Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Radical Chic: J of A, Nic, and the Boys of the Way

Expand Messages
  • Bob MacDonald
    ... is a purely fictional character, ... Dickens could hardly do better.
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 21, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "kalvachomer" Kevin wrote
      >>finding a number of wordplays ... the possibility that Nicodemus, ...
      is a purely fictional character, ... Dickens could hardly do better. <<

      Kevin

      why 'purely'? Names have meaning from the beginning - Abel, wind,
      emptiness. God is Dickensian. God's names reflect the Namer from the
      ground. Robert is bright and famous; what is Kevin? All the world's a
      stage...

      So pure and impure with respect to fiction does not necessarily mean
      that we have no existence. There are other Nikes in the Johannine lit -
      Nicolaitians - perhaps a name for another domineering group. The Anti-
      Nicolaitian is in the right sort of 'overcoming', not by assertion of
      fiction but by enfleshment of image.

      Is Cain related to such 'lording it over' others? What sort
      of 'overcoming' is not? Perhaps the triumph of the Lambkin.

      Bob

      Bob MacDonald
      Victoria BC
      http://bmd.gx.ca
    • Ron Price
      ... Kevin, Agreed. The long speech in 3:1ff., in which the theology and style is typically Johannine, looks very much like an imaginative composition by the
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 21, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Kevin wrote:

        > I want to toss out the possibility that Nicodemus, who I believe
        > appears only in John, is a purely fictional character, invented as a
        > foil for Jesus.

        Kevin,

        Agreed. The long speech in 3:1ff., in which the theology and style is
        typically Johannine, looks very much like an imaginative composition by the
        author of the gospel.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • Diane Yoder
        What literary characteristics do you see that leads you to believe that Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no opinion on the subject, but as a
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 22, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          What literary characteristics do you see that leads you to believe that Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no opinion on the subject, but as a theology scholar, I am interested in the justification for this hypothesis.

          Diane Yoder
          University of St. Michael's College
          Toronto School of Theology

          Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:
          Kevin wrote:

          > I want to toss out the possibility that Nicodemus, who I believe
          > appears only in John, is a purely fictional character, invented as a
          > foil for Jesus.

          Kevin,

          Agreed. The long speech in 3:1ff., in which the theology and style is
          typically Johannine, looks very much like an imaginative composition by the
          author of the gospel.

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm





          SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
          UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
          MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
          Yahoo! Groups Links









          ---------------------------------
          Share your photos with the people who matter at Yahoo! Canada Photos

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • pastor_t@pacbell.net
          Joe, I don t see how your title could offend anyone. Other than symphony, the image of layers of an onion is often used. I like symphony better ... Its
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 23, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Joe,
            I don't see how your title could offend anyone. Other than "symphony,"
            the image of layers of an onion is often used. I like symphony better ...
            Its more tasteful.

            Tom

            -----Original Message-----
            From: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            SemioticSymphony@...
            Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2006 3:45 PM
            To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Radical Chic: J of A, Nic, and the Boys of the Way


            In a message dated 3/18/2006 10:50:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
            pastor_t@... writes:

            I assume you will be expanding on the phrase in Jn.
            19: 38 where Joseph of Arimathea is identified as a secret disciple of
            Jesus.


            Hello Tom:

            Thank you so much for your thoughts and observations. Jn 19:38 must be my
            point of departure, and, while I will give some acknowledgment to the other
            evangelists, I have made a critical decision to limit my investigation to J
            and N as they are represented in 4G.

            You wrote:

            "I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about what happens to these
            two (and others?) secret disciples after the burial of Jesus."

            Again, because I have chosen to limit my investigation to the 4G, I am at a
            loss to comment on any interrogation of subsequent material, whether that be
            the Acts of Pilate, Gospel of Nicodemus, or the Glastonbury material ( and
            any of the later mediaeval imaginative texts). I might need to amend my
            position on these matters, but I am trying to avoid excessively speculative
            commentary, or obvious ridiculous pursuits.

            You wrote:

            "My theory is that they became part of those who gathered into a community
            lead by the Beloved Disciple (who took the mother of Jesus "to His own.")

            The influence of an extraordinary scholar or set of scholars of the Hebrew
            scriptures is evident in the Fourth Gospel. Could this have been
            Nicodemus?"

            your theory seems sound, given what data we have from 4G. I will try to
            adduce what is suppressed by 4G, what is hidden yet present.

            You might recall my observations on the Nicodemus episode and the concepts
            of liminality and authority.

            You wrote:

            "I like your title. As you know, my work has focused on the extensive use
            of semeia borrowed from the Septuagint, mostly from the Torah. It is quite
            appropriate to describe the Fourth Gospel as "A Symphony of Signs." "

            I am familiar with your contribution, and I might add that I have enjoyed
            our productive exchanges in the past. The musical image is excellent. I
            might decide later to change my title, for it might offend some, and my goal
            is always to interrogate and illuminate, and address as wide an audience as
            possible.

            Best regards,
            Joe C.





