“The Disciple Jesus Loved”: Witness, Author, Apostle— A Response to Richard Bauckham’s "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" -- By: Andreas J. Köstenberger
Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 018:2 (NA 2008)
Article: “The Disciple Jesus Loved”: Witness, Author, Apostle— A Response to Richard Bauckham’s "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses"
Author: Andreas J. Köstenberger
BBR 18:2 (2008) p. 209
“The Disciple Jesus Loved”:
Witness, Author, Apostle—
A Response to Richard Bauckham’s
Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006) makes a persuasive argument that the Gospels display eyewitness testimony and thus renews the quest for the identity of the Beloved Disciple as the author of the Fourth Gospel. While Bauckham attributes this Gospel to “the presbyter John” mentioned by Papias, the authors of this study show that the patristic evidence more likely seems to support the authorship of John the apostle and that the literary device of inclusio in the Fourth Gospel, astutely observed by Bauckham, also favors the authorship of John the son of Zebedee.
Key Words: Fourth Gospel, Beloved Disciple, John, authorship, apostle, Zebedee, John the Elder, Papias, Eusebius, Muratorian Fragment, Polycrates, Irenaeus, Bauckham
Recent years have witnessed a significant number of publications on the identity of “the disciple Jesus loved” in John’s Gospel. The ever more daring proposals have included identifications of this figure as diverse as the apostle Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, James the son of Zebedee, and even the Samaritan woman, among others.1 Μost recently, Richard Bauckham has weighed in on this debate in his landmark volume Jesus and the
BBR 18:2 (2008) p. 210
Eyewitnesses.2 In it, Bauckham persuasively demonstrates that the written Gospels represent instances of eyewitness testimony, in keeping with the claim registered in the prologue of Luke (Luke 1:2: αὐτόπται) and in early apostolic preaching.3 What is more, the closing paragraph of John’s Gospel (21:24-25) leads Bauckham to assert that the entire work was not only “based on eyewitness accounts” but that it claims “to have been actually written by an eyewitness.”4
So who is this influential disciple, so well known in the early church that he did not need to mention his name even though rumors circulated that he would never die? While Bauckham adduces compelling arguments supporting apostolic eyewitness testimony of the life and teaching of Jesus behind the Synoptic Gospels, he rather puzzlingly asserts that the Gospel...
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