Re: [John_Lit] Re: What did the BD believe (20:8)?
- Frank wrote:
The evidence for a textual variant in which the second
person is Jesus' sister comes from The Gospel of
Philip (59), "There were three who always walked with
the Lord: Mary, his mother and *her sister* and
Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. *His
sister* and his mother and his companion were each a
Mary." (Note: I have given Philip (59) as rendered by
Wesley W. Isenberg in The Nag Hammadi Library, Marvin
W. Meyer, Managing Editor). I have not seen the Coptic
text, nor would I be able to read it. If someone has
read this gospel in the Coptic, I would appreciate
comments as to accuracy of this English translation).
I know Coptic, but don't have access to the Coptic
version of "The Gospel of Philip". Let's assume that
Isenberg is correct.
The Coptic for "her sister" would be "pesswne". The
Coptic of "his sister" would be "pefswne". Since the
double "ss" of "pesswne" could easily assimilate to a
single "s", as in "peswne" (literally, "the sister"),
then a (somewhat careless or ignorant) copyist might
have felt that the possessive was missing and thus
have supplied the "f" of the form "pefswne" that we
So, the original might really have been "her sister"
despite the extant Coptic evidence.
But perhaps somebody with access to the Coptic text
(and having other text-critical ideas?) can check and
Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
Do You Yahoo!?
Find a job, post your resume.
- 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,