February 19th, 1986, Serial No. 00473

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Saint John




This is something else. This we'll run into today when we do the Wedding Feast at Cana. Heavenly Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, heavenly Father, give us your spirit, your prayer, that we may know the word which dwells within us. We ask this in his name. So, I'm not going to fool around this morning, by golly. Last time we had a kind of introduction to that first part, and noticed the symmetries of the first part. Now, remember we're using this chiastic scheme, which involves certain choices. In other words, we've chosen which episodes we're going to treat, and we're passing over some. It's like, I don't know what to compare it with, but you pick out certain features on the landscape, and you're going to consider those, and other things you could equally well recognize, but you don't. So, if anybody wants to bring up what we're passing by without mentioning it, I feel free to do


that. And so we've got five episodes that we want to look at. And tell us if we've seen different things, and what we're doing today. And what we're doing today is this part down here. This is part one, I'm saying. This is part two. This is part three over here. This is part four. So, this mirrors this up here, and also identifies with these two other parts. The five episodes are first, chapter one, John the Baptist and the first disciples. The first disciples finding Jesus, as if introduced to Jesus by John the Baptist. Then secondly, the Cana wedding and the miracle. Thirdly, the cleansing of the temple. Fourthly, Nicodemus and the discourse with and about the Nicodemus episode. And then finally, John the Baptist, at the end of chapter three, who's kind of signing off. We've seen that there's a certain consistency in all of these episodes. Mostly, the inclusion


of John the Baptist does it. What they call an inclusion is when you have something that begins a text, and then you get the same thing at the end, which ties it together. It's the literary device which John uses. The chiastic form is essentially made up of those inclusions. In fact, inclusions within inclusions. So John the Baptist does it here. And then that replacement thing. We find that in each of these episodes, something is appearing, which is also going to disappear. Something is being used as a vanishing symbol. It's being replaced. It's being replaced by Jesus, or by what he gives, or by what he brings. But remember that in John, everything tends to get soaked up into Jesus himself, into the Word. So the symbols all kind of vanish into the light which is in them and beyond them. By the way, we have a class shelf in the library. I don't know if anybody knows it. It's over on the magazine table by the back door, by the rear door, the one near the community room.


You know where those shelves are that have nothing on them? Well, the books that are on them are for the class. I just picked certain commentaries out there that you might be interested in using. So sometimes I'll pick them up, bring them in here, and then put them back on there. Especially patristic commentaries. Once in a while I'll point out another book which might interest you. This commentary by Barrett, we have two copies of it. It's very useful. It's more compact than Brown. Brown is massive, and very much to the point, and pretty substantial. He does deal with the Greek, but he doesn't overdo it. I mean, he doesn't throw Greek at you all the time. We're going to be looking for certain things as we go through these episodes, and one thing you have to think about is the Old Testament background. You gradually find out how much of the meaning of John, as well as the other Gospels, but John in a particular way, because of his symbolism, depends upon Old Testament backgrounds. We're going to see, for instance, that 2nd Isaiah opens up all kinds of lights into John's Gospel, as also do the Wisdom Books and Genesis, especially the first two


chapters of Genesis, and the Song of Songs. And then, it's interesting, sometimes there are certain clues that you should look for a New Testament parallel, or something in the other Gospels. For instance, the healing signs. It's very interesting to look to see what may have been in the Gospel tradition that John picked up and transformed for his healing signs. Take the paralytic, or the man born blind, and so on. We'll do that when we come to it. And then you see what John is doing. You see what his artistry is, and what he's trying to say, by the way that he'll take a scene and rewound it. You can't always be absolutely sure that he's doing that, but there are certain very strong cases for that. Occasionally, we have to look to the scholars who learn it once for these parallels in Hellenistic literature, or somewhere else. We're going to find one that I didn't know about until recently, in the Marriage Feast of Cana, for instance, in the Dionysian cult. Surprising, but a very strong thing. And then we're looking for those chiastic symmetries,


too. So, we know where to look for them. We look for them in the parallel passages on the chiasm, on the diagram. And always, what we're looking at, and especially the signs are going to be related to the revelation of the identity of Jesus. If we're hypothesizing that that's John's central message, first the identity of Jesus, and then his way of being with us, his presence in us. First the identity, first what he is, then what he gives. First what he is as he comes to us in the Gospel and appears, say, as Messiah, as Christ, as Word incarnate. Then what he is for us after he disappears, and after all that he has said about the manner in which he's going to be with us. And that's what he gives. So what he is becomes what he gives. And he's there in two ways. First, he is there and it's a question of his identity. Secondly, he's here and it's a question of his presence. And the here is an interior here, but not only an interior here, because he's omnipresent. Because somehow the Word includes everything, encloses everything, too. But John doesn't talk in that language. He talks in the language of indwelling and interiority.


Then the relation to the creative Word. For instance, we're going to find that Jesus, usually when he does a sign, he does it by the Word. When he does a miracle, not always in John, but especially the healing miracles, he'll tell somebody to do something. And somehow in the doing it, the sign happens. That happens even in Canaan, which is not a healing miracle. And it's with the Word that it's done. Now, this takes us back to the identity of Jesus as being the creative Word, something which John, I feel, really wants to press. And it's kind of a moving center that moves throughout the Gospels. On every episode, you can probably find that identity of Jesus. And when you do, you find yourself back at the center again, and it illuminates that episode and ties it into the whole. So that it's as if we're always traveling with him, and we're always rediscovering the center as we travel with him, that he is the center, but in each new situation here in the Gospel. Then the relation to the seven days of creation. I'll be pointing that out here. Now, you don't have to buy that, but it certainly gives a lot of order to the Gospel, and a lot of


richness. The symbols that are present, and double meanings. We're going to find very often that John's using a word with two meanings. You run into that immediately. In fact, any time you find a word, sort of a basic, an arc term, not only symbolic terms like bread and water and light and so on, but even the particles, the conjunctives of language, the is word, the am, and so on, and certain common words like, what is it, that he's in your midst. For instance, John the Baptist says, there's one who stands in your midst. There's a double meaning. It means that there's one who's among you, as one is in a crowd, among a crowd, but also, somehow, one who is within you. In other words, the logos, the word who is within you. Not that John the Baptist is supposed to know what he's saying, after he's saying it. And John deliberately uses a word which I believe is open to that ambiguity. You find this all the time. And then, what I call centrology, is centering terms in John. As we go through each episode, you're going to find there's an emphasis on place,


and there's a time emphasis sometimes, which keeps kind of moving it towards central times, which are feasts, and especially the Feast of the Passover. So there's movement towards the center all the time. And then, a kind of order among those centers, and they're pointing in a certain direction. They tend to point towards the body of Jesus as the ultimate center of the gospel. And then, even in the body of Jesus, there's a center, as we see his side open, finally. So it's somehow the interior of the body of Jesus, or the heart of Jesus, which turns out to be the ultimate center on the earthly level. The other center is God, and the other center is simply the Father. That's the ultimate, ultimate center. The place where Jesus is, as it were. And misunderstandings. And the misunderstandings are always... We don't have to kind of reflect on that, but they're always illustrating and bringing out what Jesus is saying in a powerful way. Irony. The characters and their consistency in other episodes. We'll see that. Also, the lights that move between the characters. Take the women in John's gospel. Take those four women that we found in, as it were, the poles of our mandala, and compare them. It's very illuminating. Mary, that is


