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Re: Double meaning and imagery

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  • Mirjam und Ruben Zimmermann
    Dear Michael, I´m very interested in your studies concerning the usage of words with double meanings in the FG. For some time I´m trying to come to grips
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 10, 2002
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      Dear Michael,

      I´m very interested in your studies concerning the usage of words with
      double meanings in the FG.
      For some time I´m trying to come to grips with this important theme for
      John´s theology and language.

      I think your questions are focusing on one of the central issues, the
      hermeneutic problem how to understand or even resolve the double meaning
      language of John.

      But in my opinion we must take two considerations into account:
      1) the linguistic problem of the double meaning
      2) the hermeneutic problem

      To the first I suppose that it´s not possible to explain the double meaning
      as a lexigraphical problem only, but we should see it within the framework
      of figurative language in general. And there are at least two approaches in
      contemporary exegesis: a) the metaphorical (cf. J. v. d. Watt, The Family of
      the King. Dynamics of Metaphor in the Gospel according to John, Leiden
      2000), that works with linguistic methods to identify a particular word/
      phrase/ image as a metaphor
      b) the symbolical approach (cf. C. Koester, Symbolism in the FG, Minneapolis
      1995). The problem of a symbol is, that it works on convention of a certain
      community of communication. Thus it is not always easy to determine wheter a
      symbol is really a symbol, or not - especially for modern interpreter.
      There a only a few attempts to unite these two approaches (e. g. S.
      Hamid-Khani, Revelation and Concealment of Christ: A theological inquiry
      into the elusive language of the FG, WUNT, Tübingen 2000, you know this most
      recently monography in your issue, don´t you?)

      On the other hand, you have to get clear what´s the function or
      linguistically spoken the pragmatic of the enigmatic language. Here you
      could discusse for example the so called "johanneische Sehweise" (mode of
      Seeing) (Mussner), the sense of misunderstanding or the role of the spirit
      as interpreter.
      An often overlooked key on this issue is the 'paroimia'
      (parresia)-distinction made in John 16,25-29.

      I´m looking forward to further exange.

      Regards

      Ruben Zimmermann
      University of Munich (Germany)


      P.S. I hope for your indulgence with my mistakes in english, sorry!
    • michael Hardin
      Greetings all. For the record, I am a very interested layperson in NT Studies, particularly Johannine research. Thanks to all of those scholars who listen and
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 14, 2002
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        Greetings all.

        For the record, I am a very interested layperson in NT
        Studies, particularly Johannine research. Thanks to
        all of those scholars who listen and share with those
        of us who do not have the privilege of teaching.

        I have, as of late, plotted my own understanding of
        the 4G this way:

        1) I am quite comfortable with the work of Dodd and
        Robinson on the 4G's having a historical bedrock.

        2) I have read most of the literature on the Semeia
        source but still tend to see the Gospel as a whole.
        Culpepper's work has been important to me here.

        3) I tend to think that the Bultmannian hypothesis and
        it's many variants has tended to be put into
        perspective (and many unwarranted conclusions
        appropriately jettisoned) by the discoveries at Qumran
        as well as the work of Glasson, Brown, Martyn to
        demonstrate the Jewish, indeed Palestinean (I would
        even assert Jerusalem) background of the Gospel.

        To respond to some thoughts on this thread:

        1) I am not a linguist, although I do try to keep my
        Greek in reasonably maintained condition. Is it not
        possible that the Joh. community used double-entendres
        as 'insider language?' That is, the insider language
        functions parabolically for this community in a way
        similar to the parables in the Synoptics.

        One only sees the many words that have two
        meanings/levels/??? when one sees that the Spirit is
        poured out in the crucifixion (7.37-39, hypsao, the
        blood and water, etc.) The cross in short poses a
        similar problem in Jn as it does among the
        Corinthians, thus establishing the need for a 'new'
        hermeneutic.

        The Spirit, as the interpreter of Jesus, takes 'that
        which belongs to (the historical) Jesus' and in the
        light of the event of the Resurrection of the
        Crucified transforms our language and our
        understanding. At least, this is what I see the
        author suggesting.

