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Re: [loisy] Beloved Disciple passages in ms Pepys

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  • Peter Kirby
    ... From: Yuri Kuchinsky To: John Lit-L Cc: Loisy List Sent: Sunday, July 22,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2001
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Yuri Kuchinsky <yuku@...>
      To: John Lit-L <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
      Cc: Loisy List <loisy@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2001 11:41 AM
      Subject: [loisy] Beloved Disciple passages in ms Pepys

      > Dear friends,
      > As I mentioned before, MS Pepys names the "Beloved Disciple", it is John.
      > Pepysian Gospel Homepage,
      > http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/2dp.htm
      > Or to be more precise, in all Pepys Jn-derived passages featuring the
      > "Beloved Disciple", John appears instead.
      > Here is how I, myself, see the history of these passages. In my view,
      > these Pepys passages attest an earlier edition of Jn, in which "John" was
      > seen as the authority behind the gospel. This "John" may have been
      > identified at first as a close disciple of Jesus, but not John Zebedee. In
      > connection with this, Papias seems to speak of two Johns, disciples of
      > Jesus. It seems like for Papias, while John Zebedee was martyred early,
      > the second John, also known as John the Evangelist, lived to an old age in
      > Ephesus.

      In his ninth century Chronicle in the codex Coislinianus, George Hartolos
      says, "[John] was worth of martyrdom." Hamartolos proceeds to quote Papias
      to the effect that, "he [John] was killed by the Jews." In the de Boor
      fragment of an epitome of the fifth century Chronicle of Philip of Side, the
      author quotes Papias: Papias in the second book says that John the divine
      and James his brother were killed by Jews. Morton Enslin observes (Christian
      Beginnings, pp. 369-370): "That Papias' source of information is simply an
      inference from Mark 10:35-40 or its parallel, Matt. 20:20-23, is possible.
      None the less, this Marcan passage itself affords solid ground. No
      reasonable interpretation of these words can deny the high probability that
      by the time these words were written [ca. 70 CE] both brothers had 'drunk
      the cup' that Jesus had drunk and had been 'baptized with the baptism' with
      which he had been baptized." This is the John who was martyred early.

      Here is the quote from Papias by Eusebius: "But I shall not be unwilling to
      put down, along with my interpretations, whatsoever instructions I received
      with care at any time from the elders, and stored up with care in my memory,
      assuring you at the same time of their truth. For I did not, like the
      multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught
      the truth; nor in those who related strange commandments, but in those who
      rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from
      truth itself. If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked
      minutely after their sayings,-what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by
      Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any
      other of the Lord's disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John,
      the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from
      books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding

      In this fragment, Andrew and Peter are mentioned together as they are
      brothers, just as James and John are named together as they are the sons of
      Zebedee. However, the persons named Aristion and the presbyter John seem to
      belong to the second Christian generation. Certainly we find no case in
      which Aristion or John the presbyter are spoken of as apostles or
      eyewitnesses to Jesus.

      Papias never once refers to "John the evangelist." (The fragment X of
      Robert-Donaldson is entirely suspect as alleged words of Papias.) Indeed,
      it seems probable that Papias knew no traditions on the authorship of the
      fourth gospel, or else we would have heard of them from Eusebius.

      > The Apocalypse of John, connected explicitly with Ephesus, is apparently
      > the earliest Johannine writing attested for us, and indeed, it may precede
      > all the others of them chronologically. It's interesting that Justin
      > Martyr is our first recorded witness to attribute the Apocalypse to
      > Apostle John. (On this, see R. Alan Culpepper, "John, the Son of Zebedee",
      > University of S. Carolina Press, 1994, p. 112.) After citing Rev. 20:4-5,
      > Justin attributes it to "a certain man with us, whose name was John, one
      > of the apostles of Christ" (Justin, Dial 81). Also of note is that Justin
      > is strangely silent about the Forth Gospel. Although some scholars
      > suggested that he may have been aware of it, this is rather inconclusive,
      > as Culpepper also writes.

      With regard to the Apocalypse of John, it is worth noting Papias in this
      regard. "With regard to the inspiration of the book (Revelation), we deem
      it superfluous to add another word; for the blessed Gregory Theologus and
      Cyril, and even men of still older date, Papias, Irenaeus, Methodius, and
      Hippolytus, bore entirely satisfactory testimony to it." This is taken from
      Andreas Caesariensis.

      > It's probable in my view that the well known, and historically credible,
      > long presence of the prophet John in Ephesus may have attracted subsequent
      > linkage of other Johannine writings with this location. Also, it should be
      > noted that the attestation of the epistles of John seems to precede that
      > of the FG.