the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. And then compare the Samaritan woman with Mary of Bethany. And you come up with similarities and obvious intentional contrasts. That's in those papers I gave you just now. And then the place in the plot of John, which is this struggle between the revelation of Jesus, his revelation of who he is, and his kind of offer of self-communication, and the disbelief. The disbelief being the element of resistance that generates the plot, as we've seen in Culpeper. Okay, now let's get down to the concrete gospel and go to chapter one. I hope you have your... You always need to have your Bible with you. The first episode is John chapter one, starting on verse 19 and going up to the end of that chapter, verse 51. Now, remember that there's a good possibility that the original beginning of the gospel, before the prologue was welded


to it, was back in... We find it now in the middle of the prologue, in verse six. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. That's a classic way of beginning something in the Old Testament, and also in the New Testament. And very appropriate to begin with John the Baptist. And then, that's picked up a little later, and John bore witness to him and cried, this is he of whom I said, in verse 15. And then, verse 19, we go on with John. There's an enormous emphasis on John right here. He's given great importance, isn't he? And I think somehow he represents everything that Jesus comes to replace, and yet everything that points to Jesus. So, in some way, he represents the whole of a Jewish religion, which is not just rejected, cast away, or replaced, but somehow illuminated from within. As we go through the symbolism, we're going to find two levels of replacement, or you could say penetration. One of nature, and the other of the Jewish religion. Sort of one on top of the other. We'll see that especially with Canaan. And they sent to ask


him, who are you? Now, notice that we said that the center of the revelation of Jesus is his own identity. So notice the focus on identity right immediately. And everything that John says here about himself reflects back on Jesus, okay? In other words, who is this person who's making this big commotion here? Who's got all the people following him? Although, notice John doesn't do any signs. It's purely through his sanctity and the power of the word of God through him that the people are converted. He doesn't do any miracles. You have to wonder what's drawing all these people. It's just the power that was in him, aside from any conspicuous acts. Who are you? Now, this is very interesting, this sequence. You have to look at the Greek for it. Now, they ask him three questions, don't they? He confessed, and he did not deny, but confessed, I am not the Christ. He gives three answers, and they're of decreasing size, as it were. The first one is, ego ukemi


ho Christos. Now, that's a negative witness to Jesus, as it were. I'm not the Christ. But he's going to say pretty soon that that's whom I'm pointing out to. The second question, who are you then? Elias? And he says, ukemi, I am not. Now, those words have enormous force in John, okay? So Jesus is the one who comes and says, I am. And here John the Baptist is saying, I am not. Now you get the relation between John and Jesus. And there's this interplay between the contraries all the way throughout, wherever John the Baptist's name comes up, and wherever he speaks about himself. I am not. Now, you find that a couple of other times in the Gospel. One other time I want to point out, lest I forget it later on, is when they ask Peter if he's one of Jesus' disciples. Remember Peter sitting around at the fire there? And he's terrified. And I don't remember whether it was a servant, or one of the other people there, servants there, asked him, well surely you are one


of this man's disciples, you too, you're a Galilean. He said, I am not. Ukemi. See, that's the negation of the very thing which Jesus brings in that case. In this case, it's a disclaimer of being the one, all right? In John's case. In Peter's case, it's dissociating himself from the identity that Jesus has given him. It's hard to get it into words, it's so dense. It's denying the identity which has come to him in the Christ. Which has come to him by his faith in the one who is. And so it's a terrific betrayal at that point. But that's the way John uses language. You can see how powerful and how subtle it is at the same time. These things are not, in any mean, by accident, because the Gospel simply chocked full of them, this kind of meaning. How is it in all the translations they resolve? Usually because there's no way of putting that into English where you can get the double meaning, okay? For instance...


That may be true, but at the same time they don't even seem to address that. No, they don't. Because a lot of them don't believe in it. It's incredible how... What would you call it? This one, for instance, is an American dialogue. He says, no. But in the Greek it's, who came here? I am not. Yes, there's no way of putting it. No, the translators don't see it very often, you know. I think there's a kind of critical air in professional biblical scholarship which makes it very difficult to do this kind of thing, okay? It's like sticking their heads out of a foxhole and getting shot immediately, I think, if they suggest something like that that they can't prove. So the rational scientific mind has such a grip, even on biblical scholarship, that it's hard for them to be very audacious at all in this direction. But something that's obvious is that Jesus hands over his spirit, and the Jewish biologist says he died. Well, that's terrible because that's not even close to the word, you know. Because the word


is trotted as spirits, I'm arguing. In the Greek I forget the words. But it obviously has a double meaning of he breathed his last, and he handed over the spirit. John deliberately means it. And John is full of that. And when they miss it, it's kind of a betrayal of the gospel. Frances? Well, what's striking, too, is the question, who are you? And the question is not the Christ. Who are you? And the answer is, I am not the Christ. Yes, that's his witness. They leave it open, as it were, for him to make the disavowal, the negative witness to Jesus, as it were. But then he goes on and says... Then they ask him, are you Elijah, are you the prophet? Those identifications they suggest, whereas he said the first one. About the translations that you probably know, which one is the most accurate? So when we do read it... I like the RSV because it's pretty close to literal, pretty close to the exact language.


If you take the New American Bible, it tends to go around and tries to make it intelligible by departing from the original very often. See, the thing that makes the translation less valuable is when the translator tries to give it a meaning, or put it into your language, by departing from the original text, instead of leaving you with a mystery of the original text, even though it's not so clear. So as he moves towards you, into American colloquial language, you'll tend to lose that original density. So the RSV is pretty good, I think. I haven't found a better one to use. Okay, what do you say about yourself? I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Now this comes from Isaiah. Now here we have the overture, as it were, to this counterpoint that's going to be going on between 2nd Isaiah and the Gospel of John. And I think that 2nd Isaiah is behind John all the way through. It comes especially


to the surface at certain points, like in chapter 6, as we're going to see. But it's behind there all the time. Let me go back to 2nd Isaiah just for a second and point out a couple of things to give you an idea of this. Now it's very important here, because first of all, we've got the voice crying in the wilderness, which comes from Isaiah 40, which is just about the beginning of the Book of Consolation. That's the beginning of this big unit, which is 2nd Isaiah. As we begin John's Gospel, we begin 2nd Isaiah. That's deliberate, in some way. And a lot of the themes of Isaiah John has taken up, and the power of Isaiah and the power of John are very similar. I mentioned before how the I Am of Jesus, the closest thing to it in the Old Testament is the I, the first person singular of Isaiah, 2nd and 3rd Isaiah, where God speaks in that way, is terrifically powerful. Now Jesus appropriates that in John's Gospel, consequently the power that's there. Of course, the I Am goes beyond that, because it's also in Exodus, and it's in different places.


