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[John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue

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  • McGrath, James
    Pete and Kym, One of the main reasons for suggesting that early readers of John s Gospel would have understood the Spirit descending and remaining on Jesus and
    Message 1 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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      Pete and Kym,

      One of the main reasons for suggesting that early readers of John's
      Gospel would have understood the Spirit descending and remaining on
      Jesus and the Word becoming flesh as the same event is that, in the
      closest literature we have from both before and after the Gospel of
      John, Word, Wisdom and Spirit are not clearly distinguished, but seem to
      be (to quote James Dunn) "simply alternative ways of speaking about the
      effective power of God in his active relationship with his world and its
      inhabitants" (Christology in the Making, p.219). Dunn quotes
      Wisd.9:1-2.17 to illustrate this; Philo and Justin Martyr can be cited
      to illustrate the same point. And so, an early reader of the Gospel
      probably would not have understood John 1:14 and 1:32 as describing
      separate events. If this were the case, it would also provide an
      excellent background against which to make sense of 1 John 5:6 - but
      that is another story.

      As to whether this makes John's Gospel 'Adoptionist', I see no
      particular problem with that, historically or doctrinally. Reading only
      one of the Synoptic Gospels would not lead one to view Jesus in the
      terms applied to him at the Council of Nicea. Why should John's Gospel
      on its own be expected to have a completely developed and perfectly
      expressed view of who Jesus is, when judged by the standards of later
      Christian orthodoxy? It is the combination of the canonical portraits
      that led to those developments, and that fact doesn't particularly worry
      or bother me...Maybe it should, but it doesn't! :)

      The issue has been discussed at greater length in:
      Watson, Francis, "Is John's Christology Adoptionist?" in L.D.Hurst and
      N.T.Wright (eds.), The Glory of Christ in the New Testament, Oxford:
      Clarendon, 1987, pp.113-124.
      Talbert, Charles H., "'And the Word Became Flesh': When?", in Abraham J.
      Malherbe and Wayne A. Meeks (eds.), The Future of Christology,
      Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993, pp.43-52 [also discussed in his commentary,
      Reading John, pp.73-77]
      Fuller, Reginald H., "The Incarnation In Historical Perspective", in W.
      T. Stevenson (ed.), Theology and Culture (ATR Supplement Series, 7),
      November 1976, pp.57-66.

      Just as one last point, it is interesting to note that, while both
      Watson and Talbert seem to agree that John understood the incarnation as
      occuring at the 'baptism' (which, as we've already noted, is not
      explicitly mentioned in John's Gospel, although few doubt that he knew
      the story), yet Talbert is emphatic that this is NOT adoptionism, while
      Watson concludes that it is.

      I'm interested in discussing this further, so let me know your thoughts!

      James


      *****************************
      Dr. James F. McGrath
      Assistant Professor of Religion
      Butler University, Indianapolis
      http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/
      *****************************



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Pete Phillips [mailto:p.m.phillips@...]
      Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 7:12 PM
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] John the Baptist in the prologue


      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
    • Ramsey Michaels
      James: As to the identification of Jn 1:14 and 1:32, with the so-called adoptionism that this implies: 1. Is it something of a problem for this view that
      Message 2 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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        James:

        As to the identification of Jn 1:14 and 1:32, with the so-called adoptionism
        that this implies:

        1. Is it something of a problem for this view that Jesus says "I" came down
        from heaven (6:38)? And even that the "bread" that "came down from heaven"
        is his "flesh" (6:51).

        2. And is it even more of a problem that Jesus tells Pilate, "I was born for
        this, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth" (18:37).
        Doesn't the parallelism suggest that the Word "came into the world" by
        birth, just like everyone else, not by baptism?

        Ramsey Michaels


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...>
        To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 9:21 AM
        Subject: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue


