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Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary

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  • Eric
    Paul, Back to the drawing board, then! It s difficult when working with narrative to answer these sorts of questions, especially when we think that an author
    Message 1 of 18 , Jan 9, 2003
      Paul,

      Back to the drawing board, then! It's difficult when working with narrative to answer these sorts of questions, especially when we think that an author has invested time in carefully crafting his work. And, more especially when we understand that the author has been selective in the writing, it is difficult to pass over even the jots and tittles, even if the jot is something as seemingly arbitrary as including a name here, and forgetting another there.

      If anonymity does in fact serve the Christological/Christocentric element of 4G, what purpose would including names serve?

      Also, even for those who aren't named, it seems to me that we hardly need a name for them - my reference to 'the man born blind' is almost, if not just as comfortable for me as his real name would be. As far as I know, his name IS 'the man born blind.' =)

      Eric

      PS
      This dichotomy - anonymity serving one purpose, and naming serving another - may be a bit simplistic. I wouldn't be surprised if both strategies served more than one purpose each, or if in some cases they were not invested with as much meaning as we might think.




      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Paul Anderson
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 9:42 AM
      Subject: RE: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


      Thanks, Eric, an excellent point! And here's part of the headache--why names, then, for Nathanael, for Nicodemus, for Caiaphas and Pilate, for Mary Magdalene, and for Peter and Thomas and others?

      Paul

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Eric Fholer [mailto:efholer@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 9:21 AM
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


      Paul,

      Thanks for clarifying your question. If I remember correctly, and I don't have the text immediately in front of me, in each of the pericopes corresponding to the anonymous persons you mentioned, Jesus as a central figure is the only one named - that observation could have theological/Christological/Christocentric implications for gospel.

      Eric
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Paul Anderson
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 3:53 PM
      Subject: RE: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


      Thanks, Eric and Leonard.

      The question about what we do with anonymity in John relates, of course, to how we think about the identity of the Beloved Disciple. What I find intriguing is that scholars who claim anonymous references to the evangelist rule out particular authorial possibilities seem to feel fine about connecting Mary with the the mother of Jesus in John, even though her name is not mentioned either. So, perhaps I should just mention that as an observation of an inconsistency rather than put it as a question.

      By the way, I have no reason to doubt that the mother of Jesus in John was Mary, implicitly and otherwise; but anonymity in her case may have been a function of respect and familiarity. If such were the case for her, might such have been the case for the Beloved Disciple? Then again, the Johannine reader is left with the anonymity of the Samaritan woman, the paralytic by the pool, the steward of the feast, the man born blind and the "other disciple", while "Malchus" is indeed named (Ramsey Michaels just reminded me of some of these privately) explicitly.

      In that sense, my question is more about what we do with how we treat Johannine anonymity rather than the identity of Jesus' mother. Hope that helps.

      Paul

      PS Apologies to Kevin for these digressions.



      If this is the case, though,

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Eric Fholer [mailto:efholer@...]
      Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 1:57 PM
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


      Leonard,

      Forgive me for answering in Paul's stead, but I too had similar trouble following his inference. However, after reading the post from Kevin O'Brien, I think Paul's question stems from the recognized social custom of referring to those who are not of blood relation as if they were brother/sister/mother/father. Hence, the anonymity of "the mother of Jesus" in John's gospel may be due to just such a social custom, and may not refer to the actual biological mother of Jesus.

      I think that unless some kind of linguistic pattern can be identified for making the distinction between the two (social custom and an actual blood relative) in any given text, the answer remains unretrievable. Nonetheless, I'd be interested to know what, if any, significance Paul's question would have for interpreting those two passages in the 4G, or for understanding the gospel as whole. Thoughts, Paul?

