The Gospel of John as Forgery

 
john76
 
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john76
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29 April 2020 12:51
 

Dr. Candida Moss recently argued in The Daily Beast that The Gospel of John could very well be a forgery.  Her article is here: https://www.thedailybeast.com/everyones-favorite-gospel-the-gospel-of-john-is-a-forgery-according-to-new-research

Moss’s article is based on the work of Dr. Hugo Mendez who published an article arguing for John as forgery this past March here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0142064X19890490

Yesterday I just did a blog post that utilizes some of the above mentioned insights of Moss and Mendez about forgery and the Gospel of John, and applied it to the lie Jesus tells to his brothers in John 7:8.  It’s here: https://macdonaldmonthly.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-justified-lie-by-johannine-jesus.html .  Dr. Mendez is really nice.  I’ve talked to him a few times.

 
 
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29 April 2020 18:16
 

I did not read the links, mainly because the first thought to my mind was, John is in the Christian canon.  It’s too late to take it out.

 
Poldano
 
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29 April 2020 23:33
 

At first glance I thought the article was pointing out what every Christian educated beyond high school should already have known, which is that the Gospels were not necessarily written by the Apostle to whom it is attributed. It goes a little bit deeper than that, though. I’ve long thought it likely that the Gospel of John was written by a Greek, or perhaps a Hellenized Jew, during the period of the Jewish Revolts, on account of its metaphysical flavor and Neoplatonist elements. The article seems to refer to more in-depth scholarly work than has been done before, and I’m not really willing to take on that subject matter in that kind of depth.

I don’t know that I’d call it a forgery, because literary attribution was evidently quite loose in those days. If it reflected the viewpoint of a significant segment of the Christian community at the time it was written, or had influence on the evolution of Christianity such that it accurately reflected Christian beliefs at the time that orthodoxy was established, then it remains valuable. Of course, my opinion is of no matter to a fundamentalist, literalist, or typical evangelical, because I’m probably a heretic as far as they are concerned.

[ Edited: 29 April 2020 23:39 by Poldano]
 
 
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30 April 2020 13:32
 

I had to read the title twice because I thought it was “John as Fogerty.”

https://youtu.be/ec0XKhAHR5I

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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01 May 2020 10:51
 
Poldano - 29 April 2020 11:33 PM

I don’t know that I’d call it a forgery, because literary attribution was evidently quite loose in those days. If it reflected the viewpoint of a significant segment of the Christian community at the time it was written, or had influence on the evolution of Christianity such that it accurately reflected Christian beliefs at the time that orthodoxy was established, then it remains valuable. Of course, my opinion is of no matter to a fundamentalist, literalist, or typical evangelical, because I’m probably a heretic as far as they are concerned.

Poldano hit the nail on the head.

From what I’ve read, all the Gospels were written long after the historic Jesus died by people who never knew him, with the possible exception of Mark. There apparently was some common source material floating around that was used to build the narrative of the life of Jesus, but know one knows where this came from since it has never been discovered.

And, there are many other Gospels beside the canonical ones, as Poldano said, written in the spirit of Christ for the individual communities in which they were written.

The most intriguing of these, in my opinion, is the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, which is just a collection of sayings reportedly said by Jesus himself. Many of the quotes are found in the New Testament and are familiar, yet others are completely foreign and have an almost Zen koan quality to them.

It is my belief, that ultimately, we will never know who the historic Jesus was, nor what he really believed. Yet, Jesus as an archetype, Jesus the mythic figure, is an idea which has come to transcend history, culture, time and place.

 
 
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02 May 2020 13:03
 

Then there are ‘tangible’ forgeries like the Shroud of Turin.  https://www.amazon.com/Relic-Master-Novel-Christopher-Buckley/dp/1501125761

In that novel, there’s big money to be had if you can convince a prince or a Pope that a forgery is authentic.  At its last showing, 2 million visitors went to Turin, Italy to see the Shroud..  The Pope delicately called it an ‘icon’ rather than a relic.

How common is art forgery?
“The Fine Art Experts Institute in Geneva has stated that between 70 to 90 percent of the pieces brought to them for examination are inauthentic, and based on their research, the Institute suggests that as much as 50 percent of artwork currently in circulation may be forgeries.” - .May 3, 2018

This suggests that there are many forgeries of forgeries, as in Christopher Buckley’s novel

icon

1.  a painting of Jesus Christ or another holy figure, typically in a traditional style on wood, venerated and used as an aid to devotion in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches..

[ Edited: 02 May 2020 13:12 by unsmoked]
 
 
proximacentauri
 
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28 May 2020 19:40
 
Cheshire Cat - 01 May 2020 10:51 AM
Poldano - 29 April 2020 11:33 PM

I don’t know that I’d call it a forgery, because literary attribution was evidently quite loose in those days. If it reflected the viewpoint of a significant segment of the Christian community at the time it was written, or had influence on the evolution of Christianity such that it accurately reflected Christian beliefs at the time that orthodoxy was established, then it remains valuable. Of course, my opinion is of no matter to a fundamentalist, literalist, or typical evangelical, because I’m probably a heretic as far as they are concerned.

Poldano hit the nail on the head.

From what I’ve read, all the Gospels were written long after the historic Jesus died by people who never knew him, with the possible exception of Mark. There apparently was some common source material floating around that was used to build the narrative of the life of Jesus, but know one knows where this came from since it has never been discovered.

And, there are many other Gospels beside the canonical ones, as Poldano said, written in the spirit of Christ for the individual communities in which they were written.

The most intriguing of these, in my opinion, is the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, which is just a collection of sayings reportedly said by Jesus himself. Many of the quotes are found in the New Testament and are familiar, yet others are completely foreign and have an almost Zen koan quality to them.

It is my belief, that ultimately, we will never know who the historic Jesus was, nor what he really believed. Yet, Jesus as an archetype, Jesus the mythic figure, is an idea which has come to transcend history, culture, time and place.

Most scholars think the four gospels were written somewhere between 30 to 60 years after Jesus’s death, with the gospel of John being the last.

I think what might be more interesting than the question of forgery, is Bart Ehrman’s take that the gospel of John fabricates the passages that have Jesus claiming that he is not merely a man but also God.

John is the last of the four gospels to be written and the only one of the four that contains these claims by Jesus. The writers of Matthew, Mark, and Luke make no mention of Jesus’s divinity. The writer of John has Jesus proclaiming his own divinity in several passages.  Ehrman’s point is, why would the writers of Matthew, Mark, and Luke omit this, if in fact Jesus was going around telling people he was God?

He argues that it would be unfathomable to think that the writers of Matthew, Mark, and Luke would have omitted these claims by Jesus had he actually made them, therefore it’s unlikely he actually said them. He then goes on to surmise that it’s very possible that John was written with ‘Jesus as God’ to match with where the narrative had evolved to by that time.

 

[ Edited: 28 May 2020 19:42 by proximacentauri]