Friday, June 6, 2014

The Gospel of John: Context of Authorship

John, Book of Kells (800 CE)
The Gospel of John is very different from the Synoptic Gospels in composition and content. But it is also very different in theology, and it is my aim to demonstrate it's dependence and opposition to the Synoptic Gospels, especially Matthew and Mark, and the Catholic theology they espouse. Although I am treading on ground already covered by Joseph Turmel some ninety years ago, and more recently by Roger Parvus,  [1] there is still much to be learned by a comparison between John and the Synoptic  Gospels in Catholic form. To that end I will survey some of the most obvious passages without attempting to splice the layers, with the hope of demonstrating the allegorical meaning the original author intended.

In surveying the content of the Gospel of John today with knowledge of the second century controversies, I am struck by the consistent and blunt repudiation of the Jewish God as the father of Christ, and more generally its opposition against every Jewish Christian theological point we find presented in the rest of the New Testament. It is truly a wonder this book, even with redaction, ever made it into canon.

John is not Elijah to come:

The very first point of that opposition concerns the presentation of John the Baptist. Thomas L. Thompson, [2] correctly identifies the motif behind John the Baptist's appearance in Synoptic Gospels as fulfilling the prophetic role of the second coming of Elijah called for in Malachi.  The opening of the Gospel of Mark uses two passages from the prophets to announce John's mission, Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1. The reference here is an allusion Malachi 4:5,  [3] Elijah to return before the day of the Lord. This is the same passage of Malachi used in by the Catholic editor of Luke 1:17 assigning the role to the yet to be born John the Baptist, and Malachi 3:1 is repeated in Zechariah's prayer in Luke 1:68-79, and finally in Luke 7:27 when Jesus is speaking of John. This is most explicitly declared in Matthew, after repeating Malachi 3:1 in verse 11:10, when in verse 11:14 Jesus says,
"And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come."
But this position is outright rejected by the author of the Gospel of John, when in verse 1:21 the Jews, after asking John if he was Christ, then ask if he is Elijah, which he then answers in the negative
And they asked him, "Who then? Are you Elijah?" and he said,  "I am not."
"Are you the prophet?" and he answered, "No."
To make the point beyond dispute, the author begins the questioning by having John give testimony ( μαρτυρία το Ἰωάννου) not just say but in verse 1:20, "confess and not deny and confessed that" (καὶ ὡμολόγησεν καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσατο, καὶ ὡμολόγησεν ὅτι), he is not Christ nor Elijah nor a prophet. That this confession is encompasses all three is vouchsafed in verse 1:25 when the Pharisees ask him why he baptizes if he is not "Christ nor Elijah nor the prophet." Clearly the writer of this passage does not give John the status of a prophet, and certainly not as Elijah or Elisha resurrected. Further there is no mention of John's baptizing for the remission of sins as in the Synoptic versions. John's role in this passage maps back to the opening poem, verses 1:6-8, where John is a man sent to testify. [4]

The purpose of this denial of the Elijah role is because the Christ which John supports was unknown and unannounced when he arrived. John tells us his Christ was unknown and unrecognized in John the Baptists reply to the Pharisees in verse 1:26, stating
"Among you stands one you do not know (οὐκ οἴδατε) "
This response maps back to the opening poem, verse 1:10, where Christ is not known in the world.
"He was in the world ... and the world did not know him. (οὐκ ἔγνω)"
The world has no knowledge of Christ, that is "no gnosis" (οὐκ ἔγνω) , and in verse 1:18 we are told "God has never been seen" (θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε). [5] And we are told Christ is the one who explains him, that is the unknown Christ from verses 1:10 and 1:26. The rejection of John as Elijah is also a rejection of the God of Moses and the Prophets, and it is a feature that will become clearer as we progress through the Gospel.

Jesus is not the Davidic Christ:

In verse 3:13 Jesus discusses his own nature declaring
"And no one has ascended into heaven, except the one who descended out of heaven"
That he is speaking of himself as the Christ is clear when he say this one is "the son of man" (ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου). The theology is straight from the Marcionite Gospel where in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, "he descended into the Galilean city of Capernaum," which Tertullian informs us "means from the heaven" (utique de caelo). [6] In the prologue verse 1:14 can be seen as an answer to the Catholic argument that Christ came from the creator's heaven, when it declares
And the word became flesh and dwelt (ἐσκήνωσεν = "made his tent") among us
The method that the Christ/word took on flesh led to much speculation, [7] but that the Christ is heavenly being is clear from the prior verse, speaking metaphorically of believers and more literally of Christ.
Those not of blood, nor the will of flesh, nor the will of a husband
Again the metaphor to believers and more literally to Christ, "but were born of God" (ἀλλ' ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν). There is no mistaking, the generation (ἐγεννήθησαν) of Jesus is not from flesh and blood, not from any father, and so not from David.

It should also be noted that the language used concerning the children of God in 1:13 parallels Paul's declaration of mission to preach to the gentiles in Galatians 1:16 when he states,
I did not immediately consult (with) flesh and blood.
A mission that he received directly from revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:1, 11-12 Marcionite form). A revelation consistent with the prologue in verse John 1:18, where it is Christ from the bosom of God who explains him ( ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο). [8] This stands in direct conflict with the Catholic presentation of Christ, most explicitly stated in the Catholic declaration of Paul's authority with the creed from Romans 1:1-3 when it declares the source as
the gospel of God,
which He (i.e., God) promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh.
εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ,
ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις,
περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα
This Christ of flesh and blood cannot be the same one which the gospel of John speaks. In verse 6:38 Jesus declares "I have descended from heaven" (καταβέβηκα ἀπὸ τοῦ ορανοῦ). This references the opening of the Marcionite Gospel as reported by Tertullian (AM 4.7.1)
"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius," he (Marcion) proposes, "he came down to the Galilean city of Capernaum," of course meaning from the heaven of the Creator, to which he had previously descended from his own.
Anno quintodecimo principatus Tiberiani, proponit, eum descendisse in civitatem Galilaeae Capharnaum, utique de caelo creatoris, in quod de suo ante descenderat.
The Marcionites clearly read the opening of their gospel as meaning that Jesus when he came down into Capernaum (Καὶ κατῆλθεν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ) he was coming down from heaven, as in the second heaven above the clouds which belongs in their cosmology to the creator, which he had to pass through from his own heaven (i.e., 2 Corinthians 12:2 'the third heaven' τρίτου οὐρανοῦ) where he comes from, where the unknown God abodes as pure light. (Note, the first heaven is the sky where the birds fly, and that also belongs to the creator God.) So when Jesus says he descended from the heaven in John, the reader is immediately aware that John's Jesus is not from the creator, and that his father is far above him.

This reading of the distinction between John's Christ and the one expected by the Jews is reinforced later when the crowds discuss whether this Jesus is the Christ in verses 7:40-42 bringing the issue into focus
Some of the crowd having heard these words said,
'This one is truly the prophet.'
Others said, 'This one is the Christ.'
But some said, 'Surely the Christ cannot come from Galilee?
Do not the scripture say that the Christ comes from the seed of David (σπέρματος Δαυίδ)
and from the village of Bethlehem where David was from?'
Therefore a division (σχίσμα) occurred in the crowd (ὄχλῳ) because of him
The crowd in this passage are clearly referencing Christians of the day. Split between those who agree with the unannounced Christ, and others arguing with the creed from Romans 1:2-3 that Jesus was heralded before in the Jewish scriptures, such as Isaiah, Psalms, and Malachi,  and was from the seed of David and born in Bethlehem; corrective notes made in the later redaction of Luke 2:2 and also Matthew 2:1. The division (σχίσμα) in the crowd represents the splitting of the Church that occurred in the mid-second century, reputedly between Marcion and the Roman bishop during the reign of Antoninus.

This theme of division (σχίσμα) in the Christian church represented here, recurs with more details, and more insight into the situation in the church. Nicodemus, who said in verse 3:1 to be a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews (ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων), can easily be seen to allegorically represent a leading Christian elder or priest -perhaps a bishop- of the orthodox camp, which is given away when Jesus chides him for not knowing about spiritual birth refers to him as "the teacher of Israel" (ὁ διδάσκαλος το σραλ) in verse 3:10. This role as stand in for the orthodox leadership makes sense, given John's heretical view of Christ, when Jesus laments in 3:11-12 that they "do not receive our testimony" (τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἡμῶν οὐ λαμβάνετε). The plural "we" gives away that the author is speaking of the rejection of his camp's view of Christ, which was revealed in verse 3:13 about ascending and descending.

