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RE: [John_Lit] water to wine

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Only as far as the author intended! :-) Bob Schacht
    Message 1 of 28 , Jun 29, 2002
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      At 08:19 PM 6/29/2002 -0700, Bob MacDonald wrote:
      >Thanks to all for the very interesting replies in this thread.
      >
      >"Draw some out, and take it to the chief steward."
      >
      >I think we have drawn some out and I think I have tasted here some very good
      >wine. Frank has pointed out before some of the literary affinity that Philo
      >has with John. The depth of the flavour of the Tanach (Psalm 42, Song, and
      >Moses)
      >
      >This being a literature dialogue - I have a trouble with scholarship and the
      >use of imagery. There seems to be a severe tension here. Without some care,
      >we might extend an image too far. With too much care, we might miss the
      >point entirely.
      >
      >How does one know how far to stretch a metaphor?

      Only as far as the author intended! :-)
      Bob Schacht
    • efholer
      James and others, I m partially through Jeff s dissertation, very stimulating. Perhaps now would be the time to see how many on the list are in the Seattle
      Message 2 of 28 , Jun 29, 2002
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        James and others,

        I'm partially through Jeff's dissertation, very stimulating. Perhaps now
        would be the time to see how many on the list are in the Seattle area and
        would be interested in meeting for coffee (or whatever your cup of tea might
        be) and conversation. Anyone who is interested please email me with
        suggestions for a time and place.

        And yes, I am familiar with Culpepper's work. P. Duke and M. Stibbe have
        also been helpful to me for the literary approach.

        > As far as John 2:1-11, from a literary perspective, have you considered
        > what the miracle "does?" Why is this miracle here? What purpose does
        > it serve? No one is healed. The only people who benefit from this
        > miracle do so unwittingly. From all appearances, no "sign" is done to
        > point to Jesus as God in the flesh, or to show His power in some
        > extraordinary way.

        Your point on the ignorant beneficiaries is something I have been thinking
        about. All of the sign-miracles benefit someone, whether a healing or a
        feeding, etc., but at the wedding in Cana the met need seems somewhat
        superficial in comparison. In considering the honor/shame aspect of the
        culture, however, perhaps the sign is just as compassionate as healing and
        feeding. I'm curious how this aspect, that of always meeting a need, works
        for the author to develop Jesus, the God-man - perhaps to show additional
        motive characterization beyond his coming to do the Father's will.

        Also, taking the healing of the blind man as an example - Jesus meets his
        need both physically and spiritually, the healing directly corresponding to
        the need(s) of the man. However, I'm missing the same connection in 2:1-11.
        The need is more wine, and the sign itself seems to point to
        replacement/transformation of purification rites. I'm curious about the
        correspondence between the physical obvious need and the deeper spiritual
        need...

        Are any of you familiar with Koester's work, 'Symbolism in the Fourth
        Gospel'? I think he has a great introduction on the role of the signs in the
        FG, but I was dissapointed in the commentary on the wedding pericope. I'll
        review my notes on the book and see if there something beneficial for our
        discussion.

        Your other comments were helpful. I'm curious about the connection/inclusio
        formed by the use of 'mother of Jesus' and 'wine' in both the wedding
        pericope and the crucifixion scene. Has anyone looked thoroughly at that?

        Cut and pasted from Jeff Staley:

        What I am saying, is that in my reading, this is perhaps the most
        rhetorically open
        miracle in the FG--perhaps in all of the NT--perhaps in the ancient world.
        It is purposefully difficult to pin down.

        Eric responds:

        No good author gives the prize away so soon =) The difficulty for me is
        having read the gospel so many times that I lose the feeling of suspense
        during a first reading. I agree, the diffululty of this scene is purposeful,
        incites/invites the reader to reread and move forward - indeed, I don't know
        anyone who is not driven to reread the whole once he or she has come to the
        end.

        Lastly, I was intrigued by Frank's use of Philo for understanding aspects of
        the FG. Given the contemporaneity of the two authors and obvious parallels
        between their work (some stronger than others), how does one make the jump
        from observing similarity in the texts to comparison for the sake of better
        understanding them both? This is more a question concerning hermeneutics
        than one concerning the FG, but I'd be grateful for any thoughts on this
        issue. Also, I'm not familiar with Philo's works - if there's anyone on the
        list who disagrees with Frank's use of Philo, I'd like to hear from them.

        To all - thanks for the great thoughts - I didn't expect my introduction to
        start a dialogue - so if my posts are infrequent, it's just that I'm more
        comfortable listening than 'speaking' - I'm still a child in the world of
        Johannine scholarship.

