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Re: [John_Lit] Order in John and other stuff

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  • Moloneyfj@aol.com
    Fellow groupers, Jeffrey Staley has just made a point that has been lurking with me for the past 12 months. The list would make Bernard, the two Beckers
    Message 1 of 12 , May 5, 2000
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      Fellow groupers,

      Jeffrey Staley has just made a point that has been "lurking" with me for the
      past 12 months.

      The "list" would make Bernard, the two Beckers (Gnostic source and our recent
      commentator), Bultmann, Temple and company very happy. Although they may be
      surprised that we are still debating the matters they thought that had
      solved! Does that not say something?

      Jeff, it is largely because our narrative ... and your even more
      deconstructive ... readings don't feature here that many of us are, I think,
      "lurkers." The one occasion I attempted a "narrative" response to a question
      raised (the Cana to Cana sequence) was met with silence!

      I am also sometimes surprised at some of the questions - e.g., the shift from
      the singular to the plural (and then back again) in John 3, bibliography on
      "women/woman," or the possible lectionary background to the Fourth Gospel,
      etc. There are terrific tools to find these things - starting with van
      Belle's bibliography. Maybe this is a sign of the times - no longer time or
      place for the printed page or a search through the library catalogue. Just
      jump on-line! Even there ... ATLA is a good place to start.

      Thanks for being provocative, Jeff ... but thank goodness, you are there!

      Frank Moloney
      Catholic University
      Washington, DC
    • ProfRam@aol.com
      Jeff and Frank have put their finger on why some of us have only been lurking (and maybe only skimming the list) lately. Reading the text has largely given way
      Message 2 of 12 , May 5, 2000
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        Jeff and Frank have put their finger on why some of us have only been lurking
        (and maybe only skimming the list) lately. Reading the text has largely given
        way to reading behind the text. But "John," whoever he may have been, invites
        us to read his text, not the history of his community (much less of primitive
        Christianity!), which is not what he is writing. Try it, you may like it!

        Ramsey Michaels
      • Ken Durkin
        ... From: To: Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000 8:53 PM Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Order in John and other stuff ...
        Message 3 of 12 , May 5, 2000
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <ProfRam@...>
          To: <johannine_literature@egroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, May 05, 2000 8:53 PM
          Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Order in John and other stuff


          > Jeff and Frank have put their finger on why some of us have only been
          lurking
          > (and maybe only skimming the list) lately. Reading the text has largely
          given
          > way to reading behind the text. But "John," whoever he may have been,
          invites
          > us to read his text, not the history of his community (much less of
          primitive
          > Christianity!), which is not what he is writing. Try it, you may like it!
          >
          > Ramsey Michaels

          Lurking is a condition that only lurkers can cure.
        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 5/5/2000 1:56:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time, staleyjl@plu.edu writes:
          Message 4 of 12 , May 5, 2000
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            In a message dated 5/5/2000 1:56:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
            staleyjl@... writes:

            << Eggus to Pascha is a great example (as we
            discussed earlier). It reflects political issues rather than theological
            agendas.>>


            But political issues are not necessarily any more "historical" than are
            theological agenda (or theological agendas, to adopt your quaint
            double-plural form).


            Leonard Maluf
          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
            ... In a message dated 5/5/2000 1:56:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time, staleyjl@plu.edu writes:
            Message 5 of 12 , May 6, 2000
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              Leonard Maluf posted the following:

              -------------------------------------------------------

              In a message dated 5/5/2000 1:56:58 PM Eastern
              Daylight Time, staleyjl@... writes:

              << Eggus to Pascha is a great example (as we
              discussed earlier). It reflects political issues
              rather than theological
              agendas.>>

              But political issues are not necessarily any more
              "historical" than are theological agenda (or
              theological agendas, to adopt your quaint
              double-plural form).

              -------------------------------------------------------

              If I recall correctly, it was not Jeffrey Staley but
              Paul Anderson who made the point about political
              agendas. (Also, in English, "agenda" can be used as a
              singular and "agendas" as a plural, can't they?)

              That aside, I wanted to address the question that
              Jeffrey Staley raised about narrative, feminist, or
              post-colonial readings.

              I have heard three interesting readings within the
              past year -- one narrative, one feminist, and the
              other postcolonial.

