Church  Authority




Moral  Issues
















Print Free Pamphlet - - Brief Summary

Sections :

Church Fathers : Sts. Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Cyril A.
No Reason ?
Why Church Fathers’ Answers Could Not Be John’s
Problems with Square Root of 3 Answer
Context Points to the Answer : An Explanation That Works
Archimedes : Context of Time and Place
Greeks and Wisdom
Calculating the Measure of the Fish
John’s Purpose
Why Church Fathers Did Not (could not?) Give John’s Idea

Why does Saint John switch from one style of Greek to another in his final chapter 21 ?  The false argument against John's authorship is stated by some as :

“Critical analysis makes it difficult to accept the idea that the gospel as it now stands was written by one person. Jn 21seems to have been added after the gospel was completed; it exhibits a Greek style somewhat different from that of the rest of the work.”
Introduction to John in the NAB Bible.

My Translation:
Because the author of this note cannot think of a reason why one author would switch from one style to another, that proves that no such reason could exist, therefore there are at least two authors. “If I do not know it, then it is not worth knowing.”

The conclusion seems to be based on an arrogant assumption.

But, John did have a reason to switch styles.

First explanation:

An explanation for the difference in the Greek was offered by Professor Williamson.

On EWTN, Bookmark, Doug Keck interviewed Professor Peter S Williamson, from Sacred Heart Major Seiminary in Detroit.  He stated clearly that St. John the Evangelist was the author of the fourth Gospel.  He explained the difference in the formal Greek of the first 20 chapters, as opposed to the informal, lower form of Greek in chapter 21, could easily be explained that John utilized a trained secretary for the first 20 chapters, but then later added the 21st chapter by the aid of another secretary, or perhaps he himself wrote it.  Modern Popes today make wide use of secretaries and other assistant writers in Their encyclicals. 

So, after having written the first 20 chapters with the assistance of his secretary who was highly skilled in formal Greek, St. John could have become aware of the problem that the Greek's had with their perception of wisdom.  Since, John lived among the Greeks this problem or challenge was to serious to be left unanswered.  So, it could be that St. John added 21st  chapter later even though the assistance of his skilled secretary was no longer available.


Second possible explanation

The reason why Saint John would switch from one style of Greek to another in the final chapter is not obvious to everyone. Some serious study of this issue is required. After an in-depth study we can see that if Saint John, a single author, had not switched his style of
Greek in the final chapter he should have done so. It fits perfectly in line with achieving what he states is his primary goal.

I have already written over 16 pages of study on this chapter 21 and it is too much to copy and paste here. So, I will just list some key points for consideration.

For the sake of conversation let us suppose this Gospel had one author. Then we need to ask ourselves why would John switch styles ? Who was he trying to affect or influence ? Most readers who only know Greek loosely and not as a first language would not even recognize the difference. Only someone steeped in Greek culture and language would have recognized the difference. So, we need to ask how was John specifically trying to influence them ? This leads us to investigate who these Greeks were. We need to understand what they valued.

Irenaeus tells us that John the Apostle wrote this Gospel in the Greek city of Ephesus.
( Irenaeus Against Heresies III.1.1)

This was one of the major cities of Macedonia. So, John’s was a Gospel written in Greek to the Greek community to which John was ministering and pastoring. So, it is natural to think he would have appealed to their known strengths and all the while wanting to address their weaknesses, especially the main stumbling block to their conversion.

As for their strength the Greeks were known and still are today for their wisdom on the natural level. It was almost as if they worshipped wisdom. They excelled so well in it.

Greek Mathematicians
… One of the most important characteristics of the Pythagorean order was that it maintained that the pursuit of philosophical and mathematical studies was a moral basis for the conduct of life. Indeed, the words philosophy (love of wisdom) and mathematics (that which is learned) are said to have been coined by Pythagoras.
See more :

Plato, Archimedes, Pythagoras, and Euclid ( Euclidean Geometry)
were all great ancient Greek mathematicians.