This is Isaiah 43. It begins, of course, Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Remember, speak tenderly to them. That marvelous language of Isaiah. A voice cries in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. I think this is in all of the Gospels in the synoptics, too. And of course, it tends to be in our Advent liturgy. We don't have much of John the Baptist in Lent, but remember, he is the desert figure. Every valley shall be filled up, every mountain and hill be made low. Remember, Handel's Messiah. The uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. Now, we're going to find out that at the end of this unit, the Cana miracle, Jesus revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. He manifested his glory. So it's the idiom and the thought and the prophecy of 2nd Isaiah being taken up by John quite deliberately. Now, the theme of glory, which is so important to 2nd Isaiah, and that's part of the delight of Isaiah, is the light theme and the glory that's continually coming out,


that's going to descend on Jerusalem and dwell in Jerusalem. That's why it's such a joyful thing to read. Well, John has that, you see. Glory is where John takes you. Glory is what John is interested in. The second part of the Gospel is called the Book of Glory. We're going to find that everything that Jesus does can somehow be summed up in the word glory. His glorification is the gift that he gives us. We'll look at that later, I don't want to say much about it now. Now, one point there is John's self-identification, 2nd Isaiah, right at the beginning. The second point is the Lamb of God. That is also from 2nd Isaiah. It seems to be a compound of a couple of things. Now, John points out Jesus, and he says, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. A couple of things come together there. One is the servant idea, all right? Remember the four servant poems of 2nd Isaiah. Remember, 2nd Isaiah is Isaiah 40 through Isaiah 55.


But John also uses 3rd Isaiah, which is Isaiah 56 to 66, the end of Isaiah. John is keeping in mind those servant poems, and that enters into the theme of the Lamb of God. And in the final servant poem, you have the Lamb thing explicitly. That's Isaiah 53, the last servant poem. All we like sheep have gone astray. Remember how the disciples are sheep for Jesus. It comes out especially in John 10, we're going to run into that. We've turned each one to his own way and so on. The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb. So he opened not his mouth. Because he poured out his soul to death, this is the end of it, and was numbered with the transgressors, yet he bore the sin of many. So that's where this comes from, I believe.


This Lamb of God thing. Now notice that with these two quotations, these two allusions to Isaiah, we've embraced the whole of 2nd Isaiah, because that's in chapter 53. We're going to find plenty from Isaiah 55, too. Now they've been sent from the Pharisees. Why are you baptizing? John answered them. I baptize with water, but among you stands one whom you do not know. Among you is mesos human, which I believe has a double meaning also. It also means in your midst, that is within you. This is the logos that is within every human being. Even he who comes after me, the thong of his sandal, I'm not wearing on today. I've puzzled over the sandal, but I can't make sense of it. That is, there's some allusion there, I'm sure, to something in the Old Testament, but I haven't spotted it. The only thing I think of is Moses in the holy ground. Let me take off his shoes, because this is the holy ground at the burning bush. The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.


Okay, there we have our Isaiah reference. This is he of whom I said, after me comes the man who ranks before me, for he was before me. Now, what's all that about? He was before me. I am not. He was before me. I came, but he was. Remember when Jesus says, before Abraham was, I am? That's what's there. Double meaning again. I was just going to say just what you just said. But also, I was reflecting when he said, I am not. It's I. But I am in some way his follower. Because he came before me. Even though he's after me, he came before me. And I some way follow him. Even in prison afterwards, you get that feeling too. Are you the one? I remember. So, he prepares the way, and he's also one who becomes one of his greatest. I mean, for all of us, the greatest followers. You can say he's a witness, okay? I don't know if you can say a follower in the usual sense of disciple,


but you can say witness. And that's what John says. Okay, so he's in function of Jesus, but seems to have a different relation to him than the disciples do. That's why I was wondering with this phrase, because he was before me, whether John is so strong about discipleship, that he wants to make sure that at some point John is not just a forerunner, but also a disciple in some way. Well, there are people who say that he wants to make mighty sure that the disciples of John recognize that Jesus is the one. In other words, there's a polemic there, they say, between disciples of John and the Christians. Some of them have still not understood the relationship of Jesus to John. That Jesus is really the one who comes, and they're still, as it were, hanging on to John. Even though John is obviously dead, okay? Yes. And even before he died, there was a struggle, wasn't there, between John and the disciples? There was some confusion. There's confusion. And that's evident even in John here, when they say, well, your disciples are baptizing more than John's disciples, and so on. So it's like a competitive thing.


Even though neither one of them obviously wants any of that. It's just the inevitable thing with disciples. He was before me. I myself, every time you hear that, he was, or really, he is. And here, see, the English doesn't do it. None of the translations can really bring it through. It takes you back to that center. That center, which is a timeless kind of original center in John of the Logos. Standing in God, as it were. A timelessness which is only in John. You don't really find it in the other, the Testament writings. But for this I came baptizing with water that he might be revealed to Israel. Notice he keeps saying baptizing with water, implying that there's going to be a baptism with something else. And John bore witness, I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven and remained on him. So the dove symbolizes the Spirit here. Remember Noah, and the ark, and the dove, and so on.


That's there. And the dove brings the olive branch, and so on. The whole kind of tangle of illusions there. A couple of them to the Holy Spirit, both the olive branch and the dove. But also, coming across, coming out of the flood, and coming on to the promised land, as it were. That's going to come up later on. The Noah theme is in Isaiah 54, by the way. Not far from the Lamb of God. That's in the next chapter. For this is like the days of Noah to me, as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth. My covenant of peace shall not be removed. We'll look more deeply later into that connection between John and 2nd Isaiah. Remember 2nd Isaiah describing a redemptive creation, or creative redemption, whatever. It's a cross between exodus and creation. A new creation is being made, and that's what John wants to get across. And a lot of the richness and the power of Isaiah's imagery comes from there,


the second creation, the new creation. He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. So there's a baptism with water, and then there's a baptism with the Holy Spirit. And I've seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God. Now that surprises us. That's the real witness of John to Jesus. After we get finished with this section, we should look back and count the ways that John witnesses to Jesus, and the ways that he names him. Right here, he's named him as the Lamb of God. He's, as it were, named him negatively, as the Christ, by denying the appellation himself. Then he names him the one on whom the Spirit descends, the one chiefly who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, and finally the Son of God. So his business, in a way, is to name Jesus. And then again, when does this baptism with the Holy Spirit take place? Well, for John it takes place in chapter 20, doesn't it? On the Day of Resurrection, when Jesus comes and breathes on the disciples


and says, Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven. Notice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness of sins. So the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world by conferring the Holy Spirit, by baptizing with the Holy Spirit, after the work of his death. Then he witnesses to him again, Behold the Lamb of God. Now the scene changes, as it were, and John fades out of the picture, and you have these disciples, and you have Jesus. And there's a strange atmosphere that comes into this now, which is reminiscent of, somewhat reminiscent of the wisdom books, but also somehow reminiscent of the Song of Songs. There's a kind of romance here that begins. There's a tone of a kind of young love that creeps in here. As they see Jesus, they begin to be fascinated by him. What do you seek? That's wisdom language. Okay, what do you seek? Seek wisdom.


