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Re: [John_Lit] 4G redactions

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  • Marco V. Fabbri
    Tom, I had to interrupt quite abruptly my answer before I had time to discuss properly your remarks. I thank you for you work, and for the opportunity that we
    Message 1 of 21 , Dec 29, 2006

      I had to interrupt quite abruptly my answer before I had time to discuss
      properly your remarks. I thank you for you work, and for the opportunity
      that we are now sharing to check the soundness of our ideas.

      My previous post coped with general issues, this one will be dedicated to
      particular points. My answer will be interspersed.

      On 12/29/06, Tom Butler <<mailto:pastor_t@...>pastor_t@...>

      At last I have some time to reply to your comments
      regarding the redaction theory of the Gospel of John.
      I very much appreciate this opportunity to reply to
      your list of reasons for supporting the redaction
      By way of dialogue, I'll weave my replies into the
      text of your list of reasons.

      --- Fabbri Marco <<mailto:mv.fabbri%40gmail.com>mv.fabbri@...> wrote:

      > I share Jack's inclination to think that John 21 is
      > not written by the same person that wrote John 1-20.
      > I find the following reasons:
      > 1. Chapter 20 ends in vv. 30-31 with a fully-fledged
      > conclusion, that refers back to the SHMEIA (signs),
      > that can be found in John 2-12. Therefore, unless >
      the contrary is proved, I understand John 20,30-31 >
      as the conclusion of John 1-20 (whether you include >
      the Prologue or not).

      Marco, the logic of your argument suggests to me that
      Jn. 20: 30-31 should be considered the conclusion of
      the Gospel of Signs, which as you indicated is found
      in Jn. 2-12.

      Not so. I am not trying to separate from the rest of Gospel a so-called
      "source of signs" or Semeiaquelle. I am taking the Gospel as it stands, and
      assuming that it is consistent, until the contrary is proven.

      I am just observing that John 20,30-31 is a conclusion, and that it speaks
      about the "signs" that are written in the book (the book that we call the
      Gsopel). I search for the signs, and see that they are concentrated in
      chapters 2-12. This means that if the Gospel has a structure, at this point
      I still need to understand the function of chapter 1, and the function of
      chapters 13-20. It is all too easy to wipe away those parts of the Gospel
      whose function is not understood at first glance. If I did that, I would be
      a reader that is not prepared to learn anything that he doesn't know
      already. A bad reader indeed.

      (I would argue that the Signs component
      of the Fourth Gospel begins at Jn. 1: 19 (after the

      The Gospel as it stands declares at 2,11 that the sign of Cana is the
      beginning of the signs. The sign itself is narrated in John 2,1-11. I don't
      dare to say that John 1 tells any sign: I am unwilling to pretend that I
      know better than the Evangelist.

      This doesn't mean that a so-called original Gospel started at 2,1. I agree
      that there never was a Gospel that didn't include chapter 1. It would be
      absurd indeed: what could the reader make of the "third day" mentioned in

      Rather, the art of telling a tale requires an introduction. The reader needs
      to be drawn into the story. I believe that this is the function of John 1.

      and ends at Jn. 13: 20 (with the account of
      the footwashing and before the Farewell Discourse or
      what Brown calls the Book of Glory begins - though I
      differ with Brown as to when that book begins: at Jn.
      13: 21, not at Jn. 13: 1, but that's another issue.)

      I agree that this is another issue. Most scholars think that the second part
      of the Gospel begins with chapter 13. Some think that chapters 10-12 are

      If we prefer to draw on the point that have already been made, I think that
      we can't ignore that the last mention of the signs is at 12:37, where it

      Here it is: the signs should lead to faith, but they dind't win the faith of
      the many. There are many who believe, but then they relinquish Jesus. Then
      the people disappear from the account: the twelve remain. It seems to me
      that it is impossible to divide the meal told in John 13 between the two
      parts of the Gospel. The character are the same along chapters 13-17, and
      they are the sole witness of the revelation of the AGAPH.

      The rationale for such a conclusion being, as you
      suggested, the reference to signs in those concluding

      I see no reason to assume, if we are going to put
      forth a theory that the work of a redactor is evident
      in the Fourth Gospel, that Jn. 20: 30-31 belongs at
      the end of chapter 20. Why not at the end of chapter
      12 (or as I have suggested after 13: 20)?

      Simply because it is at the end of chapter 20. But I think this objection
      dependes on the misunderstanding that I tried to to solve in my previous

      If the redaction theory is related in any way to what
      may be observed in the Gospel of Mark (where there are
      at least two different endings) as, for example, a
      struggle by first century Gospel writers to provide an
      appropriate ending for the Gospel story, then might it
      not be appropriate to suggest that 20: 30-31 could be
      placed at the end of chapter 19, supporting the idea
      that the resurrection narratives are all the work of
      one or more redactors?

