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Re(2): Re(2): [John_Lit] Dangers of statistical analysis

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  • Paul Anderson
    ... Thanks, Ramsey, I agree entirely on Ruckstuhl. I feel his analysis has carried the day (along with Schweizer) on the pervasive stylistic unity of John,
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 6, 2002
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      johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com writes:
      >In this discussion I haven't seen mention of Eugen Ruckstuhl's 1951
      >defense
      >of Johannine unity, Die Literarishe Einheit des Johannesevangeliums. To
      >my
      >knowledge, it has not been translated into English, nor (in my view)
      >successfully answered.
      >
      >Paul Anderson refers to it in his book, but not as frequently as I would
      >have
      >expected. To me it looks as if Ruckstuhl's position has carried the day,
      >not
      >because of its cogent arguments (which few have bothered to read. I
      >worked
      >through some of them 30 years ago, but am very rusty on them now), but
      >because of other methodologies that have since come along: narrative
      >criticism, reader-response criticism, canonical criticism, etc.
      >
      >Anyone who wants to deal seriously with this question would have to
      >interact
      >with Ruckstuhl, I would think, and certainly with Edwin A. Abbott's
      >Johannine
      >Grammar and Johannine Vocabulary.
      >
      >Ramsey Michaels

      Thanks, Ramsey, I agree entirely on Ruckstuhl. I feel his analysis has
      carried the day (along with Schweizer) on the pervasive stylistic unity of
      John, and yet, what I tried to address is why someone might still go with
      Bultmann or Fortna despite his work. Fortna's answer accounts for part of
      the reason: matters contextual and theological accompany stylistic ones in
      the inference of multiple sources. This explains why, even if John's
      stylistic unity is assumed, someone might still go along with a Signs
      Gospel theory or an assumption that alien sources underlay the Johannine
      Gospel.

      So, in applying all of Bultmann's evidence to the text -- stylistic,
      contextual, and theological -- seeking to give the diachronic theorist the
      best possible footing for his/er case, I wanted to give diachronicity of
      origin its greatest chance. Given the dearth of outcomes on all three of
      these fronts, having constructed the case squarely upon Bultmann's own
      evidence, this is why these results seem especially devastating to
      multiple-source hypotheses. I see my work as building an analysis from
      another angle, parallel to Ruckstuhl's contribution, but not constructed
      upon his. I also feel some of Bultmann's theological and literary
      insights are worth building upon, and in that sense I see my work as
      complementary to Ruckstuhl / Schweizer and Fortna / Bultmann (and Barrett,
      Brown, and Kaesemann, among others, for that matter).

      What is highly significant in my view is the recent shift in the thinking
      of Robert Kysar regarding source-critical approaches to John in his RBL
      1999 essay (pp.38-41). I still consider Kysar the leading interpreter of
      Johannine secondary literature, and he was a long-time advocate of
      source-critical approaches to the formation of the Johannine tradition
      (see his 1973 Novum Testamentum essay on John 6). In the RBL essay Kysar
      uses the opportunity do declare his change of mind on the matter, and I
      feel this is represents a significant shift with broader implications than
      the perspective of Kysar alone. It forces the interpreter to engage once
      more several levels of dialogue within the formation of Johannine
      tradition, within the thinking of the evangelist, and between the
      evangelist and his emerging audiences.

      Thanks for a good discussion here!

      Paul
    • Thomas W Butler
      Dear Paul, Ramsey, Tom and Others, I am intrigued by your comment, Paul, that ...even if John s stylistic unity is assumed, someone might still go along with
      Message 2 of 15 , Feb 6, 2002
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        Dear Paul, Ramsey, Tom and Others,

        I am intrigued by your comment, Paul, that "...even if John's
        stylistic unity is assumed, someone might still go along with a
        signs gospel theory or an assumption that alien sources underlay
        the Johannine Gospel."