And they say to him, Rabbi, which means to him, Where are you staying? Where are you staying? Now, why should John be interested in that kind of thing? He doesn't even say where he was staying in the end, does he? So why actually put that in there? Why should he pick that out of their conversation and consider it important? Because it has a double meaning, because he's talking again on this second level. Where do you dwell, is the Greek, okay? Poumenes, where do you dwell? Now John is extremely interested in dwelling, and we're going to find out that it's an indwelling and it's a mutual indwelling. Now right now he wants to know where he dwells. Well, he's already told us that he dwells in the Father's bosom. So what they're seeking actually is a place, but the place turns out to be God. But the place which is God turns out to have an earthly equivalent, turns out to have an earthly place that corresponds to it. And that's what the rest of this chapter is going to be concerned with. Call it the center of the world, call it whatever you want. Here we have to invoke our centrology, this following center imaging, center imagery.


And as soon as you hear about a place in John, or the place in John, you can remember the garden of Eden, or the center of the world, or something like that. We're going to see a bunch of those things line up. That's what's happening here. He said to them, come and see. Once again, the words have enormous weight, very simple words, you know, but you've got to come to see. And what is important in the end for John is seeing, isn't it? Seeing, seeing who Jesus is. But there are two levels. A lot of people see Jesus and they don't see him, because they don't believe him, they don't see who he is. They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. Okay, so not to spend all day on this. We're still on this first episode. We've only got five to do. One was Andrew, and he found Simon.


Now, Simon turns out to be very important, that's Peter. We have found the Messiah. And he brought him to Jesus, and Jesus immediately picks him out and names him. You shall be called Cephas, which means Peter, which means rock, doesn't it? There's an interesting connection here with the book of Joshua. If you look at Joshua chapter 4, remember when the Israelites were coming across the Jordan to come into the Promised Land, and Joshua was told by the Lord, you take twelve stones out of the river, and you plant them over there where you're going to lodge tomorrow, on the other side of the river, as a monument. So here the twelve disciples, the twelve apostles, John doesn't use the word twelve here, and the exegetes would howl at this, but the twelve disciples being constituted as if they were stones, and among them this chief stone somehow, which is Peter. Now, Peter is being planted. It's as if Jesus is putting the foundation of something here, or planting something here, this rock, Peter. Takes it out of the river where John is, and plants it where he wants it, where he's going to build his church.


All of this is only very third-degree implicit stuff in John. But, the next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and these movements from Judea to Galilee, we'll go into that sometime, I don't have enough ammunition for that now, but they're important for John. He found Philippians and following, and then it goes on. He keeps picking up disciples as they go along, until you come to the last one, who is Nathanael. And this is very interesting. I ought to read you the cotton patch here. Once in a while it's irresistible. This is from 43 on, verse 43 on. A day later, Jesus wanted to leave for North Georgia. He ran across Phil, who was from Albany, the hometown of the Johnson brothers. The Johnson brothers because Simon's son of John, that's one of the Johnson brothers, and Andrew's brother. And said to him, join me. Phil looked up at Nat, Nat is Nathanael, and told him, we have discovered the one the Bible talks about.


His name is Jesus, Joseph's boy, and he's from Valdosta. Nat said, from Valdosta? Could anybody worth his salt come from there? I don't know what Valdosta is like. That's the origin of Valdosta, yeah. Phil said, come and take a look. And Jesus saw Nat approaching him and commented, look, there's a real white man, there's nothing phony about him. I don't know why he says that. Nat asked, where did you hear about me? White man and Israelite are made equivalent there, I don't know why yet. I saw you, Jesus said, before Phil talked with you, under the muscadine vine. Reverend, answered Nat, you are God's man, you are the nation's leader. Are you convinced merely because I told you that I saw you under the muscadine vine, Jesus said. You'll see a whole lot more than that. In fact, I want to tell you all that you'll see the sky busted open and God's angels climbing up and climbing down on the Son of Man. That's very good for getting rid of any excess reference you have about the Holy Scripture.


Now, Nathanael, it's a mysterious thing here. It seems to be very important the way it terminates this whole episode here, and yet very puzzling too about Nathanael. It calls upon something in the Old Testament, which is Jacob in Genesis 28. Remember when Jacob was on his travels? Some of you know about this already. Jacob was on his travels and he had to lie down and camp for the night, so he picked a stone, used it for a pillow and lay down, remember, and had a dream. And in the dream he saw a ladder which was set up from the earth to the heavens, and at the top of the ladder was God, and there were angels climbing up and down upon the ladder, remember? Now, that's obviously alluded to here by John. That's what John is building on here. Now, what was the point of that episode in Genesis 28? After Jacob had had that dream of the ladder, and the promise by God that God would be with him,


Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. Okay, the place thing again, you see. It's an obsessive thing with John, especially here. So, some kind of place is being located. Now, what is that place? The center, and it's the Son of Man, okay? You're going to see the angels climbing up and down, ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. He is the place. Now, notice what Jacob says about this place. Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. So, all of that falls upon Jesus, okay? See, all of that is picked up by John, and attributed to Jesus, given to Jesus, okay? John the Baptist says, he says, I did not know it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's right. Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. And John says, there's one in your midst and you don't know it, okay? I did not know it. Yeah, he says both of those. And it's a question of Nathaniel, you see, not knowing Jesus.


He says, how do you know me? I saw you under the fig tree. So, the fig tree of Nathaniel and the ladder of Jacob in the dream are equivalent, okay? Now, psychologically, we don't know what that means for Nathaniel. He had some kind of significant experience, you can say, in contemporary jargon, all right? In other words, something happened in his life there, which marked that moment for him so much that when Jesus was able to refer to it, and, as it were, attribute the moment to himself as the middle of it, the center of it somehow, immediately Nathaniel was swung over to believe in him, and he says, Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel. Jacob had said, this is the house of God, this is the gate of heaven. These are the parallel there, it's consistent, it's continual. This thing about the Israelite, remember, he's a true Israelite, but Cottonpatch has white men. Between the Israelites and the Jews, that's a thing we can look at later, because there's probably something there.


