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Re: Canonical Rivalries - My main response

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  • Larry Swain
    Yuri and other interested parties, Sorry for my delay in getting on with this discussion, I will try and do so as soon as I can, hopefully the next day or so.
    Message 1 of 16 , Dec 7, 1998
      Yuri and other interested parties,
      Sorry for my delay in getting on with this discussion, I will try and do
      so as soon as I can, hopefully the next day or so.

      Regards,

      Larry Swain
    • Larry Swain
      ... Yuri replied: This is only one interpretation. And the interpretation fits the passage. You ve made us aware of your take, but not the reasons why yours
      Message 2 of 16 , Dec 7, 1998
        Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
        >

        Larry wrote regarding I John 2:
        > > HMM, I was under the impression that "the old internal conflict" was
        > > actually posited as some form of docetism...
        >
        Yuri replied:> This is only one interpretation.

        And the interpretation fits the passage. You've made us aware of your
        take, but not the reasons why yours is the preferred reading over the
        customary this passage is read. One of those cases where you're going
        against the "preponderance of scholarly opinion". I would like to see a
        detailed exegesis of the passage. The plain sense of it fits docetism
        very well and the author is reacting against that.

        >
        Yuri asked why passages such as I John would be preserved unless they
        had some part to play in the controversies of the 2nd Century to which I
        replied:
        > >
        > > They would preserve them because of their supposed connection with the
        > > apostle...
        >
        Yuri responded: But we have only a tiny fraction of ancient writings
        connected with
        > various apostles preserved. So why would these writings be preserved
        > rather than others?

        One of the chief reasons would be that the GC felt enough confidence in
        tracing this to apostolic authority that they preserved it. Second,
        would be of course what you point out, it was useful in the debates of
        the second century-of which docetism was one such battle.

        > > > Also, consider again v. 20a.
        > > >
        > > > "kai umeis khrisma ekhete apo tou agiou"
        > > > A better translation would be the one like Darby, translating "and"
        > > > instead of "but" as is common in more recent translations.
        > > > "And you [no less than they] have been anointed by the Holy One." (In fact
        > > > this is the current NEB translation.)
        > >
        > > I disagree with the NEB translation. The context of the passage is
        > > clearly using a rhetoric that says that THOSE people over there are
        > > antichrists. Why then would the author say "they're antichrists but
        > > they have an anointing from the Holy One which you also have?", This
        > > translation doesn't make sense of the context, so I think it wrong.
        >
        > The author of the epistle is saying that his opponents were members of a
        > much earlier presumably united Christian community. Hence, they had the
        > anointing. This is simply saying what was obviously already well known at
        > the time. _And_ they became heretical later -- i.e. there was a split. So
        > I don't see a problem with my interpretation.
        >
        > All I'm saying is that the split in question was the split between what
        > later became the Synoptic and the Johannine communities, rather than
        > merely within the Johannine community.
        >

        But this seems to me to make the word 'kai" bear an awful lot of weight,
        there needs to be some additional piece of evidence to make this in any
        way plausible besides understanding kai as conjunctive rather than
        adversative.

        Further, it seems implausible that in one and the same breath the author
        is saying that these folks are antichrist and also have apostolic
        anointing from the same CHrist that they are against.

        And once again, we know there is a split here. But what is the evidence
        that it is between "synoptic" and "johannine" communities this early?
        The only evidence you have pointed out is two rereadings: one of this
        passage, one of Papias. But we're getting into a certain circularity
        here: we know that there is a split between these communities because
        of the way you read these two passages and we know that this reading is
        correct because we know that there was this split.

        It's possible of course, but is it probable? Does the evidence support
        it? I'm waiting for the evidence.

        Larry Swain
      • Yuri Kuchinsky
        ... I don t think so, Larry. Docetism does not mean separating Jesus from Christ . Docetism means Jesus appearing as human, but in fact not being human.
        Message 3 of 16 , Dec 8, 1998
          On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, Larry Swain wrote:

          > Larry wrote regarding I John 2:
          > > > HMM, I was under the impression that "the old internal conflict" was
          > > > actually posited as some form of docetism...
          > >
          > Yuri replied:
          > This is only one interpretation.
          >
          > And the interpretation fits the passage.

