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Re: [John_Lit] Re: Tom Butler's theory on the BD [was 'Paraclete']

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  • Q Bee
    ... Dear Michael, Ester de Boer also prefers to use the term the disciple whom Jesus loved as she writes in The Gospel of Mary: Listening to the Beloved
    Message 1 of 120 , Oct 11, 2005
      On Sep 30, 2005, at 4:38 PM, fourthgospelstudy wrote:

      > Group,
      >
      > Apologies for entering so late the thread between Tom Butler and
      > Elaine regarding the identity the BD (whom I would otherwise prefer
      > to call 'the disciple whom Jesus loved,' per David Beck, were it not
      > for the medium of e-mail).

      Dear Michael,

      Ester de Boer also prefers to use the term 'the disciple whom Jesus
      loved' as she writes in "The Gospel of Mary: Listening to the Beloved
      Disciple". She covers the material with some interesting insights,
      without jumping to serious conclusions that are not logical by
      sequential steps of reasoning based upon the material.

      You have pointed out some problematic areas and, without writing a
      tome, I must agree that there is a difficulty to make adequate
      explanation of the events based on the scant account in 4G. However,
      nine days previous to the tomb scene in 4G, in chapter 12:7 Jesus says
      in re (another?) Mary, "Let her keep this for the day of my burial."

      > Anyway, regarding MM's trip to the tomb, I
      > am perplexed at the insistence that this was for the purpose of
      > anointing Jesus' body, as narratively speaking the FE does not
      > actually mention a reason for her trip. Thus, more like Matthew's
      > account (than the anointing reason given by Mark/Luke) it seems to be
      > a visit to the tomb in a general sense perhaps simply to 'see' it:
      > see one of Elaine's replies---
      >
      Since the nard was mentioned nine days previous to the tomb scene and
      the nard allocated for Jesus' burial, I wonder why it would be
      necessary to expect a blow-by-blow from the author of 4G when the style
      of the writing does not tend toward such lengthy details overall. We
      are already told that a magnificent and costly amount of nard is being
      set aside for the burial. The only one who goes to the tomb at the
      earliest possible convenience after the sabbath is MM. If this trip to
      the tomb were not meant to be an attempt to fulfill the customary
      anointing carried out by the female 'next of kin' we then have a new
      problem in the inconsistency of the previous mention of the substance
      being saved for the burial.

      Nowhere in 4G does the author site a "Mary of Bethany". However, the
      author does take pains to show that Jesus' disciples are his 'family'.
      Since MM is close enough to be the one chosen to be first to witness
      the risen Christ and also is commissioned to be the one to carry the
      news of the resurrection to the others, it is quite likely that she is
      the Mary who was at Bethany when Jesus was there such a short time
      before. There is no contradiction in Mary and Martha (who is mentioned
      as one that Jesus loved) being cited as sisters when the term 'sister'
      is considered in the context of being among the disciples of Jesus.
      This idea is further reinforced by the fact that MM runs to other
      disciples with the news that she has seen the risen Jesus rather than
      to his blood relatives in John 20:2.