        2) a list of words was requested. I have a 'working
        list' that I am sure is incomplete but I will make
        time to write it out for this thread.

        3) Jesus had two groups of disciples, one Galilean
        (reflected in the Synoptics) another in Jerusalem. One
        or some of this group may have known Jesus prior to hs
        baptism and was/were JTB's followers before Jesus had
        a 'movement.'

        The originary impulse for the 4G comes from an
        eye-witness. This is of no little consequence. Who
        this is will I think remain a mystery (Zebedean
        authorship has, to me, been proven impossible),
        nevertheless, the eye-witness claim is too cavalierly
        (sp?) overlooked in 4G and historical research. This
        eye-witness at some point emigrates to Ephesus with
        it's large Jewish population where a community forms
        around his/her 'apostleship.'

        There seems to be ample evidence that early
        christianity was not monolithic, so a tradition that
        is in some ways similar to the synoptics (JTB, feeding
        of 5,000, the Passion narrative) yet in others
        significantly departs from them (chronology,
        christology, etc) seems probable, indeed likely. If
        Cullmann is correct one can go further and suggest a
        solid historical trajectory from this community back
        through the (so-called) Hellenists of Acts 6 which may
        have (marginally?/centrally?) gone back to a group
        around the eye-witness of the 4G. I still think we
        need to recover from the Strauss-Schweitzer-Bultmann
        school of thought in considering the 4G as a viable
        way of telling Jesus' story. Neither the author nor
        the (so called) redactors of this document seem to
        suggest otherwise and their claim and consequent
        authority, like Paul's, are derived from this
        eye-witness encounter.

        Well, I have many daughters so my computer time is
        limited and now up. Peace to all,

        Michael Hardin
        Floral Park, NY
        michael1517@...


        --- Mirjam und Ruben Zimmermann
        <ir8@...-heidelberg.de> wrote:
        > Dear Michael,
        >
        > I�m very interested in your studies concerning the
        > usage of words with
        > double meanings in the FG.
        > For some time I�m trying to come to grips with this
        > important theme for
        > John�s theology and language.
        >
        > I think your questions are focusing on one of the
        > central issues, the
        > hermeneutic problem how to understand or even
        > resolve the double meaning
        > language of John.
        >
        > But in my opinion we must take two considerations
        > into account:
        > 1) the linguistic problem of the double meaning
        > 2) the hermeneutic problem
        >
        > To the first I suppose that it�s not possible to
        > explain the double meaning
        > as a lexigraphical problem only, but we should see
        > it within the framework
        > of figurative language in general. And there are at
        > least two approaches in
        > contemporary exegesis: a) the metaphorical (cf. J.
        > v. d. Watt, The Family of
        > the King. Dynamics of Metaphor in the Gospel
        > according to John, Leiden
        > 2000), that works with linguistic methods to
        > identify a particular word/
        > phrase/ image as a metaphor
        > b) the symbolical approach (cf. C. Koester,
        > Symbolism in the FG, Minneapolis
        > 1995). The problem of a symbol is, that it works on
        > convention of a certain
        > community of communication. Thus it is not always
        > easy to determine wheter a
        > symbol is really a symbol, or not - especially for
        > modern interpreter.
        > There a only a few attempts to unite these two
        > approaches (e. g. S.
        > Hamid-Khani, Revelation and Concealment of Christ: A
        > theological inquiry
        > into the elusive language of the FG, WUNT, T�bingen
        > 2000, you know this most
        > recently monography in your issue, don�t you?)
        >
        > On the other hand, you have to get clear what�s the
        > function or
        > linguistically spoken the pragmatic of the enigmatic
        > language. Here you
        > could discusse for example the so called
        > "johanneische Sehweise" (mode of
        > Seeing) (Mussner), the sense of misunderstanding or
        > the role of the spirit
        > as interpreter.
        > An often overlooked key on this issue is the
        > 'paroimia'
        > (parresia)-distinction made in John 16,25-29.
        >
        > I�m looking forward to further exange.
        >
        > Regards
        >
        > Ruben Zimmermann
        > University of Munich (Germany)
        >
        >
        > P.S. I hope for your indulgence with my mistakes in
        > english, sorry!
        >
        >
        >
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