anti-Jewish..." I am not sure what the author is getting at with the portraying of "anti-Jewish" as well as a few other statements. I think I know, but I'm guessing. Maybe I need to re-read it. The host, Tyndalehouse, caters to the Evangelical layperson. That is not bad. Searching Klink, he does not seem to be as well known, not that it matters. Can we hold of on editing that section? I would like to looks at the sources more closely. Other editors might want to go slow with this too. Thank you. Basileias (talk) 17:12, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
There is a counterpart discussion of the same issue from D. Moody Smith in Chapter 3 of "The Fourth Gospel in Four Dimensions" (especially the postscript from page 40 onwards). Moodty Smith as I read it, is inclined to accept that the supposed link beween the 'Eighteen Bendedictions'and gospel references to expulsion from the synagogue lacks any historical support; but neverless is sympathetic to Martyn's underlying thesis, specifically his proposal that the Fourth Gospel should be read as a two-level drama; both as a discourse on the opposition between Jesus and the Jerusalem authorties, and sumultaneously a discourse on the oppositioin between the community of the Beloved Disciple and its contemporary rabbinic antagonists. But Moody Smith acknowledges that - although Martyn's basic thesis is widely regarded as one of the key scholarly starting points for late 20th century New Testament scholarship on John; it has never found any support or acceptance in mainstream rabbinic scholarship. 23:31, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
I looked at the sources for the issue of Jewish Christians being marginalized and they looked solid. Is you're concern that there is not more Jewish specific sources? Basileias (talk) 00:17, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
The issue is whether the article can say that "rabbinical Judaism marginalised the Jewish Christians and eventually excluded them from the Jewish community". This is not a claim about the actions of early Christians, but about the actions of early Rabbis; and if no rabbinic authority can be quoted in support of it, I cannot see how it can be made unsupported. If we are to include it; we have to say that it is lacking authortitive support. TomHennell (talk) 01:05, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
Whether the statement is right or wrong, for Wikipedia it is whether it has verifiability, a qualifying reliable source. Base articles on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Source material must have been published, the definition of which for our purposes is "made available to the public in some form". Unpublished materials are not considered reliable.
I am not trying to roadblock you, but just following the guiding principles with my best interpretation. Based on Wikipedia requirements, while I cannot support saying it does not have authoritative support (it does), other viewpoint are definitely welcomed and it is proper to insert them. Basileias (talk) 05:48, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

By the way, I just looked up the person who wrote what is being sourced, The Parting of the Way's from the Perspective of Rabbinic Judaism by Philip Alexander.
Alexander is as follows,
*MA, DPhil (Oxford ), FBA
*Professor of Post-Biblical Jewish Studies
*Co-Director, University of Manchester Centre for Jewish Studies
I think all along this was a rabbinic source? Basileias (talk) 06:09, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
Indeed your are right; but the Alexander article is not directed to the New Testament period. Alexander's 'eventually' refers to the third century, and he specifically rejects the proposition that the 'parting of the ways' took place in the "first or early second century CE"; and suggests that those who propose such an early split "sometimes barely conceal apologetic motives". In respect of the subject of the article, Alexander's opinions are being misapplied TomHennell (talk) 01:40, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
You might have a good point! I will have to re-read. Maybe some of this is better in another article like, split of early Christianity and Judaism ?? See what you think, and I wish other editors would chime in. Basileias (talk) 05:20, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
If you do not mind, I paged another editor who has worked on the article for their thoughts. This might need more eyes since there is a lot of material to look at and my eyes are tired... Basileias (talk) 05:29, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Found this statement in the book, Rabbinic policy towards Christianity was aimed specifically at Jewish Christians. In attempted to successfully to keep them marginalized and to exclude them, from Kelal Yisrael. The story of the parting of the ways is in essence the story of the triumph of Rabbinism and of the failure of Jewish Christianity to convince a majority of Palestinian Jews.... So is this subject just in the wrong article?

