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Re: [John_Lit] What did the BD believe (20:8)?

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  • khs@picknowl.com.au
    Dear Leonard, In response to my suggestion that if John was not presenting `historical persons and `historical events then he was fabricating either or both,
    Message 1 of 21 , Sep 4, 2001
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      Dear Leonard,

      In response to my suggestion that if John was not presenting
      `historical persons' and `historical events' then he was
      fabricating either or both, you wrote;

      >>>If you replace your expression that includes the term
      "fabricating" with "doing theological narrative", the alternatives
      will appear more realistic and acceptable. "Fabricating" has a
      nuance too close to prevaricating", and this would certainly not
      be the only or the most likely alternative in Gospel writing to
      reporting detailed historical events about historical persons.<<<

      I appreciate what you are saying, Leonard, and I may just get out
      of my depth if I try to get too far into a debate of this nature.
      However, let me try a little.

      Yes, there is a nuance of `prevarication' in the term `fabrication',
      but if the events reported are in any way deliberately `made up',
      no matter how correct the teaching or how noble the motive, it
      seems to me that that is still fabrication. If pushed to the
      ultimate, it leaves us with the possibility that the whole story of
      Jesus is just a brilliant fabrication.

      Perhaps you could explain more fully what you mean by "doing
      theological narrative". I may not understand exactly what you
      mean – hence the request for you to expand it – but my position
      concerning the Genesis structure is what I would assume
      `theological narrative' probably is. John had a certain theological
      perspective which he wanted to express through the gospel – a
      perspective which, I expect, was understood by those who first
      used the FG – and so he selected material which fitted that
      structure. To do this, however, he was still selecting from actual
      `historical persons' and `historical events', hence the beginning
      of this conversation with John's decision to detail Mary
      Madalene's experiences alone, despite his awareness of the
      involvement of the other women. The beginning of the FG (i.e.
      1:1-5), which is theological rather than historical and so,
      different. It was certainly written with the Genesis structure in
      mind, but I don't think it is not part of what we are discussing
      under `doing theological narrative', or is it?

      Sincerely,

      Kym Smith
      Adelaide
      South Australia
      khs@...
    • khs@picknowl.com.au
      Dear Leonard, Please amend the last line in my previous post to: It was certainly written with the Genesis structure in mind, but I don t think it is part of
      Message 2 of 21 , Sep 5, 2001
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        Dear Leonard,

        Please amend the last line in my previous post to:
        It was certainly written with the Genesis structure in mind, but I
        don't think it is part of what we are discussing under `doing
        theological narrative', or is it?

        Thanks

        Kym Smith
      • Maluflen@aol.com
        In a message dated 9/4/2001 8:44:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time, khs@picknowl.com.au writes:
        Message 3 of 21 , Sep 5, 2001
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          In a message dated 9/4/2001 8:44:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
          khs@... writes:

          << Yes, there is a nuance of `prevarication' in the term `fabrication',
          but if the events reported are in any way deliberately `made up',
          no matter how correct the teaching or how noble the motive, it
          seems to me that that is still fabrication. If pushed to the
          ultimate, it leaves us with the possibility that the whole story of
          Jesus is just a brilliant fabrication.>>

          We have "the whole story of Jesus" in three different, but related Synoptic
          accounts, and if we use their composite testimony as a first basis of
          comparison (and assume, as I do, that John had access to this testimony) then
          we can measure, as it were, the extent to which John's composition is
          "invention" in terms of the details of the stories he tells. Nevertheless,
          even on this basis it would not be justified to view John's work as "just" a
          brilliant fabrication, because a basic and important line of agreement exists
          between his story about Jesus and the testimony of the Synoptics. Now this
          says nothing about the historical value of the work of the Synoptics
          themselves, and there is certainly some "invention" in their work as well.
          Nevertheless, it would simply not be a sound historical judgment, I think, to
          describe their work either as "just a brilliant fabrication". The fact that
          this judgment could be made by "pushing to the ultimate" the idea that some
          invention of detail is likely in many, if not all of the Gospels does not
          make it a wise or a valid judgment, nor does the end of this line of logic
          necessitate withdrawal from what is clearly indicated by the evidence:
          namely, that there has been some invention of detail in the way the different
          evangelists tell stories about Jesus. Such invention seems to have been fully
          acceptable in terms of what was done rhetorically in propaganda literature
          such as are the four gospels. It was understood that an ideological (in this
          case, more or less theological) message was being conveyed through narrative
          about an historical person or event and that this entailed a certain amount
          of freedom in the invention of details in the different evangelists' accounts
          of what was in essence, in a broad sense, an historical "event" agreed upon
          by all witnesses.