      Eric Fholer
      Northwest Theological Seminary
      Lynnwood, Wa
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Maluflen@...
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 1:07 PM
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


      In a message dated 1/5/2003 8:23:17 PM Eastern Standard Time, panderso@... writes:

      > Here's a Johannine question: does the fact that "the mother of Jesus" in John is left anonymous prove or imply that she
      > was not Mary? Inquiring minds want to know.

      Perhaps I missed something in the previous discussion, but you would have to explain to me the logic that might lead one to this conclusion before I could respond to your question.

      Leonard Maluf

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    • Paul Anderson
      Good points, Eric. My basic concern here relates to considering what people tend to do with the anonymity of the Beloved Disciple in John. When I start
      Message 2 of 18 , Jan 10, 2003
        Good points, Eric. My basic concern here relates to considering what people tend to do with the anonymity of the Beloved Disciple in John. When I start taking those approaches and applying them to other unnamed figures in John, results begin to fray a bit. I guess this points toward the need for modesty of claim, especially on negative conclusions as well as positive ones.

        Paul



        -----Original Message-----
        From: Eric [mailto:efholer@...]
        Sent: Thu 1/9/2003 7:54 PM
        To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        Cc:
        Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary



        Paul,

        Back to the drawing board, then! It's difficult when working with narrative to answer these sorts of questions, especially when we think that an author has invested time in carefully crafting his work. And, more especially when we understand that the author has been selective in the writing, it is difficult to pass over even the jots and tittles, even if the jot is something as seemingly arbitrary as including a name here, and forgetting another there.

        If anonymity does in fact serve the Christological/Christocentric element of 4G, what purpose would including names serve?

        Also, even for those who aren't named, it seems to me that we hardly need a name for them - my reference to 'the man born blind' is almost, if not just as comfortable for me as his real name would be. As far as I know, his name IS 'the man born blind.' =)

        Eric

        PS
        This dichotomy - anonymity serving one purpose, and naming serving another - may be a bit simplistic. I wouldn't be surprised if both strategies served more than one purpose each, or if in some cases they were not invested with as much meaning as we might think.




        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Paul Anderson
        To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 9:42 AM
        Subject: RE: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


        Thanks, Eric, an excellent point! And here's part of the headache--why names, then, for Nathanael, for Nicodemus, for Caiaphas and Pilate, for Mary Magdalene, and for Peter and Thomas and others?

        Paul

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Eric Fholer [mailto:efholer@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 9:21 AM
        To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


        Paul,

        Thanks for clarifying your question. If I remember correctly, and I don't have the text immediately in front of me, in each of the pericopes corresponding to the anonymous persons you mentioned, Jesus as a central figure is the only one named - that observation could have theological/Christological/Christocentric implications for gospel.

        Eric
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Paul Anderson
        To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 3:53 PM
        Subject: RE: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


        Thanks, Eric and Leonard.

        The question about what we do with anonymity in John relates, of course, to how we think about the identity of the Beloved Disciple. What I find intriguing is that scholars who claim anonymous references to the evangelist rule out particular authorial possibilities seem to feel fine about connecting Mary with the the mother of Jesus in John, even though her name is not mentioned either. So, perhaps I should just mention that as an observation of an inconsistency rather than put it as a question.

        By the way, I have no reason to doubt that the mother of Jesus in John was Mary, implicitly and otherwise; but anonymity in her case may have been a function of respect and familiarity. If such were the case for her, might such have been the case for the Beloved Disciple? Then again, the Johannine reader is left with the anonymity of the Samaritan woman, the paralytic by the pool, the steward of the feast, the man born blind and the "other disciple", while "Malchus" is indeed named (Ramsey Michaels just reminded me of some of these privately) explicitly.

        In that sense, my question is more about what we do with how we treat Johannine anonymity rather than the identity of Jesus' mother. Hope that helps.

        Paul

        PS Apologies to Kevin for these digressions.



