Re: [John_Lit] Irony in John 8:33
- In a message dated 4/7/2003 9:29:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> ? I'm trying to understand howDear Tom:
> you derive from their comment that they don't associate themselves with the
> Exodus experience. Take care.
I read this passage through John 9:28 ("we are disciples of Moses"), where
the evangelist has other Judaeans strongly identifying with a Mosaic
tradition. I find it remarkable, as many others have, that the evangelist
would have some Judaeans deny any history of slavery ( "never enslaved by
anyone"), accessing only the covenant with Abraham. Moreover, I read 8:33 as
a particularly *historical* statement, depicting a self-understanding well
beyond the immediate political situation, though even if the verse were read
as referring to a non-historical(ly informed) present, it would retain its
ironic flavor given the Roman occupation of Palestine during Jesus' ministry.
In short, the evangelist denies these Judaeans a Mosaic tradition by leaving
unsaid anything pertaining to Moses, and by placing a lack of historical
participation in the Exodus---"never enslaved."
Do you read the passage as something like, "We are Abraham's seed, and we
*personally* have never been anyone's slave?" That would certainly disarm the
irony, but is it consistent with the evangelist's overall demeanor?
The irony of the passage seems to depend more on the absence of historical
ownership of the Exodus (and historical identity) than with the following
verses that speak of slavery to sin.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Jn 8:33 is the audience response to what Jesus just
said to them. Certainly, they are not speaking for
anyone but themselves. Their response clearly
pertains to political slavery, whereas Jesus clarifies
things by speaking of spiritual slavery to sin. It is
clear in the text that their initial take on what
Jesus said was mistakenly political in reference to
the current situation with Roman governance of
All the best,
John N. Lupia, III
31 Norwich Drive
Toms River, New Jersey 08757 USA
Phone: (732) 341-8689
Editor, Roman Catholic News
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- Here is a link to what looks like an exciting conference in Scotland!
The conference is entitled "The Gospel of John and Christian Theology".
Speaker include Martin Hengel, Jürgen Moltmann, Rowan Williams,
Richard Bauckham, Miroslav Volf, as well as others. The link to get
more information is...
Vancouver School of Theology
The lion and the calf shall lie down together
but the calf won't get much sleep.
- Jeffrey Siker has an interesting article in the May
issue of the RSN:
I was fascinated by the increasingly thin line between
religion and politics in an administration that holds
Bible studies in the White House.
Relevant to our Johannine Listserve is the following:
<[I]n his September 11, 2002 speech commemorating the
anniversary of the terrible events of what has simply
come to be called 9/11, President Bush made what must
be considered his most disturbing use of biblical
imagery to date. Borrowing imagery from the prologue
of John 1 the President concluded his speech with the
following words: "This ideal of America is the hope of
all mankind... That hope still lights our way. And the
light shines in the darkness. And the darkness will
not overcome it." In this paraphrase from John 1:4-5
President Bush replaces the incarnate Word of God
(Jesus) with America as the light of the world. In one
simple step Bush moves from nationalism to idolatry,
envisioning America as the Word made flesh, America as
the one sent by God into the world. That such language
suggesting the divinization of America can come from
the lips of a sitting President, and one who claims
the Lordship of Jesus at that, is nothing short of
Living outside of the States, I miss out on all this
But is Siker correct about Bush's idolatry? What Bush
"This ideal of America is the hope of all mankind...
That hope still lights our way. And the light shines
in the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome
From this, Siker concludes:
<In this paraphrase from John 1:4-5 President Bush
replaces the incarnate Word of God (Jesus) with
America as the light of the world. In one simple step
Bush moves from nationalism to idolatry, envisioning
America as the Word made flesh, America as the one
sent by God into the world.>
Has Bush committed idolatry? He actually says that
"This ideal of America" rather than "America" in his
paraphrase. Does anyone know the context of Bush's
words? What is the "ideal" that he refers to in his
speech? Is it just a another way of saying "America"?
Or does he mean an ideal that guides America?
Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges (Inv.) [Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley]
Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
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