Re: [John_Lit] Re: Evolution of high Christology
- Dear David and John
IMvHO I am absolutely sure you are on the right lines and asking the right
kinds of questions.
We had a brief exchange before and I would like to pick up the thread when
time and courtesy to the views of others allows.
Let me briefly offer one of a few of the clues I am working on:
(a) In the whole of 1 Cor. Paul seems to me to be wrestling with the
Johannine wisdom / Logos question in sociological rather than textual form.
His solution is oneness and love; the Shema, not the old Shema but the New
Shema. This focusses the debate to 1Cor. 8:6. Tom Wright, my theoretical
dialogue partner, sees 1Cor. 8:6 as the key to the meat eating issue. He is
undoubtedly correct but I think it is also a hermeneutic key to the whole
document and to the mind of St Paul as he wrote.
First rank scholar that he is, Wright noted the word and syllable count of
the formula although he would not speculate further.
As an unranked player, I think he missed a trick, or a clue in the corner of
the room that would catch the eye of only Sherlock Holmes or else someone
like me who had been researching the Lord's Prayer and the Sator~Rotas word
Many years ago Joachim Jeremias argued that the Lord's Prayer replaced the
recital of the daily Shema relatively early since it is cited differently in
the Gospels and if it was still a daily recital that would not have been the
case. Good point. If he were right, Michael Goulder's theory of the origins
of the Lord's Prayer would be kicked into touch at a stroke. Incidentally I
would love to know what Mark Goodacre and Mark Matson think of the origins
of the Prayer since they share Goulder's synoptic theory which I neither
accept nor reject but try to hold in tension with other solutions, including
Matthean priority. The Shema was placed in Jewish phylacteries and worn at
the hours of prayer. At some point the Hebrew letter SHIN was added to the
exterior of phylacteries. My two questions are when and why. I have been
unable to discover an answer despite wandering around a number of Jewish
museums in Europe and talking to anyone who would talk to me about it. What
kindly confirmed for me was that the letter SHIN did not appear on the
exterior of the bindings recovered from Qumran.
I therefore formulate the following hypothesis: the letter SHIN was added to
the exterior of the boxes as a means of distinguishing orthodox Jews from
the MINIM or else the MAMINIM (Aramaic 'believers'). If this could be
demonstrated to be reasonable it would suggest that the MINIM were using an
alternative formula as well as an alternative prayer. On reading Wright on
1Cor. 8:6 we do appear to have just such a formula; an incredable
christological formula included in a document written some 25 years or so
afetr the crucifixion.
(b) Now, it seems to me, to get very interesting. In the absence of evidence
Wright declined to speculate further on whether or not the formula was
Pauline or pre-Pauline. I think we have the answer on the basis of word,
syllable and letter counts. I think I can identify about ten or so links
between the six words of the Shema and the Pauline or pre-Pauline formula.
This being the case and since Paul basis his argument on the text I think I
can argue that the formula would have been known to the Corinthians prior to
Paul's letter; I would like to try to argue that it might go back to the
Palestinian churches but that will be tougher.
I will pick up the point again if you are interested. I am fairly lowly
ranked in the pecking order in our household, and I am being asked to 'get
off the computer dad!!
Bill Bullin (Private student, East Sussex, England).
> --- In email@example.com, "McGrath, James"
> <jfmcgrat@b...> wrote:
> > Thanks for you recent Post. I am wondering in what sense you are
> > the term 'high Christology' as something that originated with Jesus.
> > Only John's Gospel presents Jesus as speaking of having 'come down
> > heaven'. Does this go back to the historical Jesus? If so, why did
> > other Gospels not mention it?
> This is a huge question. It is essentially, if John has legitimate
> claims to historicity (or at least a greater degree of it than has
> usually been assumed) how can we account for the differences between
> John and the synoptics? How can John be historical and be so
> completely different from the synoptics? This is a book that's
> begging to be written. I have some ideas but it would take
> considerable time/length of post to lay them out. Perhaps later if
> there's sufficient interest.
> The synoptics have this in common with 4G, the use of the language
> of "sent" as in Matthew's "I was sent to the lost sheep of the house
> of Israel." Where was Jesus sent FROM if not his Father in heaven?
> John the Baptist? Qumran? I don't think so.
> My understanding of the Johannine Jesus' use of 'come down from
> heaven' is that it has absolutely nothing to do with
> geographical/spacial reality/categories. 'Come down from heaven' is
> the way he speaks of his authority/empowerment to speak on the
> Father's behalf as his representative. Heaven/the Father is the
> source of his power/authority to say and to act as he does. He's not
> claiming to come from 'outer space' like 'Superman, strange visitor
> from another planet...'.
> I am certainly open to the possibility
> > that more of the 'Johannine' slant on Jesus has some basis in
> > than is often thought...
> I think we would be dumbfounded if we knew just how historical John
> is. The question remains how can John's Jesus be reconciled with the
> synoptic Jesus if both are 'historical'?
> but I would appreciate some clarification on how
> > you would view the contribution of the later church in relation to
> > Jesus.
> What a wonderful question! I need to think about it and will try to
> write something soon. Thank you for asking.
> David Trapero M.Div.
> 818 2nd St. PL NE # 95
> Hickory, NC 28601