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Re: Reconsidering the Transfig

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  • mgrondin@tir.com
    ... Thanks for providing me an opportunity to discuss a change of mind I ve had since this morning. I think that it s inconsistent to maintain BOTH that J-R
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 30, 2001
      --- RSBrenchley wrote:
      > ... if Jacob bar Zebedee was a leader all the way through, why
      > would he have been acting as a stand-in in the Transfiguration
      > scene? Surely that would then be his natural place, right in the
      > middle of the action.

      Thanks for providing me an opportunity to discuss a change of mind
      I've had since this morning. I think that it's inconsistent to
      maintain BOTH that J-R (Jacob the Righteous) was downgraded in the
      canonical gospels, AND that he is somehow represented in the person
      of Jacob bar Zebedee in those scenes where the three top dogs get
      special treatment. I now wish to change my vote, on the basis of
      the plausibility that Johann bar Zebedee was executed with his
      brother Jacob, as the eastern tradition maintains. This presents a
      problem in explaining why Luke didn't mention John's execution in
      Acts, but it makes the Markan view much clearer. At the time of
      writing, all three (Cephas, and both Zebedee brothers) had died
      martyr's deaths. This elevates them in Mark's mind, and places
      them in a special category, but without the necessity of regarding
      the Zebedee brothers as "stand-ins" for two of the "pillars". We
      may then hold without contradiction that Mark downgraded J-R, if
      we wish. (Though whose side was the real Mark on?)

      > Isn't it possible that Jacob bar Zebedee's execution was a
      > convenient device for removing a character who had served his
      > purpose? By that time, presumably, Jacob bar Joseph had become
      > sufficiently well-known outside the movement for his role to have
      > become undeniable.

      If the Zebedee brothers were a fictional creation and Luke knew it
      (though Matt did not?), he would presumably have killed them both
      off. It seems to me more likely that they were actual persons who
      were actually executed, but that Luke had some reason for
      suppressing the execution of Johann and minimizing the execution
      of Jacob (the martyrdom of one of the "Sons of Thunder" merits only
      a passing mention!) I do think that J's brother's name was actually
      'Jacob' (a common name of course), but that the "John" who took
      John bar Zebedee's place may not have originally been named so. I
      entertain the possibility that this was the Nathanael of GJohn,
      taking the name 'John' to preserve the illusion that "the kingdom
      will come before those standing here pass away", by maintaining the
      original set of names. On this hypothesis, had the Jewish revolt
      not occurred, we might have been treated to a whole series of
      Jacob's and John's, on the order of Papal names.

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