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Re: [John_Lit] Two burial stories

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  • Bill Bullin
    Dear Joseph Codsi Quick Note. John 20:1 states: Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the
    Message 1 of 25 , Sep 7, 2004
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      Dear Joseph Codsi

      Quick Note.

      John 20:1 states: "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still
      dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been
      removed from the tomb".

      Question: What stone? John has so far made no reference to a stone sealing
      the tomb! Was John writing for readers of Mark or Ur Markus? Or was
      knowledge of the stone sealing the tomb common knowledge amongst the
      evangelist's readers? Or was John so late that he knew or followed the
      Synoptics?

      Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex).
    • Joseph Codsi
      To Bill Bullin I have received on Sept. 8, 11:38 AM the message you sent on Sept. 7, at 11:54 PM. I should have received it when I first checked my mail at 7
      Message 2 of 25 , Sep 8, 2004
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        To Bill Bullin

        I have received on Sept. 8, 11:38 AM the message you sent on Sept. 7, at
        11:54 PM. I should have received it when I first checked my mail at 7
        AM.

        I see you are going ahead of me. I was getting ready to close the
        discussion of the burial stories and move to the discovery of the empty
        tomb.

        GJohn's story of the empty tomb is very different from what we have in
        Mark. It combines information from two sources, one of which is Mark.
        The art is to recognize the other source and try to reconstruct its
        context.

        According to GJohn, "Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the
        stone had been removed from the tomb". But in his account of the burial
        by Joseph of Arimathea he says nothing of a tomb hewn out of the rock
        and closed with a round stone. You have noticed the discrepancy. I am
        glad you did. This shows that I am not seeing mirages.

        GJohn has taken the "second" burial story from GMark, altering it in two
        respects. He fails to mention the monumental character of the tomb (a
        cavity made in a rock). He anticipates the burial rituals, so that there
        will be no need to get the body out, embalm it, and bury it again. This
        scenario allows for a burial in an ordinary grave dug in the ground (as
        is likely to have happened if the "Jews" had performed the burial.

        I suspect that what happened on the third day is based on two
        conflicting traditions. One is recognized, and the other one is not
        recognized. The first one is Mark's. The second one is much more
        primitive. Its presence is recognized through the way it interferes with
        the Markan tradition and transforms it.

        To make long story short, I would say that the older tradition spoke of
        the women going to the crucifixion place to see what happened to the
        corpses. I have mentioned this point in an earlier post. Now is perhaps
        the time to discuss it. Are you ready to do so?

        So long,
        Joseph

        ================
        Joseph Codsi
        P.O. Box 116-2088
        Beirut, Lebanon
        Telephone (961) 1 423 145
        joseph5@...

        ==================
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Bill Bullin [mailto:bill.bullin@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 11:54 PM
        To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Two burial stories

        Dear Joseph Codsi

        Quick Note.

        John 20:1 states: "Early on the first day of the week, while it was
        still
        dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been
        removed from the tomb".

        Question: What stone? John has so far made no reference to a stone
        sealing
        the tomb! Was John writing for readers of Mark or Ur Markus? Or was
        knowledge of the stone sealing the tomb common knowledge amongst the
        evangelist's readers? Or was John so late that he knew or followed the
        Synoptics?

        Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex).
      • Bill Bullin
        ... Dear Joseph I appreciate you raising these points. It seems to me that there were only four practical ways of disposing of crucified bodies in c.1st CE
        Message 3 of 25 , Sep 8, 2004
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          Joseph Codsi wrote:

          > I can accept your version. But then I will ask you to please tell me how
          > the "Jews" are likely to have buried the three corpses. Would they have
          > used a common grave for the three of them, or would they have buried
          > them in separate graves? Would they have dug graves in the earth or used
          > tombs that were hewn out of the rock? Wouldn't you eliminate this last
          > scenario as unlikely, since it would have been an honour to be buried in
          > such a tomb? Assuming that they used separate graves and that Jesus'
          > grave was identified as his, is it likely that the women would have gone
          > back to the grave on the third day with the intention of digging Jesus'
          > body out of the dirt in order to perform the proper burial rituals?

          Dear Joseph

          I appreciate you raising these points. It seems to me that there were only
          four practical ways of disposing of crucified bodies in c.1st CE Palestine:
          (a) They might have been left to the birds and the dogs by the Romans; (b)
          They might have been discarded in a general refuge site; (c) they might have
          been buried in the ground; (d) they might have been placed in a tomb. If the
          Romans were responsible for a burial it would have been cheapest and least
          complicated to bury corpses in the ground. If the Romans were not
          responsible for the depositions, as I argue, then (c) and (d) remain the
          only practical possibilities. So what happened? Richard Anderson has posted
          on what normally happened, that is entombment until flesh rotted from bones
          and then the bones would be gathered and either placed in an ossuary or else
          placed in a family tomb. Things were rather different among the sectarians
          at Qumran where bodies were buried aligned but this is incidental to our
          discussion.

