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Estrada Re: Allegorical interpretation

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  • David Trapero
    ... ... reverse order ... doing ... deliberately ... that the ... narrative or else ... editor ... reader that ... either ... elements based ...
    Message 1 of 69 , Dec 29, 2003
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      > --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "fmmccoy"
      <FMMCCOY@e...>
      > > wrote:
      >
      > In any event, whether the author/editor is alluding to Fuga in
      reverse order
      > or just alluding to Fuga, the question arises as to the purpose in
      doing
      > this...
      >
      > I suggest, (1) if 3:31-36 be original to John, the author
      deliberately
      > alludes to Fuga in 3:29-36 in order to clue in the intended reader
      that the
      > incident with the Samaritan woman either is an allegorical
      narrative or else
      > at least has allegorical elements based to a large degree on certain
      > passages in Fuga, or else (2) if 3:31-36 be by a later editor, the
      editor
      > deliberately alludes to Fuga in 3:31-36 in order to clue in the
      reader that
      > the incident with the Samaritan woman was designed by the author to
      either
      > be an allegorical narrative or at least to have allegorical
      elements based
      > to a large degree on certain passages in Fuga.
      >
      > I'm going to do further research on this idea and try to determine
      if it has
      > possibilities.

      This seems promising. As you've undoubtedly surmised, my bias is in
      the direction of approaching GJohn as containing a solid historical
      core which has been edited and skillfully organized (chiastically?).
      In places (i.e. water to wine, woman of Samaria), the author may be
      intentionally drawing allegorical elements out of his material.
      >
      > (Frank McCoy--Original Statment)
      > > > Well, the basic purpose for John is found in 20:31, "But these
      > > things
      > > > have been written that you might believe that Jesus is the
      Christ,
      > > the Son
      > > > of God, and that believing, you may have life in his name."
      > > >
      > > > Note that the basic purpose of John is not to give us a factual
      > > literalistic
      > > > account, but to make us believe that Jesus is "the Christ
      (i.e., the
      > > > Annointed One), the Son of God."
      >
      > (Frank McCoy--Response)
      > I do not claim above that they are mutually exclusive concepts.
      Nor do I
      > think that they are mutually exclusive concepts. I apologize for
      so poorly
      > wording what I said that you could get this mistaken impression.

      Sorry for jumping to conclusions.
      >
      > (Frank McCoy--Response)
      > Certainly, there is a need to explain *why* the Johannine Jesus is
      so
      > different from the Synoptic Jesus. That the Synoptic Jesus is a
      Jesus who
      > spoke to Galilean peasants in Aramaic, while the Johannine Jesus is
      a
      > Jesus who spoke to sophisticated Hellenistic Jews in Greek while in
      > Jerusalem is one possibility. How likely, though, is it? Also,
      doesn't it
      > imply that Jesus had two messages, one for the peons and one for the
      > intellectual sophisticates?

      Jesus says almost as much to his disciples in Mark 4:10,11, "When he
      was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him
      about the parables. And he said to them, 'To you has been given the
      secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes
      in parables.'"

      I don't have the references at hand but Neyrey (he has several
      articles in the Johannine literature web site) has done outstanding
      work using a sociological/contextual model, highlighting the secrecy
      in GJohn and the contrast between outsiders and insiders and how
      Jesus deals with these two groups. If this is true, then when Jesus
      is addressing the priestly and diaspora crowds in the temple he is
      speaking to them as consumate insiders!