            [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
            PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
            MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • Timothy P. Jenney
            I really don t think there is much possibility of determining whether a character is real [or not] from the internal evidence of 4G. That s not just true for
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 24, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              I really don't think there is much possibility of determining whether a
              character is real [or not] from the internal evidence of 4G. That's not just
              true for Nicodemus, but for every character in the Gospel. All of them are
              [just] "foils" for Jesus!

              4G has many of the literary features of myth or legend, where the original
              event has been stripped down to his/her/its essentials, "abstracted," if you
              will, in order to better serve as a universal referent. It's like the
              difference between a photograph of a fruit bowl, an oil painting of it and
              an abstract painting of it.

              I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit of using real
              characters as templates for his literary work, though some of these
              characters may be composites and others represent the actions of groups.
              That said, I would not be so quick to dismiss the possibility of Nicodemus
              as having been a real person. I'm certain I would not do so based on any
              specific "literary characteristics" in this particular gospel.

              Tim Jenney
              Adj. NT prof.,
              Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando



              > From: Diane Yoder <torontoscholar@...>

              >
              > What literary characteristics do you see that leads you to believe that
              > Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no opinion on the subject, but as
              > a theology scholar, I am interested in the justification for this hypothesis.
              >
              > Diane Yoder
              > University of St. Michael's College
              > Toronto School of Theology
              >
              > Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:
              > Kevin wrote:
              >
              >> I want to toss out the possibility that Nicodemus, who I believe
              >> appears only in John, is a purely fictional character, invented as a
              >> foil for Jesus.
              >
              > Kevin,
              >
              > Agreed. The long speech in 3:1ff., in which the theology and style is
              > typically Johannine, looks very much like an imaginative composition by the
              > author of the gospel.
              >
              > Ron Price
              >
              > Derbyshire, UK
              >
              > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              > PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
              > MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ---------------------------------
              > Share your photos with the people who matter at Yahoo! Canada Photos
              >
              > [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
              > PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
              > MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Tom Butler
              Tim, Diane and all, My interest in considering any character in the 4G as a literary character grows especially out of my consideration of Lazarus, who appears
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 24, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                Tim, Diane and all,
                My interest in considering any character in the 4G
                as a literary character grows especially out of my
                consideration of Lazarus, who appears to have a larger
                than life role in the Jesus narrative, yet he is not
                mentioned at all by the other cannonical gospels or in
                the Acts of the Apostles or in any other (especially
                historical) record that I've been able to find of the
                first century Christian communities. It hardly seems
                likely that a person whom Jesus raised from death at a
                point in the 4G narrative so near to Jesus' own
                resurrection would not receive even a mention in any
                other (especially cannonical) source.
                I find Tim's comment useful:
                > I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit
                > of using real characters as templates for his
                > literary work, though some of these characters may
                > be composites and others represent the actions of
                > groups.

                Indeed, the 4G, especially in reference to Lazarus,
                seems to follow the example of Jesus, Himself, who
                created characters (usually without names) in His
                parables. Lazarus is the one exception to the rule of
                no name for these characters (Luke 16: 19-31). In
                this case, the author(s) of the 4G seem(s) to have
                elaborated upon what at first appears to be a literary
                character, keeping little more than the death and
                resurrection theme and the name of the principle
                character. Does that mean that Lazarus was not a
                historical figure, a "real" person? I don't think so,
                but I do agree with Tim that Lazarus may represent an
                entire group of people. (I have suggested that that
                group could be Temple Priests or even the Temple
                priesthood. That theory is consistent with a careful
                reading of the parable in Luke, identifying "the rich
                man" as the High Priest and the gates outside of which
                Lazarus lays dying (starving?) as the gates to the
                temple.)
                The point of course is that a character in any
                narrative, including the 4G can be both a literary
                character AND a historical character. In ancient
                literature myth and history are not so distinct.

                Tom Butler
                --- "Timothy P. Jenney" <drjenney@...>
                wrote:

                > I really don't think there is much possibility of
                > determining whether a
                > character is real [or not] from the internal
                > evidence of 4G. That's not just
                > true for Nicodemus, but for every character in the
                > Gospel. All of them are
                > [just] "foils" for Jesus!
                >
                > 4G has many of the literary features of myth or
                > legend, where the original
                > event has been stripped down to his/her/its
                > essentials, "abstracted," if you
                > will, in order to better serve as a universal
                > referent. It's like the
                > difference between a photograph of a fruit bowl, an
                > oil painting of it and
                > an abstract painting of it.
                >
                > I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit
                > of using real
                > characters as templates for his literary work,
                > though some of these
                > characters may be composites and others represent
                > the actions of groups.
                > That said, I would not be so quick to dismiss the
                > possibility of Nicodemus
                > as having been a real person. I'm certain I would
                > not do so based on any
                > specific "literary characteristics" in this
                > particular gospel.
                >
                > Tim Jenney
                > Adj. NT prof.,
                > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
                >
                >
                >
                > > From: Diane Yoder <torontoscholar@...>
                >
                > >
                > > What literary characteristics do you see that
                > leads you to believe that
                > > Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no
                > opinion on the subject, but as
                > > a theology scholar, I am interested in the
                > justification for this hypothesis.
                > >
                > > Diane Yoder
                > > University of St. Michael's College
                > > Toronto School of Theology
                > >
                > > Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:
                > > Kevin wrote:
                > >
                > >> I want to toss out the possibility that
                > Nicodemus, who I believe
                > >> appears only in John, is a purely fictional
                > character, invented as a
                > >> foil for Jesus.
                > >
                > > Kevin,
                > >
                > > Agreed. The long speech in 3:1ff., in which the
                > theology and style is
                > > typically Johannine, looks very much like an
                > imaginative composition by the
                > > author of the gospel.
                > >
                > > Ron Price
                > >
                > > Derbyshire, UK
                > >
                > > Web site:
                > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                > johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                >
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ---------------------------------
                > > Share your photos with the people who matter at
                > Yahoo! Canada Photos
                > >
                > > [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
                > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                >
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                > johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                >
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/
                >
                > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >


                <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
                <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
              • Ron Price
                ... Diane, John 3:1ff. has a style and vocabulary typical of the gospel as a whole, with no detectable distinction based on whether the words belong to Jesus,
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 25, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  Diane Yoder wrote:

                  > What literary characteristics do you see that leads you to believe that
                  > Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no opinion on the subject, but as
                  > a theology scholar, I am interested in the justification for this hypothesis.

                  Diane,

                  John 3:1ff. has a style and vocabulary typical of the gospel as a whole,
                  with no detectable distinction based on whether the words belong to Jesus,
                  someone else, or the narrator. This fact is well illustrated here by
                  3:16-21. Are these supposed to be Jesus' words or the narrator's words?
                  Scholars cannot be sure. Along with other features, the text can be seen to
                  have the characteristics of myth or legend (c.f. Tim Jenney's posting).

                  The crucial question then is whether the story was written around a core
                  involving a historical person called Nicodemus, or whether "Nicodemus" was
                  merely part of the myth.

                  I cannot *prove* that Nicodemus was unhistorical, but it looks to me very
                  likely. Why would the author have any need to choose a historical person for
                  his foil? With a fictional character, the author is free to choose a name
                  which has a subtle meaning, e.g. as Kevin has suggested. The author of
                  John's gospel was fond of subtle meanings.

                  Ron Price

                  Derbyshire, UK

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                • kalvachomer
                  Tom, Diane, Tim, Some brief if belated responses. Tom, I don t see Nicodemus as representing the Sanhedrin, even though as a leader of the Jews and teacher
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 25, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Tom, Diane, Tim,

                    Some brief if belated responses. Tom, I don't see Nicodemus as
                    representing the Sanhedrin, even though as a "leader of the Jews" and
                    "teacher of Israel" he might have been a member, had he existed. He does
                    not appear threatened by, or hostile towards, Jesus and his followers.
                    He approaches Jesus as an individual, not as a member of a group, and by
                    night because he is out of step with his social group and would be
                    embarrassed to be found calling on this wandering holy man from
                    Gallilee. He does not come to trap Jesus into an incriminating
                    statement, but appears to be trying to make sense of this preacher who
                    speaks with authority, has a God-given ability to heal, yet makes a
                    point of breaking Jewish law and (to follow the sequence in John), has
                    created a major disturbance at the Temple.

                    But no sooner has Nicodemus respectfully opened the conversation than
                    Jesus redirects it, telling Nicodemus not only that he doesn't
                    understand, but as one not reborn of water and spirit he can't
                    understand. Jesus doesn't deign to explain how Nicodemus might himself
                    be "born anew"; one might infer that since the spirit, like the wind,
                    blows where it wills, there is nothing Jesus or Nicodemus can do to cure
                    Nicodemus's evident spiritual idiocy. Jesus then utters a series of
                    pronouncements that Nicodemus, had he existed, would surely have found
                    unintelligible, and Nicodemus disappears from view.

                    Perhaps the point is that Jesus stands outside the categories of
                    Nicodemus's Judaism; to call Jesus a teacher, even one sent by God, as
                    Nicodemus does, reveals a failure of understanding. Jesus is not a
                    bearer of God's message to be understood, but is God's presence to be
                    experienced.

                    But perhaps the real point is to show Jesus' triumph over Nicodemus,
                    whose sins, other than the timidity of his response to Jesus, appear to
                    be that he is wealthy, a leader, a rabbi, and a Pharisee. To show this
                    powerful figure sneaking out to meet Jesus at night, obsequiously
                    addressing him as "Rabbi," only to be reduced by a magisterial Jesus
                    to stammering befuddlement, is almost comic. I only pointed out that
                    his name appeared to set him up for his downfall.

                    Tom, I was going to ask you why you thought Lazarus might be a stand-in
                    for the Temple priests. I saw your reference to the Lazarus parable in
                    Luke and reread it, but I see no allusion to priests or the Temple. Can
                    you say more? It is interesting that Jesus is Greek for Joshua, in the
                    book of Joshua, Joshua is paired with Aaron's son Eleazar as High
                    Priest, and Eleazar is Lazarus in Hellenized Aramaic. But John's
                    Lazarus is entirely passive, so that coincidence appears to fizzle. I
                    have my own wild speculation about Lazarus, but it involves a chain of
                    inferences and I'll save it.

