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The Beloved Disciple: Whose Witness Validates the Gospel of John?
James H. Charlesworth
From The Publisher:
The Gospel of John refers five times to "the disciple whom Jesus loved." From the second through the present century, scholars have sought to identify this "disciple," traditionally concluding that he is the author of the Gospel adn is indeed none other than John the son fo Zebedee.
In recent phases of research, however, the identification of the Beloved Disciple with John the son of Zebedee has been exposed as weak and unpersuasive. Yet, according to James Charlesworth, even this new research is problematic in that it tends to ascribe priority in discerning the meaning of the Gospel of John to documents other than the Gospel itself. Moreover, this research tends to impute historical accuracy to dicuments that were not primarily intended to present histories.
Based on extensive research, then, Professor CHarlesworth has concluded that the primary rexts in the Gospel of John and the reflections of modern scholars indicate that any identification of the Beloved Disciple - whether with one of teh desciples specified in the Gospel, or with some symbolic theme - must provide credible answers to eight questions:
--Why is the Beloved Disciple described as "the disciple whom Jesus loved"?
--Why is the disciple not given a name in the Gospel?
--Why is he or she not allowed the seat of honor during the Last Supper?
--Why is the Beloved Disciple not mentioned until John 13 in which the Last Supper is not described?
--Why has the narrator placed the Beloved Disciple at the cross?
--Why does the author of John 21 feel compelled to endorse the Beloved Disciple's credibility?
--Why did the Johannine Christians express concern or anguish at the death of the Beloved Disciple?
--Why is the Beloved Disciple and not Peter celebrated as "the disciple whom Jesus loved"?
In answer to these questions Professor Charlesworth sets forth a highly original, innovative, and startling resolution to the problem.
"The enigma of the identity of the Beloved Disciple in John's Gospel has engaged and perplexed many great minds from classical antiquity until today. The hypothesis Professor Charlesworth advances is novel, courageous, and adventurous, but ably supported by detailed scholarly exegesis."
Hugh Anderson, University of Edinburgh
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About the Author
James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary and Director of the seminary's Dead Sea Scrolls Project. He is the author of many books and the editor of the popular two-volume series entitled The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.
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