Re: [John_Lit] Re: John 19:25-27
----- Original Message -----
From: "Thomas W Butler" <butlerfam5@...>
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2001 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Re: What did the BD believe (20:8)?
> Citing the pattern in the Pepys Gospel, noting that it differs
> in one important way from the Fourth Gospel (the naming of
> the BD as St. John, rather than *his mother's sister,* then
> noting that the Pepys Gospel was the result of a much later
> edition does not support the idea that the FG was edited.
> The PG was clearly edited and, therefore, cannot be used
> to *correct* what might be considered an editorial change
> in the FG. Perhaps I am simply missing something in your
A comparison of this sequence in PG 99:10
1. the mother of Jesus
2. St. John
3. Mary Clopas
4. Mary Magdalene
with this sequence in John 19:25:
1. the mother of Jesus
2. his mother's sister
3. Mary of Clopas
4. Mary Magdalene
clearly indicates, in my opinion, that the second person in the version of
19:25 used by the author of GP was a masuline figure (identified with John
bar Zebedee by the author of GP) rather than a female figure (i.e., the
sister of Jesus' mother) that is found in the version of 19:25 we possess.
If there was (as the evidence from GP suggests) a variant version of 19:25
in which the second figure was a male rather than the sister of Jesus'
mother, then the question arises as to whether it was the original version
I think it most likely that it was the original version of 19:25.
First, the beginning of 19:26, "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple
whom he loved standing near" (RSV) seems to assume that the second sentence
in 19:25 began, "But standing by the cross were his mother, and the disciple
whom he loved (or, alternatively, a masculine term)" rather than (as in the
version we possess) "But standing by the cross were his mother, and his
mother's sister". I realize that isn't necessarily the case, but I think
Also, to the best of my knowledge, the version of 19:25 we possess is the
only passage in an early Christian work which explicitly states that the
mother of Mary had a sister. Indeed, according to both the Gospel of the
Birth of Mary and the Protoevangelion, Mary was the only child of a couple
who had tried unsuccesfully for many years to have children. This apparent
complete lack of corroborating evidence for Mary having had a sister leads
me to suspect that the version of 19:25 we possess is corrupt and that, in
the original version of 19:25, the second person was not the sister of
Jesus' mother but, rather, somebody else.
I think that the term "St. John" we find in PG is a late editorial change,
coming from a time when John bar Zebedee was being vererated as a saint.
What earlier term it replaced I don't know, but I am reasonably sure it was
masculine--perhaps something like "John the son of Zebedee" or "the disciple
who was loved by Jesus".
Tom, I think there is general agreement that, in 19:25-27, there is a great
tension between: (1) it explicitly speaking only of women standing by the
cross, (2) it explicitly stating that the BD stood by the cross, and (3) it
speaking of the BD in masculine terms. i.e., "his own".
If I understand his post of 11-4 correctly, Paul Schmel's proposed solution
is that, it is implicitly implied, there were some other people standing by
the cross and that one of these other people had been the man who was the
If I understand your post of 11-3 correctly, your proposed solution is that
"his own" is deliberately deceptive and is designed to hide the reality of
the BD being one of the explicitly mentioned women standing near the cross..
My proposed solution, for reasons given above, is that there was a now-lost
original version of 19:25-27 which explicitly spoke of three women and a man
standing by the cross.
The big problem is that there is no "hard" evidence for any of these three
proposed solutions for relieving the big tension in 19:25-27.
Does anyone have a fourth proposed solution?
1809 N. English Apt. 17
Maplewood, MN USA 55109
- Apparently a shard of pottery from 900BCE bearing the inscription ALWAT and
WLT, likely Philistine equivalents of 'Goliath', have come to light approx.
2 metres underground at Tell es Shafi (the site of Gath) - the biblical
Goliath's home town, according to Aren Maeir, Archaeological Head at
Bar-Ilan University, nr, Tel Aviv, according to Reuters. However the finds
are evaluated and no doubt they will give rise to lively dispute, they lead
neatly into a potential alternative approach to the concept of Paraclete.
The concept of coming alongside is inevitably linked to that of legal
advocacy but a saviour, like the boy David, coming alongside a dejected
people as a champion and saviour might easily give rise to both hope and
comfort. Luke~Acts refers to Messianic expectations in terms of Hope, 'the
hope of Israel' (Luke 24:21; Acts 28:20). That the Hope of Israel (Jeremiah
14:8) was also the Comforter of Israel (Isaiah 40:41) is evident however it
is a narrow but risky leap beyond the evidence as far as I am aware, to
argue that the eschatologically expected 'Hope of Israel' and 'Saviour of
Israel' was also known in some circles as the 'Comforter of Israel', one who
nurtures, protects and defends as well as pleads the cause in any legal
dispute sense. That our Greek Wisdom of Solomon describes Wisdom coming
alongside humans, rather like the Angelic divine Presence (Wisdom 10) in all
sorts of situations, not simply judicial trials of faith, may help explain a
blurring of the role / concepts of Advocate, Saviour and Comforter amongst
Greek speaking believers. (Admittedly I am more inclined to historical
investigative problem solving rather than to positivistic approaches to the
enigmatic Fourth Gospel).
Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex).