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[John_Lit] Re: the adelphoi

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  • Mary Coloe
    Thanks for the responses, I m inclined towards your view David that they function in order to enable a shift in meaning from a familial group based on kinship
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 3, 1999
      Thanks for the responses, I'm inclined towards your view David that they
      function in order to enable a shift in meaning from a familial group based
      on kinship ties, in John 2 and 7, to a familial group based on ties of
      faith. After the 'hour' the true family of Jesus are the disciples who are
      identified in 20:18 as the adelphoi Mary is sent to in 20:17. If this is so
      then this term must be read inclusively ie as brothers and sisters since
      Mary is one of the group included in 'your Father'. The single word
      'brethren' to translate adelphoi does not bring out its inclusiveness so
      until English comes up with a better word, I think the more accurate
      translation would have to be 'brothers and sisters' .
      >
      >As Prof. Michaels indicated, the brothers don't have much definition in
      >John 2, and appear in John 7 as a stand-in for the unbelieving world.
      >(I don't think 20:17 means them, but the disciples, who are *now* Jesus'
      >true brothers, as his Father is their Father.) This is not much of a
      >role, but it is *more* of a role than we find for Jesus' brothers in any
      >of the other NT gospels. I'm inclined to suspect there is something
      >going on here, some kind of rivalry within the early church between
      >groups associated with James and the Johannine community (cf. Brown,
      >_Community of the Beloved Disciple_, 75-76). I have a pet theory that
      >this is the key to the scene at the foot of the cross (John 19:25-27),
      >where Jesus commends his mother to the B.D., and vice versa. Of course,
      >she *should* have been taken care of by his brothers; John may suggest
      >that their unbelief (including their absence at the cross) disqualifies
      >them from this role. It may be, then, that 20:17 is meant to reinforce
      >this displacement of Jesus' physical brothers by his believing
      >disciples.
      >
      >Hope this is some help to you.
      >
      >David
      >--
      >David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
      >Interdenominational Theological Center
      >700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
      >Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
      >Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...
      >
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      Dr.Mary Coloe pbvm
      School of Theology
      Australian Catholic University
      P.O. Box 213.
      Oakleigh. VIC 3166.
      mcoloe@... (home) or
      M.Coloe@...
    • ProfRam@aol.com
      On adelphoi, I wonder if they are introduced in 2:12 in acknowledgment of an (earlier?) tradition in which the brothers rather than the disciples were with
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 3, 1999
        On adelphoi, I wonder if they are introduced in 2:12 in acknowledgment of an
        (earlier?) tradition in which the brothers rather than the disciples were
        with Jesus at the Cana wedding. There is such a tradition preserved in
        Epistula Apostolorum, but this could of course be derivative from John.

        In chap. 7, there are in the story for only one reason: to invite Jesus
        (though in unbelief) to do what he then went ahead and did, to go up to
        Jerusalem and manifest himself to the world. That seems to be their only
        function in the entire Gospel of John. In chapters 19-20, the disciples take
        their place (much as they do in Mk 3:31-35), first one disciple (19:26-27)
        and then all the disciples (20:17-18). Whether this answers the question or
        only restates it, I'm not sure.

        Ramsey Michaels
      • David Rensberger
        Prof. Coloe, As Prof. Michaels indicated, the brothers don t have much definition in John 2, and appear in John 7 as a stand-in for the unbelieving world. (I
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 3, 1999
          Prof. Coloe,

          As Prof. Michaels indicated, the brothers don't have much definition in
          John 2, and appear in John 7 as a stand-in for the unbelieving world.
          (I don't think 20:17 means them, but the disciples, who are *now* Jesus'
          true brothers, as his Father is their Father.) This is not much of a
          role, but it is *more* of a role than we find for Jesus' brothers in any
          of the other NT gospels. I'm inclined to suspect there is something
          going on here, some kind of rivalry within the early church between
          groups associated with James and the Johannine community (cf. Brown,
          _Community of the Beloved Disciple_, 75-76). I have a pet theory that
          this is the key to the scene at the foot of the cross (John 19:25-27),
          where Jesus commends his mother to the B.D., and vice versa. Of course,
          she *should* have been taken care of by his brothers; John may suggest
          that their unbelief (including their absence at the cross) disqualifies
          them from this role. It may be, then, that 20:17 is meant to reinforce
          this displacement of Jesus' physical brothers by his believing
          disciples.

