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Re: Eucharistic eating in John 6:51-58

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  • Mike Grondin
    Hi Bob- I see that you and others are focusing on the switch from FAGW to TRWGW in 6.51-58. That s certainly an interesting question, but it doesn t seem to me
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 1, 2003
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      Hi Bob-

      I see that you and others are focusing on the switch from FAGW to
      TRWGW in 6.51-58. That's certainly an interesting question, but it
      doesn't seem to me to be nearly as hard a question as the one I
      raised, which is this: WHY did the author/redactor use the very
      same verb-phrase (hO TRWGWN) for the Eucharist in 6.54-58 that he
      used of Judas in 13.18? I think I can sharpen this up a bit now,
      with reference to the LXX. Brenton's translation of Ps 41.7-10 is
      as follows:

      41.7: All my enemies whispered against me; against me they devised
      my hurt.
      41.8: They denounced a wicked word against me, saying, 'Now that
      he lies, shall he not rise up again?'
      41.9: For even the man of my peace, in whom I trusted, who ate of
      my bread, lifted up his heel against me.
      41.10: But thou, O Lord, have compassion upon me, and raise me up,
      and I shall requite them.

      Given the reference to "rise up again", it's easy to see why this
      passage would have seemed appropriate. But the Greek of the relevant
      portion of 41.9 is different than that of GJn 13.18. The LXX has:

      hO ESTHIWN ARTOUS MOU (he who eats my bread)

      ... whereas 13.18 has:

      hO TRWGWN MOU TON ARTON (he who eats the bread of me)

      ... which is strikingly similar to a portion of 6.58:

      hO TRWGWN TOUTON TON ARTON (he who eats this bread)

      With apologies in advance for possible errors in transliteration,
      what seems to be important here is that the originator of 13.18 has
      changed the verb of Ps. 41.9, and has then used that very same verb
      in 6.53-58. Of course, it's always possible that we're paying much
      closer attention to the exact wording than he did, but if, as H.
      Jeffery Hodges suggests, the author/redactor placed the Eucharistic
      formula in ch.6 instead of ch.13 in order to avoid connection with
      the Judas reference in 13.18, why would he (the author/redactor)
      have used the very same verb in 13.18 that he's so careful to
      distinguish from FAGW in 6.51-58? Why not use the LXX's hO ESTHIWN
      in 13.18 instead of hO TRWGWN?

      It looks as if the author/redactor of 6.53-58 has deliberately set
      up the very connection with 13.18 that Jeffery H. suggests he wanted
      to avoid. In doing so, he's presented us with a puzzle: on the one
      hand (6.58), anyone who eats the bread of heaven will gain
      unconditional eternal life (if that's what the literal "living to
      the age" means), but on the other hand, if one doesn't eat it with
      a pure heart (as in 13.18), he evidently won't. Hodges posits that
      eating the "holy bread" activated Judas' intrinsic evil (my
      wording), but if so, why not make the "pure heart" condition clear
      in 6.53-58, instead of issuing the unconditionals? Again, a
      difference in verb would have helped to point to this difference,
      but the author/redactor didn't choose to do that.

      Puzzled,
      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI

      Ref:
      > 13.18: hO TRWGWN my bread lifted up his heel against me.
      >
      > 6.54: hO TRWGWN my flesh and drinking my blood has eternal life.
      > 6.56: hO TRWGWN my flesh and drinking my blood remains in me,
      > and I in him.
      > 6.57b: hO TRWGWN me, he also will live because of me.
      > 6.58b: hO TRWGWN this bread will live eternally.

      p.s.: I've made up the sub-verse letter 'b' because I don't know
      where one can find the standard sub-versification. Can anyone help
      with that? (MWG)
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      [Apologies for crossposting, but I just noticed that Mike posted both at crosstalk and here.] Mike Grondin wrote:
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 1, 2003
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        [Apologies for crossposting, but I just noticed that
        Mike posted both at crosstalk and here.]

        Mike Grondin wrote:

        <[I]f, as H. Jeffery Hodges suggests, the
        author/redactor placed the Eucharistic formula in ch.6
        instead of ch.13 in order to avoid connection with the
        Judas reference in 13.18, why would he (the
        author/redactor) have used the very same verb in 13.18
        that he's so careful to distinguish from FAGW in
        6.51-58? Why not use the LXX's hO ESTHIWN in 13.18
        instead of hO TRWGWN?>

        I'd better interject a clarification here. My point
        about the evangelist's placing of the eucharist in
        John 6 rather than John 13 was not to avoid linking
        Judas with the eucharist. Rather, I argue that the
        evangelist fully intended to link Judas to the
        eucharist and to focus upon Judas eating the eucharist
        unworthily. Verse 13:18 requires specificity to act as
        a prophecy of Judas's betrayal, but if the eucharistic
        formula were presented in John 13, with all of the
        disciples partaking, then the specificity to Judas
        alone would be lost since everyone would be shown
        eating the bread.

