Re: "The Climax of DOXA" thread

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Mar 30 1998 - 09:04:12 EST

At 12:52 AM -0600 3/30/98, wrote:
>This question is probably way off purpose on this list. The 1:14 'we'
>could be attributed to the contemporaries of Christ who did indeed see
>him in the flesh. The last one could not, and I would be very
>surprised if it were in fact an editorial we. The possibility that
>this passage was added on should not be overlooked. The fact that I
>believe that it is indeed you and me and the writer comes from my own
>subjective experience in the course of reading this gospel, and is
>utterly out of bounds for purposes of textual exegesis.
>The other matter, the authorship of this work, is perhaps more
>appropriately discussable. "The disciple whom Jesus loved..." seems
>so obviously to me to be Lazarus that when I read a commentary review
>of scholarship opinion on it, I was stunned to find that it is just
>not generally accepted. I have no problem at all with the idea that
>he may have 'become' John in name, but the obviousness to me that
>Lazarus wrote 'John" leaves me greatly puzzled that there could even
>be another view.
>Is this discussible here?

I'm glad you asked ;-) Inasmuch as this thread has run smoothly and
courteously without upsetting anybody who has expressed him/herself openly
about it, I haven't really wanted to intervene to shut it off. But the fact
of the matter is that from the initial query with this header, the
discussion has really been outside the guidelines set forth in the B-Greek
FAQ. The initial description of the list's purpose reads as follows:

"1. Purpose: B-GREEK is an electronic conference designed to foster
communication concerning the scholarly study of the Greek Bible and related
Jewish and Christian Greek texts, matters of concern to beginning and
advanced students of Biblical Greek such as textbooks, reference works,
bibliography and research tools, with a fundamental focus on understanding
the Greek text of the Bible. Anyone interested in New Testament Studies is
invited to subscribe, but the list will assume at least a working knowledge
of Biblical Greek. Those interested in learning to study the Bible in a
more personal and less exclusively academic manner should join the BIBLE

As I've followed the thread it has seemed to me from the outset that the
focus has not been on interpretation of a specific Greek text but on the
understanding of the gospel of John as a whole and the place of the concept
of DOXA/glory in the gospel. To be sure, it has been an academic
discussion, but theological perspectives have been deeply involved
throughout the discussion and I have felt that even the Greek word DOXA has
been secondary to a general discussion of "glory" in John in general. In my
view this is the sort of discussion that belongs properly on the BIBLE list
rather than on B-Greek.

We have discussed previously the reasons for the limitations which the
BG-Staff have endeavored to enforce upon list discussions previously, but
those most deeply involved in the thread in question are perhaps new enough
to the list to have missed those discussions of limitations. The heart of
the rationale for those limitations is set forth in the "Netiquette"
section of the FAQ thus:

"1. Respectful discourse: Those who participate in the conference represent
a wide range of theological and denominational perspectives, perhaps even
including some whose interests are purely academic. Deep religious
convictions surely characterize many, perhaps most, of the
list-participants, and some of these convictions bear directly upon how the
Biblical text is to be understood. At the core of our discussion, however,
is not what our convictions are but what the Greek text may legitimately be
understood to mean. If discussion of this nature is to succeed, proper
respect and courtesy to other list members is important. While scholarly
debate, including disagreement, is encouraged as a goal of this conference,
attacks upon the character, intelligence, or faith of those participating
are not acceptable. Criticism must focus upon the arguments of others; it
may not be directed to the individual. Those who violate this policy will
be contacted politely by the B-Greek staff and requested to conform to
these guidelines. Those who continue to violate the policy will no longer
be welcome in the conference."

It should be clear that the main thing this statement aims at avoiding is
flame-wars that interrupt the flow of civil discourse and provoke intense
antagonisms between list-members holding different faith-commitments all
across the spectrum. What makes the maintenance of civil discourse on the
list continually a risk is that it is almost impossible (if it's possible
at all) to free oneself of one's theological stance and faith-perspective
and examine a Greek Biblical text "objectively." I really think it's too
much to expect that discussion in this forum should require all
participants to ignore wholly their own convictions of faith in discussion
of a Greek text. Nevertheless, we have endeavored to keep the focus of list
discussion on specific Biblical Greek texts and on the Biblical Greek
language itself and to steer clear of GENERAL discussions of how a book or
a group of books (Pauline letters, e.g., or Synoptic Gospels, or Johannine
books) should be interpreted, questions of hermeneutics, questions of
textual criticism that go beyond efforts to clarify the tradition and
variants and reasonable judgments regarding those variants in a specific
portion of the text. The reason for this, I think, is clear enough.
List-members range across the entire spectrum of faith-perspectives from
ultra-conservative to non-believers and some whom some list-members would
even insist are heretical. But all of these are welcome here and nobody's
faith is subject to scrutiny, ridicule or apologetic defense here. And that
is why we would like to steer clear of these broader issues of
interpretation of larger complexes of Biblical texts and questions which
cannot but involve the perspectives that each of us brings to bear upon how
we look at a Greek Biblical text.

For these reasons then, let's avoid discussion of authorship and
historical-critical approaches to the larger Biblical text. There are other
forums for that. This forum is for discussion of specific Biblical Greek
texts and the Biblical Greek language.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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