Study One: The Beloved Disciple's Name and Story (Continued)

The Galilean Twelve of the Synoptics and the Beloved Disciple of the Fourth Gospel

Our detailed analysis of the four Gospels has rather clearly exposed a difference--a tension if not an actual "conflict"--between the Markan-based tradition of a Peter-centered Galilean Twelve on the one hand, and the Fourth Gospel tradition of a Jerusalem--based Beloved Disciple on the other.

It must be said that the tension is all one-sided in that the Synoptics don't even recognize the existence of the other tradition. And that would seem to be the very heart of the problem for the Fourth Gospel. It gives no evidence of wanting to refute or deny the historical actuality of the Galilean Twelve but simply shows a desire to win recognition for its own tradition alongside that one. The basic argument seems to be that its tradition, compared with that of the Synoptics, has credentials that are equally as good, just as strong a connection to the historical Jesus, and just as much right to be considered dominical. There does not have to be any fight for superiority but simply a recognition of equality--which, finally, seems to be granted by the acceptance of both the Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel as part of the canon.

The preceding chart shows that there are radical differences of form and character between the Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel that raise knotty problems concerning the history of the man Jesus. Yet, at the time the Fourth Gospel was written, the central issue probably was not the historical one but the theological one of how Jesus was to be described, his person and work explained. And here the Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel betray very different theological worldviews.

The Historical Eschatology of the Synoptics

The frame of reference consistently assumed by the Synoptics is what we shall call historical eschatology. With that term we have in mind the assumption that "salvation," "the purpose of God," "the work of Christ," "the meaning of life"--all aspects of the faith--are meant to be understood in terms of God's directing human history toward the outcome he has in mind for it (call it "the new creation," "the kingdom of God," "the messianic age," "the day of the Lord," or what you will).

The Story of Jesus, Covenant Lord of the Coming Kingdom

  1. Earthly Ministry. Jesus' ministry has four principal components:
    1. proclamation of the kingdom's coming,
    2. demonstration of its powers
    3. anticipation of its future reality, and
    4. exhortation to kingdom living.
  2. Passion & Death. In Jesus' passion and death are effected:
    1. the cutting (initializing) of the New Covenant in Jesus' blood,
    2. the atonement accomplishing eschatological forgiveness of sin,
    3. God's final victory over the powers.
  3. Resurrection. Jesus' resurrection into the new life of the kingdom brings in its train both:
    1. the baptismal resurrection of believers and
    2. the general resurrection at the end of the age.
  4. Exaltation. Jesus is enthroned as living Lord-the one made responsible for the remainder of the sequence-established at the right hand of power (graphically represented in his ascension).
  5. The Living Lord in His Body (as Holy Spirit). Jesus' followers receive Pentecostal empowerment for
    1. the evangelistic mission of eschatological "harvest" and for
    2. newness of life-as individuals, but especially as communities of the end time.
  6. The Coming of Jesus and/or the Kingdom. Then comes "the end, when he [Jesus] hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed every rule and every authority and power ... so that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:20-28).

Consider, then, that this eschatological orientation inevitably makes theology not a matter of intellectual concept and abstract thought but a matter of historical narrative--dealing, thus, with the concrete particulars of social, public history. The goal of such theology is not developing systematic, rational theory but rather getting the story rightly told and interpreted. Accordingly, this tradition is best served not so much by profound "thinkers" as by reliable "witnesses."

In background, the historical eschatology of the Synoptics undoubtedly took its rise from the mainline Old Testament development--notably, the histories (beginning perhaps with the promise to Abraham that "By you all the families of the shall [finally] bless themselves"), the greater number of Psalms, and the whole of the prophetic tradition. It would seem that modern scholarship has demonstrated conclusively that Jesus of Nazareth understood himself and his career primarily in terms of historical eschatology. The apostolic church then carried the idea forward directly from Jesus--to where Paul picked it up and developed it. The Gospel of Mark in particular, but the other Synoptic traditions as well, proceeded make it the Gospel thematic. The Fourth Gospel and the three Epistles of John constitute perhaps the only New Testament literature betraying any different frame of reference. Historical eschatology safely can be called "the mainline tradition of Scripture."