See, the Israelites and the Samaritans, giving a kind of superiority to the Jews in John's Gospel, Jews being the people of Judea, okay? And, of course, this is risky ground because of the whole overtone of anti-Semitism for us, but we have to deal with it. Okay, any questions about that before we go on? Well, one more thing. Do you remember in John 20, at the resurrection appearances of Jesus, a similar kind of thing going on. First of all, you have Jesus appearing to the twelve. Now, it's different, but there's a parallel. Jesus appears to the twelve in a closed room. Well, first of all, you have the two disciples, okay? Two disciples running to the place. Then you have the episode with Magdalene, the recognition of Jesus, the garden, the place once again, the Genesis allusions. And Jesus says he's going to ascend to the Father. Then he appears to the twelve in the house. And then finally, a week later, he appears to Thomas. So there's a parallel between the picking up of the other disciples here


and finally the recognition of Jesus by Nathanael. And Nathanael's the holdout here, okay? Now, Thomas is the holdout in John 20. He says, I won't believe, I won't believe, unless I see the wounds in his hands and so on, and in his side, okay? So Thomas and Nathanael are deliberate parallels. And so that whole week thing, as a matter of fact, is a deliberate parallel. So here you see the symmetry coming out. You see between the top and the bottom here, which is fine as far as form is concerned, but then we have to ask structure, we have to ask ourselves, what's the meaning of that? Okay, what's the meaning of that? Now, the meaning of most of that kind of parallel is the new creation that's being established here, okay? We've already been sent to Genesis here. We're going to see the movement back to Genesis and to the beginning of Genesis, the creation narrative, the first two chapters, stronger even in John 20 when we get there. Now we get to the Canaan. Do we have any clue as to what this thing about the fifth tree means and all that?


I haven't found anything that's very helpful now. I don't know which one says that. The rabbinic student usually studied on the fifth tree, and so it shows Nathanael was a rabbinic student, and he was very, very well versed in scripture. Well, maybe. The rabbinic students and the fifth tree? Yes, they studied because the fifth tree is in a very deep shade, and it's very hard to go there, so this is usually a place to study. Well, it could have been... You can kind of fantasize what could have been. He could have been studying the scriptures in a particular episode, like the Genesis episode, and then bang, something like that. The fifth tree also stands for Israel. For? For Israel. Oh, yeah. Oh, the other thing I wanted to... The other thing that I forgot that's very important here,


and used to be dominant, in fact, in my thinking about this passage, is the tree. I'm glad you brought that up, okay? Because how could I forget it? The tree which is introduced here is Jesus, all right? The ladder is Jesus, the place is Jesus, the tree is Jesus, and that's the tree of life, okay? It's the tree of life. And I believe that it comes up again in John 20. In other words, I believe that when Thomas recognizes Jesus and says, My Lord and my God, he's recognizing the tree of life once again, which has been... See, the flaming sword has been taken away. The side of Jesus, as it were, is open, and all of that is symbolic of the gate of paradise, or the gate of heaven, as it were, being opened again, and the tree of life being accessible. Thomas is told, put forth your hand, you know, and put it into my side, the whole thing. So the tree is here. Now, I think the tree is very important in John. Even, see, that's a tree. That cross forms a tree. And it runs throughout, kind of very subtly underneath the surface. It comes up in John 6, in the bread of life.


The bread of life is the fruit of the tree of life. And also, you know, I think figs are a very important source of food. You know, Jesus crushed a big tree, because he didn't have any figs on it. Somehow, he's kind of almost like using the Eucharist, too. You know, the tree that gives food. Yes. Because the tree of life becomes the Eucharist, and so any tree, in a sense, becomes related to that, once you evoke that symbol. Is there anything else here that connects with that tree? No. No. We move on to the vine in the next one, actually, in the next episode. Okay, to Cana now. There's a thing about time here, because on the third day, all right, and you can make a week out of that, if you count your days starting from the beginning, with the first disciples there, where Barrett ends up with six days, just like there are six water pots.


It's been said, a couple of things have been said about this. First of all, that this and the Transfiguration are the two favorite Gospel episodes of, what would you call it, of the spiritual interpreters, okay, of the people who like to interpret the Gospel in the spiritual way, the fathers and the monastic writers of the Middle Ages. Secondly, it's been said recently that the best window through which to interpret the whole Gospel of John is through the wedding feast of Cana. In other words, that here, we usually say that about the prologue, it was said, I don't remember, Father de la Pottery was quoting a Polish Jesuit who wrote a book which is completely out of reach of us, but anyway, that was his thesis. Let me see if that will hold up. The mother of Jesus was there. The mother of Jesus, her presence is very delicate in the Gospel of John. She's only there in two places, in Jehiah and at the cross. But somehow she merges with all of the other women in the Gospel. So, Jesus also was invited with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him,


they have no wine. She doesn't ask him to do something, she just says they have no wine, but the suggestion is obvious because Jesus has to respond to it. O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come. Now, they've written an awful lot about those words of Jesus. First of all, all of the devout people have to prove that it's not really a put-up, that Jesus is not really expressing either scorn or rejection or distance or anything, but there is distance there. And there's distance, a similar distance with Mary Magdalene in John 20 when he says, don't hold me, I haven't yet ascended to my father. Notice the similarity there? Now, what happens is that there's a distance because the time has not arrived. And so it orients you towards the time. Now, even in John 20 with Magdalene, the time hasn't arrived because Jesus hasn't ascended and has been fully glorified in the sense of being able to give the Spirit. Because the fullness of everything for John is in that giving of the Spirit, I believe. Now here, the hour has not arrived. Okay, now what's the implication there?


What have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come. That when my hour has come, you will have something to do with me. Okay? Is that just a miracle? What does that mean? That means that somehow the relationship between Jesus and the woman figure is going to reach its fulfillment in that hour. Okay? It doesn't just mean that I'm going to do what this symbolically indicates in that hour. This thing is really loaded, you see, with double meanings and with symbolism. Every word. Does it mean it's her hour? Hmm? Does it mean it's her hour? It's her hour too. Then, at the end. I don't think so. Well, it says, Your concern, Mother, is not mine. My hour. You intonate it differently. How does your translation go there? Your concern, Mother, is not mine. My hour has not yet come. I'm merely emphasizing certain words in exchange for the interpretation. Your concern, Mother, is not mine. That's a paraphrase. My hour has not yet come. Which would infer that it is her hour. Well, your concern isn't in the original, though.


Okay? That's a more broad translation. Does your have to be everything's mother? Okay. What do you mean? His mother. Mother? Your concern, Mother. Wow. Is not mine. My hour has not yet come. No, that's way far from the actual words. It's not close to the literal thing at all. So they're putting in words, even. When we speak of the actual words, do they speak Greek? Well, he wrote Greek. That's the thing. No, we don't believe they spoke Greek. They spoke Aramaic, but we can't get beyond the Greek in the Gospel. In other words, we don't have any Aramaic... ...interpretation. That's all we have. That's all we have. But with John... See, John is a literary man. In other words, John is doing this deliberately. You can't look at it just as his rendering, the best he can, the historical scene that happened. John is up to something else. In other words, he's composing this deliberately for symbolic reasons. Well, maybe Jesus was thinking


maybe he could put that in his plan or in God's plan. Maybe he wasn't certain when he said it when she requested it. Yeah, you can say that. I think, in the end, the best thing is to ask why John did it, not why Jesus did it, in a sense, or why John had Jesus reply that. In any case, it seems that the time is not ready for something. Now, you can say the time isn't ready for the full manifestation of Jesus. He's not ready, as it were, to put himself out there before the public. He's not ready to complete his work. But I think we have to interpret it in the sense of what's happening in John's mind. Now, for John, it means the time is not ready for my glorification, and that's what this wine and this marriage both stand for. The wine and the marriage both converge in one meaning, which is, what is happening when Jesus is glorified? No, this is a different element. But then, in the very act of it,


