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by Heinrich Meyer
CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL
THE NEW TESTAMENT
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
HEINRICH AUGUST WILHELM MEYER, TH.D.,
TRANSLATED FROM THE FIFTH EDITION OF THE GERMAN BY
REV. WILLIAM URWICK, M.A.
THE TRANSLATION REVISED AND EDITED BY
FREDERICK CROMBIE, D.D.,
PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL CRITICISM, ST. MARY’S COLLEGE, ST. ANDREWS.
T. & T. CLARK, 38 GEORGE STREET.
PREFATORY NOTE BY THE EDITOR
T HE translation of this first part of Dr. Meyer’s Commentary on John has been executed from the fifth edition of the original by the Rev. William Urwick, already known as the translator of several works published by the Messrs. Clark. It has, however, been revised and carried through the press by myself at the request of Dr. Dickson, who, with the assent of the publisher, had asked me to join him in the editorship of the series. In order to secure as great uniformity as possible between this volume and the two already edited by Dr. Dickson, that gentleman was kind enough to read the proofs of the first few sheets, and I also had the benefit of his judgment and experience upon some points of difficulty that occurred in the earlier pages. References have been made not only to Dr. Moulton’s translation of Winer’s Grammar of New Testament Greek (published by Messrs. Clark), but also to the translation of Alex. Buttmann’s Grammar (New Testament Greek), by Professor Thayer, of the Theological Seminary, Andover, which has recently appeared. These references, it is hoped, will be useful to students of the original. A list of exegetical works upon the Gospel of John will be prefixed to the second volume, which will complete the Commentary upon the Gospel.
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE,
ST. ANDREWS, 3d August 1874.
T HE Gospel of John, on which I have now for the fifth time to present the result of my labours, still at the present day continues to be the subject—recently, indeed, brought once more into the very foreground—of so much doubt and dissension, and to some extent, of such passionate party controversy, as to increase the grave sense of responsibility, which already attaches to the task of an unprejudiced and thorough exposition of so sublime a production. The strong tendency now prevalent towards explaining on natural grounds the history of our Lord, ever calling forth new efforts, and pressing into its service all the aids of modern erudition, with an analytic power as acute as it is bold in its free-thinking, meets with an impassable barrier in this Gospel, if it really proceeds from that disciple whom the Lord loved, and consequently is the only one that is entirely and fully apostolic. For it is now an admitted fact, and a significant proof of the advances which have been gradually achieved by exegesis, that the pervading supranaturalism—clearly stamped on it in all the simplicity of truth—cannot be set aside by any artifices of exposition. This, however, does not prevent the work of a criticism, which obeys the conviction that it is able, and that for the sake of the right knowledge of the Gospel history it ought, to establish the non-apostolic origin of the fourth Gospel. Accordingly, in pursuance of the programme which was traced for it fifty years ago by Bretschneider, and of the ampler investigations subsequently added by the criticism of Baur, unwearied efforts have been made with augmented and more penetrating powers, and to some extent also with a cordial appreciation of the lofty ideas which the Gospel presents, to carry out this project to completion. Such critical labour submits itself to be tried by the judgment of scholars, and has its scientific warrant. Nay, should it succeed in demonstrating that the declaration of the Gospel’s apostolic birth, as written by all the Christian centuries, is erroneous, we would have to do honour to the truth, which in this case also, though painful at first, could not fail to approve itself that which maketh free. There is, however, adequate reason to entertain very grave doubts of the attainment of this result, and to refuse assent to the prognostication of universal victory, which has been too hastily associated with these efforts of criticism. Whoever is acquainted with the most recent investigations, will, indeed, gladly leave to themselves the clumsy attempts to establish a parallelism between the Gospel of John and ancient fabrications concocted with a special aim, which carry their own impress on their face; but he will still be unable to avoid the immediate and general duty of considering whether those modern investigators who deny that it is the work of the apostle have at least discovered a time in which—putting aside in the meanwhile all the substantive elements of their proof—the origin of the writing would be historically conceivable. For it is a remarkable circumstance in itself, that of the two most recent controversialists, who have treated the subject with the greatest scientific independence, the one assumes the latest, the other the earliest possible, date. If now, with the first, I place its composition not sooner than from 150 to 160, I see myself driven to the bold assertion of Volkmar, who makes the evangelist sit at the feet of Justin—a piece of daring which lands me in a historical absurdity. If I rightly shrink from so preposterous a view, and prefer to follow the thoughtful Keim in his more judicious estimate of the ecclesiastical testimonies and the relations of the time, then I obtain the very beginning of the second century as the period in which the work sprang up on the fruitful soil of the church of Asia Minor, as a plant Johannine indeed in spirit, but post-Johannine in origin. But from this position also I feel myself at once irresistibly driven. For I am now brought into such immediate contact with the days in which the aged apostolic pillar was still amongst the living, and see myself transported so entirely into the living presence of his numerous Asiatic disciples and admirers, that it cannot but appear to me an absolutely insoluble enigma how precisely then and there a non-Johannine work—one, moreover, so great and so divergent from the older Gospels—could have been issued and have passed into circulation under the name of the highly honoured apostle. Those disciples and admirers, amongst whom he, as the high priest, had worn the πέταλον, could not but know whether he had written a Gospel, and if so, of what kind; and with the sure tact of sympathy and of knowledge, based upon experience, they could not but have rejected what was not a genuine legacy from their apostle. Keim, indeed, ventures upon the bold attempt of calling altogether in question the fact that John had his sphere of labour in Asia Minor; but is not this denial, in face of the traditions of the church, in fact an impossibility? It is, and must remain so, as long as the truth of historical facts is determined by the criterion of historical testimony. Turning, then, from Volkmar to Keim, I see before my eyes the fate indicated by the old proverb: τὸν καπνὸν φεύγοντα εἰς τὸ πῦρ ἐκπίπτειν.
The necessary references have been made in the Introduction to the substantive grounds on which in recent years the assaults have been renewed against the authenticity of the Gospel, and there also the most recent apologetic literature upon the subject has been noticed. After all that has been said for and against up to the present time, I can have no hesitation in once more expressing my delight in the testimony of Luther—quoted now and again with an ironical smile—that “John’s Gospel is the only tender, right, chief Gospel, and is to be far preferred before the other three, and to be more highly esteemed.”1(1) In order to make the confession one’s own, it is not necessary to be either a servile follower of Luther or a special adherent of the immortal Schleiermacher. I am neither the one nor the other, and in particular I do not share the individual, peculiar motive, as such, which underlies the judgment of the former.
Since the publication of the fourth edition of my Commentary (1862), many expository works upon John and his system of doctrine, and among these several of marked importance, have seen the light, along with many other writings and disquisitions,(2) which serve, directly or indirectly, the purpose of exposition. I may venture to hope that the consideration which I have bestowed throughout upon these literary accessions, in which the one aim is followed with very varying gifts and powers, has not been without profit for the further development of my work, probably more by way of antagonism (especially towards Hengstenberg and Godet) than of agreement of opinion. In our like conscientious efforts after truth we learn from each other, even when our ways diverge.
The statement of the readings of Tischendorf’s text I was obliged to borrow from the second edition of his Synopsis, for the reasons already mentioned in the preface to the fifth edition of my Commentary on Mark and Luke. The latest part of his editio octava, now in course of appearance, was published last September, and extends only to John 6:23, while the printing of my book had already advanced far beyond that point. I may add that the deviations in the text of this editio octava from that of the Synopsis in reference to the various readings noticed in my critical annotations down to John 6:23, are not numerous, and scarcely any of them are of importance exegetically. Of such a nature are those, in particular, in which this highly meritorious critic had in his Synopsis too hastily abandoned the Recepta,(3) and has now returned to it. I would fain think that this may also be the case in future with many other of the readings which he has now adopted, where apparently the Cod. Sinait. has possessed for him too great a power of attraction.(4)
In conclusion, I have to ask for this renewed labour of mine the goodwill of my readers,
I mean such a disposition and tone in judging of it as shall not prejudice the rights of critical truth, but shall yet with kind consideration weigh the difficulties which are connected with the solution of the task, either in itself, or amidst the rugged antagonisms of a time so vexed with controversy as the present. So long as God will preserve to me in my old age the necessary measure of strength, I shall continue my quiet co-operation, however small it may be, in the service of biblical exegesis. This science has in fact, amid the dark tempests of our theological and ecclesiastical crisis, in face of all the agitations and extravagances to the right and left, the clear and lofty vocation gradually, by means of its results,—which are only to be obtained with certainty through a purely historical method, and which are not to be settled by any human confession of faith,—to make such contributions to the tumult of strife as must determine the course of a sound development, and finally form the standard of its settlement and the regulative basis of peace. And what writing of the New Testament can in such a relation stand higher, or be destined to produce a more effective union of spirits, than the wondrous Gospel of John, with its fulness of grace, truth, peace, light, and life? Our Lutheran Church, which was born with a declaration of war and had its confession completed amid controversy from without and within, has raised itself far too little to the serene height and tranquil perfection of this Gospel.
HANOVER, 1st December 1868.
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF JOHN
J OHN’S parents were Zebedee, a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, probably not of the poorer class (Mark 1:20; Luke 5:10), and Salome (Mark 15:40; comp. Matthew 27:56). To his father the evangelists ascribe no special religious character or personal participation in the events of the Gospel history; but his mother was one of the women who followed Jesus even up to His crucifixion (comp. on John 19:25). To her piety, therefore, it is justly attributable that John’s deeply receptive spirit was early fostered and trained to surrender itself to the sacredly cherished, and at that time vividly excited expectation of the Messiah, with its moral claims, so far at least as such a result might be produced by a training which was certainly not of a learned character. (Acts 4:13.) If, too, as we may infer from John 19:25, Salome was a sister of the mother of Jesus, his near relationship to Jesus would enable us better to understand the close fellowship of spirit between them, though the evangelists are quite silent as to any early intimacy between the families; and in any case, higher inward sympathy was the essential source out of which that fellowship of spirit unfolded itself. The entrance of the Baptist on his public ministry—to whom John had attached himself, and whose prophetical character and labours he has described most clearly and fully—was the occasion of his becoming one of the followers of Jesus, of whom he and Andrew were the first disciples (John 1:35 f.). Among these, again, he and Peter, and his own brother James the elder, brought by himself to Jesus (see on John 1:42), formed the select company of the Lord’s more intimate friends; he himself being the most trusted of all,(5) the one whom Jesus pre-eminently loved, and to whose filial care He on the cross entrusted Mary (John 19:26). Hence the ardent, impetuous disposition, which led the Lord Himself to give to him and his brother the name Boanerges, and which he exhibited on more than one occasion (Mark 3:17; Mark 9:38 ff.; Luke 9:49 f., 54),—connected even though it was with an ambition which his mother had fostered by her sensuous Messianic notions, Matthew 20:20 ff.; Mark 10:35 ff.),—is by no means to be deemed of such a character as to be incapable of gradually subjecting itself to the mind of Jesus, and becoming serviceable to its highest aims. After the ascension he abode, save perhaps when engaged on some minor apostolical journey (such as that to Samaria, Acts 8:14), at Jerusalem, where Paul met with him as one of the three pillars of the Christian church (Galatians 2:1 ff.). How long he remained in this city cannot, amid the uncertainty of tradition, be determined; and, indeed, it is not even certain whether he had already left the city when Paul was last there. He is certainly not mentioned in Acts 21:18, but neither is he in Acts 15, though we know from Galatians 2:1 ff. that he nevertheless was present; and therefore, as on the occasion of Galatians 1:19, so on that of Acts 21, he may have been temporarily absent. In after years he took up his abode at Ephesus (Iren. Haer. iii. 3. 4; Euseb. iii. 1. 23),(6) probably only after the destruction of Jerusalem; not by any means, however, before Paul had laboured in Ephesus (Romans 15:20; 2 Corinthians 10:16; Galatians 2:7 f.), although it cannot be maintained with certainty that he had not even been there before Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians: for, in the enigmatic silence of this epistle as to all personal references, such a conclusion from the non-mention of his name is doubtful.
The distinguished official authority with which he was invested at Ephesus, the spiritual elevation and sanctity ascribed to him, cannot be better indicated than by the fact that Polycrates (Euseb. iii. 31, v. 24) not only reckons him among the μεγάλα στοιχεῖα (great fundamental elements of the church; comp. Galatians 2:9), but also calls him ἱερεὺς τὸ πέταλον(7) πεφορηκώς. Of his subsequent fortunes we have only untrustworthy and sometimes manifestly false traditions, amongst the latter of which is one based on Revelation 1:9,(8) but unknown even to Hegesippus (ap. Euseb. iii. 20), of his banishment to Patmos under Domitian (first mentioned by Irenaeus and Clem. Alex.),—an event said to have been preceded by others of a marvellous kind, such as his drinking poison at Rome without injury (see especially the Acta Johannis in Tischendorf’s Acta Apocr. p. 266 ff.), and his being thrown into boiling oil, from which, however, he came out “nihil passus” (Tertullian), nay, even “purior et vegetior” (Jerome). The legend is also untrustworthy of his encounter with Cerinthus in a bath, the falling in of which he is said to have foreseen and avoided in time (Iren. Haer. iii. 3. 28; Euseb. iii. 28, iv. 14); it is only indirectly traceable to Polycarp, and betrays a purpose of glorifying the apostle at the expense of the heretic, although there may be little ground for the assertion that it is only what we should expect from the author of the Apocalypse (Baur, Kanon. Evang. p. 371). The great age to which John attained, which is variously stated,—according to Irenaeus, Eusebius, and others, about a hundred years, reaching down to Trajan’s time,—gave some countenance to the saying (John 21:23) that he should not see death; and this again led to the report that his death, which at last took place at Ephesus, was only a slumber, his breath still moving the earth on his grave (Augustine). In harmony, however, with a true idea of his character, though historically uncertain, and first vouched for by Jerome on Galatians 6:10,(9) is the statement that, in the weakness of old age, he used merely to say in the Christian assemblies, Filioli, diligite alterutrum. For love was the most potent element of his nature, which had been sustained by the truest, deepest, and most affectionate communion in heart and life with Christ. In this communion John, nurtured in the heart of Jesus, discloses, as no other evangelist, the Lord’s innermost life, in a contemplative but yet practical manner, with a profound idealizing mysticism, though far removed from all mere fiction and visionary enthusiasm; like a bright mirror, faithfully reflecting the most delicate features of the full glory of the Incarnate One (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1); tender and humble, yet without sentimentalism, and with the full and resolute earnestness of apostolical energy. In the centre of the church life of Asia he shone with the splendour of a spiritual high-priesthood, the representative of all true Christian Gnosis, and personally a very παρθένιος (“virgo mente et corpore,” Augustine) in all moral purity. From the startingpoint of an apostle of the Jews, on which he stands in contrast (Galatians 2:9) with the apostle of the Gentiles, he rose to the purest universalism, such as we meet with only in Paul, but with a clear, calm elevation above strife and conflict; as the last of the apostles, going beyond not only Judaism, but even Paul himself, and interpreting most completely out of his own lengthened, pure, and rich experience, the life and the light made manifest in Christ. He it is who connects Christianity in its fullest development with the person of Christ,—a legacy to the church for all time, of peace, union, and ever advancing moral perfection; among the apostles the true Gnostic, in opposition to all false Gnosticism of the age; the prophet among the evangelists, although not the seer of the Apocalypse. “The personality of John,” says Thiersch (die Kirche im apostol. Zeitalt. p. 273), “left far deeper traces of itself in the church than that of any other of Christ’s disciples. Paul laboured more than they all, but John stamped his image most profoundly upon her;” the former in the mighty struggle for the victory, which overcometh the world; the latter in the sublime and, for the whole future of the gospel, decisive celebration of the victory which has overcome it.
