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|Book||Gospel of John|
|Christian Bible part||New Testament|
|Order in the Christian part||4|
|Part of a series of articles on|
|John in the Bible|
John 21 is the twenty-first and final chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It contains an account of a post-crucifixion appearance in Galilee, which the text describes as the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples. In the course of this chapter, there is a miraculous catch of 153 fish, the confirmation of Peter's love for Jesus, a foretelling of Peter's death in old age, and a comment about the beloved disciple's future.
The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 25 verses.
Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:
According to Helmut Koester (2000), similar to the Pericope Adulterae, John 21:1–25, though present in all extant manuscripts, is also widely recognized as a later addition. A redactor is thought by some to have later added some text to the original author's work. Arguments in favour of this hypothesis include:
Scholars opposing a later addition by another author have argued the following:
The Nestle-Åland Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.) as well as major translations of the New Testament (e.g. KJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV) retain this chapter in their editions as original.
In an essay contributed on behalf of scholars unconvinced of any decisive sense of "originality" to John 21 (published in 2007), Jesuit author Felix Just wrote: "We (unfortunately!) do not possess any ancient manuscript of John that actually ends at 20:31." In other words, ancient manuscripts that contain the end of John 20 also contain text from John 21. So if John 21 is an addition, it was so early (which is not in doubt: part of John 21 appears in P66) and so widespread, that no evidence of the prior form has survived. This should however be balanced against the tendency for the first and last pages of codices to be lost: there are just four papyrus witnesses to John 20–21, only three of which date from the 4th century or earlier.
Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28) and the United Bible Societies (UBS5) provide the critical text for John 21.
In 2006, following the discovery of a 4th-century Sahidic papyrus manuscript (Bodleian MS. Copt.e.150(P)) some scholars speculated that such text may end at 20:31, but this is not conclusive due to its fragmentary state.
See also: Miraculous catch of fish § 153 fish
Of these seven disciples, the last two remain unnamed. Ernst Hengstenberg suggests they may have been Andrew and Philip, whereas Heinrich Meyer suggests they were non-apostolic disciples from the wider group of those who followed Jesus.
The setting was in the "early morning", or at dawn. Alfred Plummer notes that a better translation is "Jesus came and stood on the beach.
Two points about the catch of fish are emphasized here:
Both are the kind of thing that would remain in the mind of a person who had witnessed them firsthand.
The number 153 is the 17th triangular number, as well as the sum of the first five positive factorials, and is associated with the geometric shape known as the Vesica Piscis (literally, "bladder of a fish") or Mandorla, which Archimedes, in his Measurement of a Circle, referred to in the ratio 153/265 as constituting the "measure of the fish", being an imperfect representation of 1/√. Augustine of Hippo argued the significance of 153 being the sum of the first 17 integers is that 17 represents the combination of divine grace (the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit) and law (the Ten Commandments).
Main article: Restoration of Peter
Jesus restores Peter to fellowship after Peter had previously denied him, and tells Peter to feed Jesus' sheep. This restoration of Peter occurs in verses 21:15–19.
The description of the "beloved disciple's" (normally assumed to be John the Apostle) fate is presented as an aside to Peter. Jesus says that it is not Peter's concern, even if Jesus should wish that that disciple remain alive until the end of time. The following verse clarifies that Jesus did not say "This disciple will not die", but that it was not for Peter to know.
The last appearance of the 'Disciple whom Jesus loved' in this Gospel, together with his first appearance in chapter 1 form a literary "inclusio of eyewitness testimony" to privilege this witness (in the Gospel of John 21:24) over Peter's, not to denigrate Peter's authority, but rather to claim a distinct qualification as an 'ideal witness' to Christ, because he survives Peter and bears his witness after Peter. Bauckham notes the occurrence of at least two specific words in the narratives of both the first and the last appearance of this disciple: "to follow" (Greek: ἀκολουθέω ' ') and "to remain/stay" (Greek: μένω ' '). In the first chapter verse 1:38 it is stated that "Jesus turned, and seeing them following ('akolouthountas'), said to them, "What do you seek?"", then in verse 1:39 they "remained ('emeinan') with Him that day". In John 21, the last appearance of the 'Disciple whom Jesus loved' is indicated using similar words: in verse 21:20 it is written that "Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following ('akolouthounta')", then in verse 21:22 "Jesus said to him [Peter], "If I will that he remain ('menein') till I come, what is that to you?" The appearances are also close to Peter's, as the first one, along with Andrew, happened just before Peter's, who was then given the name 'Cephas' (alluding to Peter's role after Jesus' departure), and the last one, just after Jesus' dialogue with Peter, acknowledging the significance of Peter's testimony within "the Petrine's inclusio", which is also found in the Gospel of Mark and Luke (see Luke 8 under "The Women who sustained Jesus").
The chapter (and the whole book) is closed by two verses referring to the author of the gospel in the third person ("We know that his testimony is true").
Although ever since the 2nd century some people have taken verse 24 to mean that the author of the Gospel of John himself was the eyewitness (namely the disciple whom Jesus loved), other scholars point out that this verse indicates that the author is someone other than this disciple, because he is speaking about himself in the first person plural ('we know') and the disciple in the third person ('the disciple... who has written all these things'). Therefore, the author merely claims to have used an earlier written report, allegedly from this disciple, as a source for writing the Fourth Gospel.: 4:37
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