        If this is the case, though,

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Eric Fholer [mailto:efholer@...]
        Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 1:57 PM
        To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


        Leonard,

        Forgive me for answering in Paul's stead, but I too had similar trouble following his inference. However, after reading the post from Kevin O'Brien, I think Paul's question stems from the recognized social custom of referring to those who are not of blood relation as if they were brother/sister/mother/father. Hence, the anonymity of "the mother of Jesus" in John's gospel may be due to just such a social custom, and may not refer to the actual biological mother of Jesus.

        I think that unless some kind of linguistic pattern can be identified for making the distinction between the two (social custom and an actual blood relative) in any given text, the answer remains unretrievable. Nonetheless, I'd be interested to know what, if any, significance Paul's question would have for interpreting those two passages in the 4G, or for understanding the gospel as whole. Thoughts, Paul?

        Eric Fholer
        Northwest Theological Seminary
        Lynnwood, Wa
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Maluflen@...
        To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 1:07 PM
        Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


        In a message dated 1/5/2003 8:23:17 PM Eastern Standard Time, panderso@... writes:

        > Here's a Johannine question: does the fact that "the mother of Jesus" in John is left anonymous prove or imply that she
        > was not Mary? Inquiring minds want to know.

        Perhaps I missed something in the previous discussion, but you would have to explain to me the logic that might lead one to this conclusion before I could respond to your question.

        Leonard Maluf

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      • John Lupia
        ... Correct. Nothing in the NT is there by chance. The key then is to pick up on what the author s intention is. Since Evangelists (NT authors) were
        Message 3 of 18 , Jan 10, 2003
          > From: Eric [mailto:efholer@...]

          > Back to the drawing board, then! It's difficult
          > when working with narrative to answer these sorts of
          > questions, especially when we think that an author
          > has invested time in carefully crafting his work.


          Correct. Nothing in the NT is there by chance. The
          key then is to pick up on what the author's intention
          is. Since Evangelists (NT authors) were producing
          Church literature then the key is to pick up on Church
          language as discussed by R�ginald Garrgou-Lagrange.
          See Garrigou-Lagrange, R�ginald, The three ways of the
          spiritual life /�from the French of P�re
          Garrigou-Lagrange. ( first ed. 1938; Rockford, Ill.
          Tan Books and Publishers,�1977).


          > And, more especially when we understand that the
          > author has been selective in the writing, it is
          > difficult to pass over even the jots and tittles,
          > even if the jot is something as seemingly arbitrary
          > as including a name here, and forgetting another
          > there.

          Exactly.


          > If anonymity does in fact serve the
          > Christological/Christocentric element of 4G, what
          > purpose would including names serve?

          It might serve to clarify what is defined as anonymity
          in John. Broadly when a person is mentioned without a
          proper name they are anonymous in a general sense,
          i.e, no name cited to identify them. However, this
          does not necessarily mean that a person cited without
          their proper name is not known by a literary
          convention. The two examples that come to mind in
          John are "the mother of Jesus" and the "beloved
          disciple". This sort of literary device appears only
          applicable to personages of such great fame that they
          are understood by their assigned convention. A
          journalist writing today who says "the president of
          the United States" in an article about what the
          president is doing today without naming George Bush
          would be understood as meaning him and no other
          president. In other words, Mary, the mother of Jesus
          was so well known to drop her proper name is to
          emphasize. This sort of emphasis through silence is
          far more dramatic than to have merely used the proper
          name. After 2,000 years and the estrangement of
          information from disassoction by factions over time
          some sectors of Christians will have become separated
          from the traditions where they have difficulty
          accepting them.

          > Also, even for those who aren't named, it seems to
          > me that we hardly need a name for them - my
          > reference to 'the man born blind' is almost, if not
          > just as comfortable for me as his real name would
          > be. As far as I know, his name IS 'the man born
          > blind.' =)


          The man born blind is a good example of Church
          language. Every human being is born blind
          (spiritually) and in need of the inner vision that
          *only* Jesus can bring. The same is true for the
          anonymous leper. We are all spiritual lepers in need
          of healing and salvation. The ailments of those cured
          in the miracle accounts take on the spiritual
          dimension of speaking to every reader bringing them to
          acknowledge our own situation and need for Jesus; that
          Jesus can affectuate change in our lives; that we need
          to approach Jesus in faith like the infirm in the
          narratives; that we can lear about appropriate
          responses by the behavior of the infirm in the
          narratives (the ten who were cured but only one came
          back to say thank you).

