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Imagery in John

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  • Mirjam und Ruben Zimmermann
    1. No list of words! I´m not sure if a word list really helps for the understanding of John´s imagery language. Every list of word has to be uncomplete and
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 15, 2002
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      1. No list of words!
      I´m not sure if a word list really helps for the understanding of John´s
      imagery language.
      Every list of word has to be uncomplete and missleading, because even the
      smallest prepositions like "ek" could imply metaphorical meaning (when you
      use the theory of metaphors from G. Lakoff/ M. Johnson for example). It
      could be read in a metaphorical sense, but also could not.
      Words isolated from their context can´t have any double meaning for
      themselves. Only the concret communication act can limit the wide semantic
      fields of a word (semantem) and only in context you can understand what a
      word means.
      Thus the more interesting question is, how can it be possible that the
      context of Johns Gospel doesn´t limit the various possibilites of meaning so
      clearly that only one meaning is possible. What indicators can you find that
      (of each word)

      2. Double or 'multi-meaning', metaphor or symbol?
      As I proposed before in my opinion it´s helpful to distinguish at least
      three approaches to the johannine imagery:
      - metaphor: the most clearly form of figurative language is the metaphor. In
      a normal syntactical structure (attribute, sentence, text) two semantic
      field which normally don´t belong together are linked and cause a semantic
      tension in first reading. E. g. "I am the door" (no human being can be a
      door of wood). The reader is provocated to search the sense on another
      level: He or she will ask in which sense could Jesus be like a door .... The
      word door in this example has a double meaning, but not in each case when it
      appears in John (would it belong to the list or not?)

      - symbol: the problem of a symbol is, that there´s no possiblity to identify
      symbols with linguistic methods as the metaphor. A symbol can be represented
      in one world only, e. g. "water". In this case the reader for himself has to
      complete the other half (as it is implied in the etymology of the word) of
      meaning to understand the "surplus de sens" (P. Ricoeur) (in german:
      Sinnüberschuss, I don´t know a correct translation in english). There might
      exist archetypical symbols (C. G. Jung) like light and water, which can be
      understood everywhere but normally symbols change with culture (e.g. bread
      is not a symbol in asiatic culture, perhaps you should transform Joh 6,35
      to: "I am the rice of life" in this context) and time.
      To identify a symbol with certain probability you have to know the
      traditional background (e.g. living water in Joh 7,35-37 at the feast of
      tabernacles refers to the streams of Eden) or the convention of language of
      a community.

      - double meaning (I would be glad about any proposals for more precisely
      classification name):
      This field summerizes various forms of figurative language:
      missunderstandings, irony, changes of roles (e.g. Jesus fulfils the role of
      the bridegroom in Joh 2,1-11), symbolic narratives ...

      3. Language of insiders?
      Does it really makes sense to seperate the johannine community as "insiders"
      from the jewish community as a whole?
      In the case of the missunerstandings once H. Leroy pointed out the thesis of
      an insider language, but in our days his thesis isn´t accepted any more,
      thus the missunderstandings are one part of the hermeneutical and literal
      concept of the author within its intended communication with the reader. The
      narrative criticism also sheds light on the function of the other forms of
      imagery language.
      Imagery language has the function to involve the reader in the text to get
      closer with its message and at least understand who Jesus was and who he is.
      The thesis of the insider language disregards this missionary and - in
      Bultmanns terminology - existencial purpose of John´s gospel.

      Regards

      Dr. Ruben Zimmermann
      (University of Munich)
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      ... - metaphor: the most clearly form of figurative language is the metaphor. In a normal syntactical structure (attribute, sentence, text) two semantic field
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 15, 2002
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        Dr. Ruben Zimmermann wrote:

        -------------------------------------------------------
        - metaphor: the most clearly form of figurative
        language is the metaphor. In a normal syntactical
        structure (attribute, sentence, text) two semantic
        field which normally don�t belong together are linked
        and cause a semantic tension in first reading. E. g.
        "I am the door" (no human being can be a door of
        wood). The reader is provocated to search the sense on
        another level: He or she will ask in which sense could
        Jesus be like a door .... The word door in this
        example has a double meaning, but not in each case
        when it appears in John (would it belong to the list
        or not?)
        -------------------------------------------------------

        Where would you put the statements about Jesus's flesh
        and blood being true food and true drink?

