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[HJMatMeth] Re: Johannine Dependence?

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  • John Dominic Crossan
    This is a question, Mahlon, on which you and I may have to agree to disagree because I am not sure if I have any particularly new or additional arguments to
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2000
      This is a question, Mahlon, on which you and I may have to agree to disagree
      because I am not sure if I have any particularly new or additional arguments
      to make (besides the BofC arguments there are also, of course, the more
      detailed ones in debate with the late Ray Brown on just this question.)

      I begin with a few words of scholarly bio not to prove anything one way or
      the other, but to assess where prejudice might be involved. When I wrote In
      Fragments, one of the several preparatory books as I worked towards The
      Historical Jesus, I convinced myself that John had an independent collection
      of miracle stories and Jesus sayings which he had combined into a format
      characteristically his own in which physical miracles were symbols of
      spiritual phenomena. When, therefore, I turned to the passion narratives (as
      a later stage of that overall process towards the big book) my presumption
      was that John was independent in his passion narrative. What changed that
      presumption (apart from Louvain arguments) was the following twofold
      conclusion. What persuades me that any Text B is dependent on any Text A is
      two arguments: (a) Some redactional sequence or content of A is found,
      however changed, in B; and (b) that you are able to explain all the changes
      made by Text B in adopting/adapting Text A. I need both those arguments
      together to feel sure about and argument for dependence. In the present case
      a Markan intercalation found in John's passion narrative is my argument (a).
      By the way, an intercalation, as proposed by Markan scholars is never simply
      the interruption of one point, the completion of that second point, and then
      the reversion to complete the first point. It always involves that literary
      structure for a definite theological purpose, namely, to let the intertwined
      stories vibrate hermeneutically with one another. I do think, with those
      scholars that that is quite a unique Markan phenomenon. By the way, that
      claim is not, a priori and I would disagree with your use of that term. It
      is a literary conclusion about Markan redaction which then becomes a
      literary presupposition for Johnain dependence. Finally, and this is most
      important with regard to the (b) argument. After finding that Markan
      fingerprint, my hypothesis was to test Johannine dependence. Not just in
      that one section, but in the entire passion burial tradition. I could
      understand all the major changes in John's narrative on a very simple
      principal. Take Mark, in particular, or the synoptic tradition in general,
      and put Jesus in total charge and control of his own execution and burial.
      Now see what you come up with. You come up with John. That includes the
      diminution of the "Jewish" trial to emphasize the "Roman" trial. From all of
      that, my present working hypothesis is John's dependence on the synoptics
      for his passion narrative.

      >From: "Mahlon H. Smith" <mahlonh.smith@...>
      >To: hjmaterialsmethodolgy@...
      >Subject: [HJMatMeth] Johannine Dependence?
      >Date: Sun, Feb 13, 2000, 9:48 AM