And not only is it the case that the earliest Christian understanding was eschatological, but contemporary scholarship is now in almost full agreement as to what specific events (with what interpretations) made up the eschatological sequence of that earliest understanding. The chart represents my own version of what scholars now find the New Testament to be saying. (Of course, many of the components of this series do appear in the Fourth Gospel. Yet the point is here that here the interpretations are different. In the Fourth Gospel, no individual component is itself "forward looking," is seen as part of an ongoing historical sequence, or, above all, is seen to be explicitly pointed toward the final outcome described in part six of the chart.)

The Divine Communication of the Fourth Gospel

While historical eschatology asks the question, "Where is human history headed?" divine communication asks, "How can God, from the heavenly sphere, communicate his divine beatitude (the Beloved Disciple regularly calls it 'eternal life') to individuals in the sphere of the earthly, finite, and sinful?" Out of all the contrasts that could be developed between these worldviews, we will look at just two.

  1. Because it is world-historical in orientation, the eschatological tradition must also understand salvation in terms of social community. Of course, the individual does find personal salvation--but finds it precisely through becoming enlisted in the larger process of God's saving his creation. On the other hand, because divine communication is oriented primarily toward a believer's finding "eternal life," it inevitably sees salvation in the more individualistic terms of a person's coming to faith in Jesus.
  2. Because it wants and needs only witnesses who can get the narrative of God's story rightly told and interpreted, the theology of historical eschatology is essentially simple and available to anyone without particular intellectual qualification. A fisherman like Peter will make just as good an apostle as a rabbinical egghead like Paul. Quite different is the language of divine communication in the Fourth Gospel, which speaks much more to readers who can handle matters of intellectual comprehension, creative insight, abstract conceptualizing, and philosophic theory-building. It may well be true that the Fourth Gospel is written in the plainest and simplest Greek of them all—and that (on one level) it has a message available to the most common of readers. Yet it is also true that this Gospel has other levels of meaning much more subtle and sophisticated than anything found in the Synoptics. Throughout Christian history there has been a notable tendency for intellectuals to gravitate toward the Fourth Gospel as their favorite.

I have no interest in pitting these two modes of apprehension against each other, puffing one up and putting the other down. My only concern here is to show that these two New Testament traditions appeal to two different sets of mind. Yet what this suggests is that the Fourth Gospel comes out of a ground different from that of biblical eschatology. Its predecessors seem rather to have been the Old Testament "wisdom tradition," the more speculative and theorizing wing of rabbinical Judaism, and apparently even influences from Hellenistic philosophy. Of course, this tradition does stand as reputable and well-grounded--yet it also has to be counted as minor and heterodox in comparison with the dominance of biblical eschatology.

Now if the Fourth Gospel was written out of a sense that it was wrong for the church to ignore and dismiss that intellectualist tradition by giving attention solely to the eschatological Synoptic one, then it has been just as wrong for the later church to reverse that evaluation. Up until quite recent times, biblical scholarship has shown its own strongly pro-intellectualist bias by favoring the Fourth Gospel. One way it has done so is by arguing that the two Gospel types are to be read in sequence, marking a progress in Christian thought. The intellectuality of the Fourth Gospel marks a theological sophistication that overcomes and supersedes the primitivism of historical eschatology; the Beloved Disciple's theology of religious experience (if that is what it is) gives us a way of escaping the unscientific crudity of supernaturalism and public miracle.

To my mind, one of the most damaging tendencies of Christian theology has been the inclination to assume that the more subtle, sophisticated, and intellectualized an explanation is, the truer it is. But of course, this doesn't begin to follow--particularly regarding God's truth, which we must assume he has revealed for the benefit of all. Yet I would guess the same bias is at work when we explain that the Fourth Gospel is the spiritual one--without even pausing to say what we mean by "spiritual." What can we mean except "having less to do with actual historical reality and more to do with ideas, abstractions, and generalizations"? And these we automatically take as being superior to nuts-and-bolts historical actuality.

Another way in which this intellectualist bias shows up is in an idea that dates at least as far back as John Calvin--namely, that the Fourth Gospel is our key to understanding the Synoptics. On the contrary, it strikes me that if one thing is clear it is this: using the Fourth Gospel as the key will guarantee a misunderstanding of the Synoptics. These two kinds of Gospel represent differerent mind-sets and independent voices. Each has to be understood on its own terms. Any attempt to merge them, try to make them speak with a common voice, or to use one unlock the other cannot work except to the detriment of both. So I'm with the Beloved Disciple himself in not claiming that his tradition stands superior to that of the Galilean Twelve or that his word should displace theirs; I, like him, am just complaining that theirs should not be taken as God's only word. Even though the Fourth Gospel is a minor voice, it deserves a hearing, too.

