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1947Re: [John_Lit] What did the BD believe (20:8)?

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  • khs@picknowl.com.au
    Sep 5, 2001
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      Dear Leonard,

      Thank you for your quite comprehensive answer. A couple of
      responses are appropriate. You said:

      <<<We have "the whole story of Jesus" in three different, but
      related Synoptic
      accounts, and if we use their composite testimony as a first
      basis of
      comparison (and assume, as I do, that John had access to this
      testimony) then
      we can measure, as it were, the extent to which John's
      composition is
      "invention" in terms of the details of the stories he tells.
      even on this basis it would not be justified to view John's work as
      "just" a
      brilliant fabrication, because a basic and important line of
      agreement exists
      between his story about Jesus and the testimony of the
      Synoptics. >>>

      Firstly let me say that I do not think that John's work is a
      fabrication, brilliant or otherwise. My suggesting the same was
      simply to express what I see as the logical end of the argument
      that John used anything other than historical persons and events
      for his account. It is clear that I do think he has been very
      selective about the material that he did include, but I cannot see
      that we could claim that the author was simply inventive. Yes, a
      certain event may have been reported from a different angle to
      express a particularly theological view, and if that is what is
      meant by being inventive I have no qualms about it and I think
      that is what you are saying (not that it would bother you whether I
      have qualms about it or not!). I am not sure that I would go far
      enough for you, however, considering your comments:

      <<< This is fine, except that I think the idea of "selecting material"
      gives minimalist expression to the proactive literary-rhetorical
      work of the evangelists, especially John.

      <<To do this, however, he was still selecting from actual
      `historical persons' and `historical events',..>>

      Yes, but the evidence suggests that this is so only if one thinks
      of "historical events" in a broad sense. I think it is fair to say that
      in the judgment of most scholars, the details of John's stories
      are less often selected than they are produced.>>>

      If inventiveness is fabrication from the start it would not be
      possible for us to distinguish from actual historical events
      anyway. We are left, it seems to me, with gospels whose writers
      were men of the highest integrity and whose accounts – even if
      recorded with a particular theological thrust – are trustworthy
      accounts of actual people and events that we are called .

      Perhaps I'd better move away from this one. I am not
      comfortable with these terms but, as I said, I might quickly get
      out of my depth with it an I may already have done so.

      I am not sure that John had the witness of the Synoptics, though
      he would have had Mark. I think it more likely that Matthew and
      Luke had Mark and John. I can only invite you look at my post
      #6631 in the Synoptic-L list for a brief explanation of why I think
      what I do on that. One point that I might make because it has
      some relevance here is that I think Q was actually the leftovers
      after John had selected what he wanted from what he and others
      compiled for what is now the Fourth Gospel.

      <<<It was Luke who first introduced invented dialogue into the
      resurrection stories. …Dialogue between disciples and the
      glorified Christ, gradually leading to faith, seems to be a later
      development in Gospel composition >>>

      Not if John preceded Luke, and even less so if a major part of
      Luke's resources were John's leftovers.

      <<< Certainly this is part of what we are discussing. >>>

      I questioned this only in the sense that 1:1-5 is a theological
      statement rather than an historical. John inserts theological
      statements in a number of places which, I agree are not
      separate from the rest of the text. I was just trying to clarify for
      myself whether the inventiveness we were discussing about only
      referred to people/events.

      <<< But do you think the influence of OT texts on John's writing
      stops after he has completed his prologue?>>>


      <<< I think in many cases OT texts, among other things, have
      influenced the way John tells stories in the life of Jesus, and that
      one does not fully understand these stories until one becomes
      aware of this pervasive intertextuality. >>>

      I agree. If I may return to my point about John's use of Genesis
      1&2 as a structure, this does not relate just to the prologue but to
      most of the gospel, from 1:1 – 20:29. Much of John directly uses
      the OT, the structure is more subtle, but it is there and gives
      meaning to much of the plain text as much of the plain text
      supports the structure. There are many – probably independent
      – allusions to the OT in John, but the Genesis structure gives a
      cohesion to the whole.

      <<< I think one's reading of John's account, as well as of the
      Synoptic gospels, is greatly impoverished if one sees the
      theology of the evangelist as impinging merely on the selection
      and ordering of raw and strictly historical material. Wouldn't you
      agree? >>>

      I would, given a more cautious approach to terms such as
      `inventiveness' and statements like, <<< John's stories are less
      often selected than they are produced.>>> But we may be as
      close as we're going to get on these and they are probably less
      significant than the other things w ehave considered.


      Kym Smith
      South Australia
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