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The Secret Identity of the Beloved Disciple Paperback – October 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press (October 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809131218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809131211
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,841,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Most biblical scholars today have concluded that St. John of Zebedee did NOT write the Gospel in the New Testament which bears his name. These scholars assert that the Gospel of John was authored by an ANONYMOUS follower of Jesus referred to within its text as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." No name is given for this disciple. Grassi does an excellent job of summarizing all of the main issues involved in the attempt to identify the author of the Fourth Gospel. He treats this topic with the importance that it deserves. Who is the Beloved Disciple of the Fourth Gospel? The Gospel cites this disciple as the primary eyewitness to the events it describes. The Gospel also repeatedly refers to this disciple as the one whom Jesus loved the most. Yet, the NAME of this disciple seems to have been intentionally omitted from the text. ...Why?If you are looking for a concise, well-written, thoroughly-researched introduction to this most intriguing mystery -- I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Faranda on August 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I recently re-read "The Secret Identity of the Beloved Disciple." It is about the identity of the author, or at least the source of the fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John. It was written in 1992 by Joseph A. Grassi , and I probably first read it about ten years ago.

I took more time reading the second time around - it's only 127 pages - and it is a very good book. It does not require any great knowledge of the bible or the New Testament.

The authority behind the fourth Gospel is the mysterious figure of the "Beloved Disciple" and nowhere in the Gospel is he referred to as John. This was a hypothesis offered in later centuries, partially to put the fourth Gospel in the apostolic tradition.

Grassi builds a painstaking case, as he ID's the "Beloved Disciple" not by name, but rather by his background. The 14 short chapters have titles like "The Role and Community of the Beloved Disciple, The Mother of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple, Disciple of Love and Model of Relationships (this chapter also a fascinating analysis of the role of Mary Magdelene), A Mystical and Creative Genius".

While coming up with a reasonable case for the Beloved Disciple's background - and of course that is all it is, a reasonable case, it cannot be proved - Grassi of course is also touching on the importance of the fourth Gospel.

It's really a fine, fine, short book, which unfortunately is very difficult to get. I give it four stars out of five (I am a tough marker). The original cost was labeled $7.95, and I suspect I got the book off a discount table for only a couple of bucks!
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Format: Paperback
Joseph Grassi is a professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University. He has written many other books such as God Makes Me Laugh: A New Approach to Luke, The Five Wounds of Jesus and Personal Transformation, Informing the Future: Social Justice in the New Testament, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1992 book, “the authorship [of the Fourth Gospel] was a problem… By the end of the second century, important bishops identified him as John, brother of James, a son of Zebedee… However, even in the early church, doubts were raised about this identification of the beloved disciple with John… Despite the scholarly investigations of almost two centuries, the identity of the beloved disciple has remained one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible. However, the detective–like work of scripture scholars has been slowly accumulating a file of valuable clues… My intention is first to assemble and evaluate the clues so far advanced; secondly, it is to add new clues drawn from hidden Hebrew scriptures. The end result, I submit, will be an exciting new perspective on the beloved disciple… as one of the greatest creative and mystical geniuses in the history of Christianity.” (Pg.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dusky Day on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Personally, I think this "book" is awful. Critical content that is conjecture and speculation of an obtuse sort. Get this- Grassi thinly assumes early on that the "beloved disciple" and the Gospel author are two different people! The book diverges like a hungry tapeworm from this point. He makes other claims that result in a view both implausible and IMO statistically impossible. How anyone with scholarly knowledge of the scriptures could stomach this missive - let alone reread it again! - is beyond me. This one is a true clunker, unpersuasive, and certainly boring. Buyer beware!
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