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Re: [John_Lit] Re: John & the Infancy Gospels

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  • Bill Bullin
    ... Bill Bullin suggests: If we assume for a moment that the BD was not merely a literary fiction and if we also assume that there could be some historical
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 15, 2004
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      ----- Original Message -----



      > Joseph asks:
      > "Is there a way of deciding between these two possibilities?"
      > John replies:
      > Probably not.

      Bill Bullin suggests: If we assume for a moment that the BD was not merely a
      literary fiction
      and if we also assume that there could be some historical merit in John 19:
      25-27, granted these are too big 'ifs' for the historian, then might we not
      reasonably assume that the woman who gave birth to Jesus stood at the centre
      of the Johannine circles, together with the BD? This being the case is it
      not then reasonable to assume that she might have some knowledge or interest
      in the topic and that this might have some bearing on the original question,
      particularly if John 19 belongs to a first edition of John, written in
      Palestine prior to the Jewish War? If the question of where Jesus was born
      was asked in the community where Jesus' mother lived, it may help illuminate
      the nature of the question.

      Also of interest might be John 1:6 if it alludes to Judges 13.

      I am merely suggesting that these two, possibly relevant references, should
      be factored into any attempt to resolve the question. It is not a crude
      attempt to merely harmonise.

      I think there is substantial historical tradition in the Fourth Gospel
      but that it lies at a much deeper level than is often assumed. For example,
      if there is an underlying reference to ABBA in John 17, may this and Romans
      8:15, each bear historical testimony to the kind of merkavah mysticism I
      argue underlies this Higher Wisdom Gospel? May they not both bear historical
      witness to a mystical approach based on 2 Kings 2:12, if we assume that the
      ambiguity in this passage may have been taken as a spontaneous cry not to
      father Elijah but to the Chariot Rider, raising issues about Philo's chariot
      reference to Wisdom too? I recognise I am in danger of mixed messaging for
      which I apologise.

      Bill Bullin (Student, East Sussex).
    • Joseph Codsi
      ... Mike Grondin wrote: The wording of the second possibility is hard to decipher . Let me rephrase my statement concerning the second possibility. John
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 16, 2004
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        In his comment on my following statement:
        > The fact that John leaves the third question unanswered can mean
        > that either he did not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, or
        > that he did not consider this kind of allegation to be historical.
        > Is there a way of deciding between these two possibilities?


        Mike Grondin wrote:

        "The wording of the second possibility is hard to decipher".

        Let me rephrase my statement concerning the second possibility.

        "John" knew the allegations made in the infancy gospels, namely that Jesus
        was a blood descendant of David and was born in Bethlehem. For some reason,
        however, he would not use this sort of information to rebut the objection
        which is raised in 7:41-42. Could that be because he did not consider what
        is stated in the infancy gospels reliable enough from a historical point of
        view?

        Is there a way of answering this question at all? Some don't think this can
        be done. Mike's comments gave me a new idea. Here is what he wrote:

        "If what you mean is whether John did or did not believe that Jesus
        had been born in Bethlehem (which is not, of course, an established
        fact, inerrantists to the contrary notwithstanding), then I think
        that John's effort to replace the question of earthly origins with
        that of heavenly origins (ref 7:28) may indicate that he didn't know
        one way or the other, and that he didn't much care in any case."

        What I find interesting here is the distinction between earthly and heavenly
        origins. John makes this distinction when he answers the second question
        that is raised in chapter 7. Here is the objection:

        "We know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will
        know where he is from." (7:27)

        In his answer to this objection, John does not deny the "We know where this
        man is from." He is from Nazareth in Galilee. He is from a specific family.
        The people who knew Jesus could say, "We know his parents, his brothers and
        sisters." All this corresponds to facts that John would not deny. His answer
        to the objection consists in saying, "Yes, you know the earthly origins of
        Jesus, but what matters here is his heavenly origin. You know nothing about
        this other origin. In order to be able to tell whether Jesus is the Messiah
        or not, you should consider his heavenly origin.

