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Why There Aren't Two Burial Stories In John

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  • RevMikeB
    Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the Sabbath, especially because that Sabbath was a day of great
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 30, 2005
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      "Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the
      bodies left on the cross during the Sabbath, especially because that
      Sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have
      the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then
      the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other
      who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw
      that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead one
      of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and
      water came out." –John 19:31-34

      It has been suggested that this passage contains one of two burial
      stories in John and that the embedded one above might be the older
      of the two. I'd like to explain why I disagree by connecting the
      above passage with John 9:

      The irony in the quoted passage above SCREAMS for recognition. The
      key to understanding this passage pertains to the irony of how the
      Jews have kept (or failed to keep) the Sabbath in contrast to Jesus.
      Notice the word Sabbath is mentioned twice. I realize that according
      to John, no one took Jesus' life and that he laid it down;
      however, it strikes as scandalous that the Jews, who rigidly
      lobbied for his death, would be concerned about the Sabbath's
      solemnity if Jesus' battered body remained exposed hanging on a
      cross.

      So who is really keeping the Sabbath, Jesus or the Jews? Could it be
      that a dead man could keep the Sabbath? If we go back to John 9, in
      the story of the healing of the blind man, we find our answer. There
      Jesus is accused by the Pharisees for being a sinner because he
      healed the man on the Sabbath, which is a miracle they ironically
      wanted to reject in the first place. In that chapter in verse 4
      Jesus says, "We must work the works of him who sent me while it
      is day; night is coming when no one can work." Clearly, work and
      Sabbath are key themes which are compared and contrasted here and go
      hand in hand.

      First, what are the works of God in ch 9? In John 6:29 we are
      told, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he
      has sent." Is getting people, such as the blind man, to come to a
      saving belief in Jesus breaking the Sabbath? No! (Jesus' focus is on
      spiritual blindness.)

      Secondly, what does it mean that he must work "while it is day,
      night is coming when no one can work"? Clearly, this is a
      reference to the time right after it is his "hour to be glorified."
      The night represents Jesus' death. It is dark because Jesus foretold
      in the very next verse (9:5), "As long as I am in the world, I am the
      light
      of the world." When he dies, the light is out temporarily and he
      is at rest and will not be bringing people to faith, until after the
      resurrection, of course. Thus, just as God rested on the seventh
      day, the dead, crucified Jesus rests when his Spirit departs, and it
      is he who keeps the Sabbath, not the Jews. Chapter 9 becomes
      fulfilled in ch 19, and verses 31-34 become essential in supporting
      the strategy of the Evangelist to explain Jesus' work or his resting
      on the Sabbath. The Jews, as usual, look like idiots. (Is the taking
      of Jesus' body down from the cross work and was it completed
      before nigh, the beginning of the Sabbath?)

      Thirdly, Jesus' uses of mud to heal the blind man from birth harkens
      back to God's creating of Adam in Genesis. In Genesis, in the
      beginning God speaks the word to begin the creative process. In
      John's prologue Jesus is the word that was at the beginning who put
      on flesh. (Maybe the Evangelist and not the Redactor added from a
      source his prologue?) In any case, the reference to mud clearly
      suggests a comparison of Jesus' creative work with God's and fits
      nicely with his theology that when you are looking at Jesus, you are
      looking at the Father. So in John 9 we have closely tied themes held
      in tension: When is it proper to work (bring people to faith),
      create (heal), or rest on the Sabbath, and who is doing all of this
      correctly? The way I see it, in John 19:31-34, the Evangelist caries
      on these same concerns.

      The Evangelist clearly meant chapter 9 to find fulfillment in John
      19:31-34. Not recognizing the connection with chapter 9 and what the
      Evangelist was trying to accomplish, a Redactor (Is it the same one
      who tacked on ch. 21?) added 19:35-37. (I see he wasn't the only one
      to miss the connection with Ch. 9 considering the posts here.) Thus,
      to claim that John 19:31-34 is an older and second burial story is
      pure fantasy in my humble opinion. Moreover, the passage is unlikely
      to be based on a tradition. Rather, this passage is a creation of
      the Evangelist to demonstrate THEOLOGICALLY that even in his
      death/rest, Jesus still keeps the solemnity of the Sabbath,
      something the Jews continually failed to do because of their
      inability to receive the "work of God," which is belief in
      Jesus who is sent from above. After all, how can you keep the
      Sabbath if you don't have faith in Jesus WHO REVEALS THE FATHER?

      Would anyone here agree that the style, vocabulary, use of irony,
      and themes in chapter 9 are held in 19:31-34, suggesting the
      creative work of the Evangelist? I do believe the Evangelist may
      have used a rudimentary Signs Gospel or more likely a signs source
      and a Passion Narrative of some kind. But I haven't been afforded
      the time to work it all out nor relate it the present discussion.
      I'd be interested to hear what others might have to say about it. I
      do realize that one could argue that 19:31-34 is from an old
      tradition via a Passion Narrative source and that chapter 9 was
      written after the fact. It is probable that the breaking of the legs
      of the criminals, for instance, is from such a source. However, I
      just don't belief that this is another burial story at all and
      believe that the theological concerns of the Evangelist are too
      dominating here and consistent with chapter 9 to believe that he
      didn't create the Jews' request for the removal of Jesus' body from
      the cross. One thing I will say, and you can gather this from what I
      have said above: I don't believe the first 7 verses in Ch. 9 are
      anywhere near untouched by the Evangelist, even if he relied upon
      some signs source.

      Good scholars recognize that the Evangelist in the Fourth Gospel
      often decodes his own passages, verses 31-34 included. Poor
      scholarship leads one to side more with one's imagination. Only by
      ignoring or missing what is so clear could one suggest that
      Mary's statement, "They have taken away the Lord and I don't know
      where they have laid him" is due either to the unexpected discovery
      of a bare cross or the hypothetical first tomb for criminals being
      empty(empty because Jesus was moved by Joseph of Arimathea to a
      second tomb).

