Age of John the Disciple


What was the age of John the apostle during his travels with Jesus since tradition says he is the youngest of the Twelve?


Usually he is calculated to have been in between 12 to 13 years old. 14 the oldest. He was not.married andhe is painted without a beard precisely the time he was with Jesus he hadn’t even reach puberty. Finally him being 12 or 13 makes.perfect sense if we think that he wrote his gospel about 60.years after.


About 17.


What online articles are there to show this?


From EWTN online, which cites Butler’s " “The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints” Vol. IV :

“He is said to have been the youngest of all the apostles, probably about twenty-five years of age, when he was called by Christ; for he lived seventy years after the suffering of his divine Master.”


I remember reading once that he was called at around the same age as Mary, making him 13 to 16, which means he was probably in his mid eighties when he died. You have to remember that children started working and pulling their own weight at very young ages. At 13 you were considered an adult and life expectancy in the Roman empire was 47, probably lower in Palestine.


Exactly! Not only that but by 15 he would have been married already and he was the only one.not.married. the age of twenty something would have been put him at a death close to a 100 years which doesn’t make too much sense. The age that he is believed to die is precisely around 80 so he hardly could have been older than 15.


I actually heard somewhere that Thaddeus was the youngest apostle.


I think that data is skewed. Josephus writes about the Essenes, a sect of Jewish Priests, and says many were known to live past the century mark.


Why was John allowed to be at the cross with the women.

  • Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19:25-27

Some theologians have inferred that John, the disciple who Jesus loved, must have been a young boy to be allowed at the foot of the cross by the Roman soldiers. Probably around 8 years old.


But how would you expect an eight year old to care and provide for someone’s mother?


Actually, the absence of a beard when John is depicted is meant to symbolize his innocence and purity. Remember that John was the only apostle who died a natural death and lived to a ripe old age.


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