The Muratorian Tradition and the Gospel Text
C H A P T E R F O U R: The Gospel’s Witness to Its Origin
C H A P T E R F O U R The Gospel’s Witness to Its Origin He who has seen it has borne witness, and his witness is true, and that one knows that he is telling what really happened. John 19:35 he Gospels, although written by authors who may (or may not) have known of other written traditions, were composed through the lens of particular interests and based inevitably upon traditions that were circum- scribed by the author’s sources. An attentive first-century reader, native to the milieu in which the Gospel of John was composed, would have noticed that, neglecting Jesus’ reference to Judas Iscariot in 6:71, the narrative portion of the Gospel (1–12) employs the witness of five disciples, four (Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael) linked by kinship, friendship, and geography plus Thomas, to which the Passion Narrative adds the single question of Judas not Iscariot (14:22) and the single mention of “the [ones] of Zebedee” (21:2), the omission of whom would, like the omission of Peter’s profession, court the suspicion of Christians to whom the natural order of apostles was the Synoptic order, beginning with Peter, James, and John. Structurally, after the famous prologue of 1:1–18, the Gospel of John falls into two very different parts, the Book of Signs so-called, an account of Jesus’ ministry in 1:19–12:36, and the Passion Narrative, or the Book of Glory. Our reader might have noticed a startling anomaly in...
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