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[John_Lit] Re: John's Greek

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  • Kevin at NABC
    Bill, I must admit I ve been doing my own fair share of deleting lately, so forgive me if I restate parts of previous discussions. But, for Jim to make the
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 16 6:44 PM
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      Bill,

      I must admit I've been doing my own fair share of deleting lately, so
      forgive me if I restate parts of previous discussions. But, for Jim to make
      the point that the author of the Fourth Gospel was Jewish is a far cry from
      asserting that the author was the apostle John. Maybe he was Lazarus :) And
      maybe he got by with a lot of help from his Jewish and Greek friends in the
      process of writing.

      Kevin Quast

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Bill Skelton [mailto:wskelto@...]
      Sent: Thursday, September 16, 1999 7:44 PM
      To: johannine_literature@egroups.com
      Subject: [John_Lit] Re: John's Greek

      Ok Jim, lets get serious. Was the Apostle John in any real sense the author
      of John's Gospel?

      -Bill
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim West <jwest@...>
      To: johannine_literature@egroups.com <johannine_literature@egroups.com>
      Date: Thursday, September 16, 1999 9:20 PM
      Subject: [John_Lit] Re: John's Greek


      >At 08:50 PM 9/16/99 -0400, you wrote:
      >>Jim (I cannot quote you because I accidentally deleted your message!):
      >
      >I am frequently deleted and am quite used to it.
      >
      >>
      >>But you agree that the author of the Gospel of John was a Jew. That is
      >essentially what I am trying to establish. (As is no doubt obvious to you
      by
      >now, I am not a scholar myself.) My question for you then is do you come to
      >that conclusion on the basis of his language or his thought or something
      >else? And is that opinion shared by the majority of your colleagues?
      >
      >John is taken to be from a Jewish writer for a number of reasons-
      >first- and foremost to me- he makes extensive use of the Hebrew Bible. (My
      >ThM Thesis was on "Explicit Quotations of Isaiah in the Gospel of John"
      >(soon to be made into a movie I think with Tom Cruise playing the part of
      >me... ;-) ) A non Jew simply would not walk quite so naturally in that
      >literary world.
      >
      >second- his theology is strictly Jewish.
      >
      >third- his familiarity with the customs and practices of judaism and the
      >locations he describes are perfectly harmonious with the archeaological
      >evidence we have at hand. in other words we have a gospel from a person
      who
      >had evidently been in Jerusalem itself (discounting the now unacceptable
      >notion of various underlying sources).
      >
      >I would not presume to speak for anyone else however and there is no such
      >thing as a scholarly consensus any longer.
      >
      >Best,
      >
      >Jim
      >
      >+++++++++++++++++++++++++
      >Jim West, ThD
      >email- jwest@...
      >web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
      >
      >
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    • Jim West
      ... no. jim +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Jim West, ThD email- jwest@highland.net web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 16 7:37 PM
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        At 09:44 PM 9/16/99 -0400, you wrote:
        >Ok Jim, lets get serious. Was the Apostle John in any real sense the author
        >of John's Gospel?

        no.

        jim

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Jim West, ThD
        email- jwest@...
        web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
      • N & RJ Hanscamp
        Bill wrote ... Someone needs to ask the question: What do you mean by any real sense ? Please explain Nigel Nigel Hanscamp Trinity Methodist Theological
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 16 10:07 PM
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          Bill wrote

          >Ok Jim, lets get serious. Was the Apostle John in any real sense the author
          >of John's Gospel?


          Someone needs to ask the question: What do you mean by "any real sense"?
          Please explain

          Nigel

          Nigel Hanscamp
          Trinity Methodist Theological College
          Auckland Consortium of Theological Education, New Zealand
          Email: nar.hanscamp@...
        • Thatcher, Tom
          All,
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 17 4:59 AM
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            All,

            <<there are unusual constructions- sometimes called semitisms- but they
            really
            are nothing more than inelegant and unclassical greek. . . . "John" was a
            Jew- but he could write greek and he could obviously
            think in greek as well without having to play the gymnastics necessary for
            someone unfamiliar with the language and struggling to render it.>>

            Perhaps we might say "oral Greek" rather than "inelegant," which means "not
            like the literary authors." Further, let us beware of assuming that John
            could write Greek, or anything else. Many of the unusual features of
            Johannine style seem to result, in my view, from oral storytelling
            techniques.

