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Re: [John_Lit] Re: John 20:23

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    ... they have disappeared. It is a transformation. It reminds of the miraculous healings and other deeds of Jesus. His saying something renders the word into a
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 26 1:53 PM
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      In a message dated 4/26/2004 11:28:54 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Dtrap303@... writes (commenting on Wali's post, which read in part):

      >> Is it not logical that the following phrase breathes the same love and power? E.g. in this way: "Ïf you overcome the shortcomings of anyone (for them (AUTOIS), their shortcomings have been overcome". Overcoming means to conquer, to master, to control, to rise above. The ultimate effect is that
      they have disappeared. It is a transformation. It reminds of the miraculous healings and other deeds of Jesus. His saying something renders the word into a reality. The spiritually blessed one has the inner power to radically change a situation or the psyche of somebody.>>

      > I absolutely love this interpretation!

      I love it too, but I don't think that's a good enough reason to accept it, as an exegete. The semantic opposition between AFIENAI and KRATEIN is not something artificial, imposed on the text from without, or entirely dependent on reading this Johannine text in the light of Matt 16:19. There is, I think, an innate semantic opposition in the meaning of the two verbs themselves ("to let go", "to hold on to") which must figure in the exegesis of the text. Even though no DE is present in the second clause indicating this opposition it seems to me that it is sufficiently expressed in the meaning of the terms.

      I must admit, however, that the original text and its usual interpretation are not entirely satisfactory from the point of view of clarity. The second phrase is eliptical. This makes it elegant, but problematic when the elements supplied should be "sins" and "to them". How does one "retain" sins to people? It would make more sense to speak of retaining, or withholding forgiveness, but the noun "forgiveness" does not appear in the previous phrase so that it could be assumed in the elipsis. I suppose after all I should admit to resolving the issue (tentatively) in virtue of a Matthean prejudice. Somehow, I think the text of John alludes to alternative exercises of the apostle's powers with respect to sinners, such as we find alluded to in Matt 18:15b, contrasted with 18:16-17 (and followed in 18:18 by a restatement of the promise regarding binding and loosing). Yet in this case, the forgiven sinner is "retained" (18:15b: you have "gained" your brother), and the non-forgiven, non-reconciled sinner is "let go" (18:17: let him be to you as the heathen and the publican). Help me somebody!

      Leonard Maluf
    • Bill Bullin
      Wali wrote: Is it not logical that the following phrase breathes the same love and power? E.g. in this way: Ïf you overcome the shortcomings of anyone
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 27 2:17 AM
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        Wali wrote: >> Is it not logical that the following phrase breathes the same
        love and power? E.g. in this way: "Ïf you overcome the shortcomings of
        anyone (for them (AUTOIS), their shortcomings have been overcome".
        Overcoming means to conquer, to master, to control, to rise above. The
        ultimate effect is that
        > they have disappeared. It is a transformation. It reminds of the
        miraculous healings and other deeds of Jesus. His saying something renders
        the word into a reality. The spiritually blessed one has the inner power to
        radically change a situation or the psyche of somebody.>>
        >
        David Responded: I absolutely love this interpretation!
        >
        Leonard replied: I love it too, but I don't think that's a good enough
        reason to accept it, as an exegete. The semantic opposition between AFIENAI
        and KRATEIN is not something artificial, imposed on the text from without,
        or entirely dependent on reading this Johannine text in the light of Matt
        16:19. There is, I think, an innate semantic opposition in the meaning of
        the two verbs themselves ("to let go", "to hold on to") which must figure in
        the exegesis of the text. Even though no DE is present in the second clause
        indicating this opposition it seems to me that it is sufficiently expressed
        in the meaning of the terms.
        >
        > I must admit, however, that the original text and its usual interpretation
        are not entirely satisfactory from the point of view of clarity. The second
        phrase is eliptical. This makes it elegant, but problematic when the
        elements supplied should be "sins" and "to them". How does one "retain" sins
        to people? It would make more sense to speak of retaining, or withholding
        forgiveness, but the noun "forgiveness" does not appear in the previous
        phrase so that it could be assumed in the elipsis. I suppose after all I
        should admit to resolving the issue (tentatively) in virtue of a Matthean
        prejudice. Somehow, I think the text of John alludes to alternative
        exercises of the apostle's powers with respect to sinners, such as we find
        alluded to in Matt 18:15b, contrasted with 18:16-17 (and followed in 18:18
        by a restatement of the promise regarding binding and loosing). Yet in this
        case, the forgiven sinner is "retained" (18:15b: you have "gained" your
        brother), and the non-forgiven, non-reconciled sinner is "let go" (18:17:
        let him be to you as the heathen and the publican). Help me somebody!
        >
        Bill replies: Sorry to bang on about Isaiah 22:22 and context and "open /
        shut; hold / release; debts / sins"; but surely the phrase: "I will place on
        his shoulder the key of the house of David' is suggestive of Matthew 16:19:
        "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on
        earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be
        loosened in heaven". If the spirit of Jn 20:23 preceded the text, may we not
        have something of this retaining and releasing power and spirit in Paul's
        plea to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus and in the historical customs
        associated with debt / slavery release? If debt was an Aramaic idiom for
        sin, and this seems unquestionable, then is it not reasonable that the idiom
        had sociological roots connecting sin and debt, forgiveness and release,
        bills or tangible tokens of release etc. particularly where slavery and
        imprisonment for debt were factors? If Jesus was conferring a power of
        office to his Apostles, then might we not consider this power and this
        office in terms of Luke 4:16-19ff?

