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Re: [John_Lit] John 19:25-27

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  • Thomas W Butler
    Dear Mary and Frank, At last a few hours appear on the horizon in which I can respond to your excellent posts written way back on 11 / 15 and 12 / 18 of last
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2002
      Dear Mary and Frank,
      At last a few hours appear on the horizon in which I can respond
      to your excellent posts written way back on 11 / 15 and 12 / 18 of
      last year!

      On Tue, 18 Dec 2001 16:06:09 +1100 M.Coloe@... writes:
      > Now it appears that you are focusing, instead of upon 19: 27b, on
      > 19: 27a, when Jesus says to the BD, "Here is your mother." In this
      > case, the BD would be taken into the household of the mother of
      > Jesus, wouldn't it? Jesus has officiated at the adoption of the BD
      > by his (Jesus') own mother.

      Mary, the NRSV text explicitly says, "And from that hour the disciple
      took her INTO HIS OWN HOME." Actually, what it says in Greek
      is that the disciple took her to his own. This same expression is used
      elsewhere in the Fourth Gospel to describe those whom Jesus
      recognized as his, that is the sheep of his (the Good Shepherd's) flock.
      The use of this phrase clearly indicates that the adoption, if we are to
      use that term, is OF Mary, not BY Mary.

      As you know, I contend in my book, Let Her Keep It, that Mary
      of Bethany fulfills the role of Moses in Jn. 11: 55 - 12: 8, by con-
      secrating the new altar of the new temple, (the temple being the
      body of Jesus and the altar being his feet) when she anoints the
      feet of Jesus.

      Frank McCoy, you have done an excellent job (in your post
      published on this list on 11-15-01, which I have pasted to
      this message below) using the references to Zechariah 6: 12-13
      that Mary used in her book God Dwells With Us to explain the
      meaning of the sign affixed to the cross by Pilate (Jn. 19: 19-22).
      You suggested that the BD was to function as the High Priest
      Messiah interpreted in the manner of the Essenes.

      I followed your rationale all the way to the point where you
      proposed that this High Priest was James. I would submit,
      on the contrary, that the BD was Mary of Bethany, and that
      she does, indeed, function as the High Priest, or in 1st Century
      Christian terms, the Bishop (Opiskopos) of the Johannine
      community. (I have shown that the language of Jn. 12: 7 is
      actually ordination language, in which Jesus sets Mary apart
      for the sake of remembering the tradition of his death.)

      All of this leads me to the conclusion that Jn. 19: 27b tells the
      reader that Mary was taken into the Johannine community
      from the time of the crucifixion forward. There is little doubt
      in my mind that this is a claim by the author(s) of the text that
      the Johannine community is the legitimate church, the community
      that Jesus entrusted with the care of his own mother.