            Respectfully,
            --tom


            "The Truth Will Set You Free"
            tom thatcher
            cbs&s
            (513) 244-8172
          • Thatcher, Tom
            Bill, Let me add to Jim s remarks that John s apparent excommunication from the synagogue and hostility toward Judaism in general have also been taken to be
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 17 5:01 AM
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              Bill,

              Let me add to Jim's remarks that John's apparent excommunication from the
              synagogue and hostility toward "Judaism" in general have also been taken to
              be strong evidence lately.

              Respectfully,
              --tom

              "The Truth Will Set You Free"
              tom thatcher
              cbs&s
              (513) 244-8172
            • Jim West
              At 07:59 AM 9/17/99 -0400, you wrote: and struggling to render it. ... A rose by any other name... No matter what we call it, John s Greek is inelegant
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 17 7:04 AM
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                At 07:59 AM 9/17/99 -0400, you wrote:
                and struggling to render it.>>
                >
                >Perhaps we might say "oral Greek" rather than "inelegant," which means "not
                >like the literary authors."

                "A rose by any other name..." No matter what we call it, John's Greek is
                inelegant compared to the classical writers.

                >Further, let us beware of assuming that John
                >could write Greek, or anything else.

                Huh? If someone didn't write it how did we get it????? Are you suggesting
                that the disciple "John" couldn't write? This is immaterial, because the
                Gospel was written anonymously. I merely use John as a title and not as a
                personal name.

                > Many of the unusual features of
                >Johannine style seem to result, in my view, from oral storytelling
                >techniques.

                What? So what??? At some point it was written down- in inelegant Greek.

                Best,

                Jim

                +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                Jim West, ThD
                email- jwest@...
                web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
              • Bill Skelton
                ... author ... Nigel: I ment that even if the Apostle had not actually sat down and wrote the Book as we have it, could he have given the material contained in
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 17 4:04 PM
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                  >
                  >>Ok Jim, lets get serious. Was the Apostle John in any real sense the
                  author
                  >>of John's Gospel?
                  >
                  >
                  >Someone needs to ask the question: What do you mean by "any real sense"?
                  >Please explain


                  Nigel:

                  I ment that even if the Apostle had not actually sat down and wrote the Book
                  as we have it, could he have given the material contained in the book to
                  others, perhaps in sermons etc., some of whom used them to compose our
                  Gospel?

                  -Bill Skelton
                  wskelto@...
                • Will Wagers
                  ... The Logos with which According to John begins is, of course, totally characteristic of and natively Greek theology. Will Wagers hyle@airmail.net
                  Message 8 of 18 , Sep 18 5:48 AM
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                    Jim West, ThD writes:

                    >John is taken to be from a Jewish writer for a number of reasons-
                    >...
                    >second- his theology is strictly Jewish.

                    The Logos with which According to John begins is, of course, totally
                    characteristic of and natively Greek theology.


                    Will Wagers hyle@... "Reality is the best metaphor."
                  • Carl W. Conrad
                    ... A plague on both your houses! Go read Moses Hadas classic _Hellenistic Culture: Fusion and Diffusion_. Philo uses a Logos theology--is he Greek or
                    Message 9 of 18 , Sep 18 6:20 AM
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                      At 7:48 AM -0500 9/18/99, Will Wagers wrote:
                      >Jim West, ThD writes:
                      >
                      >>John is taken to be from a Jewish writer for a number of reasons-
                      >>...
                      >>second- his theology is strictly Jewish.
                      >
                      >The Logos with which According to John begins is, of course, totally
                      >characteristic of and natively Greek theology.

