Craig S. Keener
The Temple Discourse. 7:1–8:59
THIS SECTION, LIKE MUCH OF THE GOSPEL, refracts the themes of the rest of the Gospel in microcosm.6302 As noted above, chs. 7 and 8 form a unity. They are framed by έν κρύπτω and έκρύβη (7:4; 8:59),6303 which provide a sort of Messianic Secret motif.6304 Proposed rearrangements in John 7 tend to multiply rather than solve problems,6305 and it is difficult to divide chs. 7 and 8 unless 7:53–8intervenes.
Greek orators often delivered epideictic speeches at festivals, praising festivals and cities.6306 Jesus' oration does relate to the festival (7:37–39) but is not epideictic. More relevantly, many teachers used the temple courts to instruct the people.6307 The Synoptics report Jesus' temple discourse especially during the passion week; John мая scatter Jesus' temple teaching throughout his Gospel6308 because his whole Gospel is overshadowed with the Passion Narrative (hence the temple cleansing occurs in ch. 2). Then again, John мая scatter the material simply because he has independent tradition of earlier visits to Jerusalem that did not fall within the purview of the Synoptics or their sources.
Jesus Goes to the Feast (7:1–13)
The setting for this narrative and what follows is the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the most sacred Jewish festivals (Josephus Ant. 8.100), associated with joyous celebration.6309 Josephus reports that entire Jewish towns went up to Jerusalem for this festival (Josephus War 2.515).6310 John employs the most frequent LXX title for the feast, literally the «feast of booth-making,» which the LXX translators мая have chosen to avoid the ambiguity to which έορτή σκηνών «feast of booths,» could lend itself.6311 Josephus calls it «the feast of the Jews» (7:2). Although «the feast» became a familiar shorthand designation for this particular festival,6312 John employs the same generic term for Passover (2:23; 11:56; 12:12, 20; 13:29), apparently for the actual festival celebration in Jerusalem.
1. Jesus and His Brothers (7:1–9)
The first two verses of ch. 7 provide a transition from the end of ch. 6: many Galileans proved unwilling to become Jesus' disciples (6:66), but this problem must be kept in perspective. In contrast to Galileans simply unwilling to follow, many Judeans wanted to kill Jesus (7:1)!6313 (The phrase «seeking to kill,» with Jesus as object, is frequent in this Gospel [5:18; 7:19–20,25; 8:37,40].) This transition also provides the introduction for the conflict between Jesus and his brothers, which provides a microcosm of Jesus' larger conflict with the «world» (7:4, 7), a conflict that quickly unfolds in the ensuing public confrontations in the relatively cosmopolitan center, Jerusalem.6314 Although they have traveled with Jesus, his mother, and disciples (2:12), the brothers currently constitute an example of the «world» because of their unbelief (7:5).
Like his mother, Jesus' brothers want him to work a sign (7:4; cf. 2:3);6315 Jesus responds to them as gruffly as he did to his mother, noting that his time is not yet at hand (7:6,8; cf. 2:4)–a time that has to do with the world's opposition (7:7) and his death (7:30; 8:20; 12:23).6316 And as with his mother, so here Jesus does what is requested, after he has established that he acts for different reasons from those for which the request was originally made. In this case, however, John specifically attributes their request for Jesus' open revelation to unbelief (7:5), whereas (we have argued) he views Jesus' mother in a more favorable light.6317 Their request that he reveal himself in Judea also is precisely the opposite of his disciples' later concern for his safety there (11:8), though they proved willing to accompany him in the face of that danger (11:16).6318
That Jesus had many brothers is not surprising; families often had many children with a wide range of ages.6319 Honoring kinship ties was very important,6320 and brothers were normally the closest and most trustworthy of allies,6321 which makes the unbelief of Jesus' brothers (7:5) all the more disconcerting. (Intrafamily strife was considered particularly tragic.)6322 Although Jesus' younger siblings seem to have achieved prominence in the later church (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; 1Cor 15:7; Gal 1:19; 2:9,12; Jas 1:1; Jude 1), it is not clear that John is polemicizing against them in that later role here (any more than he polemicizes against Peter, a prototypical disciple). They serve a literary function in the narrative, challenging disciples to have deeper faith and to endure rejection by their families,6323 a common early Christian situation (1Cor 7:15–16; 1Pet 3:1; Matt 10:21).6324 The statement that «not even his brothers were believing in him» (7:5) follows immediately after the apostasy of many of his disciples (6:66); likewise, believers experienced both tragic defection from their ranks (1 John 2:19) and familial opposition (cf. Matt 10:21, 35–37). If Jesus' brothers serve any function related to their genetic kinship with Jesus, it might be an apologetic purpose, to counter or guard against the charge of nepotism that would allow Jesus' relatives to assume so much rank in the early church. Josephus defends Moses against such a charge regarding Aaron (Josephus Ant. 4.26–28, 34, 58), and John мая wish to show that the charge cannot be laid against Jesus.6325 Or, if John does qualify popular allegiance to Jesus' physical family, it мая be in a manner similar to that in which he challenges thoughtless devotion to Peter, ever reminding believers that Jesus alone is the chief shepherd and lord (cf. 13:24, 38; 21:15–22). (That this Gospel would be sensitive to such questions is not surprising. Early eyewitness tradition indicates that John son of Zebedee, with whose tradition, at least, most scholars associate this Gospel, once shared leadership in the conservative Jerusalem church with both Peter and James; Gal 2:9.)
Although many sages taught in schools, many in this period taught in open places, and it was common for passersby to be able to hear them.6326 As a general principle, those who acted in secret often had much to hide.6327 Public knowledge was an important matter; Josephus, for example, explicitly appeals to what was known by all the people (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.107); in a later context, so does Jesus (John 18:20–21; Acts 26:26). Philosophers, moralists, and other writers regularly praised παρρησία, open, frank speech.6328 They contrasted it particularly often with flattery, arguing that it was better to speak the truth;6329 this was especially true in friendships.6330 They attributed this frank speech to the most respected of philosophers (e.g., Epictetus Diatr. 1.pref.; Iamblichus V.P. 32.215,220), though such frankness could sometimes prove insulting.6331 Writers often accuse tyrants and others in power of courting flatterers (though often warning that those who flatter them do not have their best interests at heart);6332 more relevant to this context in view of 7:46–49, aristocratic writers accused populists of using flattery (Livy 23.4.2). One might emphasize the importance of practicing onés philosophy secretly before proclaiming it,6333 but this in no way diminishes the more frequent emphasis on bold speech. Nevertheless, practical politics recognized that speaking with excess παρρησία could generate needless hostility.6334 An ancient speaker portrayed as demonstrating this trait in proper balance might appear praiseworthy.6335
Jesus' brothers declare that he must show himself openly if he wishes to gain more followers (7:4); this was generally sound political advice from the culture, but the narrator regards it as an expression of unbelief (7:5).6336 They condemn acting in secrecy, yet Jesus ultimately goes to the feast secretly (7:10). Like those who expected a fleshly, political messiah and kingdom (6:15; 18:36), Jesus' brothers wanted to see immediate evidence of Jesus' claimed identity (perhaps to vindicate the family's honor); by contrast, Jesus was committed to the Father's timing (7:6). They demand an «open» revelation in a manner similar to Jesus' enemies (10:24). (Their unbelief at this stage is also suggested by other extant Jesus tradition–Mark 3:21,31–35.)6337 Given other suggestions that John regarded family hostility or lack of support as relevant to his audience (9:21–22), Jesus' example мая encourage members of John's audience to greater courage in the face of opposition.
Jesus eventually did provide some «open» teaching (7:26; 18:20), and especially was frank with his disciples (11:14; 16:25; cf. 14:21–23); but it did not come in response to others' demands, and the timing had to be right.6338 Jesus would «reveal» himself fully, as the brothers request in 7:4, but not simply to reflect well on his earthly family; rather, privately to those who were truly his own (14:22). It was not that he feared death in Judea (cf. 11:7–9), though others in the narrative will avoid παρρησία for that reason (7:13); it was only that he must obey the Fathers plan and so delay it until the right time (7:7). In this Gospel, Jesus truly lays down his life and no one takes it from him (10:18); all happens according to the wisdom of his plan in obedience to his Father's wil1.
Given this emphasis of Jesus' brothers on open speech and behavior (7:4), it is significant to note that, after Jesus publicly reveals himself in his temple discourse, the Pharisaic elite portray him as a demagogue (7:47–49), suggesting significant class tension in the story world which was not unlikely in the world of John's intended audience as wel1. Jesus' «open» appearance in both 7:14–36 and 7:37–52 polarizes the crowd; «that is, just as Jesus moves from 'hiddenness' (verse 4) to openness,' so the response of his hearers moves from hiddenness (verse 13 … ) to open decision.»6339
Jesus cannot guide his life according to political expediency; he must follow his Father's leading (cf. 9:4; 11:9).6340 That Jesus' «time» is not yet at hand is another Johannine double entendre; his brothers in the story world would understand him as referring to the time to go to the feast, but John's ideal audience understands that going to the feast brings Jesus into conflict with the officials, hence hastens his impending death. Thus, as noted above, this passage emphasizes the matter of the appropriate time (7:6–7); as in 2(see more detailed comment there), Jesus is heading for the cross. When would Jesus' identity be better revealed to the world than at his final hour, at the cross (cf. 8:28; 12:32–33)?6341 As in John's use of «cannot» in general, so here «the impossibility lies in the true nature of things, and is the other side of the divine 'must'» (see comment on 4:4).6342 The world cannot hate them (7:7) because it would thereby hate its own ways instead of those of God (cf. 15:19).6343 Jesus, by contrast, cannot simply elicit faith by his «works» (7:3), for he challenges the «works» of the world as evil (7:7; cf. 3:19–20).6344
That Jesus' brothers wanted him to accompany them (7:8) would be natural; pilgrims usually traveled to Jerusalem's festivals in groups. Yet Jesus did not «go up» to Jerusalem in the company of his brothers because they represented the «world» (7:8–9).6345 Jerusalem was high in elevation (e.g., Ps 48:1–2), so «going up» to Jerusalem was idiomatic (e.g., Ps 24:3; 122:4; Isa 2:3; 38:22; Luke 10:30); thus «going up» (7:8) is a straightforward reference to traveling to Jerusalem (7:10).6346 Yet because John exhibits many double entendres, it is also possible that «go up» in 7alludes back to 6(cf. 3:13; 20:17): it was not yet time for Jesus to «go up» (αναβαίνω), for he would accomplish this «going up» in the ultimate sense when he ascended back to the Father by way of the cross at his final Passover (cf. 2:4).6347
2. Jesus' Secret Presence at the Festival (7:10–13)
John illustrates how dangerous Jerusalem had become for Jesus; he acted secretly until the midst of the feast, when he could draw the largest crowds (7:14). That Jesus went up in «secret» (7:10) could suggest that he misled his brothers in some sense (7:6–8).6348 Ancient readers might have differed among themselves whether Jesus misled his brothers here; not telling an interested party onés plans could be viewed as deception (Gen 31:20).6349 In general, ancient peoples, both Jewish6350 and Gentile,6351 condemned lying, but those who commented on it sometimes allowed exceptions.6352 Scripture certainly permitted deception under extreme circumstances, especially to save life and sometimes (with prophets) to let the wicked remain in their folly.6353 Later Jewish teachers also approved of deception to fight oppressors (Judith 9:10,13) or to save ones life from oppressors.6354 Telling the truth could merit damnation if this act constituted betrayal of another to an oppressor.6355
But whereas Jesus might have left an impression different from his plans, he does not explicitly lie here; he did remain in Galilee until it was time for him to go to the festival (7:9), and then eluded capture and stoning because his hour had not yet come (7:30; 8:20, 59). Changing onés plans after having spoken differently was not viewed as lying, but could merit the accusation of fickleness (levitas), sometimes requiring a defense of some sort.6356 Yet Jesus did not change his mind in this passage, for as in 6:6, he knew his own intentions in advance; his «time» had not yet come (7:8). Later pagan writers actually used this passage to charge Jesus with fickleness, but the texts point, by contrast, is «Jesus' firm resolve to do exactly what the Father gives him to do, and at the Father's time (cf. 5:19ff.)."6357
Throughout the Fourth Gospel, Jesus utters words on a deeper level of meaning, words that can be misconstrued (e.g., 3:3–4; 4:10–11, 14–15; 6:63). Unlike his brothers, Jesus cannot simply go to the feast at any time; his interest in going to the feast is not merely to perform the ritual of attendance but to obey the leading of his Father (see comment on 3:8). He мая not deceive them, but he does not begin at the feast the way they had advised: they wanted him to show himself (φανέρωσον) and not remain in secret (ev κρύπτω, 7:4); here he begins his time in Jerusalem «not openly» (φανερώς) but in secret (έν κρύπτω, 7:10).
That Jesus could blend into the crowds (7:10–11) мая implicitly underline the character of his incarnation (1:14). Business documents frequently listed distinctive features in a transactor's appearance, such as placement of scars.6358 Far more important, where relevant, ancient biography stressed personal appearance, though it is missing in many ancient biographies.6359 It was also common (though not essential) to epideictic speeches;6360 legends and novels also often praised the great beauty of their heroes.6361 Some ancient teachers even thought that they could determine peoplés character based on their face, form, and the way they carried themselves.6362
Frequently ancient heroes were taller or more attractive than their contemporaries, inviting respect, among both men (1Sam 9:2; 10:23; 16:7, 12)6363 and women;6364 exceptions did, however, exist.6365 Even the odd description of Paul in the second-century novel Acts of Paul and Thecla fits the usual pattern of ancient heroic descriptions.6366 The possibly first-century C.E., lower-class Life of Aesop describes Aesop's ugliness, «not for its own sake but, as with Socrates, for the spice of contrast it gives to his intellectual elegance.»6367 Beauty was treated as a natural virtue,6368 hence the beauty of heroes seems to have been the most common norm, though Jews would undoubtedly have defined that beauty in terms of darker complexion than would have been customary in traditional northern Mediterranean literature.6369 (Among northern Mediterranean people, most classical heroes6370 and deities6371 were blond, which usually characterized beauty [Longus 1.17], and white skin characterized feminine6372 and occasionally masculine6373 beauty.)
But Jesus seems to have been able to blend into the crowds and merits no physical description from the author of the Gospe1. Presumably he looked like most of his Palestinian Jewish contemporaries,6374 wearing a beard;6375 more likely than not he had a light brown complexion with black hair.6376
That the crowd was divided (7:12; cf. 12:29) is not surprising; early Judaism was very diverse on a variety of matters,6377 and a crowd of Jews from around the world gathered for the feast might prove even more diverse than our literary and epigraphic sources revea1. While part of the crowd repudiates Jesus, another part seems to grow in christological awareness (cf. 7:12, 26, 31,41); yet people feared to express their views openly «because of the Jews» (7:13)6378–which here can refer only to the elite (cf. 12:42; 20:19; unless we are to believe that John portrays the crowds of 7as wholly Gentile, a view which does not fit Johns narratives). Contrary to common scholarly tradition, John does not portray all the Jewish people, even all Jerusalemites, as hostile to Jesus. In fact, his emphasis on the Judean elite in his Passion Narrative reduces the emphasis on the behavior of the people as a whole (e.g., 19:6).
The view that Jesus led «the multitude» astray (7:12; cf. 7:47) suggests two possible charges: the first was the aristocratic view of Jesus as a populist demagogue seeking influence with the masses (cf. 7:48–49). The second was the biblical injunction against false prophets leading astray the people. Although it мая never have been implemented in the first century, the official penalty for this crime was death for both the prophet and thepeople who followed him (Deut 13:12–18). This latter charge, based on Deut 13, continued to warrant discussion in the Dead Sea Scrolls and later Jewish texts.6379 Some later rabbis felt that one who led the multitudes to sin should not even be given an opportunity to repent, lest he be spared the eternal judgment into which he had led his unwitting followers.6380 From John s perspective, however, this charge is a dangerous slander; and nearly all ancient moralists, both pagan and Jewish, condemned slander.6381
While Jesus' own contemporaries in the Jewish community are divided, the elite was committed to punishing Jesus, and many of his supporters recognized this, hence remained quiet (7:13; 9:22). John did not regard this response to Jesus as adequate discipleship (12:42–43). Yet it is significant that his own disciples later prove timid «because they feared 'the Jews'» (δια τον φόβον των Ιουδαίων, exactly the phrase as here in 7:13; cf. 9:22) before receiving a resurrection appearance (20:19). Only an encounter with the risen Christ–directly or through the apostolic message and the Spirit's witness (20:29)–would prove adequate for open faith.6382 For the evangelist's own audience, expulsion from their synagogue мая have proved the price of confessing Jesus openly.6383 That John observes that the Jewish crowds feared «the Jews» (7:13), though the crowds are plainly Jewish, indicates that he uses the term especially for the authorities.6384
Jesus Contends with Jerusalemites (7:14–36)
In this section Jesus the Galilean prophet contends with the Jerusalemites. Jesus remained concealed until the middle of the feast (7:14), when popular opinion might offer some protection (although it appears limited–cf. 7:32). Jesus' previous activity in the temple (in the chronology of John's narrative world) virtually guarantees the hostility of the temple authorities (2:14–22). Even in Jerusalem, however, public opinion is divided (perhaps partly abetted by the many Galileans and foreign Jews at the feast); only the leaders prove uniformly hostile, and even among them–albeit unknown to them–private dissenters exist (7:48–52).
1. The Source of Jesus' Teaching (7:14–18)
The middle of the festival, close to its fourth day, would allow any Diaspora pilgrims who had been delayed to arrive and the festival to be at its height. Against the charge that Jesus leads the people astray as a false prophet would (Deut 13), Jesus here emphasizes that he does not speak on his own authority (7:14–18). In 5:19–20 he emphasized his dependence as a son upon the Father; in this passage, he probably emphasizes his subordination as a true prophet of God. The true prophet like Moses would not speak presumptuously on his own but would speak the words God commanded him (Deut 18:18–22).6385 Jesus thus is «the prophet» (7:40), though he is ultimately much greater than Moses (7:37–39).
Jesus was a teacher (e.g., 3:2; 7:28, 35; 8:20), and like many other teachers he used the temple courts to instruct the people (7:14).6386 Jesus' teaching, however, is quite different from that of his contemporaries.6387 The crowds amazement about Jesus' speech (7:15; cf. 3:7) мая suggest that it functions almost like a sign (5:20; 7:21). People were amazed at his speaking ability in view of his lack of «education» (7:15); this refers to his lack of adult training under a more formal teacher in a school for the study of the Law; such teachers would expound especially tradition.6388 (John the Baptist had disciples but was hardly the ordinary formal teacher.) That they complain that Jesus lacked elementary education is less probable,6389 though the level of education widely available in small villages like Nazareth remains disputed.6390 Later sages at any rate could regard as unlearned even those who could read the Scriptures in Hebrew but did not follow the traditions of (or perhaps were unaware of the traditional interpretive pointings of) the schools of sages.6391 The claim that Jesus was untrained in any way might be useful in lowering audience expectations, a standard rhetorical technique.6392 Its more likely function here, however, is to encourage John's audience, which is probably on the whole less educated than the synagogue leadership. But if Jesus did not learn to teach from a school for teachers, did he speak merely from his own wisdom?6393 Sages often prided themselves on their unoriginality.
Jesus responds that he has sat under a teacher: his father (7:16; cf. Ps 119:99); Jesus «heard» and «watched» his Father, to obey and imitate him (5:19–20, 30; 8:26, 38, 40; 12:49–50).6394 Ideally, onés father was to teach one the Shema, the Torah, and Hebrew;6395 Jesus' father here, however, is God. Their term for «educate,» μανθάνω (7:15), appears at 6:45, where Jesus speaks of the eschatological remnant learning from God himself.6396 Many ancient thinkers considered learning from a teacher good, but from innate virtue better (cf. Philo Abraham 6).6397
Jesus indicates that those whose hearts are committed to God's purposes will recognize that he does speak for God (7:17), because his own mission is bound up with God's will (4:34; 5:30; 6:38; cf. 9:31). On Jesus not speaking «from himself,» cf., for example, 5:30; 7:18, 28; 8:28. (He implies that this commitment refers not only to doing God's will, but «wishing» to do so, i.e., doing it truly, from the heart–cf. θέλω in, e.g., 5:35,40; 6:21, 67.)6398 Jesus sought not his own glory (7:18), but this could not be said for those who were unwilling to follow him (5:41,44; 12:42–43). That Jesus was true (cf. 1:9; 8:26) and no unrighteousness was in him (cf. 8:46; 16:10; 1 John 1:5; 2:29; 3:7) is characteristic Johannine language and counters any claim that he «leads the people astray» (7:12).