        I don't think that the evangelist intends to deny that
        the eucharist was instituted at the last supper; I
        think that he (most likely) presupposes its
        institution. Be that as it may, my argument is that
        the evangelist intended the reader to understand the
        morsel that Jesus gives to Judas as a eucharistic
        morsel of bread and that the evangelist made this link
        through verse 13:18, which uses trogein to allude to
        6:54, 56, and 57, which also use trogein.

        I'll have to look again at my article to see if my
        point was less than clear.

        <It looks as if the author/redactor of 6.53-58 has
        deliberately set up the very connection with 13.18
        that Jeffery H. suggests he wanted to avoid.>

        It should be clear by now that the connection with
        6:54-58 is precisely what I meant to show.

        <In doing so, he's presented us with a puzzle: on the
        one hand (6.58), anyone who eats the bread of heaven
        will gain unconditional eternal life (if that's what
        the literal "living to the age" means), but on the
        other hand, if one doesn't eat it with a pure heart
        (as in 13.18), he evidently won't. Hodges posits that
        eating the "holy bread" activated Judas' intrinsic
        evil (my wording), but if so, why not make the "pure
        heart" condition clear in 6.53-58, instead of issuing
        the unconditionals? Again, a difference in verb would
        have helped to point to this difference, but the
        author/redactor didn't choose to do that.>

        This is a good question. Partly, it's what my article
        intended to explore through the interrelated concepts
        of holy/common and impure/pure. The holy and the
        impure are at odds with each other, and Judas, by not
        truly belonging to the community, is an impure
        outsider who has already inwardly chosen to follow
        Satan (6:70; 13:2)

        But we could also look at 6:47, which states that the
        one who believes has eternal life. The evangelist
        closely links believing and eating. Both proper faith
        and sacrament seem to be important for the evangelist.

        Jeffery Hodges

        =====
        Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges (Inv.) [Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley]
        Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
        447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
        Yangsandong 411
        South Korea

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      • Bob Schacht
        ... Ditto. [snip] ... Well, I m not so sure. If there s one near certainty about the Jesus of history, it was traveling around with his disciples, which would
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 1, 2003
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          At 02:31 PM 9/1/2003 -0700, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
          >[Apologies for crossposting, but I just noticed that Mike posted both at
          >crosstalk and here.]

          Ditto.
          [snip]


          >I don't think that the evangelist intends to deny that the eucharist was
          >instituted at the last supper; I think that he (most likely) presupposes
          >its institution. ...

          Well, I'm not so sure. If there's one near certainty about the Jesus of
          history, it was traveling around with his disciples, which would have
          involved table fellowship. Indeed, there are many anecdotes about eating.
          The question of course, is about the "Institution," whether after traveling
          around with his friends for years, Jesus all of a sudden springs the
          Institution on them? I think that perhaps one of the purposes that the
          author of GJohn had in mind was to foreshadow the Institution, and to
          suggest that the basic ideas behind the Institution were developing.

          Also, it seems to me that the choice of hO TRWGWN by John was meant to
          stress that 'eating with' meant communion; it was not sufficient to have
          done it just once, as with baptism. Of no particular relevance is the
          English idiom "to chew on," as in "You think that's weird. Well, I'll
          really give you something to chew on," meaning a challenging idea that
          really requires thoughtful rumination. The background metaphor, I think, is
          the dog chewing on a bone. Sure is different from celebrating communion
          with a wafer.

          As for Mike Grondin's point,
          >The four occurrences of hO TRWGWN in 6.54-58 are unconditional statements;
          >one supposedly gets the benefits mentioned
          >by the mere fact of "eating the flesh/bread" in a deliberative way (on
          >your account). Judas evidently does that in 13.18, and yet
          >(apparently) gets none of the benefits. *Of course*, it's because he has
          >an impure heart, but 6.54-58 in itself says nothing of
          >failing to get the benefits if one has an impure heart. Therefore, I think
          >we need to look elsewhere in GJn for an explanation of the anomaly.

          I'm not sure what to make of this.

          We need to remember that the author of GJohn was not only writing *about*
          someone who was no longer with them in the body, but writing *to*
          contemporary followers of Jesus. What did these issues mean to *them,* and
          how does that affect telling the story? The problem of Judas was a problem
          for them, too. You can't really introduce a theology of communion right at
          the point where you know someone's going to cheat on it. You need to
          establish the general concept more in the abstract, yet concretely, as in
          John 6:51-58. The problem of what happens when the communion is violated is
          a separate issue. The synoptics present both issues at once, which somewhat
          confuses things, doesn't it?

          Bob
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