        What is interesting here is the logic that is followed. It consists in
        acknowledging the facts that are stated concerning the earthly dimension of
        Jesus and in rending the objection worthless by switching to the spiritual
        dimension. In relation to the physical dimension, Jesus is "of Nazareth" and
        "of Joseph" (cf. John 1:45). But in relation to the spiritual dimension,
        Jesus is "from Heaven" and "from God".

        The same pattern is followed in the treatment of the first question. This
        time people wander about Jesus' education. He did not even go to grammar
        school and yet he shows the abilities of a university professor. John
        explains this amazing thing by admitting that Jesus did not attend any human
        school. His learning is of a different kind. It stems from the special
        relation that exists between him and God. This is how John argues his case.

        Let's go back now to the third question. What is strange is that he leaves
        it unanswered. This does not fit the johannine pattern. John is a tough
        logician and a powerful theologian. Nothing is too difficult for him. He has
        answers to all the questions he raises, from the beginning to the end of his
        theological discourse. To say that he did not know the answer to the third
        question or that he did not care to resolve it does not fit the johannine
        pattern. If he did not know the answer or did not care to discuss the
        objection, why mention it at all? In order to account for this apparent
        contradiction, let's reconstruct a johannine answer to the third objection.
        Let's see how John would have normally answered the question if he had
        followed the pattern of the first two questions.

        He would have acknowledged, to begin with, that Jesus was indeed not a blood
        descendant of David, neither on his father's nor on his mother's side. He
        would have acknowledged also that Jesus was not "of Bethlehem", but "of
        Nazareth". In the second step, he would have argued that Jesus is still the
        Messiah on account of his being God's only begotten Son. In other words, he
        would have considered as unimportant the fact that the Messiah should be
        "the son of David"; what really matters is that he should be "the Son of
        God".

        Now we can understand why John would not give openly such an answer. It
        would have directly contradicted the popular belief that was based on the
        infancy gospels.

        I find the exegetical approach I have followed here quite satisfying. What
        put me on the right track is Mike's post. Let's see if this exegetical
        method can withstand the assault of the critics.

        So long,

        Joseph

        Joseph Codsi
        P.O.Box 116-2088
        Beirut, Lebanon
        Telephone (961) 1 242-545
        joseph5@...
      • Joseph Codsi
        JOHN E STATON wrote on February 16: Joseph wrote: A minimum of intellectual honesty forces us to recognize, as John E Staton admits in his post of February
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 17, 2004
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          JOHN E STATON wrote on February 16:

          Joseph wrote:
          "A minimum of intellectual
          honesty forces us to recognize, as John E Staton admits in his post of
          February 13, that the author of John 7:40-42 ignored the facts that are
          stated in the infancy gospels, if he did not find them outright unreliable."

          Unfortunately, Joseph, I did not say this. I said there was no objective way
          to distinguish between the two possibilities (either that the Jews were
          ignorant or that John was ignorant), and that one paid one's money and took
          one's choice. For the record, my choice would probably be that that
          ignorance was on the part of the Jews. That seems to be the very clear
          inference of the text. You appear to think the ignorance was also present in
          John. That is an inference which can be neither proved nor disproved. You
          have the right to assert that if you wish, but I would not necesaarily agree
          with with you.