        > Pete and Kym,
        >
        > One of the main reasons for suggesting that early readers of John's
        > Gospel would have understood the Spirit descending and remaining on
        > Jesus and the Word becoming flesh as the same event is that, in the
        > closest literature we have from both before and after the Gospel of
        > John, Word, Wisdom and Spirit are not clearly distinguished, but seem to
        > be (to quote James Dunn) "simply alternative ways of speaking about the
        > effective power of God in his active relationship with his world and its
        > inhabitants" (Christology in the Making, p.219). Dunn quotes
        > Wisd.9:1-2.17 to illustrate this; Philo and Justin Martyr can be cited
        > to illustrate the same point. And so, an early reader of the Gospel
        > probably would not have understood John 1:14 and 1:32 as describing
        > separate events. If this were the case, it would also provide an
        > excellent background against which to make sense of 1 John 5:6 - but
        > that is another story.
        >
        > As to whether this makes John's Gospel 'Adoptionist', I see no
        > particular problem with that, historically or doctrinally. Reading only
        > one of the Synoptic Gospels would not lead one to view Jesus in the
        > terms applied to him at the Council of Nicea. Why should John's Gospel
        > on its own be expected to have a completely developed and perfectly
        > expressed view of who Jesus is, when judged by the standards of later
        > Christian orthodoxy? It is the combination of the canonical portraits
        > that led to those developments, and that fact doesn't particularly worry
        > or bother me...Maybe it should, but it doesn't! :)
        >
        > The issue has been discussed at greater length in:
        > Watson, Francis, "Is John's Christology Adoptionist?" in L.D.Hurst and
        > N.T.Wright (eds.), The Glory of Christ in the New Testament, Oxford:
        > Clarendon, 1987, pp.113-124.
        > Talbert, Charles H., "'And the Word Became Flesh': When?", in Abraham J.
        > Malherbe and Wayne A. Meeks (eds.), The Future of Christology,
        > Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993, pp.43-52 [also discussed in his commentary,
        > Reading John, pp.73-77]
        > Fuller, Reginald H., "The Incarnation In Historical Perspective", in W.
        > T. Stevenson (ed.), Theology and Culture (ATR Supplement Series, 7),
        > November 1976, pp.57-66.
        >
        > Just as one last point, it is interesting to note that, while both
        > Watson and Talbert seem to agree that John understood the incarnation as
        > occuring at the 'baptism' (which, as we've already noted, is not
        > explicitly mentioned in John's Gospel, although few doubt that he knew
        > the story), yet Talbert is emphatic that this is NOT adoptionism, while
        > Watson concludes that it is.
        >
        > I'm interested in discussing this further, so let me know your thoughts!
        >
        > James
        >
        >
        > *****************************
        > Dr. James F. McGrath
        > Assistant Professor of Religion
        > Butler University, Indianapolis
        > http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/
        > *****************************
        >
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Pete Phillips [mailto:p.m.phillips@...]
        > Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 7:12 PM
        > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] John the Baptist in the prologue
        >
        >
        > 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
        >
        > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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        >
        >
        >
      • McGrath, James
        Ramsey, Thanks for your quick reply. The second text you cite might well be counter-evidence. The first, unless it is taken to mean that Jesus descended from
        Message 3 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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          Ramsey,

          Thanks for your quick reply. The second text you cite might well be
          counter-evidence. The first, unless it is taken to mean that Jesus
          descended from heaven as a complete, flesh-and-blood human being,
          probably doesn't prove anything one way or the other.

          As for 18:37, one of the questions I wrestle with is how the 'I' of
          Jesus and the 'I' of the Word relate to one another. I know that the
          later church answered 'without division, without confusion, without
          separation...', but I am determined to try to listen to John on his own
          terms. John 8:40, in which Jesus speaks of himself as 'a man who tells
          what he heard from God', doesn't sound like the sort of thing one would
          expect the pre-existent Word to say. John Robinson, in his book The
          Priority of John, asks how much of the language of being 'from God' in
          John's Gospel is metaphysical and how much refers to Jesus as a human
          being sent by God. I don't have a clear-cut answer to the question, but
          presumably, in light of John 17:14-18, one is no more obliged to take
          all references to 'coming into this world' and 'being sent into this
          world' to refer to the incarnation, than to view Jesus' followers as
          likewise of literal heavenly origin!

          So I'm not sure that either of the references you cited is incompatible
          with the view that I suggested about Word and Spirit. BTW, am I right in
          vaguely recollecting that we have had this conversation before? :) I
          hope it continues!

          Thanks for your feedback!

          James

          *****************************
          Dr. James F. McGrath
          Assistant Professor of Religion
          Butler University, Indianapolis
          http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/
          *****************************



          -----Original Message-----
          From: Ramsey Michaels [mailto:profram@...]
          Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 10:15 AM
          To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue


          James:

          As to the identification of Jn 1:14 and 1:32, with the so-called
          adoptionism that this implies:

          1. Is it something of a problem for this view that Jesus says "I" came
          down from heaven (6:38)? And even that the "bread" that "came down from
          heaven" is his "flesh" (6:51).

          2. And is it even more of a problem that Jesus tells Pilate, "I was born
          for this, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth"
          (18:37). Doesn't the parallelism suggest that the Word "came into the
          world" by birth, just like everyone else, not by baptism?

          Ramsey Michaels
        • Ramsey Michaels
          Maybe we did have this conversation before. I think I had it with someone, maybe it was you :-) Two more questions: If the Incarnation begins when the Spirit
          Message 4 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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            Maybe we did have this conversation before. I think I had it with someone,
            maybe it was you :-)

            Two more questions: If the Incarnation begins when the Spirit comes on Jesus
            (1:32), does it end when he "gives up" or "delivers" the Spirit in 19:30?
            And does it begin again when he breathes again and says to the disciples
            "Receive Holy Spirit" (20:22)? Ignatius, as I recall, has him "in the flesh
            even after the Resurrection" (Smyrn 3:1-3).

