Re: Revelation and Fourth Gospel

From: Edward Hobbs (
Date: Tue Jun 24 1997 - 15:07:53 EDT

Roy Millhouse writes that there were "quite a few responses dealing with
the possibility of an amanuensis being responsible for the variance in
style" between Revelation and the Gospel of John.

This explanation puzzles me, since an amanuensis either takes dictation or
copies manuscripts, in either of which cases no new, radical change in
style could occur.

I suspect that what is lurking behind this sort of explanation is the
notion that in one or the other case, the author said to his "amanuensis":
"Write such-and-such an idea, but put it in your own words." Now, a modern
busy executive might say to his secretary, "Answer that I am too busy to
come, but make a nice apology for me"; but does anyone suggest that such an
approach is involved in our New Testament?

More plausible might be something like Josephus's writing--some of it,
written in his crabbed and grossly Semitic Greek, he put in the hands of
his assistants, and had them rewrite it in good Greek. In the case of John
and Revelation, that would have to imply that John wrote Revelation himself,
but had an editor fix up the Gospel into more acceptable Greek.

I don't believe it for a moment, but I don't understand the alternative.
That more than one John existed in the early Church is surely plausible--
look at how many Jameses there were, for example. And John/Jochanan
is pretty common as a name for Jews--witness that the "founder" of the
Yavneh Rabbinical Seminary was named John, son of Zacchaeus.

Edgar Krentz has rightly posted evidence that native speakers of the Greek
language, of high educational qualifications, had trouble believing that
the same person wrote both Gospel of John and Revelation. Modern scholars
who know Greek thoroughly have the same difficulty.

Edward Hobbs

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:20 EDT