Christian poetry, and biblical epic in particular, is intensely self-conscious. Both Greek and Latin Christian poets begin or end their compositions, paraphrases and centos with poetological reflections on the value and objectives of their works. The fifth-century Paraphrase of the Gospel according to John is an anomaly in this tradition. While Nonnus’ mythological epic, the Dionysiaca, is heavily self-conscious in that it includes a strong authorial voice as well as an extensive prooemium and an interlude, the Christian Paraphrase has no prooemium, epilogue or interlude, and its narrator never identifies himself. This article examines two passages in the Paraphrase where subtle, implicit poetological reflections may be detected, and then explores the reasons why Nonnus may have chosen to deny the Paraphrase a clear (meta)literary identity. It argues that Nonnus’ poem presents itself as the Gospel of John, and that its narrator ‘becomes’ John the Evangelist in a spiritual exercise which is indebted to Origen's views on that Gospel.