SEC. II.—GENUINENESS OF THE GOSPEL
With regard to the external testimonies, we remark the following:—
1. Chap. 21 could only serve as a testimony, if it proceeded altogether from another hand, or if the obviously spurious conclusion should be made to include John 21:24. See, however, on John 21 – 2 Peter 1:14 also, and the Gospel of Mark, cannot be adduced as testimonies; since the former passage cannot be shown to refer to John 21:18 f., while the second Gospel was certainly written much earlier than the fourth.
2. In the apostolical Fathers(10) we meet with no express quotation from, or sure trace of any use of, the Gospel. Barnabas 5, 6, 12 (comp. John 3:14), and other echoes of John in this confused anti-Judaizing epistle, to which too great importance is attached by Keim, as well as Herm. Past. Simil. 9, 12 (comp. John 10:7; John 10:9; John 14:6), Ignat. ad Philad. (comp. John 3:8) 9 (comp. John 10:9), ad Trall. 8 (comp. John 6:51), ad Magnes. 8 (comp. John 10:30; John 12:49; John 14:11), ad Romans 7 (John 6:32 ff; John 7:38 f.), are so adequately explained by tradition, and the common types of view and terminology of the apostolical age, that it is very unsafe to attribute them to some definite written source. Nor does what is said in Ignat. ad Romans 7, and ad Trall. 8, of Christ’s flesh and blood, furnish any valid exception to this view, since the origin of the mystical conception of the σάρξ of Christ is not necessarily due to its dissemination through this Gospel, although it does not occur in the Synoptics (in opposition to Rothe, Anfänge d. Chr. Kirch. p. 715 ff.; Huther, in Illgen’s Zeitschr. 1841, iv. p. 1 ff.; Ebrard, Evang. Joh. p. 102; Kritik d. evang. Gesch. ed. 2, p. 840 ff.; Tischend. Ewald Jahrb. V. p. 188, etc.). Hence the question as to the genuineness of the several epistles of Ignatius, and their texts, may here be altogether left out of consideration. Just as little from the testimony of Irenaeus ad Florin. (ap. Eus. v. 20) to Polycarp, that in all the latter said of Christ he spoke σύμφωνα ταῖς γραφαῖς, may we infer any use of our Gospel on Polycarp’s part, considering the generality of this expression, which, moreover, merely sets forth Irenaeus’ opinion, and does not necessarily mean New Testament writings. When, again, Irenaeus (Hœr. v. 36. 1 f.) quotes an interpretation given by the “presbyteri apostolorum discipuli” of the saying in John 14:2 (“In my Father’s house,” etc.), it must remain doubtful whether these presbyteri knew that saying from our Gospel or from apostolical tradition, since Irenaeus quotes their opinion simply with the general words: καὶ διὰ τοῦτο εἰρηκέναι τὸν κύριον.
3. Of indirect but decided importance, on the other hand,—assuming, that is, what in spite of the doubts still raised by Scholten must be regarded as certain, that the Gospel and First Epistle of John are from one author,—is the use which, according to Euseb. iii. 39, Papias(11) made of the First Epistle. That in the fragment of Papias no mention is made of our Gospel, should not be still continually urged (Baur, Zeller, Hilgenf., Volkmar, Scholten) as a proof, either that he did not know it, or at least did not acknowledge its authority (see below, No. 8). Decisive stress may also be laid on Polycarp, ad Phil. 7 ( πᾶς γὰρ ὃς ἂν μὴ ὁμολογῇ ἰησοῦν χριστὸν ἐν σαρκὶ ἐληλυθέναι ἀντίχριστός ἐστι), as a quotation from 1 John 4:3; Polycarp’s chapter containing it being unquestionably genuine, and free from the interpolations occurring elsewhere in the Epistle. It is true that it may be said, “What can such general sentences, which may have circulated anonymously, prove?” (Baur, Kanon. Evangel. p. 350); but it may be answered that that characteristic type of this fundamental article of the Christian system, which in the above form is quite peculiar to the First Epistle of John, points to the evangelist in the case of no one more naturally than of Polycarp, who was for so many years his disciple (comp. Ewald, Johann. Schriften, II. p. 395). It is nothing less than an unhistorical inversion of the relations between them, when some (Bretschneider, and again Volkmar) represent John’s Epistle as dependent on Polycarp’s, while Scholten tries to make out a difference in the application and sense of the respective passages.
4. It is true that Justin Martyr, in his citations from the ἀπομνημονεύματα τῶν ἀποστόλων (“ ἃ καλεῖται εὐαγγέλια,” Apol. I. 66), which also served as church lessons,(12) has not used our canonical Gospels exclusively (the older view, and still substantially held by Bindemann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1842, p. 355 ff., and Semisch, d. apost. Denkw. Justins, 1848; also by Luthardt, Tischendorf, and Riggenbach); but neither has he used merely an “uncanonical” Gospel (Schwegler), or chiefly such a one (Credner, Volkmar, Hilgenfeld), as was “a special recension of that Gospel to the Hebrews which assumed so many forms” (Credner, Gesch. d. Kanon, p. 9). For he used not only our canonical Gospels, but also in addition other evangelic writings now lost, which—rightly or wrongly—he must have looked upon as proceeding from the apostles, or from disciples of theirs (comp. Tryph. 103: ἐν γὰρ τοῖς ἀπομνημονεύμασιν, ἅ φημι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν ἐκείνοις παρακολουθησάντων συντετάχθαι); and hence his variations from our canonical Gospels hardly agree more than once or twice with the Clementines. His Apologies certainly belong (see Apol. i. 46) to somewhere about the middle of the second century.(13) His citations, even when they can be referred to our canonical Gospels, are generally free, so that it is often doubtful where he got them. (See Credner, Beitr. I. p. 151 ff.; Frank, in the Würtemb. Stud. XVIII. p. 61 ff.; Hilgenf. Krit. Untersuch. üb. die Evang. Justins, etc., 1850; Volkmar ueber Justin.) From Matthew and Luke only five are verbally exact. He has also borrowed from John,(14) and indeed so evidently, that those who would deny this are in consistency obliged, with Volkmar, to represent John as making use of Justin, which is an absurdity. See Keim, Gesch. J. I. p. 137 ff. It is true that some have found in too many passages references to this Gospel, or quotations from it (see against this, Zeller, Theol. Jahrb. 1845, p. 600 ff.); still we may assume it as certain, that as, in general, Justin’s whole style of thought and expression implies the existence of John’s writings (comp. Ewald, Jahrb. V. p. 186 f.), so, in the same way, must the mass of those passages in particular be estimated, which, in spite of all variations arising from his Alexandrine recasting of the dogma, correspond with John’s doctrine of the Logos.(15) For Justin was conscious that his doctrine, especially that of the Logos, which was the central point in his Christology, had an apostolic basis,(16) just as the ancient church in general, either expressly or as a matter of course, traced the origin of its doctrine of the Logos to John. It is therefore unhistorical, in the special case of Justin, merely to point to an acquaintance with Philo, and to the Logos-speculations and Gnostic ideas of the age generally (against Zeller, Baur, Hilgenf., Scholten, and many others), or to satisfy oneself possibly with the assumption that Paul furnished him with the premisses for his doctrine (Grimm in the Stud. u. Krit. 1851, p. 687 ff.), or even to make the fourth evangelist a pupil of Justin (Volkmar). It seems, moreover, certain that Apol. i. 61, καὶ γὰρ χριστὸς εἶπεν· ἄν μὴ ἀναγεννηθῆτε, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. ὅτι δὲ καὶ ἀδύνατον εἰς τὰς μήτρας τῶν τεκουσῶν τοὺς ἅπαξ γεννωμένους ἐμβῆναι, φανερὸν πᾶσίν ἐστι, is derived from John 3:3-5. See especially Semisch, p. 189 ff.; Luthardt, l.c. XXXII. p. 93 ff.; Riggenb. p. 166 ff. It is true, some have assigned this quotation, through the medium of Matthew 18:3, to the Gospel to the Hebrews, or some other uncanonical evangelic writing (Credner, Schwegler, Baur, Zeller, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, Scholten), or have treated it as a more original form of the mere oral tradition (see Baur, against Luthardt, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 232). But in the face of Justin’s free manner of quoting, to which we must attribute the ἀναγενν. instead of γενν. ἄνωθεν,
ἄνωθεν being taken, according to the common ancient view, in the sense of denuo (comp. also Clem. Recogn. vi. 9),—this is most arbitrary, especially when Justin himself gives prominence to the impossibility of a second natural birth. Moreover, in the second half of the quotation ( οὐ μὴ εἰσελθ. εἰς τ. βασιλ. τῶν οὐρ.), some reminiscence of Matthew 18:3 might easily occur; just as, in fact, several very ancient witnesses (among the Codices, א*) read in John l.c. βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Pseudo-Clemens (Homil. xi. 26), by quoting the second half exactly in this way, and in the first half adding after ἀναγενν. the words ὓδατι ζῶντι εἰς ὄνο΄α πατρὸς, υἱοῦ, ἁγίου πνεύ΄ατος, exhibits a free combination of Matthew 28:19; Matthew 18:3. Other passages of Justin, which some have regarded as allusions to or quotations from John, may just as fitly be derived from evangelic tradition to be found elsewhere, and from Christian views generally; and this must even be conceded of such passages as c. Tryph. 88 (John 1:20 ff.), de res. 9 (John 5:27), Apol. I. 6 (John 4:24), Apol. I. 22 and c. Tryph. 69 (John 9:1), c. Tryph. 17 (John 1:4). However, it is most natural, when once we have been obliged to assume in Justin’s case the knowledge and use of our Gospel, to attribute to it other expressions also which exhibit Johannean peculiarities, and not to stop at Apol. I. 61 merely (against Frank). On the other hand, the remarkable resemblance of the quotation from Zechariah 12:10 in John 19:37 and Apol. I. 52, leaves it doubtful whether Justin derived it from John’s Gospel (Semisch, Luthardt, Tisch., Riggenb.), or from one of the variations of the LXX. already existing at that time (Grimm, l.c. p. 692 f.), or again, as is most probable, from the original Hebrew, as is the case in Revelation 1:7. It is true that the Epistle to Diognetus, which, though not composed by Justin, was certainly contemporary with and probably even prior to him, implies the existence of John’s Gospel in certain passages of the concluding portion, which very distinctly re-echo John’s Logos-doctrine (see especially Zeller, l.c. p. 618, and Credner, Gesch. d. neut. Kanon, p. 58 ff.); but this conclusion (chapp. 11, 12) is a later appendix, probably belonging to the third century at the earliest. Other references to our Gospel in the Epistle are uncertain.
