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Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue

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  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
    Perhaps I was too vague:
    Message 1 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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    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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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