The Second Epistle of John, usually referred to simply as Second John and often written 2 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John. This Epistle is the shortest book (by verse) in the Bible, comprising a mere thirteen verses.
The language of this epistle is remarkably similar to 3 John. It is therefore suggested by a few that a single author composed both of these letters, although it has been doubted that the same person also wrote the Gospel of John, the First Epistle, or the Book of Revelation. Still, the traditional view contends that all the letters are by the hand of John the apostle, and the linguistic structure, special vocabulary, and polemical issues all lend toward this theory.
Also significant is the clear warning against paying heed to those who say that Jesus was not a flesh-and-blood figure: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This establishes that, from the time the epistle was first written, there were those who had docetic Christologies, believing that the human person of Jesus was merely an illusion and he was actually pure spirit. I.e. this establishes the possibility of the presence of gnosticism at the dawn of Christianity. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, amongst others, contend that the epistle's content indicates that Jesus was a purely mythical figure from the start.
Alternatively, the letter's acknowledgment and rejection of gnostic theology may reveal a later date of authorship than orthodox Christianity claims. This can not be assured by a simple study of the context. Gnosticism's beginnings and its relationship to Christianity is poorly dated, due to an insufficient corpus of literature relating the first interactions between the two religions. It vehemently condemns such anti-corporeal attitudes, which also indicates that those taking such unorthodox positions were either sufficiently vocal, persuasive, or numerous enough to warrant rebuttal in this form. Adherents of gnosticism were most numerous during the second and third centuries.
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