      I too want to know the truth of things, but I also know that poor
      scholarship might cost someone their faith. And I don't see any good
      in commending someone for admitting unbelief in the resurrection
      either, as has been done in one post. I believe in the
      resurrection, so maybe that has something to do with seeing the
      obvious and not being misled by fanciful concoctions of the mind.
      You know, those who don't believe often accuse people of faith of
      explaining away the obvious. And sometimes they do. But it is also
      true that faith helps one to see the truth. In fact, it is ironic
      that the theme of chapter 9 is that seeing is not believing, but
      rather believing is seeing. It's also ironic that the Jews fail
      to
      keep the Sabbath because of their unbelief. Some posters would do
      well to entertain the Evangelist's real message for a while.


      Rev Mike B
      A Young Pastor of a Small Church
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Rev Mike wrote, among other things: The Jews, as usual, look like idiots. You might want to reword this and similar statements. Perhaps: The fourth
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 30, 2005
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        Rev Mike wrote, among other things:

        "The Jews, as usual, look like idiots."

        You might want to reword this and similar statements.
        Perhaps:

        "The fourth evangelist as usual makes the Jews look
        like idiots."

        I assume that you actually meant something along those
        lines since you later write this:

        "John 19:31-34 .... is a creation of the Evangelist to
        demonstrate THEOLOGICALLY that even in his death/rest,
        Jesus still keeps the solemnity of the Sabbath,
        something the Jews continually failed to do because of
        their inability to receive the "work of God," which is
        belief in Jesus who is sent from above."

        If your point is that the evangelist is shaping his
        material and adding inventions of his own to portray
        Jews negatively, then you need to clarify your point.

        Jeffery Hodges

        =====
        University Degrees:

        Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
        (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
        M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
        B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

        Email Address:

        jefferyhodges@...

        Office Address:

        Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Department of English Language and Literature
        Korea University
        136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
        Seoul
        South Korea

        Home Address:

        Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Seo-Dong 125-2
        Shin-Dong-A, Apt. 102-709
        447-710 Kyunggido, Osan-City
        South Korea
      • Q Bee
        On Jan 30, 2005, at 5:54 PM, RevMikeB wrote: Rev. Mike wrote: (snip) ... (snip) ... Dear Rev. Mike, This presentation may work as sermon in some denominations,
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 30, 2005
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          On Jan 30, 2005, at 5:54 PM, RevMikeB wrote:

          Rev. Mike wrote:

          (snip)

          > John 19:31-34
          >
          > It has been suggested that this passage contains one of two burial
          > stories in John and that the embedded one above might be the older
          > of the two. I'd like to explain why I disagree by connecting the
          > above passage with John 9:
          >
          (snip)

          > no one took Jesus' life and that he laid it down;
          > however, it strikes as scandalous that the Jews, who rigidly
          > lobbied for his death, would be concerned about the Sabbath's
          > solemnity if Jesus' battered body remained exposed hanging on a
          > cross.
          >
          > So who is really keeping the Sabbath, Jesus or the Jews? Could it be
          > that a dead man could keep the Sabbath?

          Dear Rev. Mike,

          This presentation may work as sermon in some denominations, but, as you
          say, "no one took Jesus' life... he laid it down." So, building a case
          upon the scandal of Jews lobbying against one who clearly breaks their
          laws is tantamount to saying that it is condemnable for the US to
          punish Alqaeda operatives.

          > If we go back to John 9, in
          > the story of the healing of the blind man, we find our answer. There
          > Jesus is accused by the Pharisees for being a sinner because he
          > healed the man on the Sabbath, which is a miracle they ironically
          > wanted to reject in the first place.

          Jesus cures on the Sabbath for the first time in John 5:1-18. This
          story is in tandem with the "Days of Creation" of Genesis 1's first
          creation story. It is the seventh day. God took a break from the work
          of Creation and then continues, but Jesus, the Son of God continues
          without pause.

          Concerning the high holy feast as sabbath, it would appear that the
          crucifixion took place on a
          Thursday, the high holy sabbath was on Friday, and the regular sabbath
          followed on the usual Saturday. Then, the sequence of three days in
          the tomb is more viable. If the high holy day is the same day as the
          ordinary sabbath then Jesus was in the tomb for a couple of hours of
          late Friday, all of the Sabbath, and was already up and walking around
          on Sunday before dawn. This is, at best, a day and a half.
          >
          > The Jews, as usual, look like idiots. (Is the taking
          > of Jesus' body down from the cross work and was it completed
          > before nigh, the beginning of the Sabbath?)
          >
          I must say that the statement above is offensive in tone. The Jews
          were following the law.

          Regards,

          Rev. Mother Elaine+
          Tacoma, WA
        • RevMikeB
          ... It is not my intention to suggest the Jews were REALLY idiots because they were Jewish if that is what you mean; nor to suggest that ALL Jews are idiots.
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 30, 2005
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            > If your point is that the evangelist is shaping his
            > material and adding inventions of his own to portray
            > Jews negatively, then you need to clarify your point.

            It is not my intention to suggest "the Jews" were REALLY idiots
            because they were Jewish if that is what you mean; nor to suggest
            that ALL Jews are idiots. That would be terribly wrong and I
            apologize if that is the impression I might have given.

            In most cases in the Gospel of John, "the Jews" aren't portryed
            positively by the Evangelist, and that is putting it mildly. My
            point is to show that the irony of "the Jews" wanting to keep the
            Sabbath by having Jesus' body removed is scandelous after having
            lobbied so hard for him to be crucified in the first place; so the
            Evangelist, makes them look pretty bad. It is Jesus, in chapter 9 as
            well in chapter 19:31-34 who keeps the sabbath, not "the Jews"
            because of their unblief.
          • RevMikeB
            ... as you say, no one took Jesus life... he laid it down. So, building a case upon the scandal of Jews lobbying against one who clearly breaks their laws
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 30, 2005
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              > This presentation may work as sermon in some denominations, but,
              as you say, "no one took Jesus' life... he laid it down." So,
              building a case upon the scandal of Jews lobbying against one who
              clearly breaks their laws is tantamount to saying that it is
              condemnable for the US to punish Alqaeda operatives.