          The hypothetical scenario I paint is that Joseph, Nicodemus (Jewish
          leaders), and possibly others persuade the leading Jews that a petition
          should be made to Pilate to remove all three crucified Jews and Joseph
          approaches Pilate and gains approval.
          Joseph was a man of great means, would have had servants and could have
          hired day labourers, he could not have acted alone in removing and burying
          three corpses. A human male corpse is a heavy dead weight. Let us remember
          Acts 13:29: it was Jews who *took Jesus down*, not Romans. Jesus' body is
          removed not only from the scene but from the gibbet by Jews, and laid in a
          rock tomb. The other bodies are buried in the ground to prevent animals
          scavenging and for reasons of cleanliness and convenience. Joseph's energy
          is focused on the burial of Jesus' corpse and Nicodemus is a co-conspirator.
          Disposition in a tomb was not strictly necessary, presumably it was more
          expensive but it was not exactly a ritual burial. The use of myrrh and aloes
          in the quantity described would have been the only act of defiance against
          the Imperial authority. Crises make some men cowards and others, bold.

          I am not claiming things happened exactly like this, of course not; I am
          claiming that this scenario is both historically plausible in terms of what
          we know of the Second Temple period and compatible with our earliest
          surviving records. Incidentally, although Colossians is dated later, I
          wonder if 2:12 carries an incidental reference to Jesus being 'buried' (a
          generic term) as well as the obvious baptismal reference.

          > I can see the women going to the grave in order to mourn Jesus, not in
          > order to perform a new burial ritual involving the embalmment of the
          > body. In this case, the account of GJohn would be the only one to fit in
          > the scenario you suggest.

          Dry preservatives are presumably described in 19:40; liquids elsewhere.
          Much has been made of women going to the wrong tomb;
          in my household it is the men who can't even find their own socks!
          My remark is flippant but intends to make a light touch on a serious gender
          issue about women, men, and breavement responses including hallucinations.

          > Mark's account does not seem believable if Jesus had been buried in an
          > ordinary grave dug in the soil.

          Agreed, it would clearly contradict 15:46.

          >It requires that the burial at the hand
          > of Joseph of Arimathea be temporary, and allowed for the proper rituals
          > to be performed after the Sabbath. In this case, only a tomb hewn out of
          > the rock would fit the requirement (cf. Mark 15:46). Thus Jesus would
          > have been placed in a morgue-like place, waiting for the proper rituals
          > to be performed as soon as possible.

          Yes, and this conforms with Acts 13.
          >
          > Do you think the Markan scenario can be maintained if we were to replace
          > the burial by Joseph of Arimathea with a burial by the "Jews"?

          Hmm. Well, of course Joseph was a Jew. But if I take you to mean by 'Jews',
          Jews that had no sympathy with Jesus and his movement and who were only
          concerned to respect Deut. 21. for the sake of the land, and in addition saw
          the offender as a blasphemer, then I suspect they might well have thought a
          tomb would be too good for him and would consequently have buried him
          beneath the soil, possibly in a common grave with the other malefactors.
          Presumably this is what Deut. 21:22ff originally referred to and all that
          would have been judged to have been required. This would have been
          sufficient in instances of war. The flesh rotting and then bone gathering
          (two stage) process seems to have been linked to Ezekiel and the valley of
          dry bones, the bones losing the impurity of sinful flesh.

          > 2 - I will move now to another question. I wrote, speaking of the author
          > of GJohn:
          >
          > >I repeat, the evangelist could not have reproduced side by side two
          > >burial stories that contradicted one another.
          >
          > You answered: "Agreed. But apparently Luke did!"
          >
          > Let's discuss the case of Luke. I have read GLuke and the Acts many
          > times without ever noticing the contradiction that exists between the
          > two burial accounts (Luke 23:50-56 and Acts 13:29). You are the one who
          > discovered it.

          I doubt I am the first, there is 'nothing new under the sun', Joseph.

          This shows that a contradiction is not perceived when we
          > are not looking for it. So I think it is possible that Luke did not see
          > the contradiction you are speaking of. Had he seen it, he would have
          > altered his sources in order to remove the contradiction, as he has done
          > in many other cases. It is relatively easy to document this point by
          > comparing GLuke to GMark.

          Yes, this is the obvious scenario and much depends on what we make of
          Luke-Acts.
          But as you say, we know Luke had an eye for spotting (potential)
          difficulties and smoothing them. So I do not find this explanation entirely
          satisfactory although it is admittedly convenient.