      The ending of Mark is a different problem. From start there is a problem of
      text criticism: the best manuscripts end at Mark 16,8. So a problem arises:
      16,8 is an abrupt ending. Could Gospel end saying that the women told
      nothing, EFOBOUNTO GAR? We miss a conclusion. Was this intentional?

      And yet we know for certain that the Gospel once existed without Mark
      16,9-20. Later Mark 16,9-20 was written, and also another alternate ending.

      Then there is also a literary problem, which is a difference of style in
      Mark 16,9-20, and, more importantly, the fact that Mark 16,9-20 knows about
      waht is told in John 20, Matthew 28 and Luke 24.

      But this a list devoted to Johannine Literature, and I will refrain from
      pressing an interpretation of Mark. I rather want to point to the fact that
      when studying Mark and John we face opposite problems: the oldest
      manuscripts of John witness to a Gospel with two endings; the oldest
      manuscripts of Mark witness to a Gospel that lacks an ending.

      My point is that those two verses (Jn. 20: 30-31) can
      stand alone.

      I would disagree to this particular point. As a rule, a conclusion can never
      stand alone: it needs a text before it.

      This particular conclusion states that it is a conclusion to a book, and
      that the book tells signs made by Jesus. Therefore it is the conclusion to a

      They may be placed where they are at the
      end of chapter 20 or virtually anywhere else we might
      want to suggest is the "earliest ending" of the
      proto-gospel or first draft of the Gospel or whatever
      we end up calling what we believe to be the oldest
      part of the text.

      To this I hearthily agree. I think it is now clear that I am not interested
      in proto-gospels.

      Is it not more sound from a scholarly point of view to
      challenge the redaction theory than to challenge the
      text as we have it? I stand with Culpepper (Anatomy,
      p. 49), Brown (Introduction p. 86) and Barrett (citing
      Lindars in The Gospel According to John Second
      Edition, p. 25) on this. Each of these scholars has
      theories about how the Gospel may have been redacted,
      but none of them conclude that it is possible to
      discern the earliest form of the text with any degree
      of certainty.

      I agree with your last sentence and with the scholars that you quote, Brown
      among them.

      I would like to note that I say a different thing when I say that chapter 21
      is a later addition. I can't think that any scholar would say that John 1-20
      is "the earliest form of the gospel". According to the scholars that you
      quote, we don't know with certainty about the earliest form of the Gospel.

      We know with certainty about the latest form, that is all of the Gospel. And
      I think that we can go back one step from that, to a Gospel that ended at
      John 20,31.

      Please note that Brown agrees with that, even if doubts that the earliest
      Gospel can be reconstructed.

      The redactor theories serve to explain how or why some
      of the material may have been incorporated into the
      Gospel, but they remain theories and cannot be used to
      isolate some of the material in the Gospel as we have
      it today from the rest of the material. These
      theories, therefore, are best used AFTER the text has
      been studied as a whole, not as a way of organizing
      the material BEFORE the study begins.

      I agree. My students first here about the process of redaction of the Gospel
      after some 12 classes about the structure of the Gospel as it stands.

      > 2. John 21,24 says the the beloved disciple wrote
      > TAUTA. It is reasonable to think that TAUTA refers >
      to what comes before, that is to the Gospel as a
      > whole down to the first conclusion in John 20,30-31.

      I'm afraid I don't see your point. What you suggest
      is that the use of TAUTA makes it reasonable to say
      that this verse is the conclusion to the entire
      gospel, which you say ends with chapter 20.

      I don't say that the Gospel that we now have ends at chapter 20.

      I rather say that there is a conclusion at the end of chapter 20, and that
      we have to explain why the Gospel has two conclusions. Even more, John 21,25
      repeats that Jesus did more than what is told. From this I draw that John
      21,24 know John 20,30-31. This is true whether we hold that the same author
      wrote all of John or a different author wrote John 21.

      How do
      you conclude that TAUTA in 21: 24 refers to the
      material that ends at 20: 30-31 but not to the
      material preceding it in Jn. 21?

      There are reasons for that I presented as my points 3.1 to 3.6.

      As I see it Jn. 21: 24 is referring to Jn. 21: 23c,
      explaining that when Jesus is quoted saying, "If it is
      my will that he (IE: the disciple whom Jesus loved
      identified in 21: 20) remain (continue to abide) until
      I come, what is that to you?"