        Given that "signs" are found extensively in the Pentateuch,
        have you or others (Ruckstuhl?) considered the possibility
        that the "stylistic unity" in the Fourth Gospel could be the
        result of a common semeotic source (the Pentateuch?)

        Wouldn't such an analysis explain why the FG appears to
        share some similarities with the JEDP analyses of the OT?
        Would it not also address the question of a single or multiple
        source(s)? In your opinion would the Pentateuch be
        considered "an alien source," or might not the author(s) of
        the FG reasonably have assumed that it would be an obvious
        and familiar source from which to draw (at least) signs?

        Yours in Christ's service,
        Tom Butler

        On Wed, 06 Feb 2002 10:38:47 -0800 "Paul Anderson"
        <panderso@...> writes:
        > johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com writes:
        > > In this discussion I haven't seen mention of Eugen Ruckstuhl's
        > > 1951 defense of Johannine unity, Die Literarishe Einheit des
        > > Johannesevangeliums. To my knowledge, it has not been
        > > translated into English, nor (in my view) successfully answered.
        > >
        > > Paul Anderson refers to it in his book, but not as frequently as I
        > > would have expected. To me it looks as if Ruckstuhl's position
        > > has carried the day, not because of its cogent arguments (which
        > > few have bothered to read. I worked through some of them 30
        > > years ago, but am very rusty on them now), but because of other
        > > methodologies that have since come along: narrative criticism,
        > > reader-response criticism, canonical criticism, etc.
        > >
        > > Anyone who wants to deal seriously with this question would have
        > > to interact with Ruckstuhl, I would think, and certainly with Edwin
        > > A. Abbott's Johannine Grammar and Johannine Vocabulary.
        > >
        > >Ramsey Michaels
        >
        > Thanks, Ramsey, I agree entirely on Ruckstuhl. I feel his analysis
        > has carried the day (along with Schweizer) on the pervasive stylistic
        > unity of John, and yet, what I tried to address is why someone might
        > still go with Bultmann or Fortna despite his work. Fortna's answer
        > accounts for part of the reason: matters contextual and theological
        > accompany stylistic ones in the inference of multiple sources. This
        > explains why, even if John's stylistic unity is assumed, someone might
        > still go along with a Signs Gospel theory or an assumption that alien
        > sources underlay the Johannine Gospel.
        >
        > So, in applying all of Bultmann's evidence to the text -- stylistic,
        > contextual, and theological -- seeking to give the diachronic
        > theorist the best possible footing for his/er case, I wanted to give
        > diachronicity of origin its greatest chance. Given the dearth of
        > outcomes on all three of these fronts, having constructed the case
        > squarely upon Bultmann's own evidence, this is why these results
        > seem especially devastating to multiple-source hypotheses. I see
        > my work as building an analysis from another angle, parallel to
        > Ruckstuhl's contribution, but not constructed upon his. I also feel
        > some of Bultmann's theological and literary insights are worth
        > building upon, and in that sense I see my work as complementary
        > to Ruckstuhl / Schweizer and Fortna / Bultmann (and Barrett,
        > Brown, and Kaesemann, among others, for that matter).
        >
        > What is highly significant in my view is the recent shift in the
        > thinking of Robert Kysar regarding source-critical approaches
        > to John in his RBL 1999 essay (pp.38-41). I still consider
        > Kysar the leading interpreter of Johannine secondary literature,
        > and he was a long-time advocate of source-critical approaches
        > to the formation of the Johannine tradition (see his 1973 Novum
        > Testamentum essay on John 6). In the RBL essay Kysar uses
        > the opportunity do declare his change of mind on the matter,
        > and I feel this represents a significant shift with broader
        > implications than the perspective of Kysar alone. It forces the
        > interpreter to engage once more several levels of dialogue
        > within the formation of Johannine tradition, within the thinking
        > of the evangelist, and between the evangelist and his emerging
        > audiences.
        >
        > Thanks for a good discussion here!
        >
        > Paul
      • Kenneth Litwak
        What of the possibility, he said cynically, that the alleged stylistic problems are only problems to those who think that multiple sources are present, and
        Message 3 of 15 , Feb 6, 2002
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          What of the possibility, he said cynically, that the alleged
          stylistic problems are only problems to those who think that multiple
          sources are present, and would not have been seen as problems or even
          necessarily noticed in the early church? That is, with no negative
          comment about anyone on this list, did scholars like Bultmann find
          problems because they could not get around various features, or were
          their commitments to being ounce critics or form critics the real
          source-critical problem which caused there to be stylistic problems? I
          could have missed it, but I don't recall any early church father having
          an issue with the style being so disjointed as to call for explanation
          or exploration. That doesn't mean at all that examining how pericopes
          join together is a bad idea. It is to say that, given just how many
          works are written by doctoral students, such as myself, and the
          requirements to keep publishing, I can't help but suspect that these
          alleged problems, which seem like nothing of consequence to me and which
          are similar to phenomena readily detectable in modern works known to be
          by the same author throughout, are magnified by scholars in order to
          provide topics for books and dissertations, because radical source
          critical theories are more interesting and harder to prove or disprove
          than plain old rigorous exegesis. Sorry, but I just don't see stylistic
          problems. If you want to see poor transitions, any number of works by
          novice writers can show you that, and there's no question of authorship
          or source. My doctoral advisor critiqued a section of one my chapters
          for that very reason: the transition was too abrupt. In another place,
          he critiqued it because something appeared without me preparing
          adequately for it in the preceding text. I don't think that statistical
          analysis is very helpful unless you can provide some way to filter the
          results for known stylistic features of a given author. Maybe this is
          just how the author of the FG writes. No one said you had to have one a
          Pulitzer to write a gospel.


