Historical situation at the time
the Gospel of John was written
The Gospel of John was written in Greek. There is no sure date for its composition. Scholars have come to a date ranging from 50 A.D. to around 150 A.D.
The location is uncertain also. The most likely places mentioned by scholars are the area around Ephesus and Smyrna (Western Turkey) and the area around Alexandria in Egypt.
The earliest known fragment of the Gospel of John, Papyrus P52, was discovered in Egypt and can be dated in the first half of the second century A.D. Learn more about this manuscript.
The early manuscripts are not organized in chapters and verses and sometimes without spaces between words. The organization in 21 chapters and 879 verses came later.
Read the Greek text of the Gospel of John with an English translation of each word.
Can the author/authors have access to spiritual text coming from the Indian subcontinent?
Here are a few known facts:
When the Gospel was written, commercial and cultural exchanges between the Indian subcontinent and the Mediterranean area have been going on for many centuries.
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, written in Greek around 50 A.D. mention navigation between Egypt and India, each boat could carry up to 1000 tons of goods and the journey would take around nine months. three or four months to reach India, around two months in India, three or four months for the return journey.
Learn more about the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
It has been mentioned that spiritual people from the Indian subcontinent were visiting the Roman and Greek world at that time, some of them invited by the authorities. The monasteries in the area of Alexandria in Egypt were known to have welcomed some of these people, sometimes called Gymnosophists.
Learn more about the Gymnosophists
The tradition of Tantra, Kundalini and the chakra system is very ancient. What is most commonly known is a more recent system dating to the Middle Ages with the main 7 chakras. But the ancient spiritual Indian texts refer to various older systems. Dating these texts seems even more difficult than dating the Gospel of John. But it is very likely that some of the oldest texts date to many centuries before Christ.
Papyrus P52 - Earliest known manuscript
of the Gospel of John. Date: around 125 AD
John 8, 12-16 - Greek text of the Gospel
from the Papyrus P66. Date: around 200 AD