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Re: Beloved disciple puzzle

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  • Ramon K. Jusino
    Yuri: I am responding to a message posted by you on June 21, 2001 (#1705). First, thank you very much for your work with the Pepysian Gospel Harmony. It is
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 9, 2001
      Yuri:

      I am responding to a message posted by you on June 21, 2001 (#1705).

      First, thank you very much for your work with the Pepysian Gospel Harmony.
      It is definitely an important document that belongs in the library of every
      Johannine scholar. I do have some questions, however, about your use of it
      regarding the Beloved Disciple mystery.

      I have read several objections to your hypothesis on this list. I find your
      motivational hypothesis to be very weak. That is -- your reasons for
      believing that the Apostle John was changed into the anonymous BD in the
      Fourth Gospel do not add up.

      You wrote the following:

      >It is generally believed that Jn was the latest gospel to have been
      >introduced to the larger Christian community (the Church universal). When
      >it was being proposed for a canonical status, the 3 Synoptics had already
      >been well known and generally accepted as authoritative. (Or at least two
      >of them, if one wished to quibble about the date of Lk.) Thus, presumably,
      >it had to struggle for acceptance, since it is so different from the
      >Synoptics in a number of respects.



      >...Thus, in order to increase the status of Jn, its champions like Irenaeus
      >implemented a bold strategy, and started to attribute Jn directly to John
      >the Apostle. So this would have been the earliest published version of Jn,
      >i.e. there was as yet no BD in Jn at this early point.

      >But there was a problem there with this strategy. On good evidence, we can
      >assume that John the Apostle was martyred together with his brother James
      >very early on (Boismard has argued this quite strongly recently, but Loisy
      >was already there before him). Moreover, this tradition of John the
      >Zebedee dying early was also rather widely known in 2c Church and later.
      >So controversy emerged in this area, and the opponents of Jn used this
      >against Jn's canonicity.

      >So, as I see it, this would be the historical point where BD would have
      >been introduced into the text of Jn. In many passages in Jn where,
      >previously, John was named directly, his name was replaced with BD.
      >Clearly, this would have taken the edge off the controversy about
      >attribution of Jn to John the Apostle. As a result, Jn became fully
      >canonical.

      >All this seems to make quite a lot of logical sense. And thus, on this
      >hypothesis, there would have been some early texts of Jn lacking BD, where
      >"John" stood instead. And Pepys (as well as some other sources?) bears
      >witness to such a primitive text of Jn.



      Here are just a few questions about this:


      1. If, as you say, John was the BD and therefore the author of the Fourth
      Gospel -- why would Irenaeus, et al., need to come up with a "bold strategy"
      to simply tell the truth? If John was named in the text as the primary
      witness/author of the Gospel -- why is the strategy to name him as the
      author so bold?

      2. Why would the martyrdom of John be a problem? If anything, martyrdom of
      the author would tend to bolster the stature and credibility of the text.
      Are you saying that the early martyrdom of John would make it difficult to
      establish the authorship of the Fourth Gospel because of its late appearance
      in the church communities?

      3. How does changing John into the BD take the edge off the controversy
      about attribution of Jn to John the Apostle? How do you figure that they had
      an easier time attributing the Gospel to an anonymous mysterious figure
      rather than a well-known Apostle who was a pillar within Jesus' inner
      circle? This "controversy" obviously didn't last long since the Gospel
      became known as "the Gospel according to John" within a generation or two.
      Yet, the Beloved Disciple remained in the text despite its universal
      attribution to John.


      Thanks.

      Ramon K. Jusino

      ==============================
      MARY MAGDALENE: AUTHOR OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL?
      http://www.BelovedDisciple.org
      ==============================







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    • Yuri Kuchinsky
      ... Ramon, Thank you for your kind words. It s been already almost year and a half that I ve been working on ms Pepys pretty intensively, and it s been a very
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 10, 2001
        On Thu, 9 Aug 2001, Ramon K. Jusino wrote:

        > Yuri:
        >
        > I am responding to a message posted by you on June 21, 2001 (#1705).
        >
        > First, thank you very much for your work with the Pepysian Gospel
        > Harmony. It is definitely an important document that belongs in the
        > library of every Johannine scholar. I do have some questions, however,
        > about your use of it regarding the Beloved Disciple mystery.

        Ramon,

        Thank you for your kind words. It's been already almost year and a half
        that I've been working on ms Pepys pretty intensively, and it's been a
        very interesting project for me. I think this gospel will be much better
        known in the future, because it seems to afford many interesting and
        unique insights not only about Jn, but also about other canonicals. At
        this time, I'm completing a book that will include the translation of
        Pepys, as well as some commentary.

