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Sour wine one more time

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  • diadem
    Thanks Jeffery for the detail on the sour wine . What I say is that what Jesus accepted was the sour wine according to each of the authors. What Jesus
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 3, 2001
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      Thanks Jeffery for the detail on the 'sour wine'.
      What I say is that what Jesus accepted was the 'sour wine' according to
      each of the authors.
      What Jesus rejected in Mk and Mat. was the spiced wine.
      I do worry about translating this as 'vinegar', since our vinegar is
      rather different.
      However, I guess what is really at stake is this. Was the offer of sour
      wine in order to alleviate the pain, or to delay the final effect of the
      trauma? Since the writers do not tell us, we can never know finally.

      Now, to one point raised by Kevin O'Brien.
      I did not know that Greek had a definite article the way English does.
      In Greek from earliest times to today, there is usually an article in
      front of every noun and adjective. I think that what needs explaining is
      the absence of the article, not its presence. So I cannot agree that in
      Jn. 3:10 Jesus is calling Nicodemus 'the' teacher as though he is a
      pre-eminent or leading teacher. The RSV and NRSV are right in
      translating 'are you a teacher…'. Emphasis is usually achieved by word
      order and/or absence of the article. In Jn. 10:11 is a very good
      example. The Greek reads 'the shepherd the good'. We never translate the
      second 'the'. This is the normal way of using adjectives. Also, the
      Greek says 'I I am'… The fact of the first person pronoun indicates
      strong emphasis on the person speaking: "I my very self am…". But, is
      Jesus saying that he is the only good shepherd? I think that if he was
      saying that, John would have written 'the good shepherd' and not 'the
      shepherd the good'.
      I believe that the context dictates whether we translate the Greek
      article with an English definite article. In the case of Jn. 3:10 the
      context does not justify our definite article.
      Ross Saunders from DownUnder.
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Ross Saunders wrote: Thanks Jeffery for the detail on the sour wine . What I say is that what Jesus accepted was the sour wine according to each of the
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 3, 2001
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        Ross Saunders wrote:

        "Thanks Jeffery for the detail on the 'sour wine'.
        What I say is that what Jesus accepted was the 'sour
        wine' according to each of the authors. What Jesus
        rejected in Mk and Mat. was the spiced wine. I do
        worry about translating this as 'vinegar', since our
        vinegar is
        rather different. However, I guess what is really at
        stake is this. Was the offer of sour wine in order to
        alleviate the pain, or to delay the final effect of
        the trauma? Since the writers do not tell us, we can
        never know finally."

        My reply: I am glad that we are clear about the wine
        and the vinegar being different. As for the role of
        the vinegar -- the gospels give it different emphasis.
        In Luke, the offer of vinegar is clearly part of the
        mockery by the soldiers -- it is not specified that
        Jesus accepts the vinegar. In Matthew and Mark, the
        purpose for the offer of vinegar is not clear -- and
        it also is not specified that Jesus accepted the
        vinegar.

        John's Gospel is different. John 19:30 states Jesus
        accepted the vinegar (hote oun elaben to oksos ho
        Iasous). The word "lambano" (elaben) basically means
        to "to take / to accept / to receive". It definitely
        does not mean "to reject". On the meaning of "elaben",
        note that of the spiced wine offered to Jesus in Mark
        and Matthew, Mark states that Jesus "did not accept"
        [ouk elaben] it, and Matthew states that Jesus tasted
        it but did not want to drink it -- which suggests that
        Matthew understood Mark's use of "ouk elaben" to mean
        "did not drink" the spiced wine. John's Gospel, in
        speaking of the vinegar, states that Jesus "accepted"
        (elaben) the vinegar -- which we can read as meaning
        that Jesus "drank" the vinegar.

        Thus, I do not think that we can accept Kevin
        O'Brien's opinion concerning "the report in the Fourth
        Gospel, 'ELABEN TO OXOS hO IHSOUS'", namely, that "The
        verb here [i.e., elaben] cannot be translated in the
        sense that Jesus drank the fluid". Rather, it seems
        that quite the opposite is the case -- that John
        presents Jesus as accepting-drinking the vinegar.

        In my two articles that were linked for discussion
        last week (and are still available for reading at
        http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/~fjust/John/SBL-Discussions.html),
        I present my interpretation of the Johannine
        understanding of the vinegar within a larger context
        of the Johannine understanding of dualism, the world,
        and food. In my view, Johannine dualism is grounded in
        Judaism's ethical dualism (not in a Gnostic substance
        dualism). The vinegar signifies the impurity of the
        world that Jesus accepts in accepting death. In my
        articles, I cite several Jewish sources to make my
        case.

        If anyone is interested in the function of food in
        John's Gospel, then you will probably be interested in
        taking a look at these two articles.