As for their weaknesses the New Testament tell us,

1 Corinthians 1:22-24
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but … Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” NAB

So, their strength on the natural level was wisdom, became an area weakness on the supernatural level. Without the gift of faith the idea that a perfect God dying for a sinful creation does sound like foolishness. As their pastor this is the very issue John the Apostle needs to address.
Just before the beginning of Chapter 21 – there were no chapter divisions in the first hundreds of years of the Church – John tells us his purpose for his Gospel.

John 20:30-31
“Now Jesus did many other signs … that are not written in this book.
31 But these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God…”

So, John is appealing to Greeks that are not yet Christians so that they “may (come to) believe.”

We need to look from the perspective of the non-believing Greeks to see what John was contending with. These non-believers would not be approaching John’s Gospel from a humble Christian perspective of trying to get closer to God. They esteemed wisdom and would have considered themselves as the masters of wisdom. They probably would not have read the Gospel for the purpose of becoming John’s disciples. Rather, as the masters of wisdom they probably esteemed themselves as the experts who knew or at least studied the wisdom from all the cultures with Judaism and now this Christian “offshoot” as just as one of the many lessor attempts to express wisdom throughout the world.

Presumably John would have written his Gospel in attempt to attract their interests. The following notes are interesting.

“ … and the sayings of Jesus have been woven into long discourses of a > quasi-poetic form resembling the speeches of personified Wisdom in the
Old Testament.”
Introduction to John’s Gospel in the NAB Bible

So, it is quiet plausible that the Greeks would have considered reading John’s Gospel not as students wanting to learn, but rather as masters who were just monitoring a lessor’s work. As they were coming to end of John’s final chapter they were probably gaining an egotistical satisfaction of having consumed this “lessor” piece of wisdom and being the masters of knowledge of all worldly wisdom. reading sometimes causes they might have been quiet relaxed as if in preparation for a nice nap. But, then John changes the Greek style. This is a difference they would have noticed. John is saying, “Wake up. This is important here.”

John would have had good reasons for wanting to get his point in chapter 21 across by way of metaphor.
See more here

But, he needs to wake up his audience so they look for the hidden meaning behind the metaphor. By switching his style of Greek in this final chapter, John by analogy could be compared to a chauffeur who all of the sudden drops the transmission into a lower gear and then accelerates quickly pressing his passengers back into their seats. John is alerting them so that they would pay closer attention so they would uncover the meaning of his metaphor in Chapter 21.

All the early church fathers agreed that John was using “153 Fish” as a special metaphor. But, the all disagreed as to what it actually meant. See the hidden meaning of “153 Fish” in John 21.

I cannot copy and paste all 17 pages of text here, so just let me highlight a few key points.

If I were to state the number 3.14 I can be sure that many of my readers would automatically be thinking about Pi. Similarly, John would have known, that his use of 153 would have automatically have brought into the thoughts and minds of his Greek audience of AD 90 the idea of wisdom. This is because these Greeks who prided themselves on wisdom would have highly esteemed one of their greatest mathematicians of all time, Archimedes. And his greatest work in terms of influence on others was his work on a new method for calculating Pi. It is a very short explanation on about two pages. It consists of only 10 equations and extremely brief commentary. And the first nine of his equations all ended with the number 153.

See Archimedes Work on Pi

So, John switches his style of Greek to get the Greeks to pay special attention to this final chapter. By appealing to their strength, natural wisdom, he ministers to their stumbling block of thinking their wisdom proves that the Gospel of Jesus to be “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). By using a gentle metaphor John gets around their pride to get them to consider how Jesus is the source of “153 Fish”, He is the source of all wisdom. The net does not tear that contains all 153 fish, all wisdom, because there is no inconsistency, there is no contradiction between the Greek’s natural wisdom and the wisdom of Jesus’ revelation.





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Sections :

Church Fathers : Sts. Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Cyril A.
No Reason ?
Why Church Fathers’ Answers Could Not Be John’s
Problems with Square Root of 3 Answer
Context Points to the Answer : An Explanation That Works
Archimedes : Context of Time and Place
Greeks and Wisdom
Calculating the Measure of the Fish
John’s Purpose
Why Church Fathers Did Not (could not?) Give John’s Idea


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