Recensions et comptes rendusThéologie

Joseph Le Minh Thông, Qui est « le disciple que Jésus aimait »? (Lire la Bible, 195), préface de Luc Devillers. Paris, Cerf, 2019, 13,5 × 21,5 cm, 160 p., ISBN 978-2-204-13070-7[Notice]

  • John S. Adimula

…plus d’informations

  • John S. Adimula
    Graduate Studies - Faculty of Theology, Dominican University College, Ottawa

The author of this book aims at interpreting the personality of the appellation “the disciple whom Jesus loved” with a particular study on the Fourth Gospel while extending the research to the 2nd-4th centuries studies. The question is who was the disciple whom Jesus loved? He begins with some of the interpretations that have been proffered to this personality right from the second century. The names that have been identified with this personality include John, the son of Zebedee; John the Presbyter; John the apostle. These names have also been linked to the author of the Fourth Gospel. Other names include the anonymous disciple (1:37-40), Philip, the other disciple (18:15-16), Thomas and Lazarus. The author argues that these identifications of names are not tenable and in fact negative (p. 16). The book is divided into five parts, namely, 1) the author of the Gospel from 2nd-4th centuries: here, Joseph Thông investigates four different appellations: John, the disciple whom Jesus loved; John, one of the disciples; John the Presbyter, and John the Priest. 2) The sons of Zebedee and the anonymous disciples in the Fourth Gospel: here, he tries to examine the personality of the apostle John in the synoptics, that of the disciple whom Jesus loved and the anonymous disciples in the Fourth Gospel. He maintains that the term “beloved disciple” is not appropriate because it does not conform to the text of the Gospel rather the appropriate text reads “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” 3) In the third part, he examines some propositions that identify some of the Twelve (John, Andrew, Nathanael – Bartholomew) and some other New Testament figures (Lazarus, John Mark, the rich young man) with the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” He also goes further to identify other hypotheses that relate some functions (such as the Palestinian, Jerusalem Priest, the Sadducee), literary figure (like the figure of Benjamin, Joseph, the son of Jacob) and a literary fictive personality to the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” 4) The disciple whom Jesus loved in John’s Gospel: he points out some passages where this disciple is mentioned and examines his role in relation to that of Jesus and the other disciples. 5) The formation of the Fourth Gospel and the processus of rereading and intertextuality. The author holds that the “disciple whom Jesus loved” becomes a figure for all the disciples both the first generation and the future ones. That is, the love of Jesus for this disciple is a symbol of Jesus’ love and friendship for all the believers. In his investigation of the documents from the 2nd-4th centuries on John and the author of the Fourth Gospel (Papyrus P52, P66 and P75: 2nd-3rd centuries; Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus: 4th century), Joseph Thông identifies some of the submissions of some church Fathers as regards the subject matter. He concludes that there are several traditions with legendary elements in their submissions concerning the author of the Fourth Gospel and the “disciple whom Jesus loved”; and that the question on the identity of this disciple is not clear. He submits, therefore, that one cannot hold to the authors of the 2nd-4th centuries to clearly identify the author of the Fourth Gospel with the apostle John, John the son of Zebedee and the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” On the contrary, it could be argued that the documents and their authors in those centuries used these names with only one personality without a difference. Joseph Thông rejects the hypothesis that the “disciple whom …