            John does imply in 6:51 and 58 that Jesus' *flesh* came down from heaven,
            and this seems to me not incompatible with 1:14, where egeneto (like the
            other egeneto's in the prolog) probably means "came," not "became."

            Interesting discussion.

            Ramsey
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...>
            To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 10:44 AM
            Subject: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue


            > Ramsey,
            >
            > Thanks for your quick reply. The second text you cite might well be
            > counter-evidence. The first, unless it is taken to mean that Jesus
            > descended from heaven as a complete, flesh-and-blood human being,
            > probably doesn't prove anything one way or the other.
            >
            > As for 18:37, one of the questions I wrestle with is how the 'I' of
            > Jesus and the 'I' of the Word relate to one another. I know that the
            > later church answered 'without division, without confusion, without
            > separation...', but I am determined to try to listen to John on his own
            > terms. John 8:40, in which Jesus speaks of himself as 'a man who tells
            > what he heard from God', doesn't sound like the sort of thing one would
            > expect the pre-existent Word to say. John Robinson, in his book The
            > Priority of John, asks how much of the language of being 'from God' in
            > John's Gospel is metaphysical and how much refers to Jesus as a human
            > being sent by God. I don't have a clear-cut answer to the question, but
            > presumably, in light of John 17:14-18, one is no more obliged to take
            > all references to 'coming into this world' and 'being sent into this
            > world' to refer to the incarnation, than to view Jesus' followers as
            > likewise of literal heavenly origin!
            >
            > So I'm not sure that either of the references you cited is incompatible
            > with the view that I suggested about Word and Spirit. BTW, am I right in
            > vaguely recollecting that we have had this conversation before? :) I
            > hope it continues!
            >
            > Thanks for your feedback!
            >
            > James
            >
            > *****************************
            > Dr. James F. McGrath
            > Assistant Professor of Religion
            > Butler University, Indianapolis
            > http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/
            > *****************************
            >
            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Ramsey Michaels [mailto:profram@...]
            > Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 10:15 AM
            > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue
            >
            >
            > James:
            >
            > As to the identification of Jn 1:14 and 1:32, with the so-called
            > adoptionism that this implies:
            >
            > 1. Is it something of a problem for this view that Jesus says "I" came
            > down from heaven (6:38)? And even that the "bread" that "came down from
            > heaven" is his "flesh" (6:51).
            >
            > 2. And is it even more of a problem that Jesus tells Pilate, "I was born
            > for this, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth"
            > (18:37). Doesn't the parallelism suggest that the Word "came into the
            > world" by birth, just like everyone else, not by baptism?
            >
            > Ramsey Michaels
            >
            >
            >
            > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
          • John Lupia
            ... Dear James: Thank you for the citations on Watson, Talbert and Fuller. However, the essential source for the historical context in which interpretations
            Message 5 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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              --- "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...> wrote:

              > I'm interested in discussing this further, so let me
              > know your thoughts!
              >

              Dear James:

              Thank you for the citations on Watson, Talbert and
              Fuller. However, the essential source for the
              historical context in which interpretations of
              Christology emerged is Fr. Aloys Grillmeier's
              multi-volumed work: Christ in Christian Tradition
              (1965-1997). This work has been much sadly neglected
              and remarkably does not even appear in doctoral
              dissertations on Johannine Christology. This is a sad
              commentary on the poor state of current research.

              John

              =====
              John N. Lupia, III
              31 Norwich Drive
              Toms River, New Jersey 08757 USA
              Phone: (732) 341-8689
              Email: jlupia2@...
              Editor, Roman Catholic News
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News

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            • Horace Jeffery Hodges
              James responded to Ramsey:
              Message 6 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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                James responded to Ramsey:

                <Thanks for your quick reply. The second text you cite
                might well be counter-evidence. The first, unless it
                is taken to mean that Jesus descended from heaven as a
                complete, flesh-and-blood human being, probably
                doesn't prove anything one way or the other.>

                I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh"
                was intended to cover this sort of problem. If the
                fourth evangelist meant that the Logos, which is
                spirit, became flesh, then he could reconcile his
                presentation of Jesus's statment about his flesh being
                from heaven with his view that Jesus was born in a
                human way.

                If the evangelist meant something like this, then his
                view distantly echoes that of some later Gnostics who
                believed, according to Irenaeus, that Jesus became
                incarnate but "passed through Mary like water through
                a tube" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies III, 11, 3).

