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The Gospel of John

I was excited to receive this book in the mail to see what claims the author makes for naming Lazarus as the author of the Gospel of John. However, when I started reading this book I was disgusted by the faux scholarship and repudiation of any sources outside the biblical canon. No reputable teacher or scholar would dismiss the use of extra biblical sources, including recent scholarship on the Gospel of John (no reference to the work of Andreas Kostenberger here). Although Phillips is right to be wary of basing our whole opinions on the scholarship of others (13), he is way off base in claiming that to use these resources is of no value. Many scholars have studied the Greek text of the Gospel of John for years and have come to the very opposite conclusions of J. Phillips.

Why should Lazarus be the author of the Gospel of John? Lazarus is not referred to as a fisherman in any accounts of the Gospels. Secondly, there is no internal evidence that Lazarus wrote any book in the Scriptures, there is no internal reference in the New Testament at all. The arguments that Phillips gives for assuming Lazarus was the other disciple fall into the category of relationships: he was singled out as having been loved by Jesus, he sat with Jesus on the last occasion at a table, etc (118-120). These connections in noting the impact of Jesus' teaching upon certain people, but do not figure into making a justification for Lazarus being the author of the Gospel.

The arguments for John the son of Zebedee being the author of the Gospel of John are very clear. There is verbal and word agreement between 1 John and the Gospel of John. There is textual evidence that the author was an eyewitness of Jesus, that 'he who has seen has borne his testimony' (John 19:35). Secondly, there is the appearance of the beloved disciple at the Last Supper (Mark 14:17). From this text we know that the beloved disciple was not Peter. The Greek of the Gospel of John is reasonably well written but not of a precise nature. The language has some Semitisms but could still be thought consonant with what we know of John the son of Zebedee.

This book is riddled with problems and difficulties. The dismissal of using scholarship outside the Bible is not only anti-intellecutal but harmful to those seeking to investigate its claims. There is not even mention of the reasons and uses of John the son of Zebedee as the author in the annals of early church historians in the first few centuries of the church. I would not advise others to read the book nor to wade deeply in his thoughts.

Thanks to the Book Crash program for the review copy of this book


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