[John_Lit] Symbolic or "ersatz"?
- Leonard Maluf raises the question of "historical versus symbolic" in the
Fourth Gospel, via the examples of John 13:23 and 19:25-27, using the
unfortunate word "ersatz."
While one must always keep an eye on the "historical," if John 19:25-27 is a
genuine historical reminiscence of the Beloved Disciple and Jesus' Mother at
the foot of the cross, then what do we make of the Synoptic passion
narratives? Are the descriptions of the crucifixion there "ersatz"? What do
we make of what Romans did when they crucified people (wonderfully [yet
horrifyingly] put together in Hengel's "Crucifixion"). Would they allow the
crucified's best friend and Mom stand at the foot of the cross?
I have read de la Potterie, and I was taught by him - a course at the
Biblicum in 1971 on John 18-19! There are (at least) two stages in his
career. The book on Mary reflects a later stage, where he takes positions
which he rejected as impossible (for the sorts of reasons given above) in his
earlier teaching and research.
I regard 19:25-27 as crucial to the Johannine passion account ... and indeed
as a conclusion to the "gathering" theme that runs from 10:16 on (e.g. 11:52;
12:11, 19, 23-24, 32 - explained by v. 33 and fulfilled [symbolically ... but
without resorting to Loisy and Bultmann!] in 19:25-27). I doubt if the BD
and Jesus' Mother were there ... but surely that does not make the scene
We have a serious hermeneutical question here.