                Interestingly, this point is noted by Irenaeus in his
                discussion of the Gnostics' use of John's Gospel.
                Could these Gnostics have noted the fourth
                evangelist's use of "the Logos became flesh" to hold
                that Jesus became incarnate without taking on human
                flesh?

                But what did the fourth evangelist mean by it?

                Jeffery Hodges

                =====
                Horace Jeffery Hodges (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley)
                Assistant Professor
                Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                Yangsandong 411
                South Korea

                __________________________________________________
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              • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
                Dear Jeffery, James wrote (to Ramsay):
                Message 7 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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                  Dear Jeffery,

                  James wrote (to Ramsay):

                  <<<Thanks for your quick reply. The second text you cite might
                  well be counter-evidence. The first, unless it is taken to mean
                  that Jesus descended from heaven as a complete, flesh -and-
                  blood human being, probably doesn't prove anything one way or
                  the other.>>>

                  To which you peplied (in part):

                  <<< I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh" was
                  intended to cover this sort of problem.....But what did the fourth
                  evangelist mean by it? >>>

                  I suspect that a good sense of what John meant by it can be
                  found in the opening of 1 John.

                  [1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,
                  which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon
                  and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- [2] the
                  life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and
                  proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and
                  was made manifest to us -- [3] that which we have seen and
                  heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship
                  with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son
                  Jesus Christ.

                  As a further comment, James' words "unless it is taken to mean
                  that Jesus descended from heaven as a complete, flesh -and-
                  blood human being" need some clarification. James seems to
                  want to read John in isolation - I am not sure that even John
                  intended it to be so read. But from the moment of the Spirit's
                  coming upon Mary and the overshadowing of the Most High (Lk
                  1:35), i.e. from the moment of conception, before even the first
                  cell had divided, there was the Word made flesh (cf Lk 1:41-45).

                  The Prologue tells us that the Word pre-existed with God and as
                  God and that the Word became flesh. If God is Spirit (Jn 4:24)
                  then we cannot understand that the Word who was God had a
                  body of flesh with which to descend (as per James statement
                  perhaps slightly misrepresented). If he did then he would not be
                  truly human as we are and as he needed to be to redeem
                  humanity. The Word becoming flesh begins with the conception
                  as I have mentioned. That the Word made flesh rose from the
                  dead and ascended to the Father in truly human form is another
                  - though wonderful - issue altoghether.

                  Sincerely,

                  Kym Smith
                  Adelaide
                  South Australia
                  khs@...




                  S
                • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
                  Dear Jeffery, James wrote (to Ramsay):
                  Message 8 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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                    Dear Jeffery,

                    James wrote (to Ramsay):

                    <<<Thanks for your quick reply. The second text you cite might
                    well be counter-evidence. The first, unless it is taken to mean
                    that Jesus descended from heaven as a complete, flesh -and-
                    blood human being, probably doesn't prove anything one way or
                    the other.>>>

                    To which you peplied (in part):

                    <<< I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh" was
                    intended to cover this sort of problem.....But what did the fourth
                    evangelist mean by it? >>>

                    I suspect that a good sense of what John meant by it can be
                    found in the opening of 1 John.

                    [1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,
                    which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon
                    and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- [2] the
                    life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and
                    proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and
                    was made manifest to us -- [3] that which we have seen and
                    heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship
                    with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son
                    Jesus Christ.

                    As a further comment, James' words "unless it is taken to mean
                    that Jesus descended from heaven as a complete, flesh -and-
                    blood human being" need some clarification. James seems to
                    want to read John in isolation - I am not sure that even John
                    intended it to be so read. But from the moment of the Spirit's
                    coming upon Mary and the overshadowing of the Most High (Lk
                    1:35), i.e. from the moment of conception, before even the first
                    cell had divided, there was the Word made flesh (cf Lk 1:41-45).

                    The Prologue tells us that the Word pre-existed with God and as
                    God and that the Word became flesh. If God is Spirit (Jn 4:24)
                    then we cannot understand that the Word who was God had a
                    body of flesh with which to descend (as per James statement
                    perhaps slightly misrepresented). If he did then he would not be
                    truly human as we are and as he needed to be to redeem
                    humanity. The Word becoming flesh begins with the conception
                    as I have mentioned. That the Word made flesh rose from the
                    dead and ascended to the Father in truly human form is another
                    - though wonderful - issue altoghether.

                    Sincerely,

                    Kym Smith
                    Adelaide
                    South Australia
                    khs@...