          ===================
          Dear John,
          I apologize if I have misrepresented your statement concerning the two
          possibilities I had mentioned in my first post. I find your position on this
          topic clear and I am not trying to put words in your mouth.
          Please understand that in my second post I was concerned with a totally
          different issue, namely the theological view that the ignorance of the fact
          that Jesus was related to David and was born in Bethlehem must be limited to
          the "Jews". This theologically correct interpretation implies that John was
          not only aware of the allegations that are made in the infancy gospels, but
          believed them to be historically correct as well.
          The point I was making then was that if John really believed in the
          historicity of those facts, he would have answered the objection raised in
          7:40-42 by informing the "Jews" of the real facts as they are stated in the
          infancy gospels. He would have said that Jesus is indeed "of Bethlehem" and
          that, therefore, the objection does not stand. The fact that the fourth
          gospel does not behave in this fashion leaves us with the two following
          possibilities:
          Either the author did not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, or he did
          not consider the information found in the infancy gospels reliable.
          In my second post, I left this new formulation of the question open to
          discussion. I assumed that your position would be still the same: impossible
          to decide. Did I assume wrong?
          Peace,
          Joseph
        • Mike Grondin
          ... Thanks for the kind words, Joseph - and for your very clear-headed analysis. I was very much impressed by your thoughtful response to Wieland Willker on
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 17, 2004
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            --- Joseph Codsi wrote:
            > Now we can understand why John would not give openly such an
            > answer. It would have directly contradicted the popular belief
            > that was based on the infancy gospels.
            >
            > I find the exegetical approach I have followed here quite
            > satisfying. What put me on the right track is Mike's post. Let's
            > see if this exegetical method can withstand the assault of the
            > critics.

            Thanks for the kind words, Joseph - and for your very clear-headed
            analysis. I was very much impressed by your thoughtful response to
            Wieland Willker on this same subject some time back, so I'm pleased
            to have the opportunity to mention that now.

            As you know, I've continued on with the same set of questions in
            dialogue with Matthew Estrada. There are certain differences between
            your analysis and mine, but I also see much in common. Although
            differently assessing John's state of knowledge/belief, we both
            conclude that he didn't want to disturb the beliefs of some (perhaps
            a significant portion) of his readers that Jesus had been born in
            Bethlehem. That doesn't necessarily require the pre-existence of
            the infancy gospels, since (as I said in one note) I suspect that
            rumors/stories of a Bethlehem birth were very early on. (Perceived
            necessity being the mother of invention :-)