        Is this just metaphorical? Or is the language
        realistic?

        We don't normally think of a person's flesh and blood
        as being real food and real drink, but they could be
        be food and drink, of course, and in the case of a
        supernatural being, they could be more real than
        ordinary food and drink.

        So, how would you, or others, argue this case --
        either way, whether metaphorical or realistic?

        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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      • Maluflen@aol.com
        In a message dated 7/15/2002 5:32:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... I think it is both, and I think the statement of Jesus in John as a whole has a double
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 15, 2002
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          In a message dated 7/15/2002 5:32:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
          jefferyhodges@... writes:


          > Where would you put the statements about Jesus's flesh
          > and blood being true food and true drink?
          >
          > Is this just metaphorical? Or is the language realistic?

          I think it is both, and I think the statement of Jesus in John as a
          whole has a double meaning. One meaning involves what is in the background of
          the entire discussion, the "sacramental" reference. The Johannine community,
          in harmony with the whole church, celebrates a Eucharist in which the
          elements consumed, apparently bread and wine, are understood to be, really,
          the flesh and blood of Jesus respectively. Thus Jesus' flesh and blood are
          true food at this sacramental level.

          The other level has to do with the reality referred to by the
          Eucharist elements themselves (that, i.e., of which they are signs). This is
          the reality of the suffering and dying Messiah -- his death for the Life of
          the world -- a mystery symbolized by the bread and wine in the Eucharistic
          context, and comprehended in faith as the true food of the soul which
          sustains that Life in individual Christians. I believe this second level is
          the primary meaning of the text. But the secondary, sacramental reference
          cannot be dismissed as irrelevant. It is the background against which the
          words of Jesus, with their primary reference describing what turns out to be
          an uncongenial (i.e., a suffering) Messiah for many Jews, are to be
          understood.

          Leonard Maluf


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Thomas W Butler
          Hello Jeffery, I suggest that the metaphors in the Fourth Gospel come from a specific source, one that many, especially Jewish followers of Jesus knew in
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 15, 2002
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            Hello Jeffery,
            I suggest that the metaphors in the Fourth Gospel come from a
            specific source, one that many, especially Jewish followers of
            Jesus knew in detail and were able to recognize more easily than
            most of us do. I'm talking about the Pentateuch, especially the
            Septuagint version of the Pentateuch.
            When Jesus converts the waters of purification contained in
            stone jars into wine poured into cups, those who recognized
            these metaphors understood that the eucharist was replacing
            the ritual of purification.
            Yes, the Gospel of John is full of metaphors, but we are not
            free to read any meaning we want into those metaphors. I
            submit that we must first discover how those very metaphors
            were used in the Mosaic texts, then apply THAT meaning to
            the context in the Gospel of John.