Some of his contemporaries would have agreed that willingness to obey had to precede true understanding (7:17; see Sir 21:11).6399 It proved more difficult to censure behavior in which one engaged oneself.6400 Probably already by John's day rabbis debated whether learning or doing the Scriptures took precedence;6401 although the priority of learning became the prevailing opinion (as one might expect among sages whose life revolved around interpretation of the Torah), the debate testifies to the critical emphasis on obedience in early Judaism.6402
2. True Keepers of the Law (7:19–24)
Jesus has said that anyone who does God's will must recognize that he is from God (7:17); now he explains why his hearers fail to recognize him. For early Judaism in general, including the early Jewish Christians, the Law was the supreme written embodiment or description of God's will (see comment on Torah on the prologue). Yet his hearers were not truly keeping the Law (7:19); they were practicing lawlessness (8:34; 1 John 3:4), as their very attempts to kill him proved (7:19; 8:37,40; 1 John 3:12). Essentially, Jesus returns the charges of his accusers, standard conduct in ancient trial settings (see fuller comment on 8:37–51).6403
Jesus affirms rather than undermines the Law here, but as the embodiment of the Law (1:14–18) he challenges their inconsistent practice of its principles. The Law came through Moses (7:19; 1:17), though its ultimate origin, like that of the manna, was from God himself (6:32), and parts of it were given to the fathers before Moses (7:22).6404 But the Law could be misinterpreted and abused to judge others inconsistently (7:24; cf. 8:1–11 ). Those who were seeking to kill Jesus (7:19) were certainly disobeying the law of Moses (8:40).6405 The officials might assume that Jesus is a false prophet, hence worthy of death,6406 but their view stemmed from inconsistent reasoning; if their adaptations of one part of the Law to uphold another part were acceptable, how much more were his works confirmed by his Father's power (7:21–23)?
The charge of demonization recalls what we know from the Synoptic tradition (Mark 3:22).6407 Here it мая involve madness (here specifically paranoia).6408 Greek sources describe madness in terms of divine possession6409 and employ δαιμόνιον and its cognates (though Greek thought typically lacked the pejorative connotations attached in Judaism) to refer to someone insane, often employing the designation as an insult (i.e., «you are crazy»), as here.6410 But it in this context мая also involve an additional component. The claim that Jesus has a «demon» (7:20; cf. 8:48–49; 10:20–21) мая associate his works with sorcerers or false prophets,6411 who were associated with demons or tried to manipulate their spirit-guides through incantations.6412 Some ancient circles мая have revered Moses as a «magician,» necessitating careful nuancing by writers, like Josephus and Philo, who wished to avoid such associations.6413 Most circles, both Jewish6414 and Gentile,6415 regarded magicians as dangerous,6416 and many sought to avoid the label for themselves or their heroes,6417 or to charge opponents with the crime.6418 Some other prophetic figures who acted in a bizarre, antisocial manner seem to have received this label as well (Josephus War 6.303, 305),6419 including (according to the Q tradition in Matt 11:18; Luke 7:33) John the Baptist. Some contended that false prophets were moved by demons acting as familiar spirits (Irenaeus Haer. 1.13.1, 3). But because sorcery carried a capital sentence in biblical law (Exod 22:18; cf. Rev 21:8; 22:15),6420 the charge functions ironically: at the very moment they accuse him of having a demon, they profess to be unaware of who might wish to kill him (7:20)! Jesus frequently claims not to act on his own but in obedience to the one who sent him (e.g., 7:16); by treating his father as a «demon,» they are guilty (like the religious leaders in the Markan tradition) of blaspheming against the Spirit (Mark 3:22, 29–30; Matt 12:24, 32; cf. Luke 12:10). Jesus ultimately reverses the charge of de-monization, calling their father the devil (John 8:41, 44). Such references to the devil and possession (John 13:2, 27) suggest that Johns omission of exorcisms reflects his theological emphasis and not necessarily a disagreement with the Synoptic portrayal of Jesus as an exorcist.6421
Because his accusers attribute his works to sorcery (7:20), Jesus must respond by addressing his work, his sign (7:21). Jesus' audience was «amazed» at his healing activity (7:21; cf. 5:20; 7:15), but because he focuses on a particular healing in Jerusalem (5:9) and goes on to address consistent principles for keeping the Sabbath (7:22–23), he must be responding to specific criticism that he has undermined the law of the Sabbath (cf. 5:15–16; 7:12; 9:16). Employing the rhetorical technique of turning the charges on the accusers (a technique Jesus also uses in the Q tradition of Matt 12:24–45; Luke 11:15–25; see introduction to John 8:37–51), Jesus charges his accusers with inconsistency in their practice of the Sabbath. His «one» work (7:21) contrasts notoriously with their continuous breach of the Sabbath (7:22, present verb).6422 The present situation confirms Jesus' accuracy in his disagreement with his brothers: they believed he would be praised by revealing his «works» (7:3), but Jesus knew that he would be rejected because he revealed the depravity of the world's «works» (7:7).
Jesus' argument was readily intelligible.6423 To fulfill various biblical commandments, those practicing the Law sometimes had to override specific requirements of the Law, such as Sabbath observance. Festivals6424 like Passover,6425 the Feast of Tabernacles (perhaps in some of Jesus' hearers' minds, 7:2),6426 the temple service,6427 and any activities necessary to conduct them, properly override the Sabbath. Circumcision, a central commandment in Judaism,6428 likewise overrides the Sabbath.6429 That some commandments must override some other commandments is a well-attested principle of rabbinic ethics and undoubtedly reflects a long-standing tradition; matters such as which rules took priority were too critical to be left to a moment's personal discretion.6430
As most commentators recognize,6431 Jesus then concludes with a qal vahomer (light to heavy) argument (7:23). Such arguments are quite prominent throughout Tannaitic diseussions like those reported in the Tosefta,6432 Mekilta,6433 Sipra Leviticus,6434 Sipre on Numbers,6435 and Sipre on Deuteronomy.6436 Although called «Hillelite,» this interpretive rule6437 had already long been part of ancient Mediterranean reasoning.6438 Jesus' argument runs like this: if the Sabbath could be superseded for (excising) a single member, how much more for (restoring) the whole person (cf. Mark 3:4)?6439 Exactly this form of reasoning appears in a tradition of sages contemporary with John: if the Sabbath supersedes circumcision, which affects a single member, how much more does onés life, which affects all onés members, supersede it?6440 That protecting life took precedence over the Sabbath was a long-standing Jewish tradition.6441
Jesus in v. 24 does not challenge traditional Jewish ethics, but echoes it against the behavior of his critics: early Jewish teachers laid a heavy emphasis on righteous judgment.6442 Although defending the guilty could be viewed as acceptable practice for lawyers if the defendant were not infamous,6443 some other ancient teachers also warned against hasty or ill-advised judgment of others.6444 But Jesus both affirms that his own judgment is righteous (5:22; 7:18; cf. 16:8; Rev 19:11) and implies that the judgment of his interlocutors is not (cf. 7:19; 8:15; cf. 7:51). Other Jesus tradition also suggests that Jesus warned against careless judging of others (Matt 7:1–5) and of God's revelation (Luke 12:57). In his more dramatic imagery, John is probably already looking ahead to Jesus' trial (18:31).
3. Jesus' True Identity (7:25–31)
Jesus' warnings that some wish to kill him (7:19–20) provoke members of the crowd to recognize that Jesus might be the one whom the authorities seek to kill; yet they have found Jesus' teaching so intriguing that they find it questionable that the authorities really wish to kill him (7:25). That the officials were saying nothing to Jesus (7:26) actually suggests only his popularity (as in Mark 11:31–33), but мая have suggested to the crowds that their rulers had reevaluated Jesus. Later Jewish texts include a similar idiom about not speaking a word to a person, implying quiet approva1.6445 The real reason the aristocrats fear to act, however, мая be Jesus' support among the people,6446 although that very populist support ultimately forces them to act against him (7:49; 11:48; 12:10–11).
That some thought of Jesus as messiah (7:26) мая fit the eschatological expectations associated with this and other Jerusalem festivals.6447 The crowd's claim to know Jesus' place of origin (7:27) will prove ironic in that they do not recognize his true and ultimate origin, namely, God (7:28–29); but Jesus has encountered this response to his teaching before (6:42). In Mediterranean antiquity, establishing someonés origin was one of the first steps to understanding that person's identity, as reflected in the questions asked upon meeting strangers.6448 The idea that no one would know the place of the Messiah's origin (7:27) seems to contradict the tradition that he would derive from Bethlehem (7:42; Matt 2:5–6). Scholars here usually cite the rabbinic tradition of the hidden Messiah: it applies not to his original location but to his place of concealment just before making himself known publicly.6449 The hidden Messiah tradition often connects the Messiah with Moses, who was also hidden before he was revealed.6450 Much of the rabbinic attestation is late,6451 but their basic tradition surely does not derive from inferences from John or from Justin's Dialogue with Tryphol Presumably those who note that no one knows where the Messiah will come from thus refer to his immediate rather than his ultimate origin, but the seeming contradiction with the tradition of his birth in Bethlehem (7:42) plays well to Johannine irony: Jesus' critics occasionally disbelieve him on contradictory grounds (see also 9:29), united only in their opposition to him. In other words, people used whatever arguments necessary to achieve their predetermined conclusion.6452
In 7Jesus мая speak on two levels: although his opponents do not know that Jesus is from «above,» judging purely on the basis of appearance (7:24),6453 they are correct concerning his earthly origin. Even their knowledge of his earthly origin мая be partly incorrect, however (depending on what we мая assume John believes and expected his audience to know; see comment on 7:42). Conversely, Jesus мая say «you know» only in the sense that he had made the knowledge available to them (14:4). But whatever else they knew or did not know, tragically they did not know God (7:28). Jesus, by contrast, knew him, because (cf. 3:13; 6:46) God was where Jesus was really from, and Jesus was God's agent or representative (7:29).6454 Their very failure to recognize Jesus' agency testified that they did not know God (see introduction on knowledge and agency, chs. 6–7).6455
Although they should have been «seeking» Jesus (1:38; 20:15) and seeking him with appropriate motives (cf. 6:24, 26; 7:34; 8:21; 11:56), they «sought» to seize him (7:30; cf. 5:18; 7:1, 19–20, 25; 8:37, 40; 10:39; 11:8; 18:4–8).6456 But God remains sovereign in this Gospel, and they remain unable to capture him (8:59; 10:39) until the appropriate time, as Jesus himself knows (2:4; 7:6). Exactly the same idea recurs in 8:20. That onés appointed time of death was established was a common ancient Mediterranean idea;6457 occasionally associated with this was the concept that no one could kill a person until his fated time arrived.6458 Jewish tradition did not emphasize miracles confirming the Messiah's identity,6459 but signs demonstrate Jesus' messiahship to those open to hear them (7:31; 20:30–31).6460 Many therefore believed in him (7:31); yet, as on previous and later occasions, such initial signs-faith was no guarantee of perseverance (2:23–25; 8:30–31).
4. Jesus' Unknown Destination (7:32–36)
The prominence of chief priests in the passage has been explained in various ways,6461 but fits accurately what we know of Jerusalem's ruling class before 70 C.E. That the Pharisees and chief priests would join one another in sending officers6462 (7:32, 45; cf. 18:3), however, attributes to the Pharisees more political power than they were known to have in Jesus' day. It probably reflects John's own historical situation, in which Pharisees had achieved greater dominance among the Judean religious elite. At the same time, Josephus is clear that many Pharisees were influential on account of their wealth as well as respected by the people, and the chief priests did work with the more influential Pharisees as joint members of Jerusalem's municipal aristocracy (e.g., Josephus Life 21, 190–192, 196, 216).6463 That Jesus encountered some Pharisaic opposition is difficult to doubt,6464 but Gospel writers after 70 C.E. had greater reason to emphasize Pharisaic participation in the aristocratic coalition (historically dominated by Sadducees) most directly involved in Jesus' condemnation.6465
Just as Jesus' accusers did not really know where he was from, they could not understand where he was going (7:33–36), a principle John's audience could also apply to their own origin and mission, inscrutable to the world (cf. 3:8).6466 Jesus would «go to» the Father (7:33; cf. 8:14; 13:1, 33; 14:2–4, 12, 28; 16:7, 10, 28) byway of his death (cf. 8:21–22; 11:8, 11).6467 Jesus' knowledge of his own destiny (8:14) characterized people from above (3:8) and those in the light (12:35). The «little while» Jesus remained among them (7:33; 12:35; cf. 13:33) was therefore the brief time before the cross (cf. 14:19; 16:16).6468 Jesus' warning that they would «seek» him too late to find him (7:34) мая echo the biblical prophets;6469 the warning was permanent for his enemies (8:21) but his followers would experience the separation only temporarily (13:33, 36).
His accusers try to understand his meaning: surely to escape them Jesus will not go among the «Greeks,» will he (7:35)? If one reads the genitive construction as the «Diaspora among the Greeks,» they suppose that he will teach Gentiles;6470 if one reads it as the «Diaspora of the Greeks,» by «Greeks» he means Greek-speaking Jews.6471 This is, however, unusual language, since Greeks regularly contrasted themselves especially with «barbarians,» that is, all non-Greeks, hence summarizing humanity as «Greeks and barbarians,»6472 and hellenized Jewish writers often followed this literary custom.6473 Although Johannine usage is more determinative than that of other early Christian writers, the two Johannine uses of «Ελληνες (7:35; 12:20) are the ones under dispute, making a comparison with other early Christian usage important. Among other NT writers, only Luke and Paul use the term. Both use it frequently, and both apply it always to Gentiles, not Jews. Further, all LXX uses also clearly refer to Gentiles (e.g., Joel 4:6/mt 3:6; Dan 10:20; 1Macc 6:2; 8:18; 2Macc 4:36; 11:2). If John intended his audience to understand «Diaspora Jews» when they heard the term «Greeks,» he appears to have been utterly insensitive to his audiencés linguistic background.
It is therefore more likely that John does refer to ministry among Gentiles by means of the Jewish dispersion. The «dispersion» itself refers in any case to the Jewish people scattered abroad, from whom Jesus might receive a more favorable reception than among his people in Palestine.6474 But, as in their similar misunderstanding in 8:21–22, the opponents unwittingly and ironically speak an element of truth: through Jesus' followers (17:20–21), many among the Dispersion and the Greeks would become his followers (10:16).6475 They also speak other unwitting truth: Jesus was «going away» by death (7:34), and his death was inseparably connected with the coming of the Greeks (12:20–23), the other sheep (10:15–16).
Responses to Jesus' Revelation (7:37–52)
John's movement rarely fits modern outlines, lending some degree of arbitrariness to the outline we have endeavored to construct. Because 7:37–39 could climax the teaching of 7:14–36, one could retain it with that previous section; but because the chronological marker («last day») is significant, I have included it in a following section, which emphasizes responses to Jesus.
One can trace a common structure in these two sections: Jesus teaches in the temple at the feast (7:14–24; 7:37–39); people speculate about his identity (7:25–29, 31; 7:40–43); the attempt to arrest him fails (7:30,32–36; 7:44–52).6476 Each section builds suspense to its climax, reveals deep divisions within Judaism concerning Jesus' identity; and demonstrates God's sovereign plan in withholding Jesus' «hour» for its appropriate time.
1. Source of Rivers of Life (7:37–39)
John places this pivotal announcement in the midst of two sections of his confrontation in the temple (7:10–36; 7:40–52). Given the centrality of the water symbolism earlier (2:6; 3:5; esp. 4:14), this pivotal position here is not surprising. The surrounding structure is not chiastic, but nevertheless balances some central themes in both sections: the charge that the multitudes are being led astray (7:12,47); Moses or his law (7:19–23, 51); judging righteously (7:24, 51); division (7:31, 43); the question of Jesus' origin (7:26–28, 42); the intention to seize him (7:30,44); the speculation that he might be the Christ (7:31,41).
That the temple is the site of such an announcement is no coincidence, considering the role the temple played in eschatological water expectation. That Jesus «cried out» мая imply the special significance of his words (7:37; cf. also in 1:15; 7:28; 12:44). Jesus has already addressed those who thirst (6:35), invited them to «come» to him and «believe» in him (6:35), and spoken of drinking from his gift of living water (4:14).
1A. The Water-Drawing Ceremony
New Testament scholars have long connected this passage with a critical ritual of the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. 7:2).6477 Central to this festival was the famous «water-drawing» ceremony, including the procession from the pool of Silöam to the temple,6478 in which priests and people marched in, after which priests would pour out water and wine at the base of the altar.6479 The ceremony was probably established in Maccabean times;6480 tradition indicates that it was already standard by the time of Hille1.6481
The water libations were certainly known in the Diaspora before 70; Diaspora pilgrims would report to the rest of their communities the highlights of events at the festivals.6482 Jerusalem's tourist industry would promote such propagation of reports; thus, for example, a souvenir amphorisk found in Cyprus, probably brought from the festival in Jerusalem, appears to evoke the water-drawing ceremony.6483 Rabbinic texts testify that memories of the festival remained alive among those who continued to treasure the old temple and its rituals; late paintings in the distant Diaspora also recount the festiva1.6484
The atmosphere of the water-drawing ceremony, as of the whole festival, was such that pilgrims would be inclined to preserve its memory; it was one of festive celebration. Jewish people associated joy with the Feast of Tabernacles,6485 beginning in an early period.6486 (Ancient festivals usually included a component of festivity,6487 though some pagan philosophers felt that such sensible elements were merely a concession to the masses.)6488 This joy concerning the feast in general also applied to the water drawing and procession in particular.6489
Probably part of the ancient purpose of the water-drawing ritual was to secure rain;6490 the feast after all directly precedes the rainy season.6491 Rain was essential,6492 and later Jewish tradition probably reports more widespread sentiment in expressing dependence on the divine miracle of rain.6493 The covenant had promised rains if Israel obeyed it (Lev 26:4; Deut 28:12),6494 just as sin would produce drought (Deut 28:48).6495 Some Jewish teachers also regarded as particularly pious those who could persuade God to send rain.6496 But some traditions made rain dependent on the temple service,6497 and some connected rain specifically with the Feast of Tabernacles.6498 Prayer for rain was an important tradition during this festival,6499 and according to later tradition God made his decisions concerning rain during this festiva1.6500 Some came to believe that the water libations at this feast brought on the rains.6501
1B. The Meaning of the Water
Wisdom offers herself as food and drink (Sir 24:21),6502 and offers to pour out her spirit on those who prove receptive (Prov 1:23),6503 which for early Christians might midrashically evoke also the promise of Joel 2:28–29 (Acts 2:17–18,33; 10:45; Rom 5:5; Tit 3:5–6). Later rabbis naturally identified Torah with water.6504 Because the Spirit would continue the presence (14:17–18, 23) of the Word who became flesh (1:14–18), it is not surprising that John would portray the Spirit as water.6505
But this portrayal actually has more precedent in the biblical prophets than does the later rabbinic emphasis on the Torah as water (see Isa 44:3; Ezek 36:25–27; Joel 2:28).6506 Later Jewish sources also suggest that Jesus' image during this festival could have been intelligible, though ultimately those in the story world did not share the reader's advantage of an explicit explanation (7:39). The water drawing at this festival was also identified with the Spirit of God,6507 as commentators often note;6508 the tradition is not later than the early third century C.E.6509 Some could also attach the water drawing and Spirit connection with traditions about Jacob's well based on Gen 29 (cf. John 4:12–14).6510 These accounts are considerably later than John's day, but what they help us affirm more confidently is that John's point would have been adequately intelligible in an early Jewish milieu; they мая also reflect earlier tradition.
Jesus repeatedly appears greater than traditional water rituals (1:31–33; 2:6; 3:5; 4:14; 5:2; 6:35; 9:7). Of the extant gospels, only John reports water flowing from Jesus' side (19:34): if Revelation stems from the same community as this Gospel, John мая be declaring that from the throne of God and of the lamb flows the water of the river of life (Rev 22:1).6511 Rev 22probably reveals to us the eschatological significance of John's language here, but Revelation also applies the eschatological language to a present realization in 22:17.
1C. To What Scripture Does Jesus Refer (7:38)?
