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Re: Question about John 4 and Gen24/29/Ex2

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  • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
    Dear Piet, I have not drawn any comparisons with OT well scenes but you may be interested in what I have found, especially as you compare this well scene with
    Message 1 of 20 , Mar 2, 2003
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      Dear Piet,

      I have not drawn any comparisons with OT well scenes but you
      may be interested in what I have found, especially as you
      compare this well scene with what you have called `betrothal
      narratives'. In my book `The Amazing Structure of the Gospel of
      John' I argue that the whole gospel is built on the structure of
      Genesis 1&2. According to this structure Jesus' discussion with
      the Samaritan woman about ground water and living water
      parallels the second day of creation where the waters below the
      firmament are separated from those above.

      The whole narrative is presented in three chiastic structures, the
      first being what I have referred to above. The second is of more
      interest to you and I have included an abbreviated form of it
      below. The Genesis structure climaxes with the making of Eve,
      this means that behind the gospel marriage, and Christ's getting
      his Bride, are important. While the chiastic structure below is
      fairly typical with word, phrase and thematic connections, the b-b'
      is one of the most profound and beautiful connections in the
      gospel. In response to Jesus' command to fetch him, the
      woman says, in b, "I have no husband". In b', which, in the linear
      flow of the text, is related to Jesus' Messiahship, across the
      chiastic structure John has Jesus respond to the woman, "I who
      speak to you am he." That is, despite her past and present
      marriage arrangements, Jesus claims to be her true husband.

      I hope this is helpful for you.

      True Worship (TW) — 4:16-27

      a 16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and COME here."
      b 17a The woman answered him [and said - Gk], "I have no
      husband."
      c 17b-18 Jesus... "...you...had five husbands...whom you now
      have is not..."
      d 19 THE WOMAN SAID TO HIM, "Sir, I *PERCEIVE* THAT you
      are a prophet.
      e 20 Our fathers WORSHIPPED on this mountain...you say that
      in Jerusalem..."
      f 21 Jesus..."...HOUR IS COMING when neither...will you
      WORSHIP THE FATHER.
      g 22a YOU WORSHIP WHAT YOU DO not KNOW; `
      g' 22b WE WORSHIP WHAT WE KNOW, for salvation is from
      the Jews.
      f' 23 ...HOUR IS COMING...WORSHIPERS...WORSHIP THE
      FATHER in spirit and truth...
      e' 24 God is spirit...those who WORSHIP him must WORSHIP
      in spirit and truth."
      d' 25a THE WOMAN SAID TO HIM, "I *KNOW*
      THAT...Messiah...coming (...Christ);
      c' 25b when he comes, he will show us all things."
      b' 26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he."
      a' 27 ...disciples CAME. They marveled that he was talking with a
      woman

      Sincerely,

      Kym Smith
      Adelaide
      South Australia
      khs@...
    • Staley, Jeffrey
      Recently I have been doing some research in the connections between the Samaritan Woman story and Old Testament encounters at wells. I think I have read most
      Message 2 of 20 , Mar 4, 2003
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        Recently I have been doing some research in the connections between the
        Samaritan Woman story and Old Testament encounters at wells. I think I have
        read most of what has been written on this subject in commentaries and
        separate studies in the 20th century. It is interesting to observe that a
        link between the "betrothal" narratives of Gen 24/29 and Ex 2 was commented
        on by Origen in the 3rd century, but then seems to remain hidden from the
        eyes of biblical scholars until the 1960s.


        While I have not read Origen on this text (I think Origen is online, is he
        not? Can you provide a link?) I suspect Origen's take on the scene is quite
        a bit different from Alter's understanding of type-scene. Can you
        elaborate on Origen's p.o.v.?

        I suppose Alter himself would signal some fundamental difficulties here.

        I first heard Alter give his "betrothal type-scene" idea in Berkeley prior
        to the publication of his "Art of," and I approached him afterwards about
        the John 4 story. He did not have difficulty with John 4 as a betrothal
        typescene. In fact, Alter served on my dissertation committee, and in it
        ("Print's First Kiss," SBLDS, 1988), I proposed John 4 as a parody of the
        the betrothal typescene. Perhaps Alter was just being gracious in the
        dissertation defense, however, he did not raise any objections to that idea
        in the diss draft or defense.

        Now my question is about the period between Origen and 1960. Does anyone
        know about sermons or writings from that extensive period in which there is
        mention of a link between the OT encounters at the well and John 4?

        Nope, but check out Adeline Fehribach's book--perhps you already have. She
        has some medieval references therein, I believe.

        Jeff Staley
      • pi.veldhuizen@wxs.nl
        Dear Jeff Staley ... Origen is, as far as I know, online in several limited access digital collections. I found him in the solid 19th century Migne volumes.
        Message 3 of 20 , Mar 5, 2003
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          Dear Jeff Staley

          You wrote:
          > While I have not read Origen on this text (I think Origen is online, is he
          > not? Can you provide a link?) I suspect Origen's take on the
          > scene is quite
          > a bit different from Alter's understanding of type-scene. Can you
          > elaborate on Origen's p.o.v.?

