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Why then is John the Apostle's authorship almost universally rejected in modern critical scholarship?The answer involves several objections as to why the son of the fisherman Zebedee could have authored such a deeply theological text.
Scholars have quite a good idea of the scale of John's family's fishing operation on the Sea of Galilee.Only in John's account of the ministry and life of Jesus of Nazareth is Jesus revealed as the "Word", the Living, creative Second Person of the Divine Trinity.It is John who gives us the theology of Christ as revealed in this deep mystery in which the promised Messiah comes to fulfilled the Old Covenant in His sacrifice and death on the cross, and through His resurrection to establish the New Covenant which transforms man's relationship with God through the gift of the redemption and salvation of mankind.We know that fish was a food staple of the ancient world ("Bread and fish, with the addition of olive-oil and wine, formed in ancient times the most substantial parts of the diet of the people, rich and poor.." M.Rostovtzerff, The Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World).We also know that the Roman authorities hired fishermen on the Galilee to provide fish, salted, pickled and dried, to be exported to Rome and other Roman cities.
The contracts required the fisherman to provide a set number of fish and anything they caught beyond the limit was extra income.
This passage, from the New Jerusalem Bible translation reads: "They [members of the Jewish Law court] were astonished at the fearlessness show by Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated laymen..." The people of Jerusalem and the more sophisticated Greek-culture Jews of the Diaspora generally regarded themselves as superior to the "hicks" from the Galilee, but what is really meant by this passage from Acts is that the members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish law court which was composed of Biblical scholars trained in the Law and Temple priests, were amazed at the eloquence of Peter's defense when he and John were brought before them and charged with false teaching.
Their statement "uneducated laymen", 'am-ha'aretz, is more literally translated "common men".
When I had completed my year of research on John's Gospel I identified 5 statements of truth around which I would build this study: Authorship of the Fourth Gospel The first questions we must address are the questions of authorship and the date this Gospel account was written.
Today most modern Biblical scholars do not accept that John (Yehohanan) the Apostle, son of Zebedee, brother of James the Greater, and Bishop of Ephesus is the author of the fourth Gospel despite the fact that the Fathers of the Church unanimously identified the Apostle John as the inspired writer.
The Scrolls not only contained copies of all the Old Testament texts with the exception of the Book of Esther (many in multiple copies) but also commentaries on Old Testament books and documents of the Community at Qumran where the scrolls were found.