Sunday, 1 April 2018

"T.L.:D.R." DAVE SIM (YAWN) ON JOHN 19!" Part 6

Hi, Everybody!


(That wasn't Dave and his sister (but it WAS a kid in a bunny suit...).)

You have Money. Dave needs Money. I smell cornnuts!
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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 Part 5 and now Part 7!

APRIL FOOL! It's Part 6!

16 Feb 18 pg. 2

I don't think I'm fabricating the level of irritation I'm suggesting. I think it's palpable in the dialogue between the Johannine Jesus and Peter in John 21:20-21:

Having turned about upon the ____ (Peter) is looking at the disciple whom was loving the Jesus following, who also fell upward in the supper upon the breast of him and he said "Lord, who is the ___ giving beside you?"  This, therefore, having seen, the ___ (Peter) is saying to the ____ (Jesus), "Lord, this however what?" Is saying to him the ____ (Jesus), "If ever him I am willing to be remaining until I am coming, what toward you? You to me be following."

Which, as I read it, is actually, very funny on a couple of levels.

On the prosaic level, it communicates, I think, the level of irritation that Peter always had with John's unashamed, unconcealed, flat-out, lamb-like love for the Johannine Jesus.  Peter referring to John as a "this" rather than "he" or "him", I think, sums up Peter's ill-concealed antipathy. That antipathy exacerbated by the fact that, I infer, Peter didn't irritate John one bit. I don't think John gave Peter a second thought. 

On what I see as a more elevated level of comedy, it is noteworthy that the KJV and NBD -- pointedly! -- suggest that John "tarried" at Ephesus. This is definitely the favoured translation of "to be remaining".  And if that was, indeed, the way the Johannine Jesus put it: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (KJV emphasis mine), then the allusion was, pretty directly, drawing an analogy between the relationship of a) the Johannine Jesus to John and b) Prophet Elijah to his successor (?) Prophet (?) Elisha. 

Elisha literally followed Elijah (which is why, I think, the analogy struck the Johannine Jesus as apropos) even though Elijah discouraged him from doing so three times: 

2 Kings 2:   And Elijah said unto Elisha "Tarry here I pray thee for the YHWH hath sent me to Bethel:" and Elisha said unto him, "As the YHWH liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee" so they went down to Bethel.

Bethel -- which translates literally as House of God -- was really the first Judeo-Christian monotheistic place of worship (the Kaaba in Mecca, supposedly, predates it) because that was where Jacob set a rock for a pillow and dreamt that he saw angels ascending and descending on "Jacob's ladder".

 2 Kings 4: And Elijah said unto him, "Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee: for the YHWH hath sent me to Jericho": and he said "As the YHWH liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee."  So they came to Jericho.

16 Feb 18 pg.3

2 Kings: And Elijah said unto him, "Tarry I pray thee here: for the YHWH hath sent me to Jordan." And he said, "As the YHWH liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee."  And they two went on.

The elevated comedy, as I read it, is that it's a YHWHistic triune (he/she/it; Bethel/Jericho/Jordan) enactment, reverse-engineering (or, as I read it, trying to) the monotheistic progress from Beth El (House of God) to Jericho (an early conquest of Joshua in the Promised Land) to Jordan (the crossing point into the Promised Land). The YHWH attempting to undo and, thereby, usurp and misappropriate God's narrative.  I don't think Elijah was aware of that. I infer that, like most monotheists, he assumed that God and YHWH were the same Being.   

2 Kings 8-14: And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

El-i-Jah combines the names of God and YHWH, but Elijah himself is far more monotheistic than YHWHistic (my inference: Elijah thought that sometimes God called Himself God and sometimes He called Himself YHWH). 

Verse 8 widely expands the parameters of the recrossing of Jordan, turning it into a reenactment of Moshe parting the waters of the Red Sea (a far more elevated and awe-inspiring miracle).  El-i-sha, I infer, was far more the essential YHWHist than a monotheist, which is why he's dogging Elijah's footsteps.  He wants to be Elijah's prophetic heritor as Joshua was Moshe's prophetic heritor. And he thinks the means of accomplishing that is to be there when Elijah's life ends.

And it came to pass when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee." And Elisha said, "I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me."

That is, he wants to be Elijah -- a being incarnated by God or an incarnation of God Himself (depending on what you think a prophet is) -- but, he also wants to be twice that: an incarnation of God and YHWH, simultaneously. Which is a distinctly YHWHistic (multiplying gods) and a distinctly non-monotheistic (One God) ambition.  As Elijah appears to intuit:

And he said, "Thou hast done hard in asking: if thou see me taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee: but if not, it shall not be." 
And it came to pass as they still went and talked, that behold a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

I don't think so. I think "they still went and talked" is accurate. I believe a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared or seemed to Elisha to appear. "Parted them both asunder" I see as several orders of magnitude more complicated. It can be read as: it parted them from each other. It can also be read as: it parted them both in two.  Which resonates with Elisha's request: if Elijah is parted in two then there would be a "double portion" of his spirit.
Next Time: 16 Feb 18 pg. 4, and NOT photos of Dave at camp, that was an April Fool you...uh, fools...

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