Did John the Apostle write his gospel?

Did John the Apostle write his gospel? December 28, 2011

Short answer: Yes.

There’s gobs of evidence for it. For my own take on the matter, go here.

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  • hernan

    Regarding this , B16 seems content with “leaving the exegetes settle the matter

    I would have preferred a not so short (but still short) more nuanced answer, eg by adding that
    1) a biblical scholar can deny this identification without necessarily having some hidden agenda or disobeying the magisterium or whatever
    2) many (most) current exegetes (catholic or not) would disregard your “own take on the matter” as too polemical-conservative (I’m not saying that they are right or wrong, merely stating the fact)
    3) “either the tradition that identifies John son of Zebedee=beloved disciple=author of fourth gospel is simply true, OR the gospel is ‘unhistorical fantasy'” is a false (and dangerous, catholically speaking) disyuntive

    Suggested reading, to gain some perspective: “The Community of the Beloved Disciple” by Raymond Brown, short and not very technical.

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    On your point 2, is it news many exegetes prefer name calling to argumentation?

    Because “polemical -conservative” is a label, not an argument.

  • hernan,

    The problem is, most modern biblical scholarship is by default based on something other than a clear discovery of an ancient manuscript written by John in which John insists he didn’t write the Gospel. It’s true. Most are theories based on theories based on assumptions based on beliefs (or unbeliefs) based on more theories. When we hear ‘we think John may not have written the gospel’, it’s because a huge list of other assumptions already have been accepted.

  • Jim

    I really enjoyed this article, Mark. I am more convinced than ever of St. John’s authorship of the 4th Gospel. St. John the Apostle, pray for us.

  • bill bannon

    Read the cited Raymond Brown piece. He is not without toxicity but these last two Popes in diverse capacities allowed him to be on the Pontifical Biblical Commission without criticism…which was due….his seeing the Magnificat as never having been said by Mary ( Birth of the Messiah/ page?349)…whizzed right by the last two Popes. Why read him on John then? Because there he does make sense (I threw his Birth of the Messiah in the trash but keep the John book along with his Intro to the NT).
    All the bragging about John is only in John’s gospel and he has the cleansing of the temple in the beginning of the ministry….the opposite of Matthew. Brown’s take seems quite good. We know from the epistle that some left the Johannine community ….” they were to be made manifest that not one of them was of us”. Brown theorizes that John died and a redactor finished the gospel but due to the competing apostate community who disparaged John’s authority…the redactor: A. bragged about John being beloved/ beating Peter to
    the tomb/ acting as mediator between the maid and Peter at Caiphas’ house/ etc.
    ….but since the redactor knew events but not chronology, the cleansing if the temple and other incidents are out of chronological order.
    It’s a small book …”Community of the Beloved Disciple”…. but I didn’t throw it out. I threw out Raymond Brown’s big book as I threw out one by Hans Kung…both as to price could have been dinner for me and my wife at Charthouse looking out their big windows at the tinkling night lights of Manhattan across the Hudson…..think steak Diane….prior to buying theology tomes on impulse.

  • Confederate Papist

    I had always believed that St. John himself and/or one of his disciples had written the gospel.

  • Edgewise

    Interesting take… Yet, so far, question of so-called “literary seams” in John’s Gospel has not yet to be addressed.


    (Or has this been already addressed earlier?)