          Hope this is some help to you.

          David
          --
          David Rensberger, Professor of New Testament
          Interdenominational Theological Center
          700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SW
          Atlanta, Georgia 30314-4143 USA
          Phone: 404-527-7749; fax: 404-527-0901; e-mail: drensberger@...
        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 11/3/1999 5:51:56 PM Eastern Standard Time, mcoloe@netspace.net.au writes:
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 3, 1999
            In a message dated 11/3/1999 5:51:56 PM Eastern Standard Time,
            mcoloe@... writes:

            << Thanks for the responses, I'm inclined towards your view David that they
            function in order to enable a shift in meaning from a familial group based
            on kinship ties, in John 2 and 7, to a familial group based on ties of
            faith. After the 'hour' the true family of Jesus are the disciples who are
            identified in 20:18 as the adelphoi Mary is sent to in 20:17. If this is so
            then this term must be read inclusively ie as brothers and sisters since
            Mary is one of the group included in 'your Father'. The single word
            'brethren' to translate adelphoi does not bring out its inclusiveness so
            until English comes up with a better word, I think the more accurate
            translation would have to be 'brothers and sisters' .>>

            I don't see how Mary "is one of the group included in 'your Father'". It is a
            direct address statement, and one that is supposed to be uttered BY Mary to
            the (presumably) all male group of disciples (cf. 20:24: Thomas, one of the
            twelve...). Mary is addressed by Jesus as "woman" in 20:15, and by her proper
            name in 20:16. Her response in the latter verse suggests rather a
            relationship of master-servant between Jesus and her than one of
            brother-sister. Echoes of the Song of Songs in the text seem also to suggest
            a lover-beloved relationship.

            On the other hand, I have always understood the English term "brethren" as an
            inclusive term, especially when used in texts that have a Jewish background.
            Analogously, the first time the thought ever occurred to me that "for us men
            and for our salvation..." in the Nicean creed might be affirming the
            soteriological effect of Jesus' death for males only was when I noticed the
            term "men" in the phrase being loudly omitted by a woman in the pew behind me.

            Leonard Maluf
          • Mary Coloe
            ... I take your point here but is there a strong grammatical argument for reading this as if it were in quotation marks and therefore the direct words Mary is
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 3, 1999
              >I don't see how Mary "is one of the group included in 'your Father'". It is
              >a direct address statement, and one that is supposed to be uttered BY Mary to
              >the (presumably) all male group of disciples (cf. 20:24: Thomas, one of the
              >twelve...).

              I take your point here but is there a strong grammatical argument for
              reading this as if it were in quotation marks and therefore the direct
              words Mary is to speak to the disciples group as if she is not included
              within that group. Is there in the grammar of the statement the equivalent
              of "Thus says the Lord,'I go to ....'

              Mary is addressed by Jesus as "woman" in 20:15, and by her
              >proper name in 20:16. Her response in the latter verse suggests rather a
              >relationship of master-servant between Jesus and her than one of
              >brother-sister. Echoes of the Song of Songs in the text seem also to
              >suggest
              >a lover-beloved relationship.
              >
              >On the other hand, I have always understood the English term "brethren" as
              >an
              >inclusive term, especially when used in texts that have a Jewish
              >background.
              >Analogously, the first time the thought ever occurred to me that "for us
              >men
              >and for our salvation..." in the Nicean creed might be affirming the
              >soteriological effect of Jesus' death for males only was when I noticed the
              >term "men" in the phrase being loudly omitted by a woman in the pew behind
              >me.
              >
              >Leonard Maluf
              >
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              Dr. Mary Coloe pbvm
              School of Theology
              Australian Catholic University
              PO. Box 213, Oakleigh. VIC 3166
              ph (61 + 3) 9563 3697 Fax. (61 + 3) 9563 3653.

