Re: [John_Lit] Primary Evidence [was Reading strategy]
- Felix Just from the Jesuit Fathers argues for the existence of previous litterature to our canonical scriptures although in most cases we cannot definitely reconstruct these texts. He points to the obvious addition of Jn 8,1-11, Luke speaking of many who have alredy tried to write a Gospel (many are usually more than two), the Gospel of Thomas, etc. Thank you very much! Although there is little hope for trustworthy reconstructions research has in principle always to be aware and to take in account the possible existence of such predecessors. And, of course, attempts of reconstruction are allowed, legitimous and necessary on the condition one does not forget that they are hypothetical. One can, of course, ristrict oneself to biblical positivism and try to explain the existing text on a synchronic level. As far as this meets the intention of the last redaction also this is legitimous, especially for pastoral purposes and dogmatics. This raises the question of inspiration and canonisation. The Church wanteted these final texts to be read in the sevices and canonized them as basis of her faith. As far as a theologian is also historian he is challenged to ask more and to look behind the text to the history of its development and of the emerging Jesus movement. Of course, this will not be without influence on our concepts of early history of dogma and even on actual dogmatics.
Univ.-Prof. DDr. Peter Hofrichter
Vorstand des Instituts für Kirchengeschichte und Patrologie
Universitätsplatz 1, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Felix Just, S.J." <fjust@...>
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 5:32 PM
Subject: [John_Lit] Primary Evidence [was Reading strategy]
> So I wonder whether those who would require "manuscript evidence" for the
> sources or previous editions of John are not asking for a level of proof
> unreasonably high and inappropriate, given the social and material culture
> the ancient world.
Considering the level of glossing, interpolation and redaction of these
texts, I wonder
if an earlier rescension would even be recognized since the norm is for
papyri to be very fragmentary. We might find a copy of a more primitive
of 4G and call it something else..like Egerton.
taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon
North Hollywood, Ca.
sharing a meal for free.
- I beg to differ with Jeff and Pete and others jumping on this bandwagon.
Shouldn't the fact that 7:53--8:11 is missing from the oldest manuscripts be
considered "primary evidence" for the fact that there are "different
I, too, suspect that there were "different editions" of John--different from
our "canonical" JOhn. I just don't think there is much value in trying to
reconstruct them (without SOME similar sources), and then trying to argue
for a certain trajectory (theological-social) based upon that
reconstruction. Interestingly, I am editing a volume of essays for
Sheffield Academic Press on the Gospel of John that includes 2 essays on
John 7:53-8:11. Both do attempt to read the story within the context of
JOhannine theology. A recent dissertation (published by Sheffield?) argues
strongly for a "trial topos" running throughout the Gospel. Perhaps this is
why the story ends up in JOhn 7-8--a classic text for "Jesus on Trial" (as
Jerome Neyrey and others have argued)
And if this addition happened at a relatively late stage, when the
Johannine tradition was close to being "fixed", then isn't it even more
that some editting also might have taken place earlier?
Sure, I accept this. I just don't think we get very far without having
Certain clues or "seams" in the present text (like the transition of
14:31--15:1, or 20:31--21:1) are good enough evidence in my mind for the
factTHAT some additions were made to a previously shorter text, even if we
can't reconstruct the "original" with complete certainty, and even if we
still agree to use the present text for literary, theological, and canonical
One may also ask the important question (fundamentalist or no!) about the
significance of the currecnt state of the narrative that did not see fit to
"delete the seams." Thus, my interest in narrative rhetoric.
And briefly on "Q" - we shouldn't forget that one of the strongest arguments
people used before 1945 was, paraphrased, "No early Christian would have
compiled a collection of the sayings of Jesus without also telling about his
Passion and Death." But the discovery of the complete Gospel of Thomas blew
that argument out of the water.
Oh yeah, I use this argument all the time in churches and classes. The nice
thing with Q is we could compare Luke and Matthew long before the discovery
of Thomas. We are not on as sure footing with Johannine sources
So I wonder whether those who would require "manuscript evidence" for the
sources or previous editions of John are not asking for a level of proof
Let's put the question this way--what is the
payoff in reconstructing sources behind JOhn?