      It is as though the author(s) has (have) placed
      parentheses around the phrase (this is the disciple
      who is testifying to these things and has written

      I can't see the parenthesis. Would could that mean, if not that you suggest
      that 21,25 is by the same hand that writes 21,23? You may suggest it, but I
      see no reason to separate 21,24 from 21,25. According to the methodological
      reasons staed in my previous post, whoever affirms that part of a text
      belongs to a different author has to prove that. It is not enough to speak
      figuratively of parenthesis. I need a prove that 21,24 is from a different
      author than 21,25.

      Until a proof is given, I won't separate 21, from 21,25. And this lead to
      another strong reason to recognize that TAUTA refers to John 1-20 and not to
      21,23c. It is impossible to conceive that John ever ended in 21,23. We
      started with a Gospel with two conclusions, we can't go all the way to a
      Gospel that ends without a conclusion. This is why I think that we need to
      think of John 21 a unit that stands together. It comes after the first
      conclusion, and it ends with the second conclusion.

      The TAUTA, in other words, refers to Jesus'
      statement in 21: 23c, not necessarily to the entire

      My position is not that it refers to the entire Gospel, but rather to John
      1-20. I already noted that John 20,30-31 refers to Joh 1-20 as "this book"
      that contains "signs". The signs are called TAUTA in 20,31. If, as noted
      above, John 21,25 knows John 20,30-31, it is consistent to interpret the
      reference to TAUTA as to the same things that are named TAUTA in 20,31.

      I see 21: 24 as the kind of language found at 19: 35.

      The two passages have similaritites, I concede that. If you can prove that
      they are from the same hand, then I will have to accept that they are an
      insertion from the author of John 21. But please note that 19,35 make no use
      of the first person plural, as John 21 does. I find in the use of the first
      person plural a reason to distinguish the author of John 21 from the author
      of John 1-20. That reason does not stand for 19,35.

      It is an assertion that the Beloved Disciple is the
      source of this witness. 21: 24 is not necessarily
      written BY that witness, but appears to have been
      written ABOUT the witness, who is the subject of a
      discussion between Peter and Judas in Jn. 21: 20 and

      You say that is not necessary that 21,24 is written BY that witness. I say
      it is impossible. If my statement is true, then it follows logically that
      also your statement is. It is impossible to hold my statement and deny your
      statement. I accept it.

      On the contrary, it is possible to maintain your statement and reject mine.
      This is why I took pains to prove that it is impossible that 21,24 could be
      written by that witness. See my 3.1-3.2.

      This goes to the theory as to the role of the BD in
      the composition of the Gospel. It seems right to me
      that the BD may have been the SOURCE of much of the
      material or could have been the AUTHORITY that
      influenced an entire community to develop the Gospel
      as we now have it, but that does not necessarily mean
      that a single author, the BD or anyone else, wrote the
      original manuscript or even the proto-gospel which was
      later redacted by one or more other writers.

      John 21,24 says indeed that the BD is the witness, and therefore the source
      of the account, in our language. But it goes on and says that he is the one
      who wrote these things: hO GRAPSAS TAUTA. I can't see how you could take at
      face value the the BD is the witness, and not that he is the writer. I
      understand that you have in mind a theory according to which the Gospel is
      written by many people. But I suggest that you should recognize that John 21
      doesn't share that theory. He could have said that HE witnessed and WE
      wrote. But he didn't.

      Of course, the "we" that speaks in chapter 21 also writes something,
      otherwise we couldn't read it. It writes chapter 21. I think my view is
      proved consistent. Whatever view we have if the BD and of the WE that write
      chapter 21, they are different voices. For "US" the BD is HE. The BD is
      dead, and WE are alive when writing. Yet the BD wrote, WE say. He wrote
      while he was still alive, of course.

      I'm assuming that you DO think that the material
      before Chapter 21 WAS written by the beloved disciple.
      Is that correct?
      > 3.1. John 21,24 says that "we know that his witness
      > is true". The verb is in first plural, so that who->
      ever is speaking can be easily distinguished from
      > the beloved disciple, that is referred to in third
      > person: "he".

      In my reasoning, there would still be room for maintaining that the BD did
      not write materially 1-20, as long as hO GRAPSAS is accounted for. One
      should prove that the subject of the verb GRAFW could be the person who
      dictated a text, as Paul used to do, or the person that had it written, even
      if he didn't write that himself.

      The advocates of this position quote Pilate in John 19,22: hO GEGRAFA
      GEGRAFA. Now, Pilate would hardly write the titulus crucis himself. He would
      order somebody to write it.

      Is it likely that this happened with John 1-20? Whatever stance we take,
      what I staed above does not depend on it.

      This said, I would note that in John 19,22 or in the Pauline letters, the
      person who orders the text to be written is contemporary to the person that
      put the order into effect. Therefore I wouldn't subscribe to a theory that
      the redactor of the Gospel is later than the BD.