              Yes, "The Jews" believed he broke the Sabbath and YOU may believe he
              did as well, but I don't think according to the Fourth Gospel he
              really does. Theologically speaking, in John's Gospel, those who
              don't understand that Jesus is "from above" or know from "whence the
              wine comes" or that he is "the bread come down from heaven" or that
              he is "the Christ" or "the Messiah" or the New Moses or "THE
              Prophet" can't keep the law. According to John, you can't be a
              legitimate disciple of Moses without understanding that Jesus is the
              New Moses who fulfills the law. That, I believe is the case the
              Evangelist makes, though I understand what problems that might make
              for us today.

              There are some exceptions to the negative PORTRAYAL of "the Jews" BY
              THE AUTHOR, but that is primarily because the Fourth Gospel was
              developed over several decades and even while Christian Jews were
              still worshipping in the synagogue with other Jews. John's
              Christology is so high. Jesus is the revealer of the Father. He's
              the only one who has seen him; when you look at Jesus, you are
              looking at the Father. That is John's view.

              When I recognize the Evangelist's PORTRAYAL of "the Jews" I'm not
              thinking of simply what the Jews might have actually been like in
              Jesus' day, but rather what "the Jews" were doing to other Jews who
              became believers in Jesus and who might have been expelled from the
              synagogue as a result in the latter part of the first century. If
              you haven't read J Louis Maryn's, "The History and Theology of the
              Fourth Gospel" you probably don't understand what I'm talking about.
              I think that is, in part, where you are misunderstanding me.

              I must say, I don't want to get into a debate on anti-Semitism or
              the like. But I do want to get a picture of the Johannine community,
              the particular problems the Evangelist thought they faced, and how
              he molded his Gospel as a result.
            • Timothy P. Jenney
              ... I agree Rev. Mike could have worded this better, though the phrase the Jews is always portrayed negatively in 4G. The overall portrait is that of a
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 31, 2005
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                Rev. Mike said:

                >>
                >> The Jews, as usual, look like idiots. (Is the taking
                >> of Jesus' body down from the cross work and was it completed
                >> before nigh, the beginning of the Sabbath?)

                Rev. Mother Elaine+ said:
                > I must say that the statement above is offensive in tone. The Jews
                > were following the law.

                I agree Rev. Mike could have worded this better, though the phrase "the
                Jews" is always portrayed negatively in 4G. The overall portrait is that of
                a [tragic] "comedy of errors." Think "Keystone Kops."

                On the other hand, I disagree that this group was only trying to "follow the
                law." The whole point of the narrative is that this group only followed the
                law when it suited them.

                [Rev.] Dr. Timothy P. Jenney
                Adj. Prof., Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
              • RevMikeB
                ... 4G. The overall portrait is that of a [tragic] comedy of errors. Think Keystone Kops. On the other hand, I disagree that this group was only trying to
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 16, 2005
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                  >>>...though the phrase "the Jews" is always portrayed negatively in
                  4G. The overall portrait is that of a [tragic] "comedy of errors."
                  Think "Keystone Kops." On the other hand, I disagree that this
                  group was only trying to "follow the law." The whole point of the
                  narrative is that this group only followed the law when it suited
                  them.
                  > [Rev.] Dr. Timothy P. Jenney
                  > Adj. Prof., Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando>>>



                  You have to be careful with that word "always." As I said
                  earlier, IN MOST CASES, "the Jews" (I mean as characters in a
                  narrative) are portrayed negatively, but there are a few exceptions.
                  Here are a couple that come to my mind:

                  11:45: "Many of the Jew therefore, who had come with Mary and had
                  seen what Jesus did, believed in him."

                  11:19: "and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console
                  them about their brother."

                  Some might also include 19:31, but as I said earlier, the evangelist
                  is using irony here to show how absurd their efforts to keep the law
                  are while having already rejected Jesus.

                  Though "the Jews" might be looked at with suspicious eyes in
                  11:19 above by the reader, 11:45 would certainly make such a
                  skeptical eye toward their sincerity less plausible in this case.

                  I've read so much concerning the Fourth Gospel that it's hard to
                  recall just where I picked up on these contrasting uses of "the
                  Jews" in the Gospel to return to them at the moment. There are a few
                  other examples, I believe.

                  I'm not sure if the different ways the phrase is used supports the
                  opinion that the Fourth Gospel was written and edited over several
                  decades, reflecting the changing levels of tension in relationships
                  and polemics, OR that these few positive uses of "the Jews" are
                  written by another hand, like the redactor of Ch. 21. I guess there
                  are other explanations too, and I would be glad to hear them.

                  Peace of Christ,
                  Rev. Mike B.
                • Tom Butler
                  Dear Rev. Mike B. and Adj. Prof. Dr. Timothy Jenney, I contend that The Jews are an elite group of power figures in Jerusalem defined in Nehemiah 2:16. The
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 17, 2005
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                    Dear Rev. Mike B. and Adj. Prof. Dr. Timothy Jenney,

                    I contend that "The Jews" are an elite group of
                    power figures in Jerusalem defined in Nehemiah 2:16.
                    "The officials did not know where I had gone or what I
                    was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests,
                    the nobles, the officials and the rest that were to do
                    the work."

                    As you have noted, Dr. Jenney, "the Jews" are
                    presented in both negative and positive ways. They
                    "did not know where I had gone or what I was doing" is
                    a good description of "the Jews" who chose not to
                    believe that Jesus was who he said he was. In the 4G
                    they certainly include the Pharisees, the High Priest
                    and the Chief Priests and may have included persons
                    from Herod's court.