        Eric Fholer
        Northwest Theological Seminary
        Lynnwood Wa
      • Jack C Pilato
        Just a thought and perhaps in left field. But here goes. Christ came to fulfill the law to perfection. When his mother asked him to do something to help, he
        Message 3 of 28 , Jun 30, 2002
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          Just a thought and perhaps in left field. But here goes.

          Christ came to fulfill the law to perfection. When his mother asked him
          to do something to help, he did what was required by the law to honor
          his mother. The further meaning then is that God hears all our requests
          no matter how mundane or trivial in the eyes of others. If the request
          is important to us it is important to Him and He will honor them if they
          are within his permissive will.

          Jack
        • Bob MacDonald
          It seems to me that the rhetorical analysis is a synonym for metaphor stretching - and Bob Schacht has pointed to the author as authority for the limits on
          Message 4 of 28 , Jun 30, 2002
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            It seems to me that the rhetorical analysis is a synonym for metaphor
            stretching - and Bob Schacht has pointed to the author as authority for the
            limits on stretching. (Lots of scope for stretching with John).

            Yesterday I was at a wedding and a little boy stretched his balloon too far
            with predictable results - a loud bang and tears of shock. But if he had
            not stretched it at all, authority of the material aside, he would not have
            learned as much about balloons.

            This is the second wedding in two days, the earlier one very traditional
            Cranmer prayer book service (with reference to Cana of course and Ephesians
            5 and so on), the second otherwise. The second conflicted with a funeral -
            my wife and I attended both, singing at one and eating at the other. How far
            can I stretch the wedding metaphor in John? What was really going on in
            Cana? Did the 16th century interpretation of the lawfulness of marriage have
            anything to do with it? Or was that a 16th century binding only. Each of
            these words requires a book.

            The issue of metaphor and usage is very dear to me and my understanding of
            the Bible. Many have stretched the metaphors in ways that clearly need
            correction; yet many have not stretched sufficiently and end up with an
            impoverished tradition. We are bound (religio) by the stretching we
            achieve. And as Jesus says - what we bind here is bound in heaven; what we
            loose here is loosed in heaven.

            Now to answer the rhetorical questions as Tom Butler did but with variation.

            1) Exactly when does the miracle occur?

            When we begin to hear the story not just as consecrating a wedding but as
            foreshadowing Jesus' death. It is good that the process of marrying and
            being given in marriage can continue (though some would forbid it) - but the
            real marriage is otherwise - all whom the Father gives me shall come to me.
            (6:37) This is our 'bridegroom of blood' (Exodus 4).

            2) When do we as readers know that a miracle has occurred?

            When the disciples believe. - These are the same disciples as the synoptic
            gospels! They have hard hearts and get it all wrong. So it is with us.
            John is not writing about those same quarrelsome disciples.

            3) Who, among the characters in the story, know/s that a miracle has
            occurred?

            The Father (the steward) and the Son (the bridegroom) know when we (the
            bride) are ready. The bride (Mary, us, the reader) know also. But the mass
            of the tradition does not.

            4) At what point do we as readers suspect that something more than
            purification is at issue here?

            When we are born. The morality of our traditions is not adequate to the
            variety of our conditions.

            5) What is the significance of these?

            The potential for life is here in abundance. The work of obedience to Jesus'
            commands still needs to be done. The wine of God's wrath needs to be drunk.
            The wine is the blood of the Eucharist by which our death is included in his
            death, so that his life might be known in our life.

            I think all these points could be supported by John's gospel - but whether
            the balloon will break - ... maybe I have only just begun to blow it up -
            tough material at first - hurts the cheeks.

            abundant blessings of stretched metaphor to you all

            Bob

            mailto::BobMacDonald@...
            + + + Victoria, B.C., Canada + + +

            Catch the foxes for us,
            the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards,
            for our vineyards are in flower. (Song 2.15)
            http://bobmacdonald.gx.ca
          • Elizabeth Danna
            The recent discussion of water in the wedding narrative has sparked some thoughts which I would like to share, if somewhat belatedly. Briefly, what is the
            Message 5 of 28 , Aug 18 11:05 AM
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              The recent discussion of water in the wedding narrative has sparked
              some thoughts which I would like to share, if somewhat belatedly.