5. To the testimonies of the second century, within the church, the Clavis of Melito of Sardis certainly does not belong (in Pitra, Spicileg. Solesmense, Paris 1852), since this pretended κλείς, wherein the passages John 15:5; John 6:54; John 12:24, are quoted as contained “in Evangelio,” is a much later compilation (see Steitz, Stud. u. Krit. 1857, p. 584 ff.), but they include the Epistle of the Churches at Vienne and Lyons (Eus. v. 1), where John 16:2 is quoted as a saying of the Lord’s, and the Spirit is designated the Paraclete: Tatian, Justin’s disciple, ad Graec. 13, where John 1:5 is cited as to τὸ εἰρημένον; chap. 19, where we have indications of an acquaintance with John’s prologue (comp. chap. 5); and chap. 4, πνεῦμα ὁ θεός, compared with John 4:24; also the Diatessaron of this Tatian,(17) which is based on the canon of the four Gospels, certainly including that of John: Athenagoras, Leg. pro Christ. 10, which is based upon a knowledge of John’s prologue and of John 17:21-23 : Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis, in a Fragment in the Paschal Chronicle, ed. Dindorf, p. 14 ( ὁ τὴν ἁγίαν πλευρὰν ἐκκεντηθεὶς ὁ ἐκχέας ἐκ τῆς πλευρᾶς αὐτοῦ τὰ δύο πάλιν καθάρσια ὕδωρ καὶ αἷμα· λόγον κ. πνεῦμα, comp. John 19:34), where Baur, of course, takes refuge in a tradition older than our Gospel; also in another Fragment in the same work ( ὅθεν ἀσυ΄φώνως τὲ νό΄ῳ ἡ νόησις αὐτῶν καὶ στασιάζειν δοκεῖ κατ ̓ αὐτοὺς τὰ εὐαγγέλια), where, if we rightly interpret it,(18) John’s Gospel is meant to be included among the εὐαγγέλια: Polycrates of Ephesus, in Euseb. v. 24, where, with a reference to John 13:23 f., John 21:20, he designates the Apostle John as ὁ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος τοῦ κυρίου ἀναπεσών. The Clementine Homilies (ed. Dressel, Götting. 1853) contain in xix. 22 an undeniable quotation from John 9:2-3;(19) as also, in iii. 52, a citation occurs from John 10:9; John 10:27 (see, against Zeller and Hilgenf., especially Uhlhorn, d. Homil. u. Recogn. des Clem. p. 223); and after these undoubted quotations, there is no longer any reason to question a reference also in John 11:26 (compare above, under 4) to John 3:3. On the other hand, no great stress must be laid on the citations in the Recognitions, since this work is to be placed (in opposition to Hilgenfeld, Merx, Volkmar) somewhat later, though still in the second century, and now only exists in the obviously free Latin translation of Rufinus (Recogn. vi. 9, comp. John 3:3-5; Recogn. ii. 48, comp. John 5:23; Recogn. v. 12, comp. John 8:34). The first Father who quotes our Gospel by name is Theophilus, ad Autolyc. ii. 31 (John 2:22): ὅθεν διδάσκουσι ἡμᾶς αἱ ἅγιαι γραφαὶ καὶ πάντες οἱ πνευματοφόροι, ἐξ ὧ ἰωάννης λέγει· ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, κ. τ. λ. Besides this, according to Jerome (Ep. 151, ad Aglas.), he composed a work comparing the four Gospels together, which, like Tatian’s Diatessaron, implies the recognition of John by the church. Of importance also here is the testimony of Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 1 ( ἔπειτα ἰωάννης ὁ μαθητὴς τοῦ κυρίου, ὁ καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ ἀναπεσών, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξέδωκε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, ἐν ἐφέσῳ τῆς ἀσίας διατρίβων), comp. iii. 11. 1, 7, 8, 9, v. 10, 3, and especially ap. Eus. v. 8; partly because in his youth Polycarp was his teacher, and partly because he was an opponent of Gnosticism, which, however, could easily find, and did actually find, nutriment in this very Gospel. Hence the assumption is all the more natural, that the Gospel so emphatically acknowledged and frequently quoted by Irenaeus had Polycarp’s communications in its favour, either directly, in that Polycarp made Irenaeus acquainted with John’s Gospel, or at any rate indirectly, in that he found confirmed by that Gospel what had been delivered to him by Polycarp as coming from the apostle’s own mouth respecting the words and works of Jesus, and which had remained vividly impressed in his recollection (Epist. ad Florin, in Eus. v. 20).
Finally, here belong, because we may take it for granted they are not later than the second century, the Canon of Muratori,(20) and the Canon of the Syrian church in the Peschito, and in the Fragments of the Curetonian text. The Itala also, if its origin really falls within the second century (Lachmann, N. T. Praef. p. x. f.), may be quoted among the testimonies of this century.
6. Among the heretics of the second century, besides the Tatian already referred to, we must name Marcion as a witness for our Gospel. He rejected, according to Tertullian (c. Marc. iv. 3), Matthew and John, and, according to the same writer, de carne Christi 3, John,—a fact which implies their apostolic authority, and that Marcion knew them to be apostolic,(21) although Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, and Scholten, following Zeller and Schwegler, assume the contrary. But he rejected the non-Pauling Gospels, not on critical grounds, but as a one-sided adherent of Paul, and, as such, in Tertullian’s judgment (“videtur”), chose Luke’s Gospel, in order to shape it anew for the purpose of restoring the pure gospel of Christ, and in such a way, in fact, that he now “evangelio scilicet suo nullum adscribit auctorem,” Tertull. c. Marc. iv. 2, by which he deprived Luke of his canonical position (“Lucam videtur elegisse, quem caederet”). To question Tertullian’s credibility in the above passages (Zeller, Baur, Volkmar), though he too frequently judged with the hostility of a partisan those whom he opposed, is yet without sufficient warrant, since he states particularly (c. Marc. iv. 3) how Marcion came to reject the other canonical Gospels; that is, namely, that he strove, on the ground of the Epistle to the Galatians (chap. 2), to subvert the position of those Gospels—“quae propria et sub apostolorum nomine eduntur vel etiam apostolicorum, ut scilicet fidem, quam illis adimit, suo conferat.” Comp. Weizsäcker, p. 230 ff. (who, however, misunderstands videtur in the above passage), and Riggenb. p. 130 ff. Marcion, therefore, must in consistency have renounced the gain to Gnosticism with which John could have furnished him. The opposite course would have been inconsistent with his Paulinism. Again, that Tertullian understood, by the “Gospels peculiarly and specially apostolical,” those of Matthew and John (against Zeller, who, with Volkmar, understands the apocryphal Gospels of the Jewish Christians), is clear from c. Marc. iv. 2 : “Nobis fidem ex apostolis Johannes et Matthaeus insinuant, ex apostolicis Lucas et Marcus.” Further, the Valentinians used our Gospel fully and in many ways, in support of their fine-spun fancies (Iren. Haer. iii. 11. 7); indeed, Heracleon, who is not to be rejuvenated into a contemporary of Origen,(22) wrote a commentary on it (see the Fragments from Origen in Grabe, Spicil. Patr. ii. p. 85 ff.); and Ptolemaeus (in Epiphan. Haer. xxxiii. 3 ff.) cites John 1:3 as an apostolical sentence, and according to Irenaeus, i. 8. 5, expressly described John’s prologue as proceeding from the apostle; and Theodotus also (according to the extracts from his writings appended to the works of Clem. Alex.) often quotes the Gospel of John. Whether Valentinus himself used it, is a question on which also, apart from other less evident proofs, we are not without very distinct testimony since the publication of the Philosophumena Origenis, which were probably composed by Hippolytus; for in the Philos. vi. 35, among the proof-texts used by Valentinus, John 10:8 is cited: so that the subterfuge, “The author likes to transfer the doctrines of the disciple to the Master” (Zeller, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, comp. Scholten), can be of no avail here, where we have an instance to the contrary lying clearly before us (see Jacobi in the Deutsch. Zeitschrift, 1851, No. 28 f., 1853, No. 24 f.; Ewald, Jahrb. V. p. 200 f.). When, therefore, Tertullian says, Praescr. Haer. 38, “Valentinus integro instrumento uti videtur,” we may find this videtur in respect of John’s Gospel simply confirmed by the Philosophumena(23) (see further, Bleek, Beitr. I. p. 214 ff.; Schneider, p. 27 ff.; Luthardt, l.c. p. 100 ff.; Tisch. l.c. p. 45 ff.; Riggenbach, p. 118 ff.).
That, again, even Basilides, who is not, however, to be looked upon as a disciple of the Apostle Matthias (Hofstede de Groot), used our Gospel,—a point which Baur even, with unsatisfactory opposition on the part of Hilgenfeld, Volkmar. and others, concedes,—and that he has employed as proof-texts in particular John 1:9; John 2:4, is likewise proved by the Phil. Orig. vii. 22, 27, with which many of the author’s errors in other things are quite unconnected.
The Gospel also was in use among the Naassenes (Philos. Or. v. 6 ff.) and Peratae (v. 12 ff.), who belong to the close of the second century.
It is true that Montanism had not its original root in the Gospel of John, but in the doctrine of the Parousia; still, in its entire relation to the church and its doctrine (see especially Ritschl, Althathol. Kirche, p. 477 ff.), and particularly in its ideas of prophecy, its asceticism, and its eschatology, it had no occasion to reject our Gospel, though some have erroneously found some evidence to this effect in Irenaeus,(24) though at the same time dependence on this Gospel cannot in its case be proved. There was a rejection of the Gospel on the part of the Alogi, consequently on that of the opponents of Montanism (Epiph. Haer. li. 3 f.), in the interests, indeed, of dogmatic Antimontanism, though they also adduced harmonistic reasons; but by this very rejection they furnish an indirect testimony to the recognition in their day of our Gospel as an apostolic work, both in the church and among the Montanists. They ascribed it to Cerinthus, who was yet a contemporary of John,—a proof how ancient they thought it, in spite of their rejection of it.
7. Celsus, whom we must certainly not assign, with Volkmar, to so late a date as the third century, has been cited as a witness of the second century standing outside the church,—all the more important, indeed, because her enemy,—and, from the Fragments of his work as cited in Origen, we may certainly infer that he was to some extent acquainted with the evangelic tradition and the evangelic writings, for he even alludes to the designation of the Logos and other peculiar points which are found in John, especially c. Cels. ii. 36, comp. John 20:27; c. Cels. i. 67, comp. John 2:18. He assures us that he drew his objections chiefly from the writings of the Christians (c. Cels. ii. 74). Now it is highly probable that the Gospel of John was also among them, since he (c. Cels. ii. 13) expressly distinguishes the writings of the disciples of Jesus from other works treating of Him, which he proposes to pass over.
A weighty testimony from the oldest apocryphal literature might be furnished by the Acta Pilati, which are quoted even by Justin and Tertullian (see Tischendorf, Evang apocr. Prolegg. p. liv. ff.), if their original form were satisfactorily determined, which, however, cannot be successfully done. Just as little do other apocryphal Gospels furnish anything which we may lay hold of as certain. The labour expended by Tischendorf therefore leads to no results.
8. By the end of the second century, and from the beginning of the third, tradition in the church testifies so clearly and uniformly in favour of the Gospel, that there is no need of additional vouchers (Clem. Al., Tertull., Hippolyt., Orig., Dionys. Al., etc.). Euseb. iii. 25 places it among the Homologumena.
From this examination of witnesses, it is clear(25) that our Gospel ation of any New Testament writing. The continuity in particular goes back, by means of Irenaeus through Polycarp, and by means of Papias, so far as he testifies to twas not merely in use in the church, and recognised by her as apostolical, from about 170 A.D. (Hilgenfeld, A.D. 150), and composedof the church, are as evident as we ever can and do require for the external confir somewhere about 150 A.D. (Hilgenfeld, 120–140), but that the continuity of the attestations to it, and their growing extent in connection with the literature mhe use of John’s first Epistle, even if not directly (Iren., Hieron.), yet indirectly (Euseb., Dionys.),—that is, through the Presbyter John,—to the Apostle himself. That the Fragment of Papias in Euseb. iii. 39 does not mention John’s Gospel, cannot be of any consequence, since it does not quote any written sources at all from which the author drew his accounts, but rather describes his procedure as that of an inquirer after sayings of the apostles and other of the Lord’s disciples (such as Aristion and John the Presbyter), and expressly enunciates the principle: οὐ γὰρ τὰ ἐκ τῶν βιβλίων τοσοῦτόν με ὠφελεῖν ὑπελάμβανον, ὅσον τὰ παρὰ ζώσης φωνῆς καὶ μενούσης. Papias here throws together the then existing evangelic writings ( τῶν βιβλίων), of which there was a multitude (Luke 1:1), all without distinction, not probably some merely apocryphal ones (Tischendorf; Riggenbach, p. 115); and as he included among them the Gospel of Matthew and that of Mark, both of which he specially mentions subsequently, so he also may have intended to include the Gospel of John among τῶν βιβλίων, since he manifestly does not indicate that he has any conception of canonical Gospels as such (comp. Credner, Beitr. I. p. 25), and has no occasion to note the distinction. When, further on, Eusebius quotes two statements of Papias on the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, this does not indicate that our Gospel did not exist in his day (Baur), or was at any rate not recognised by him (Hilgen., Credner, and Volkmar); but these two statements are simply made prominent, because they contain something specially noteworthy as to the origin(26) of those Gospels, just as Eusebius refers to it as specially worthy of remark that Papias makes use of proofs from two epistolary writings(27) (1 John and 1 Peter), and has a narrative which occurs in the Gospel to the Hebrews.(28) Further, in opposition to the weighty testimony of Justin Martyr, it is incorrectly urged that, if he had known of John as evangelist, he would not have referred to him as the author of the Apocalypse with the bare words (c. Tryph. 81), ἀνήρ τις, ᾧ ὄνομα ἰωάννης, εἷς τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ χριστοῦ. Justin had, in fact, no occasion at all, in the context of this passage, to describe John as evangelist, and all the less that to himself it was self-evident that in εἷς τῶν ἀποστόλων were included the authors of the ἀπομνημονεύματα τῶν ἀποστόλων.
