- I realise my comments on this passage were very brief and possibly quite
criptic and so I thought I should follow up with something a little fuller.
What follows is a very brief, almost telegram style, points I developed in
depth in my thesis/book. In this posting i cannot possibly go into the
arguments and evidence - just make statements.
john 1:14, 2:19, 21 establish cultic symbolism as a major means of
presenting the identity and mission of Jesus. I believe that Temple
symbolism is THE major christological symbol within the gospel - it is used
consistently across the Gospel and provides the plot of the narrative
namely the destruction and raising of a Temple.
This symbolism continues to operate in John 4, Tabernacles, Dedication,
John 14 where the future dwelling of the Divine presence with the believing
community is introduced with the Temple symbolism of My Father's house -
already used in Jn 2. (Each of these passages is given an entire chapter).
Not only does Temple symbolism speak to the identity and mission of Jesus,
in the course of the narrative the symbolism gradually shifts to include
the future community of believers endowed with the Spirit - in the absence
of Jesus, the Divine Presence will continue to dwell in the midst of the
Johannine community so that they can be called Temple. This shift begins
in Tabernacles - specially 7:37-39, continues in Dedication and then more
explicitly in Jn 14. Prior to the hour the shift towards the community as
Temple is only a promise. In the hour the promise become reality and Jn
19:26-30 is where the text shows this.
Key to this brief passage is the title placed above the head of Jesus by
Pilate. In this Gospel it is called a Title - in fact there are 2 titles -
Jesus THE NAZARENE and the King of the Jews. The Nazarene title is only
used in the hour in 18:5,7. The FG does not make us of a Nazareth
tradition as the Patris of Jesus is considered to be Judea. Jn 4:43-44
Excavations in the 60's established that the word Nazareth is related to
the Netzer of Isaiah 11:1 so the title Nazarene could be a messianic title -
In Zechariah 6:12 we find the one place where the builder of the new Temple
is named - Here is a man whose name is Branch.... and he shall build the
Temple of the Lord. In Zechariah the Hebrew term is Tzamah not Netzer.
However by the first century Rabbinic exegesis allowed for the substitution
of similar terms - just as we can call a branch a limb or a bough. Not
only is this exegesis possible but I found evidence in the DSS where the
terms Tzaamah and Netser are infact used interchangeably and used as a
messianic title.So prior to the FG the Netzer/Tzamah is a messianic title
linked to the building of the eschatological Temple.
ALl this means that when Jesus dies under the title of THE NAZARENE the
plot announced in 2:19 is brought to completion - one Temple is destoyed
but another is simultaneously being built in the form of a community of
believers wherein the Divine Presence can dwell.So 19:25-30 is far more
than a dying son making provision for a disciple to look after his mother -
it is the highpoint of the Gospel's plot announced in 2:19 and as the text
states - after this Jesus knew all was now completed. Hence my strong
reaction to a literal reading of these verses and a search for the 'home'
of the BD.
This is very very brief summary of a 250 page thesis/book. Even if you
don't have access to some of the journals I named (Pacifica and the
Austrlian biblical Review) - watch out for the book to be published in
march this year. I would certainly welcome some feedback on this work ( not
this email posting as it is far too brief).
Dr. Mary Coloe pbvm
School of Theology
Australian Catholic University
Locked Bag 4115
Fitzroy MDC VIC 3065
Phone (61 + 3) 9953 3137 Fax: 9953 3245