Listy Janowe jako świadectwo wspólnoty przeżywającej kryzys
The Johannine Letters as the witness of the community in crisis
Since antiquity, the three Johannine Letters have been read as the reflection of a crisis that had shaken the Christian communities connected with the author(s) of these epistles. Following this historical interpretation, and despite some recent endeavors to the contrary, 1 John is seen by the overwhelming majority of commentators as a polemic against false doctrine of certain secessionist elements (cf. 2:19); the author’s polemical arguments deal with several controversial points, both christological and ethical. From the study of extra-biblical sources describing early Christian heterodox movements, there has emerged no general agreement as to the identity of the author’s opponents; therefore, scholarly reconstructions of the historical context – the actual views held by these secessionists, derived solely from the texts of 1 and 2 John, have produced a number of different pictures, individually coherent yet ultimately divergent. In order to deal with the doctrinal crisis, the author of 1 John provides a set of criteria for discerning between true and false doctrine. Most importantly, however, he harks back to the principle of eyewitness testimony and upholds the key concept of the beginning as a normative rule in his community’s understanding of their tradition.