At 02:31 PM 9/1/2003 -0700, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
>[Apologies for crossposting, but I just noticed that Mike posted both at
>crosstalk and here.]
>I don't think that the evangelist intends to deny that the eucharist was
>instituted at the last supper; I think that he (most likely) presupposes
>its institution. ...
Well, I'm not so sure. If there's one near certainty about the Jesus of
history, it was traveling around with his disciples, which would have
involved table fellowship. Indeed, there are many anecdotes about eating.
The question of course, is about the "Institution," whether after traveling
around with his friends for years, Jesus all of a sudden springs the
Institution on them? I think that perhaps one of the purposes that the
author of GJohn had in mind was to foreshadow the Institution, and to
suggest that the basic ideas behind the Institution were developing.
Also, it seems to me that the choice of hO TRWGWN by John was meant to
stress that 'eating with' meant communion; it was not sufficient to have
done it just once, as with baptism. Of no particular relevance is the
English idiom "to chew on," as in "You think that's weird. Well, I'll
really give you something to chew on," meaning a challenging idea that
really requires thoughtful rumination. The background metaphor, I think, is
the dog chewing on a bone. Sure is different from celebrating communion
with a wafer.
As for Mike Grondin's point,
>The four occurrences of hO TRWGWN in 6.54-58 are unconditional statements;
>one supposedly gets the benefits mentioned
>by the mere fact of "eating the flesh/bread" in a deliberative way (on
>your account). Judas evidently does that in 13.18, and yet
>(apparently) gets none of the benefits. *Of course*, it's because he has
>an impure heart, but 6.54-58 in itself says nothing of
>failing to get the benefits if one has an impure heart. Therefore, I think
>we need to look elsewhere in GJn for an explanation of the anomaly.
I'm not sure what to make of this.
We need to remember that the author of GJohn was not only writing *about*
someone who was no longer with them in the body, but writing *to*
contemporary followers of Jesus. What did these issues mean to *them,* and
how does that affect telling the story? The problem of Judas was a problem
for them, too. You can't really introduce a theology of communion right at
the point where you know someone's going to cheat on it. You need to
establish the general concept more in the abstract, yet concretely, as in
John 6:51-58. The problem of what happens when the communion is violated is
a separate issue. The synoptics present both issues at once, which somewhat
confuses things, doesn't it?