Disciple Whom Jesus Loved - Identity - John The Apostle

John The Apostle

A major difficulty in supposing that the Beloved Disciple was not one of the Twelve Apostles is that the Beloved Disciple was apparently present at the Last Supper which Matthew and Mark state that Jesus ate with the Twelve. Thus the most frequent identification is with John the Apostle, thought by many to be the same as John the Evangelist. Merril F. Unger presents the prima facie case that the "Beloved Disciple" actually is John the author of the gospel, essentially by using a process of elimination. Unger writes:

...can be deduced in a general sense from the facts. He indicates the precise hours when particular events took place (John 1:39; 4:6,52; 19:14). He records quotations of the disciple Philip (John 6:7; 14:8), Thomas (John 11:16, 14:5), Judas (not iscariot) (John 14:22), and Andrew (John 6:8-9). He leaned on the breast of Jesus at supper on the night of the betrayal (John 13:23-25) and was among the three 'inner circle' apostles, Peter, James, and John. Peter is distinguished from this author by name in 1:41-42; 13:6,8 and James had become a martyr very early, long before the Gospel was written (Acts 12:2). He has a particular way of introducing himself (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20). These facts cumulatively make it difficult to come to any other conclusion, but that John was the author of the Gospel which bears his name."

The closing words of John's Gospel state explicitly concerning the Beloved Disciple that "It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true."

As for early Church opinions on the disciple's identification, a 2nd century quote of Polycrates of Ephesus (c. 130s - 196), recorded by Eusebius in his Church History, supports the classical identification of the Beloved Disciple, who reclined beside Jesus at the Last Supper, with John.

John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus.

Modern scholarly opinions on all these interrelated questions vary considerably. A popular scholarly opinion is that that John the Apostle did not write the Gospel of John or any of the other New Testament works traditionally ascribed to him, making this linkage of a 'John' to the beloved disciple difficult to sustain. Yet, other contemporary Christian scholars consider it plausible or even likely that the Apostle John authored the gospel attributed to him.

Some interpreters have suggested a homoerotic interpretation of Christ's relationship with the Beloved Disciple, but the majority of mainstream Biblical scholars find no hard scriptural evidence to this effect. That such an interpretation of a physical erotic relationship did exist as early as the 16th century (albeit in a heretical context) is documented, for example, in the trial for blasphemy of Christopher Marlowe accused of claiming that "St. John the Evangelist was bedfellow to Christ and leaned always in his bosom, that he used him as the sinners of Sodoma". In accusing Marlowe of the "sinful nature" of homosexual acts, James I of England inevitably invited comparisons between his own erotic relationship with the Duke of Buckingham. Finally, Calcagno, a citizen of Venice faced trial in 1550 for claiming that "St. John was Christ's catamite".

Read more about this topic:  Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, Identity

Other articles related to "john the apostle, john":

John The Apostle - Latter-day Saint View
... The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) teaches that John received the promise of immortality from Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 2121–23 ... along with the resurrected Peter and the resurrected James, John visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored the priesthood authority with Apostolic succession to ... John, along with the Three Nephites, will live to see the Second Coming of Christ as translated beings ...

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