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[John_Lit] Re: Eucharistic eating in John 6:51-58

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  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
    [Apologies for crossposting, but I just noticed that Mike posted both at crosstalk and here.] Mike Grondin wrote:
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 1, 2003
      [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 2 of 4 , Sep 1, 2003
        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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