1986, Serial No. 00476

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Saint John




So, to start with this article of Cahill from the Catholic Biblical Coordination, back in I think 1976, which Schneider's picked up, which I had read and hadn't attached that much importance to, it turns out to be very helpful. It's an unconventional approach to the Gospel of John, which usually, of course, is tackled according to the methods of modern biblical criticism in our time, and therefore putting it into its historical context. This is rather ignoring its historical context and putting it into the context of world religions, okay? Now, that's something that is difficult for most biblical scholars to grapple with, and so there hasn't been much of it done. This is the first thorough effort of this kind that I've seen. But there have been some people in the past who have looked at John's Gospel as being derived from a pre-Gnostic thing or some kind of a Hellenistic, Middle Eastern potion of quasi-mystical thought. So they contend that John's Gospel is not very historical, and that caused the mounting


of a great movement of defense, and consequently the mythical approach was very much resisted by many biblical scholars who insist on the historicity of John. Strauss was one who attacked the historicity of John, and then Bultmann also seems to consider that irrelevant, and stresses something which is close to the mythical. And he stresses what he calls a Gnostic origin of John's Gospel, which is not very much accepted nowadays. So it's been difficult for the historical and the, call it mythical, approach to get together. That word mythical has an unfortunate twist to it for most of us, for me too, that is, I prefer another word. But if we stick to the notion of censor, I think we'll find that we do all right. So he's talking about, first of all he discusses the place of this kind of treatment in biblical studies. We don't need to worry about that now. Then he talks about the center in religious history. Now, you've heard that word center numerous times in recent years. Pete Rippers wrote a book called Return to the Center, right?


And what he's aiming at is something very much like what he's talking about here, although it embraces a whole world of meaning. So it's very difficult to pin down the center, because there's a cosmological center, there's a spiritual center, there's an anthem, and all these things, all these different kinds of ways of relating to the center, because the center is absolute center in a way. So we're using a term which is essentially polyvalent, the center, and yet, which seems to lead us towards some kind of center, even of those meanings. I've got a kind of outline of Cahill's article, which I'll go through very briefly. The center is the place of a breakthrough of the sacred. Every time we bring up one of these points in Cahill, we could make an immediate reference to John's Gospel and find what we're talking about reflected there in one way or another. Centering is the bestowal of some meaning from which all other meaning derives. So a center is a center of meaning, it's a cognitive center, it's a sapiential center,


whether or not that language is used, as well as a cosmological center, and therefore a religious center. He talks about literary centering, and one of the ways of literary centering he discusses is chiasm. It's very interesting. But he doesn't talk about a chiastic structure for John's Gospel as a whole. He mentions the chiastic theory for the prologue of John, down on the bottom of page 58. Before me I have privately circulated notes, that's when it was the kind of underground theory. But not so much, because Paul Mardiff, way back in the fifties, said that the prologue is chiasm, and he really made it stick, I think. We've talked about that already, and seen that it's pretty reasonable. But he doesn't talk about a chiastic structure for the Gospel of John as a whole, and that's what Ellis, of course, is putting before us. He says that Matthew has a chiastic structure, I haven't looked into that, I don't have the critical article on that. And of course there are chiastic theories from Mark, one of which, if you first read


the article, it's pretty convincing, but I haven't gone into it critically. I've got that article if you're interested on Mark. It was in our biblical, what do you call it, bulletin of biblical theology. And then the Iliad, he says, has a lot of chiastic structuring in it. Remember chiastic structuring is simply a symmetry based on a reproduction of elements that move along. So we're coming down on a stanza of poetry, A, B, and then B prime, A prime. B prime reflects A, and A prime reflects A. Of course you can have a symmetry between C, and we'll find out that Ellis gives us a chiastic structure for John's Gospel, there's always a center, even though the center may seem to be a little off, lacking in meaning sometimes, but there's always a C, there's always a center, and there are five-part chiasms in Ellis' scheme, as we'll see. Now, there's a kind of very interesting convergence between Cahill here, talking about the centering, and Ellis talking about chiastic structure for the whole Gospel of John.


We're going to see that the two can be fit together almost like hand and glove, in a way, whether or not you accept the results of that practice. Sacred places, and here the big man is Eliad, or Eliade, however you do it, who wrote a book on religion, we have it in the library, in which he goes extensively into these things, and he loves to talk about things like sacred stones, and sacred trees, and the axis mundi. The sacred tree is the center of the world, and most of these sacred places he's talking about make some contention, some claim to be the center of the world. So the altar, the place of the sanctuary, the place of the temple, the sacred tree, the sacred stone, all of these things make a claim to be the center of the world. Here we find a convergence between psychology, analytic psychology, Jungian psychology, and mythology, and those other areas. Because after all, the center for analytical psychology is basically the self, isn't it? The center of our being. And center and whole seem to almost exchange places.


When you get to the center somewhere, you're in touch with the whole. So the self is both the center and the entirety, the totality. And there we get to the kind of centering which we can call psychological or anthropological, whatever you want to call it, but it's the interior centering in the human person. And this turns out to be extremely important for us. In general, we've seen that two kinds of centering going on, I would say, in Jung. I call it a cosmological centering, in which you are finding a center for all that exists. You're postulating a center for the universe, for the whole of creation. And let us say that Jung, as Cahill is putting it, is saying that the Word of God, who is Jesus, the Word incarnate who is Jesus, the Logos incarnate, is the center for that whole cosmos. Then the other kind of centering is, you could call it human interiority, where as you look at the scheme, you are also finding a center in yourself and orienting yourself towards that center, and it may be that the scheme is a kind of initiation into that center within yourself


where the same dominant reality is present, which is the Logos, which is Christ the Word. So as you look at this cosmic scheme, you're also doing something in yourself. It's a little like alchemy in a sense. And here we're reminded of the mandala. He takes up the mandala here. He talks about Navajo sand painting and those mandalic structures. I wish I had a good picture of one of those mandalas for you. This is Jung's book, Man and the Symbols, and there's a whole lot of that stuff in here. But I don't have one to show you. You know what they're like. They're almost always, it seems to me, a combination of a circular form and a square form. And this can take all kinds of intricate shapes, geometrical shapes. But basically it's this. Quaternary. And this is the circle. And they're both centered things, you see. But they seem to, in some way, those two forms, also, instead of the square form, you have a cross.


And that's what we turn out to have in the mandalic arrangement of John's Gospel that I gave you. These two forms, the linear form and the, what would you call it, quadrangle form, the squared form with its harsh right angles, and that kind of symbol of fullness, which is the circle that it centers, seem to embrace the totality in some way. The human ways of experiencing reality, or looking at things, or whatever you want to call it. We'll get back to that later. I have a couple of Xerox portions of the Laity here, which I will read little extracts from, just to give you a taste of this. The sacred stone, the Amphalos, the center of the world. Right away he refers to Jacob. The stone upon which Jacob slept. This was in Genesis 28, remember? Jacob was on a trip and he laid down and he used a stone for his pillow. Those were the days when men were men. And he had this dream about the ladder reaching up to heaven.


Remember? Jacob had more than one dream. Another time he laid down and he had the wrestling bout, remember, with the angel, with the mysterious man. That's another one. This one he saw the ladder opening up to heaven. And God was standing at the top of it, looking down on it. And angels ascending and descending upon the ladder. And he said, this is the very house of God, this is the gate of heaven. Remember? Now the reason why I bring this up is, the Laity says, of course, that's the center of the world. The Bethel there, the place that he built there was the center of the world. As soon as you have a theophany, a manifestation of God, that place is somehow anointed, that place is consecrated as the center of the world. And here we have that notion of the axis mundi too, where the pole which unites the spheres, what's above and what's below and what's on earth. That kind of, the ladder is that, you see. Now, the reason why I bring this up is, it brings us right into the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Do you remember when Jesus comes to Nathanael? He says, I saw you under the fig tree.