        > I have read several objections to your hypothesis on this list. I find
        > your motivational hypothesis to be very weak. That is -- your reasons
        > for believing that the Apostle John was changed into the anonymous BD
        > in the Fourth Gospel do not add up.

        Actually, since my first posting, and as a result of further discussion
        both on John-L, as well as on Loisy-L, some of my opinions in this area
        have changed already. Admittedly, the whole area is rather difficult and
        confusing, and I'm still trying to sort out some related issues. Also,
        meanwhile, reading Boismard and some others helped me to understand some
        of the background better. Still, my main thesis is not changed much, it's
        just that some of the details are.

        [omit my earlier statement of the issues]

        > Here are just a few questions about this:
        >
        > 1. If, as you say, John was the BD and therefore the author of the
        > Fourth Gospel -- why would Irenaeus, et al., need to come up with a
        > "bold strategy" to simply tell the truth?

        Actually, I would not say that John was the author of the Fourth Gospel.
        Like other early gospels, Jn was likely originally an anonymous
        composition. Now I see early activity of John the author of the Revelation
        in Ephesus, as well as his fame, as important in eventually supplying both
        the name and the location for Jn. But neither is it likely that the author
        of the Revelation was also the author of Jn.

        As to Irenaeus, I now see his "bold strategy" primarily in reducing two
        Johns, as associated previously with Jn, to only one John, namely, John
        the Zebedee.

        > If John was named in the text as the primary witness/author of the
        > Gospel

        Yes, I still believe that, in pre-canonical Jn, "John" was likely named in
        the text as the primary witness/author of the Gospel.

        > -- why is the strategy to name him as the author so bold?

        See below for one such reason.

        > 2. Why would the martyrdom of John be a problem?

        Well, I think it is clear that this was a problem. Whether or not my
        solution is valid, still this fact seems to be clear, as Boismard also
        concludes.

        > If anything, martyrdom of the author would tend to bolster the stature
        > and credibility of the text. Are you saying that the early martyrdom
        > of John would make it difficult to establish the authorship of the
        > Fourth Gospel because of its late appearance in the church
        > communities?

        This is precisely what my answer would be. If John the Zebedee indeed was
        martyred very early, the attribution of Jn to him clearly could have been
        seen as problematic. I remind that, in my view, at the earlier stages, it
        was John the Elder who was widely seen as the author of Jn.

        > 3. How does changing John into the BD take the edge off the
        > controversy about attribution of Jn to John the Apostle?

        Rather, in my view, changing John into the BD was done primarily to take
        the edge off the controversy about the acceptance of Jn into the canon. On
        the other hand, clearly, it did not stand in the way of attribution of Jn
        to John the Apostle.

        > How do you figure that they had an easier time attributing the Gospel
        > to an anonymous mysterious figure rather than a well-known Apostle who
        > was a pillar within Jesus' inner circle?

        I see the addition of BD to Jn as primarily a distraction, that was meant
        to deflect the criticism of the gospel. And we do know that there was
        quite a lot of such criticism.

        > This "controversy" obviously didn't last long since the Gospel became
        > known as "the Gospel according to John" within a generation or two.
        > Yet, the Beloved Disciple remained in the text despite its universal
        > attribution to John.

        It is obvious that BD did not in any way prevent the attribution of Jn to
        John the Apostle.

        Now, let's look at possible reasons why "John" in an earlier version of Jn
        could have been replaced by BD. A number of arguments may be possible
        here, but the following one seems to be the simplest. Mt, Mk, and Lk are
        all, in essence, anonymous compositions. None of them say who wrote this
        or that gospel. No such attributions are present in their texts. So if an
        early version of Jn would have had such an attribution in its text, this
        would have clearly tended to privilege Jn in relation to the other
        gospels. And this could have created problems for the acceptance of Jn.
        Naturally there would have been objections in this regard from the
        adherents and sponsors of Mt, Mk, and Lk. So this seems to provide a good
        reason why "John" would have been replaced later with BD -- to bring Jn in
        line with Mt, Mk, and Lk in this area.

        Thus, essentially, BD was a distraction ensuring that Jn would be received
        into the canon. At the same time, this distraction did not prevent in any
        way the attribution of Jn to John, that was still maintained, obviously.

        Best wishes,

        Yuri.

        Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

        Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority,
        it is time to reform -=O=- Mark Twain
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