                      A plague on both your houses! Go read Moses Hadas' classic _Hellenistic
                      Culture: Fusion and Diffusion_. Philo uses "a" Logos theology--is he Greek
                      or Jewish? He spoke and wrote Greek, and Philo scholars will debate the
                      issue whether his mind set was more Greek or more Jewish. For my part, I
                      just don't think that one can talk in exclusivistic terms in this era about
                      what is a Greek mind-set and what is a Jewish mind-set. Martin Hengel in
                      _Hellenentum u. Judentum_ shows how utterly Hellenized the reactionary
                      Essenes in the Dead Sea desert were.


                      Carl W. Conrad
                      Department of Classics/Washington University
                      One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
                      Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
                      cwconrad@...
                      WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/
                    • Jim West
                      ... It is indeed a part of Greek ideology (its a bit much to call Plato a theologian- but I suppose that with a loose enough definition anyone can fit that
                      Message 10 of 18 , Sep 18 7:16 AM
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                        At 07:48 AM 9/18/99 -0500, you wrote:

                        >The Logos with which According to John begins is, of course, totally
                        >characteristic of and natively Greek theology.

                        It is indeed a part of Greek ideology (its a bit much to call Plato a
                        theologian- but I suppose that with a loose enough definition anyone can fit
                        that category).

                        BUT- as the term is used by John, it reflects the Hebrew concept of Davar
                        (the word) rather than the Greek concept of the logos.

                        In other words, where you imply Greek influence I suggest Hebrew influence.

                        The word "logos" frequently translates the hebrew "davar" in the LXX.

                        Thus, the suggestion you make above that the logos is "totally" a remnant
                        of Greek "theology" (again, whatever that is supposed to be) is erroneous.

                        Best,

                        Jim
                        +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                        Jim West, ThD
                        email- jwest@...
                        web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                      • Jim West
                        ... How did you know???? ;-) ... Hengel has been shown to be wrong in this. The Judaisms (plural intentional) of first century Palestine and beyond were
                        Message 11 of 18 , Sep 18 7:19 AM
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                          At 08:20 AM 9/18/99 -0500, you wrote:

                          >A plague on both your houses!

                          How did you know???? ;-)

                          >Go read Moses Hadas' classic _Hellenistic
                          >Culture: Fusion and Diffusion_. Philo uses "a" Logos theology--is he Greek
                          >or Jewish? He spoke and wrote Greek, and Philo scholars will debate the
                          >issue whether his mind set was more Greek or more Jewish. For my part, I
                          >just don't think that one can talk in exclusivistic terms in this era about
                          >what is a Greek mind-set and what is a Jewish mind-set. Martin Hengel in
                          >_Hellenentum u. Judentum_ shows how utterly Hellenized the reactionary
                          >Essenes in the Dead Sea desert were.

                          Hengel has been shown to be wrong in this. The Judaisms (plural
                          intentional) of first century Palestine and beyond were certainly impacted
                          by hellenism- but influenced is a bit too much to claim. See the brilliant
                          "The Flourishing of Jewish Sects in the Maccabean Era" by A. Baumgartnen.
                          Hengel is out of date.


                          Best,

                          Jim

                          +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                          Jim West, ThD
                          email- jwest@...
                          web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                        • Carl W. Conrad
                          ... So far as I know, Plato invented the word theology --he speaks in Bk 2 of the Republic about TUPOI PERI THS QEOLOGIAS. He may not be a theologian in the
                          Message 12 of 18 , Sep 18 9:52 AM
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                            At 10:16 AM -0400 9/18/99, Jim West wrote:
                            >At 07:48 AM 9/18/99 -0500, you wrote:
                            >
                            >>The Logos with which According to John begins is, of course, totally
                            >>characteristic of and natively Greek theology.
                            >
                            >It is indeed a part of Greek ideology (its a bit much to call Plato a
                            >theologian- but I suppose that with a loose enough definition anyone can fit
                            >that category).

                            So far as I know, Plato invented the word "theology"--he speaks in Bk 2 of
                            the Republic about TUPOI PERI THS QEOLOGIAS. He may not be a theologian in
                            the sense in which the word's been used most commonly in the western
                            European tradition, but it's not unheard of to use that term of Greek
                            philosophy, and there is another classic work (I begin to get the sense
                            that when I refer to a "classic," that means it can be ignored!), Werner
                            Jaeger's Gifford Lectures, _Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers_.