A historical argument specially adduced by some against our Gospel is derived from the history of the Easter Controversy. See, on the one side, Bretschneider, Prob. 109 f.; Schwegler, Montanism, p. 191 f.; Baur, p. 343 ff., and in the Theol. Jahrb. 1844, p. 638 ff., 1847, p. 89 ff., 1848, p. 264 ff. On the opposite side, Weitzel, d. christl. Passafeier der drei ersten Jahrb., Pforzheim 1848, and in the Theol. Stud. u. Krit. 1848, p. 806;—in answer to which, again, Hilgenfeld, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1849, p. 209 ff., and in his Galaterbrief, p. 78 f.; Baur, d. Christenth. d. drei ersten Jahrb. p. 141 ff.; Scholten, d. Evang. nach Joh. krit. hist. Untersuch. p. 385 ff., and d. ältest. Zeugnisse, p. 139 ff. See further, for the genuineness of John: Ewald, Jahrb. V. p. 203 ff.; Schneider, p. 43 ff.; Bleek, Beitr. p. 156 ff., and Einl. p. 187 ff.; Steitz, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1856, p. 721 ff., 1857, p. 741 ff, 1859, p. 717 ff., and in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theologie, 1861, p. 102 ff.;—against whom, Baur, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 242 ff., and in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. 1858, p. 298; Hilgenf. Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 523 ff., and in his Zeitschr. 1858, p. 151 ff., 1862, p. 285 ff., 1867, p. 187 ff. On the whole course of the investigations, Hilgenf., d. Paschastreit d. alt. Kirche, 1860, p. 29 ff.; Kanon u. Krit. d. N. T. 1863, p. 220 ff. Comp. also the apologetic discussion by Riggenbach, d. Zeugnisse f. d. Ev. Joh. p. 50 ff. The reasons derived from the Easter controversy against the genuineness of the Gospel are obviated, not by forcing the fourth Gospel into agreement with the Synoptics in their statements as to the day on which Jesus died (see on John 18:28), which is not possible, but by a correct apprehension of the point of view from which the Catholic Quartodecimani in Asia Minor, who appealed for their observance of their festival on the 14th Nisan to apostolic custom, and especially to the example of John (Polycarp in Eusebius v. 24; and Polycrates, ibidem), regarded the observance of this particular day of the month. The opponents of the Gospel, it is true, say, If the custom of those in Asia Minor to celebrate the Lord’s last supper on the 14th Nisan, contemporaneously with the Jewish passover, mainly originated with and pd proceeded from the Apostle John, then this apostle could not have written the fourth Gospel, because that custom agrees exactly with the Synoptic account of the last supper and the day of Jesus’ death, while the fourth Gospel states the exact opposite,—namely, that Jesus kept His last supper, and therefore no true passover, on the 13th Nisan, and was crucified on the 14th Nisan. But the men of Asia Minor celebrated the 14th Nisan,—and that, too, by terminating the fast kept upon this day in remembrance of Christ’s passion, down to the hour of His death, and by a joyous celebration of the Lord’s supper immediately after, in gratitude for the accomplishment of His work of redemption,—not because Jesus ate the passover on that day, but because He died on that day, and by His death became the real and true Paschal Lamb of whom the Mosaic paschal lamb was the type (1 Corinthians 5:7; John 19:36); comp. also Ritschl, Altkath. Kirche, p. 269. Accordingly, they might justly maintain (see Polycrates in Euseb. l.c.) that their festival on the 14th Nisan was κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον (for any disagreement in the Gospels in reference to the day of Jesus’ death was not yet perceived, and the passover meal of Jesus in the Synoptics was looked upon as an anticipation), and κατὰ τὸν κανόνα τῆς πίστεως,—this latter, namely, because Jesus, by the observance of the passover on another day, would not have appeared as the antitype of the slaughtered paschal lamb. Also πᾶσα ἁγία γραφή might be rightly quoted in proof by Polycrates, since in no part of the Old Testament does any other day occur as that on which the paschal lamb was slaughtered, except the 14th Nisan, and Jesus was in fact the true Paschal Lamb. It is self-evident that John’s example, which the Catholics of Asia Minor urged in favour of their “Quartodecima,” perfectly agrees with the account of the fourth Gospel, and that the κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον of Polycrates, though by it no single Gospel, but the written evangelic history collectively, is meant, does not exclude, but includes John’s Gospel, since its existence and recognition at that time is perfectly clear from other proofs. True, there was also a party of Quartodecimans in Asia Minor(29) who formed their judgments from a Judaistic (Ebionite) stand-point, whose celebration of the 14th Nisan did not rest on the assumption that Jesus, as the true Paschal Lamb, died on this day, but on the legal injunction that the passover was to be eaten on this day, and on the assumption that Jesus Himself ate it on the very same day, and did not suffer till the 15th Nisan (comp. Steitz, 1856, p. 776 ff.). These(30) men stirred up the so-called Laodicean controversy, and had as opponents, first Melito of Sardis and Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and afterwards Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Clement, and others (Eus. iv. 26. 3). They were attacked partly by their own weapon—the law—according to which Christ could not have been put to death, that is, slain as the true Paschal Lamb, on the first day of the feast; partly by an appeal to the Gospels, in respect of which it was assumed that they agree in reporting the 14th Nisan as the day of Jesus’ death (Apollinaris, in the Chron. Pasch. p. 14 : ἀσυμφώνως τε νόμῳ ἡ νόησις αὐτῶν καὶ στασιάζειν δοκεῖ κατʼ αὐτοὺς τὰ εὐαγγέλια. See above, under 5, the note on this passage). Moreover, it was urged by some who appealed to Matthew (Apollinaris, l.c., διηγοῦνται ΄ατθαῖον οὕτω λέγειν), that according to the words of Jesus, οὐκέτι φάγο΄αι τὸ πάσχα (comp. Luke 22:16), He did not eat of the legal passover, but died as the perfect Paschal Lamb on this day, and indeed before the time of eating the meal appointed by the law. See Hippolytus, in the Chron. Pasch. p. 13 : ὁ πάλαι προειπὼν, ὅτι οὐκέτι φάγομαι τὸ πάσχα, εἰκότως τὸ μὲν δεῖπνον ἐδείπνησεν πρὸ τοῦ πάσχα, τὸ δὲ πάσχα οὐκ ἔφαγεν, ἀλλʼ ἔπαθεν, οὐδὲ γὰρ καιρὸς ἦν τῆς βρώσεως αὐτοῦ (i.e. “because the legal period for eating the passover had not even come,”—it only came several hours after the death of Jesus); and just before: πεπλάνηται μὴ γινώσκων, ὅτι ᾧ καιρῷ ἔπασχεν ὁ χριστὸς, οὐκ ἔφαγε τὸ κατὰ νόμον πάσχα, οὗτος γὰρ ἦν τὸ πάσχα τὸ προκεκηρυγμένον καὶ τὸ τελειούμενον τῇ ὡρισμένῃ ἡμέρᾳ (on the 14th Nisan). That, however, Justin Martyr himself regarded the first day of the feast as the day on which Jesus died (so Baur and Hilgenfeld), is an erroneous assumption. For when he says (c. Tryph. 111, p. 338), καὶ ὅτι ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ πάσχα συνελάβετε αὐτὸν καὶ ὁμοίως ἐν τῷ πάσχα ἐσταυρώσατε, γέγραπται, he plainly means by ἐν ἡ΄έρᾳ τοῦ πάσχα, and by ἐν τῷ πάσχα, the day on which the paschal lamb was eaten—the 14th Nisan; since he shows immediately before that Christ was the true Paschal Lamb, and immediately after continues: ὡς δὲ τοὺς ἐν αἰγύπτῳ ἔσωσε τὸ αἷ΄α τοῦ πάσχα, οὓτως καὶ τοὺς πιστεύσαντας ῥύσεται ἐκ θανάτου τὸ αἷ΄α τοῦ χριστοῦ. Comp. chap. 40, p. 259. He might therefore have regarded Christ not as dying on the 15th Nisan, but simply on the 14th, as this is expressed in the second fragment of Apollinaris,(31) without our needing to understand “ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τοῦ πάσχα” of the 15th Nisan.(32) Thus it is also said in the Chron. Pasch. p. 12 : ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ τῇ τοῦ πάσχα ἡμέρᾳ, ἤτοι τῇ ιδʼ τοῦ πρώτου μηνὸς, παράσκευῆς οὔσης ἐσταύρωσαν τὸν κύριον οἱ ἰουδαῖοι, καὶ τότε τὸ πάσχα ἔφαγον. Comp. p. 415: ἐν ἡμέρᾳ δὲ παρασκευῇ σταυρωθῆναι τὸν κύριον διδάσκουσιν τὰ θεόπνευς τα λόγια, ἐν τῇ τοῦ πάσχα ἑορτῇ. On this fourteenth day the passover was celebrated according to the practice prevailing in Asia Minor, because on that day the true Paschal Lamb, Christ, was slain. Thus had Philip, John, Polycarp, and other μεγάλα στοιχεῖα, whom Polycrates mentions, already acted, and so John’s example in this particular agrees with his own Gospel.
If some have also argued (see Hilgenfeld, Baur, Volkmar) against the early existence of our Gospel, from the antiquity and fixedness of the tradition which represented the ministry of Jesus as lasting for one year only (see Homil. Clem. xvii. 19), it is, on the other hand, certain that this tradition occurs in many writers who recognised the Gospel as the genuine work of John (Clem. Al., Orig., Ptolemaeus; and see generally Semisch, Denkw. Justin’s, p. 199 f.); whence it is clear that it does not imply the non-existence of the Gospel, but seemed just as reconcilable with John as with the Synoptics. It may have originated from the Synoptic history (see on Luke 4:19); but the counter statement of John, even if it actually existed, did not disturb it. It is the same also with the antiquity and fixedness of the tradition of the 14th Nisan as the day of Jesus’ death, which nevertheless does not imply non-acquaintance with the synoptic Gospels.
If, further, the reasons which are alleged for a Johannean origin of the Apocalypse are likewise urged, especially by the Tübingen critics, as evidence against a similar origin for the Gospel, yet, on the other hand, an opposite procedure is equally justifiable; and, apart from the utter futility of those reasons in other respects, the testimonies for the Apocalypse, which was excluded even from the Peschito, do not attain to any such general recognition as those for this Gospel. The attribution by the unanimous judgment of the church (alleged to be erroneous) of the latter work to the apostle, would, if it only originated in the first half of the second century, be the result of a few decenniums, brought about as by a stroke of magic; and would be, historically, the more enigmatical and incomprehensible, in proportion as the contents and character of our book are the more peculiar, compared with the other Gospels, and the more divergent from the Apocalypse, which existed long before our Gospel, and was reputed to be apostolic. For in this book it is not a spiritualized apocalypse that is exhibited,(33) but simply an independent Gospel, set forth in profound spiritual perfection, is to be recognised, whose linguistic and other characteristics, and whose doctrinal contents, spirit, and aim, are, on the whole, so specifically different from those of the Apocalypse, in spite of various Christological points of connection, that it can only have come from a totally different author (against Hengsten., Godet, Riggenb., and others). The Gnostic tendency of the time, in which some have sought for the solution of that incomprehensible enigma, does not solve it, since the strong reaction in the church against Gnosticism would certainly rather have condemned a Gospel furnishing the Gnostics with so much apparent support, and with materials so liable to be misused, than have left to opponents so rich a mine, to be worked out for their designs, if its apostolic origin had not been known and acknowledged as an established fact.
SEC. III—GENUINENESS CONTINUED
As an internal testimony to its apostolic origin, we have, above all, the whole grand ideal peculiarity of the book, wherein the πνευματικὸν εὐαγγέλιον (Clem. Al.) is delineated with so much character and spirit, with such simplicity, vividness, depth, and truth, that a later fabricator or composer—who, moreover, could have occupied no other standing-point than that of his own time—becomes an impossibility, when we compare with it any production of Christian authorship of the second century. The Gospel of John, especially through the unity and completeness of its Christological idea, is no artificial antithesis (Keim, Gesch. J. p. 129), but the πλήρωσις of the previous evangelic literature, to which the Pauline Christology appears as the historical middle term. But such a creation, which constitutes such a πλήρωσις, without any imitation of the older Gospels, is not the work of some later forger, but of an immediate eye-witness and recipient.(34) In it there beats the heart of Christ,—as the book itself has been justly named (Ernesti). But, say some (Lützel., Baur and his school), it is precisely this tender, fervent, harmonious, spiritual character of the Gospel, which is as little in keeping with those traits of the Apostle John himself exhibited in the other Gospels (Mark 3:17; Luke 9:49; Luke 9:54; Mark 9:38; Mark 10:35), as the testimony borne to his anti-Pauline Judaism (Galatians 2) is to the ideal universalism which pervades his Gospel (see especially John 4:24, John 10:16, John 12:20). Yet the Judaizing partisanship which is said to be chargeable on John, is first simply imported into Galatians 2, and cannot without utter arbitrariness be inferred from the conflicts with Judaism in Paul’s subsequent epistles. And as to the destination of an apostle of the Jews, a position which John certainly, in common with Peter and James, still adopted at the time of the Apostolical Council, might it not afterwards (though even Keim discovers in this assumption a mockery of history and psychology) expand gradually into that universalism which appears in the Gospel? Might not, in particular, the fuller insight into Paul’s work which John attained (Galatians 2), and the bond of fellowship which he formed with that apostle (Galatians 2), as well as his entrance subsequently into the sphere of Paul’s labours in Asia Minor, have contributed powerfully to that expansion and transformation which went beyond that of Paul himself; for the perfecting of which, down to the time when our Gospel(35) was composed, so long a period of church history and of personal experience had been vouchsafed? Moreover, like Paul, he still retained his Israelitish theocratic consciousness as an inalienable inheritance (John 4:22; his use of the Old Test.). With regard to the traits of character indicated in the Synoptics, is not the holy fervour of spirit which everywhere pervades his Gospel, and still marks his First Epistle, to be conceived as the glorified transfiguration of his former fiery zeal? And as to this transfiguration itself,(36) who may define the limits in the sphere of what is morally possible to man, beyond which, in a life and labours so long continued, the development of the new birth could not extend under influences so mighty as the apostles experienced by means of the Spirit’s training in the school of the holiest calling? What purification and growth did not Peter, for example, experience between the time of his smiting with the sword and denial on the one hand, and his martyrdom on the other? Both his labours and his Epistle bear witness on this point. Similarly must we judge of the objection, that the higher, nay, philosophical (or rather Christian speculative) Hellenistic culture of the evangelist, especially his doctrine of the Logos, cannot be made to suit (Bretschneider, Baur, and others) the Galilean fisherman John (comp. also Acts 4:13), for whom the fathomless hardihood of modern criticism has substituted some highly cultured Gentile Christian (so even Schenkel), who, wishing to lead heathen readers (John 19:35, John 20:31) to Christian faith, exhibited the remarkable phenomenon “of historical evangelic authorship turning away from the existing Christian communities, for whom there were already Gospels enough in existence, to appeal to the educated conscience of the heathen world” (Hilgenfeld, d. Evangelien, p. 349). Even the fact that John was, according to John 18:15, an acquaintance of the high priest, is said to be unsuited to the circumstances of the Galilean fisherman (see Scholten, p. 379),—a statement wholly without adequate ground.