      And I wouldn't subscribe to any theory of a collective writer. Whatever
      secretary helped Paul, or whatever clerk or soldier wrote the inscription on
      the cross, he was not a group.

      As I've just pointed out, Jn. 19: 35 can be given that
      same value. If 21: 24 is evidence that a different
      hand wrote Chapter 21, is 19: 35 evidence that a
      different hand wrote Chapter 19 or Chapters 18 AND 19?
      If so, should we consider that a redactor wrote the
      passion narrative?

      Not so.

      First: John 19,35 makes no use of the WE that is the mark of chapter 21, and
      that distinguishes the author of chapter 21 from the BD, who is referred to
      as HE.

      Second, I tried to prove that 21,24 is NOT a parenthesis.

      It is still possible to maintain, as some scholars do, that John 19,35 is an
      insertion in the passion narrative. In my opinion, the solution to this
      depends on how tightly 19,35 is connected to what comes before and after it.
      I am still uncertain. I miss the WE form to be sure. Its absence makes it
      possible to maintain that 19,35 belongs to the texture of chapter 19.

      > 3.2. If the person speaking were the same as the
      > author of John 1-20, he would be a person who >
      testifies on his own behalf. As John 5,31 says:
      > "If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannot
      > be verified".

      Jn. 5: 30-38 presents Jesus' own defense against the
      legal charge of blasphemy (Jn. 5: 18 "calling God his
      own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.") In
      5: 30-38 Jesus points his accusers to John the Baptist
      as a witness, but says that he does not need human
      testimony, because the works (that the Father had
      given Him to complete) testify on his behalf and the
      Father who sent Him "has himself testified on my
      behalf." In other words, Jesus sites two unassailable
      witnesses as required by Hebrew law to refute the
      legal charges against him.

      This doesn't change the need for two witnesses. Rather, the whole argument
      implies that two witnesses are needed, as one cannot bear witness to

      Those who understand Jesus can see from his answer that the Father and Jesus
      are two persons.

      Those who do not understand Jesus have the witness of John the Baptist,
      which is stressed in John 1,19-34, and then again later.

      Therefore, until now, my point stands.

      If we understand that the beloved disciple has played
      an important role, even a central role in the creation
      of the Fourth Gospel, it would seem that the BD does
      not fall into the trap of testifying on his/her own

      He doesn't indeed. It's the author of John 21 that says that WE know that
      his witness his true, so that even after the BD is dead the readers of
      Gospel can hear two witnesses.

      because Jesus affirms the BD's testimony, even
      the BD's abiding presence in 21: 23

      Here I don't understand: do you mean that the discussion about the opinion
      spread among the disciples that the BD wouldn't die is written before or
      after he died?

      and the gospel
      itself is evidence of that disciple's faithfulness to
      the task entrusted to him (or her - as I have
      suggested in an exegesis of Jn. 12: 7 - See Let Her
      Keep It pp 247-252). Thus the witness of the BD has
      an authority similar to that of Jesus Himself!

      Raymond Brown did not think that we could know who the BD was. But the year
      he died I listened to a conference he gave in Rome, and he said that he
      didn't believe that, according to the Gospel, the BD could be a woman,
      because of John 19,26. Anyway, I am ready to recognize that this has no
      bearing on the discussion on the redaction of the Gospel. It is one thing to
      see in the BD the writer of the Gospel, hO GRAPSAS TAUTA, and another to
      pretend to know who the BD was.

      > 3.3. John 21,20-23 says that Jesus didn't say that
      > the beloved disciple wouldn't die, contrary to the >
      word spread among the brothers. These verses make >
      sense if they were written after the death of the >
      beloved disciple: the author seems worried that >
      some brothers might think that Jesus was wrong.
      > Therefore the beloved disciple didn't write these
      > verses.

      As indicated above, I don't think one must attribute
      authorship of chapter 21 to the beloved disciple in
      order to consider chapter 21 to have been woven into
      the entire Gospel in a manner similar to the skillful
      way that other material was woven into the Gospel.

      Does this mean that you agree that the BD didn't write John 21?

      As to the similar way, it all depends on what you mean by similar. If you
      mean that the author of John 21 draws on John 1-20 and take some expressions
      from it, I agree.

      If you mean that the relationship is the same, then it is already apparent
      that I disagree.

      theory is that an entire community of scholars
      (probably under the leadership, inspiration and
      authority of the beloved disciple) were involved in
      the composition and refinement of the gospel. You
      have found evidence that supports my theory. Thank

      I can't see that evidence. Even more, I can't see that books in the
      antiquity were written by a community. A text has an author, until the
      contrary is proven. I took pains to prove that John 21 is written by
      somebody else, and you find iut hard to believe. How can you believe that
      the authors are not only two, but rather an entire community?