          I don't think so, Larry. Docetism does not mean "separating Jesus from
          Christ". Docetism means Jesus appearing as human, but in fact not being
          human. "Separating Jesus from Christ" is typical adoptionist doctrine.

          > You've made us aware of your take, but not the reasons why yours is
          > the preferred reading over the customary this passage is read.

          This is not so. I've given my reasons already.

          > One of those cases where you're going against the "preponderance of
          > scholarly opinion".

          And I'm proud of it. <g> Yes, I'm challenging the majority opinion in this
          case. I hope I'm allowed to do this...

          > I would like to see a detailed exegesis of the passage.

          Of which passage?

          > The plain sense of it fits docetism very well

          I don't see it, sorry.

          ...

          [Yuri:]
          > > The author of the epistle is saying that his opponents were members of
          a
          > > much earlier presumably united Christian community. Hence, they had
          the
          > > anointing. This is simply saying what was obviously already well known
          at
          > > the time. _And_ they became heretical later -- i.e. there was a split.
          So
          > > I don't see a problem with my interpretation.
          > >
          > > All I'm saying is that the split in question was the split between
          what
          > > later became the Synoptic and the Johannine communities, rather than
          > > merely within the Johannine community.
          >
          > But this seems to me to make the word 'kai" bear an awful lot of weight,

          I don't think so.

          > there needs to be some additional piece of evidence to make this in
          > any way plausible besides understanding kai as conjunctive rather than
          > adversative.

          The word "kai" is not central to my argument. My argument is based on
          other evidence as well.

          > Further, it seems implausible that in one and the same breath the author
          > is saying that these folks are antichrist and also have apostolic
          > anointing from the same CHrist that they are against.

          How did you come to this conclusion? The meaning of this passage seems
          simple enough. To translate it into modern language, the author is saying,
          "Our opponents -- these terrible heretics -- claim ancient tradition and
          apostolic authority, but we also have ancient tradition and apostolic
          authority." This is all that the author is saying. This is all that this
          word "anointing" really means, I would say. What may be implausible about
          this? I don't see it.

          > And once again, we know there is a split here.

          Exactly so.

          > But what is the evidence that it is between "synoptic" and "johannine"
          > communities this early?

          It is not early. I estimate that this split took place some time ca
          100-120. So this is the situation reflected in this passage.

          > The only evidence you have pointed out is two rereadings: one of this
          > passage, one of Papias.

          Not quite. You forgot Irenaeus who is also very relevant here.

          Are you aware of some other evidence I should have considered but haven't?
          If all you mean to say is that our evidence is very sparce, I can't agree
          more. But this is hardly saying anything new. And the same argument of
          course applies to those who would defend the conventional reading. I hope
          you realize that this is a reversable argument that you're using.

          > But we're getting into a certain circularity here:

          This is news to me.

          > we know that there is a split between these communities because
          > of the way you read these two passages

          You're wrong. In fact we know that there is a split between these two
          communities because this is what the evidence tells us unambiguously.
          Everybody reads these passages this way -- not just me.

          > and we know that this reading is
          > correct because we know that there was this split.

          My reading is correct because I've presented sufficient evidence to this
          effect.

          > It's possible of course, but is it probable? Does the evidence support
          > it?

          Yes, and yes.

          Again, we may never know for sure what really happened in the movement at
          that time, all evidence in this area is very sparce, etc. Any argument in
          this area needs to rely on a lot of assumptions that cannot be
          demonstrated to be unquestionably true. So any such argument has to be
          considered as inherently fragile and allowing for many uncertainties. But
          it is the duty of a scholar to investigate such things anew. I've done
          this, and in my view the interpretation that I've arrived at is the best
          of all I've seen, because the other interpretations are _also_
          problematic, uncertain, and fragile.

          I just happen to think that my interpretation is the least problematic,
          uncertain, and fragile.

          Regards,

          Yuri.

          Yuri Kuchinsky || Toronto

          http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

          The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
          equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
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