It is true the author does not give his name, just as the other historical works of the N. T. do not designate their authors. But he shows himself to have been an eye-witness in the plainest possible way, both at John 1:14 (comp. 1 John 1:1; 1 John 4:14) and at John 19:35 (comp. John 21:24); while the vividness and directness of so many descriptions and individual details, in which no other Gospel equals ours, as well as its necessarily conscious variation from the synoptic representation as a whole and in particular points of great importance, can only confirm the truth of that personal testimony, which is not to be set aside either by interpreting ἐθεασάμεθα, John 1:14, of the Christian consciousness in general, or by the pretext that ἐκεῖνος in John 19:35 distinguishes the evangelist from such as were eye-witnesses (Köstlin, Hilgenfeld, Keim, and several others). See the exegetical remarks on those passages. And as a proof that the eye-witness was, in fact, no other than John, the significant concealment of the name John is rightly urged against Bretschneider, Baur, and others. Though allowed to be one of the most intimate friends of Jesus, and though the Gospel describes so many of his peculiar and delicate traits of character, this disciple is never referred to by name, but only in a certain masked, sometimes very delicate and thoughtful way, so that the nameless author betrays himself at once as the individual who modestly suppresses his name in John 1:35 ff. The true feeling of the church, too, has always perceived this; while it was reserved only for a criticism which handles delicate points so roughly,(37) to lend to the circumstance this explanation: “The author speaks of his identity with the apostle, as one, simply, to whom the point was of no consequence: his Gospel was meant to be Johannean, without bearing the apostle’s name on its front; at least the author had no intention of once mentioning the name in order to make it his own, but the reader was merely to be led to make this combination, so as to place the Apostle John’s name in the closest and most direct connection with a Gospel written in his spirit” (Baur, p. 379). In fact, a fraud so deliberately planned, and, in spite of its attempting no imitation of the Apocalypse, so unexampled in its success, a striving after apparent self-renunciation so crafty, that the lofty, true, transparent, and holy spirit of which the whole bears the impress, would stand in the most marked contradiction to it! Moreover, the instances of other non-apostolic works which were intended to go forth as apostolic, and therefore do not at all conceal the lofty names of their pretended authors, would be opposed to it. On the other hand, the universal recognition which this nameless author as the Apostle John obtained in the church is the more striking, since a later production of this kind, which had been anticipated by so well-known a work of a totally different character, passing for Johannean,—that is, the Apocalypse,—in contrast to the latter recognised as apostolic, while not once mentioning the name of that disciple, would be an historical phenomenon hardly conceivable. At least it is far more intelligible that the Apocalypse, bearing John’s name on its very face, and solemnly repeating it to the end more than once, should, in an uncritical age, make good its claim to be an apostolic work, though not permanently (comp. Ewald, Jahrb. v. p. 182 f.; Düsterd. on the Apocalypse, Introduction). Further, the circumstance that in our Gospel John the Baptist is always mentioned simply as ἰωάννης, never as ὁ βαπτιστής, is not so weighty (in opposition to Credner, Bleek, Ebrard) as to prove that the writer was the apostle, who, as its author, would have had no occasion to point out the other John distinctly by that appellation, for the name ὁ βαπτιστής was by no means designed to mark any such distinction. But we may probably be of opinion that a writer who had simply to appropriate the evangelic materials in the Gospels already existing, and develope them further in a peculiar way, would hardly have failed to employ the surname of the Baptist so commonly and formally used in the Gospels. It is, however, possible that our apostle, having been a personal disciple of the Baptist, and having a lively recollection of his former close relation to him, mentions him by his bare name, as he had been wont to do when he was his disciple, and not with the designation ὁ βαπτιστής, which had come down to him through the medium of history.
In the extended discourses of Jesus, in the chronological arrangement of the historical materials, in the prominence given to the Lord’s ministry out of Galilee, in the significant and peculiar narratives omitted by the Synoptics (among which the most noteworthy is that of the raising of Lazarus), in the important variations from the Synoptics in parallel narratives (the chief of which are in the history of the last supper, and in the date of the day when Jesus died), in the noticeable omissions of evangelic matter (the most remarkable being the silence as to the institution of the supper, and the agony in Gethsemane) which our Gospel exhibits, we recognise just so many indications of an independence, which renders the general recognition of its apostolic authorship in the church only explicable on the ground of the indubitable certainty of that fact. It was this certainty, and the high general reputation of the beloved disciple, which far outweighed all variations from the form and contents of the older Gospels, nay, even subordinated the credit and independence of the Synoptics (for instance, in the history of the last supper, which even in them was placed on the 13th Nisan). All these points of difference have therefore been wrongly urged against the apostolic authorship; they make the external attestation all the stronger, far too strong to be traceable to the aims and fictions of a writer of the second century (comp. Bleek, Beitr. p. 66 ff.; Brückner on De Wette, p. xxviii. f.). With regard especially to the discourses and conversations of Jesus (which, according to Baur’s school, are wanting in appropriateness of exposition and naturalness of circumstances, and are connected with unhistorical facts, and intended to from an explication of the Logos-Idea), they certainly imply(38) a free reproduction and combination on the part of an intelligent writer, who draws out what is historically given beyond its first concrete and immediate form, by farther developing and explaining it. Often the originality is certainly not that of purely objective history, but savours of John’s spirit (compare the First Epistle of John), which was most closely related with that of Jesus. This Johannean method was such that, in its undoubted right to reproduce and to clothe in a new dress, which it exercised many decenniums after, it could not carry the mingling of the objective and subjective, unavoidable as it was to the author’s idiosyncrasy, so far as to merge what constituted its original essence in the mere view of the individual. Thus the λόγος, especially in the distinct form which it assumes in the prologue, does not reappear in the discourses(39) of Jesus, however frequently the λόγος of God or of Christ, as the verbum vocale (not essentiale(40)), occurs in them. All the less, therefore, in these discourses can the form be externally separated from the matter to such an extent as to treat the one as the subjective, the other as the objective (Reuss in the Strassb. Denkschr. p. 37 ff.),—a view which is inconceivable, especially when we consider the intellectual Johannean unity of mould, unless the substance of the matter is to be assigned to the sphere of the subjective along with the form. The Jesus of John, indeed, appears in His discourses as in general more sublime, more solemn, frequently more hard to understand, nay, more enigmatical, more mysterious, and, upon the whole, more ideal, than the Jesus of the Synoptics, especially as the latter is seen in His pithy proverbs and parables. Still, we must bear in mind that the manifestation of Jesus as the divine human life was intrinsically too rich, grand, and manifold, not to be represented variously, according to the varying individualities by which its rays were caught, and according to the more or less ideal points of view from which those rays were reflected,—variously, amid all that resemblance of essential character, and peculiar fundamental type, in which it allowed itself to be recognised by manifold receptivities, and under dissimilar circumstances. It was on the soul of this very apostle that the image of that wonderful life, with which his inspired recollections were connected, was, without a single discordant feature, most perfectly delineated, and in all the deep fulness of its nature: it lives in him; and his own thinking and feeling, with its profound contemplativeness, is so thoroughly intertwined with and transfigured by this life and the ideal it contains, that each individual recollection and representation becomes the more easily blended by him into harmony with the whole. His very language must needs ever retain that inalienable stamp which he once involuntarily received from the heart and living word of Christ, and appropriated and preserved in all its depth and transparency in the profoundly spiritual laboratory of his own long regenerate life. (Comp. Ewald, Jahrb. III. p. 163, X. p. 90 f., and his Johan. Schriften, I. p. 32 ff.; also Brückner on De Wette, p. 25 ff.) Some have assigned to the Gospel the honour rather of a well-devised work of art, than of a truly earnest and real history (Keim, Gesch. J. I. p. 123). It is both, in the inseparable unity and truth of the art of the Holy Ghost.
If, again, some have urged that the author of the fourth Gospel appears as one standing apart from any personal participation in the history he was writing, and from Judaism (compare the frequent οἱ ἰουδαῖοι, John 5:16, John 7:1; John 7:19; John 7:25, John 8:17, John 10:34, etc.(41)), still we should bear in mind, that if John wrote his Gospel at a later time, and among a community moulded by Hellenistic culture, after the liberation of his Christian nature from the Judaism by which it had long been penetrated, and when he had long been familiar with the purest spiritual Christianity and its universalism, as well as raised through the medium of speculation to a higher standpoint in his view of the Gospel history, he certainly did stand much further apart than the earlier evangelists, not indeed from his history strictly speaking, but from its former surroundings and from Judaism. This, however, does not warrant the substitution in his place of a non-Jewish author, who out of elements but slightly historical and correlative myths wove a semblance of history. On the contrary, many peculiar traits marked by the greatest vividness and originality, revealing a personal participation in the history (see John 1:35 ff., John 5:10 ff., John 7:1 ff.; chap. John 9:11-12, John 13:22 ff., John 18:15 ff., John 19:4 ff., John 19:21), rise up in proof, to bridge over the gulf between the remoteness of the author and the proximity of a former eye-witness, in whose view the history throughout is not developed from the doctrine, but the doctrine from the history.(42) Hence, also, he it is who, while he rose much higher above Judaism than Paul, yet, like Matthew in his Gospel, though with more individuality and independence, took pains to exhibit the connection between the events of the Gospel history and Old Testament prophecy. In this way, as well as by the explanations of Jewish facts, views, appellations, and so on, which are interspersed, he shows himself to belong to the ancient people of God, as far as his spiritual renewal was, and necessarily must have been, compatible with this connection. (Comp. Weizsäcker, Evang. Gesch. p. 263.) Lastly, the historical contradictions with the Synoptics are either only apparent (for instance, a ministration on several occasions at Jerusalem is implied, Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34), or such as cannot fairly lead to the conclusion of a non-apostolic authorship, since we do not possess Matthew in its original form, and therefore are not prevented by the counterweight of equally apostolic evidence from assigning to John a preponderating authority, which especially must be done in regard to such very striking variations as the date of the day on which Jesus died, and the account of the last supper. Besides, if what was erroneous and unhistorical might, after the lapse of so long a time, have affected even the memory of an apostle, yet matters of this sort, wherever found in particular passages of our Gospel, are rather chargeable on commentators than on the author, especially in the exceptions taken to the names of such places as Bethany, John 1:28, and Sychar, John 4:5. On the whole, the work is a phenomenon so sublime and unique among productions of the Christian spirit,(43) that if it were the creation of an unknown author of the second century, it would be beyond the range of all that is historically conceivable. In its contents and tone, as well as in its style, which is unlike that of the earlier Gospels, it is so entirely without any internal connection with the development and literary conditions of that age, that had the church, instead of witnessing to its apostolic origin, raised a doubt on that point, historical criticism would see assigned to it the inevitable task of proving and vindicating such an origin from the book itself. In this case, to violate the authority of the church for the sake of the Gospel, would necessarily have a more happily and permanently successful result than could follow from opposing the Gospel. After having stood the critical tests originated by Bretschneider and Baur, this Gospel continues to shine with its own calm inner superiority and undisturbed transparency, issuing forth victorious from never-ceasing conflicts; the last star, as it were, of evangelic history and teaching, yet beaming with the purest and highest light, which could never have arisen amid the scorching heat of Gnosticism, or have emerged from the fermentation of some catholicizing process, but which rose rather on the horizon of the apostolic age, from the spirit of the disciple most intimate with his Lord, and which is destined never again to set,(44)—the guide to a true catholicity, differing wholly from the ecclesiastical development of the second century,(45) and still remaining as the unattained goal of the future.
Nor can the attempt be successful to treat only a certain nucleus of our Gospel as genuinely apostolical, and to assign the rest to disciples of John or other later hands. The reasons for this procedure are inadequate, while it is itself so destitute of all historical evidence and warrant, and runs so entirely into caprice and diversity of subjective judgment, and hence also presents such a variety of results in the several attempts which have been made, that it would be in any case critically more becoming to leave still unsolved the difficulties in the matter and connection of particular passages, rather than to get rid of them by striking them out according to an arbitrary standard. This remark applies not merely to some of the older attempts of this kind by Eckermann, Vogel, Ammon (Progr. quo docetur, Johannem evang. auctorem ab editore huj. libri fuisse diversum, 1811), and Paulus, but also to Rettig’s opinion (Ephemer. exeg. I. p. 83 ff.): “Compositum esse et digestum a seriori Christiano, Johannis auditore forsitan gnosticae dedito philosophiae, qui, quum in ecclesiae Ephesinae scriniis ecclesiasticis vel alio loco private plura Jesu vitae capita per Johannem descripta reperisset, vel a Johanne ipso accepisset, iis compositis et ordinatis suam de λόγῳ philosophiam praefixit;”—and even to the more thorough attempts made by Weisse (both in his Evang. Gesch. I. p. 96 ff., II. p. 184 ff., 486 ff., 520 ff.; as also in his Evangelienfrage, 1856, p. 111 ff.) and Alex. Schweizer (d. Ev. Joh. nach s. innern Werthe kritisch untersucht, 1841). According to Weisse (compare, however, his partial retractation in his Philos. Dogmat. 1855, I. p. 153), John, for the purpose of setting forth his own idea of Christ and doctrinal system in discourses of Jesus, selected such discourses, adding those of the Baptist and the prologue. After his death, one of his adherents and disciples (John 19:35), by further adding what he had learnt from the apostle’s own mouth, and from the evangelic tradition, but without any knowledge of the Synoptics, worked up these “Johannean Studies” into a Gospel history, the plan of which was, of course, very imperfect; so that the apostle’s communications consequently form only the groundwork of the Gospel, though among them must be reckoned all the strictly didactic and contemplative portions, in determining which the First Epistle of John serves as a test. According to Schweizer (comp. also Schenkel, previously in the Stud. u. Krit. 1840, p. 753 ff., who resolves the apostolical portion into two sets of discourses), such sections are to be excluded from the apostle’s original work, as are “quite disconnected and abrupt, interwoven with no discourses, are altogether without any important word of Jesus, permeated by an essentially different estimate and idea of miracle, without vividness of narration, and moreover are divergent in style, and agree, besides, in recounting Galilean incidents.” These excluded sections, along with which especially fall to the ground the turning of the water into wine at Cana, the healing of the nobleman’s son, the miraculous feeding (John 2:1 ff., John 4:44 ff., John 6:1 ff.), are said to have originated with the author of chap. 21, who also, according to Scholten, is said to have added a cycle of interpolated remarks, such as John 2:21 f., John 7:39, John 12:33, John 18:32. All such attempts at critical dismemberment, especially in the case of a work so thoroughly of one mould, must undoubtedly fail. Even Weizsäcker’s view (Untersuch. üb. d. evang. Gesch. 1864, p. 298 ff.), that our Gospel was derived from the apostle’s own communications, though not composed by his own hands, but by those of his trusted disciples in Ephesus, is based on insufficient grounds, which are set aside by an unprejudiced exegesis (see also Ewald, Jahrb. XII. p. 212 ff.). This hypothesis is all the more doubtful, if the Gospel (with the exception of chap. 21) be allowed to have been composed while the apostle was still living; it is not supported by the testimony of Clem. Alex. and the Canon of Muratori,(46) and in fact antiquity furnishes no evidence in its favour.