This Nicodemus returns again in the discussion by the Pharisees about the divided crowd above in verses 7:45-52 appear to represent the counter argument of the orthodox. Verses 7:48-49 in particular offer clues to the situation
Surely none of the rulers (ἀρχόντων) believed in him, nor of the Pharisees?
But this crowd (ὄχλος) who do not know (μὴ γινώσκων) the Law is cursed.
We see apparently none of the rulers (ἀρχόντων = bishops) or pharisees (Φαρισαίων = priests or elders) believe in this Jesus that John writes about. The crowd, now representing only the portion who accept John's Christ are said to be cursed by these leaders (of the church) because they don't know the Law, that is the Jewish Law. The implication here is they have the wrong view of Christ, they are accepting a view other than that expressed in the formula given in Romans 1:2-3. This is made clear in verse 7:52 when in response to Nicodemus appeal, first question which camp he belongs to by asking if he is also a Galilean, which seems to imply a follower of John's Christ. And then speaking of scripture say, "Search and see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee." This goes back to the concept of a predicted Christ. The Pharisees represent the orthodox priesthood expecting a fore announced Davidic Christ, the "crowd" representing John's view receives an unannounced "Galilean" Christ. And the Galilean also represents a Christ for the gentiles, as witnessed by the Pharisees saying in verse 7:35 about where Jesus might travel
Surely he intends to travel to the to the diaspora (διασπορὰν) of the Greeks and to teach the Greeks?
The travel to teach the Greeks can be understood as representing the Pauline mission. And the vocabulary of division in terms of Jew and Greek is exactly what is seen in the Marcionite Apostolikon, as found in Romans 1:16 (note, Marcion reads - τε πρῶτον) and 1 Corinthians 1:22, and which is behind the statement of two teachings in 1 Corinthians 15:11 (εἴτε οὗν ἐγὼ εἴτε ἐκεῖνοι). The author has left no doubt that his Christ in the Greek camp.

The God of Jesus:

When the resurrection is discussed in verse 5:29, it is delineated amazingly along Marcionite lines,
those who have done good (ἀγαθὰ) to the resurrection of life,
those who have done evil (φαῦλα) to the resurrection of judgment.
This is the same split parallel in Marcion between the good God of life and the other God of judgment. And this is not a mere accidental parallel, the explanation of the judgment is given prior in the famous commentary of verses 3:16-21 about the light and darkness, life and judgment. Verse 3:20 uses the identical word for those "doing evil" (φαῦλα πρσσων) that is found nowhere else, vouchsafing the connection of these passages. The role of judgment is not for believers as we see in verses 3:17-18
For God did not send his son into the world that he might judge the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
The one faithful is not be judged; the one unfaithful is already judged.
This God does not judge, his Christ saves. The implicated that the unfaithful, that is those not belonging to the church, are left behind for judgement because they preferred darkness to the light (verse 3:19). But the faithful face no judgment, as we find in verse 5:24 leading to the passage about resurrection above.

In verse 5:37 John makes clear that the father is not the Jewish God when he declares to the Jews, 
neither have you ever heard his voice, nor have you seen his form
This statement cannot apply to the Jewish God because he spoke to Moses and showed his form from the backside in Exodus 33:21-23. The Christ that John is presenting instead descends from heaven as he himself states in verse 6:38 from a strange previously unknown deity.

The Equality of Christ and God:

In chapter five after the healing on the sabbath, Jesus has a discussion with the Jews, which highlights the differences between John's Christ and the expected one of the Jewish Christians. In verse 5:24 the objection the Jews give for opposing Jesus is not just that he was breaking the sabbath,
"but also he was saying his own father was God, making himself equal to God."
This equality objected to was explicitly stated by Jesus in verse  5:21
For just as the father raises the dead and gives them life,
so also the son give life to whom he wills.
Jesus goes even further in verse 10:30, when after saying the father has given him is greater than all else (in the world) he says, "I and the father are one" (ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν).


This point of Christ being equal to God is not Modalist per se, but rather an aspect of the Marcionite position that Christ carries with him all the power and being of God. [9] This oneness of Christ and God, a principle taught by the Valentinian Ptolemy, [10] is also hinted at in Dialogue Adamatius 1.10 when the Marcionite champion Megethius states
The (God) of the Jews and the Demiurge are the same, but our (God) is not his son
Ὁ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ὁ αὐτός ἐστιν, ὁ δημιουργός, ὁ δὲ ἡμέτερος οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῦ υἱός.
Iudaeorum deus unus atque idem est, noster autem non est illius filius.
The equality of father and son is clear, to the point of Jesus being God in Megethius' statement. This explains why there was no need for the father to raise him from the dead. In fact John states that Jesus himself possesses this authority (ἐξουσίαν), in the sense of a King's power or jurisdiction, outright in verses 10:17-18 when speaking about the reason for his dying and rising.
"because I lay down my life (ψυχήν = literally 'my soul'), that I may take it again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have the authority (ἐξουσίαν) to lay it down,
and I have the authority (ἐξουσίαν) to take it again"
The other point which is clear is that the son of the Jewish God, who created the world and gave Moses the Law, is not the same Christ as the one John presents. [11] Another point of the Synoptic gospels stress is related to his death. In the Synoptic Gospels, represented here by Matthew 26:39 (see also Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42 [12]) Jesus prays, asking
"My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; 
nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
But in John 12:27 Jesus flat out denies he asked the father for his cup to be removed, [11b] that his life be spared, saying instead
"Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 
'Father, save me from this hour'? (Πάτερ, σῶσόν με ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταύτης)
Instead, for this I have come to this hour. "
Jesus' death is a deliberate act, the entire purpose of his coming - as we shall see -is to overthrow the ruler of the world by his death and resurrection. Jesus is showing here how impossible it would be for him to ask that the cup be removed and that his life be spared. 

This brings us to verse 5:43, which is often seen as a reference to a historical figure in the role of a false Christ, [13] where Jesus states
I have come in the name of my father, and you do not receive me.
If another comes in his own name, that one you will receive.
But the verse is drawn from the imagery of verse 1:11, clearly does not refer to any figure in a literal historical parallel. Rather it is a reference is to the very Jesus of the Orthodox camp whose father is father is known, the creator and God of the Law and the prophets.

Jews (and Jewish Christians) do not worship the father of Christ

The Marcionite version of Galatians 4:22-31 presents Abraham's two sons very differently than the Catholic version. In the Marcionite the son of the bond woman (παιδίσκης)  corresponds to the old testament, which Tertullian reports he says "one is from Mount Sinai, in the synagogue of the Jews according to the Law,  is born into slavery" (unum a monte Sina in synagogam Iudaeorum secundum legem generans in servitutem). Now whether "in the synagogue of the Jews according to the Law" is actually in Marcion's original text or is a marginal note incorporated in the copy before Tertullian is immaterial. The theological point is clear, the slave woman's son is born a slave and Marcion associates with Jews and by extension Jewish (Catholic) Christians by mention of the Law in addition to the synagogue. It is worth nothing that this follows Hadrianic Law and not Mosaic Law, where the child of a woman attains the legal status of the mother and not the father. [14]  The Law and Synagogue and by extension the Jewish God as seen as the source of slavery.

A discussion concerning these competing views of the descendants of Abraham occurs in chapter 8 after Jesus declares in verses 8:31-32 to those in the audience who believe in him, but heard heard by all the Jews, that
"If you continue in my word (λγ τῷ μ), you are truly my disciples.
You will know the truth and the truth will free (λευθερει) you."
The Jews retort in verse 8:33
"We are descendants of Abraham (Σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ)
and we have been enslaved by no one ever"
The audience is aware of course of Bellum Iudaicum and the more recent Bar Kokhba revolt, seeing the ironic comedy in this statement. Letting the Jews, who represent Catholic Christians here, declare the position that Sarah's child Isaak gives Jews freedom and the special standing as holders of the Old Testament (books of Moses and prophets = τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ) reflected in the Catholic text in Romans 3:2 that states,
'[for] firstly they are the entrusted with the words of God.' (τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ)
But this special position and understanding of the sons of Abraham allegory is not accepted by John's Jesus, who replies completely consistently with the Marcionite view (see also Romans 6:16, 8:2, etc) in verses 8:34-37 when he states,
"that everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
But the slave does not belong in the household forever but the son remains forever.
.. I know you are descendants of Abraham (σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ)
... my word (ὁ λόγος ὁ ἐμὸς) has no place in you." 
The slave not staying in the household refers to the turning out of the bond woman's son in the Abraham story in Exodus 21:10. The roles are reversed from the Exodus account in the allegory of the Marcionite Galatians 4:21-31 story and Jesus here in the fourth Gospel. Jesus is making a direct condemnation of claims of "Jewish" Orthodox Christianity, stating that his word is not to be found there.

But the critical distinction between Jewish Christians as represented by the Jews, and Johannine Christians as represented by Jesus, comes to the fore in verse 8:38 when Jesus says,
"I speak of the things I have seen with the father,
Whereas you do the things you have heard (ἠκούσατε) from your father."
There is no mistaking, we are talking about two different Gods, two different fathers. The God the Jews (i.e., Catholics) follow is the one who was not seen by but who spoke to Moses. The author is showing his awareness that the Catholic concept of hearing (ἀκούω) the word of God (τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ from Romans 3:2) and rejects this position, [15] claiming instead his authority by the God whom Jesus has seen and whom he reveals, which neither the Jews nor anyone else has seen before. It is a clear statement of the unknown God being the father of Jesus, and the God Moses spoke to as the father of the Jews, and they are not the same.

