Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: [John_Lit] Further on Nicodemus and "the Jews"

Expand Messages
  • Moloney, Francis J.
    Ray, and everyone. Yes, I am quite happy to see Nicodemus as part of hoi Ioudaioi ... and I particularly like Jouette Bassler s Mixed Signals in the JBL
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 13, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Ray, and everyone.

      Yes, I am quite happy to see Nicodemus as part of hoi Ioudaioi ... and I
      particularly like Jouette Bassler's "Mixed Signals" in the JBL about
      1990 (not to speak of your own work on characters, Ray). But that is
      precisely my point. Whatever we make of Nicodemus, he is not a "bad
      guy" guilty of lies and planning the death of Jesus ... suggesting that
      Jesus was born in fornication and possessed by a demon. People who
      behave like that look to a demonic paternity, rejecting the paternity of
      Jesus (see 8:39-59 in the light of 5:23). They are the issues
      surrounding the infamous 8:44. Thus, Nicodemus, one of "the Jews,"
      Jesus "a Jew," and salvation came from "the Jews." Does this not
      indicate that the identification of "the Jews" = the bad guys = "the
      Jews in general" (Raimo) does not work.

      Frank

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Collins, Raymod F. [mailto:collinrf@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 3:18 PM
      To: 'johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com'
      Subject: RE: [John_Lit] A response to Frank Moloney


      I think that Nicodemus, despite the ambiguity of his characterization in
      the Fourth Gospel, remains a member of hoi Iudaioi. He may not be
      portrayed as negatively as the body of hoi Iudaioi; neverless he doesn't
      really rise above the level of a pious Jew, one who didn't really
      understand in any case. Ray Collins

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Raimo Hakola [mailto:raimo.hakola@...]
      Sent: Friday, March 09, 2001 12:53 AM
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [John_Lit] A response to Frank Moloney


      Dear Frank and other members of the group,
      I must first apologize that I did not reply to some of your responses
      earlier. We had some problems with our server yesterday, and so I could
      not
      take part in the discussion. But here is my response to professor
      Moloney:

      Frank wrote:
      "But if "hoi Ioudaioi" are "the Jews in general," or close to it ... who
      are the disciples, the Mother of Jesus, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, the
      Beloved Disciple ... and no doubt a certain number of ethnic Jews who
      belonged to the Johannine community. The "aposunagogos" problem
      (whetever one makes of it, and I think Adele Reinhartz is wrong) means
      something "Jewish.""

      Those "good guys" that you mention are not called the Jews in the
      narrative
      (Nicodemus could be an exception, but I am not sure whether he really
      belongs to this list, because his response to Jesus is very ambiguous).
      This may well imply that the Johannine believers did not identify
      themselves as the Jews anymore, and, if so, the debate in John is not
      anymore purely an inner-Jewish debate (as was stated earlier in this
      discussion by Adele Reinhartz). I have no doubts that "a certain number
      of
      ethnic Jews" belonged to the Johannine community. It is also
      self-evident
      that almost all the characters in the Gospel are "ethnic Jews," even
      though
      the term hoi Ioudaioi is used only for "the bad guys" (of course, the
      term
      is used for Jesus, and this was the main theme of my paper). But I think
      that the introducing of the theme of "ethnic Jews" is not really helpful
      in
      the case of John. As I tried to argue in my earlier message, the term
      hoi
      Ioudaioi seems to have mainly a religious meaning in the Gospel. I know
      that ethnic and religious matters were tightly interwoven in the ancient
      world, but I still think that the religious aspect of the term is
      emphasized in John. In light of this, it is not surprising that the term
      is
      not used for all characters who are "ethnic Jews," but is reserved for
      those who do not receive Jesus, i.e. who do not share the faith of the
      writer and his community.
      I must admit, however, that my earlier statement "HOI IOUDAIOI have
      become
      the Jews in general" may be misleading. The term does not refer to all
      Jews
      in an "ethnic" sense, but to those Jews who did not accept the faith of
      the
      evangelist and his community. But I still maintain that the sweeping
      usage
      of this term in John cannot be explained by claiming that it refers
      mainly
      to a limited group of Jewish authorities or the Pharisees. The term is
      sometimes used for these groups in the Gospel, but its meaning is not
      resricted to them.

      Regards
      Raimo

      Raimo Hakola

      Department of Biblical Studies
      P.O. Box 33
      00014 University of Helsinki

      tel. +358 9 191 22518
      fax +358 9 191 22106



      SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/


      SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
    • Paul Anderson
      ... Excellent points, Ray and Frank. The fact is that, like so many other themes in John, the presentation of the Ioudaioi in John is not a monological one
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 13, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com writes:
        >Thus, Nicodemus, one of "the Jews,"
        >Jesus "a Jew," and salvation came from "the Jews." Does this not
        >indicate that the identification of "the Jews" = the bad guys = "the
        >Jews in general" (Raimo) does not work.