                    In spite of their refusal to believe, Jesus
                    repeatedly engages them in dialog and debate, and some
                    of them believe in him. The first is Nicodemus (Jn.
                    3:2; 7:50-52; 19:38-39). A royal (Herodian?) official
                    becomes a believer (Jn. 4: 46-54). Then an unknown
                    number of "the Jews" choose to believe in him (Jn.
                    8:30-31 - where some believe and the faith of some of
                    them is weak, while others came to him as believers
                    after the encounter Jn. 10:41). "The Jews" are
                    clearly divided about him (Jn. 9:16)

                    I find the references to "the Jews" in the Lazarus
                    story to be most interesting. The disciples recognize
                    "the Jews" as a danger to Jesus and Jesus shows
                    compassion for them (Jn. 11:8-10).

                    I believe that the story of Lazarus is being told in
                    symbolic language. Lazarus is a nickname - short for
                    Eleazar, the third son of Aaron, whose name is used
                    extensively in the Pentateuch as a personification of
                    the High Priest (since Eleazar WAS the High Priest).

                    The story of Lazarus is the story of the spiritual
                    death of the temple priesthood. (In the parable in
                    Luke's gospel, Lazarus lies languishing outside of the
                    gate of a "rich man" who is described in such a way as
                    to suggest that this rich man is none other than the
                    High Priest. In that context, Jesus is expressing
                    compassion for those temple priests who have been
                    excluded from the temple -and from their share of the
                    sumptuous food upon which the rich man feasts daily,
                    while Jesus condemns those who remain in power.)

                    As you have pointed out, Dr. Jenney, "many of the
                    Jews had come to Mary and Martha to console them about
                    their brother (Jn. 11:19)." They follow Mary to Jesus
                    when she leaves the house (read: Temple)(Jn. 11:31).
                    They weep with her because of the death of Lazarus
                    (their own priesthood) (Jn. 11: 33) They continue to
                    be divided, some believing, others not sure (Jn. 11:
                    34-35).

                    The "tomb" in which the priesthood is buried in the
                    Lazarus story is the Herodian temple. When Jesus
                    calls Lazarus out of that tomb, he is calling those in
                    that priesthood who can hear his voice (read: believe
                    in him) out of their temple role and into the role of
                    disciple. Their burial clothes (read: liturgical
                    clothing ) is removed by Jesus' compassionate
                    command(Jn. 11:44), and (in the very next verse - Jn.
                    11: 45) we are told "Many of the Jews therefore, who
                    had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did,
                    believed in him." From this point on in the 4G Jesus
                    no longer walked openly among "the Jews" but remained
                    with his disciples (Jn. 11: 54), some of whom formerly
                    were among "the Jews." Lazarus (read: disciples
                    formerly of "the Jews") are depicted at the table with
                    Jesus where Martha served (Jn. 12: 2).

                    Rev. Dr. Tom Butler
                    Author: Let Her Keep It

                    --- RevMikeB <revmikeb@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > >>>...though the phrase "the Jews" is always
                    portrayed negatively in 4G. The overall portrait is
                    that of a [tragic]"comedy of errors."

                    > > [Rev.] Dr. Timothy P. Jenney
                    > > Adj. Prof., Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando>>>
                    >
                    >
                    > You have to be careful with that word "always."
                    > As I said earlier, IN MOST CASES, "the Jews" (I mean
                    > as characters in a narrative) are portrayed
                    > negatively, but there are a few exceptions.
                    >
                    > I guess there are other explanations too, and I
                    would be glad to hear them.
                    >
                    > Peace of Christ,
                    > Rev. Mike B.
                  • Matthew Estrada
                    Hi Tom, Your interpretation of the Lazarus story, in my opinion, has possibilities. I see the same method that I applied to John 1-4, and in particular the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 19, 2005
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                      Hi Tom,

                      Your interpretation of the Lazarus story, in my opinion, has possibilities. I see the same method that I applied to John 1-4, and in particular the Cana Miracle, you are applying here (see my paper on Joe Gagne's website at http://www.fourthgospel.com/unpub.htm#e). You are reading it as a symbolic story, and are asking that we read in place of the literal words their symbolic meaning (what you interpret them to be). As you know, in my paper on the Cana Miracle (and John 1-4), I do the same thing. I think what you need to do now is shore up your argument with more certain and particular identifications of the source materials that John used to create this story that would support your interpretation of his symbolism. It is interesting to note that immediately before the Lazarus parable in Lk 16, Luke has Jesus say "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John", and at the end of the Lazurus parable Luke has Jesus say "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets...". As you
                      may recall, I believe and have argued that the author of John's gospel uses the Baptist as a personification of "the Law and the Prophets", and I point to some synoptic material as likely source material used by John to support this interpretation (Lk 16:16 being one). So when one sees "John the Baptist" in John's gospel, one should read "the law and the prophets". As such, he "testifies" in favor of seeing Jesus as the promised messiah. I am glad to see that you are suggesting that we do a similar thing with Lazarus (view him as symbolic of certain Jews who come to believe in Jesus). Sincerely, Matt Estrada

                      Tom Butler <pastor_t@...> wrote:

                      Dear Rev. Mike B. and Adj. Prof. Dr. Timothy Jenney,

                      I contend that "The Jews" are an elite group of
                      power figures in Jerusalem defined in Nehemiah 2:16.
                      "The officials did not know where I had gone or what I
                      was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests,
                      the nobles, the officials and the rest that were to do
                      the work."

                      As you have noted, Dr. Jenney, "the Jews" are
                      presented in both negative and positive ways. They
                      "did not know where I had gone or what I was doing" is
                      a good description of "the Jews" who chose not to
                      believe that Jesus was who he said he was. In the 4G
                      they certainly include the Pharisees, the High Priest
                      and the Chief Priests and may have included persons
                      from Herod's court.

