Reliability in the Gospel College
The idea of reliability within the context of Biblical criticism is, in itself, infrequently used; through external sources shedding light on the Gospel and through the Gospel itself prompting work on the context behind its own composition, scholars might be able to piece together theories which hold water, seem convincing and could easily be true, but the process is still largely speculative and the 'reliability' of various proposed backdrops for Biblical interpretation is difficult to measure. Establishing a so-called 'reliable context' for analyzing and interpreting the Gospel of John, therefore, is no easier, especially given the scope for interpretative depth which the Gospel provides. In this essay, I will aim to examine the enigmatic Johannine figure, the 'Beloved Disciple', considering whether an academic reconstruction of the character can be reliable and, in turn, whether any interpretative work done off the back of this reconstruction can be reliable. In similar fashion, I will explore what can be said regarding the so-called 'Johannine community' if, indeed, anything, and the effect this might have on our analysis of John as a text. Ultimately, I will seek to sustain the line of argument that although the...
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