> -----Original Message-----
> From: Horace Jeffery Hodges [mailto:jefferyhodges@...]
> Sent: 13 August 2003 21:56
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: RE: [XTalk] McCoy on Jn 6
> Geoff Hudson <geoff.hudson@...> wrote:
> <The literal interpretation of Jn.2:3 is 'and lacking
> wine the mother of J says to him: "wine they have
> not." 'The implication seems to be that there never
> was any wine for the wedding.>
> This 'literal interpretation' would not fit John 2:10,
> where the Architriklinos tells the bridegroom,
> "Everyone first sets out the good wine, and when
> people have become drunk, the inferior wine, but you
> have kept the good wine until now."
> An editor changed the story from one in which purified water was a sign of
> the Spirit to one of a miracle in which water was changed to wine - such
> the tacky imagination of the editor.
At this point I would like to insert an answer to Matthew Estrada, which I
sent him privately. I would look askance at the assured statement "an editor
changed..." In spite of Ray Brown's detailed analysis searching our various
layers in John, and the yheory of a "sign xourse" I believe one should first
try to interpret the sign in terms of the Gospel we have before us. I would
agree with those who believe the author knew the three Synoptic Gospels and
commented on them also in this 'arche ton semeion'.
'The mother of Jesus' represents faithful Israel; just as the Samaritan
woman is addressed with "woman" representing the Samaritan people who
acknowledge Jesus as the one sent by God (J 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52).
Surely "my hour has not yet come" refers to Jesus' death, as the great Hour
of the Lamb of God. The "third day" would likely refer to the day of
resurrection1). One might read the story as a play; only 6 large empty jars
are on stage in the opening scene (with clamor and tumult heard backstage
because the wine had been depleted). Afterwards just three persons appear on
stage: Jesus, his mother and, - besides a number of silent 'diakonoi' -,
an odd, indignant character with a unfamiliar function of 'architriklinos'
. Oddly enough, moreover, the reader is not told the identity of the main
personalities, namely, the bride and the groom. They do donot appear on
stage. Who is the bride and who is the groom?
The great theme of the prophets and the Psalms is that JHWH is the
bridegroom and Israel his bride. The bride is awaiting the coming of her
groom. However, she can become unfaithful, even adulterous. JHWH, however,
is and always will remain faithful. That the story starts out with an
absent groom and bride, underlines the ambiguity of the marriage of JHWH and
2) The clue of the allegory is found in the end (2,8-11). The term
'architriklinos' is deliberately chosen; it is not an accepted term for an
official at a wedding, neither in Hebrew nor in Greek. I cannot help
thinking John ironically refers here to the high priest, 'archiereus', who
always presides in the great ceremonies of pre-70 (!) Israel and who would
be considered to be the right official for the performance of the
'marriage'. He was supposed to have taken care of a good supply of wine,
but he fails miserably. Indignantly. he therefore goes backstage and
privately accuses the groom, in casu JHWH. He should have served the good
wine first ( - it is left to the imagination of the reader what this 'good
wine' is - it certainly refers to wine fit for the above marriage in the
pre-70 era). JHWH should have kept the inferior wine to the last (Jerusalem
destroyed and the temple in ruins) But the 'archiereus' was seriously
mistaken. He didnot realize what is going on as will be explained in the
followiung chapters. (cmp John 11,48 and 51-53)
3) There are two remarkable features in the structure of John 2. a) The
Synoptics do not have this 'primary' sign of water changed into wine (or do
they?). b) they donot have the entry into Jerusalem in the beginning of the
story but at the outset of the passion story. The eye catching structure of
ch 2 could be compared with folding doors opening up to John's entire
haggadah. One side is brightly painted leading to the marriage, the other
dark, full of gloom as if going to a funeral. For the theme of the second
part of chapter 2 is the saying, "destroy this temple and I will raise it up
it in three days" (2,19) This refers both to Jesus death (and resurrection)
as well as to the destruction of the temple. This was in John's eyes - let
us say - the secular reality of Israel's circumstances.
I agree with J.L. Martyn that John's perspective is that of the ecclesia vis
à vis the synagogue across the street, so to speak. It was written at the
time that mutual excommunication was taking shape. In the Gospel 'the
Passover of the Joudaioi (read the synogogue acroos the street) is placed
next tlo the true 'Passover' of Israël initiated by the death of its Messiah
for the salvation of Israël and the nations (or the 'kosmos' in John).
4) In Mark Jesus' first act is to be baptized by John when the Spirit
descends into him like a dove. Matthew writes that what is "conceived by
her" is "of the Holy Spirit" 1,18). Luke too begins both his Gospel and his
Acts with the outpouring of the Spirit (L 1,15ff. 35; Acts 2,4.17 (note the
mocking 'new wine' 2,13). So would it not be plausible that John refers to
God's Spirit as the agent that turns water into wine?
5) It seems to me that the six waterjars refer to the water of baptism.
There is a relation between a) John's baptism, b) Jesus' being baptized by
John, and c) the disciples later baptizing in the name of Jesus.
My conclusion is that the joy of the marriage will only be restored when the
people receive the water of baptism which means a radical turning around
toward God, a true conversion. Without baptism no wedding joy.