        Jeffery Hodges

        =====
        Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Department of English Language and Literature
        Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
        447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
        Yangsandong 411
        South Korea

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      • Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Frank McCoy wrote me a message off-list concerning one of my papers, but since the scheduled paper for this week s discussion did not appear, I d like to post
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 3, 2001
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          Frank McCoy wrote me a message off-list concerning one
          of my papers, but since the scheduled paper for this
          week's discussion did not appear, I'd like to post his
          message and my reply here:

          FRANK NOTES: In your first paper, you write:

          "Suppose that Gnostic substance dualism[9]
          characterizes The Gospel of John. What would one then
          expect in the encounter between Jesus and the world?
          Based upon what we know of Gnosticism, the world would
          attempt to gain control over Jesus in order to obtain
          his spiritual power, but Jesus would attempt to avoid
          falling captive to the world.[10] How would the world
          attempt to gain control? By trying to mix matter with
          spirit.[11] Gnostic texts often describe this mixing
          in terms of eating, perhaps the most appropriate means
          of conceptualizing the mixing of matter and spirit,
          given that eating effects a boundary transgression
          resulting in a mixing of the most immediate, intimate,
          and
          recognizable kind. The Acta Archelai, for instance,
          recounts the Manichaean pre-cosmic myth describing how
          matter consumed the spiritual substance from the realm
          of light and thereby trapped it.[12] Being eaten-or,
          more characteristically, eating[13]-would thus
          constitute a grave threat that the Gnostic revealer
          must constantly guard himself against."

          This illustrates an area where I perceive a weakness
          in your two papers. That is, when discussing Gnostic
          ideas about "eating", you seem to heavily rely on
          rather late Gnostic texts, i.e., Mandaean and
          Manichaean texts.
          These were likely written centuries after John, so
          their applicability to interpreting 19:28-30 is highly
          questionable. I think that Piet van Valduizer was
          hinting at this weakness in his question to you about
          the dating of the Mandaean texts and their
          relationship to John.

          JEFFERY REPLIES: I think that your point about the
          dating of sources would only be a debilitating
          weakness if I were trying to argue for John's Gospel
          having been written as a response to Gnosticism (such
          as Bultmann does), but I am not doing that. Rather, I
          am presenting a contrast of John and Gnosticism as
          religious systems.

          Anyway, I don't only use late texts. I also cite
          (among other texts) "The Apocryphon of John", which is
          generally considered a relatively early example of
          Classic Gnosticism.

          FRANK ADDS: Also, I suspect that these late Gnostic
          ideas about matter "eating" spirit and the reverse do
          not reflect Gnosic and proto-Gnostic thought that
          was in existence in the late first century and early
          second century CE. In particular, I fail to see it in
          the Gospel of Thomas. . . . [Cf.] saying 7. "Blessed
          is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man;
          and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the
          lion becomes man.", and the last part of GTh 11, "In
          the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it
          what is alive. When you come into the light, what
          will you do? On the day when when you were one you
          became two. But when you become two, what will you
          do?"

          JEFFERY REPLIES: Well, how Gnostic is the Gospel of
          Thomas? A lot of scholars think that it fails to
          qualify as full-fledges Gnosticism. As for
          "proto-Gnosticism", I consider that a rather dubious
          category because it's difficult to demonstrate any
          clear timeline in the development of Gnostic thought.
          Still, even if there was proto-Gnosticism in the late
          first century, it doesn't much concern me in my two
          papers since I'm contrasting John with Gnosticism, not
          with proto-Gnosticism.

          At any rate, if you look at the spectrum of genuinely
          Gnostic writings, you will see that "matter" (hyle)
          constitutes an enormous problem for Gnostics. This
          follows from Gnosticism's understanding of good and
          evil as grounded in substance dualism. Material food
          thus poses a problem for Gnostics.

          Thank you very much for your interest.

          Jeffery Hodges

          =====
          Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
          Department of English Language and Literature
          Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
          447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
          Yangsandong 411
          South Korea

          __________________________________________________
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          Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
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        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          Since this is a week off from discussion of papers, perhaps people can help supply me with a bibliography -- and this will be a rather broad request (so
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 9, 2001
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            Since this is a week off from discussion of papers,
            perhaps people can help supply me with a bibliography
            -- and this will be a rather broad request (so
            interpret it broadly).

            As you know if you have read my two articles (and will
            learn now if you haven't), I am interested in
            combining work done in the sociology and anthropology
            of religion with Johannine exegesis (well, not only on
            John, I've also written on Mark) -- especially with
            respect to the symbolic function of food/drink for
            issues of sacred/profane, pure/impure, dualisms of
            various kinds, movement across boundaries separating
            various binarisms of good/bad, etc.

            I've focused upon food (and drink) because these play
            a real and symbolic role on different levels:

            1) food/drink as life -- they bring life

            2) food/drink as gifts -- they presuppose reciprocity

            3) food/drink as communal -- they forge bonds

            4) food/drink as ritual -- they can be sacramental

            Of course, food/drink can bring impurity (cf. 4) and
            death (cf. 1), and rejecting food/drink or not
            offering food/drink in return can bring alienation
            (cf. 2 and 3). In fact, this ambiguity of food and its
            functions is what fascinates me -- especially in John
            (and in Gnosticism) -- because it relates to those
            issues of sacred/profane, pure/impure, dualisms of
            various kinds, movement across boundaries separating
            various binarisms of good/bad, etc that I have
            referred to above.

            I'd appreciate bibliographic suggestions. I'd be
            especially interested in knowing what has been written
            on the development of the eucharist in New Testament
            Christianity as well as upon the ideas of purity and
            impurity, holiness and the profane in the movement
            from Jewish to Christian views in New Testament
            Christianity.

            Beyond this, any sociology or anthropology of religion
            studies of sacred and profane, pure and impure --
            especially with respect to New Testament Christianity
            -- would be helpful.

            Naturally, those works focusing upon John or of
            interest to Johannine scholars would be the most
            helpful.

            Jeffery Hodges

            =====
            Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
            447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
            Yangsandong 411
            South Korea

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            Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
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