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The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple

Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John

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"Provides a unified, integrated, and convincing portrait of the Gospel of John that diverges in numerous ways from recent prevailing trends. . . . The collective force of these thirteen studies paves a way forward in Johannine scholarship."--Dane Ortlund, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

How do historical and literary details contribute to a coherent theological witness to Jesus in the Gospel of John? A leading British evangelical New Testament scholar answers that question with studies on themes from messianism to monotheism, symbolic actions from foot-washing to fish-catching, literary contexts from Qumran to the Hellenistic historians, and figures from Nicodemus to 'the beloved disciple' to Papias. Originally published in various journals and collections, these essays are now available for the first time in one affordable volume with a substantial new introduction that ties them all together. A must-have for serious students of the Fourth Gospel.


"This collection of twelve essays on historical and theological Johannine problems, written between 1993 and 2007, is preluded by a comprehensive introduction containing a scholarly program for Johannine research in the future. These studies will give us quite new stimuli for our understanding of the Gospel of John, for Professor Bauckham illuminates neglected historical and theological features of this unique text, which Clement of Alexandria rightly called the 'spiritual Gospel.' The author demonstrates that in our exegesis of John, philological accuracy, profound historical knowledge, and genuine theological understanding must work together to gain new insights."--Martin Hengel, University of Tübingen

"As always, Bauckham is brilliant, providing a fresh rethinking of issues based on his breadth of knowledge of early Judaism and Christianity. While well conversant with current scholarly discussions, he marshals new data and new ideas in ways that invite new perspectives. This work offers insights on various Johannine topics and merits center stage in any new discussions of history in John's Gospel."--Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

"This substantive collection of essays focuses and reenergizes the debate over the historical reliability of the Gospel of John. With probing questions, methodological rigor, and revisionist zeal, Bauckham challenges the 'dominant approach' at every turn. Whether he will manage to unseat it remains to be seen, but Johannine scholarship is well served by his thought-provoking critique."--Jouette M. Bassler, professor emerita of New Testament, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

"The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple is more than a collection of Richard Bauckham's essays on the Fourth Gospel. Taken as a whole, it is a programmatic statement of the author's thesis and argument, the crux of which is embodied in the title. If one infers that Bauckham believes the Johannine community of scholarship has largely gone off the rails, that would not be wrong. He proposes to set it right by paying close attention to the Gospel's own data and claims and by canvassing and assessing the considerable body of evidence bearing on this Gospel in patristic sources. This has not been done in a long time and perhaps never as thoroughly and with such penetrating critical insight. That Bauckham has a thesis to set out and defend makes his book all the more interesting and important. It should be set alongside his extensive treatment of the Fourth Gospel in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses."--D. Moody Smith, George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University

The Author

  1. Richard Bauckham

    Richard Bauckham

    Richard Bauckham (PhD, University of Cambridge) is emeritus professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He is a fellow of the British Academy and the author of numerous books,...

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"[This book] will be helpful to preachers."--R. Albert Mohler Jr., Preaching

"Bauckham is an influential British scholar who has consistently and thoughtfully challenged the prevailing assumptions of New Testament scholarship. This collection of his articles on John's gospel is another parade example of this. . . . Bauckham argues his points cogently and provides a valuable challenge to the assumptions of prevailing theories about John's gospel."--Donald Senior, CP, Bible Today

"The collection as a whole . . . provides a unified, integrated, and convincing portrait of the Gospel of John that diverges in numerous ways from recent prevailing trends. . . . Many strengths of this work could be mentioned. First, Bauckham conscientiously places himself under the text, submitting his own thinking to the aims and theological substructures of the biblical writers. . . . Second, these studies consistently exhibit the extensive grasp of both primary and secondary material that we have come to expect from Bauckham (without flaunting this knowledge in a wearisome or counterproductive way). Third, in his analysis and explication of the primary sources, particularly the patristic material, Bauckham expertly combines meticulous care with unimpeachable good sense, making his proposals very convincing indeed. Fourth, he writes in clear and uncluttered prose, rendering his lines of reasoning traceable even to the uninitiated. . . . The collective force of these thirteen studies paves a way forward in Johannine scholarship. . . . If Bauckham's thoughtful exploration receives what it deserves, it will be widely read and appreciated."--Dane Ortlund, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"Each essay is characteristic Bauckham, exhaustively researched and cogently argued. . . . All the essays in this volume in some way challenge the majority view in Johannine scholarship; this is what makes it such worthwhile reading. . . . This is a valuable book that presents the core of Bauckham's views in Johannine studies, and thus provides a stimulating and challenging read."--Tom Wilson, Theological Book Review

"At a time when the Gospel of John's historical value is being seriously reevaluated . . . Bauckham urges a return to the Gospel as an early and valid source for history. The volume is essential reading . . . because [the arguments] attend to scholarly assumptions that require critical assessment."--Jane S. Webster, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"This is less of a collection of disparate articles on John's gospel and more of an outright challenge to the current state of Johannine scholarship from various angles. . . . When Bauckham goes to work on a particular issue in New Testament scholarship, he typically does so with a bulldozer, and this volume is no exception. Worth particular note in this regard is chapter 2. . . . In this chapter, Bauckham thoroughly treats the external evidence (esp. patristic) for the authorship of the Fourth Gospel. . . . He subsequently treats the internal evidence for authorship in chapter 3. . . . Not all scholars will be convinced by Bauckham's argument regarding the authorship of John's gospel, but it is unquestionable that these two essays now constitute the gates through which any future proposals must pass. . . . The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple deserves a spot on every New Testament scholar's shelf."--Chris Keith, Expository Times

"Although the book could easily be considered a collector's item for those who are interested in John's gospel, I contend that it is much more. . . . Bauckham's essays emphasize again and again that a proper understanding of the text must include an examination of the world 'behind the text.' Over the years, Bauckham's familiarity with historical sources has resulted in his breaking new ground in many aspects of John's gospel. Taken together, his essays set out a direction in Johannine scholarship which is very different from the approach that has been dominant since the late 1970s--and this is the added value of the book. I highly recommend this book to any serious student of the Gospel of John."--Cornelis Bennema, Evangelical Quarterly

"Synthesizing the scholarship of a lifetime, Bauckham has created a wonderful handbook for students of the gospel of John. . . . His careful scholarship and impressive command of the sources and deep understanding of the religious culture of Jesus' times, as well as the theological world of the early church, make Bauckham's essays must-reads for all who hold John's gospel in high esteem and value its message."--Wayne Brouwer, Calvin Theological Journal

"One of Bauckham's primary contributions here is to divest traditional assumptions about the Fourth Gospel of their pre-critical naïveté and put them back on the table as viable options in contemporary exegetical discussion. This, coupled with the mastery of sources and exegetical rigor by which he proceeds, renders his effort an essential read for Johannine and gospel scholars approaching their task from an historical-critical vantage point."--Michael Allen Daise, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

"The subtitle indicates that Bauckham's approach to his topics proceeds under the consideration of issues of narrative, history, and theology. These topics, authorship, genre, audience and influences, and a collection of historical and theological studies, are shot through with historical examination and considerations of narrative structure and technique. . . . Bauckham's arguments are meticulous and detailed. . . . In matters of history, where plausibility is the best we can hope for, Bauckham's arguments are strongly plausible."--Derek Tovey, Colloquium