              As for the narrative one -- last year at the AAR/SBL,
              Jeffrey Staley presented a 'narrative' reading of
              John's Gospel that interwove it with his viewing of
              the movie "Liar, Liar", which I had (and have) not
              seen. I presumed -- and still do -- that his intention
              was ironic and intended as a sort of parody of some
              extremes of reader-response interpretation. Or was it
              an ironic defense of reader-response interpretation,
              and I missed it? Or was he ironically lying throughout
              and waiting for me to catch him in a falsehood? Or was
              he straightforwardly presenting his genuine views? Or
              was I even present at the talk?

              The feminist one (I have forgotten the name of the man
              who presented this reading) argued for Mary Magdalene
              as the author of John's Gospel, based partly upon her
              elevated importance in John's Gospel as the first
              witness to the resurrection and partly upon her
              prominence as a 'beloved' disciple in later Gnostic
              writings (the link being the putative Gnostic quality
              of John's Gospel and the nonidentification of the
              beloved disciple in John).

              The postcolonial one was by Musa W. Dube Shomanah, who
              was a fellow presenter of mine in one of the Johannine
              Literature Sections (the one presided over by Paul
              Anderson). She presented (so far as I recall) an
              ironic reading that portrayed the Johannine Jesus, not
              the Jewish leadership, as the collaborator with the
              Romans because of Jesus's apolitical understanding of
              his kingdom, which -- in her reading--merely
              perpetuated Roman domination of an oppressed minority.

              While I, ultimately, do not (I think) agree with
              either of these latter two readings, I found them both
              to be thought-provoking and even brilliant
              suggestions. Respectively, they forced me to think
              through why I assume a male author for John and to
              question if my admiration for the Johannine Jesus's
              apolitical stance isn't just an unreflective
              still-pious reading in need of a better grounding (or
              possibly even rejection?).

              So, I would say that one way in which such 'liminal'
              readings of the text have changed the way that I read
              John is by making me more aware of my extra-Johannine
              presuppositions. I have gradually learned to take
              fewer things for granted and to recognize that I
              belong to a community and tradition of readers who
              share certain assumptions that need reflecting upon
              and better grounding.

              Oh--and Jeffrey Staley's paper made me realize that I
              need to get out of the house and see more movies ...
              (or was the message that I should get myself a video
              player?)

              Jeffery Hodges

              __________________________________________________
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            • Horace Jeffery Hodges
              ... In a message dated 5/5/2000 1:56:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time, staleyjl@plu.edu writes:
              Message 6 of 12 , May 6, 2000
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                Leonard Maluf posted the following:

                -------------------------------------------------------

                In a message dated 5/5/2000 1:56:58 PM Eastern
                Daylight Time, staleyjl@... writes:

                << Eggus to Pascha is a great example (as we
                discussed earlier). It reflects political issues
                rather than theological
                agendas.>>

                But political issues are not necessarily any more
                "historical" than are theological agenda (or
                theological agendas, to adopt your quaint
                double-plural form).

                -------------------------------------------------------

                If I recall correctly, it was not Jeffrey Staley but
                Paul Anderson who made the point about political
                agendas. (Also, in English, "agenda" can be used as a
                singular and "agendas" as a plural, can't they?)

                That aside, I wanted to address the question that
                Jeffrey Staley raised about narrative, feminist, or
                post-colonial readings.

                I have heard three interesting readings within the
                past year -- one narrative, one feminist, and the
                other postcolonial.

                As for the narrative one -- last year at the AAR/SBL,
                Jeffrey Staley presented a 'narrative' reading of
                John's Gospel that interwove it with his viewing of
                the movie "Liar, Liar", which I had (and have) not
                seen. I presumed -- and still do -- that his intention
                was ironic and intended as a sort of parody of some
                extremes of reader-response interpretation. Or was it
                an ironic defense of reader-response interpretation,
                and I missed it? Or was he ironically lying throughout
                and waiting for me to catch him in a falsehood? Or was
                he straightforwardly presenting his genuine views? Or
                was I even present at the talk?

                The feminist one (I have forgotten the name of the man
                who presented this reading) argued for Mary Magdalene
                as the author of John's Gospel, based partly upon her
                elevated importance in John's Gospel as the first
                witness to the resurrection and partly upon her
                prominence as a 'beloved' disciple in later Gnostic
                writings (the link being the putative Gnostic quality
                of John's Gospel and the nonidentification of the
                beloved disciple in John).

                The postcolonial one was by Musa W. Dube Shomanah, who
                was a fellow presenter of mine in one of the Johannine
                Literature Sections (the one presided over by Paul
                Anderson). She presented (so far as I recall) an
                ironic reading that portrayed the Johannine Jesus, not
                the Jewish leadership, as the collaborator with the
                Romans because of Jesus's apolitical understanding of
                his kingdom, which -- in her reading--merely
                perpetuated Roman domination of an oppressed minority.