              *** Please note as of March 1 2000 my address will change to
              Australian Catholic University
              St Patrick's Campus
              Locked bag 4115
              Fitzroy Business Centre
              377 Gore Street
              Fitzroy Vic 3065

              Similarly my email address will change to M.Coloe@...

              I do not yet know my new phone numbers but the switchboard will be 9953 3000
            • Maluflen@aol.com
              In a message dated 11/3/1999 8:11:29 PM Eastern Standard Time, M.Coloe@christ.acu.edu.au writes: I don t see how Mary is one of the group included in
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 3, 1999
                In a message dated 11/3/1999 8:11:29 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                M.Coloe@... writes:

                << >I don't see how Mary "is one of the group included in 'your Father'". It
                is
                >a direct address statement, and one that is supposed to be uttered BY Mary
                to
                >the (presumably) all male group of disciples (cf. 20:24: Thomas, one of the
                >twelve...).

                I take your point here but is there a strong grammatical argument for
                reading this as if it were in quotation marks and therefore the direct
                words Mary is to speak to the disciples group as if she is not included
                within that group. Is there in the grammar of the statement the equivalent
                of "Thus says the Lord,'I go to ....'
                >>

                I think the phrase could have been put in indirect discourse (as it is, by
                the way, in some modern versions), and then a reference to Mary would
                certainly have been implied in the pronoun "your". Because it is in direct
                discourse in the Greek, such a reading seems to me to be excluded, though I
                am not sure how much, if anything at all, should be made out of this fact. I
                think one would have to assume that Mary as an historical person, and a
                disciple of Jesus, must herself belong, in John's thinking, to Jesus' new
                family as a "sister", whose "father" is God. But I am not sure how interested
                the Evangelist is in her "as an historical person", so her symbolic value to
                John perhaps dictates other relational emphases in his text.

                On second thought, I wonder if what I said above is really correct. Even if
                the statement is direct discourse, I wonder if the "your" might not still
                implicate Mary herself. I'm not sure any more.

                Leonard Maluf
              • ejdanna@trapdoor.arvotek.net
                ... This displacement, however, is not unknown in the Synoptics. See e.g. Mk. 3:31-35; 10:28-30parr. Elizabeth Danna
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 4, 1999
                  On Wed, 3 Nov 1999, David Rensberger wrote:

                  > them from this role. It may be, then, that 20:17 is meant to reinforce
                  > this displacement of Jesus' physical brothers by his believing
                  > disciples.
                  This displacement, however, is not unknown in the Synoptics. See e.g.
                  Mk. 3:31-35; 10:28-30parr.
                  Elizabeth Danna
                • ProfRam@aol.com
                  In Jn 20:17, the matter of direct vs. indirect discourse is rather a tough call. But it seems to me it has to be indirect because Mary is not told to say, I
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 4, 1999
                    In Jn 20:17, the matter of direct vs. indirect discourse is rather a tough
                    call. But it seems to me it has to be indirect because Mary is not told to
                    say, "I am ascending" (*she* is obviously not ascending), but either "He is
                    ascending" or "He said, 'I am ascending.'"

                    Thus I would translate, "Go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending
                    to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God." This leaves open
                    just a crack the possibility that Mary might be included in the "your," but
                    even as indirect discourse the possibility is remote at best. The play
                    between "brothers" and "Father" tells against it, as does the accent on the
                    fact that Mary is to say it "to them" (autois).

                    Just by the way, notice also the abrupt shift from direct to indirect
                    discourse in v 18, a shift which seems to have bothered the scribes so that
                    they tried out a couple of variants: Mary told the disciples that "'I have
                    seen the Lord,' and he said these things to her."

                    Ramsey Michaels
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