When Jesus declares that «Scripture has said,» he cites it with the same authority attributed to it by other Jewish teachers.6512 But which text or texts might he have in mind? Although the lectionary thesis some have advanced for the Fourth Gospel in general and this passage in particular6513 is open to serious challenge,6514 it is likely in this case that later rabbis did preserve common readings for this festival from before 70 C.E. The public reading of Torah at the feast is at least as old as Neh. 8:1–18; note also the association with the Water Gate (8:1), which becomes more prominent in rabbinic tradition. Some older members of John's audience мая recall the likely pre-70 traditions on which our passage depends; perhaps more knew them if the Johannine circle of churches continued to celebrate traditional festivals (at least basic knowledge of which is presupposed in his Gospel).6515
The only readings in the prophets which discuss the feast are Hos 12:9, which does not use σκηνοπηγία and is not conducive to joyful celebration in the context, and Zech 14:16–21, a text of pilgrimage and Israel's triumphant exaltation over the nations. It is therefore not surprising that the later lection for this festival includes this reading,6516 but we need not depend simply on the late lectionary tradition–and still less use the lateness of that tradition to rule out the possibility that it reflects the same line of interpretation that stands behind the event reported in John. It is intrinsically likely, on a priori grounds, that the Scripture readings for Sukkoth should have included Zech 14. Tannaitic sources in fact appear to confirm this expectation:
It required bringing the water-offering on the Festival [of Tabernacles] so that the rain would be blessed on its account, and it says, And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain upon them. And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then upon them [shall come the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the festival of Tabernacles] (Zech 14:17–18).6517
Significantly, the preceding context in Zechariah describes the event that would initiate this eschatological era of peace and blessing for Israel: living waters would flow from Jerusalem in the eschatological time (Zech 14:8–9).
This text would naturally be midrashically connected with a number of other texts about the Spirit of God being poured out as water, such as Isa 44and Joel 2(MT 3:1), and particularly water issuing from the Jerusalem temple in the end time (Joel 3:18). Its closest affinities, however, appear to be with Ezek 47, which also turns up in Tannaitic discussions of Sukkoth: the water flows from the temple (Ezek 47:1–2) and becomes a deep river bringing life to all the world (w. 3–12). The Tosefta expounds Ezek 47 and applies it to the future prefigured by the flask of water at the Sukkoth festiva1.6518
Why is it called «the Water Gate» [M. Sukkah 4:9]? Because through it they bring a flask of water for the water libation on the Festiva1. R. Eliezer b. Jacob says, Through it the water comes out [on the south side] (Ez. 47:2). This teaches that they will flow outward like the water of a flask. And they are destined to flow down from below the south end of the threshold of the Temple.6519
On Ezek 47:10, the Tosefta declares, «This teaches that all the waters created at the Creation are destined to go forth from the mouth of this little flask.»6520 The waters of Ezek 47, associated with Sukkoth, would purify: «There will be a single source [of purification-water] for sin and for menstrual uncleanness.»6521
The use of Ezekiel's new temple image is probably more significant for the Fourth Gospel than has been hitherto realized. John speaks three times of the Father's house, in 2:16,8:35, and 14:2. The first text refers to the temple and then goes on to define it in terms of Christ's resurrection body. The second text refers to the father's household, noting that only descendants, not slaves, held a permanent inheritance therein. The third text is pointedly obscure until explained by its following context and the preceding references to the house, as the place where believers мая dwell forever in Jesus' presence through the Spirit. Ezek 46:16–17 indicates that the princés inheritance of land is permanent only for his descendants, not for his servants; further, only the undefiled ministers would really have a place in God's house, the temple (44:9–16; cf. 48:11), where God would dwell with his people forever (43:7, 9; 48:35).6522
The square configurations of a holy allotment in the eschatological city (Ezek 48:16, 20) мая reflect the old holy of holies, the place of God's presence, which is probably also implied by the shape of the new Jerusalem in Rev 21:16. Jesus is the new temple, where believers and God experience one another's presence, in John's realized eschatology (John 14, below; cf. Rev 21:3, 22), and some of Johns conception of that new temple is apparently derived from Ezekie1. This is why the waters flow, not from the Jerusalem temple, but from the glorified Jesus (19:34; cf. Rev 22:1). It is possible that John's reference to the last day of the feast as «the last day, the great one,» is one of his typical double entendres with an implied eschatological significance.6523 The «last day» is also significant in the context of the Feast of Tabernacles, however, especially if the common proposal about Scripture readings on that day (see comment above) has any merit (the tradition's date is uncertain). Some propose that on the literal level, directly applicable to the narrative world, the feast's «final» day might refer to the seventh day of the festival, because John says the «great» (i.e., greatest)6524 day, and the eighth day lacked the water libation and dancing.6525 This proposal is, however, unlikely. The eighth day was different from the first seven;6526 but it was also a Sabbath (cf. 9:14; Lev 23:36; Num 29:35), and the festival was by this period seen as eight days long (2Macc 10:6).6527 Moreover, John мая mention the «last» day in part to point out that by the end of the festival, no one had apprehended Jesus. The «great» (μεγάλη) day (7:37) refers to its religious significance (cf. 19:31).6528
John's allusion to «Scripture» in 7has sent scholars looking for the exact source of his reference.6529 Some have looked to the well in Numbers,6530 which also was associated with the Sukkoth flask.6531 That water from the rock would be fresh on peoplés minds during this feast is clear from Neh 9:15,19–20, where such events were recalled in the context of this feast (Neh 8:18).6532 The well figured prominently in later Jewish tradition;6533 it regularly appeared alongside manna and clouds of glory in rabbinic lists of Gods gifts.6534 Others feel that Zech 146535 or Ezek 47 are more likely backgrounds.6536 Although I believe that John makes most use of the new temple material in Ezekiel, I concur with the scholars who argue that John elsewhere midrashically blends various texts and that he is following that practice here.6537
1D. From Whom Does the Water Flow?
One cannot make a case for the biblical text or texts cited by John without inquiring from whom the rivers flow in this passage. Is it Christ or the believer in him that functions as the source of the living waters here? Finding biblical precedent for the view that the waters flow from the believer's «belly» is difficult. Epicurean philosophy locates the rational part of the person in the chest,6538 but this has little precedent in Jewish or Christian sources, except possibly John 4(below). Discussions of the Semitic original behind «belly,»6539 intended to help identify the OT text in view and thus its probable Johannine referent, probably presume too much knowledge of Hebrew or Aramaic for John s ideal audience. Reading an eclectic text arranged by one with a knowledge of Hebrew is not the same as reading Hebrew, so this method will not help us identify either the biblical passages or their Johannine referent.
Those who argue that the waters of John 7:37–38 flow from the believer6540 argue on the basis of the antecedent of αύτοϋ,6541 the parallel with 4:14,6542 the emphasis on receiving in 7:39,6543 the weakness of the opposing view's parallelism,6544 and, perhaps the strongest point, the punctuation in the oldest punctuated manuscripts, reflecting a tradition of interpretation favoring this position.6545
Others favor a punctuation which more easily permits the waters to flow from Jesus instead of from the believer.6546 They challenge the patristic support for the opposing view6547 and argue from parallelism,6548 grammar,6549 and formal considerations.6550 But the strongest arguments are (1) It is much more likely that John would cite Scripture with a Christological interpretation than that he would apply it to the believer;6551(2) Johns Wisdom Christology (1:1–18; the thirsty must come to Wisdom in Prov 9:5; Sir 24:19–21; 51:23–24; cf. John 4:14; 6:35);6552 (3) context: John interprets the believers as the recipients of the Spirit, thereby implying that the glorified Christ is the Spirit's source (v. 39).6553 This would also better explain why the Spirit is not available6554 before Jesus is glorified, particularly if the specific event of 19is in view here.6555 Disciples understand fully only after Jesus' death and exaltation (2:22; 14:26).
Many early Greeks and their Roman successors thought that Delphi was the center, or navel, of the world.6556 Perhaps polemicizing against such a tradition,6557 many Jewish people affirmed that Jerusalem,6558 the temple,6559 and the foundation stone beneath the altar6560 were at the center of the world. From this center would flow the rivers of life to water the whole world;6561 and in John, where Jesus' body becomes the new temple (2:19–21), he becomes the shattered cornerstone from which flows the water of the river of life.6562 The promise is fulfilled after Jesus is «glorified» (7:39; cf. 12:16; 13:31), though the Spirit continues to elaborate his glory thereafter (16:14): believers «receive» (7:39) the Spirit in 20:22, part of the passage which climaxes John's pneumatology (20:19–23). In a symbolic sense, water flows from Jesus' abdomen in 19to announce the same promise.6563
Even though we argue that the waters flow from Christ, the background makes the debate moot in some respects. The waters flow from the new Jerusalem and new temple. Even if believers in Christ (rather than Christ himself directly) represent the new temple here, Jesus nevertheless remains their cornerstone (Eph 2:20; 1Pet 2:6–7), and he remains the source of waters for the believers.
2. The Multitude Divided (7:40–44)
Because Jesus' gift of living water (7:37–38) could remind hearers of Moses' gift of water (Exod 17:1–7),6564 the claim that Jesus is «the prophet» (7:40) probably refers to the eschatological Mosaic prophet expected on the basis of Deut 18:18.6565 Others suspect that he is the Christ (7:41a); both titles are true, though the popular Jewish conceptions represented in each (cf. 1:20–21) prove short of Johannine Christology (see introduction on Christology, ch. 7). But others were put off by his Galilean origin (7:41), as some had been by his apparent origin in Nazareth (1:46), though such skepticism could be surmounted by revelation and faith (1:47–49). (On regional bias in John's tradition and its narrative function, see introduction, ch. 5.)
In contrast to Jesus' hearers in the story world, the informed reader probably knows that Jesus did after all come from Bethlehem (7:42), casting the hearers' skepticism in an ironic light.6566 Many ironies in Greek tragedies did not need to be spelled out because the story was already well known to the audience.6567 The independent infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke–the only two extant first-century gospels with infancy narratives– both attest that many Christians accepted this tradition before John's time, and at least by the time of Hadrian in the early second century even non-Christian residents of Bethlehem recognized a long-standing tradition of the site of Jesus' birth in a particular cave there.6568 The tradition was probably sufficiently widely circulated to be taken for granted by John's audience. Yet John nowhere mentions Jesus' birth in Bethlehem explicitly, because for him the crucial theological issue is not where Jesus was born, but where he was ultimately from: from above, from heaven, from God.6569
Public divisions and factionalism such as those expressed in 7were common throughout ancient Mediterranean society.6570 In literary works as in social reality, a public division over a person (7:43; 9:16; 10:19) could indicate that person's prominence in the public eye.6571 Apparently some of the officers wanted to carry out their orders (7:44; cf. 7:32)6572 but could not do so because some of the other officers began to believe, with some of the crowd, that Jesus might be a spokesman for God (7:40–44). Although John's characterization of Jesus' most vicious opponents is largely «flat"–that is, purely evil–he does concede that even in the Jewish establishment many respected Jesus, even if their Christology was too low to be full disciples (e.g., 3:2; 12:42).
3. The Elite Despise Jesus (7:45–52)
Annoyed that the multitude was divided (7:40–43), as were even their own officers (7:44–46), the elite retreat into the security of knowing that none of their own group has believed in Jesus (7:47–49)–unaware that even on this point they are mistaken (7:50–51). Even their rejection of Jesus on account of his Galilean origins (7:52) reflects their elite understanding, one which simply mirrors many perspectives of the higher class throughout the ancient Mediterranean.
From Josephus's portrait, one мая guess that many Pharisees were members of the Jerusalem aristocracy; at the same time, it seems quite doubtful that they constituted a majority of it.6573 John's own elite opposition мая be primarily Pharisaic in its orientation (see introduction); in Jesus' day, however, the emphasis would have been on the «elite» rather than the Pharisaic elements of opposition. Even here, the groups are not totally identified (7:48; cf. 12:42), though they overlap (cf. 3:1; 7:26, 50).
John's community probably represents a social stratum strongly differentiated from that of the elite; for that matter, the vast majority of ancient people, including urban dwellers, were not part of the elite. By presenting even the guards who came to arrest Jesus as initially reticent to do so (7:45–46; despite 18:3,22), John reinforces his portrait of the synagogue community as divided within itself (7:43), so that the real opposition to Jesus stems from only the most vocal members of the elite. In Josephus, only a small faction causes the war; in John, a small faction is mostly responsible for Israel's unbelief. While John characterizes Jesus' opponents as «the Jews,» his narrative repeatedly emphasizes that Jesus' opposition is only a small portion of the Jewish community, namely an elite who can sometimes (albeit not always) sway the opinions of the masses. The leaders appeal to their view of Jesus as a false prophet (7:47; see comment on 7:12). Ironically, they question the competence of those who heard Jesus firsthand (7:46) without hearing from Jesus themselves (7:51), merely on the basis of social class (7:48–49).
The aristocrats' consensus that their officers have been deceived would have made sense in the context of ancient aristocratic views of speakers who could sway the masses (see comment concerning demagogues on 7:48–49, below). Proficient speakers were common, and their opponents often warned against speakers' deceptive abilities.6574 Some complained that even relatively ignorant speakers could delude the masses with empty but intelligent-sounding questions;6575 others complained that most people preferred sophistry to true wisdom.6576 Thus ancients could regard as plausible the account of soldiers who failed to arrest a speaker who had charmed them with his discourses;6577 a Jewish audience might recall an even more graphic account in which the Spirit of prophecy detained those seeking to apprehend David (1Sam 19:20–24).
Today we мая view John's characterization of the ruling class in 7:48–49 as a wooden exaggeration, but in his day it could well have appeared fairly realistic. Rome normally ruled through municipal aristocracies, and Jerusalem, where Herod had even (forcibly) seated his own supporters on the Sanhedrin, was no exception. The elite in 7:48–49 act in a manner appropriate to aristocratic ideology: those least persuasive to the wise are often most persuasive to the masses,6578 and, in one of the more common themes of ancient political thought, the masses are easily misled by demagogues, those who appeal to the ignorant masses rather than the wise elite.6579 Trained philosophers often expressed the same sentiments concerning the philosophically uninformed masses.6580 An urban elite might suspect that visitors to the festival would prove particularly susceptible to such deception; centuries earlier a Greek writer mocked urban demagogues who through flattery seduced country folk unaccustomed to their ways.6581 For the later rabbis, it was better never to have been born than to be unable to recite the Torah;6582 perhaps because of deficient educational opportunities, poverty could lead to the neglect of the Torah.6583 Hillel reportedly doubted that such unlearned people could be pious.6584 Various Tannaim doubted that those who neglected learning Torah if they had the opportunity would share in the coming world ('Abot R. Nat. 36A); some apparently felt that undue fellowship with a member of the Am Háarets would deprive one of the coming world.6585 Rabbinic reports express the social distance that existed between Pharisees and the Am Háarets,6586 the common people who often ignored their legal interpretations.6587
This is not to deny that the portrait is wholly negative, however; nonaristocratic Jews (most of John's audience) would have resented the characterization of themselves in the mouths of the aristocracy. Even Josephus (an aristocrat who regularly portrays himself as more loved by the Galilean populace than by the aristocrats who sent him) contrasts the laws of Moses, published among all the people, with Plato, who feared to make known true ideas about God to the ignorant masses.6588 Jesus does not trust the quickly changing sentiments of public opinion (2:23–25; 18:40), but in contrast with the arrogant elite portrayed here, the author repeatedly stresses Jesus' love for the people (10:11–15; 11:5, 36; 13:1).
Ironically, their assumption that none of the rulers believed in him (7:48) is countered by Nicodemus's timid reminder of proper judicial procedure (7:50–51); John underlines the challenge to their assumption by reminding the less attentive reader that Nicodemus is the one who had come to Jesus earlier (7:50). Ancient literature sometimes presented a single voice of reason among a people committed to a foolhardy course, a voice ironically ignored by the majority.6589 The informed reader recognizes that Nicodemus represented a number of secret advocates in Jesus from within the ranks of the elite (the plural in 3:2); because of the tyranny of the aristocrats in charge, however (cf. 7:52), they remained silent (12:42–43; cf. «by night» in 3:2).6590
When Nicodemus speaks of «our law,» that is, the Jewish law (7:51; cf. Jesus' «their» or «your» law–8:17; 10:34; 15:25),6591 he does not mean the term pejoratively. As Nicodemus is an ambiguous character with increasingly positive traits in this Gospel (3:1–2; 19:39), and because Jesus himself cites the Law as authoritative, its characterization as the «law of the Jewish leaders» is not negative. The point seems to be that the very standard accepted by the authorities is the standard that convicts them (5:45–47).6592 They pronounce a curse against the masses who do not know the Law (7:49), yet prove unlearned in that same law themselves (7:51–52).6593 They also fail to judge «righteous» judgment (7:24). If Nicodemus warns that the Law requires them to hear Jesus and know what he is doing (7:51), John explicitly informs his audience that the elite has failed to «hear» Jesus (5:37; 8:43, 47), and that they did not know him, where he was from, or what he was doing (8:14,19)!
The Pharisaic leadership's final response ignores Nicodemus's valid observation concerning procedure, an observation John clearly also wished to advance against the oppressors of the Jewish Christians. They simply dismiss his attempt to allow Jesus to speak for himself, a stated requirement of Jewish legal ethics as we know it,6594 by appealing to regional prejudice. «Search and see» (7:52) reflects the standard sort of language used, for example, of invitations to study Torah6595 similar to «come and see» (see comment on 1:39), but for a careful reader the call to «search» might recall 5:39, where Jesus warned his opponents that despite their searching they did not understand the Scriptures.
Although the Galileans were no less intensely committed to Judaism than were Jerusalem's aristocracy (and outside Sepphoris and Tiberias мая have been more conservative and less hellenized about it),6596 they could be easily caricaturized as backward.6597 If «prophet» here is anarthrous, perhaps John's ideal reader is sufficiently biblically informed to recognize that even this objection is biblically mistaken:6598 Jonah was from Gathhepher, a few miles north of Nazareth in Galilee (2 Kgs 14:25).6599 In this case John ironically underlines these teachers' ignorance6600–just as does the reader s knowledge that Jesus was not originally from Galilee. Conversely, if «prophet» is articular,6601 they мая claim that "the prophet» (like Moses) does not come from Galilee–in which case they show themselves ignorant of Jesus' possible origin in Bethlehem (see comment on 7:42) and certain origin from above. Moreover, the Bible did not specify «the prophet's» place of origin.6602 Johannine usage does not clarify whether the articular or anarthrous use is more likely, but the textual evidence on the whole fairly strongly favors the anarthrous use («a prophet»). This portrayal of the leaders' error, probably encouraged by their bias against Galileans, provides a fitting climax for the section.6603
Nicodemus apparently offers no further protestation, and the majority proceeds with its opposition.6604 But a reader accustomed to hearing John's irony might catch in the leaders' words in 7one hint of truth. Elsewhere John usually reserves the term εγείρω for the resurrection; Jesus would not arise in Galilee, but near Jerusalem, after they themselves had lifted up the Son of Man.
Condemning a Sinner's Accusers (7:53–8:11)
This passage bears all the marks of an interpolation; thus, despite a few valiant attempts to rescue it for the Fourth Gospel,6605 the vast majority of scholars view it as inauthentic here.6606 First of all, its textual history is suspect; one would hardly expect so many early manuscripts to omit such an important story about Jesus were it in their text.6607 (If one responds that the later church wished to remove it because it felt that it condoned adultery or challenged androcentric bias,6608 one wonders why other passages, such as Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman, were not similarly excised; further, why 7:53–8would be omitted along with 8:3–11.)6609
Second, it includes elements of non-Johannine vocabulary,6610 some of them significant («scribes» appear only here, and its language is closer to that of the Synoptics). The passage also bears more resemblance to the briefer Synoptic controversy stories than to the normal story in John, though by itself this would not constitute grounds for dismissa1. Finally, it seriously interrupts the flow of thought in John's narrative.6611 For example, Tabernacles motifs, especially Siloam, continue in 8:12–9:7;6612 one could argue that they would lose little symbolism occurring the day after that feast, but it seems that very few people in the crowded temple in 8have gone home. Granted, scribes мая have seen in this context an apt location for the pericope due to Jesus' discussion of sin (8:21, 24, 34, 46); yet if this story originally did precede that discussion, it мая seem curious that no allusion is made to it, in contrast to a somewhat less public event in 5:1–9 to which subsequent allusions appear (5:16, 20; 7:21,23).
The story мая reflect an authentic tradition about Jesus, as many,6613 perhaps most,6614 scholars think; although a few have attributed the passage to an origin in Luke6615 (which it would fit better theologically but where the textual evidence is even weaker than in John), most scholars are probably right that it stems from oral tradition. In any case, it probably bears no other direct relationship with the rest of the Fourth Gospe1. Nevertheless, those wishing to study this passage will naturally turn to commentaries on the Fourth Gospel, so it is important to make some brief comments on the passage.