      > 3.4. The fact that we find a conclusion in John
      > 20,30-31 make it plausible that once the Gospel
      > ended there, and chapter 21 was added subsequently.
      > The fact that the conclusion in 20,30-31 is not >
      modified when chapter 21 is added leads to think >
      that the author of John 21 didn't think he could >
      change what was already written. This doesn't
      > happen in John 1-20, whenever the test is modified.
      > For instance, in chapter 4,2 a correction is
      > inserted within the text. The author of John 21 >
      doesn't take the same liberty.

      I understand you to be asserting that Jn. 4:2 is a
      redaction of an earlier text. Is there a manuscript
      extant of this pericope that does not include what I
      assume you see as the inserted phrase (vs. 2)? I'm
      not aware of one (which doesn't mean there isn't one);
      are you?

      Absent such a manuscript, why couldn't this be a style
      used by the original writer: a clarification for the
      reader offered to prevent any confusion caused by what
      Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, a rumor
      (namely: "Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples
      than John")?

      I never wrote that I maintain that John 4,2 is by a different author. I
      won't believe it is by another hand until that is proven.

      The text is a correction, granted. I take it as a prove that John 1-20
      underwent a process of redaction. Nothing more than that.

      We are familiar with such correction in dissertations: the authors feels the
      need to clarify what he had previously written, and add a corrections
      instead of rewriting entirely his paragraph. He should do, because he has a
      computer. Even so, I don't accuse the author of having somebody else write
      his dissertation.

      As for the ancient authors, we can hardly blame for adding some expalantory
      notes to their own text. They couldn't rewrite entirely their text without
      wasting much time and much money.

      The clarification is consistent with the theology of
      the gospel, namely that as the disciples were abiding
      in Jesus, as he was abiding in them, they were able to
      bear fruit. Otherwise they were not able to do
      anything (Jn. 15: 4-5).

      The verse above can be understood by readers of the
      Gospel to mean "The Disciples of Jesus are making and
      baptizing more disciples than John," but it would not
      be expected that the Pharisees would have understood
      that fine theological point.

      When the disciples bring people to Jesus and those
      people become disciples, Christ abides in them. When
      they baptize others, it is the Christ abiding in them
      that baptizes. That's confusing if not explained.

      I agree with that.

      This of course is meaning that the reader of the
      gospel gains after contemplating the meaning of the
      entire text; it would not be expected that a Pharisee,
      hearing the rumor, would have been able to "see" this
      meaning. The writer is helping the reader distinguish
      between what the words appear to mean to the
      uninitiated reader and what they can mean to those who
      have expounded upon the meaning of each part of the
      text and upon the gospel as a whole.

      My first language is Italian, and I am uncertain as to your meaning. Do you
      mean "expounded" or "expanded"?

      For the rest, it poses no problem to me, and can be maintained whether the
      author is one or many.

      > 3.5. Chapter 21 names some disciples that are never
      > named before: that is, the sons of Zebedee. It is >
      striking that they are never named in John 1-20.
      > Whatever the reason, it no longer stands when John
      > 21 was written.
      You may have noted that the Gospel of John does not
      list twelve names to identify the disciples. The
      names of James and John are not listed in the Gospel
      of John specifically. Only Peter, Thomas, Judas and
      Nathaniel are mentioned more than once. The fact that
      the Sons of Zebedee are mentioned only in Chapter 21
      does not suggest that chapter 21 was written by a
      redactor or that this chapter was necessarily added to
      the corpus of the text after all of the other chapters
      were written. Philip is only mentioned in Jn. 1: 45.
      Should we consider that reference an indication that
      the pericope in which he is named (Jn. 1: 43-51) is
      the work of a redactor?

      Not indeed. I can't follow you here. Philip is mentioned in John 1:43; 1:44;
      1:45; 1:46; 1:48; 6:5; 6:7; 12:21; 12:22; 14:8; 14:9.

      But let us suppose a character is named only in chapter 1, as Nathanael is.
      We have agreed to take the Gospel as it stands. If so, the reader starts in
      chapter 1, and is acquainted with Nathanael since the beginning. The
      exchange between Jesus and Nathanael leads directly into the signs, and
      announces them. Jesus says to Nathanael: MEIZW TOUTWN OPSHi. The following
      scene has Nathanael see the first sign together with the other disciples. So
      Nathanael is woven into the narrative and can't be taken away from it.

      On the other hand, when the reader reaches the conclusion in 20,30-31, he
      still hasn't heard of the sons of Zebedee. Either they are unimportant to
      the writer and he forgets about them, or he avoids them on purpose, or both.
      Depending on your answer, you will have to recognize that either they are
      important to the writer of John 21, or he mentions them on purpose, or both.

