The supposition that the author was one and the same with the beloved disciple is often advanced as a means of insuring that the evangelist did witness Jesus' ministry. Two other passages are advanced as evidence of the same - But both falter under close scrutiny. Neither of these passages, therefore, persuades many Johannine scholars that the author claims eyewitness status. There is a case to be made that John, the son of Zebedee, had already died long before the Gospel of John came to be written. It is worth noting for its own sake, even though the "beloved disciple" need not be identified with John, the son of Zebedee.
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After a couple centuries of stagnation, in the sixteenth century ethical questions are again made the subject of careful investigation. Since the sixteenth century, special chairs of ethics moral philosophy have been funded in many Catholic universities. Among topics they discussed was the ethics of action in case of doubt, leading to the doctrine of probabilism. With the rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility and the Roman Magisterium as the absolute religious authority, each individual, at least in principle, became the arbiter in matters pertaining to faith and morals.
The Church gradually spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond , gaining major establishments in cities such as Jerusalem , Antioch , and Edessa. It was condemned by the Jewish authorities as a heresy see also Rejection of Jesus. The Roman authorities persecuted it because, like Judaism, its monotheistic teachings were fundamentally foreign to the polytheistic traditions of the ancient world and a challenge to the imperial cult. Already in the 2nd century, Christians denounced teachings that they saw as heresies , especially Gnosticism but also Montanism.