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Common ground for study (Grondin)

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  • Brian Trafford
    ... wrote: ... I m afraid your answer has left me a little more puzzled than I was before. Does your response mean only that a believer in Z is someone with
    Message 1 of 169 , Aug 1, 2003
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      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@c...>
      I asked:
      > > What is your definition of "Z"? A Christian?
      Mike again:
      > No. 'Z' is a variable.

      I'm afraid your answer has left me a little more puzzled than I was
      before. Does your response mean only that a believer in "Z" is
      someone with an axe to grind, and cannot separate his subjective
      beliefs from his work sufficiently to produce anything close to an
      objective picture of the historical Jesus? If this is the case, then
      we seem to be in general agreement, though I still suspect that there
      is going to be a lot of thrashing about as we try to determine who
      has crossed the line into the Z-zone and who has not.

      > Now if I may, I'd like to return to your list of "miracles". One
      > thing that struck me immediately about the list was that the
      > resurrection seemed to be the *most* plausible of the four! Now
      > that's saying something. But a few more comments:

      I would have to admit that this truly *is* saying something, but
      (Warning: Theological discussion to follow) ;^)

      > 1. As a good Catholic, you might also have mentioned the bodily
      > ascension of Mary. Although that isn't mentioned anywhere in the
      > NT, I take it that you accept it on the basis of the doctrine of
      > Papal infallibility (when advised by council, that is).

      I was specifically restricting my list of accepted miracles to those
      that are connected directly to Jesus, and are contained within the

      > 2. You pulled two slick rhetorical maneuvers with respect to what
      > I had called the "miracle" of Jesus descending into hell. Both are
      > contained in a single sentence:
      > "Jesus' descending to the dead (cf. 1 Peter 3:18) is not really a
      > miracle as is commonly understood, as this event did not take
      > place within the natural world at all."
      > The first manuever was to change the description of the event,
      > as it occurs in the AC, to "descending to the dead", which you
      > attribute to 1 Pet 3:18, but which in fact isn't there. In
      > addition, however, the description as found in the AC (an apparent
      > reflection not of 1 Peter, but rather of the Gospel of Peter) must
      > be the one that all good Catholics affirm, n'est-ce pas?

      My apologies, I should have said 1 Peter 3:18-19 which reads:

      "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the
      unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but
      made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to
      the spirits in prison..."

      The Early Fathers understood this reference to the "spirits in
      prison" as being the spirits residing in Hades/Sheol, a place that is
      entirely non-physical and, instead, remains spiritual. So far as I
      am aware none of them taught that Jesus did this physically, as the
      common understanding is that Jesus' body remained within the tomb
      until Sunday, the day of his first appearances.

      > The second manuever was to rule out this supposed event as a
      > miracle by claiming that it "did not take place within the natural
      > world". But in the first place, that seems to beg the question of
      > whether J was supposed to have descended *bodily* into Hades.

      Catholic doctrine specifically denies that the body goes into Hades
      (or Hell, or Heaven for that matter, except in exceptional
      circumstances, such as with Mary) after death. Jesus' spirit is said
      to have descended to the dead, not his body.

      >For if one assumes that he did, then the descent was as much "within
      >the natural world" as was the ascent. It's just that the ascent
      >was observable by others, but the descent wasn't (since the corpse
      >was out of sight in the tomb). So it seems that if you want to
      >assert that the descent wasn't within the natural world, you'd
      >have to claim that it was a spiritual descent, not a bodily one.


      > (BTW, this weird little portion of the AC seems intimately tied
      > to the Gospel of Peter, wouldn't you say?)

      GPeter is dependent upon 1 Peter for this bit, as are the Apostles
      and Nicene Creeds.

      > A second objection to your second manuever is that at least one
      > other of your "miracles" ALSO seems not to take place within the
      > natural world - namely the transubstantiation of the Eucharist.
      > As you describe the event, J's "true body and blood are found in
      > the bread and wine". But that's precisely what ISN'T the case.
      > *Nothing* is found in the bread and wine except bread and wine.

      No. In Catholic theology there is, once the Transubstantiation has
      taken place, no longer any bread and wine. The elements (or Hosts)
      are actually changed physically into the actual, literal, body and
      blood of Jesus, and retain only the appearance of bread and wine
      (Canons 1&2 of The Council of Trent: Session XIII, October 10, 1551)

      > Thus this supposed
      > transformation does *not* take place within the natural world,
      > because unlike the bodies involved in the other miracles, the
      > bread and wine are physically unchanged by the supposed event.

      They are changed, though I suspect that you are correct that the
      change would not be detectable by scientific means. What you are
      describing here is what is known as Consubstantiation, which is
      taught by Lutherans (and, I believe, Anglicans). According to this
      doctrine, the true body and blood of Jesus are present in the bread
      and wine, but the substance of the bread and wine has not been
      changed at all.

      > 3. With respect to the ascension, you go beyond the AC, which
      > merely says that "he ascended into heaven". Since, by all accounts,
      > "heaven" admits of no physical bodies, it's incoherent to claim
      > that anybody ascended "bodily" into heaven.

      Catholic doctrine teaches specifically that all will eventually live
      in heaven as physical beings. It also states that Jesus rose bodily
      from the dead, and ascended physically into heaven (cf. Catholic
      Catechism: Paragraphs 659-667).

      > One can imagine
      > physical bodies rising into the sky, but those bodies must have
      > been transformed into spirits in order to be "taken into heaven".

      Nope. The physicality of the body remains.


      Brian Trafford
      Calgary, AB, Canada
    • Karel Hanhart
      ... was ... My reaction: 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
      Message 169 of 169 , Oct 11, 2003
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        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Horace Jeffery Hodges [mailto:jefferyhodges@...]
        > Sent: 13 August 2003 21:56
        > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
        > 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.>
        > Jeffery:
        > 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.

        My reaction:

        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
        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
        his people.
        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.

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