      > 3.6. Chapter 21 uses 174 different words. 27 of them
      > are not existent in John 1-20. For instance, in >
      chapter 6 fish is OPSARION. ICQUS is never
      > used. Chapter 21 uses ICQUS. It is unlikely that
      > the author of John 21 is the same as the author of >
      John 1-20.

      Chapter 21, you say, uses 174 words. 147 of those
      words (nearly 98%)are also used in John 1-20.

      My mathematics is different. To me, 147 is 75-76% of 174. This means that
      24-25% of the words of John 21 are not used in John 1-20.

      An example of what these words are can be significant: fish is called in
      John 6 OPSARION. ICQUS is never used in John 1-20. John 21 quotes the same
      word OPSARION, but also adds the word ICQUS, that in the meanwhile has
      become significant for Christians.

      you are assuming that the entire Gospel was written by
      a single hand and is the witness of a single soul.

      I assume this, because it is correct to assume this until the contrary is

      I understand that your hypothesis is dear to you, and I don't want to
      inflict pain, but isn't it possible that you grew accustomed to look at the
      Gospel from that standpoint, and take it for granted?

      Consider the possibility that the Gospel is the
      product of a community of faithful scholars inspired
      by the witness and authority of one beloved disciple
      of Jesus. Some differences are to be expected as the
      work of separate scholars is woven into the text,
      perhaps by the leader or leaders of the community (the
      BD and others).

      In my opinion, you need to make a choice.

      If there is one redactor, or another natural number of redactors (whose
      existence you will need to prove), then as long as he writes (or n redactors
      write), what he writes will reflect his idiolect and his style.

      If there is no finite number of redactor, than not only some differences are
      to be expected, but no idiolect or style can be recognized at all. If you
      take this position, then whatever inconsistency arises can be solved saying
      that this depends on the multiple authors. And you can't avoid a paradox:
      whether you like it or not, your interpretation will fall into subjectivism,
      just as those scholars that split the Gospel into hypotethical sources.

      One example: did Jesus baptize or not? Some of your author thought he did.
      Some thought he didn't. Both group wove their opinion into the Gospel. Who
      are we to say who's right? Because if somebody corrected somebody else, then
      we can accept the first opinion as well as the second.

      > I think that 3.1-2 are the strongest reasons, that
      > give me certainty. I recognise that the following >
      reasons are indiciary. If consiered separately,
      > they make it more likely that the author is
      > different. All together, they make a strong case >
      against identity of author.

      They make a case against the identity of a single
      author having written the entire Gospel. I would
      argue that there are several parts of the Gospel that
      would illustrate that same point.

      Barrett, for example, has wondered about the
      authorship of chapters 11 and 12 in which Lazarus
      appears, though he appears nowhere else in the Gospel
      of John or in any other Gospel except in one of Jesus'
      parables in The Gospel According to Luke. This is the
      only parable in which Jesus names a character. (Does
      that suggest that a redactor added it to the Gospel
      According to Luke?)

      The Prologue is widely accepted as a different kind of
      writing than is found in other parts of the Gospel
      (but then the farewell discourse material is different
      from the Gospel of signs and the passion narrative
      seems to have more in common with the Synoptics than
      any other part of the Fourth Gospel.)

      In short, the Gospel of John defies categorization.
      If we are looking for a single author, or hoping to
      separate the work of one author from that of others, I
      suspect the effort will be largely fruitless, even
      though we can see that there are differences. Those
      differences are woven into a single fabric which
      cannot be unraveled without harming or even destroying
      the tapestry that proclaims our faith so powerfully.
      > I would be very interested to read a refutation of
      > any of the given reasons.
      Marco, I have found responding to your reasons to be a
      stimulating exercise. I look forward to your response
      to my refutations and the continuation of our
      dialogue. I hope others on the list will contribute
      to the dialogue as well.

      Yours in Christ's service,
      Tom Butler

      I thank you, too, for this opportunity. It very interesting to challenge our
      own assumption, and try to reason them.

      Yours in Christ

      Marco Fabbri

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tom Butler
      Marco, Thank you for your eloquent and rapid reply to my response to your list of reasons for asserting that Jn. 21 was written by a redactor. Like you, I
      Message 2 of 21 , Dec 29, 2006

        Thank you for your eloquent and rapid reply to my
        response to your list of reasons for asserting that
        Jn. 21 was written by a redactor. Like you, I will
        respond with a brief note, perhaps to be followed by a
        more careful and systematic defense of my assertions
        when time allows.

        Thank you for clarifying your intention and
        understanding of the role that source criticism plays
        in the study of the Gospel of John. I appreciate your
        watch analogy very much. It works well as a defense
        against the fairly common assumption or practice that
        disassembling the Fourth Gospel is a necessary first
        step toward understanding it.

