RE: [John_Lit] Re: Question
- Dear Kym,
Thank you for your response. Let me try to answer your arguments.
> -----Original Message-----The difference in the case of Lazarus is that the statement that Jesus loved
> From: kymhsm <khs@...> [mailto:khs@...]
> Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 1:46 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [John_Lit] Re: Question
> Dear Victor,
> In their message to Jesus, Lazarus is certainly described by his
> sisters as "he whom you love" (11:3). This love was observed by
> the witnesses to Lazarus' being raised to life (11:36). But Jesus'
> relationship with Lazarus was not unique in the sense that it
> seems it was with the Beloved Disciple. Jesus loved Lazarus as
> he loved his sisters, Martha and Mary (11:5); he loved them as
> he loved his disciples (13:1; 15:12).
him is repeated three times. It is fair to count this repetition as an
intentional emphasis. Moreover, it is significant that the statement is made
by three different speakers (Mary, the author, and the crowd). It is as if
the author is saying, "Look, Jesus' attitude toward Lazarus was special, and
we have witnesses."
> Unless we hold the idea that the Beloved Disciple is code forIt is easy to explain why the author is not named within the Lazarus
> someone whom the author of the Fourth Gospel, for whatever
> reason, could not name (e.g. one of the Marys) ...
hypothesis. Just imagine a declaration like, "Hey, I am Lazarus, the Beloved
Disciple of the Lord, I wrote all this!" What would be your natural
reaction? Mine would be, "I don't know if you are the 'beloved disciple',
but you do have an attitude problem." My point is this: the author wanted to
communicate that Jesus' attitude to him was special, but he did not want to
sound presumptuous. This is why he avoided any direct statements regarding
his identity, yet he gave the readers certain clues to figure it out by
(The above argument is based on the assumption that Lazarus is a historical
figure. But it is possible to rephrase it and apply to Lazarus as a literary
figure as well.)
> even if true - could ever be finally resolved, there are someIn 1.35 "his disciples" refers to the disciples of John the Baptist. In
> factors which limit the group to whom the Beloved Disciple
> Firstly, he was present at the cross (19:26). This may have been
> Lazarus but as that one took Jesus' mother to his own home,
> tradition favours John the son of Zebedee.
> Secondly, the Beloved Disciple was among the group that went
> fishing in 21:2f unless he appeared on the beach with Jesus,
> but the failure of the author to mention that anyone was with
> Jesus makes this unlikely. The group that went fishing consisted
> of Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee (i.e. James
> and John) and two others of his disciples (21:2). Lazarus may
> have been one of the `two others of his disciples' but on most
> occasions in John `his..' or `the disciples' refer to those who
> travelled with Jesus, particularly though not exclusively - the
> twelve (6:67,70,71; 20:24).
19.38 we read of Joseph of Aremathea being a secret disciple, hence, it is
not likely that he travelled with Jesus. Nicodemus might belong to the same
category as Joseph. I suggest, then, that "the disciples" in John is
somewhat broader than the group of those who travelled with Jesus. Lazarus
can fit the category of "the disciples" quite naturally.
> Thirdly, the Gospel of John was written by one who hadOn the other hand, the fact that Lazarus was based at Bethany can be a
> witnessed the events (21:24; cf 21:20-23). Depending on how
> precise we want to be, Lazarus could not have witnessed the
> discussions etc in 11:1-42. If Lazarus was based at Bethany and
> did not travel with Jesus, then, according to 21:24, he could not
> be the one who wrote the gospel and so could not be the
> Beloved Disciple.
perfect explanation for why the gospel narrative is focused on the
Jerusalem area, unlike the Synoptic gospels.
Victor M. Kalashnikov
Odessa Theological Seminary, Ukraine
Professor of NT Greek and Exegesis; editor