John son of Zebedee (1st century CE) was, according to Christian tradition, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus of Nazareth and one of the leaders of the early Church as well as one of the four evangelists.
- This page is edited by James E. West, Quartz Hill School of Theology, United States of America.
< Childhood of John -- Call of the First Disciples -- Raising of Jairus' Daughter -- Transfiguration of Jesus -- Last Supper -- Arrest of Jesus -- Crucifixion of Jesus -- Burial of Jesus -- Resurrection of Jesus -- Torture of John -- John on Patmos -- John at Ephesus -- Death of John -- Relics of John >
John, son of Zebedee and brother of James,
...is mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels as one of the earliest disciples of Jesus, one of the Twelve, and his role is singled out in a few episodes of the Ministry of Jesus.
John in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke
Mark's mention of John the son of Zebedee is mimicked by Matthew and Luke, since, by all accounts and according to most scholars, Mark was the earliest of the Gospels written and Matthew and Luke made use of Mark and Q and added their own special material. The Synoptics, however, offer few details beyond the fact that John is the brother of James and that both are the sons of Zebedee. In Mark 3:17 Jesus calls James and John the 'sons of thunder' (Boanerges). This is a Hebrew or Aramaic phrase 'beney regesh' which the Gospel of Mark's author translates 'sons of thunder'. It is used in other contexts describing the striking of a house by lightning. But this solution is disputed. The phrase may also stem from 'beney ragaz' which means 'sons of wrath' or hot-tempered.
Act of the Apostles
In the Acts of the Apostles John is always mentioned in connection with Peter, except in Acts 12:2 where the death of James is discussed. In the mind of the author James, Peter, and John are apparently the most important of the Apostles as they are constantly referred to as taking the lead in many apostolic actions. Whether or not this was historically the case or is simply an example of the author's particular theological interest, we cannot now know. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that John is always mentioned in tandem with Peter while Peter is not always mentioned in tandem with John.
This Pauline text is the only evidence outside of the Gospels and Acts for the existence of and importance of 'John' in the New Testament. Since he is here linked with James we are doubtless meant to assume that Paul has in mind Peter, and James and John the sons of Zebedee. Paul, however, offers no further information. Hence, the reference to John in Galatians is supplementary and confirmatory, but that's all.
John the son of Zebedee
... is traditionally identified with the Beloved Disciple of the Fourth Gospel and the John of Patmos of the book of Revelation. However, there is no reliable corroboration of these notions from extra-biblical sources and even the Bible itself never identifies either the Beloved Disciple nor the author of the Fourth Gospel. John of Patmos, the author of Revelation, also may, or may not be the son of Zebedee. Since our sources are not very specific about the patrimony of this author, suppositions concerning any putative connection to John son of Zebedee are speculative and nothing more. Therefore, it is unsafe to equate the author of Revelation with John the son of Zebedee, or the author of the Gospel of John or the Johannine epistles. More likely, it seems, is the belief that the Gospel and the Epistles and the Revelation all flow from a 'Johannine School' of theology. R. Alan Culpepepper is perhaps the best known representative of this line of thought.
From the late second century comes the tradition that John miraculously escaped martyrdom and lived to old age in Ephesus. More than that cannot be known or asserted from available sources.
John, in ancient sources
- See John (sources) -- survey of ancient sources
John, in the arts
- John 1629 Algardi.jpg
- John 1650 Algardi.jpg
The iconography of John developed into a narrative cycle, that went beyond the "biblical" data, including episodes from his old age. The same legendary elements are present in the novels and movies devoted to John the evangelist in modern times.
One characteristically 'devotional' modern representation of the Apostle is found in The Gospel of John (2003 Saville), film. Per usual, the 'biography' of John follows traditional lines.
Pages in category "John (subject)"
The following 68 pages are in this category, out of 68 total.