The Creation of the Fourth Gospel

The Source and the Writer--Dividing the Labor

Does our analysis enable us to say anything about who the Beloved Disciple was or how his book came to be written?

I think it is safe to say that, although the Beloved Disciple is claimed as the Source of the book, that does not necessarily (nor even likely) mean that he is its actual Writer. The eyewitness testimony about the Crucifixion (Jn. 19:35) reads, "He who saw this has testified so that you may also believe. His testimony is true"--not "I saw it, and my testimony is true." The original, chapter 20 ending of the book says, "... these are written ...." rather than "I have written these ...." And the later, Chapter 21 ending says, "This is the disciple ..." rather than "I am the disciple...." And the remainder of that verse, though it reads that he is the one who has written them, could as accurately he translated to say that is the one who has "caused these things to be written."

If the Writer was a close colleague and follower of the Source,is quite understandable that he would refer to his master by using the honorific title "the disciple whom Jesus loved." If, however, the Writer was the same person as the Source (was himself the Beloved Disciple), it is hard to believe that he would be so presumptuous as to write a document identifying himself against all others, as "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

The epistles of 2 John and 3 John each open with the writer's identifying himself as "the Elder." And second-century church tradition tells us there was a man known as "John the Elder" who was associated with "John the Disciple, son of Zebedee" in the writing of the Gospel. We will need to do a great deal more testing before we decide whether to identify this "John-Z" as the Beloved Disciple. However, it does not seem too incautious a move to suggest that "the Elder" of 2 & 3 John is tradition's "John the Elder" and is the Writer of the Gospel, though not the Beloved Disciple who is its Source.

Our theory that there were two people, a Source and a Writer, certainly would still leave the Beloved Disciple (the Source) responsible for all the memories of Jesus included in the Gospel--and undoubtedly responsible for the basics of that Gospel's theology as well. The assumption must be that the Beloved Disciple was around long enough to guide the development both of his own community of disciples and of his whole school of thought. John the Writer, of course, would have to take responsibility for many of the details of form and interpretation we find in the Gospel, but we can take for granted that he did his very best to be as true to his Source as he could manage. The finished Gospel, then, can he taken as an accurate and faithful expression of the memories and mind of one of Jesus' disciples whom his followers had come to know as "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

John bar Zebedee--Unlikely Candidate

As we come to the problem of naming that Beloved Disciple, we will insist upon one rule--namely, if we are to find any clue to his identity, it will have to come from the Fourth Gospel itself. Since it is the only document that even knows of a Beloved Disciple, it is the only document that can be of any help in identifying him. To put the matter most pointedly, we dare not use data from the Synoptic tradition to draw conclusions about what must have been true for the tradition of the Fourth Gospel. Thus, simply the fact that the Markan tradition saw John the son of Zebedee (John-Z) as an at least somewhat prominent figure is no indication that Fourth Gospel tradition saw him the same way. Similarly, we must reject the reasoning noted earlier: that because the Synoptics imply that only the Galilean Twelve attended the Last Supper, and because the Fourth Gospel places the Beloved Disciple there, the Beloved disciple must he one of the Twelve.

Thus, what we now need to see is that--if we confine ourselves to the Fourth Gospel's own evidence--there is no way anyone could ever have come to the conclusion that the Beloved Disciple was even one of the Galilean Twelve, let alone John-Z. This identification is based solely upon a late-second-century church tradition to that effect, a tradition that came to be supported with arguments from the Synoptics. As we have seen, if it were the Synoptics that called this beloved one "a disciple," that would have been as much as to identify him as one of the Galilean Twelve. But when it is only the Fourth Gospel that calls him "a disciple," nothing of the sort is implied.

