Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Polycarp & Jn

Expand Messages
  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    Dear friends, Below, you will find yet another interesting historical puzzle about Jn that is in need of a solution. Irenaeus (ca 135-200) was from Smyrna, in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear friends,

      Below, you will find yet another interesting historical puzzle about Jn
      that is in need of a solution.

      Irenaeus (ca 135-200) was from Smyrna, in Asia Minor, and he's generally
      believed to have been a follower of Polycarp, the famous bishop of Smyrna.

      Polycarp is believed to have died a martyr ca 160. His letter to the
      Philippians, his only surviving writing, is generally thought to date ca
      135.

      Irenaeus was of course a strong proponent of Jn. But it's certainly very
      curious that Polycarp's Epistle to the Philippians never quotes from Jn,
      and never even alludes to it (although 1 Jn 4:3 _is_ quoted; can this be
      seen as an argument that 1Jn precedes Jn?). Of all the other NT writings,
      First Epistle of Peter is represented best of all in Polycarp's letter;
      it's quoted 20 times. Other NT writings are also quoted abundantly,
      including the Synoptics, especially Mt, which is quoted at least 8 times.
      But never Jn!

      So this certainly calls for an explanation. Is it possible that ca 135 Jn
      was still unknown in Asia Minor? Wouldn't this be the simplest solution to
      this problem?

      It may be possible that Jn, in its final form, was published by Asian
      churches quite late, after 135, as a deliberate correction to the Synoptic
      version of the story of Jesus. In such a case, it would have been meant to
      supplant the Synoptic form of catechesis, at least in the Asian churches.

      It's been proposed before that an earlier, shorter version of Jn
      originated in Alexandria, and had some currency there. And later, in a
      modified and perhaps expanded form, Jn would have been transplanted to
      Asia, and published as "the true Asian gospel".

      Also, in connection with this, it's certainly notable that Justin Martyr,
      who may be writing even later than Polycarp, never seems to quote Jn
      (although it's possible that he may refer to it in a passage or two). Like
      Polycarp, Justin also quotes from the Synoptics abundantly, although
      seemingly using some harmonised version of them. His main source may have
      been the Gospel of Hebrews.

      Best wishes,

      Yuri.

      Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

      "It is so much easier to assume than to prove; it is so much less painful
      to believe than to doubt; there is such a charm in the repose of
      prejudice, when no discordant voice jars upon the harmony of belief; there
      is such a thrilling pang when cherished dreams are scattered, and old
      creeds abandoned, that it is not surprising that men close their eyes to
      the unwelcome light" -- W.E.H. Lecky (A History of Rationalism)
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.