      In considering the title 'Magdalene' I believe the information offered
      by Hayyim ben Yehoshua sheds some light upon the matter. He offers
      that the town called ‘Magdala’ was called ‘Taricheae’ until second
      century Christians renamed it believing that the town may have been
      Mary Magdalene's home. In ancient times the place had been known as
      "Migdal Nunayya" - the ‘Tower of the Fishermen’ because it was a place
      where fish was salted for trade. Since Jesus had a practice of giving
      discipleship names to his followers it is likely that "Magdalene"
      relates to this Mary being a 'tower', a disciple who had advanced to a
      high place as a leader among the disciples. The epithet "Magdalene"
      appears to be more closely associated to the passage in Micah 4:8 -
      "Magdal-eder"/"Tower of the Flock", a promise of the restoration of
      Zion, rather than to a town name. This would make sense in view of MM
      as the first witness of the resurrection. It also seems to be
      reinforced by the only other biblical reference that is at all close to
      the epithet. In Genesis 35: 19-21 Rachel has died and Israel has set
      up a stone as a marker at Ephrath [Bethlehem] on her burial site and it
      is noted that it was still extant at the time of the writing of the
      account. It goes on to say that Israel moved on and pitched his tent
      beyond Migdal-eder. The text uses the Aramaic form for the Hebrew term
      "Magdal-eder" used in Micah 4:8. As we might consider the pairing of
      the imagery of the two passages, the Hebrew queen who came at the
      greatest price was Rachel. Her death lays down a marker that is
      reiterated in the Micah passage concerning the restoration of 'Daughter
      Jerusalem". Now, if we also consider the passage from the Song of
      Solomon (where the only other mention of nard is found in the canon) we
      find in 4:4 "Your neck is like David's tower girt with battlements; A
      thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the shields of valiant men." Here,
      both the mention of David (Bethlehem imagery comes into play) and the
      neck of the bride as a 'tower'. ISTM that the richness of these
      passages would not have escaped Jesus and his followers as they
      envisioned the restoration of the Davidic line and the 'kingdom'.
      >
      > A second point regarding a later matter of the discussion: First, Tom
      > explicates Elaine's suggestion that MM is the BD and then notes
      > the 'problem' this creates in that the single individual MM/BD both
      > leaves the scene in 20:10 yet remains weeping there in 20:11---
      >
      >>> Even ignoring my unwillingness to accept the theory
      >>> that MM is talking to herself in 20: 2, it seems to me
      >>> that your theory, if I understand it correctly,
      >>> creates more problems than it solves. I remain open
      >>> to the possibility that you see a solution to these
      >>> problems. < <
      >
      > But then the response to this fair concern I think misunderstands the
      > nature of the problem:
      >
      >>> Only if you believe that there is no redaction in the passages. Of
      > course, there are some who think the text is the Word scribed by the
      > finger of God and 'could not' be tampered with. I must admit that I
      > am not one of them.
      >
      > Peace to you, Elaine<<<
      >
      > But isn't the identified 'problem' a narrative one, not primarily a
      > historical-theological one? It is not necessarily an issue of whether
      > or not text is God inscribed and therefore must make exact sense by
      > the laws of physics. It is that the proposed reading of MM in two
      > places at once unnecessarily creates a logical narrative strain that
      > otherwise need not be present, and this then would seem not the most
      > likely reading of the story. Is this right?
      >
      Redaction can produce narrative strain. I propose that the redaction
      centers around this problem of having the BD and MM appear in the same
      scene. There is a potential clue though, I think, if we view the
      dialog of John 1:38-39 as a mirror image to the John 20:15-16 wherein
      the unnamed disciple who is one of the first pair of disciples to
      follow Jesus may be revealed in the more familiar phraseology of a
      disciple who has already discovered and followed Jesus is seeking to
      rediscover him and take hold of his body. In the 1st passage the
      disciples use the term 'Rabbi', at the tomb scene MM says "Rabbouni".

      MM is the only person to see Jesus until he appears again in chapter
      21, where, now that he has risen to the Father, instead of addressing
      the disciples as 'brothers and sisters', he now calls them "Children".
      I see a potential for MM as the BD who is most likely standing on the
      shore in that scene along with Jesus so that, when Peter doesn't
      recognize Jesus on the shore, it is MM/the BD who calls out (since she
      can recognize the boat from the distance of a football field, but faces
      would not be discernible at that distance) and informs Peter, "It is
      the Lord." This makes sense of Peter putting on clothes to jump into
      the water rather than taking them off or waiting till the boat is at
      the shore just little more than a moment later. He would not have had
      a problem concerning what he did or did not have on among men since it
      was obviously not a problem while in the boat with the men.

      Elaine Bessette
      Tacoma, WA
    • Matthew Estrada
      I apologize for the last post. It was intended to be offline and personal. Please disregard. Thank you. Matthew Estrada wrote: Hello
      Message 120 of 120 , Dec 21, 2005
        I apologize for the last post. It was intended to be offline and personal. Please disregard. Thank you.

