The Muratorian Tradition and the Gospel Text
C H A P T E R E I G H T: The Johannine Corpus after Irenaeus
C H A P T E R E I G H T The Johannine Corpus after Irenaeus But someone will say to me, you adduce a thing strange to me, when you call the Son the Word. For John indeed speaks of the Word, but it is by a figure of speech. Nay, it is no figure of speech. Hippolytus, Against Noetus renaeus identified the author of the Gospel as John the disciple of the Lord, the Beloved Disciple, and called him an eyewitness, allowing, if not encouraging, the inference that he was an apostle, the son of Zebedee, one of the Twelve. A certain tentativeness on the part of Irenaeus—he could have settled what has been a centuries-long dubitatio with one sentence—and the unwillingness of Polycrates, while accepting Irenaeus’ identification of John as the Beloved Disciple, to call the John he knew the apostle John, did not prevent the almost universal assumption that John was one of the Twelve. Irenaeus also assumed that Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse were by the same apostle John. After 200 the conviction that John the Son of Zebedee was the Beloved Disciple and author of all five books was embedded in Christian imagination so deeply that the criticisms of Dionysius of Alexan- dria and Eusebius could not shake it.1 As far as the evidence goes, the period of most intense argument against the orthodoxy of the Gospel was not mid-century, when Heracleon and Valentinus were using the Gospel to make their case,...
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