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Re: [John_Lit] A response to Raimo Hakola

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  • jestaton@zoom.co.uk
    ... written ... For ... Dispersion ... clue ... but was ... might have ... states ... flight of the ... constant ... teach their ... had said ... Here, we ...
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 13, 2001
      --- In johannine_literature@y..., "FMMCCOY" <FMMCCOY@e...> wrote:
      > However, your argument is based on the assumption that John was
      written
      > for local consumption and this might be an unwarranted assumption.
      For
      > example, let us look at 7:35, "Does this man intend to go to the
      Dispersion
      > among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? (RSV)". Might not this be a
      clue
      > that John was written inside Palestine in a strictly Jewish locale,
      but was
      > designed to be read by Gentiles in the Diaspora?.
      > Indeed, it is not difficult to find situations in which this
      might have
      > taken place. For example, in History (Book 3, Sect. 5), Eusebius
      states
      > that, after the execution of James (c. 62 CE), but before the
      flight of the
      > Jerusalem Church to Pella (c. 65 CE?), "the remaining apostles, in
      constant
      > danger from murderous plots, were driven out of Judaea. But to
      teach their
      > message they travelled into every land in the power of Christ, who
      had said
      > to them: 'Go and make disciples of all the nations in my name.'"
      Here, we
      > learn, there was an early Christian tradition that, in the early
      sixties,
      > the surviving apostles were driven out of Judea because of
      persecution and
      > went into the Diaspora to "make disciples of all the nations".
      Perhaps this
      > is why Peter ended-up at Rome and was executed there c. 65 CE. In
      any
      > event, if this tradition is valid, then John (or, to be more
      accurate, an
      > early version of John without Chapter 21) might have been written at
      > Jerusalem in the early sixties so that that the still surviving
      apostles
      > would have a missionary text to help them to convert Gentiles in the
      > Diaspora to Christianity.
      > If this is the sitz em leben for John, then one can understand
      the
      > hostile attitude towards "the Jews". The situation is one where
      the members
      > of the Jerusalem Church are aliens in their own community, being
      persecuted
      > and ridiculed by the others--all of whom are Jews. As a result,
      they can no
      > longer identify themselves with their fellow Jews but, rather
      identify
      > themselves as being a new class of people--the children of God
      (1:12-13).
      > Further, they take "the Jews", as they persecute the children of
      God, to be
      > the children of the Devil. This children of God-children of the
      Devil
      > dualism is reminiscent of 1QS (The Community Rule), III, "Those
      born of
      > truth spring from the fountain of light, but those born of
      injustice spring
      > from a source of darkness." They have given up on trying to
      convert "the
      > Jews". However, they know, there are Gentiles eager to hear about
      Jesus
      > (12:20-21). So, now their hope is that they can convince many
      Gentiles in
      > the Diaspora to become children of God and, thereby, join wiith
      themselves
      > into one group
      > (compare 11:52). The apostles are preparing to leave for the
      Diaspora and,
      > within several years, the rest of the Jerusalem Church will be
      fleeing to
      > the city of Pella. While it is romantic to accept the early
      Christian
      > tradition that the rest of the Jerusalem Church fled to Pella
      because they
      > miraculously knew not only that a Jewish revolt was coming, but
      that it
      > would also lead to the sacking of Jerusalem, I think it more likely
      that
      > they fled to this city in the Greek nation of the Decapolis so that
      they
      > could live without persecution and so that they could, hopefully,
      convert
      > some of the Gentiles there to Christianity.

      Interesting thoughts on the Sitz im Leben of the Fourth Gospel, but
      overall I still lean to Hengel's view that the Fourth Gospel
      represents the fruit of decades of teaching and discussion between a
      teacher and a close group of disciples, possibly partly written up by
      the teacher (who did write the epistles), but finally redacted and
      published by a disciple after the original teacher's death. This
      would allow for the possibility that the scenario you suggest lies
      behind John's reference to the Jews. Even though the crisis was no
      longer a live one by the time the gospel was published, it may well
      have made such an impression that it was still referred to at the
      later date.

      Best Wishes

      JOHN E STATON
      jestaton@...
      www.jestaton.org
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