          John

          =====
          John N. Lupia, III
          31 Norwich Drive
          Toms River, New Jersey 08757 USA
          Phone: (908) 994-9720
          Email: jlupia2@...
          Editor, Roman Catholic News
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News

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        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          Perhaps the anonymity of the Beloved Disciple and the Mother of Jesus stems from the intention of providing them with especially honorable titles that convey a
          Message 4 of 18 , Jan 10, 2003
            Perhaps the anonymity of the Beloved Disciple and the
            Mother of Jesus stems from the intention of providing
            them with especially honorable titles that convey a
            special relationship to Jesus. This is surely the
            intent behind the James ossuary, whether it is
            authentic or an ancient/medieval hoax.

            Names, albeit proper nouns that conventionally
            designate particular individuals, are hardly ever
            unique to particular individuals.

            A title designating a specific relationship, however,
            does uniquely designate a particular individual, and
            if the title is an especially honorable one, then it
            has the effect of elevating the individual to whom it
            is applied.

            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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          • Eric Fholer
            Paul, Agreed. In any case, it seems that it ought to be the case, generally, for all scholarship to be characterized by modesty of claim. =) Eric ... From:
            Message 5 of 18 , Jan 13, 2003
              Paul,

              Agreed. In any case, it seems that it ought to be the case, generally, for all scholarship to be characterized by 'modesty of claim.' =)

              Eric
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Paul Anderson
              To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, January 10, 2003 8:27 AM
              Subject: RE: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


              Good points, Eric. My basic concern here relates to considering what people tend to do with the anonymity of the Beloved Disciple in John. When I start taking those approaches and applying them to other unnamed figures in John, results begin to fray a bit. I guess this points toward the need for modesty of claim, especially on negative conclusions as well as positive ones.

              Paul



              -----Original Message-----
              From: Eric [mailto:efholer@...]
              Sent: Thu 1/9/2003 7:54 PM
              To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
              Cc:
              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary



              Paul,

              Back to the drawing board, then! It's difficult when working with narrative to answer these sorts of questions, especially when we think that an author has invested time in carefully crafting his work. And, more especially when we understand that the author has been selective in the writing, it is difficult to pass over even the jots and tittles, even if the jot is something as seemingly arbitrary as including a name here, and forgetting another there.

              If anonymity does in fact serve the Christological/Christocentric element of 4G, what purpose would including names serve?

              Also, even for those who aren't named, it seems to me that we hardly need a name for them - my reference to 'the man born blind' is almost, if not just as comfortable for me as his real name would be. As far as I know, his name IS 'the man born blind.' =)

              Eric

              PS
              This dichotomy - anonymity serving one purpose, and naming serving another - may be a bit simplistic. I wouldn't be surprised if both strategies served more than one purpose each, or if in some cases they were not invested with as much meaning as we might think.




              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Paul Anderson
              To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 9:42 AM
              Subject: RE: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


              Thanks, Eric, an excellent point! And here's part of the headache--why names, then, for Nathanael, for Nicodemus, for Caiaphas and Pilate, for Mary Magdalene, and for Peter and Thomas and others?

              Paul

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Eric Fholer [mailto:efholer@...]
              Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 9:21 AM
              To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


              Paul,

              Thanks for clarifying your question. If I remember correctly, and I don't have the text immediately in front of me, in each of the pericopes corresponding to the anonymous persons you mentioned, Jesus as a central figure is the only one named - that observation could have theological/Christological/Christocentric implications for gospel.

