Article X: Please Stand Up

Written by:
Jacob King

Before anything else — before I could even begin considering the wild claims made in The Gospel According to John — I had to know whether the piece was actually authored by the peach-fuzz-face witness, John himself. This was a deal breaker for the authentication of the claims made in this work. John the son of Zebedee is the only one that could have actually witnessed first-hand (and therefore been worthy to testify to) these supposed miracles. He alone had the first-hand experience to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this Voice wasn’t just a mere ape descendant like the rest of us… but, in fact, someone of a celestial origin. The alleged authorship of ole babyface himself is of the utmost importance because the farther the supposed “miracle” stories drifted from the actual historical eye-witness account, the greater the chance these “miracles” were just the result of Jesus’ ordinary actions being sauced up through hundreds of years of the telephone game.

Maybe Jesus became the hero of the wedding at Cana by running to the ancient city’s liquor store and after a couple of centuries of person to person storytelling it morphed into him abracadabra-ing that water? 

If John the son of Zebedee didn’t write The Gospel According to John, there is a good chance this otherworldly literary thriller belongs on the library shelves with books more like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button than with historical writings like The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. If The Gospel According to John was written not by the real John but in the name of John  – centuries, or even decades later – then these stories were almost for sure fabricated legends... more like the glory stories of your uncle’s high school football days. 

Would the real author please stand up?

In the late Eighteenth Century there was a quest for the real Jesus. A group of Enlightened Rationalist scholars sought to find the historically accurate Jesus. (These Enlightened Rationalists believed in God, but a God that wouldn’t dare speak to nor work miracles for us lowly, dirty apes.) They believed the “stories” in The Gospel According to John – claiming the version of God who spoke through this Voice, who showed Their love upon the Sign, and who worked miracles to provide evidence for Their existence – were simply that: “stories,” and nothing more. Stories about Jesus that had been fabricated and exaggerated over centuries of storytelling. They presented evidence that The Gospel According to John was written many years after the supposed “author” had died. That meant that, if these scholars' claims were true, this was not a true eye-witness account by any stretch of the imagination. According to them, we have no reason to believe in the Jesus they called the Christ of Faith: the sauced up – abracadabra-ing, God-complex thinking, I’m-dead-but-not-now-living – version. 

So what did these scholars discover through their extensive research about the real Slim Jesus?

Each scholar ended up unearthing slightly different versions of him. But when reading through their evidence and their reconstructions of Jesus, there seemed to be something a little fishy… All their portraits of Jesus – a Jesus purged of his magic-sauce – had one thing in common: He always ended up speaking and acting like... themselves. Jesus was suddenly not some celestial voice and a wonder-worker but someone who seemed more like a caucasian, modern European intellectual obsessed with the hottest and trendiest politics of his day (probably enjoying a little cricket and croquet on the weekends as well). Their Jesus seemed like just a mirror of themselves — a justification for their own beliefs and opinions.

But, to complicate things, they had a point: if not about the historical Jesus, then at least about the dating of The Gospel of John. It DID seem like it could have been written way after John had died. Who was right? 

Was this beautifully-weird “historical” piece written centuries after the real John by some very intoxicated Hunter Thompson-type author pretending to be John the son of Zebedee? Someone who wrote about the sauced up myth of the once-inspiring – but completely human – political zealot? Or could The Gospel of John actually have been written by the only one who could have actually witnessed these wild happenings and therefore would be worthy to testify? 

For me, it was hard to know who was right beyond a reasonable doubt… that is until I happened upon the archeological evidence found in the mid-twentieth century. Until 1890, the oldest copy of the New Testament was the Codex Sinaiticus, dating to the mid 4th century. However, archeologists began discovering fragments and portions of the New Testament books. For instance, in Egypt they found some sixty pieces of the New Testament books, dating from the 2nd-4th century. And in 1935 they found something that changed the game. A small fragment – four verses of The Gospel According to John, chapter 18 – was discovered. This fragment of John is dated by archeological scientists to be from the year 125 A.D, and the fragment’s verses perfectly match the Codex Sinaiticus manuscript.

That means the copy of The Gospel According to John we have in our possession today was already in circulation among believers in Egypt -- which is close to a thousand miles away from the ancient city of Ephesus (where John the Son of Zebedee lived) – just a few years after his death (estimated to be sometime after 100 A.D.). And in the ancient world, a world without Amazon, the circulation of a book is no small feat; it usually took a long, long while for a book to be in wide circulation. That meant this thing was hot – like Harry Potter in the late 2000’s kind of hot – and must have spread like wildfire to be already in Egypt by this time. They even discovered a little while later another fragment that contained a portion of The Gospel According to John, also dating it to the second century. It matched perfectly the copy we have in our possession today.

It seemed with the new archeological discoveries, the evidence became overwhelming that the real John the son of Zebedee was the actual author of The Gospel According to John. That means the Gospel “stories” in this piece couldn’t be legends… They must be either lies or the truth. Either John was a psychopathic liar or he was telling God's honest truth. Nonetheless, things were about to get real.

The Next Article: The Lie of God

Is this the first INE article you've read? If you're curious and want to read more, click here to start at the beginning: No One Knows?

Subscribe to get the next drop