                            Actually the LOGOS doctrine goes back before Plato to Heraclitus, and a
                            "Platonic" LOGOS doctrine as such doesn't come along until Philo "the Jew"
                            writes (in Greek).

                            >BUT- as the term is used by John, it reflects the Hebrew concept of Davar
                            >(the word) rather than the Greek concept of the logos.

                            I had thought the more common view was that, as used in John, the LOGOS
                            conception derives more from the Hokhma/Sophia tradition; I certainly
                            wouldn't want to rule out the Davar traditions as entering into it,
                            however. What I would want most to insist upon is that it is a syncretistic
                            complex of notions that ought not to be derived exclusively from any one
                            source alone.

                            >In other words, where you imply Greek influence I suggest Hebrew influence.
                            >
                            >The word "logos" frequently translates the hebrew "davar" in the LXX.
                            >
                            >Thus, the suggestion you make above that the logos is "totally" a remnant
                            >of Greek "theology" (again, whatever that is supposed to be) is erroneous.

                            Of course we've had this out before, Jim, in another forum, and we must
                            agree to disagree on some points (I'll grant that the extent to which the
                            Essenes were Hellenized may be questionable). I'd hope we agree that the
                            LOGOS conception is neither exclusively Greek nor exclusively Jewish in its
                            background. For my part, I think the Jewish background is pretty strong,
                            but I think nevertheless that the prologue of John's gospel is hardly
                            imaginable apart from the cross-fertilization of Greek and Jewish thinking.
                            I think the problem in the assertion above is in the word, "totally."


                            Carl W. Conrad
                            Department of Classics/Washington University
                            One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
                            Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
                            cwconrad@...
                            WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/
                          • Jim West
                            ... Absolutely. We are in 100% agreement on this point. ... Ok- totally. jim +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Jim West, ThD email- jwest@highland.net web page-
                            Message 13 of 18 , Sep 18 10:11 AM
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                              At 11:52 AM 9/18/99 -0500, you wrote:

                              >Of course we've had this out before, Jim, in another forum, and we must
                              >agree to disagree on some points (I'll grant that the extent to which the
                              >Essenes were Hellenized may be questionable). I'd hope we agree that the
                              >LOGOS conception is neither exclusively Greek nor exclusively Jewish in its
                              >background.

                              Absolutely. We are in 100% agreement on this point.

                              >For my part, I think the Jewish background is pretty strong,
                              >but I think nevertheless that the prologue of John's gospel is hardly
                              >imaginable apart from the cross-fertilization of Greek and Jewish thinking.
                              >I think the problem in the assertion above is in the word, "totally."

                              Ok- totally.


                              jim

                              +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                              Jim West, ThD
                              email- jwest@...
                              web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                            • Thatcher, Tom
                              Jim et. al., I apologize that my previous remarks on the possibly oral nature of FE s Greek were so cryptic. First, I have no desire to attach a specific name
                              Message 14 of 18 , Sep 20 6:57 AM
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                                Jim et. al.,

                                I apologize that my previous remarks on the possibly oral nature of FE's
                                Greek were so cryptic. First, I have no desire to attach a specific name to
                                FE. Let me clarify by commenting specifically on the following exchange:

                                ME:

                                <<Many of the unusual features of Johannine style seem to result, in my
                                view, from oral storytelling
                                >techniques.>>

                                JIM:

                                <<What? So what??? At some point it was written down- in inelegant
                                Greek.>>

                                "So what" would be this. My impression from the string was that the Greek
                                issue was somehow going to be brought into implications of FE's background
                                and worldview--whether that worldview and background were "Hebrew" or
                                "Greek."

                                Literacy rates in the Roman Empire in the period of late Second Temple
                                Judaim did not exceed 10%, and the number of people who could actually
                                "write" anything down would be lower than that. Consequently, to refer to
                                the classical authors as "elegant Greek" and then categoirze the other 90%
                                of the population (or, truly, the other 99.999% of the population, if you
                                want to use "the classical authors" as the baseline) seems to be a strained
                                comparision. I am not certain, in other words, how acknowledging that
                                John's Greek is "inelegant" (a very aesthetically biased term in the first
                                place) when compared to Plato et. al. really provides relevant data for a
                                discussion on authorship or FE's background, when at least 90% of the
                                population of that period would have used the language in a similar way.

