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History of the Christian Church, Volume I: Apostolic Christianity. A.D. 1-100.
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§ 40. The Johannean Literature.



I. Sources.


1. The Gospel, Epistles, and Revelation of John. The notices of John in the Synoptical Gospels, in the Acts, and in Gal. 2:9. (See the passages in Young’s Analytical Concordance.)

2. Patristic traditions. Irenaeus: Adv. Haer. II. 22, 5 (John lived to the age of Trajan); III. 1, 1 (John at Ephesus); III. 3, 4 (John and Cerinthus); V. 30, 3 (John and the Apocalypse). Clemens Alex.: Quis dives salvus, c. 42 (John and the young robber). Polycrates of Ephesus in Eus. Hist. Eccl., III. 31; V. 24 (John, one of the μέγαλα στοιχεῖα, ανδ α ἱερεὺς τὸ πέταλον πεφορηκώς). Tertullian: De praescr. haer., c. 36 (the legend of John’s martyrdom in Rome by being steeped in oil, and his miraculous preservation). Eusebius: Hist. Eccl, III. chs. 18, 23, 31; IV. 14; V. 24 (the paschal controversy). Jerome: Ad Gal. 6:10 (the last words of John); De vir. ill., c. 9. Augustin: Tract. 124 in Evang. Joann. (Opera III. 1970, ed. Migne). Nicephorus Cal.: Hist. Eccl., II. 42.


II. Apocryphal Traditions.


Acta Johannis, ed. Const. Tischendorf, in his Acta Apost. Apocr., Lips., 1851, pp. 266–276. Comp. Prolegg. LXXIII. sqq., where the patristic testimonies on the apocryphal Acts of John are collected.

Acta Joannis, unter Benutzung von C. v. Tischendorf’s Nachlass bearbeitet von Theod. Zahn. Erlangen, 1880 (264 pages and clxxii. pages of Introd.).

The "Acta "contain the πράξεις τοῦ ... Ἰωάννου τοῦ θεολόγου Prochorus, who professes to be one of the Seventy Disciples, one of the Seven Deacons of Jerusalem (Acts 6:5), and a pupil of St. John; and fragments of the περίοδοι Ἰωάννου, "the Wanderings of John," by Leucius Charinus, a friend and pupil of John. The former work is a religious romance, written about 400 years after the death of John; the latter is assigned by Zahn to an author in Asia Minor before 160, and probably before 140; it uses the fourth as well as the Synoptical Gospels, and so far has some apologetic value. See p. cxlviii.

Max Bonnet, the French philologist, promises a new critical edition of the Acts of John. See E. Leroux’s "Revue critique," 1880, p. 449.

Apocalypsis Johannis, in Tischindorf’s Apocalypses Apocryphae Mosis, Esdrae, Pauli, Johannis, item Mariae Dormitio. Lips., 1866, pp. 70–94.

This pseudo-Johannean Apocalypse purports to have been written shortly after the ascension of Christ, by St. John, on Mount Tabor. It exists in MS. from the ninth century, and was first edited by A. Birch, 1804.

On the legends of St. John comp. Mrs. Jameson: Sacred and Legendary Art, I. 157–172, fifth edition.


III. Biographical and Critical.


Francis Trench: Life and Character of St. John the Evangelist. London, 1850.

Dean Stanley (d. 1881): Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age. Oxford and London, 1847, third ed., 1874, pp. 234–281.

Max Krenkel: Der Apostel Johannes. Leipzig, 1871.

James M. Macdonald: The Life and Writings of St. John. With Introduction by Dean Howson. New York, 1877 (new ed. 1880).

Weizsäcker: Das Apost. Zeitalter. 1886, pp. 493–559.

Comp. the biographical sketches in the works on the Apostolic Church, mentioned § 20 (p. 189); and the Introductions to the Commentaries of Lücke, Meyer, Lange, Luthardt, Godet, Westcott, Plummer.