                      In spite of their refusal to believe, Jesus
                      repeatedly engages them in dialog and debate, and some
                      of them believe in him. The first is Nicodemus (Jn.
                      3:2; 7:50-52; 19:38-39). A royal (Herodian?) official
                      becomes a believer (Jn. 4: 46-54). Then an unknown
                      number of "the Jews" choose to believe in him (Jn.
                      8:30-31 - where some believe and the faith of some of
                      them is weak, while others came to him as believers
                      after the encounter Jn. 10:41). "The Jews" are
                      clearly divided about him (Jn. 9:16)

                      I find the references to "the Jews" in the Lazarus
                      story to be most interesting. The disciples recognize
                      "the Jews" as a danger to Jesus and Jesus shows
                      compassion for them (Jn. 11:8-10).

                      I believe that the story of Lazarus is being told in
                      symbolic language. Lazarus is a nickname - short for
                      Eleazar, the third son of Aaron, whose name is used
                      extensively in the Pentateuch as a personification of
                      the High Priest (since Eleazar WAS the High Priest).

                      The story of Lazarus is the story of the spiritual
                      death of the temple priesthood. (In the parable in
                      Luke's gospel, Lazarus lies languishing outside of the
                      gate of a "rich man" who is described in such a way as
                      to suggest that this rich man is none other than the
                      High Priest. In that context, Jesus is expressing
                      compassion for those temple priests who have been
                      excluded from the temple -and from their share of the
                      sumptuous food upon which the rich man feasts daily,
                      while Jesus condemns those who remain in power.)

                      As you have pointed out, Dr. Jenney, "many of the
                      Jews had come to Mary and Martha to console them about
                      their brother (Jn. 11:19)." They follow Mary to Jesus
                      when she leaves the house (read: Temple)(Jn. 11:31).
                      They weep with her because of the death of Lazarus
                      (their own priesthood) (Jn. 11: 33) They continue to
                      be divided, some believing, others not sure (Jn. 11:
                      34-35).

                      The "tomb" in which the priesthood is buried in the
                      Lazarus story is the Herodian temple. When Jesus
                      calls Lazarus out of that tomb, he is calling those in
                      that priesthood who can hear his voice (read: believe
                      in him) out of their temple role and into the role of
                      disciple. Their burial clothes (read: liturgical
                      clothing ) is removed by Jesus' compassionate
                      command(Jn. 11:44), and (in the very next verse - Jn.
                      11: 45) we are told "Many of the Jews therefore, who
                      had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did,
                      believed in him." From this point on in the 4G Jesus
                      no longer walked openly among "the Jews" but remained
                      with his disciples (Jn. 11: 54), some of whom formerly
                      were among "the Jews." Lazarus (read: disciples
                      formerly of "the Jews") are depicted at the table with
                      Jesus where Martha served (Jn. 12: 2).

                      Rev. Dr. Tom Butler
                      Author: Let Her Keep It




                      Matthew Estrada

                      113 Laurel Court

                      Peachtree City, Ga 30269


                      ---------------------------------
                      Do you Yahoo!?
                      Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Tom Butler
                      Matthew Estrada, I am pleased that your work and mine may be pointing to a similar approach and observations regarding the Fourth Gospel. I can hardly wait to
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 22, 2005
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Matthew Estrada,
                        I am pleased that your work and mine may be
                        pointing to a similar approach and observations
                        regarding the Fourth Gospel. I can hardly wait to
                        read your article. At first glance it appears to be
                        well planned and organized. I hope to find time to
                        read and study it.
                        You note the need for more support for my theory
                        regarding the Lazarus story. You will find extensive
                        footnotes and supportive material in my book: Let Her
                        Keep It: Jesus' Ordination of Mary of Bethany - A New
                        Approach to the Study of the Gospel of John Through
                        Its Use of Mosaic Oracles, (Quantum Leap, Tracy,
                        California, 1998.) I would be pleased to send you a
                        copy of it, if you will give me your mailing address.
                        I am also in the process of writing a rough draft
                        of a commentary on the entire gospel, using the same
                        method as I used in Let Her Keep It (which focuses on
                        John 11:1- 12:8 and 13: 1-17). In this commentary I
                        have taken note of the fact that there are 24 places
                        where the Greek word for "hour" occurs. My theory is
                        that these 24 "hours" are markers in the text, where
                        readers who have been watching for signs are guided to
                        stop reading and reflect upon the signs in the hour
                        they have just read. I'm calling this commentary "A
                        Day with Jesus." I've completed lecture notes (for a
                        class I'm teaching) for the first 12 "hours." These
                        notes are still in rough draft form, but I would be
                        pleased if you or any other scholar of the Gospel of
                        John would be interested in reviewing/ critiquing
                        them. (I'm sure that it should go without saying
                        that, as an unfinished and unpublished manuscript, I
                        will ask anyone willing to review and or critique my
                        work to respect my copyright to this material.)
                        One of the most frustrating parts of this work is
                        that, since I am not a professor (I am the Pastor of
                        the Sparks United Methodist Church), I do not enjoy
                        the collegial relationships that many other scholars
                        do. I need feedback from other scholars with an
                        interest in this approach to the study of the Fourth
                        Gospel. I cannot be my own judge. Still I feel
                        compelled to continue with the work in the hope that
                        someday someone will read it and find some value in
                        it. Your comments give me hope that maybe you are one
                        of them, or perhaps I might be such a person for you.
                        At the very least, I'm hoping that you and I (and
                        others) will find a common ground for dialog through
                        this list.