Standing in the tradition of earlier sages (e.g., Prov 6:23–35; 7:5–27; 9:13–18), early Jewish teachers commented extensively on the dangers of women's adultery.6616 Some women were reportedly executed (albeit illegally, from the standpoint of the Roman administration) in Jewish Palestine, and the charge was most often adultery.6617 Because Jewish teachers were scrupulous about the law of witnesses (Deut 17:6), it was important for the accusers to note that the woman had been caught «in the act» (8:4);6618 yet that the accusers had not brought the man, who should also be executed, suggests a trap or other dishonesty on their part.6619 (This renders unlikely also the proposal that they confronted Jesus merely with a test of his own claim that remarriage was adulterous;6620 further, they would not have dared shame a merely remarried woman who was innocent by their own standards.) That they sought to «test» Jesus himself (8:6) fits the Synoptic tradition (Mark 8:11; 10:2; 12:15; Matt 22:35); from their standpoint, «it is not the woman but Jesus who is on tria1.»6621 That they were «scribes» also fits some Synoptic accounts (the term appears nowhere else in John); probably these were prominent men who interpreted and applied Gods law for others. The scribes challenge Jesus, but Jesus' response will challenge the scribes' social and political position as respected interpreters of Scripture.6622
By bringing the defendant, explicitly citing Moses' words, and inviting Jesus to compare his response to that of Moses, they seek to create a dilemma resembling that of paying taxes to Caesar (Mark 12:14–15).6623 If Jesus opposes her execution, he must explain why he reduces a sentence in the law of Moses; if he approves her execution, he can be viewed as usurping Roman prerogatives in the name of returning to God's law, hence charged with treason.6624 Roman law did not permit execution by subject peoples (see comment on 18:31) and did not authorize execution for adultery. Jesus was already known for his mercy toward sinners,6625 so his interlocutors мая have planned to challenge his fidelity to the law. But, as in Mark 12:17, Jesus silences those testing him with a witty retort.6626
Commentators have proposed various answers to the question of what Jesus wrote in the sand.6627 Some suggest that Jesus' action merely reveals to the reader that he is distraught.6628 Some suggest an allusion to Jer 17:13: those who forsake the fountain of living water will be written «on the earth.»6629 If he assumes a biblical allusion, however, one that would more naturally come to most readers' minds would be the Decalogue, which God wrote with his finger (Exod 31:18; Deut 9:10; the parallel would carry more weight were this story composed by our evangelist!).6630 As it is unlikely that he would have written the entire Decalogue, the tenth commandment мая have sufficed: if they cited the seventh commandment against adultery, he could cite the prohibition against coveting, the first line of which in the LXX was a prohibition of coveting onés neighbor's wife (cf. Matt 5:28). By placing a sin they had undoubtedly committed on the same level as one she was committing, Jesus мая present to them the choice in writing he is about to present to them verbally.6631 The weakness of this argument is that one wonders why the story does not cite the content of the writing explicitly if the content rather than the act is essential to the story. It is at least clear that Jesus indicts the accusers; reversing charges was a standard rhetorical practice (see our introduction to 8:37–51), and if one accused could show that his accusers shared complicity in a matter that turned out badly, he could often force the withdrawal of their complaint.6632
Others suggest that, as a Roman judge would write his sentence before reading it aloud, Jesus writes acquittal; this suggestion has much to commend it, because ancients could easily read the text with this assumption.6633 It мая not explain why he continued to write on the ground a second time in 8:8, unless he is now writing «guilty» as a verdict for the accusers.6634
It мая be that Jesus, following procedure in the Mosaic law (Deut 17:4; 19:18), shows that the witnesses themselves lack integrity and that the case should therefore be dismissed.6635 If so, only a sinless witness would do; if the Pharisees practiced leniency in capital cases by requiring such stringent eyewitness evidence that it was barely ever produced,6636 Jesus took such new leniency to a higher leve1.6637 Since cases were prosecuted on the basis of accusers, the withdrawal of accusers would lead to the woman's acquitta1.6638 That one who has turned from a sin should no longer continue in it was good Jewish teaching (Sir 19:13; 21:1; 31:26); cf. John 5:14.
Children of the Devil versus God's Son (8:12–59)
A central theme in this discourse is the question of origins: Jesus is from above, from God; his opponents are from below, from the devi1. Jesus speaks here in spiritual terms concerning the world, not in ethnic terms (cf. 8:37, 56; 1 John 3:8; 5:19); but neither his interlocutors in the narrative nor some subsequent interpreters have heard the point of the conflict. What is clear is that a dialogue escalates from partial faith (8:30) to an attempt to kill Jesus (8:59), challenging the adequacy of mere claims to faith not demonstrated by perseverance (cf. 2:23–25). It is also clear that Jesus himself controls this escalation of tension; whereas he progressively leads a Samaritan woman into faith while challenging her presuppositions, here his challenges to his hearers' view of themselves inevitably provokes hostility.
1. The True Witness (8:12–20)
This discourse opens with a christological affirmation (8:12) that in turn provokes challenge (8:13), leading to ideological conflict and ultimately (8:59) the threat of violence.6639
Jesus declares himself the «light of the world» (8:12), an idea obviously akin to «the light for humanity» (1:4).6640 This image probably recalls the servant's mission to the nations in Isa 42:6; 49:6,6641 and most importantly, recalls the Gospel's prologue, which shapes the ideal reader's understanding of Jesus' identity (1:4). One might argue for an allusion to Isa 9:1–2, which would answer the objection that Jesus is from Galilee (7:52) that probably immediately precedes Jesus' announcement in the original text.6642 But light is too familiar a biblical image to limit ourselves to this one source when John 8fails to give clearer clues that point to it. One might propose that eschatological light from Zech 14would be familiar from a reading at the Feast of Tabernacles (7:2; Zech 14:16–19),6643 but such an exclusive background ignores the fact that the allusion is not limited to the Tabernacles section of this Gospe1. John returns to this image in 9:5; 12:46; and probably 11:9, always stressing (as in 1:4–5) the contrast with darkness (of these passages, only 9continues the context of Tabernacles). As noted in our comment on 1:4–5, early Judaism employed light as a symbol for a variety of positive entities.
If the Feast of Tabernacles is at all relevant to the image, as many commentators suggest,6644 light was also associated with the torchlight ceremony in the court of women in the temple during that festiva1.6645 Jesus apparently uttered this declaration near the court of women, for the temple treasury (8:20) was adjacent to it. As commentators often observe, this lighting celebration commemorated the pillar of fire in the wilderness (Exod 13:21; cf. Ps 78:14; 105:39; Neh 9:12, 19),6646 which recalls other Johannine images such as water (4:14; 7:38) and manna (6:32).6647 But again, John does not restrict his light imagery to this feast.
«Walking in darkness» (8:12) is a metaphor: at night, one is more apt to trip because one cannot see where one is going (9:4; 11:9; 12:35).6648 But «walking in darkness» had also already become a standard depiction of humanity living in sin.6649 The «light of life» originally applied to the light of sunlight all living mortals, as opposed to those in the underworld, would see;6650 but it came to have deeper connotations as wel1.6651
Such a public claim invited opposition and a counterclaim. Although the title «light» or «lamp of the world» applied to various figures, only God or his Wisdom/Torah would publicly make the claim for himself.6652 Further, Mediterranean antiquity as a whole was suspicious of self-praise except under very restricted circumstances.6653 Such self-praise constituted a challenge to the status quo of public honor, inviting the censure of others.6654 Those opposing others' defense can accuse them of self-praise.6655 Jesus' hearers thus frame their response in legal language, perhaps preparing the sort of argument that could later prove useful in a forensic context.6656
Jesus' challengers therefore not surprisingly respond by complaining that he praises himself and does not adhere to the basic premise of Jewish legal procedure: a minimum of two or three witnesses was necessary,6657 and their character had to be reliable (8:13).6658 Yet Jesus has already appealed to the testimony of his Father and his Father's works (5:31–32, 36–37; see comment there)! Jesus had previously noted that he did not seek to testify without his Father's testimony (5:31); but now he notes that his own testimony is true in any case,6659 for he knows where he comes from but, reinforcing the repeated issue of Jesus' origin in this Gospel (cf. 7:27–29), his opponents do not even know this (8:14). How can they suppose they know enough to accuse him when they do not even understand where he is truly from? (He tells them where he is from–and where they are from–in 8:23,42–44.)
In 8:15–16, Jesus contrasts their evaluation from a human perspective (cf. his earlier charge in 7:24)6660 with his divine perspective (cf. 2:23–25; 3:11–13; 7:29; 8:14). The «flesh» (8:15) is worthless for true evaluation, lacking the discernment of the Spirit (3:6; 6:63; cf. 1Cor 2:11–16);6661 Jesus alone among humans is qualified to offer judgment on the final day (5:22, 27). Jesus' judgment is true because his Father is with him in it (8:16; cf. 5:30; 8:29; 16:32).6662
Sukkoth, the festival of Tabernacles also occurred near Rosh Hashanah, the New Year's festival, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jewish teachers came to believe that God rendered and subsequently sealed judgment concerning humanity.6663 Some even came to believe that Israel's efforts at the festival of Tabernacles compensated for any negative decrees handed down on the New Year and sealed on the Day of Atonement.6664 If such traditions were known in John's day (which is not clear), his Jewish Christian audience might conclude that Jesus spoke about God's judgment in a season in which many of his contemporaries were particularly contemplating it.
Jesus now appeals to their own law (8:17) to prove that, even if his words should be judged according to its criterion for legal witness, as they assume (8:13), Jesus more than meets that criterion, having Scripturés author as his co-witness (8:18). Some have pointed to the parallel between Jesus' use of «your law» (8:17; 10:34; cf. 15:25; 18:31; 19:7) and that of Gentile interlocutors in rabbinic texts, contending that John speaks as one outside the Jewish community.6665 Yet this interpretation cannot do justice to John's repeated treatment of Scripture as authoritative for disciples as well as for Jesus' opponents (e.g., 2:22; 7:38; 13:18; 17:12; 19:24, 28, 36–37; 20:9). As noted above (comment on 7:51), John's use of «your law» is hardly negative toward the law, any more than his use of «your father Abraham» (8:56) is negative toward Abraham (8:39–40).6666 In this Gospel, Jesus is in fact the embodiment and fulfillment of Torah, not its antithesis (see comment on 1:1–18). John disparages not the law, but Jesus' opponents' appeal to it.6667
Jesus returns to the matter of testimony, adapting the juridical procedure as normally understood by his contemporaries. If he is who he claims, his own claim is hardly restricted by the law; but he appeals to the highest possible witness alongside him, namely his Father. This мая involve an implicit qal vaomer argument: if two human witnesses are sufficient to establish a case (8:17), how much more the witness of God the Father with that of his Son (8:18)?6668 If so, however, they do not understand his point (8:19).
That Jesus' hearers do not understand his appeal to his Father at this point indicates that they do not know Jesus or the Father (8:19).6669 They do not know where his father is (8:19a), hence cannot know who he is, for the Father is above (8:23), where Jesus is going (8:21). ). On the level of the characters in the story world, their question, «Where is your father?» мая function as a mock demand: If you cite a witness, produce him! Wehere is this «father» of whom you speak? That they suspect that Jesus is going to die to get to his Father (8:22) мая suggest that they think he refers to a deceased human father; perhaps they could interpret this as dependence on a «ghost» or spirit-guide (cf. 7:20; 8:48). One could construe the matter differently; if 8indicates that some still wished to seize him and could not (rather than that they simply did not do so because they did not understand), it could suggest that they knew he spoke of God hence were enraged by his claim that knowing him was inseparable from knowing his Father (8:19). In the end, however, Jesus' comments show that they probably were unaware that he spoke about God (8:27). In either case, God's sovereign purpose was the factor restraining the hour (8:20; cf. 7:30).
As generally in the biblical tradition and in John in particular (10:4,14; see introduction, ch. 6, on the knowledge of God), «knowing God» implies «no theoretical knowledge of God but spiritual communion with him.»6670 Jesus came to reveal the Father (1:18), so it is only through him that others know the Father and come to where he is (14:4–10), there worshiping him in truth (4:23–24).
Jesus offered these words in the vicinity of the temple treasury (8:20),6671 where another extant tradition also locates some of his public teaching (Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1). Treasuries were standard in ancient temples,6672 so that a temple which lacked one was noteworthy.6673 John's tradition presupposed some intimate knowledge of the temple on the part of its audience, many of whom must have made pilgrimage to the temple before 70. Yet even after the templés destruction, a Jewish writer could expect some readers to know of «the treasury» (Josephus Ant. 19.294).6674 This chamber reportedly adjoined the court of women, where the lighting of torches and dances commemorated the light in the wilderness.6675 Those who had made pilgrimage while the temple remained might well recall such details, and therefore conclude that Jesus' message was available to all Israel gathered at the temple on that day. John's audience мая find a strange sense of disjunction between the holy temple and the opposition to God's Son occurring there. On Jesus' «hour» not having come, see comment on 7:30; cf. 2:4.
2. From Above and From Below (8:21–30)
His hour of death had not yet come, but would come (8:20); indeed, the conflict that transpires in this passage is among those movements in the Gospel which prefigure that hour of death. But while Jesus will die, they cannot follow him simply by dying, for when they die they will not be where he is (cf. 7:34; 13:33), though his disciples later would be (13:36; 14:3). «Die in your sin» (8:21) or «in your sins» (8:24) could refer to being destroyed on account of ones sins (so probably Sir 16:9: έν άμαρτίοας αυτών).6676 Ironically, Jesus was dying to deliver them from sin (1:29) and death (8:51), but they would die in sin anyway because they rejected his testimony.
The suspicion of Jesus' interlocutors that he мая «kill himself» to go where they cannot come (8:22)6677 ironically reflects a vestige of truth. Jesus goes where they cannot come by way of the cross (13:36–38) and lays down his own life in obedience to the Father's will (10:17–18).6678 His interlocutors are not, of course, thinking in such terms. For them, suicide was a desperate act; honorable as an expression of courage among many in the ancient Mediterranean (most commonly Romans),6679 including many Jews under extreme duress,6680 most Jews disapproved of it except under extreme duress (Josephus War 3.374–382). Some Jews might consider this extreme duress; one on trial for his life could always, as Stoics recommended, claim his own destiny by suicide.6681 Perhaps they are mocking him to one another: «He wants to go to hell–we can't and won't follow him.»6682 By contrast, Jesus declares that they are the ones who will die «in sin» (8:21). That John rarely distinguishes elements in Jesus' opposition (although he also presents it as internally divided rather than monolithic) also allows us to hear another irony in the story: those who innocently (or maliciously) inquire whether Jesus wishes to kill himself are part of «the Judeans,» a group that was seeking to kill him themselves (7:15,19).
Jesus now identifies for them clearly where he is from (8:14)–and why they cannot understand it, because they are not from there (cf. 3:3, 10–12; 8:43): he is from above (cf. 3:13,31), not from the world (17:14), whereas they are from below, from the world. Rabbis sometimes considered discussions of the realms «above» and «below» (8:23) esoteric subjects,6683 but in the apocalyptic thought world of much of early Judaism, the contrast was simply between the celestial realm of God and his angels on the one hand and that of mortals on earth on the other.6684 A modern reader might link «below» with birth from the devil (8:44) and envision a world below earth, but whereas Greeks thought of dark deities of the dead in the chthonic or underworld,6685 Jewish people were more apt to associate Satan with the world of humanity where he worked.6686 Even in Jewish traditions about fallen angels imprisoned below, which are not in view here, though most versions of the story envisioned them imprisoned below,6687 some envisioned them imprisoned in the atmosphere.6688 Jesus does not belong to the world; he comes from God (8:23). (See on vertical dualism in the introduction, pp. 162–63.)6689
Thus they would die in their sins (8:24; see comment on 8:21,34; cf. 9:41) unless they believed Jesus was «he» (8:24; cf. 3:18; 16:9). Some think Jesus' use of «I am [he]» in 8(cf. 8:28; 13:19) means «I am the Messiah.»6690 More than likely, however, it reflects a theophanic formula from Isa 43:10, as 8confirms.6691 If our traditions are accurate, this particular title revealing God's character was already in use at the festival of Tabernacles.6692 The ambiguity of Jesus' language («έγώ είμι» signifying «I am he» or «I am») fits the Gospel's pattern of double entendres inviting misunderstanding from those disinclined to persevere. This ambiguity is fully resolved in 8:58, however.6693 Meanwhile, their failure to believe (8:24) announces to the reader their condemnation (3:18).
Despite John's witness in 1:19–27 (cf. 5:35), they appear to have no idea of Jesus' identity (8:25; cf. 8:19). The sense of their question, «Who are you?» (8:25) resembles 10far more than 1:19–22; in this context, Jesus has been clear enough that their lack of understanding says more about their spiritual perception than about his identity. Jesus responds obliquely, as in 10:25, but with a context that would clarify his ambiguity if they cared to understand it. (In both contexts, he invites only anger when he ultimately clarifies his point as explicitly as they desire–8:58–59; 10:30–31). Some translate την αρχήν ο τι και λαλώ ύμΐν (8:25b) as a direct answer to their question about his identity (8:25a): «The one who is (at) the beginning, who is also speaking with you.»6694 Although this translation is grammatically defensible, most commentators read Jesus' response as a question, perhaps an expression of despairing that they will understand.6695
In any case, Jesus ultimately defines his identity never in terms of his relationship to them, but rather only in terms of his relationship with the Father (8:26); they cannot understand precisely because they do not know his father (8:27). What Jesus has been saying «from the beginning» (8:25) undoubtedly means from the start of his public ministry (cf. 2:11; 15:27; 16:4), but мая also represent a Johannine double entendre referring to Jesus as the word present at the beginning of creation (1:1–2; 8:44; cf. 9:32).
Like other passages, this one provides a prism that refracts other Johannine themes. Thus in 8Jesus comments on the truth of the one who sent him (8:26), as he did in 7:18, 28; he defends himself indirectly by defending his Father. Jesus speaks to the world some of the things which he has heard from the Father (8:26; cf. 18:20), or been taught by the Father (8:28; cf. 6:45), which reveals his intimacy with the Father (cf. 5:19–20), in contrast with his interlocutors (8:38). But though he spoke some things to the world, he shared the full revelation he had received from the Father only with his disciples (15:15), as the Spirit would continue to share his message (16:13–15); the disciples, unlike the world, would eventually understand his message because they would persevere in hearing it (6:66–69; 8:30–32,43, 47).
His opponents would lift him up before recognizing his identity (8:28); that is, they would lift him up on the cross (12:32–33; cf. 3:14).6696 In this lifting up, however, his deity would be revealed («know that I am»: see comment on 8:24; 4:26),6697 thus enabling faith (12:32–33; cf. 8:30). This is typical Johannine double entendre: by putting Jesus on the cross, they will inadvertently exalt him to glory, fulfilling the Father's earthly mission for the Son.6698 The cross reveals Jesus' obedience to his mission. Because God was the ultimate source of his agents' authority, it was understood that his agents could not act on their own authority (άπ' έμαυτοΰ) but only carry out God's commission (cf. 7:17; 15:5).6699
Jesus is «taught» by the Father (8:28; cf. 8:26; 5:19–20), and this intimacy with the Father leads to the description of their relationship in 8:29. That the Father dwells with one who is obedient to him (8:29) appears elsewhere in John's theology, both of Jesus (e.g., 1:1–2,18; 3:2; 16:32) and of his followers (14:15–16,21–22; 15:10); that the Father has not left him alone (8:29; cf. 16:32) reminds Jesus' and John's audiences that Jesus does not testify of himself without the Father (8:16). Jesus here claims that he always seeks to do what pleases his Father (8:29),6700 which guarantees the Father's favor (cf. 1 John 3:22). Jewish tradition emphasizes that living in a manner pleasing to God relates to fearing him and avoiding sin, and has reward (άρεστόν, Tob 4:21); Wisdom teaches one what is pleasing with God (εύάρεστον, Wis 9:10);6701 those who fear him seek his pleasure (εύδοκίαν, Sir 2:16); the righteous are pleasing to God (εύάρεστος, Wis 4:10).6702 Jewish stories recount that Michael would not touch Abraham because he always did what was pleasing before God (τά άρεστά, T. Ab. 15:14A); by contrast, the wicked seek to be pleasing to Beliar.6703 That Jesus provides a model for John's audience seems likely; in the Johannine Epistles God hears believers because they do those things that are pleasing in his sight (τά άρεστά, parallel with his commandments, 1 John 3:22).