is he not then going? And yet, still, he says, my time has not come. This is fine. For some reason, it seems that the glorification process is not quite complete. You have to move to the next episode where he has ascended to his father. You see, it's like John is artificially, in order to separate these slides, artificially, his vision is effective when he can pass on himself. Up to then, any kind of intimacy or any kind of touch seems to be some kind of a problem. It seems to get in the way. Impede, slow down what he's doing. So the hour is very important. Now, the hour in John is the hour of Jesus' crucifixion and glorification at once, all right? Undistinguished. But it's coming from the side of the crucifixion, from the side of the Passion, as he moves towards it in his life. So the hour, actually, in John,


includes practically this whole top section up here. Practically all of this. And it's like it's all in one hour. It's like it's all in one moment. And you'll notice in this course it's just mushroom and balloon up here. They grow to enormous size, and that which is within, say, an hour of time will be stretched out to four or five chapters, something like that, at this time. Or a day will be a couple of chapters, where you have a much longer timescale down here. So everything gets funneled and condensed into this hour, just as if it were a black hole. When he starts off saying, on the third day, is that an allusion to also to the end? I think so. In other words, why does he say that at that point? He could specify the time in a number of other ways. And he doesn't need to specify it at all. It's not important. Historically it's not important. He could have said soon after or something like that. So for Barrett, one of the meanings would be


the third day is the day of the resurrection. The third day is the day of the glorification. But also to complete the week. Now this is very important that we have two weeks, one at the beginning and one at the end of John's Gospel. And the week always refers to creation in John. Remember the seven days of creation? So here we're moving towards the seventh day of creation. Why does he find it the third day? One, two, three, four, and then three more, I think makes seven. Six or seven. Now the sixth day is the creation of man and woman in creation. The seventh day is the Sabbath day, so either one. Barrett says six days. I got seven when I tried it. This is not the third day. It's already three next days. Yes, so that makes four days, then three is seven. That's the way I counted, yeah. If that's so,


then this is the Sabbath. So how many days do you get altogether? Well, that would be seven. Now if it's seven, then the symbolism is clear. As it concludes this section here, of the disciples moving towards this event, this is, as it were, the symbolic consummation of what's been happening as Jesus has been picking up these disciples from John. And as the baptism of John in water becomes symbolically the baptism of Jesus in the Spirit, that's the wine. So the water turned to wine. We're going to see later in chapter three that John identifies Jesus as the bridegroom, whereas he is the friend of the bridegroom, okay? Another one of those identifications. He's the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, whereas John baptizes with water. He's the bridegroom, whereas John is only the friend of the bridegroom, or the best man, or whatever you want to call it. Six, now notice the way that Mary


plays a very subtle role here. His mother said to the servants, do whatever he tells you. She doesn't tell him what to do, but she, as it were, sends them in the direction of obedience to him, which I think somehow refers to a certain role, actually, in the dispensation of salvation. Call it a sapiential role or whatever you want to. But it's a very subtle, feminine, gentle thing. Let us know if it turns out to be anything important. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's right.


That's right. So it's like saying, listen, this is the word, and then having done it oneself. Okay, yeah. Yeah, go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you. Remember, that was the direction. Who was that, Pharaoh? Yeah, Pharaoh. Okay, the six stone jars. We've got to get on with this. For the Jewish rites of purification. The fathers love the symbolism here, okay? Remember, the six stone jars and the seven days of the week again, and the six is the number of imperfection waiting for the perfection of the seventh, for the perfection of the Sabbath, of fullness. So, St. Bernard in his commentary on this, and he just follows the whole string of the fathers, I believe, identifies these six stone jars for the Jewish rites of purification as a whole Old Testament dispensation, okay?


Dispensation, as it were, of water and of purification. A lot of the law is that kind of thing. And remember John. Each holding 20 or 30 gallons. Jesus says, and fill the jars with water, his word. He says they have to do something, they have to do something, and then draw some out and take it to the steward. Some miserly spirits have tried to say there was only one vessel of water, finally, that's the last one, that he turned into wine. But most of the exegeses say that he made from 120 to 180 or something like that gallons of wine. This is supposed to indicate the abundance of the messianic questions. As I consider that he filled these jars and then left them there to water,


and then now draw, and then this new thing is the wine. You like that? The exegeses. It's a little bit like what Paddy said before. If you get somebody to do something and truly tell you, then you have God's help. What was... Yeah, I didn't quite follow you. That he didn't change the water there for the jars. Okay. But he filled the jars, he leaves them there, and then he says, and now draw from there. Oh, I see. He fills the jars, now draw, and that is now the wine. That's the new thing. And that gets you all... First of all, it's symbolic, it's more beautiful, but it also gets you an image of having that much wine. They just do as much as they can. It seems a little indecent. Some people make it the well. They say that then they drew from the well and the wine was coming out of the well. All those wells. It seems like he should have been. Hmm. Yeah, he should have been more decent about that.


Okay, then the steward goes to the bridegroom. Every man serves a good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then the poor one, but you have kept the good wine until now. Who's the bridegroom? Well, Jesus is the bridegroom. Okay, the... Who is it that's kept the good wine until now? Well, it's not this bridegroom at Canaan, but it's Jesus. Who is the bride, symbolically speaking? Well, according to the Old Testament tradition, it would be Israel. And, of course, according to the New Testament general interpretation, it's the church. When you were talking about do as... when his mother tells him to do as he tells him, in Genesis, Pharaoh is sending the Egyptians. Could that be symbolic of not just Israel, but everyone outside of Israel? All... all the Gentiles? Okay, I didn't follow the bit about...


about Pharaoh, but... Well, in Genesis, there is a reference where he sends... let's see... Genesis 41, 55, where there's a famine. Okay. And Joseph is in charge of all the grain and all the bread, and he sends all the Egyptians to him in order to get all the grain and all the bread. So, what I'm saying is that the bridegroom explicitly... the bride explicitly here is... Israel. But maybe implicitly in that line implies, you know... Oh yeah, I think it certainly does. The fathers would like that very much because, for instance, they would point out how the water dispensation was limited to the Jews, but the wine dispensation pours out abundantly for everybody. Even the abundance of the wine seems to hint at that kind of thing.


