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on the destruction of bodies and buildings in John

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  • Staley, Jeffrey
    Johannine Lit people: The September 11 destruction of the World Trade Center with resulting horrendous loss of life (not to mention the resulting loss of life
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 13, 2001
      Johannine Lit people: The September 11 destruction of the World Trade Center
      with resulting horrendous loss of life (not to mention the resulting loss of
      life from the other two hijackings) has caused me to reflect once again on
      John 2:13-22 (and by extension, John 4:20-22; 11:48-52).

      It is fascinating how FG metaphorically connects building to body--the
      symbolic power of buildings (temple, World Trade Center). What do you think
      are the politics of FG here? Is there a strong economic critique of temple
      policies in the teaching of the(historical) Jesus (2:16)that has been
      depoliticized, de-economilized (how is that for "coining" a new word??) by
      the narrator's statement "but he was talking about the temple of his body?"

      Can there be "business as usual" when the temple building is gone?

      Does FG imply a "(global)business ethic?" If so, what is it?

      Jeff Staley
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      ... In my first visit to Rome -- and being confronted with the size of the Roman monuments -- I realized concretely the power of huge buildings in establishing
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 13, 2001
        Jeffrey Staley wrote:

        > It is fascinating how FG metaphorically connects
        > building to body--the symbolic power of buildings
        > (temple, World Trade Center).

        In my first visit to Rome -- and being confronted with
        the size of the Roman monuments -- I realized
        concretely the power of huge buildings in establishing
        imperial authority. Rome built on a grand scale to
        establish its imperial authority and to make its
        subjects feel small.

        So, I think that we can imagine -- to put things into
        context -- that the dimensions of the Jerusalem temple
        would be of great symbolic significance (directly
        proportional to it size) as a center of power distinct
        from Rome.

        This would not be just 'spiritual' power, of course,
        since religion and politics were hardly separated for
        the ancients -- and certainly not for Judaism.

        > What do you think are the politics of FG here? Is
        > there a strong economic critique of temple policies
        > in the teaching of the (historical) Jesus (2:16)
        that
        > has been depoliticized, de-economilized (how is that
        > for "coining" a new word??) by the narrator's
        > statement "but he was talking about the temple of
        his
        > body?"

        What do YOU think the historical Jesus meant by his
        actions in the temple?

        The synoptics present Jesus as contrasting "house of
        prayer" with "den of thieves". Was he opposed to
        dishonesty -- people being cheated -- and thus
        concerned with ethical purity?

        But Mark, in particular, also has him not allowing
        anyone to carry anything through the temple. Why not?
        Is he applying the laws of the Sabbath against
        Sabbath-day work to actions in the temple? Is this a
        problem of ritual purity?

        Temples had from their beginnings been centers of the
        accumulation of wealth, in the time of Imperial Rome,
        some temple acted like banks -- lending money at
        interest, for example. Did the Jerusalem temple
        function similarly, i.e., like a bank? If so, did
        Jesus accept this practice?

        But John's presentation of Jesus's actions in the
        temple seems to distinguish sharply between "house of
        my Father" and "house of market". Is this part of some
        radical Johannine dualism that pits the realm of the
        spirit against the world?

        > Can there be "business as usual" when the temple
        > building is gone?

        Of course not, but how do you intend the expression
        "business as usual"? Literally, metaphorically, or
        both?

        > Does FG imply a "(global) business ethic?" If so,
        > what is it?

        Well, there is the economy of salvation, but maybe
        John limits that to a select few, so we're perhaps
        dealing with microeconomics rather than
        macroeconomics. The economy of damnation might fit the
        macroeconomic scale.

        A lot depends upon how one reads Johannine dualism
        (which I think is more nuanced than first appears) and
        Johannine eschatology (primarily realized or primarily
        future).

        What do you think?

        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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      • Staley, Jeffrey
        What do YOU think the historical Jesus meant by his actions in the temple? Well, Jeffery, if your YOU means me, I think tend to go with FG here, that Jesus was
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 14, 2001
          What do YOU think the historical Jesus meant by his
          actions in the temple?

          Well, Jeffery, if your YOU means me, I think tend to go with FG here, that
          Jesus was metaphorically destroying the temple (i.e., the Galilean Jesus
          opposed the Judean temple economy). However, I will say that like most
          prophetic acts, the temple act of the historical Jesus was open to multiple
          interpretations. AFTER the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70
          CE, it was natural for Christians to interpret Jesus' dramatic Temple action
          as a prophecy of its destruction.

          The synoptics present Jesus as contrasting "house of
          prayer" with "den of thieves". Was he opposed to
          dishonesty -- people being cheated -- and thus
          concerned with ethical purity?

          as long as these ethics include economics, yes

          But Mark, in particular, also has him not allowing
          anyone to carry anything through the temple. Why not?
          Is he applying the laws of the Sabbath against
          Sabbath-day work to actions in the temple? Is this a
          problem of ritual purity?

          Or is it related to the continued building going on?

          Did the Jerusalem temple function similarly, i.e., like a bank?

          Yes

          If so, did Jesus accept this practice?

          I tend to think not--

          But John's presentation of Jesus's actions in the
          temple seems to distinguish sharply between "house of
          my Father" and "house of market". Is this part of some
          radical Johannine dualism that pits the realm of the
          spirit against the world?

          I'm not sure what you mean by "radical dualism," but I would think, yes, the
          divine spirit pitted against the spirit/ruler of this world

          > Can there be "business as usual" when the temple
          > building is gone?

          Of course not, but how do you intend the expression
          "business as usual"? Literally, metaphorically, or
          both?

          I'm thinking literally. That is, you could still collect temple taxes,
          support the priesthood with a temple gone--now it all goes to rebuilding the
          structure and infrastructure. So also Mayor of NYC: "we will rebuild the
          towers."

          > Does FG imply a "(global) business ethic?" If so,
          > what is it?

          Well, there is the economy of salvation, but maybe
          John limits that to a select few, so we're perhaps
          dealing with microeconomics rather than
          macroeconomics. The economy of damnation might fit the
          macroeconomic scale.

          this is a topic worht exploring. perhaps others will jump in here.


          A lot depends upon how one reads Johannine dualism
          (which I think is more nuanced than first appears)

          Yes.

          Jeff Staley
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