Basileias - thanks for the invitation to comment. The section here is under the general heading Theology. It should deal with the theological differences between Judaism and Johannine Christianity (John, more than any other gospel, treats Jesus as a divine being). But instead it's talking about what looks like the origins of the Johannine community. That's important, but it belongs in Composition and Setting (under authorship/date/setting if that arrangement is kept, or possibly a new subsection). Anyway, I think wer shouldn't be too bound to one source - if something is widely accepted, there will be multiple sources. I'd just ask that the sources be as recent as possible - scholarship seems to change its collective mind quite rapidly. I'd also suggest that this be held over till after New Year - as vital as Wikipedia is to the welfare of humanity, sometimes a break is nice.PiCo (talk) 02:29, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for taking valuable time to look at this. I am not touching that part until next year. (-: Basileias (talk) 05:23, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
There is a useful recent discussion of the issues in 'Rhetoric and Theology, Figural Reading of John 9' by William M Wright IV (2009). In his introductory section, Wright traces the development of the modern narrative of 'expulsion from the synagogue' in Johannine studies, and outlines the various recent critiques of that narrative - both in New Testament and Rabbinic scholarship. I think he does show that the specific form of the theory, that maintains the 'Eighteen Benedictions' were formulated as a device for expelling Jewish Christians, and hence as a context for the references to 'the Jews' in John, is no longer sustainable on historical and textual grounds; and has been largely repudiated by historians in the fields. But Martyn's reading of John does not fall with the repudiation of his version of the Benedictions. Many commentators still maintain that the Johannine Community could have been engaged in a conflict with local Rabbinic authorities at the time of the composition of the Gospel, and that much of the text of John reflects this later history, rather than the actual circumstances of early 1st century Palestine. But, as Wright shows, this makes the entire theory circular; in effect, even though Martyn believes he is writing 'history', he is actully composing a historical 'allegory'. If everything in the original text actually stands for something else - in a one-to-one conversion applied by the historian in retrospect - then there is no way that any such reading of that text can be verified or falsified against counterpart historical witnesses. And there is nothing otherwise in the historical record to support the theory; all four Gospels and Acts - taken at face value - do present narrtives of conflict between Jesus (and Paul) and specific synagogue authorities. The reading that all such conflicts are anachronistic, and require another explanation in the life of later Christian communites may be attractive, but does require some evidential support. Equally, the reading that all references in the Gospels to Pharisess are to be redirected as references to the Rabbis at Jamnia, presupposes an understanding of 1st century Jewish religious authority (post the fall of Jerusalem) that is not supported anywhere in late 1st century classical or rabbinic historical materials. There certainly were to be conflicts between church and synagogue communities in the following centuries; leading eventually to a definitive rupture (which both sides naturally blamed on the other). But to be maintained as the predominant context for the Fourth Gospel, that rupture has to assumed to have been complete in a particular time (around 90 CE), and in a particular place (wherever the Johannine community was).
Of course, if Martyn really had rediscovered the 'lost' original, 1st century, version of the Eighteen Benedictions amongst the texts in the Cairo Genizah, and if that lost text really had been imposed by rabbinc authority in every synagogue across the Roman world, then that would have provided a counterpart piece of 'historical' evidence; but without it, there is no substantial basis for his theory, other than its own internal plausibility in terms of the prior conceptions of New Testament commentators. TomHennell (talk) 17:15, 8 January 2016 (UTC)


I've shortened this section (reason given in the edit summary) and moved some material up from the old section on Judaism and John. Comments?PiCo (talk) 11:15, 4 January 2016 (UTC) @Basileias, @TomHennell, would you like to look at this section and maybe comment? PiCo (talk) 00:50, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

