[John_Lit] Re: Eucharistic eating in John 6:51-58
- [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.
Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges (Inv.) [Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley]
Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
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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 atDitto.
>crosstalk and here.]
>I don't think that the evangelist intends to deny that the eucharist wasWell, I'm not so sure. If there's one near certainty about the Jesus of
>instituted at the last supper; I think that he (most likely) presupposes
>its institution. ...
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;I'm not sure what to make of this.
>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.
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?