            Regards,
            Mike Grondin
          • Joseph Codsi
            Bill Bullin wrote on Tuesday, February 24:
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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              Bill Bullin wrote on Tuesday, February 24:
              <Dear Joseph, I hope you won't mind an intrusion.>
              Dear Bill,
              I welcome your intervention. In a discussion group all members should feel
              welcome to speak up. What you said is an attempt at reconciling two
              different approaches to the interpretation of the scripture.
              I think, however, that there are views that cannot be reconciled. This is
              the case not only when an "artist" disregards what the theologian considers
              important, but even among theologians themselves. The Christological
              disputes that have disrupted the Christian world are a case in point.
              Theological disagreement is an integral part of the theological discourse.
              And this sort of disagreement is always based on the way the scriptures are
              interpreted. To the extent authority is used to impose what is to be
              considered as orthodox, violence is exercised against the dissenters.
              All our views are tainted with a certain amount of subjectivism. It is
              impossible to be perfectly objective. When a certain consensus is reached
              among people who think alike, they tend to consider that as objectivity.
              Each school and each sect is thus endowed with views that are considered
              within the group as objective.
              I think, however, that a critical approach to certain specific questions can
              produce new knowledge (not just another subjective consensus). As long as
              gospel scholarship remains tentative and unscientific, it will evolve at a
              pre-scientific stage. No new knowledge will be produced and no progress will
              be made towards a more scientific approach to the big questions we are faced
              with.
              I think we should concentrate our research on certain specific questions,
              particularly on the questions that are easy to resolve, because the texts
              themselves force us to raise them and give us the clues we need to resolve
              them. We must look for clues and train ourselves to recognize them as we see
              them. A good way to illustrate what I mean here is to take the case of the
              scientists who go looking for fossilized remnants of dinosaurs. It takes the
              trained eye of the specialist to recognize a fragment of a fossilized
              skeleton. Once the fragments have been collected, they are sent to the lab
              to be analyzed. It is possible to reconstruct the entire skeleton on the
              basis of a few fragments. A similar reconstruction can be done, in the field
              of gospel research, on the basis of the clues that are in the text.
              EXAMPLE OF A CLUE THAT IS NOT RECOGNIZED AS A CLUE
              When someone reads John 7:40-42 and concludes that this passage reflects the
              views of John's opponents not the knowledge John had of Jesus relation to
              David and his birth in Bethlehem, the clue that is in the text is not
              recognized. In this case, the clue is precisely the fact that John leaves
              the objection unanswered.
              A clue is something very strange, something unusual, something we would not
              expect to encounter in the course of a text. What is strange here is the
              fact that an important question is left unanswered in the middle of a tight
              theological argumentation. We are not dealing here with a poetical text,
              where "art" can justify lack of rigor in the debate. We are dealing with
              rigorous theological argumentation, where John responds to the objections
              that are raised by the uninitiated public. To the first two questions (7:14
              and 7:25-27) John gives his answers. The third question is left unanswered.
              This is a clue. It points to something strange. The art of the investigator
              is to recognize the clue and look for what it reveals.
              Here again we have to let the text speak for itself. In his dealing with the
              first two questions, John reveals a specific method, which consists in
              implicitly recognizing the truth of the material facts that are stated about
              Jesus (he did not study and he is from an obscure town of Galilee and from
              an ordinary family) and in switching the argument to another dimension, the
              relation of Jesus to God ("My teaching is not mine." - "You know me, and you
              know where I am from."). If we apply this two-step method to the third
              question, we arrive at the following result: In the first step, we would
              have to recognize the fact that Jesus did not fulfill the two requirements
              that are stated in the objection (he was not related to David and was not
              "of Bethlehem"). In the second step, we would say that John does not read
              the scriptures in the same way as the objectors do. He reads it differently.
              And according to this johannine reading of the scriptures, Jesus is the
              Messiah in spite of the fact that he was not biologically related to David
              and was not historically connected to David's town, Bethlehem.
              What is important here is the recognition that John and the synoptics read
              the scriptures in different ways, and deal with the objection in opposite
              ways. As I said in an earlier post, Luke and Matthew were so impressed with
              the objection that they adopted pious legends concerning the circumstances
              in which Jesus was born. John is the only one to recognize the historical
              facts as they were and to adjust his theology to the historical evidence.
              This is how I read the texts. I invite the critical minds to review my
              argument and correct me where they feel I did not read the text correctly.
              If they feel that my reconstruction is faulty, they are welcome to propose
              specific corrections.
              The Christian faith is based on the creed that Jesus died and was raised
              "secundum scripturas". That the scriptures were accomplished in Jesus is
              recognized by all the New Testament texts. John is no exception. But this
              does not mean that John reads the scriptures exactly as Luke reads it (cf.
              the words of the angel to Mary in Luke 1:26-33).
              Whether John's text is considered early or late in relation to the synoptics
              makes no difference. His text says the same thing, if my reading is correct.
              Peace,
              Joseph