              Briefly, what is the connection between 2:1-11 and 7:37c-39? For
              reasons which will become clear I had better offer a translation of the
              latter passage: "If anyone is thirsty let them come to me, and let the
              one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture says, 'Out of his
              insides will flow rivers of living water.' He said this about the
              Spirit, which those who believed in him would receive; for the Spirit
              had not yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."

              There are several links between these two passages. The most
              obvious is the water symbolism in each. In both passages Jesus is the
              source of drink. At 2:7 the servants, at Jesus' instruction, fill the
              water jars to the brim, which suggests abundance. And there is
              something about the idea of "rivers of water flowing out" which also
              suggests an abundance of what is supplied. Both passages also mention
              believers in Jesus, and Jesus' glory (having read 2:21f, the implied
              reader is able to guess that the glorification of Jesus mentioned at
              7:39 refers to his death). I suggest that AUTOU at 7:38 refers to
              Jesus, not the believer. Do these connections suggest that my
              interpretation of 7:38 is correct?

              Elizabeth Danna
            • kymhsm
              Dear Elizabeth, It appears to me that in Jn 7:38 the subject, from whose heart/belly will flow rivers of living water, is the He who believes in me , not
              Message 6 of 28 , Aug 18 6:00 PM
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                Dear Elizabeth,

                It appears to me that in Jn 7:38 the subject, from whose
                heart/belly will flow rivers of living water, is the 'He who believes
                in me', not Jesus. If you throw into the equation 4:14, '...the water
                I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up
                to eternal life' I think the meaning is clear.

                This is not to deny that Jesus, with the Father, is the ultimate
                source of the living water/Spirit.

                Kym Smith
                Adelide
                South Australia
                khs@...
              • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                ... whose heart/belly will flow rivers of living water, is the He who believes in me , not Jesus. If you throw into the equation 4:14, ...the water I shall
                Message 7 of 28 , Aug 18 7:43 PM
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                  Kym Smith responded to Elizabeth:

                  >>It appears to me that in Jn 7:38 the subject, from
                  whose heart/belly will flow rivers of living water, is
                  the 'He who believes in me', not Jesus. If you throw
                  into the equation 4:14, '...the water I shall give him
                  will become in him a spring of water welling up to
                  eternal life' I think the meaning is clear.<<

                  I've often wondered if Jn. 7:38 is intentionally
                  ambiguous and thereby intended to refer to both Jesus
                  and the believer.

                  Has anyone suggested this or a category of ambiguity
                  in John? -- call it Johannine ambiguity, by analogy to
                  Johannine irony.

                  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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                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Is the Greek sufficiently precise to distinguish whether the He who... or Jesus is merely the *conduit,* or the *source*? Bob Robert M. Schacht
                  Message 8 of 28 , Aug 18 7:54 PM
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                    At 01:00 AM 8/19/2002 +0000, you wrote:
                    >Dear Elizabeth,
                    >
                    >It appears to me that in Jn 7:38 the subject, from whose
                    >heart/belly will flow rivers of living water, is the 'He who believes
                    >in me', not Jesus. If you throw into the equation 4:14, '...the water
                    >I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up
                    >to eternal life' I think the meaning is clear.
                    >
                    >This is not to deny that Jesus, with the Father, is the ultimate
                    >source of the living water/Spirit.

                    Is the Greek sufficiently precise to distinguish whether the "He who..." or
                    Jesus is merely the *conduit,* or the *source*?
                    Bob


                    Robert M. Schacht
                    Flagstaff, AZ
                    If I were a Rich Man...I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men,
                    several hours every day. That would be the sweetest thing of all.
                    Fiddler on the Roof

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • kymhsm
                    Dear Bob, My post was,
                    Message 9 of 28 , Aug 19 12:36 AM
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                      Dear Bob,

                      <<< Is the Greek sufficiently precise to distinguish whether the
                      "He who..." or Jesus is merely the *conduit,* or the *source*?>>>

                      My post was, admittedly, only from looking at the English text. I
                      am no Greek expert. For me it is out with the exicons etc. But
                      from the brief look I have had I think the Greek is quite
                      unambiguous. Someone else may correct me but that is my
                      reading of it. Though the source must and can only be Christ, it
                      is the believer out of whom the living waters flow.

                      Sincerely,

                      Kym Smith
                      Adelaide
                      South Australia
                      khs@...



