He is the “Where’s Waldo?” of the fourth gospel. He is a conspicuously unnamed disciple in several scenes in the gospel of John (and yet I categorize this post under “Disciples & Named Characters”). You will find him in 1:35-40; 13:23-26; 19:25-27; 19:35; 20:2-10; 21:2; 21:7; 21:20-24; and possibly 18:15-16.
Who is this guy? Why is he so important (and I’m not talking Dan Brown material here!)?
This weekend (on June 5, 2011), I’m leading a seminar, “Eyewitnesses in the Gospels,” based on Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. I’m available to bring this 5-hour seminar to your group. The Beloved Disciple is one of many intriguing characters we need to get to know.
John 21:24 makes an authorship claim for the fourth gospel (one that contemporary scholarship largely rejects due, in my opinion, to some wrong directions taken by some excellent scholars such as Raymond Brown): This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
Bottom line: Bauckham makes a case, one supported by many strands of evidence though not a lock-tight case by any stretch of the imagination, that the Beloved Disciple is the author of the gospel of John (the whole thing, with no layers or Johannine schools).
What is the Beloved Disciple’s relation to Peter (literarily) in the gospel? Hint: they are two kinds of discipleship.
What is the identity of the Beloved Disciple? Hint: It isn’t Lazarus, as simple evidence can show, nor the John son of Zebedee who is one of the Twelve.
To find out more: get Bauckham’s book or schedule me to come and do a seminar. How’s that for a commercial?