Re: [John_Lit] Beloved Disciple
- At the origin of the figure of the beloved disciple stands Mary of Magdala.
She must have been originally the only person standing under the cross and
Jesus must have said to her in a symbolical sense: "Look here, your son!".
The absence of any male disciple, the multiplication of Maries and the
nameless mother of Jesus within the list of people standing under the cross
given before shows how much there has been manipulated. The intention of
these text interpolations must have been to substitute Mary of Magdala by
the real mother of Jesus, whose name was unknown or somebody else and to
make appear the beloved she-disciple a beloved he-disciple.
Remains the question why Jesus could have spoken of himself as of the son
of Mary of Magdala. The reason could be that already in the story of the
Wedding of Cana it was not the nameless physical Mother of Jesus but Mary
of Magdala who by her faith enabled Jesus to reveal his divine glory. Just
by the exegences of composition Mary of Magdala as wheepig at the tomb and
as the first witness of the resurrection must have played already a
important role in the preceeding story and probably already at its
beginning. Or do you go to wheep at anyones grave whom you did not know
especially well during his lifetime?
Of course, later in the development of the Gospel redaction the figure of
the beloved disciple once existing became totally selfstanding. Especially
while running in concurrence with peter to the empty tomb or at the sea of
Galilee, he has already an absolutely new and independent identity.
Univ.-Prof. DDr Peter Hofrichter
Institut für Kirchengeschichte und Patrologie
Tel +43 662 8044 2700, home +43 6245 85010, mobil +43 664 2027098
- Hello Sandra (Sandy?)
Please feel free to call me Tom.
After I posted my response to your inquirey on the Johannine
Literature list, I found the material you had cut and pasted on
the BelovedDisciple.org list from James Spiegel. He was responding
to an inquirey from Ramon Jusino, who is one of the most visible
advocates for the idea that the BD was Mary Magdalene. Ramon
and I have corresponded, and we agree in many ways, particularly
that the BD is probably a woman named Mary. Then we part
Ramon Jusino believes that the BD is MM. I say she is Mary of
Bethany. I think he might be comfortable with the idea that these
two Marys are actually the same person. I have not come to that
conclusion, primarily because the BD and Mary Magdalene are
both in two different pericopes.
In John 20: 1-2 Mary Magdalene runs to Simon Peter and *the
other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved* and speaks to them.
This is a strange sentence structure if MM and the BD are the
same person. The reader would have to conclude that MM was
speaking to herself as well as to Simon Peter.
In John 19: 25-27 there are three, four or even five women
(depending on whether and where one inserts a comma in 25)
standing at the cross. I agree with Ramon that one of them is
the BD, because just after identifying them by name or relation,
Jesus addresses both his mother and the BD. I think it is more
consistent with the rest of the Gospel that the BD is not clearly
named in this passage, that she is identified simply as *his
mother's sister.* In other words, I do not think that this phrase
is identifying a biological relative of Mary, but a woman who
belongs to the same community. That is born out when the
BD *takes her to his (sic) own.* *His own* refers to one's
flock. The BD is the shepherd of a flock and agrees to watch
over Mary the Mother of Jesus along with other members of
the community for whom she cares.
Of course, I have the same problem here as I do with other
places in the gospel where the BD is refered to as *he.* So
far the best I can offer is the reference I've already shared here
suggesting that at least some of the early Christian communities
believed that Jesus treated certain women as though they were
men. In our time I prefer to think of this as Jesus treating men
and women in the same way.
With you I am not aware of any Talmud teachings suggesting
that MM was related to Nicodemus. I hope James Spiegel will
offer a citation that will clarify how he has come to that conclusion.
Can you provide a title for the Susan Haskins book you mentioned?
The best recently published one on Mary Magdalene that I have
found is The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene: Legends, Apocrypha,
and the Christian Testament by Jane Schaberg (Continuum, New
York, 2002). As far as I know I am the only proponent of the idea
that the BD was Mary of Bethany.