                      --- In johannine_literature@y..., Bob Schacht <r_schacht@y...>
                      wrote:
                      > At 01:00 AM 8/19/2002 +0000, you wrote:
                      > >Dear Elizabeth,
                      > >
                      > >It appears to me that in Jn 7:38 the subject, from whose
                      > >heart/belly will flow rivers of living water, is the 'He who
                      believes
                      > >in me', not Jesus. If you throw into the equation 4:14, '...the
                      water
                      > >I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling
                      up
                      > >to eternal life' I think the meaning is clear.
                      > >
                      > >This is not to deny that Jesus, with the Father, is the ultimate
                      > >source of the living water/Spirit.
                      >
                      > Is the Greek sufficiently precise to distinguish whether the "He
                      who..." or
                      > Jesus is merely the *conduit,* or the *source*?
                      > Bob
                      >
                      >
                      > Robert M. Schacht
                      > Flagstaff, AZ
                      > If I were a Rich Man...I'd discuss the holy books with the
                      learned men,
                      > several hours every day. That would be the sweetest thing of
                      all.
                      > Fiddler on the Roof
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Mary Coloe
                      I read 7:37 with 7:39 which speaks about a later time when the Spirit will be given, compared with the now time. In this context in the present time Jesus is
                      Message 10 of 28 , Aug 20 7:49 AM
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                        I read 7:37 with 7:39 which speaks about a later time when the Spirit will
                        be given, compared with the now time.
                        In this context in the present time Jesus is the source of living water as
                        he promised the Samaritan woman.
                        But there will be a time in the future when the historical Jesus will no
                        longer be present and in that future time he promises that
                        believers, because of the gift of the SPirit, will become sources of living
                        water. Behind both statementsI have argued lies the image of the Temple.
                        Jesus as the new Temple (2:21) is able to provide waters (Ez 49), but as he
                        promises when this temple of his body is destroyed he will raise a Temple
                        in its plcae (2:19).
                        This Temple is the Temple of the believing community, transformed through
                        the 'Hour' into the new house(hold) of God.

                        If you would like to see more detailed arguments and references to the
                        above lines of thought may I suggest my book, God Dwells with us - Temple
                        Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel - Loturgical Press, 2001.
                        In emails its just not possible to give the details of the exegesis.
                        Best wishes.

                        Dr. Mary Coloe pbvm
                        Australian Catholic University Limited
                        (ABN 15050 192660)

                        Locked Bag 4115
                        Fitzroy. VIC 3065 AUSTRALIA

                        ph (61 + 3) 99533137 Fax (61 + 3) 99533245
                        M.Coloe@...
                      • Elizabeth Danna
                        ... But even in this verse it is said, twice, that it is Jesus who gives the water. Elizabeth Danna
                        Message 11 of 28 , Aug 20 8:49 AM
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                          kymhsm wrote:

                          > If you throw into the equation 4:14, '...the water
                          > I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up
                          > to eternal life' I think the meaning is clear.

                          But even in this verse it is said, twice, that it is Jesus who gives the
                          water.

                          Elizabeth Danna
                        • fmmccoy
                          ... From: Elizabeth Danna To: Sent: Sunday, August 18, 2002 1:05 PM Subject: Re: [John_Lit]
                          Message 12 of 28 , Aug 20 9:42 AM
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                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Elizabeth Danna" <ejdanna@...>
                            To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Sunday, August 18, 2002 1:05 PM
                            Subject: Re: [John_Lit] water to wine


                            > The recent discussion of water in the wedding narrative has sparked
                            > some thoughts which I would like to share, if somewhat belatedly.
                            >
                            > Briefly, what is the connection between 2:1-11 and 7:37c-39? For
                            > reasons which will become clear I had better offer a translation of the
                            > latter passage: "If anyone is thirsty let them come to me, and let the
                            > one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture says, 'Out of his
                            > insides will flow rivers of living water.' He said this about the
                            > Spirit, which those who believed in him would receive; for the Spirit
                            > had not yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."
                            >
                            > There are several links between these two passages. The most
                            > obvious is the water symbolism in each. In both passages Jesus is the
                            > source of drink. At 2:7 the servants, at Jesus' instruction, fill the
                            > water jars to the brim, which suggests abundance. And there is
                            > something about the idea of "rivers of water flowing out" which also
                            > suggests an abundance of what is supplied. Both passages also mention
                            > believers in Jesus, and Jesus' glory (having read 2:21f, the implied
                            > reader is able to guess that the glorification of Jesus mentioned at
                            > 7:39 refers to his death). I suggest that AUTOU at 7:38 refers to
                            > Jesus, not the believer. Do these connections suggest that my
                            > interpretation of 7:38 is correct?
                            >

                            Dear Elizabeth Danna:

                            That there are connections between 2:1-11 and 7:37c-39 is undeniable.

