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Re: Jn 2:1-11 in PD and other texts

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  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    ... Frides, My answer would be that my views on this are quite conventional. Or at least they are conventional in the academic NT field. So I m just taking a
    Message 1 of 25 , Jun 8 12:53 PM
      On Sat, 1 Jun 2002, frideslameris wrote:

      > Hi Yuri (and others interested),
      > In your mail Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 8:27 PM
      > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Jn 2:1-11 in PD and other texts
      > you wrote in answer to my statement that it is very hard for me to
      > separate literary analysis and taking into consideration the
      > historical aspect of the Cana-pericope:
      > > Indeed, it may not be so easy to separate these two items. And yet,
      > > nevertheless, this can also be a very good exercise in trying to view
      > > these things objectively.
      > > ..
      > > I think it should go without saying that the earliest text of this
      > > pericope, if we can reconstruct it objectively, will give a much more
      > > accurate portrayal of the ideas and beliefs of the early movement, as
      > > compared to a later text. And so, this will afford new insights into the
      > > ideas of the Historical Jesus, himself, since we can assume that the early
      > > movement stood a lot closer to Jesus than the later movement.
      > Although what you say is an interesting opinion, for me your answer is
      > too abstract. Please indicate if you think the story is based on some
      > historical fact(s) or is just a product of (early or later) christian
      > imagination. This makes a big difference in the discussion!


      My answer would be that my views on this are quite conventional. Or at
      least they are conventional in the academic NT field. So I'm just taking a
      middle-of-the-road position on this. In other words, some of this
      narrative may well be based on some historical fact(s), and some other
      parts may have come from Christian imagination.

      > For me the text as it is (in its canonical form) is the earliest one

      This is what I'm arguing against...

      > and fully based on historic realities

      And this, I suppose, is what most NT scholars would be arguing against.

      > (of course I have to admit that the logical (Cartesian?) mind may
      > encounters some interpretational difficulties in this pericope.
      > The great mistake of many up till this day is I think, they want to
      > separate the historical Jesus from the spiritual Jesus,

      Who would this be?

      > something I consider as the greatest blunder ever made in theology.

      It may well be a blunder, but I'm not quite sure who are these people
      making this blunder, in your view...

      > Theologians would allow the mystical tradition of Christianity to say
      > (e.g. Meister Eckhart) that people (one) can become one with God to
      > the extent of being (a part) of God, and they would deny this 'favour'
      > to the founder of christianity who would have to be stripped of his
      > Divinity ??!

      At this time, I have little interest in such metaphysical questions. I've
      studied all these things before, but at this time I'm primarily interested
      in the historical questions.

      > Old age Theology is too much done in study rooms!

      But isn't what you're saying in fact quite similar to such an old age

      > In India there is a saying: Go and learn from the wise'', they 'll
      > teach you about Godrealization. There are thousands of spiritual
      > teachers throughout the ages who have taught and still teach (from
      > there own realized spiritual state) that God is within the deepest
      > core of everybody and that he can be realized!
      > To keep all this on a more intellectual discussion level, please
      > consult e.g. F. Dreyfuss: Jésus, savait-il quíl était Dieu? Cerf,
      > Paris, 1994). I concur here with him that Jesus knew he was divine and
      > would have assented fully to the Fourth Gospel's portrayal of him as
      > such.
      > I quote Dreyfuss here as I did at the end of the introduction to my
      > graduate thesis, (knowing that at least for you the french is no
      > problem):
      > 'Supposons que, par miracle, Jésus de Nazareth ait eu entre les mains,
      > au cours de sa vie terrestre, notre évangile selon saint Jean. Comment
      > aurait-il réagi devant les paroles que lui attribue l'évangéliste:
      > "Avant qu' Abraham fût, je suis" ou "Père, glorifie-moi de la gloire
      > que j'avais auprès de toi avant la création du monde"? Aurait-il crié
      > au blasphème et approuvé ceux qui, selon saint Jean, voulaient le
      > lapider?

      This seems like a loaded question, for sure... :) "Would have Jesus
      approved of the people who wanted to stone him?"

      I think a more neutral way to pose this question might be, "Would have
      Jesus approved of the people who wanted to stone someone who would have
      said such things as were ascribed to him in Jn (i.e. that he was before
      Abraham, etc.)?"

      And the answer to this is not really all that clear, at least IMHO.

      > Ou bien aurait-il dit: "Oui, c'est bien moi. Cet évangile a bien parlé
      > de moi"? Cette dernière réponse est la bonne. Cela, la tradition
      > unanime de toutes les Eglises l'a affirmé pendant dix-huit siècles. Et
      > l'exégèse scientifique moderne a d'excellents arguments à présenter en
      > sa faveur.'

      Again, this seems like the "old age Theology" to me... Of course, Dreyfuss
      also claims that "l'exegese scientifique moderne" now supports this
      traditional view, but this might be debatable.

      > The above will make my own stand more clear and explicit.

      Perhaps so, but there's still the question of whether you really reject
      that "old age Theology", or in fact approve of it...

      > The Jesus of the NT texts and especially of the (canonical) John text
      > is completely OK to me!

      Good for you! But there still remains that old pesky question as to
      exactly how much history there is in these accounts.

      > > For example, since the Diatessarons preserve the text of this pericope
      > > that is much less mythologised (e.g. a more realistic size of the jugs),
      > > and if this is indeed the earlier text, this would indicate that the early
      > > movement was more down-to-earth, and more interested in the realistic
      > > portrayal of its founder as a man born-to-this-world, rather than some
      > > cosmic and other-worldly character from outer space.
      > As I am not clinging to the (Cartesian/Spinozean) 'oligopistic model',
      > the size of the jugs in the canonical text is fine for me. If one drop
      > of water can be made into wine, the amount does not matter anymore. In
      > Indian tradition a story might be that someone changed an ocean of
      > water into an ocean of wine. Still on the basis of the same principle!
      > Somebody on the list once remarked that if in the Cana-story the water
      > would have changed into wine, for sure it would have become water
      > again the next day!
      > I say to this: Western mind is very much afraid of miracles,
      > especially allowing the principle(s) behind the phenomenon/a. It
      > challenges very much the conception that the intellect is the
      > 'dictator' of reality.

      So, you're not afraid of miracles, I take it. Have you tried performing
      some yourself, by any chance? If so, what were the results?

      > > > In another mail I intend to deal more in detail with the exegesis of
      > > > 'gunai'and 'architriklinos'.
      > In my absence Jeffrey Gibson has been of help to you (and to me!) with
      > some more information on arch-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-triklinos, so
      > I leave that subject for the time being.

      I hope, for a long time to come! I suppose a spelling flame can be OK from
      time to time, but I do begin to worry when it begins to acquire what may
      be described as epic proportions. :)

      > On 'gunai' in the Cana-pericope. If you keep liking the 'harsh'
      > interpretation, please see John 19:26: "Woman, behold thy son".

      Actually, the Magdalene Gospel does have this bit (MG 99:12). I'm not
      quite sure what to make of this, and why the text is so different in MG
      10:4. Of course, the circumstances in which Jesus says this in Jn 19:26/MG
      99:12 are very different, compared to "the Cana episode", so this might be
      a part of the explanation.

      Best wishes,


      Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku -=O=- Toronto

      I doubt, therefore I might be.
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