                    Diane, I had no "literary characteristics" in mind; it seemed obvious.
                    But after writing my post I happened to look in John Ashton's anthology,
                    The Interpretation of John (2d ed. 1997), and found the following at p.
                    176-77, from a 1972 essay by John A. Meeks, The Man From Heaven in
                    Johannine Sectarianism, originally published in JBL 91 (1972) at 44-72:

                    Nicodemus plays a well-known role: that of the rather stupid disciple
                    whose maladroit questions provide the occasion (a) for the reader to
                    feel superior and (b) for the sage who is questioned to deliver a
                    discourse. The genre is widespread in the Greco-Roman world . . . . In
                    such contexts, one frequently meets the cliche', "You do not understand
                    earthly things, and you seek to know heavenly ones?"

                    Kevin


                    --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, Tom Butler <pastor_t@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Tim, Diane and all,
                    > My interest in considering any character in the 4G
                    > as a literary character grows especially out of my
                    > consideration of Lazarus, who appears to have a larger
                    > than life role in the Jesus narrative, yet he is not
                    > mentioned at all by the other cannonical gospels or in
                    > the Acts of the Apostles or in any other (especially
                    > historical) record that I've been able to find of the
                    > first century Christian communities. It hardly seems
                    > likely that a person whom Jesus raised from death at a
                    > point in the 4G narrative so near to Jesus' own
                    > resurrection would not receive even a mention in any
                    > other (especially cannonical) source.
                    > I find Tim's comment useful:
                    > > I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit
                    > > of using real characters as templates for his
                    > > literary work, though some of these characters may
                    > > be composites and others represent the actions of
                    > > groups.
                    >
                    > Indeed, the 4G, especially in reference to Lazarus,
                    > seems to follow the example of Jesus, Himself, who
                    > created characters (usually without names) in His
                    > parables. Lazarus is the one exception to the rule of
                    > no name for these characters (Luke 16: 19-31). In
                    > this case, the author(s) of the 4G seem(s) to have
                    > elaborated upon what at first appears to be a literary
                    > character, keeping little more than the death and
                    > resurrection theme and the name of the principle
                    > character. Does that mean that Lazarus was not a
                    > historical figure, a "real" person? I don't think so,
                    > but I do agree with Tim that Lazarus may represent an
                    > entire group of people. (I have suggested that that
                    > group could be Temple Priests or even the Temple
                    > priesthood. That theory is consistent with a careful
                    > reading of the parable in Luke, identifying "the rich
                    > man" as the High Priest and the gates outside of which
                    > Lazarus lays dying (starving?) as the gates to the
                    > temple.)
                    > The point of course is that a character in any
                    > narrative, including the 4G can be both a literary
                    > character AND a historical character. In ancient
                    > literature myth and history are not so distinct.
                    >
                    > Tom Butler
                    > --- "Timothy P. Jenney" drjenney@...
                    > wrote:
                    >
                    > > I really don't think there is much possibility of
                    > > determining whether a
                    > > character is real [or not] from the internal
                    > > evidence of 4G. That's not just
                    > > true for Nicodemus, but for every character in the
                    > > Gospel. All of them are
                    > > [just] "foils" for Jesus!
                    > >
                    > > 4G has many of the literary features of myth or
                    > > legend, where the original
                    > > event has been stripped down to his/her/its
                    > > essentials, "abstracted," if you
                    > > will, in order to better serve as a universal
                    > > referent. It's like the
                    > > difference between a photograph of a fruit bowl, an
                    > > oil painting of it and
                    > > an abstract painting of it.
                    > >
                    > > I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit
                    > > of using real
                    > > characters as templates for his literary work,
                    > > though some of these
                    > > characters may be composites and others represent
                    > > the actions of groups.
                    > > That said, I would not be so quick to dismiss the
                    > > possibility of Nicodemus
                    > > as having been a real person. I'm certain I would
                    > > not do so based on any
                    > > specific "literary characteristics" in this
                    > > particular gospel.
                    > >
                    > > Tim Jenney
                    > > Adj. NT prof.,
                    > > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > > From: Diane Yoder torontoscholar@...
                    > >
                    > > >
                    > > > What literary characteristics do you see that
                    > > leads you to believe that
                    > > > Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no
                    > > opinion on the subject, but as
                    > > > a theology scholar, I am interested in the
                    > > justification for this hypothesis.
                    > > >
                    > > > Diane Yoder
                    > > > University of St. Michael's College
                    > > > Toronto School of Theology
                    > > >
                    > > > Ron Price ron.price@... wrote:
                    > > > Kevin wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > >> I want to toss out the possibility that
                    > > Nicodemus, who I believe
                    > > >> appears only in John, is a purely fictional
                    > > character, invented as a
                    > > >> foil for Jesus.
                    > > >
                    > > > Kevin,
                    > > >
                    > > > Agreed. The long speech in 3:1ff., in which the
                    > > theology and style is
                    > > > typically Johannine, looks very much like an
                    > > imaginative composition by the
                    > > > author of the gospel.
                    > > >
                    > > > Ron Price
                    > > >
                    > > > Derbyshire, UK
                    > > >
                    > > > Web site:
                    > > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                    > > johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                    > > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                    > > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                    > >
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                    > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > ---------------------------------
                    > > > Share your photos with the people who matter at
                    > > Yahoo! Canada Photos
                    > > >
                    > > > [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
                    > > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                    > > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                    > >
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                    > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                    > > johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                    > > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                    > > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                    > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                    > >
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                    > >
                    > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >
                    > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/
                    > >
                    > > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    > <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's
                    service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
                    > <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom
                    Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
                    >




