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Re: [John_Lit] Canonical Placement and John

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  • Felix Just, S.J.
    ... Gary - The first effect would be on the publisher, not the readesr, since very few copies of such a Bible would ever be sold, most likely! :-) Your
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 11, 2000
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      gds@... wrote:

      > Would any of you venture what might be the effects, if any, on the reader, if a
      > publisher offered a Bible with a new ordering of John, Mark, Matthew, and
      > Luke-Acts, Paul, the rest?

      Gary - The first effect would be on the publisher, not the readesr, since very
      few copies of such a Bible would ever be sold, most likely! :-)

      Your question might provide an interesting intellectual speculation for
      academics, but the re-ordering proposal would never be accepted officially by
      any church, since the canon (at least the order of the 4 Gospels) is about 1800
      years old by now. Moreover, very few readers actually pick up the Bible (or
      even the NT) and read it from beginning to end the very first time. Maybe once
      during college (as you said, and I also did!). Most people don't even read an
      entire Gospel at one sitting (except in college courses), but read only a few
      pericopes or chapters at a time. Actually, many don't even "read" much of it
      themselves, but hear only small portions read to them in Churches, following the
      jumbled orders of Lectionaries). For your experiment to work well, you'd need
      people who have NEVER read the NT before, and get them to read the whole thing
      in your new order, and then somehow check their impressions or beliefs.

      I think the main effect of your proposal, as Ramsay pointed out, would be to
      reunite Luke-Acts, which would certainly impact most readers positively. Also,
      placing Mark before Matthew (as many historically-oriented academic courses
      already do these days) would obviously have the effect of reinforcing the theory
      of Markan priority (well accepted among scholars, but still unknown to most
      average church-goers!). Placing John first might also allow more people to
      notice the inter-textual connections between John 1 and Genesis 1 ("In [the]
      beginning..."). However, I think it would be hard to argue that John, if placed
      first, would have been much more influential in the Church over the last 2000
      years than it already has been (considering the not only the Johannine influence
      on the development of Trinitarian doctrines, but also the great popularity of
      the many uniquely Johannine stories).

      A question that could be discussed/researched more realistically (not just
      hypothetically) would be: what HAS BEEN the actual effect on the readers (or the
      Christian Church as a whole) of having MATTHEW first. But that topic belongs in
      another discussion group.

      The more I think about your question, the more it seems to me that two aspects
      have to be distinguished more clearly:

      1) What would be the effect of such a reordering on an *individual*
      *first-time* reader? This is not just the hypothetical guy on the proverbial
      desert island, but would realistically apply to non-Christian students in
      college courses today. I.e., it is similar to asking about the differing
      effects when professors teach the four NT Gospels in their canonical order, or
      in their likely historical order (Mk before Mt), or in your proposed order (Jn
      first).

      2) What *would have been* the effect of such a different order on the
      historical and doctrinal development of the Church as a *community* ? This
      question is obviously less individualistic than the first one, but has to remain
      purely hypothetical (unless someone really attempted to form a new "Johannine
      community" somewhere!)

      Which of these two questions interested you more, Gary?

      Felix
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Felix Just, S.J. -- Dept. of Theological Studies
      Loyola Marymount University -- 7900 Loyola Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA 90045-8400 -- (310) 338-5933
      Website: http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/~fjust
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 10/11/2000 5:46:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time, fjust@lmumail.lmu.edu writes:
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 11, 2000
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        In a message dated 10/11/2000 5:46:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
        fjust@... writes:

        << Also,
        placing Mark before Matthew (as many historically-oriented academic courses
        already do these days) would obviously have the effect of reinforcing the
        theory
        of Markan priority (well accepted among scholars, but still unknown to most
        average church-goers!). >>

        Thank God for the average church-goer! Sometimes I wonder in how many other
        respects they may be more wise than the "wise".

        Leonard Maluf
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