Abstracts of Papers
to be presented to the
Johannine Literature Section
Denver, CO - November 17-20, 2001
FIRST SESSION: Intertextuality
(Co-Sponsored by the Johannine Literature Section and the Synoptic Gospels
Shawn Kelley, Daemen College
Intertextuality and the Gospels: An Introduction
Biblical critics have long posited that the Gospels are textual dependent
upon each other. This analysis has been carried out, primarily, within
the context of source criticism. This session is designed to see if the
established question of textual Gospel relationships can be reconfigured
with the help of narrative criticism and postmodernism. This paper, which
is designed to introduce the problem, will proceed through four interrelated
topics. (i) I will begin by defining intertextuality and by differentiating
between it and other forms of textual relationships (i.e. sources, allusions).
(ii) I will then examine and evaluate the various theories of literary
dependency assumed by Gospel source critics (i.e. Matthew/Luke rewriting
Mark, Mark rewriting Matthew/Mark, etc.). My focus shall be on the ideological,
theoretical and aesthetic assumptions behind particular theories of textual
relationship, rather than on the particulars of each source-critical paradigm.
(iii) I will then explore the ways that intertextuality has been taken
up by biblical critics. While biblical studies of intertextuality have
been theoretically sophisticated and thought provoking, those essays that
take up the Gospels tend (with some notable exceptions) to explore the
relationship between the Gospels and the Hebrew Bible rather than the textual
relationship between the Gospels themselves. My focus, therefore, will
be on identifying and exploring the model of reading implicit in these
essays and in seeing if this model is applicable to the question of Gospel
intertextuality. (iv) In the final part of the essay I will seek to open
a dialogue between the source-critical approach (which tends to lack proper
theoretical grounding) and the theoretical problem of intertextuality (which
has, for the most part, not yet focused precisely on the question Gospel
Paul Anderson, George Fox University
Mark, John, and Answerability -- Aspects of Interfluentiality Between the
Second and Fourth Gospels
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As the bioptic gospels, John and Mark offer the reader strikingly different
presentations of Jesus, and this is no accident. Their relationship, however,
should neither be construed as source-derivative nor independent; rather,
the evidence lends itself to a more extensive theory of intertextuality.
Traces of "interfluentiality" abound during the early (oral) stages of
their respective traditions, and the first edition of John appears to augment,
correct, and complement particular aspects of the Markan Gospel. Here Mikhail
Bakhtin's theory of answerability informs a more adequate understanding
of John as a polyphonic "answering" of the Markan text. In that sense,
answerability is not only experienced by the reader of gospel narratives;
it also can be inferred between them.
Mark A. Matson, Milligan College
Intertextuality and the Relationship Between John and the Synoptics
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The study of gospel relationships has often focused on explicit citations
or verbal agreements between the gospels. The recent growth in questions
of intertextuality, however, may broaden the perspective for an examination
of the relationship between the gospels, and may help us appreciate the
interpretive perspectives of the various evangelists. Frequently, source
studies of gospel relationships have tended to look only for areas of agreement
between two texts. The model is that later authors "used" previous texts,
absorbing units of text, adding additional material, and making slight
editorial modifications. But is this model perhaps too constraining and
Intertextuality suggests that all authors write from a perspective of
pre-existing "texts" - written and unwritten. An author engages a wide
variety of pre-existing themes, ideas, structures, and draws both on already
known texts and accounts, as well as interpretations of those texts. Authors
rarely simply take over previous "texts"; there is frequently a more dynamic
use of these intertexts. Some are adopted by imitation, some are modified,
some provide background understanding, while other texts are rejected or
influence the final gospel account by means of opposition. Such a view
of the intersection of prior texts, written and unwritten, is dialogical.
This concept of dialogue is richer than standard source criticism, and
involves the literary design of the composition.