And in an extraordinary claim, when the Jews declare, "Abraham is our father" (Ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν), Jesus sharply replies in verses 8:39-41, claiming they are not truly Abraham's sons, and is in effect calling them bastard descendants of the bond woman when he says
"If you were children of Abraham you would have been doing the works of Abraham;
but now you are trying to kill (ἀποκτεῖναι) me ... Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the work of your father."
This charge can only be understood if Jesus is speaking allegorically about the story, in the matter stated in Galatians 4:24 (ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα). This is why he qualifies their sonship on their doing as Abraham has done, rather than birth status. And why he assigns them instead to the father they do follow, their God. The Jews, again representing also the position of orthodox Christians, do not accept their lineage being characterized as from the slave woman (Hagar), reading the story literally, and thus cannot be illegitimate heirs, the result of the adulterous out of wedlock mating, and so reply,
"We were not been born of fornication (πορνείας). We have one father, God"
The Jews, standing in for Orthodox Christians, are stating that they are legitimate heirs, and the their father -that is the father of the Christ they accept- is the God of Abraham, the Jewish God, the God of Creation. Jesus' reply in verse 8:42-47 is a stinging rebuke, rejecting their claim to have the same God and father of himself, Christ, a position which can only be understood from the heretical viewpoint,
"If God were your father, you would have loved me,
for I came forth and have come from God."
Jesus is saying that those who are reject him also reject his father. He then makes clear who the father of those Jews who reject him is.
"You are from your father the devil (διαβόλου),
and you want to do the desires of your father.
He was a slayer of men from the beginning
and does not stand in the truth, because the truth is not in him.
When he speaks, he lies (ψεῦδος). He speaks of his own things,
because he is a liar (ψεύστης) and the father of them (i.e., 'lies')."
The equation of the God of the Old Testament with the devil shocks us, but that is exactly the charge Marcionite and Gnostic Christians leveled for centuries right up to the Cathars. Irenaeus puts it bluntly in the preface to his fourth book against all heresies, "all the heretics ... blaspheme the creator." The first charge brought against the Jewish God is that "he was a slayer of men from the beginning" is the topic of the Marcionite antithesis from Dialogue Adamantius 1:11 when Megethius comments referencing the slaughter of the Amelek in Exodus 17:8ff [16]
The prophet of the God of Creation, when war came upon the people, went up to the top of the mountain and stretched out his hands to God so that he might destroy many in battle.
προφτης τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς γενσεως, πολμου συστντος πρς τν λαν, ναβὰς π τν κορυφν τοῦ ρους, ξτεινε τς χερας αὐτοῦ πρς τν θεν, να πολλος τ πολμ νλ·
Propheta dei illius, qui refertur in lege, cum bellum populo illi esset illatum, ascendit super uerticem montis et extendit manus suas ad deum ut quamplurimi hostium prosternerentur in bello.
The charge of the Jewish God being a liar, and the devil is almost certainly drawn from the charge that he is the creator of evil is found again in the Antithesis. Tertullian reports in AM 1.2.2 the Marcion 'found the Creator declaring "I am he who created evil"' (creatorem pronuntiantem, Ego sum qui condo mala). [17] Further in AM 2.10.1 Tertullian notes the equivalence some Marcionites held the Creator and the Devil (and all his angels) based on Isaiah 45:7
If, however, you choose to transfer the account  of evil from man to the devil as the instigator of sin, and in this way, too, throw the blame on the Creator, inasmuch as He created the devil
Sed et si ab homine in diabolum transcripseris mali elogium, ut in instinctorem delicti, uti sic quoque in creatorem dirigas culpam ut in auctorem diaboli
When Jesus says that he is a liar, and that he speaks of his own "things," he is referring to the Old Testament books as those things. Tertullian alludes to this objection by Marcion in AM 2.3.1 admitting inconsistencies. These "things" are made clear when the debate is resumed when, after the Jews accuse Jesus of blasphemy for making himself equal with God, he states in verse 10:34
"Has it not been written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods?'"
Οὐκ ἔστιν γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν ὅτι Ἐγὼ εἶπα Θεοί ἐστε;
Clearly the Law does not belong to the father of John's Jesus, and Jesus implies that the creator's Law itself suggests that the Jewish God is not alone among "gods." This statement is to be taken in sense of 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6 (attested in Marcion per AM 5.7.9 and 3.15.2) where Paul says
For also there are many called gods either in heaven or on earth
But to us (there is) one God the father
John in verse 10:34 is thus equating the idols addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians with the God of creation in his own Law, and in effect Jesus is saying that he is not my God, and not my father.

In contrast to this the Jews in questioning the blind man whom Jesus gave sight to, and whose testimony they do not believe make clear this division between the God of the Law whom they follow and Jesus in their reproach to him in verses 9:28-29
You are a disciple of his, but we are disciple of Moses.
We know that God has spoken to Moses,
but we do not know (οὐκ οἴδαμεν) where he is from.
The Pharisees, representing orthodox clergy (priests), state that they are disciples of Moses, which is to say of the Law (i.e., the books of Moses) and the God of the Law, which they know Moses heard. But they do not know where Jesus comes from, because he was not announced.

When Jesus says in verse 12:32,
"and I, when I am lifted up from earth, will draw all men to myself"
The audience is again the crowd, and they respond in verse 12:34,
"We have heard from the Law that the Christ is to remain forever,
And how can you say the son of man must be lifted up?"
The crowd is referring to passages in the prophets (i.e., Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 7:14, Ezekiel 37:25, and Psalms 110:4), [18] where the savior is to reign forever. This again shows that John's Christ is not the one Jewish Christians say is in the scriptures, and does not fit those predictions.

The dispute at its core, much like all of Terullian's Adversus Marcionem, is over who's God, the unknown God of the heretics, or the creator God of the Law and prophets, who is the father of Christ, the true one God. John's Christ claims him as his father in verse 5:44 (τοῦ μόνου θεοῦ), and Jesus recognizes in verse 8:54 that the Jews also say "that he is our God" (ὅτι θεὸς ὑμῶν ἐστίν). The entire conflict between the two camps comes down to this dispute over God and is the primary feature of the second century debate. It is surprising that John gives such a clear and honest presentation of the Orthodox Christian view of how they read the story of Abraham's sons as well as his own.

Divisions among the Jews:

The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 9:16-17/Mark 2:21-22/Luke 5:36-37) give the parables of new wine in old skins and a patch from a new garment on an old garment. In DA 2:16 the Marcionite champion Markus explains in context to John 13:34,
"The Savior clearly says, 'I give to you a new commandment.'
The new one is not the same as the old, The Savoir says again,
'New wine they put in new wineskins, and both are preserved.'
The new commandment is not the complement of the old one, for the Savior says again,
'Nobody puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment.'
Neither Christ nor the Apostle is the complement of the Law."
What DA shows is that the Marcionite interpretation of these synoptic sayings is in terms of the Old Testament (i.e., the Law of Moses) and the New Testament (the word of Christ). This is the earliest, and an accurate understanding of the writer's intent, which indicates a tension existed very early over whether Christ was to be seen as coming from the old or was completely new. The impact of trying to place the new cloth on the old garment is a worse tear (Matthew 9:16/Mark 2:21). [19] The word for tear (σχίσμα) also means schism or division, and clearly that is what was meant metaphorically that divisions or schisms are created in the Christian movement when Christ is placed on the Old Testament.

In the Gospel of John there are three overt mentions of divisions in the church over exactly this point. In the first instance occurs in verse 7:43, when the crowd after hearing "those words" (τῶν λγων τοτων) of Jesus, debates whether he is the Christ or a prophet or not, as one camp retorts that he cannot be the Christ because he is not the seed of David nor from Bethlehem, but a Galilean. And
Therefore division (σχίσμα) occurred among the crowd (ὄχλῳ) because of him.
Later there is another reference to division after Jesus heals the blind man from birth on a sabbath. This time rather than the common assembly, as represented by the crowd, but now the clergy, as represented by the Pharisees in verse 9:16
Therefore some of the Pharisees said,
'This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.
[But] others said, 'How is a sinful man able to do such signs?
And there was a division (σχίσμα) among them.
John's statement is clearly alluding to division between the orthodox who demand the Mosaic Law be upheld, as represented by keeping the Sabbath, and with it that the father is the law giver, and those like John who see Christ as being from another. The sentiment of dissenters from the Mosaic Law is summed up well in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, where Paul's word and proclamation is "in demonstration of spirit and power" (δυνάμεως). The Pharisees who support Jesus here can easily be seen as heretical teachers such as Marcion and Valentinus and their followers.