          Origen is, as far as I know, online in several limited access digital
          collections. I found him in the solid 19th century Migne volumes. The link I
          followed was, if I remember well, Andrea Link mentioning Origen in a
          footnote.
          Now the astonishing thing is that Origen in his "Homilia in Genesim X De
          Rebecca, cum exisset ad aquam hauriendam, et occurisset ei puer Abrahae"
          (ancient latin translation by Rufin) draws attention to the correspondence
          of these scenes: first Genesis 24, Genesis 29, and Exodus 2, and in a second
          movement he refers to the Samaritan Woman. Coming to the well, in his
          judgment, is a symbol for coming to the Scriptures, drawing water is
          meditating Scripture, which eventually will lead to the marriage of one's
          soul to God.
          Origen's theory differs from Alter's in that he has no theory about literary
          conventions - he sees the corresponding stories as proof of a universal
          correspondence of forms and symbols within the Bible. But he is the only one
          before 1960, as far as I could find, who draws attention to a narrative
          model shared by these four texts.

          Next, you wrote:
          > I first heard Alter give his "betrothal type-scene" idea in
          > Berkeley prior
          > to the publication of his "Art of," and I approached him afterwards about
          > the John 4 story. He did not have difficulty with John 4 as a betrothal
          > typescene. In fact, Alter served on my dissertation committee, and in it
          > ("Print's First Kiss," SBLDS, 1988), I proposed John 4 as a parody of the
          > the betrothal typescene. Perhaps Alter was just being gracious in the
          > dissertation defense, however, he did not raise any objections to
          > that idea in the diss draft or defense.

          Of course I read the John 4 chapter of your dissertation. I think Alter
          could agree (and I myself would agree) precisely because you called John 4 a
          parody on, and not a specimen of, the betrothal type-scene. Between the
          patriarchal stories and John there is a breach in time and tradition which
          makes simple continuation of the narrative model impossible. John is not
          practising a then living literary form, but playing on a form known from
          Scripture. This is a "secondary" practice as compared to the literary
          practice Alter describes as the origin of type-scenes.

          > check out Adeline Fehribach's book--perhps you already
          > have. She has some medieval references therein, I believe.

          I didn't come across this name. Thank you.

          Kind greetings,
          Piet van Veldhuizen
          pi.veldhuizen@...

          Rotterdam, Netherlands
        • McGrath, James
          Another interesting book dealing with John 4 is Calum M. Carmichael, The Story of Creation: Its Origin and Its Interpretation in Philo and in the Fourth Gospel
          Message 4 of 20 , Mar 5, 2003
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            Another interesting book dealing with John 4 is Calum M. Carmichael, The
            Story of Creation: Its Origin and Its Interpretation in Philo and in the
            Fourth Gospel (Cornell University Press, 1996). I can't remember the
            exact page references, but I do remember that he suggests that the
            references to the 'well' and 'pot' could be regarded as sexual innuendo.
            He takes the conversation to begin on a purely human level, namely as an
            attempt at flirting, and I've often wondered what to make of this.
            Anyone have any thoughts, while we're (almost) on the topic? :)
            Certainly it seems to me that to suggest the Genesis and other betrothal
            traditions are irrelevant is to ignore John's deliberate allusions to
            them, such as the reference to being at Jacob's well at midday, which is
            when the meeting of Jacob and Rachel takes place (Genesis 29:7).

            This last point also seems to me to perhaps suggest other
            interpretations than the traditional 'the woman was a notorious sinner
            trying to avoid meeting people at the well'. Is there any evidence that
            might indicate whether, among the Samaritans as among Jews, wives did
            not have the right to initiate divorce? If so, then the woman at the
            well becomes more of a tragic figure (widowed or divorced many times)
            rather than a sinful one in that cultural context.

            Looking forward to your thoughts,

            James


            *****************************
            Dr. James F. McGrath
            Assistant Professor of Religion
            Butler University, Indianapolis
            http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/
            *****************************
          • kymhsm
            Dear James,
            Message 5 of 20 , Mar 5, 2003
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              Dear James,

              <<<Another interesting book dealing with John 4 is Calum M.
              Carmichael, The Story of Creation: Its Origin and Its
              Interpretation in Philo and in the Fourth Gospel (Cornell
              University Press, 1996). I can't remember the exact page
              references, but I do remember that he suggests that the
              references to the 'well' and 'pot' could be regarded as sexual
              innuendo. He takes the conversation to begin on a purely human
              level, namely as an attempt at flirting, and I've often wondered
              what to make of this. Anyone have any thoughts, while we're
              (almost) on the topic? :)>>>

              It is a little difficult to know just how some terms (e.g. sexual
              innuendo) are to be interpreted and so my reaction to some of
              them may be unnecessarily strong. To say that Jesus (we can
              be less sure of the Samaritan woman) was "engaging in a bit of
              covert verbal coquetry" (Elizabeth's quote from Eslinger) or that
              he was `flirting' seems to me to be going a little far. I suspect the
              drive to bring Jesus' behaviour down to the level of our own may
              be more an attempt to justify ourselves rather than to properly
              understand the humanity of the holy Son of God.

              There is no doubt that marriage or husband/wife imagery is
              important for illustrating the intimacy of the relationship God
              desires us to have with himself. There may not be a more
              intimate picture than Jeremiah 13:11. But while I think it is fine to
              see John 4 as a "betrothal type-scene" or to refer to its `nuptial
              imagery', to speak of Jesus flirting or engaging in coquetry is not
              appropriate.