And Nathanael, of course, argues with Jesus until that point. And he said, Rabbi, you are the King of Israel, you are the Son of God. That's a direct recall and deliberate of Jacob's vision in Genesis 28, where Jacob has this experience of the sacred place and of the heavens open and of this ladder that reaches between heaven and earth. So all of that, in some way, is giving us the whole, what would you call it, the Old Testament and somewhat mythical context for this sacred place which somehow Jesus is bringing into the world. Because finally he says to Nathanael, do you think that's something? You'll see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. So the Son of Man, Jesus, is to be that sacred place. So here you see the centering taking place of all of the riches of that Old Testament kind of primitive religious centering background brought in and then zeroing right in upon the body of Jesus. And this will be consistent in the Gospel of John. We're going to find that the body of Jesus is the center,


even in the final chapters of John. And in the end, it's the open body of Jesus, the open side of Jesus, which seems to open up to us the center. But more of that later. So we want to widen our vision again and kind of look at the religions in general, even though the illusion or the kind of reflections in John's Gospel are irresistible sometimes. So you have things like the sacred mountain and the sacred tree. Here's a kind of synthesis of Elisha on the center of the world. This is in his Patterns in Comparative Religion, page 375. To take all the facts in a single broad view, one may say that the symbolism in question expresses itself in three connected and complementary things. First, the sacred mountain, where heaven and earth meet, stands at the center of the world. Well, we've got plenty of sacred mountains in the Bible, don't we?


We've got, of course, Mount Zion. We've got Mount Moriah, where Abraham sacrificed Isaac. We've got Mount Tabor. We've got the Sinai of the Old Testament. And all of them, for the Jews, tend to converge in one mountain, okay? The temple is on Mount Zion, and that tends to be all of those mountains at once. And then you're going to find in John's Gospel, you've also got Mount Gerizim with the Samaritan woman way out there, remember? And Jesus says, neither on this mountain nor the other mountain. So all of these centers somehow are becoming devalued in view of the one center which he is bringing and opening up. There's an interesting distinction between the way Jews would handle that sacred mountain and the way that it might work out in a natural religion. Oh, yeah. Because Mount Sinai never really has a place. It becomes a point of reference, an exact geographical point of reference. It isn't like that mountain in Egypt, the Temple Mount. Haranachra. Yeah. Or Mount Meru. They turn it, they pick up the myth of it.


It's like the Ark of the Covenant. That's right. And then the temple. That's right. And so on. And then the temple gets destroyed, and then it's the Torah. So the language is continually there. There is a continual reference of Mount Sinai. I mean, Mount Sinai. Yeah, right. But it's interesting that, as it were, their peak experience, or the defining experience of their community took place geographically isn't important. Yeah. That's really interesting. It is, yeah. First you get a mobile center, and then the mobile center becomes devalued. Because they start to worship the Ark of the Covenant or something like that. It can't be used as a mansion. But note what they do with the temple there. And that's what Jesus is running up against when they fix the divinity in the temple. So the temple has to be destroyed. Secondly, every temple or palace, and by extension every sacred town and royal residence, is assimilated to a sacred mountain, and thus becomes the center of the world. So he makes the mountain the primary, and then the temple or palace.


And thirdly, the temple or sacred city, in turn, is the place through which the Axis Mundi passes. It's held to be a point of junction between heaven, earth, and hell. So there you have it, combining mountains and temples and cities. And then this mysterious thing, the Axis Mundi, which we're going to see reflected biblically as the Tree of Life. It's also that ladder of Jacob and a number of other things. It tends to transform itself. But it's the Tree of Life most deeply, I think, in Genesis. And that's what we're going to find Jesus, I think, manifested as in the Gospel of John. I think that image of the tree is lurking behind much of John's Gospel, especially at the beginning and at the end. Then he talks about the labyrinth and the centering in the labyrinth, and the hero who has to find the center. And the self is the center of the psyche. And then he talks about that Navajo, mandalic sand painting, that kind of thing. The mandala is a pretty universal thing, widespread.


And he talks about the two aspects of that mandala thing, the cosmological aspect in which you see this figure as somehow being a map of the universe. And then the center is the point of the entry or residence of the sacred in that universe. The external objective, and then the subjective, in which that mandala, that diagram before you, the painting in the sand, or the tapestry, is a diagram of your own self. And your interiority is the movement towards the center of that, and you're being guided towards that. And, of course, temples and things have been designed in this way in the past. He talks about kinds of center in mandalic structuring. Now, here the mandala is obviously not just a visual one. So he talks about visual centers, temporal centers, symbolic centers, verbal centers. We're going to find all of those in John. Temporal centers. Remember the feasts of the Jews? And all of those feasts that you find in John's Gospel,


the Feast of the Dedication, the three Passovers. Three Passovers. And we're going to find that those Passovers show a center even among themselves. The Feast of Tabernacles. And to each of these John gives importance. The Feast of the Dedication. And then, of course, the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a center. Even though it's at the end of the week, it's a center. You see that also by the repetitiousness. Wherever there's repetition, there's a kind of return, isn't there? Return to the center. Then he begins to apply this to John's Gospel, and specifically to the Logos of John, the Word of God in John. And he says how it's the intersection, the juncture of opposites, of eternity and time, of the divine and the human, the immaterial and the material, the sacred and the profane. All of this in the Word. He speaks about it in a series of ways, which I think can't be taken as too fixed. The boundaries tend to fluctuate a little bit. The Logos is a cosmological center, the source of energies,


the place of the eruption of the sacred. There's a psychic center. We just talked about those two. Then it gets broken down a little bit. A moral center, a spiritual center. A moral center is a center that challenges you to a response. So if you read the Prologue of John, see if we can just very quickly pick out these different levels of the center. John 1, once again. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. The Word is being established there as ultimate kind of source of contact with the divine. All things were made through him, so somehow he's the center already there, but he's not the center in anything. In him was life, and life was the light of man. And then the true light comes into the world. So he was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. If everything was made through him, and he comes into what he made, he's obviously the center of what he comes into, isn't he?


So there you have a cosmological center. But then he comes among people, he comes among people. And he came to his own home, and his own people received him not, but to all who received him. And here's the crisis, the creases, the judgment, the differentiation between faith and unfaith. This is the moral challenge. But it's not only moral. You have to call it spiritual. You have to call it basically, I don't know what the word is, religious challenge, the challenge of faith or unfaith. So he's the center there, and the sword. And then, to those who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. So there he becomes another kind of center. He becomes a center, you could say, a source of divinization. So the spiritual center, if you want to call it that, is more than spiritual, because he's incarnate. And it's a transformation of the body as well. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Among us, that means in our center, amidst us. Full of grace and truth, we beheld his glory. Glory is of the only Son from the Father. One more thing. Look down at the bottom of the prologue. No one has ever seen God, the only Son,


who is in the bosom of the Father. A center in God. Okay, there's the ultimate centering of the Word. So the Word, wherever he goes, is the center. The Word is the center already in God, and then he comes into the world. And when he comes into the world, which is made through him, he has to be the center of that. Wherever he walks, he's the center of what is around him. And this is what we begin to see when that Gospel opens up for us. Jesus can be on the periphery, but all of a sudden the scene transforms itself, and he is the center and everything else orbits around him. Whether it be in the synagogue, as this morning's Gospel, or in the grain field, or wherever. When he's speaking of the Father, the Father being there, in the Gospel of eternal life, then there, are we speaking of a center within a center? Where if Jesus is the center, then the Father becomes his center. Jesus says the Father is in me, and I am in the Father, okay? And so, that kind of, our language fades,