          Ken Litwak
        • soedingms@aol.com
          Dear friends of John, the Book of Eugen Ruckstuhl is published in a new edition. Better: There is a new book on the same theme with now two authors, Ruckstuhl
          Message 4 of 15 , Feb 7, 2002
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            Dear friends of John,
            the Book of Eugen Ruckstuhl is published in a new edition. Better: There is a
            new book on the same theme with now two authors, Ruckstuhl and his pupil
            Peter Dschulnigg (Bochum, Germany):
            Eugen Ruckstuhl - Peter Dschulnigg, Stilkritik und Verfasserfrage im
            Johannesevangelium. Die johanneischen Sprachmerkmale auf dem Hintergrund des
            Neuen Testaments und des zeitgenössischen hellenistischen Schrifttums (Novum
            Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 17), Freiburg/Schweiz: Universitätsverlag,
            Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht 1991.
            In Germany there was (and is) a discussion on "Soziolekt" and "Idiolekt".
            There is a unity in the language of the Fourth Gospel, but is it the language
            unity of a single author, or of a group in a (johannine) school? This
            discussion is discussed in the the new book, but there are different opinions
            until now.

            Prof. Dr. Thomas Söding
            Katholisch-Theologisches Seminar
            Bergische Universität
            D-42097 Wuppertal



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Paul Anderson
            ... Excellent points, Ken. Kysar agrees with you, and so do I, that what troubles us in our modernistic approaches to things may not at all have bothered a
            Message 5 of 15 , Feb 7, 2002
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              johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com writes:
              > What of the possibility, he said cynically, that the alleged
              >stylistic problems are only problems to those who think that multiple
              >sources are present, and would not have been seen as problems or even
              >necessarily noticed in the early church?
              >Ken Litwak
              >
              Excellent points, Ken. Kysar agrees with you, and so do I, that what
              troubles us in our modernistic approaches to things may not at all have
              bothered a first-century writer or audience. Likewise, Barrett puts the
              point this way: the text made sense to _someone_ as it stands, early on in
              its composition history, so it behooves the present reader to consider the
              text as it has come to us rather than as we might think it should have
              come to us.

