Re: [John_Lit] doorkeeper
- Dear Ross,
While I agree with some of the things you're saying, at the same time, my
take on this doorkeeper problem is somewhat different from yours.
Generally speaking, I don't think all these historical details that you
supply are really so relevant, because this whole story of Peter's
Denials, in itself, is probably not historical. Rather this seems like an
effort to disparage Peter in the context of much later theological
controversies. So the whole story is hardly historical reporting.
As to the slave girl who admits Peter, to me, this looks like an even
later interpolation into the story that was already rather late. I still
think it rather unlikely that some young girl would have been making the
decision about whom to admit to the house of such an important personage
as Caiaphas. So, in my view, this detail, connected with the later
accusation by the same girl, was added at a very late stage as yet one
more put-down of Peter. And the fact that SyrS and some other old Semitic
mss don't have this detail seems to be rather significant.
On Mon, 20 Aug 2001, RHS wrote:
> I have a suggestion about the maidservant who was at the entrance of the
> court of the high priest in John 18:16.
> All people who went from the outside to the inside of a building were
> required to get rid of the dirt and dust which belonged to the outside
> before they could proceed to the inside.
> With a household building, it was the duty of the lowest female slave to
> supervise and help in the taking off of footwear, the ritual bathing of
> the feet, and the placing of slippers from inside the house onto the
> feet of the visitor as they went to the inside the house. If there was
> no female slave, then the youngest daughter had that responsibility. If
> there was no daughter, then the wife of the head of the household had
> that task.
> The same would have been the case when entering the court of the high
> priest from outside. The female slave would perform this ceremony,
> probably limited to the taking off of the footwear and the shaking off
> of the outside dust before replacing the visitors' footwear and allowing
> them into the court. This court was not the inside of the high priest's
> In the case of an important meeting like this one, it may have been the
> maid's duty to pass on the name of any visitor who did not seem to match
> the qualifications of those entitled to enter on this occasion. This is
> why 'the other disciple who was known to the high priest' and therefore
> known to the maid, gave the OK for Peter to go through.
> Such a slave would not have the right to refuse admission to anyone.
> I suggest that the various OT references to these 'doorkeepers' relate
> to the ritual of keeping out-of-place dust and dirt out of the
> particular building, and not to any authority to refuse admission.
> The key to this incident in FG is surely that Peter bothers to give any
> answer at all to a person of such lowly status. He was probably more
> concerned at those nearby who would have heard her question. After all,
> the word of a slave is of no importance at all.
> I make this suggestion because I feel that the translation 'doorkeeper'
> conveys a level of authority that is out of keeping with what the maid's
> responsibility actually was.
> However, I may be getting it wrong.
> What do other think?
> Ross Saunders from DownUnder.