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By Stephen Beale, Catholic Exchange, Nov. 8, 2021

Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, he is a convert to Catholicism.  …

Something is different about the Gospel of John.

The other three gospels — Matthew, Mark, and Luke — read like very much like historical narratives. Because of their similarity in structure and content scholars group them together as the Synoptics. John doesn’t follow their outline and his style differs in being deeply poetic, contemplative, and mystical. (For more on the contemplative aspect, see St. Augustine.)

The Gospel of John may be the fourth book in our New Testament, but many scholars actually date it to the end of the first century, potentially even later than the Book of Revelation. (See, for example, this timeline.)

The late date of the gospel puts its image of Jesus in context. It means that the Jesus of John is one of the last views of our Savior — if not the final one — that is presented to us in New Testament. It is the understanding of Jesus that is built upon the foundation of the other three gospels, Acts, all the epistles of Paul, and, potentially, even Revelation. In a way, it represents the final reflection of the first Christians on the reality of Jesus Christ. …

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