        This exhausts the very little I have to contribute but J. A. Emerton J.T.S.
        13 (1962), 321-31, as cited by C. K. Barrett (2nd 1978), 571 may be of more
        value:

        "J.A. Emerton [as cited above] suggests that the Matthean sayings and the
        Johannine may have a common origin in a saying which recalled Isaiah 22:22
        and ran as follows: 'And whatsoever thou shalt shut will be shut: and
        whatsoever thou shalt open shall be opened', the significant Aramaic words
        being ...[reading right to left: Daleth, Heth, Aleph] shut and ...[reading
        right to left Heth, Tav, Pe] open. In John ...[HTP] suggested the meaning
        *release*, which in turn led to forgiveness. Dodd, *Tradition* 347ff., is
        probably right in concluding that John is not dependent on Matthew - which
        indeed few would claim".

        Whatever Jn. 20:23 means, it seems not to have been peculiarly Johannine;
        this granted, it is multiply attested suggesting it was of some historical
        importance to the Evangelist and his audience of hearers / readers.

        Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex, England).
      • Bill Bullin
        Three absolutely final and very brief suggestions following a little more reflection: (a) My historical rather than linguistic approach leads me to the
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 28 2:29 AM
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          Three absolutely final and very brief suggestions following a little more
          reflection:

          (a) My historical rather than linguistic approach leads me to the conclusion
          that 'detain' rather than 'retain' might be a little nearer to the original
          concept.

          (b) *If* the Matthean texts have any relevance, then there does seem to be a
          link back to Isaiah 22 in which case we may be dealing with Jesus conferring
          some form of high priestly authority and power. If, and it is a big 'if', we
          may then we may be dealing with Jesus as a Joseph, Solomon type either
          actually or else through the eyes of the Evangelist(s). A common link
          between the two is the ancient root sp as in Joseph and Aseph (who I see as
          the genius behind Solomon's monarchy), and this in turn relates to divine
          magic connected with ' binding' and 'release' as in excorcism, which is
          closely associated with forgiveness and divine power words (shemoth), the
          greatest of which is the divine Name. Going back to John 20:23, it is as if
          Jesus, like the Father in the Prodigal parable, is taking off his signet
          ring bearing the mark 'Name Above all Names' and passing it to the Apostles.

