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The Beloved Disciple in John: Ideal Figure in an Early Christian Controversy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the designation "the disciple Jesus loved" is closely associated with his role as the authenticator of the Gospel of John. The Beloved Disciple's portrayal in the Johannine empty tomb stories involves many difficulties of interpretation. John 20:2-10 is based either directly on the short account of Peter's visit in Luke 24:12,41 or on a tradition similar to it. In John 21: l-14, the Beloved Disciple is portrayed as the one who recognizes the risen Jesus before the other disciples (John 21:7). The affinities between the portrayals of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple are strong enough to suggest a deliberate literary device in John. Special disciples are often characterized with language implying a relationship of love between them and their teachers not only in other early Christian writings but also in contemporary Jewish and Greco-Roman texts.

Keywords: Beloved Disciple; early Christian writings; Gospel of John; Greco-Roman texts; Jesus

10.1163/9789004268210_010
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