Although the identification of the beloved disciple with the apostle John has been alleged as a proof of Johannine authorship, one problem plagues this certitude: would any writer be so arrogant as to identify himself in such a manner?However, not only is but John, in his old age, might well have adopted an affectionate term given to him by others in this self-description.Finally, the anti-Marcionite Prologue also affirms Johannine authorship.In countering this external evidence are two considerations.Once again, as with the others, this is short of proof of Johannine authorship, but the unbroken stream suggests recognition (or at least acknowledgment) of Johannine authorship as early as the first quarter of the second century.Indeed, John’s Gospel is unique among the evangelists for two early papyri (P, dated c. Since these two MSS were not closely related to each other, this common tradition must precede them by at least three or four generations of copying. All of this is to say that from the beginning of the second century, the fourth gospel was strongly attached to the apostle John.(2) There is some evidence of an early martyrdom for John (based on Mark ) which, assuming a late date for the production of this gospel, would preclude Johannine authorship.
This suggests the vivid recollections of an eyewitness.
Further, the Muratorian Canon suggests that John was given the commission to write this gospel after Andrew received a vision indicating that he would do so.
If one were to sift out the possible accretions in this statement, the bare fact of Johannine authorship is not disturbed.
If he is so careful, why does he omit the name of John unless he is John?
Further, his mention of John the Baptist merely as “John” (1:6) implies that if he is to show up in the narrative another name must be given him—such as “the beloved disciple”—or else confusion would result.