          << Perhaps you could explain more fully what you mean by "doing
          theological narrative". I may not understand exactly what you
          mean – hence the request for you to expand it – but my position
          concerning the Genesis structure is what I would assume
          `theological narrative' probably is. John had a certain theological
          perspective which he wanted to express through the gospel – a
          perspective which, I expect, was understood by those who first
          used the FG – and so he selected material which fitted that
          structure.>>

          This is fine, except that I think the idea of "selecting material" gives
          minimalist expression to the proactive literary-rhetorical work of the
          evangelists, especially John.

          <<To do this, however, he was still selecting from actual
          `historical persons' and `historical events',..>>

          Yes, but the evidence suggests that this is so only if one thinks of
          "historical events" in a broad sense. I think it is fair to say that in the
          judgment of most scholars, the details of John's stories are less often
          selected than they are produced.

          <<...hence the beginning of this conversation with John's decision to detail
          Mary
          Madalene's experiences alone, despite his awareness of the
          involvement of the other women. >>

          I would argue that there is more creativity involved here on the part of John
          than his choice to isolate Mary in this incident from the other "Mary", as in
          Matt, or from the larger group of women, as in Luke. For one thing, the
          background in Sg of the story and dialogue as recorded by John suggests this.
          It was Luke who first introduced invented dialogue into the resurrection
          stories. In Matt, the women and the disciples are simply recipients of a
          divine message-command conveyed by the Angel of the Lord or by the glorified
          Jesus himself. Dialogue between disciples and the glorified Christ, gradually
          leading to faith, seems to be a later development in Gospel composition.

          <<The beginning of the FG (i.e.
          1:1-5), which is theological rather than historical and so,
          different. It was certainly written with the Genesis structure in
          mind, but I don't think .. [this is] part of what we are discussing
          under `doing theological narrative', or is it?>>


          Certainly this is part of what we are discussing. But do you think the
          influence of OT texts on John's writing stops after he has completed his
          prologue? I think in many cases OT texts, among other things, have influenced
          the wa
          y John tells stories in the life of Jesus, and that one does not fully
          understand these stories until one becomes aware of this pervasive
          intertextuality. I think one's reading of John's account, as well as of the
          Synoptic gospels, is greatly impoverished if one sees the theology of the
          evangelist as impinging merely on the selection and ordering of raw and
          strictly historical material. Wouldn't you agree? To call the results of this
          process "fabrication", however, is to use a loaded term, even if it can be
          defended at the level of the literal meaning of the term. In a sense all
          writing is fabrication.

          Leonard Maluf
        • John N. Lupia
          Dear Leonard: I am glad to see you on the list. You may recall my position on Gospel order which puts John second. This is why I see John as an authentic
          Message 4 of 21 , Sep 5, 2001
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            Dear Leonard:

            I am glad to see you on the list. You may recall my position on
            Gospel order which puts John second. This is why I see John
            as an authentic eyewitness as he claims. Great to see you
            again.

            Cordially in Christ,
            john
            <><
          • Ken Durkin
            From: John N. Lupia ... What has coming second got to do with eyewitness ?
            Message 5 of 21 , Sep 5, 2001
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              From: "John N. Lupia"

              > You may recall my position on
              > Gospel order which puts John second. This is why I see John
              > as an authentic eyewitness as he claims.

              What has coming "second" got to do with "eyewitness"?
            • khs@picknowl.com.au
              Dear John Lupia, I am interested in your reasoning for putting John second. That is what I think also, but the chance of our having the same reasons is, I
              Message 6 of 21 , Sep 5, 2001
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                Dear John Lupia,

                I am interested in your reasoning for putting John second. That
                is what I think also, but the chance of our having the same
                reasons is, I expect, very slim. Did you ever get to read my
                belated response to you on the Synoptic-L list (#6631) which
                explains my position?