          (c) All this brings to my mind the O.T. scholar, Robert Murray's excellent
          *The Cosmic Covenant: Biblical Themes of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of
          Creation*, Heythrop Monographs (1992), esp. his chapter entitled * The
          Theory and Rituals of Preserving Cosmic Order*, 68-93. All that has been
          considered in relation to Jn. 20:23 somehow also seems to fit with the
          'priestlyness' we find in the Johannine literature, arguably including the
          Apocalypse, if not quite Second Temple of Qumran priestliness. It is a kind
          of Tabernacle priestliness where open hearts replace authoritarian ritual in
          creating an 'open heaven' type environment; Paul, least of the Apostles,
          'earths' it magnificently as Comforter (Menahem) to Onesimus in the moral
          trial where Onesimus is asked to take the stand.

          Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex, England).
        • Jack Kilmon
          ... From: Bill Bullin To: Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 4:29 AM Subject: Re: [John_Lit]
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 28 11:07 PM
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Bill Bullin" <bill.bullin@...>
            To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 4:29 AM
            Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Re: John 20:23


            > Three absolutely final and very brief suggestions following a little more
            > reflection:
            >
            > (a) My historical rather than linguistic approach leads me to the
            conclusion
            > that 'detain' rather than 'retain' might be a little nearer to the
            original
            > concept.

            I am afraid you cannot escape the linguistic. KRATEW gives the sense of
            continuing to hold, not to disgard or let go. The Old Syriac and Peshitta
            translators used the Aramaic akhydyn..."closed." The line between retain
            and detain is subtle and in Judges 13:15 "atsar" can be used for both but it
            is translated differently in the Greek of the LXX as KATASXWMEN, which is to
            DETAIN (holding back) rather then KRATEW in John 20:23 for RETAIN. Detain
            gives the sense of a temporary holding while retain, a permanent holding.

            Jack
          • John M. Noble
            ... This discussion is interesting, but seems to me to miss the real difficulty. In Matthew 6v15, the possibility of not forgiving sins is not present. Yet the
            Message 5 of 5 , May 3, 2004
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              On 26th April, Leonard Maluf wrote:

              >I love it too, but I don't think that's a good
              >enough reason to accept it, as an exegete. The
              >semantic opposition between AFIENAI and KRATEIN
              >is not something artificial, imposed on the text
              >from without, or entirely dependent on reading
              >this Johannine text in the light of Matt 16:19.
              >There is, I think, an innate semantic opposition
              >in the meaning of the two verbs themselves ("to
              >let go", "to hold on to") which must figure in
              >the exegesis of the text. Even though no DE is
              >present in the second clause indicating this
              >opposition it seems to me that it is
              >sufficiently expressed in the meaning of the
              >terms.
              >
              >I must admit, however, that the original text
              >and its usual interpretation are not entirely
              >satisfactory from the point of view of clarity.
              >The second phrase is eliptical. This makes it
              >elegant, but problematic when the elements
              >supplied should be "sins" and "to them". How
              >does one "retain" sins to people? It would make
              >more sense to speak of retaining, or withholding
              >forgiveness, but the noun "forgiveness" does not
              >appear in the previous phrase so that it could
              >be assumed in the elipsis. I suppose after all I
              >should admit to resolving the issue
              >(tentatively) in virtue of a Matthean prejudice.
              >Somehow, I think the text of John alludes to
              >alternative exercises of the apostle's powers
              >with respect to sinners, such as we find alluded
              >to in Matt 18:15b, contrasted with 18:16-17 (and
              >followed in 18:18 by a restatement of the
              >promise regarding binding and loosing). Yet in
              >this case, the forgiven sinner is "retained"
              >(18:15b: you have "gained" your brother), and
              >the non-forgiven, non-reconciled sinner is "let
              >go" (18:17: let him be to you as the heathen and
              >the publican). Help me somebody!
              >
              >Leonard Maluf

              This discussion is interesting, but seems to me
              to miss the real difficulty. In Matthew 6v15, the
              possibility of not forgiving sins is not present.
              Yet the verb used in John 20v23 is active.
              Attempts to make it not active seem to me to lack
              grammatical sense.

              John M. Noble

              (amateur)
              Linköping, Sweden
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