                While I, ultimately, do not (I think) agree with
                either of these latter two readings, I found them both
                to be thought-provoking and even brilliant
                suggestions. Respectively, they forced me to think
                through why I assume a male author for John and to
                question if my admiration for the Johannine Jesus's
                apolitical stance isn't just an unreflective
                still-pious reading in need of a better grounding (or
                possibly even rejection?).

                So, I would say that one way in which such 'liminal'
                readings of the text have changed the way that I read
                John is by making me more aware of my extra-Johannine
                presuppositions. I have gradually learned to take
                fewer things for granted and to recognize that I
                belong to a community and tradition of readers who
                share certain assumptions that need reflecting upon
                and better grounding.

                Oh--and Jeffrey Staley's paper made me realize that I
                need to get out of the house and see more movies ...
                (or was the message that I should get myself a video
                player?)

                Jeffery Hodges

                __________________________________________________
                Do You Yahoo!?
                Send instant messages & get email alerts with Yahoo! Messenger.
                http://im.yahoo.com/
              • Maluflen@aol.com
                In a message dated 5/6/2000 5:46:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time, jefferyhodges@yahoo.com writes:
                Message 7 of 12 , May 6, 2000
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                  In a message dated 5/6/2000 5:46:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                  jefferyhodges@... writes:

                  << (Also, in English, "agenda" can be used as a
                  singular and "agendas" as a plural, can't they?)>>


                  Yes, of course. As a stickler for nostalgic accuracy, I was just implicitly
                  bewailing this, as I do also the many other deplorandas that have entered
                  English usage.

                  Leonard Maluf
                • Jeffrey L. Staley
                  ... I m glad to see that my non-historical questions evoked some conversation on this listserve. I am in the midst of grading final papers and exams, so
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 9, 2000
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                    Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

                    >
                    > That aside, I wanted to address the question that
                    > Jeffrey Staley raised about narrative, feminist, or
                    > post-colonial readings.

                    I'm glad to see that my "non-historical"
                    questions evoked some conversation on this listserve. I am in the midst of grading final papers and exams, so will have to forgo any
                    lengthy discussion of these topics for a few days. But I plan to get back here soon, though.

                    >
                    >
                    > I have heard three interesting readings within the
                    > past year -- one narrative, one feminist, and the
                    > other postcolonial.
                    >
                    > As for the narrative one -- last year at the AAR/SBL,
                    > Jeffrey Staley presented a 'narrative' reading of
                    > John's Gospel that interwove it with his viewing of
                    > the movie "Liar, Liar", which I had (and have) not
                    > seen. I presumed -- and still do -- that his intention
                    > was ironic and intended as a sort of parody of some
                    > extremes of reader-response interpretation. Or was it
                    > an ironic defense of reader-response interpretation,
                    > and I missed it? Or was he ironically lying throughout
                    > and waiting for me to catch him in a falsehood? Or was
                    > he straightforwardly presenting his genuine views? Or
                    > was I even present at the talk?
                    >
                    > The feminist one (I have forgotten the name of the man
                    > who presented this reading) argued for Mary Magdalene
                    > as the author of John's Gospel, based partly upon her
                    > elevated importance in John's Gospel as the first
                    > witness to the resurrection and partly upon her
                    > prominence as a 'beloved' disciple in later Gnostic
                    > writings (the link being the putative Gnostic quality
                    > of John's Gospel and the nonidentification of the
                    > beloved disciple in John).
                    >
                    > The postcolonial one was by Musa W. Dube Shomanah, who
                    > was a fellow presenter of mine in one of the Johannine
                    > Literature Sections (the one presided over by Paul
                    > Anderson). She presented (so far as I recall) an
                    > ironic reading that portrayed the Johannine Jesus, not
                    > the Jewish leadership, as the collaborator with the
                    > Romans because of Jesus's apolitical understanding of
                    > his kingdom, which -- in her reading--merely
                    > perpetuated Roman domination of an oppressed minority.
                    >
                    > While I, ultimately, do not (I think) agree with
                    > either of these latter two readings, I found them both
                    > to be thought-provoking and even brilliant
                    > suggestions. Respectively, they forced me to think
                    > through why I assume a male author for John and to
                    > question if my admiration for the Johannine Jesus's
                    > apolitical stance isn't just an unreflective
                    > still-pious reading in need of a better grounding (or
                    > possibly even rejection?).
                    >
                    > So, I would say that one way in which such 'liminal'
                    > readings of the text have changed the way that I read
                    > John is by making me more aware of my extra-Johannine
                    > presuppositions. I have gradually learned to take
                    > fewer things for granted and to recognize that I
                    > belong to a community and tradition of readers who
                    > share certain assumptions that need reflecting upon
                    > and better grounding.
                    >
                    > Oh--and Jeffrey Staley's paper made me realize that I
                    > need to get out of the house and see more movies ...
                    > (or was the message that I should get myself a video
                    > player?)
                    >
                    > Jeffery Hodges
                    >
                    > __________________________________________________
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                  • Jeffrey L. Staley
                    ... The focus of this paper was on the Woman caught in adultery a text that I never discuss much when teaching John, since it is not part of the original
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 12, 2000
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                      > As for the narrative one -- last year at the AAR/SBL,
                      > Jeffrey Staley presented a 'narrative' reading of
                      > John's Gospel that interwove it with his viewing of
                      > the movie "Liar, Liar"