                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • John Bailey
                    Hi Tom and All, ... So where do we go from here when there are no other historical written sources to help us out? If we consider that everything that ever
                    Message 9 of 21 , Mar 26, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Hi Tom and All,

                      >My interest in considering any character in the 4G
                      >as a literary character grows especially out of my
                      >consideration of Lazarus, who appears to have a larger
                      >than life role in the Jesus narrative, yet he is not
                      >mentioned at all by the other cannonical gospels or in
                      >the Acts of the Apostles or in any other (especially
                      >historical) record that I've been able to find of the
                      >first century Christian communities. It hardly seems
                      >likely that a person whom Jesus raised from death at a
                      >point in the 4G narrative so near to Jesus' own
                      >resurrection would not receive even a mention in any
                      >other (especially cannonical) source.

                      So where do we go from here when there are
                      no other historical written sources to help us out?
                      If we consider that everything that ever was, is or will be
                      has its resonance in eternity, then perhaps we can treat
                      sympathetically a writing such as Sholem Asch's 'The Nazarene,'
                      which I recommend for the authenticity of its feeling.

                      **************

                      Lazarus died and he is an occasion whereby it is shown that
                      death is not a final state — because he can be lifted up.
                      Did Lazarus sin that he died in this way?
                      Was he saved from his sin — or was the whole situation
                      simply another necessity of manifesting
                      the totality of cosmic possibilities?

                      > I find Tim's comment useful:
                      > I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit
                      > of using real characters as templates for his
                      > literary work, though some of these characters may
                      > be composites and others represent the actions of
                      > groups.

                      >Indeed, the 4G, especially in reference to Lazarus,
                      >seems to follow the example of Jesus, Himself, who
                      >created characters (usually without names) in His
                      >parables. Lazarus is the one exception to the rule of
                      >no name for these characters (Luke 16: 19-31). In
                      >this case, the author(s) of the 4G seem(s) to have
                      >elaborated upon what at first appears to be a literary
                      >character, keeping little more than the death and
                      >resurrection theme and the name of the principle
                      >character. Does that mean that Lazarus was not a
                      >historical figure, a "real" person? I don't think so,
                      >but I do agree with Tim that Lazarus may represent an
                      >entire group of people. (I have suggested that that
                      >group could be Temple Priests or even the Temple
                      >priesthood. That theory is consistent with a careful
                      >reading of the parable in Luke, identifying "the rich
                      >man" as the High Priest and the gates outside of which
                      >Lazarus lays dying (starving?) as the gates to the
                      >temple.)
                      > The point of course is that a character in any
                      >narrative, including the 4G can be both a literary
                      >character AND a historical character. In ancient
                      >literature myth and history are not so distinct.

                      If we take John's as being a spiritual handbook
                      then we can view the characters not only as
                      literary and historical, but also characters
                      internal to each of us,
                      characterisations of aspects of being
                      in our own personal mellow drama,
                      the macrocosmos re-presented in our own microcosm.
                      Indeed, if we don't internalise the story in this manner,
                      what real significance can it all have for us?

                      At the raising of Lazarus where he raises the dead,
                      Jesus gives a performance that shows he has
                      command over life and death. And as you say, Tom,
                      this incident is very close to his own death
                      ...which leads me to another consideration.

                      No sooner has Jesus demonstrated this capacity
                      in the time process, to avoid the complete subordination
                      of every other finite being to his image
                      (that would have paralysed them completely if it had remained),
                      then he crucified it. This implies a Great Law
                      to which that being in the form 'Jesus' was aligning himself:
                      "Thou shalt not have a visible god which is omnipotent."

                      Let's suppose that Christ had said when they put him on the cross,
                      to the challenge, "come down off the cross if you are the Son of
                      God." Supposing he'd come down, supposing he'd just floated down
                      leaving the nails up there ....
                      I don't believe the Rabbis or anybody else
                      would have dared to touch him.
                      Do you think anybody would have dared to move
                      ...without consulting him first?
                      There would have been a finite being in the time process
                      with a continuous pilgrimage to this point.
                      In such a world, we would not bother to
                      fall back on our own centre of being,
                      to our own, 'kingdom of heaven within'.

                      Joh 15:13
                      "Greater love hath no man than this,
                      that a man lay down his life for his friends."

                      Love and peace to all,
                      John (Chester, England).
                    • Diane Yoder
                      Well, actually, one can t get away from literary characteristics... it IS literature, after all, and literary analyses can fill out the picture along with
                      Message 10 of 21 , Mar 26, 2006
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Well, actually, one can't get away from 'literary characteristics...' it IS literature, after all, and literary analyses can fill out the picture along with linguistic studies, biblical studies and archaeological evidence.