                        Yours in Christ's service,
                        Pastor Tom Butler, D.Min.
                        Sparks United Methodist Church
                        Sparks, Nevada


                        --- Matthew Estrada <matt_estrada@...> wrote:

                        >
                        > Hi Tom,
                        >
                        > Your interpretation of the Lazarus story, in my
                        > opinion, has possibilities. I see the same method
                        > that I applied to John 1-4, and in particular the
                        > Cana Miracle, you are applying here (see my paper on
                        > Joe Gagne's website at
                        > http://www.fourthgospel.com/unpub.htm#e). You are
                        > reading it as a symbolic story, and are asking that
                        > we read in place of the literal words their symbolic
                        > meaning (what you interpret them to be). As you
                        > know, in my paper on the Cana Miracle (and John
                        > 1-4), I do the same thing. I think what you need to
                        > do now is shore up your argument with more certain
                        > and particular identifications of the source
                        > materials that John used to create this story that
                        > would support your interpretation of his symbolism.
                        > It is interesting to note that immediately before
                        > the Lazarus parable in Lk 16, Luke has Jesus say
                        > "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until
                        > John", and at the end of the Lazurus parable Luke
                        > has Jesus say "If they do not listen to Moses and
                        > the Prophets...". As you
                        > may recall, I believe and have argued that the
                        > author of John's gospel uses the Baptist as a
                        > personification of "the Law and the Prophets", and I
                        > point to some synoptic material as likely source
                        > material used by John to support this interpretation
                        > (Lk 16:16 being one). So when one sees "John the
                        > Baptist" in John's gospel, one should read "the law
                        > and the prophets". As such, he "testifies" in favor
                        > of seeing Jesus as the promised messiah. I am glad
                        > to see that you are suggesting that we do a similar
                        > thing with Lazarus (view him as symbolic of certain
                        > Jews who come to believe in Jesus). Sincerely, Matt
                        > Estrada
                        >
                        > Tom Butler <pastor_t@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Dear Rev. Mike B. and Adj. Prof. Dr. Timothy Jenney,
                        >
                        > I contend that "The Jews" are an elite group of
                        > power figures in Jerusalem defined in Nehemiah 2:16.
                        >
                        > "The officials did not know where I had gone or what
                        > I
                        > was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests,
                        > the nobles, the officials and the rest that were to
                        > do
                        > the work."
                        >
                        > As you have noted, Dr. Jenney, "the Jews" are
                        > presented in both negative and positive ways. They
                        > "did not know where I had gone or what I was doing"
                        > is
                        > a good description of "the Jews" who chose not to
                        > believe that Jesus was who he said he was. In the 4G
                        > they certainly include the Pharisees, the High
                        > Priest
                        > and the Chief Priests and may have included persons
                        > from Herod's court.
                        >
                        > In spite of their refusal to believe, Jesus
                        > repeatedly engages them in dialog and debate, and
                        > some
                        > of them believe in him. The first is Nicodemus (Jn.
                        > 3:2; 7:50-52; 19:38-39). A royal (Herodian?)
                        > official
                        > becomes a believer (Jn. 4: 46-54). Then an unknown
                        > number of "the Jews" choose to believe in him (Jn.
                        > 8:30-31 - where some believe and the faith of some
                        > of
                        > them is weak, while others came to him as believers
                        > after the encounter Jn. 10:41). "The Jews" are
                        > clearly divided about him (Jn. 9:16)
                        >
                        > I find the references to "the Jews" in the Lazarus
                        > story to be most interesting. The disciples
                        > recognize
                        > "the Jews" as a danger to Jesus and Jesus shows
                        > compassion for them (Jn. 11:8-10).
                        >
                        > I believe that the story of Lazarus is being told in
                        > symbolic language. Lazarus is a nickname - short for
                        > Eleazar, the third son of Aaron, whose name is used
                        > extensively in the Pentateuch as a personification
                        > of
                        > the High Priest (since Eleazar WAS the High Priest).
                        >
                        > The story of Lazarus is the story of the spiritual
                        > death of the temple priesthood. (In the parable in
                        > Luke's gospel, Lazarus lies languishing outside of
                        > the
                        > gate of a "rich man" who is described in such a way
                        > as
                        > to suggest that this rich man is none other than the
                        > High Priest. In that context, Jesus is expressing
                        > compassion for those temple priests who have been
                        > excluded from the temple -and from their share of
                        > the
                        > sumptuous food upon which the rich man feasts daily,
                        > while Jesus condemns those who remain in power.)
                        >
                        > As you have pointed out, Dr. Jenney, "many of the
                        > Jews had come to Mary and Martha to console them
                        > about
                        > their brother (Jn. 11:19)." They follow Mary to
                        > Jesus
                        > when she leaves the house (read: Temple)(Jn. 11:31).
                        >
                        > They weep with her because of the death of Lazarus
                        > (their own priesthood) (Jn. 11: 33) They continue to
                        > be divided, some believing, others not sure (Jn. 11:
                        > 34-35).
                        >
                        > The "tomb" in which the priesthood is buried in the
                        > Lazarus story is the Herodian temple. When Jesus
                        > calls Lazarus out of that tomb, he is calling those
                        > in
                        > that priesthood who can hear his voice (read:
                        > believe
                        > in him) out of their temple role and into the role
                        > of
                        > disciple. Their burial clothes (read: liturgical
                        > clothing ) is removed by Jesus' compassionate
                        > command(Jn. 11:44), and (in the very next verse -
                        > Jn.
                        > 11: 45) we are told "Many of the Jews therefore, who
                        > had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did,
                        > believed in him." From this point on in the 4G Jesus
                        > no longer walked openly among "the Jews" but
                        > remained
                        > with his disciples (Jn. 11: 54), some of whom
                        > formerly
                        > were among "the Jews." Lazarus (read: disciples
                        > formerly of "the Jews") are depicted at the table
                        > with
                        > Jesus where Martha served (Jn. 12: 2).
                        >
                        > Rev. Dr. Tom Butler
                        > Author: Let Her Keep It
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Matthew Estrada
                        >
                        > 113 Laurel Court
                        >
                        > Peachtree City, Ga 30269
                        >
                        >
                        > ---------------------------------
                        > Do you Yahoo!?
                        > Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been
                        > removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                        > johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                        > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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                        >
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                        >
                      • Matthew Estrada
                        Hi Tom, My address is 113 Laurel Court, Peachtree City, GA 30269, I would be very interested in reading both your already published book as well as the rough
                        Message 11 of 11 , Feb 22, 2005
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Hi Tom,