It is only after Jesus' self-revelation as divine and subservient to the father (8:28) that many «believe» in him (8:30)–that is, in response to his «word» (8:31, 37, 43, 51). Jesus' statement about his intimacy with the Father in 8directly precedes the public (albeit temporary) faith in 8:30. Unity with the Father and with one another would also provide disciples the best way to reveal to the world the Jesus of the cross, so inviting faith (17:21–23).
Yet in this instance, though many responded to Jesus with faith (8:30), it was a faith that would not persevere (8:31,48,59). Their failure to «abide» (8:31) suggests that they were not (or would not be) «sons» (8:35), although the frequency of μένω in this Gospel might warn us against overemphasizing the connection between 8and 35 on this basis alone.6704 Frequently John mentions that many «believed» in Jesus (2:23; 7:31; 10:42; 11:45; 12:11,42), but at least in many of these cases this faith proves inadequate to persevere for salvation.6705 John here echoes earlier biblical portraits of human nature in general and perhaps of recipients of God's revelations in particular; for instance, the Israelites believed when they saw Moses' signs (Exod 4:31), but their faith collapsed when it was challenged (Exod 5:21–23).
3. True Freedom (8:31–36)
The tone of the dialogue quickly becomes harsh. Some suggest that John borrows here the nature of «informal satire,» which, like this passage, exploited irony in such a way as to portray the illogic of its victims.6706 The rhetoric of the passage мая be related to such satire, but John is more serious, less intent on drawing laughter than satirists like Horace, Petronius, Martial, or Juvena1. More likely, the hostile language represents the standard sort of rhetoric found in intra-Jewish polemic,6707 as in Matt 23.6708
Jesus' promise of spiritual freedom was altogether appropriate on a festival commemorating Israel's sojourn in the wilderness after being freed from slavery.6709 Jesus demands perseverence for true discipleship (8:31).6710 Many who listened to him believed (8:30) but would not persevere to the end of the discourse (8:59); this is not the saving faith (3:15–16) of which the Fourth Gospel speaks (15:6; 1 John 2:19). Elsewhere Judas becomes the Gospel's leading example of apostasy (6:64, 70–71; 13:10–11): «Thus the members of the church are constantly on trial, whether they really are of the truth or not.»6711 Jewish people condemned apostasy;6712 Greek philosophers also expected their converts to persevere in the philosophical life.6713 They were less than impressed with casual followers;6714 both the prophets (Ezek 33:30–32; Mark 6:20) and the Johannine Jesus had already shared the same experience (6:26). The reference here to being disciples «truly» (8:31; cf. 1:47; 1 John 2:5)6715 suggests a way to confirm onés discipleship in contrast to false disciples who would eventually fai1. Early Christianity continued to distinguish between true and false believers (e.g., 1 John 2:19; Justin 1 Apol 26).
The basis for persevering, as with any teacher, is to continue (μείνητε; cf. 6:56; 15:4–6; 2 John 9) in Jesus' «word» or teaching (8:31);6716 those who continue in it will have eternal life (8:51; cf. 5:24), but those in whom it has no place (8:43; cf. 5:38) seek even his death (8:37). Jesus' word is authoritative because it is the Father's word (8:55; cf. 14:24); the informed reader also recalls that Jesus himself embodies the Father's word (1:1–18). Such a call to discipleship is also relevant to John's generation, who hears Jesus' «word» through the Fourth Gospel (17:20). Rabbis also spoke of those who were disciples of Abraham6717 or Moses (see comment on 9:28) by walking in their ways.6718
Knowing the truth (8:32) in Jewish parlance could refer to the truth about God (who epitomizes truth by his nature).6719 In the Fourth Gospel it characterizes living and worshiping with integrity (3:21; 4:23–24),6720 but also the divine message (5:33; 8:40, 44–46; 17:17; 18:37) epitomized by Jesus (1:14,17; 14:6; 17:19) and the Spirit who testifies of him (14:17; 15:26; 16:13). In this context it probably represents Jesus' message (8:40) as more fully comprehensible to those who persevere (8:31). The only «crime» to which Jesus confesses in the following interchange of judicial rhetoric is that of having told them the truth (8:40; cf. Gal 4:16); «admitting» a crime that is not really a crime was a common rhetorical maneuver in a defense speech–reflecting well on ones character and integrity.6721 Jesus' demand that those who claim to believe in him persevere and understand the truth мая well echo Wis 3:9: «Those who are persuaded on him will understand the truth, and the faithful in love will remain (προσμενοϋσιν) with him.»
The term «servant» applied to a variety of referents in Tannaitic parables, but often was a positive image for servants of God.6722 Biblical prophets were often «servants of God» (see comment on 1:27). The image of slave in this context, however, is hardly a favorable one.
Dodd finds here the Hellenistic philosophical concept of liberating knowledge;6723 and it should not be doubted that this concept proved sufficiendy pervasive to influence the Diaspora Jewish or even Palestinian Jewish conceptions of freedom of more direct import to Johns audience. Hellenistic circles spoke of freedom of the soul that relativized or negated the importance of ones natural condition;6724 wisdom or knowledge6725 and virtue6726 brought such freedom, just as falsehood produced enslavement.6727 One that someone freed (liberat) from evil (malitia) is thereby empowered to free others.6728 In a closely related sense, many also spoke of simplicity and lack of dependence on others as freedom.6729 Some said such freedom imitates the deity6730 and that one who willingly follows God s will (perhaps the decree of Fate) is thereby not his slave.6731
The vehemence that Jesus' promise of 8provokes in 8suggests ancient cultural assumptions unfamiliar to most modern readers; Jesus' hearers find implicit in his promise a statement of their spiritual inadequacy. Their counterclaim to be children of Abraham (8:33), developed further as the dialogue progresses (see comment on 8:39), reflects issues of contention between Jewish Christians and traditional Judaism far earlier than John's day (Q material in Matt 3:9; Luke 3:8). Their reaction about freedom requires even more exploration in ancient concepts unfamiliar to most modern readers.
Some scholars suggest that Jesus' hearers in 8understand freedom in a political sense.6732 Many ancient writers indeed applied the terms for freedom and bondage in their national or political senses.6733 Writers used έλευθέρια and its equivalents for just and appropriate remedies under the law,6734 or not being subject to absolute monarchs6735 or to another people,6736 and spoke of subjection to tyrants6737 or other peoples as slavery.6738 Capitulation to defeat was itself slavery (perhaps mental slavery; Diodorus Siculus 33.25.1). Thus the followers of Judas the Galilean expressed an irrepressible yearning for freedom because they affirmed only God as their master (δεσπότης, Josephus Ant. 18.6). Jewish people believed that Rome had granted Jewish communities freedom and autonomy (ελευθέρων και αυτονόμων, Diodorus Siculus 40.2.1).
A claim that the Israelites had never been subjugated politically, however, would be absurd.6739 Plainly, Israelites endured slavery in Egypt;6740 they also were said to have endured it in Babylon.6741 Following biblical teachings (e.g., Judg 2:14; 3:8; 4:2; 10:7; 1Sam 12:9), Jewish teachers affirmed that God subjected the Israelites to foreign bondage when they disobeyed him.6742 But if pagans insulted Israel with the charge of long-term bondage (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.125–128), a Jewish apologist could respond that nearly all nations have been subdued and ruled by others (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.127). Under Herod Jews were less subjugated than other nations (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.134).
It is possible that Jesus' hearers take him literally in a different way, perhaps deliberately choosing to interpret Jesus' words in a natural sense: as individuals we have never personally been enslaved (perhaps something like Nicodemus entering his mother's womb in 3:4). This could play on the insulting status connotations sometimes attached to slavery, especially if Jesus' interlocutors here are viewed as associated with the elite (and some of John's Christian audience мая have been slaves or freedpersons). To many free persons, slavery was too demeaning for a person of free birth to endure;6743 slave behavior was shameful for a free person (Josephus Ant. 4.238). Thus, for example, many free persons considered slaves lazy,6744 gossipy,6745 deceptive6746 and otherwise virtueless;6747 some expected that one could often ascertain slaves6748 and nobility6749 by their appearance. The aversion toward slavery and manual labor was widespread among those of higher class.6750 Thus in some texts «slave» (often άνδράποδον) functioned as an insult.6751 R. Akiba, who studied with teachers contemporary with John, also insisted that even the poorest in Israel must be viewed as free persons by virtue of their descent from Abraham and the other patriarchs.6752 It is possible that this idea plays a role in this dialogue.6753
The ethical and covenantal sense of slavery and freedom is undoubtedly paramount in the passage.6754 Jewish tradition also recognized that God's people could be his servants in a positive sense (Deut 32:36);6755 Philo claimed that the one who serves God alone is the only one who is free (Good Person 20). Other texts also speak of God's word (cf. John 8:31–32) as an agent of liberation: Jewish texts speak of the Torah bringing freedom, whether freedom from worldly cares, from national bondage, or from slavery in the coming world.6756 Greek texts could similarly speak of the «word» (λόγος), that is, the philosopher's teaching, or knowing God's commands (έγνωκα αύτοϋ τάς έντολάς), as «freeing» one from slavery to worldly concerns.6757 Greek thinkers quite often warned against being enslaved by false ideologies6758 or passions.6759 Some spoke of internal freedom that enabled them to ignore external troubles.6760 Occasionally those writing from an aristocratic perspective might warn that excess political freedom might bring the masses into moral excess6761 (see comment on 7:46–49). Jewish writers influenced by Hellenism repeated the demand that people avoid slavery to passions;6762 other Jewish thinkers also recognized that one should not be enslaved to sin or the evil impulse.6763 Thus Jesus' hearers мая be claiming that descent from Abraham has freed them from slavery to sin (cf. 8:34).6764
Although the statement that whoever «does» sin is its «slave» (8:34) could suggest a wordplay in Aramaic,6765 it is probably simply a natural Johannine idiom (7:19; 8:38; 1 John 3:4, 8–9);6766 most of John's puns work in Greek. It reflects more fundamentally the basic notion that one serves either God or something else (cf. Matt 6:24).6767 Because Jesus had exposed their sin, they now were fully responsible for it (8:24; 15:22).
Slaves were considered part of the household6768 but were not permanent; although they could be inherited,6769 they could also be freed,6770 confiscated,6771 or sold away to other slaveholders;6772 by contrast, sons as a rule remained (8:35; disinheriting was relatively rare).6773 (John probably plays on the sense of «remain»; in many passages in his Gospel it implies perseverance, e.g., 8:31; 15:4–5.)6774 Many other texts also contrasted the roles of children and slaves (8:35; cf. Rom 8:15).6775 Some later rabbinic traditions elaborate the same contrast with regard to the status of Israe1.6776 The background allusion мая well be the contrast between Hagar and Ishmael on one hand and Sarah and Isaac on the other (Gal 4:22–31).6777 In early Christianity, the goal was to be children rather than merely slaves (Luke 15:21–24, 29; Gal 3:23–4:7; cf. John 15:15). In contrast to the slave, the son is not only free but can grant freedom (8:36);6778 indeed, wealthy slaveholders often manumitted slaves with whom they had grown up.6779
This is the second of three Johannine references to the Father's house (8:35; 2:16; 14:2). The text in ch. 2 defines the house as the temple, then interprets it as Christ's resurrection body; the text in ch. 14 refers to the place where believers мая dwell forever in Jesus' presence through the Spirit. The present text's emphasis on the descendants but not slaves dwelling permanently in the household fits this new temple imagery (see comment on 7:37–39), suggesting that «house» is a typical Johannine double entendre. Ezek 46:16–17 indicates that the princés inheritance of land is permanent only for his descendants, not for his servants; further, only the undefiled ministers would really have a place in God's house, the temple (44:9–16; cf. 48:11), where God would dwell with his people forever (43:7,9; 48:35).6780 The image in 14of preparing a place for the disciples in God's house might connote the places the priests would have in the eschatological temple (Ezek 45:4–5; cf. 40:45–46,42:13,44:16). Because in the Fourth Gospel the eschatological temple is Jesus himself, those who «abide» in him (15:4) would likewise continue permanently in the Father's household.
4. Children of Abraham or the Devil (8:37–51)
Forensic rhetoric as a rule required denouncing or defending the long-term character of onés accusers or the accused to establish guilt, innocence, or motives for hostility.6781 In this section Jesus not only defends himself against character charges (8:46), but challenges the character of his opponents. Even harsh rejoinders were sometimes meant to make people laugh6782–though when ridicule shamed opponents severely (as here), its butt could easily become the critic's enemy.6783 (I do not mean to imply here that Jesus or John were formally trained in rhetoric, but that ancient examples of rhetoric provide patterns of public interaction which мая have influenced them and how Johns audience would read his Gospel and that such examples provide at least more culturally useful comparisons of conflict language than modern Western assumptions would.)
It was also customary in a defense speech to turn the tables, shifting charges from the defendant to the accusers.6784 (Indeed, rhetorical handbooks specifically prescribed that this be done as quickly in the speech as possible.)6785 Thus for example one could even concede that a charge was deathworthy, then proceed to argue that it was onés accuser who had committed this offense!6786 The exception to condemning the accusers would be if onés client's accusers (in the Roman system) were politically powerful and respected figures one might not wish to alienate or dare to attack.6787 Jesus skillfully returns his opponents' charges here (charges presupposed both for John's audience and in the story world before the present debate). By 8Jesus' interlocutors are attempting to return his charges (cf. 8:44).
Carefully crafted works sometimes piled literary allusions upon one another,6788 and this passage, full of biblical allusions, does not disappoint. Because John addresses partly «believing Jews» (8:30), some scholars think that John addressed his polemic about Abraham primarily to Jewish Christians like Paul's opponents in Galatia, who affirmed that they were already children of Abraham.6789 But the Fourth Gospel, like Revelation's letters to the seven churches, provides little further evidence of a polemic against Galatian-like Judaizers imposing the law on Gentile Christians. The issue in most of the Gospel is with powerful persecutors in the Jewish community, with secret believers who refuse to make their Christian commitment known, and with partial believers whose Christology is inadequate. The issue here is not circumcisionist believers, but the response of the synagogue. If an allusion to a contrast between Ishmael and Isaac is implicit in 8:35, Jesus' concession that they are children of Abraham in 8might not amount to much: you are Abraham's children through Ishmae1. The statement might even reflect irony bordering on sarcasm (though not denying their ethnic ancestry): Fine children of Abraham you are, given your murderous propensities!6790 But it мая also be a concession (4:22) that simply highlights the irony of their misdeed.
Jesus contrasts his own intimate relationship with his father with their relationship with their father (8:38). Jesus beholds and imitates his Father's activity (5:19–20), as well as hearing him (5:30; 8:26, 40). By contrast, Jesus' opponents act the way they do because they hear and imitate their father.6791 Because the act to which Jesus refers is their desire to kill him (8:37), Jesus will claim that their father cannot be Abraham, who did not seek to kill anyone (8:39–40), but rather the devil, the author of murder and murderers (8:44). Jesus initially leaves the name of their father unstated; perhaps he is attacking by the standard means of insinuation (such as, «I will not mention» something the speaker then mentions or implies; or the implying of worse crimes one dare not state), normal fare in ancient verbal conflicts.6792 Their seeking to kill him (8:37,40) does not yet fit individuals in this passage (8:30), but мая reflect corporate responsibility (as in Acts 2:23; 3:14–15), the «you» being «the Judeans» of the previous context (7:1,19,25,30). Or it мая mean that Jesus knows their hearts (2:23–25), knowing that when they find him as he really is they want him dead (8:59). In either case his provocation of them merely reveals their established character.
Jewish people regularly spoke of «our father Abraham»6793 and themselves as his children (8:39);6794 they would have surely bristled at Jesus' challenge.6795 Perhaps because she did not express excessive trust in it Jesus did not challenge the Samaritan woman's claim to descent from Jacob (4:12), but he challenges the claim of these Judeans. Nevertheless, the issue in this context is not merely genetic descent, which Jesus seems to grant them (8:37); their claim to be Abraham's children (8:39) is undoubtedly a related claim to salvation (cf. «our father Abraham» in 8:39, 52; Matt 3:9; Luke 3:8).6796 Some see here an appeal to Abraham's merits.6797 Latter rabbis stressed Israel's first redemption from Egypt and deliverance through the sea on the basis of patriarchal merits,6798 reportedly depending on pre-Christian tradition concerning Abrahams merit.6799 (The idea of God showing favor to descendants for an ancestor's sake does appear in Scripture, e.g., Deut 7:8; 10:15; 1 Kgs 11:36; 2 Kgs 8:19; 2 Chr 21:7.) Later rabbis sometimes attributed God's blessings on Israel to merits of the patriarchs,6800 or occasionally the matriarchs,6801 though some also emphasized the greater importance of onés own merits.6802 But opinion was not unanimous even by the end of the second century,6803 and there appears little explicit connection between merits and personal benefits unrelated to corporate blessing on Israe1.
Nevertheless, the notion of dependence on Abrahamic descent for salvation is explicit in early Christian polemical texts (such as Matt 3:9).6804 That Jewish people could seek God's blessings for his people on the basis of his covenant with the patriarchs (2Macc 1:2; Sg Three 11) suggests the antiquity of potential dependence on Abraham.6805 Scripture already emphasized that God had blessed Israel for Abraham's sake (Exod 2:24; Lev 26:42; Deut 4:37; 7:8; 9:5; 10:15; 2 Kgs 13:23; Ps 105:8–9, 42–45; Mic 7:18–20), and that he could be entreated on that basis (Exod 32:13; Deut 9:27).6806 But God had also warned against depending on that heritage (Deut 7:7; 10:22; 26:5; cf. Dan 9:18). The first of the Eighteen Benedictions, likely pre-Christian, reminded God of the righteous deeds of the ancestors and on this basis prayed for him to send a redeemer; Tannaim summarized this benediction under the title «fathers» (m. Roš Haš. 4:5). In the early period, the issue мая have been simply Israel's deliverance as a people and the expectation that Abraham's Israelite descendants would all be saved, except for those who broke covenant (cf. m. Sanh. 10:1).6807
Later Jewish traditions elaborated that point more explicitly, graphically illustrating more basic principles established in earlier traditions. Abraham filled the special role of intercessor in later Jewish tradition,6808 a portrait the rabbis applied especially to his posthumously efficacious intercession for Israe1.6809 They also developed the tradition that all Israel would be saved into the idea that Abraham rescued all but the most wicked Israelites from Gehenna,6810 or that God created him afterward to set straight the result of Adam s sin.6811 Perhaps because of their haggadic character, many of the detailed stories appear in our sources by the third century, but if even the most basic elements of such Abraham traditions circulated in the first century, they make much sense of early Christian polemic against dependence on genetic descent from Abraham (Matt 3:9; Rom 4:16; 9:6–13). When the date of available evidence has been weighed, the later explicit doctrine of «merits» is probably not in view here; dependence on membership in Israel as Abraham's children, however, probably is in view. Although they do the «works» of another father (8:41), Jesus invites them in 8to do the «works» of Abraham and so prove themselves Abraham's children.
Jesus contrasts his dependence on his true father with their dependence on their true father (8:38); Jesus was imitating the Father's works that he had personally witnessed (8:38; 5:19–20).6812 Although he acknowledges their genetic descent from Abraham (8:37), their behavior reveals their spiritual paternity (8:40–41,44). Jesus appeals to Abraham as a moral example (8:39); such appeal to παραδείγματα was frequent in ancient rhetoric (e.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 6.80.1), and Abraham often appears as an example in early Jewish literature.6813
Early Christian writers often undercut dependence on genetic descent from Abraham while emphasizing following Abraham's model of faith as his spiritual children (Matt 3:9; Rom 4:1–25; Gal 3:6–9).6814 Jewish people understood the principle of spiritual descent, that is, walking in onés ways even if one was not physically a child of that person (e.g., Matt 23:31).6815 Ancients also frequently employed adoptive sonship and could use parent-child language for members of guilds or disciples of rabbis.6816 Descent from Abraham was no different; thus a Jewish youth devoted to God could be called an «Abrahamic youth,»6817 and his mother who let her sons die for God proved to be «like a true daughter of Godfearing Abraham»;6818 the same document calls martyrs «sons of Abraham» (4 Macc 18:23).