          I therefore wrestle with alternative suggestions: (a) that the reported
          speech came to Luke in a written form that he was unwilling to tamper with
          or (b) that Acts was completed before Luke, that is Streeter's Proto-Luke
          model (with Marcan or Ur -Marcan blocks being incorporated later),
          proto-Luke was followed by Acts and then Luke as we know it. On this basis,
          some L material concerning Joseph of Aramathea may have been filled out with
          the Marcan account

          In your following message you are clear that Mark is a source for John. I
          will respond separately but I am inclined to the view that John is early and
          independent of the Synoptics but that 'John' re-wrote and expanded in Greek
          for some who were familiar with Mark or a version of Mark that is no longer
          extant. Here I am partly following Richard Bauckham's arguments set out in
          his essay, John for Readers of Mark

          As a point of clarification I am not referring to the so called Secret Mark
          but a version that, for example did not include Mark 4:13-20 but did not
          have Jesus leaving Jericho almost before he arrived. Crossan places great
          store not only in Secret Mark and the Gospel of Thomas but in the Cross
          Gospel which he detects as the earliest of three layers in the later
          document, the Gospel of Peter: (a) Original Stratum: Crucifixion and
          deposition; (b) Redactional Stratum: Request for Burial; (c) Intracanonical
          Stratum: Joseph and Burial, *The Historical Jesus* (1991), 391-394 and
          Appendix 7, 462. The latter document contains a brief account of Joseph as
          a friend both of Jesus and Pilate and of Pilate pleading with Herod for
          Jesus' corpse so he could give it to Joseph.

          Warm regards

          Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex).
        • Bill Bullin
          Dear Joseph ... One of the benefits of revisiting the Johannine burial narrative at a leisurely pace is that it concentrates the mind, and my mind has been
          Message 4 of 25 , Sep 9, 2004
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            Dear Joseph

            > I see you are going ahead of me. I was getting ready to close the
            > discussion of the burial stories and move to the discovery of the empty
            > tomb.
            >
            One of the benefits of revisiting the Johannine burial narrative at a
            leisurely pace is that it concentrates the mind, and my mind has been unable
            to pass by the appearance of Nicodemus alongside Joseph in the Johannine
            burial account. In an earlier thread I referred to David Rensberger's
            excellent discussion in his book *Overcoming the World: Politics and
            Community in the Gospel of John* (1988). Rensberger focuses almost
            exclusively on Nicodemus as a narrative symbol or type for secret disciples,
            disciples who remained within the synagogue following the parting of the
            ways in the late c.1st CE. His interest is almost exclusively in the
            theology of John and the history and sociology of the Johannine community.
            However, whether or not Nicodemus was purely a theological and symbolic
            figure, enters into the gambit of our thread and has a bearing on whether or
            not Joseph of Aramathea was also a purely theological and symbolic figure.
            My difficulties with Rensberger's fine focussed discussion, bristling as it
            is with illuminating statements and rich analysis of Johannine theology, is
            that ultimately Johannine theology can obscure (rather than deny) the
            possibility of a flesh and blood Nicodemus; and that I am far from convinced
            that the kind of sociological and theological dynamics he discusses requires
            a late social situation. Serious tensions existed between believers and the
            Sanhedrin before the fall of Jerusalem.

            There seems to me to be a theological, sociological and historical thread
            between John 1:20; 2:23-25; 3:1-22; 12:42-43 (but also 37-50); and John
            19:38. Conclusions drawn in relation to Acts 13 have a potential bearing on
            this. How strange that 4G should be so concerned with the issue of secret
            discipleship and yet, astonishingly, the document itself obscures the
            identity of the Beloved Disciple from its readers and hearers! It is as if
            the identity of the BD and the issue of secret discipleship belong to very
            different periods and are therefore not seen to be raising a potential
            contradiction. I cannot remember ever reading anything discussing about this
            potential contradiction. Paul of course insists on confession with the mouth
            as early as 56-7 CE (Romans 10: 9-10, 14:11).

            Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex)
          • Maluflen@aol.com
            In case you are curious about where Mark got that tradition, he got it from the Gospel of
            Message 5 of 25 , Sep 10, 2004
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              <<the original version of the official tradition (found in Mark)>>

              In case you are curious about where Mark got that tradition, he got it from the Gospel of Matthew, which pre-existed his own, and where the tradition clearly belongs from a literary point of view. The Joseph who buried Jesus at the end balances the Joseph who foster-fathered him through hard times at the beginning. Or, as the great Irish bard put it:

              How life and death in Thee
              Agree

              Thou hast a virgin womb
              And tomb

              A Joseph did betroth
              Them both.

              Leonard Maluf
            • Jack Kilmon
              ... From: To: Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 3:20 PM Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Two burial stories ...
              Message 6 of 25 , Sep 10, 2004
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: <Maluflen@...>
                To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 3:20 PM
                Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Two burial stories


                > <<the original version of the official tradition (found in Mark)>>
                >
                > In case you are curious about where Mark got that tradition, he got it
                from the Gospel of Matthew, which pre-existed his own, and where the
                tradition clearly belongs from a literary point of view. The Joseph who
                buried Jesus at the end balances the Joseph who foster-fathered him through
                hard times at the beginning. Or, as the great Irish bard put it:
                >
                > How life and death in Thee
                > Agree
                >
                > Thou hast a virgin womb
                > And tomb
                >
                > A Joseph did betroth
                > Them both.
                >
                > Leonard Maluf


                That will teach me not to approve a message without reviewing it, even once
                in a while. The "two burial stories" has been a very good thread and the
                exchanges well thought.