        Excellent points, Ray and Frank. The fact is that, like so many other
        themes in John, the presentation of the Ioudaioi in John is not a
        monological one (see Barrett's far-reaching essay, "The Dialectical
        Theology of St. John" in his New Testament Essays, 1972, pp. 49-69). The
        evangelist works with his themes dialectically -- in this case,
        associating the term with Judea and Jerusalem-centered interests, at times
        religious leaders opposed to Jesus, at times the crowd or the world, and
        at times the source of salvation. To reduce a dialectical presentation of
        Johannine motif to a monological proposition is most certainly going to be
        wrong.

        Back to Bultmann's view, the Ioudaioi are paired in John with the
        disbelieving world, and as such, are not limited to a particular religion
        or group. Their presentation functions so as to challenge all who are
        scandalized by the Revealer. This is why the Fourth Gospel is also one of
        the greatest antidote to religious supersessioninsm and antisemitism,
        especially if it is exegeted adequately. It is written about a Jew, by a
        Jew, in the context of intramural Jewish struggles.

        Thanks!

        Paul
      • Raimo Hakola
        Thank you again Frank for your comment. Frank (Moloney) wrote: Yes, I am quite happy to see Nicodemus as part of hoi Ioudaioi ... and I particularly like
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 14, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          Thank you again Frank for your comment.

          Frank (Moloney) wrote:
          Yes, I am quite happy to see Nicodemus as part of hoi Ioudaioi ... and I
          particularly like Jouette Bassler's "Mixed Signals" in the JBL about 1990
          (not to speak of your own work on characters, Ray). But that is
          precisely my point. Whatever we make of Nicodemus, he is not a "bad guy"
          guilty of lies and planning the death of Jesus ... suggesting that Jesus
          was born in fornication and possessed by a demon. People who behave like
          that look to a demonic paternity, rejecting the paternity of Jesus (see
          8:39-59 in the light of 5:23). They are the issues surrounding the
          infamous 8:44. Thus, Nicodemus, one of "the Jews," Jesus "a Jew," and
          salvation came from "the Jews." Does this not indicate that the
          identification of "the Jews" = the bad guys = "the Jews in general" (Raimo)
          does not work.


          I think it is surprising that Jesus' "infamous" words in John 8:44 are
          directed at those Jews who believed in Jesus (8:30-31). I read the dialogue
          in 8:31-59 as a kind of test in the course of which the Johannine Jesus
          betrays that these believing Jews are in fact seeking to kill him. So
          Jesus' harshest words in John are not about those Jews who are openly
          hostile to him but about those who seem to believe in him. I think that
          this blurs a clear-cut distinction between those Jews who are "guilty of
          lies and planning the death of Jesus" and those whose intial response to
          Jesus is positive.
          I still want to refer to my earlier message where I admitted that the
          statement "the Jews=the Jews in general" may be misleading. I tried to
          point out that the term is not reserved for any specific group of the Jews
          such as the Pharisees or the leaders. And I think that Jesus' words in John
          8 confirm this, because even the believing Jews turn out to be Jesus'
          murderers. I tried to argue in my paper that Jesus' Jewishness, as
          presented in John, is not necessarily contradictory to the kind of
          theological anti-Judaism that I (still) think John represents. In fact, the
          presentation of Jesus as a Jew may well contribute to the development of
          supersessionism. And I think that the fact that there are such Jewish
          characters as Nicodemus who are not among "the bad guys" does not really
          change this. From the point of view of the evangelist, Nicodemus may well
          represent those leaders of the Jews who were open to the faith of the
          Johannine community (what is the historical reality in the background of
          these characters, we do not know). In John, these believers testify to the
          superiority of Jesus' message, because even the best among the Jews
          acknowledged that he is sent from God.