        Matthew Estrada <matt_estrada@...> wrote: Hello Mark,

        I am wondering if you had a chance to read through my paper? I know it is a poorly written paper, but I also believe the findings are very exciting, and if they could be presented in a more scholarly manner, could have some significant consequences in our understanding of the genre of at least John, and perhaps the others as well. I do appreciate your interest in my thesis, and would very much appreciate your feedback (and any help you might be willing to offer in getting these ideas out). What I consider to be the starting point is our understanding of John's symbolic use of the word "water", particularly in the first four chapters of the gospel. I ground my interpretation of the word "water" in what I consider to be one of many of John's source materials in the composition of the Cana Miracle (it has been used as a source material for other pericopes as well in John's gospel), namely Exodus 2. In that text, Moses- the first and greatest of the Law and the prophets- is so named
        because he was "drawn from the water". Moses is thus identified with water. In the first chapter of John's gospel, John has the Baptist state 3 times that he came baptizing with "water" (using the Synoptics as his source material, in my opinion), thus identifying the last and greatest of the Law and the prophets also with "water". "Water" thus takes on the meaning, for John, "the Law and the Prophets", or "the Father's means of revelation". If we accept this, and then apply this meaning to John's usage of "water" in the first 4 chapters, we see that John is comparing/contrasting "the Law and the Prophets" with "the Holy Spirit", who is a consequence of Jesus' ministry. He does so NOT to put down the Law and the Prophets. To the contrary, John upholds the Law and the Prophets, and in fact shows how the Law and the Prophets support/give testimony to Jesus' identity as the messiah. He also shows how the Holy Spirit is the God-intended fulfillment of both the Law and the Prophets and
        Jesus' ministry. What he does put down is "the Jews" interpretation and abuse of the Law and the Prophets. All of this really comes to light once one accepts John's meaning for "water" as the Law and the Prophets, and as a consequence, John's use of the Baptist as a personification of the Law and the Prophets.

        Sorry for going on so long, but there is so much there that I can go on for hours talking about how John uses his source materials to put together what I call an allegory. Again, I would really appreciate your careful reading of my paper, and then your comments, and any help you might offer. Sincerely, Matt Estrada

        "Matson, Mark (Academic)" wrote:
        Matthew:

        I am interested in your thesis. I would at least like to look at it, so
        please send it to me.

        I worry a little about the "Law" as a major counterpoint to Jesus as the
        word. It depends, though, on how you are using Law. It seems to me
        that "the Word" -- the conceptualization of Jesus -- bears some affinity
        to the concept of Torah. Certainly Torah and God's word are linked in
        various parts of the scripture. Even God's ten words in Exodus suggest
        something different that "law", but closer to the vital aspect of Jesus
        as God's agent.

        But if that linkage is correct, then what we have is closer to matthew's
        concept of Jesus coming to "fulfill" the law and the prophets. But in
        John's case, he "is" the Torah/Word, and he is witnessed by the
        prophets. (hence the witness theme that is so prevalent in John's
        gospel.) And certainly John the Baptist starts this whole theme of
        "witnessing" to Jesus as the word, as God's special agent.

        So I guess my concern is with your term "contrast and comparison" to the
        Law and the Prophets. It seems to me more positive than that. Or am I
        missing something? (of course all may be made clear if I read your
        paper).

        mark

        Mark A. Matson
        Academic Dean
        Milligan College
        http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/personal.htm