and our kind of prepositions and all that, and all the geometrical things, boggle at that point. But John speaks rather persistently of Jesus being in the Father, especially in that critical point at the end of the prologue. Now that can also be translated as the Father's side, as it frequently is. But John's language is very deliberately depth-oriented, and so you have to consider that meaning of in the heart and the wisdom of the Father. It has to be... Translating the ears to the Father's heart. Yeah, that's translating in a somewhat human way, okay? But literally, it's aced on Copa, and Copos is the wisdom, okay? Now often, for the Jews, that would mean in the fold of somebody's cloak, or alongside of him in the banquet, or something like that. But reading this in the light of John's center of gravity, I have to leave it open to that, and the wisdom of the Father, which is the RSV translation. It's been translated many times that way. Okay. And then, when the Word becomes flesh,


then it happens, okay? Then there's a kind of ultimate centering, in that he becomes, what he says is an anthropological center. I find that his language seems to stumble a little bit, but when the Word becomes flesh, then kind of everything locks into its center, which is the Word incarnate, meaning that heaven and earth have been united. And in that unity, in that bringing together of heaven and earth, of the divine and the human, of the uncreated and the created, everything else is brought together. For instance, male and female. Which the marriage, which is similar, whether human marriage, for instance at Canaan, or in all those episodes of Jesus with the woman in the Gospel, and which seems to mean at its strongest level that union of the divine and the human. In Christ himself, in Christ who opens himself, so that we are in him. So he gathers everything into himself. Okay, what else should we say about Cahill?


The strong point in his paper, I've got so many papers to read, is the point where he talks about the Word becoming incarnate. So I'm going to read you a few words of his. It's page... First of all, here's something he said before, which I should have read. This is his thesis here. If the author of the fourth Gospel is engaged in centering, and if the Logos is the center from which the entire act of God described in this Gospel both takes place and is understood, and so on. So that's his thesis, his premise. Notice he says act of God. It's not a static thing. In other words, the centering is not some kind of incantation which leaves you in a passive position at the end, or leaves you with just what you call a Gnostic magical pattern. It's intensely active because you're finding it when you get into the center, you've arrived at the act of God, which comes right into the present moment. Now, here we are on page 67.


His writing is very dense at this point. He's got a lot to say. However cosmological the early verses of the prologue and verse 10, the Logos could remain unknown were it not for the startling statement in verse 14, that the Logos became flesh and took up his dwelling amidst us. It is the becoming flesh of the Logos who is a new and a definitive center that makes the Logos a symbolic reality, an exteriorization of what, until this point, could be an unexteriorized reality. So for us, he's only the center when he becomes one of us, when he becomes material, physical, incarnate, visible. The reality is reached by the symbol of flesh. At this point, humanity becomes the symbol of the Logos and introduces a type of presence commensurate with the full existence and reality of man. Thus, the Logos who has been described as a cosmological center, a religious center, is now described as an anthropological center. So the language doesn't quite reach what he's talking about, but through the words you can intuit the force of what he's saying.


The kind of ultimate centering that takes place in the incarnation and then everything else as the consequence or resonance or overtone of this incarnation, of this one act, this act of union. The richness of the symbolism of centering is ultimately derived from the one ontological centering in which the human and divine, the profane and sacred, are joined into the Logos incarnate, center and source of unity for everything. Okay, that's it. That's his kind of climax. The Logos, now incarnate, is the center from which all else in the Gospel flows. Now this is something that has to be verified. We've got to prove this to ourselves. We can't take it. Why doesn't John use the word Logos to use the word ever in his Gospel afterwards? Well, Cahill's contention, which I think is true, is that once he's established the center with the word Logos, then it's free to do its work. And so he doesn't need to bring it up again. To bring it up again would perhaps be to take you from the center. You're supposed to see everything through that notion of the Logos as center.


Or, to put it in another way, you're supposed to be led by everything in the Gospel to discovering that Logos again and again and again more deeply as the center. And here, always, I must insist that when we say the center, I don't mean just the center of the Gospel, but as you find the center of the Gospel, you find the center of yourself, you find the center for reality. That's what John is doing. I was wondering, since you said two weeks ago in the commentary on the Prologue that the center of the Prologue was not where it became flesh, but that he gave power to become children of God. That's right. Is the emphasis on the rest, rather, who we are in the Logos, rather than the Logos as center? Okay, good. As long as we say the Logos as center, it's objective, isn't it, in a way? And I'm following Cahill right now, and so I'd have to kind of make the journey from what Cahill is saying to what we were insisting on last time. He sees the center of the Prologue as being verse 14, okay? And we found that the chiastic center is verse, actually, 12b, something like that, most precisely. Oh, you're saying it's 14? Yeah, it really is.


Where it became flesh. Well, he doesn't say it in those exact words, but that's everything that he says leads us to that, okay? That the central meaning of the Prologue is conveyed at that point. So we're going to have to watch that. We'll have to consider it later on. It's a good question. Let me see if I can say anything about it now. He said it was 12. Yeah, 12 or 12b. That is, to those who believed in him, he gave the power to become the sons of God to those who believed in his name. Something like that. I think we're going to find, for a long while as we're going through this, we're going to find a certain indeterminateness of the center. You'll find it in verse 14 at the point of the incarnation, objectively, and then you'll find it in that, call it subjective or appropriated use, and we're going to find it in different places and we're going to have to decide how to deal with that. In other words, it's not going to be fixed for us at one particular point


throughout the Gospel. We'll see that when we consider that other diagram of the structure of John. So if we can kind of keep that in suspension and bring it back to bear, the same question, as we go on, I think it may open it. I was just going to say, those two are so intimately linked, that verse 12 and 14, in a sense, it's not possible for us to be children of God unless the Word became flesh. That's right. So you can't have one... I mean, we can't be that which we are unless Christ is that which he is. That's certainly true, yeah. But it's as if you have to choose a center, okay? And in the chiastic structure, you have to choose pretty precisely. You've got to get it down at least to one verse. Well, with John emphasizing all the way through that it's for them to love one another as I have loved you. Yes, yes. It seems like it's like bringing all the commandments into one, you know, that the two are so


personally linked. I mean, it would just be a form of lying in trying to figure out the distinction. Oh, it's true. Realizing the two are intertwined. As long as they use this language of center, it inclines us to be very precise with what you say is true. I think we're going to find, actually, that both of those are the center. You can almost say that one is the center in the objective sense and another is the center in the subjective sense. And then the two become one. At times they'll seem to be two and at times they'll be clearly one. Let's see if that verifies itself as we go on. I'd like to do it with that diagram we're going to have later on because there we have kind of a get in front of ourselves. And the diagram has its perplexing problems too as we'll see because the center of that seems to be off-centered. It seems to be way off-center because the center turns out to be in John 6 or however the hell it's named. Either quantitatively or theologically does the center in the gospel seem to be there? I've got a question about this. I was thinking about in terms of various models of the universe and the Ptolemaic system


whose center was physically the center because that's something that jarred by the fact that it wasn't that way in fact the whole solar system is different like that and we're involved so we arrive at a different sense of a human person still at the center of God's creation but not in that way. I think the difference between finding a theological center or where would that be? You might have to be surprised by it. Maybe I don't know what I'm saying maybe it's possible it doesn't necessarily have to be in a particular That's right. We would expect one thing though if he's deliberately giving us a centering structure that what he really wants to say ought to be where he's leading us that's one thing with that structure you know so we'll see how that holds up. I got a real surprise with that John 6 with that episode on the lake which seems


