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1702Re: [ANE-2] Johanine anti-sacrament?

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    Jun 3, 2006
      To: ANE-2
      Cc: GPG
      Re: Graham Hagens' query on John 13:26-27
      From: Bruce

      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
      ago.

      [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].

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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