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Re: [John_Lit] Why There Aren't Two Burial Stories In John

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Feb 16 6:15 PM
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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 2 of 11 , Feb 17 9:24 AM
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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 3 of 11 , Feb 19 6:26 AM
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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 4 of 11 , Feb 22 10:46 AM
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            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]
            >
            >
            >
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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 5 of 11 , Feb 22 3:19 PM
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              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
              >
              >
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