The notion of spiritual parentage drew on the standard conception that children reflect the nature of their parents (as in 3:6); thus children of adulterers betrayed the adulterer by bearing his image.6819 Hence one could revile another by attributing to him ancestors that better explain his behavior; for instance, Patroclus figuratively denies Achilles' descent from Thetis and Peleus, attributing it instead to the raging sea and cliffs.6820 A prosecutor мая argue that one from an evil family is presumed evil;6821 one born of foreign ancestry is less dependable as a true citizen.6822 Status was also important: noble birth counts as a virtue, so it was problematic if the accuseds father was a public slave.6823 One could insult another by insulting his parents, for example: your true father is unknown, given your mother's reputation; or, had the defendant merely accused me of killing his father instead of mine, I would not be charging him with slander, since his father was worthless.6824 Ancients generally affirmed the principle that like begets like; thus, for example, woe to a city when a thief married.6825 People were more apt to notice honorable characteristics or achievements if they also ran in onés family.6826 An orator endeavoring to praise someone would start with the person's noble ancestry if it was available.6827 But sometimes people simply failed to act like their ancestors, in which case someone might deny that they were rrwZy descendants in the ways that mattered. For example, though Polemo had offspring, his line «ended» with him, because they were not honorable as he had been.6828 Would not outsiders think Athenians insane, Isocrates complained, if they boasted of their ancestors' deeds yet behaved in the opposite way themselves?6829
There was no way to belong to God and do his works without sharing his nature, and this was possible only for those born from him (1:12–13; 3:3–6); it could not come from ethnicity (1:11–12). Their behavior reveals descent neither from Abraham (8:39–40) nor from God (8:41–43), but from the devil (8:44); in Johannine theology, this is the state of all the world not born from above (3:3–5; 17:15; 1 John 3:8,10; 5:19). Such an argument was perfectly intelligible within a Palestinian Jewish milieu as well as a broader Mediterranean one. A later rabbinic tradition had a high priest, jealous of the early sages Shemaya and Abtalion, deride their Gentile ancestry, to which they responded that they would be rewarded with peace for doing the works of Aaron, whereas the high priest descended from Aaron would be punished for not doing Aaron's works of peace.6830
That the religious teachers should become defensive (8:41) is not surprising, given Jesus' assault on their character; Jesus' and John's audiencés opponents who in some sense stood behind these figures in the story undoubtedly considered themselves upholders of virtue,6831 though they would doubtless no longer appear to John's audience to have even noble motives. Abraham was a model of righteousness,6832 and among the «deeds of Abraham» (8:39), various strands of Jewish tradition emphasized especially his hospitality,6833 faith,6834 the related matter of being the first «convert» to faith in the true God,6835 and his bringing Gentiles to the true God.6836 Philo declared that Abraham kept all of God's law,6837 and many others agreed with him.6838 As noted above, we cannot date securely the period when an emphasis on merits became widespread, but if it does have early roots, the correspondence between «works» and «merits» мая be significant. If later sources reveal earlier traditions here, Jewish people also thought much about their own «works» before God in the season between the Day of Atonement and the end of the festival of Taberacles.6839
In any case, their claim to descent from Abraham in any sense other than the genetic one that Jesus grants (8:37) is negated by their behavior: Abraham did righteous deeds (8:39), including hospitably receiving God's messengers (Gen 18:3–8),6840 but they wish to kill Jesus for speaking God's truth (8:39–40).6841 Their works show an origin that is not from Abraham (8) and certainly not from God (8:41–42); Jesus' point should have been obvious to them (8:43),6842 but they could not begin to believe because they were not of his sheep (10:26) given by the Father (10:29), hence they could not understand or fully believe (10:38). Therefore now he makes it explicit: they are murderers because they are spiritual children of the devil, the first murderer (8:44).
The argument about whether they are children of God (8:41–47) develops the argument about Abraham and is at «the very heart of the author's polemic.»6843 Biblically, the line of promise among Abraham s offspring constituted Gods children (e.g., Exod 4:22; see comment on John 1:12); but early Christians also debated whether the line of promise necessarily stopped being narrowed down with Isaac and Jacob (Rom 9:7–13). In claiming that they are born from one Father, even God, they echo a long line of biblical and Jewish tradition.6844 In the context of the Fourth Gospel, however, their claim to be born from God is certainly ironic: they accuse Jesus of blasphemy for making the same claim (5:18; 10:36), and the informed reader understands that those who lack the Spirit have not been born from God (3:1–8).
Just as epideictic rhetorical practice invited one to stress onés subjects positive origins,6845 one could also deride another by ridiculing his low birth (e.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.41).6846 The claim not to be born from sexual immorality (8:41)6847 is thus a claim that they are born from the source they have always claimed, rather than being the product of a secret adulterous union. Some scholars think that they are throwing in Jesus' face charges of his own illegitimacy,6848 in view of later traditions in which Jesus was illegitimate.6849 This suggestion is possible; one born illegitimately (or whose paternity at least could be challenged) could be ridiculed for this.6850 But for several reasons the validity of this suggestion remains at best unclear:6851 first, it is not clear that such charges were sufficiently widespread by the end of the first century to be assumed by John's audience or that of his tradition (though this is possible).6852 Second, because Jesus' interlocutors in the story world here, like most of his interlocutors in the Gospel, interpret him too literally, they мая take his charge as implying that they do in fact stem from an adulterous union.6853 Alternatively, they could understand «fornication» in its spiritual sense referring to idolatry6854 (although this too is unclear).6855 Most importantly against the view that they are charging Jesus with illegitimacy, in this context his dialogue partners remain on the defensive; they do not begin to accuse him until 8:48.
Had they been born from God (3:3–6), they would undoubtedly love one who came forth from God (8:42; cf. 14:24; 1 John 5:1);6856 it was a commonplace expectation that one loved onés siblings (cf. 1 John 2:10; 3:10, 14; 4:20–21; 5:l-2).6857 The possible allusion to Cain s murder of Abel in 8should, however, remind Johns audience that the principle does not always apply in cases of merely genetic ties (cf. also Gen 27:41; 37:18–20). Yet whereas Jesus has been speaking of paternity on a spiritual level, his interlocutors are probably hearing him on a literal level, as his interlocutors in this Gospel often do (e.g., 3:4; 4:11); without the Spirit, they cannot hear him (8:43) any more than they could have seen the kingdom (3, 6).6858 Alongside Johns stress on God's sovereignty is his affirmation that Jesus' opponents «want» to do the devil's desires (8:44).6859
Their character, exemplified in rejecting Jesus' message of truth (8:32, 43, 45) and wishing to kill him (8:40), shows their true (spiritual) origin:6860 they resemble their father the devil (8:44; cf. 1 John 3:8; Acts 13:10). Most interpreters associate the devil's start as a «murderer» with the fall of humanity,6861 an association supported by its link with the devil's role as deceiver.6862 This makes sense on the frequent association of the devil with the serpent of Gen 3 both in early Judaism6863 and in probably Johannine circles (Rev 12:9; 20:2). That the devil's deception was «from the beginning» (as in 1 John 3:8) probably refers here not to the absolute beginning in Gen 1 (as in John l:l-3)6864 but to the primeval era as a whole, here including Gen 2–3 (as in Mark 10:6).6865 The devil had deceived Eve in the beginning with regard to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:1–6); in so doing, he brought death on humanity.6866 Although God created humanity for immortality, the devil's envy introduced death to the world, a death for which all who took his side were destined (Wis 2:24; cf. Heb 2:14; Matt 25:41).6867 Jewish texts, especially in Essene circles, call the devil (also Belial, etc.) Mastema,6868 which can mean enmity, one who accuses, disturbs, hates, or persecutes.6869
Others associate the devil with the first murder,6870 the oft-recited murder of Abel by Cain6871 that closely follows the narrative of Evés deception (Gen 3:1–4:15).6872 If later Targumic and haggadic traditions reflect ideas known in John's circle, the idea that the devil was Cain's true father would be relevant here.6873 That Cain the first murderer was «of the evil one» (1 John 3:12) suggests that John's circles мая have understood Cain as the prototypical murderer stemming from Satan.6874 Whether John's audience would have thought of the devil's first murder as his deception of Adam and Eve or the work of Cain is not clear, though the former is more likely; Cain's activity, like that of Jesus' opponents in 8:44, simply repeats the devil's activity.
If their desire to kill Jesus (8:37, 40) reflects the devil's murderous tendencies (8:44), their rejection of Jesus' truth (8:40) also reflects the devil's falsehood (8:44), hence identifying them as his offspring. Although the devil's murder мая be specifically connected with falsehood in the fall of Adam and Eve, the devil was not merely a deceiver in the beginning, but from the beginning forward (Rev 12:9; cf. 2 John 7; Rev 13:14); Jewish literature highlights his continuing activity as a deceiver.6875 Greeks opined that liars would be punished by the gods;6876 Jewish tradition emphasized that the end for thieves and, worse yet, liars was destruction (Sir 20:25).6877 Ancient writers also sometimes assumed that some people could become habitual liars by nature (e.g., Babrius 57), so that even when they told the truth they would not be believed (e.g., Phaedrus 1.10.1–3). «Liar» is standard Johannine polemic (8:55; 1 John 1:10; 2:4, 22; 4:20; 5:10; Rev 2:2; 21:8),6878 but is also appropriate to the context: it was a standard accusation to level against accusers.6879 Cicero, for example, claimed that the accuser was a liar, though the lie in this instance, he said, was so ludicrous as to be laughable.6880 One could also question opponents' accusations by showing other lapses in their integrity (e.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.28, 32). One could seek to discredit accusers by claiming that one convicted of terrible behavior should not be permitted to bring charges against anyone else.6881 Thus Apion either does not know the truth and is ignorant, or he knows the truth and is evil (Ag. Ap. 2.37); another accuser s very accusations prove him to be unlearned and of low moral character (Ag. Ap. 2.3; cf. 2Pet 2:2–3). Apion lied about Israels laws, didn't keep his own, and fittingly met a horrible end (Ag. Ap. 2.144). Jesus' accusers reject his truth because they are proponents of falsehood.
From a relatively early period Christians used such Johannine language in an anti-Judaic manner.6882 It is important, however, for us today not to take the text out of its original setting (as «stereotyped apocalyptic polemic»)6883 or apply the language in an ethnic way.6884 This passage, like the Gospel in which it appears, reflects a Jewish milieu and intra-Jewish polemic, as noted above.6885 Jewish sects often believed that Satan was ensnaring the rest of their people.6886
Jesus challenges their skepticism concerning his witness by asking whether any of his accusers had convicted him of any wrongdoing (8:46);6887 John's audience understands that Jesus is innocent of wrongdoing (cf. 16:10; 1 John 3:5), though Jesus and the Spirit can convict Jesus' accusers of sin (16:8–9). Rhetors in court typically demanded proof rather than assertions from the other side.6888 The burden of proof fell on the accuser to establish the case, or even strongly suspected persons would be accused because of reasonable doubt.6889 Rhetorical practice included admitting whatever charges were not dangerous to onés case, thereby protecting one if charged with anything one could not deny;6890 or admitting a «fault» that one could actually prove a virtue.6891 Jesus, however, speaks as one confident that no one can find genuine grounds on which to accuse him, like the Roman general who reportedly refused to stoop so low as to defend himself against a moral charge, but recounted his irreproachable life in a manner that silenced his accusers.6892 One might claim that onés life was (or should be) so virtuous that charges of wrongdoing are (or would be) easily discredited;6893 thus in court one might appeal to common knowledge about a person's character or deeds.6894 One might even defy onés accusers to come forward to «convict» (έλεγξάτω) oneself of a particular crime!6895 Accusing a person known to be of virtuous character can in the end reflect badly on the accuser.6896 Others, when possible, applied an analogous rhetorical technique called hypophora, probing, for example, what onés adversaries can say in their own defense or say against the one speaking.6897
The testimony of women, slaves, children, imbeciles, and Gentiles was suspect,6898 and since Jesus fell into none of these categories, his testimony (8:14–18) could only be suspect if he could be convicted of a moral offense.6899 In the Fourth Gospel, properly «convicting» the world is the work of Jesus (3:20) and the Spirit (16:8); Jesus exposed concealed sin (15:22,24).6900 Jesus invites Jerusalem aristocrats to try their hand at a rhetorical exercise in which they should have had some proficiency; in public disputes in the ancient Mediterranean, one often described someonés character to make the case (e.g., Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.50.63). Rather than being a sinner (8:46; cf. 9:16,24–25), Jesus is from God hence speaks his words (8:47; cf. 3:34). Because most early Jewish circles acknowledged that everyone,6901 occasionally barring at most some extremely rare saints like one of the patriarchs,6902 had sinned, Jesus' claim would appear remarkable.
Immediately after Jesus complains that they do not hear Gods message because they are not (born) from God (8:47), they prove his point by demonstrating that they are not listening (8:48). Public censure was so humiliating that many Jewish teachers prohibited it;6903 that Jesus appears to challenge their dignity publicly invites insults in return. Jesus was challenging their spiritual, not their ethnic, ancestry (8:37,56); if they were children of the devil, it was not because they were Jewish, but in spite of it, for this was the condition of the whole world unresponsive to the message (1 John 3:8; 5:19).6904 Yet they think Jesus challenges their descent from Abraham, and so accuse him of being of Samaritan descent (8:48), perhaps implying his mother's immorality (8:41), more probably extrapolating from reports that Jesus was received in Samaria (4:40).6905 Samaritans rejected the Judeans' exclusive claim to be children of Abraham (cf. 4:12); interestingly, this exclusive claim probably lies at the heart of the Gospel's situation and John's ironic use of «the Jews» (see introduction, ch. 5).6906
The informed reader, however, knows that Jesus is not really a Samaritan: the reader recalls that Jesus denied the centrality of Mount Gerizim as well as that of Jerusalem's temple (4:21), and told a Samaritan woman that salvation was from the Jews as a people (4:22). John's Jewish-Christian readers, whose faithfulness to their heritage is being challenged by the synagogues (see introduction, ch. 5), would take heart: Jesus' fidelity to Israel was also wrongly questioned. Many of his own people charged him with being a Samaritan, whereas a Samaritan rightly identified him as a Jew (4:9).
They also take the opportunity to respond to another charge of Jesus in their accusation (8:48). If Jesus has accused them of being from the devil (8:44), they hope to return the charge by claiming that he has a demon (8:48; cf. 7:20; 10:20).6907 In ancient Mediterranean public culture,6908 particularly in early Judaism,6909 slander was no small crime. Theirs мая represent a charge, not that Jesus is possessed per se, but that he has a spirit under his control, the typical way to do magic (see more fully comment on 7:20).6910 Charges that Jesus was a magician or guided by an evil spirit figure prominently in early anti-Christian polemic.6911 Demonization could also be associated with insanity,6912 as it is explicitly in 10:20. Ancients employed such labeling to control marginal voices viewed as a threat, and evidence suggests that opponents raised such charges even during Jesus' public ministry (Mark 3:22).6913
That they seem to identify Jesus' Father with an evil spirit suggests to us other attested Jesus tradition (Mark 3:29–30); perhaps John's first audience also might hear this passage in the context of such traditions (as well as the Johannine traditions themselves, for us no longer extant apart from this Gospel). Jesus honors not a demon but his Father, so by dishonoring Jesus, God's faithful agent, they dishonor God (John 8:49; cf. 5:23; 1 John 2:23), and will answer to the only who who assigns the ultimate honor or disgrace in the end (8:50). In honoring his Father (8:49) Jesus does not seek his own glory (8:50), in contrast to his accusers (5:44; 7:18; 12:43); it was his Father who would vindicate him with glory (5:41; 8:54; 17:5), for he alone had the right to evaluate and bestow glory (8:50). The irony is that in this Gospel Jesus glorifies the Father and receives glory through the cross–truly a glorification his opponents would not seek for themselves.
Jesus' phrase «keep my word» (8:51–52, 55; 14:23–24; 15:20; cf. 17:6; Rev 3:8, 10) echoes biblical language for obeying God's law and word through his prophets.6914 Never «seeing» death is, of course, idiomatic for never experiencing it (cf. also Luke 2:26; Heb 11:5);6915 God often allowed the righteous to avoid having to «see» sorrows.6916 («Taste death» in 8is an equivalent idiom to «see death»;6917 paraphrase was a standard rhetorical exercise and the rewording is thus not significant–cf. 13:10–11; Theon Progymn. 1.93–171.) A phrase like «not die» could appear in conjunction with «live» as a way of making it more emphatic.6918 In contrast to those who wanted to kill as their spiritual progenitor did (8:40, 44), Jesus came to bring life (8:51; 10:10) from his Father. If they rejected him, however, they would «die in their sins» (8:21, 24).
5. Greater Than Ahraham (8:52–59)
Jesus' interlocutors zealously assert their descent from Abraham (8:33), a claim which Jesus allows genetically (8:37) but challenges spiritually (8:39–44). The interlocutors conversely deny that Jesus is greater than Abraham (8:52–53); Jesus responds that he is not boasting (8:54–55), but that Abraham himself recognized Jesus' superiority (8:56), and that Jesus existed eternally before him (8:58)–a blatant assertion of deity which could not easily be misinterpreted (8:59).
5A. Assuming Abrahams Superiority (8:52–53)
Jesus' hearers misunderstood (8:52), yet should have understood his words about not dying (8:51; for this being accepted language for death, see comment above on 8:51): some of Jesus' Hellenistic Jewish contemporaries could claim that those who conquer fleshly passions, like the patriarchs of old, do not die but live for God (4 Macc 7:18–19; cf. Matt 22:32).6919 In one Jewish story possibly in circulation in some form by the time of the Fourth Gospel's publication, Abraham refused to submit to the angel of death, requiring God to remind him that all the righteous before him, including the prophets, have died.6920 Again, however, Jesus' adversaries misinterpret his words about death by construing him more literally than necessary (8:52; cf. 6:52).
At the same time, they ironically draw legitimate implications from Jesus' words: if Abraham and the prophets died physically (cf. 6:49) but Jesus grants eternal life, he must claim to be greater than Abraham and the prophets (8:53). Grammatically, their question expects the answer, «No»; Jesus is assumed not to be greater than Abraham and the prophets. Ironically, however, the informed reader recognizes that Jesus is in fact greater than the prophets.6921 Historically, Jesus probably made claims to be greater than earlier prophets (Qmaterial in Matt 12:41–42; Luke 11:31–32);6922 John's audience мая have known of such traditions, but the irony would be sufficient even without them. In contrast to the Samaritan woman who at first assumes that Jesus cannot be greater than Jacob (4:12) but ultimately embraces him as the promised one (4:25–26, 29), Jesus' dialogue partners here become increasingly hostile. Their suggestion that he «makes himself» something (8:53) fits a pattern of accusation throughout the Gospel: he makes himself out to be equal with God (5:18); God (10:33); God's Son (19:7); or king (19:12). The irony is that Jesus has not made himself anything but, sent by the Father, became flesh (1:14; 3:17).6923
5B. Witnesses to Jesus' Superiority (8:54–56)
Because most people viewed self-boasting negatively, even much lesser claims often demanded adequate justification;6924 Jesus thus announces that he is not glorifying himself (8:54). Jesus here cites two other authorities who will testify that he is greater than Abraham: God (8:54–55) and Abraham himself (8:56). In contrast to his interlocutors, who appeal to Abraham and God about whom they have studied and from whom they claim descent, Jesus knows Abraham and God personally. If Jesus' interlocutors claim to obey God's word, the Torah (cf. 5:38), the reader knows that Jesus is the Word (1:1–18); within the story world, Jesus claims to obey his Father's word (8:55), which likewise summons them to obey his (8:31, 37,43, 51).
For Jesus' interlocutors to claim that the Lord is «their God» yet not to know him was for them to propagate falsehood (8:54–55), a sin of which Jesus has already accused them for resisting the truth (8:44–46). The biblical covenant motif included the claim that God would be Israel's God and they would be his people;6925 in its fullest form, this covenant motif also promised that his people would «know» him, that is, relate to God in covenant (e.g., Jer 31:31–34; see introduction, ch. 6; comment on 10:3–4). One could not belong to the covenant while failing to «know» God; and Jesus has already charged that they must not know God, because if they really listened to God they would recognize his agent (8:42–43,47).