                                I may, however, be missing your broader point.

                                Respectfully,
                                --tom thatcher

                                "The Truth Will Set You Free"
                                tom thatcher
                                cbs&s
                                (513) 244-8172
                              • Kevin O'Brien
                                I am a new member of the group (having just joined) and am very interested in contributing material to a topical current theme I have seen discussed in brief
                                Message 15 of 18 , Sep 26 4:44 AM
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                                  I am a new member of the group (having just joined) and am very interested in contributing material to a topical current theme I have
                                  seen discussed in brief by Tom Thatcher and others in the group. The theme is John's Greek and how it has been communicated in the form
                                  we have today in the Gospel. To be brief in this opening communique: John 4:6 and John 13:25 in the use of hOUTWS puicture a lecturer --
                                  the B.D. relaying to those listening -- among whom was his son, the Evangelist and his principal notetaker his experiences with the
                                  Lord! It is highly significant that in hOUTWS we have a demonstrative adverb, to be translated as "like this", cewrtainly not the
                                  unintelligible translation, "just as he was". Here are two scenes in the same Gospel where first Jesus rested on the well of Jacob and
                                  secondly where the B.D. leaned back in a resting position on the Lord's breast. It is my contention that the B.D. demonstrated these two
                                  positions of rest in his own dining room at the Judaean Bethany and in the case of John 13:25 on the triclinium there where he showed
                                  how he did it!. I say the Evangelist was his son with many arguments in my published works -- one very important aspect of these claims
                                  solves the problem of the unified literary stylistics throughout the Gospel. The son in his formative years put into wrirting what his
                                  father the B.D. gave orally. Perhaps members of this group in their formative years under the parental roof absorbed the same idioms of
                                  speech, the same vocabulary and forms of vocal and literary expression as your parents. It certainly happened in my own case. Any takers
                                  on all this?

                                  Cheers
                                  Kevin O'Brien (Australia)




                                  .
                                  Thatcher, Tom wrote:

                                  > Jim et. al.,
                                  >
                                  > I apologize that my previous remarks on the possibly oral nature of FE's
                                  > Greek were so cryptic. First, I have no desire to attach a specific name to
                                  > FE. Let me clarify by commenting specifically on the following exchange:
                                  >
                                  > ME:
                                  >
                                  > <<Many of the unusual features of Johannine style seem to result, in my
                                  > view, from oral storytelling
                                  > >techniques.>>
                                  >
                                  > JIM:
                                  >
                                  > <<What? So what??? At some point it was written down- in inelegant
                                  > Greek.>>
                                  >
                                  > "So what" would be this. My impression from the string was that the Greek
                                  > issue was somehow going to be brought into implications of FE's background
                                  > and worldview--whether that worldview and background were "Hebrew" or
                                  > "Greek."
                                  >
                                  > Literacy rates in the Roman Empire in the period of late Second Temple
                                  > Judaim did not exceed 10%, and the number of people who could actually
                                  > "write" anything down would be lower than that. Consequently, to refer to
                                  > the classical authors as "elegant Greek" and then categoirze the other 90%
                                  > of the population (or, truly, the other 99.999% of the population, if you
                                  > want to use "the classical authors" as the baseline) seems to be a strained
                                  > comparision. I am not certain, in other words, how acknowledging that
                                  > John's Greek is "inelegant" (a very aesthetically biased term in the first
                                  > place) when compared to Plato et. al. really provides relevant data for a
                                  > discussion on authorship or FE's background, when at least 90% of the
                                  > population of that period would have used the language in a similar way.
                                  >
                                  > I may, however, be missing your broader point.
                                  >
                                  > Respectfully,
                                  > --tom thatcher
                                  >
                                  > "The Truth Will Set You Free"
                                  > tom thatcher
                                  > cbs&s
                                  > (513) 244-8172
                                  >
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