            Yours in Christ's service,
            Tom Butler

            On Mon, 15 Jul 2002 05:32:09 -0700 (PDT) Horace Jeffery Hodges
            <jefferyhodges@...> writes:
            > Dr. Ruben Zimmermann wrote:
            >
            > -------------------------------------------------------
            > - metaphor: the most clearly form of figurative
            > language is the metaphor. In a normal syntactical
            > structure (attribute, sentence, text) two semantic
            > field which normally don´t belong together are linked
            > and cause a semantic tension in first reading. E. g.
            > "I am the door" (no human being can be a door of
            > wood). The reader is provocated to search the sense on
            > another level: He or she will ask in which sense could
            > Jesus be like a door .... The word door in this
            > example has a double meaning, but not in each case
            > when it appears in John (would it belong to the list
            > or not?)
            > -------------------------------------------------------
            >
            > Where would you put the statements about Jesus's flesh
            > and blood being true food and true drink?
            >
            > Is this just metaphorical? Or is the language
            > realistic?
            >
            > We don't normally think of a person's flesh and blood
            > as being real food and real drink, but they could be
            > be food and drink, of course, and in the case of a
            > supernatural being, they could be more real than
            > ordinary food and drink.
            >
            > So, how would you, or others, argue this case --
            > either way, whether metaphorical or realistic?
            >
            > 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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          • Thomas W Butler
            On Mon, 15 Jul 2002 11:23:01 +0200 Mirjam und Ruben Zimmermann writes: (snip) ... Exactly, Dr. Zimmerman. The source for such
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 15, 2002
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              On Mon, 15 Jul 2002 11:23:01 +0200 "Mirjam und Ruben Zimmermann"
              <ir8@...-heidelberg.de> writes:
              (snip)
              > - symbol: the problem of a symbol is, that there´s no possiblity
              > to identify symbols with linguistic methods as the metaphor. A
              > symbol can be represented in one world only, e. g. "water".
              > In this case the reader for himself has to complete the other
              > half (as it is implied in the etymology of the word) of meaning
              > to understand the "surplus de sens" (P. Ricoeur) (in german:
              > Sinnüberschuss, I don´t know a correct translation in english).
              > There might exist archetypical symbols (C. G. Jung) like light
              > and water, which can be understood everywhere but normally
              > symbols change with culture (e.g. bread is not a symbol in
              > asiatic culture, perhaps you should transform Joh 6,35 to:
              > "I am the rice of life" in this context) and time. To identify a
              > symbol with certain probability you have to know the traditional
              > background (e.g. living water in Joh 7,35-37 at the feast of
              > tabernacles refers to the streams of Eden) or the convention of
              > language of a community.

              Exactly, Dr. Zimmerman.

              The source for such symbols in the early church was the Jewish
              tradition recorded especially in the Torah. If we search the
              Torah (especially the Septuagint version of the Pentateuch) for
              the symbols that appear in the Fourth Gospel, then apply the
              Mosaic meaning of those symbols to the Johannine context, the
              meaning intended by the author(s) of the Fourth Gospel emerges
              more clearly.

              For example, in John 11: 39 Jesus gives the command to,
              *Remove the stone.* The stone is the symbol. In Genesis 28:
              16-18 *the stone* is the symbol for the whole idea that God
              has a house on earth. When THAT meaning is inserted into
              the Johannine context, it becomes clear that Jesus is not simply
              ordering that a large stone be rolled away from the tomb of
              Lazarus. He is destroying the temple.

              Yours in Christ's service,
              Tom Butler

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • heronblu
              ... This might well be true, but is it not also true that to state this in such a certain fashion requires two leaps of faith unsupported by any good evidence?
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 16, 2002
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                --- In johannine_literature@y..., Thomas W Butler <butlerfam5@j...>
                wrote:

                > When Jesus converts the waters of purification contained in
                > stone jars into wine poured into cups, those who recognized
                > these metaphors understood that the eucharist was replacing
                > the ritual of purification.

                This might well be true, but is it not also true that to state this
                in such a certain fashion requires two leaps of faith unsupported by
                any good evidence? First, there is the assumption that the Johannine
                community would have focused its eyes on the eucharist rather than on
                the cross as the essential means of purification. Second, there is
                the assumption that the eucharist was taken by the community to whom
                the gospel was addressed as having a central liturgical place. Other
                than by induction, how can we know either of these things about that
                church at that time? Additionally, one might add that purification
                by water in association with meals is hardly *ipso facto* critical to
                Pharisaic Judaism rather than being one of many ways of avoiding
                defilement. Isn't it true that the water, itself, had no religious
                meaning other than as the tool one used in order to avoid ritual
                contamination, and isn't this to be sharply distinguished from the
                role eventually assigned to the eucharistic elements by the church as
                a whole?
                Yours in Christ,
                Lou
              • Thomas W Butler
                On Tue, 16 Jul 2002 15:53:43 -0000 heronblu ... Lou, why do you assume that the assumption that the Johannine community would have
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 16, 2002
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                  On Tue, 16 Jul 2002 15:53:43 -0000 "heronblu" <heronblu@...>
                  writes:
                  >
                  >In johannine_literature@y..., Thomas W Butler <butlerfam5@j... > wrote:

                  >
                  > > When Jesus converts the waters of purification contained in
                  > > stone jars into wine poured into cups, those who recognized
                  > > these metaphors understood that the eucharist was replacing
                  > > the ritual of purification.
                  >
                  > This might well be true, but is it not also true that to state this
                  > in such a certain fashion requires two leaps of faith unsupported
                  > by any good evidence? First, there is the assumption that the
                  > Johannine community would have focused its eyes on the
                  > eucharist rather than on the cross as the essential means of
                  > purification.