                        Diane Yoder, Historical Theology
                        Toronto School of Theology


                        kalvachomer <kalvachomer@...> wrote:
                        Tom, Diane, Tim,

                        Some brief if belated responses. Tom, I don't see Nicodemus as
                        representing the Sanhedrin, even though as a "leader of the Jews" and
                        "teacher of Israel" he might have been a member, had he existed. He does
                        not appear threatened by, or hostile towards, Jesus and his followers.
                        He approaches Jesus as an individual, not as a member of a group, and by
                        night because he is out of step with his social group and would be
                        embarrassed to be found calling on this wandering holy man from
                        Gallilee. He does not come to trap Jesus into an incriminating
                        statement, but appears to be trying to make sense of this preacher who
                        speaks with authority, has a God-given ability to heal, yet makes a
                        point of breaking Jewish law and (to follow the sequence in John), has
                        created a major disturbance at the Temple.

                        But no sooner has Nicodemus respectfully opened the conversation than
                        Jesus redirects it, telling Nicodemus not only that he doesn't
                        understand, but as one not reborn of water and spirit he can't
                        understand. Jesus doesn't deign to explain how Nicodemus might himself
                        be "born anew"; one might infer that since the spirit, like the wind,
                        blows where it wills, there is nothing Jesus or Nicodemus can do to cure
                        Nicodemus's evident spiritual idiocy. Jesus then utters a series of
                        pronouncements that Nicodemus, had he existed, would surely have found
                        unintelligible, and Nicodemus disappears from view.

                        Perhaps the point is that Jesus stands outside the categories of
                        Nicodemus's Judaism; to call Jesus a teacher, even one sent by God, as
                        Nicodemus does, reveals a failure of understanding. Jesus is not a
                        bearer of God's message to be understood, but is God's presence to be
                        experienced.

                        But perhaps the real point is to show Jesus' triumph over Nicodemus,
                        whose sins, other than the timidity of his response to Jesus, appear to
                        be that he is wealthy, a leader, a rabbi, and a Pharisee. To show this
                        powerful figure sneaking out to meet Jesus at night, obsequiously
                        addressing him as "Rabbi," only to be reduced by a magisterial Jesus
                        to stammering befuddlement, is almost comic. I only pointed out that
                        his name appeared to set him up for his downfall.

                        Tom, I was going to ask you why you thought Lazarus might be a stand-in
                        for the Temple priests. I saw your reference to the Lazarus parable in
                        Luke and reread it, but I see no allusion to priests or the Temple. Can
                        you say more? It is interesting that Jesus is Greek for Joshua, in the
                        book of Joshua, Joshua is paired with Aaron's son Eleazar as High
                        Priest, and Eleazar is Lazarus in Hellenized Aramaic. But John's
                        Lazarus is entirely passive, so that coincidence appears to fizzle. I
                        have my own wild speculation about Lazarus, but it involves a chain of
                        inferences and I'll save it.

                        Diane, I had no "literary characteristics" in mind; it seemed obvious.
                        But after writing my post I happened to look in John Ashton's anthology,
                        The Interpretation of John (2d ed. 1997), and found the following at p.
                        176-77, from a 1972 essay by John A. Meeks, The Man From Heaven in
                        Johannine Sectarianism, originally published in JBL 91 (1972) at 44-72:

                        Nicodemus plays a well-known role: that of the rather stupid disciple
                        whose maladroit questions provide the occasion (a) for the reader to
                        feel superior and (b) for the sage who is questioned to deliver a
                        discourse. The genre is widespread in the Greco-Roman world . . . . In
                        such contexts, one frequently meets the cliche', "You do not understand
                        earthly things, and you seek to know heavenly ones?"