PiCo, unless I missed them the views of Blomberg, Moo, etc., while a minority view, are gone from the article. The parts dealing with Judaism and anti-Semitism do need reworking. While I think minority views should be represented the article it was “thick” and a good axing is probably best at this time. I may slide in a few edits throughout the week, but they will probably be focused on sentence and paragraph structure. I am not going to alter any major meaning. Nice work and welcome back. Basileias (talk) 04:30, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Note 1 directs readers who want to know more about the conservative position to Blomberg (or should - his book seems to have been dropped from the bibliography). Unfortunately it doesn't seem possible to give links from within the Note - tho maybe direct links are possible using square brackets.PiCo (talk) 11:31, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
As it stands, the section on authorship conflates the proposition that the gospel of John rests substantially on the written testimony of "the beloved disciple", with the traditional ascription of the Gospel to the apostle John - son of Zebedee. There are a great many critical scholars who would accept the first propositon in some degree; while relatively few (though more than none) would go all the way to the second. maybe it might be an idea to structure the section around the 'Concentric Proofs' of Brooke Westcott; which are effectively the starting point for all subsequent critical study of the authorship of the Fourth Gospel. Westcott applied critical methods to establish successively that the author was likely to have been: a Jew; a Palestinian Jew; an eyewitness of the life of Jesus; an apostle; and the apostle John, son of Zebedee. Few critical scholars today would now dispute the Westcott's first two 'proofs', and probably a majority would accept (with more or less qualification) the third. But it is a significant point that - whereas current critical scholarship is almost unanimous in rejecting apostolic authorship for the Synoptics, there are sound critical grounds for taking a different stance for the Fourth Gospel; albeit that this is still a minority view. TomHennell (talk) 15:32, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Do you have a title for anything by Westcott that can been viewed in Google books? Basileias (talk) 05:51, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
The commmentaries were formally widely accessible on the internet as .pdf files; but the links no longer work - or point to a modern re-issue. There is a good summary treatment in William Baird "History of New Testament Research" 2003

Westcott's first proof - that the Author was a Jew - is based on his knowledge and preference for the Hebrew text of the Old Testament against the LXX; the second proof - that the author is Palestinian - is based on his sound geographical knowledge of Jerusalem and its surrounding areas. The third proof - that the author is an eyewitness - is based both on the specific claims in the text (at 1:14, 19:35 and at 21:24), and on vivid incidental details and phrasing of the narrative sections. The classic 20th century critical commentaries (Bultmann, Dodd, Barrett) all take Westcott's analysis of the Greek text on these matters as their starting point, and I am not aware of any subsequent studies that challenge them - although how they are interpreted in detail obviously varies from one scholar to another. TomHennell (talk) 10:11, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Found it! Here: TomHennell (talk) 12:08, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Feel free to edit your own version of authorship into the article - but please give the sources so we can look them up.PiCo (talk) 09:06, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Shall do. Just a point of clarification; much of the text is sourced here to Barnabas Lindars - either in his brief 1990 book on John, or in his contribution the joint study of the Johannine literature of 2000. From what I can tell on Google preview, these look to present essentially the same text - with some updating in 2000 of the bibligraphy and futher reading (Lindars died in 1991). I shall therefor take sources primarily the 1990 Lindars book, D.A. Carson's 1991 commentary (which Culpepper etc. recommends), plus Stephen Smalley (Lindars's student, and also his recommendation). TomHennell (talk) 12:10, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Authorship of John[edit]

Here are two issues for your consideration:

  1. Early in the authorship section, we have the following statement: "it is meaningless to speak of a single author." But later in the very same section, we are told that "the author of the gospel regarded himself as a Jew, he championed Jesus and his followers as Jews, and he probably wrote for a largely Jewish community." If we accept the first statement, that it is meaningless to speak of a single author, we can't make the pat statement that the author believed this or did that. Shouldn't this say something like "the authors [plural] of the gospel probably regarded themselves as Jews, albeit following a different and Christ-accepting sect of Judaism, and probably wrote for a community composed of like-minded Jews." We need to get across the idea that this happened during a time of sectarian conflict within Judaism.
  2. What is the basis for the statement that the author(s) "championed Jesus and his followers as Jews"? If we're going to use this argument to defuse the anti-Jewish tone of so many statements in John (like calling Jews the children of Satan), shouldn't we better explain it and support it with secondary sources?

