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Catholic Exegesis

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  • Mike Grondin
    Not quite sure why you re so fond of PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS, John. Williamson s work seems to indicate that the RC church s position toward biblical exegesis
    Message 1 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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      Not quite sure why you're so fond of PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS, John.
      Williamson's work seems to indicate that the RC church's position
      toward biblical exegesis has significantly matured in the hundred
      plus years since then. Nevertheless, there remains an ineradicable
      bottom-line - Catholic exegesis requires Catholic faith. One must
      be a Christian believer, lest one's presuppositions make one
      incapable of appreciating those higher truths that only Christians
      can appreciate. Interestingly, this principle is extended to the
      TANAKH as well as the XT! Which means to say: Jews cannot properly
      understand their own books, because they don't interpret them as
      pointing to the coming of Jesus. Sheez! That's on the same order as
      Muslims saying that Christians have got the nature of Jesus all
      wrong. But - oh I forgot - the Christians are right about Jesus
      and all other religions are wrong. Not only that, but non-canonical
      Christian writings aren't even allowed to be considered to have any
      legitimacy. Forgive me for saying that on such a basis "Catholic
      exegesis" leaves much to be desired.

      Mike Grondin
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Concerning:
      Message 2 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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        Concerning:

        <(IBC) F. Fundamentalist Interpretation:

        Fundamentalist interpretation starts from the
        principle that the Bible, being the word of God,
        inspired and free from error, should be read and
        interpreted literally in all its details. But by
        "literal interpretation" it understands a naively
        literalist interpretation, one, that is to say, which
        excludes every effort at understanding the Bible that
        takes account of its historical origins and
        development.>

        In my experience of a broad reading of
        'fundamentalist' literature (at one time, I considered
        writing a thesis on the Darwinian controversies), I
        haven't gotten the impression that they do interpret
        the Bible literally. That would, presumably, mean that
        they don't recognize metaphor, simile, parable,
        rhetorical exaggeration, etc. But they do, generally,
        recognize these things.

        The fundamentalists might say (and sometimes do say)
        that they are doing literal interpretations, but in
        practice, they're doing something else.

        Well, this is rather far off topic, so I'll leave it
        at that.

        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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      • Joe Gagne
        Thank you John for sharing with us these positions of the Catholic Church. It helped me to understand a little more about things I had a lot of questions
        Message 3 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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          Thank you John for sharing with us these positions of the Catholic
          Church. It helped me to understand a little more about things I had a
          lot of questions about. But, Ken, although it does not have a Johannine
          ring to it, it helps one to see ( I admired Father Brown greatly), how
          he was able to remain faithful to what he believed in, and yet be able
          to write so wonderfully on a Gospel that I too have loved for many
          years. I have found all these discussions over the past week to be very
          uplifting as I labor to understand what FG was trying to say.

          Armand J. Gagne Jr., Phd.
          Associate Professor
          University of South Carolina Sumter

          Ken Durkin wrote:

          >----- Original Message -----
          >From: "John Lupia" <jlupia2@...>
          >To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
          >Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 9:15 PM
          >Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Scripture
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >>PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS, par. 23.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >
          >
          >>nothing
          >>can be proved either by physical science or
          >>archaeology which can really contradict the
          >>Scriptures.
          >>
          >>
          >
          >This says more about encyclicals than Scriptures. What is this doing on a
          >site like this?
          >KenDurkin
          >
          >
          >SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • John Lupia
          ... Because it is one of the great masterpieces on Catholic biblical studies. This encyclical still is authoratative and in full force currently being upheld
          Message 4 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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            --- Mike Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
            > Not quite sure why you're so fond of
            > PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS, John.


            Because it is one of the great masterpieces on
            Catholic biblical studies. This encyclical still is
            authoratative and in full force currently being upheld
            by the Holy See and the Pontifical Biblical Commission
            (PBC)and loyal Catholic scholars.

            > Williamson's work seems to indicate that the RC
            > church's position
            > toward biblical exegesis has significantly matured
            > in the hundred
            > plus years since then.

            I do not think this is correct as it is stated without
            qualification since the term "matured" can have
            negative implications and connotations that Leo XIII's
            encyclical reflects an immature view, a view that is
            now out-grown, abandoned and no longer held or valued.
            Williamson would certainly say that Catholic exegesis
            has grown along with the growth in biblical exegesis
            over the past 110 years since Leo XIII wrote that
            encyclical. However, Leo XIII's encyclical contains
            nothing that is not considered valid since it is
            concerning the criteria and norms of Catholic
            exegesis.