      > Greetings Dom!
      > So far questions are light today. So I'd like to urge all Seminar
      > subscribers to put their thinking caps on to keep the discussion with
      > Prof. Crossan rolling. Politeness is admirable, but silence can be mind
      > numbing. To sustain interest we'll need a new batch of pointed questions
      > and/or challenges by this evening.
      > If the Seminar will allow me to step momentarily out of the moderator's
      > chair: there is one point, Dom, that I've wanted to probe you on since
      > our brief exchange regarding the source of the Passion Narratives at the
      > end of the JS debate. It has to deal with your argument for dependence
      > of 4G's PN on Mark.
      > Let me preface it by saying it isn't easy to find fault in public with
      > the thinking of a long-time colleague & friend, particularly one with
      > whom one basically agrees & from whom one has learned so much. But I
      > raise this in the interest of historical clarity regarding materials &
      > consistency regarding method, two points which you yourself regard as
      > basic & concerning which this e-Seminar was convened.
      > In BoC (114) you write: "Hence my third major presupposition about the
      > intracanonical gospels is that John is dependent on the synoptic gospels
      > *at least and especially* for the passion narratives...and for the
      > resurrection narratives....Once again, if that is wrong, everything that
      > I build on it is invalid."
      > I would agree. While I have no desire to prove your monumental
      > historical edifice invalid, I would like you to reexamine & clarify the
      > basis for your "third major presupposition" regarding the relation of
      > the contents of the intracanonical gospels. You yourself write (BoC 113)
      > that you are "*not yet* convinced about the dependence of the
      > [Johannine] miracle/discourse sections" parallel to the synoptics. And I
      > think rightly so, given the difficulties in demonstrating 4G's version
      > of this material represents redaction of any synoptic text. Therefore,
      > you characterize your views thus (BoC 112): "My own position presumes
      > both independence and dependence."
      > Now it seems to me that if one is prepared to grant the substantial
      > independence of one work from the contents of another, then any
      > suspicion of dependence of any section must be supported by more than
      > one observation about one point in the text. Otherwise one would be
      > forced to conclude with Farrerites & Griesbachians that Luke knew & used
      > Matthew because of the not so minor non-Markan agreement at the
      > conclusion of *their* PN accounts of the Sanhedrin trial when the judges
      > ask a blindfolded J: TIS ESTIN hO PAISAS SE? (Matt 26:68//Luke 22:65).
      > Now I take it that neither you nor I think that this parallel is
      > sufficient evidence to demonstrate Lukan dependence on Matthew or reason
      > to discard Q, given the demonstrable independence of Matthean & Lukan
      > narratives at other major points. Yet in the case of John, as far as I
      > can tell, you rest your whole argument for dependence on the synoptics
      > on the single claim of finding "Markan DNA" in the Johannine account of
      > Peter's denials.
      > In the abstract this argument seems impressive;
      > 1. Mark typically intercalates originally independent scenes - granted.
      > 2. *Like* Mark 4G frames J's interrogation by the high priest with
      > elements of the story of Peter's denial [A1-B-A2] - also granted.
      > What I question, however, is whether these general observations are
      > sufficient evidence to identify the DNA in 4G as "Markan." To identify
      > DNA one has to match minute particulars of extended chains of elements.
      > And that is precisely what is lacking here. You yourself recognize that
      > 4G divides the account of Peter's denials differently than Mark (BoC
      > 113, 565). Therefore, admittedly the DNA in these pericopes is *not*
      > identical but a mutation. Johannine A1 & A2 is demonstrably not the same
      > as Markan A1 & A2. But the direction of any mutation can only be
      > determined by sampling other material.
      > Here what you have apparently overlooked -- or at least failed to
      > mention -- that Johannine element B (an informal interrogation in the
      > house of the high priest) is totally different from Markan element B (a
      > formal trial before the council of priests & elders concluding in a
      > formal condemnation for blasphemy). It seems to me anyone who maintains
      > that 4G's PN is dependent on the synoptics has to be prepared to explain
      > why the author of 4G (of all people) would have suppressed the synoptic
      > account of a formal Jewish trial of Jesus which finds him guilty of the
      > charge that 4G twice earlier identified as "the Jews" reason for seeking
      > J's execution (Jn 5:18 & 10:33). Isn't it more plausible that the
      > synoptics would have turned an original midnight interrogation *before*
      > Passover in the Johannine source (=SG expanded to include PN) into a
      > formal trial *during* Passover than vice versa?
      > So your argument seems to rest solely on your a priori conviction that
      > literary intercalation of two scenes is a "peculiarly or even uniquely
      > Markan literary-theological structure" (BoC). I would grant that it is
      > "typically" Markan. But not "peculiar" or "even unique" since it also
      > appears in 4G's PN & there is no text of 4G from which it is absent. The
      > fact that Mark makes more use of it is not adequate proof either that he
      > invented it or that anyone else who used this structure knew the gospel
      > of Mark. For repetition of a verbal or structural pattern can be & often
      > is interpreted as a sign of dependence of one text on another, as in the
      > case of Matt's duplication of material from both Mark & Q.
      > Thus, I have trouble granting your claim of "Markan" DNA in 4G & even
      > more trouble viewing the Johannine PN as a whole as dependent on the
      > synoptic PN given its demonstrable differences in both chronology &
      > content. Yet, I do think it plausible that both PN performances are
      > traceable to a single common source. And my hunch is that in many
      > particulars the Johannine version is closer to the original than the
      > synoptic.
      > I eagerly await your response.
      > Shalom!
      > Mahlon
      > --
      > *********************
      > Mahlon H. Smith, http://religion.rutgers.edu/mh_smith.html
      > Associate Professor
      > Department of Religion Virtual Religion Index
      > Rutgers University
      > http://religion.rutgers.edu/vri/
      > New Brunswick NJ
      > Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
      > http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/
      > A Synoptic Gospels Primer
      > http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/
      > Jesus Seminar Forum
      > http://religion.rutgers.edu/jseminar/
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