My address is 113 Laurel Court, Peachtree City, GA 30269, I would be very interested in reading both your already published book as well as the rough draft of the commentary you are writing on the entire gospel of John. And as you requested, I request the same- that copyright material be respected of my unpublished paper. I also wanted to include a couple of reviews of my paper that I have thus far received from others who have had the patience to plow their way through it. I remember you followed much of my argument when I presented it on the johanine literature yahoo groups site a while back, unless I am confusing you with someone else (although I am not sure how much you agreed with my findings). I would appreciate your taking the time to read through my paper, and listening to your feedback. Sincerely, Matthew Estrada
Dear Mr Estrada,
I am a part-time (mature) PhD student at the Prince's Foundation in
London under the supervision of Keith Critchlow. My thesis is the 16th
century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It is not difficult
show that he was associated with one the heretical gnostic movements
that thrived at that time in the no-man's land between Catholics,
Lutherans and Calvinists and I believe the ideas of the group to which
he probably belonged provide keys to the interpretation of the
in his paintings. I am sure that one of his most famous pictures, the
so-called Peasant Wedding Feast in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in
Vienna, is in fact an esoteric representation of the Marriage at Cana.
Your 'Allegorical Interpretation of the Cana Miracle' has been a
wonderful discovery for me and enormously helpful for my work on this
Your essay -- for me, an amateur in bible scholarship and theology but
seeker none-the-less -- though nearly overwhelming me, fascinates me
touches me deeply. I hope you find the support that you ask for and I
wish you well in all your endeavours.
My name is Kristen Chittick, and I am an Honours (4th year undergraduate) student at Latrobe University Bendigo campus in Australia. My studies this year include completing a 15,000 word thesis. I have chosen to write my thesis on Midrash as an exegetical method. In the course of this study, I am looking at the tradition of Midrash as it developed in the rabbinic period in a variety of forms, and in particular the midrashic creation of new texts (in contrast to the midrashic interpretation of old texts) with a focus on the New Testament Gospels. In the final section of my thesis I am examining the Wedding at Cana as an example of a midrashic work. This examination involves an analysis of the literary, exegetical and theological formation of the passage.
To my delight, I came across your article, "An Allegorical Interpretation of the Cana Miracle" on www.fourthgospel.com . This article is far more comprehensive than anything I could hope to do in the course of this study, and has also given me a far greater understanding of the Cana Miracle than I had prior to reading your article. I am very grateful. I was particularly interested in your identification of the source material for John in this story.
I am hoping that you will give me your permission to quote from your work, with full reference and credit given to you for the sections I use.
Tom Butler <pastor_t@...
I am pleased that your work and mine may be
pointing to a similar approach and observations
regarding the Fourth Gospel. I can hardly wait to
read your article. At first glance it appears to be
well planned and organized. I hope to find time to
read and study it.
You note the need for more support for my theory
regarding the Lazarus story. You will find extensive
footnotes and supportive material in my book: Let Her
Keep It: Jesus' Ordination of Mary of Bethany - A New
Approach to the Study of the Gospel of John Through
Its Use of Mosaic Oracles, (Quantum Leap, Tracy,
California, 1998.) I would be pleased to send you a
copy of it, if you will give me your mailing address.
I am also in the process of writing a rough draft
of a commentary on the entire gospel, using the same
method as I used in Let Her Keep It (which focuses on
John 11:1- 12:8 and 13: 1-17). In this commentary I
have taken note of the fact that there are 24 places
where the Greek word for "hour" occurs. My theory is
that these 24 "hours" are markers in the text, where
readers who have been watching for signs are guided to
stop reading and reflect upon the signs in the hour
they have just read. I'm calling this commentary "A
Day with Jesus." I've completed lecture notes (for a
class I'm teaching) for the first 12 "hours." These
notes are still in rough draft form, but I would be
pleased if you or any other scholar of the Gospel of
John would be interested in reviewing/ critiquing
them. (I'm sure that it should go without saying
that, as an unfinished and unpublished manuscript, I
will ask anyone willing to review and or critique my
work to respect my copyright to this material.)
One of the most frustrating parts of this work is
that, since I am not a professor (I am the Pastor of
the Sparks United Methodist Church), I do not enjoy
the collegial relationships that many other scholars
do. I need feedback from other scholars with an
interest in this approach to the study of the Fourth
Gospel. I cannot be my own judge. Still I feel
compelled to continue with the work in the hope that
someday someone will read it and find some value in
it. Your comments give me hope that maybe you are one
of them, or perhaps I might be such a person for you.
At the very least, I'm hoping that you and I (and
others) will find a common ground for dialog through
Yours in Christ's service,
Pastor Tom Butler, D.Min.