      The suggestion that both of you have made that Mary represents
      the church supports this interpretation, since Jesus has clearly
      entrusted the care of Mary to the BD, who from that time on
      takes her to his (actually HER) own. The BD, in other words,
      inherits the Good Shepherd's own flock. That she (Mary of
      Bethany, the BD) has an important role to play is affirmed in
      Jn. 12: 8 where Jesus advises Judas (and the other disciples)
      that they will not always have him (Jesus)(with them). (So
      they will need someone else who remembers all that Jesus has
      taught and done to lead them.)
      > Is this statement one of adoption or a revelation (in fact it can
      > be both). I focus more on the revelatory nature of this scene -
      > Jesus reveals a new relationship between his mother and the
      > BD and so necessarily a new relationship between BD and
      > himself and between BD and the Father of Jesus. The woman,
      > the mother has a highly symbolic function that goes beyond her
      > personal individuality (hence never named) but she stands in the
      > narrative as the parent of Jesus making such a scene possible in
      > the text. But there is another 'parent' figure present throughout
      > the text who cannot be physically represented i.e. 'the Father'
      > so when the BD is drawn into Jesus' own parental relationship
      > the BD becomes not just son of 'the mother of Jesus' but son
      > of 'the Father'.
      > > Yet you are concluding that this constitutes the adoption of the
      > > BD by Jesus into the divine family of Jesus - the filiation with the
      > > Father. Do you mean that the BD now enjoys the same relation-
      > > ship with the Father as Jesus does? Is the BD now also the Son
      > > of God?
      > Yes - this is what I believe to be the profound teaching of the 4th
      > Gospel - that believers become children of God, reborn into God's
      > household.
      > > How do you conclude that "hence disciples are drawn into the
      > > House-hold of God"? Are you saying that the BD represents
      > > all disciples? (I wonder here if you are drawing any support
      > > from the epistles of John.)
      > The BD is a representative figure, standing for all disciples.
      > > Or are you suggesting that the BD has some sort of leadership
      > > authority over other disciples, so that wherever the BD goes,
      > > the other disciples follow? For example, are you suggesting
      > > that the BD is now authorized by Jesus to take the place of
      > > Jesus in relation to other disciples?
      > No I'm not considering the BD in such a leadership role - nor
      > as the one to take the place of Jesus - that's the role of the
      > In this context I discuss the title Nazarene that Pilate places
      > on the cross. I link this title, only used in the hour, with the
      > NZR branch from Isaiah and the synonym found in Zechariah
      > 6:12 ZMH branch. In Zechariah the oracle names the ZMH
      > as the Branch who will build the temple - the only place where
      > the temple builder is named. I show in my book that the DSS
      > are already using NRZ and ZMH interchangeably in the
      > commentary on Isaiah 11.
      > > Mary, as I read your book I found myself at once excited by
      > > the observations and conclusions you were making and
      > > frustrated by the fact that you were apparently summarizing a
      > > considerable amount of scholarship, but providing the reader
      > > (in this case, me) with very few footnotes to identify whose
      > > ideas you were summarizing.
      > Tom there is no other scholarship on this to my knowledge.
      > It's a connection i am making because the Zechariah text is
      > the only passage in the OT to actually name the builder of
      > the new Temple. The similarity in meaning between ZMH
      > and NRZ led me to hypothesise a link being made by the
      > evangelist to capitalise on the Nazareth traditions found in the
      > synoptics but to use this in a radically different way so that
      > in the FG the place Nazareth does not feature as Jesus' place
      > of origins. Instead the word Nazarene is used only in the
      > Passion as a title, and even called a title. Given the Temple
      > emphasis I found running through the Gospel text I drew
      > the conclusion that the title NZR used on the cross is an allusion
      > to the Temple builder of Zechariah by association with the
      > Branch of Jesse in Isaiah. This was a hypothetical link that
      > I believed was operating. Later, I found a textual link in the
      > DSS proving that the NZR and ZMH terms were being used
      > interchangeably in the first century. Which offers strong
      > support to my hypothesis.
      > There has not been other work on this I can refer you to.
      > This must now be someone else's doctoral thesis to explore
      > this even further.
      > > Moreover, I found myself wanting to see more clearly how
      > > you have tied these two extraordinary ideas together. Here,
      > > for example, the question arises: Why does the adoption of
      > > the BD into Mary's family (or the adoption of Mary into the
      > > BD's family, or the adoption of the BD into the family of
      > > Jesus - and therefore into the household of God) require an
      > > understanding of the nature of the NZR sign?
      > The NZR sign identifies Jesus as the one who will build the
      > Temple. In John 2 this Temple is called my Father's House.
      > Within my book I show that the usual meaning of the term
      > 'my father's house' in the OT is never a reference to a building
      > but to people, it is the Father's household. In John 2 the
      > evangelist is already symbolising the term House by using it of
      > Temple which is then applied to the body of Jesus. Gradually
      > I argue that the text expands this to the sense of Temple as
      > household of believers. So there is a progression -
      > Temple/house of God/ building -> Temple/dwelling
      > place of God/Jesus -> Temple/household of god/believers.
      > Tom some of the other questions and issues you raise go
      > far beyond the parameters of my own enquiry and as you
      > note could be another book. It does make me think that
      > this community saw themselves as the new Temple or
      > household of God - that this is the underlying spirituality of the
      > community that is expressed in the theology of the text. Such a
      > self-perception can be so taken for granted that it does not
      > need to be stated explicitly - all we get are brief glimpses and
      > hints of it. Ultimately I think it is important to ask - does this
      > insight into the Temple allow the Gospel to be read coherently
      > - does it run through the text - is it consistent, does it make
      > sense of the narrative. I find myself answering 'yes' but it will
      > be others like yourself who will need to anser this.
      > Thanks Tom, I appreciate the comments and the questions you
      > raise. I have just read the first review of this book by Brendan
      > Byrne in the latest Austrlian biblical Review - you might like to
      > check out his comments.
      > Mary Coloe
      > Australian Catholic University
      > Locked Bag 4115 Fitzroy.
      > Vic. 3065 Australia.
      > Phone: 61+3 + 9953 3137
      > Fax: 61+3+ 9953 3245

      > This idea (the NZR sign) alone is a topic for a whole book, or at
      > least a chapter in your book, IMO. How does your theory fit in
      > the context of other theories about this sign? Why should it be
      > considered as a better theory than the others? Does it mean that
      > the followers of Jesus are also seen as Nazarenes? Does the
      > adoption scene at the cross mean that the BD is now the leader
      > of the "other Nazarenes?" How does this passage relate, if at all,
      > to Jn. 18: 17-18, 25-27? Is there a reason that women play such
      > important roles in these passages? Is "household" to be understood
      > as "house church?" Is the new temple being built by the Nazarenes
      > who comprise the family of those who convene "in the house" or
      > "in the house (or household) of Mary?" Are they "NAZARIOS ?"
      > > The title Nazarene is title and function of Jesus as he builds a
      > > new Temple/House of God in the Hour - thus fulfilling the words
      > > spoken in Jn 2:21 about the destruction and raising of the
      > > Temple.
      > Again, I found myself wanting to know more about what you
      > have found as the meaning of "the hour." Have you reflected,
      > for example, upon the fact that the word "hour" (WRA) occurs
      > 24 times in the FG? What meaning does the obvious importance
      > of this word in the FG suggest for the way in which time is being
      > considered in this narrative world? How does that perspective
      > of time relate to the importance and duration of the House of God?
      > Your work (book) appears to me to be a sample platter, hinting
      > that an extraordinary feast is available. I would like to partake
      > of each course in that feast slowly, so that it can be fully digested
      > before moving along to the next course. I hope you will invite me
      > to your table.
      > Yours in Christ's service,
      > Tom Butler

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