Re: [John_Lit] Re: What did the BD believe (20:8)?
- Dear John,
I follow and agree with your analysis of Jn. 20, except that you have
leaped to the conclusion that the BD is Saint John. I believe that the
BD is a woman named Mary. Some of the evidence for that is found in
the 19: 26-27, which you also cited. Starting with verse 25, we are
given a list of persons standing near the cross. All of them are women.
The only ones who are named are named Mary. By tradition we know
that the mother of Jesus was named Mary. We do not know what is
meant by "his mother's sister." This could be a family relation, a
relative, the sister of his mother, or it could be a female member of the
community of followers of Jesus, people who call each other "sister" or
"brother" because they identify with the community as though they were
biologically related. We do not know any more about Mary the wife
of Clopas than her name here, nor even whether this appelation refers
to one or two women, one named Mary and the other known as the
"the wife of Clopas." What we can say is that all of the persons
beneath the cross in this scene are women, most of whom, if not all of
them, named Mary. (One of them is clearly Mary Magdalene. I contend
that one of the others COULD BE Mary of Bethany.)
Now, in verse 26 we are told by the narrator that "Jesus saw his
mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her..." What we
have been told in verse 25 leads us to the obvious conclusion that "the
disciple whom he loved" is a woman named Mary.
What throws most readers off in this passage (perhaps the result of
author's intention - to misinform all but those who are truely seeking
truth) is the words of Jesus. "Woman, here is your son." Most people
that to mean that Jesus is speaking to his mother about the BD. I read
Jesus speaking to his mother about himself. He is identifying himself as
son. Then, in verse 27, speaking to his Beloved Disciple, Mary, Jesus
"Here is your mother." He does not say, "You are now my mother's son."
The only argument that I see against this interpretation is the use of
pronoun in what is literally translated "And from that hour the disciple
her to HIS own." I submit that this is a deliberate effort to deceive
the most discerning readers into believing that the BD was an un-named
Yours in Christ's service,
On Sat, 25 Aug 2001 "John N. Lupia" <JLupia2@...> wrote:
> Kym, the presence of other women with Mary Magdalene (Joh
> 20,1) is obviated by the words OUK OIDAMEN in v. 20,2. The
> style of St. John is that the main character of the narrative was
> highlighted in v. 20,1 for purposes that become clear as the story
> unravels. Now, the narrative concerning SS. John and Peter
> running to the tomb on hearing Mary Magdalene's report is
> important regarding the historical situation of belief and
> understanding. John 20, 8 EIDEN KAI EPISTEUSEN "he saw
> and believed" distinguishes St. John from the other two figures
> in the narrative: SS. Mary Magdalene and Peter as well as from
> the rest of the disciples. Joh 20, 9 says regarding them:
> OUDEPW GAR hHDEISAN THN GRAFHN hOTI DEI AUTON EK
> NEKRWN ANASTHNAI "For as yet they did not understand the
> scripture, that he must rise from the dead." The keyword is
> hHDEISAN "they understood" or "they knew" imputes the "they" to
> SS. Mary Magdalene and Peter in the narrative and implicates
> the other disciples not present. This is strengthened by Joh
> 20,11-15 when Mary Magdalene persisted in thinking that some
> group of men had taken away the corpse of Jesus. Since the
> introduction in Joh 20,1 Mary Magdalene was highlighted as the
> main character to show by means of personification, the thinking
> of the rest. She finally understands by "seeing Jesus", just as
> the rest finally do in post resurrection appearances. In the entire
> drama from Joh 20,1-16 St. John is the *only one* who believed
> merely by seeing the linen robe (see archive 1877 for an
> explanation). The climax to this narrative is in Joh 20,29 "Have
> you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those
> who have not seen and yet have come to believe." Now in the
> dénouement it is clear that historically "only St. John" believed
> prior to the post resurrection appearances linking him with the
> Blessed Virgin Mary in Joh 19,26-27 when he was the only one
> of the twelve at the cross and was given Mary as his mother from
> Christ himself. Now, the understanding of the Church is that Joh
> 19,26-27 is true for the entire mystical body just as Joh 20,29.
> The links between these episodes is a matter of Johannine
> For access to archive 1877 click below:
> Cordially in Christ,
> John N. Lupia
> 501 North Avenue B-1
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- Dear Paul,
I'm still trying to catch up on previous e-mails.
On Fri, 7 Dec 2001 "Paul Schmehl" <p.l.schmehl@...> wrote:
> I'm afraid I'm not following you here. First let's look at what
> the text does not say.