                Sincerely,

                Kym Smith
                Adelaide
                South Australia
                khs@...
              • John Lupia
                Dear Kym: Yes. No comment. john
                Message 7 of 21 , Sep 5, 2001
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                  Dear Kym:

                  Yes. No comment.

                  john
                  <><

                  On Thu, 06 Sep 2001 00:28:47 -0000, johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
                  wrote:

                  > Dear John Lupia,
                  >
                  > I am interested in your reasoning for putting John second. That
                  > is what I think also, but the chance of our having the same
                  > reasons is, I expect, very slim. Did you ever get to read my
                  > belated response to you on the Synoptic-L list (#6631) which
                  > explains my position?
                  >
                  > Sincerely,
                  >
                  > Kym Smith
                  > Adelaide
                  > South Australia
                  > khs@...
                  >
                  >
                  >
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                  >
                  >



                  John N. Lupia
                  501 North Avenue B-1
                  Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA
                  JLupia2@...
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                  "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium approaches . .
                  . unity among all Christians of the various confessions will increase until
                  they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 16





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                • khs@picknowl.com.au
                  Dear Leonard, Thank you for your quite comprehensive answer. A couple of responses are appropriate. You said:
                  Message 8 of 21 , Sep 5, 2001
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                    Dear Leonard,

                    Thank you for your quite comprehensive answer. A couple of
                    responses are appropriate. You said:

                    <<<We have "the whole story of Jesus" in three different, but
                    related Synoptic
                    accounts, and if we use their composite testimony as a first
                    basis of
                    comparison (and assume, as I do, that John had access to this
                    testimony) then
                    we can measure, as it were, the extent to which John's
                    composition is
                    "invention" in terms of the details of the stories he tells.
                    Nevertheless,
                    even on this basis it would not be justified to view John's work as
                    "just" a
                    brilliant fabrication, because a basic and important line of
                    agreement exists
                    between his story about Jesus and the testimony of the
                    Synoptics. >>>

                    Firstly let me say that I do not think that John's work is a
                    fabrication, brilliant or otherwise. My suggesting the same was
                    simply to express what I see as the logical end of the argument
                    that John used anything other than historical persons and events
                    for his account. It is clear that I do think he has been very
                    selective about the material that he did include, but I cannot see
                    that we could claim that the author was simply inventive. Yes, a
                    certain event may have been reported from a different angle to
                    express a particularly theological view, and if that is what is
                    meant by being inventive I have no qualms about it and I think
                    that is what you are saying (not that it would bother you whether I
                    have qualms about it or not!). I am not sure that I would go far
                    enough for you, however, considering your comments:

                    <<< This is fine, except that I think the idea of "selecting material"
                    gives minimalist expression to the proactive literary-rhetorical
                    work of the evangelists, especially John.

                    <<To do this, however, he was still selecting from actual
                    `historical persons' and `historical events',..>>

                    Yes, but the evidence suggests that this is so only if one thinks
                    of "historical events" in a broad sense. I think it is fair to say that
                    in the judgment of most scholars, the details of John's stories
                    are less often selected than they are produced.>>>

                    If inventiveness is fabrication from the start it would not be
                    possible for us to distinguish from actual historical events
                    anyway. We are left, it seems to me, with gospels whose writers
                    were men of the highest integrity and whose accounts – even if
                    recorded with a particular theological thrust – are trustworthy
                    accounts of actual people and events that we are called .

                    Perhaps I'd better move away from this one. I am not
                    comfortable with these terms but, as I said, I might quickly get
                    out of my depth with it an I may already have done so.

                    I am not sure that John had the witness of the Synoptics, though
                    he would have had Mark. I think it more likely that Matthew and
                    Luke had Mark and John. I can only invite you look at my post
                    #6631 in the Synoptic-L list for a brief explanation of why I think
                    what I do on that. One point that I might make because it has
                    some relevance here is that I think Q was actually the leftovers
                    after John had selected what he wanted from what he and others
                    compiled for what is now the Fourth Gospel.

                    <<<It was Luke who first introduced invented dialogue into the
                    resurrection stories. …Dialogue between disciples and the
                    glorified Christ, gradually leading to faith, seems to be a later
                    development in Gospel composition >>>

                    Not if John preceded Luke, and even less so if a major part of
                    Luke's resources were John's leftovers.