                            2:1-11, though, ISTM, gives us a mixed message as respects the question of
                            whether the AUTOU of 7:38 refers to Jesus or to a believer.

                            In 2:1-11, it is the servants who pour the water into the stone water jars
                            and who take this water become wine to the master of the feast.

                            To the extent that 2:1-11 and 7:37c-39 are connected, this suggests that the
                            AUTOU refers to a believer: for if a number of people are involved in the
                            giving of the water in 2:1-11, then this should be the case in 7:37c-39--and
                            there are many who are believers, but only one Jesus.

                            On the other hand, in 2:1-11, the bridegroom is praised for saving the good
                            wine till the end--which suggests that he alone is the source for the water
                            become wine.

                            To the extent that 7:37c-39 are connected, this suggests that the AUTOU
                            refers to a single individual, i.e., Jesus.

                            So, ISTM, on one level of 2:1-11, there are a number of people responsible
                            for the giving of the water become wine while, on another level of 2:1-11,
                            only the bridegroom is responsible for the giving of the water become wine.
                            The first level of meaning lends support to the idea that the AUTOU of 7:38
                            is a believer, while the second level of meaning lends support to the idea
                            that the AUTOU of 7:38 is Jesus.

                            If you could establish that (1) the second level of meaning to 2:1-11 is the
                            only true level of meaning, so that, in it, it is *only* the bridegroom who
                            is truly responsible for the water become wine and that (2) on this second
                            level of meaning the bridegroom is the Bridegroom of 3:29 (i.e., Jesus) and
                            that (3) on this second level of meaning the water become wine is the
                            Spirit, then, ISTM, you could use the connections betwen 2:1-11 and 7:37c-39
                            as supporting evidence for your suggestion that the AUTOU of 7:38 is Jesus.

                            Just a thought--hopefully a helpful one.

                            Frank McCoy
                            1809 N. English Apt. 17
                            Maplewood, MN 55109
                          • kymhsm
                            Dear Elizabeth, You wrote: I am sorry if I am missing
                            Message 13 of 28 , Aug 20 5:08 PM
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                              Dear Elizabeth,

                              You wrote:

                              <<<But even in this verse (i.e. Jn 4:14) it is said, twice, that it is
                              Jesus who gives the water.>>>

                              I am sorry if I am missing something, but I am not sure what the
                              need for your comment is. I have responded twice, both posts
                              are very short, and in both posts I have insisted that God/the
                              Father/Jesus is/are the source of the living water.

                              A number of OT references such as Jer 2:13; 17:13; Ezek 47
                              also make it clear that God is the source of the living water.

                              The issue is that we are not given the Spirit to keep to ourselves.
                              Jesus' promise of the Spirit / living water in the passages under
                              discussion indicates that the life he gives us is to be lived out.
                              Through us that life, the life of the Spirit, is to flow out into the
                              world in which we live. We are never the source of that life / Spirit,
                              but we are called to be healthy springs issuing forth that which
                              God, the 'fountain of living waters' (Jer 2:13), has given to us.

                              Sincerely,

                              Kym Smith
                              Adelaide
                              South Australia
                              khs@...
                            • Elizabeth Danna
                              ... You have, and I should have made a note of that in my own post - my apologies. My point is that while you stress one aspect of 4:14, I stress another.
                              Message 14 of 28 , Aug 21 6:34 AM
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                                kymhsm wrote:

                                > Dear Elizabeth,
                                >
                                > You wrote:
                                >
                                > <<<But even in this verse (i.e. Jn 4:14) it is said, twice, that it is
                                > Jesus who gives the water.>>>
                                >
                                > I am sorry if I am missing something, but I am not sure what the
                                > need for your comment is. I have responded twice, both posts
                                > are very short, and in both posts I have insisted that God/the
                                > Father/Jesus is/are the source of the living water.

                                You have, and I should have made a note of that in my own post - my
                                apologies. My point is that while you stress one aspect of 4:14, I stress
                                another.

                                Elizabeth Danna
                              • Elizabeth Danna
                                fmmccoy wrote: [interesting post snipped for space reasons] ... Helpful indeed - thank you, Frank. Elizabeth Danna
                                Message 15 of 28 , Aug 21 6:39 AM
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                                  fmmccoy wrote:
                                  [interesting post snipped for space reasons]

                                  > Just a thought--hopefully a helpful one.

                                  Helpful indeed - thank you, Frank.

                                  Elizabeth Danna
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