> 1) It does not say that Peter did not believe.
Obviously I inferred that from the contrast between 20: 6 where
Simon Peter went in and saw, while in 20: 8 the "other disciple"
who reached the tomb first (the BD) also went in, and saw and
believed. The parallel structure in those two verses seems to be
suggesting that there is a contrast between how Simon Peter and
the BD responded to what they saw.
We are told in 20: 9 that neither of them understood the scripture
that explained the meaning of what they were seeing - that Jesus
must rise from the dead. I take that to mean that neither of them
was expecting the resurrection based upon their knowledge of
the scriptures. ISTM that it can be inferred that the identification
of those scriptures and the declaration that what Peter and the BD
saw was confirmation of the resurrection came after this event.
For the BD this look into the empty tomb generated belief, for
Peter we are at least not told that it generated belief.
I'm just pointing out that the hair I'm splitting here was split by
the way the text was written.
> 2) It does not say that the BD believed *until* (s)he went into
> the tomb
Are you suggesting that something I wrote indicates that the BD
stopped believing after (s)he went into the tomb? If I said any
thing to suggest that, I must have said what I meant poorly. I
have no intention of saying that the event stopped her believing.
If you mean that the text does not say that the BD believed
*before* (s)he went into the tomb, my reply would have to
be much longer, since I have made an extensive exegesis of
Jn. 11, 12 and 13 that suggests otherwise.
> 3) It does not say that the BD "understood more fully what the
> meaning of Jesus' ministry was than Peter did.
That point is made in the way Jesus interacts with each of them.
I've already pointed out the contrast between 12: 7 and 13: 8.
In 12: 7 Jesus is responding to Judas, not Peter, but he is defending
the anointing ritual performed by Mary of Bethany. In 13: 8 Jesus
is clearly rebukes Peter for not submitting to the footwashing ritual
that Jesus is performing.
Consider also 21: 20-21 in contrast to 21: 22. Peter is presented
as concerned about what to do about the BD. There is something
about the BD that bothers Peter. Could it be that the ritual that
Jesus has just completed -Do you love me / Feed my sheep- gives
Peter a different status among the disciples than before, one that
may appear to be in conflict with the status that Jesus has previously
given to Mary of Bethany, the BD, in 12: 7? (Again, my exegesis
of 11: 55- 12: 8 is much longer than I'm presenting here.)
> 4) It does not say whether Peter and the BD were in the tomb
> at the same time.
No, it says in 20: 6 that Simon Peter went into the tomb, then in
20: 8 it says that the other disciple also went in. In 20: 10 both
of them are described as returning to their homes (NRSV). The
Greek is more vague than that. It simply says that the disciples
went off again (toward their own? toward the other disciples?)
(APHLQON OUN PALIN PROS AUTOUS OI MAQHTAI).
Again, the impression is that first Peter entered, then the BD
entered, then both of them left.
> 5) It does not say whether Peter and the BD discussed what
> they saw.
Agreed. I can't imagine them not talking about it with each other
and everyone else they encountered, especially other disciples,
but you are right. The text does not say that they discussed what
they saw with each other.
> What the text *does* say is that:
> 1) Peter and the BD ran together
> 2) The BD arrived at the tomb first and looked in
> 3) The BD went in to the tomb after Peter did
> 4) *After* entering the tomb, the BD "saw and believed"
The word *after* is not used. The belief of the BD is
reported after the reader is told that the BD saw the same
things that Peter saw. We do not know from the text when
that belief began.
> I'm not arguing that the BD *is* John, mind you, but I am
> curious to hear your response to the question - why is John
> never mentioned in the FG?
"John" IS mentioned prominently in the FG. John the Baptist.
> I'm not particularly attached to any of these theories, mind you,
> I'm simply offering what appear to me to be logical alternatives
> to your conclusion that the BD *must* have been a woman and
> the phrase "BD" was used to "conceal" or "hide" the identity of
> the BD for fear that the book would be rejected as heretical.
> There *are* other equally logical reasons for the use of the term
> BD, some of which make a good deal of sense.
Paul, I appreciate your efforts to articulate the kind of assumptions
that may well have been used when interpreting the Fourth Gospel
throughout Christian history. To advance a new idea, one must be
able to address such assumptions. I cannot claim to have disproved
those assumptions. I hope that I have offered replies that suggest
that the conclusions I have drawn from studying the text are at least
as logical and appropriate as those that other scholars have long
assumed were the correct ones.
Yours in Christ's service,