              That the `the 'well' and 'pot' could be regarded as sexual
              innuendo' is a reflection on the reader more than it is on the
              writer. If you allow that it is sexual innuendo you need also to
              explain why a. the woman had the pot and b. Jesus did not have
              the equipment with which to draw. I raise this only to discount the
              idea of sexual innuendo as per the Carmichael quote, not
              because I wish to pursue possible explanations.

              Sincerely,

              Kym Smith
              Adelaide
              South Australia
              khs@...
            • pi.veldhuizen@wxs.nl
              Dear Fellow Researchers, It is like attending a wedding: you came to see the couple, but behold, during the reception people keep dropping in, some of whom you
              Message 6 of 20 , Mar 6, 2003
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                Dear Fellow Researchers,

                It is like attending a wedding: you came to see the couple, but behold,
                during the reception people keep dropping in, some of whom you never met but
                only heard speak about, others you didn't see for a long time. You would
                almost forget the couple..

                I am delighted to read the contributions on nuptial imagery in John 4,
                although they do not answer the question that stood at the beginning of the
                thread. It is important that the Zimmermanns dropped in and asked attention
                for some lines of thought in German exegesis, and as I studied a
                considerable amount of French literature on this subject, I would hope for
                the French branch of the family coming to the wedding as well.

                I noted Kym Smith's difficulty to accept some of the "sexual innuendo"
                thoughts quoted from Eslinger. Now in my opinion Eslinger is one of those
                exegetes who out of sheer enthousiasm ("Entdeckerfreude", you see we cannot
                do without German), exploring the ambiguities in dialogue that come with the
                nuptial imagery, just couldn't stop. I think erotic allusions are present,
                but the 'status' of erotic allusions then is hard to compare with their
                status now. "Sexual" overtones would never be opposed to theological
                implications of Jesus'words, but rather correspond to them and strengthen
                them. There never was a queen Victoria in ancient Palestine, there still was
                a kind of integrity of human existence unspoilt by puritanism.

                But now let me redefine my initial problem. In the 1960-s the first articles
                appeared that linked John 4 to one or all of the "well stories" in Genesis
                and Exodus. In the 1970-s this movement becomes stronger - most authors
                pleading a connection of John 4 with one of the stories, either Gen 24 or
                Gen 29, or seeing a connection through Jewish post-biblical literature.
                Then, in the early 1980-s, Alter introduces his betrothal type-scene
                concept, and within a few years several scholars apply his concept to John
                4. Already in 1984 Derrett states (exaggeratingly of course) that this has
                become totally commonplace exegesis.
                Now how is it possible that all this started only from the 1960s? It must
                have to do with reading the Bible as literature. But I really cannot imagine
                that in all these centuries Origen was the only reader who noticed a
                correspondence in literary pattern. These are really dark and long middle
                ages!

                I do no want to discourage you all from discussing nuptial imagery in John
                4, but please don't forget to look for witnesses to the "well stories" link
                before the 1960-s - early christian, medieval, renaissance and later. In the
                meantime, go ahead!

                Greetings,
                Piet van Veldhuizen
                pi.veldhuizen@...
                Rotterdam, Netherlands
                My (Dutch language) website: http:\\home01.planet.nl\~veldh395
              • McGrath, James
                Kym, I too am hesitant to get into details about what is hinted at by someone saying the well is deep and you don t have a vessel ! :) I think, to be fair,
                Message 7 of 20 , Mar 6, 2003
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                  Kym,

                  I too am hesitant to get into details about what is hinted at by someone
                  saying 'the well is deep and you don't have a vessel'! :) I think, to be
                  fair, Carmichael is suggesting that the woman is flirting, and that is
                  the human level she is speaking on, and Jesus is attempting to bring the
                  conversation to a higher level. But the truth of the matter is that (a)
                  there is no reason to suggest that there is sexual innuendo in the
                  references to things like 'well' and 'pot' - the betrothal-at-a-well
                  scenario is firmly established without such elements, and they are not a
                  typical part of such narratives (although maybe I need to reread
                  Genesis!); and (b) having both the woman and Jesus speak metaphorically
                  would be atypical of the Johannine misunderstanding motif - cp.
                  Nicodemus, who takes Jesus' words on a literal level, not as the wrong
                  sort of metaphor. So, in other words, I think I'm with you on this one!
                  :)

                  But I still wonder what the meaning of the betrothal-setting is. Perhaps
                  the idea is that Jesus is regathering Israel, and is remarrying God's
                  former bride, the northern kingdom, along the lines of the imagery used
                  in Hosea and elsewhere.

                  James



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



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: kymhsm [mailto:khs@...]
                  Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 9:41 PM
                  To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Question about John 4 and Gen24/29/Ex2



                  Dear James,

                  It is a little difficult to know just how some terms (e.g. sexual
                  innuendo) are to be interpreted and so my reaction to some of
                  them may be unnecessarily strong. To say that Jesus (we can
                  be less sure of the Samaritan woman) was "engaging in a bit of
                  covert verbal coquetry" (Elizabeth's quote from Eslinger) or that
                  he was `flirting' seems to me to be going a little far. I suspect the
                  drive to bring Jesus' behaviour down to the level of our own may
                  be more an attempt to justify ourselves rather than to properly
                  understand the humanity of the holy Son of God.