I don't mean to be petty, but we have to be careful not to brush off lightly the apparently anti-Semitic statements made in The Gospel of John. They remain highly controversial and need to be carefully parsed rather than briefly dismissed. BuzzWeiser196 (talk) 00:00, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Gospel of John/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Cerebellum (talk · contribs) 20:01, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

@Jujutsuan: Hello! I will be reviewing this article. --Cerebellum (talk) 20:01, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

@Cerebellum: Thank you! I'll be happy to help or answer any questions I can. Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 20:38, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Alright, here are my comments:

  1. Authorship section - feel free to disagree with me, but I think the claim "it is meaningless to speak of a single author" is too strong. The lead of Authorship of the Johannine works says "there may have been a single author", and in Talk:Gospel of John#Author/date/origins, @TomHennell refers to sources that seem to assume a single author.
  2. the same title (dominus et deus) claimed by Roman Emperor Domitian. Should this be "the Roman Emperor Domitian"?
  3. There is a "citation needed" template in the "Gnostic elements" section.
  4. Could you explain the term "Johannine Thunderbolt"?
  5. Reference #35, to Theissen & Merz 1998, seems to be broken - when I click on it, it doesn't take me to bibliography. The same is true of #12 (Harris 1985), #13 (Edwards 2007), #14 (Baukham 2007), #15 (Whitherington 2015), and also #19, #27, #28, #33, #34, and #36.
  6. On the sentence and who promised to return to take them to a heavenly dwelling<refJohn 14:2-3 the formatting is messed up, I'm not sure what it should look like.
  7. John does not contain any parables.[60] Rather it contains metaphoric stories or allegories, such as those of the Good Shepherd and of the True Vine, in which each individual element corresponds to a specific group or thing. Some scholars also find parables in the Fourth Gospel as the short story of the childbearing woman (16:21) or the dying grain (12:24).[61] I think the phrasing here is a little off, since the first sentence says there are no parables it is strange to bring them up in the third sentence.
  8. Could you briefly explain "realized eschatology"?
  9. In the Differences with synoptics section, I don't think the table with the Routledge information adds that much; the same information is presented in the bulleted list. If you disagree though feel free to keep it!
  10. In the Representations section, you either need a reference for the claim that Steve Warner's is the most notable setting of the Gospel to music, or you should remove the claim.
  11. There are a few dead links - [2], [3], and [4]. Also, take a look at the external links section and decide if it should be trimmed or if it is ok and that template can be removed.

