John and the Bishops of the Asian Churches

John’s ministry in Asia Minor and the Dating of John’s Gospel and Revelation

According to a number of ancient writers, John founded the bishoprics in the churches of the province of Asia.

What was the historical situation of these ordinations, according to early Christian tradition, and what can it tell us about when early sources placed the writing of the Gospel and Revelation of John?


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The Confusion of Patmos and Cyprus

Cyprus as the location of John’s exile in some medieval sources

According to a medieval Greek prologue to the Gospels, John wrote his Gospel “in Patmos of Cyprus.”[1] Of course, Patmos is quite a distance from the much larger island of Cyprus (see map below).

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Polycarp, Smyrna, and the Date of Revelation

Was the church of Smyrna founded too late for an early dating of Revelation?

Some claim that according to Polycarp, the Christians at Smyrna (one of the seven churches of Asia addressed in Revelation) had not known the Lord at the time of Paul’s ministry, which ended with his death (c. 66).[1]

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The Martyrdom of Antipas and the Dating of Revelation

What do we know about the martyr Antipas, and does this affect our dating of Revelation?

Antipas , who is remembered on April 11th in the calendar of the Eastern churches, is spoken of as a faithful martyr in Revelation’s letter to the church at Pergamon in Asia (Rev 2:13).

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Papias: One John or Two? (Part 5)

Further Evidence that Papias spoke of two famous Johns

Some scholars argue that Papias spoke of the same John twice, thus removing any possibility that a second John, the Elder, was associated with the Johannine writings. As we have seen, most scholars reject this proposal.

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Papias: One John or Two? (Part 4)

Examining the argument that Papias was identifying the Elder John with the Apostle

Part 4: The Argument for a Single John

Some scholars argue that Papias spoke of the same John twice, thus removing any possibility that a second John, the Elder, was associated with the Johannine writings.

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Papias: One John or Two? (Part 3)

Even many prominent scholars of the traditional view reject the view that Papias spoke of one John

Part 3: Concessions from Scholars Holding the Traditional View

In this post, we will see that Papias’s differentiation of the two Johns has been accepted even among those who hold the traditional view (that the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, wrote all of the Johannine works), despite the fact that this creates an otherwise unknown John who was famous at the time of Papias. Papias’s words are:

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Papias: One John or Two? (Part 2): The Majority View

Scholarly consensus supports two separate John in Papias

We have been considering Papias’s reference to John the Elder. For the most part, scholarship holds that Papias spoke of two separate Johns, and it is generally admitted that had Papias intended to speak of the same John twice, then he expressed himself very unnaturally. Indeed, some exclude even this possibility.

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Papias: One John or Two? (Part 1)

Did Papias of Hierapolis speak of one John (the Apostle/Elder) or of two separate famous Johns (John the Apostle and John the Elder)?

In the preface to his lost work, Exposition of the Dominical Oracles, Papias of Hierapolis (early second century) lists a number of disciples of the Lord, among whom he names the Apostle John and John the Elder.

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John Mark? You have got to be kidding me!

My research into the thesis that the early Christians identified John/Mark with John the Evangelist

I remember as a graduate student talking about my undergraduate research with another student. There was interest until I mentioned that I had examined the potential identification of the Beloved Disciple/John the Evangelist with the John also called Mark.

Immediately the mood changed. Words didn’t need to be spoken; the incredulous look and change in demeanor said it all. The conversation was brought to an abrupt end.

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