                  There is no doubt that marriage or husband/wife imagery is
                  important for illustrating the intimacy of the relationship God
                  desires us to have with himself. There may not be a more
                  intimate picture than Jeremiah 13:11. But while I think it is fine to
                  see John 4 as a "betrothal type-scene" or to refer to its `nuptial
                  imagery', to speak of Jesus flirting or engaging in coquetry is not
                  appropriate.

                  That the `the 'well' and 'pot' could be regarded as sexual
                  innuendo' is a reflection on the reader more than it is on the
                  writer. If you allow that it is sexual innuendo you need also to
                  explain why a. the woman had the pot and b. Jesus did not have
                  the equipment with which to draw. I raise this only to discount the
                  idea of sexual innuendo as per the Carmichael quote, not
                  because I wish to pursue possible explanations.

                  Sincerely,

                  Kym Smith
                  Adelaide
                  South Australia
                  khs@...
                • Staley, Jeffrey
                  Origen s theory differs from Alter s in that he has no theory about literary conventions - he sees the corresponding stories as proof of a universal
                  Message 8 of 20 , Mar 6, 2003
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                    Origen's theory differs from Alter's in that he has no theory about
                    literary conventions - he sees the corresponding stories as proof of a
                    universal correspondence of forms and symbols within the Bible. But he is
                    the only one before 1960, as far as I could find, who draws attention to a
                    narrative model shared by these four texts.

                    Thanks for this summary analysis!


                    Of course I read the John 4 chapter of your dissertation. I think Alter
                    could agree (and I myself would agree) precisely because you called John 4 a
                    parody on, and not a specimen of, the betrothal type-scene.

                    Well, in my estimation, if it is a "parody on" it is also a betrothal scene.
                    Think Mel Brook's "Blazing Saddles." The film IS a western, AND a parody of
                    Westerns.

                    Between the patriarchal stories and John there is a breach in time and
                    tradition which makes simple continuation of the narrative model impossible.


                    Really? We have annunciation type-scenes in MT and LK do we not? We have
                    "last testament of the dying hero" type-scenes in John and Luke, do we not?
                    Both of these go back to Genesis also.

                    We should perhaps all read Obrey Hendricks recent novel about the "Woman at
                    the Well" published last month by Harper and Row. Obrey was on the Travis
                    Smiley Show last month (NPR). Obrey has a PhD in NT (Princeton Theo.
                    Sem.??), and I heard part of one of his chapters at a reading he did a few
                    years ago. I believe one of his premises is that the woman's "five
                    husbands" are men either enslaved or "disappeared" by Roman military powers
                    in Samaria.
                    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060000872/qid%3D1046980011/sr%3D11-1
                    /ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/102-6282379-3828158

                    Jeff Staley
                  • Staley, Jeffrey
                    Is there any evidence that might indicate whether, among the Samaritans as among Jews, wives did not have the right to initiate divorce? If so, then the woman
                    Message 9 of 20 , Mar 6, 2003
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                      Is there any evidence that might indicate whether, among the Samaritans as
                      among Jews, wives did not have the right to initiate divorce? If so, then
                      the woman at the well becomes more of a tragic figure (widowed or divorced
                      many times) rather than a sinful one in that cultural context.

                      Jeff Staley writes--I think I have read somewhere on John 4 that yes, what
                      little we know about Samaritan law, they did not allow women to divorce.
                      And anyway, even if she was divorced, what male in a honor-shame based
                      village would marry her after one divorce? I read this story NOW
                      (differently from my reading in "Print's First Kiss"), as a case of Levirite
                      marriage not unlike Tobit or Tamar. The woman has had 5 husbands, all have
                      died. "It must be her fault. She must be a witch/demon possessed." The
                      sixth man (brother) she is living with, is taking care of her--but no dummy.
                      He is afraid to marry her for fear of dying also. So yeah, a tragic woman
                      (probably assumed to be demon-possessed), but also a woman with a voice.
                      This reading does not diminish the betrothal type-scene dimension, but the
                      woman ceases to be a "loose woman."

                      On the issue of wells as fertility/sexual symbols. I believe Alter makes
                      this same point in his analysis of the type-scene--that is, wells were
                      understood as symbols of fertility/sexuality in the type-scene. To see
                      Jesus as a sexual being "playing" with the reader's expectations of
                      betrothal scenes does not impinge upon Jesus' "holiness/purity" so far as I
                      can see.

