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[John_Lit] Re: Was[hy] Irony: "Witness" in John (part 2)

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  • kymhsm
    Dear Joseph, I am glad that my post prompted you to respond. I am fine with that. My post
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 24, 2003
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      Dear Joseph,

      I am glad that my post prompted you to respond.

      <<<I am partial to such projects that Joe is undertaking..>>>

      I am fine with that. My post encouraged him to continue and
      acknowledged that I was probably not much value because of
      our different approaches. That does not mean that reasonable
      questions cannot be asked.

      <<< The burial clothes, at this synchronous field of the text,
      *mean* something in themselves -- they are signifiers in play
      with others in the text of John (and other [hebraic] texts.)>>>

      I accept that the graveclothes were significant (signifiers) to the
      disciples who saw them, but at the time what they witnessed to
      remained a mystery. It was not until they had met with the risen
      Jesus that they could understand what the graveclothes meant.
      My question was only about the, I think, fanciful idea of the burial
      clothes being transformed into the `radiant garments' of the
      While I acknowledge the significance of the graveclothes, I do
      not accept that belief in the resurrection was the result of seeing
      them, the whole text is against that as Joe C. acknowledged
      before continuing on the assumption that such faith *was* the
      result. Besides the next verse telling us, `for as yet they did not
      know the scripture that he must rise from the dead' (20:9); the
      disciples did not respond as we should expect if they realized
      the truth of the resurrection. They went home! They left Mary in
      her continuing unbelief (20:13) and didn't even bother to seek
      out the other disciples to tell them (cf 20:25). What ever they did
      believe (probably Mary's report), the resurrection was not part of
      it. (But this has been discussed more thoroughly previously on
      the list).

      <<< Joe is confronting the text as an autonomous entity,
      liberated [at this moment] from the Johannine community's own

      This may be so. I do wonder how legitimate it is (but not if it is
      possible to do so) to extract the Gospel from the community –
      writer(s) and readers – to which it belonged. I do accept that
      there is much to be understood from the Gospel – as the rest of
      Scripture – but I fear that extracting them from their context may
      allow us to read whatever we like into them. We may connect
      different ideas together from the one or multiple authors and be
      able to deduce ideas beyond the single or plain text, but surely
      John had certain things in mind as he wrote. It is that that we
      must come to rather than – as it seems to me that you are
      saying – changing or ignoring the context so as to read from it
      things not intended by its author and possibly (probably?)
      imposed by us upon the text. I am not against speculative
      thinking – I am more guilty of it than most – but I am
      uncomfortable with what I understand about the process you are
      encouraging. I have said before that, like Pooh, I am a
      bear-of-little-brain. My reserve here may just be because I do not
      have the capacity to reach your level of thinking – it would not be
      the first time. Still, I must respond as I am able.

      <<< The most illuminating readings will take place within the
      play between the horizontal and the vertical axis of this text. And
      yet Joe's confrontation with the text remains the primary mode of
      the text's original appropriation: prior to the history, it already

      I am not sure that I understand all of this, especially that which
      follows the colon. My comments, therefore, may be well out of
      line. When you say that "Joe's confrontation with the text remains
      the primary mode of the text's original appropriation" it seems to
      me that you are saying that the original readers only approached
      the text on the horizontal. How can this be so? The writers wrote
      with the understanding of the "play between the horizontal and
      the vertical axis" and expected their readers to understand the
      same. I guess this is more so if, as I believe, the Gospel was
      written, in the first place, to support the faithful *in* their faith
      rather than as a tool to bring people *to* the faith.


      Kym Smith
      South Australia
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