Literature:—(1.) Against the Genuineness: Evanson, Dissonance of the Four —— Evangelists, Ipswich 1792. (Vogel), d. Evangelist Joh. u. s. Ausleger vor d. jungsten Gericht, I. Lpz. 1801, II. 1804. Horst, in Henke’s Mus. I. 1, pp. 20 ff., 47 ff., 1803. Cludius, Uransichten des Christenth., Altona 1808, p. 40 ff. Ballenstedt, Philo u. Joh., Gött. 1812. The most important among the older works: Bretschneider, Probabilia de evangelii et epistolarum Joh. apost. indole et origine, Lpz. 1820, who makes the Gospel originate in the first half of the second century, in the interest of Christ’s divinity. Later opponents: Rettig, Ephem. exeg. I. p. 62 ff. Strauss, Leben Jesu, despite a half retractation in the third edition (1838), the more decidedly against in the fourth (1840). Weisse, Evang. Gesch. 1838, and d. Evangelienfrage, 1856. Lützelberger, die Kirchliche Tradition üb. d. Apostel Joh. 1840. B. Bauer, Krit. d. evang. Gesch. d. Joh. 1840, and Kritik d. Evangelien, I. 1850. Schwegler, Montanism, 1841, and nachapost. Zeitalter, 1846. Baur,(47) Krit. Untersuchungen üb. d. Kanonischen Evang., Tüb. 1847, p. 79 ff. (previously in the Theol. Jahrb. 1844). Zeller, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1845, p. 579 ff., and 1847, p. 136 ff. Baur, ibidem, 1848, p. 264 ff., 1854, p. 196 ff., 1857, p. 209 ff.; and in his Christenth. d. drei ersten Jahrh. p. 131 ff.; also in his controversial work, An Herrn Dr. Karl Hase, Tüb. 1855; and in his treatise, “die Tübinger Schule,” 1859. Hilgenfeld, d. Evang. u. die Briefe Joh. nach ihrem Lehrbegr. dargestellt, Halle 1849, and in the Theol. Jahrb. 1849, p. 209 ff.: also in his works, die Evangelien nach ihrer Entstehung u. s. w., Lpz. 1854, p. 227 ff.; and in his controversial treatise, das Urchristenth. in d. Hauptwendepunkten seines Entwickelungsganges, Jena 1855; also in the Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 498 ff., and in the Zeitschr. f. wissenschaft Theol. 1859, p. 281 ff., 383 ff.; similarly in the Kanon u. Krit. d. N. T. 1863, p. 218 ff., and in his Zeitschr. 1863, 1 and 2, 1867, p. 180 ff. Köstlin, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1851, p. 183 ff. Tobler, die Evangelienfrage, Zürich 1858 (anonymously), and in the Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1860, p. 169 ff. Schenkel(48) in his Charakterbild Jesu, chap. 2. Volkmar, most recently in his work against Tischendorf, “d. Ursprung uns. Evangel.” 1866. Scholten, d. ältest. Zeug. betr. d. Schriften d. N. T., translated from the Dutch by Manchot, 1867 (compare his Evang. according to John, translated by Lang). Keim, Geschichte Jesu, 1867, I. p. 103 ff. (2.) For the Genuineness, and especially against Bretschneider (comp. the latter’s later confession in his Dogmat. ed. 3, I. p. 268: “The design which my Probabilia had—namely, to raise a fresh and further investigation into the authenticity of John’s writings—has been attained, and the doubts raised may perhaps be now regarded as removed”): Stein, Authentia ev. Joh. contra Bretschn. dubia vindicat., Brandenb. 1822. Calmberg, Diss. de antiquiss. patrum pro ev. Joh. authentia testim., Hamb. 1822. Hemsen, die Authent. der Schriften des Ev. Joh., Schleswig 1823. Usteri, Comment. crit., in qua ev. Joh. genuinum esse ex comparatis quatuor evangelior. narrationib. de coena ultima et passione J. Ch. ostenditur, Turici 1823. Crome, Probabilia haud probabilia, or Widerlegung der von Dr. Bretschneider gegen die Aechtheit des Ev. u. d. Briefe Joh. erhobenen Zweifel, Lpz. 1824. Rettberg, an Joh. in exhibenda Jesu natura reliquis canonicis scriptis vere repugnet, Gött. 1826. Hauff, die Authent. u. der hohe Werth des Ev. Joh., Nürnberg 1831.
Against Weisse: Frommann, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1840, p. 853 ff.; Hilgenfeld, in the Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1859, p. 397 ff.
Against Schweizer: Luthardt, i. p. 6 ff.
Against Baur and his school: Merz, in the Würtemb. Stud. 1844, ii. Ebrard, d. Ev. Joh. u. die neueste Hypothese üb. s. Entstehung, Zürich 1845; and in his Kritik d. evang. Gesch. ed. 2, 1850, p. 874 ff. Hauff, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1846, p. 550 ff. Bleek, Beiträge z. Ev. Krit. 1846, p. 92 ff., u. Einl. p. 177 ff. Weitzel, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1848, p. 806 ff., 1849, p. 578; also De Wette, Einl., whose final judgment, however (§ 110 g.), only declares against the view which would deny to the apostle any share in the composition of the Gospel. See, besides, Niermeyer, Verhandeling over de echtheid d. Johanneischen Schriften, s’ Gravenhage 1852. Mayer (Catholic), Aechtheit d. Ev. nach Joh., Schaffh. 1854. Schneider, Aechth. des Joh. Ev. nach den äusseren Zeugen, Berl. 1854. Kahnis, Dogmat. I. p. 416 ff. Ritschl, Altkath. K p. 48. Tischendorf, wann wurden uns. Ev. verfasst? 1865; 4th enlarged edition, 1866. Riggenbach, d. Zeug. f. d. Ev. Joh. neu unters. 1866. Dr. Pressensé, Jes. Christus, son Temps, etc., 1866. Oosterzee, d. Johannes-evang., vier Vorträge, 1867 [Eng. trans.]; also Hofstede de Groot (against also the previously mentioned work of Scholten), Basilides als erster Zeuge, für Alter und Auctorit. neutest. Schr., German edition, 1868. Jonker, het evang. v. Joh. 1867. Compare generally, besides the Commentaries, Ewald, Jahrb. III. p. 146 ff., V. p. 178 ff., X. p. 83 ff., XII. p. 212 ff. Grimm, in the Hall. Encykl. ii. 22, p. 5 ff.
SEC. IV.—DESIGN OF THE GOSPEL
John himself, John 20:31, tells us very distinctly the purpose of the Gospel which he wrote for the Christians of his own day. It was nothing else than to impart the conviction that Jesus was the Messiah, by describing the history of His appearance and of His work; and through faith in this, to communicate the Messianic life which was revealed in Jesus when on earth. While it has this general purpose in common with the other Gospels, it has as its special and definite task to exhibit in Jesus the Messiah, as in the, highest sense the Son of God, that is, the Incarnate Divine Logos; and hence John places the section on the Logos at the very beginning as his distinctive programme, therewith furnishing the key for the understanding of the whole. In the existing name and conception of the Logos, he recognises a perfectly befitting expression for his own sublime view of Christ, the humanly manifested divine source of life; and accordingly, he has delineated the human manifestation and the historical life of the divine in Christ with creative spirit and vividness, in order that the eternal and highest power of life, which had thus entered bodily into the world, might be appropriated by faith. Even the Gospel of Matthew (and of Luke) grasps the idea of the Son of God metaphysically, and explains it by the divine generation. John, however, apprehends and explains it by raising it into the premundane and eternal relation of the Son to the Father, who sent the Son; just as Paul also earnestly teaches this pre-existence, though he does not conceive of it under the form of the Logos, and therefore has nothing about a beginning of divine Sonship by a divine generation in time. John therefore occupies a far higher standing-point than Matthew; but, like the other evangelists, he developes his proof historically, not sacrificing historic reality and tradition to idealism (against Baur and his school), but now selecting from the materials furnished by the extant tradition and already presented in the older evangelic writings, now leaving these, and carefully selecting solely from the rich stores of his own memory and experience. In this way, it is quite obvious how important the discourses of Jesus, especially upon His divine Messianic dignity in opposition to the unbelief of the Jews, were as elements of John’s plan; and further, how necessary it was that the testimonies of the Baptist, the prophetical predictions, and the select miraculous proofs,—the latter forming at the same time the bases of the more important discourses,—should co-operate towards his purpose. The general similarity of his aim with that of the current Galilean tradition on the one side, and on the other hand its special distinctiveness, which is due to his own more sublime and spiritual intuition and his purpose to delineate Jesus as the Incarnate Logos, the possessor and imparter of divine and eternal life, as well as his independence in both these respects, as a most intimate eye and ear witness, of all the previous labours of others, and his original peculiar arrangement and reproduction of the doctrines of Jesus as from a centre, determining every detail and binding them into one,—this, and the primary destination of the work for readers who must have been acquainted with Graeco-Judaic speculations, gave the book the characteristic form which it possesses. The intellectual unity, which thus runs through it, is the reflection of the author’s peculiar view of the whole, which was not formed à priori, but as the result of experience (John 1:14; comp. Hauff, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1846, p. 574 ff.), the fruit of a long life in Christ, and of a fulness and depth of recollection such as he only, among the living, could possess. Written after the destruction of Jerusalem, and by that disciple who had long advanced beyond Jewish Christianity, and in the centre of Asiatic culture was still labouring amidst the highest esteem, as probably the only aged apostle remaining, this Gospel could not have an eye to Palestinian readers,(49) as had been formerly the case with Matthew’s Collection of Logia, and the Gospel which originated from it. It was very naturally destined, first of all, for those Christian circles among which the apostle lived and laboured, consequently for readers belonging to churches originally founded by Paul, and who had grown up out of Jewish and Gentile Christian elements, and had been carried on by John himself to that higher unity for which Paul could work only amidst continual conflict with yet unconquered Judaism. The Gospel of John, therefore, is not a Pauline one, but one more transfigured and spiritual, plainly rising more sublimely above Judaism than Paul, more tender and thoughtful than his, and also more original, but agreeing as to its main ideas with the doctrine dialectically wrought out by Paul, though exhibiting these ideas at a calmer height above the strife of opposing principles, and in harmony with the full perfection of fundamental Christian doctrine; and thus communicating for all time the essence, light, and life of the eminently catholic tendency and destination of Christianity. It represents the true and pure Christian Gnosis, though by this we are not to suppose its design was a polemical one against the heretical Gnostics, as even Irenaeus in his day (iii. 11. 1) indicates the errors of Cerinthus and of the Nicolaitans as those controverted by John, to which Epiphanius (Haer. li. 12, lxix. 23) and Jerome (de vir. illustr.) added also those of the Ebionites, while even modern writers have thought that it controverted more or less directly and definitely the Gnostic doctrine, especially of Cerinthus (Erasmus, Melanchthon, Grotius, Michaelis, Storr, Hug, Kleucker, Schneckenburger, Ebrard, Hengstenberg, and several others). It is decisive against the assumption of any such polemical purpose, that, in general, John nowhere in his Gospel allows any direct reference to the perverted tendencies of his day to appear; while to search for indirect and hidden allusions of the kind, as if they were intentional, would be as arbitrary as it would be repugnant to the decided character of the apostolic standpoint which he took up when in conscious opposition to heresies. In his First Epistle the apostle controverts the vagaries of Gnosticism, and it is improbable that these came in his way only after he had already written his Gospel (as Ewald, Jahrb. III. p. 157, assumes); but the task of meeting this opposition, to which the apostle set himself in his Epistle, cannot have been the task of his Gospel, which in its whole character keeps far above such controversies. At any rate, we see from his Epistle how John would have carried on a controversy, had he wished to do so in his Gospel. The development of Gnosticism, as, it was in itself a movement which could not have failed to appear, lay brooding then, and for some time previously, in the whole atmosphere of that age and place; it appears in John pure, and in sententious simplicity and clearness, but ran off, in the heresies of the partly contemporaneous and partly later formed Gnosticism, into all its varied aberrations, amid which it seemed even to derive support by what it drew from John. That it has been possible to explain many passages as opposed to the Gnostics, as little justifies the assumption of a set purpose of this kind, as the interpretation favourable to Gnosticism, which is possible in other passages, would justify the inference of an irenical purpose (Lücke) in respect of this heresy, since any express and precise indication of such tendencies does not appear. Similarly must we judge the assumption of a polemical purpose against the Docetae (Semler, Bertholdt, Eckermann; Niemeyer, de Docetis, Hal. 1823; Schneckenburger, Schott, Ebrard), for which some have adduced John 1:14, John 19:34, John 20:20; John 20:27; or an opposition to Ebionism and Judaism (Jerome, Grotius; Lange, die Judenchristen, Ebioniten und Nikolaiten d. apost. Zeit., Lpz. 1828; Ebrard, and many others); or to the plots of the Jews who had been restored after the destruction of Jerusalem (Aberle in the Tüb. Quartalschr. 1864, p. 1 ff.). At the same time, it seems quite arbitrary, nay, injurious to John’s historical fidelity and truth, to set down his omissions of evangelic circumstances to the account of a polemical purpose; as, for example, Schneckenburger, Beitr. p. 60 ff., who regards the omission of the agony as based on an anti-Gnostic, and the silence as to the transfiguration on the mount on an anti-Docetic interest. A controversial reference to the disciples of John (Grotius, Schlichting, Wolzogen; Overbeck, über d. Ev. Joh. 1784, über d. Ev. Joh. 1784; Michael., Storr, Lützelberger, and others, even; Michael., Storr, Lützelberger, and others, even Ewald) is not supported by such passages as John 1:6-8; John 1:15; John 1:19-41, John 3:22 ff., John 5:33-36, John 10:40 f., since the unique sublimity of Jesus, even when contrasted with John who was sent by God, must have been vindicated by the apostle in the necessary course of his history and of his work; but in these passages no such special purpose can be proved, and we must assume that, with any such tendency, expressions like that in Matthew 11:11 would not have been overlooked. Besides, those disciples of John who rejected Christ (Recogn. Clem. i. 54, 60), and the Zabaeans or Mendeans (Gieseler, Kirchengesch. I. 1, p. 76, Eng. trans. vol. I. p. 58), who became known in the seventeenth century, were of later origin, while those who appear in Acts 18:25; Acts 19:1 ff., were simply not yet accurately acquainted with Christ, and therefore as regards them we should have to think only of a tendency to gain these over (Herder, vom Sohne Gottes, p. 24; also De Wette); but we cannot assume even this, considering the utter want of any more precise reference to them in our Gospel.