And definitely it moves out, symbolically, it moves out to the Gentiles. You've got all these different levels of interpretation of the bride, okay? One is Israel. The second one is the individual soul. Now, this is a favorite one, of course, with the spiritual interpreters. The monastic interpreters. Jesus is the bridegroom of the individual soul. Usually they say that the bridegroom is the Word of God. Then you've got all human beings. That is, humanity itself is the bride, in some way. And finally, the whole creation, even the material creation, in some way, is the bride of God. And in this event of the Incarnation, and in its full sense, it's all somehow taken into God. It all participates in God's Spirit in a new way, but through the human being. So there's a marriage of heaven and earth, in other words, or a marriage of God and the universe taking place here. All these different levels of symbolism. Now, it's possible to say that the whole of John's Gospel is about this, okay? And that the nuptial imagery is really the key to John's Gospel. I don't know if I'd go that far,


but it's pretty close to being true. It's a pointer in the right direction, at least. Is that what glory means, ultimately, that nuptial image? Glory is usually not translated in nuptial terms, but it refers to that, yeah. It's synonymous with that, what would you call it, state of consummation, in which the universe is filled with God. It's the kind of thing that Isaiah talks about, yeah. Glory, you mentioned earlier, glory being the fullness of life, or fullness of life. Yes, yeah. But Isaiah, for them, it is thought that joy and the nuptial are connected. The woman is the joy of the man, the man is the joy of the woman. Oh, yeah, that's right, that's right. I wish I had a reference for that, but there's something that aims in that direction, and that is this, that the trouble is here, that so many things come together


that it's hard to say them all, but when Jesus breathes into the disciples, once again, I'd like to go back to that moment, because I think it contains it all. When Jesus breathes into the disciples, he's breathing his glory into them, okay? He says, he prays, that may my glory be in them, and so on, may they, that whole thing. What he really wants to give is the glory, and it also, in some way, is the bride which makes the bride, okay? The bride which makes the bride. It's as if, in some way, the glory of Jesus is the bride of Jesus. This is sapiential, once again. You can also think of it as Sophie, or something like that. It's better to think of it as glory. Jesus, when he's on earth, and here I'm kind of speaking kind of carelessly, in a sense, but when he's on earth, he's deprived of something. He's without something. Something is concealed within him, and he doesn't fully enjoy it. It's like the kenosis in Paul, and that is the glory, the doxa, all right? When he's glorified, he receives the glory, the doxa, in such a way that he can then pour it out. The essential of his receiving it, he has his bride, as it were,


which is kind of mythology, because obviously he always had it as word. But the characteristic, the point of his receiving it, is that he can share it. When he's in power of it, then he can share it. So, for him to receive the bride is to give the bride, and the bride is the glory, and it's also the Holy Spirit. But in the Gospel of John, Jesus can never talk of that in feminine terms. You'll notice he never does it. There's some kind of invisible wall that keeps him from using feminine language. It only comes across symbolically in what others say, and in the people that are around him, the way that he relates to the women there. That's in those notes they passed out. So, I believe that the glory is the nuptial thing here, in the end, in that way. The glory of Jesus is his indwelling in us, as somehow both bride and bridegroom. Because he has moved to that state where all the dualisms are somehow resolved, also the sexual limitation and sexual dualism is resolved, and what he breathes into us the glory of the word that is breathed into us


is a trans-sexual presence which comprehends both sides, which is bridegroom and bride at the same time, without losing the richness of those things. In other words, it's not simply an erasure of the sexual differentiation, but an integration of it, somehow that it's all there. And the glory is that, which obviously gets beyond language. When we get to that part of the Gospel, towards the end, we'll see how the glory and the Spirit and this indwelling presence of Jesus and the nuptial thing kind of flow together. Well, this glory is also being fulfilled. St. Benedict says that all things God may be glorified. It's fulfilling that as sin is being put in its place or thrown away by men. Yeah. Glory in Scripture has a very special meaning. First of all, it starts as being something that's nearly physical. It's like a cloud of light. It's palpable. Something that's very, very


perceptible and present. And then, it's always connected with light. And then when John is taken up and used in a special way. And for John, it means everything that Jesus gives, and it means the presence of Jesus dwelling in him as his gift. And it's connected with the glory because in the tabernacle and the temple and the cloud in the desert, all of that. And as David points out very rightly, it is connected with the nuptial thing. But I kind of get lost in a corner because there's so many things that come together that I forget to make the connections. In fact, at certain points here, you can identify glory with pride. Now, even in the sense that the church, the bride of Christ, is the glory of Christ. But prior to that, the spirit which Jesus gives comes somehow as feminine, indwelling presence. Comes somehow as the bride. So when John says, the bridegroom has the bride, there's a double meaning to that, I believe. And that the bride is the church


or the new Israel. But the bride is also the spirit that Jesus brings with him when he's glorified. That accompanies him and that it's imparted by him once he's glorified. I suppose that we... Is there anything else we should say about this Cana miracle? There's a lot of the richness of it that we missed. In the previous section, you mentioned the connection between the song of sorrows and this whole question of the first disciple. And I see that also just... I think you mentioned it, the question of the wedding coming right following this. This question of come and see. See who's the one. And you can't really know that person. You can't... There's no question... Peter didn't mention bump here, but as soon as you mentioned wedding and the whole question of union,


it's a question of recognizing who the one is. There's several sections here. Come and seek for yourself. John said too. All the way along, John is emphasizing that question of seeing. And glory in some way has to be seen. Oh yeah, glory is the visibility of God in the Old Testament. It becomes richer and deeper in John, but it's God, insofar as God can be visible. Yes. And later, the whole question of John seeing, if you could only see what love God has for you, then once you receive it, you have to be able to share it the same way you witness what you witnessed the other day. Receiving and sharing. Jesus himself, and then we become a book, like he's the book, and we are the disciples who are meant to be like him in that way. Yeah.


And his clarification immediately concerns us. In fact, his clarification immediately connects him to everything in a certain way, but it connects him to us in the sense of our being filled with his glory in some way, our living by virtue of his glory. Irenaeus is one who is very close to that. Remember some of those phrases of his? That's right. The glory of God is the living man, and the life of man is the vision of God. Okay, that's right in there. He doesn't have the nuptial thing right there, he has it somewhere else. There is a nuptial thing too in the Prologue, 18. It says, No one has ever seen God. It is the only son who is nearest to the Father's heart who has made him known. It's like knowledge and seeing are almost interchangeable. When you think of knowing in a nuptial sense, there's that intimacy, that heart-to-heart exchange going on there. So when John is talking


about seeing God, then it's almost like knowing God, it's almost an interchangeable thing. Seeing in a deeper sense always means knowing in John. Really to see Jesus means to know Jesus, means to recognize him. And then to know him means union in some way, so it does have a nuptial flavor about it at that point. So the nuptial theme is sort of swimming behind or beneath the surface all the time here. And then we see it come up at certain points. Something else I wanted to say there. Oh, there's a surprising maybe Hellenistic background. I forgot to mention the Old Testament, New Testament background stuff. In the Old Testament you have the messianic banquet, and the nuptial theme is very strong, of course. I don't know to what extent you have the both of them coming together. You certainly have the sapiential banquet, which in a sense is nuptial too because it's the feminine wisdom that's calling out. In the New Testament there's one section which may have influenced John. It's the part, how does it go?