      The contextual, religious and political differences between Galilee
      in the north and Judea in the south could not be more pronounced.
      Also, Jesus' uniquely Johannine discourses begin in the later half of
      his ministry at a time when his "core curriculum" was widely known.
      The profound religious significanse of Jerusalem/the temple cannot be
      overstated. I believe that Jesus is speaking not only in Greek,
      during the feasts (when aproximately 125,000 diaspora pilgrims were
      in Jerusalem, see "Jerusalem in the time of Jesus" by Jeremias, p.83)
      but in a prophetic voice, appealing directly to the priests and
      Levites and diaspora pilgrims for immediate and unequivocal
      acceptance. By this time Jesus enjoyed a very large grassroots
      following in many parts of the Galilee. Galilean supprt/popularity
      was meaningless without Jerusalem/Judea. He was widely known and
      recognized as a miracle worker and Rabbi of exceptional talent. But
      that was not enough. If he believed himself to be the Prophet who
      was to come (like Moses) and the Annointed One (which I believe he
      did), it was imperative that he take his case directly to the people
      of Jerusalem and win them over. It was not so much two different
      messages as two different ways of persuading very different groups of
      people. The Jerusalemites were not impressed with excorcisms or
      parables (Jesus' bread and butter in the Galilee). In John, Jesus
      speaks to the leaders of Jerusalem with a directness and immediacy
      that is startling. It has a very personal, conversational quality to
      it. And it is highly repetitious, redundant to the point of
      distraction. I've recently come to the conclusion that this
      redundancy is the result of the author/editor weaving together two or
      more versions of the same pericope into the lengthy meandering
      discourses that we all have come to know and love. The basic
      grid/template that the editor is working with is the chiastic
      structure (I've come to this conclusion on my own, never having seen
      Kym's work though having heard of it on this site). There are many
      reasons I have for regarding GJohn to be far more historical than is
      usually assumed, many of which arise out of John A.T. Robinson's
      seminal work. In fact, in "The Priority of John" Robinson makes such
      a compelling case for John's historicity in every respect EXCEPT the
      discourses, that I was forced to reexamine my long held position that
      the discourses were pious fiction. The now deeply entrenched,
      politically correct assumption that the discourses are the creation
      of a theologically creative and nimble mind other than Jesus' became
      increasingly suspect. John goes to great lengths time and again to
      correct misunderstandings or gaps in knowledge occasioned by the
      synoptics. He makes explicit solemn claims to judicial veracity
      (19:35; 20:24). If the author/authenticator is John ben Zebedee (and
      I realize that is a big if) then the author has had the people
      closest to him murdered: John the baptist, Jesus, his brother James
      and Peter. He himself faces the likelihood of execution. I don't
      know many people who are willing to die for pious fiction.

      As far as different styles coming from the same speaker, compare
      Paul's sermon to the Areopagus intellectuals in Athens (Acts 17:22-
      31) with his sermon to the hostile mob in Jerusalem (Acts 22:1-21) or
      with portions of First Thessalonians or Galations.
      >
      > In any event, to explain the the major differences between the
      Snyoptic
      > Jesus and the Johannine Jesus, I am inclined to think that the
      Synoptic
      > gospels (especially Luke) are meant to be read as historical
      accounts, while
      > John (to use Origen's phraseology) is meant to be read as
      a "spiritual"
      > gospel.

      I think this reflects the fact that from the earliest times (though
      Origen is by no means very early), people didn't know exactly what to
      do with/what to make of GJohn. "Spiritual gospel" was Origen's way
      of conceptualizing the difference between John and the synoptics. We
      are in good company as we struggle to make sense of this cryptic
      gospel.
      >
      > (David Trapero)
      > > GJohn's audience is composed largely of fence-sitting diaspora
      Jews
      > > in Ephesus. They are educated, intellectually sophisticated and
      well
      > > informed. They know the basics of Jesus' life and teachings which
      > > the synoptics had long ago established. GJohn is an empassioned
      > > attempt to win these intellectuals over to the movement using
      Jesus'
      > > own Jerusalem discourses...

      > (Frank McCoy--Response)
      > Why do you think that the sitz im leben for John is Ephesus? Is
      there any
      > internal evidence in John that clearly points to Ephesus?

      Not Ephesus per se but diaspora Judaism. Definitely. There are
      several references to the diaspora and their critical importance, of
      which we find no parallel in the synoptic gospels.

      Further, if, as
      > you suggest earlier in your post, John primarily is based on what
      Jesus said
      > in Jerusalem, then is not Jerusalem the logical place for John to
      have been
      > written?

      Yes and no. Jerusalem is the place where it originated, where it
      developed partially. I posit five stages to the development of GJohn.