                          My address is 113 Laurel Court, Peachtree City, GA 30269, I would be very interested in reading both your already published book as well as the rough draft of the commentary you are writing on the entire gospel of John. And as you requested, I request the same- that copyright material be respected of my unpublished paper. I also wanted to include a couple of reviews of my paper that I have thus far received from others who have had the patience to plow their way through it. I remember you followed much of my argument when I presented it on the johanine literature yahoo groups site a while back, unless I am confusing you with someone else (although I am not sure how much you agreed with my findings). I would appreciate your taking the time to read through my paper, and listening to your feedback. Sincerely, Matthew Estrada

                          Dear Mr Estrada,

                          I am a part-time (mature) PhD student at the Prince's Foundation in
                          London under the supervision of Keith Critchlow. My thesis is the 16th
                          century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It is not difficult
                          to
                          show that he was associated with one the heretical gnostic movements
                          that thrived at that time in the no-man's land between Catholics,
                          Lutherans and Calvinists and I believe the ideas of the group to which
                          he probably belonged provide keys to the interpretation of the
                          symbolism
                          in his paintings. I am sure that one of his most famous pictures, the
                          so-called Peasant Wedding Feast in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in
                          Vienna, is in fact an esoteric representation of the Marriage at Cana.
                          Your 'Allegorical Interpretation of the Cana Miracle' has been a
                          wonderful discovery for me and enormously helpful for my work on this
                          painting.

                          Your essay -- for me, an amateur in bible scholarship and theology but
                          a
                          seeker none-the-less -- though nearly overwhelming me, fascinates me
                          and
                          touches me deeply. I hope you find the support that you ask for and I
                          wish you well in all your endeavours.

                          Dick Temple
                          (www.templegallery.com)

                          Dear Matthew,

                          My name is Kristen Chittick, and I am an Honours (4th year undergraduate) student at Latrobe University Bendigo campus in Australia. My studies this year include completing a 15,000 word thesis. I have chosen to write my thesis on Midrash as an exegetical method. In the course of this study, I am looking at the tradition of Midrash as it developed in the rabbinic period in a variety of forms, and in particular the midrashic creation of new texts (in contrast to the midrashic interpretation of old texts) with a focus on the New Testament Gospels. In the final section of my thesis I am examining the Wedding at Cana as an example of a midrashic work. This examination involves an analysis of the literary, exegetical and theological formation of the passage.

                          To my delight, I came across your article, "An Allegorical Interpretation of the Cana Miracle" on www.fourthgospel.com . This article is far more comprehensive than anything I could hope to do in the course of this study, and has also given me a far greater understanding of the Cana Miracle than I had prior to reading your article. I am very grateful. I was particularly interested in your identification of the source material for John in this story.

                          I am hoping that you will give me your permission to quote from your work, with full reference and credit given to you for the sections I use.

                          In anticipation,

                          Kristen Chittick.


                          Tom Butler <pastor_t@...> wrote:

                          Matthew Estrada,
                          I am pleased that your work and mine may be
                          pointing to a similar approach and observations
                          regarding the Fourth Gospel. I can hardly wait to
                          read your article. At first glance it appears to be
                          well planned and organized. I hope to find time to
                          read and study it.
                          You note the need for more support for my theory
                          regarding the Lazarus story. You will find extensive
                          footnotes and supportive material in my book: Let Her
                          Keep It: Jesus' Ordination of Mary of Bethany - A New
                          Approach to the Study of the Gospel of John Through
                          Its Use of Mosaic Oracles, (Quantum Leap, Tracy,
                          California, 1998.) I would be pleased to send you a
                          copy of it, if you will give me your mailing address.
                          I am also in the process of writing a rough draft
                          of a commentary on the entire gospel, using the same
                          method as I used in Let Her Keep It (which focuses on
                          John 11:1- 12:8 and 13: 1-17). In this commentary I
                          have taken note of the fact that there are 24 places
                          where the Greek word for "hour" occurs. My theory is
                          that these 24 "hours" are markers in the text, where
                          readers who have been watching for signs are guided to
                          stop reading and reflect upon the signs in the hour
                          they have just read. I'm calling this commentary "A
                          Day with Jesus." I've completed lecture notes (for a
                          class I'm teaching) for the first 12 "hours." These
                          notes are still in rough draft form, but I would be
                          pleased if you or any other scholar of the Gospel of
                          John would be interested in reviewing/ critiquing
                          them. (I'm sure that it should go without saying
                          that, as an unfinished and unpublished manuscript, I
                          will ask anyone willing to review and or critique my
                          work to respect my copyright to this material.)
                          One of the most frustrating parts of this work is
                          that, since I am not a professor (I am the Pastor of
                          the Sparks United Methodist Church), I do not enjoy
                          the collegial relationships that many other scholars
                          do. I need feedback from other scholars with an
                          interest in this approach to the study of the Fourth
                          Gospel. I cannot be my own judge. Still I feel
                          compelled to continue with the work in the hope that
                          someday someone will read it and find some value in
                          it. Your comments give me hope that maybe you are one
                          of them, or perhaps I might be such a person for you.
                          At the very least, I'm hoping that you and I (and
                          others) will find a common ground for dialog through
                          this list.