                      The focus of this paper was on the "Woman caught in adultery" a text that I never discuss much when teaching John, since it is not part
                      of the "original" text. However, when viewing "Liar Liar" with my son, I noticed Jim Carrey quoting John 8:32. This led me to ask
                      whether there might be other allusions/connections to the Gospel of John in the film. I ended up finding quite a few--not the least of
                      which is that the film is about a woman who is "caught in the very act of adultery." Viewing the film in connection with John gave me a
                      way to read John 7-8 with the woman "back in the story." The paper, thus in part, was a study of "intertextuality," the ways in which
                      texts take on new meanings when read with/against other documents.

                      Was the essay a parody? In part, yes. But like all parody (which, incidently, is what I think John 4 is), it has a seious point. I am
                      so tired of thinking that real biblical scholars can only read John with/against things written at the same time as John was written--or
                      earlier. Or else (like Bultmann's use of Mandaean documents), if we are going to use something from later centuries, we have to invent a
                      "historical" argument for why we are using later documents (they contain the residue of earlier sources, etc.). If what we are reading
                      is canonical literature, it is also quite appropriate to read it with/against contemporary texts (as Bultmann did with Heidegger).

                      The essay is set for publication in a Festschrift for one of my mentors.

                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > The postcolonial one was by Musa W. Dube Shomanah, who
                      > was a fellow presenter of mine in one of the Johannine
                      > Literature Sections.

                      Musa Dube and I are editing a collection for Sheffield Academic Press on Postcolonial Readings of John. We have nearly all the final
                      essays in hand, and hope to complete the volume soon.
                    • Jeffrey L. Staley
                      ... I m trying to remember is I saw this. Do you still have this post? Put it back up here, I ll look at it!
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 12, 2000
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                        > Jeff, it is largely because our narrative ... and your even more
                        > deconstructive ... readings don't feature here that many of us are, I think,
                        > "lurkers." The one occasion I attempted a "narrative" response to a question
                        > raised (the Cana to Cana sequence) was met with silence!

                        I'm trying to remember is I saw this. Do you still have this post? Put it back up here, I'll look at it!
                      • Jeffrey L. Staley
                        ... For instance, according of days in the early part of John to some symbolic/liturgical role is not implicit in the text, but possibly so. This makes it
                        Message 11 of 12 , May 12, 2000
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                          >
                          > There are degrees of symbolization in the Johannine text (apparently
                          > non-symbolic detail, possibly symbolic or theologically-significant
                          > detail, implicitly symbolic/theological detail, and explicitly
                          > symbolic/theological detail), and interpretations should take such factors
                          > into consideration more than they do.
                          > >
                          > How about those water pots in John 2 and 4? or the Samaritan woman's "five husbands?" How does one "decide" if something is a
                          > "non-symbolic detail?" I still go back to Robert Alter's classic "The Art of Biblical Narrative" (one of my mentors at Berkeley back
                          > in the early 1980's), who argued that "biblical (read ancient Hebrew) narrators are laconic" and thus every detail counts (read his
                          > reading of betrothal scenes in Genesis and Exodus). Or perhaps, more honestly(?), I have lots more fun imagining that each detail
                          > counts, while you have more fun imagining that some are "non-symbolic."

                          For instance, according of "days" in the early part of John to some symbolic/liturgical role is not implicit in the text, but possibly
                          so. This makes it a possibility but not a
                          strong one.

                          "Not implicit in the text" for whom? So a "majority rules?" What if interpretive systems change (as they have over time)? What do we do
                          with "minority views?" The same thing we usually do with real minorities? Ignore them?
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