Pope Benedict on the Mystery of “John the Presbyter”

by jimmyakin

in Apologetics, Benedict XVI, Bible, History

Early Christian writers speak of a mysterious, 1st century figure called "John the Presbyter." Who was he, and why is he significant?

Recently we looked at the claim that Mark derived the information in his Gospel from St. Peter.

This claim dates to a first century source: a figure called “John the Presbyter,” who was a disciple of Jesus.

According to some in the early Church–and according to Pope Benedict–we may have already met this mysterious figure in a surprising way.

Here’s the story . . .


A John By Any Other Name

As we saw previously, John the Presbyter was a figure apparently distinct from John the Apostle.

He also goes by different names in English, since the Greek word for “presbyter”–presbuteros–can be translated “elder.”

Thus sometimes we read of him as “John the Elder” or “the Presbyter John” or “the Elder John.” It’s all the same in Greek.

He has often been conflated with John the Apostle, for several reasons.

One is that they were both, apparently, disciples of Jesus, though the presbyter was not an apostle.

Another is that, in later years, they both apparently lived at Ephesus.

But they may be related in another way . . .


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