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Re: [John_Lit] The Legend of the Beloved Disciple

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  • Jo-Ann A Brant
    There is an Israeli scholar who has done extensive work on rabbinic biography, Alon Goshen-Gottstein, whose work _ The Sinner and the Amnesiac: The Rabbinic
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 11, 2001
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      There is an Israeli scholar who has done extensive work on rabbinic
      biography, Alon Goshen-Gottstein, whose work _ The Sinner and the
      Amnesiac: The Rabbinic Invention of Elisha Ben Abuya and Eleazar Ben
      Arach _(Stanford University Press, 2001) should be available in
      March. His conclusions about the historical reliability of this
      material are negative. This is a quotation from the abstract for the
      book: "Both figures are the product of the literary creativity of
      rabbinic storytellers who convey an ideology through the image of the
      rabbinic heroes they portray." It seems to me that given the short
      time of development of legendary material from the death of Christ to
      the composition of the Gospel, the oral traditions with which Tom is
      dealing provide us with a more fruitful analogy for questions about
      how one arrives at the portrait that we have than looking at the
      Tannaim. The biographies of the Tannaim tend to serve as
      illustrations of legal points, or occasion for making legal points.
      Sometimes the biographical story serves to confirm that the legal
      opinion actually came from a particular Rabbi of note. For example:
      M. Avodah Zara 2.5 "R. Judah said, R. Ishmael asked R. Joshua when
      they were on a a journey and said to him, "Why have they prohibited
      the cheese of idolaters?..." In this sense it strengthens the claim
      to authoritative source, but it works in a very different way than
      the Gospel narrative.

      The things that strike me about the FG that seem to work in Tom's
      model is the way that it seems to draw attention to the development
      of the legend of the BD (22:23) and to promote that development
      (21:25). Is the editor who is responsible for this generating a
      mythos for the gospel's community? In the same way that he ties
      Jesus to the myth of creation, is he giving his community a sort of
      story to which they will want to identify?

      Jo-Ann Brant
      Goshen College
      Goshen, IN
      46526
      (219) 535-7459
      joannab@...
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