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Re: [John_Lit] The Third Day

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  • Matthew Estrada
    frideslameris wrote: Hi Matthew (and other list members) I m coming in late in this thread, but if not on the first day ... I have great
    Message 1 of 69 , Jan 2, 2004
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      frideslameris <lameris46@...> wrote:

      Hi Matthew (and other list members)

      I'm coming in late in this thread, but if not on the first day ...

      I have great interest in Jn 2:1-11 and have read through
      parts of your essay. Your interpretation reminds me much
      of the old saying: scriptura scripturae interpres, which has
      something to it, but is unacceptable to me when historical
      facts are in danger to be sacrificed for interpretational matters.
      Please see also below.


      re yr Message 3927 Tue Dec 30, 2003 6:00

      You wrote to Mike Grondin (a.o.)

      >On the superficial level, we might mistakenly understand the Cana
      >Miracle as an actual historical event (changing of physical water into
      >physical wine), ...

      You mean, we put all miracles out of the gospels as having
      no (historical) reality?

      I put it broader. Why does there seem to exist a need for you to
      prefer the allegorical meaning over the historical one?

      My response:

      Hello Frides,
      This question can be turned around to ask, "Why is there such a need in others to hold tight to an historical meaning when the evidence seems to point in the other direction- namely, that the story should be read as symbolic?"

      When I first came to the gospels, I, in faith, accepted the stories as literal happenings. However, as time passed, I began to understand many of the stories in the gospels as symbolic. This new understanding did not damage my faith. I came to realize that reason and faith are not mutually exclusive. The interpretation that I have presented shows the Evangelist to have been a believer in Jesus' resurrection and what Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection- the changing of the water/the Law and the Prophets/the Old into wine/the Holy Spirit/the New. In short, there is no "need" within me to deny the historical, but Reason tells me that the Cana Miracle (as well as other stories) are not to be understood/believed as having happened on the literal level.

      Frides wrote:

      In my vision of the Fourth Gospel , John may have his spiritual
      interpretational eyes most on the Unified Field - God - level, but
      why should he become incorrect in rendering historical matters?

      Who invented this myth that the gospel writers as almost by
      definition would sacrifice history for making allegories?

      My response:
      I do not view John as "incorrect" in rendering historical matters. Rather, I view "the Church" as incorrect in having assumed that John is relating historical events. John, in my opinion, never intended that his audience believe this story to have literally occurred. Therefore, the error is ours- not his. Why do we assume and insist that someone could not have written about historical events and their meanings via allegory?

      Matthew Estrada

      113 Laurel Court

      Peachtree City, Ga 30269

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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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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