After Jesus declares that he has the authority over his own death and quickening, John tells informs us in verse 10:19-21 that 
Again there was a division (Σχίσμα) among the Jews because of these words.
And many of them were saying, 'He has a demon,'
 and 'He is mad.' Why do you listen to him?
Others said, 'these words (ῥήματα) are not those of one demon possessed;
a demon is not able to open a blind man's eyes.' 
Again we see, as in verse 7:43 it is those words (τοὺς λόγους τούτους) which divides. The words or logos is here a double entendre. On the surface level it refers to the sayings of Jesus, but allegorically in the context of the Jews representing Christians the logos refers to those teachings of Christian doctrine from the camp John represents. The eyes opening is referring to a the condition of the Israel in the Sinai about whom Moses says Deuteronomy 29:4 (see also Isaiah 29:10)
and to this day the Lord God has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear
καί οὐ δίδωμι κύριος ὁ θεός σύ καρδία οἶδα καί ὀφθαλμός βλέπω καί οὖς ἀκούω ἕως ὁ ἡμέρα οὗτος
And the opening of the eyes of the man blind from birth, a man who is symbolic of the spiritual state of Israel, which presented as one of the signs of Christ. This is reflective of the Luke 7:22 [20] when Jesus recounts to John the Baptist's disciples the work he has done concerning these ailments
"the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear"
τυφλοὶ ἀναβλέπουσιν, χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν, λεπροὶ καθαρίζονται καὶ κωφοὶ ἀκούουσιν
In summary, it is very clear that while the setting of the story is in the late second temple era of the first century, the division maps much more comfortably with the conflicts of the second century. The readers of the mid-second century would have little difficulty recognizing the parallel and understanding the allegory as referring to the present situation. This is no different than a modern movie where the characters, though portraying events and people from the distant past, behave in a modern manner the audience recognizes and addresses issues as if in the present day, presenting an allegorical story.

The Disciples of Jesus:

One of the more fascinating aspects of the fourth gospel is  the presentation of the disciples. It is also one of the most difficult to evaluate, as half the Catholic additions to this gospel concern the disciples. I am convinced that all verses containing Thomas are later interpolations meant to counter the docetic Christ suggested by this gospel. I am also suspicious of almost all references to Simon Peter, including his being named Cephas in verse 1:42, verse 6:8 about the feeding of the five thousand; all the instances look to me like harmonies to the Synoptic Gospels - no proof offered at this time.

The only disciples who are secure are Philip and  his brother Nathanael. Nicodemus is given as an example of disciple in secret.

One curious point occurs in verse 6:66 when we are told
After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
The disciples here are different than the other books of the NT for sure, as they leave John's Jesus over his teachings. Specifically it is his stating that he is the bread of life, bringing eternal life to those who eat, while those who ate the manna Moses' God gave the Jews in the desert died. The issue that caused them to leave was a rejection of the books of Moses.

As I have shown elsewhere a disciple is the equivalent of an Apostle, and an Apostle is a Bishop. The disciples falling away are allegorical to Bishops or teachers (of a sect or school leaders) who stand with the Davidic Jesus and the Creator as God.
Jesus The Stranger:

One feature that is peculiar to this gospel -in its original form- is that Jesus is always a stranger, never a local. At Jacob's well Jesus is described the Samaritan woman says to Jesus in verse 4:8 [21]
"How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?"
Jesus does not deny being a Judean -as she was making a point about nationality rather than religion- and instead replies as if a Jew by stating that neither holy site in Judea nor Samaria would be available for worshiping God. He accepts being a stranger.

Jesus is called a Galilean in verse 7:41 by the Pharisees in Jerusalem, Judea, when they note that the predicted Christ is to come from Bethlehem in Judea and not Galilee. They also question Nicodemus in verse 7:51-52 and ask the same question of him since he seems to be defending Jesus, as secret disciple; something hinted at in verse 19:39, if it is part of the original version of the gospel.

Jesus is called a Samaritan by the Jews/Pharisees in verse 8:48 when they ask him
"Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?
Jesus only answers, "I have not a demon," not denying being from Samaria. Again he accepts the role of  stranger, just as he did in Samaria, or being a Galilean to those looking for a Christ who is the seed of David. The key is that to any group looking at Jesus he is always in the role of an outsider, an outcast, or an alien. The theme binding all these together is that to every audience Jesus is a stranger regardless of who he is addressing. It is a metaphor for by extension God his father, an alien God like the Marcionite.

Excommunication of Heretics:

The Gospel of John, if I may continue the allegory, touches on the excommunication of heretics, putting them out of the church. I argued in my analysis of Chapter 5 of Matthew, that Matthew 5:22 appears to be referencing the authorization for excommunication, when it states
But whoever says to his brother, "Raka", will be liable to the council (συνεδρίῳ).
The Sanhedrin (συνεδρίῳ) or council, is a formal hearing, and Matthew clearly means a convening of Christian bishops and elders. It's not a trivial matter and requires assembly. This only makes sense to convene for a significant charge. As I argue that a "brother" here has much the same sense as today in the Catholic church, that is representing a church official such as a bishop, priest, elder, or monk, and that the mysterious term "Raka" (Ῥακά) must be similar to the Islamic insult of hypocrite. This suggests the offense is along the lines of challenging the official's authority and probably along theological grounds. Essentially it's a charge of speaking heresy and claiming authority. Little else makes sense for such a formal hearing, which requires fetching bishops and elders in the region and even beyond. The purpose is clearly for excommunication, putting the offender out of the building (synagogue) and separating them from the assembly (ecclesia).

The gospel of John sees the excommunication process from the viewpoint of the heretical movement. In verse 9:22 we encounter the first reference to this action, when the parents of the man blind from birth refuse to openly admit that Jesus did gave him sight,
for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed him to be the Christ,
they would be put out of the synagogue (ἀποσυνάγωγος)
And in fact, in verse 9:34, after their son, after being questioned and found to be a disciple of John's Christ (see verse 9:28, 9:33), "they threw him out" (καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω). The threat was very real.

After Jesus talks of the light in the world, John again presents the specter of being thrown out of the Synagogue for believing in Jesus in verses 12:36-37, 42 [22]
Jesus spoke these things, and having departed was hidden from them.
Though having doing many signs before them, they did not believe in him. ...
But nevertheless even many of the rulers believed in him,
but because of the Pharisees they would not confess [him]
lest they would be put of the synagogue. (ἀποσυνάγωγοι = excommunicated) 
The Pharisees (i.e., orthodox priests) appear to have the authority to expel from the synagogue (i.e., the actual church building) those confessing heretical views of Christ such as John presents. Jesus, it should be noted, is presented as having already gone away, suggesting a gap in time. I suggest this gap in time in actually from the time of the first instructions in the Gospel by the evangelists that John knew. The situation has changed and those holding the orthodox views now control the church. That many of the rulers believed suggests that we should understand their identity allegorically here. The word for ruler   (ἄρχων) can also be taken as an official, which is what is meant here. This is verified from verse 7:47-48 the Pharisees after being told Jesus 'spoke like no other man' by their own underlings reply,
"Are you led astray, you also?
Have any of the authorities (ἀρχόντων) or of the Pharisees believed in him?"
John is saying then that even many church officials, represented in this story by the ruler Nicodemus, who do believe the heretical Christ but are now silent due to the strong arm tactics and power of the orthodox clergy. This seems to be a new power, and suggests the era after Marcion left, no doubt taking several clergy with him, and shifting the power balance of the remaining clergy strongly in the orthodox favor. The excommunication (ἀποσυνάγωγοι) of some of those that remained likely forced the rest to go underground; hence the failure to confess the heretical Christ. (Note, this forcing underground of heretics is likely why they formed secret societies within the church, a feature strongly associated with the Gnostic movement, but not the Marcionite.)


John actually summarizes to us  the purpose for his writing this gospel in verses 16:1-4
These things (Ταῦτα) I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.
They will put you out of the synagogue (ἀποσυναγώγους)
but the hour is coming that everyone who kills (ἀποκτείνας) you
supposes he is offering service to God.
These things they will do because they have not known the Father nor Me.
But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes,
you may remember that I told you of them.
These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
Though using the voice of Jesus, the author is speaking directly to his target audience. The problem is not external, but internal. A crisis is afflicting every member of his camp within the church. John is seeing members of his camp fall away from the faith he knows, either leaving altogether or succumbing to the increasingly powerful orthodox authority which is gaining a stranglehold on the church, which is excommunicating (ἀποσυναγώγους ) opponents. It has gotten to the point where nearly all the clergy accept the orthodox Jesus and believe they are doing God's will in removing the heretics. Hence the plea to remember the (original) teachings given them. Teachings that are disappearing from the church.

The writer hints that the one who taught his church is gone from the scene now. And he says that the encourager (παράκλητος = Paraclete) will come and teach the way in verse 16:7-10.  It is probably a stretch to say at this point, but it does suggest Paul, or rather the Pauline letters, which will teach the correct Jesus. John's community is persecuted, as many have suggested, but not by Jews in the first century, rather by Christians in the second.
 
