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Jesus the Word according to John the Sectarian

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  • Kenneth Litwak
    I m wondering if anyone else on the list has read or started reading Robert Gundry s new book on John, or was, as I was, at the panel discussion of the book?
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 20, 2001
      I'm wondering if anyone else on the list has read or started reading
      Robert Gundry's new book on John, or was, as I was, at the panel
      discussion of the book? Multiple panelists, most notably Marianne Meye
      Thompson really ragged on the book's assertion about the centrality of
      Word christology in John's Gospel. Does anyone have an opinion on
      Gundry's argument? I find it convincing. Thanks.

      Ken Litwak
    • Paul Anderson
      ... I have just read it, Ken, on the way home from the meetings, and I found myself imagining other ways of getting into the Christ-centered thrust of John s
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 23, 2001
        >Does anyone have an opinion on
        >Gundry's argument? I find it convincing. Thanks.
        >
        >Ken Litwak

        I have just read it, Ken, on the way home from the meetings, and I found
        myself imagining other ways of getting into the Christ-centered thrust of
        John's Christology -- especially dialogical approaches to Logos theology
        rather than monological ones (if this is what is implied by
        "propositional"). Then again, a part of the dialectic Gundry was calling
        for relates to the place of the church and the world, and this is always a
        worthy consideration. I also agree that such a set of dialogues relates
        to one's spiritual commitments, and in that sense, with Gundry, John
        offers a valuable way forward.

        I did, therefore, appreciate Gundry's interest in challenging evangelical
        American Christianity to faithfulness to the truth, and the way I might
        have approached that task is to work with John 6:27 (much like the
        Didache's way of life versus the way of death). I also understand the
        book's emergence out of a concern for a contemporary situation and
        appreciate that such an interest affects one's own approach to the subject.

        I think the thing that troubled me most was his engagement of secondary
        works. While he covered a huge amount of the literature, many treatments
        were not sustained; they often mentioned a single detail only to disagree
        with it rather than building constructively on good work. I guess I also
        came away feeling that the sectarian approach to Johannine Christianity
        inferred by Gundry (and some other Johannine scholars) is somewhat at odds
        with the universal thrust of John. On that score, I find myself asking
        whether sectarianism in the Johannine situation is descriptive of a
        reality encountered or prescriptive of an ideal to be enstanciated. The
        former is more likely the case, although appeals to abide in the truth
        will always be, to some degree, counter-conventional.

        It is a privilege to have Bob Gundry entering the labyrinth of Johannine
        studies, and I look forward to the engagements his work will evoke.

        Happy Thanksgiving!

        Paul N. Anderson
      • Matson, Mark A. (Academic)
        I, too, picked the book up at the SBL conference, and am just now finishing it. I echo some of Paul Anderson s concerns. Let me be a bit more specific on a
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 27, 2001
          I, too, picked the book up at the SBL conference, and am just now finishing
          it. I echo some of Paul Anderson's concerns. Let me be a bit more specific
          on a couple of points/queries (perhaps to double check that I have
          understood correctly his points):

          1. It seems that Gundry wants to make a big deal about the "word"
          orientation of the gospel, such that the "Word" in the prologue is carried
          through throughout the gospel. To do so, he makes much of Jesus' own
          speaking -- hence a long catalogue of points where Jesus' speaking or the
          sound of his voice is central to the message of the gospel. But I wonder if
          that really works? All the gospels have Jesus speaking. The concept of
          "the Word incarnate" in the prologue, however, functions (it seems to me) as
          on of a long list of master metaphors, all of which work (light of the
          world, living water, etc.). Is Gundry convincing in arguing that the
          speaking features in the gospel reflect the central theme of the prologue?
          Or is there a polyphony of images that John weaves together?

          2. With regard to the sectarian approach that Gundry posits for Jesus'
          dialogues (e.g. oriented just to believers, not to outsiders), I wonder how
          much of this depends on seeing John as a gospel oriented just to a specific
          community of believers? Here I guess I am really wanting to raise questions
          about what seems to be a presumption of Johannine scholarship that this is a
          sectarian gospel written to a distinct community. I was also struck by
          Richard Bauckham's essay in the new volume Jesus in Johannine Tradition
          which raises questions about that. I would be interested in reviewing the
          evidence for that "community" approach. Are we tending to interpret the
          gospel based on our presumption about the audience of the gospel? Or, to
          link up with another thread on this list, is the "narrattee" assumed to be a
          (1) Christian, (2) part of a unique community cut off from other Christian
          groups? Might the gospel not be oriented to a far broader audience?