                      Jeff Staley
                    • John Lupia
                      Bon jour Piet et � tous les membres de la liste: Voici une bibliographie sur Jean 4 Cet index a BASE D INFORMATION BIBLIOGRAPHIQUE EN PATRISTIQUE (BIBP) il
                      Message 10 of 20 , Mar 6, 2003
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                        Bon jour Piet et � tous les membres de la liste:


                        Voici une bibliographie sur Jean 4


                        Cet index a BASE D'INFORMATION BIBLIOGRAPHIQUE EN
                        PATRISTIQUE (BIBP) il inclut les textes patristiques
                        de Jean 4:



                        1.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4 6697 1A192 1927 BHP


                        2./// *15369 1A39 1975 BP


                        3./// cf: Bibel N. T.: "Johannes" 4 all *31647 1A39
                        1982 BHP


                        4.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,1-15 cf: Biblia N. T.:
                        "Ioannes" 4,1-15 lat 17905 1A178 1933 BLP


                        5.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,1-26 cf: Bible N. T.: John
                        4,1-26 ang *37221 1A191 1996 BP


                        6.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,1-30 cf: Bibbia N. T.:
                        "Giovanni" 4,1-30 ita *1342 1A53 1967 BHP


                        7.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,3-14 cf: Bibel N. T.:
                        "Johannes" 4,3-14 all *22464 1A197 1938 BPRY


                        8.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,5-30 *9315 1A50 1969 BP


                        9.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,5-42 cf: Bibel N. T.:
                        "Johannes" 4,5-42 all *34537 1A87 1990 BPR


                        10.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,6-26 cf: Bibel N. T.:
                        "Johannes" 4,6-26 all *32946 1A39 1984 BP


                        11.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,6-42 1578 1A71 1962 BLP


                        12.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,7-15 *2963 1A45 1924 BP


                        13.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,7ss *7552 1P51 1949 BPRZ


                        14.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,17-24 *35923 1A87 1979 BPRZ


                        15./// *35924 1P87 1979 BPRZ


                        16.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,18 cf: Biblia N. T.: "Juan"
                        4,18 esp *3702 1A41 1953 BLP


                        17.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,21 30423 1A50 1983 BPR


                        18.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,31-34 cf: Bibel N. T.:
                        "Johannes" 4,31-34 all 3740 1A51 1925 BP


                        19.(3*) Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,41 * "pleion" [Gr] cf:
                        3* Bible N. T.: John 4,41 * "pleion"
                        [Gr] ang *32248 1A135 1976 BPR


                        20.----- "pleion" [Gr] - "pleious" [Gr] cf: 3* Bible
                        N. T.: John 4,41 * "pleion" [Gr] -
                        "pleious" [Gr] ang *32248 1A135 1976 BPR


                        21.----- "pleious" [Gr] cf: 3* Bible N. T.: John 4,41
                        * "pleious" [Gr] ang *32248 1A135 1976 BPR


                        22.----- $4 ple�ous $ cf: 3* Bible N. T.: John 4,41 *
                        $4 ple�ous $ ang *32248 1A135 1976 BPR


                        23.----- $4 ple~ion $ cf: 3* Bible N. T.: John 4,41 *
                        $4 ple~ion $ ang *32248 1A135 1976 BPR


                        24.----- $4 ple~ion $ - $4 ple�ous $ cf: 3* Bible N.
                        T.: John 4,41 * $4 ple~ion $ - $4
                        ple�ous $ ang *32248 1A135 1976 BPR


                        25.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,43-54 *32468 1A101 1985 AB


                        26.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,46-53 cf: Bibbia N. T.:
                        "Giovanni" 4,46-53 ita 1342 1A53 1967 BHP


                        27.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,46ss *7553 1P51 1949 BPRZ


                        28./// *7554 1P51 1949 BPRZ


                        29.Bible N. T.: "Jean" 4,48 *34474 1A125 1985 BP

                        votre s'enquiert sera toujours bienvenu,
                        a bientot,
                        Jean



                        =====
                        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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                      • Roberta Allen
                        In message , McGrath, James writes ... I think that regathering Israel is
                        Message 11 of 20 , Mar 7, 2003
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                          In message <6CF5E3AFD0738D43B1BB220AA5260B4C01543263@...>,
                          "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...> writes
                          >
                          >But I still wonder what the meaning of the betrothal-setting is. Perhaps
                          >the idea is that Jesus is regathering Israel, and is remarrying God's
                          >former bride, the northern kingdom, along the lines of the imagery used
                          >in Hosea and elsewhere.

                          I think that regathering Israel is certainly one theme present in the
                          story but is by no means the most dominant.

                          There is an allusion to Jacob's betrothal but the many other allusions
                          in the story suggest that the point of including the betrothal story is
                          not to focus on betrothal per se but the purpose, namely God's purpose,
                          behind it which is only now really coming to fruition.

                          The dialogue about Jacob's well sees many key words revolving around the
                          hub of 'living waters'. It may have a sexual connotation but in the
                          context of scriptural allusions such as Jer 2.13 and Deut 33.28 it is
                          much more a complimentary term denoting fruitfulness.

                          So in the first mention of Jacob's well, the specially chosen word was
                          intended to recall that in bringing about this opportune meeting between
                          Jacob and Rachel God intended it to result in fruitfulness. This is
                          supported by the implied reference back to Jacob's dream at 1.51. For in
                          his dream Jacob was promised 'descendants like the dust of the earth'
                          Gen 28.13, the same promise given to Abraham.

                          The whole story is superbly crafted and has so many levels to appreciate
                          it is no wonder that scholars get bogged down following just one or two
                          of the myriad of threads present. Of all the stories in the gospel I
                          find this the most dramatic - the scene when the disciples return would
                          have been riveting at first reading. The readers are informed that the
                          woman hurried off to the village to tell everyone to come and see the
                          Messiah but it is made quite obvious that the disciples do not know
                          this. All they see is Jesus talking with a woman and her leaving
                          hurriedly without her jar.

