II. THE CRITICISM OF TIIE FOURTH Gos•m.. The main question to which this Gospel gives rise is—•an it be considered an historical source tor our knowledge of Jesus Christ? It is necessary, in the first place, to note what indications the work itself contains as to its authorship. Such indications nay be incidental and unintentional, or they may be explicit claims to which due consideration must be given. It has long been recognized that the writer's knowledge of contemporary Judaism and of Palestine is re markable. He shows himself perfectly at home in regard to numerous details of .Ie•ish observ ances and belief. and had an intimate knowledge of the topography of Palestine and of Jerusalem. These facts can only be accounted for on the sup position that the writer was a Jew of Palestine by birth and education. It is almost inconceiv able that a Gentile could have written as he did. At the same time he was a .Jew whose break with formal Judaism was complete. He was no longer a Jew at heart. It may be said further that the Gospel seems to have been written by one who was an eye-witness of ninny of the events he recorded. Attention has often been called to the fact that the references to persons, such as Peter, Philip.. Thomas, Judas Iscariot, Pilate. Mary. :Martha, and others, brief as they are, betray the impressions made by such persons on one who had seen or heard them. They are remarkably lifelike and tally exactly with what is known of them from other sources. Alany incidental touches in the narrative. such as "it was about the sixth hour," "Jesus sat thus on the well" (iv. 6) are best explained as due to personal experi ence. In addition to such incidental indications of authorship by an eye-witness there are ex press statements to the same effect. In i. 14 it is said. "and we beheld his glory." The 'we' seems to mean the author addressing his readers. In xix. 35 a somewhat similar note is found, "he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true . . . m order that ye may believe :" and in the appendix (xxi. 24)• we find a brief notice by another hand, that this is the disciple who testifieth [present participle] of these things and who wrote [aorist participle] these things." It
appears, then, that the work claims to be derived either wholly or in part from written records of an eye-witness. From the last citation it is evident that the claim is that the disciple men tioned in the immediately preceding section (xxi. 15 sqq.), i.e. the disciple whom Jesus loved, is the witness and recorder referred to. That is, the Gospel proper, which closes with xx. 31, and the additional narrative of xxi. 1-23. were derived from the written and oral testimony of this dis ciple. Who was this disciple? While we find that he is nowhere named in the Gospel, we do find this remarkable peeuliarity—that a certain prominent disciple. about whom the writer knows a great deal and with the details of whose life he is very familiar, is often referred to. but never by name. This disciple, with his brother, was one of the first to attach himself to Jesus ( i. 35 sqq.), having previously been a disciple of John the Baptist. He became the most loved by Jesus of all His followers, had the place of honor at the supper, was a witness of His Passion, and was intrusted by Jesus with the care of His mother. But, though so prominent, he is always spoken of as 'that other disciple.' the disciple whom Jesus loved.' or by a similar expression. Yet the writer is not thus reticent about other persons. In fact, he delights in detailed mention of names of persons and places. We know from the Synoptic record that the three disciples who stand closest to Jesus were Peter. James, and John. now is it, then, that the two brothers, James and John. are never named in the fourth Gospel. while the names of other disciples are freely used? It is evident that 'that other disciple' means either James or John, and since James suffered martyr dom quite early (Acts xii. 1, 2). the only person whose known history satisfies all the conditions of the problem is John, son of Zebedee. disciple and Apostle, one of the 'pillars' of the early Church (cf. Gal. ii. 9). Such then is the evi dence and claim of the Gospel itself, that, either altogether or to a large extent, it is derived from the written record of the Apostle John.