Abstract and Keywords
This chapter reviews the significant role played by the Gospel according to John in the early Church, and recent scholarship surrounding this issue. John’s importance in the Christological and Trinitarian debates of the fourth and fifth centuries is widely recognized, but controversy has surrounded the question of John’s use in the Church prior to Irenaeus. This chapter reviews that academic controversy, particularly the longstanding argument that John won its place in the ‘great Church’ only after a long battle with heresy (docetism; Gnosticism; Valentinianism) about its true nature and meaning. It then surveys some of the ways in which John’s influence was felt in the early period, in the areas of biblical interpretation, in mission, in Christology, and in artistic expression, all of which offer promise for future research.
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