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Re(2): [John_Lit] Order in John and other stuff

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  • panderso@georgefox.edu
    johannine_literature@egroups.com writes: ... A great point from the start! Language is always symbolic. And, the Johannine Jesus does speak in the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2000
      johannine_literature@egroups.com writes:

      Thanks, Jeff, for putting it explicitly:

      > If "Jesus" in John can use language in a "physical way" and "symbolic
      >manner," and the narrator is

      >practically "one with Jesus" as Jesus is with the Father (Jn 17:20), then
      >why shouldn't we expect to find the narrator using language in

      >the same way? And what theory of language and/or narrative assumes a
      >different function of language other than symbolic?

      A great point from the start! Language is always symbolic. And, the
      Johannine Jesus does speak in the evangelist's language and thought forms
      (see Müssner). John's narrator indeed does a great deal with symbolism
      and theological interpretations of things. The evangelist even declares
      so explicitly many times: he said this in order to..., or, this happened
      in order to fulfill..., etc. And, you have details in the narrative which
      make use of typologies and "loaded" presentations of persons and groups,
      so these considerations are essential for fruitful and adequate readings
      of the text.

      The point I am making, however, is that scholars too readily lapse into
      "theologizing interpretation" mode when trying to "explain" John's
      differences with the Synoptics. The inference: "the fourth evangelist has
      obviously constructed this order (differing from Mark) for theological
      reasons" is NOT an obvious inference. It is often a sloppy move rooted in
      the fallacious assumptions I have outlined earlier. Few scholars
      challenge it, and I want to know why.

      I also would like to have some discussion of Hofrichter's excellent point
      on the Malachi passage, and I wonder why the Jewish leadership is already
      ready to kill Jesus in John 5 if he hasn't been provocative there before.
      Also, what of the "46 years," and why does Papias record John the Elder
      (whom I believe to have been the redactor and author of the epistles) as
      mentioning that Mark got down the wrong order? The prevalent
      Synoptic/Johannine paradigm is flawed.

      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. 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.
      >-- Scholars too hastily (and sloppily) attribute every detail in John to
      >literarily symbolic and theological function when the text is innocent of
      >such functions explicitly. Eggus to Pascha is a great example (as we
      >discussed earlier). It reflects political issues rather than theological

      The point here is that epistemologically, this motif seems rooted in
      reflection upon historical and political events rather than a factor of
      theological speculation.
      >On a more general note:
      > While I am not opposed to souce critical and historical critical
      >investigations in the Fourth Gospel, it does surprise me that these
      >questions continually generate the most responses on this list. Where are
      >the "literary (narrative and otherwise) critics" of John?

      As you know, this field is of great interest to me as well. Our studies
      need to be interdisciplinary, using the best approach and discipline for
      the particular issue being addressed. Thanks for your good work along
      those lines!

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