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New Testament
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2 Corinthians
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2 Thessalonians
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1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation


2 John is the second of three canonical books of the New Testament written by John the Apostle.

These thirteen verses are directed against the same Docetic errors and germs of Gnosticism which St. John strives to uproot in his Gospel and First Epistle. Harnack and some others, who admit the canonicity of the Second and Third Epistles, assign them to the authorship of John the Elder; we have shown that this John the Elder never existed. The authenticity of this second letter is attested by very early Fathers. St. Polycarp ("Phil.", VII, i; Funk, "Patres Apostolici", I, 304) cites rather II John, 7, than I John, 4. St. Irenæus expressly quotes II John, 10, as the words of "John the Disciple of the Lord". The Muratorian Canon speaks of two Epistles of John. St. Clement of Alexandria speaks of the larger Epistle of John; and, as a consequence, knows at least two. Origen hears witness to the two shorter letters, which "both together do not contain a hundred lines" and are not admitted by all to be authentic. The canonicity of these two letters was long disputed. Eusebius puts them among the Antilegomena. They are not found in the Peshito. The Canon of the Western Church includes them after the fourth century; although only Trent's decree set the question of their canonicity beyond the dispute of such men as Cajetan. The Canon of the Eastern Church, outside that of Antioch, includes them after the fourth century. The style and manner of the second letter are very like to those of the first. The destination of the letter has been much disputed. The opening words are variously interpreted -- "The ancient to the lady Elect, and her children" (ho presbuteros eklekte kuria kai tois teknois autes). We have seen that the elder means the Apostle. Who is the lady elect? Is she the elect Kyria? The lady Eklekte? A lady named Eklekte Kyria? A lady elect, whose name is omitted? A Church? All these interpretations are defended. We consider, with St. Jerome, that the letter is addressed to a particular church, which St. John urges on to faith in Jesus Christ, to the avoidance of heretics, to love. This interpretation best fits in with the ending to the letter -- "The children of thy sister Elect salute thee."

PD-icon.svg.png This article incorporates text from the public domain Catholic Encyclopedia, available online.


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