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Re: [John_Lit] "Wine" = Holy Spirit

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    In a message dated 2/29/2004 4:58:08 AM Central Standard Time, matt_estrada@yahoo.com writes: Thanks for the quote. I will also use this one in my paper!
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 29, 2004
      In a message dated 2/29/2004 4:58:08 AM Central Standard Time,
      matt_estrada@... writes:

      Thanks for the quote. I will also use this one in my paper! Meier's
      has said the same thing that I have said many times to other people
      concerning John's Cana Miracle and my interpretation of it- namely,
      how I can show where almost every word and phrase in John has
      symbolic import, which makes it highly unlikely that it was ever
      intended to be read as representing an historical event of Jesus
      changing physical water into physical wine.

      Actually, this is a debate that has been going on for some time, and Meier is
      hardly the first scholar to have proposed this idea. I am currently going
      through some Latin notes on the Cana pericope from a course I took 22 years ago
      with I. de la Potterie at the Biblicum in Rome. It is remarkable how many of
      the points of interpretation Matthew and others have recently raised on this
      list had already been debated for years in the mid and late 20th century. The
      notes of de la Potterie on this Johannine passage are extremely thorough (the
      entire course was one on "De Matre Jesu in IV Evangelio", On the Mother of Jesus
      in the Fourth Gospel), so I would be happy to translate and post his expert
      opinion on any of the points that have been raised in this discussion, all of
      which he treats. On the present point, de la Potterie takes a middle position.
      On the one hand he acknowledges a great deal of symbolism in the account, but
      he does not like the idea of gutting it of a historical basis in fact. At one
      point, he quotes a (Scandinavian?) scholar, B. Olsson, "Structure and Meaning
      in the Fourth Gospel. A Text-Linguistic Analysis of John 2:1-11 and 4:1-42"
      (Lund 1974), p.95: "...the Cana narrative [is] a symbolic narrative text, i.e. a
      narrative which seeks to convey a message apart from the actual events
      described. Such a characterization is in agreement with the majority of modern
      exegetes". De la Potterie's comment following the citation is "Sed num sensus
      separari potest ad [sic] eventu? Nonne potius in ipso eventu detegitur?" (But can
      the meaning be separated from the event? Is it not rather uncovered in the event

      Since this post still carries the heading "Wine=Holy Spirit", perhaps I
      should reveal what de la Potterie says on this question. To begin with, he defends
      the originality of a minority (the Western) reading in 2:3a, which, instead of
      using the verb hUSTEREW, states: "Et vinum non habebant, quoniam consummatum
      erat vinum nuptiarum. Deinde dicit mater ad Iesum: Vinum non habent". (And
      they had no wine, because the wine of the wedding party had been consumed. Then
      the mother said to Jesus: they have no wine). He notes that this reading places
      great emphasis on "wine", insists on it as on a theme. (By the way de la P.
      gives a series of arguments for his preference for this reading too, as he
      always does with any opinion he expresses). He then points out that the text does
      NOT say "Vinum IAM non habent" (they NO LONGER have wine), but "vinum non
      habent" (they do not have wine). This means, he continues, that the ones who had
      no wine according to this Western text are not the guests at the wedding, but
      Jesus and his disciples who have arrived late for the party. And this also
      creates a clear distinction between the wedding wine and the "good wine" Jesus
      provides. What was consumed was the wedding wine, whereas a new wine was about to
      appear with Jesus. In the section where he is actually interpreting the text,
      de la P. has a long section on the symbolic meaning of wine in late Judaism
      and in John, which I cannot give here in full. Bottom line is that he rejects
      the simple identification of wine = Holy Spirit (though this was known even in
      the patristic era), and arrives at the conclusion that wine is a symbol of the
      eschatological revelation or "the truth" that Jesus brings. I can give a lot m
      ore on this upon request, but I have to run now.

      Leonard Maluf

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