              On the other hand, Bultmann is such a brilliant scholar that I wanted to
              really understand what were the bases for his concerns. If he really
              found something significant regarding disparate material in John (such as
              the clear stylistic and vocabulary differences particular to John
              7:53-8:11), this would have been important. But my studies confirmed
              Borgen's and Ruckstuhl's analyses of the text's unity, so that's what we
              have to deal with as critical scholars.

              >Dear friends of John,
              >the Book of Eugen Ruckstuhl is published in a new edition. Better: There
              >is a
              >new book on the same theme with now two authors, Ruckstuhl and his pupil
              >Peter Dschulnigg (Bochum, Germany):
              >Eugen Ruckstuhl - Peter Dschulnigg, Stilkritik und Verfasserfrage im
              >Johannesevangelium. Die johanneischen Sprachmerkmale auf dem Hintergrund
              >des
              >Neuen Testaments und des zeitgenössischen hellenistischen Schrifttums
              >(Novum
              >Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 17), Freiburg/Schweiz: Universitätsverlag,
              >Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht 1991.
              >In Germany there was (and is) a discussion on "Soziolekt" and "Idiolekt".
              >There is a unity in the language of the Fourth Gospel, but is it the
              >language
              >unity of a single author, or of a group in a (johannine) school? This
              >discussion is discussed in the the new book, but there are different
              >opinions
              >until now.
              >
              >Prof. Dr. Thomas Söding

              And thank you, Thomas, for catching us up on Ruckstuhl's revised edition
              and resulting discussions. I wonder if this important work should be
              translated into English. Anyone care to take on a translation project?

              Paul Anderson
            • Paul Anderson
              ... Good questions here, Tom. I think the evidence that the Pentateuch does indeed contain a collection of perspectives is stronger than inferring the same
              Message 6 of 15 , Feb 7, 2002
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                johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com writes:
                >Dear Paul, Ramsey, Tom and Others,
                >
                > I am intrigued by your comment, Paul, that "...even if John's
                >stylistic unity is assumed, someone might still go along with a
                >signs gospel theory or an assumption that alien sources underlay
                >the Johannine Gospel."
                >
                > Given that "signs" are found extensively in the Pentateuch,
                >have you or others (Ruckstuhl?) considered the possibility
                >that the "stylistic unity" in the Fourth Gospel could be the
                >result of a common semeotic source (the Pentateuch?)
                >
                > Wouldn't such an analysis explain why the FG appears to
                >share some similarities with the JEDP analyses of the OT?
                >Would it not also address the question of a single or multiple
                >source(s)? In your opinion would the Pentateuch be
                >considered "an alien source," or might not the author(s) of
                >the FG reasonably have assumed that it would be an obvious
                >and familiar source from which to draw (at least) signs?
                >
                >Yours in Christ's service,
                >Tom Butler

                Good questions here, Tom. I think the evidence that the Pentateuch does
                indeed contain a collection of perspectives is stronger than inferring the
                same about John. I do believe that John's tradition is engaged
                dialectically with other perspectives and parallel (synoptic) renderings
                of Jesus' ministry, but this is different from assuming a more extended
                thesis that the Fourth Evangelist a) incorporated alien material with
                which he disagreed, b) changed the thaumaturgical nuance toward his own
                reflective tones, and c) constructed his narrative on these works because
                his work was late-and-only-late. Again, such may have been the case, but
                the facts do not support such a reconstruction.

                As I've put it elsewhere, to de-Johannify a narrative, only to
                re-Marcanize it, does not a semeia source make.

                Thanks,

                Paul Anderson
              • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                ... I d be interested, but I imagine that the project is already underway. Jeffery Hodges ===== Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges Hanshin University
                Message 7 of 15 , Feb 7, 2002
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                  Paul Anderson wrote to Prof. Dr. Thomas S�ding:

                  > And thank you, Thomas, for catching us up on
                  > Ruckstuhl's revised edition and resulting
                  > discussions. I wonder if this important work should
                  > be translated into English. Anyone care to take on a
                  > translation project?

                  I'd be interested, but I imagine that the project is
                  already underway.

                  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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