                Jack Kilmon
              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                ... I should have thought that the symmetry between beginning and ending Josephs that appears in Matthew would be a solid indication of intervention into, and
                Message 7 of 25 , Sep 10, 2004
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                  Maluflen@... wrote:

                  > <<the original version of the official tradition (found in Mark)>>
                  >
                  > In case you are curious about where Mark got that tradition, he got it from the Gospel of Matthew, which pre-existed his own, and where the tradition clearly belongs from a literary point of view. The Joseph who buried Jesus at the end balances the Joseph who foster-fathered him through hard times at the beginning. Or, as the great Irish bard put it:
                  >
                  > How life and death in Thee
                  > Agree
                  >
                  > Thou hast a virgin womb
                  > And tomb
                  >
                  > A Joseph did betroth
                  > Them both.

                  I should have thought that the symmetry between beginning and ending Josephs that appears in Matthew would be a solid indication of intervention into, and a late literary rounding off of, a prior tradition.

                  In other words, this seems like a good argument *for* Markan priority.

                  Jeffrey


                  --
                  Jeffrey B. Gibson
                  Chicago, Illinois
                  e-mail jgibson000@...
                • Bill Bullin
                  Dear Jeffrey and Leonard I shall be contending that there is no either-or between recognising John as the omega of the New Testament witness, the end-term,
                  Message 8 of 25 , Sep 11, 2004
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                    Dear Jeffrey and Leonard

                    "I shall be contending that there is no either-or between recognising John
                    as the omega of the New Testament witness, the end-term, or an end-term of
                    its theological reflection, and also as its alpha, standing as close as any
                    to the source from which it sparang. His theology dos not, I believe, take
                    us further from the history but leads us more deeply into it. And I shall
                    often be echoing the lines from Brownings 'A Death in the Desert', which
                    William Temple called 'the most penetrating interpretation of St John in the
                    English language:

                    "What first were guessed as points, I now knew stars,
                    And namd them in the Gospel I had writ."

                    He is concerned, I suggest, to present the truth of the history, it is not
                    the whole truth. But that it is a primal vision, a first, though not
                    necessarily the first, statement of the gospel in writing, from source and
                    not from sources, I should wish strongly to insist, and hope to show to be
                    critically well grounded."

                    J.A.T. Robinson, The Priority of John, (1985), 33; see also John Ashton,
                    Understanding the Fourth Gospel, (1991), 5, n.3.

                    Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex).
                    -
                    ---- Original Message -----
                    From: Jeffrey B. Gibson <jgibson000@...>
                    To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 10:35 PM
                    Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Two burial stories


                    >
                    > Maluflen@... wrote:
                    >
                    > > <<the original version of the official tradition (found in Mark)>>
                    > >
                    > > In case you are curious about where Mark got that tradition, he got it
                    from the Gospel of Matthew, which pre-existed his own, and where the
                    tradition clearly belongs from a literary point of view. The Joseph who
                    buried Jesus at the end balances the Joseph who foster-fathered him through
                    hard times at the beginning. Or, as the great Irish bard put it:
                    > >
                    > > How life and death in Thee
                    > > Agree
                    > >
                    > > Thou hast a virgin womb
                    > > And tomb
                    > >
                    > > A Joseph did betroth
                    > > Them both.
                    >
                    > I should have thought that the symmetry between beginning and ending
                    Josephs that appears in Matthew would be a solid indication of intervention
                    into, and a late literary rounding off of, a prior tradition.
                    >
                    > In other words, this seems like a good argument *for* Markan priority.
                    >
                    > Jeffrey
                    >
                    >
                    > --
                    > Jeffrey B. Gibson
                    > Chicago, Illinois
                    > e-mail jgibson000@...
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
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                  • Bill Bullin
                    Hi Bill, ... Dear Joseph I will forgo any attempt to summarise our thread from my perspective, preferring to leave the posts as they stand, more than a little
                    Message 9 of 25 , Sep 11, 2004
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                      Hi Bill,

                      >So long,
                      >Joseph

                      Dear Joseph

                      I will forgo any attempt to summarise our thread from my perspective,
                      preferring to leave the posts as they stand, more than a little untidy and
                      with not a few untied ends worthy of further pursuit. It may be just worth
                      mentioning two lines of thought germinating in the back of my mind: (a) the
                      old chestnut of why the body could not be produced to quell the fanatical
                      claims of the hallucinating Galileans. One line of argument might be that
                      claims of an empty tomb were never made until the fall of Jerusalem brought
                      ancient scriptures to bear on the interpretation of Jesus, in the light of
                      unfolding events, in which case Acts 13 presents something of a stumbling
                      block as, I would claim, does Paul's early high soteriology and his
                      christology in 1 Cor. 8:6 amongst other passages; (b) the trigger(s) that
                      directed the post-Easter Jesus movement to interpret events through their
                      scriptures and through certain scriptures rather than others, (Peter's
                      speech; Paul's speech in Pisidian Antioch, esp. 'when they had carried out
                      everything written about him'; John 19:36 etc.) A word study of Isaiah 53:9
                      with its variant reading in the Qumran text might prove fruitful.

