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Was There One Author Behind the Four Johannine Writings? A Community? Guest Post by Hugo Mendez

We continue now with the third of Hugo Mendez’s guest posts on the “community” allegedly behind the Gospel of John, 1, 2, and 3 John.   Here he shows why most critical scholars do NOT think (as most other interested human beings on the planet do!) that all four were written by the same person (let alone Jesus’ disciple, John the Son of Zebedee), and why they have argued that instead they all come from like-minded authors from the same community.

But when he gets to the end he indicates why there is a flaw in this reasoning.  This post is an excellent example of solid scholarship with an unexpected ZINGER at the end!

Hugo will be happy to respond to your comments, and he has certainly set up the next post.  (If you have time, go ahead and read the three letters; they are very short and it’s a fast read.  But they have an importance far beyond what you might expect from their size)

Why Scholars Haven’t Given Up on the Johannine Community (Yet)

Over the past twenty years, the idea that gospels emerged within distinct Christian “communities” has come under attack. But although debate rages on about the existence of a “Markan community,” a “Q community,” or a “Lukan community,” most scholars do not question the idea of a “Johannine community.” On the contrary, textbooks and reference works are adamant that a close-knit network of ancient churches existed whose members interpreted the story of Jesus in the very terms the Gospel of John uses.

So why are so many scholars convinced that this particular gospel community must have existed? It’s because the Johannine Community isn’t exactly—or isn’t merely—a “gospel community.” As it stands, the strongest evidence for the existence of a Johannine Community comes from a separate set of texts altogether—that is, the epistles/letters of 1, 2, and 3 John. This isn’t merely my opinion; it’s the…

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Are the Gospel and Epistles of John *Forgeries*?? Guest Post by Hugo Mendez
Were the Gospels Generally Written for “Communities” of Christians: Guest Post by Hugo Mendez



  1. Avatar
    Brian  May 11, 2020

    Can’t wait to find out why!

  2. Avatar
    pkoutoul  May 11, 2020

    That’s one heck of a cliff-hanger. Can’t wait until tomorrow!

  3. Avatar
    Poohbear  May 11, 2020

    I wonder about this “Luke community.” Certainly we know the disciples took umbrage at fellow Christians identifying with various preachers – Christ’s church is not divided. Paul in Corinthians wrote, “One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
    Maybe some apostates created churches of division like this – but it didn’t come from the Apostolic Church.
    However, if some “scholars” insist there were communities with specific doctrines then I have to wonder about the community that went with Paul to Rome. The boat scene at the end of Acts has always been of interest to maritime historians. The detail makes it likely the author of Luke/Acts was on that shipwreck as he uses the pronoun “we.”. But was he? Maybe instead of one author there was a whole “community” there as well. Maybe there was a flotilla of Lukean disciples, bent on creating a Lukean church in Rome? All scribbling notes – all bent on creating their own version of Jesus. Frankly I doubt it – let’s plumb for common sense and Occam’s Razor – just read these documents as they were meant to be read.

    • Avatar
      Leovigild  May 11, 2020

      It’s pretty obvious there were Christian communities — the texts of the New Testament tell us so, as well as the logic of a growing faith community. You seem to doubt that there were differences in the ways these communities understood Jesus, yet that’s exactly what we see in the Gospels. The Jesus of Mark is different from that of Matthew, or Luke, or John.

      So what, specifically, are you taking issue with here?

  4. Avatar
    Poohbear  May 11, 2020

    Diotrephes was not “in” the Apostolic Church per se. He made it clear he and his “community” were breaking from the Apostles and forming their own church. He could have been the earliest Catholic bishop. Elsewhere John speaks of others who left his faith as not having a fully formed faith to begin with. Too many were caught up in the initial flourish of Christianity without the heart commitment. Through holy days, rituals, “earthly sanctuaries”, cleric garbs, candles, iconography and the like they were taking the church of Jesus and turning it into something not much different from what the Jews and pagans were familiar with. These new churches did not take John with them.

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