          Mark A. Matson
          Academic Dean, Milligan College
          http://www.milligan.edu/Administrative/MMatson/personal.htm


          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Paul Anderson [mailto:panderso@...]
          > Sent: Friday, November 23, 2001 4:31 PM
          > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
          > Cc: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Jesus the Word according to John the Sectarian
          >
          >
          > >Does anyone have an opinion on
          > >Gundry's argument? I find it convincing. Thanks.
          > >
          > >Ken Litwak
          >
          > I have just read it, Ken, on the way home from the meetings,
          > and I found
          > myself imagining other ways of getting into the
          > Christ-centered thrust of
          > John's Christology -- especially dialogical approaches to
          > Logos theology
          > rather than monological ones (if this is what is implied by
          > "propositional"). Then again, a part of the dialectic Gundry
          > was calling
          > for relates to the place of the church and the world, and
          > this is always a
          > worthy consideration. I also agree that such a set of
          > dialogues relates
          > to one's spiritual commitments, and in that sense, with Gundry, John
          > offers a valuable way forward.
          >
          > I did, therefore, appreciate Gundry's interest in challenging
          > evangelical
          > American Christianity to faithfulness to the truth, and the
          > way I might
          > have approached that task is to work with John 6:27 (much like the
          > Didache's way of life versus the way of death). I also understand the
          > book's emergence out of a concern for a contemporary situation and
          > appreciate that such an interest affects one's own approach
          > to the subject.
          >
          > I think the thing that troubled me most was his engagement of
          > secondary
          > works. While he covered a huge amount of the literature,
          > many treatments
          > were not sustained; they often mentioned a single detail only
          > to disagree
          > with it rather than building constructively on good work. I
          > guess I also
          > came away feeling that the sectarian approach to Johannine
          > Christianity
          > inferred by Gundry (and some other Johannine scholars) is
          > somewhat at odds
          > with the universal thrust of John. On that score, I find
          > myself asking
          > whether sectarianism in the Johannine situation is descriptive of a
          > reality encountered or prescriptive of an ideal to be
          > enstanciated. The
          > former is more likely the case, although appeals to abide in the truth
          > will always be, to some degree, counter-conventional.
          >
          > It is a privilege to have Bob Gundry entering the labyrinth
          > of Johannine
          > studies, and I look forward to the engagements his work will evoke.
          >
          > Happy Thanksgiving!
          >
          > Paul N. Anderson
          >
          >
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        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          I just received a personal message from somebody named AVIJAH. The message appeared in my bulk mail folder and claimed to have 40k of text. Despite the 40k,
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 2, 2001
            I just received a personal message from somebody
            'named' AVIJAH. The message appeared in my bulk mail
            folder and claimed to have 40k of text. Despite the
            40k, I found no message.

            If somebody was replying to my recent message, the
            reply did not come through -- and at 40k, I am a bit
            relieved.

            Two suggestions:

            1) trim the text

            and

            2) send it to the Johannine Literature Listserve
            rather than to me personally.

            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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          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Recently, I have been having to do a lot of reading in literary theory (as you all may have noticed), and I continually encounter fascinating concepts and
            Message 5 of 5 , Jan 31, 2002
              Recently, I have been having to do a lot of reading in
              literary theory (as you all may have noticed), and I
              continually encounter fascinating concepts and wonder
              if they have all been applied to an analysis of John's
              Gospel.

              Have any scholars attempted to find in John's Gospel
              what Roman Jakobson termed "the dominant," a literary
              device that rules, determines, and transforms the
              remaining literary devices?

              In terms of Russian Formalist theory, the dominant
              emerges when some other literary element has become
              "effaced" or "automatized" (meaning that it has become
              "naturalized" from overuse). The dominant can
              "defamiliarize" other literary elements but also
              provide literary unity for the text as a whole.

              An dominant might be an element such as syntax,
              rhythm, plot, diction, some other element, or a group
              of these elements.

              What would be the candidates for the dominant in John?
              We would need to look for ways in which the fourth
              evangelist tries to defamiliarize elements that have
              become automatized. Would Johannine irony function as
              the dominant?

              (Note that a dominant can itself become automatized,
              especially from 19 hundred years of re-reading -- do
              we really catch Johannine irony? Or do things such as
              humiliation = glorification seem so obviously
              Christian that we usually don't even notice them?)

              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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