Using two somewhat similar narrative units in John and Luke, the Anointing
of Jesus and the Trial before Pilate, I would like to explore how Luke
might have created his gospel, born from the dialogue between the previous
texts of John and Mark. This more dynamic concept of intertextual dialogue
is suggestive for a study of a wide range of gospel relationships and gospel
Ingrid Rosa Kitzberger, Jesuit School of Theology/GTU Berkeley
Characterization at the Crossroads
This paper focuses on Johannine characterization as a testcase for the
relationship between John and the Synoptics. Starting from a reader response
approach the concept of interfigurality (W.G.Müller) is applied. It
will be suggested that Johannine characters are meant to be linked to Synoptic
characters and thus to be enriched by new dimensions. As a consequence,
the Synoptic characters will also be viewed in a different light, due to
"reversing the hermeneutical flow" (L.J. Kreitzer). Concentrating on Nicodemus'
interfigural relation to Synoptic women, it will be demonstrated how gender
boundaries are transcended in John.
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Jaime A. Clark-Soles, Perkins School of Theology
The Word(s) of The Word in the Fourth Gospel
The text of the Fourth Gospel places special emphasis on Jesus' words
(variously designated as logoV, logoi, rhma, entolh, lalia,
This paper addresses two issues: 1) the status of Jesus' word(s)
vis-à-vis Scripture and 2) the relationship between the author's
presentation of Jesus' word(s) and the social situation of the Johannine
community. Through subtle and less-than-subtle means, the author
empties Scripture of its usual authority and instead transfers that functional
authority to the words of Jesus. Language usually reserved for scripture,
such as mimnhskomai, plhrow, telew, threw, and pisteuw, now applies to Jesus'
own word(s). By executing such a transferral of authority from Scripture
to Jesus' word(s), the author of the Fourth Gospel may have turned necessity
into advantage for his Jewish sectarian community.
A.J. Droge, University of California, San Diego
The paper offers a new reading of the cryptic pronouncement at John
5:17, and explores its implications for the interpretation of the Fourth
Elizabeth J. Danna, Independent Scholar, Burlington, Ontario
Pilate in the Gospel of John
This paper concerns the characterisation of the Johannine Pilate.
I suggest that the Johannine emphasis on the Roman trial over the Jewish
one may be connected to the theme of krisiV which runs through this Gospel.
I argue that for this reason the emphasis throughout the Roman trial narrative
is on the choice which Pilate must make. I also argue that if the
implied author has not let "the Jews" off the hook with regard to responsibility
for the death of Jesus, he has not let Pilate off the hook either.
Pilate has the authority to prevent the execution of a man whom he knows
is innocent of the charges brought against him. But he is too afraid
of the Jewish leaders, and of Caesar, to simply drop the charges, and not
sufficiently perceptive or clever to get around them by more oblique means.
Nonetheless, the picture is not entirely dark, and Pilate's actions after
the trial, in the incident of the titulus and the granting of Jesus'
body for honourable burial, may be said to lend an ambiguity to his
Two cultural scripts are in evidence in these passages; they are considerations
of honour and shame and patron-client relationships. It is the latter
which dominates in these passages, and which explains Pilate's weakness
and cowardice. For the terms of his patron-client contract with Caesar
will not allow him to drop the charges against a man who might be seen
to be a rival to Caesar. It is considerations of honour and shame
which motivate Pilate's final actions as he seeks vengeance for his humiliation
by "the Jews." Pilate may be said to illustrate the negative side
of the theme of
krisiV which runs through the Gospel of John.
Beth M. Sheppard, Southwestern College, KS
Behold Your Son: John 19:26-27 and Guardian Relationships in the Roman
The nature of the relationship that Jesus establishes between Mary and
the Beloved Disciple in John 19:26-27 has been the subject of some debate,
although there is an emerging consensus. It is one in which symbolizing
interpretations are downplayed and emphasis falls upon Jesus providing
for the care of his mother in his last hour. Implicit in this interpretation
are assumptions concerning the role of women in familial relationships
as well as the ages of both the Beloved Disciple and Jesus' mother respectively.
Generally, the Beloved Disciple is viewed as an adult while Mary is approaching
old age. In this paper an experiment will be undertaken. Essentially
there will be two foci. First, what happens if the Beloved Disciple
is understood to be a teenager? Second, how might early Roman readers,
steeped in a culture of Roman law, understand the relationship that is
established at the foot of the cross? During the course of this experiment,
the possibility of a younger witness within Jesus' circle of disciples
will be posited and a variety of Roman guardian relationships will be examined
including adoption, testamentary adoption, relationships with alumni
and impuberes, and the various forms of tutela. The ability
of women to assume guardianship roles and the ownership of property by
minors, especially in light of John 19:27, will also be explored.