                      It is easy to claim that history was invented in retrospect and difficult to
                      refute the suggestion.One piece of the Marcan account which the 'assured
                      results of scolarship' assures me is almost certainly theological rather
                      than actual is the darkness at midday. Eclipses do not occur at midday at
                      Passover. Of course this objection is based on taking Marcan timing as
                      historical rather than schematic. Just think how an actual eclipse or some
                      wind enduced phenomena sometime on the morning of the crucifixion would have
                      sent everyone rushing to their scriptures for, as Philo tells us, an eclipse
                      indicates the death of a king or the destruction of a city, and at Passover
                      speaks to the Jewish mind of the death of a firstborn son. It would be
                      enough to send a delegation of high ranking Jewish scholars to Pilate to
                      insist that the body(ies) was/were removed in order to lift an imminent
                      curse from the land (Deut. 19:22-23; with 28:15ff; Joel 2:1-2; 10-11; 30-32;
                      3:14-15); and still others to ask what all these things meant.

                      This reminds me that some years ago the then Bishop of Durham made certain
                      pronouncements concerning the resurrection shortly after which the Cathedral
                      spire was hit by lightening, with predictable tabloid headlines to follow!
                      It remains to be seen how the spire will fair during the course of the
                      present Bishop's office but perhaps that would be to conflate John Crossan's
                      Cross Gospel with Tom Wright's sober analysis unduly.

                      Like you, I am always very suspicious of the 'assured results of
                      scholarship', and given the friendly exchanges between Leonard, Jeffrey, and
                      Jack, which draw our thread to a close, it would seem we are right to be
                      suspicious.

                      Many thanks to you and the other thread participants. I look forward to
                      further exchanges with you in due course.

                      With warm respect.

                      Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex).
                    • Ramsey Michaels
                      Joseph: Aren t the pious ladies engaged in a novena to Saint Francis entitled to revealed truth ? At least there actually are two Josephs in Matthew,
                      Message 10 of 25 , Sep 11, 2004
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                        Joseph:

                        Aren't the "pious ladies engaged in a novena to Saint Francis" entitled to
                        "revealed truth"?

                        At least there actually are "two Josephs" in Matthew, which is more than we
                        can say for "two burials" in John. So which is "fact" and which is "poetry"?

                        Ramsey Michaels

                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Joseph Codsi" <joseph5@...>
                        To: "Johannine_literature (johannaine_literature@yahoogroups.com)"
                        <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2004 2:36 PM
                        Subject: [John_Lit] Two burial stories


                        > Leonard Maluf wrote on September 10, 2004:
                        >
                        > <In case you are curious about where Mark got that tradition, he got it
                        > from the Gospel of Matthew, which pre-existed his own, and where the
                        > tradition clearly belongs from a literary point of view. The Joseph who
                        > buried Jesus at the end balances the Joseph who foster-fathered him
                        > through hard times at the beginning.>
                        >
                        > I do not agree with you that Mark got his information from the Gospel of
                        > Matthew. But you are entitled to your opinion.
                        >
                        > I find it important, however, when one is engaging in a scholarly
                        > discussion as is the case with our exchanges, to distinguish between
                        > facts and poetry.
                        >
                        > The parallelism you see between the two Josephs is quite interesting. I
                        > might use it next time I give a spiritual talk to a group of pious
                        > ladies engaged in a novena to Saint Francis. But I would be very
                        > reluctant to elevate this pious thought to the rank of revealed truth.
                        >
                        > Please think about this.
                        >
                        > Peace,
                        > Joseph
                        >
                        > ================
                        > Joseph Codsi
                        > P.O. Box 116-2088
                        > Beirut, Lebanon
                        > Telephone (961) 1 423 145
                        > joseph5@...
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                        >
                        >
                      • Maluflen@aol.com
                        In a message dated 9/10/2004 6:29:57 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... The sad thing is that the strength of the above argument for Markan priority is fairly
                        Message 11 of 25 , Sep 12, 2004
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                          In a message dated 9/10/2004 6:29:57 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                          jgibson000@... writes:


                          > I should have thought that the symmetry between beginning and ending
                          > Josephs that appears in Matthew would be a solid indication of intervention into,
                          > and a late literary rounding off of, a prior tradition.
                          >
                          > In other words, this seems like a good argument *for* Markan priority.
                          >
                          >

                          The sad thing is that the strength of the above argument for Markan priority
                          is fairly typical of the strength of such arguments generally, which is to
                          say, it is weak indeed. I was not making of the two Josephs an argument in favor
                          of Matthean priority. Rather, I stated Matthean priority as a fact (I like to
                          do this, in case you hadn't noticed, in the face of people who do the same,
                          with even less warrent, with Markan priority), and then went on to note how the
                          Josephs form something of a natural match on that hypothesis.