        Your analogy of the watch gives rise in my mind to
        the effort made by physicians to understand how the
        human body works by studying cadavers. While being
        able to describe the relationship between the organs
        and pose theories about how each one functions,
        physicians have long been frustrated in trying to
        describe what it is that makes the whole organism

        I suspect much more will be learned as the study of
        the human body continues into the future by those who
        have developed ways to see the live organs
        functioning, even down to the cellular level.
        Studying the Gospel of John as a whole and living
        document is much more satisfying than trying to reduce
        it to a skeleton, then replacing its parts as their
        function becomes clear or as a theory develops that
        offers an explanation of why each part is where it is
        in the body of the text as we have it.

        A brief word of explanation is due regarding my
        contention that multiple authors have contributed to
        The Fourth Gospel. I am fascinated by Culpepper's
        theory that the Gospel emerged as a work in progress
        from a school. The most likely first century school,
        in my opinion, from which such a product as the Fourth
        Gospel could have emerged is a rabbinical school using
        the Midrash method.

        I begin from the assertion that the first generation
        of Christians were almost entirely Jewish, and that
        the first Christian theologians were most likely
        trained in rabbinical schools, using the method most
        popularly used to develop the ability of student
        rabbis to expound upon the meaning of the Hebrew
        Scriptures: the Midrash method, which I define simply
        as the challenge of expounding on the meaning of
        scripture by using the language of scripture.

        The source material most often used in this method
        is the Torah. I suspect, given that the Gospel is
        written in Greek, that the Septuagint version of the
        Torah was the primary source.

        The challenge to the school would have been to
        expound upon the meaning of the Jesus tradition using
        the (Greek version) language of the Torah. That is
        where the signs originate.

        My burden of proof, as you have reminded me, is to
        show that numerous different authors have contributed
        to the content of the Fourth Gospel. I believe that
        the "different hands" that can be identified in the
        text are not necessarily the work of a final redactor,
        but simply indicators that multiple authors
        contributed to the document we now have. (In other
        words, I am moving in a direction opposite to the one
        being taken by those who are trying to identify the
        hand of the redactor in order to "see" the "original"
        text, assuming that this "original" text was a whole
        organism before the redactor began tinkering with it.
        My starting point is the assumption that the various
        components of the text were separate units, originally
        composed by different authors before being linked
        together as one Gospel.)
        The Jesus tradition was, at the end of the first and
        beginning of the second century CE, both written and
        oral. I can imagine that the Midrash reflections upon
        that tradition began as oral commentaries (like oral
        finals in a modern graduate school), but that they
        were written as the community, under the inspired
        leadership of the Beloved Disciple, recognized the
        profound level of truth being revealed in them. These
        written components would have been carefully guarded,
        studied and used by the community of scholars as they
        worked together to refine each component before
        writing that edited component, tentatively, into the
        body of the emerging text, a role most likely
        carefully overseen by, if not actually composed by the
        small number of key leaders of the community,
        including the Beloved Disciple and an Elder of the
        community. The emerging text then became the basic
        tool used to train students in what we would now call
        theological reflection.

        The easiest place to begin to offer the proof for
        this theory is with the Lazarus story, recognizing
        that its inspiration most likely comes from the
        parable told by Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke.
        The Johannine Lazarus story, of course, is an
        elaboration that goes far beyond the parable, while
        still addressing the basic themes of death and
        resurrection. In the Fourth Gospel this story plays a
        pivotal role as a sort of denuement, making the
        transition from the Book of Signs to the Book of

        You ask why there are no signs in the Book of
        Glory. I believe there are signs in the Book of
        Glory, but they are not as obviously placed as in the
        Book of Signs. Essentially the Book of Signs is a
        primer for the community, designed to train students
        to find the signs, understand the context from which
        they were taken (usually the Torah, but occasionally
        from other parts of the Septuagint) and then apply
        their meaning to the Johannine context in order to
        offer a theological reflection on the meaning of that
        part of the Jesus tradition.

        The Book of Glory requires that the students have
        already completed that basic course in expounding upon
        the meaning of the tradition themselves, so that their
        minds and souls can receive the reflections offered by
        Jesus (according to the witness of the Beloved
        Disciple?) to His own (followers) on the meaning of
        His ministry and passion.

        I have done some work on the use of the word "hour"
        in the text of the Gospel. I believe that the 24
        places where that word is used constitute markers at
        the end of portions of the material where readers were
        encouraged to contemplate the material they had just
        read in order to discern the signs therein and
        therefore to delve more deeply into the meaning of
        what they had read. With some trepidation I find
        myself disagreeing with Brown, who contends that there
        is no reason to believe that the use of "hour" (ora)
        is a component in the structure of the Gospel!

