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Re: [John_Lit] Sour wine one more time

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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      • 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 3 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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