As for Brown's suggestion that the BD may have been the leader
of the Johannine community, I think that identifying the BD as a
woman actually strengthens that theory. I've suggested that one
of the possible reasons for keeping the identity of the BD hidden
is that the BD was a woman, and there were early church leaders
who had not yet made up their minds about whether or not it was
OK for women to be leaders of churches (flocks of disciples).
Though this topic has been aired on this list before, I'm not
aware of any effort to restrict discussion of it. If so, I would be
glad to carry on the discussion off-list or on the BelovedDisciple.org
list. Assuming no restriction to the contrary, I would be glad to
discuss this material with you and others who might be interested
on this list. I'm hoping that some of the scholars on this list
will contribute to the discussion or take the time to offer critiques
Yours in Christ's service,
On Sun, 2 Mar 2003 08:41:49 -0000 "Sandra HAMBLETT"
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Hi Thomas,
> Thanks for replying to the email i posted.
> Yes, i have seen your book advertised, i was thinking of buying
> a copy actually.
> The cut and pasted email came from a Magdalene discussion
> group -- i am interested in the idea that part of Jesus' Teachings
> have survived via Mary Magdalene. I was not aware of the
> assertions in the Talmud of a family relationship of MM to figures
> such as Nicodemus.
> The Magdalene forum posits that MM may have been the Beloved
> Disciple. Your comments re; sacrifice, MB and the possibility that
> she attended the trial of Jesus made me recall something i read
> in the Susan Haskins book on MM - referring to - i presume -
> 'folk beliefs' that MM was at the trial of Jesus. An interesting cross
> over here.
> I have read lots of the written works by Raymond E. Brown. If the
> BD may turn out to be MM - i find it a wonderful idea that as per
> Brown, the Beloved Disciple/MM may be the origin of the early
> Johannine Community.... i dont know how members of this forum
> feel about that idea ... in an age when there appears to be
> opposition from male heirarchy within the Church (although of
> course this has been present throughout church history) against
> females - i find a kind of comfort in this idea.
> I would be glad to talk privatly about these ideas Thomas.
> Please do so.
> Many thanks,
Thank you for the reference to Ramon Justino's thesis.
<<The material covered by Ramon K. Jusino's thesis,
http://www.BelovedDisciple.org and Esther de Boer's book cited in my last
post both cover the material extensively.>>
Unfortunately there is a problem with the link. I was unable to open the
In what pertains to the length of the time spent in the tomb, what matters
is not how long the body of Jesus had been in the tomb before MM would come
to anoint it. The real problem, as I see it, is with the fact of going back
to a tomb in order to extract a body and anoint it.
One last question: "Where did you read that it was customary to have the
female next of kin prepare the body of a male corps for burial?" This seems
to me to be the product of pious thoughts, which are used to make believable
what is unrealistic and problematic.
P.O. Box 116-2088
Telephone (961) 1 423 145
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reading in libraries today."
Michael A. Keller, Stanford University head librarian.
I liked very much what you wrote. The communion in which I serve has liturgical worship and a strong sense of tradition; so emotionally, your message spoke to me.
It also drove me back to the books to see what the text says, which is a good thing. I suspect others are also having another look at this event in Jesus' life.
Dear J-L Listers,
The silence following my article on the ointment is deafening. What are
- Your explanation seems fairly thorough. I agree with your statement:
By wiping his feet with her hair, Mary not only
displays her devotion to her Lord, but is anointed
herself. Her head is anointed with the same ointment
(read: scent) as that which consecrates the feet of
Jesus, her altar. This follows the pattern
established in Ex. 30: 25-31 in which the same
anointing oil used on the furnishings and utensils of
the temple is used to consecrate the high priest and
the chief priests.
I submit that what Jesus instructs Judas (and the
other disciples gathered in the house) to do is to
allow Mary to keep the scent that identifies her with
him. Specifically, her role, following his death,
will be to keep the tradition of his death. She is to
function among the disciples as a high priest, or in
First Century terms, as a bishop, overseeing the
community, seeing to it that the tradition is kept.