Consequently, I am now ready to propose that the Fourth Gospel not only fails to even hint that its Beloved Disciple is John-Z but actually suggests that such is one of the poorest guesses that could be made. The fact that the Writer of the book was probably a man named "John," plus the easy assumption that, since the Beloved Disciple is called a "disciple," he must have been one of the Twelve--my hunch is that these considerations in themselves would have been enough to latch tradition onto John-Z. But here follow our arguments to contrary:

  1. When the Synoptics make it so clear that John-Z was a subordinate of Peter, is it credible that John-Z himself would have been party to a rival Gospel in which he is portrayed as a rival of Peter's? Hardly; that Beloved Disciple rival just has to be someone other than John-Z.
  2. All we know of John-Z indicates that he was a Galilean fisherman. This makes it very hard to find in him the intellectual and educational background requisite for the founder of a theology as sophisticated and subtle as the Fourth Gospel's divine communication. John-Z probably didn't even have the vocabulary to do the intellectualist philosophizing that the Beloved Disciple does with, say, "the Word" (Logos).
  3. If John-Z was as completely part and parcel of the Galilean Twelve as the evidence indicates, it will be very difficult to explain how he came to break entirely away from that community's memory of, understanding of, and theological interpretation of Jesus--to go off in a quite different direction.
  4. If the Beloved Disciple was John-Z, that means the ideological tension developed within the community of the Galilean Twelve rather than between the Galilean Twelve and an outside community. If such is the case, it is hard to see how the Synoptic tradition (which is, of course, that of the Galilean Twelve) could have avoided any knowledge or hint of this split within its own ranks. Could that tradition write its Gospels showing John-Z to be simply "one of the boys" if it were common knowledge that he had broken away to found a new school of thought and new communities on his own? If, on the other hand, the Beloved Disciple were someone else who had never been an integral part of the Galilean Twelve community, it is easy to understand how the Synoptic tradition could have chosen simply to ignore the existence of the small, alien, offshoot tradition that had never been part of the Synoptic story anyhow. Indeed, it was probably this very ignoring that moved the Beloved Disciple to argue his case in the first place.

NOTE: By the way, of the Synoptic traditions, it is uniquely that strand of material known only to Luke that betrays any awareness of distinctive Fourth Gospel memories. There are perhaps seven points at which Luke's Gospel shows special agreement with the Fourth Gospel:

  1. Though he puts it in an entirely different setting, Luke does have a similar story about fishing all night, catching nothing, and then--at the instigation of Jesus--making a miraculous catch.
  2. It could he out a knowledge of the Fourth Gospel's tradition of Andrew being the first-called disciple that Luke chose to leave Andrew out of his scene of the calling of the fishermen.
  3. Luke knows about the sisters Mary and Martha (who otherwise appear only in the Fourth Gospel)--what apparently not their brother Lazarus.
  4. Only Luke and the Fourth Gospel agree that one of the twelve disciples was a "Judas" other than the one called "Iscariot."
  5. We later will explore the possibility that, among the Synoptists, only Luke knew what the Fourth Gospel explicitly states--that the woman who anointed Jesus was named "Mary." Further,
  6. only in Luke and the Fourth Gospel does this woman anoint Jesus' feet and then dry them with her hair.
  7. We have seen that it is only a minor variant reading of Luke that agrees with the Fourth Gospel in placing Peter at the garden tomb on Easter morning.

Of course, I do not mean to imply that the Fourth Gospel was already in writing at the time Luke wrote his Gospel and at Luke had seen it. Rather, Luke is the one evangelist who claims to have done deliberate research in preparation for his writing. Accordingly, he may have been the one willing to seek out and interview the Beloved Disciple (or some of his followers) and incorporate at least a bit of the Fourth Gospel version into his own account.

  1. If the Beloved Disciple is John-Z, then the rather clear Fourth Gospel pattern of "Galilee/Peter/rustic eschatology" balanced against "Jerusalem/Beloved Disciple/sophisticated eschatology" won't begin to work; John-Z is too decidedly of the wrong group.
  2. We need to be quite clear about in which respects the of the Fourth Gospel is shy in speaking of the Beloved Disciple and in which respects he is not. He obviously is shy namingthe Beloved Disciple; he is not at all shy about introducing him into the account. Quite the contrary, if (as seems very much the case) one of the goals of his writing is to establish the credibility and authority of that disciple, then I think it safe to assume that the Writer has recorded every significant appearance of the Beloved Disciple he honestly could. There would be no cause for him deliberately to suppress information helpful to his argument.