Moreover, in general, as to the development of heresy, so far as it was conspicuous in that age, and especially in Asia (comp. the Epistles to the Galatians and Colossians), we must assume as an internal necessity that John, in opposition to its errors, especially those of a Gnostic and Judaizing character (according to Hengstenberg, to the inundation of Gentile errors into the church), must have been conscious that his Gospel ought to set forth the original truth, unobscured by those errors. We must therefore admit generally, that the influence of the existing forms of opposition to the truth, for which he had to testify, practically contributed to determine the shape of his treatise, but only to the extent that, while abiding solely by his thesis, he provided therein, by its very simplicity, the weightiest counterpoise against errors (comp. Reuss, Denkschr. p. 27), without stooping to combat them, or even undertaking the defence of the Gospel against them (Seyffarth, Specialcharakterist. p. 39 f.; Schott, Isag. § 40; De Wette, Hengstenberg, and many others), his task being elevated far above the then existing conflicts of opinion.(50) This must be maintained, lest on the one hand we degrade the Gospel, in the face of its whole character, into a controversial treatise, or on the other hand withdraw it, as a product of mere speculation, from its necessary and concrete relations to the historical development of the church of that age.
Seeing that our Gospel serves in manifold ways not only to confirm, but moreover, on a large scale (as especially by relating the extra-Galilean journeys, acts, discourses) as well as in particulars, to complete the synoptic accounts, nay, even sometimes (as in determining the day of the crucifixion) in important places to correct them, it has been assumed very often, from Jerome (comp. already Euseb. iii. 24) downwards, and with various modifications even at the present day (Ebrard, Ewald, Weizsäcker, Godet, and many others), that this relation to the Synoptics was the designed object of the work. So regarded, however, this view cannot be supported; for there is not the slightest hint in the Gospel itself of any such purpose; and further, there would thus be attributed to it an historico-critical character totally at variance with its real nature and its design, as expressly stated, John 20:30-31, and which even as a collateral purpose would be quite foreign to the high spiritual tone, sublime unity, and unbroken compactness of the book. Moreover, in the repetition of synoptical passages which John gives, there are not always any material additions or corrections leading us to suppose a confirmatory design, in view of the non-repetition of a great many other and more important synoptical narrations. Again, where John diverges from parallel synoptical accounts, in the absence of contradictory references (in John 3:24 only does there occur a passing note of time of this kind), his independence of the Galilean tradition fully suffices to explain the divergence. Finally, in very much that John has not borrowed from the synoptical history, and against the truth of which no well-founded doubt can be urged, to suppose in such passages any intentional though silent purpose on his part to correct, would, be equivalent to his rejection of the statements. In short, had the design in question exercised any determining influence upon the apostle in the planning and composition of his work, he would have accomplished his task in a very strange, thoroughly imperfect, and illogical manner. We may, on the contrary, take it for granted that he was well acquainted with the Galilean tradition,(51) and that the written accounts drawn from the cycle of that tradition, numbers of which were already in circulation, and which were especially represented in our Synoptics, were likewise sufficiently known to him; for he presupposes as known the historical existence of this tradition in all its essential parts.(52) But it is just his perfect independence of this tradition and its records—keeping in view his aim to bring fully out the higher Messianic proof, and the abundant material from which his own recollection could so fully draw—which enables us to understand the partial coincidence, and still greater divergence, between him and the Synoptics, and his entire relation to them generally, which is not determined by any special design on his part; so that the confirmation, correction, and enlargement of their narratives often appear as a result of which he is conscious, but never as the object which he had sought to accomplish in his treatise. As to any design, so understood, of correcting the Synoptics, the silence of John upon many portions of the cycle of synoptic narrative is undoubtedly very significant, in so far as the historical truth of these in their traditional form would have been of special value for the apostle’s purpose. This holds true particularly of the account of the temptation, the transfiguration, and the ascension as actual occurrences, as well as of the cure of demoniacs as such. As criticism, however, is here pledged to special caution, so the opposite conclusion—viz. that facts which would have been of great importance even for the synoptical Messianic proof, but which are recorded only in John, cannot be regarded as originally historical in the form in which he gives them—is everywhere inadmissible, especially where he speaks as an eye-witness, in which capacity he must be ranked above Matthew: for Matthew did indeed compose the collection of discourses which is worked up into the Gospel that bears his name, but not the Gospel itself as it lies before us in its gradually settled canonical form. If, while taking all into account, the complete, unbiassed independence of John in relation to the Synoptics, above whom he stands distinguished by his exact determination of the succession of time, must be preserved intact; we must at the same time bear in mind that, as the last evangelist and apostle, he had to satisfy the higher needs of Christian knowledge, called forth by the development of the church in this later stage, and thus had boldly to go beyond the range of the whole previous Gospel literature.(53) This higher need had reference to that deeper and uniform insight into the peculiar eternal essence of Christianity and its Founder, which John, as no other of his contemporaries, by his richly stored experience was fitted and called to impart. He had thus, indeed, as a matter of fact, supplemented and partly corrected the earlier evangelists, though not to such an extent as to warrant the supposition that this was his deliberate object. For, by giving to the entire written history its fullest completion, he took rank far above all who had worked before him; not doctrinally making an advance from πίστις to γνῶσις (Lücke), but, in common with the Synoptics, pursuing the same goal of πίστις (John 20:31), yet bringing the subject-matter of this common faith to a higher, more uniform, and universal stage of the original γνῶσις of its essence than was possible in the earlier Gospel histories, composed under diverse relations, which had now passed away, and with different and (measured by the standard of John’s fellowship with Jesus) very inferior resources.
John prosecutes his design, which is to prove that Jesus is the Messiah in the sense of the incarnate Logos, by first of all stating this leading idea in the prologue, and then exhibiting in well-selected(54) historical facts its historical realization in Jesus. This idea, which belongs to the very highest Christological view of the world, guided his choice and treatment of facts, and brought out more clearly the opposition—which the author had constantly in view—with unbelieving and hostile Judaism; but so far from detracting from the historical character of the Gospel, it appears rather only to be derived from the actual experience of the history, and is in turn confirmed thereby. To defend the Gospel against the suspicion of its being a free compilation from synoptical materials, used merely to subserve some main idea, is, on the one hand, as unnecessary for him who recognises it as of necessity apostolic, and as a phenomenon conceivable only upon this supposition; as it is, on the other hand, impossible, as experience shows, to do so successfully, considering the total difference of presuppositions, in the face of the man who can place it in the second century, and ascribe to so late a period so great a creative power of Christian thought.
SEC. V.—SOURCES, TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
The main source is John himself (1 John 1:1 f.), his own inalienable recollection, his experience, his life of fellowship with Christ, continued, increased, and preserved in its freshness by the Spirit of truth, together with the constant impulse to preach and otherwise orally communicate that sublime view of the nature and life of Jesus, which determined the essential contents of his work, as a whole and in details. Accordingly, the credibility of the work asserts itself as being relatively the highest of all, so that it ought to have the deciding voice in case of discrepancies in all essential portions, where the author speaks as an eye and ear witness. This also applies to the discourses of Jesus, in so far as their truthfulness is to be recognised, not indeed to all their details and form,—for they were freely reproduced and resuscitated by his after recollection, and under the influence of a definite and determining point of view, after the Lord’s thoughts and expressions had by a lengthened process of elaboration been blended with his own, which thus underwent a transfiguration,—but as to the subject-matter and its characteristic clothing and thoughtful changes and variations, in all their simplicity and dignity. Their truthfulness is, I say, all the more to be recognised, the more inwardly and vividly the apostle in particular stood in harmony with his Lord’s mind and heart. So familiar was he with the character and nature of Christ’s discourses, and so imbued with His spirit, that even the reflections of his own which he intertwines, as well as his Epistle, nay, even the discourses of the Baptist, bear one and the same stamp; a fact, however, which only places the essential originality of the Johannean discourses so much the more above suspicion.(55)
In those portions in which we have no vouchers for personal testimony, the omission is sufficiently supplied, by the author’s connection with Christ and his fellow-apostles (as well as with Mary), and by the investigations which we may assume he made, because of his profound interest in the subject; and by the living, harmonious, and comprehensive view of Christ’s life and work with which he was inspired, and which of itself must have led to the exclusion of any strange and interpolated features.
The supposition that in his own behoof he made use of notes taken by himself (so Bertholdt, Wegscheider, Schott, and others), does not, indeed, contradict the requirements of a living apostolic call, but must be subordinated so as to be compatible with the unity of spirit and mould of the whole work; a unity which is the gradually ripened and perfected fruit of a long life of recollection, blending all particulars in one true and bright collective picture, under the guidance of the Divine Spirit as promised by Christ Himself (John 14:26).
The synoptical tradition was known to John, and his Gospel presupposes it. He was also certainly acquainted with the evangelic writings which embodied it—those at least that were already widely spread and held in esteem; but all this was not his source properly so called: his book itself is proof enough that, in writing it, he was independent of this, and stood above all the then existing written and traditional authorities. He has preserved this independence even in the face of Matthew’s collection of discourses and Mark’s Gospel, both of which doubtless he had read, and which may have suggested to him, unintentionally and unsought for on his part, many expressions in his own independent narrative, but which can in no way interfere with its apostolic originality. Comp. Ewald, Gesch. Christi, p. 127 ff. We cannot determine whether he likewise knew the somewhat more recent Gospel of Luke (Keim and others); for the points of contact between the two are conceivable upon the supposition of their writing independently side by side, especially as Luke had a rich range of sources, which are to us for the most part unknown. That John likewise knew the Gospel of the Hebrews is not made probable by the saying which he records concerning “the birth from above.” The combination, on that account, of this saying with the corresponding quotation made by Justin and the Clementines (see above, sec. ii.) rests upon the very precarious premiss that both of these cite from the Gospel of the Hebrews.
As to the question whence John derived his representation of the divine element in Christ as the Logos, see on chap. John 1:1.
As to the PLACE where the Gospel, which was certainly written in Greek, not in Aramaic (against Salmasius, Bolten, and partly Bertholdt), was composed, the earliest tradition (already in Iren. iii. 1, Clement of Alex., Origen, Eusebius, etc.) distinctly names Ephesus; and the original document is said to have been preserved there to a late period, and to have been the object of believing veneration (Chron. Pasch. p. xi. 411, ed. Dind.). By this decision as to the place we must abide, because the Gospel itself bears upon its very face proofs of its author’s remoteness from Palestine, and from the circle of Jewish life, along with references to cultured Greek readers; and because the life of the apostle himself, as attested by the history of the church, speaks decidedly for Ephesus. The tradition that he wrote at Patmos (Pseudo-Hippolytus, Theophylact, and many others, also Hug) is a later one, and owes its origin to the statement that the Apocalpyse was written on that island. With this, the tradition which tries to reconcile both, by supposing that John dictated his Gospel in Patmos and published it at Ephesus (Pseudo-Athanasius, Dorotheus), loses all its value.
The assumption that a long time elapsed before it gained any wide circulation, and that it remained within the circle of the apostle’s friends in Ephesus, at whose request, according to a very ancient tradition (Canon Muratori, Clement of Alexandria, in Euseb. vi. 14), he is said to have written it, is not indeed sanctioned by the silence of Papias concerning it (Credner), but receives confirmation by the fact that the appendix, chap 21, is found in all the oldest testimonies,—leading us to conclude that its publication in more distant circles, and dissemination through multiplication of copies, did not take place till after this addition.