              Joseph Codsi
              P.O.Box 116-2088
              Beirut, Lebanon
              Telephone (961) 1 242-545
              joseph5@...
            • Matthew Estrada
              Joseph Codsi wrote: EXAMPLE OF A CLUE THAT IS NOT RECOGNIZED AS A CLUE When someone reads John 7:40-42 and concludes that this passage
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 29, 2004
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                Joseph Codsi <joseph5@...> wrote:
                EXAMPLE OF A CLUE THAT IS NOT RECOGNIZED AS A CLUE
                When someone reads John 7:40-42 and concludes that this passage reflects the
                views of John's opponents not the knowledge John had of Jesus relation to
                David and his birth in Bethlehem, the clue that is in the text is not
                recognized. In this case, the clue is precisely the fact that John leaves
                the objection unanswered.
                A clue is something very strange, something unusual, something we would not
                expect to encounter in the course of a text. What is strange here is the
                fact that an important question is left unanswered in the middle of a tight
                theological argumentation. We are not dealing here with a poetical text,
                where "art" can justify lack of rigor in the debate. We are dealing with
                rigorous theological argumentation, where John responds to the objections
                that are raised by the uninitiated public. To the first two questions (7:14
                and 7:25-27) John gives his answers. The third question is left unanswered.
                This is a clue. It points to something strange. The art of the investigator
                is to recognize the clue and look for what it reveals.
                Here again we have to let the text speak for itself. In his dealing with the
                first two questions, John reveals a specific method, which consists in
                implicitly recognizing the truth of the material facts that are stated about
                Jesus (he did not study and he is from an obscure town of Galilee and from
                an ordinary family) and in switching the argument to another dimension, the
                relation of Jesus to God ("My teaching is not mine." - "You know me, and you
                know where I am from."). If we apply this two-step method to the third
                question, we arrive at the following result: In the first step, we would
                have to recognize the fact that Jesus did not fulfill the two requirements
                that are stated in the objection (he was not related to David and was not
                "of Bethlehem"). In the second step, we would say that John does not read
                the scriptures in the same way as the objectors do. He reads it differently.
                And according to this johannine reading of the scriptures, Jesus is the
                Messiah in spite of the fact that he was not biologically related to David
                and was not historically connected to David's town, Bethlehem.
                What is important here is the recognition that John and the synoptics read
                the scriptures in different ways, and deal with the objection in opposite
                ways. As I said in an earlier post, Luke and Matthew were so impressed with
                the objection that they adopted pious legends concerning the circumstances
                in which Jesus was born. John is the only one to recognize the historical
                facts as they were and to adjust his theology to the historical evidence.
                This is how I read the texts. I invite the critical minds to review my
                argument and correct me where they feel I did not read the text correctly.
                If they feel that my reconstruction is faulty, they are welcome to propose
                specific corrections.

                My response:

                Joseph, I have read your argument. I believe that I understand it, but I do not agree with it. Correct me if I am wrong. You assume that John has to defend the arguments that John himself has created in the narrative IF he indeed knew of the birth narrative traditions in Matthew and Luke AND agreed with those traditions. The arguments are: (a) that since Jesus is not *seemingly* from Bethlehem, from David's family, he cannot be the messiah (Jn 7:41-42), and (b) that since the Scriptures do not say that a prophet will come from Galilee, and since Jesus comes from Galilee, he cannot be a prophet (Jn 7:52). You do not dispute that John KNEW of those birth narratives in the Synoptics. But you state that although he KNEW of the birth narratives, he did NOT AGREE with them. If he did agree with the birth narratives, then he would have responded to the "attacks" made on those traditions in his narrative.

                "Misunderstanding" plays a big role in John's gospel. John creates dialogues where there is misunderstanding. Sometimes he clarifies the misunderstanding (i.e. Jn 3:3-5), sometimes he does not (Jn 6:51-59). So just because John does not respond to the "misunderstanding" of Jesus' origins, does not mean that he does not know AND agree with the birth narratives.

                In Jn 7:27, when John has some people declare, "But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from", and John has Jesus respond with, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from", John is employing irony. The people do not know who Jesus really is, nor do they know where he is from. But John does not state that clearly. According to your premise, if John himself knew who Jesus was and where he was from, he should have had Jesus respond positively to the people that they did NOT really know who Jesus was nor where he was from. But John does not have Jesus respond in that way. Why? Not because John did not know AND agree to the answers to these two questions (that Jesus is God in the flesh, and that his earthly origin is Bethlehem, but the people think that it is Nazareth, and, more importantly, he has heavenly origins which the people have no clue about), but rather because John uses irony in his narrative, expecting his readers to pick up
                on this use of irony (The "joke" is on them). It is a literary technique that John is employing.

                John does the same thing in Jn 7:41-42 and Jn 7:52.

                When John has other people ask, "Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?", John is showing that these people are also mistaken in not knowing where Jesus is from, basing their judgement that Jesus is not the Christ on misinformation.

                Again, when John has the Pharisees state to Nicodemus, "Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee", John is showing these religious leaders are also mistaken in not knowing that the Scriptures do state that from Galilee the messiah does come forth. John uses irony again in both instances, expecting his readers to pick up on this use of irony.

