The Beloved Disciple in Context
In this chapter, the Johannine Beloved Disciple is located within the broader context of early Christian portrayals of the disciples of Jesus. First, it is pointed out how they increasingly became portrayed as authors of early Christian texts; the Beloved Disciple in John and Thomas in the Gospel of Thomas denote the first step towards this development. Special attention is devoted to the authorial fiction created in these texts. Second, the chapter points out that several other followers of Jesus were described in terms of their specific affinity with him. These figures include, in addition to the Beloved Disciple and Thomas, Mary of Magdala, James, and Bartholomew. Most of them are portrayed as having the privilege of knowing Jesus’ hidden teaching, but they differ in their willingness to disclose this teaching to other disciples. It is suggested that the Beloved Disciple in John could be understood as an ‘anti-James’, replacing the brothers of Jesus.
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