            >Nevertheless, there remains
            > an ineradicable
            > bottom-line - Catholic exegesis requires Catholic
            > faith.


            Obviously, that goes without saying, but can include
            any scholar who adopts the criteria, norms and
            methodological guidelines outlined in the various
            Catholic documents. I know of several Protestant
            biblical scholars who follow them to a large extent.

            >One must
            > be a Christian believer, lest one's presuppositions
            > make one
            > incapable of appreciating those higher truths that
            > only Christians
            > can appreciate.


            On presuppositions see Williams CBQ 65 article
            --principle no. 5, pages 335-6.


            Interestingly, this principle is
            > extended to the
            > TANAKH as well as the XT! Which means to say: Jews
            > cannot properly
            > understand their own books, because they don't
            > interpret them as
            > pointing to the coming of Jesus. Sheez! That's on
            > the same order as
            > Muslims saying that Christians have got the nature
            > of Jesus all
            > wrong. But - oh I forgot - the Christians are right
            > about Jesus
            > and all other religions are wrong. Not only that,
            > but non-canonical
            > Christian writings aren't even allowed to be
            > considered to have any
            > legitimacy. Forgive me for saying that on such a
            > basis "Catholic
            > exegesis" leaves much to be desired.
            >

            I think you have misconstrued something amid the
            sources, Mike. This view as stated above is completely
            incorrect.

            See--THE PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION:
            THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THEIR SACRED SCRIPTURES IN THE
            CHRISTIAN BIBLE (2001) available online at:
            http://tinyurl.com/mt3e


            john


            =====
            John N. Lupia, III
            Toms River New Jersey 08757 USA
            Phone: (732) 505-5325
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/
            God Bless America

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          • Jack Kilmon
            ... From: John Lupia To: Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 8:19 PM Subject: Re: [John_Lit]
            Message 5 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "John Lupia" <jlupia2@...>
              To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 8:19 PM
              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Catholic Exegesis


              > --- Mike Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
              > > Not quite sure why you're so fond of
              > > PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS, John.
              >
              >
              > Because it is one of the great masterpieces on
              > Catholic biblical studies. This encyclical still is
              > authoratative and in full force currently being upheld
              > by the Holy See and the Pontifical Biblical Commission
              > (PBC)and loyal Catholic scholars.

              Since this encyclical has absolutely no relevence to history or any factual
              kernels in either the OT or NT writings and since no faith-based instruction
              by any "authoriity" is appropriate for objective textual studies, what is
              the point?

              Jack
            • Bob Schacht
              ... So, in other words, all this dogma tells us more about the Catholic authority structure than it tells us about johannine literature. I think that this
              Message 6 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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                At 06:19 PM 9/9/2003 -0700, you wrote:
                >--- Mike Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                > > Not quite sure why you're so fond of
                > > PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS, John.
                >
                >
                >Because it is one of the great masterpieces on
                >Catholic biblical studies. This encyclical still is
                >authoratative and in full force currently being upheld
                >by the Holy See and the Pontifical Biblical Commission
                >(PBC)and loyal Catholic scholars.

                So, in other words, all this dogma tells us more about the Catholic
                authority structure than it tells us about johannine literature.
                I think that this whole discussion represents a radical detour from the
                purpose of this list, which is not, to my knowledge, a catechism class in
                Catholic Sunday school.

                I congratulate you, however, in declaring your biases so openly, which will
                help us in evaluating your positions.
                In that spirit, I shall declare a few of my own biases, which are more
                Protestant in substance: the priesthood of all believers, such that I
                believe God gave us brains, and expects us to use them to form independent
                judgments, and not merely to rationalize positions decreed by dogma. And
                further, that God gave brains to those who wrote the books of the New
                Testament, such that they were not mere robots, and not mere humans upon
                whom frontal lobotomies had been performed, but living, breathing, thinking
                human beings who were trying their best to understand the Good News that
                had been given to them. And thus, that the books of the new testament may
                have been inspired, but were nonetheless filtered through human minds and
                human hearts who were brought up and raised in a specific culture, speaking
                a specific language (or several such, but none of which was English), and
                that they had to express their inspiration in the language and cultural
                currency of their time and place.