IV. Doctrinal.


The Johannean type of doctrine is expounded by Neander (in his work on the Apost. Age, 4th ed., 1847; E. transl. by Robinson, N. York, 1865, pp. 508–531); Frommann (Der Johanneische Lehrbegriff, Leipz., 1839); C. Reinh. Köstlin (Der Lehrbegriff des Ev. und der Briefe Johannis, Berlin, 1843); Reuss (Die Johann. Theologie, in the Strasburg "Beiträge zu den Theol. Wissenschaften," 1847, in La Théologie johannique, Paris, 1879, and in his Theology of the Apost. Age, 2d ed. 1860, translated from the third French ed. by Annie Harwood, Lond. 1872–74, 2 vols.); Schmid (in his Bibl. Theol. des N. T, Stuttg. 1853); Baur (in Vorlesungen über N. T. Theol, Leipz. 1864); Hilgenfeld (1849 and 1863); B. Weiss (Der Johanneische Lehrbegriff, Berlin, 1862, and in his Bibl. Theol. des N. T., 4th ed. 1884). There are also special treatises on John’s Logos-doctrine and Christology by Weizsäcker (1862), Beyerschlag (1866), and others.


V. Commentaries on the Gospel of John.


The Literature on the Gospel of John and its genuineness, from 1792 to 1875 (from Evanson to Luthardt), is given with unusual fulness and accuracy by Dr. Caspar René Gregory (an American scholar), in an appendix to his translation of Luthardt’s St. John, the Author of the Fourth Gospel. Edinb. 1875, pp. 283–360. Comp. also the very careful lists of Dr. Ezra Abbot (down to 1869) in the article John, Gospel of, in the Am. ed. of Smith’s "Dict. of the Bible," I. 1437–1439.

Origen (d. 254) Chrysostom (407); Augustin (430); Cyril of Alexandria (444) Calvin (1564); Lampe (1724, 3 vols.); Bengel (Gnomen, 1752); Lücke (1820, 3d ed. 1843); Olshausen (1832, 4th ed. by Ebrard, 1861) Tholuck (1827, 7th ed. 1857); Hengstesnberg (1863, 2d, I. 1867 Eng. transl. 1865); Luthardt (1852, 2d ed. entirely rewritten 1875; Eng. transl. by Gregory, in 2 vols., and a special volume on the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 1875) De Wette-Brückner (5th ed. 1863); Meyer (5th and last ed. of Meyer, 1869; 6th ed. by Weiss, 1880); Ewald (1861); Alford (6th ed. 1868; Wordsworth (5th ed. 1866), Godet (1865, 2 vols., 2d ed. 1877, Eng. transl. in 3 vols.; 3d edition, Paris, 1881, trsl. by T. Dwight, 1886); Lange (as translated and enlarged by Schaff, N. Y. and Edinb. 1871); Watkins (in Ellicott’s "N.T. Com. for English Readers," 1878); Westcott (in "Speaker’s Commentary," 1879, and separately); Milligan and Moulton (in "Schaff’s Popul. Com.," 1880); Keil (1881); Plummer (1881); Thoma (Die Genesis des Joh. Evangeliums, 1882); Paul Schanz (Tübingen, 1885).


VI. Special Treatises on the Genuineness and Credibility of the

Fourth Gospel.


We have no room to give all the titles of books, or the pages in the introductions to Commentaries, and refer to the lists of Abbot and Gregory.


a. Writers against the Genuineness:

E. Evanson (The Dissonance of the Four generally received Evangelists, Gloucester, 1792). K. G. Bretschneider (Probabilia de Ev. et Ep. Joh. Ap. Indole et Origine, Leips. 1820, refuted by Schott, Eichhorn, Lücke, and others; retracted by the author himself in 1828). D. F. Strauss (in his Leben Jesu, 1835; withdrawn in the 3d ed. 1838, but renewed in the 4th, 1840 in his Leben Jesu für das deutsche Volk, 1864); Lützelberger (1840); Bruno Baum (1840).—F. Chr. BAUR (first in a very acute and ingenious analysis of the Gospel, in the "Theol. Jahrbücher," of Tübingen, 1844, and again in 1847, 1848, 1853, 1855, 1859). He represents the fourth Gospel as the ripe result of a literary development, or evolution, which proceeded, according to the Hegelian method, from thesis to antithesis and synthesis, or from Judaizing Petrinism to anti-Jewish Paulinism and (pseudo-) Johannean reconciliation. He was followed by the whole Tübingen School; Zeller (1845, 1847, 1853); Schwegler (1846); Hilgenfeld (1849, 1854, 1855, 1875); Volkmar (1870, 1876); Schenkel (1864 and 1873); Holtzmann (in Schenkel’s "Bibellexikon." 1871, and Einleitung, 1886). Keim (Gesch. Jesu v. Nazara, since 1867, vol. I., 146 sqq.; 167 sqq., and in the 3d ed. of his abridgement, 1875, p. 40); Hausrath (1874); Mangold (in the 4th ed. of Bleek’s Introd., 1886); Thoma (1882). In Holland, Scholten (Leyden, 1865, and again 1871). In England, J. J. Tayler (London, 1867); Samuel Davidson (in the new ed. of his Introduction to the N. T., 1868, II. 323 sqq. and 357 sqq.); the anonymous author of Supernatural Religion (vol. II. 251 sqq., of the 6th ed., London, 1875); and E. A. A. (Edwin A. Abbott, D. D., of London, in art. Gospels, "Encycl. Brit.," vol. X., 1879, pp. 818–843).