the least relevant really sign in the whole gospel practically speaking and why did he put that in there at all? We'll wait to see what happens. Okay anything else we should say about that once he's made his point? Does the thesis of this chiastic structure have to be unconsciously John structured with centers? Could it be kind of an unconscious? Well according to Ellis it couldn't be unconscious because it's too precise. When we look at Ellis's reconstruction my golly it's like a machine see it's too precise it's too conscious and that's what bothers you about it. Okay I think chiastic structuring often can be unconscious in the sense that you begin with something and then it was your important point let's say a key point that you have to present then you make a development and then you come back to that key point to fortify to bolster what you said in the beginning that's chiastic you know or take music which doesn't think of itself in chiastic terms but you've got a theme and then you've got a development


and then you've got a recapitulation okay So we wouldn't have to hold Ellis No sat down and made diagrams No but the correspondences are strong enough so that you can't help entertaining that possibility There's plenty of evidence that the chiastic structure is very prevalent in our writing and teaching and writing and educating and all that so it's The surprising thing about it is why did they do it you see if you say that it's like a mandala okay but did they really do that then it's so complex they couldn't have thought of the gospel that way could they but then what occurs to me is that you can memorize the whole gospel very simply by using that pattern as we'll see later on yeah because you can relate everything to everything else everything verifies its place by the correspondences with the things around it whereas otherwise it's


almost impossible to memorize the gospel you know all of the it's not impossible but it's quite difficult unless you can make this connection here's another thundering statement of Cahill about the place of this center of john in the new testament the difference among the fourth gospel the synoptics and the old testament should not be ignored whereas each of the synoptics in his own way stays within an existing and continuous tradition john by his prologue posits an absolute center which supersedes and replaces all other centers christianity in this gospel appears in a much more distilled form than it does in the synoptics with john there is one beginning that supersedes all others christianity he is crystallized so to speak you can see his leaning towards this kind of archetypal thinking whereas a lot of biblical scholars would reject that i'm sure similarities and references to the genesis account of creation should not lead one to because remember in the beginning was a logos john is deliberately


recalling the first words of genesis the creation account similarities in reference to the genesis account should not lead one to suppose that john is simply continuing in a timeline that began with genesis well that's obvious such may appear to be the case to later eyes but evidence in the prologue indicates that the logos became flesh is a center a new reality a new eruption of the sacred a new meaning meant to replace all prior hierophanies and meant to inaugurate the new age they talked about this devaluation of the other hierophanies you can overdo that and he says that john is the one who brings out the discontinuity with the old testament and paul brings out the continuity i always thought it was the opposite but anyway he's he's honed in on one very important notion for us this notion of centering and its connection with the logos with the word if the word is intended to be the center by john and if john thinks in terms of centering then that's a very important lead for what we're going to do now


i gave you a page called dimensions of the word dimensions of the logos i don't know if i should even comment on it i'll run through it just in a couple of minutes the idea there is to give you this is just intended to give a kind of idea of the axis which allows us to reconstruct everything reconciling it and and we can attempt to separate the strands of dimensions of all this range of significance of the logos of the word beginning with the word as equal to god as john puts it in his prologue the word is creative all things are made through it


therefore it has a cosmic scope so we've got a kind of vertical axis and a horizontal axis already erected for us that is the horizontal spread of the word which includes all things and the vertical reach of the word which has its origin in god because it is the source of all things it remains within all things it's imminent in all things and this is going to be important in john even though it remains behind the scenes that the word is already there the metaphysical dimension of the word therefore because the word is in everything the word is symbolically reflected even in the surface of everything even in the faces of all things of material things it is the center and the noumenon at the heart of all symbols thus jesus can appropriate these common symbols to himself when he appears he can say i am the light of the world okay because somehow light is already his sign because the word somehow is already in that light and with so many other symbols as well the word is cognitive word already is something that you understand it's addressed to your


mind you can't get away from that the word has to be cognitive and therefore it opens a whole sapiential approach to john's gospel and to the revelation and because of its enormous scope this notion of logos you see it kind of brings us across all these boundary lines just like the old wisdom theology did prior to the development of critical thinking the critical thinking is something we essentially need though in order to keep it within bounds otherwise it just becomes a kind of gnosticism a happy gnosticism the word is dynamic here it is a more strictly jewish and old testament sense of the word the word which is a fire the word which is a hammer crushing rocks the word which saves israel the word which goes down like a warrior remember and the word which somehow contains god himself it always brings the presence of god with it so the word acts as if independently but when it acts it's god acting in it it's the immediacy of god's action it brings israel into existence and saves him the prophetic word which is also the word


spoken by the prophet the word that comes from god the word of the lord came to you know isaiah jeremiah elijah and it challenges to a response we see this happens with the word incarnate as well already in the prologue that's coming out and the word becomes flesh it's incarnate in the human person becomes tangible visible audible and therefore becomes the source of a particular religion now here we've got this kind of absolutely universal reality of the word coming down into one very limited human being who walks upon the earth that's jesus and here starts the particular entry when we talk about center okay here's the center as it were geographically physically is in this one little human being and then we have this particular religion which is developing from him from this one bodily being of course the same thing happened before in judaism in israel we had the word spoken to this people not in the same way to other peoples even though the word was with those other peoples uh irenaeus and the early fathers had this scope of the word and it tends to get lost


after the clement of alexandria and irenaeus especially clement on the kind of pre-presence of the word before the incarnation so the word is the source of the church and the word sort of broken open and poured out as the source of the koinonia the communion the association of love that is in the church and that is the church the word is the bridegroom and here we come to the christian mystical tradition from origin down to john of the cross and has a sponsor relationship with the disciple through the indwelling word the word is the interior friend the interior bridegroom to whom we have this individual this very personal relationship which seems to bring us all into another area which theology doesn't really reach into but it has to be personal experience that kind of sketches it out when theologians talk about it they can only reduce it into very common terms like ronald when he talks about it he tends to talk about it as a particular psychological experience of the common christian grace which i think is true and yet it's not adequate to what for instance theresa dabbler


on the cross is writing certainly the word is recapitulatory i've quoted ephesians 1 10 remember and that's the key verse for this notion of recapitulation that god willed to bring together all things in christ recapitulate and i kept poliosis is that it and kephala kephala that's the head okay but the head's also the center you can equally well talk in terms of centering that god wanted to integrate everything by bringing it together around this one center which is christ paul often prefers the word head kephala but he often thinks in terms of centers especially when you talk about bringing all things together on the cross and iran is is the one who marvelously developed that notion of recapitulation and it comes very close to what cahill is saying when he talks about everything being brought together by the word but iran does it in a much more theological way this is in the last times times that commence with the incarnation and then parallel in a similar


fashion on a smaller scale for the interior level it's an integrating center within the human person here we get close to of course young psychology the self and the word having a kind of analogous uh role and the self and christ having a kind of they kind of seem to take places with one another the self is a christ christ is a symbol for the self and whereas the self is symbol for christ now the self isn't a symbol because it's invisible whereas christ is the science of the word the physical of god but they have that kind of relationship you can do this in other ways uh if some of you have read maximus the confessor you may remember how he has all of these pairs of split opposites being drawn together by christ remember the heavenly and the earthly i guess the fleshly and the spiritual and the male and the female so all brought together and integrated in christ so you can take pairs of opposites too and do it and this is only a hasty sketch but it gives you some idea of the amplitude of the word when paul


in ephesians 3 talks about the height and the depth and the length and the breadth see this is what he's talking about this christ center that gathers it all together especially the contrary the opposites that were at war with one another like jew and gentile and like god and a human person sometimes for john in his integration the light comes into the darkness but they don't marry one another unless you say in the incarnation that the life has married itself with human darkness but john never says that that's right he never says it for you that's the strong thing yeah the whole yeah now it's a different pattern it's not just integration but it's judgment it's judgment and the darkness judges itself by refusing the light exactly and it's literally sinister we're going to see on our diagram kind of the left hand side is the is the side that represents