- On 31 Oct 2000, at 13:53, Staley, Jeffrey wrote:
> And briefly on "Q" - we shouldn't forget that one of the strongest argumentsI realise that this is an issue more at home on Synoptic-L but I can't resist a
> people used before 1945 was, paraphrased, "No early Christian would have
> compiled a collection of the sayings of Jesus without also telling about his
> Passion and Death." But the discovery of the complete Gospel of Thomas blew
> that argument out of the water.
quick rejoinder to say: what is the evidence that this argument about Q was
put before the discovery of Thomas? The only argument I know of that
resembled this one was put by Austin Farrer who in "On Dispensing with Q"
pointed out that "We have no reason to suppose documents of the Q type to
have been plentiful" ("On Dispensing", p. 58). Farrer was probably unaware
of the contents of the Gospel of Thomas, and perhaps he would have
moderated his comments had he known of it, but if one reads the article
carefully he is making an important point about the character and nature of
the reconstructed Q, that it is a hybrid document with a narrative exordium
that fizzles out a third of the way into the document, something which may
well give us the clue to the origin and character of Q.
Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
The New Testament Gateway
>From: "Staley, Jeffrey" <staleyj@...>TEXUAL ANALYSIS:
>>Shouldn't the fact that 7:53--8:11 is missing from the oldest manuscripts
>>be considered "primary evidence" for the fact that there are "different
>LLW reply for Jn 7:53-8:11 a.k.a Pericope Adulterae (PA):
My research has shown different versions of John:
1. Metzger analysis on 4G, NT Textual Criticism (PA missing from many
documents). Ex: PA missing from Alex writings P(66) also P(75) which
contains Lk 2:18-18:18 and Lk 22:4-Jn. 15:8. Also missing from eastern
SYR(c,s) and SY(p); 4-5th Coptic ver.; Arm. man, Old Georg ver. Western
GOthic ver, several Old Latin.
2. Holzmann's view: PA is found in both Luke and Mark(see Nestle p. 285 and
Holzmann in Thlz., 1898, col 56f. Vidae supra, p. 66) - the original
location of pericope found in Mark chap. 12 between vv. 17 and 18 and Luke
chap. 20 between vv. 26 and 27, (texts dealing with resurrection and
3. Nestle analysis (283) supports PA in various locations including:
After: Jn 7:52, Jn 7:36 (ms. 225), Jn 7:44 (sev. Georgian mss.),
Jn 21:25 (Westcott/Hort), Lk 24:53 (mss. 1331), Lk 21:38 (Ferrar group)
I found Bart Ehrman article, "Jesus and the Adultress" in NT Studies, vol
34, 1998, pp. 24-44 to be invaluable for source critical analysis. According
to Ehrman theory, PA has two "sources" w/final conflated version:
1. Gospel according to Hebrews and Papias exposition of the Lord's sayings
as recorded by Eusebius in EH III. 39.
2. Commentary on Eccl.. 7:21-22a by Didymus the Blind
1. Diasacalia 3rd cen. Syriac writing
2. Apostolic Constitutions VIII, ii, 24, ca 380
FINAL TEXT - Combined Sources A&B yield conflated version of PA
LANGUAGE THEMATIC ANALYSIS OF PA
Is the language used in PA consistent with rest of Gospel?
Issue raised a couple of weeks ago..was unable to respond at the time.
I agree the language is a hard fit, my exegesis yielded some continuity of
theme" so that it was not totally foreign (at least rhetorically speaking)
Raymond Brown suggests the location of PA after 7:52 illustrates certain
statements made by Jesus (8:15,46). Ridderbos comments on frequent
reference to "judging" and "witness" (7:47, 8:14,15) could be a point of
contact for inclusion of PA after 7:52. Sanders believes (from a theological
perspective only) PA fits into theme of judgment in Jn. 8. Derrett makes
connection between PA and 7:51 and 8:13 where "admssibility of evidence"
appears. In Nestle, Harris suggests PA should be placed between Jn. 5,6
because of reference to Mosaic Law mentioned in 8:5.