It seems also to me one more demonstration of the fact that Mary 'gets it' while Judas (the disciple) does not.
Diane Yoder, MA Historical Theology
University of Toronto
Dear J-L Listers,
The silence following my article on the ointment is deafening. What are
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
At first blush, I found your argument creative, but not convincing. I need
to mull it over some more.
However, I have been surprised by 4G in the past. I've rejected some
[apparently] wild interpretations out-of-hand, only to discover later they
To illustrate: Jesus in John 7: "out of his/its belly shall flow rivers of
Is it 1) the belly of his disciple(s)? 2) His own belly? Or 3) the belly of
the earth [= Jerusalem]?
"As the Scripture says" seems to refer to Zech 14 [rivers from Jerusalem],
which turns out to have been one of the haphtaroth for the Feast
[Tabernacles]. OK, fine, but blood and water then flow from Jesus' belly in
ch. 19 [=libations of water and wine for Tabernacles(?), which were
accompanied by prayers for the resurrection of the dead and the fall
rains...] And if so, will not these rivers soon also flow from the belly of
his followers (ch. 20)...?
I tell my students, "everything in 4G means two things, except where it
So, like I said, I've learned not to reject anything in 4G too quickly.
Timothy P. Jenney
Adj. NT Prof.,
Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
> From: <pastor_t@...>
> Reply-To: email@example.com
> Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 09:06:52 -0700
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Beloved Disciple
> Dear J-L Listers,
> The silence following my article on the ointment is deafening. What are
> you thinking?
> Tom Butler
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- Timothy J wrote:
> I tell my students, "everything in 4G meansI can readily concur. Especially in John's Gospel!
> two things, except where it means three!"
Shalom from Manila,
I share your respect and admiration of the depth and
complexity of the 4G. My work focuses on the double
layers of meaning in it. I have found that the signs
so frequently refer noted in the Gospel are literally
words and symbols borrowed directly from the
Septuagint version of the Torah. Thus, the meaning of
a text may have one sense at first glance, while at
the same time it conveys a deeper meaning informed by
the Mosaic context from which the sign or signs that
the text contains. I believe this double (or, with
you, sometimes triple) entendre is a consequence of
the use of the Midrash method by its author(s).
I look forward to further discussion with you.
--- "Timothy P. Jenney" <drjenney@...>
> At first blush, I found your argument creative, but
> not convincing. I need
> to mull it over some more.
> However, I have been surprised by 4G in the past.
> I've rejected some
> [apparently] wild interpretations out-of-hand, only
> to discover later they
> fit perfectly.
> To illustrate: Jesus in John 7: "out of his/its
> belly shall flow rivers of
> living water."
> Is it 1) the belly of his disciple(s)? 2) His own
> belly? Or 3) the belly of
> the earth [= Jerusalem]?
> "As the Scripture says" seems to refer to Zech 14
> [rivers from Jerusalem],
> which turns out to have been one of the haphtaroth
> for the Feast
> [Tabernacles]. OK, fine, but blood and water then
> flow from Jesus' belly in
> ch. 19 [=libations of water and wine for
> Tabernacles(?), which were
> accompanied by prayers for the resurrection of the
> dead and the fall
> rains...] And if so, will not these rivers soon also
> flow from the belly of
> his followers (ch. 20)...?
> I tell my students, "everything in 4G means two
> things, except where it
> means three!"
> So, like I said, I've learned not to reject anything
> in 4G too quickly.
> Timothy P. Jenney
> Adj. NT Prof.,
> Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
> > From: <pastor_t@...>
> > Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 09:06:52 -0700
> > To: <email@example.com>
> > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Beloved Disciple
> > Dear J-L Listers,
> > The silence following my article on the ointment
> is deafening. What are
> > you thinking?
> > Tom Butler
> > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail
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> > Yahoo! Groups Linkshttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/messages
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><DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
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<DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>