The end result of this experiment will show that on the grounds of the
legal precedents in Roman family law, there is no bar against the possibility
that Roman readers may have understood that Mary was to serve as the caretaker
of the Beloved Disciple.
Daniel Boyarin, University of California at Berkeley
The Ioudaioi in John and the Prehistory of "Judaism"
My basic premise is that Lou Martyn's hypothesis has been thoroughly
discredited (I will present briefly the evidence for this statement). I
will argue that there is no evidence in John for the so-called "parting
of the ways." We need to read "Ioudaioi" in the text as Yahudim,
that is the descendants of the group that is defined in Ezra as the returnees
from Babylon and the "Holy Seed," or the only authentic and privileged
Jews, as opposed to Samaritans and other local Israelites who did not go
to Babylon and did not, therefore, participate in the religious revival
and changes there. Ioudaioi is, therefore, neither a "geographical"
term, nor a "religious" one (in terms of the dichotomy of Max Weber accepted
in effect by Shaye Cohen) but a third term, neither contiguous with the
whole People of Israel, nor merely locative, but rather the citizens of
what is, sociologically, a sect. We have further evidence for this
as a name for the sect in the DSS. This accounts for the various
referents of Ioudaioi within the FG, as well as explaining the animus
against them without assuming an anachronous "Christian" identity on the
part of the Evangelist. As for the aposynagogos, this must be understood
simply as having been thrown out of synagogues, not "The Synagogue," an
institution which never existed.
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Susan Burnett, Snow College
Holistic Narrative Theory and the Feast Plus Miracle at Cana
I propose a paper in which a holistic theory of narrative is employed
to explain why the story of the miracle at the wedding at Cana is a conscious
reworking of the two variations of the same story found in Matthew 9 and
Mark 9. I will show that the three stories of the same feast have
much in common, although the location of Ephesus, which put the writer
in contact with Phrygian and Greek forms of worship of Meter, alerted the
writer of John's gospel to the need to identify Jesus' mother as being
present, while the writers of Matthew and Mark subsume her identity by
the word "sinner." Finally, by using a holistic theory of narrative,
I will show that, as far as this episode goes, the writer of the Gospel
of John is writing in such a way as to attempt to heal by means of story
the stories anger and recrimination found in the earlier gospels.
Benedict Thomas Viviano, University of Fribourg,
John's Use of Matthew: Beyond Tweaking
Readers of John's gospel are struck by how he takes a saying from Matthew
and contradicts it: "You are the light of the world" becomes "I am the
light of the world;" "John the Baptist is Elijah" becomes "I am not Elijah."
This phenomenon and its exploration rest on two presuppositions: (1) John
had a direct knowledge of Matthew's gospel; (2) John felt free to criticize,
to disagree with Matthew. At first the relationship between Matthew
and John seems one of Johannine polemic, rejection, teasing, "tweaking."
Upon further examination this view is born out only in part. Sometimes
John simply takes a different but not hostile approach (e.g., on the transfiguration),
and sometimes he takes over a Jesus-Luke-Matthew theme such as discipleship
and deepens it in a way that the predecessor evangelists would probably
have found acceptable. In such cases progress replaces polemic.
The paper will examine ten cases of John's putative use of Matthew.
The paper is intended as both a study in intertextuality and in the early
rejection history of Matthew, as well as a contribution to early Christian
Panel Review of Tom Thatcher and Robert Fortna, eds., Jesus
in Johannine Tradition: New Directions (Louisville, KY: Westminster John
Thomas Thatcher, Cincinnati Bible
Seminary, Introduction (5 minutes)
Paula Fredriksen, Boston University, Panelist (10 minutes)
Robert Kysar, Candler School of Theology, Panelist (10 minutes)
Greg Riley, Claremont School of Theology, Panelist (10 minutes)
Robert Fortna, Vassar College, Respondent (5 mintues)
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