                  Lou, why do you assume that the assumption that the Johannine
                  community would have focused its eyes on the Eucharist is not
                  supported by any good evidence? While it is true that an
                  account of the liturgy for the Last Supper is not specifically
                  provided in the Gospel, it can be shown that the entire gospel
                  functions as a haggada for the Christian Passover. The gospel
                  certainly recalls the Jesus tradition as would be required in a
                  Jewish Passover (to recall the Jewish tradition). The elements
                  are each presented (6: 1-14; 2: 1-11) and a short homily is
                  provided to explain their meaning (6: 35-59; 15: 1-17). I
                  submit that those homilies could well be used to elucidate a
                  sacramental ethic at least comparable to the ritual of purification
                  by water mixed with ashes from the red heifer.

                  > Second, there is the assumption that the eucharist was taken by
                  > the community to whom the gospel was addressed as having a
                  > central liturgical place.

                  Yes, there is that assumption. As I have just pointed out, the
                  gospel can be recognized as a haggada. How much more central
                  can we require it to be?

                  > Other than by induction, how can we know either of these things
                  > about that church at that time? Additionally, one might add that
                  > purification by water in association with meals is hardly *ipso facto*
                  > critical to Pharisaic Judaism rather than being one of many ways
                  > of avoiding defilement.

                  Try comparing the priestly prayer identified as "Regarding the
                  Eucharist" in the Didache with the priestly prayers that Jesus
                  offers in 11: 41 and 17: 1. The Didache is about as close as
                  we can come, outside of the gospel and Paul's instructions to
                  the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11: 23-26), to understanding how the
                  Eucharist was celebrated in the first century church.

                  As for how critical the issue of defilement was to the Pharisaic
                  Jews, see Jn. 18: 28 and 19: 42.

                  > Isn't it true that the water, itself, had no religious meaning other
                  > than as the tool one used in order to avoid ritual contamination,
                  > and isn't this to be sharply distinguished from the role eventually
                  > assigned to the eucharistic elements by the church as a whole?

                  Lou, what is your point here? Are you suggesting that the Eucharist
                  was more important to the early (Jewish) Christian community than
                  water purification was to the (non-Christian) Jewish community?
                  I don't have any problem with agreeing with that. How are you
                  using it as an argument against my suggestion that the meaning of
                  metaphors used in the Gospel can be found in the Mosaic texts?

                  Yours in Christ's service,
                  Tom Butler
                • heronblu
                  Tom, I seem not to have presented myself very clearly. It is not my intent to hold that the eucharist may or may not have been important to the Johannine
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 16, 2002
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                    Tom, I seem not to have presented myself very clearly. It is not my
                    intent to hold that the eucharist may or may not have been important
                    to the Johannine community. It is, rather, my contention that we
                    have no way to know what, if any, place it held in the liturgy of
                    that church. My concern, therefore, is for the certainty assigned by
                    your grammar to your statements rather than to your conclusions,
                    themselves. For instance, the opinion that the gospel can be taken
                    as an haggadah is an interesting one, but it does not seem to me to
                    be an inevitable conclusion. My assumption is that you do not mean
                    this to have been the principal purpose of the Fourth Gospel, and I
                    would agree if you were to claim that one cannot fully understand the
                    gospel without invoking haggadic lore. But to draw *definite*
                    conclusions about the role of a eucharistic meal among the followers
                    of John on the basis of the hypothesis that "the gospel can be
                    recognized as a haggada" seems to be a brave step, indeed.