      Yes, both Papias and Polycarp seemed to have used 1 John.

      > Meanwhile, it's clear that, as Boismard documented most recently, there
      > was a very early and widespread tradition of John Zebedee being an early
      > martyr. Also, it's clear that later, at least to some extent, this
      > tradition came into conflict with the attribution of Jn to John the
      > Apostle.

      This seems to be a reasonable deduction, but I wonder whether there is any
      direct evidence for such conflict. If there isn't, then it must remain
      merely a reasonable deduction.

      > So while the earliest published version of Jn may have been explicit about
      > attributing the gospel to "John", subsequently, this could have been seen
      > as an inconvenience. We know that Jn faced quite a bit of opposition in
      > the second half of 2c, when the move was made to include it into the
      > canon, as well as later. Such critics existed in Rome, for example. It is
      > in the context of this opposition, as well as in the context of the
      > controversies associated with it, that those passages that referred
      > originally to "John" may have been changed to refer to the "Beloved
      > Disciple" instead. So if a previous very early published version of Jn
      > indeed existed, then this is what ms Pepys may be attesting for us.

      I don't think that this scenario is very credible. If it is true, we should
      expect some other person besides John son of Zebedee to have been supposed
      to have been the beloved disciple in ecclesiastical tradition. Or else what
      would be the point of the name change, if everyone went on thinking it was
      by John? Yet the ecclesiastical tradition among those who accepted the
      gospel as canonical is unanimous in naming John son of Zebedee as the

      > All the above would seem to account reasonably well for these very
      > interesting differences between Pepys and the canonical version of Jn. I
      > would welcome if someone offered an alternative theory that would account
      > for these differences in a reasonable manner.
      > And now, here are some of these variant passages in Pepys. Pepys Special
      > Material (i.e. the text that is not found in Jn) is /highlighted\ using
      > forward and backward slashes. The translation is mine.
      > (But first, it also needs to be noted that Pepys does not support those
      > scholars who theorised that the disciple referred to in Jn 1:40 was meant
      > to represent the Beloved Disciple. Because in Pepys' passage parallel to
      > Jn 1:40, unlike in the others below, this disciple remains unnamed.)
      > ANNOUNCEMENT OF JUDAS' BETRAYAL (parallel to Jn 13:21-30)
      > (PG 95:33) And then Jesus became /sorrowful\, and said that one of them
      > will betray him. 34 And then each of them looked at another, /and asked,
      > and thought, Who might it be? 35 And at that time, St. John the evangelist
      > leaned [close] to Jesus, and laid his head in his\ bosom. 36 And St. Peter
      > /made a sign\ to /John\ that he should tell [them] who it was. 37 And he
      > /began to bow even closer\ to Jesus' breast, and asked him, Who was it?
      > MY COMMENTS: The use of "John the evangelist" is quite interesting in this
      > passage. This seems to indicate explicit attribution of the gospel to
      > "John". (Although this may also be one of those later glosses in Pepys?)

      I think Helmut Koester makes a case in _Ancient Christian Gospels_ that the
      word 'gospel' wasn't applied to written writings at the time of the writing
      of what we call the canonical gospels. The phrase John "the evangelist"
      seems to reflect later usage, and it is typical of the way that medieval
      authors would refer to John.

      > (PG 96:46/Jn 18:13) And then they led Jesus to the house of Caiaphas, who
      > had married bishop Annas' daughter that same year. (*) 47 And St. Peter
      > and /St. John\ followed /far behind, in order to see how it would all
      > end\. 48 And as they came to the house of Annas, /St. John\ entered in
      > because he was known to the /servants there\, while St. Peter stood
      > outside. 49 And /St. John\ asked the porter /to let St. Peter in. 50 And
      > the porter let\ him in.
      > [(*) indicates a problem with the text of ms Pepys in this place]
      > MY COMMENTS: "Known to the servants there", as opposed to "known to the
      > high priest" is certainly very interesting. This seems to point to the
      > relative primitivity of this passage in Pepys, since the canonical version
      > appears to be more developed with the view of giving the disciple in
      > question a higher social standing. Otherwise, why would the compiler of PG
      > have deliberately reduced the social standing of "another disciple",
      > supposing that he/she was working from the canonical version of this
      > passage?

      I don't subscribe to this theory. I think that the change from "high
      priest" to "servants" is a simply logical one. Those who would have let St.
      John enter were indeed the servants, not the high priest. I don't see any
      demotion of social status in this adjustment.

      > THE THREE MARIES AND JOHN (Jn 19:25-27)
      > (PG 99:10) /And then they sat down, and watched how\ the mother of Jesus,
      > /and St. John\, and Mary Clopas, and Mary Magdalene /went and\ stood by
      > the cross of Jesus. 11 And so, when Jesus saw that his mother, and /John,\
      > -- his disciple whom he loved /so much\ -- were standing near, Jesus said
      > to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 12 And then he said to /St.
      > John\, "Behold, your mother!" 13 And from that /time onwards, St. John
      > received her, and she became as his mother\ [to him].
      > MY COMMENTS: "John" being characterised in this passage as Jesus'
      > "disciple whom he loved so much" is certainly noteworthy. This is the only
      > place in Pepys where "John" is so characterised. I think it is quite easy
      > to envision a progression whereby this phrase may have led to subsequent
      > creation of a figure of the "Beloved Disciple".

      It might easy to envision, but that does not mean that it is correct. I can
      envision it differently. Is it really all that likely that a later redactor
      would have picked up on this single phrase in renaming the disciple known as
      John? Or it it more likely that a later writer - who 'knew' that the gospel
      was by St. John the Evangelist - would have let the characteristic phrase of
      the fourth gospel slip through at this one point? The other possibility
      seems to be at least equally probable.

      > 1 And Mary Magdalene, as soon as she saw that the stone had been
      > /removed\, she ran back, and told Peter and /John that Jesus' body had
      > been stolen away\. 2 And at once, Peter and /John rose\, and went to the
      > sepulchre. 3 And although /St. John\ came first to the sepulchre, he did
      > not go in. He /kneeled down there\, but saw /nothing except\ the winding
      > sheets /that Jesus had been wound in\. 4 And when /St.\ Peter came, he
      > went in, /and kneeled down\, and he saw the sheets, and the /undergarment
      > that was on Jesus' body\. 5 And then /St. John\ also went in and saw [all
      > that], /and he thought that the body had been taken away\. 6 For they did
      > not know the scripture that said, /So it needs be that Jesus\ must rise
      > from /death to life, and enter into his glory\. 7 And so they went back
      > home.
      > MY COMMENTS: Both Peter and "John" are walking, rather than running. This
      > can be seen as yet another sign of primitivity of Pepys version. Any way
      > you look at it, this "running competition" clearly looks like a later
      > embellishment.

      Actually, the Pepys text is ambiguous, as it does not not specifically say
      'walking'. The sense of "competition" is fully present in the Pepys text,
      as the disciples still alternatingly achieve different levels of progression
      in the Pepys text. This reads like a holdover from the original account in
      which it is a so-called "running competition."

      > But the most significant difference with the canonical version seems to be
      > that instead of BD "believing", in Pepys "John" merely thinks that "the
      > body had been taken away".
      > In connection with this, we may examine Jn 20:8-9,
      > 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb
      > first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
      > 9 for as yet they did not know the scripture, that
      > he must rise from the dead.
      > One may observe a certain discontinuity between verses 8 and 9. Indeed,
      > BD's "believing" seems to be somewhat at odds with the disciples "not
      > knowing the scripture". But ms Pepys doesn't have any such discontinuity,
      > since "John's" merely thinking that "the body had been taken away" is
      > fully in agreement with the disciples "not knowing the scripture".
      > In any case, the unusual reaction of "John" in this Pepys passage seems to
      > be a clear indicator of the relative primitivity of Pepys text. Indeed,
      > otherwise, how would one explain such a lukewarm reaction of "John" in
      > Pepys, in contrast to the canonical version?
      > Two other relevant passages are PG 112:9-10, and PG 112:28-32, but they
      > don't seem to add anything significant to the consideration of this
      > problem.
      > To conclude, in these passages Pepys text seems to be prior to the
      > canonical text of Jn. At least three separate irreversible indicators of
      > primitivity of Pepys text have been identified already. Also, I have
      > described possible historical background of how these changes may have
      > occurred in the course of transmission and editing of the Fourth Gospel.

      I think this last example is the only strong one for primitivity of Pepys.

      However, it is not irreversible. Although John believed in the resurrection
      once he had saw the body was missing, he still did not understand that the
      scriptures necessitated that Jesus rise from the dead. That would not
      happen until they had received the holy spirit (Jn 20:22). The reason for
      the reminder here is that, if the beloved disciple and Peter had known the
      scripture, they would not have found it necessary to inspect the tomb. True
      faith does not depend upon sight (Jn 20:29).

      Peter Kirby
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