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[John_Lit] Re: Who is the Beloved Disciple?

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    In a message dated 1/24/2000 5:31:30 AM Eastern Standard Time, ind.fin.choices@exchange.uk.com writes:
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 24, 2000
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      In a message dated 1/24/2000 5:31:30 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      ind.fin.choices@... writes:

      << < Are you saying that because of the strong physicality of the term usually
      translated "recline" it is unlikely that the BD is other than an historical
      person?>

      Leonard
      Thanks for your comments on my last posting. I appreciate them. But I'm not
      quite sure what you are saying. Are you saying that in a Gospel which
      emphasizes the "physicality" of Incarnation, in the part (entitled "Book of
      Glory" by REB) that contains an eyewitness claim (19:35) usually interpreted
      as referring to the BD, you maintain that verses 13:23 and 13:25, reporting
      intimate tender physical contact which reminds readers of the intimacy of
      the Son with the Father (1:18), provide evidence that the BD is actually a
      fictional character?>>

      It seems to me that you are responding to what was a genuine question on my
      part (I really was not sure what you meant), with a counter-question that it
      is at least partially sarcastic. The straight answer to your question,
      though, is "no"; I am not saying that this Gospel scene provides evidence
      that the BD is actually a fictional character. On the other hand, I am not
      sure that the scene excludes such a possibility: the BD, in my view, still
      could be a fictional, representative character. A tertium quid solution
      should however also be entertained, namely, that the BD is a real character
      (in the sense of a real, historical individual) but that he is fictionally
      placed at the last supper and in a position of intimacy with Jesus. This
      would be a situation analogous to the way most people interpret the presence
      of Jesus' mother at the crucifixion in John.

      << This leads to another question. If you think 13:23 and 13:25 provide
      evidence for a fictional BD, how would you answer a criticism that suggests
      your interpretation is tending towards docetism?>>

      The question (and it is a question, not an answer in my mind) as to whether
      the BD is fictional character is a literary question, a question of the
      interpretation of a text. Docetism is a theological (more properly, a
      christological) stance which denies the real humanity of Jesus. I'm not sure
      there is a strict connection between the two, or that one need imply the
      other.

      << You wrote <Can one interpret Jn 19:25f alone as having the purely banal
      intent of supplying an ersatz mother to the son of Zebedee and an ersatz son
      to Mary?>

      As I see it, one of the main purposes of symbolism in 4G is to illustrate
      that God is in control of the real world and that historical events serve
      God's purposes. Reported events can seem "banal". For example, a disciple of
      a man called Jesus left the group after sunset. A crucified man called Jesus
      complained of thirst.>>

      It is still legitimate to inquire as to whether such "reported" minor
      "events" are also historical events, i.e., whether they have an historical
      basis, or only a historical likelihood, or verisimilitude: in other words,
      whether you really have, at the level of detail in a Gospel like John, a
      presentation of events that actually occurred, or whether, instead, a
      concrete detail is sometimes added to an account, for strictly symbolic
      reasons, by a writer who is primarily concerned with theologizing
      [narratively] about "large" events (e.g. the coming in the flesh, the mission
      among the Jews [or others], or the death of Jesus). At the moment, I favor
      the latter option, though I am open to arguments in support of the former
      view, whether in general, or with reference to a particular detail of Jn's
      narrative. Good, exegetical arguments, of course, not a priori ones.

      Leonard Maluf
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