                I respect the work of Catholic scholars such as Raymond Brown, and their
                scholarship, as they struggled to work with the Johannine literature. But I
                reserve the right to come to my own conclusions, and reject in advance any
                condescension about what fate others might suppose awaits me in the afterlife.

                That said, I would now like to get back to a discussion of johannine
                literature, rather than what judgments the Catholic church may or may not
                have declared about its meaning.

                Bob Schacht, Ph.D.
                Northern Arizona University
              • Lee Dahn
                Bob Schacht wrote: I shall declare a few of my own biases, which are more Protestant in substance: the priesthood of all believers, such that I believe God
                Message 7 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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                  Bob Schacht wrote:
                  "I shall declare a few of my own biases, which are more Protestant in substance: the priesthood of all believers, such that I believe God gave us brains, and expects us to use them to form independent judgments, and not merely to rationalize positions decreed by dogma."

                  Bob, how does the doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers" relate to textual interpretation? It seems to me that it refers more to our entrance before God, as opposed to a required earthly preistly mediator (see Heb).

                  Lee


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Just, Felix
                  Let s get back to discussing Johannine Literature, please! Some recent postings have not been appropriate to the non-sectarian, ACADEMIC focus of this group,
                  Message 8 of 29 , Sep 9, 2003
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                    Let's get back to discussing Johannine Literature, please! Some recent postings have not been appropriate to the non-sectarian, ACADEMIC focus of this group, devoted to scholarly discussion of the Gospel and Epistles of John. Some have also elicted off-list complaints to the moderators, so let's try to get back on topic.

                    (But we won't blame Lee alone; his off-topic posting got through due to an oversight by one of the moderators - i.e., me. Sorry!)

                    Felix
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
                    Center for Religion and Spirituality
                    Loyola Marymount University
                    One LMU Drive, Suite 1840
                    Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659
                    310-338-2799; FAX 310-338-2706
                    http://extension.lmu.edu/religion
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: Lee Dahn [mailto:ldahn@...]
                    > Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 9:34 PM
                    > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Catholic Exegesis
                    >
                    >
                    > Bob Schacht wrote:
                    > "I shall declare a few of my own biases, which are more
                    > Protestant in substance: the priesthood of all believers,
                    > such that I believe God gave us brains, and expects us to use
                    > them to form independent judgments, and not merely to
                    > rationalize positions decreed by dogma."
                    >
                    > Bob, how does the doctrine of the "priesthood of all
                    > believers" relate to textual interpretation? It seems to me
                    > that it refers more to our entrance before God, as opposed to
                    > a required earthly preistly mediator (see Heb).
                    >
                    > Lee
                  • Tobias Hägerland
                    Jack Kilmon wrote: 4G ... beginning, ... pre-Markan ... somewhere ... of major ... and 4th ... reshuffling, the ... as three ... different ... there are ...
                    Message 9 of 29 , Sep 10, 2003
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                      Jack Kilmon wrote:

                      4G
                      > is a complex patchwork and multiply edited and restructured work
                      beginning,
                      > in my opinion, with a much smaller Greek translation of an early
                      pre-Markan
                      > Aramaic narrative upon which was fleshed the larger Greek 4G
                      somewhere
                      > around the last decade of the 1st century. Three to four periods
                      of major
                      > redactional activity appears to have occurred between the second
                      and 4th
                      > centuries which includes interpolations, glosses, chapter
                      reshuffling, the
                      > addition of Chapter 21 and re-editing. We therefore have as many
                      as three
                      > or four times, locations, authors and views from at least two
                      different
                      > communities of believers in and outside of Palestine. Of course
                      there are
                      > inconsistencies. How could there not be?

                      What Jack writes is perfectly true, that is, from traditional form-,
                      source-, and redactional-critical points of view. However, there is
                      another way of dealing with the problem, namely from the perspective
                      of narrative criticism. According to the canons of narrative
                      criticism as applied to the Bible, each Gospel presents a unified,
                      complete, and consistent story. Working with this method, we no
                      longer look for different and contradicting voices within the text.
                      Rather, we try to listen to the one voice of the text in its final
                      and canonical form.

