- the fourth Gospel, of which tradition alleges St. John was the author, and which is presumed to have been written by him at Ephesus about A.D. 78; its great design is to bear witness to the Son of God as having come in the flesh, as being not an ideal, therefore, but a real incarnation, and as in the reality of that being the light and life of man; whereas the scene of the other Gospels is chiefly laid in Galilee, that of John's is mostly in Judea, recording, as it does, no fewer than seven visits to the capital, and while it portrays the person of Christ as the light of life, it represents him as again and again misunderstood, even by those well disposed to Him, as if the text of his Gospel were "the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not"; the authenticity of this Gospel has been much debated, and its composition has by recent criticism been referred to somewhere between A.D. 160 and 170.
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