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Re: [John_Lit] John the Baptist in the prologue

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  • Thomas W Butler
    Dear James, It seems to me that the identity of the one bearing witness is a relevant issue in the Prologue. If one assumes, as I suspect the writer(s) of
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 3 11:45 AM
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      Dear James,
      It seems to me that the identity of the one "bearing witness" is
      a relevant issue in the Prologue. If one assumes, as I suspect the
      writer(s) of the Fourth Gospel did, that Moses was the "one bearing
      witness" to the "first day of creation" as recorded in Genesis, then
      we as readers are expected to see that John the Baptist was "the
      one bearing witness" to the "day of the new creation" as recorded
      in the Fourth Gospel.
      The testimony of John the Baptist, which follows the Prologue,
      leads directly to the account of two of John's disciples hearing
      John's witness and choosing to follow Jesus. Jn. 1: 35 provides
      the setting for this event as "the next day." That pericope ends,
      I suggest, at 1: 39 when the reader is told that these two disciples
      "remained with him that day." We are then told what hour it was.
      Why do we need to know the hour? I have found that "ora" is
      found 24 times in the Fourth Gospel. This event, when two disciples
      of John follow Jesus, occurs during the first of those 24 hours. In
      other words, I suspect that the "chronological structure" of the
      Fourth Gospel is metaphorical. It tells the reader that the incarnation
      of the Word occurred during a single "day." That "day" is the day
      of the new creation.
      Thus the witness of John the Baptist is critical to this gospel.
      While John the Baptist is not, technically, a disciple of Jesus, his
      testimony is the catalyst that prompts others to become disciples.
      In fact his testimony includes the criteria by which this gospel
      defines what a disciple is: that one sees "the Spirit" in Jesus (ie:
      that one sees "the Christ" in Jesus) and that one testifies to
      others what it is that one has seen. (See Jn. 1: 32-34).
      I have argued that this critical witness is reason enough for
      the gospel to be named as it is. However, we should understand
      that it does not mean "The Gospel Written by John." Instead, it is
      "The Gospel According to the Witness of John." Perhaps a more
      accurate way of describing it, as I see it, would be "The Gospel
      According to the Model of Witness as First Expressed by John."
      I have shown how every person who encounters Jesus in the
      Fourth Gospel fits into one of three categories: believers/ disciples
      (which is most of them), doubters and nonbelievers. The
      purpose of the Gospel appears to me to bring the reader to a
      point where the reader either chooses to abide / remain with
      Jesus "that day" as a disciple or decide in such a way as to
      place themselves in a category outside of believer/ disciple.
      Judgement, in other words, is self-imposed according to one's
      response to Jesus. (See Jn. 5: 25-29 with emphasis on verse 29).
      John's witness provides the model for those who choose to
      become believer / disciples. That is the important point.

      Yours in Christ's service,
      Tom Butler

      On Mon, 3 Feb 2003 13:02:04 -0500 "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...>
      writes:
      > One thing that, for me, makes sense of the position of John the
      > Baptist
      > in the prologue is that the Baptist is perhaps thought of as
      > spanning
      > the ages, as bearing witness both before and after the incarnation.
      > This
      > is possible if, as C. H. Talbert, Francis Watson, R. H. Fuller and
      > others have suggested, the 'Word becoming flesh' and 'Spirit
      > descending
      > and remaining on him' refer to the same event. This would tie in
      > well
      > with the Genesis imagery too, as already noted - in this case, with
      > both
      > Word and Spirit.
      >
      > Any thoughts?
      >
      > James
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: kymhsm <khs@...> [mailto:khs@...]
      > Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 6:06 PM
      > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] A Proposed Re-construction of a Postulated
      > Hymn-li ke Composition
      >
      >
      > John the Baptist is introduced into the Prologue precisely
      > because of the Genesis structure. The reason John is
      > mentioned in what seems a most inappropriate place is
      > because with him - though it is not stated till later in the first
      > chapter - is the next part of the Genesis pattern. John had more
      > to say about the Word / Jesus, and he returned to it, but his
      > mentioning John exactly where he did in the first part of the
      > Prologue - and he returns to him in the second part to ensure
      > that he is still in mind - is because what the Baptist witnessed is
      >
      > what John used to continue the Genesis structure. What John
      > had to match next was, `and the Spirit of God was moving over
      > the face of the waters.' It was John who saw the Spirit of God
      > hovering/moving/descending over the waters of the Jordan. See
      > an abbreviated comparison below.
      >
      >
      >
      > *****************************
      > Dr. James F. McGrath
      > Assistant Professor of Religion
      > Butler University, Indianapolis
      > ://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/
      > *****************************
      >
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    • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
      Dear James,
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 3 3:22 PM
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        Dear James,