                        Kevin


                        --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, Tom Butler

                        wrote:
                        >
                        > Tim, Diane and all,
                        > My interest in considering any character in the 4G
                        > as a literary character grows especially out of my
                        > consideration of Lazarus, who appears to have a larger
                        > than life role in the Jesus narrative, yet he is not
                        > mentioned at all by the other cannonical gospels or in
                        > the Acts of the Apostles or in any other (especially
                        > historical) record that I've been able to find of the
                        > first century Christian communities. It hardly seems
                        > likely that a person whom Jesus raised from death at a
                        > point in the 4G narrative so near to Jesus' own
                        > resurrection would not receive even a mention in any
                        > other (especially cannonical) source.
                        > I find Tim's comment useful:
                        > > I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit
                        > > of using real characters as templates for his
                        > > literary work, though some of these characters may
                        > > be composites and others represent the actions of
                        > > groups.
                        >
                        > Indeed, the 4G, especially in reference to Lazarus,
                        > seems to follow the example of Jesus, Himself, who
                        > created characters (usually without names) in His
                        > parables. Lazarus is the one exception to the rule of
                        > no name for these characters (Luke 16: 19-31). In
                        > this case, the author(s) of the 4G seem(s) to have
                        > elaborated upon what at first appears to be a literary
                        > character, keeping little more than the death and
                        > resurrection theme and the name of the principle
                        > character. Does that mean that Lazarus was not a
                        > historical figure, a "real" person? I don't think so,
                        > but I do agree with Tim that Lazarus may represent an
                        > entire group of people. (I have suggested that that
                        > group could be Temple Priests or even the Temple
                        > priesthood. That theory is consistent with a careful
                        > reading of the parable in Luke, identifying "the rich
                        > man" as the High Priest and the gates outside of which
                        > Lazarus lays dying (starving?) as the gates to the
                        > temple.)
                        > The point of course is that a character in any
                        > narrative, including the 4G can be both a literary
                        > character AND a historical character. In ancient
                        > literature myth and history are not so distinct.
                        >
                        > Tom Butler
                        > --- "Timothy P. Jenney" drjenney@...
                        > wrote:
                        >
                        > > I really don't think there is much possibility of
                        > > determining whether a
                        > > character is real [or not] from the internal
                        > > evidence of 4G. That's not just
                        > > true for Nicodemus, but for every character in the
                        > > Gospel. All of them are
                        > > [just] "foils" for Jesus!
                        > >
                        > > 4G has many of the literary features of myth or
                        > > legend, where the original
                        > > event has been stripped down to his/her/its
                        > > essentials, "abstracted," if you
                        > > will, in order to better serve as a universal
                        > > referent. It's like the
                        > > difference between a photograph of a fruit bowl, an
                        > > oil painting of it and
                        > > an abstract painting of it.
                        > >
                        > > I do think though, that the author of 4G has a habit
                        > > of using real
                        > > characters as templates for his literary work,
                        > > though some of these
                        > > characters may be composites and others represent
                        > > the actions of groups.
                        > > That said, I would not be so quick to dismiss the
                        > > possibility of Nicodemus
                        > > as having been a real person. I'm certain I would
                        > > not do so based on any
                        > > specific "literary characteristics" in this
                        > > particular gospel.
                        > >
                        > > Tim Jenney
                        > > Adj. NT prof.,
                        > > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > > From: Diane Yoder torontoscholar@...
                        > >
                        > > >
                        > > > What literary characteristics do you see that
                        > > leads you to believe that
                        > > > Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no
                        > > opinion on the subject, but as
                        > > > a theology scholar, I am interested in the
                        > > justification for this hypothesis.
                        > > >
                        > > > Diane Yoder
                        > > > University of St. Michael's College
                        > > > Toronto School of Theology
                        > > >
                        > > > Ron Price ron.price@... wrote:
                        > > > Kevin wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > >> I want to toss out the possibility that
                        > > Nicodemus, who I believe
                        > > >> appears only in John, is a purely fictional
                        > > character, invented as a
                        > > >> foil for Jesus.
                        > > >
                        > > > Kevin,
                        > > >
                        > > > Agreed. The long speech in 3:1ff., in which the
                        > > theology and style is
                        > > > typically Johannine, looks very much like an
                        > > imaginative composition by the
                        > > > author of the gospel.
                        > > >
                        > > > Ron Price
                        > > >
                        > > > Derbyshire, UK
                        > > >
                        > > > Web site:
                        > > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                        > > johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                        > > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                        > > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                        > >
                        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                        > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > ---------------------------------
                        > > > Share your photos with the people who matter at
                        > > Yahoo! Canada Photos
                        > > >
                        > > > [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
                        > > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                        > > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                        > >
                        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                        > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                        > > johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail
                        > > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > > PROBLEMS?: e-mail
                        > > johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                        > > MESSAGE ARCHIVE:
                        > >
                        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                        > >
                        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        > >
                        > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/
                        > >
                        > > johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        Yours in Christ's
                        service,

                        > Tom
                        Butler

                        >




                        [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
                        PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                        MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                        Yahoo! Groups Links










                        ---------------------------------
                        7 bucks a month. This is Huge Yahoo! Music Unlimited

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Diane Yoder
                        Thank you Ron! Are there any extra-biblical texts written around the same time as John s gospel that one can compare with the style of John, to see if there
                        Message 11 of 21 , Mar 26, 2006
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Thank you Ron! Are there any extra-biblical texts written around the same time as John's gospel that one can compare with the style of John, to see if there are similar stories extant not related to the gospel? (since you mentioned stylistic similarities of myth and legend). For instance, Frances Flannery-Dailey in "Dreamers, Scribes and Priests' draws comparisons between the style and structure of the Pentateuch (and the dreams recorded) with extra biblical Mesopotamian texts from around the same time.

                          Diane Yoder, Historical Theology
                          Toronto School of Theology



                          Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote: Diane Yoder wrote:

                          > What literary characteristics do you see that leads you to believe that
                          > Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no opinion on the subject, but as
                          > a theology scholar, I am interested in the justification for this hypothesis.

                          Diane,

                          John 3:1ff. has a style and vocabulary typical of the gospel as a whole,
                          with no detectable distinction based on whether the words belong to Jesus,
                          someone else, or the narrator. This fact is well illustrated here by
                          3:16-21. Are these supposed to be Jesus' words or the narrator's words?
                          Scholars cannot be sure. Along with other features, the text can be seen to
                          have the characteristics of myth or legend (c.f. Tim Jenney's posting).

                          The crucial question then is whether the story was written around a core
                          involving a historical person called Nicodemus, or whether "Nicodemus" was
                          merely part of the myth.

