The Legend of the Beloved Disciple (finally!)
A quick response to a couple things in Ken's last
post, but first thanks to Adele for the refs to
Flusser in English. I wasn't aware of the
translations and will look for them.
<<I agree that 1,2,3 Jn were written before the
Gospel. I have written about this . . . showing how
the Gospel used 1 Jn as a source and revered text.>>
I would personally not treat 1 John as a "source" per
se of FG; I think the author of FG is citing from the
same pool of Johannine tradition that we see traces
(and maybe citations) of from time to time in 1 John.
In fact, I think that some sections of 1 John are
commentary--maybe better midrash--on those traditions.
It is possible, in this case, to read every one of
the ridiculously large number of "hoti" clauses in 1
John as incidents of direct or indirect discourse
citations of the traditions, and in many cases this
gives much clearer readings than a causal translation.
Since I tend to look at the whole thing from the
perspective of oral tradition, I also feel that FG was
composed for the purpose of setting the limits of the
Johannine tradition and its interpretation in a
written document. This is one reason among many that
I am in strong disagreement with my mentor, Bob
Fortna, about the existence of a prior written source
for FG. In other words, FG is the first attempt we
know of to define a canon for purposes of controlling
and defining what is "orthodox."
Ken also said:
<<Your reference to "platform of power" is
interesting. For me, the schism in
1 Jn (2:19) reflects a power struggle between factions
over the question of authority rather than a dispute
over ethical or doctrinal issues.>>
In general, I cannot go with the majority position
that there was an ethical antinomianism among the
AntiChrists. That comes from mirror-reading 1 John's
refs to "sin," and I don't think that's what is in
mind in those passages. So I agree that there was
nothing about ethics going on. On the doctrinal
point, there were clearly doctrinal differences, but I
sense from 1 John and FG that FE does not intend to
resolve those problems in terms of theological
discussion. Rather, he turns to the argument
Tertullian made famous a century later and says that
you simply don't debate with heretics at all.
Heretics don't have rights to interpret the tradition,
whether they have the Paraclete or not. So beyond
just the doctrine, there is a broader battle over
hermeneutics going on here.