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Re: [John_Lit] Scripture

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  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
    Concerning:
    Message 1 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 2 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
        >
        >
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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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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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