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  • PLP/MCdeB
    In response to the recent messages of Frank McCoy and Raimo Hakola. 1. Raimo writes that our basic disagreement is methodological. In this I agree. Raimo
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2001
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      In response to the recent messages of Frank McCoy and Raimo Hakola.

      1. Raimo writes that our basic disagreement is methodological. In this I
      agree. Raimo argues, rightly, that the move from the text to the situation
      which produced the text is fraught with difficulties and pitfalls (to a
      large extent due to the very sparse bits of extra-biblical information at
      our disposal, not all of it equally reliable). That is true no matter which
      position one takes on the historicity of John 16:2. At the end of the day,
      the issue may come down to this: which hypothesis has the greater
      explanatory power? Which can make bettter sense of the given text? There is
      obviously room for disagreement!

      2. Raimo casts the issue of John 16:2 in terms of relations between
      "Christians" and "Jews", e.g., "we do not have much evidence of Christians
      who were executed by the Jews at this time", "I hesitate to take the
      Johannine references as evidence that the Christians were killed by the Jews
      at the end of the first century." That way of formulating the issue is in my
      view anachronistic for John, as I tried to show in my paper. The conflict on
      display in John is fundamentally an intramural Jewish one and very probably
      local or regional. Global statements about the overal situation between
      Christians and Jews may or may not be right or useful, but actually prove
      nothing about any specific situation (though they are an important
      consideration!). John 16:2 may point not only to excommunication from the
      synagogue (as 9:22; 12:42) but also to the execution of Johannne Jewish
      Christians by Jewish authorities (as 12:10), but it would not follow from
      this that generally speaking "the Christians [including Gentile Christians?]
      were killed by Jews [everywhere?] at the end of the first century".

      3.Frank McCoy presents some fascinating speculations (as he himself calls
      them) about using Acts to help understand the situation which produced John
      (McCoy causes one here to think of Oscar Cullmann who had a different
      agenda). Obviously it is not possible to respond to his proposals here. One
      would like to see them worked out and tested further. One issue is the
      connection between the Johannine tradition and the Lukan one. There are
      indeed points of contact, but also considerable differences. A key problem I
      think remains the lack of an explicit reference to a formal exclusion from
      the synagogue in Acts, and even an implicit one is hard to come by.

      With respect and thanks,
      Martin de Boer
      Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
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