                    <<< Certainly this is part of what we are discussing. >>>

                    I questioned this only in the sense that 1:1-5 is a theological
                    statement rather than an historical. John inserts theological
                    statements in a number of places which, I agree are not
                    separate from the rest of the text. I was just trying to clarify for
                    myself whether the inventiveness we were discussing about only
                    referred to people/events.

                    <<< But do you think the influence of OT texts on John's writing
                    stops after he has completed his prologue?>>>

                    No.

                    <<< I think in many cases OT texts, among other things, have
                    influenced the way John tells stories in the life of Jesus, and that
                    one does not fully understand these stories until one becomes
                    aware of this pervasive intertextuality. >>>

                    I agree. If I may return to my point about John's use of Genesis
                    1&2 as a structure, this does not relate just to the prologue but to
                    most of the gospel, from 1:1 – 20:29. Much of John directly uses
                    the OT, the structure is more subtle, but it is there and gives
                    meaning to much of the plain text as much of the plain text
                    supports the structure. There are many – probably independent
                    – allusions to the OT in John, but the Genesis structure gives a
                    cohesion to the whole.

                    <<< I think one's reading of John's account, as well as of the
                    Synoptic gospels, is greatly impoverished if one sees the
                    theology of the evangelist as impinging merely on the selection
                    and ordering of raw and strictly historical material. Wouldn't you
                    agree? >>>

                    I would, given a more cautious approach to terms such as
                    `inventiveness' and statements like, <<< John's stories are less
                    often selected than they are produced.>>> But we may be as
                    close as we're going to get on these and they are probably less
                    significant than the other things w ehave considered.

                    Sincerely,

                    Kym Smith
                    Adelaide
                    South Australia
                    khs@...
                  • Maluflen@aol.com
                    In a message dated 9/6/2001 2:53:34 AM Eastern Daylight Time, khs@picknowl.com.au writes:
                    Message 9 of 21 , Sep 6, 2001
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                      In a message dated 9/6/2001 2:53:34 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                      khs@... writes:

                      << If inventiveness is fabrication from the start it would not be
                      possible for us to distinguish from actual historical events
                      anyway. We are left, it seems to me, with gospels whose writers
                      were men of the highest integrity and whose accounts – even if
                      recorded with a particular theological thrust – are trustworthy
                      accounts of actual people and events .. ..>>

                      I can't take time to comment on your entire response to my previous note, nor
                      to argue in detail against your source theory, with which I obviously
                      disagree. It is my view that a clear line of development can be traced from
                      Matthew, through Luke, to John in terms of the way stories are told in their
                      respective gospels. I agree with the common opinion that John probably knew
                      the Gospel of Mark as well, but out of line with the common opinion I also
                      think that John probably shared the general lack of interest in Mark that is
                      evident in all known ecclesiatical authors of the second and third Christian
                      centuries, who were much more interested in the Gospels (Matthew and Luke)
                      which were written for literate elites, rather than in Mark, which was a
                      dramatic popularization of an originally literary Gospel genre (the film
                      version of the novel, to put it in roughly analogous contemporary terms).
                      Rather than trying to refute your view of what John was doing when writing
                      his gospel, let me just try again to express my own. In my view, John is
                      writing his Gospel at a time when the story of Jesus' life is already well
                      known. John does not write, e.g., about the baptism of Jesus in order to
                      inform an audience about an historical event of which they have no knowledge.
                      Rather, the well-known story has become a vehicle, and was understood from
                      the beginning to have been a vehicle for John to express an ideological
                      message: a developed theological understanding (among other things, a "high"
                      Christology) which expressed and reinforced the faith of his community. It
                      would be theoretically possible to conceive of a late John whose purpose
                      would have been to supplement and correct, where necessary, at the level of
                      historical detail, existing stories about the life of Jesus -- on the basis.
                      e.g., of his own eye-witness remembrance of these incidents in the life of
                      Jesus. There are scholars, I guess, who still view John's Gospel in this way.
                      I simply think that the evidence points to the alternative view expressed
                      above as by far the more likely scenario.
                      This is all I have time to say at the moment, and I don't know if it moves
                      the discussion forward in any way.

                      Leonard Maluf
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