                          To illustrate the weakness of your suggestion for an argument in favor of a
                          late Matthew on the basis of a rounding off in terms of the two Josephs that
                          bracket his account of Jesus, I would simply reverse it by pointing out how a
                          late Mark rounds out his account of the ministry of Jesus by a (unique) two-fold
                          naming of the four disciples (Peter, Andrew, James and John) at the beginning
                          (1:29) and end (13:3) of that ministry. Of course the Markan phenomenon
                          produces a much neater and more formal intruding inclusion than the mere (possible)
                          coincidence of references to a Joseph early and late in Matt.

                          Leonard Maluf


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Ramsey Michaels
                          Joseph, To me as a Protestant, revealed truth is in the text of the Gospels, not in my subjective faith about it. If that is the case, Gospel scholarship
                          Message 12 of 25 , Sep 12, 2004
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                            Joseph,

                            To me as a Protestant, "revealed truth" is in the text of the Gospels, not
                            in my subjective "faith" about it. If that is the case, Gospel scholarship
                            obviously has a bearing on it, even if it does not by itself define it. I
                            suspect many Catholics feel that way as well, and isn't that why Gospel
                            scholarship is so controversial?

                            Even on your own terms, your previous comment made it sound as if the faith
                            of the Novena ladies did not quite rise to the level of the "revealed truth"
                            which we professionals discover in our scholarly discussions. It sounded a
                            little patronizing, which I'm sure was not your intent. Can't we benefit
                            from their faith and they from the fruits of our scholarship?

                            By grace,

                            Ramsey Michaels


                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Joseph Codsi" <joseph5@...>
                            To: "Johannine_literature (johannaine_literature@yahoogroups.com)"
                            <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 6:00 AM
                            Subject: [John_Lit] Two burial stories


                            > Ramsey Michaels wrote:
                            >
                            > Aren't the "pious ladies engaged in a novena to Saint Francis" entitled
                            > to
                            > "revealed truth"?
                            >
                            > At least there actually are "two Josephs" in Matthew, which is more than
                            > we
                            > can say for "two burials" in John. So which is "fact" and which is
                            > "poetry"?
                            >
                            > + + +
                            >
                            > Ramsey,
                            >
                            > Gospel scholarship does not asses the gospel as "revealed truth". This
                            > is a question of faith not a question of scholarship.
                            >
                            > What is OK in the context of a novena is not OK in the context of a
                            > scholarly discussion.
                            >
                            > Peace,
                            > Joseph
                            >
                            > ================
                            > Joseph Codsi
                            > P.O. Box 116-2088
                            > Beirut, Lebanon
                            > Telephone (961) 1 423 145
                            > joseph5@...
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >
                            >
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                            >
                          • Q Bee
                            ... Dear Ramsey, Thank you for your careful wording pointing out the apparent gender bias that inspired the phrase Novena Ladies . It is certainly not in the
                            Message 13 of 25 , Sep 12, 2004
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                              On 9/12/04 5:41 AM, "Ramsey Michaels" <profram@...> wrote:

                              > Even on your own terms, your previous comment made it sound as if the faith
                              > of the Novena ladies did not quite rise to the level of the "revealed truth"
                              > which we professionals discover in our scholarly discussions. It sounded a
                              > little patronizing, which I'm sure was not your intent. Can't we benefit
                              > from their faith and they from the fruits of our scholarship?
                              >
                              > By grace,
                              >
                              > Ramsey Michaels

                              Dear Ramsey,

                              Thank you for your careful wording pointing out the apparent gender bias
                              that inspired the phrase 'Novena Ladies'. It is certainly not in the spirit
                              of 4G to insert denigrating gender remarks (which only tend to diminish the
                              credibility of their author) into scholarly discourse.

                              Peace,

                              Elaine Bessette
                              Tacoma, WA
                            • Ramsey Michaels
                              Dear Joseph, Thank you for your lengthy, and thoughtful,. response.We do differ. There is a compartmentalization here which I cannot share. What is true is
                              Message 14 of 25 , Sep 13, 2004
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                                Dear Joseph,

                                Thank you for your lengthy, and thoughtful,. response.We do differ. There is
                                a compartmentalization here which I cannot share. What is true is true,
                                whether we are speaking of history or theology. I find I can learn from
                                anyone, whether I think they are less "mature" than I am or not.

                                Even the Novena ladies know there is only one burial in John, no matter how
                                it was in history. And the latter is purely theoretical, a thing of the
                                scholarly imagination, which is no better than the imagination of the Novena
                                ladies. But I do appreciate your sharing something of your personal
                                philosophy. It is worth hearing.

