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Chapter Summary

When one approaches the Gospel of John, one is confronted with beauty and mystery, with almost countless difficulties and controversies, and with a text that has had a tremendous influence on both Christian and Jewish history. This book investigate the early, specifically second-century reception of the Fourth Gospel. This is an era when its fortunes are surrounded by silence and mystery. It is often asked, what happened to John's Gospel in the years after its composition and before it was picked up by various Christian theologians in the mid- to late second century. The standard answer, until quite recently, has been that Gnostic and other so-called heterodox groups were the first ones to appreciate this spiritual gospel, and hence the mainstream Christians avoided using it until authors like Theophilus of Antioch and Irenaeus of Lyons, in the last quarter of the second century, rescued it for the church.

Keywords: Gospel of John; Irenaeus of Lyons; Theophilus of Antioch



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