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13. JOHN THE ELDER NOT THE WRITER OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL.

May we therefore speak of John the Elder in Ephesus as the author of the Fourth Gospel? Support for this might, as a matter of fact, be found in the consideration that Irenaeus and his successors virtually supposed this, even though they believed that this John in Ephesus was the Apostle. But the assumption will not bear closer examination. If he was a disciple of Jesus, and consequently a man whose home was in Palestine, he ought to have known more about the tenure of the high-priest’s office. But, above all, his standpoint was hardly less Jewish-Christian than that of the Apostle. In fact when Polycarp (see p. 173), who was a former disciple of his, visited Rome towards the end of his life (154 or 155), and found that Easter was fixed at a quite different time (the time at which we still fix it) from that of Asia Minor, where he lived, he appealed to the practice of John (and others). In Asia Minor what, according to the Jewish Calendar, was always the 14th Nisan was duly celebrated, not in memory of the death of Jesus—as the Fourth Gospel would require (p. 118)—but of the institution of the Supper a practice which conflicts with the Fourth Gospel, and is, as a matter of fact, supported by a special appeal to Mt. The John who shared this practice as leader of the Church of Asia Minor cannot have written the Fourth Gospel. Moreover, this would be equally true 190of John the Apostle if he had been the leader of the Church of Asia Minor.

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