Dating the Gospel

In the story at Jacob's well, Jesus tells to the Samaritan woman in verse 4:21
"that the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the father.
He is speaking about Mount Gerizim where the Samaritans worshiped, and the Temple in Jerusalem. If the author meant by this statement that neither site would be available for Jewish and Samaritan worshipers, then the date would have to be not just after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by Titus' army, but also after Hadrian built a temples to Zeus and to himself [23] as part of the imperial cult both at Gerizim and Aelia Capitolina. The coin to the left from the reign of Macrinus, dated 217-218 CE, shows this temple at Gerizim near Neapolis, a polis established around 72 CE after the Jewish War. It undoubtedly was started during Hadrian's tour of the east swung through Syria and Palestine in 129-130 CE.

The temple on Mount Gerizim is generally thought to have been completed by about 140 CE, which
Temple of Jupiter on Mount Gerizim
would be a reasonable terminus for an earliest possible date to this Gospel. But that terminus is probably too optimistic, since John looks back on a period of excommunication of heretics, probably Marcionites from the main church which began according to the surprisingly consistent Patristic writers around 144 CE. Since John mentions some remained in the church, but went under ground "in secret," at least a half dozen years or more must be allowed for, pushing the early date out to 150-155 CE. But even this date is probably too optimistic. The reference to the Davidic formula found in Romans 1:2-3 and more specifically to Matthew 1:1, as well as specific reference to Bethlehem in Matthew 2:4-6 (Micah 5:2) shows awareness of the Protoevangelium if not the gospel of Matthew itself. Matthew could scarcely have been written before 150 CE itself, given its dependence upon a prototype Synoptic shared with Mark, and that prototype gospel's passages that look back on the Bar Kokhba revolt. It is difficult then to see John having been written much before 160 CE. Justin who was writing at about 160-170 CE is aware of Matthew but not John. So the earliest date that can be assigned is probably is 155-160 CE.
 
On the flip side, the gospel must have been written before Irenaeus wrote his Adversus Haeresies around 185 CE. Working backwards a decade to allow Irenaeus to be steeped in the fourth gospel, and an upper date of 170-175 CE is reasonable, erring on the side of caution. Allowing cushion on either side, I think a date of 165 CE (+/- 10 years) is not improbable for the composition of John, although an additional Catholic layer was likely added after that.

Summary and Authorship:

The first edition of the gospel of John was written as a counter to the theology of the Jewish Christian theology presented in the synoptic gospels we see in Mark and Matthew. There is no question that a defense of the Marcionite and Gnostic cosmology is presented in the fourth gospel. Further the gospel was written after the Marcionite rupture in the church, and the splitting into proto-orthodox and heterodox camps

Several questions are raised by these observations concerning the composition of John. Which gospel specifically was John countering? Was it Matthew, or Mark, or their common ür-gospel M? And this questions spurs another, was the ür-gospel M composed to correct in Catholic terms the ür-gospel L early in the reign of Antonius? And that of course requires some effort to reconstruct both L and M. More questions are raised concerning the situation inside the church in the mid-second century. Did Marcion really found a separate church, or was it formed out of necessity by the expulsions hinted at in the Gospels of Matthew giving the orthodox perspective, and John the heretical perspective.

Finally we come to the question of authorship. Turmel suggested a Marcionite origin, Parvus argues Apellean, but I think the answer lies outside the Marcionite sect, yet still in the docetic camp. Another group that might have composed John were the Valentinians, as the end of the fourth and much of the fifth part of Dialogue Adamantius is devoted to the sect of Bardesanes (Bar Daisan), covering exactly the same texts I have covered in this survey.
Irenaeus points out in AH 3.11.2 that John 1:10-11 contradicts the Marcionite position, that neither the world was not made by God nor Christ, and the things in the world did not belong to him. Another significant variance from the Marcionite view is found in verse 5:39, where Jesus says of the Jews -meaning Jewish/Orthodox Christians-,
"You search the scriptures (γραφάς) , because you think in them you have eternal life,
but those are the ones (i.e., passages) testifying about me."
This suggests the author subscribes to the position that the Old Testament has some passages which are written by the good God (or his angels or his Christ), and some are written by the Creator God. This is quite different from the Marcionite position, which is seen in Galatians 4:24 where Paul says concerning Abraham's two sons
These things are allegorical (ἀλληγορούμενα); for these are the two covenants,
And again in 1 Corinthians 10:6 concerning the story of Moses and the rock in the desert
These things happened as examples for us
And again in 1 Corinthians 10:11 in reference to the Golden calf incident in the Sinai 
And these things happened to them as examples, and it was written for our admonition,
The Marcionite view is generally accepted to consider the Jewish books as reliable history from which allegorical lessons (ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα) can be drawn, but they do not possess any predictive value of the true God and Christ. And yet Leviticus 19:18 is held sacred (Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, Luke 10:27) as summing up the Decalogue which is held as good. There is a naive inconsistency here. The idea that some passages are speaking for the heretical Christ separate John from Marcion.

This position of the author of John appears to be a later development, as indeed I believe the Gnostic positions were, and I believe this developed out of polemic debate with the orthodox camp, much as the explanation for how Jesus acquired flesh when passing from the highest heavens down to earth borrowing material until he appeared as a man. They were specific answers to challenges, where debate can be seen as Darwinian battle of explanations; the ones that work stick, the ones that fail are discarded. This same principle was at work in reverse as well for the proto-Orthodox arguments.

Verse 5:45-47 reveal another significant theological development from the earlier Marcionite exegesis. Moses is said to accuse the Jews for receiving the wrong Christ (5:43) as Jesus tells them
"Do not think that I will accuse you to the father;
there is one accusing you, Moses in whom you have hoped.
For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me,
for that one wrote concerning me.
But if that one's writings you do not believe, how will you believe my words (ῥήμασιν)?"
This passage appears to take 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 and Galatians 4:21-31(in Marcionite form) literally, rather than allegorically as Marcion did and in fact his text states. This same literalism of Marcionite text can be seen in verse 8:56 as a development of the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31, when Jesus says of Abraham
"Abraham your father rejoiced that he would see my day, and he saw and rejoiced."
This suggests that the author of John highly valued the Marcionite gospel, and held an opinion about it's authorship similar to Dialogue Adamantius 1.8 when the Catholic champion Adamatius asks him "Who is the writer of this Gospel you say is one?", when the Marcionite Megethius replies, "Christ." This would explain the Abraham comment above, despite the inconsistency with an unannounced Christ.

Another clue about the authorship is suggested in judgment. As we saw with the resurrection of life and judgment in verse 5:29 that judgment is only on those who do not believe. Jesus follows in verse 5:30 explaining that
"As I hear I judge, and my judgment is just"
We see the parameters of judgment are made very clear in the Jesus' comments to the Jews in verses 8:24 that judgment will be faced by non-believers and in 8:26 that indeed Jesus himself judges.
"for if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins"
and
"I have much to say about you and to judge"
And in verse 8:15 Jesus compares himself to the Jews saying he does not judge men.
"You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one"
So who or what is it that Jesus is judging? The answer is found in verse 16:11 when we are told
"concerning judgment, that  this ruler of this world (ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου) is judged"

And his judgment is declared in verse 12:31
"Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out;"
νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω·
This maps to 1 Corinthians 2:6, where Paul says of the rulers (plural to include his minions or angels)
the rulers of this age, those who are being annulled
τῶν ἀρχόντων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου τῶν καταργουμένων 
The is a cosmic ruling, not and earthly, and we have shifted in Paul from the world to the ages. But who exactly is this ruler? One hint comes  in verse 14:30 when Jesus in preparing for the Paraclete to come informs us
"for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me"
ἔρχεται γὰρ ὁ τοῦ κόσμου ἄρχων· καὶ ἐν ἐμοὶ οὐκ ἔχει οὐδέν,
It is informative that Jesus says he has no power over him. This statement refers back to the authority Jesus reserves for himself over his own death and resurrection from verses 10:17-18, and can be understood in verse 19:30 when he simply says "It is accomplished" (Τετέλεσται) and then by his own will "gave up his spirit." There was no power who took his life, he gave it (παρδωκεν). And Jesus gives up his life to the rulers of the ages as Paul puts in in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8
God’s wisdom in mystery, that was hidden, which God preordained before the ages;
which none of the rulers of this age had known,
for if they had knew, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
θεοῦ σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ, τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην, ἣν προώρισεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων,
ἣν οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀρχόντων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἔγνωκεν

εἰ γὰρ ἔγνωσαν, οὐκ ἂν τὸν κύριον τῆς δόξης ἐσταύρωσαν.

The final mapping is completed in Laodiceans / Ephesians 3:9 in Marcionite form
the mystery having been hidden  from the God of the age, the one having created all things,
τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι,
Returning again to the counselor, if I my presume the Pauline Epistles in Marcionite form represent such for John, we this same ruler referred to in 2 Corinthians 4:4-5
the God of this age, the one who blinds the minds of non-believers,
so to not shine forth the light of the Gospel of Christ['s glory],
who is the image of God.
ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἐτύφλωσεν τὰ νοήματα τῶν ἀπίστων
εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι τὸν φωτισμὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου [τῆς δόξης] τοῦ Χριστοῦ,
ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ
The God of this age is the ruler of the world, the God of the world. He is the one who hides the Gospel of Christ from unbelievers; the one whom the mystery of God was hidden; the one who crucified Jesus. And he is the God of the Law, the creator of the world, the Jewish God.