Sparks United Methodist Church
--- Matthew Estrada wrote:
> Hi Tom,
> Your interpretation of the Lazarus story, in my
> opinion, has possibilities. I see the same method
> that I applied to John 1-4, and in particular the
> Cana Miracle, you are applying here (see my paper on
> Joe Gagne's website at
> http://www.fourthgospel.com/unpub.htm#e). You are
> reading it as a symbolic story, and are asking that
> we read in place of the literal words their symbolic
> meaning (what you interpret them to be). As you
> know, in my paper on the Cana Miracle (and John
> 1-4), I do the same thing. I think what you need to
> do now is shore up your argument with more certain
> and particular identifications of the source
> materials that John used to create this story that
> would support your interpretation of his symbolism.
> It is interesting to note that immediately before
> the Lazarus parable in Lk 16, Luke has Jesus say
> "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until
> John", and at the end of the Lazurus parable Luke
> has Jesus say "If they do not listen to Moses and
> the Prophets...". As you
> may recall, I believe and have argued that the
> author of John's gospel uses the Baptist as a
> personification of "the Law and the Prophets", and I
> point to some synoptic material as likely source
> material used by John to support this interpretation
> (Lk 16:16 being one). So when one sees "John the
> Baptist" in John's gospel, one should read "the law
> and the prophets". As such, he "testifies" in favor
> of seeing Jesus as the promised messiah. I am glad
> to see that you are suggesting that we do a similar
> thing with Lazarus (view him as symbolic of certain
> Jews who come to believe in Jesus). Sincerely, Matt
> Tom Butler
> Dear Rev. Mike B. and Adj. Prof. Dr. Timothy Jenney,
> I contend that "The Jews" are an elite group of
> power figures in Jerusalem defined in Nehemiah 2:16.
> "The officials did not know where I had gone or what
> was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests,
> the nobles, the officials and the rest that were to
> the work."
> As you have noted, Dr. Jenney, "the Jews" are
> presented in both negative and positive ways. They
> "did not know where I had gone or what I was doing"
> a good description of "the Jews" who chose not to
> believe that Jesus was who he said he was. In the 4G
> they certainly include the Pharisees, the High
> and the Chief Priests and may have included persons
> from Herod's court.
> In spite of their refusal to believe, Jesus
> repeatedly engages them in dialog and debate, and
> of them believe in him. The first is Nicodemus (Jn.
> 3:2; 7:50-52; 19:38-39). A royal (Herodian?)
> becomes a believer (Jn. 4: 46-54). Then an unknown
> number of "the Jews" choose to believe in him (Jn.
> 8:30-31 - where some believe and the faith of some
> them is weak, while others came to him as believers
> after the encounter Jn. 10:41). "The Jews" are
> clearly divided about him (Jn. 9:16)
> I find the references to "the Jews" in the Lazarus
> story to be most interesting. The disciples
> "the Jews" as a danger to Jesus and Jesus shows
> compassion for them (Jn. 11:8-10).
> I believe that the story of Lazarus is being told in
> symbolic language. Lazarus is a nickname - short for
> Eleazar, the third son of Aaron, whose name is used
> extensively in the Pentateuch as a personification
> the High Priest (since Eleazar WAS the High Priest).
> The story of Lazarus is the story of the spiritual
> death of the temple priesthood. (In the parable in
> Luke's gospel, Lazarus lies languishing outside of
> gate of a "rich man" who is described in such a way
> to suggest that this rich man is none other than the
> High Priest. In that context, Jesus is expressing
> compassion for those temple priests who have been
> excluded from the temple -and from their share of
> sumptuous food upon which the rich man feasts daily,
> while Jesus condemns those who remain in power.)
> As you have pointed out, Dr. Jenney, "many of the
> Jews had come to Mary and Martha to console them
> their brother (Jn. 11:19)." They follow Mary to
> when she leaves the house (read: Temple)(Jn. 11:31).
> They weep with her because of the death of Lazarus
> (their own priesthood) (Jn. 11: 33) They continue to
> be divided, some believing, others not sure (Jn. 11:
> The "tomb" in which the priesthood is buried in the
> Lazarus story is the Herodian temple. When Jesus
> calls Lazarus out of that tomb, he is calling those
> that priesthood who can hear his voice (read:
> in him) out of their temple role and into the role
> disciple. Their burial clothes (read: liturgical
> clothing ) is removed by Jesus' compassionate
> command(Jn. 11:44), and (in the very next verse -
> 11: 45) we are told "Many of the Jews therefore, who
> had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did,
> believed in him." From this point on in the 4G Jesus
> no longer walked openly among "the Jews" but
> with his disciples (Jn. 11: 54), some of whom
> were among "the Jews." Lazarus (read: disciples
> formerly of "the Jews") are depicted at the table
> Jesus where Martha served (Jn. 12: 2).
> Rev. Dr. Tom Butler
> Author: Let Her Keep It
> Matthew Estrada
> 113 Laurel Court
> Peachtree City, Ga 30269
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