I think the theme of "judgment" 7-8 is what makes PA fit in 7:53-8:11
rhetorically. For example:
5:45 Your accuser is Moses >> is implied in law of adultery Jn. 8:5
5:45 Do not think I will accuse you before your Father >> is echoed in
Jesus' response to the woman and her accusers 8:11, 7b
7:19 No one keeps the law >> implies transgression or sin 8:7b
7:24 Do not JUDGE by appearance but JUDGE right judgment >> echos Jesus'
warning to the accusers and also his decision to let adulteress go free
7:51 Our law does not JUDGE people w/o first giving them a hearing >> sheds
light on the suspicious trial of the adulteress woman who was JUDGED not not
8:15 You JUDGE by human standards, I JUDGE no man >> helps to sharpen the
contrast between Jesus and his opponents 8:4-6a
8:16a Yet even if I do JUDGE my judgment is valid expresses the righteous
judgment of Jesus in this case.
Other phrases I believe link to PA rhetoricaly include:
8:17 testimony of two witnesses
8:12 walk in darkness
8:21,24 die in your sins
8:37, 7:19-20 looking for an opportunity to kill Jesus
8:12 I AM ego eimi the light of the world. I see this divine revelatory
expression of Christ seen in PA as Jesus enlightens the minds of the
accusers and the woman and provides opportunity for both to be enlightened
and changed by the power of his word.
WHY ALL THIS COMPLEXITY (MY THOUGHTS):
In PA Jesus affirms equality of men and woman by taking stance on the
"double standard" practice which appeals to male bias. Also, challenge to
social sterotype of woman as "seducers." Ben Witherington in comm. on 4G
addresses 1) social sterotype/scapegoating, ethics of
leadership/responsibility to exemplary life 3) right judgment so balance
between mercy and justice
What I found is the reluctance of the Church to accept PA because it might
imply Jesus' position on easy forgiveness of adultery (Augustine view) or
misinterpretation of indulgence of adultery (according to Metzger) and
issues Church Father raised about sexual purity and forgiveness of church
members that lapsed after being baptized (this is also reflected in the
Shepherd of Hermas...also comments from Clement, Ignatius, on strong view
about the importance of maintaining purity in marriage and Tertullian
classifying adultery, idolatry, and homicide as the 3 most serious sins that
could not be forgiven).
I think it was difficult for the Church to reconcile what they understood
the tradition of Jesus' position on forgiveness (baesd on PA) vs. the harsh
discipline of the early Church regarding sexual sin. Brown states that PA
could not be included in the canon until the Church was willing to forgive
adultery...I think the inclusion of Shepherd of Hermas in Sinaiticus relects
the Church willingness to forgive sin...when discipline was somewhat
relaxed, PA was circulated more widely.
I think that PA was probably used to settle doctrinal disputes on authority
of the Law or instruction on proper way to treat those in the faith
community who fell into sin. I think PA can serve to enlighten people
regarding the superiority of Christ's teachings over the Law and the
unmerited forgiveness of God towards sinners - "for God sent not his Son
into the world to CONDEMN the world" (Jn 3:17) compared to "Neither do I
CONDEMN you...go and sin no more" (Jn 8:11).
MY QUESTIONS TO THIS FORUM:
Ccould PA also represent specific issues of the early Church struggle with
other issues beside sexual sin? Could PA reflect the Jn community "hatred of
the world" and attitude against the "lust of the flesh" (1 Jn 2:15-16). Or
could PA controversy reflect tension with certain Jewish Christian
struggling with the relevance of Torah in life of the new faith community,
i.e. maintaining Mosaic tradition higher than teachings of Jesus? Or does
PA reflect reluctance of a male dominated society to accept the new status
of equality that Jesus attributed to women? Also, Martyn sees 4G as a
two-level drama and I wonder what else could be going on besides the obvious
conflict with the Jews/Jesus...could this story represent a persecuted faith
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