        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
        > Matthew Estrada
        > Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 1:48 PM
        > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [John_Lit] Prologue
        >
        >
        > Hi Diane and Mark,
        >
        > I agree with Mark in his statements that the prologue is a
        > creation of the Evangelist himself, having also depended on
        > Genesis and other source materials in his creation of it, and
        > that it is not a pre-existing Hellenistic poem. I have tried
        > presenting the idea of the prologue as being a contrast and
        > comparison of Jesus with "the Law and the Prophets". The
        > reason why the author would be doing this is because for his
        > audience, it was necessary to show not only how Jesus is
        > greater than the Law and the Prophets but also show how the
        > Law and the Prophets give testimony to Jesus as the messiah.
        > If he is successful in demonstrating this, then perhaps he
        > can win over those who are wondering whether or not Jesus
        > could be what he is being proclaimed as being- the Jewish Messiah.
        >
        > One does not have to read very far in the Prologue to see
        > this taking place. In the first few verses thea author takes
        > words and phrases that have previously been applied to the
        > Law BUT now applies them to Jesus. Jesus is the Light. Then
        > the author has the Baptist (the Law and the Prophets) stating
        > clearly that he is not the Light, but rather came to give
        > testimony to the true light, who is Jesus. Thus "the Law and
        > the Prophets" not only denies the honorary title for itself,
        > but also gives it to Jesus. The Baptist is playing his
        > correct role (as a witness to Jesus). Even as the Baptist
        > says in chapter 3- "He must become greater, and I less".
        >
        > Once one understands how the author uses his "water"
        > symbolism to represent "the Law and the Prophets" (he ties
        > both Moses and the Baptist to this "water" symbolism- the
        > first and greatest and last and greatest of the Law and the
        > Prophets), and in turn, how he uses the Baptist as a
        > personification of the Law and the prophets, one can more
        > easily see the importance of this theme. Once we realize that
        > John the Baptist is a personification of the Law and the
        > Prophets, and as such, gives "testimony" to Jesus, then can
        > we understand that what the author is trying to do is show
        > "the Jews" (the opposition group), and others, that the same
        > book of the Law and the prophets that they hold in high
        > veneration gives support to John's (and his group's) claim
        > that Jesus is indeed the messiah.
        >
        > It has been speculated that the reason why the Baptist is
        > introduced so early on in the prologue is because of a
        > division that existed between the historical disciples of the
        > historical Baptist and those of Jesus. In my opinion, this is
        > incorrect. The division that existed were between the
        > disciples of "the Law and the Prophets" (=the Baptist) and
        > Jesus' disciples, but John masterfully shows that this should
        > not be, as the Baptist himself (= "the Law and the Prophets)
        > gives testimony to Jesus, and willingly steps out of Jesus
        > way so that he may be received as the greater (Jn 3). As the
        > Baptist states, he is nothing more than the best friend of
        > the bridegroom.
        >
        > Mary Coloe will be presenting a nicely written paper on the
        > role of the Baptist in John's gospel in the upcoming SBL
        > meeting, but unfortunately, in my opinion, has not yet seen
        > the Baptist being portrayed as a personification of the Law
        > and the Prophets, which is a major key in understanding the gospel.
        >
        > If you are interested in reading my paper on this theory,
        > you can email me offlist and I will be glad to forward to you
        > the link. Sincerely, Matthew Estrada
        >
        > "Matson, Mark (Academic)" wrote:
        > Diane:
        >
        > Great question.
        >
        > My response to one part of your question, the "hellenistic
        > poem" is that John's "greekness" is I think way
        > over-emphasized. This poem/song simply shouts Hebrew thought.
        > It is in many ways a midrash based on both Genesis 1 and the
        > whole corpus of Wisdom theology (especially Prov. 8, and
        > Sirach 24 and Wisd. Of Solomon 7&8), in which God's creative
        > activity was already somewhat personalized in the form of
        > wisdom. This whole package is then presented and interpreted
        > in light of Jesus. So I don't think it is based on any
        > pre-existing Hellenistic poem.
        >
        > My own current thought (and I go back and forth on this) is
        > that this poem is the creation of the evangelist, and was
        > composed to interpret the gospel that follows. What is
        > noteworthy to me is the inherent narrative that is inscribed
        > in the poem -- a narrative that more or less describes the
        > structure of the gospel, and especially emphasizes the role
        > of the opposition to Jesus by his "own people," which is of
        > course the central plot feature in the gospel.
        >
        > I am not convinced that 6-9 and 12-13 are interpolations into
        > the poem. This idea presumes a "pure" poem that is more or
        > less removed from the historical narrative that has been
        > historicized. But perhaps that is exactly what the evengelist
        > wanted -- to produce asides that opened up already the
        > historical particularity of John B. and Jesus. It is
        > interesting that the theme of "witness" is brought in at this point.
        >
        > The question of the preexistence of the poem, and its
        > relationship to the rest of the gospel, depends a bit on how
        > you date John and how you see the evangelist's creative
        > ability in fashioning tradition into a coherent whole. I tend
        > to place John early, see the evangelist as quite creative and