Overall, the article looks good! Considering how much material is out there on this gospel, I'm impressed that @PiCo managed to condense the article from 100kb to 50kb. It's very readable now and it still covers all the bases. I'm putting this on hold for now, but if you can address the above issues I don't see any problem with it reaching GA status. --Cerebellum (talk) 20:32, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Cerebellum & Jujutsuan There currently two discussions about possible deletion of Chapters of John templates on this article. I would recommend wait on officially nominating this article for GA status until those discussions are over. In the meantime, the suggestions by Cerebellum should be clarified and/or fixed etc. There are also quite a few isbn#s missing from those bibliography links. I also noticed a "article name needed" tag at the very bottom of the page, but that's all the issues i'v noticed so far. — JudeccaXIII (talk) 20:55, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
@Cerebellum: Thanks for the review! I agree with several of your concerns.
  1. This claim turns out to be unsourced. I've removed it.
  2. I think that's a primarily stylistic concern. I tend to prefer leaving the "the" it out, but if you feel strongly I don't object to adding it.
  3. I'm not terribly familiar with Gnosticism, but I'll see if I can find a source.
  4. "Johannine Thunderbolt" is a term to refer to the Q-Logion in Mt 11:25-27 and Lk 10:21-22. The phrase was coined by Karl von Hase in an 1823-24 lecture series: “wie ein Aerolith aus dem johanneischen Himmel gefallen”, “a meteorite fallen from the Johannine sky”[1] I'll add this reference to the article.
  5. I'll take a look at those and fix them.
  6. Ditto.
  7. I'll clarify that.
  8. According to the definition at Realized eschatology, it's "a Christian eschatological theory popularized by C. H. Dodd (1884–1973) that holds that the eschatological passages in the New Testament do not refer to the future, but instead refer to the ministry of Jesus and his lasting legacy.[2] I'll add that explanation and reference, too.
  9. I'll merge the table into the list, with appropriate referencing.
  10. Would changing it to "notably" or "including" suffice? I frankly don't think it's possible to substantiate that claim; it would be nothing but opinion even if a source said so.
  11. I'll check out the dead and external links.
  12. (From Judecca's comment) I've fixed the "article name needed" tag.
  13. (From Judecca's comment) I'll look for the ISBNs.
I'll get on these issues and comment again when I'm done. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing back from you. Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 20:58, 13 July 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ The Q-Logion Mt 11,27 / Lk 10,22 and the Gospel of John [1]
  2. ^ George Eldon Ladd; Donald Alfred Hagner (1993). A Theology of the New Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 0802806805. 
@Cerebellum and JudeccaXIII: I believe I've fixed each problem you guys brought up (besides the TfD still being active until 2 AM UTC tomorrow, and the "Roman Emperor"/"the Roman Emperor" switch—do you feel strongly either way on that, Cerebellum?). Please let me know if you find the issues to have been resolved satisfactorily. Thanks! Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 00:29, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Pinging Cerebellum. No rush, just want to make sure you saw. Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 21:55, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
@Jujutsuan: Thanks for the quick and thorough edits! Everything looks good now; I'm not too worried about the Roman Emperor thing, it's fine how it is. @JudeccaXIII, I think it is ok to review the article even though the template discussion is underway. If the templates are deleted, the "Gospel of John" template at the bottom of the article retains much of the same information so the quality of the article will not be affected. Let me know if think the templates will cause any other problems we need to address. Other than that, I am happy to pass this article and promote it to GA status.
After reading Talk:Gospel of John#Authorship and historical reliability, I am a little concerned that the conservative viewpoint on John is underrepresented in this article, so I'm going to add a few of @Jonathankempus2's sentences back into the article. However, I don't want to use this GA review to push a POV, so I am promoting the article as-is and any additions I make are unrelated to the review. Feel free to revert or change them. --Cerebellum (talk) 19:02, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you Cerebellum! I've nominated this article for DYK now that it's been promoted to GA. For my part, I have no issue with restoring some representation of the conservative viewpoint. Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 19:30, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

FA candidacy[edit]

Peer review[edit]

Gospel of John[edit]

I had recently nominated this article for FA, but other editors pointed out some serious flaws that need to be resolved before it's ready to be promoted. I would like to work on these issues. I'm transcluding the failed FA nomination below. EDIT: Transcluding created problems, so I'm replacing it with a simple wikilink. Thanks, —Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 01:50, 20 July 2016 (UTC), edited 21:33, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

FA candidacy page
  • I said "I'd recommend a Peer review, after a period of improvement", but you've launched it straight away. Personally I think the various FAC comments gave you plenty to work on, so I'll come back later, probably in a week or three. Johnbod (talk) 02:40, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes, you should work on the points identified in the FAC, in particular the straightforward ones such as uncited statements, bullet-point prose, and sorting out the sources from the general bibliography. I'll be watching the article page, and will comment here when some of these issues have been tackled. Brianboulton (talk) 16:26, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

@Brianboulton: Regarding your last two bullets in the FA review:

  • The editor who inserted the claim actually mis-paraphrased the source. I've corrected that. The evangelist was always called "John", according to the source. In any case, saying "the evangelist" doesn't imply "John the Evangelist" or any other particular identity—the word "evangelist" simply means "author/writer of a gospel", whether he be named John, something else, or truly anonymous. A capitalized "Evangelist" might in certain contexts, but this form isn't used in the article.
  • I'd like to know, too. That notice was here when I first arrived (albeit somewhere else, IIRC), and I haven't been able to figure out which part of the text it refers to. But I haven't removed it in case there really is something from CE that I've missed.
Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 22:03, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Comment: I think that the lede in particular could do with some work. At the moment I feel that it presupposes too much prior knowledge on behalf of the reader. For instance, we don't mention the part of the world in which it was written, or the rough date in which this happened. These is the sort of essential information that really needs to be in the lede. Still, I wish you all the best with your revisions to the article! Midnightblueowl (talk) 14:06, 14 August 2016 (UTC)