                    S
                  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                    Perhaps I was too vague:
                    Message 9 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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                      Perhaps I was too vague:

                      <<< I wonder if the expression "the Logos became
                      flesh" was intended to cover this sort of problem ....
                      But what did the fourth evangelist mean by it? >>>

                      I meant that there can be a difference between stating
                      that "the Logos became flesh" and stating something
                      like "the Logos took on flesh." In the former case,
                      one could claim that the flesh, being
                      spirit-transformed-into-flesh, had in fact descended
                      from heaven in its pre-transformed state. In the
                      latter case, the spirit did not become flesh in a
                      strict sense but simply took on flesh, such that the
                      statement about the flesh descending from heaven might
                      be purely metaphorical.

                      Jeffery Hodges

                      =====
                      Horace Jeffery Hodges (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley)
                      Assistant Professor
                      Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                      447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                      Yangsandong 411
                      South Korea

                      __________________________________________________
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                      Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
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                    • Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@yahoo.com>
                      ... He does not mention Jesus being born. He does later refer to his mother, but such inconsistencies do not seem to have bothered ancient people very much,
                      Message 10 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                        >
                        > I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh"
                        > was intended to cover this sort of problem. If the
                        > fourth evangelist meant that the Logos, which is
                        > spirit, became flesh, then he could reconcile his
                        > presentation of Jesus's statment about his flesh being
                        > from heaven with his view that Jesus was born in a
                        > human way.
                        >
                        He does not mention Jesus being born. He does later refer to his
                        mother, but such inconsistencies do not seem to have bothered ancient
                        people very much, either the learned or the masses. On the other
                        hand they bother us, anyway those of us who think about such things
                        at all, quite a lot. On the basis of the evidence we have, the
                        Christ myth theory is tenable. If you believe in a historic Jesus,
                        the Loisy thesis, that his followers still felt him to be with them
                        in a spiritual way, and a mythology evolved from this, is the most
                        tenable. Je ne crois plus au Pere Noel.
                        Martin Edwards.
                      • GustavSym@aol.com
                        In a message dated 2/4/2003 7:09:46 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... Kym: I appreciate your systematic response to this difficult question. I also find it
                        Message 11 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                          In a message dated 2/4/2003 7:09:46 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                          khs@... writes:

                          > The Prologue tells us that the Word pre-existed with God and as
                          > God and that the Word became flesh. If God is Spirit (Jn 4:24)
                          > then we cannot understand that the Word who was God had a
                          > body of flesh with which to descend (as per James statement
                          > perhaps slightly misrepresented). If he did then he would not be
                          > truly human as we are and as he needed to be to redeem
                          > humanity. The Word becoming flesh begins with the conception
                          > as I have mentioned. That the Word made flesh rose from the
                          > dead and ascended to the Father in truly human form is another
                          > - though wonderful - issue altoghether.
                          >

                          Kym:

                          I appreciate your systematic response to this difficult question. I also find
                          it problematical to see the word-becoming-flesh structurally similar to the
                          "bread from heaven" discourse.

                          kai [h]o logos sarx egeneto: the Word became flesh

                          About this statement, Jeff Hodges offers the following analysis:

                          >>I meant that there can be a difference between stating
                          that "the Logos became flesh" and stating something
                          like "the Logos took on flesh." In the former case,
                          one could claim that the flesh, being
                          spirit-transformed-into-flesh, had in fact descended
                          from heaven in its pre-transformed state. In the
                          latter case, the spirit did not become flesh in a
                          strict sense but simply took on flesh, such that the
                          statement about the flesh descending from heaven might
                          be purely metaphorical.<<

                          I agree that there is a great difference between the two readings explored
                          here. Strictly speaking, translations such as 'took on flesh,' or 'was made
                          flesh' are difficult because *egeneto*, aorist indicative of *ginomai* ('come
                          into being' , 'become' etc), disallows a passive construct ('was made');
                          moreover, 'to take on flesh' is already a commitment to a specific reading of
                          the text that is far more exclusive than the more literal (and grammatically
                          'correct'), 'became flesh.'

                          Nonetheless, Jeff Hodges' metaphorical sense of "descent" informs all
                          Christologies "from above," even though the prologue offers no such motion
                          explicitly. Only from subsequent pericopes( intra-, or para-textually) do we
                          learn of such motion, and these are the pericopes that function as a lens
                          through which the prologue is read. *Egeneto* implies no descent, no vector,
                          no direction from which the "Word" comes; rather it gently implies a *time*.
                          Dimensionally then, the word became flesh not from above but from the
                          beginning (*arche*). Perhaps the structurally essential pericope (as a lens
                          for reading the prologue) is not the "bread from heaven," but the stunning
                          image of time in Jesus' most succinct rebuttal: "before Abraham was, I AM"
                          [Jn. 8:58].

                          Joseph Calandrino (henceforth, Joe C.)