The dates assigned to the composition of the Fourth Gospel by these opponents vary from 110 to 170, but the best scholars among them are more and more forced to retreat from 170 (Baur’s date) to 130 (Keim), or to the very beginning of the second century (110). This is fatal to their theory; for at that time many of the personal friends and pupils of John must have been still living to prevent a literary fiction from being generally accepted in the church as a genuine work of the apostle.

Reuss (in his Théologie johannique, 1879, in the sixth part of his great work, "La Bible" and in the Sixth edition of hisGeschichte der heil. Schriften N. T., 1887, pp. 249 sqq.) leaves the question undecided, though inclining against the Johannean authorship. Sabatier, who had formerly defended the authenticity (in his Essai sur les sources de la vie de Jésus, 1866), follows the steps of Reuss, and comes to a negative conclusion (in his art. Jean in Lichtenberger’s "Encycl. des Sciences Relig.," Tom. VII., Paris, 1880, pp. 173 sqq.).

Weisse (1836), Schweizer (1841), Weizsäcker (1857, 1859, 1862, 1886), Hase (in his Geschichte Jesu, 1875, while in his earlier writings he had defended the genuineness), and Renan (1863, 1867, and 1879) admit genuine portions in the Fourth Gospel, but differ among themselves as to the extent. Some defend the genuineness of the discourses, but reject the miracles. Renan, on the contrary, favors the historical portions, but rejects the discourses of Christ, in a special discussion in the 13th ed. of his Vie de Jésus, pp. 477 sqq. He changed his view again in his L’église chrétienne, 1879, pp. 47 sqq. "Ce qui paraît le plus probable," he says, "c’est qu’un disciple de l’apôtre, dépositaire de plusieurs de ses souvenirs, se crut autorisé à parler en son nom et à écrire, vingt-cinq ou trente ans aprés sa mort, ce que l’on regrettait qu’il n’eût pas lui-même fixé de son vivant." He is disposed to ascribe the composition to the "Presbyter John" (whose very existence is doubtful) and to Aristion, two Ephesian disciples of John the Apostle. In characterizing the discourses in the Gospel of John he shows his utter incapacity of appreciating its spirit. Matthew Arnold (God and the Bible, p. 248) conjectures that the Ephesian presbyters composed the Gospel with the aid of materials furnished by John.

It should be remarked that Baur and his followers, and Renan, while they reject the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel, strongly defend the Johannean origin of the Apocalypse, as one of the certain documents of the apostolic age. But Keim, by denying the whole tradition of John’s sojourn at Ephesus, destroys the foundation of Baur’s theory.

b. The genuineness has been defended by the following writers:

