The first scholar is Friedrich Schleiermacher, in his teaching he insisted that, John was an eyewitness and his Gospel was historically trustworthy. He taught at a time there was an argument against the reliability of the Gospel of John. Friedrich Schleiermacher challenged the sceptics who were against John's Gospel. There was another argument that there were two clearings of the Temple, at the beginning and the end of Jesus' ministry. It is not necessary to reject a theological transposition of an event to maintain historical credibility (Kostenberger, 212).
The second scholar is Adolf Schlatter, of Tubigen School. His argument was based on a Jewish and Semitic background on the other hand, Ferdinand Christian Baur, believed that John's Gospel originated from a Hellenistic community. As a matter of fact Schlatter's teachings at Tubigen School are purely based on his view Jewish background point of view as opposed to Baur's Hellenistic community view. Schlatter dissented from noteworthy sceptics of John's Gospel in the fourth gospel through his speech, thought, and, belief (Burge, 19)
The third scholar Lightfoot disagreed with Baur's view's on early Christian history through the study of patristic fathers. Baur grounded his theory on Georg Hegel; he argued that all history was fuelled by dialectic of antithesis, thesis, and synthesis. Hengel considers his gospel as a source of first centaury Judaism. He added that it is hard to determine the truth in a philosophy and that it requires omniscience. Such a philosophy betrays the presence of sovereign God plays any part in human events. By applying this philosophy, Baur produced a reconstruction to the Christian history based on competition between Jewish and Greek elements evidenced in early Catholicism.
Baur's work is based on historic philosophy; it is full of speculation, against the supernatural, and lacks real evidence. Lightfoot uses actual historic events derived from historic documents which are more reliable than human speculation. Unlike Baur's who uses his reasoning power to produce history from his own invention.
Another scholar Robinson, view's John gospel in a completely new look, which seems to be a turn in the right direction from the old look. Robinson points that John's Gospel is rooted in Jewish not Greek teachings in addition, it offers a witness to life and teaching of Jesus that are independent. This thought is significant to the argument of the Jewish and the Old Testament since the Fourth Gospel is most Jewish as it comments on Israel Abrahams (Burge, 19).
Factors that led to a rehabilitation of John's Gospel
Most of the presuppositions were knocked down by the archaeological evidence obtained from the Dead Sea scrolls. This scrolls offered a framework to base the sociology and theology of John's gospel, this evidence led to a shift of John's gospel from Greco-Roman back to a Palestinian point of view. This manuscript was best presented by John Ryland's Papyrus, resulting to a push of the Gospel of John back into the apostolic era. ( Kostenberger, 211).
The "new look" movement rehabilitated John's gospel by focusing on the internal witness and archaeological developments. Their argument was that John based his Gospel on an independent historical witness to the life and teaching of Jesus.
Finally, there was new analysis on the evidence of the Dead Sea scrolls. This analysis emphasised on the Palestinian and Jewish context of the Gospel. There has been a significant re-interpretation of the meaning of "signs" especially after doing away with theology from a Grecian context (Kostenberger, 212).
The manuscripts of the Dead Sea that provided theological and sociological insights grants confidence to the gospel of John making it the most valuable foundational aspect of these movements hence the most important factor. Despite this rehabilitation there is less Christian orthodoxy in modern scholarship.
How these factors help to communicate better the message of John
These three factors help one to understand the accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus especially the greatest sign of resurrection. In addition, it's now well understood that even though it was said that John's Gospel was written late, the writer assumed John and rewrote that of Mathew, Mark, and, Luke. This is why it was said that John was different from the other three synoptic gospels. It's clear that John was not dependent on the other Gospels for his sources. John is an eye witness because he saw evidence as opposed to what others saw him as one who created his own stories.
Most of John's Gospel does not appear in the synoptic thus making his gospel unique compared to Mathew, Peter and, James because he emphasis on Jesus deity more than the others in addition, he stresses more on the aspects of eschatology. These factors show that John's Gospel was addressed to Gentiles Christians and non believers outside Palestinian.
Finally, one cannot dismiss what John says about resurrection because; it is based on evidence of eyewitness. These factors prove that John believed about the resurrection after he saw the piece of linen that had wrapped Jesus.
Kostenberger, A. J. (1999). Encountering John: the Gospel in historical, literary, and theological perspective. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.