Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 1, Ch. 7, “St. John, and the Last Stadium of the Apostolic Period. The Consolidation of Jewish and Gentile Christianity.” Loc. 5823-6178
§40 “The Johanine Literature.” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 5824).
Schaff’s bibliography for this chapter is quite extensive, including texts on dating, on the Gospel and Epistles, and on the Apocalypse.
§41 “Life and Character of John” (Ibid., Loc. 5932).
Peter and Paul were engaged in missionary work and evangelization. They finished their work before the sack of Jerusalem. John, on the other hand, is not known as a missionary or evangelist. His writing is more focused on the inward life than the visible spread of the Gospel (Ibid., Loc. 5944). He was likely considerably younger than Jesus and apparently lived until at least 98 (Ibid., Loc. 5955). His writing shows that he was gifted “for inward contemplation and insight into the mystery of Christ’s person and of eternal life in him” (Ibid., Loc. 5983). His emphasis on love and his epithet as “son of thunder” is evident in the epistles where he shows that Christians must love one another and condemn the devil (Ibid., Loc. 6017). Schaff also considers that this helps harmonize the authorship of the Gospel and the Apocalypse (Ibid., Loc. 6022).
Schaff appends notes about John’s character (Ibid., Loc. 6040) and his mission (Ibid., Loc. 6062) to proclaim the love of God.
§42 “Apostolic Labors of John” (Ibid., Loc. 6079).
John appears in Acts as one of the three pillars of Jewish Christianity. He always plays a subsidiary role to the others. By about 50 he no longer appears in Jerusalem (Ibid., Loc. 6091). but seems from other accounts to be in Ephesus. John is the primary Christian writer between 70 and 100 (Ibid., Loc. 614). He was banished to Patmos for a time (Ibid., Loc. 6120). Schaff thinks his banishment was during the reign of Nero, rather than Domitian (Ibid., Loc. 6143), with the Epistles being considerably later than his other writings.
§43 “Traditions Respecting John” (Ibid., Loc. 6148).
John’s later years are mentioned by Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Jerome, Augustine, Cassian, and Polycrates as a gentle individual of forceful convictions.