- Last Supper (1306 Giotto), art
- Last Supper (1311 Duccio), art
- Ascension of John (1320 Giotto), art
- Raising of Drusiana (1320 Giotto), art
- St John on Patmos (1320 Giotto), art
- Raising of Drusiana (1443 Donatello), art
- John the Evangelist (1490 Ghirlandaio), art
- La rappresentatione di san Giovanni & Paulo (1491 Medici), play
- Scenes from the Life of St. John (1502 Lippi), art
- Mary Salome and Zebedee with their Sons James the Greater and John the Evangelist (1511 Kulmbach), art
- St John at Patmos (1515 Baldung), art
- Orlando furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando / 1516 Ariosto), Italian poem
- Transfiguration of Jesus (1516 Pordenone), art
- Transfiguration of Christ (1517 Perugino), art
- Crucifixion of Jesus (1518 Altdorfer), art
- St. John the Evangelist (1519 Pontormo), art
- Transfiguration of Christ (1520 David), art
- Transfiguration of Jesus (1520 Raphael), art
- St John the Evangelist (1526 Pontormo), art
- Transfiguration of Jesus (1530 Savoldo), art
- St. John the Evangelist on Patmos (1544 Titian), art
- Transfiguration of Christ (1556 Veronese), art
- Transfiguration of Christ (1594 Carracci), art
- Flavia (1600 Stefonio), play
- Transfiguration of Jesus (1605 Rubens), art
- Saint John at Patmos (1619 Velazquez), art
- Peter's conflict with Simon Magus (1620 Nucci), art
- St. John the Evangelist (1629 Algardi), art
- St. John the Evangelist (1636 Cano), art
- St. John the Evangelist (1650 Algardi), art
- St John the Evangelist on Pathmos (1650 Cano), art
- Colección de varias historias (1767-1768 Santos Alonso), novel
- The Authorship and Historical Character of the Fourth Gospel (1872 Sanday), book
- The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel (1880 Abbot), book
- The Two St Johns of the New Testament (1895 Stalker), book
- Die neutestamentliche Lehre von der Seligkeit (1895-1900 Titius), book
- John: A Tale of King Messiah (1896 Woods), novel
- Commentarius in Evangelium secundum S. Ioannem (1898 Knabenbauer), book
- Saint Jean et la fin de age apostolique (1904 Fouard), book
- Saint John and the Close of the Apostolic Age (1905 Fouard), book (English ed.)
- The Apocryphal Acts of Paul, Peter, John, Andrew and Thomas (1909 Pick), book
- Mary of Magdala (1909 Roberson), novel
- S. Giovanni e la fine dell'età apostolica (1921 Fouard / Albera), book (Italian ed.)
- The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel (1922 Burney), book
- Χρόνος και αιωνιότητα: Εσχατολογία και μυστικοπάθεια εν τη θεολογικη διδασκαλια Ιωαννου του Θεολογου (1959 Agouridis), book
- The Gospel according to St. John (1960 Tasker), book
- The Eyewitness; or, The Testimony of John (1965 Ronalds), novel
- The Sins of Herod (1968 Slaughter), novel
- La Turchia greco-islamica di Paolo e di Giovanni (1971 Adinolfi), book
- Approches de l'évangile de Jean (1976 Jaubert), book
- The Gospel of John in Christian History (1978 Martyn), book
- John, Son of Thunder (1979 Traylor), novel
- La communauté du disciple bien-aimé = The Community of the Beloved Disciple (1983 Brown / Godefroid), book (French ed.)
- St. John in Exile (1986 Curtis), film
- Tauta egeneto: Die Präzisierungssätze im Johannesevangelium (1987 Bjerkelund), book
- Spirito e vita cristiana in Giovanni (1989 Ghiberti), book
- Il giovannismo alle origini cristiane (1991 Penna), edited volume
- What Are They Saying about John? (1991 Sloyan), book
- John, the Son of Zebedee: The Life of a Legend (1994 Culpepper), book
- Angel Veneration and Christology (1995 Stuckenbuck), book
- Le martyre de Jean l'apôtre (1996 Boismard), book
- Studien zu den johanneischen Schriften (1998 Beutler), book
- Cómo nació el cristianismo joánico (2002 Destro/Pesce / Álvarez), book (Spanish ed.)
- L'Apocalisse (The Apocalypse / 2002 Mertes), TV film
- The Gospel of John (2003 Saville), feature film
- So You Think You're a New Testament Writer (2004 Coles), novel
- Jesus in Love (2006 Cherry), novel
- (+) John's Story (2006 LaHaye/Jenkins), novel