Jesus did not seek his own glory (8:50); it was his Father who glorified him (8:54). In the total Johannine context, the Father would glorify Jesus through his purpose for him in the cross (12:23–24). Isaiah emphasized that God would not share his glory with any other purported deity (Isa 42:8; 48:11).6926 If they claim Abraham as their father (8:56)–and Jesus does not deny that Abraham is their father ethnically (8:37)6927–then they ought to embrace Jesus' revelation joyfully as their ancestor Abraham did (8:56; cf. 8:39–40). Another witness in advance for Jesus, John the Baptist, in whom Jesus' interlocutors rejoiced for a time (5:35), also rejoiced to see Jesus (3:29). That Abraham had «seen» Jesus' «day»6928 should not have been surprising–to anyone who believed that Jesus was who he claimed to be (cf. Matt 13:16–17; Luke 2:26).
But when did Abraham see Jesus' day? It is unclear if Jesus refers here to a specific Jewish tradition, but if he does, it is interesting that some traditions interpreted Abraham's laugh (Gen 17:17) as joy in response to God's revelation.6929 Others believe that 8alludes to an appearance of the préexistent Logos alongside two angels in Gen 18:2, 13.6930 Other suggestions point to more specifically eschatological understandings of Jesus' «day.» Various Jewish traditions emphasized that Abraham saw the future or at least some aspects of it in his vision in Gen 15:12–21.6931 Commentators frequently recognize an allusion to such postbiblical Jewish traditions here.6932 Later rabbinic tradition emphasized the future vision of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:6933 thus, for example, Abraham foresaw the temples and all the kingdoms to come;6934 Jacob foresaw the templés destruction and restoration, and all the rabbinic academies,6935 as well as some other revelations,6936 although tradition was more ambivalent about Jacob s visions.6937 In one source, Jacob prophesied to each tribe what it would experience until the days of the Messiah.6938 Such traditions are late, but develop an early nucleus that God revealed the future history of Israel to Jacob (Jub. 32:21). Although later Jewish teachers could speak of the «days of the Messiah,»6939 the biblical tradition that God's people longed for the «day of the Lord» мая be more significant here. Jesus мая imply a divine identity as he makes a more explicit assertion in 8:58. Abraham foresaw Christ's glory just as did Isaiah (John 12:41).6940
5C. Eternal Existence before Abraham (8:57–59)
That Abraham foresaw Jesus' day probably implies Jesus' deity, but Jesus' opponents miss this point for the moment and notice only the chronological discrepancy, which demanded little insight: Jesus was born long after Abraham's death (8:57).6941 John uses chronological priority as a mark of ontological superiority as early in the Gospel as 1:15, contrasting Jesus with another hero of the writer's contemporaries, John the Baptist. Jesus' chronological priority to Abraham, however, asserts his preexistence in some form. More strikingly, the language used to describe this preexistence breaks the bounds of merely usual Jewish conceptions of created but preexistent Wisdom; Jesus plainly identifies himself with the God of Scripture (8:58). Finally, his interlocutors understand his claim and respond with still greater hostility (8:59).
In 8:57, Jesus' interlocutors again understand him on the purely natural level; one who is less than fifty could not have coexisted with Abraham!6942 Abraham had died nearly two millennia before the time of Jesus, though some traditions emphasized his biblical longevity as a reward for his virtue.6943 When Jesus' adversaries note that Jesus is not yet fifty, this observation does not suggest that he looked nearly fifty.6944 Fifty мая be a round number for a period very short compared with how long before Abraham had lived,6945 or a way of saying, «You are not yet an old man,» so how could you have been around for two thousand years?6946 Perhaps most importantly, in addition to emphasizing the chronological impossibility, it provides Jewish leaders a way to put Jesus in his place. Many in the Greek world considered fifty an ideal age for ruling;6947 many Jewish offices also required a person to be at least fifty years of age,6948 though there were exceptions.6949 Thus when one assumed a prominent position around the age of thirty, this apparent breach of seniority would arouse envy (e.g., Josephus Life 80).6950 His opponents think that Jesus is too young to have seen Abraham, but they are probably also annoyed by his claims to authority despite his relative youth! But they judge by flesh rather than by the Spirit (3:6; 6:63), hence do not realize that Jesus has a greater claim to seniority than any other (cf. 1:15, 30).
Ancient orators sometimes employed ambiguous language to stir (favorable) interest,6951 but Jesus in 8is far more provocative than that. Especially in its predicative form (6:35, 48, 51; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5), «I am» is a grammatically normal enough statement (8:18).6952 Even in its absolute form, it does not necessarily imply deity when it contextually implies, «I am (the one in question)» (9:9; cf. 4:26; 6:20).6953 When «I am» lacks even an implied predicate, however, it becomes unintelligible except as an allusion to God's name in the Hebrew Bible or LXX.6954 In the Fourth Gospel both forms are significant (many of the predicates prove inappropriate for merely human bearers),6955 and the absolute form is a claim to deity (see 18:5–8). Some dispute that claim in 8:24,28; 13:19, arguing for an implied predicate there;6956 but most scholars recognize the claim in 8:58.6957 Given the absolute use in 8and John's propensity for double entendres, however, the implications of deity мая carry over to the other uses as wel1.6958 The implied deity of such «I am» statements would recall the implied reader to the introduction (1:1–18).6959
Later gnostic sources мая provide some parallels, but these are almost certainly dependent on Johannine or other early Christian tradition.6960 Some compare earlier Hellenistic religious parallels to the «I am» usage,6961 often the claims of Isis in some Isis aretalogies.6962 The parallels are hardly impressive, however: one finds a few predicative «I am's» (e.g., «I am Kronos's eldest daughter.… I am King Horus's mother») in a long list of Ís» followed by other verbs. It is the self-praise rather than the particular «I am» form which is centra1. This usage also appears in Hellenistic Jewish texts, such as a probably Jewish silver amulet from Pontus.6963 These uses also tend to be unmetaphorical, in contrast with Johannine usage.6964 Some compare the usage in oracular forms in general, citing the usually predicative use in self-commendation oracles;6965 but again, these statements are not grammatically peculiar and appear the most natural way to phrase self-commendation. Further, the association of «I» and «I am» with God are abundantly attested in a Jewish context,6966 and many of John's sayings have a clear OT basis.
The absolute use of the expression in 8:58, contrasted explicitly with Abraham's finite longevity, clearly refers to a Jewish name for God. The most natural way to express simple préexistence (e.g., for divine Wisdom) would have been to have claimed existence in the past tense before Abraham; the use of the present, by contrast, constitutes a deliberate citation of the divine name. As in the prologue, ειμί is opposed to γίνομαι in such a way as to imply Jesus' deity (1:1–3).6967 Such a claim мая function prominently in the Fourth Gospel; some connect «I am» as a divine name in Jewish and Samaritan usage to John's references to Jesus bearing the «name.»6968 Some find the citation in Exod 3:14;6969 while such an allusion would probably remain in the biblically informed reader's mind, the LXX in Isaiah is much closer.6970 Many scholars thus find a background in Isaiah (esp. Isa 43:10) here.6971
Indeed, the Jewish application of the phrase to God мая be especially significant against the backdrop of the festival of Tabernacles. Tradition reports that during this festival, even before the first century, the priests recited the divine formula «I am» from Isaiah,6972 as commentators often emphasize.6973 That many members of John's audience would recall such a tradition (in contrast to the publicly celebrated water-drawing ceremony alluded to in 7:37–39) is unlikely;6974 but John мая draw here from a pre-70 Palestinian tradition in which a connection with the festival of Tabernacles would have been more obvious. The allusion to Isaiah remains clear even if one excludes the Tabernacles connection as coincidental, however.
To the contemporary reader who approaches John from the standpoint of the Synoptics, such a decisive public claim sounds odd; it is not so explicit as saying, «I am divine,» but it is almost that explicit, and it unveils the Messianic Secret too early.6975 (Some scholars have recently made a case for 8being intelligible to first-century Jews as a claim only to be a divine agent.6976 While this case might allow for some ambiguity in Jesus' presentation, it does not create very much ambiguity in view of the other evidence. It appears from 8that Jesus' opponents understood his potential implication even if 10shows that they wished him to be clearer; certainly, in view of 1:1,18 and 20:28, John expected his audience to understand Jesus' deity here.) Many features of Johannine Christology are clearly traditional, like Son of Man, Son, and prophet; but the Isaianic «I am» is distinctly Johannine.6977 Explicitly «high» Christology is rare in Mark's sayings and in Synoptic material dependent on Mark,6978 but Mark, if he knew this sort of tradition, мая have lacked reason to emphasize it (the suffering Son of Man is more central for his point than exalted Wisdom), and we suspect that he did have reason, given his focus on the Messianic Secret, to de-emphasize it. In the sixties a more subtle christological approach мая have proved more strategic in most Diaspora synagogues. Perhaps more to the point, Mark strategically preserves his plot's suspense of the Messianic Secret until the passion week. But high Christology appears in Q (Matt 3:11–12/Luke 3:16–17; Matt 11:27/Luke 10:22),6979 from which John 8appears a relatively short distance in the broader context of christological expectations. After all, many claimed messiahship, but what other historical figure was held to actually embody Wisdom? It usually appeared as a personification or, if hypostatic, certainly not a hypostasis likely to be incarnated as a human being. Mark is also more explicit about divine connotations in Mark 6:48–50 (in view of his biblical allusions, including «I am») than is John in the parallel passage (see comment on John 6:20).6980 The «I am,» then, is not wholly unique to John, though it is far more common there. Thus some evidence, while not coercive, makes plausible the possibility that some Christian traditions applied the self-claim to Jesus before Johns Gospe1.6981
John forcefully underlines the situation's irony: the crowds who denied knowing who might wish to kill Jesus (7:20) are now prepared to kill him themselves (8:59).6982 (A further irony is that Jesus had predicted their violence in 8:37, 40, as part of the charges that aroused their anger.) A merely messianic claim would not have generated such severe opposition to Jesus on religious grounds (as opposed to political grounds) as he experienced here.6983 Thus the reaction of Jesus' interlocutors suggest that they finally understand his claim to deity–but do not believe it. That they pick up stones only when Jesus has built up to this point portrays Jesus' rhetorical skill in retaining his forceful point for the appropriate climax.6984 John's narrative artistry employs the technique of interruption only after what must be said has been said (cf. also Acts 2:37; 7:54; 10:44; 22:22).6985
Some suggest that the image of stoning (also 10:31) cannot derive from the milieu of Jesus. Whether or not one concludes that the event is authentic, however, there is no reason to assume that the stoning fits a later milieu better. Stoning was the Mosaic penalty for blasphemy (Lev 24:16, 23; Josephus Ant. 4.202),6986 and a mob executing vigilante justice without resort to a formal court would likely have used resources at hand (cf. Acts 7:58–59; 22:23). Picking up stones to hurl at aggressors occurred spontaneously on other known occasions (e.g., Josephus Life 303). Though one could better select stones to wound enemies if one prepared rather than grabbed them at random,6987 enraged mobs often stoned persons, sometimes to death.6988 Other stories appear of the crowds in the temple trying to attack a teacher whose teaching violated their traditions.6989
That such stones might be lying around would not have caught an ancient audience off guard; people in a synagogue began hurling stones at one who threatened their ally (Josephus Life 303). Though the temple included large stones, even after its building was completed warring factions found stones there with which to engage in combat (Josephus War 4.200); in Jesus' day construction was still underway (2:20), probably affording more debris for the purpose.6990 On a theological level, though, the attempt to stone Jesus мая allude to the episode when the Israelites nearly stoned Moses (Exod 17:4; cf. 1Sam 30:6); Josephus declares that by throwing stones at Moses, Gods agent, the Israelites were opposing God himself (Josephus Ant. 3.21).
That Jesus «hid himself» (also 12:36) suggests to some that he made himself invisible like a magician.6991 Granted, incantations for invisibility appear in ancient magical papyri.6992 But those who have labored most diligently to parallel Jesus with a magician cannot produce parallels for some standard magical feats such as flying or summoning up spirits of the dead; nor do any of Jesus' «escapes» (8:59; 10:39) mention invisibility. Further, on at least some level Jesus' ability to elude hostile crowds seems to reflect pre-Johannine tradition, for it is multiply attested (Luke 4:30).6993 Indeed, in both Luke 4and John 8a nonsupernatural reading based on human awe is also possible.6994
Greek and Roman readers, more peripheral to John's audience than those more schooled in the biblical tradition, would probably think more readily of allusions to invisibility in their classical literary traditions than of magical papyri. They might think of the helmet of Hades, which caused invisibility,6995 or more commonly of how various deities would shroud themselves6996 or their favorite mortals6997 in mist or a cloud to render them invisible. Because the initiative for such invisibility always rested with deities,6998 it would comport with Johns emphasis on Jesus' deity in the context. But no mist or cloud appears here; the closest parallel to that in first-century Christian literature is in Acts 1:9, where, however, the background is the Shekinah and Elijahs ascent in a chariot of fire (2 Kgs 2:11). Deities could come in disguise and then vanish,6999 but this was not foreign even to the biblical tradition, as when God visited Abraham (Gen 18:33).
In more common Jewish circles, one could allude to the motif of the hidden Messiah,7000 but though this new Moses figure мая vanish and then reemerge from hiding in the wilderness, we have little indication of a sudden disappearance from view as here. In view of Jesus' identification of himself with manna in 6:48, one could also think of the hidden manna tradition presumably known to John's audience (Rev 2:17). But much of John's biblically literate audience, even if familiar with the hidden Messiah or Greek traditions about deities, would be inclined to read a report about the biblical deity of 8in light of God's hiding activity, as where God hides his own from danger (e.g., Ps 17:8; 27:5; 31:19–20; 64:2; 119:114); one might also think of God's sheltering presence in the clouds of glory in the exodus.7001 Given the narrative genre, the most likely direct allusion is to the book of Jeremiah, where God hid Jeremiah in the temple and so protected him from harm (Jer 36:26);7002 here, however, Jesus as God's agent hides himself.
Yet because Jesus is the «I am» (8:58), on a theological level, Jesus withdrawing from the temple мая also evoke a state of Ichabod–God's glory withdrawing from a polluted and rebellious sanctuary (Ezek 5:11; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18).7003 Jewish teachers spoke of the withdrawal of God's presence from the earth or from among groups of people (3 En. 5.14)7004 and particularly from the temple (2 Bar. 8:1–2; 64:6)7005 because of peoplés sins.7006 Jewish people prayed for the return of God's presence to Zion.7007 One recalls accounts of divine Wisdom rejected on the earth, hence wandering and departing (Sir 24:6–22; cf. comment on John 1:10–11).7008
* * *
Cf. Attridge, «Development,» on 7:1–36.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 59, follows Dodd (Interpretation, 345–54) in arguing that the discourses of chs. 7–8 in John «form one cycle whose central theme is Jesus' open manifestation»; cf. Pancaro, Law, 57.
Stauffer, Jesus, 174, connects the revelation of Jesus in the narrative with God's manifestation of himself during the biblical feasts.
See Meeks, Prophet-King, 42–43. Rochais, «Scénario,» argues that 7:1–52 is a unity with the sort of divided scenes and dialogues one expects in a Greek drama.
E.g., Menander Rhetor 1.3, 365.27–29; for festivals as subjects of these speeches, 1.3, 365.30–366.10, 22–28.
E.g., m. Ker. 1:7; 'Abot R. Nat. 38A; 41, §114B. Greeks and Romans often taught outside temples (see Watson, «Education,» 310; cf. Iamblichus V.P. 9.50; 21.96), but the location did not constitute these lectures a distinctive genre (Siegert, «Homily,» 421 n. 1).
M. Sukkah 5:1; see further the comment on 7:37–39.
Later rabbis also emphasized (and probably exaggerated) the dutiful attendance (e.g., Ecc1. Rab. 1:7, §8); Diaspora pilgrims certainly could not attend all the pilgrimage festivals (Safrai, «Relations,» 191). In biblical times, see Josephus Ant. 8.225.
Deissmann, Light, 115–16, noting the pagan association of the Jewish festival with Dionysus.
Jub. 16:27; m. Git. 3:8; b. B. Mesica 28a; Sukkah 33b; Pesah. 34b; p. Git. 3:8, §4; Gen. Rab. 6:5; 35:3.
For comments on John's geographical symbolism here, see Fortna, «Locale,» 85. Jesus' «walking» (7:1) мая suggest the previous context (6:66; Michaels, John, 111), though geographical avoidance represents one characteristic Johannine function of the term (11:54; cf. 10:23; 11:9–10; 21:18). Cf. Jathanna, «Religious,» who finds in 7:1–14 contrasting models for religious behavior.
That Jerusalem stands for the hostile «world» here is often acknowledged (e.g., Haenchen, John, 2:6).
They do not doubt his miracles but want him to use them to become known (ibid.).
For onés «time» (καιρός) as onés appointed hour of death, see 1Macc 9:10; most fully, comment on John 2:4.
Commentators often observe the parallel between the two pericopes (e.g., Hoskyns, Gospel, 311 ); the pattern appears to some degree also in 4:46–54; 11:1–44 (Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 68, following Giblin, «Suggestion»).
Jesus also offers the disciples a sign to produce faith (11:15), whereas he resists his natural brothers' suggestion that he provide such (7:3).
See Lewis, Life, 70 (for Egypt, where we have the most evidence).
E.g., Demosthenes Against Stephanus 1.53; cf. DeSilva, Honor, 171–72.
See, e.g., Xenophon Cyr. 8.7.14; DeSilva, Honor, 168 (citing Tob 5:8–14); though cf. Prov 27:10.
E.g., attributed to a demon in T. So1. 18:15; part of Socrates' tests of endurance in Seneca Ep. Luci1. 104.27; the cause of a young man's suicide in Valerius Maximus 5.8.3. On the horror of intrafamily violence (though it goes far beyond the depiction of strife here), e.g., Diodorus Siculus 17.13.6; Appian C.W. 4.4.18; R.H. 7.5.28; Lucan C.W. 2.148–151; Ovid Metam. 1.144–148; Seneca Berief. 5.15.3; Josephus War 6.208–212.
Pagans also could experience tension between familial responsibilities and those commissioned by a deity (e.g., the papyrus letter from 168 B.C.E. in Stowers, Letter Writing, 87–88).
Slaughter by relatives, as in Mark 13:12; Matt 10:21, indicated an especially awful time (Diodorus Siculus 17.13.6; see n. 21). Those converted to radical philosophies such as Cynicism (Alciphron Farmers 38 [Euthydicus to Philiscus], 3.40, par. 1) or Essenism (4Q477 2 2.8, if its sense resembles that in 2.6) might reject earthly families; even Stoics and Pythagoreans recognized a higher allegiance (Musonius Rufus 16, p. 102.14–16, 21–31; Iamblichus V.P. 35.257). But some pagans criticized Jesus' stance toward his family (Apocrit. 2.7–12).
For appointing relatives, see, e.g., Xenophon Hel1. 3.4.29; 1 Chr 2:16; 27(though cf. 1 Chr 11:6); Neh 7:2.
Safrai, «Education,» 965.
E.g., Sophocles E1. 1493–1494; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 8.78.3; Livy 3.36.2; see comment on 3:2. Although rabbis treated some subjects as esoteric, Smith, Parallels, 155, cites Sipre Deut. 13:7: heretics speak secretly, but the Law is taught openly.
E.g., Musonius Rums frg. 9 in Meeks, Moral World, 49; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 9.32.2; Diogenes Laertius 6.2.69; Publilius Syrus 10; Plutarch Praising 6, Mor. 54ID; Menander Rhetor 2.3, 386.9; 2.10, 416.24–25; Philodemus Frank Criticism frg. 1; among Cynics, see Vaage, «Barking.»
Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 11.9.1; Plutarch Aemilius Paulus 11.3; Flatterer 1–37, Mor. 48E-74E; Philodemus Frank Criticism Tab. 1.2. Historians (Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 1.6.5), philosophers (Epictetus Diarr. 1.9.20; 1.12; 4.6.33; 4.7.24; Diogenes Laertius 6.1.4; 6.2.51; 6.5.92; Marcus Aurelius 1.16.4), and moralists (Isocrates Demon. 30; Cicero Amtc. 25.94–26.99; Off. 1.26.91; Horace Ep. 1.16.25–39; Juvenal Sat. 3.86–87; 4.65–72; Babrius 77; Phaedrus 1.13.1–2; 3.16.16–18; 4.13; Athenaeus Deipn. 6.236e), including Jewish writers (Wis 14:17; Josephus Life 367; Ps.-Phoc. 91; 1 Thess 2:5) regularly warned against flattery.
Plutarch Profit by Enemies 6, Mor. 89B; Flatterer 17–37, Mor. 59A-74E; cf. Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.36.48.
Plutarch Educ. 17, Mor. 13B; Arrian Alex. 4.8.4–5; 4.9.9; Epictetus Diatr. 1.9.26; 3.24.45; Herodian 5.5.6.
