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John the Evangelist meaning "Yahweh is gracious", is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John. Traditionally he has been identified with the author of the other Johannine works in the New Testament the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation, written by a John of Patmos as well as with John the Apostle and the Beloved Disciple[1] mentioned in the Gospel of John. However, at least some of these connections have been debated since about 200.[2]

The Gospel of John refers to an unnamed "Beloved Disciple" of Jesus who bore witness to the gospel's message.[3] The editors of the gospel, who record the Beloved Disciple's death, seem interested in the author's anonymity.[4] Apparently this disciple of Jesus had not been well known, but had greatly outlived Peter.[4]

The apostle John was a historical figure, one of the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death.[5] Some scholars believe that John was martyred along with his brother (Acts 12:1-2),[5] although many other scholars doubt this.[6][7] Harris believes that the tradition that John lived to old age in Ephesus developed in the late 2nd century,[5] although the tradition does appear in the last chapter of the gospel.[8] By the late 2nd century, the tradition was held by most Christians.[9]