1702Re: [ANE-2] Johanine anti-sacrament?
- Jun 3, 2006To: ANE-2
Re: Graham Hagens' query on John 13:26-27
Graham had asked about the possible "anti-sacramental bias" in John
13:26-27, compared to the Synoptic parallels. Strictly speaking, there are
parallels only for Jn 13:26, but is it not 13:27 that is potentially
anti-sacramental (with Satan entering into a communicant at a symbolic
moment in a commemorative meal)?
There is considerable discussion in the Johannine literature (eg, C K
Barrett ad loc) about whether the Last Supper was or was not a Paschal meal.
Whatever the fact may have been, there are indications that John probably
intended to portray it as one. The specific sacramental issue, not
surprisingly, seems to have been considered chiefly by Catholic
commentators; see for example Raymond E Brown, The Gospel According to John
XIII-XXI (Anchor Bible v29a, Doubleday 1970) 557 and 575 n26 and n27, with
references to Loisy et al.
If not from the Synoptics, where did John get 13:27? The question of John's
sources, and how he made use of them, is highly vexed, and constitutes a
literature of its own. There is a good recent review of that literature in D
Moody Smith, John Among the Gospels, 2ed South Carolina 2001. The Sources of
John discussion has been inhibited by the enormous reluctance which, for
obvious reasons, exists in the NT field toward the possibility that any of
the Evangelists made up anything on their own (or reported innovations among
whatever group it is thought that their writing may reflect). Hence the
multiplication of "sources" to account for Synoptic complications, of which
the extreme example is perhaps Boismard. The world seems still to be on a
trajectory leading toward the Faith pole of the Faith/Reason axis, and
Smith's chronological summary should perhaps be read with that Zeitgeist
factor in mind.
The Gospel of Judas might be thought of as one way (not a very orthodox one)
to rescue the dilemma raised by Jn 13:27. What John's own idea may have been
probably depends in part on whether you associate that passage with the Jn
21 addendum, or with the earlier material. The jury seems to be still out
(and debating) on that question, which perhaps seemed clearer 20 or 30 years
[Our small NT task force is currently considering Gospel interrelationships,
including those involving John; I have ventured to forward Graham's question
to them, and will be glad to report any suggestions that may result].
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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