                      Even granted that GJohn went through a complex compositional and
                      editing process, we do assume that there was a final redactor
                      who 'published' the text more or less identical with the one we have
                      in our printed editions. To this redactor, GJohn in its final form
                      must have made sense. Had he sensed any real contradictions in the
                      text, he would have endeavoured to resolve them in one way or
                      another. The same holds true for 1John - I cannot imagine that a text
                      that was perceived by the original readers to be self-contradicting
                      would ever have been distributed, read aloud, circulated among the
                      churches, copied, preserved, and finally accepted into the canon.
                      People were not less intelligent in those days than we are now. Their
                      sense of what constitutes an inconsistency may, however, have
                      differed quite a lot from modern scholars'.

                      So my answer to the original question is that we must assume that the
                      NT writers were able to avoid contradicting themselves, by the
                      standards of the day.

                      Tobias Hägerland, M.Th.
                      Ph.D. Candidate
                      Göteborg University
                      Department of Religious Studies and Theology
                    • Peter Phillips
                      Tobias Hagerland comments: Working with this method, we no longer look for different and contradicting voices within the text. Rather, we try to listen to the
                      Message 10 of 29 , Sep 11, 2003
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                        Tobias Hagerland comments:

                        Working with this method, we no
                        longer look for different and contradicting voices within the text.
                        Rather, we try to listen to the one voice of the text in its final
                        and canonical form

                        Yes we do! Narrative critics want to listen to the final voice but you
                        cannot ignore the contradictions or the different registers within the text.
                        I am not sure that there is such a strong distinction between the focus of
                        historical and most forms of narrative criticism. I suppose it depends what
                        breed of narrative criticism you want to use. However, it is possible to
                        suggest ways in which contradiction may have entered into even the final
                        form of a text:

                        a. some authors use intentional contradiction in order to supplement the
                        rhetorical effect of their text. Note Staley's application to 4G of the
                        concept of the victimised reader. In such a reading the author of 4G goes
                        out of his/their way to trip the reader up.

                        b. assumptions no longer shared by the modern reader/critic. I think
                        that this may well lie behind some of the aporias in John - the assumption
                        that the readership of the Gospel knows the other Gospels already - at least
                        in oral form. Since John does not write on a blank canvas, he does not
                        resolve all the gaps within his text, indeed he actually opens up windows
                        onto other texts which he can safely assume his readers know. Problem is
                        that we do not share the same assumed 'encyclopedia', in Eco's terms.

                        c. perhaps, less precise modes of composition?

                        Modern criticism approaches texts in a very clinical manner - dissecting
                        them, reading them from above, reading, as Riffaterre puts it,
                        paragrammatically. We want to see internal consistency and we go through
                        the text with a fine tooth comb searching for the fissures which point us to
                        different authors, lays of transmission, sources. We can, of course, do
                        this with any text whether modern or ancient. There are plenty of fissures
                        in classical texts but I am not sure that we would want to treat classical
                        texts the same way that we treat the NT texts. Do we assume the rather
                        inconsistent and contradictory beginning of an Euripidean play signals that
                        Euripides used another source or that one of his 'disciples' penned that
                        section? It strikes me that classical scholars are a little more
                        imaginative in their appreciation of literary nature of texts than our own
                        (biblical) guild.

                        I wonder whether the strength of narrative criticism is not to ignore the
                        contradictions but to see them within the whole picture. What is the effect
                        of the contradiction on the reader and the reading process? Does it suggest
                        that the reader must know something else? What if they don't know? Do they
                        suspend reading or just wait until the author explains or try and read the
                        text again? If someone reading this email does not know the work of Staley
                        or Riffaterre do they refuse to read on until they have read every book by
                        every Staley? Surely the just put it down to an unfulfilled blank in their
                        reading strategy - too many unfulfilled blanks will cause confusion, but we
                        can all cope with a few and so could ancient readers/hearers. I think it is
                        the reading process that we need to think of - reading the text from within
                        rather than from above. It may be that the incosistencies in Euripides are
                        treated more imaginatively because they do not appear so pronounced on the
                        stage! Instead the reader is swept up by the drama and carried along. They
                        do not have the leisure time that we critics do to dissect the text.

                        Mmmm...just some ruminations...

