Re: [John_Lit] Re: What did the BD believe (20:8)?
- I think it's unlikely that the texts would have been altered from son to
Son would have been hO hIOUS, whereas sister is H ADELFH. That would be
quite a change in the text. Perhaps TEKNON or PAIS could have been the
original, which was then altered according to a scribe's beliefs, but
there's no indication in the UBS 4th that there were variants in that
section. Futhermore, given the culture of the time, I think any change
would have gone in the direction of son, not sister. Therefore, I think
it's unlikely that the text was altered.
It's also important to note that while John mentions the four woman standing
around the cross, he does not say that no one else was there, nor would it
be reasonable to come to that conclusion. So the fact that he doesn't
mention anyone else does not preclude the possibility that the "disciple
that he loved" was there as well, and indeed he acknowledges that disciple
in the very next verse.
To say that verse 25 had its text altered to agree with the gender of the
disciple in the next verse is to argue from an assumption that the four
mentioned previously were the only four around the cross at the time,
something that is nowhere indicated by the text. Wasn't it common in the
Hebrew culture that the sons, beginning with the eldest, would support the
mother if the father was dead? It would seem then that Jesus was simply
reminding his younger brother of his duty to support his mother once Jesus
was dead. Or perhaps he was asking the disciple, who was not his brother
but his dear friend, to take care of his mother. I don't think either of
those possibilities can be precluded simply from these verses. I don't
think there's any need to argue for an altered text to support that
conclusion. I do think, however, that arguing the disciple was a woman is
not supported by the text at all, and requires quite a leap in logic.
Paul Schmehl pauls@...
----- Original Message -----
From: "FMMCCOY" <FMMCCOY@...>
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 2:53 PM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Re: What did the BD believe (20:8)?
> Also in defence of this suggestion, as you point out above, the first part
> of John 19:26 apprears to assume that the Beloved Disciple is one of the
> people listed as standing by the cross in 19:25: all of whom, in the
> of 19:25 we possess, are females. Yet, in 19:27, as you also point out
> above, the Beloved Disciple is said to be a male. If there was an earlier
> version of 19:25 which had "his mother's son" instead of "his mother's
> sister" than this problem disappears. In this case, at a later date, when
> it was mistakenly believed that the Beloved Disciple had been John bar
> Zebedee and, so, couldn't have been a son of Mary, the original phrase
> mother's son" was altered to "his mother's sister."
- 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,