Sunday, 25 March 2018

"T.L.:D.R." DAVE SIM (YAWN) ON JOHN 19!" Part 5

Hi, Everybody!

With the Auctionings:
And as always, check for bonecrusher86 on the eBays if I missed something. 

Anyway, From Dave Sim:
17 Feb 18
Hi Matt!  
Since you were asking about Biblical commentaries, I thought I'd send this to you.  It's part of my RIP KIRBY COMMENTARIES which hit a religious off-ramp requiring a lengthy digression (about a year or so now) into the "Song of Deborah" (Book of Judges) with the November 8, 1950 strip.  Which then dovetailed with John's Gospel, which then dovetailed with my commentaries on Gertrude Stein's THE WORLD IS ROUND and BLOOD ON THE DINING ROOM FLOOR, finally circling back to John 19. So this is, really, the 17-page punch-line.
I can't imagine anyone would be interested, but you did ask about Bible Commentaries. 
You could maybe run it a page a week on sequential Sundays.  "T.L.:D.R."

Grab a Bible and follow along!

 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and now, Part...5!:
14 Feb 18 pg. 3

And the disciples are clearly used to this.  Although "used to this" probably exaggerates their actual level of acceptance. There is no way that one man lying on the breast of another man at supper isn't going to look weird. You can try to persuade me otherwise, but it's going to be a "no go".  Even just trying to picture it, it's too weird. Even knowing that they were probably all reclining on the ground because that was how you ate supper in the context of the time period, one of them lying on top of the other is just a bridge too far when it comes to mental images.

But, I think it was supposed to be.  As I say, I think God designed John that way so that his response to the Johannine Jesus was as that of a lamb for a shepherd. Just old enough and lucid enough to know that "this guy represents safety".  If you're God there's no reason to incarnate a visual metaphor by half -- especially when You know that the full weight of the non-Synoptic, monotheistic future is resting solely on the shoulders of the individual in question.  

Peter could have asked the Johannine Jesus himself who was about to "give beside him". The fact that he prompts John to do so, I suggest, indicates that the Johannine Jesus was more likely to be forthcoming with John than he would have been with anyone else.  And that Peter and all of the disciples knew that. Which, I don't think endeared John to them.  Exactly the opposite. I suspect it was one of the major reasons, I'd suggest, that they all gravitated to the Synoptic Jesus instead. The relationship of Jesus and John was off-putting. 

Of course, it's possible that it was only at the Last Supper that John was lying "thus upon the breast" of Jesus.  It was a metaphysically unique historical event and, I infer, metaphysically unique events in proximity and in relation to it would have been neither unexpected nor unknown.  Jesus washing the feet of the disciples certainly had a "shock of the new" about it. But there's something about the character of the description that suggests otherwise: that there was nothing surprising about John's recumbent posture and disposition.

Which is one of the reasons that I suggest John was simple. Any other man in that situation would have to be thinking, "How does this look? What will people think?" It

16 Feb 18 pg.1 cont'd from 14 Feb 18 pg.3

would require, I think, a completely simple psychological profile to effect with the kind of equanimity the passage conveys.

And I don't think John changed over the years. As another passage in his NBD listing puts it:

Jerome also repeats the tradition that John tarried at Ephesus to extreme old age, and records that, when John had to be carried to the Christian meetings, he used to repeat again and again, "Little children, love one another."

Although I think the implication we're supposed to take from this description is that this was a result of senility, I would suggest that it was, rather, John's life-long simplicity expressing itself.  He was brought back from Patmos, I infer, because the full weight of the Revelation and the impact it had had upon the "seven ecclesias" made the idea of his exile theologically abhorrent (if not theologically terrifying)...

[John's is a very distinctive narrative voice, sharply aligned with the Johannine Jesus' syntax and phraseology, that, I assume, only manifested itself in his Gospel, Revelation and the one formal Epistle (1.John) and two personal letters (2.John; 3.John) of his in the Christian canon.  Unlike the Synoptic Gospels, I find the Interlinear word-for-word English translations of John more specific and understandable than the KJV. When you're God, I infer, it's no great problem to write Koine Greek in such a way that it translates directly into English (and all other languages, I'm guessing) (the Synoptic Gospels and Paul's Epistles, not so much) with no modification necessary.  John, to my eyes, appears to contort several of the Johannine Jesus' messages in the latter three instances but not unduly.  And, most importantly to me, John always calls God by the Name God]

[This is relevant, I think, to the current subject insofar as it suggests to me that John was a binary figure, entirely simplistic in conversation, presentation and perception, but lucidly and specifically eloquent in his role as the Johannine Jesus' biographer (documenting only the Johannine Jesus' ministry and, there, restricting himself to a thorough recounting at considerable length of a handful of miracles) and as the Johannine Jesus' amanuensis -- "thus upon the breast" apparently serving to engrave each word of the Last Supper in John's mind --  and as God's conduit for Revelation.]  

…and, here he was, back where he started: irritating everyone in the late first century Ephesian Church as he had his Christian contemporaries in mid-first century Jerusalem with his reiterative simplicity ("Little children, love one another"). 
Next Time: 16 Feb 18 pg. 2

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