The Strong Possibility That Lazar Wrote the Fourth Gospel

Here is an Aramaic bible study I’d like to share: l1-002The Strong Possibility That Lazar Wrote the Fourth Gospel — Aramaic Peshitta Analysis

And here is my introduction to the paper…

Who wrote the fourth gospel?  Christian tradition says it was the apostle John, who was a fisherman from Galilee.  But if John was really the author, then why did he omit every event to which he is referred by name in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)? And why is the author uniquely named while in same boat with the “sons of Zebedee” in John 21?

Questions like these have naturally prompted scholars to wonder ‘who else other than John’ is a candidate for authorship of the fourth gospel.  And Lazarus has always been the number one ‘runner-up’.

The fourth gospel explicitly states (in John 21:20) that it was written by:

ܠܬܠܡܝܕܐ ܗܘ ܕܪܚܡ ܗܘܐ ܝܫܘܥ
(“the disciple whom Yahshua loved/befriended”)

This is an interesting description because ܠܥܙܪ (“Lazar” aka “Lazarus”) is uniquely singled out as ‘loved/befriended by Yahshua’ three times in John 11.  By contrast, the apostle John is not uniquely singled out with that description.

The problem though with claiming that Lazar was uniquely “loved/befriended” is that Yahshua clearly “loved/befriended” all of his disciples.  See e.g. John 13:1

ܘܐܚܒ ܠܕܝܠܗ ܕܒܗܢܐ ܥܠܡܐ ܘܥܕܡܐ ܠܚܪܬܐ ܐܚܒ ܐܢܘܢ
(“And he loved his own who were in this world, even until the end he loved them.”)

So the term “beloved disciple” is not sufficient by itself to identify Lazar.

Fortunately, the fourth gospel gives another important clue (many scholars even find this clue downright obvious to show Lazar wrote the fourth gospel) – it explicitly states about its author in John 21:23:

ܢܦܩܬ ܗܕܐ ܡܠܬܐ ܒܝܬ ܐܚܐ ܕܗܘ ܬܠܡܝܕܐ ܠܐ ܡܐܬ
 (“a rumor went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die.”)

That’s a very helpful clue because Lazar was unique among the disciples in this one regard – only Lazar had been raised from the dead – so it makes sense that such a rumor (not dying again) would naturally spread about him uniquely (that is, how many times will Lazar die on earth? Once, twice?).  By contrast, there is no foundational background in the gospel that a rumor could begin that the apostle John would not die, or any other disciple other than Lazar.
Scene 7/50 - Exterior Tomb; The crowd watch as Lazarus (ANAS CHENIN) with Jesus (DIOGO MORCALDO), Peter (DARWIN SHAW) and Judas (JOE WREDDEN) present.

And there’s more evidence too.  This paper will cover the following seven key points that suggest the fourth gospel was in fact written by Lazar:

1.      The Fourth Gospel explicitly identifies the author is “the disciple whom Yahshua loved/befriended”; and that Lazar is “loved/befriended” by Yahshua.
2.      The Banquet — once the name Lazar exits the scene, curiously the title “the disciple whom Yahshua loved/befriended” appears on the scene
3.      Special focus on Bethany, the hometown of Lazar
4.      Temple connections
5.      Lazar at the cross
6.      Lazar in the boat
7.      Lazar returns to a tomb, but hesitates to enter

Even the alleged ‘problem’ with the theory of Lazar authorship ultimately helps prove Lazar authorship.  That ‘problem’ is simply a curious question – why is Lazar identified by name in the beginning of the gospel, but identified as ‘the disciple whom Yahshua loved/befriended’ later in the gospel?  What major event happened to Lazar that would justify a name change?  We cannot assume the obvious answer: his resurrection from the dead, because Lazar is still called Lazar in John 12:3 (after he had been resurrected).  So, what happened between John 12:3 and John 13:23?  The answer appears to be the foot washing where Lazar was made a new man of the “cloth” (ܣܕܘܢܐ), the same word for “burial cloth” used in the fourth gospel to describe both Lazar’s own death (John 11:44) and the very moment (John 20:8) that Lazar first believed in Yahshua’s resurrection to life.

The conclusion of this paper is that Lazar probably wrote the fourth gospel.  And ultimately, the text alone allows debate, which is exactly the point – our calling as Christians is to enjoy the process of studying the gospel and asking thoughtful questions.  I think the Father routinely invites us to understand Him better through logic & study.  Isaiah 1:18, “’Come now, and let us reason together’, says Yahweh, ‘If your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. If they are red as crimson, as wool they shall be.’”  And when those methods bring us closer to Yahshua, mission accomplished.