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Re: [John_Lit] Estrada Re: Allegorical interpretation

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Matthew, First, I am not an expert in this area. However, in my cursory reading of your arguments so far, I have not seen much by way of reference to the
    Message 1 of 69 , Dec 18, 2003
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      At 09:38 PM 12/17/2003 +0000, Matthew Estrada wrote:
      >Bob Schacht wrote:
      > > Matthew,
      > > .... If you are
      > > asking the historical/literary question of what the author of GJohn
      > > understood, then... one must follow appropriate methodologies for
      > reconstructing ancient
      > > allegorical arguments.
      >My response:
      >I have been trying to present the interpretation that I "believe" the
      >gospel writer intended for his audience to understand. ...What appropriate
      >methodology for reconstructing
      >ancient allegorical arguments would you have me follow?...

      First, I am not an expert in this area. However, in my cursory reading of
      your arguments so far, I have not seen much by way of reference to the
      methods used in the evaluation of this genre. If I have overlooked your
      references on this subject, I apologize. I would think that for starters
      you should know (and demonstrate knowledge of) allegorical methods used by
      writers who used Greek in the first few centuries of the current era, such
      as Philo and Origen. I'm sure there are authorities who have written in
      detail on Biblical Allegory, but I would expect to read them write phrases
      of the type "GJohn's use of allegory here follows a pattern similar to
      Philo in xx.yy where [description of allegorical pattern or style]," rather
      than "It seems to me that..." It was your use of the latter type of
      reasoning that prompted my protest.

      Let's clarify another point. Just because YOU can interpret GJohn
      allegorically doesn't mean that JOHN intended it to be understood that way.
      For example, I could probably figure out a way to interpret the Gettysburg
      Address in an allegorical way, but that doesn't mean that Abraham Lincoln
      intended it to be understood that way. In order to establish that JOHN
      meant the interpretation to be allegorical, it would help to be able to
      show that the allegorical style and symbolism that John was using was a
      style and symbolism familiar in his day, so that his readers would know how
      to understand what they were hearing/reading.

    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Oh come on, Frank. It is petitio principii to assume, as you do, that what Philo was allegedly up to in his use of (a somewhat different) portion of
      Message 69 of 69 , Jan 4, 2004
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        fmmccoy wrote:

        > Further, this phrase immediately follows this part of Gen 22:4 quoted by
        > So, it is Philo's interpretation of something in this quote.
        > Further, it cannot be his interpretation of the phrase, "at the place
        > (TOPON) which God had told him of"--for Philo interpreted this place to be
        > the Logos. See Som i (65-66), "'He came to the place (TOPON) of which God
        > had told him; and lifting up his eyes he saw the place (TOPON) from afar.'
        > Tell me, pray, did he who had come to the place see it from afar? Nay, it
        > would seem that one and the same word is used of two different things: one
        > of these is a divine Logos, the other God Who was before the Logos. One who
        > has come from abroad under Sophia's guidance arrives at the former place,
        > thus attaining in the divine Logos the sum and consummation of service."

        Oh come on, Frank. It is petitio principii to assume, as you do, that what
        Philo was allegedly up to in his use of (a somewhat different) portion of Gen.
        22:4 in On Dreams is the key to understanding what he was up to when he uses Gen
        22:4 in Migration or that the key to the terms he uses Migration is to be found
        in their use in On Dreams. This never allows for variance in Philo. More
        importantly, it takes no account of how the Rabbinic technique Philo employs in
        both texts -- midrashic appeal to a biblical text as a warrant for some truth he
        has derived from elsewhere -- was never employed as you think it was, with there
        meaning that was drawn by a particular Rabbi from one biblical text always being
        the same one he drew from that same text when employed within a different
        context or argument. Besides that, was not On Dreams written **after**
        Migration? Why do you expect that the meaning that Philo draws in On Dreams from
        a different portion of Gen 22:4 than is drawn upon in Migrations, to support a
        point that is entirely different from the one he is trying to make in Migration
        with the Genesis quotation, is the meaning that the terms of that quote have in

        Have you actually looked at what the purpose of Migration is? Of On Dreams?

        > By elimination, then, Philo's comment, "having passed the greater number of
        > the divisions of time and already quitting them for the the existence that
        > is timeless (which means, "having passed the first two of the three
        > divisions of time (i.e., the past and the present) and entering into the
        > third division of the future that merges into timeless eternity")"

        Um, no it doesn't. It has to do with the Platonic idea of distinctions between
        appearance and reality, and how the true seeker of wisdom will not allow himself
        to be guided by appearance, rather than chronological divisions of past present
        and future.

        > is
        > his.interpretation of this phrase, "TH hMERA TH TRITH". Hence, in the
        > context of Mig (139), Philo allegorically interprets this phrase to mean "on
        > the third "day" of the future"

        See above. And also -- to interpret it this way makes nonsense of the appeal to
        the biblical text and the interpretation he places upon it and of the larger
        context preceding 139 which is discussing ethics.

        > >what on earth makes you think that John's readers, never mind
        > John,
        > > were familiar with The Migrations of Abraham?
        > What makes you think they weren't familiar with On the Migration of Abraham?

        Sorry, but this is a shifting of the burden of proof. So I won't answer.

        > Doesn't there appear to be something anomalous about (5)? Why call it the
        > third day when there already has been a third day?

        It's an idiom, as Barret and others note..

        But knowing that yo won't trust me on what I say above, let me suggest that you
        run your interpretation of Migrations 139 by David Satran, at the Department of
        Comparative Religion at Hebrew University? He is the fellow who has been
        commissioned by the editorial board of the Brill Philo of Alexandria Commentary
        Series (see http://www.nd.edu/~philojud/38.htm) to write the commentary on

        I'd be curious to know not only if he thinks your interpretation of the
        expression in question is correct, but whether he agrees with you that at Jn 2
        John was drawing upon a(n alleged) meaning of TH hHMERAS TH TRITHS that
        **only** Philo gave to it.

        He may be contacted at: satran@...



        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
        Chicago, IL 60626

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