It's in Matthew and it's in Luke. They said to him, the disciples of John fast often and often and offer prayers and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink. And Jesus said to them, can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? So you get the connection between feasting, eating and drinking, and the feast, the festival atmosphere and the festival eating and drinking, and the presence of the bridegroom. As if if you're with the bridegroom you're fed, you know. If you're with the bridegroom the wine is in you somehow, in that sense. And then later on at the end of this little section nobody puts new wine into old wine skins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled. Well, here we've got wine skins, old wine skins being replaced by new, old wine being presumably replaced by new. And in John we've got water being replaced by wine. So there may have been, that may have been in John's mind when he put this together. There's something more surprising though.


With that dioecious thing and the moistness, I was just curious, you alluded to that earlier. That's what I wanted to pick up now, yeah. That's the surprising one. The god Dionysius was not only the discoverer of the vine, but also the cause of miraculous transformations of water into wine. They'd leave pots of water outside the temple and there'd be wine in the morning, so the story would be up. There was thus an exact precedent for the benefaction of Jesus in a pagan worshipped atlas known to some at least of John's readers. Now it gets more striking when Philo picks this up. Remember Philo, the Alexandrian, Platonist Jew, who wrote these enormous, voluminous commentaries on the scriptures. Now Philo is writing about Melchizedek in Genesis. Remember after Abraham conquered the kings, he went to Melchizedek and Melchizedek offered a sacrifice of bread and water. Bread and wine. You don't sacrifice, you don't offer water. How does he go?


He goes, but Melchizedek for water offered wine and gave them to drink. He gave them wine instead of water. There's no reference to water in Genesis itself. Philo may have introduced this. He goes on to speak of Melchizedek as Logos. Now this comes thumping as it brings us right into the middle of John's thought world. Probably because he saw an opportunity of showing the roots of Hellenistic religion in Judaism. Not Dionysius, but the Logos of whom Melchizedek is a symbol is the true miraculous dispenser of divine inspiration. This is confirmed by the fact that in another writing he speaks of the Logos as the wine pourer of God and the head of the banquet, Symposiarchos, whatever that means. I presume it's the same as the master of the feast in John. I don't know if it's the same word. I don't think it is. So that's very close. Thus there existed Jewish precedent for speaking of the Logos in pseudo-Dionysiac terminology


and John may have done this. It's even conceivable that the miracle story had a non-Christian origin. But John has made out of it something unique and he's able to do it because he draws it into the ambit of Jesus who really is all of this. Also, in the calling of these icons, Philip is the only one that Jesus calls directly the father. And Philip is the only one that has a Greek name. It's almost as if Jesus made the gospel and it's kind of the same. The Greeks are called directly. The other one comes through John the Baptist or through one of them. Oh, that's interesting. It's a chain of sayings that are being called only through Philip. And then, but it says also that Philip was from the side simply by the repeal. It's kind of saying that they all come from the same point. All come from the same point. You know, they all come from the same origin, the Greek and the Jews. Oh, yeah, yeah. Philip is the one


who introduces the Greeks later. He tries to introduce them to Jesus later on. He's the god of marriage and joy. In 1 Corinthians 11, 7, it says that the woman is the glory of God. Oh, that's right. Yeah, yeah. And then at the end of the Apocalypse it says the bride and the spirit and the bride. See, it comes from the spirit and the bride. That's right. John doesn't seem to... He does make a direct connection, direct verbal connection between glory and the nuptial theme, but it's under the surface, I think. So many of his things he has to be careful about how many of them he connects, literally, because he wants to connect so many of them symbolically, so everything would just short circuit


if he was too explicit. Okay, now this nuptial theme, every time you see Jesus interacting with a woman in John's Gospel, I believe it's behind it. Okay, so we're going to see it with the Samaritan woman, we're going to see it with Mary of Bethany when she anoints Jesus' feet, and we're going to see it finally with Magdalene in the garden. Each time the nuptial theme is behind, is beneath the surface, and so also this Cana thing is always in relation to it. In other words, this interpretation of Jesus' work as the wedding feast and as the giving of the wine, the transformation of the water into wine. Somehow the two are the same thing. In other words, at a certain point the bride and the wine and the bridegroom all become the same thing because the bridegroom is the indwelling bridegroom. The bride can be interpreted as the gift which Jesus gives, which is also his own presence, and the wine is the same thing. Wine can be conceived of as the gift in sapiential terms, the gift of wisdom. So the law is water,


and the wine is the wisdom, which is Jesus himself speaking in the soul. And of course, the opening of the side and the outcomes, that's actually the Adam and the Eve. That's right, that's right. That is the wedding. The women are there, and that's the birth. Coming out of the side, that is the hour. That's right. It's the hour of consummation in some way, the hour of marriage in some way. And there's this very delicate presence of the women at the cross there, okay? And then Jesus says to Mary, Woman, behold your son. It's interesting, behold your son at the same moment that this practically is the hour, it's the same moment. Morally, it's the same moment as this flowing out of the water and the blood from the side of Jesus, symbolic birth of the woman, symbolic birth of the church. Some kind of... We'll get into that later on in more detail. The difficulty with it is that everything flows together so much, you know, it's hard to get distinct ideas. But that other moment


of the birth of Eve from the side of Adam, the birth of the church from the side of Jesus on the cross, that's John chapter 19, is very important. Okay, any other questions before we close? We didn't get through our five episodes, unfortunately. We'll probably have to skip some as we go through. We wanted to go through also Nicodemus, the cleansing of the temple, and John's signing off at the end of chapter 3. Is there a limit to the number of classes? Well, not unless we're taking somebody else's time. In other words, Victor's going to be here this summer. We thought he was going to be taking that Italian intensive, but he's not, so we're not so pressed as we were. No, I guess we can stretch out. You said Victor is not going to be here? He's going to be here, yeah. I thought that he was


not going to be here, which means that he would have had to do his next bit before May. No, we can stretch out a bit. Next time I'd suggest that you read, say, through chapter 5, and we'll try to do quickly the ones we missed today and then the next couple. I'm taking these episodes as the sequences in Ellis' kiastic structure, Before we leave, let me give you some of the words on the bottom of those sheets I gave. You can't be read because of the copier. I'll have to be more careful after this not to type on the bottom. Let me give you the words. On page 1, there's number 11 down there. On that line, I believe there is a cluster of symbols associated with woman and John.


Okay? That cluster was underlined. Where is it? That's page 1. Oh, I see. Yes, right down at the bottom line. Page 2, it's right down at the bottom, where it's 5 and then D. Anticipation and reproof. And then the quote from John 20. Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Page 3, it's even more confusing. You've got two lines obscured there. The second line from the bottom, 29B. The receiver, the disciple, community, church. Receiver, disciple,


community, church, period. Line 30, bottom line. Thus, the affinity of beloved disciple, beloved disciple, I've got it abbreviated, B-E-L, period, disciple, and mother of Jesus. Thus, the affinity of beloved disciple and mother of Jesus, and beloved disciple and mother of Jesus are underlined. We carry both these at the end. Together they carry both these. Together they carry both these levels. Then there's a number 31 at the top there. An afterthought. Okay, thank you. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.