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • John Lupia
                          The Prologue of John contains central key statements or propositions that are essential themes and threads that run throughout the Gospel. A few examples (just
                          Message 12 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                            The Prologue of John contains central key statements
                            or propositions that are essential themes and threads
                            that run throughout the Gospel. A few examples (just
                            enough to give you the hint) are given below.

                            The Johannine Prologue is certainly modeled on the
                            Genesis Prologue where EN ARCH has a cosmogenetic
                            meaning found in antique Greek philosophical writings
                            that predate the supposed LXX translation at
                            Alexandria.

                            Aristotle's Metaphysics 983b11, TOUTO STOICEION KAI
                            TAUTHN ARCHN FASIN EINAI TON ONTON is a discussion on
                            "the first principle element" that signifies the
                            primordial element which in his theory as well as
                            Anaximander's meant "the first principle and cause of
                            all things (creation)". According to Simplicius,
                            Aristotelis physica commentaria 150.23 the concept
                            first appeared in Anaximander.

                            These same Greek ideas were certainly absorbed
                            becoming part of Hellenistic Jewish thinking and St.
                            John saw the value in borrowing them to express the
                            Jewish concept of creation. The Jewish idea is that
                            God spoke the eternal word from which all things come.
                            John 1,1 expresses this in the Peripatetic formula:

                            1.1a EN ARCH EN hO LOGOS
                            "The first principle and cause of all things was the
                            Word.

                            1.1b KAI hO LOGOS EN PROS TON QEON
                            and the Word was with God

                            1.1c KAI QEOS EN hO LOGOS
                            and the Word was God.

                            The first verse is syllogistic with each clause
                            having propositions: 1.1a + 1.1b Q.E.D. 1.1c

                            John then paints a picture that the Word is the
                            creator of all things and humans, and that His life is
                            the light of humankind. The light shone in the
                            darkness but the darkness could not comprehend it.

                            This final note by John is a play on words where the
                            darkness (SKOTIA) is unenlightened humanity. So God
                            sent John (vv. 1-8) who was not himself the light but
                            a witness of it to the world so that could come to see
                            through the eyes of faith that the light was Jesus
                            Christ, whom they did not recognize (v.10), nor
                            accepted (v.11 and repeated in v. 33).

                            However, those who did accept Him (Jesus) he made
                            children of God (v.12). In v. 13 John introduces the
                            theme that this transformation into children of God
                            is not through biological reproductive means (repeated
                            in John 3:3).

                            In v. 14 John tells us that the Word became flesh (KAI
                            hO LOGOS SARX EGENETO = Et Verbum caro factum est)
                            immediately after he just finished speaking about
                            natural human biological birth contrastively with the
                            new birth that Word brings to humankind. The logic of
                            the Prologue is very lucid and clearly shows a
                            pre-existent Christ who became a living man of flesh
                            and blood, themes which John will develop in
                            Eucharistic theology.


                            John


                            =====
                            John N. Lupia, III
                            31 Norwich Drive
                            Toms River, New Jersey 08757 USA
                            Phone: (732) 341-8689
                            Email: jlupia2@...
                            Editor, Roman Catholic News
                            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News

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                          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                            ... The claim implicit within this statement is that you have, at the very least, scoured the Patristic commentary and sermonic tradition on John -- where
                            Message 13 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                              "Big_Mart_98 " wrote:

                              > >
                              > > I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh"
                              > > was intended to cover this sort of problem. If the
                              > > fourth evangelist meant that the Logos, which is
                              > > spirit, became flesh, then he could reconcile his
                              > > presentation of Jesus's statment about his flesh being
                              > > from heaven with his view that Jesus was born in a
                              > > human way.
                              > >
                              > He does not mention Jesus being born. He does later refer to his
                              > mother, but such inconsistencies do not seem to have bothered ancient
                              > people very much, either the learned or the masses.

                              The claim implicit within this statement is that you have, at the very
                              least, scoured the Patristic commentary and sermonic tradition on John --
                              where one would expect any "bother" on the part of ancient peoples to have
                              been expressed -- and have found nothing in this regard. How else would you
                              be able to make your claim with such certainty.

                              So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of -- and what
                              it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic tradition
                              on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                              established your claim actually is.

                              Thanks in advance.

                              Yours,

                              Jeffrey Gibson
                              --

                              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                              1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                              Chicago, IL 60626

                              jgibson000@...
                            • Paul Schmehl
                              ... From: Jeffrey B. Gibson To: Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:51 PM Subject: Re:
                              Message 14 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
                                To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:51 PM
                                Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue
                                >
                                > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of -- and
                                what
                                > it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic
                                tradition
                                > on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                                > established your claim actually is.
                                >
                                This now makes two of us who have requested the same evidence. I hope it
                                will be forthcoming.