                    Jesus' prayers in 11:41 and 17:1 are, I think, priestly only if you
                    choose to interpret them as priestly, although I don't believe that
                    all would agree that "priestly" is the best adjective to apply to
                    these specific utterances. But, I don't see that either of these
                    prayers or the Didache bears upon what we can definitely conclude
                    regarding the liturgical practices specific to the Johannine
                    community.

                    I apologize that my point about the water of purification was not
                    clear, and the fault may have occurred because I misunderstood you.
                    You had said, "When Jesus converts the waters of purification
                    contained in stone jars into wine poured into cups, those who
                    recognized these metaphors understood that the eucharist was
                    replacing the ritual of purification." I should have asked, "How do
                    you know that this surmise is true?" Is it not possible to
                    reasonably see a different metaphorical purpose for the inclusion of
                    this pericope?

                    Again, Tom, I am not claiming that your interpretation is flawed. I
                    am trying to integrate the definitive nature of the grammar you use
                    to describe your interpretation with the paucity of definitive
                    evidence available regarding the liturgical practices of the specific
                    community at the specific time.
                    Yours in Christ,
                    Lou
                  • Mirjam und Ruben Zimmermann
                    Dear Jeffery, Tom and others, thanks for the stimulating exchange! ... Your question demonstrates a false alternative in my opinion. Metaphoric language is not
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 16, 2002
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                      Dear Jeffery, Tom and others,

                      thanks for the stimulating exchange!

                      Jeffery wrote:
                      > > Where would you put the statements about Jesus's flesh
                      > > and blood being true food and true drink?
                      > >
                      > > Is this just metaphorical? Or is the language
                      > > realistic?
                      > >

                      Your question demonstrates a false alternative in my opinion. Metaphoric
                      language is not a pejorative way of speaking as illustration or as a form of
                      rhetorical ornament. As Paul Ricoeur (la metaphore vive, Paris 1975) has
                      pointed out metaphors are a very innovative and creative way of speaking.
                      Theologically spoken they even have a revealing function. They give us the
                      possibility to notice aspects of reality or express experiences that we
                      couldn´t express without them. Consequently the 'just metaphorical' speach
                      is very 'realistic' at the same time.

                      My classification in metaphor, symbol and so on has no definitive but a
                      heuristic function. The author of the FG plays whith different forms of
                      figurative language, as it can be seen on the mentioned example of the
                      bread. There´s the evident metaphor of the "I am-Saying" (Joh 6,35), but
                      bread is also used in a symbolic way as daily food that everybody needs or
                      as impressed symbol in jewish tradition (cf. manna). Then the 'feeding of
                      the five thousand' (Joh 6,1ff.) can be read as symbolic narrative and
                      finally there´s a certain allution on the eucharist with the statements
                      about Jesus's flesh and blood being true food, i.e. a sacramental meaning of
                      bread.
                      The various forms of figurative language intend to help the reader
                      understandig who Jesus is, in reality of course, that is not only the
                      historic reality but also the immediate reality in reading the text, because
                      the reader has to complete the other half of the symbol or has to find the
                      metaphorical sense.

                      In this way Jesus himself is a kind of metaphor or symbol, because on the
                      one hand he is shown by the author as human beeing with flesh and blood (the
                      son of Mary and ! Joseph, Joh 6,42), on the other hand he is adored as the
                      son of god, even as god himself (Joh 20,28). Perhaps the statement of John
                      19,34 (blood and water came out) can be understood in this way.
                      The double meaning of figurative language has finally a christological
                      function in helping the reader to understand the double meaning of Jesus
                      Christ as man and god.

                      I´d like to go further in the discussion, but now I have to work out my
                      paper for the SBL-International Meeting at Berlin (Germany) this week,
                      Perhaps I´ll meet someone of you there for further exchange.