    Thus, the only conceivable reason for his not giving us Beloved Disciple scenes out of the Galilean phase of Jesus' ministry is that the Beloved Disciple was not there. John-Z obviously was there; ergo, John-Z is not the Beloved Disciple. Or, to state the matter differently: If John-Z is the Beloved Disciple, then clearly the Beloved Disciple was present at Jesus' transfiguration. If the Beloved Disciple had been present, he undoubtedly would later have recounted that story to his community along with the other stories he told them. And if the Beloved Disciple had told this story, John the Writer would have been familiar with it. And if familiar with it, the Writer certainly would have wanted it in the Fourth Gospel as one of the very best stories for his purpose. So, if the Transfiguration could honestly have been presented as a Beloved Disciple scene, it would surely be in the Fourth Gospel. It is not there--which is proof enough that the Beloved Disciple was not present. John-Z was present--which is to say that he is not the Beloved Disciple. (Sherlock would have had no trouble following that--even if you did.)
  3. Similarly, of crucial importance to the Writer's purpose would be a scene recounting how the Beloved Disciple became a disciple of Jesus in the first place--that proof of qualification perhaps taking precedence over whatever other scenes the Gospel might give him. Consequently, if (as per Jn. 1:35-42) the second disciple of John the Baptist (who, along with Andrew, initially converts to Jesus) is the Beloved Disciple, then the Writer has the right scene put in the right terms and in just the right spot: Jesus' first-called disciples are the Beloved Disciple in tandem with a representative of what will become the Galilean Twelve. However, if Andrew's companion is John-Z, the pattern doesn't hold. And unless that companion is the beloved Disciple, the Fourth Gospel stands without any account of its hero ever being made a disciple--which, particularly in an argument as sophisticated as that of our Writer, would amount to an incredible oversight.

However, the evidence suggests anything but oversight. Occasionally the Fourth Gospel uses the phrase "the disciple whom Jesus loved"; more frequently it uses the wording "another disciple" or "the other disciple." Once (in Jn. 20:2) the text ads, "the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved." Thus it seems safe to assume that when the Writer makes any reference to another, unnamed disciple, he has in mind this one particular disciple whom Jesus loved. It is beyond credibility that the writer has a number of different disciples that he is committed to keeping anonymous.

The account of Jesus' acquiring his first two disciples is just slightly different. Neither the phrase "the disciple whom Jesus loved" nor the phrase "the other disciple" is used. Rather, in Jn. 1:35-42, the matter reads thus: John the Baptist is standing with "two of his disciples" who, at Jesus' approach, hear their master speak in recommendation of him. "The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus." Then, upon concluding his account, the Writer notes, "One of the two who heard John speak and followed him [Jesus], was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother." There is obviously a second disciple who converts along with Andrew--though no sort of individual reference to him is made.

Even so, I find more than enough circumstantial evidence to establish that this "played-down" disciple was indeed he who later came to be known as the one Jesus loved. Consider also what the Gospel itself makes certain--namely, that the Source (if not the Writer) of the Gospel is this same Beloved Disciple. And what I find in his Gospel is evidence aplenty that he had once been a disciple of John the Baptist.

Notice, first, that in his great Prologue of Jn. 1:1-18 the author takes pains to insert the two careful footnotes of verses 6-8 and verse 15. In both notes he makes the same dual point:

  1. that the Baptist was a true servant of God deserving the highest respect, but
  2. that he himself was not the "Logos/Light" who became flesh--because that, of course, was Jesus.

The passage immediately following (Jn. 1:19-34) is, then, this Gospel's account of John the Baptist--the entire content of which is the Baptist's push-push-pushing the point that only Jesus is "the One" and John himself merely a witness and helper.

Now why, I ask, should the Beloved Disciple find this point so vitally important, while the Synoptic writers are content simply to mention it as obvious, without any felt need to argue it in detail or at length? The explanation (I propose) is that the man behind this Gospel (the Beloved Disciple, of course) had in fact been a disciple of John the Baptist and knew that this background of his was common knowledge. He had probably come under criticism--his Jewish enemies even accusing him of being a fence-jumper and traitor for the way in which he had deserted the Baptist in order to join Jesus.

In such case it would, of course, be important to set straight at the very outset the facts of the matter--namely, that no disloyalty had been involved, that it was the Baptist himself who was most insistent about his being merely a forerunner who was meant to serve Jesus rather than compete with him. Thus, the very treatment accorded the Baptist in this Gospel is evidence that the Beloved Disciple was indeed that unnamed follower who, along with Andrew, had converted to Jesus.