                                Ramsey

                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: "Joseph Codsi" <joseph5@...>
                                To: "Johannine_literature (johannaine_literature@yahoogroups.com)"
                                <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Monday, September 13, 2004 2:58 PM
                                Subject: [John_Lit] Two burial stories


                                Ramsey Michaels wrote on September 12:

                                Joseph,

                                To me as a Protestant, "revealed truth" is in the text of the Gospels,
                                not
                                in my subjective "faith" about it. If that is the case, Gospel
                                scholarship
                                obviously has a bearing on it, even if it does not by itself define it.
                                I
                                suspect many Catholics feel that way as well, and isn't that why Gospel
                                scholarship is so controversial?

                                Even on your own terms, your previous comment made it sound as if the
                                faith
                                of the Novena ladies did not quite rise to the level of the "revealed
                                truth"
                                which we professionals discover in our scholarly discussions. It
                                sounded a
                                little patronizing, which I'm sure was not your intent. Can't we benefit
                                from their faith and they from the fruits of our scholarship?

                                + + +

                                Dear Ramsey,

                                In my first answer to your question I avoided being personal. But my
                                impersonal answer did not satisfy you. I welcome the new way in which
                                you have asked your question. I see in it an invitation to be more
                                personal.

                                Let me begin with the following statement:

                                "It sounded a little patronizing, which I'm sure was not your intent."

                                I think you are right. There is here an implied criticism of the "novena
                                ladies", not because they are ladies, but because they are at a
                                spiritual level I have left behind me. A simple analogy will help
                                explain this point.

                                We all go through stages in life: from infancy to childhood,
                                adolescence, young adulthood, more mature adulthood and so on to old
                                age. What an adult knows, a child ignores. What is moral for an adult
                                can be seen as immoral for a teenager. It is not because we become more
                                mature that we despise all the children, who by definition are less
                                mature. I would not go preaching to children: "Repent. Grow mature
                                overnight!"

                                We are conditioned by our biological development, which is mostly beyond
                                our control. It is not moral to be old and immoral to be young. What
                                would be abnormal is for someone to reach an advanced age and remain
                                relatively underdeveloped. But this would not engage the moral
                                responsibility of the individual.

                                Our spiritual development follows a similar evolution. Instead of
                                depending on our biological growth, it is depending on our sociological
                                conditioning. The spiritual world in which we live has the tendency to
                                overwhelm us and impose on us its own traditional definitions of
                                spiritual maturity. As a result, we stop evolving and growing in certain
                                specific areas. The "novena ladies" of my example are in this situation.
                                Their intention is perfect and their fervor genuine. They find in a
                                novena, in lighting a candle or in the recitation of the rosary the
                                nourishment they need. I could have spoken instead of a saintly local
                                monk who has been recently canonized by Rome. His faith and piety would
                                be very similar to the faith and piety of my "novena ladies". (In this
                                part of the world, there are religious devotions that are for ladies.
                                Novenas fall in this category. I do not set the socio-religious rules.)

                                Would I be contemptuous of a saintly man or pious ladies? Certainly not,
                                simply because I was once like them, with the exception of sainthood, I
                                assume. Besides, my own mother was one of them. Many of the people who
                                are dear to me are like that. It is much harder for them to understand
                                my views than for me to understand theirs. So I feel it is up to me to
                                adjust to them and to blend with the crowd when a baby is baptized, a
                                young couple is married, or an old person is buried. Paul said he was a
                                Jew with the Jews and a gentile with the gentiles. I do the same thing,
                                when I adjust to different forms of spirituality.

                                Even in a discussion group like ours, there is room for different
                                spiritualities. Leonard Maluf is entitled to his as you are entitled to
                                yours. But to the extent you wish to share in our discussions, you
                                cannot afford to remain under-developed in certain areas. I know I am
                                dealing here with a very delicate question. I do not want to sound
                                condescending or patronizing. My intention is to invite you to take a
                                step in the direction of greater human and spiritual maturity. I know
                                from the way you speak that you are "an Israelite in whom there is no
                                fallacy", so I trust the day will come when you will understand what I
                                am trying to explain to you today.

                                When you say that for you "revealed truth" is in the text of the
                                Gospels, you are seeing only one side of the coin. The other side sees
                                in the gospels a human discourse. It is very difficult to reconcile
                                those two statements. So let's deal first with what is easier, the
                                duality of the word. I am speaking here of the word as scripture and of
                                the Word as the Logos made man. In both cases, the word is 100% divine
                                and 100% human. This is what the Christian logic requires.

                                As gospel scholars, we study the gospels not as divine word, but as
                                human discourse. We leave it to theologians to study the gospels as
                                divine word. I know that this specialization is far from being
                                satisfactory to the religious mind, who insists on the inseparability of
                                the duality: divine-human. But unless we "separate what God has united",
                                no scholarship would be possible.

