Re: [John_Lit] On the dating of John
----- Original Message -----
From: "dean198" <dean198@...>
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2009 8:36 AM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] On the dating of John
> I wish I knew of this discussion group before, as it looks like an
> excellent resource.
> I was not aware that anyone still held such a late date for the Gospel of
> John. Perhaps I got this impression from reading a comment from James
> Charlesworth, who writes that this view must be reevaluated, since we know
> "from archaeological discoveries in Israel - especially in Jerusalem - and
> topographical references in the Dead Sea Scrolls," that "the author of the
> GosJn was familiar with Jerusalem during the time of Jesus." [James H.
> Charlesworth, "Reinterpreting John: How the Dead Sea Scrolls have
> Revolutionized our Understanding of the Gospel of John," Bible Review 9
> (1993): 14-5].
> I found his reasoning interesting, because it virtually confirms the
> traditional view advocated by Westcott, though it doesn't make the mistake
> of Westcott of insisting that the Beloved Disciple was the son of Zebedee.
> Charlesworth credits this last view with damaging the view that a follower
> of Jesus wrote the 4G; he notes that "after more than one hundred years of
> research, scholars concur that the Gospel of John was not composed by the
> apostle." He adds that "This valid insight unfortunately led to the
> conclusion by many specialists that the GosJn was not historically
> reliable." .
> Dean Furlong (undergrad), U of Colorado, Boulder.
I have an interest in the Gospel of John because consensus scholarship sees
it as the LAST Gospel to be written as it also sees Mark as the FIRST but
that gets sticky. The Gospel of John is attributed only by tradition in the
2nd century to Yohanan bar Zebedee but Yohanan (Jesus' cousin) appears to
have been killed about the same time as his older cousin Yaqub (James, the
Just), Jesus' brother, in the "roundup"of 62 CE. I think the John of
Galatians 2:9 noted by Paul along with Kefa/Cephas/Peter and James as the
STYLOI of the Jerusalem assembly is John Zebedee. This association as the
leaders conforms to Josephus...and xx.ix.1 is NOT interpolated or
edited....who records, "....so he (Ananus, the High Priest) assembled the
Sanhedrin of Judges and brought before them the brother of Jesus, so-called
Christ, whose name was James, AND SOME OTHERS, [some of his companions] and
when he had formed an accusation against THEM as breakers of the law, he
delivered THEM to be stoned.
The Gospel of John was written IN GREEK around 95 CE by one John of Patmos
(the "elder") probably in Ephesus. HOWEVER, like Mark, there was a
pre-cursor Aramaic document that was a smaller Gospel that IMO actually
PRE-DATED MARK. It may be prophetic that, in this case, the LAST becomes
FIRST. John of Patmos using either a Greek translation of the original
Aramaic document or translating it himself, uses it as a skeleton around
which he constructs the much larger, semi-Gnostic and theological GREEK
Gospel of John...but wait, ...it gets even more complex because this Gospel
of John has been the most screwed around with, glossed, edited, redacted,
shuffled around patchwork in the New Testament by later Greek scribes,
churchmen and copyists. The Gospel of Mark, as well, is published in later
editions and the one we have now is NOT the one used as a source by the
authors of Matthew and Luke....that's another story for another time.
We are left with TWO Aramaic documents written very early, probably within
20-30 years of the crucifixion; Mark's notes from Peter and an Aramaic
gospel I call "proto-John." Who wrote "Proto-John?" We will never know. I
guess it could have been Yohanon bar Zebedy but certainly an eye-witness
This first Aramaic layer of the Gospel of John was written BEFORE Mark and
was very hostile to Peter for having denied Yeshua, an act considered a
betrayal. Mark, on the other hand, was Peter's companion and interpreter
and his Gospel was written in response to defend Peter. As a result you had
two factions of early Christianity..the Petrines and the Johannines that
were inimical to each other.
When John of Patmos took the Aramaic proto-John 30-40 years later and
fleshed out his Greek Gospel, he mellowed out the anti-Petrine stuff. Later
churchmen, in one of the many editing rounds with the Gospel of John, took
the last chapter of MARK and appended it as Chapter 21 to JOHN...thereby
harmonizing the two Gospels.