                Since you allow that John KNEW the Synoptic birth narratives (and I agree with this), then can we also assume that his readers also knew of these narratives? If so (and I believe they did), then they would know that Matthew shows Jesus to be both from David's lineage and uses an OT citation (Micah 5:2) to show that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the messiah being born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:1-6). They would also know that Matthew use at least one other OT citation (Isaiah 9:1-2) to show that the Scriptures do state that from Galilee a prophet would arise (Mt 2:23; 4:13-16; note: born in Bethlehem, but grew up in Galilee).

                Again, the "joke" is on them- a literary technique.

                In John 4:44 we read: "Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country." Where was Jesus given no honor? Well, the next verse says, "When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him.". So in Galilee, he "was welcomed" (=given honor). Therefore, we can now cancel out "Galilee" as Jesus' "own country", per John. We can confirm that it was in Judea where Jesus was not honored if we look at other verses in John (cf Jn 4:1-3; 7:1). Therefore, Judea was Jesus' "own country", per John. We can try and argue that this verse was an addition by a later redactor, but this is trying to cut corners, in my opinion.

                I maintain the position that the reason why John does not state plainly that Jesus was born in Bethlehem is because 1) his use of irony, and 2) the "mistaken identity of the messiah" motif (even as Moses was mistook for an Egyptian, so, too, is Jesus mistook for a "Nazarene"; Jn uses Ex 2 as one of his source materials). I also maintain that since John was using the Scripture in so many different ways (cf. Jn 5:31-47) to show Jesus fulfills these Scriptures, he would not contradict what Micah 5:2 and Isaiah 9:1-2 state of the messiah.




                Matthew Estrada

                113 Laurel Court

                Peachtree City, Ga 30269


                ---------------------------------
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              • Joseph Codsi
                Matthew Estrada wrote on March 1, 04 Joseph, I have read your argument. I believe that I understand it, but I do not agree with it. Dear Matthew, It seems
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 1, 2004
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                  Matthew Estrada wrote on March 1, 04

                  "Joseph, I have read your argument. I believe that I understand it, but I do
                  not agree with it. "

                  Dear Matthew,

                  It seems that we cannot agree on the way we read the gospel of John. What I
                  see as black, you see it as white. We cannot be both correct in our
                  assessment of the theological discussions that are found in chapter 7. We
                  know that those discussions are related to Jesus' messiahship. We know also
                  that John believes that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God, and that his
                  gospel is meant to prove the Christian faith in Jesus Christ (cf. John
                  20:31). We disagree on John's Christology.

                  John's chritology has two dimensions. The first dimension is that Jesus is
                  the Son of God. This is based on the special relation that exists between
                  Jesus and the Father. The entire gospel is a demonstration of this point. We
                  have no disagreement on this. The second dimension is that Jesus is the
                  Messiah in whom are accomplished the scriptures. We agree on this general
                  statement. Our disagreement is about John's theology. I say that his
                  theology is different from Matthew's and Luke's, and you say it is not.

                  If I may take an analogy, I would say that our disagreement reminds me of
                  the disagreement between Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius. If the analogy
                  stands, then we are likely to be both wrong and we should wait for a
                  scholarly consensus to resolve the question.

                  So far, some listers have suggested the possibility that we be both right,
                  and that the two points of view can be sustained. Theoretically speaking,
                  the same text can be read differently by different readers. New knowledge
                  can thus be created. This is true in the field of gospel scholarship as in
                  the fields of physical or biological sciences.

                  But let me go back to our disagreement. I have no problem admitting that
                  John's theology is different from Matthew's and Luke's. You seem to find
                  this declaration unacceptable. Can you tell me why? Why is it so important
                  for you that John should agree with Matthew and Luke on the two facts that
                  Jesus was biologically related to David and was born in Bethlehem? If you
                  cannot agree with my thesis a priori, I can see why you feel compelled to
                  refuse it. If this is the case, all the arguments in the world will not make
                  you budge at all. And if this is the case, then we have no choice but to
                  agree to disagree.