Unlike the Marcionite Jesus, John's Jesus does says he judges. While the position is suggested in passages in Paul about standing before the judgment seat of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and possibly the version of Romans 14:10 John knows, [24] the concept of Christ himself judging is a feature of certain Gnostics such as the Valentinians and followers of Bardesanes [25] as well as the Jewish Christian Orthodoxy. I can draw no definitive conclusion, beyond that the  theology is unquestionably heretical, and it fits a sect like Bardesanes represented, although earlier in time. What we can say about the Gospel is it's dependence upon the Marcionite Gospel (e.g., both the Water to Wine and Lazarus stories are expansions from the Marcionite Gospel), Paul, and at least one of the Catholic forms of the Synoptic Gospels.

The writer wrote in the first person, using Jesus to state his case, including the reason for the Gospel in verses 16:1-4; to keep those of his camp in the fold and encourage them.

Catholic Additions:

I have not covered the Catholic additions in this paper. I will do that at another time. What I want to show was the allegories and references to current happenings the author expected his audience would understand, at least for the first decade after it was published.

Dedication:

The Gospel of John was always my father's favorite. He loved to get up on the pulpit and preach John's God of Love. The late Reverend Richard Waugh was an eloquent speaker, solid speech writer, and truly an amazing fund raiser. He left his sons, myself included, an interesting mix of contradictions to sort. But I am grateful that his theology was neither simple nor literal. Of course he held a post graduate degree, so it should not be surprising. I never knew exactly what he thought, as he never discussed the matter beyond asking what we thought. But I know that like me, his views did not depend at all on the existence or non-existence of Jesus as a person.  He viewed the entire bible as first and foremost allegory, and only secondarily as historical. To that particular Presbyterian administrator, there was thus no contradiction between Christianity (or any religions) and science or archeology or literary analysis. Religion was for him a state of mind, the belief that heaven is Life with God, not some mystical romantic land in the afterlife. Frankly I find it's a much healthier view to have, and more optimistic. It is in his honor that I am writing this series of posts on my observations concerning the Gospel of John.

Regards,

-sgw




Notes:
[1] Joseph Turmel (pseudonym Henri Delafosse), Le quatrième évangile (1925), presented the Gospel of John as a Marcionite product. The English translation by Daniel Mahar of this work can be found on the tabs labelled "Turmel Part 1" and "Turmel Part 2" in this blog. Roger Parvus, Ingantius, presents a case for the Gospel of John as an Apellean product. The similarities between those heresies and also the Valentinian type Gnostics are such that it's not certain which heretical group was responsible for the writing of this Gospel. The issue is not settled among critics.
[2] Thomas L. Thompson, The Messiah Myth, chapter 2 Figure of the Prophet, pages 27-65, presents a strong case for the character of John the Baptist filling a well established and defined role for the announcing of the Kingdom of God to come, and is a purely allegorical character. Against Robert Price, who has long pursued Jesus as John the Baptist reincarnated
[3] Marcion also built his Gospel on the OT allegory, and states this outright in the Apostolikon when talking about Abraham's two sons in Glatians 4:24 "These things are allegorical" (ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα), and when talking about the Manna in the wilderness in 1 Corinthians 10:6 "These things happened as examples for us" (ταῦτα δὲ τύποι ἡμῶν ἐγενήθησαν). Marcion certainly saw John, as the "greatest born of woman," seemingly alluding to the Elijah role we find in the synoptic Gospels, especially concerning the Law stated in Malachi 4:4. The author of John clearly does not agree with this Marcionite tenet.
[4] Verses 1:6-8, appears to be secondary to the poem, added for punctuation to the John the Baptist story that followed. Verse 1:15 is definitely secondary secondary, interrupting the discussion on grace in verses 1:14 and 1:16, and because it recounts verse 1:27 as already read. Both
[5] The God of the Old Testament says something different to Moses in Exodus 33:20, "no man can see my face and live."(LXX οὐ γάρ μή ὁράω ἄνθρωπος ὁ πρόσωπον ἐγώ καί ζάω)
[6] Adversus Marcionem 4.7.1, Anno quintodecimo principatus Tiberiani proponit eum descendisse in civitatem Galilaeae Capharnaum, utique de caelo creatoris.  Tertullian adds the last word 'creatoris' to claim the heaven is that of the creator, which the Marcionites would say he merely passed through from the higher realm of the third heaven. I left "of the creator" off my description because it is Terullian's word and not from the heretics.
[7] For example, in Dialogue Adamantius 5.2, Marinus, a follower of the Gnostic Bardesanes asserts that Christ has a heavenly body (1 Corinthians 15:47-48), which Marinus ties directly to John 3:13 (DA 5.7)
[8] The relationship to Paul will become clearer with discussion of the Paraclete/counselor below.
[9] This point of Jesus not being subordinate to the father is major difference between the Marcionite and Catholic presentations of Christ. This is seen more prominent in the resurrection, where the Marcionite Christ raises himself from the dead, as in Galatians 1:1 (Tertullian AM 5.1.3, Origen, Commentary on Galatians PL 26, read - καὶ θεοῦ πατρὸς) Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ νεkρῶν, and elsewhere throughout Marcion's Paul. The Catholic additions I have shown place a strong emphasis on Jesus subordination to the father (see my posts on any of the Marcionite reconstructions). There is real purpose in the Marcionite gospel being referred to as the Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:7, Mark 1:1, 2 Corinthians 4:5) and the Orthodox Gospel of God (Romans 1:1-4). The latter name is meant to show that Christ is a subordinate son, one who requires the intervention of the father to be resurrected and who was chosen (adopted) for his righteousness (see Romans 1:1-4). In this I do agree with Bart Erhman that Adoptionist views were the earliest, at least in the orthodox camp.
[10] Irenaeus, Adversus Haeresies 1.8.5 notes this equality and sameness of Christ and God was taught by Ptolemy, (Note, he seems to be quoting some work of Ptolemy)
'Very properly, then, did he say,
"In the beginning was the Word," for He was in the Son;
"and the Word was with God," for He was the beginning;
"and the Word was God," of course, for that which is begotten of God is God.'
Kαλῶς οὖν εἶπεν·
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος· ἦν γὰρ ἐν τῷ Υἱῷ·
καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν· καὶ γὰρ ἀρχή·
καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος, ἀκολούθως· τὸ γὰρ ἐκ Θεοῦ γεννηθὲν, Θεός ἐστιν·
Bene igitue dixit,
In principio erat Verbum: erat enim in Filio.
Et Verbum erat apud Deum: etenim principium.
Et Deus erat Verbum, consequenter: quod enim ex Deo natum est, Deus est.
This is a very early Valentinian position, and hints at the author's intent, so consistent it is with the themes throughout the fourth Gospel.
[11] Note, when comparing to the orthodox version of Christ, it is important to remember that we are dealing with the second century orthodoxy and not the synthesis which became the doctrine which is confessed to day (i.e., Trinitarian). And it is easy to detect in the received Catholic texts both Arian and Adoptionist stances long before either view was held as heresy. These are not going to be explored here, but simply noted, so that the reader can be aware of the positions the Johannine author objects when he makes his Christ preexisting from the beginning (verse 1:1), and gives Christ equality with the father.
p69 (P. Oxy. 2383) Recto
[12] The 3rd century fragment, known as P69, is missing the entire prayer on the Mount of Olives, reading instead for verse 22:41-46
And he withdrew from them, about a stone's throw, and bent his knees and prayed. He came to his disciples and found the sleeping from grief. And he said to them,  'Why are you sleeping? Get up (and) pray, lest you enter into temptation"

Claire Clivas has suggested that the reading is Marcionite. Peter head however argues instead that it is merely a local error, HT that occurs on the two forms of prayer, προσηύχετο and προσευχῆς. While this is plausible mechanical explanation, it should be noted that verses 22:43-44 are in double bracket from the UBS, noted as an anti-Docetic NWI (missing from p75 אcorr A B N T W f13 579 Syr, Cop, some OL) by Bart Ehrman. Even conservative commentator Wieland Willker admits that the inclusion or exclusion is purely theological, included to show Christ was flesh and blood or not included because he was not.

But this same principle needs to be applied to verse 22:41, and the entire prayer. The asking for the removal of the cup serves two polemic purposes. The first is to show the subservience of Jesus to the father, and the second to show that Jesus was human and loved life and did not want to die. This latter point is significant because it demonstrates that Jesus had no control over his resurrection, and so required faith. This is not acceptable to Marcion, as in his Galatians 1:1 Paul declares that Christ arose himself from the dead. In addition the cup imagery concerns Paschal blood sacrifice, an image not found in Marcion, not attested neither here nor in the digression of 1 Corinthians 11:22-32, which I have argued elsewhere is a late 2nd century  Catholic interpolation.

