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This essay supports the thesis that the Beloved Disciple is a purely literary character employed as a literary device of authentication recognisable during the late first and early second centuries CE. As evidence, three works are thoroughly compared with the Fourth Gospel in regard to their eyewitness appeals: Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius of Tyana (a biography), the Wonders beyond Thule by Antonius Diogenes (a historiographical novel) and the Diary of the Trojan War (a revisionary history) attributed to Dictys of Crete. All three works are roughly contemporaneous with the Fourth Gospel and offer important insights into the sophisticated use of an eyewitness as a literary character to guarantee the (spiritual and moral) truth of a narrative.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Journal Article

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