                                Paul Schmehl
                                pschmehl@...
                                http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
                              • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                I was wondering, too, and was on the verge of inquiring but decided to wait. Jeffrey Gibson has posed the query much better than I could have. Jeffery Hodges
                                Message 15 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                                  I was wondering, too, and was on the verge of
                                  inquiring but decided to wait. Jeffrey Gibson has
                                  posed the query much better than I could have.

                                  Jeffery Hodges

                                  --- Paul Schmehl <pschmehl@...> wrote:
                                  > ----- Original Message -----
                                  > From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
                                  > To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                                  > Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:51 PM
                                  > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the
                                  > prologue
                                  > >
                                  > > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us
                                  > just how much of -- and
                                  > what
                                  > > it is specifically within -- the patristic
                                  > commentary and sermonic
                                  > tradition
                                  > > on John you have actually read so that we can
                                  > evaluate juts how well
                                  > > established your claim actually is.
                                  > >
                                  > This now makes two of us who have requested the same
                                  > evidence. I hope it
                                  > will be forthcoming.
                                  >
                                  > Paul Schmehl
                                  > pschmehl@...
                                  > http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
                                  >
                                  >
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                                  >
                                  >


                                  =====
                                  Horace Jeffery Hodges (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley)
                                  Assistant Professor
                                  Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                                  447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                                  Yangsandong 411
                                  South Korea

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                                • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
                                  Dear Joe C. I am concerned about the frequency with which I am posting to this list and the time involved in doing so. However, I wonder if you could say a
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                                    Dear Joe C.

                                    I am concerned about the frequency with which I am posting to
                                    this list and the time involved in doing so. However, I wonder if
                                    you could say a little more about what you wrote, especially the
                                    second half which I have enclosed with [[[-]]]?

                                    <<<Jeff Hodges' metaphorical sense of "descent" informs all
                                    Christologies "from above," even though the prologue offers no
                                    such motion explicitly. Only from subsequent pericopes( intra-, or
                                    para-textually) do we learn of such motion, and these are the
                                    pericopes that function as a lens through which the prologue is
                                    read. *Egeneto* implies no descent, no vector, no direction from
                                    which the "Word" comes; rather it gently implies a *time*.
                                    [[[Dimensionally then, the word became flesh not from above but
                                    from the beginning (*arche*). Perhaps the structurally essential
                                    pericope (as a lens for reading the prologue) is not the "bread
                                    from heaven," but the stunning image of time in Jesus' most
                                    succinct rebuttal: "before Abraham was, I AM" [Jn. 8:58].]]]>>>

                                    Now I am a `bear-of-little-brain' and often miss the subtleties that
                                    most see at a glance so perhaps I just can't grasp what you
                                    mean. It seems to me that you are saying that the Word / Son /
                                    Jesus was always in the flesh. I can understand if, by that, you
                                    mean that it was always part of the Father's plan for him to
                                    become one with us in our humanity. However, that is different
                                    from saying that he was `flesh' from `the beginning' (eternally?),
                                    `before Abraham...'. I understand that he took on flesh – or the
                                    appearance of flesh – to appear to Abraham (e.g. Gen 18), but
                                    that is different from `becoming flesh'.

                                    Thankyou,

                                    Kym Smith
                                    Adelaide
                                    South Australia
                                    khs@...
                                  • Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@yahoo.com>
                                    . ... and what ... tradition ... You re right, I haven t read any of it. Perhaps you could refer me to those fathers who expressed concern that John does not
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                      .
                                      >
                                      > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of --
                                      and what
                                      > it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic
                                      tradition
                                      > on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                                      > established your claim actually is.

                                      You're right, I haven't read any of it. Perhaps you could refer me
                                      to those fathers who expressed concern that John does not mention
                                      Jesus being born but later refers to his mother. I should also be
                                      interested to know which fathers were worried by the fact that, in
                                      the Synoptics, Jesus's is mother is called Mary; but, while John does
                                      not name her, he names her sister Mary of Clopas. This would be a
                                      good place to start my patristic studies.

                                      Martin Edwards BA (UEA), PGCE (Hull), RT.
                                    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                                      ... I think before I do, I d like to be sure about what it is that you are owning up to in your admission above. Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                        "Big_Mart_98 " wrote:

                                        > .
                                        > >
                                        > > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of --
                                        > and what
                                        > > it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic
                                        > tradition
                                        > > on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                                        > > established your claim actually is.
                                        >
                                        > You're right, I haven't read any of it. Perhaps you could refer me

                                        > to those fathers who expressed concern that John does not mention
                                        > Jesus being born but later refers to his mother. I should also be
                                        > interested to know which fathers were worried by the fact that, in
                                        > the Synoptics, Jesus's is mother is called Mary; but, while John does
                                        > not name her, he names her sister Mary of Clopas. This would be a
                                        > good place to start my patristic studies

                                        I think before I do, I'd like to be sure about what it is that you are owning
                                        up to in your admission above.

