It's interesting that a person will claim passages were added at a later date without considering the textual evidence.

A fragment of the Gospel of John dates in the first half of the second century. We have complete copies of John in the fourth century codices. My concern is answering arguments for parts of John being later additions before the fourth century. An example of evidence, Irenaeus of Lyons, in the late second century, quotes parts of the prolegomena that some question it being part of the original Gospel.

But what John really does say is this: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Irenaeus - Against Heresies book 1 http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book1.html

John, however, does himself put this matter beyond all controversy on our part, when he says, "He was in this world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own [things], and His own [people] received Him not." ... For when he had spoken of the Word of God as having been in the Father, he added, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made." ... For that according to John relates His original, effectual, and glorious generation from the Father, thus declaring, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Irenaeus - Against Heresies book 3 http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book3.html

I'm not concerned with John 7:53–8:11, which is not in the earliest manuscripts. The rest of the Gospel is consistent in language and subject matter. It does appear that John added chapter 21 as a postscript. Has someone already compiled this information for the Gospel of John?

  • 1
    The subject of Textual Criticism is a discipline requiring the dedication of a lifetime, the knowledge of a truly vast amount of documentation and the ability to collate and consolidate data with forensic ability. It also requires a vocational calling to the task of assessing the thousands of manuscripts, over 96,000 Patristic Citations, all of the Versions (ancient translations) and all the Lectionary evidence available . To come to the subject less equipped than that, makes one merely a purveyor of one's own opinions
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 6:38
  • 1
    Up until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest dated Hebrew manuscripts were Masoretic texts from the 10th century. Could it be then that that the Bible was a translation of an originally Hebrew text if there were no ancient Hebrew manuscripts to prove it? Apparently yes, as the Dead Sea Scrolls show. Could it be then that the gospel of John which we hold today, remained mostly unchanged even if we don't have earlier manuscripts at this very moment to prove it? Yes, very much so.
    – RandomUser
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 8:41
  • I'm not trying td do traditional textual criticism. I'm trying to do what you could call textual apologetics; not the minute details of the text, but that passages existed before a certain date.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 13:21
  • It's interesting that a person will claim passages were added at a later date without considering the textual evidence.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 13:39
  • 3
    I've definitely read before that substantial portions, perhaps even a majority, of the NT can be reconstructed from patristic sources, so I think this question is fine.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 23:33

1 Answer 1


According to this data, 96.7% of the Gospel of John is quoted pre Nicea 325. It is the most complete quoted New Testament book and only less than 29 Verses are not quoted.

The document also has a section covering the Manuscripts. Manuscripts pre-dating Nicea covers 98.6% of John.

I've not verified the whole document myself (that would rightly mentioned take a lifetime career) but I find the Excel document extremely useful to find Patristic Quotes and its been very accurate.

Also, consider looking into early translations. The Peshitta is the earliest and this website has been a wonderful resource for me to find references. It seems to be the ongoing research of Dukhrana published online as they work on the various ancient manuscripts in Aramaic. I have not found anything near like this for the Old Latin.

  • Yes, I've been thinking out early translations.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 17:19
  • Latin translations date as translated in the fourth century, same as the Greek codices. The Peshitta can date to the second century, except there is the issue that it once had a gospel harmony, and need a date for the translation of the Gospels.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 21:10
  • I know the dates of the codices for these books I have: Kiraz, G. A. (Ed.). (2002). Old Syrian Gospels: Codex Curetonianus. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. Kiraz, G. A. (Ed.). (2002). Old Syrian Gospels: Codex Sinaiticus. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. But not the dates for the translation.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 23:21
  • @PerryWebb. Hi Perry. Do you mean when was the Peshitta as a translation work started? Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 4:32
  • 1
    "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect," Irenaeus - Against Heresies book 3 earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book3.html
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 20:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .