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Re: [John_Lit] Elizabeth Danna: Characterization of the Greeks in John 12

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  • Elizabeth Danna
    ... I doubt it, since these people are called hellhnes at 12:20. The usual NT word for Greek-speaking Jews is hellhnistai. Thus I suspect that the hellhnes
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 23, 2001
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      Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

      > [quoting me]"This indicates that they are either God-fearers or
      > full-fledged proselytes".
      >
      > [Jeffery asks]Are these the only alternatives? Couldn't they also be
      > Greek-speaking Jews who had been born as Jews?

      I doubt it, since these people are called hellhnes at 12:20. The usual NT
      word for Greek-speaking Jews is hellhnistai. Thus I suspect that the
      hellhnes mentioned at 7:35 are also Gentiles.


      Elizabeth Danna


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      I will use this post to respond to both Richard Anderson and Elizabeth Dana. I. Response to Richard Anderson: I asked: If the Greeks in John 12 were
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 23, 2001
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        I will use this post to respond to both Richard
        Anderson and Elizabeth Dana.

        I. Response to Richard Anderson:

        I asked: If the Greeks in John 12 were "full-fledged
        proselytes", wouldn't they be considered Jews rather
        than Gentiles anyway?

        Richard Anderson wrote:

        -------------------------------------------------------

        In Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Schiffman writes:

        "No doubt non-Jews would have been prohibited from
        entering the temple since even proselytes were
        forbidden entry into the middle Court until the fourth
        generation (Temple Scroll 39:5-7). Indeed, in the End
        of Days, non-Jews as well as proselytes were to be
        excluded from the sanctuary described in Florigium (1-
        2I4)."

        The relevant portion is that "even proselytes were
        forbidden entry into the middle Court until the fourth
        generation (Temple Scroll 39:5-7)."

        -------------------------------------------------------

        Richard, I have two questions:

        1) Would this passage refer to the actual temple or
        the idealized temple? The Qumran authors were far more
        concerned with purity than other Jewish groups were.

        2) Even if this reflects the practice at the acutal
        temple, does this mean that the proselytes were
        considered still Gentile? Or just not entirely pure?
        Was there a distinction here between "religiously
        Jewish" and "ethnically Jewish"?

        I guess that these are more than two questions.

        II. Response to Elizabeth Dana:

        Concerning the identity of the hellhnes, I asked: Are
        God-fearers or full-fledged proselytes the only
        alternatives? Couldn't they also be Greek-speaking
        Jews who had been born as Jews?

        Elizabeth Dana wrote:

        -------------------------------------------------------

        I doubt it, since these people are called hellhnes at
        12:20. The usual NT word for Greek-speaking Jews is
        hellhnistai. Thus I suspect that the hellhnes
        mentioned at 7:35 are also Gentiles.

        -------------------------------------------------------

        Elizabeth, you may well be correct, but I think that
        your paper will be stronger if you provide an argument
        in your paper to support your interpretation. I have
        just checked Kittel, TDNT, Volume 2, pp. 101-102,
        which seems to favor Hellenistic Jews as the group
        intended by the word hellhnes but which also notes the
        possibility that this term might refer to Gentile
        Greeks.

        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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      • Elizabeth Danna
        ... I see the story as open-ended because the narrator gives out signals (in Jesus intense emotional response, in his statement that the hour has come , and
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 25, 2001
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          Piet van Veldhuizen wrote:

          > In John 12 the presence of the "hour" seems not to be realized in a fullness
          > of
          > contact and disclosure, but rather seems to isolate Jesus from the people
          > around him. The last part of 12,36 confirms this. Therefore I have some
          > difficulty in reading the coming of the Greeks as an open-ended story in
          > which we can "step in" - it seems rather to be open-ended because in this
          > moment, nobody can pretend to be a follower of Jesus.

          I see the story as open-ended because the narrator gives out signals (in Jesus'
          intense emotional response, in his statement that "the hour has come", and in
          the placing of key discipleship teaching here) that something important is
          happening here, but does not record how the Greeks respond. This suggests that
          the reader is supposed to "fill in the blanks."

          > Why did you not comment upon the role of Philip and Andrew in this pericope?

          I should explain that the paper as posted is what I gave at SBL. I had to
          remove a lot of material from the (much longer) first draft to bring it within
          the time restrictions. One of the sections removed concerned Philip and
          Andrew. They act as mediators in the patron-client relationship between Jesus
          and the Greeks. As you point out, this is the same role that they play in
          chapter 6. Their characterisation is also similar in the two passages, with
          Philip at a loss and turning to Andrew, who is slightly more resourceful. They
          also serve as links between others and Jesus at 1:35-51. Thomas Brodie in his
          commentary on the Gospel suggests that because of Philip's Greek name, his
          association with the Greeks in Acts 8 and because in chapter 12 the Greeks come
          to Jesus through him, Philip's call to discipleship is, in a sense, proleptic
          of that of the Greeks. That said, one must admit that Philip's name has been
          found among Jews, which may reduce the significance of the Greeks' coming to a
          disciple of that name. And Philip can hardly be given more than a share of the
          credit for bringing the Greeks to Jesus (if in fact they ever get to see him).
          Nonetheless, although there are difficulties with Brodie's view, his is the
          closest to a satisfactory one. Indeed, it also suggests an answer to the
          question of why the implied author lays such stress on the fact the Philip is
          from Galilee, which was referred to as "Galilee of the Gentiles" (though this
          expression is not used in the Gospel). For it is among Galileans that Jesus
          finds his first disciples, and it is Philip the Galilean whom a group of
          Gentiles approach with a request to see Jesus.

          > Finally, I think it is not all-important to know the ethnic and religious
          > status of these Greeks. Essential is the kind of figure drawn by their
          > appearance: at the moment that Jesus reaches the centre-point of his mission
          > (Jerusalem, the "hour"), these Greeks evoke the wide world.

          My point exactly.

          > Their appearance underlines, by contrast, the utter concentration on this
          > centre-point in
          > place and time. The question remains: are they presented as a threat to
          > Jesus' concentration (the perspective of worldwide discipleship could have
          > distracted him from this ultimate concentration), or are they rather by
          > their appearance confirming the world-wide significance of Jesus' mission in
          > that very hour of truth?

          The former view was argued by W.E. Moore ["Sir, We Wish to See Jesus. Was This
          an Occasion of Temptation?" SJT 20 (1967) pp. 75-93]. Moore suggests that the
          Greeks' offer tempted Jesus to leave Israel and go to the Diaspora, and thus to
          avoid the painful and humiliating death which was the inevitable consequence of
          his following God's plan that he stay in Israel. Ironically, going to the
          Diaspora is exactly what "the Jews" think, wrongly, that Jesus intends to do at
          7:35. But Jesus does not go to the Greeks; at 12:20ff., the Greeks come to
          him. Of course, the implied reader knows that Jesus has gone to the Greeks, in
          the ministry of his disciples. The main flaw in Moore's argument is that there
          is no indication in the canonical Gospels that Jesus was so interested in
          obtaining Greek disciples that he could have been drawn away from God's plan.
          The disciples whom he seeks out are all Jews. Rather the Greeks represent the
          Gentiles, now coming to Jesus just as official Jewish rejection of him is about
          to become complete.


          Elizabeth Danna






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • George Brooks
          Elizabeth Danna, In your research, did you come across any tendency to link the Galilean Israelite community with one or any of the 10 northern tribes? I
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 25, 2001
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            Elizabeth Danna,

            In your research, did you come across any tendency to
            link the Galilean Israelite community with one or any
            of the 10 northern tribes?

            I vaguely remember reading somewhere that some thought
            the phrase "Son of Joseph" was not just a reference to
            Jesus' biological ancestry, but a reference to his
            link to the Tribe of Joseph.

            Or was Galilee merely seen as extension of the
            tribe of Judah?

            George Brooks
          • Elizabeth Danna
            ... This theory is new to me. How does Berger argue it? What textual evidence is there? Elizabeth Danna
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 26, 2001
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              Maluflen@... wrote:

              > Also, what do you think of the recent
              > arguments of Klaus Berger that Andrew is the beloved disciple in John?

              This theory is new to me. How does Berger argue it? What textual evidence is
              there?

              Elizabeth Danna
            • FMMCCOY
              Dear Elizabeth Danna: Until I read your paper, I hadn t given much thought to the request of some Greeks to see Jesus. All I had was a vague idea that perhaps
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 26, 2001
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                Dear Elizabeth Danna:

                Until I read your paper, I hadn't given much thought to the request of
                some Greeks to see Jesus. All I had was a vague idea that perhaps they are
                mentioned because this gospel might have been directed at Gentiles.
                Your make a good case for your idea that there was much more than just idle
                curiousity behind the request, of the Greeks, to see Jesus.
                After reading your paper, I decided to take a closer look at John
                12:20-36. One
                thing immediately puzzled me. That is, what Jesus says in verse 24 doesn't
                seem to follow from what he says in verse 23.
                In verse 23, Jesus declares that the "hour" has come for the Son of Man
                to be "glorified". In verse 32, we learn, this is the time when he, this
                Son of Man will be lifted up.
                In verse 24, however, Jesus speaks about how, if a seed "dies" by being
                buried in the earth, it will bear fruit. How does this relate to the
                lifting up of the Son of Man? To say this is not self-evident is an
                under-statement!
                After thinking about this for a while, I have come up with an idea that
                is radical in nature and, since I've just come up with it, is not well
                thought out. This idea is that the Greeks were Therapeutae and that Jesus
                was aware of this when he said 12:23-25.
                It would appear that some of the Therapeutae were Greeks. So, while
                speaking of the Therapeutae in Cont 21, Philo states, "This kind exists in
                many places in the inhabited world, for perfect goodness must needs be
                shared both by Hellada and Barbaron, but it abounds in Egypt." Indeed, this
                statement perhaps even implies that most of the Therapeutae were
                Greeks. This would strange, as this was a Jewish sect--unless, of course,
                the Therapeutae did not demand that male Gentiles entering their sect be
                circumicised.
                Since some of the Therapeutae apparently were Greeks, it is, then,
                possible that the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus had been Therapeutae.
                Now, in Cont. 11-13, Philo states that the Therapeutae "desire the
                vision of
                the Existent....And those who set themselves to this service, not just
                following custon nor on the advice and admonition of others but carried away
                by a heaven-sent passion of love (herotos), remain rapt and possessed like
                bachanals or corybants until they see the object of their yearning. Then
                such is their longing for the deathless and blessed life that thinking their
                mortal life already ended they abandon their property to their sons or
                daughters or to other kinsfolk, thus voluntarily advancing the time of their
                inheritance,...For it is right that those who have received ready to their
                hand the wealth that has eyes to see should surrender the blind wealth to
                those who are still blind in mind."
                Here, we learn that, the Therapeutae believed, one who sees the vision
                of God, becomes alive to life in an immortal sense and has,
                thereby, become dead to life in a mortal sense and gained spiritual wealth
                ("the wealth that has eyes to see").
                I suggest that Jesus has this Therapeutic belief in mind in 12:23-25.
                At first glance, his opening statement that the "hour" has come for the
                Son of Man to be glorified does not relate to this Therapeutic belief.
                However, the situation might not be as it appears!
                In LA ii, 81, Philo declares, if a person succeeds "in beholding in soul
                the beauty of self-mastery, the serpent of Moses, and through beholding
                this, beholds God Himself, he shall live." Here, Philo enunciates the
                doctrine that if one looks at what is symbolized by the serpent of brass
                (and which he took this to be self-mastery), one will, thereby, see God and
                gain eternal life.
                This Philionic doctrine might relate to 3:15--where, it is declared, just
                as the serpent was lifted up, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. In this
                case, the serpent of brass symbolizes the Son of Man and, so, Philo's
                doctrine become a doctrine that if one looks upon the lifted up Son of Man,
                one will see God and, so, will become alive to life in an immortal sense.
                In this case, then, what Jesus says in verse 23 is a declaration that the
                "hour" has come for the Son of Man to be lifted up so that whoever looks on
                him will see God and, so, will become alive to life in an immortal sense.
                In this case, verse 23 could be the beginning of an enunciation, by
                Jesus, based on the Therapeutic doctrine that *if one sees the vision of God
                and, so, becomes alive to life in an immortal sense*, then one will become
                dead to life in a mortal sense and gain spiritual wealth.
                If so, then the expectation is that verse 24 tells about how such a
                person dies to life in a mortal sense and, in this process, gains spiritual
                wealth. Indeed, cannot this verse, which relates how a seed which "dies"
                bears fruit, be interpreted to mean that one who dies to life in a mortal
                sense gains spiritual wealth?
                The advantage of this line of speculation is that it gives us a plausible
                meaning to the ensuing verse 25: which, in this case, can be thusly
                paraphrased, "He who loves his life in a mortal sense loses it in an
                immortal sense, and he who hates hates his life in a mortal sense will keep
                his life in an immortal sense."
                To summarize, underlying what Jesus says in verses 23-25 might be the
                Therapeutic doctrine that one who sees the vision of God becomes alive to
                life in an immortal sense and, thereby, becomes dead to life in a mortal
                sense and gains spiritual wealth. In this case, it can be thusly
                paraphrased, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be lifted up, so that,
                by looking on him, people can see the vision of God and become alive to life
                in an immortal sense. Those who will do so will die to life in a mortal
                sense and gain spiritual wealth. He who loves his life in a
                mortal sense will lose it in an immortal sense, while one who hates his life
                in a mortal sense and, so, does not rest until he has seen the vision of
                God, will keep it in an immortal sense."
                Seen in this light, verse 24 naturally follows from verse 23, solving the
                problem of why, at first glance, it does not appear to naturally follow from
                verse 23.
                Why, though, would Jesus make a statement based upon a Therapeutic
                doctrine immediatley after being told that some Greeks wanted to see him?
                Would not the most likely reason be that these Greeks were Therapeutae and
                Jesus knew this?
                In support of this idea that the Greeks had been Therapeutae and Jesus
                knew this, Jesus' use of the *fruit* imagery in verse 24 might allude to
                Leviticus 23:10-12: which relates that you shall bring "a sheaf, the first
                *fruits* of your havest" to the priest on the morrow of the Sabbath for him
                to lift up the sheaf to the Lord. This rite was performed during the
                Passover-Unleavened Bread festival, although not necessarily on a Sunday
                because the Pharisees did not take the word "Sabbath" literally. It is this
                Passover-Unleavened Bread festival that the Greeks were in Jerusalem to
                observe, so this rite was one of the things to be performed at the temple
                during their stay in Jerusalem.
                The key point about this rite is that it begins the 50 day countdown to
                Pentecost. Further, as such, this rite was very important to the
                Therapeutae, for, Philo declares in Cont. 64-65, they looked forward to the
                fiftieth day--"the eve of the chief feast (i.e., Pentecost) which 50
                (Pentekontas) takes for its own." As a result, that Jesus might allude to
                this rite in verse 24, a rite that was very important to the Therapeutae, is
                additional evidence that the Greeks who wanted to see him wereTherapeutae
                and he knew this.
                I'm sorry that I am presenting this idea half-baked, without time to
                carefully think things through. However, you're only with us for a few more
                days and I want to get your opinion on this idea while I still have a
                chance. As a person who has done much research on John 12:20-36, do you
                think that this idea that the Greeks are Therapeutae and that Jesus takes
                this into consideration in what he says in verses 23-25 is worthy of further
                research, or do you deem it too "off the wall" to merit serious
                consideration?

                Regards,

                Frank McCoy
                Maplewood, Mn
              • George Brooks
                Elizabeth, I think I found the answer to an earlier question I made to you concerning the Jewish perception of people from Galilee. According to Strong, the
                Message 7 of 7 , May 3 12:40 PM
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                  Elizabeth,

                  I think I found the answer to an earlier question
                  I made to you concerning the Jewish perception of
                  people from Galilee.

                  According to Strong, the Hebrew words that are
                  typically linked to the region of Samaria are:

                  #8111 - Shomerone and
                  #8115 - Shomrayin

                  The definition is surprisingly broad: "The region
                  of northern Palestine associated with the northern
                  kingdom of the 10 tribes of Israel..." Thus it is
                  not necessarily restricted to JUST the region around
                  the city of Samaria.

                  To the Greek mind there may have been a distinction
                  between those who with ancestry in Galilee vs. Samaria.
                  But in the HEBREW-speaking mind, a non-Jewish Israelite
                  would be quite appropriately termed a Shomerone or
                  Shomrayin.

                  We know Jesus was referred to as a Galilean. And so
                  it would not be surprising for him, under a wider sense
                  of the word Samarian/Samaritan, to be referred to as
                  what we English speakers would call a Samaritan.

                  Wrapped up in this sense of the word would be the
                  implication that his ancestry was of the 10 Northern
                  tribes, not of the House of Judah.... namely that he
                  was a non-Jewish Israelite. Perhaps, then, it is no
                  coincidence that he uses the phrase "House of Israel"
                  so frequently?

                  George


                  --- In johannine_literature@y..., "George Brooks"
                  <george.x.brooks@j...> wrote:
                  > Elizabeth Danna,
                  >
                  > In your research, did you come across any tendency to
                  > link the Galilean Israelite community with one or any
                  > of the 10 northern tribes?
                  >
                  > I vaguely remember reading somewhere that some thought
                  > the phrase "Son of Joseph" was not just a reference to
                  > Jesus' biological ancestry, but a reference to his
                  > link to the Tribe of Joseph.
                  >
                  > Or was Galilee merely seen as extension of the
                  > tribe of Judah?
                  >
                  > George Brooks
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