I am already over-burdening you with all this but going with my theory that
ch 21was originally the ending of Mark and then redacted and appended to
John, I also look at the Prologue and see no certain Aramaic origin. I do
see Mark's use of PROS HMAS and this is, as Burney points out, confined to
John. Mark is missing a conclusion. John has an extra conclusion. Mark
anticipates a first resurrection appearance in Galilee and John 21 without
the "third appearance" editorial insert at 21:14 is that first appearance.
In Mark, Peter denies Jesus three times. In John (21:15-17) Peter affirms
his love three times. That completed another Markan bracket. In Mark, the
shepherd is struck down and the sheep scattered. In John 21 Peter becomes
the new shepherd..another Markan bracket. In Mark, the first words spoken
to a disciple are "follow me." In John 21 the LAST words spoken are "follow
me" (Jn 21:22) another completed Markan bracket.
If John 21 was originally the first resurrection appearance account of the
ending of Mark, Mark would become unified literarily if the appendage is
restored to Mark..less a few Johannine phrases. It does. As an Aramaicist,
I am the "follow the Aramaic" guy and also find support in this by Burney.
If John 21 was removed from Mark, edited with a few Johannine signature
phrases, we should see typically Markan Aramaisms noted in Mark and John
with none or little in Matthew and Luke. It does not surprise me that there
are correspondences in Aramaic idiom with the Targums. I find this in
Mark's frequent use of the historic present resulting from Aramaic narrative
participle also frequent in John and John 21. There is also a connection
between John and Mark's use of imperfects, the rare use of "de" and frequent
use of kai, the partitive APO in 21:10 used by Mark at 5:35, 6:43, 7:4 and
So everything is not as it seems but I do not think the prologue is a Jewish
Psalm, Aramaic or Hebrew. It is, IMO, a Greek Christian semi-Gnostic
antiphonal hymn tacked onto 4G in the 3rd century. The original Aramaic
"proto-John" began, IMO, at 1:19.
I would be interested in reading your article, Dean.
San Antonio, TX
- Hi, Jack, thanks for responding.
I have too many problems -- that others have already spelled out -- with John the Apostle/John son of Zebedee being the author, or even the source, for 4G. John's Gospel has no mention of the sons of Zebedee except in ch.21, where there are also two unnamed disciples, presumably the BD is one.
John's Gospel has no mention of the "calling" of J bar Z, but Bauckham makes a case (with which I concur for additional reasons) for identifying the unnamed man who, with Andrew, stayed with Jesus in Jn. 1 as the BD. Then there is the paucity of Galilean material in 4G, the opposite of what one would expect if Galilean J bar Z were the source.
A minor point, 4G has no interest in the Twelve, as representing or ruling the Twelve Tribes, while in the Synoptics, the Zebedee boys are members of the Twelve and supposedly quite interested in who gets the best seats at Jesus' table. I can imagine J bar Z, if he were the source of 4G, omitting mention of his youthful indiscretion, but completely ignoring the institution of the Twelve? Don't think so. And if Mark is critical of Peter, John doesn't exactly build him up.
I agree that the author's/source's first language was Aramaic, but that's consistent with a number of options, including the one I favor, that he was from a priestly family living in Judea, and not a Galilean.
--- In email@example.com, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@...> wrote:
> Hi Kevin:
> I haven't read Bauckham yet butthe book is in the mail from Amazon. Your
> position is close to mine in that I believe Johnny Zebedee, a "baby cousin"
> of Jesus, was the BD and was the author of a primitive Aramaic
> narrative/gospel that predated Mark (50's CE) and was inimical to Peter. I
> think the first edition of Mark was a response and that John the Elder took
> Johnny Zeb's Aramaic narrative or a Greek translation of it, and wrote 4G
> around 95 CE. I think the Aramaic background of 4G and the lexical and
> syntactic Aramaic interference in the Greek is a support for this. The BD
> of the Johnny Zeb source document appears to be BD status in translation for
> Johnny Elder.
> If this is true, the 4th Gospel is the only Gospel written in part by a
> Jack Kilmon
> San Antonio, TX