the refusal of the light and self-condemnation to darkness which is judgment okay whereas the other side as it were the pre-gratuitous outpouring of the light not question the negative sense the darkness for john is sort of basically essentially evil is there some reality that symbolizes the shadow in the jungian sense which is not basically an evil thing isn't somehow in some other dimension and john that's an interesting question we call it the shadow but maybe some other symbol in john would indicate the reality yeah she's a shadow that gets redeemed she has the shadow whether you can call her a symbol do we have a sinner in god's gospel that is thoroughly besides this line that's a good


example but in his other meaning of the world rather than the world as evil yes in the world that god loves and so yeah that's right sure that certainly is not redeemed not yet but it's redeemable because there's a world that's redeemable and so god sent his son so for john anything that's redeemable is anything that is willing to respond to the light that's right then that's not evil that's what's evil is somebody who's made a decision against yeah john will say that they hated the light because their deeds were evil and so they had to kill christ he says for instance whoever says he's without sin is a liar that's right so this is insistent whoever denies the shadow as it were he puts himself in the shadow puts himself out of sight yeah okay we'll see that sin manifests itself in refusal of faith refusal of faith and belief that is rejection of the light when it comes into the world


john yeah see john doesn't really allow very much space for the shadow in the good person there's no gray shadow there's only black shadow okay which means condemnation he doesn't believe the community these are all together or or it's that's right yeah that's the trouble that's the big problem with john's but john's theology despite its beauty schneider's brings that out very well i don't know if it's uh i don't think in john that it's kind of reading in a moral way but just darkness uh who believe yes in jesus who doesn't believe exactly that's right no more or less darkness so he doesn't believe that jesus is uh that's right


in the other gospel you've got all these parables about the lost sheep you know and so on the parable of the the two brothers and the one brother comes back and the parable of the weeds and the grain so don't pull up the weeds lest you pull up the wheat but john wouldn't say that you got the idea that the weeds even can turn into wheat and in the other gospels all those things are of a process of growth also a process of development and john seems to be an absolute either you have been begotten by god and then you can't sin or you've been begotten by the devil he almost says okay you can't do anything but sin it's the way it sounds so that's pretty uh the way it needs to be complemented by a lot of other theology before it can be accepted but there's something basic there you know even in circles outside of christianity i mean i've noticed people confining me in terms of beliefs and saying they want to see that that i believe all the way in what i believe otherwise it doesn't have meaning okay


do you see in other words john brings a clarity yeah the fullness of witness yeah exactly in stillness openness they still hope for an openness to them wherever they're coming from but they really want to see that you're okay one thing one thing is the fullness of witness and the belief that is faith another thing is lapse and sin and the possibility also of process and the possibility of the person moving from the darkness into the light okay or even from the light into the darkness which is not really conceivable that's right historically it was almost people that uh when under pressure they uh uh church didn't know how to handle that for the first few centuries see they'd have some who would be martyrs and others who would falter and and sacrifice to idols they didn't know whether


they could be taken back in or whether they were just out for good until they kind of worked it out very painfully and third and fourth centuries sacrament of penance and the idea of reconciliation okay that's good yeah if you let go of the little you have because it's so little that it that you're frightened you've got nothing that's good it's very monasticism or whatever so i think this stance in general is probably very essential oh yeah it's only that it has to be you need something else there yeah you need something else to take care of the center because christianity has so much to do with the center you know um we'll see that a little more as we go along too okay that's maybe enough about


the prologue and the logos okay i'm sure you agree um let's go on to the structure of john's gospel now first of all simple structure uh there's the structure that brown gives you and you have a xerox of brown's outline of the gospel of john um this is on roman numeral page 138 outline of the gospel four parts prologue book of signs book of glory and epilogue okay very simple prologue chapter 1 1 to 18 the book of signs goes all the way down into the middle of the gospel quantitatively from the first chapter through the 12th chapter the public ministry of jesus and then the book of glory from chapter 13 through chapter 20 now that's the basically the entry into jerusalem the supper supper dial the separate discourse


passion death and resurrection of jesus now he separated chapter 21 which is a dubious uh belongingness to the gospel okay and call that the epilogue now that's fairly widely accepted scheme nowadays okay and it's not one that calls for a great deal of uh what do you call it uh close inspection it's kind of self-evident and it works i mean it's a good scheme it's a good working scheme as we go on and we'll find that it's fairly reconcilable with what we're going to do uh now which gets more complex before we go to ellis uh there's walmart who has not only given us a scheme for the prologue but also suggested one for the gospel and he doesn't talk about chiasm in the gospel so much what he talks about is seven weeks seven


weeks now he says that the structure of john's gospel is based on the creation account of genesis one which leaks over a little bit into genesis two of the first couple verses and he picks out seven weeks in the minister in the life of jesus in the gospel i find at least two of them very convincing the first and the last so these have to be seven groups of seven and here we're getting into one of these numbers the first one is the first chapter of john from the calling of the first disciples right after the prologue 119 to about 211 so through from the calling of the first disciples to cana uh wedding feast now that one's almost there in the sense that uh john will say something happened then on


the next day on the next day on the next day if you count those days then he says on the third day there was a wedding in cana by golly you got a week so it's as if he's giving us the week of creation epitomized summed up in these first few days of the ministry of jesus culminating in the marriage which gives a very kind of satisfactory closure for this thing okay uh then there's a self-evident week at the end of the gospel if we if we put away chapter 21 now okay just consider 20s the resurrection appearances um remember the order of the appearances the two disciples go to the empty tomb right then mackle and goes to the tomb and is uh encountered by jesus and the same day that's very early in the morning first day of the week the same day that the disciples are gathered in their room in the house and jesus comes okay there's your first day eight days later which means on a week later all right the first day of the week the disciples are gathered again and thomas is there so there's a week and that's deliberate it doesn't necessarily


have to be historical at all so uh that's the week of the resurrection and this is the week of the first disciple which is a kind of honeymoon period in the ministry of jesus it's got that kind of atmosphere the song of songs in it as well as of genesis creation especially when you get to the cana miracle then the other ones are connected uh with the feasts the jewish feasts and he contends that some of those feasts lasted a week for instance tabernacles so the second week is the events which circle around the first past from uh chapter 2 verse 13 to chapter 4 verse 54 the third week those which surround the second past chapters six and that must be five and six is a type of graphic narrative three chapters five and six remember that's the paralytic at the pool and the supper discourse and the not the supper discourse but


the miracle of the loaves the trip across the lake and the discourse on the bread of life fourth the seven or eight days of the feast of tabernacles and he extends that chapter seven through nine five christ discourses at the feast of the dedication that's in chapter 10 with the cure of lazarus which follows it shortly afterwards 10 and 11 six holy week at the third task ending in christ death chapters 12 through 19. you can see they're a very unequal size now we find that in almost every scheme when you get to the last days of jesus life the uh the gospel swells in a sense there's a lot of discourse and so on and so it throws it out of proportion uh quantitatively what was that piece dedication dedication of the church of the temple so you can you can i didn't work this out that is didn't check all these passages and see how it looks in detail you can see you can do a lot of


things in the last gospel which were plausible with a little arrangement we might say that saint john meant to divide christ's life into seven periods of seven days in seven weeks and the reason why he wants to do this is to draw a parallel between the work of creation and the work of the messiah now i think he's right on there okay if i were to try to lift out of wal-mart's treatment there the things that convinced me these would be the ones the points first of all the presence of the first and the last weeks i think they're really there secondly wal-mart's basic insight that john wants to attach wants to base john's got his own gospel his view of the work of jesus upon the creation account the connection between creation and john's gospel now note uh two things here two sides john's gospel has often


been talked about as the gospel of incarnation rather than the gospel of redemption or salvation and especially salvation through sacrifice on the cross okay the contrast john or paul notice how these things line up creation and incarnation versus exodus and historical salvation and cross sacrifice and so on okay one with a much more cosmic and what would you call it metaphysical and revelatory and sapiential aspect to it the other with a historical particularly jewish and uh pretending a lot to institutional religion and to the historical ways of god with man in the old testament now one obviously can't uh supplant the other they're both necessary but john's way over on one side in contrast with the rest of the old testament with the rest of the new testament and then uh some of the connections that he makes i find


convincing too but i won't go through it here as it would take too long and then finally the background that he brings out here and elsewhere uh of john's gospel in second isaiah isaiah chapters 40 to 55 when i looked at that i was astounded at the connections that appeared with john's gospel from the beginning to the end you'll find it especially in isaiah 55 which brown says is the background of the of chapter six and the bread of life chapter isaiah 55 come to me you know uh you who hunger and why do you work for bread which doesn't tell you well that's immediately reflected in chapter six of saint john and then as the rain in this as the rain and the the snow come down from heaven and water the earth so my word which to me the word which is bread it gives bread for the eater and seed for the soul and so on okay we'll get into that later but also the whole lamb of god notion that comes out of


second isaiah second isaiah contains the four servant forms so we're going to find a lot of things there in the notion of the light of the world and everything and the fact that second isaiah is seeing jesus work not what i'm talking about is seeing the work of god as a creative redemption he's seeing the historical work of god in the old testament as a new creation there's a new creation and emphatically that's where that thing jumps through in the old testament is in second isaiah now that's just what john is doing but for him this second creation is centered in the word which becomes incarnate okay which comes into the world and then recreates the world from within itself and recreates the human person from within itself now that's what's going to justify this chiastic this kind of mandala structure i'm proposing afterwards any questions about wahar before we go on


the next thing i want to do is ellis and uh you've got a couple of diagrams you've got a diagram i gave you this morning for ellis there are two of them it's a u-shaped with the bend at the bottom all right one of them is simple and the other is complex but they look very much like one of them you also some time ago had a xerox of a big chunk of the first chapter of ellis oh there we go good now this is ellis's book once again the genius of john and on pages 14 and 15 he gives you a chart of this basic thesis which is a


is totally structured theastically so this is a blown-up version of the chart which he has on pages 14 15 of his first chapter setting forth the basic theistic structure which he finds in john you got this from the dissertation of a jesuit called here i don't know what happened to here why it's not here he must have flunked it when his thesis he failed it and then he put it in his book so um here you see the the five great portions of john's gospel according to ellis you'll notice that there's a big disproportion between these first of all


one two three is down here four and five now this is only five verses this is john 6 16 to 21 whereas each of these is pretty substantial at least a couple of chapters and these become enormous over here so there's a big quantitative disproportion and the center in terms of quantity doesn't seem very central at all that's so small and then we wonder why it's the center at all it's that passage where after the multiplication they want to make jesus king the disciples get into the boat they go across the water the storm rises they see jesus walking across the water and he says it is i cannot be afraid he gets into the boat and immediately they're at the land to which they're going that's the center of the whole gospel for us now how are we going to explain that there's a thing that was pretty helpful for me when i was doing uh our teacher pointed out


that the way chiasm works center can have several functions uh it is not necessarily or in fact most of the time it isn't the place you're heading for yeah but that's important it's what kind of it's like well it gives the sun and the planets are kind of being held in coherent uh you know harmony yeah center holds the thing but isn't necessarily the place you're going for that's certainly true in john yeah secondly is uh it's uh you can read this thing from that the outer parts uh give meaning to the center attitude in other words once you locate the center if you want to understand the center you've got to read it through those concentric that's right or you can say another uh way of saying maybe you have to go to the center and then you read outward and the only way you can understand the outer circles is through the central so the center can function different ways in uh in a chiastic structure


and so sometimes it functions in one way sometimes it functions in another way we're gonna find that here because some of these centers function one way and some in another way okay and what the importance of this will only become clear as we go on and i think only has become really good to be diagrammed now to take an example of this some of you have done a little of this before so i don't want to run out of length um one of the best matchings here is between the beginning and the end between one and five between the first chapter of john and he says 20 plus 21 but i find it adequate just with john 20. let me remind you those two weeks that we just have a number in walmart scheme the first seven days which are in chapter one and the last seven days deliberately and chapter 20 that's already a pretty good parallel pretty strong then you've got the fact let us say in john 2 for the marriage feast of cana


and in john 20 of jesus encounter with magdalene now both of those episodes smack of the song of songs and of the early chapters of genesis the encounter between the man and the woman a lot of nuptial overtones to both of those or take take the relationship between the coming of the disciples to jesus in chapter one and the coming of the disciples to the tomb of jesus in chapter 20 he puts on 21 with the peter beloved disciple thing but let's try to do it without that in the first chapter you've got two disciples first two uh are with john the baptist and they're appointed and they go to jesus right and he says when do you seek and so on in chapter 20 you've got the two disciples to go to the tomb of jesus looking for and there's the encounter with magdalene in chapter one you have a series of disciples who come to jesus and accept him beginning with i think it was an andrew but the other unnamed disciple maybe john


maybe the beloved disciple and finally in thomas i mean in nathaniel right culminating in nathaniel who's a holdout as the resistor and it says finally when he's convinced he says uh you are the king of you are the son of god in this exclamation of faith to israel in chapter 20 we've got the series of disciples coming to believe starting with the beloved disciple who steps into the tomb and jesus says john says he believes so unbelieved and culminating in thomas with a very similar structure where thomas from unbelief or resistance is turned over to belief then he comes up with this double proclamation you are my lord and my god okay now that's deliberate parallel and there's a good deal more in those chapters we could pick out a bunch of other things here let me see if i can find a couple of strong ones to illustrate what he's doing here for instance at the beginning of two we have the samaritan woman with jesus at the end of four we have


mary and martha and mary anointing the feet of jesus there's another strong parallel so on the second diagram that you have there it's a kind of wired version of bellas see all those little wires now those are intended to with great pain believe me those were those wires are connected to show you the connections that dallas makes between the church there's one stray wire which wanders from the left side to the right side there he doesn't seem to match that one up indicates what might happen so notice that the wires are semi-circles take the simplest one down here in this block three see that's a chaostic structure which means you've got an a you've got a b you've got a c


you've got a b prime you've got an a prime so the wires are just showing the connections between the parts a and a prime b and b prime okay so every time you've got a chaostic structure there i've tried to show you with those semi-circles where it is now in the big sections the beginning is related chaostically to the end part b and b prime okay each of them is five fold so each of these big parts is five fold and then by golly each of the little parts is five fold and that's why you have little semicircular wires for the whole section okay one two three four and five section one each with a spare semicircle indicating the little b okay never mind about that is three kind of the center of block one yes three is the center of block one and what does


three turn out to be it's um the cleansing of the temple isn't it yeah it's the first passover and it's the cleansing of the temple so the passover thing's very important and the temple cleansing turns out to be critical now this will illustrate something if you carry that off cross all right to the corresponding episode in five which is number 19 okay now that is the passion and death of jesus remember jesus said the temple is his body okay if you tear this temple down i'll build it up in three days so the destruction of the temple referred to by jesus or the temple itself and the body of jesus and the destruction of the body of jesus at the cross in 19 match up and that's intentional okay so there you have a symbolic representation uh kind of being connected with its archetype through this chiastic parallel so this pattern which i pointed out in the first part is in all four of the parts not in the fifth