                      Kind Regards
                      Ruben
                    • Thomas W Butler
                      On Wed, 17 Jul 2002 03:21:27 -0000 heronblu ... Lou, Thank you for the clarification of your critique. I am aware that I have used
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 17, 2002
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                        On Wed, 17 Jul 2002 03:21:27 -0000 "heronblu" <heronblu@...>
                        writes:
                        >
                        > I am not claiming that your interpretation is flawed. I am
                        > trying to integrate the definitive nature of the grammar you
                        > use to describe your interpretation with the paucity of definitive
                        > evidence available regarding the liturgical practices of the specific
                        > community at the specific time.

                        Lou,

                        Thank you for the clarification of your critique. I am aware that
                        I have used assertive language in presenting my interpretations. I
                        am also aware that those interpretations fall, for the most part, out-
                        side of the generally accepted or traditional interpretations of this
                        body of scripture. I have chosen to be bold in offering these ideas,
                        since I suspect that many scholars will assume that they can't
                        possibly be a serious contribution to the field of Johannine studies.
                        My language is intended to convey a very serious attitude and
                        intent. In a sense, I am challenging those who may see flaws in
                        my methodology or conclusions to offer a critique, rather than
                        simply dismiss this approach altogether.

                        I appreciate your comments and look forward to further dialog.

                        Yours in Christ's service,
                        Tom Butler
                      • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                        I [Jeffery Hodges] asked: Where would [one] . . . put the statements about Jesus s flesh and blood being true food and true drink? Is this just metaphorical?
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 18, 2002
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                          I [Jeffery Hodges] asked:

                          "Where would [one] . . . put the statements about
                          Jesus's flesh and blood being true food and true
                          drink? Is this just metaphorical? Or is the language
                          realistic?"

                          Leonard Maluf wrote:

                          "I think it is both . . . . One meaning involves what
                          is in the background of the entire discussion, the
                          'sacramental' reference[,] . . . . a Eucharist in
                          which the elements consumed, apparently bread and
                          wine, are . . . really . . . the flesh and blood of
                          Jesus . . . . The other . . . has to do with the
                          reality referred to by the Eucharist elements
                          themselves[,] . . . . the suffering and dying
                          Messiah[,] . . . a mystery symbolized by the bread and
                          wine in the Eucharistic context . . . ."

                          Ruben Zimmermann wrote:

                          "Your question demonstrates a false alternative in my
                          opinion. . . . [M]etaphors are a very innovative and
                          creative way of speaking. . . . They give us the
                          possibility to notice aspects of reality or express
                          experiences that we couldn't express without them.
                          Consequently the 'just metaphorical' speach is very
                          'realistic' at the same time. . . . [Also,] there�s a
                          certain allution on the eucharist with the statements
                          about Jesus's flesh and blood being true food, i.e. a
                          sacramental meaning of bread."

                          I [Jeffery] respond:

                          Both Leonard and Ruben seem to agree that the
                          food-and-drink, flesh-and-blood language in John 6 is
                          both metaphorical and realistic.

                          Like Ruben, I recognize that metaphorical language
                          makes statements about reality, and like Leonard, I
                          recognize that realistic language includes symbolic
                          meanings.

                          But as an illustration of my question, let me put
                          things this way. Suppose that I say:

                          "My love is a red, red rose."

                          Of course, my love is NOT really a rose. She�s a human
                          being -- specifically, a woman. I�m speaking
                          metaphorically. Yes, I�m also making a statement about
                          reality, i.e., that in some way, or ways, my love is
                          LIKE a red rose, but I don't really mean that she is
                          actually is a rose.

                          [One could imagine contexts where I might mean that my
                          love actually is a red rose -- I might be a gardener,
                          a radical environmentalist, a floral character in a
                          children's story, or an insane person with the
                          additional belief that my left ear is a drunken bull
                          elephant raging through a Klein bottle, but let's
                          bracket these possibilities.]

                          My question, then, is this: How do we know --
                          reasonably know -- that the Johannine Jesus means
                          nonmetaphorically that his flesh and blood ARE true
                          food and drink rather than means metaphorically that
                          his flesh and blood are LIKE true food and drink?

