On this day

On this day the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint John, Apostle, Evangelist.

In spite of the two titles used in the Church calendar, modern scholars no longer accept the idea that John the fisherman, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, and one of the first four apostles chosen by Jesus, was the same person as the evangelist.


This is evident in The Apostles, by Pope Benedict XVI. He refers to the "Evangelist John" and "John the Evangelist" several times, including a reference to the evangelist's description of Jesus' first encounter with Peter and Andrew, James and John, never conflating the evangelist with the apostle.

John the Apostle and John the Evangelist were two different people, but was John the Apostle the Beloved Disciple? Raymond Brown, in The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times, says no, although the Gospel for today's feast is about "the other disciple, the one Jesus loved".

(Brown's book has a Search Inside feature. In Appendix I, Raymond Brown summarizes and comments on other modern reconstructions of Johannine community history.)

Click here for the story of the request John's mother made of Jesus and for the resulting admonition Jesus gave his discipes.


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