                        Pete Phillips,
                        Cliff College,
                        Sheffield, UK
                      • Bob Schacht
                        ... This is an interesting reversal of the old canard that NT exegetes hesitate to apply tools of secular scholarship to their holy book! ... It strikes me
                        Message 11 of 29 , Sep 11, 2003
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                          At 08:43 AM 9/11/2003 +0100, Pete Phillips wrote:
                          >Tobias Hagerland comments:
                          >
                          >Working with this method, we no
                          >longer look for different and contradicting voices within the text.
                          >Rather, we try to listen to the one voice of the text in its final
                          >and canonical form
                          >[Phillips replied:]
                          >Yes we do! Narrative critics want to listen to the final voice but you
                          >cannot ignore the contradictions or the different registers within the
                          >text....
                          >a. some authors use intentional contradiction in order to supplement
                          >the rhetorical effect of their text. ...
                          >b. assumptions no longer shared by the modern reader/critic. ...
                          >c. perhaps, less precise modes of composition?
                          >
                          >... There are plenty of fissures in classical texts but I am not sure that
                          >we would want to treat classical
                          >texts the same way that we treat the NT texts. Do we assume the rather
                          >inconsistent and contradictory beginning of an Euripidean play signals that
                          >Euripides used another source or that one of his 'disciples' penned that
                          >section?

                          This is an interesting reversal of the old canard that NT exegetes hesitate
                          to apply tools of secular scholarship to their holy book!

                          >It strikes me that classical scholars are a little more
                          >imaginative in their appreciation of literary nature of texts than our own
                          >(biblical) guild.
                          >
                          >I wonder whether the strength of narrative criticism is not to ignore the
                          >contradictions but to see them within the whole picture. What is the effect
                          >of the contradiction on the reader and the reading process? Does it suggest
                          >that the reader must know something else? What if they don't know? Do they
                          >suspend reading or just wait until the author explains or try and read the
                          >text again? ...

                          It strikes me that the contradictions within NT literature may reflect an
                          ancient Jewish tradition that is reflected in the Tanakh. It is easy to
                          find different literary threads cheek by jowl, placed side by side by an
                          editor who apparently did not feel, as some now do, that nothing is more
                          important than internal consistency. I don't know if the explanation is
                          correct, but I've heard this OT editorial practice explained as editorial
                          reverence for sacred sources. Perhaps we don't expect or allow this with NT
                          scholarship because the time scale is so much more compressed, and we
                          maintain the literary model that each book was written by a single author
                          over a short period of time. Some of the theories of the layers of
                          redaction in GJohn resemble OT editorial theories more than most other
                          books in the NT, but this is usually attributed to the "lateness" of John,
                          giving it a longer time frame to develop than the other books. But what
                          would happen if we looked at NT books differently? Matthew and Luke,
                          conventionally, drew on both Mark and Q. Does this result in the same kind
                          of "contradictions" that are seen in John?

                          Bob Schacht
                          Northern Arizona University


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Peter Phillips
                          Bob wrote aobut OT transmission theories, Interesting ideas Bob. It reminds me of the role of argument in the Mishnah (see Neusner s intro). The point was
                          Message 12 of 29 , Sep 11, 2003
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                            Bob wrote aobut OT transmission theories,

                            Interesting ideas Bob. It reminds me of the role of argument in the Mishnah
                            (see Neusner's intro). The point was not to reach resolution but rather to
                            have the argument. That is not quite the same as finding inconsistencies.
                            However, I think we would agree that ancient authors are less bothered than
                            modern exegetes about such internal inconsistencies.

                            Pete Phillips
                            Cliff College
                            Sheffield, UK
                          • John M. Noble
                            Aren t you putting the cart before the horse when you write ... I had been under the impression that one *started* with the fissures in the text (theological,
                            Message 13 of 29 , Sep 12, 2003
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                              Aren't you putting the cart before the horse when you write

                              > Three to four periods of major
                              >redactional activity appears to have occurred between the second and 4th
                              >centuries which includes interpolations, glosses, chapter reshuffling, the
                              >addition of Chapter 21 and re-editing. We therefore have as many as three
                              >or four times, locations, authors and views from at least two different
                              >communities of believers in and outside of Palestine. Of course there are
                              >inconsistencies. How could there not be?

                              I had been under the impression that one *started* with the fissures
                              in the text (theological, grammatical, etc ...) and from this one
                              concluded that there must have been several periods of redactional
                              activity. One then examined developments in the early Christian
                              church and looked for movements who held differing points of view
                              represented. From this, one concluded how the text had been
                              constructed. I'm not aware of people going the other way round. What
                              is the external evidence, unrelated to the text itself, that proves
                              that the text was written in this way, enabling you to draw such
                              conclusions?