                          They 'kept on wondering' about this and the expression invites
                          readers to do the same. What intrigue has taken place in their absence?
                          Had this woman enticed Jesus with her womanly ways? Had he responded?
                          There are almost certainly some deliberate innuendoes in the story as
                          pointed out by many scholars. (One not mentioned yet is Alan Watson,
                          Jesus and the Jews: the Pharisaic Tradition in John (Athens 1995) who
                          argues that one of the sources used by John was a Jewish composition
                          which was intended to present Jesus in a negative light. The Samaritan
                          story being central. Possible perhaps - but highly unlikely IMO) I
                          personally believe that this is a perfect example of ambiguity of Jesus'
                          signs in this gospel. Some people will only see the heavily suggestive
                          allusions while others will strive to get behind them.

                          Possibly attempting to change the subject the disciples offer him food
                          and his reply sets them thinking again. His reply recalls both the
                          temptation of Genesis 3 and the temptation of the synoptic Gospels. But
                          Jesus' reply expands the implied allusion to Deut 8.3 to include
                          bringing his work to completion. This then permits the 'harvest' analogy
                          with its 'day of the lord' permutations.

                          It is with the command to 'lift up your eyes' that the full force of the
                          drama is presented. For what the disciples see is all the men from the
                          Samaritan village approaching. Recalling the hurried exit of the woman
                          the disciples may have feared the worst. The situation may have recalled
                          the 'seduction of Dinah' in Gen 34 but then 'lift up your eyes' might
                          recall Gen 32.1 and Gen 33.1 and the hope, perhaps implicit in the
                          promise of John 1.51, of divine intervention.

                          The intention appears to be to recall this vision but draw out the
                          significance of its relation to Jacob's struggle with god in Gen 32 -
                          which is bound up with the reconciliation with his brother.

                          The whole story is cleverly tied in with the concept of Jesus' 'hour',
                          it looks back to the creation story and contains forward allusions to
                          the passion . In fact the whole Samaritan story can be read as analogous
                          to the events of the passion. The story opened at the 'sixth hour' the
                          same hour that judgement was passed on Jesus (19.14). Jesus was thirsty
                          (4.7 cf 19.28) sated by thoughts of completion (4,34 cf 19.28,30). The
                          continuation of the Samaritan story might therefore be seen to be
                          reflected in the remainder of the passion story, the two days that Jesus
                          remained with the Samaritans being in some sense analogous to the days
                          betwixt death and 'the third day'. So the Samaritan woman is Mary /Eve/
                          Spirit in yet another guise.

                          So ultimately the betrothal/marriage didn't continue as could be
                          expected because Jesus was separated from the spirit just as Eve was
                          separated from Adam - the promise of the future is that once again they
                          will become one flesh - Christ and the believers, the Church.
                        • pi.veldhuizen@wxs.nl
                          Dear Jeff, Thank you for this excellent occasion to clarify my thoughts about type-scenes. ... And about my contention that the time/culture gap between
                          Message 12 of 20 , Mar 7, 2003
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                            Dear Jeff,

                            Thank you for this excellent occasion to clarify my thoughts about
                            type-scenes.

                            You wrote about John 4 as parody:
                            > Well, in my estimation, if it is a "parody on" it is also a
                            > betrothal scene.
                            > Think Mel Brook's "Blazing Saddles." The film IS a western, AND
                            > a parody of
                            > Westerns.

                            And about my contention that the time/culture gap between Genesis and John
                            makes things different, you wrote:
                            > Really? We have annunciation type-scenes in MT and LK do we not? We have
                            > "last testament of the dying hero" type-scenes in John and Luke,
                            > do we not?
                            > Both of these go back to Genesis also.

                            What I am trying to make clear (to myself, above all) is, that there is a
                            difference between the 'primary' functioning of type-scenes within a current
                            of living literature, and the 'secondary' possibility, involving a certain
                            distance to this current, to write a parody making use of the type-scene.
                            The deliberately stylized 'Old-Testament'language of Luke 1 shows that Luke
                            is, from a large distance, evoking the annunciation type-scene by then known
                            as a feature of Holy Scripture. He is using known patterns in a reflexive
                            way.
                            That is what John does, too. He is not one of the 'Old Testament'
                            storytellers telling yet another patriarchal betrothal story. The link he
                            establishes between those stories and his own is not a primary one, it is of
                            a reflexive character. The type-scene is an allusive guise under which he
                            brings his message (that is parody) whereas in the Genesis stories there is
                            more 'natural' unity of form and meaning. Perhaps I should also say: there
                            is more explicit theology behind John 4 - there is a sophisticated reason to
                            make use of the type-scene, whereas there is more implicit theology in the
                            Genesis stories.
                            In short: Genesis 29 is not a parody on Genesis 24 in the way John 4 is a
                            parody on both of them.

                            This is a search for words, Jeff, to express what I feel intuitively as an
                            important difference on the leven of literary theory. I trust that this
                            discussion will help me clarify my intuition.
                            Greetings,
                            Piet van Veldhuizen
                            pi.veldhuizen@...
                            Rotterdam, Netherlands
                          • wildwesth@aol.com
                            Paul s sexual metaphor of a woman consorting with a man who is not her husband, or who becomes her new husband as an example of our relationship to Jesus may
                            Message 13 of 20 , Mar 7, 2003
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                              Paul's sexual metaphor of a woman consorting with a man who is not her
                              husband, or who becomes her new husband as an example of our relationship to
                              Jesus may have some relevance here. (Paul (Romans 7:1-6)). Paul uses this
                              metaphor to tell us that our old relationship ends with the death of Jesus'
                              body, but is consummated within with the risen spirit of Jesus. So, perhaps
                              the potential betrothel relationship in John is indeed consumated, but on a
                              spiritual level. Is it possible the author(s) of John used this metaphorical
                              link to the old testament to speak of the spiritual union and fruit? The
                              woman has already had several husbands. She's had a broad range sexual and
                              worldly relations. Her state is in some ways tragic. She is vulnurable. The
                              marriages that are no longer were attempts at something lasting which, for
                              one reason or another, failed. Yet, in some ways she is ready. Jesus offers a
                              better marriage, to a better husband in spirit. In this way salvation may
                              have been intended to be the ultimate marriage, the ideal relationship that
                              worldly relationships inevitably fail to meet. Or, at least, perhaps that is
                              the author(s) intended subtext.The theme that even our closest worldly
                              relationships cannot supplant our relationship to God is repeated in John.
                              Or, could they be suggesting that marriage itself is but a metaphor for our
                              intended betrothal to God?

                              As you say, this episode is a tempest of intent in a teapot.



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • wildwesth@aol.com
                              One more thought: The woman who had many husbands who didn t work out, may also be the state, as was pointed out by someone earlier, of Israel, who had so many
                              Message 14 of 20 , Mar 7, 2003
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                                One more thought: The woman who had many husbands who didn't work out, may
                                also be the state, as was pointed out by someone earlier, of Israel, who had
                                so many bad sheppards.


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Thomas W Butler
                                Roberta, The connections that you draw between the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 and the Jacob stories in Genesis are consistent with the general
                                Message 15 of 20 , Mar 7, 2003
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                                  Roberta,
                                  The connections that you draw between the story of the Samaritan
                                  woman in John 4 and the Jacob stories in Genesis are consistent with
                                  the general thesis that the Fourth Gospel was written using the
                                  language and symbols of the Pentateuch. I understand you to be
                                  suggesting that the themes of the stories of Jacob are being replayed
                                  in the Fourht Gospel. Is it fair to extend your thesis in this way to
                                  apply to the entire gospel?
                                  Would you concur that the semeia of the gospel include Mosaic
                                  oracles from the Pentateuch?
                                  (More questions within the context of your comments below.)

                                  On Fri, 7 Mar 2003 09:37:47 +0000 Roberta Allen
                                  <roberta.allen@...> writes:
                                  >
                                  > So in the first mention of Jacob's well, the specially chosen word
                                  > was intended to recall that in bringing about this opportune
                                  > meeting between Jacob and Rachel God intended it to result in
                                  > fruitfulness. This is supported by the implied reference back to
                                  > Jacob's dream at 1.51. For in his dream Jacob was promised
                                  > 'descendants like the dust of the earth' Gen 28.13, the same
                                  > promise given to Abraham.

                                  Would you care to elaborate regarding the use of imagery from
                                  Jacob's dream (esp. Gen. 28: 12, 22) in the Fourth Gospel? Do
                                  you see, for example, a material connection between these Mosaic
                                  passages and Jn. 1: 51; 20: 12? How about Jn. 11: 11, 38-39?
                                  >
                                  > The whole story is superbly crafted and has so many levels to
                                  > appreciate it is no wonder that scholars get bogged down
                                  > following just one or two of the myriad of threads present. Of
                                  > all the stories in the gospel I find this the most dramatic - the
                                  > scene when the disciples return would have been riveting at
                                  > first reading. The readers are informed that the woman
                                  > hurried off to the village to tell everyone to come and see the
                                  > Messiah but it is made quite obvious that the disciples do not
                                  > know this. All they see is Jesus talking with a woman and her
                                  > leaving hurriedly without her jar.
                                  >
                                  Do you see a material connection between Gen. 29: 9-11 and
                                  Jn. 4: 7, 13?

                                  > They 'kept on wondering' about this and the expression invites
                                  > readers to do the same. What intrigue has taken place in their
                                  > absence? Had this woman enticed Jesus with her womanly
                                  > ways? Had he responded? There are almost certainly some
                                  > deliberate innuendoes in the story as pointed out by many
                                  > scholars. (One not mentioned yet is Alan Watson, Jesus and
                                  > the Jews: the Pharisaic Tradition in John (Athens 1995) who
                                  > argues that one of the sources used by John was a Jewish
                                  > composition which was intended to present Jesus in a negative
                                  > light. The Samaritan story being central. Possible perhaps -
                                  > but highly unlikely IMO).

                                  Would you argue against Watson that the Jewish symbolism used
                                  in the Fourth Gospel is intended to present Jesus in a positive
                                  light (ie: as Jacob revisited?)

                                  > I personally believe that this is a perfect example of ambiguity
                                  > of Jesus' signs in this gospel. Some people will only see the
                                  > heavily suggestive allusions while others will strive to get behind
                                  > them.

