Is Johannine material early?

Paul Anderson, who has undertaken a new quest for a new quest for the historical Jesus (i.e. using John), has published an article on a not unrelated topic of Lukan access to Johannine tradition. Here is a typical point:

John contains a good deal of primitive material, and thus the Johannine tradition would have been available to Luke as a gatherer of gospel material long before the finalization of either Gospel.


Away from this article but closer to others by Anderson, can John, with all its distinctive Christology and theology of a seemingly later period, really be used in the quest for the historical Jesus?


6 responses to “Is Johannine material early?

  1. Luke makes no bones about the fact that he is dependent on other, primary sources.

  2. But do they necessarily include Johannine sources?

    • “necessarily implies” is a physics question. Here in “Bible Land” we’re happy with “suggests!”

      • Bible land, where it suggests what you want it to suggest. So much that is wrong with ‘scholarship’ comes out of “Bible land”. Does Luke’s acknowledgement of sources, also ‘suggest’ “Q”? – that carefully reconstructed single written Greek document for which we have a text but lost the manuscript…

  3. I do not think they necessarily exclude the possibility of Johannine sources being used.

  4. Paul Anderson’s article arguing for Luke’s use of John is seriously flawed. He finds it difficult to see why the Johannine author would have omitted the most memorable features of Luke. I don’t find it at all difficult, for he had his own distinct aims. For instance the Evangelist wanted to present Jesus as having come down from heaven, and picturing him as being born of a human mother would not have furthered this aim. Anderson’s case re Ac 4:19-20 won’t stand up. It depends on the artificial separation of what “Peter and John” said into a sentence by each, as well as on the nowadays discredited authorship by the apostle John. As for his long list of similarities, they are just that. He provides no satisfactory evidence for his belief that it was Luke who was dependent on Johannine material rather than John dependent on Luke.
    There is some evidence that the author of John knew something about Jerusalem, e.g. the stone pavement in 19:13. But I’m not convinced he had access to any reliable traditions about Jesus apart from those which were embedded in the synoptics, so I don’t think John can be used in the quest for the HJ.

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