And if the case be as we have shown it, then the traditional idea that this Beloved Disciple was also none other than the fisherman disciple John-Z can't be made to fit the scenario at all. We already have noted that the Fourth Gospel never so much as names John-Z (a passing reference to "the sons of Zebedee" in its final chapter being the closest it comes to doing so). The Fourth Gospel provides us absolutely no information regarding John-Z; for that, we are dependent wholly upon the Synoptics. And those three Synoptics are unanimous in placing John-Z among the fishermen whom Jesus approaches on the seashore in Galilee to commandeer into his service as disciples. Surely the Synoptic wording more strongly prohibits rather than suggests the possibility that John-Z already was a disciple who had made his commitment somewhat earlier down south. Indeed, the Synoptic evidence points to the conclusion that John-Z became Jesus' disciple on the Galilean seashore and that, therefore, the follower of the Baptist who earlier, down south, had become Jesus' disciple, subsequently to be known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved "--he must have been someone else.

Of course, the same problem presents itself when the Fourth Gospel tells us that "Andrew, the brother of Peter" was another follower of the Baptist who, there in the south, converted to Jesus while the Synoptics clearly claim Andrew as one of the commandeered Galilean fishermen. Yet with "Andrew" there are important differences. For one, the earlier case dealt with a Fourth-Gospel down-south convert who is completely unnamed. Tradition has arbitrarily(without any sort of textual support) identified him with a particular one of the four named Galilean fishermen. However, in the present case, "Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter" is named by name both in the down-south Fourth Gospel account and in the Galilean Synoptic one. This is far from arbitrary; there is here no way of denying the connection.

The other difference is the more intriguing and compelling. Because it is clear that Luke used Mark's Gospel as one of the sources for writing his own, it is indisputable that he was well aware that, in the "calling of the fishermen" (Jn. 1:16-20), Mark explicitly named the two sets of brothers--first "Simon and Andrew" and then "James and John." Yet, even though Luke had that knowledge, he managed to write his own version of the incident (Lk. 5:1-11) without acknowledging anyone named "Andrew," without mentioning that Peter even had a brother, without recognizing that any more than three fishermen-became disciples. In fact, in the entire Gospel of Luke, the apostolic listing of Lk. 6:12-16 is the one and only notice that there ever was an "Andrew" who was Peter's brother.

So, why this perversity on Luke's part? I see but one explanation: Luke (I propose) knew the truth (as apparently neither Mark nor Matthew did) of what the Beloved Disciple later wrote--name1y, that Andrew was the very first of Jesus' discipies, who had become such by "transferring" from John the Baptist. This means that if Luke portrayed Andrew as becoming a disciple along with the other three fishermen, he would knowingly be giving an inaccurate account. Luke may have assumed that Andrew wasn't even present on the seashore--or that, even if Andrew was there, he ought not simply be lumped in with the other three "first timers." So apparently Luke decided that he didn't even want to recount the earlier story of Andrew (which was his literary privilege). And in light of that choice, I think I agree with Luke that the easiest way of keeping straight and unconfused the line of the story he really wanted to tell was simply to drop complicating "Andrew" entirely from the picture--it was either that or else distract the readers by having to tell the whole story of Andrew.

In any case, the reconciling of Andrew's Fourth Gospel "down south" discipleship with his Synoptic "up north" disciples his--this is a very much clearer, easier, and more certain move than the entirely unsupported speculation that Andrew's unnamed "down south" companion is the same person as his "up north" fishing neighbor, John-Z. Luke, at least, does not buy this idea; otherwise, logic would dictate that he treat the two men the same, dropping "John-Z" right along with "Andrew" so as to avoid suggesting that John-Z also first became a disciple on the seashore (which, of course, is not the case if he is indeed the Beloved Disciple).

No, I submit that neither the Fourth Gospel nor the Synoptics will "work" (they won't "mesh") unless, after the two followers of the Baptist convert to Jesus, Andrew goes north to be the point of contact in forming the Galilean Twelve and the Beloved Disciple stays south to be the point of contact for his own Jerusalem disciple-group (and John-Z is obviously no one who stayed south).

Copyright (c) 1987