Peter Head goes wrong because he does not seriously consider the possibility of Marcionite priority, and he does not acknowledge the two way street of theological adjustments which Willker recognizes. While a mechanical error is possible, it should also be recognized that digressions, even when compositional by the original author, often return to the narrative with the same word. (Need to provide an example)
[13] The false prophet or antichrist, is a cosmic concept. My first take was that this was a reference to Simon Bar Kosiba, and then possibly to Hadrian setting up the Imperial cult in the east, a better candidate for sure. But here the reference is to the Jewish Christian Christ in literature. The author is speaking allegorically, saying the "wrong" Christ, that is the son of David in the flesh, is being accepted in place of the divine Christ who always was.
[14] Hadrian's ruling can be found in Gai Institutionum Commentarins Primus 81-82. The significance of this ruling is only realized after suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt and the dissolving of the Judea (and Samaria) province. This effectively put all Jews under the jurisdiction of the Roman Law of Nations. This resulted in lawsuits concerning circumcision of slaves, since without Mosaic Law in force it circumcision would have been illegal And that led to Antoninus ruling that Jews may circumcise there own children but no slaves or freemen in their households - a ruling only necessary by the end of Mosaic Law.
A curious side bar on Hadrian's ruling on the status of children born to slaves and free women. It appears that Claudius ruled in a clumsy way allowing free women and citizens to sell their children by claiming they procreated with a male slave. This was a booming trade. Also men were claiming citizen fathers.
[15] The concept of hearing (ἀκούω) is tied closely to the concept of the calling (κλητός) in the Catholic layers of the Pauline letters.
[16] There are many other examples of God slaying. For certain the incident in 2 Kings 2:24 is contrasted against Luke 6:29 in DA 1.12 as another example of the murderous behavior of the Jewish God. Although the Marcionites commented on some passages there are plenty to choose from since in the OT God is often portrayed as warlike, sometimes vengeful, striking down men, be it the plagues thrown on Egypt, the destruction of Sodom, to slaughters in battle attributed to him.
[17] This same point is made by Simon Magus, who is basically a Manichean stand-in, also makes reference to a host of Old Testament texts to make the case for many Gods in Recognitions 16.6, including Genesis 3:22, Genesis 3:5, Exodus 22:28, Deuteronomy 4:34, Jeremiah 10:11, Deuteronomy 13:6, Joshua 23:77 LXX, Deuteronomy 10:17,  Psalms35:10, 86:8, Psalms  50:1, Psalms 82:1
[18] The failure of the author of this verse to know the Old Testament reference being in the prophets and not in the Law (books of Moses) makes me suspicious about whether he is aware at all of the OT content except through his reading of the Marcionite  antithesis.
[19] The Marcionite text for Luke 5:36-37 seems to reflect the readings found in Matthew 9:16-17 (see DA 2:16). Tertullian in AM 4.11.9 reports how the Marcion read the verse
You have erred also in that declaration of the Lord, wherein He seems to make a difference between things new and old. You are inflated about the old wineskins, and your brain is muddled with the new wine; and therefore to the old (that is to say, to the prior) gospel you have sewed on the patch of your novel heresy.
Errasti in illa etiam domini pronuntiatione qua videtur nova et vetera discernere. Inflatus es utribus veteribus et excerebratus es novo vino, atque ita veteri, id est priori evangelio, pannum haereticae novitatis assuisti.
[20] Ironically these miracles recounted in Marcion's Gospel above are drawn from the day of the Lord in Isaiah 29:18-19. It is very clear Marcion drew from the Old Testament for his allegories, whether Luke 7:22, or the two sons of Abraham in Galatians, or 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 stories of the Rock in the desert and the serpents.
[21] There is a non-Western Interpolation in verse 4:9, not found in א*, D, it(a, b, d, e, j), which reads "For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans" (οὐ γὰρ συνχρῶνται Ἰουδαῖοι Σαμαρείταις). This looks to me like an early marginal note that found its way into the text, which was meant to explain to readers unaware of the animosity between Jews of Judea and Samaria (Israel), so that they would understand why the woman saw Jesus as a stranger. This interpolation is the earliest witness to the stranger interpretation
[22] It is fairly obvious that verses 12:38-41 were added by a later Catholic editor. I will not make a case here. The primary grounds concerns using the OT to show predictive elements in John's Christ, and to explain away the authorities failure to accept Christ was consistent with Isaiah 53:1 and 6:10 LXX.
[23] Barbara Burrell, in her 2003 paper Temples of Hadrian, not Zeus, brings up the strong possibility that the temples built by Hadrian were very likely not for Zeus Hypsistos, but for himself, part of the Imperial cult. While she examines the neocorate temples dedicated in Greece and Asia, there seems little reason to think this same policy might not have extended into the middle east. If true it paints a new light on the potential identity of the son of lawlessness referred to in 2 Thessalonians.
[24] Marcion is amongst the oldest witnesses for the harmony to 2 Corinthians 5:10 in Romans 14:10. Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 5.14.14 reads, Bene autem quod et in clausula tribunal Christi comminatur. Marcion reads "Christ" ΧΥ for "God" ΘΥ (note the best manuscripts B א* A C* D F G 1506 1739 read "God", all others agree with Marcion). The UBS is correct, the original was "God."
[25] Marinus, a follower of Bardaisan (Bardesanes) in Dialogue Adamantius 3.11 explains that the good God judges the evil one, his angels and those who follow him.

14 comments:

  1. Excellent post Stuart! I have not spent much time on John, what are a few of what you would consider must reads on this subject?

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    1. I really don't have much to recommend concerning John. I too have not focused on John much before now. It is only been recently that I have felt I had enough understanding of it's context to actually attempt to decipher it. All I can give you is an observation about why there are deficiencies.

      The basic problem are the presumptions about the composition and context of authorship. The presumption is a late 1st century composition (late Domitian era), and that the persecution John's community, one with a high christology and dealing with strained synagogue relations as they defined the differences with Jews. Raymond Brown was the most influential scholar who developed this framing. Believe it or not this is actually an improvement on the condition before him, as at least the concept of reading the gospel as a work that while using the setting of the Jesus in the era of Pilate (which became the time frame placement of literature about Jesus) it addressed issues of the congregation he represented in the then current day.

      All I have done is change the context of the gospel to the early reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Versus instead of during the late reign of Domitian. I placed the conflict inside the church instead of the Jewish synagogues, with reference to the known excommunications of heretical teachers that the church fathers all claim began in the Antoninus era. I also used Marcionite priority and referenced the conflict as seen in light of the Gospel of Matthew as answer to Marcion's. I kept the same premise as Brown and other modern scholars of the literature addressing current issues but using the Jesus story and time frame. What I didn't do was lay out the case for that time frame, instead gave a survey of the gospel using that revised time frame.

      One thing scholars have paid too much attention too is John 1:1 and 1:14 which identify Christ as the Logos, and thus a possible connection back to Philo of Alexandria. This opening proem, which has been modified from the source to suit the gospel, is part of an extension commentary layer by the author of the Gospel - I will examine this in another post. It is secondary, like the "signs" commentary, a creation of the author (Brown is incorrect on the Book of Signs and Book of Gory concept; but innovative in a positive way). Outside of the opening the Logos refers to teachings about Jesus, that is the various doctrinal systems (logic). That is actually the importance of Logos in the rest of the gospel of John.

      Anyway, I will do another post on John in which I will address the setting and the composition. I may provide a table of verses and which layers I believe they belong to, and who wrote those layers and why.

      My aim here, as with the Pauline literature, is to change the time frame considered for composition, and show the updated archaeological evidence that produces a more accurate understanding of the issues the authors are actually discussing. I am hoping that scholars seriously consider and compare a second century setting against the strained to incredulity first century settings still dominating discussions.

      Anyway your question will make me actually look for some books on John. I'll get back to you on that. :)

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  2. Please forgive me for "Over-Posting" on the first day I found your site but as I start to read about the Book of John, there is a most striking point: The discussions of "John" in the first part of the Book are not concerned with a savior-god but about two Mishmarot Service Groups.

    Short Version: The Hebrew word for "Lamb" is, transliterated, "Immar" In 1 Chronicles 24, King David names 24 Groups to provide Temple Service. The first 16 Groups come from Eleazar, the last 8 from Ithamar.

    The Hebrew word, transliterated, for the 16th Group is "Immer". Now see:

    http://lovewins.us/bible/strongs/H563

    Toggle between this word and H564 and you will see that the words are identical. These words are given without the Hebrew Diacriticals ("Niqqud") which came into use centuries later. Thus, there is a ready made word play between the written word "Lamb" and the 16th Mishmarot Group "Immer".

    "So what?", you might ask. Please look at John 1: 15, 27 and 36 (RSV):

    [15] (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'")
    ...
    [27] even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."
    ...
    [36] and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

    Why is it important that John refer to the "Lamb" as coming after him yet ranking before him? Why does he state that he is not worthy to untie the THONG of his sandal?

    Please. please take a moment to read about the Service Group "Bilgah":

    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3298-bilgah

    Bilgah is the Service Group just before Immer and they are deprecated in the sight of the other members of the Mishmarot Groups. Bilgah's "Thong" is nailed to the floor! John has a Stratum that is not about a transcendent savior-god but is about the Pharisees investigating something involving certain members of 2 Mishmarot groups!