Jos. Priestley (Unitarian, against Evanson, 1793). Schleiermacher and his school, especially Lücke (1820 and 1840), Bleek (1846 and 1862), and De Wette (after some hesitation, 1837, 5th ed., by Brückner, 1863). Credner (1836); Neander (Leben Jesu, 1837) Tholuck (in Glaubwürdigkeit der evang. Geschichte, against Strauss, 1837); Andrews Norton (Unitarian, in Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels, 1837–1844, 3 vols., 2d ed. 1846, abridged ed., Boston, 1875); Ebrard (1845, against Baur; again 1861, 1868, and 1880, in Herzog’s "Encykl." Thiersch (1845, against Baur); Schneider (1854); Hengstenberg (1863); Astié, (1863); Hofstede de Groot (Basilides, 1863; Germ. transl. 1868); Van Oosterzee (against Scholten, Germ. ed. 1867; Engl. transl. by Hurst); Tischendorf (Wann wurden unsere Evangelien verfasst? 1865, 4th ed. 1866; also translated into English, but very poorly); Riggenbach (1866, against Volkmar). Meyer (Com., 5th ed. 1869); Weiss (6th ed. of Meyer, 1880); Lange (in his Leben Jesu, and in his Com., 3d ed. 1868, translated and enlarged by Schaff, 1871); Sanday (Authorship and Historical Character of the Fourth Gospel, London, 1872); Beyschlag (in the "Studien und Kritiken" for 1874 and 1875); Luthardt (2d ed. 1875); Lightfoot (in the Contemporary Review, " 1875–1877, against Supernatural Religion); Geo. P. Fisher (Beginnings of Christianity, 1877, ch. X., and art. The Fourth Gospel, in "The Princeton Review" for July, 1881, pp. 51–84); Godet (Commentaire sur l’Évangile de Saint Jean, 2d ed. 1878; 3d ed."complètement revue," vol. I., Introduction historique et critique, Paris, 1881, 376 pages); Westcott (Introd. to the Gospels, 1862, 1875, and Com. 1879); McClellan (The Four Gospels, 1875); Milligan (in several articles in the "Contemp. Review" for 1867, 1868, 1871, and in his and Moulton’s Com., 1880); Ezra Abbot (The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, Boston, 1880; republished in hisCritical Essays, Boston, 1888; conclusive on the external evidences, especially the important testimony of Justin Martyr); George Salmon (Historical Introd. to the N. T., London, 1886; third ed. 1888, pp. 210 sqq.). See also A. H. Francke: Das Alte Test. bei Johannes, Göttingen, 1885.


VIII. Commentaries on the Epistles of John.


Oecumenius (1000); Theophylact (1071); Luther; Calvin; Bullinger; Lücke (3d ed. 1856); De Wette (1837, 5th ed. by Brückner, 1863); Neander (1851, Engl. transl. by Mrs. Conant, 1852); Düsterdieck 1852–1856, 2 vols.); Huther (in Meyer’s Com., 1855, 4th ed. 1880); F. D. Maurice, (1857); Ebrard (in Olshausen’s Com., 1859, transl. by W. B. Pope, Edinb. 1860); Ewald (1861); Braune (in Lange’s Com., 1865, Engl. ed. by Mombert, 1867); Candlish (1866); Erich Haupt (1869, Engl. transl. by W. B. Pope, Edinb., 1879); R. Rothe (posthumous ed. by K. Mühlhäuser, 1879); W. B. Pope (in Schaff’s Pop. Com., 1883); Westcott (1883).


IX. Commentaries on the Apocalypse of John.


Bullinger (1535, 6th ed. 1604); Grotius (1644); Jos. Mede (Clavis Apocalyptica, 1682); Bossuet (R. C., 1689); Vitringa (1719); Bengel (1740, 1746, and new ed. 1834); Herder (1779); Eichhorn (1791); E. P. Elliott (Horae Apocalypticae, or, a Com. on the Apoc., 5th ed., Lond., 1862, 4 vols.) Lücke (1852); Ewald (1828 and 1862); Züllig (1834 and 1840) Moses Stuart (1845, 2 vols.); De Wette (1848, 3d ed. 1862); Alford (3d ed. 1866); Hengstenberg (1849 and 1861); Ebrard (1853); Auberlen (Der Prophet Daniel und die Offenbarung Johannis, 1854; Engl. transl. by Ad. Saphir, 1856, 2d Germ. ed. 1857); Düsterdieck (1859, 3d ed. 1877); Bleek (1820 and 1862); Luthardt (1861); Volkmar (1862); Kienlen (1870); Lange (1871, Am. ed., with large additions by Craven, 1874); Cowles (1871); Gebhardt (Der Lehrbegriff der Apocalypse, 1873; Engl. transl., The Doctrine of the Apocalypse, by J. Jefferson, 1878); Kliefoth (1874); Lee (1882); Milligan (in Schaff’s Internat. Com., 1883, and in Lectures on the Revel., 1886); Spitta (1889). Völter (1882) and Vischer (1886) deny the unity of the book. Vischer makes it a Jewish Apocalypse worked over by a Christian, in spite of the warning, Apoc. 22:18, 19, which refutes this hypothesis.


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