        <<<One thing that, for me, makes sense of the position of John
        the Baptist in the prologue is that the Baptist is perhaps thought
        of as spanning the ages, as bearing witness both before and
        after the incarnation. This is possible if...the 'Word becoming
        flesh' and 'Spirit descending and remaining on him' refer to the
        same event.>>>

        I think this view creates more problems than it solves. Either you
        do not have the Word becoming incarnate until Jesus' baptism
        (close to a Gnostic position) or you have John claiming to have
        witnessed something when he was about six months old (Lk
        1:36 - if you are going to allow the witness of another gospel).
        Neither position seems tenable but I cannot see that what you
        are suggesting allows any other alternative. I would need some
        convincing that it is otherwise.

        Sincerely,

        Kym Smith
        Adelaide
        South Australia
        khs@...
      • Pete Phillips
        I m sorry but I think I have missed a connecton somewhere. Could someone explain how Word becoming flesh can be the equivalent of Spirit descending upon and
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 3 4:12 PM
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          I'm sorry but I think I have missed a connecton somewhere. Could someone
          explain how Word becoming flesh can be the equivalent of Spirit descending
          upon and remaining on him? Are we suggesting that verse 14 is not about
          'Christmas' but rather the end of 'Lent'? Where does the incarnation
          happen? Isn't this just adoptionism then - the Word comes into Jesus at the
          point of indwelling of the Spirit?

          I need some help here, I think.

          Pete Phillips
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <khs@...>
          To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 11:22 PM
          Subject: Re: [John_Lit] John the Baptist in the prologue


          > Dear James,
          >
          > <<<One thing that, for me, makes sense of the position of John
          > the Baptist in the prologue is that the Baptist is perhaps thought
          > of as spanning the ages, as bearing witness both before and
          > after the incarnation. This is possible if...the 'Word becoming
          > flesh' and 'Spirit descending and remaining on him' refer to the
          > same event.>>>
          >
          > I think this view creates more problems than it solves. Either you
          > do not have the Word becoming incarnate until Jesus' baptism
          > (close to a Gnostic position) or you have John claiming to have
          > witnessed something when he was about six months old (Lk
          > 1:36 - if you are going to allow the witness of another gospel).
          > Neither position seems tenable but I cannot see that what you
          > are suggesting allows any other alternative. I would need some
          > convincing that it is otherwise.
          >
          > Sincerely,
          >
          > Kym Smith
          > Adelaide
          > South Australia
          > khs@...
          >
          >
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          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >
        • Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@yahoo.com>
          ... someone ... descending ... about ... incarnation ... Jesus at the ... People in the period in question were not too bothered about logical inconsistencies.
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 4 1:45 AM
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            --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Pete Phillips"
            <p.m.phillips@c...> wrote:
            > I'm sorry but I think I have missed a connecton somewhere. Could
            someone
            > explain how Word becoming flesh can be the equivalent of Spirit
            descending
            > upon and remaining on him? Are we suggesting that verse 14 is not
            about
            > 'Christmas' but rather the end of 'Lent'? Where does the
            incarnation
            > happen? Isn't this just adoptionism then - the Word comes into
            Jesus at the
            > point of indwelling of the Spirit?
            >
            > I need some help here, I think.
            >
            People in the period in question were not too bothered about logical
            inconsistencies. Where the NT writers were concerned, they did not
            expect anyone to be here in 2,000 years, and they had no way of
            anticipating the rigorous thinking of at least some of them.
            Martin Edwards.
          • Paul Schmehl
            ... From: To: Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 3:45 AM Subject: Re: [John_Lit] John the Baptist
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 4 5:35 PM
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: <big_mart_98@...>
              To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 3:45 AM
              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] John the Baptist in the prologue
              > >
              > People in the period in question were not too bothered about logical
              > inconsistencies. Where the NT writers were concerned, they did not
              > expect anyone to be here in 2,000 years, and they had no way of
              > anticipating the rigorous thinking of at least some of them.
              >
              Do you have any evidence to support this view? I mean real evidence?
              Documents? Letters? Texts?

              IMHO people haven't changed one iota from "the beginning" until now. As
              Ecclesiastes says, "There is nothing new under the sun. All is vanity."

              Paul Schmehl
              pschmehl@...
              http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
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