                          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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                        • efholer
                          Jeffrey Hodges wrote: My question, then, is this: How do we know -- reasonably know -- that the Johannine Jesus means nonmetaphorically that his flesh and
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jul 18, 2002
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                            Jeffrey Hodges wrote:

                            "My question, then, is this: How do we know --
                            reasonably know -- that the Johannine Jesus means
                            nonmetaphorically that his flesh and blood ARE true
                            food and drink rather than means metaphorically that
                            his flesh and blood are LIKE true food and drink?"

                            Eric Fholer responds:

                            Because the author recorded Jesus' words in metaphorical form, not in the form of simile =) Though metaphor is like simile, they are not the same, so when I say that my love is a red, red rose, I don't mean the same thing when I say she is like a rose; I mean that she is a rose, else I would have said, my love is like a red, red rose. I have to agree with Ruben and say that you are positing a false dichotomy here: we live by metaphors and I can't see any other way to understand the reality and veritableness (G. Vos: True and Truth in the Johannine Writings) of Jesus' flesh and blood being food and drink. The metaphor conveys the highest conceptual ideal and reality of what food and drink are - bread and wine are no food and drink relative to the flesh and blood of Jesus which are true food and drink. I guess I'm curious why we would seek a nonmetaphorical meaning to a metaphorical statement...perhaps it is the phrasing of your question that I'm having trouble with - when you interchange metaphor with non-reality, and nonmetaphor with reality...

                            Metaphor IS reality, and the real world is understood by us metaphorically. Someone mentioned Lakhoff and Johnson, and I think their work would be a good place for you to begin on this subject - Metaphors We Live By and Philosophy in the Flesh are good reads along these lines.

                            Eric Fholer
                            Northwest Theological Seminary
                            Lynnwood, Wa


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                          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                            ... true ... You seem to be under the impression that I don t know much about metaphor or simile or how they express aspects of reality. Believe me, I know
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jul 18, 2002
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                              I (Jeffery, not Jeffrey) wrote:

                              > > "My question, then, is this: How do we know --
                              > > reasonably know -- that the Johannine Jesus means
                              > > nonmetaphorically that his flesh and blood ARE
                              true
                              > > food and drink rather than means metaphorically
                              > > that his flesh and blood are LIKE true food and
                              > > drink?"

                              Eric Fholer responds:

                              > Because the author recorded Jesus' words in
                              > metaphorical form, not in the form of simile =)
                              > Though metaphor is like simile, they are not the
                              > same, so when I say that my love is a red, red rose,
                              > I don't mean the same thing when I say she is like a
                              > rose; I mean that she is a rose, else I would have
                              > said, my love is like a red, red rose. I have to
                              > agree with Ruben and say that you are positing a
                              > false dichotomy here: we live by metaphors and I
                              > can't see any other way to understand the reality
                              > and veritableness (G. Vos: True and Truth in the
                              > Johannine Writings) of Jesus' flesh and blood being
                              > food and drink. The metaphor conveys the highest
                              > conceptual ideal and reality of what food and drink
                              > are - bread and wine are no food and drink relative
                              > to the flesh and blood of Jesus which are true food
                              > and drink. I guess I'm curious why we would seek a
                              > nonmetaphorical meaning to a metaphorical
                              > statement...perhaps it is the phrasing of your
                              > question that I'm having trouble with - when you
                              > interchange metaphor with non-reality, and
                              > nonmetaphor with reality...
                              >
                              > Metaphor IS reality, and the real world is
                              > understood by us metaphorically. Someone mentioned
                              > Lakhoff and Johnson, and I think their work would be
                              > a good place for you to begin on this subject -
                              > Metaphors We Live By and Philosophy in the Flesh are
                              > good reads along these lines.

                              You seem to be under the impression that I don't know
                              much about metaphor or simile or how they express
                              aspects of reality. Believe me, I know about metaphor,
                              simile, synecdoch, metonymy, etc. -- I even won U. C.
                              Berkeley's 1985 Eisener Prize for Poetry (if I am
                              allowed to enter this as evidence that won't be
                              misconstrued).

                              I do not think that I have made any false dichotomy.
                              Perhaps you have misunderstood my question. I suggest
                              that you review my posts on this issue, and if you
                              still find them unclear, I will attempt to clarify my
                              meaning -- though I am not sure how to state it more
                              clearly than I already have.