part because it doesn't have a little chiasms consistently sometimes there's an inconsistency over in part um four for instance you'll find that in several of those there are little bitty down in number as he called it sequence number 12 and 13 you've got some little chiasms but not in every one of those sequences so sometimes i think he finds them where they aren't after you get to doing that a lot and you find one anywhere you can read the newspaper you know but look what happens when you get up in number five there okay doesn't pick from the fact the last part of it the gospel that's up here it gets really intense up there so you've got chiasms within chiasms take sequence uh 18 that's the last supper sequence which is very intricately designed according to him and i'll get into that a little bit later on


it's very big too look he's got one two three four five chapters there 13 14 15 16 17 so here the gospel is becoming enormously smaller in comparison with what it was before and so we find that there are three times as many verses in this chapter in this part here as there are in part one for instance three or more than three those numbers in there by the way are straight numbers or page numbers in ellis in case anybody wants to see what it's doing and then the same thing happens when you get into sequence 19 which is the passion and death of jesus a lot of little chiasms a complicated structure which we'll look at afterwards and a little bit so in 20 with the two micro chiasms that one that strays over from sequence 6 to 12 let me see what that is


what i do with those oh that could have been an insect that could six is the samaritan woman the samaritan woman and jesus 12 is the bread of life discourse so what have they got in common i think it may be the center of six and a 12. this reference to food jesus is hungry actually yes yeah it's got to be stronger than that okay you're right 120. it's got to be stronger than that 100. that's the page number


here we are the similarity this is in his treatment of the bread of life discourse the similarity in format between six and four those two suggest that the two sequences contain different concentric presentation of the central jonah teaching that jesus is the source and giver of eternal life to all who believe in him in one it's the bread of life and the other is the living water okay that's what he's saying i put that in because ellis mentions it there could be other there could be other equally plausible ones drawn in other places that he didn't mention so i didn't put them in unlike chapter 4 in which jesus speaks about himself as the one who gives the water of eternal life but does not identify himself with the water in 631 in the following jesus speaks about giving the bread of life and explicitly identifies himself with the bread that is the heuristic bread so it's that thing between the living water and the bread of life there is a real some kind of interconnection between


okay any comments about this before we obviously we could spend a year on this ellis's book there are a few problems with it one problem is the fact of the disproportionate i made a tabulation of the numbers of verses the disproportionate quantity of these various parts this one is very small as a center but that center we can kind of accept that because it's asymmetrical anyway see it's number three it doesn't match with anything so it can be different size these two it seems to me are roughly the same and each of these is three times as big as either of these so you ask well how in what way is that the center it's not the center quantitatively it's got to prove itself the center in another way so for ellis it proves itself the center because of this structure because he sees these symmetries and they all rotate around this part and because he's got really five parts this has to be the center so it's the symmetry and the key as it makes it the center for him let us see if that


stands up in any other way afterwards does he then say what he feels the meaning of that yes he does for him that's the exodus event reproduced okay and i think that's valid but it's also got something else on it it's also got the genesis the first moment of creation in the beginning with the word and the word with god okay somehow that's reflected in the i am which jesus announces at that at that moment so that the synthesis of genesis and exodus of redemption and creation that we found in second isaiah right there in the middle okay and that is the the center of interpretation from which everything else comes okay and that's the justification for this other form that i put it into the geometrical thing that that's one problem another problem is that very often the shape doesn't seem to correspond to the theological map okay the theological topographical map that you would make doesn't seem well expressed in the centers and the forms that


that he's given for example take the take the center of this is what the picture says the center doesn't have to absolutely be the most important point but after all we've got a right to expect that the center will be significant if this is the centering structure the center here for him the very center middle verse of this guillotine and part three which is the center of the whole gospel is that the wind was blowing and the sea was rising roughly speaking okay well that's not satisfactory unless we find a very good theological reason for it okay there certainly can't be the center of the gospel sometimes you feel that he's done it too finely that he's focused he's over focused and so he's given where it's only kind of an optical thing certainly if you're unconscious or semi-conscious say one just um naturally goes into rhythm and say yeah then this kind of thing is overly done exactly yeah


so he has to hold it is quite consciously worked out indeed he does yes that is done for a distinct conscious purpose right well i think people who do this uh uh fixed approach would fall that it's mostly conscious of a you know the final yeah reduction of it does that's the point of the neurologic study uh uh in fact that that proves the unity of the which is in contrast to uh people who are doing a feeling of the scissors and paste kind of uh former historical critical approach uh in fact the final adapter is the author and he's really done he might have had different sources of different materials put together i think if you see the boiling pattern ellis is doing the same thing so he's saying this is in clean uh contradiction to most most of the theories that have been put forth and it takes you back to the point of the unicity of the author of the author this is the beloved disciple of the same of the evangelist


the same as john okay who's put this all together himself and not in successive redactions okay so it's that kind of thesis it has those consequences he's going to uh john yes did the beloved disciple really and then basically john and the beloved disciple and the evangelist were the same is that i didn't realize that i wouldn't think really like that would go well no they don't anymore brown did for a while i think it is in his commentary they're still saying that he thought that john was the they'll probably change his opinion yeah what do you say that that the evangelist and the beloved disciple were the same and were eyewitnesses something like that no no here's uh ellis's conclusion this in conclusion of the genius of john who may we


may now with some confidence identify the beloved disciple that he who rested his head on the loving heart of jesus is witness through his gospel to that so great love of the father etc so the beloved disciple is john is the evangelist and this structure because of the way he coheres with that the other problem is the rigidity of the thing okay because if you believe that john did this with his gospel what room is there for anything important in the gospel in other words it looks like he's been predetermined or enslaved by this structure of his own so there isn't like some of those sometimes you'll see that in a poem that dylan tomasky asked if they would make you think well he's been carried away by the formalism so much that there's no room for real creativity it's a poem in which remember that prologue in which there are 101 verses and 50 here archaistically rhymed with 50 here but the trouble is that the rhymes are so far away 50 verses away that you won't even notice


there are 100 verses away you know so it's got no effect on the reader and it seems to have enslaved the author there's room for creativity there but in something like this you suspect that that he can't possibly be saying something significant or that the form can't say anything significant if it's his a priori is all that okay do this a brief summary of the two approaches to read that from a historical critical viewpoint one would conclude to a different shift from uh the very construct whatever the form is yes yes this would lean towards the traditional john that's right this leads you to the old-fashioned kind of catholic approach that john is the beloved disciple and that he wrote the gospel and that you're not really dealing with either with successive editors or successive redactions or that you really have to take into consideration the history of the johannine community which is a good thing today could this be some sort of it could could it make use of literary levels


as some sort of balladeer trying to put together a lot of different stories and different literary elements yes so there's a kind of corporate authorship and one balladeer put together you can say that but in the end you have to you have to attribute an enormous genius or an enormous inspiration to that balladeer okay in the sense that this thing is so centered and it brings so much meaning and so much power into that center that it's far more than a kind of literary technique okay you have to give him a theological power which is very unusual and that's probably a big problem is there that we we have a hard time attributing that theological power to anybody except the immediate intimate of jesus you see or someone who has the apostolic status of say the beloved disciple or john that's and so these anonymous editors when we begin to have to attribute that to them a lot of the problem is there um they'll give more more power but all the time just amazing and john yeah but if you look at the unity of this thing see the unity


of that kind has to come from some overwhelming intuition from some insight from some call it creative and literary way or call it a theological insight even the choice of the logos the choice of the word as the center is a stroke of what would you call theological genius in a sense now that's not something a committee did that kind of thing only can come in a sense through an individual consciousness i think would not want to put aside the fact that there were different sources so i think the fellows are making that case he's overstating yeah he's making a bit you don't necessarily have to follow to his conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from his uh although in fact the emphasis does fall on what you're saying on that final author equilibrium but he's not just simply a manager of uh disparate pieces he's doing something very creative but in fact it you can say not necessarily john or the beloved disciple


