The Gospel of John

Jesus is crucified, though not animalistically in the text, and he seems to metaphorically reference Pronoia/Barbelo in GosJohn 19:27: “Then he said to the disciple “Here is your Mother [Pronoia?].” Then in an interesting twist: “Jesus knew that all was now finished. He said [in order to fulfill the scripture,] ‘I am thirsty’…. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” This is a fascinating element since at that precise moment, Christ (the Spirit) leaves the earthly body of Jesus (similar to the end of TriProt) just as Christ did not enter Jesus’ body until his baptism (GosJohn 1:32 “And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.’” This phenomenon is also portrayed in The Gospel of Mark (GosMark) 1:10 when “he [John] saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’”) Therefore, Christ was not present for the gruesome details post crucifixion such as when his side was pierced by the spears, an act that allegedly fulfilled the scriptures (GosJohn 19:34-36)—just like how Jesus did not encapsulate Christ’s Spirit until his baptism. This close reading of GosJohn is actually similar to many of the Nag Hammadi treatises that have Christ’s Spirit looking on as Jesus is crucified; technically this viewpoint represents the concept of moderate doceticism. Christ’s Spirit is what is ultimately important.

More broadly, per Paul N. Anderson’s work Mark, John, and Answerability: Interfluentiality and Dialectic between the Second and Fourth Gospels, “Independently, John Ashton and I came to the same conclusion that the best way to explain John’s perplexities with a minimal amount of speculation builds on a modification of Barnabas Lindars’ composition theory. A first edition of John appears to have been gathered around 80-85 CE, about a decade after the finalization of Mark. It apparently began with the ministry of John the Baptist (as did Mark) and closed with John 20:31, declaring why the Gospel had been written. John 5 originally flowed into John 7, as the healing of the paralytic on the Sabbath is still being discussed, suggesting the likelihood that John 6 was inserted during a later edition of the Gospel. Likewise, John 15–17 appears to have been inserted in between John 14:31 and 18:1, and this material especially shows signs of being later material gathered around the question of how Christ continues to lead the church through the Holy Spirit. Chapter 21 then appears to have been added by the editor, along with Beloved Disciple motifs and some eyewitness-appeal material.”

He goes on: “Interestingly, the first-edition material contains virtually all the controversy material between Jesus and Jewish leaders (suggesting Jewish-Christian debates within the Johannine situation), and the supplementary material contains most of the incarnational material in John (suggesting debates with Gentile, Docetizing Christians within the Johannine situation). For these and other reasons, John’s tradition should be considered not as diachronic with relation to the sources of its material; but, it indeed appears diachronic intratraditionally, in that an earlier edition seems to be followed by a later and final edition, with the Johannine Epistles produced during the interim. John was likely finalized around 100 CE after the death of the Beloved Disciple, and the editor (plausibly the author of the Johannine Epistles) apparently prepared this work as a manifesto of Jesus’ original intentionality for the church. Rather than inferring a dialectical relationship between the Johannine evangelist and a Mark-like source (whose features had presumably been “de-Markified” and subsequently “re-Johannified”), the more likely inference is that the Johannine tradition itself was engaged in an intertextual dialogue with other Gospel traditions, and in particular, Mark. This dialogue between Johannine and Markan traditions can be plausibly inferred during the oral stages of John’s tradition, and likewise within John’s first edition and supplementary material. Conversely, engagements with John’s tradition may be inferred within the pre-Markan material, and likewise within The Gospel of Mark and its second ending.”

“John’s convergences-with-and-departures-from Mark might not imply either a simplistic dependence or independence between the two traditions, but a more dialectical engagement between them, allowing for John’s overall following of Mark’s project, while setting the record straight here and there correctively and also augmenting Mark in a non-duplicative way. Therefore, if a dialectical history of engagement indeed existed between the Markan and Johannine traditions – including corrective moves as well as complementary ones – John’s pervasive autonomy should not be taken for isolated independence.”

“Both in the Markan-Johannine similarities as well as the Markan-Johannine differences, aspects of interfluentiality and intertextuality may to some degree be inferred.” Essentially, “The relation of John’s tradition to Mark’s was interfluentialaugmentive, and corrective…if the Johannine evangelist sought to augment Mark’s narrative, many of the problematic aspects of John’s differences and similarities with Mark cease to be as troubling as they might have otherwise seemed. Whereas Matthew and Luke eventually built upon Mark, John appears to have built around Mark…John’s first edition as the “second gospel” is different from Mark on purpose.” I’ll discuss Mark in much more detail in a later Section. Later, Anderson adds: “The Fourth Gospel was probably 70 years in the making.”

As has been discussed in the scholarly community, there is much similarity between the entire TriProt and the Johannine Prologue, as well as some with the Pronoia Monologue in ApJohn-LR, though it’s not as striking. What is striking is Irenaeus’ statement regarding the notion that Jesus is united to Christ. Did he even read the Fourth Gospel? Furthermore, in order to be inline with what another Pistic (Orthodox) member remarked, he noted that Jesus lived to the age of 50, and he goes on to say that “Clearly the so-called Gnostics did think that Christ appears after his resurrection from the Dead!”

Ultimately, I agree with Karen King of Harvard that ApJohn is effectively Part II of John’s Gospel, and I’d go on to say that TriProt is effectively Part III. ApJohn in some sense is actually key to interpreting the Gospel (think back to the original Greek, “The father of the devil.”) Just like GosJohn can be construed as the most literal of the Orthodox Canon, in its own way ApJohn, and by extension TriProt, is literally (or at least plainly) written though many of the concepts relate to the mythologoumena.

As Dr. Karen King states on pp. 237-238 in her book, The Secret Revelation of John (SecJohn/ApJohn,) “another purpose might be exegetical. The fact that The Secret Revelation to John is framed as the return of Christ to complete his revelation and show the way back to the Divine Realm makes it possible to read it as the completion of Christ’s revelation in The Gospel of John, the fulfillment of his promise to return and show them the way back to the Father. ApJohn is filling in the gaps in Christ’s revelation in GosJohn, offering a fuller narrative of the Divine Realm [Pleroma,] the creation of the world and humanity; the condition of humanity in the world, and salvation. The ascription of the work to John overtly places ApJohn in the tradition of Johannine Christianity and it has the effect of asking readers to interpret GosJohn within the framework of Christ’s revelation.”