                                  I'm confused. Are you not suggesting that one of the cyphers for
                                  the Johannine signs may be found in the Mosaic accounts of
                                  Jacob? If so, then does that not remove some of the ambiguity?
                                  It would seem that such a sign is only ambiguous to those who
                                  do not see a (material?) connection between the Jesus story in
                                  the gospel and the Jacob story in the Mosaic Law.
                                  >
                                  > Possibly attempting to change the subject the disciples offer him
                                  > food and his reply sets them thinking again. His reply recalls both
                                  > the temptation of Genesis 3 and the temptation of the synoptic
                                  > Gospels.

                                  Again I find myself wanting to hear your further reflections on the
                                  connection (if you see one) between Gen. 3 and the gospel. Do
                                  you, for example, see a material connection between Gen. 3: 15
                                  and Jn. 19: 26-27? Would you concur that if the BD is a woman,
                                  as I have suggested is inferred by Jn. 19: 25-27, that this would
                                  be consistent with the use of the imagery in Gen. 29: 9?

                                  > But Jesus' reply expands the implied allusion to Deut 8.3 to
                                  > include bringing his work to completion. This then permits the
                                  > 'harvest' analogy with its 'day of the lord' permutations.

                                  Excellent point.

                                  > It is with the command to 'lift up your eyes' that the full force
                                  > of the drama is presented. For what the disciples see is all the
                                  > men from the Samaritan village approaching. Recalling the
                                  > hurried exit of the woman the disciples may have feared the
                                  > worst. The situation may have recalled the 'seduction of Dinah'
                                  > in Gen 34 but then 'lift up your eyes' might recall Gen 32.1
                                  > and Gen 33.1 and the hope, perhaps implicit in the promise
                                  > of John 1.51, of divine intervention.

                                  Please, elaborate further. Connect the dots, if you will. I like
                                  where I think you are going with this, but it may be that I am
                                  seeing my own thesis being expressed in your work. I don't
                                  want to read too much into what you are saying, but I'm
                                  excited by the possibility that you and I are seeing the same
                                  thing.
                                  >
                                  > The intention appears to be to recall this vision but draw out the
                                  > significance of its relation to Jacob's struggle with god in Gen 32
                                  > - which is bound up with the reconciliation with his brother.

                                  I'm stretching here, but do you see a connection between this
                                  reference in Gen. 32 and the Lazarus story in Jn. 11?
                                  >
                                  > The whole story is cleverly tied in with the concept of Jesus'
                                  > 'hour;' it looks back to the creation story and contains forward
                                  > allusions to the passion. In fact the whole Samaritan story can
                                  > be read as analogous to the events of the passion.
                                  > The story opened at the 'sixth hour' the same hour that judge-
                                  > ment was passed on Jesus (19.14). Jesus was thirsty (4.7 cf
                                  > 19.28) sated by thoughts of completion (4,34 cf 19.28,30).
                                  > The continuation of the Samaritan story might therefore be seen
                                  > to be reflected in the remainder of the passion story, the two days
                                  > that Jesus remained with the Samaritans being in some sense
                                  > analogous to the days betwixt death and 'the third day.' So the
                                  > Samaritan woman is Mary /Eve/ Spirit in yet another guise.

                                  I am looking forward to hearing much, much more of your ideas.

                                  > So ultimately the betrothal/marriage didn't continue as could be
                                  > expected because Jesus was separated from the spirit just as Eve
                                  > was separated from Adam - the promise of the future is that once
                                  > again they will become one flesh - Christ and the believers, the
                                  > Church.

                                  You're losing me here. This is a more orthodox conclusion than
                                  the rest of what I understand you to be saying.

                                  Yours in Christ's service,
                                  Tom Butler

                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • kymhsm
                                  ADVERTISEMENT Dear Spencer, Apologies to you also for the delay in commenting about your post. I think your connection of Paul s thinking is most appropriate.
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Mar 23, 2003
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                                    ADVERTISEMENT
                                    Dear Spencer,

                                    Apologies to you also for the delay in commenting about your
                                    post. I think your connection of Paul's thinking is most
                                    appropriate. I have nothing to add to your comments about John
                                    but I did not wish to leave your post without comment. I think your
                                    questions / observations are exactly what the author(s) were
                                    about.

                                    <<<So, perhaps the potential betrothal relationship in John is
                                    indeed consummated, but on a spiritual level. Is it possible the
                                    author(s) of John used this metaphorical link to the old
                                    testament to speak of the spiritual union and fruit? ……The
                                    marriages that are no longer were attempts at something lasting
                                    which, for one reason or another, failed….. Jesus offers a better
                                    marriage, to a better husband in spirit. In this way salvation may
                                    have been intended to be the ultimate marriage, the ideal
                                    relationship that worldly relationships inevitably fail to meet. Or,
                                    at least, perhaps that is the author(s) intended sub-text. The
                                    theme that even our closest worldly relationships cannot
                                    supplant our relationship to God is repeated in John. Or, could
                                    they be suggesting that marriage itself is but a metaphor for our
                                    intended betrothal to God?>>>

                                    Sincerely,

                                    Kym Smith
                                    Adelaide
                                    South Australia
                                    khs@...
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