Sunday, 18 March 2018

"T.L.:D.R." DAVE SIM (YAWN) ON JOHN 19!" Part 4

Hi, Everybody!

With the Auctionings:
And as always, check for bonecrusher86 on the eBays if I missed something. (To date, I have not.)

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, and now Part 4:
14 Feb 18 pg. 1

And God stopped it, dead in its tracks with His own Big Bang. John's Revelation.

And He didn't stop it  (although the theological whiplash the sudden arrest in Christian progress it caused must have been fearsome to experience and behold from the top of the Synoptic construct to the bottom)  so much as redirect it and purify it, addressing the "seven ecclesias" in what, I infer, are unmistakable, irrefutable and irresistible terms directed to the highest natures concerned.

I'm convinced that the Revelation was and is impenetrable to the human mind.  You can trace many of its allusions back through the Torah (Ezekiel and Jeremiah particularly), the seven hills of Rome are readily identifiable, as are each of the Roman Emperors referred to metaphorically. You can crunch the numbers (24 older persons. Why 24? Ten diadems? Why 10?) according to any numerological system you care to, you aren't, I don't think, going to get anywhere.  Because, I infer, it's all of-a-piece.  It includes YHWHism and elements of Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah, Gnosticism, but, I infer, as they actually exist. In a manner known only to the Self-Subsisting.

[Or existed. It's one of the conundrums of Revelation that there's no way of knowing if what are being described are fixed eschatological enactments which are inescapable or fluid eschatological enactments which were/are changing form even as they were/are being described.  Like Ebenezer Scrooge's question to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come:]

[Are these the shadows of things that Will be, or are the shadows of things that May be, only? (note capitalization)]

[The Ghost doesn't reply and Scrooge elaborates:]

14 Feb 18 pg.2

[Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead.  But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me! ]

[John, like Ezekiel before him, doesn't have Scrooge's fictional luxury of challenging or questioning what he's being shown. Wishful thinking, I infer, on Charles Dickens' part that that was the way things worked -- or could be made to work. We never doubt the sincerity of Scrooge's repentance but the notion that higher-natured arbiters could be petitioned to or pleaded with for (frankly) unmerited clemency strikes me as a vainglorious self-generated YHWHistic literary conceit masquerading as genuine monotheistic adherence.]

Which leads me, finally, to the point of these commentaries that I didn't want to leave undone before reengaging with "The Missing Nightingale" commentaries. On the one hand, what I have to say can be regarded as peripheral to the Deborah narrative -- lacking the direct application of the reiterated "mantle" in Judges and John's Gospel -- on the other hand, what I have to say seems central speaking, as I infer it does, to the essential nature of procreation and maternity.  

John is an interesting and unique figure in Scripture. I think he was simple.  As we would have said back in my day, seemingly mentally retarded.  I'm not sure what the term is today "something-challenged".  But I think that was only the appearance that he conveyed.  I think he was as much "simple" in the sense of "not complicated" as he was in the sense of "cognitively atrophied" and, in fact, far more the former than the latter.  Simple in the same sense as (and metaphysically resonant with) the nature of the hydrogen molecule.  I think he was designed that way by God.

The most noteworthy description of John in Scripture, is the moment at the Johannine Jesus' Last Supper (unlike the very brief Synoptic accounts, the Johannine Jesus' Last Supper takes up a full five chapters: John 13-18) when he tells the disciples that "one out of you will give beside me":  

"Was lying upward one out of the disciples of him in the bosom of the _____ (Jesus), whom was loving the _____ (Jesus); is nodding therefore to this Simon Peter and is saying to him Say who it is about whom he is saying.  Having fallen upward that thus upon the breast of the ____ (Jesus) he is saying to him Lord, who is it?"

This is not…normal…masculine behaviour. Christians tend to steer far clear of discussing that fact, just citing John as "the beloved disciple" and leaving it at that. If you look at the angle of John's head in Leonardo's The Last Supper it seems apparent that Leonardo tried to depict John "fallen upward…upon the breast of the Jesus" and then couldn't do it. It just looked too weird.  He had to move John over and just give his head that unnatural tilt towards Jesus.  In our own degraded age, not unsurprisingly, gay connotations and inferences are, inevitably, being drawn. I can certainly see that. And I can't rule it out.  But, I don't think it was that. To reiterate, I think John was simple.  In the same sense that the Johannine Jesus was described by John the Baptist as "The Lamb of God", I think John was "The Lamb's lamb".  He behaves like a lamb far more than he does like a human being and certainly far more than he does like a man. 
Next Time: 14 Feb 18 pg. 3


Tony Dunlop said...

...And here we see why the Revelation to St. John is not included in the daily lectionary of the Orthodox Church - that is, it is *never* read in the ordinary daily services or devotions. It's too open to wild speculation.

As Father Thomas Hopko (I think) once said, "It is the revelation to John, not the revelation to you or to me." Once you or I try to *interpret* the Revelation, we immediately go astray, no matter how sincere our intentions. Sir Paul (as opposed to St. Paul) may be invoked here: "Let it be."

The Revelation is made visible each week in the divine services of the Church. Come and see (John 1:39, 1:46, 11:34).

Travis Pelkie said...

Interesting, the first question in the post (an interview with Bart Ehrman, historian of early Christianity and stuff), says that Jesus in John's Gospel declared himself God while the other Gospels Jesus does not.