                                        Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your claim about what ancient peoples
                                        were not bothered with has no real grounding (since you have had no direct
                                        contact with what ancient people thought) and therefore was just a surmise;
                                        but also (b) that your claim is wrong?

                                        Yours,

                                        JG

                                        --

                                        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                        Chicago, IL 60626

                                        jgibson000@...
                                      • Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@yahoo.com>
                                        ... ancient peoples ... no direct ... surmise; ... a)My use of the word seem implies a surmise. b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                          >
                                          > Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your claim about what
                                          ancient peoples
                                          > were not bothered with has no real grounding (since you have had
                                          no direct
                                          > contact with what ancient people thought) and therefore was just a
                                          surmise;
                                          > but also (b) that your claim is wrong?
                                          >
                                          > Yours,
                                          >
                                          > JG
                                          >
                                          > --
                                          >
                                          > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                          a)My use of the word "seem" implies a surmise.
                                          b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate that it
                                          was wrong.
                                          Mart.
                                        • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                                          ... Sorry, but this is to shift the burden of proof, a tactic which is unacceptable on academic lists. You made a claim. The burden for demonstrating its
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                            "Big_Mart_98 " wrote:

                                            > >
                                            > > Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your claim about what
                                            > ancient peoples
                                            > > were not bothered with has no real grounding (since you have had
                                            > no direct
                                            > > contact with what ancient people thought) and therefore was just a
                                            > surmise;
                                            > > but also (b) that your claim is wrong?
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            > a)My use of the word "seem" implies a surmise.
                                            > b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate that it
                                            > was wrong.
                                            > Mart.

                                            Sorry, but this is to shift the burden of proof, a tactic which is
                                            unacceptable on academic lists.

                                            You made a claim. The burden for demonstrating its truth, let alone that you
                                            had any right to make it, is yours.

                                            JG
                                            --

                                            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                            1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                            Chicago, IL 60626

                                            jgibson000@...
                                          • Paul Schmehl
                                            ... From: To: Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:48 AM Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                              ----- Original Message -----
                                              From: <big_mart_98@...>
                                              To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                                              Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:48 AM
                                              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue
                                              >
                                              > a)My use of the word "seem" implies a surmise.

                                              This is equivocating. You clearly stated (twice) a belief that the ancients
                                              were not concerned with illogical statements. You *never* indicated that it
                                              was a surmise. Had you stated that it was a surmise, I would have rebutted
                                              it rather than requesting the evidence for your statement.

                                              > b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate that it
                                              > was wrong.

                                              Bzzz! Wrong answer. *You* made the statement. Now *you* get to back it
                                              up. But you can't, because you've admitted you haven't read the patristics
                                              *at all*.

                                              Here's some food for thought. If the ancients weren't concerned with
                                              illogical statements, why do we find so many corrections to the text in
                                              places where the "original" was illogical? Why do we find the clear removal
                                              or replacement of "troubling" statements or "contradictory" statements
                                              (commonly known as "difficult readings")? Why did Tatian write his
                                              Diatessaron? Why was so much work done on harmonization of the texts?

                                              The answers to these questions point clearly in the direction of people who
                                              were troubled by contradictions and illogical statements in the text.

                                              Frankly, I think the assumption that we moderns are "more logical" or "more
                                              rational" than the ancients points clearly to hubris. In some ways we have
                                              never even approached the level of their achievements. Think about it.
                                              *All* modern law is based upon the code of Hammurabi, which dates to 1800
                                              years BCE (and I could easily argue that Hammurabi stole his ideas from even
                                              older civilizations.) All modern philosophy is built upon the foundation of
                                              Socrates, Plato and the other great Greek thinkers. What can modern man
                                              point to that is as lofty as those accomplishments?

                                              Paul Schmehl
                                              pschmehl@...
                                              http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
                                            • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                              [I attempted to send this some hours ago, but my server was, apparently, having problems, so my post bounced.] Big_Mart_98 --
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                                [I attempted to send this some hours ago, but my
                                                server was, apparently, having problems, so my post
                                                bounced.]

                                                Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@...> -- concerning
                                                Jeffrey Gibson's challenge to his statement that
                                                ancient people were unconcerned with logical
                                                consistency -- wrote:

                                                "It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to
                                                demonstrate that it was wrong."

                                                But why should Jeffrey Gibson have to do this? You
                                                made the assertion (originally, in response to one of
                                                my posts), so you need to back it up.

                                                Jeffery Hodges

                                                =====
                                                Horace Jeffery Hodges (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley)
                                                Assistant Professor
                                                Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                                                447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                                                Yangsandong 411
                                                South Korea

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