As to the TIME of its composition, the earliest testimonies (Irenaeus, Clement of Alex., Origen) go to prove that John wrote subsequently to the Synoptics, and (Irenaeus) not till after the deaths of Peter and Paul. A later and more precise determination of the time (Epiphanius, Haer. li. 12),(56) in the advanced old age of the apostle, is connected with the desire to ascribe to the Gospel an anti-heretical design, and therefore loses its critical weight. The following points may perhaps be regarded as certain, resulting as they do from a comparison of this tradition with historical circumstances and with the Gospel itself. As John certainly did not settle in Ephesus until after St. Paul’s removal from his Asiatic sphere of labour, nor indeed, doubtless, until after the destruction of Jerusalem, where until then John resided; as, further, the distance from Palestinian circumstances, so evident in the Gospel, implies an already prolonged residence away from Palestine; as the elaborate view of the Logos is a post-Pauline phase of the apprehension and exposition of Christ’s higher nature, and suggests a longer familiarity with philosophical influences; as the entire character and nature of the book, its clearness and depth, its calmness and completeness, most probably indicate the matured culture and clarifying influence of riper years, without, however, in the least degree suggesting to us the weakness of old age,—we must put the composition not before the destruction of Jerusalem (Lampe, Wegscheider), but a considerable time after; for if that catastrophe had been still fresh in the recollection of the writer, in the depths of its first impression, it could hardly, on psychological grounds, have escaped express mention in the book. No such express reference to it occurs; but if, notwithstanding, Jerusalem and its environs are to be regarded, and that rightly, as in ruins, and in the distant background of the apostle’s view, the ἦν in John 11:18, John 18:1, John 19:41, reads more naturally than if accounted for from the mere context of historical narration, while on the other hand the ἔστι in John 5:2 may retain its full appropriateness. If a year is to be definitely named, A.D. 80(57) may be suggested as neither too far back nor too far on.(58)
As to PLAN, the Gospel divides itself into the following sections:
After the prologue, John 1:1-18, which at once sets before the reader the lofty point of view of the most sacred history, the revelation of the glory of the only-begotten Son of the Father (which constitutes the theme of the Gospel, John 1:14) begins, first through John the Baptist, and its self-revelation onwards to the first miracle, and as yet without any opposition of unbelief, down to John 2:11. Then (2) this self-revelation passes on to publicity, and progresses in action and teaching amid the antithesis of belief and unbelief, onwards to another and greater miracle, John 2:12 to John 4:54. Further, (3) new miracles of the Lord’s in Judea and Galilee, with the discourses occasioned thereby, heighten that antithesis, so that there arises among the Jews a desire to persecute and even to kill Him, while among His disciples many fall away, 5–6:71. After this, (4) unbelief shows itself even among the brothers of Jesus; the self-revelation of the Only-begotten of the Father advances in words and deeds to the greatest miracle of all, that of the raising of the dead, by which, however, while many believe upon Him, the hostility of unbelief is urged on to the decisive determination to put Him to death, 7–11:57. There ensues, (5) in and upon the carrying out of this determination, the highest self-revelation of Christ’s divine glory, which finally gains its completed victory in the resurrection, 12–20. Chap. 21 is an appendix. Many other attempts have been made to exhibit the plan of the book; on which see Luthardt, I. p. 255 ff., who (comp. also his treatise, De composit. ev. Joh., Norimb. 1852; before this Köstlin, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1851, p. 194 ff., and afterwards Keim, Gesch. J. I. p. 115 f.) endeavours on his part to carry out a threefold division of the whole and of the several parts; and in Godet, Comment. I. p. 111. The arrangement which approaches most nearly to the above is that of Ewald, Jahrb. III. p. 168, comp. VIII. 109, and Johann. Schr. I. p. 18 ff. In every method of division, the opposition of the world’s ever-increasing unbelief and hatred to the revelation of the divine glory in Christ, and to faith in Him, must ever be held fast, as the thread which runs systematically through the whole. Comp. Godet,(59) as before.
LIST OF COMMENTARIES
THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN
[It has not been deemed necessary to include in the following list more than a selection from the works of those who have published commentaries upon St. John’s Gospel. For full details upon the literature of the controversy regarding the authenticity and genuineness, the reader is referred, in addition to Meyer’s own Introduction, vol. i., to the very copious account appended by Mr. Gregory to his translation of Luthardt’s work on the authorship of the Gospel, recently published by the Messrs. Clark.]
AGRICOLA (Francis): Commentarius in Evangelium Ioannis. Coloniae, 1599.
ALESIUS (Alexander): Commentarius in Evangelium Ioannis. Basileae, 1553.
AMYRALDUS (Moses): Paraphrase sur l’évangile selon Saint Jean. Salmuri, 1651.
AQUINAS (Thomas): Aurea Catena in Lucae et Ioannis Evangelia. Venetiae, 1775. English translation, Oxford, 1841–45.
ARETIUS (Benedictus): Commentarius in Evangelium Ioannis. Lausannae, 1578.
ASTIE (S. J.): Explication de l’évangile selon Saint Jean, avec une traduction nouvelle. Genève, 1864.
AUGUSTINE: Tractatus 124 in Ioannem. Ed. 1690, iii. p. 2. 290–826. English translation, 2 vols. (T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh). 1873–74.
BAEUMLEIN (W.): Commentar über das Evangelium Johannis. Stuttgart, 1863.
BAUMGARTEN (Crusius): Theologische Auslegung der Johanneischen Schriften. 2 vols. Jena, 1844–45.
BAUMGARTEN (S. J.): Auslegung des Evangelii Johannis, cum Jo. Salomonis Semleri praefatione. Halae, 1762.
BEZA (Theodore): Commentarius in Novum Testamentum. Geneva, 1556; ed. quinta, 1665.
BENGEL (J. A.): Gnomon Novi Testamenti. Latest ed., London, 1862. English translation, 5 vols. and 3 vols. (T. & T. Clark). 1874.
BISPING (A.): Exegetisches Handbuch zu den Evangelien, etc. Erklärung des Evangelium nach Johannes. Münster, 1869.
BROWN (Rev. David, D.D.): Commentary on St. John (in his Commentary upon the Four Gospels). Glasgow, 1863.
BUCER (Martin): Enarrationes in Ioannem. Argentorati, 1528.
BULLINGER (Henry): Commentariorum in Evangelium Ioannis libri Septein. Tiguri, 1543.
CALVIN (John): Commentarius in Evangelium secundum Ioannem. Genevae, 1553, 1555; ed. Tholuck, 1833. Translated into English by Rev. W. Pringle. 1847.
CHRYSOSTOM: Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, translated with Notes and Indices. Library of the Fathers. Oxford, 1848–52.
CHYTRAEUS (Dav.): Scholia in Evangelium Ioannis. Francofurti ad Moenum, 1588.
CRUCIGER (Caspar): Enarratio in Evangelium Ioannis. Witembergae, 1540. Argentorati, 1546.
CYRILLUS (Alexandrinus): Commentarii in Sancti Ioannis Evangelium. English translation by Dr. Pusey. Oxford, 1875.
DANAEUS (Lamb.): Commentarius in Ioannis Evangelium. Genevae, 1585.
DE WETTE (W. M. L.): Kurzgefasstes Exegetisches Handbuch zum Neuen Testament. Kurze Erklärung des Evangeliums und der Briefe Johannes. Funfte Ausgabe von B. Brückner. Leipzig, 1863.
DUNWELL (Rev. F. H.): Commentary on the authorized English version of the Gospel according to St. John. London, 1872.
EBRARD (J. H. A.): Das Evangelium Johannis und die neueste Hypothese über seine Entstehung. Zürich, 1845.
EUTHYMIUS ZIGABENUS: Commentarius in IV. Evangelia, graece et latine, ed. Matthaei. 4 vols. Berolini, 1845.
EWALD (H.): Die Johanneischen Schriften übersetzt und erklärt. 2 vols. Göttingen, 1862.
FERUS (J.): In sacro sanctum Iesu Christi Evangelium secundum Joannem piae et eruditae juxta Catholicam doctrinam enarrationes. Numerous editions. Moguntiae, 1536. Romae, 1517.
FORD (J.): The Gospel of John, illustrated from ancient and modern authors. London, 1852.
FROMMANN (K.): Der Johanneische Lehrbegriff in seinem Verhältnisse zur gesammten biblisch-christlichen Lehre dargestellt. Leipzig, 1839.
GODET (F.): Commentaire sur l’évangile de Saint Jean. 2 vols. Paris, 1863. [New ed. preparing.]
GROTIUS (H.): Annotationes in Novum Testamentum. 9 vols. Gröningen, 1826–34.
HEINSIUS (Dan.): Aristarchus Sacer, sive ad Nonni in Joannem Metaphrasin exercitationes: accedit Nonni et sancti Evangelistae contextus. Lugduni Batavorum, 1627.
HEMMINGIUS (Nicol.): Commentarius in Evangelium Joannis. Basileae, 1591.
HENGSTENBERG (E. W.): Commentar zum Evangelium Johannes. 2 vols. English translation (T. & T. Clark). 1865.
HEUBNER (H. L.): Praktische Erklärung des Neuen Testamentes. 2 vols. Evangelien des Lucas und Johannes. 2d ed. Potsdam, 1860.
HILGENFELD (A.): Das Evangelium und die Briefe Johannis nach ihrem Lehrbegriff. Halle, 1849.
HUNNIUS (Aegidius): Commentarius in Iesu Christi Evangelium secundum Joannem. Francofurti, 1585, 1591, 1595.
HUTCHINSON (G.): Exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to John. London, 1657.
JANSONUS (Jac.): Commentarius in Joannis Evangelium. Louanii, 1630.
KLEE (H.): Commentar über das Evangelium nach Johannes. Mainz, 1829.
KLOFUTAR (L.): Commentarius in Evangelium Joannis. Viennae, 1862.
KOSTLIN (C. R.): Lehrbegriffe des Evangelium und der Briefe Johannis. Berlin, 1843.
KUINOEL (Ch. G.): Commentarius in Novi Testamenti libros Historicos. 4 vols. Leipzig, 1825–43.
LAMPE (F. A.): Commentarius analytico-exegeticus, tam litteralis, quam realis Evangelii secundum Joannem. III Tomi. Amstelodami, 1724, 1726. Basileae, 1725, 1726, 1727.
LANGE (T. G.): Das Evangelium Johannis übersetzt und erklärt. Weimar, 1797.
LANGE (J. P.): Theolog: Homiletisch: Bibel Werk. Das Evangelium nach Johannis, 1860. English translation, greatly enlarged. ed. Philip Schaff, London and Edinburgh, 1872–75.
LAPIDE (Cornel. A): Commentaria in Scripturam Sacram. 10 vols. (last ed.) Lugduni, 1865.
LASSUS (Gbr.): Commentaire Philosophique sur l’évangile St. Jean. Paris, 1838.
LUCKE (G. Ch. F.): Commentar über die Schriften Johannis. 4 vols. Bonn, 1840–56.
LUTHARDT (Ch. E.): Das Johanneische Evangelium nach seinen Eigenthumlichkeiten geschildert und erklärt. 2 vols. Nürnberg, 1852–53. New ed. Part 1st, 1875. (English translation preparing.)
LUTHARDT (C. E.): St. John the author of the Fourth Gospel. Translated by C. R. Gregory. Edinburgh, 1875.
MAIER (Adal.): Commentar zum Evangelium Johannis. 2 vols. Carlsruhe and Freiburg, 1843.
MALDONATUS: Commentarii in IV Evangelia curavit Sauser. Latest ed. Mainz, 1840.
MATTHAEI (J.): Auslegung des Evangelium Johannis zur Reform der Auslegung desselben. Gothingen, 1837.
MELANCHTHON (Phil.): Enarrationes in Evangelium Joannis. Wittenbergae, 1523.
MORUS (S. F. N.): Recitationes in Evangelium Joannis. ed. G. J. Dindorf. Leipzig, 1796.
MUNTER (J.): Symbolae ad interpretandum Evangelium Johannis ex marmoribus et nummis maxime graecis. Kopenhagen, 1826.
MUSCULMS (Wolf G.): Commentarii in Evangelium Joannis in tres Heptadas digesti. Basileae, 1552, 1564, 1580, 1618.
MYLIUS (G.): Commentarius in Evangelium Johannis absolutissimus. Francofurti, 1624.
NONNUS: Metaphrasis Evangelii Johannis. red. Passow. Leipzig, 1834.
OECOLAMPADIUS (I.): Annotationes in Evangelium Johannis. Basileae, 1532.
OLSHAUSEN (H.): Biblischer Commentar über d. Neue Testament fortgesetzt von Ebrard und Wiesinger. Evangelium des Johannes. 1862. English translation (T. & T. Clark). 1855.
ORIGEN: Commentarii in Evangelium Joannis. ed. 1759, vol. iv. 1–460.
PARITIUS (F. H.): In Joannem Commentarius. Romae, 1863.
PAULUS (H. E. G.): Philologisch-Kritischer und Historischer Commentar über das Evangelium des Johannes. Leipzig, 1812.
PELARGUS (Christ.): Commentarius in Joannem per quaesita et responsa, ex antiquitate orthodoxa magnam partem erutus. Francofurti, 1595.
ROLLOCK (Rob.): Commentarius in Evangelium Joannis. Genevae, 1599, 1608.
ROSENMULLER (J. G.): Scholia in Novum Testamentum. 5 vols. Leipzig, 1815–31.
SARCERIUS (Erasm.): In Johannis Evangelium Scholia justa ad perpetuae textus cohaerentiae filum. Basileae, 1540.
SCHMID (Sebast.): Resolutio brevis cum paraphrasi verborum Evangelii Joannis Apostoli. Argentorati, 1685, 1699.
SCHOLTEN (J. H.): Het Evangelie naar Johannes. Leyden, 1865. Supplement 1866. French translation by Albert Reville in Revue de Théologie. Strasburg, 1864, 1866. German translation by H. Lang, Berlin, 1867.
SCHWEIZER (Alb.): Das Evangelium Johannis Kritisch untersucht. Leipzig, 1841.
SEMLER (J. Sal.): Paraphrasis Evangelii Joannis, cum notis et Cantabrigiensis Codicis Latino textu. Halae, 1771.
TARNOVIUS (Paul.): In sancti Johannis Evangelium Commentarius. Rostochii, 1629.
THEODORE (of Mopsuestia): In Novum Testamentum Commentaria. Ed. Fritzsche. Turici, 1847.
THOLUCK (A.): Commentar zum Evangelium Johannis. 7th ed. 1857. English translation (T. & T. Clark), 1860.
TITTMANN (K. Ch.): Metetemata Sacra, sive Commentarius critico-exegeticus-dogmaticus in Evangelium Johannis. Leipzig, 1816. (English translation in Biblical Cabinet, T. & T. Clark.)
TOLETUS (Franc.): Commentarii et Annotationes in Evangelium Joannis. Romae, 1588, 1590; Lugduni, 1589, 1614; Venetii, 1587.
the Sixth Week after Easter