                  I know many persons, some of whom are close to me, who cannot admit my
                  thesis for theological reasons. I respect their feeling. There are certain
                  things we do not feel free to accept or reject. Our deep convictions are not
                  to be disturbed. It would be useless to argue with a Muslim fundamentalist
                  that God does not command the women to wear the veil. Those who believe that
                  God says so are not free to revise their faith on this point.

                  If you feel prepared to accept the theoretical possibility of what I am
                  saying, then we should be able to resolve our "questio disputata" through a
                  methodical analysis of the text.

                  So long,

                  Joseph



                  Joseph Codsi
                  P.O.Box 116-2088
                  Beirut, Lebanon
                  Telephone (961) 1 242-545
                  joseph5@...
                • matt_estrada
                  ... wrote: [snip] I have no problem admitting that ... find ... important ... facts that ... If you ... compelled to ... not make ... but to ...
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 2, 2004
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                    --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, Joseph Codsi
                    <joseph5@i...> wrote:

                    [snip]
                    I have no problem admitting that
                    > John's theology is different from Matthew's and Luke's. You seem to
                    find
                    > this declaration unacceptable. Can you tell me why? Why is it so
                    important
                    > for you that John should agree with Matthew and Luke on the two
                    facts that
                    > Jesus was biologically related to David and was born in Bethlehem?
                    If you
                    > cannot agree with my thesis a priori, I can see why you feel
                    compelled to
                    > refuse it. If this is the case, all the arguments in the world will
                    not make
                    > you budge at all. And if this is the case, then we have no choice
                    but to
                    > agree to disagree.

                    My response:
                    Joe, hopefully others can see that I am not the one being stubborn
                    here, but you are. You began this thread with a question, trying
                    to "trap" others into an argument that you thought you had already
                    won even before it began. So I could just as easily say to you, "If
                    YOU cannot agree to my thesis a priori...all the arguments in the
                    world will not make you budge at all". You also stated in one of your
                    post that we should allow science to rule over theology. Well, I have
                    differed with you, giving good reasons, IMO, why we should not read
                    John the way you would have us to, and you refuse to see the
                    evidence. You also stated that we should not be fighting over
                    positions, but we should all have the common goal of searching for
                    the "true interpretation". But you have been fighting for your
                    position from the very start. I do not think that I presuppose that
                    John "has to" agree with the Synoptic birth narrative stories. But,
                    again, my study of John leads me to the conclusion that he does agree
                    with the Synoptics.

                    Joseph Codsi wrote:

                    > I know many persons, some of whom are close to me, who cannot admit
                    my
                    > thesis for theological reasons. I respect their feeling. There are
                    certain
                    > things we do not feel free to accept or reject. Our deep
                    convictions are not
                    > to be disturbed. It would be useless to argue with a Muslim
                    fundamentalist
                    > that God does not command the women to wear the veil. Those who
                    believe that
                    > God says so are not free to revise their faith on this point.

                    My response:
                    It is not because I do not admit your thesis for theological reasons,
                    as you state, but rather for literary reasons. You misunderstand
                    John, IMO.

                    Joe Codsi wrote:
                    >
                    > If you feel prepared to accept the theoretical possibility of what
                    I am
                    > saying, then we should be able to resolve our "questio disputata"
                    through a
                    > methodical analysis of the text.

                    My response:
                    I am prepared to accept the theoretical possibility of what you are
                    saying, but still, your arguments fail to convince me. Are you
                    prepared to accept the theoretical possibility of what I am saying?

                    You never answered my last post. In that post I stated:

                    In John 4:44 we read: "Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a
                    prophet has no
                    honor in his own country." Where was Jesus given no honor? Well, the
                    next verse
                    says, "When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him.". So
                    in Galilee,
                    he "was welcomed" (=given honor). Therefore, we can now cancel
                    out "Galilee" as
                    Jesus' "own country", per John. We can confirm that it was in Judea
                    where Jesus
                    was not honored if we look at other verses in John (cf Jn 4:1-3; 7:1).
                    Therefore, Judea was Jesus' "own country", per John. We can try and
                    argue that
                    this verse was an addition by a later redactor, but then we do not
                    work with the text as it has come down to us.
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