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Re: [John_Lit] Lazarus

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  • Thomas W Butler
    James Frank McGrath, It is important to note that in parable in Luke s gospel, one of the characters is named. The name is a significant part of the parable.
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 15, 2002
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      James Frank McGrath,
      It is important to note that in parable in Luke's gospel, one of
      the characters is named. The name is a significant part of the
      parable. It is useful to understand how the Galileans would
      have pronounced the name of Eliezar, but the important point
      is that the name was used.
      I submit that when one starts with the parable in Luke's gospel
      the critical nature of the parable is revealed when one recognizes
      that the name Lazarus (Eliezar) is frequently followed in the
      Hebrew texts by the title "the priest." Lazarus represents a
      priest who has been left outside of the gate of the house in
      which a rich man feasts sumptuously every day. Such a house
      is the house of the High Priest, who alone feasts sumptuously
      EVERY DAY. The parable condemns the High Priest for
      expelling priests who had a right to share in the leftovers from
      the High Priest's table. Jesus is identifying with those priests.
      My theory is that the Fourth Gospel is a midrash-like
      commentary on the Jesus tradition, using language from the
      Pentateuch. Following that theory, the story of the raising
      of Lazarus tells how Jesus called priests away from that same
      house where Mary and Martha mourned their spiritual death.
      He called them out of the tomb which the temple, ruled by the
      High Priest, had become.

      Yours in Christ's service,
      Tom Butler

      On Mon, 15 Apr 2002 10:02:18 -0400 jamesfrankmcgrath@... writes:
      > Just to add a point of clarification, the use of 'Lazar' rather than
      > 'Eleazar' was a regional pronunciation, and had nothing to do with
      > 'nicknames' or with the closeness of the individual.
      > There are two explanations for the use of 'Lazarus' rather than
      > 'Eleazar'. If both references to him either come from Jesus or his
      > early
      > Galilean followers, then the most logical explanation is that this
      > was
      > the only way they could pronounce his name. The Johannine Jesus,
      > even if
      > accused of striding an inch above the ground in semi-docetic
      > fashion, was
      > still presumably no more likely to pronounce his vowels than other
      > Galileans (this was what gave Peter away in the trial narrative).
      > The
      > rabbis made fun of Galileans for precisely this point (see
      > b.Erub.53b).
      > The other explanation is that both are references to individuals who
      > are
      > supposedly Galileans. The poor man 'Lazarus' is clearly not the
      > person
      > who has a home and many mourners when he dies in John's Gospel: he
      > is a
      > made-up character in a parable. If the proper name alludes to an
      > actual
      > individual, it is not the same individual as in John's Gospel. At
      > any
      > rate, the rabbinic writings call Jesus 'Yeshu', which is appropriate
      > to
      > their recollection that he was a Galilean. The Lazarus living in
      > Bethany
      > either was a Galilean himself, or the stories about him were told
      > (and/or
      > invented) by Galileans, and thus his name was pronounced 'Lazar'
      > rather
      > than 'Eleazar'.
      > To make another comparison with British and American English, if
      > one
      > finds two mentions in a speech by a British speaker to individuals
      > named
      > 'Ralph' pronounced 'Rayff', one of whom lives in America, the
      > chances are
      > either (1) the individual was British but moved to America, or (2)
      > the
      > individual pronounced his name in the more common American way,
      > 'Ralf',
      > and the British author pronounced it in a British way because that
      > was
      > the way he was used to saying it.
      > Hope this helps clarify this point!
      > Best wishes,
      > James McGrath
      > > Because Jesus used the shortened name of 'Lazarus' in the Parable
      > of
      > Dives and Lazarus instead of the proper name, 'Eliezer' ('Eliazar'),
      > and
      > since he used the same shortened name of him who was restored to
      > life in
      > John 11, that latter person was obviously fresh in Jesus' mind as
      > personally known from the prior miracle at 'Bethany' when he
      > delivered
      > the Parable. Of course, Jesus may have used the same shortened name
      > for
      > every person he knew named Eliezer, but etiquette in any culture
      > requires
      > that shortened first names are normally reserved for occasions when
      > the
      > 'namer' personally knows the person so named. Jesus thus used that
      > marvel
      > at 'Bethany' as an effective didactic model in the later Parable to
      > press
      > home his point.
      > There were some peculiarities in the pronounciation of Aramaic in
      > the
      > Galilee which included not only the lifting of pharyngeal fricatives
      > but
      > much like Cockney English in the dropping of H's, the dropping of
      > the
      > glottal stops. Where Jesus formal name Y'shua (yeSHUa) so pronounced
      > in
      > Judea would have been Yeshu in the Galilee, so also the name
      > Eliazar
      > would have dropped the initial alef and would have been `Lazar on
      > the
      > lips of Jesus. The addition of the Greek masculine ending as Lazaros
      > to
      > this Galilean usage appears to confer some linguistic, if not
      > historical,
      > authenticity.
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