                              Does anyone else not understand my question about the
                              metaphorical versus nonmetaphorical status of the
                              Johannine Jesus's remarks in John 6:51-58?

                              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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                            • efholer
                              Mr. Hodges, I apologize for any misunderstanding. And I certainly didn t mean to assume a lack of understanding on your part concerning literary devices. My
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jul 18, 2002
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                                Mr. Hodges,

                                I apologize for any misunderstanding. And I certainly didn't mean to assume a lack of understanding on your part concerning literary devices. My background is lit-crit and creative writing, yet my understanding of metaphor/etc was completely revamped after reading Lakhoff and other recent works in the same vein. I thought you might reconsider your questions in light of such recent works, that is, if you weren't already aware of them. I'll step back and allow others to interact with you in the hopes of clearing up any confusion on my part.

                                Sincerely,

                                Eric Fholer
                                Northwest Theological Seminary
                                Lynnwood, Wa


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                              • Bob MacDonald
                                Mr Hodges wrote ... and real drink
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jul 18, 2002
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                                  Mr Hodges wrote

                                  >>We don't normally think of a person's flesh and blood as being real food
                                  and real drink <<

                                  What if it was the food and drink that were the metaphor? Food to eat that
                                  we know not. Teaching. Judgment that needs to purge our inner person - love
                                  better than wine.

                                  I wish Tom would give more examples - have I missed them? There is this
                                  vague appeal to Moses in John - but only a rock at Bethel compared to a
                                  temple and a grave... too much of an exegetical stretch for my jaws - those
                                  muscles needed to blow up balloons. (There's a little mixed extended
                                  metaphor - a spritzer, if you like).

                                  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
                                • Thomas W Butler
                                  On Thu, 18 Jul 2002 22:03:33 -0700 Bob MacDonald ... OK Bob, I d be glad to accommodate your request for more examples of Mosaic oracles
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jul 19, 2002
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                                    On Thu, 18 Jul 2002 22:03:33 -0700 Bob MacDonald <bobmacdonald@...>
                                    writes:
                                    >
                                    > I wish Tom would give more examples - have I missed them?
                                    > There is this vague appeal to Moses in John - but only a rock
                                    > at Bethel compared to a temple and a grave... too much of an
                                    > exegetical stretch for my jaws - those muscles needed to blow
                                    > up balloons. (There's a little mixed extended metaphor -
                                    > a spritzer, if you like).
                                    >

                                    OK Bob,
                                    I'd be glad to accommodate your request for more examples
                                    of Mosaic oracles in the Gospel of John.

                                    Let's begin with the first three words of the Gospel. How can
                                    anyone who is familiar with the opening verses of Genesis not
                                    recognize that the Gospel and the Torah begin the same way? I
                                    contend that this is not an accident. The operative word (beginning)
                                    is repeated in verse two and again in 2: 11 in which the point is
                                    made that Jesus produces signs and his disciples believe in him.

                                    Repetition of the word or a form of the word is a clue that a
                                    sign has been included in the text. In addition to these three
                                    incidences when a form of arxh is used, there are five others in
                                    this gospel: 6: 64; 8: 25, 44; 15: 27; 16:4.

                                    A close study of the first five verses of the gospel reveal a
                                    pattern that parallels the first five verses of Genesis. In fact,
                                    Kym Smith in his The Amazing Structure of the Gospel of John
                                    (Sherwood Productions, 2000), suggests that Genesis 1 and 2
                                    provide a framework for much of the Gospel's structure.

                                    I have published what is a bare beginning of what I call a
                                    concordance of Mosaic and Johannine Signs in my book.
                                    It contains 40 entries, such as anointing oil, blood, body,
                                    bosom, day, dust, feet, footstool, gate, hair, hand, head,
                                    etc. For each entry I have listed both the Mosaic passages
                                    in which the semeion appears and the Johannine passage.
                                    If you would like a copy of it, let me know off list, and I
                                    will send you an attachment.

                                    Yours in Christ's service,
                                    Tom Butler

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