The Muratorian Tradition and the Gospel Text
F O R E W O R D
I always feel there is a riddle in it which some day somebody will solve. Meanwhile it is best to keep clear of John when you are dealing with a per- son who doesn’t accept Christian revelation as a fact. There are too many loopholes for him. He can always quote learned precedent for questioning its date, its authorship, its accuracy. Ronald Knox, The Hidden Stream he following chapters offer not a text-critical analysis but a study of the history of the early Church to which history the Gospel of John bears compelling witness. And one must begin by acknowledging that it is unlikely that after so many years of research into Johannine origins by competent scholars, a hithertofore uncanvassed theory could do more than deserve consideration. Yet contemporary scholarship, by moving ever further from the traditional account which makes the author the son of Zebedee, has seemed to make room for a reconsideration of the evidence. The new search for the historical context reflected in the Johannine text was inaugurated by C. H. Dodd’s Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel (1965), a work that challenged the historical skepticism of Bultmann’s Gospel of John and provided context for J. A. T. Robinson’s still- controversial Priority of John (1985), which argues the early date and literary independence of the Gospel. James H. Charlesworth’s Beloved Disciple (1995) cataloged exhaustively the attempts to identify the disciple whom Jesus loved. Charles E. Hill’s Johannine Corpus in the Early Church (2004) brought the Gospel into...
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