John Essay

13451 Words Jul 31st, 2015 54 Pages Page 209 Friday, September 12, 2008 12:00 PM

Bulletin for Biblical Research 18.2 (2008) 209–231

“The Disciple Jesus Loved”:
Witness, Author, Apostle—
A Response to Richard Bauckham’s
Jesus and the Eyewitnesses andreas j. köstenberger and stephen o. stout 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
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Ben Witherington III, What Have They Done with Jesus? (San Francisco: Harper, 2006), 141–56.
James the son of Zebedee: Bob Thurston, affirmed in personal correspondence dated May 21,
2007. The Samaritan woman: James P. Carse, The Gospel of the Beloved Disciple (San Francisco:
Harper, 1997). Page 210 Friday, September 12, 2008 12:00 PM


Bulletin for Biblical Research 18.2

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: auj tovptai) 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 of John, while based on the eyewitness testimony of “the disciple Jesus loved”—featured in four major episodes 5—is actually the product of an unnamed and (now)

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