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[John_Lit] Re: The Temple Cleansing

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  • Mary Coloe
    I sent a reply to Paul Anderson, thinking it went to the List but I don t think it reached the list so here s another try.To: Paul Anderson
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 7, 1999
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      I sent a reply to Paul Anderson, thinking it went to the List but I don't
      think it reached the list so here's another try.



      >To: Paul Anderson <paul.anderson@...>
      >
      >I've just finished a thesis on the Symbolic function of the Temple in J.
      so feel somewhat compelled to buy into the current discussion. In the
      thesis I sidestepped historicity questions - John or Synoptics - and
      concentrated on the Christology of this scene. Here, in the narrative, we
      have a restatement of the prologue's key Christology - Jesus as the
      dwelling-place of God (1:14) and so he can properly be called 'the Temple'
      (2:21). I argued that this scene was early in the Gospel precisely because
      it provides the hermeneutical key for understanding the rest of the
      narrative. We, the readers, are given this information (again) even if
      'the Jews' and disciples hear Jesus' words only as a riddle.
      >For me, the christological significance of this scene demands it is placed
      early in the narrative - indeed the first really public action of Jesus. So
      it raises a chicken and egg question - was the action placed early becuase
      it was historically so and then developed through the Johannine lens into
      what it now is; or did it come sometime later in one of Jesus' stays in
      Jerusalem but for its theological importance placed here!
      >
      >
      Dr. Mary Coloe pbvm
      School of Theology
      Australian Catholic University
      PO. Box 213, Oakleigh. VIC 3166
      ph (61 + 3) 9563 3697 Fax. (61 + 3) 9563 3653.

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    • Paul Anderson
      Dear Mary,Thank you so much for the report on your thesis and your approach. Your work sounds both interesting and profitable, and it sounds like you ve
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 8, 1999
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        Dear Mary,

        Thank you so much for the report on your thesis and your approach. Your
        work sounds both interesting and profitable, and it sounds like you've
        worked out a very valuable approach to the theological implications of the
        Temple cleansing and its placement in John. You seem to be proceeding in a
        valid way: begin first by looking at the event, where it is and how it is
        developed in the text of John, and adduce its theological function within
        the rest of John's narrative. I might even ask whether some of the
        material in the Prologue (if indeed it was crafted and added later) might
        have been organized around the new Temple-dwelling place of God (cf. 1:14)
        as a reflection on the Johannine rendering of the Temple event. You have
        later references to it also in John.

        In these ways, historicity issues become rightly upstaged by the important
        issues, the interpretive ones, which your work seems to illumine helpfully.
        On the other hand, there are theological/compositional reasons for Mark's
        ordering his material the way he did, other than historical ones, and
        Matthew's and Luke's building on Mark does not imply a three-against-one
        "majority" in terms of tradition. In fact, I wonder if there is any
        traditional reason for placing the Temple-cleansing late other than Mark's
        conjecture. Mark places all the Jerusalem material late, and would pose a
        Jesus who ministers less than a year, and who goes to Jerusalem but once,
        and is killed. In that sense, John's rendering seems more realistic --
        going to and from Jerusalem over a more extended period of time. The
        notion which deserves to be challenged is one which defaults uncritically
        to "ahistoricity" when a narrated event is reflected upon theologically in
        John. To reflect theologically upon an event is not the same as concocting
        events out of a theological agenda. Another fact about the
        Temple-cleansing in John is that there is also a fair amount of material
        which appears to be unmotivated theologically, and this should be accounted
        for as well.

        Again, thank you, Mary for your helpful work!

        Sincerely,

        Paul Anderson

        >>To: Paul Anderson <paul.anderson@...>
        >>
        >>I've just finished a thesis on the Symbolic function of the Temple in J.
        >so feel somewhat compelled to buy into the current discussion. In the
        >thesis I sidestepped historicity questions - John or Synoptics - and
        >concentrated on the Christology of this scene. Here, in the narrative, we
        >have a restatement of the prologue's key Christology - Jesus as the
        >dwelling-place of God (1:14) and so he can properly be called 'the Temple'
        >(2:21). I argued that this scene was early in the Gospel precisely because
        >it provides the hermeneutical key for understanding the rest of the
        >narrative. We, the readers, are given this information (again) even if
        >'the Jews' and disciples hear Jesus' words only as a riddle.
        >>For me, the christological significance of this scene demands it is placed
        >early in the narrative - indeed the first really public action of Jesus. So
        >it raises a chicken and egg question - was the action placed early becuase
        >it was historically so and then developed through the Johannine lens into
        >what it now is; or did it come sometime later in one of Jesus' stays in
        >Jerusalem but for its theological importance placed here!
        >>
        >>
        >Dr. Mary Coloe pbvm
        >School of Theology
        >Australian Catholic University
        >PO. Box 213, Oakleigh. VIC 3166
        >ph (61 + 3) 9563 3697 Fax. (61 + 3) 9563 3653.
        >
        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >Subscribe: send e-mail briefly describing your academic background &
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