                          I cannot *prove* that Nicodemus was unhistorical, but it looks to me very
                          likely. Why would the author have any need to choose a historical person for
                          his foil? With a fictional character, the author is free to choose a name
                          which has a subtle meaning, e.g. as Kevin has suggested. The author of
                          John's gospel was fond of subtle meanings.

                          Ron Price

                          Derbyshire, UK

                          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm





                          SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                          MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                          Yahoo! Groups Links










                          ---------------------------------
                          7 bucks a month. This is Huge Yahoo! Music Unlimited

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Timothy P. Jenney
                          Hi, all! My reading of 4G suggests the following interpretation of Nicodemus: He comes to Jesus in spiritual darkness [ by night ] in attempt to broker an
                          Message 12 of 21 , Mar 26, 2006
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Hi, all!

                            My reading of 4G suggests the following interpretation of Nicodemus:

                            He comes to Jesus in spiritual darkness ["by night"] in attempt to broker an
                            undercover deal of sorts between Jesus and the religious leaders ["we
                            know..."].

                            Jesus, having nothing to do with such deals, challenges his epistemology.
                            Neither Nicodemus nor his group could know whether Jesus was "sent from God"
                            unless they were spiritually "aware," i.e. "born from above/again."

                            The epistemological test takes the form of a conundrum: how will Nicodemus
                            understand the Jesus' question? Which understanding of Gk. anothen will
                            cause Nicodemus the least cognitive dissonance? If Nicodemus is aware of the
                            possibility of a spiritual birth, he will understand anothen as "spiritual
                            birth" [from above]. If he is not, he is forced to an interpretation that is
                            grotesque, morally repugnant and ceremonially unclean ["go back into his
                            mother's womb"?!?]. Sadly, Nicodemus fails the test.

                            Later though, Nicodemus will separate himself from his former group [7:50]
                            and will identify himself to a Roman authority as having been a secret
                            disciple of Jesus [19:38].

                            The story of Nicodemus thus provides a template: a Jewish religious leader,
                            having personally "heard" Jesus and "judging for himself," becomes a "secret
                            follower" of Jesus, eventually becoming "willing to identify with Jesus in
                            his death," even before a Roman procurator.

                            Tim Jenney
                            Adj NT prof.,
                            Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando


                            > From: Diane Yoder <torontoscholar@...>
                            > Reply-To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
                            > Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2006 14:45:22 -0500 (EST)
                            > To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
                            > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Radical Chic: J of A, Nic, and the Boys of the Way
                            >
                            > Thank you Ron! Are there any extra-biblical texts written around the same
                            > time as John's gospel that one can compare with the style of John, to see if
                            > there are similar stories extant not related to the gospel? (since you
                            > mentioned stylistic similarities of myth and legend). For instance, Frances
                            > Flannery-Dailey in "Dreamers, Scribes and Priests' draws comparisons between
                            > the style and structure of the Pentateuch (and the dreams recorded) with extra
                            > biblical Mesopotamian texts from around the same time.
                            >
                            > Diane Yoder, Historical Theology
                            > Toronto School of Theology
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote: Diane Yoder wrote:
                            >
                            >> What literary characteristics do you see that leads you to believe that
                            >> Nicodemus is a fictional character? I have no opinion on the subject, but as
                            >> a theology scholar, I am interested in the justification for this hypothesis.
                            >
                            > Diane,
                            >
                            > John 3:1ff. has a style and vocabulary typical of the gospel as a whole,
                            > with no detectable distinction based on whether the words belong to Jesus,
                            > someone else, or the narrator. This fact is well illustrated here by
                            > 3:16-21. Are these supposed to be Jesus' words or the narrator's words?
                            > Scholars cannot be sure. Along with other features, the text can be seen to
                            > have the characteristics of myth or legend (c.f. Tim Jenney's posting).
                            >
                            > The crucial question then is whether the story was written around a core
                            > involving a historical person called Nicodemus, or whether "Nicodemus" was
                            > merely part of the myth.
                            >
                            > I cannot *prove* that Nicodemus was unhistorical, but it looks to me very
                            > likely. Why would the author have any need to choose a historical person for
                            > his foil? With a fictional character, the author is free to choose a name
                            > which has a subtle meaning, e.g. as Kevin has suggested. The author of
                            > John's gospel was fond of subtle meanings.
                            >
                            > Ron Price
                            >
                            > Derbyshire, UK
                            >
                            > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            > PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                            > MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ---------------------------------
                            > 7 bucks a month. This is Huge Yahoo! Music Unlimited
                            >
                            > [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
                            > PROBLEMS?: e-mail johannine_literature-owner@yahoogroups.com
                            > MESSAGE ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • Ron Price
                            ... Diane, I don t know of anything comparable, but then my knowledge of contemporary extra-biblical texts is rather limited. Ron Price Derbyshire, UK Web
                            Message 13 of 21 , Mar 27, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Diane Yoder wrote:

                              > Are there any extra-biblical texts written around the same
                              > time as John's gospel that one can compare with the style of John, to see if
                              > there are similar stories extant not related to the gospel?

                              Diane,

                              I don't know of anything comparable, but then my knowledge of contemporary
                              extra-biblical texts is rather limited.

                              Ron Price

                              Derbyshire, UK

                              Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.