Chapter

Gaius of Rome and the Johannine Controversy

Charles E. Hill

in The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199264582
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602085 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199264589.003.0005
 Gaius of Rome and the Johannine Controversy

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Gaius of Rome, thought to have been a presbyter or bishop in the early years of the third century, is said to have rejected both the Johannine Gospel and Apocalypse, attributing one or both to the heretic Cerinthus. Gaius very probably did reject the Apocalypse, but when legend and later scholarly accretions are untangled, the opinion that he opposed the Fourth Gospel is seen to be based upon very shaky evidence. In any case, neither he nor anyone else appears ever to have charged John’s Gospel with being gnostic, docetic, or with supporting such tendencies. Further, the belief that Gaius was a presbyter or bishop is based on a case of mistaken identity. The portrait of Gaius as a conserver of orthodox sensibilities in orthodox Rome, who wanted to enforce a long-held suspicion of the tainted Johannine Gospel, is a figment of the modern, critical imagination, attributable mainly to Walter Bauer.

Keywords: Cerinthus; Gaius; Orthodox; presbyter; Rome

Chapter.  18622 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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