          In this connection I also like to thank all those who have commented my
          paper. I have learned very much from your encouraging but also critical
          comments. Let the conversation continue!
          Regards
          Raimo

          Raimo Hakola

          Department of Biblical Studies
          P.O. Box 33
          00014 University of Helsinki

          tel. +358 9 191 22518
          fax +358 9 191 22106
        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 3/14/2001 6:00:29 AM Eastern Standard Time, raimo.hakola@helsinki.fi writes:
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 14, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            In a message dated 3/14/2001 6:00:29 AM Eastern Standard Time,
            raimo.hakola@... writes:

            << From the point of view of the evangelist, Nicodemus may well
            represent those leaders of the Jews who were open to the faith of the
            Johannine community (what is the historical reality in the background of
            these characters, we do not know). >>

            Could I make a suggestion here? It seems to me that the background of
            Nicodemus as a character in Jn may be more literary than historical. The
            presence of both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus in the burial story of Jn
            19:38-42 suggests that John has taken the two very different descriptions of
            Joseph in Matthew's and Luke's narratives, respectively, and made two
            characters out of them. Joseph himself is described in clearly Matthean terms
            (Jn 19:38, and cf. Matt 27:57f), and Nicodemus, taken as an entire character
            throughout John, and especially in 7:50ff, answers to the very different
            description of Joseph given in Lk 23:50-51. The two characters are likewise
            assimilated narratively in John in the sense that both act "secretively" out
            of "fear of the Jews" (Jn 19:38, explicitly, for Joseph, and 3:2; 19:39,
            implicitly for Nicodemus). Note that Nicodemus also takes over the function
            of the women at the tomb in Luke (bringing myrrh and aloes; cf. Lk
            23:56-24-1). Of course the name "Nicodemus" still needs to be explained.

            The opposite phenomenon may be observed in Jn 20:1ff where the multiple women
            of the Synoptic accounts are merged into the single figure of Mary. The Mary
            Magdalene story likewise takes on literary features from Matt and Lk
            respectively: like the women in Matt, her first encounter is with an "angel"
            at the tomb, and as in Luke they are two (cf. Lk 24:4 and 23); as the story
            progresses, she then meets with Jesus, as do the women in Matt; she does not
            recognize him immediately, as was the case with the disciples on the road to
            Emmaus in Lk 24:13-33.

            Leonard Maluf
          • g
            I think the formulation of the Jews can best be understood from the standpoint of the Samaritans . In John, we know that Jesus is referred to as a
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 27, 2001
            • 0 Attachment
              I think the formulation of "the Jews" can best be
              understood from the standpoint of "the Samaritans".

              In John, we know that Jesus is referred to as a
              Samaritan. And we know he spends quite a bit of
              his time recruiting members in as far away as Tyre
              (some manuscripts - Sidon as well). While he obviously
              spends some time in Jerusalem, it is not surprising
              to think that most of his "sinner" recruits are
              thought to be "sinners" because they were SAMARITANS.

              Certainly Josephus can vouch for the intense antipathy
              between "the Jews" and "the Samaritans". And it would
              not be unlikely that the generations of hatred between
              Christians and Jews found the first roots in the hatreds
              between Jews and Samaritans.

              Jesus's story of THE GOOD SAMARITAN (someone who is more
              concerned about righteousness than every rule of purity...
              hmmmm, someone amazingly like Jesus) could be about Jesus
              himself.

              I would think surmising the Samaritan ancestry of Jesus
              goes a long way to explaining what is all this "the Jews"
              talk! Paul, a Benjaminite, ALSO uses this phrase.

              George
            • Jack Kilmon
              ... From: g To: Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2001 2:34 PM Subject: [John_Lit] Further on
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 30, 2001
              • 0 Attachment
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "g" <george.x.brooks@...>
                To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2001 2:34 PM
                Subject: [John_Lit] Further on Nicodemus and "the Jews"


                > I think the formulation of "the Jews" can best be
                > understood from the standpoint of "the Samaritans".
                >
                > In John, we know that Jesus is referred to as a
                > Samaritan. And we know he spends quite a bit of
                > his time recruiting members in as far away as Tyre
                > (some manuscripts - Sidon as well). While he obviously
                > spends some time in Jerusalem, it is not surprising
                > to think that most of his "sinner" recruits are
                > thought to be "sinners" because they were SAMARITANS.
                >
                > Certainly Josephus can vouch for the intense antipathy
                > between "the Jews" and "the Samaritans". And it would
                > not be unlikely that the generations of hatred between
                > Christians and Jews found the first roots in the hatreds
                > between Jews and Samaritans.
                >
                > Jesus's story of THE GOOD SAMARITAN (someone who is more
                > concerned about righteousness than every rule of purity...
                > hmmmm, someone amazingly like Jesus) could be about Jesus
                > himself.
                >
                > I would think surmising the Samaritan ancestry of Jesus
                > goes a long way to explaining what is all this "the Jews"
                > talk! Paul, a Benjaminite, ALSO uses this phrase.

                Actually, the frequent use of "The Jews" in the NT texts should be correctly
                translated as "The Judeans," meaning the Temple cultus. In this light it is
                not
                necessary to make Jesus a Samaritan but just the Galilean he was. Galileans
                were looked down upon by Judeans almost as much as Samaritans.

                JK
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.