        > capable as an author. (and btw, early does not necessarily
        > mean "more historical", though some parts are possible.)
        >
        > mark
        >
        > Mark A. Matson
        > Academic Dean
        > Milligan College http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/personal.htm
        >
        >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        > > [mailto:johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
        > Diane Yoder
        > > Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2005 8:43 PM
        > > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Re: List Protocol and Purpose
        > >
        > >
        > > Not to clog this list with unnecessary posts, but I am a
        > > graduate student in Historical Theology at the Toronto School
        > > of Theology / University of Toronto with literary historical
        > > interest in the book of John. I also do not contribute due to
        > > my understanding that this list is for professional scholars
        > > only. I don't mind that though; I have learned quite a lot.
        > > Thank you.
        > >
        > > I do have a question. From what conceptual foundation does
        > > the first eighteen verses of John come from? It sounds like a
        > > hymn--is there a Hellenistic poem that it is patterned after?
        > > What is the current thought regarding its origin? Are verses
        > > 6-9 and 12-13 actually part of the poem, or have these verses
        > > been redacted?
        > >
        > > best,
        > > Diane Yoder, MA scholar, Historical Theology
        > > Toronto School of Theology
        > > University of Toronto
        > >
        > > Tom Butler
        > wrote:
        > > Dear Jack Kilmon and J-Lit Members,
        > >
        > > Recently I received an off-list message suggesting
        > > that you, Jack, do not really exist. Since you have
        > contributed to the
        > > list and since you are identified as the "list owner" on
        > the web site,
        > > I was and am, naturally, confused by that message. No doubt someone
        > > is playing some sort of prank on me, for what reason I
        > > cannot imagine.
        > >
        > > It prompts me to press an inquirey that I
        > > inadvertently (honestly) sent first to the whole list,
        > > then directly to you regarding the participation of
        > > Elaine Bessett, who uses the pen name Q Bee. You
        > > replied that you had been "AOL from the list for a
        > > while" and that Elaine should just re-apply. I got
        > > from that the impression that you did not
        > > intentionally remove her from the list and that you
        > > would act upon her application to re-join the list.
        > > She tells me that she has re-applied, but has received
        > > no response.
        > >
        > > As I mentioned in my earlier message, after
        > > re-reading the protocol for the list, it seems clear
        > > that persons who violate the protocol will be warned
        > > and then removed if they fail to heed the warning.
        > > From private dialog with Elaine, I gather that she was
        > > not aware of being officially warned by the list owner
        > > (you) at any point. She has, however, been engaged in
        > > somewhat heated debates with several contributors to
        > > the list.
        > >
        > > Beyond these concerns, it troubles me that so few
        > > people contribute to this list. My understanding is
        > > that the list is an on-line tool of the Society of
        > > Biblical Literature, which includes many, if not most
        > > of the finest Johannine scholars in the world. So few
        > > engage in the discussions that I am left wondering
        > > whether I have mis-understood who it is with whom I am seeking to
        > > engage in dialog.
        > >
        > > I am using the list to air my own understanding and
        > > questions regarding the Fourth Gospel. I hope to
        > > contribute to the scholarly discussion of the text and
        > > to learn from those whose scholarship is more focused
        > > than my own or whose reading list is far longer or
        > > different from my own. I claim to be a scholar in the
        > > classic sense that I am a student of the text and of
        > > those who have demonstrated expertise in the study of
        > > it. I gather that my participation is welcomed by
        > > persons who often have a much better claim to being
        > > scholars than I do, largely because some of my
        > > questions are their questions, and some of my ideas
        > > relate to some of theirs, and they are willing to
        > > engage in dialog with me. When I offer one of the
        > > nuggets from my study and one, two or no replies are
        > > made, I wonder if I have stepped on hallowed ground or
        > violated some
        > > un-written rule.
        > >
        > > My understanding, based upon some of the
        > > presentations I heard when I attended the SBL
        > > Conference in Toronto 2(?) years ago, is that
        > > Johannine scholars world-wide are searching for new
        > > tools with which to study the gospel. That suggests an
        > > open-ness to new approaches, even un-tried approaches. That
        > > suggests to me that this list is a place where scholarly
        > > appraisals of new ideas can be expected. Am I wrong?
        > >
        > > If I'm not wrong, then why would someone offering
        > > new ideas be simply removed from the list? Is not
        > > fitting into established approaches a violation of the protocol
        > > resulting in removal from the list? If so, will I be next?
        > Will I just
        > > disappear like Elaine has?
        > >
        > > Yours in Christ's service,
        > > Dr. Tom Butler, Pastor
        > > Sparks United Methodist Church,
        > > Sparks, Nevada, USA
        > >
        > > Yours in Christ's service,
        > >
        > > Tom Butler
        > >
        > >
        > >
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        > Matthew
        > Estrada
        >
        > 113 Laurel Court
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        > Peachtree City, Ga 30269
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        >
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