On The Gospel Of St. John
The Authorship of St. John's Gospel. By the Rev. John Donovan, Si Edited by E. F. Sutcliffe, S.J. (Burns, Oates and Washbourne. 10s. 64.) Reviewed by HUGH POPE, O.P.
The magnum opus of Fr. Donovan's life. Those of us who sat under him can almost hear him saying the things! And this, it seems to us, is the fault of the book. It needed trenchant editing. Yet we can realise the problem that faced Fr. Sutcliffe : he had to leave it as it was or destroy the personality of the dead author. For the volume is a species of record of classes and lectures, somewhat oratorical and rather turgid in style, so much so that arguments lose their efficacy.
Fr. Donovan had read well nigh everything that had appeared on the Fourth Gospel, and most of it had stirred his wrath. Hence his pages are destructive of modern criticism rather than constructive argument. In this sense it constitutes a mine of information, but for the lecturer rather than for the student.
One argument we miss: one which Lightfoot adduced many years ago; Why does the author of the Fourth Gospel never speak of the John " the Baptist " but simply of " John "? Surely because he himself was the other " John " and all his readers would be perfectly aware of the fact. But we are glad that the unremitting toil of Fr. Donovan has not been allowed to sink into oblivion.