                              John
                            • Jack Kilmon
                              ... From: John M. Noble To: Sent: Friday, September 12, 2003 10:39 AM Subject: Re: [John_Lit]
                              Message 14 of 29 , Sep 12, 2003
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                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: "John M. Noble" <jonob@...>
                                To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Friday, September 12, 2003 10:39 AM
                                Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Scripture (question for J.Kilmon)


                                > Aren't you putting the cart before the horse when you write
                                >
                                > > Three to four periods of major
                                > >redactional activity appears to have occurred between the second and 4th
                                > >centuries which includes interpolations, glosses, chapter reshuffling,
                                the
                                > >addition of Chapter 21 and re-editing. We therefore have as many as
                                three
                                > >or four times, locations, authors and views from at least two different
                                > >communities of believers in and outside of Palestine. Of course there
                                are
                                > >inconsistencies. How could there not be?
                                >
                                > I had been under the impression that one *started* with the fissures
                                > in the text (theological, grammatical, etc ...)

                                Of course. What makes you believe that seams of 4G was not the starting
                                point from which I conclude...as you say...

                                "......and from this one concluded that there must have been several
                                periods of redactional
                                activity." Isn't that what I said?


                                > One then examined developments in the early Christian
                                > church and looked for movements who held differing points of view
                                > represented.

                                The Jesus people (his eyewitness followers, friends and family) DID hold
                                very different points of view than the early Christian (meaning gentile)
                                church. 4G, IMO, spans thiose different cultures, communities and moments
                                in time.


                                > From this, one concluded how the text had been
                                > constructed. I'm not aware of people going the other way round. What
                                > is the external evidence, unrelated to the text itself, that proves
                                > that the text was written in this way, enabling you to draw such
                                > conclusions?

                                I am not sure how you are interpreting me...that the text was written in
                                WHAT way? Are you referring to my contention that 4G was fleshed around an
                                earlier and smaller narrative (proto-John)?

                                Jack
                              • John M. Noble
                                Sorry, Jack: I misread your line of reasoning. I thought that your final sentence was a conclusion drawn from the foregoing, so I read your mail wrongly. It
                                Message 15 of 29 , Sep 15, 2003
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                                  Sorry, Jack:

                                  I misread your line of reasoning. I thought that your final sentence
                                  was a conclusion drawn from the foregoing, so I read your mail
                                  wrongly. It does seem to me, though, that often people start with the
                                  premis of theological inconsistencies in scripture and end up proving
                                  theological inconsistencies based on this premis.

                                  But you raised an interesting point.

                                  >The Jesus people (his eyewitness followers, friends and family) DID hold
                                  >very different points of view than the early Christian (meaning gentile)
                                  >church. 4G, IMO, spans thiose different cultures, communities and moments
                                  >in time.

                                  Wasn't all early Christianity essentially Jewish? Paul, the apostle
                                  to the gentiles was extremely Jewish in his way of thinking. He
                                  didn't compromise at all and bullied those under his charge into
                                  accepting exactly his view. So weren't the gentiles essentially
                                  forced into accepting something that was very Jewish? At least in the
                                  very early stages.

                                  But there seem to have been serious conflicts within this Jewish
                                  circle. I recently saw a suggestion (C.K. Barrett in 'Conflicts and
                                  Challenges in Early Christianity', ed. D.A. Hagner) the idea that
                                  Paul was not only in conflict with Peter, but was, by association,
                                  essentially in conflict with the whole of the inner circle (John,
                                  James, Peter). Barrett believes that these are the 'superapostles'
                                  about whom Paul talks sarcastically in II Cor.

                                  For me, this theory seems to have a basic problem. If the BD was John
                                  and if 4G and 1J reflect his theological standpoint, wouldn't that
                                  mean that John was vaguely anti - sacramental and therefore likely to
                                  be on exactly the same side as Paul about matters related to
                                  circumcision, ceremonies, etc? Furthermore, it had always struck me
                                  that although there is an obvious shift of emphasis between John and
                                  Paul, they seem to be in broad agreement. Does this substantiate the
                                  argument that the BD was not John? Or would this suggest that John
                                  came round to Paul's way of thinking after Paul was dead? Or is there
                                  some less simplistic way of looking at this?

                                  John
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