                          Yours in Christ's service,
                          Pastor Tom Butler, D.Min.
                          Sparks United Methodist Church
                          Sparks, Nevada


                          --- Matthew Estrada wrote:

                          >
                          > Hi Tom,
                          >
                          > Your interpretation of the Lazarus story, in my
                          > opinion, has possibilities. I see the same method
                          > that I applied to John 1-4, and in particular the
                          > Cana Miracle, you are applying here (see my paper on
                          > Joe Gagne's website at
                          > http://www.fourthgospel.com/unpub.htm#e). You are
                          > reading it as a symbolic story, and are asking that
                          > we read in place of the literal words their symbolic
                          > meaning (what you interpret them to be). As you
                          > know, in my paper on the Cana Miracle (and John
                          > 1-4), I do the same thing. I think what you need to
                          > do now is shore up your argument with more certain
                          > and particular identifications of the source
                          > materials that John used to create this story that
                          > would support your interpretation of his symbolism.
                          > It is interesting to note that immediately before
                          > the Lazarus parable in Lk 16, Luke has Jesus say
                          > "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until
                          > John", and at the end of the Lazurus parable Luke
                          > has Jesus say "If they do not listen to Moses and
                          > the Prophets...". As you
                          > may recall, I believe and have argued that the
                          > author of John's gospel uses the Baptist as a
                          > personification of "the Law and the Prophets", and I
                          > point to some synoptic material as likely source
                          > material used by John to support this interpretation
                          > (Lk 16:16 being one). So when one sees "John the
                          > Baptist" in John's gospel, one should read "the law
                          > and the prophets". As such, he "testifies" in favor
                          > of seeing Jesus as the promised messiah. I am glad
                          > to see that you are suggesting that we do a similar
                          > thing with Lazarus (view him as symbolic of certain
                          > Jews who come to believe in Jesus). Sincerely, Matt
                          > Estrada
                          >
                          > Tom Butler
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > Dear Rev. Mike B. and Adj. Prof. Dr. Timothy Jenney,
                          >
                          > I contend that "The Jews" are an elite group of
                          > power figures in Jerusalem defined in Nehemiah 2:16.
                          >
                          > "The officials did not know where I had gone or what
                          > I
                          > was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests,
                          > the nobles, the officials and the rest that were to
                          > do
                          > the work."
                          >
                          > As you have noted, Dr. Jenney, "the Jews" are
                          > presented in both negative and positive ways. They
                          > "did not know where I had gone or what I was doing"
                          > is
                          > a good description of "the Jews" who chose not to
                          > believe that Jesus was who he said he was. In the 4G
                          > they certainly include the Pharisees, the High
                          > Priest
                          > and the Chief Priests and may have included persons
                          > from Herod's court.
                          >
                          > In spite of their refusal to believe, Jesus
                          > repeatedly engages them in dialog and debate, and
                          > some
                          > of them believe in him. The first is Nicodemus (Jn.
                          > 3:2; 7:50-52; 19:38-39). A royal (Herodian?)
                          > official
                          > becomes a believer (Jn. 4: 46-54). Then an unknown
                          > number of "the Jews" choose to believe in him (Jn.
                          > 8:30-31 - where some believe and the faith of some
                          > of
                          > them is weak, while others came to him as believers
                          > after the encounter Jn. 10:41). "The Jews" are
                          > clearly divided about him (Jn. 9:16)
                          >
                          > I find the references to "the Jews" in the Lazarus
                          > story to be most interesting. The disciples
                          > recognize
                          > "the Jews" as a danger to Jesus and Jesus shows
                          > compassion for them (Jn. 11:8-10).
                          >
                          > I believe that the story of Lazarus is being told in
                          > symbolic language. Lazarus is a nickname - short for
                          > Eleazar, the third son of Aaron, whose name is used
                          > extensively in the Pentateuch as a personification
                          > of
                          > the High Priest (since Eleazar WAS the High Priest).
                          >
                          > The story of Lazarus is the story of the spiritual
                          > death of the temple priesthood. (In the parable in
                          > Luke's gospel, Lazarus lies languishing outside of
                          > the
                          > gate of a "rich man" who is described in such a way
                          > as
                          > to suggest that this rich man is none other than the
                          > High Priest. In that context, Jesus is expressing
                          > compassion for those temple priests who have been
                          > excluded from the temple -and from their share of
                          > the
                          > sumptuous food upon which the rich man feasts daily,
                          > while Jesus condemns those who remain in power.)
                          >
                          > As you have pointed out, Dr. Jenney, "many of the
                          > Jews had come to Mary and Martha to console them
                          > about
                          > their brother (Jn. 11:19)." They follow Mary to
                          > Jesus
                          > when she leaves the house (read: Temple)(Jn. 11:31).
                          >
                          > They weep with her because of the death of Lazarus
                          > (their own priesthood) (Jn. 11: 33) They continue to
                          > be divided, some believing, others not sure (Jn. 11:
                          > 34-35).
                          >
                          > The "tomb" in which the priesthood is buried in the
                          > Lazarus story is the Herodian temple. When Jesus
                          > calls Lazarus out of that tomb, he is calling those
                          > in
                          > that priesthood who can hear his voice (read:
                          > believe
                          > in him) out of their temple role and into the role
                          > of
                          > disciple. Their burial clothes (read: liturgical
                          > clothing ) is removed by Jesus' compassionate
                          > command(Jn. 11:44), and (in the very next verse -
                          > Jn.
                          > 11: 45) we are told "Many of the Jews therefore, who
                          > had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did,
                          > believed in him." From this point on in the 4G Jesus
                          > no longer walked openly among "the Jews" but
                          > remained
                          > with his disciples (Jn. 11: 54), some of whom
                          > formerly
                          > were among "the Jews." Lazarus (read: disciples
                          > formerly of "the Jews") are depicted at the table
                          > with
                          > Jesus where Martha served (Jn. 12: 2).
                          >
                          > Rev. Dr. Tom Butler
                          > Author: Let Her Keep It
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Matthew Estrada
                          >
                          > 113 Laurel Court
                          >
                          > Peachtree City, Ga 30269
                          >
                          >
                          > ---------------------------------
                          > Do you Yahoo!?
                          > Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been
                          > removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >
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                          Matthew Estrada

                          113 Laurel Court

                          Peachtree City, Ga 30269


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