SNTS: Seminar, Main Paper, Disputed Questions

SNTS: Seminar, Main Paper, Disputed Questions August 3, 2016


The rest of the day featured three major components. The topical seminars had their first meeting. I am signed up for the one focused on the Gospel of John. The first seminar paper in this section was by Anni Hentschel and focused on intertextual relationships between John and the Synoptics, with particular attention to the footwashing scene, but also John 1, 5, and 9. I found myself thinking about aspects of these stories that I had not before. For instance, I noticed for the first time that in John 5 the healed man who seems to not end up following Jesus never enters the water, while the man in John 9 does wash in the Pool of Siloam. Is this baptismal symbolism? I also found myself wondering about the connection between John’s statement that he is unworthy to untie he sandals of the one coming after him, and Jesus’ servant-like washing of his disciples’ feet.

During the coffee break I spoke to Uro Risto about common interests ranging from baptismal rituals to Star Trek. At lunch I sat with Dennis MacDonald and we spoke about undergraduates’ lack of research skills and issues of plagiarism, as well as our current research projects, and after lunch I also talked with Steven Kraftchick about posthumanism and science fiction.

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  • John MacDonald

    How persuasive did you find the suggestion that the Marcionite Gospel was the “root from which the whole Gospel tradition emerges?”

    • I am not at all convinced that that is correct.

    • John Thomas

      I agree with Dr. McGrath here. We have some idea about the contents of Marcion’s gospel from the works of Tertulllian (Against Marcion) and Epiphanius (Panarion). It closely resembles Luke’s gospel except that it doesn’t have the first two chapters and some other specific phrases and events found in Luke’s gospel. The most commonly held view is that Marcion edited Luke’s gospel to fit his theology even though scholars like Ehrman is challenging whether it is other way around. In any event, Marcion’s gospel does not look an earliest gospel, at least to me.

      • A very strong case has been made for Marcion’s Gospel being an earlier form of Luke rather than one that Marcion edited. Its distinctive features simply don’t make sense as changes to fit his ideology, with a few exceptions. But that is a far cry from making it plausibly the first Gospel, subsequently used by Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.

        • John Thomas

          It seems to me too that Marcion’s gospel is an earlier form of Luke’s gospel. Maybe once Marcion was excommunicated as heretic, faction that won out modified his gospel so that it could be included in the canon which we now see as Luke’s gospel. A good possibility. 🙂

  • John Thomas

    That was an interesting observation about events in John 5 and 9. I too never thought about it. In John 5, the paralyzed man was lying near Pool of Siloam, but Jesus healed him without asking him to enter the water. In John 9, blind man was not near Pool of Siloam, but Jesus made a mud over his eye and asked him to go and wash in Pool of Siloam following which he gets his sight. I wonder whether there is any significance for this in the mind of the author. Thanks for bringing this to attention.