        My study will be called "A Day with Jesus," because
        I believe the 24 "hours" constitute one mystical day
        in which those who seek to abide with Jesus may come
        to know that Christ abides within them.

        Well, I said I would be brief. Apparently my
        intention to be brief has failed. Obviously defending
        my thesis will require much more detail and scholarly
        effort. I appreciate your challenge to bear the
        burden of proof. A critical ear is an essential tool
        to the shaping of any theory. Your time and attention
        are extremely valuable to me. Thank you for offering
        what you have offered so far. If you choose to
        continue the dialogue, I pray that we will both grow
        through the exchange, and that others may choose to
        engage in the discussion with us.

        Yours in Christ's service,
        Tom Butler

        --- "Marco V. Fabbri" <mv.fabbri@...> wrote:

        > Tom,
        > thank you for your reply. You promised it, and you
        > kept your promise.
        > I will write a short anwer, first, because there was
        > some misunderstanding.
        > I am not trying to divide the Gospel into a number
        > of preexisting
        > documents. I am just trying to understand the
        > Gospel as we have it. There
        > is no need to persuade me of the shortcomings of
        > documentary theories,
        > because I am already persuaded.
        > When I teach John, I start by studying the Gospel as
        > a whole, in order to
        > find its structure. Only when I know the structure,
        > I am able to recognize
        > some part of the text as not belonging to the
        > structure.
        > The man that opens his watch and separates his
        > components can learn
        > something about how it works. However, if he wants
        > the watch to work, he
        > needs to know how to put the pieces together again.
        > If he thinks that some
        > pieces have no purpose, it doesn't mean that they
        > haven't, but that he
        > doesn't know what their purpose is. And if he is not
        > prepared to learn that,
        > his watch wont't ever work as it was meant to work,
        > or it won't work at all.
        > When I look at John 20,30-31, and notice that it
        > speaks about signs, and
        > look for the signs in the Gospel, and noticed that
        > they are confined to John
        > 2-12, I am not saying that the rest does not belong
        > to the original Gospel.
        > I am trying to understand the Gospel as it stands,
        > and I as a legitimate
        > question: why are there no "signs" in John 13-20?
        > What is the function of
        > those chapters? Here I accept the contributions from
        > Dodd, who noticed the
        > importance of the coming of the "hour" of Jesus, and
        > from Brown, who
        > recognizes the importance of "glory" in those
        > chapters, and calls them "the
        > book of glory".
        > That being my stance, I think that whoever affirms
        > that a part of the
        > Gospel, whether it be a verse or a chapter, has been
        > added later, he takes
        > on himself the burden of proof. If he also maintains
        > that the added part has
        > been written by a different author, he takes on
        > himself an additional burden
        > of proof. This is why I took pains to prove a later
        > origin of John 21. We
        > can discuss my reasons, but I think that we agree
        > that I need to prove my
        > point. If I can't, then I have to admit that John 21
        > is by the same hand as
        > the rest of the Gospel, until somebody else can
        > prove the point.
        > As to the content of the reasons, you say that you
        > refuted them. On my part,
        > I don't agree, and I still think that the point is
        > proved, as do the
        > commentaries that you quote. But there are no
        > discussions that are closed on
        > the authority of anybody. Therefore, I wont' try to
        > defend my option and
        > pass judgement at the same time. Maybe I will engage
        > in discussion later.
        > Before that, I will raise a more general point. I
        > think we agree that
        > whoever affirms that different authors are at work
        > has to prove that. If so,
        > how can you assume that the Fourth Gospel is the
        > work of a plurality of
        > authors? It seems to me that you take on yourself a
        > heavy burden of proof.
        > Since the time I wrote the text you are answering
        > to, I wrote on this same
        > list that I don't believe that written texts in the
        > antiquity were written
        > by many people at the same time. There was no way
        > that a text could be
        > shared by many unless it was first written by one,
        > then copied, then
        > distributed, then read. And again, any intervention
        > by others wouldn't be
        > known unless it was copied by hand, then
        > distributed, then read.
        > Mind me, I don't deny that an author can draw from
        > oral tradition, of from
        > the decisions of a council, or whatever else. I
        > maintain, however, that
        > writing was a job that was done by one person at a
        > time. This is why,
        > whenever a scholar affirms joint authorship, he has
        > to prove it. He can't
        > assume it. So, I believe that I am right when I
        > assume that John has been
        > written by an individual, until the contrary is
        > proven. I never read a proof
        > that a group wrote the Gospel. I read some proofs
        > that a different author
        > wrote chapter 21, as is maintains by most modern
        > scholars.
        > Marco Fabbri

        <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>
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