              Eric
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Paul Anderson
              To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 3:53 PM
              Subject: RE: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


              Thanks, Eric and Leonard.

              The question about what we do with anonymity in John relates, of course, to how we think about the identity of the Beloved Disciple. What I find intriguing is that scholars who claim anonymous references to the evangelist rule out particular authorial possibilities seem to feel fine about connecting Mary with the the mother of Jesus in John, even though her name is not mentioned either. So, perhaps I should just mention that as an observation of an inconsistency rather than put it as a question.

              By the way, I have no reason to doubt that the mother of Jesus in John was Mary, implicitly and otherwise; but anonymity in her case may have been a function of respect and familiarity. If such were the case for her, might such have been the case for the Beloved Disciple? Then again, the Johannine reader is left with the anonymity of the Samaritan woman, the paralytic by the pool, the steward of the feast, the man born blind and the "other disciple", while "Malchus" is indeed named (Ramsey Michaels just reminded me of some of these privately) explicitly.

              In that sense, my question is more about what we do with how we treat Johannine anonymity rather than the identity of Jesus' mother. Hope that helps.

              Paul

              PS Apologies to Kevin for these digressions.



              If this is the case, though,

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Eric Fholer [mailto:efholer@...]
              Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 1:57 PM
              To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


              Leonard,

              Forgive me for answering in Paul's stead, but I too had similar trouble following his inference. However, after reading the post from Kevin O'Brien, I think Paul's question stems from the recognized social custom of referring to those who are not of blood relation as if they were brother/sister/mother/father. Hence, the anonymity of "the mother of Jesus" in John's gospel may be due to just such a social custom, and may not refer to the actual biological mother of Jesus.

              I think that unless some kind of linguistic pattern can be identified for making the distinction between the two (social custom and an actual blood relative) in any given text, the answer remains unretrievable. Nonetheless, I'd be interested to know what, if any, significance Paul's question would have for interpreting those two passages in the 4G, or for understanding the gospel as whole. Thoughts, Paul?

              Eric Fholer
              Northwest Theological Seminary
              Lynnwood, Wa
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Maluflen@...
              To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 1:07 PM
              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] "James' ossuary


              In a message dated 1/5/2003 8:23:17 PM Eastern Standard Time, panderso@... writes:

              > Here's a Johannine question: does the fact that "the mother of Jesus" in John is left anonymous prove or imply that she
              > was not Mary? Inquiring minds want to know.

              Perhaps I missed something in the previous discussion, but you would have to explain to me the logic that might lead one to this conclusion before I could respond to your question.

              Leonard Maluf

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            • Eric Fholer
              Jeffery, ... I think there is something more that Paul is getting at. The above does not address the instances of anonymity without a relational title, such as
              Message 6 of 18 , Jan 13, 2003
                Jeffery,

                For the most part, agreed. However:

                >A title designating a specific relationship, however,
                >does uniquely designate a particular individual, and
                >if the title is an especially honorable one, then it
                >has the effect of elevating the individual to whom it
                >is applied.


                I think there is something more that Paul is getting at. The above does not address the instances of anonymity without a relational title, such as the man born blind. Also, it does not address the instances where a character is referred to by name, such as Nicodemus. It seems that John could have left his name out, without signifcant effect to the story.

                Eric

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              • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                Eric wrote: I think there is something more that Paul is getting at. The above does not address the instances of anonymity without a relational title, such as
                Message 7 of 18 , Jan 13, 2003
                  Eric wrote:

                  "I think there is something more that Paul is getting
                  at. The above does not address the instances of
                  anonymity without a relational title, such as the man
                  born blind. Also, it does not address the instances
                  where a character is referred to by name, such as
                  Nicodemus. It seems that John could have left his name
                  out, without signifcant effect to the story."

                  I agree with you. My suggestion was not meant to be
                  exhaustive. An author can have various reasons for
                  using or not using names.

                  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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