                                This has an immediate consequence on what we do. We deal with the
                                gospels as if we were not Christian believers. In other words, there is
                                room in our midst for unbelievers, whose contribution can be just as
                                valuable as anyone else's. We do not offer spiritual guidance to people
                                who wish to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith and
                                progress in the way they live it. We are not pastors. The evangelists,
                                however, were interested in conveying to their readers their
                                understanding of the Christian event. So there is in the gospels a
                                discourse that can be spiritual nourishment as well as confirmation of
                                the faith. But let us be realistic. It makes no sense to ask or expect
                                from gospel scholarship what it cannot give.

                                I will move now to a more critical approach.

                                It is pious to believe that the scripture and the gospels in particular
                                are a divine discourse, in which God's words are consigned. The problem
                                with this view is that we end up attributing to God all the
                                contradictions that are found in the gospels. This is a formidable
                                difficulty.

                                The need for the believers to understand their faith (fides quearens
                                intellctum) implies that there are difficult problems, which need to be
                                resolved. It is because there are serious problems that gospel
                                scholarship is needed.

                                So we have no choice but to raise questions. The great weakness of
                                modern scholarship has been its inability to produce new knowledge
                                related to the way the Christian faith was born. We have been circling
                                around the puzzle. But so far we have not discovered the key to its
                                solution.

                                CONCLUSION

                                As a believer, you are entitled to your faith. Your desire to seek in
                                the gospel a confirmation for your faith is legitimate. But do not
                                expect modern scholarship to help you in this regard. Scholarship
                                implies a more mature approach to the Christian faith. Because this
                                approach is in and of itself critical, it falls in the via negativa. In
                                relation to the via negativa, the faith of the Lenanese saint or of the
                                "novena ladies" or for that matter of the Muslim fundamentalist is too
                                immediate, too naïve, too simplistic. The need to go beyond it is
                                therefore felt by some of us. This creates serious tensions between us.
                                Our exchanges show what I am talking about.

                                Please understand that this is quite normal. Life is far from being a
                                routine in which everything remains the same. Every stage we go through
                                has its challenges. No spiritual initiation is ever final. The quest
                                takes different forms, because it is conducted on different levels. In a
                                world where everything is put into question, the faith of our childhood
                                can easily become inadequate. A new assessment becomes then necessary.

                                Clearly you feel the need to investigate certain questions. This means
                                that you are in movement. Every movement is continuity and
                                discontinuity. We tend to assign to continuity a positive sign and to
                                discontinuity a negative sign. This is ok. But we go wrong when we
                                associate the positive sign with morality and the negative sign with
                                immorality. The ancient made a similar mistake when they gave to right
                                and left moral connotations. A left-handed child is no longer considered
                                as possessed by the devil.

                                Without negativity there is no maturity. Sometimes I think my elders
                                were happy, because they could live their entire life without ever
                                having to rethink the faith of their childhood. Today life has become
                                more complicated.

                                So far there is a big gap between us. You think the gospel is the word
                                of God and I think it is a human discourse. I cannot bridge that gap for
                                you. You must do it yourself. But how can you do it if all you can see
                                is one side of the coin? The challenge for you is to start recognizing
                                the other side, even though this might seem to you as a negative, wrong
                                and morally reprehensible step.

                                One last remark:

                                You speak of <the level of the "revealed truth" which we professionals
                                discover in our scholarly discussions>.

                                Do you mean to say that the more we disagree on important questions, the
                                closer we get to the "revealed truth"?

                                Luke could confirm with his gospel the teachings Theophilus had
                                received. Modern scholarship, on the other hand, does the exact
                                opposite. It questions every word of the gospel.

                                Peace,
                                Joseph

                                ================
                                Joseph Codsi
                                P.O. Box 116-2088
                                Beirut, Lebanon
                                Telephone (961) 1 423 145
                                joseph5@...





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                              • Maluflen@aol.com
                                In a message dated 9/13/2004 3:11:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... That would be fides quaerens intellectum . As for the English part of your post, I enjoyed
                                Message 15 of 25 , Sep 14, 2004
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                                  In a message dated 9/13/2004 3:11:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                                  joseph5@... writes:


                                  > The need for the believers to understand their faith (fides quearens
                                  > intellctum) implies that there are difficult problems

                                  That would be "fides quaerens intellectum". As for the English part of your
                                  post, I enjoyed reading it very much. I am tempted to attribute your keenness
                                  of thought to the good air of the Lebanon mountains, but that would be special
                                  pleading on my part, and would do less than credit to your own intellectual
                                  accomplishment.You are certainly an articulate spokesman for a rationalistic
                                  approach to Scripture, and make a good case that it is, in some measure, one to
                                  which we are all summoned by our profession -- as to a certain level of
                                  maturity. Thanks for raising important issues which inevitably form the background of
                                  our work, but are perhaps too seldom reflected upon in explicit terms. I do
                                  hope, however, that we also hear from someone who remains unconvinced that we
                                  are obligated or entitled, without paying a penalty for it, to "separate what
                                  God has joined", as you so nicely put it.

                                  Leonard Maluf


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