      1) Priests and Levites (Jn.1:19-24) officiating in the temple under
      the auspices of the pharisees recorded as accurately as possible
      Jesus' temple discourses. These priests were sympathetic to Jesus'
      teachings/temple actions. There was deep resentment and a huge
      economic gulf between the priests and the high priestly elite.

      2) During the large influx of priests into the early Jerusalem
      movement (Acts 6:7) John became better acquainted with their unique
      Jesus material (primarily Jn. 5,7-10,12:23-36,44-50) which he later
      incorporated into his own Jerusalem based passion account (John
      12,13,18,19).

      3) Later, when John left Jerusalem he brought his priestly
      notes/material with him to Ephesus/Asia Minor. It is here were John
      adds what would later become known as John chapters 1:19-51,2-4 to
      his Jerusalem/Judean gospel. It is most likely at this point in
      which the seperate discourse accounts (doublets and triplets) are
      combined into their present redundant form. And it is here that John
      gets considerable editorial assistance/input from his Ephesian
      sponsors. The first edition of GJohn is written, used in the
      Johannine community.

      4) After controversies occasioned at least in part by the contents
      of the first edition of the gospel, the editors, with John's
      approval, include 3:16-21,31-36 as well as chapters 6, 14-17.

      5) After John has left the community and Peter has been executed,
      the editors ammend the gospel with chapters 1:1-18; 21.

      So, the gospel is both Judean and Ephesian (granted only external
      evidence for Ephesus and internal evidence for diaspora Judaism).
      There are no longer any extant copies of the early edition of GJohn
      because it was ammended before it was copied and distributed to a
      larger audience.
      >
      > Why do you think that John is later than the Synoptics? There are
      no clear
      > allusions to the revolt of 66-70 in it, which suggests it pre-dates
      the
      > Jewish revolt against Rome and, so, is earlier than at least
      Matthew and
      > Luke.

      I believe that all four gospels predate 70 A.D. The so-called
      prophecy ex eventu regarding the destruction of the temple was not
      fulfilled as Luke described it, which would be odd if the prophecy
      was invented after the the event. At the risk of sounding like a
      John A. T. Robinson fan, his "Redating the New Testament" is
      instructive here, especially the sections dealing with the synoptic
      gospels and their predictions of the destruction of the temple.
      >
      > Why do you think that the intended audience is Jewish? How do you
      explain
      > why the author of John patiently explains what Messiah and Rabbi
      mean (see
      > 1:37-41), as though the intended audience consisted of Gentiles?

      I wouldn't make too much of John's patience. The preponderance of
      evidence that John is steeped in Judean religion, politics and
      culture is formidable. Along with Matthew, John is the most Jewish
      of the four gospels. Given the cosmopolitan nature of Jerusalem and
      the "Ephesian" provenance of the written form of the gospel, we
      should not be surprised if it shows intimate knowledge of Greek
      philosophy and Philo in particular. We should expect it.

      Also, do
      > not the many references to "the Jews" in John make more sense if
      John is
      > consciously being directed to Gentiles than if it is consciously
      being
      > directed to Jews?

      Except for very few (if any) possible exceptions, "the Jews" of GJohn
      should be rendered "the Judeans" in contrast to "the Galileans"
      and "those of the Dispersion/Diaspora" and "the Greeks" of that same
      gospel. Judean in this gospel is primarily a geographical/political
      designation and not an ethnic category. This usage of Judean comes
      from the perspective of a Galilean, living, by this time, among the
      diaspora in Asia minor. From the perspective of Greek educated
      diaspora Jews, Judeans would very likely be seen as unnecessarily
      rigid and conservative, very much the kind of constituency that would
      not take kindly to Jesus' religious revisionism. As the gospel
      progresses and the mood darkens, the Judeans increasingly come to
      symbolize those who refuse to believe regardless of the
      evidence/signs that Jesus performs.

      Regards,

      David Trapero M. Div.
      818 2nd St. PL NE PL # 95
      Hickory, NC 28601
      Dtrap303@...
      >
    • 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
        Migrations?

        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
        Migrations.

        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@...

        Yours,

        Jeffrey
        --

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

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

        jgibson000@...
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