but he has received this from his community of various traditions and various accounts these are the parents of the synoptic community that you have or do you show any evidence of it like the kena things that's right what are these what are these stories coming from the eyes of one president he's got several yeah uh so whoever it is that the emphasis falls on that point also but that doesn't necessarily preclude all kinds of developments beforehand the danger of that method is whether we're left above that table the other thing the structuralist thing is you've got to simply a subjective reality and discover the subjective pattern what about the relationship i mean what about i mean the reader is simply kind of the the hearer yes looking at this pattern you know that it's kind of fixed it doesn't fit there's a there's a problem about how uh how it seems to me like meaning cannot be reduced to simply a pattern okay


i think we're going to find in john that that what he brings into the meaning what he brings into the pattern especially what he brings into the center is is powerful enough comprehensive enough that it answers to that objection we have to it has to be verified we do um okay we can come back to some of those questions later and undoubtedly will last time i gave you a simple kind of mandala which is the next step in our process here which is a cross with one boldface circle on it or two yeah this was the original but i've got another copy okay


okay this is basically a rearrangement of palace which has gone through a few stages but the principle is this hmm what i wanted to do was to take ellis's scheme which i think has a lot of truth to it and both test it and develop it by loosening it up and allowing the symbolic depths to come into play because the trouble with ellis's scheme is it's totally determined formally it's totally determined by those chiastic things now those don't have depth to them themselves they're just formal kind of surface elements what happens if you kind of superimpose a theological map a theological topographical map where each thing has its importance as you perceive it okay a little subjective but for instance something to have enormous importance like the last supper discourse the crucifixion the resurrection the bread of life discourse the cana miracle okay where each of these things is allowed to kind of radiate by itself superimpose


on ellis's map and see what you get now to do this we need to take another geometrical geometrical form for one thing looking at ellis's thing we he says we've got five parts but really we've got four parts really we've got one part the center which doesn't match up with the others it has no symmetries with the others basically it's by itself and it's much smaller so it works out much better than if you put it in the center of a cross put in the center of a quaternary figure now this is what i've done here but it involves a couple of problems dislocations notice you move the big numbers here are the numbers of ellis's sequences so they match up with the numbers you've got in this diagram okay you start from the bottom and you move up one through five but then you've got to go east okay you've got to go way out in right field to the episode of the samaritan woman and then you come back all the way across and you've got another dislocation then you have to go back to the center and go up so that looks pretty pretty violent and if it


doesn't justify itself well i hope to show that it does then you've got a big break between sequence five and the center there okay sequence five and then 10 11 12 there they're not in continuity of john's gospel you're jumping from chapter 3 to chapter 6 and likewise right above there you jump from 6 up to chapter 12 can that be cannot prove itself also this is somewhat been deformed and that the sides have been pushed in the reason for doing that is that that is all of john 6 has been put in that central square and then within that has been put another center which is the episode of the lake the reason for doing that basically the first reason for doing it was to get the woman episodes into symmetry they all form a ring all right if you gently nudge the two arms into the center we'll see we'll see if that proves itself later on


then some interesting things appear at that point let me point out some of the chief symmetries good first of all look at um look at 2 6 16 and 20 all right those are the fourth episodes where jesus encounters a woman and if you just look at them and compare them with one another you find symmetries and asymmetries which are very suggestive jesus and mary his mother number two and then jesus and magdalene the woman who had seven devils the number 20 even if john doesn't say so that's who she is you know okay so there's you've got the contrast kind of his mother the the flawless one in a sense and the redeemed one has been brought back from the utter reaches somehow of evil whether sin or just uh demonic uh infestation or whatever and then compare 6 and 16 and 16 you've got mary bethany whom jesus loved okay jesus loved martha and martha's sister mary


and lazarus and intimate with jesus when you're right near jerusalem okay this is the leading up to the final crisis when jesus uh kind of knocks against the temple of firework and is killed over here you've got the samaritan woman who's way out there in samaria okay who's way out the stranger that jesus encounters at the well and he's never seen before and who herself is a stranger to the authentic tradition in israel to the center to the temple okay to all of that he says you worship what you do now so that axis runs between that kind of center a couple of lines of center and a periphery the other axis moves between a bottom and a top other symmetries are evident in the healing signs all of which fall along the horizontal axis in in seven you've got the healing of the official son and we're over on the axis of outsiders here


and that official son is a basilicose he's the centurion of the other gospels of the synoptic gospel so he's an outsider all right and his son is dying and he's raised up by jesus over here in the matching theastically matching episode 15 jesus raises lazarus from the dead those two are very strongly parallel similarly in eight you've got the paralytic in the pool okay this is sabbath day by the way and in the corresponding episode you've got the blind man in john 9 who's told to go to the pool and this is also on a sabbath so very strong parallels which make you think that even if the whole thing isn't true at least there's enough coherence in it so that it needs to be followed okay so that something is showing up there that has to be going into similarly the beginning and the end is matches up as we've shown before as a general analysis


that is john the baptist and the first disciples right after the prologue in the first chapter and then the risen disciples and thomas there now there's a more there's a little confusion there maybe and a more general symmetry in that the first two disciples beloved disciples presumably and peter will go to the tomb that's in 20 and not in 21 so there's some things here that may still need to be rearranged or whatever other symmetries number four hecademus the discourse at night number 18 the supper discourse at night now when we carry this another stage we'll see more logic in that we'll see that there's a kind of band of light that moves around in this and has another background okay how can we justify these rude jumps here especially across the center well i think it's


been structured in such a way that the center is a crossing in both directions the c crossing at the very center there is a crossing both horizontally and vertically and enables us to make this jump the whole section down here might be called the section of john the baptist okay and what it turns out to be is a whole replacement thing with all of the things that jesus meets and goes through here are somehow external types external images which are then to be replaced as he goes on this part up here is the section of jesus hour and it all kind of funnels into the one hour it all kind of funnels into one time into a couple of days and into what jesus calls so the quantitative disproportion here kind of disappears into that into that we call it synchronicity of the one hour this over here is like the pre-gratuity as it were of the revelation which jesus brings just falling out to strangers first and then


to others as he moves in whereas this over here is all confrontation and judgment here's the revelation being resisted being contradicted and these discourses swell here as jesus dialogue doesn't dialogue so much as debates argues with the jews a lot of these i am statements are over here and each time jesus says that the opposition gets rougher before abraham was i am and the jews took up stones to stone and he hid himself and went out of the temple okay until finally here remember that the man born blind and the blindness he says i've found that those who see may become blind that the blind may see and he's talking about his opponents he's debating with those opponents and then finally when jesus raises lazarus john says outright that the jews decided to kill him because he raised lazarus so the contradiction between the light and the life which are given and the darkness and the death which oppose them okay bringing us to an ultimate confrontation and then we have kind of a sweet kind of a tender ending here at this end as mary anoints jesus anoints that body which is to prove to be the center up here which replaces


everything down here so there's a convergence of all of the things that are to be replaced into jesus and specifically concretely into his body there's a convergence of all of the times and the movement of jesus not only the old testament time so we're going to talk about this but the kind of linear journey of jesus in the hour when we get up here um how can that john 6 justify itself as a center well we'll have to see that as we go along remember john 6 is the center within the center i've made a kind of donut there with the hole being a lake episode and the uh the doughy part of the donut being the bread of life miracle and then the bread of life discourse in john chapter six um we can go into this a little more next time before we quit today i'd like to make one other suggestion carry this one step further yeah yeah we will maybe go to say now go ahead


you know in speaking about the genius of the person who would come up with this kind of symmetry in this kind of uh it seems like this would um come to a kind of inspiration from the holy spirit yes more than human genius you know and it's i think what victor alluded to in terms of the consciousness of the community focusing on the conscious of the leader of this community