    John is of "Bilgah" and this "Jesus" character is of "Immer"!
    So much more here...

    CW

    PS: I hope this is the correct place to Re-Post this. Pls delete my other Post if incorrectly placed.. Thnx.

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    1. Note: The following was commentary provided underneath my misplaced Post. In no way do I want to hijack this Blog. I add this because there is another important point made.
      -Thank you

      Charles,

      Can you post this comment again on the blog entry about the Gospel of John? I don't want comments on the Turmel page. It is a republication of another's work.

      I will say this about "the Lamb of God" (ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ) statements, both instances are almost certainly part of the redaction layer. And if you look at the statements, they could have been adjusted from "the Holy one of God" (ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ) which is found in Luke 4:34 (Marcion) = Mark 1:24, and used by John 6:69. The difference is simply Mu Nu for Gamma Iota. But the theological meaning switches from the Marcionite to the Jewish Christian interpretation, like the one you cite (the Mishmarot groups are interesting). I will say there is great emphasis in the Catholic layer (e.g., Hebrews) on the procedures of Jewish sacrificial practices. These are absent from the Marcionite texts.

      My second post on John will cover the Catholic editor's additions. Both of those passages, and also John 1:15 which is not part of the original proem, are part of that Catholic redaction. You'll have to wait for me to post that to answer why these are not considered in the first layer.

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    2. SW-

      Thank you. You may be giving a proper pathway out of a large thicket.

      1. "Lamb of God" is very Semitic. My first acquaintance with this came through Pettinato, _Ebla_ , and his discussion of paring god names with animal names. The discussion considered " 'nmmr-Ha'ad " as "Panther-of-Ha'ad" that comes down to us as "Nimrod".

      "Lamb of God" is " 'mmr-Yah " and it certainly appears that there are many names that branch off of this ("Maria! I just met a girl named Maria..."). The question that always bothers me is, "How much of this was realized during the compositions (or redactions...). Example: "You must be born again..." Nicodemus, a "Ruler of the Jews", hears this and doesn't understand.

      It's an idiom! The first appearance of the word "Freedom" is from Sumer. The word was "Amargi" and it meant "Return to Mother". Nicodemus questions whether he must return to his mother's womb and be born again - He doesn't get it! Thus is born a Key Tenet of John's Christianity and it begins from misunderstanding a Semitic idiom. Did the Authors (Redactors) know what they were writing?

      2. This is why I'm not sure I can go along with identifying this with, "We know who you are, you are God's Holy One!" I don't get a whiff of a Semitic construction here. I do smell some Roman mischief (Titus, perhaps...) but not Semitic work. Your mileage may vary. I have enough trouble with English these days.

      3. BTW, I agree that most of this should be (early) second century. It IS looking at Domitian but in the rear view mirror. The "Holy Spirit" is a disembodied god with no visible features and that certainly describes Domitian, who underwent Damnatio after his death. Obviously, there are some puzzles there.

      Anyway, thank you for your site. It's exciting work!

      CW

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  3. It has been awful quite around here Stuart, what is the book status?

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  4. Stuart you have gone quiet, although I see a few comments that you have made at vridar. Are you still working on Marcion? I really was looking forward to your continued work!

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    1. I have had other work going on. In the winter (work starts in fall) I also help run a youth Basketball league which field 68 teams (part of 450 team regional league). That and my day work keep me busy.

      I realize I made a mistake about Matthew 5:35 in my posts at Vridar. The king is derived from Psalms 47:7 and read into 48:1. The passage is thus a failed effort to redouble the OT by saying that not swearing oaths is greater than the Marcionites by reference to the OT. Of course that is the opposite interpretation of the "you have heard it said phrase" commentary on the OT and being bound to oaths to God. Oops! But the dependence of the section on Marcion's antithesis remains intact. (I think I removed any reference to Matthew 5:35 as referring to Aelia Capitolina from my other works)

      I do plan to post again, hopefully over the Christmas break. The possible topics

      1. The application of Roman Law based on class.That different Laws applied to different classes is clear in Acts 22:25 and the entire arrest and jurisdiction debate, something we also see concerning Jesus, and whether he should be tried under Syrian (Galilee) or Judea's Law (i.e., Torah). The basic point is NT study has ignored the role of local tribal Law like Torah for those who were Jewish, and its impact on the legal system of the empire. There is a modern tendency to accept the Christian interpretation on face value that Torah Law was only religious, whereas the evidence is that it was actual Law and enforced in Judea until the Province's dissolution after the Bar Kokhba revolt. This work would look at the Roman statues and the references in the NT.

      2. Part 2 of the Gospel of John, focusing on the Catholic Layer(s), as well as the later non-Western interpolations.

      3. An outline of the Gospel Sequence. In this I will lay out my entire Gospel composition model. Explain the concept of Genre writing. Explain that each rendition of the Gospel was purposeful, to answer critics and lay out the "true" Gospel as the writer saw it.

      4. Simon Magus, the Great Interpolations. Simon Magus I will argue, is a character who rose in literary prominence in the late 3rd century with the rise of Mani and the Manicheans. I will attempt to show how his story was back ported into the works of Irenaeus and Justin, and the smoking gun to show this, to claim that Mani's sin can be seen in Simon. I fell for this mistake, much like Roger Parvus does today. I read into all the Simon's in the Gospel (Simon of Cyrene, Simon Peter, etc) and Paul (Simon Magus) as being one person who morphed into the literary heroes and antagonist Peter and Paul. I now see this was a mistake, one Parvus is repeating. (Took me 10 years to wake up).

      5. Marcionite 1 & 2 Thessalonians. I shelved this work at about 70% complete. I think I burnt out from the work the year before on the Corinthians, Ephesians, and Philippians. These two books are the strongest indication that the Marcionite collection was built upon a prior collection, and that the competing Orthodox and Heretical camps were formed perhaps as early as Hadrian's assumption to the throne,

      I do not know which I'll push out first. Whatever I feel like spending 100 hours on next.

      - Stuart

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  5. Good to here from you again. I am familiar with burn out, I usually do my research about 6 months at a time and then break awhile. All of the above points sound very interesting.

    Have you by chance read Vinzent's "Marcion and the dating of the synoptic gospels", yet. I am just waiting for the price to drop a bit more.

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  6. Hola, Stuart:
    ¿Es correcto "I think a date of 165 CE (+/- 10 years) is improbable for the composition of John", o se trata de una errata, y debe leerse "probable"? Yo también pienso que esta fue la fecha de composición, más o menos, por las mismas razones que tú expones. Y evidentemente lo escribió un gnóstico que no pensaba que Jesús había sido un hombre real. Saludos

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    1. Sorry I was missing a "not" ... should read "I think a date of 165 CE (+/-) is NOT improbable"

      Thanks, I'll correct that

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    2. The author of the first (two) layers of John accepted Jesus as the son of God,and thus God. The prologue, verse 1:14, if it is part of the original, says the word became flesh. Nothing about how this happened, although the Appellean explanation given by Hippolytus in Refutation of Heresies 7.26 seems a likely understanding. And I do not believe that heretical camps had hard lines on what was believed, so it probably was held by many of differing views. This view does seem to hold that Jesus had a flesh, but his being was something else, something divine and not of this world. To the corrector and editor of the later layers of John there was a need to emphasize that Jesus was corporal, hence the spear drawing blood and water,

      What is important here is to recognize that the author, like all the gospel writers, felt free to have Jesus speak about the issues of his day, and to speak in supporting terms of his theology. There is nothing different in this respect with the Marcionite Gospel or John, or later Luke, all having Jesus speak the theology of their camps. What is written is effectively divorced from any real persons or events in the first century. It is genre story telling, no matter the gospel, no matter the theology. The anti-docetic arguments developed later and were initially secondary to the debate over the properties of the father. So the author may not have concerned himself much on the nature of Christ's flesh, whatever his beliefs.

      To give an example think of the political position with regard to Al Qeada and ISIS before 2001. While there may have been opposition to such movements, they were not much talked about by politicians because it was not an immediate concern. Today its a different story, and no major politician can say nothing about it. Apply that logic back to the writing of the gospels. If they are vague on an issue like the flesh of Christ, it is very likely because its not a big issue. John's opponents at the time were not so concerned with it, and it was not a point of distinction, so it wasn't discussed. A generation or two later it was important.

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    3. Oh, Stuart, sé cuál es tu postura al respecto, pero la expresión «la palabra se hizo carne» no tenía ningún sentido literal, porque ¿con qué clase de lenguaje se podía hacer carne, y con qué tipo de ingeniería genética? Del mismo modo, qué sentido literal tenían las expresiones «yo soy la luz del mundo» o «yo soy el pan de la vida»?

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  7. Bueno, he aclarado mis dudas buscando en la traducción al alemán de tu artículo: ahí dice "eine Datierung auf 165 u.Z. (± 10 Jahre) für die Abfassung des Johannesevangeliums für wahrscheinlich".

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