Epictetus Diatr. 4.8.35–36. One should not do good deeds to earn others' praise; God would reward only those whose motives were pure ('Abot R. Nat. 40A; 46, §129B; m. 'Abot2:8; p. Hag. 2:1, §12; cf. Seneca Ep. Luci1. 5.1–2).
E.g., Appian R.H. 9.11.3; cf. Arrian Alex. 5.28.1.
For the favor attaching to its appropriate use in rhetoric, see Anderson, Glossary, 94; Rowe, «Style,» 139.
Augustine Tr. Ev. Jo. 28.5.1 thinks that Jesus' brothers wanted him to pursue worldly honor; in the context of this Gospel such an attitude expresses unbelief (John 12:43).
Also observed, e.g., by Smith, John (1999), 168.
1 John employs παρρησία somewhat differently, for believers' boldness with God and Christ (1 John 2:28; 3:21; 4:17; 5:14; cf. Eph 3:12; Heb 3:6; 4:16; 10:19, 35).
Meeks, Prophet-King, 58.
Cf. Cullmann, Circle, 21; Haenchen, John, 2:3.
On the «time,» see, e.g., Ellis, Genius, 143; pace Bernard, John, 1:269. Cullmann, Time, 42, suggests that Jesus informs them that they do not operate with thought to especially significant redemptive history; see Odeberg, Gospel, 271, for many rabbinic examples of the belief in divinely appointed times.
Westcott, John, 117.
Public reproof or invective usually led to enmity with not only the person reproved but all his allies (see Marshall, Enmity, passim; see comment on 15:18–25).
Greco-Roman moralists emphasized kinship of character over genetic relations (DeSilva, Honor, 194–95, citing 4 Macc 13:24–26; Philo Virtues 195; Spec. Laws 1.52, 316–317). Cf. Valerius Maximus 3.8.ext.4: a prosecutor must fulfill his duty and convict the accused even if the latter is someone the prosecutor loves.
People normally traveled to festivals in local groups (see references in Sanders, Judaism, 128), so his brothers undoubtedly expected him to accompany them. Strict pietists would not travel with a caravan if its members were en route to an idolatrous festival (t. cAbod. Zar. 1:16), but this caveat is probably irrelevant even in the harshest reading of this passage.
Cf. Michaels, John, 114, denying a double entendre.
Hunter, John, 79; Brown, John, lxxxxv. Given the significance of Galilee in the Gospel, his «remaining» in 7could also then be a double entrendre (cf. 1:38–39; 2:12; 4:40; 10:40; 11:6, 54).
This might be especially the case if the first «yet» (ούπω) in 7is a scribal addition (missing in א and the easier reading); arguments for this variant's originality, however, are stronger than often noticed (see Caragounis, «Journey to Feast»).
Essenes vowed not to conceal any secrets from one another (Josephus War 2.141), behavior Josephus regarded as ideal (Ag. Ap. 2.207).
E.g.,Tob 7:10–11; 1Macc 7:18; 1QS 10.22; Let. Aris. 206,252; Josephus Ag.Ap. 2.79; Ps.-Phoc. 7; Sib. Or. 3.38,498–503; Γ. Dan 3:6; 5:1–2; Eph 4:25.
E.g., Plutarch Educ. 14, Mor. 11C; frg. 87 (in LCL 15:190–191); Diogenes Laertius 1.60; Phaedrus 4.13; Cornelius Nepos 25 (Atticus), 15.1.
E.g., Quintilian 2.17.27; 12.1.38–39; T. Jos. 11:2; 13:7–9; 15:3; 17:1; for war or the service of the state in Xenophon Mem. 4.2.14–15; Seneca Controv. 10.6.2. In the epic period, deception for useful purposes could indicate cleverness (Homer Od. 19.164–203, esp. 19.203; Gen 27:19, 24; 30:31–43), though Odysseus's cleverness (e.g., Sophocles Phi1. 54–55, 107–109, called «wisdom» in 119,431) appears unscrupulous to some (Sophocles Phi1. 1228).
E.g., t. Tacan. 3:7–8.
'Abot R. Nat 45, §§125–126 B.
E.g., Phaedrus 4.pro1.8–9; 2Cor 1:17–18; on fickleness, Virgil Aen. 4.569–570 (applied to women); Cicero Fam. 5.2.10; Marshall, Enmity, 318–19.
Carson, John, 309, citing Porphyry C. Chr. in Jerome Pelag. 2.17.
E.g., P.Ry1. 174.6–7; P.Lond. 334.6; P.Oxy. 494.31.
Stanton, Jesus, 124; Aune, Environment, 32; e.g., Plutarch Marcus Cato 1.3; Sulla 2.1; Philostratus Hrk. 10.1–5; 34.5; 48.1 (cf. Maclean and Aitken, Heroikos, xlix). For handsomeness listed as a virtue in biographies, see, e.g., Cornelius Nepos 7 (Alcibiades), 1.2.
Cf. Germanicus's praise in Dio Cassius 57.18.6; cf. Anderson, Glossary, 125 (citing Rhet. Ad Herenn. 4.63).
E.g., Apollonius of Rhodes 1.307–311 ; 3.443–444.
E.g., Pythagoras (Aulus Gellius 1.9.2; Iamblichus V.P. 17.71); 4Q185 1 2.7–8; 4Q186 1 1.5–6; 2 1.3–4; 4Q561.
Homer I1. 3.167; Od. 1.207, 301; 3.199; 9.508; 10.396; Aristotle Rhet. 1.5.13, 1361b; Arrian Alex. 5.19.1; Plutarch Lycurgus 17.4; Chariton 2.5.2; Herodian 4.9.3; 6.4.4; Artapanus in Eusebius Praep. ev. 9.27.37. If the Shroud of Turin should prove authentic, however (see Borkan, «Authenticity»), it would testify that Jesus was, after all, perhaps a head taller than his contemporaries.
Homer Od. 13.289; 15.418; 18.195; Plutarch D.V33, Mor. 568A; Longus 2.23; Achilles Tatius 1.4.5; Jos. Asen. 1:4–5/6–8; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 17:6.
Agamemnon was a head taller than Odysseus, but the latter had a broader chest (Homer 17. 3.193–194) and is «tall» in Homer Od. 6.276; 8.19–20. Cf. Cornelius Nepos 17 (Agesilaus), 8.1.
Malherbe, «Description,» comparing Augustus, Heracles, and Agathion. Some of the apparently unflattering features become conventional as early as Homer's depictions of Odysseus; the «small of stature» observation (Acts Paul 3:3; Paul and Thecla 3) fits his Latin name (Paulus, small).
Drury, Design, 29.
Aristotle Po1. 3.7.3, 1282b; Rhet. 1.6.10, 1362b; Theon Progymn. 9.20; Jdt 8:7; 10:7; cf., e.g., Plato Charm. 158C; Chariton 2.1.5; 3.2.14; 5.5.3; 5.5.9; 6.1.9–12; 6.6.4; Athenaeus Deipn. 13.608F; Sir 36:22; t. Ber. 6:4; but cf. Plutarch Bride 24–25, Mor. 141CD; Prov 6:25; 31:30; Sir 9:8; 11:2; 25:21.
Sextus Empiricus Eth. 3.43 recognizes that various peoples defined beauty according to their own cultures.
Homer Il. 1.197; Euripides E1. 515, 521–523; Hipp. 220, 1343; Iph. au1. 758, 1366; Here. fur. 993; Apollonius of Rhodes 1.1084; 3.829; 4.1303, 1407; Virgil Aen. 4.590; 10.138; Ovid Metam. 9.715.
Homer Il. 19.282; Od. 4.14; Aristophanes BirdslU; Apollonius of Rhodes 2.676; Virgil Aen. 4.558; Ovid Metam. 11.165; Apuleius Metam. 5.22.
Homer Od. 18.196; Euripides Medea 300, 923; Virgil Aen. 12.67–69; Ovid Metam. 1.743; 2.607; 13.789; Plutarch Theseus 23.2; Longus 1.18; Achilles Tatius 1.4.3; Chariton 2.2.2. They also preferred thick, dark eyebrows (Artemidorus Onir. 1.25; Achilles Tatius 1.4.3) and full cheeks (Artemidorus Onir. 1.28).
Virgil Aen. 10.137; Ovid Metam. 2.852; 3.423; 4.354–355; Longus 1.16; Babrius 141.7. For exceptions, see Snowden, Blacks, 105,154,178–79.
See Stauffer, Jesus, 59.
Cf. Lev. 19:27; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 16:3. Evidence for the Diaspora suggests that Jews, like most of their contemporaries, were usually clean-shaven or short-bearded before Hadrian (Sanders, Judaism, 123–24); but coins from 54 and 37 B.C.E. and 70 C.E. all present Jewish captives with «shoulder-length hair and full beards» (Stauffer, Jesus, 60; significant unless their hair simply grew out in captivity on all these occasions).
Stauffer, Jesus, 59. Black hair was common (see Matt 5and sources cited in Keener, Matthew, 194–95).
See, e.g., Luke, «Society»; see comments in our introduction, ch. 5. On «murmuring» in 7:12, see the verb cognate in 6:41–42 (with comment), 61; 7:32.
Jurors in politically sensitive situations had been known to avoid publishing their opinions (Plutarch Caesar 10.7). Rhetoricians practiced presenting various sides of a debate, and historians developed this skill in seeking to detail what each side in a conflict would have felt; the negative characters here tend to be flatter, however, serving John's overall purpose (see our introduction, pp. 216–17). Cf. the use of άλλοίωσις described in Rutilius Lupus 2.2; Quintilian 9.3.93 (Anderson, Glossary, 16–17), undoubtedly related to σύγκρισις and perhaps to διαίρεσις (in the sense of distributio in Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.47; Anderson, Glossary, 32–33); also επάνοδος in Anderson, Glossary, 49–50; for an example of presenting various views about a person, see Iamblichus V.P. 6.30.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 47–52, 56; Stauffer, Jesus, 206; Hill, «Sanhédrin:' Cf. 1Q29 frg. 1 (as reconstructed in Wise, Scrolls, 178–79, using 4Q376) for discerning false prophets; and more clearly from Deut 18, 4Q375 1 1.1–4 (a true prophet) vs. 4–5 (a false one), on which see further Brin, «Prophets.»
'Abot R.Nat. 40 A.
E.g., Hesiod Op. 719–721; Pindar Pyth. 2.76; Horace Sat. 1.4.81–82; Martial Epigr. 3.28; Dio Chrysostom Or. 37.32–33; Marcus Aurelius 6.30.2; Josephus Ant. 13.294–295; 16.81; War 1.77,443; Philo Abraham 20; Spec. Laws 4.59–60; Sib. Or. 1.178; T. Ab. 12:6–7 Β; 1QS 7.15–16; 4Q525 frg. 2, co1. 2.1; Sipre Deut. 1.8.2–3; 275.1.1; 'Abot R. Nat. 9,40A; 16, §36 B; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 4:2; b. cAbod. Zar. 3b; cArak. 15a; 16a; Pesah. 118a; Sanh. 103a; Tacan. 7b; p. Péah 1:1; Tg. Ps.-Jon. on Gen 1:16; Tg. Neof. 1 on Lev 19:18; Tg. Qoh. on 10:11.
In general, see our introduction; on this passage, cf., e.g., Haenchen, John, 2:7–8.
Brown, John, 1:307.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 45–46, following Glasson.
'Abot R. Nat. 38A; b. Pesah. 26a; cf. Matt 21:23; 24:1; Acts 2:46; more sources in Liefeld, «Preacher,» 191; Safrai, «Temple,» 905. Later tradition that apostates were unwelcome to bring offerings (Tg. Ps.-J. on Lev 1:2), however, мая reflect the sort of antipathy some would feel if Jesus was «leading astray» the people (7:12).
An uneducated peasant might be a more credible prophet on the popular level (Aune, Prophecy, 136, on Joshua ben Anania, Josephus War 6.301), but not for the elite (elites might even wrongly think someone unlearned on the basis of unkempt appearance; Philostratus Vit. soph. 1.24.529). An honest commoner was of course better than a dishonest rhetor (Aeschines Timarchus 31); but because encomium biography often praised education, this deficiency would be viewed as unusual (Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 152–53, citing Menander Rhetor Treatise 2.371.17–372.2). Although some rhetoricians refused to speak extemporaneously (Plutarch Demosthenes 8.3–4; 9.3), extemporaneous speaking was common (see, e.g., Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric, 103), so this is not the basis for the crowd's surprise.
Most commentators (e.g., Haenchen, John, 2:13; Schnackenburg, John, 2:132; Brown, John, 1:312; Sandmel, Judaism, 142; Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 88); cf. esp. Acts 4:13. For γράμματα related to the law, cf. Rom 2:27, 29; 7:6; 2Cor 3:6, though in much of the urban Greek East a γραμματικός would instruct boys from well-to-do homes in grammar at the secondary level, perhaps around ages seven to twelve, in preparation for rhetoric (Heath, Hermogenes, 11–12; Porter, «Paul and Letters,» 534–35; Burridge, «Gospels and Acts,» 510; Kennedy, «Survey of Rhetoric,» 18). Not only teaching but most trades were learned through apprenticeship (Lewis, Life, 135).
Pace Sanders, John, 205; cf. Luke 4:16–19.
Lack of primary education was common in the ancient Mediterranean, however (e.g., Meeks, Moral World, 62), and despite apologetic claims of education for Hellenistic readers (e.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.178; Life 9–10) and among the aristocracy (m. 'Abot 5:21; t. Hag. 1:2.), Tannaitic mistrust of the Am Háarets (cf. 7:49) мая suggest that even in Jewish Palestine elementary education was more available to those with means. Horsley, Galilee, 246–47, thinks the non-elite learned primarily orally.
Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 31–32, at length.
E.g., Isaeus Estate of Aristarchus 1; Cicero Quinct. 1.1–4; 24.77; 26.80–27.85; Isocrates Panath. 3, Or. 12; Quintilian 4.1.8–9, 11; cf. Exod 4:10; 1Cor 2:1.
Cf. Bury, Logos Doctrine, 45: as Wisdom, the Logos teaches and needs no teacher.
Blomberg, Reliability, 134, argues that though the language in 7:16–19 is thoroughly Johannine, «conceptual parallels to every statement can be found in the Synoptics, suggesting that John is editing tradition» (which fits conclusions for other passages; see pp. 3–8.
T. Hag. 1:2. Trained law teachers probably doubted that the common people, who lacked as much leisure time, practiced this principle as they should (see comment on 7:49).
In 4Q491 MS C, 11 1.16–17, possibly the Messiah (though this remains uncertain) is untaught but teaches. (But for Qumran, the true teachers are Zadokite priests; cf. 1QS 1.19–2.4; 5.9–10; 6.3–8; also 4Q163 frg. 22, on the likeliest reconstruction).
Musonius Rufus opined that even the least educated could have virtue because valuing it is innate (2, p. 38.17–20).
The partial repetition of sounds in τις θέλη τό θέλημα (7:17) evokes the love of various sorts of repetition in Greek rhetoric, such as anadiplosis (the second definition in Anderson, Glossary, 18), dilogia (idem, Rhetorical Theory, 228) and the most general sense of epanalepsis (Rowe, «Style,» 129–30), though none of these is exactly present here.
Cf. also, e.g., R. Eleazar in b. Šabb. 88a. Rabbis also commonly acknowledged that Torah study instructed one how to carry out God's will (e.g., 'Abot R. Nat. 4 A; Num. Rab. 14:10).
E.g.,Publilius Syrus 52.
See m. 'Abot 1:17; 3:9, 17; 5:14; Sipra Behuq. par. 2.264.1.4; Sipre Deut. 41.2.5–6; b. Qidd. 40b; p. Hag. 1:7, §4; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 12:10; Song Rab. 2:14, §5. According to one tradition, study of Torah equaled or exceeded the other commandments (see m. Péah 1:1; 'Abot R. Nat. 40A; b. Qidd. 39b); some held that knowing without obeying led to judgment (Sipre Deut. 32.5.12; b. Sanh. 106b; Yoma 86a; Deut. Rab. 7:4; cf. Jas 1:22).
The inseparability of learning and doing also appears in Greek sayings (Musonius Rufus frg. 16); cf. demands for appropriate behavior and the frequent combination of «word» and «deed» (cf. Wis 1:16; T. Ab. 9:4A; T. Gad 6:1; 1 John 3:18; Hom. Hymn 2, to Demeter, 65; Hesiod Op. 710; Apollonius of Rhodes 3.81; Pyth. Sent. 14; Isocrates Nic. 61, Or. 3.39; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 20.1–2; Diogenes Laertius 6.2.64; 6.3.82; Epictetus Diatr. 1.25.11; 2.9.13).
In John 7, see more fully Neyrey, «Trials and Tribulations.»
«Not from Moses but from the ancestors» is parenthetical; for the rhetorical function of such constructions, see Rowe, «Style,» 147; Blass, Debrunner, and Funk, Grammar, §465; Black, «Oration at Olivet,» 87.
Also Pancaro, Law, 138, citing 7:51.
It is historically likely; the pericope is attested from a Q as well as Markan source (see further comments in Keener, Matthew, 361–62). For ancient views of «demons,» see in more detail ibid., 283–86.
Duke, Irony, 73.
Sophocles Ajax 185; Ant. 955–965; similarly being detained by a deity, P.Lond. 23.5–35; 42.9–13; Nilsson, Piety, 172. Cross-cultural anthropological studies indicate hyperarousal and changes in brain activity during possession trances (Goodman, Demons, 20, 126; cf. further examples in Goodman, Henney and Pressel, Trance).
E.g., Homer Od. 18.15,406; 19.71; much less seriously, cf. 23.166,174,264. Crowds were not always as respectful as teachers would like (e.g., Eunapius Lives 460; Acts 2:13); here some are degrading though not yet fully hostile.
Aune, Environment, 56. Boring et a1., Commentary, 283, cites Porphyry De abstinentia 2.42, although this мая betray the influence of Christian ideas.
E.g., PGM 1.80–81, 88–90, 164–166, 181–185, 252–253; 2.52–54; 1 En. 65:6; LA.B. 34:2–3; Ascen. Isa. 2:5; b. Sanh. 67b; cf. CD 12.2–3 (false prophets); T. Jud. 23:1; Irenaeus Haer. 1.13.3–4; Aune, Prophecy, 45. Some pagans felt that particular deities enabled magic (cf. Graf, «Initiation»); the use of angels became dominant in medieval Jewish «good» magic (Fass, «Angels»).
See PGM 5.107–109; 13.345; Gager, «Magician»; idem, Moses, 134–61; on God as magician in some late Jewish sources, see Hayman, «Magician.»
Much Jewish teaching condemned magic, e.g., Exod 22:18; Deut 18:10, 14; Wis 17:7; Jub. 48:9; 1 En. 65:6; L.A.B. 34; Ps.-Phoc. 149; Ascen. Isa. 2:5; 2 Bar. 60:2; 66:2; m. Sanh. 7:11; Sipra Qed. pq. 220.127.116.11; b. Sanh. 65b-66a, bar.; 67b; Sebu. 15b; p. Hag. 2:2, §5; Roš Haš 3:8, §1.
E.g., Apuleius Metam. 2.5; Smith, Magician, 75–76; Theissen, Stories, 239–42 (though some regard them as charlatans, e.g., Plato Rep. 2.364BC; Plutarch Bride 48, Mor. 145C).
Nevertheless, in late antiquity many Jews increasingly practiced magic or used amulets to defuse it (e.g., PGM 4.1222, 3040–3041; 13.815–818; CIJ 2:62–65, §819; 2:90f, §849; for more detail, see Jacobson, «Vision»; Isbell, «Story»; Kotansky, «Amulet»; Schäfer, «Magic Literature»; Goodenough, Symbols, 2:153–295; 12:58–63; in the rabbis, cf. 'Abot R. Nat. 25A; b. Sanh. 65b; Goldin, «Magic»), as did many Christians in a later period (Gitler, «Amulets»). Pagans also incorporated Jewish elements (e.g., PGM 1.298–305; 4.2355–2356; Deissmann, Studies, 321–36).
Raynor, «Moeragenes»; Apuleius Apology; cf. Schmidt, «Einweihung.»
Insanity was regarded as possession (Brown, John, 1:312). For this accusation of insanity against some prophets, see 2 Kgs 9:11; Bamberger, «Prophet,» 305; see Keener, Spirit, 23–26. Dionysus as a δαίμων (in the nonpejorative classical sense) can cause prophetic madness (Euripides Bacch. 298–299).
Speaking by demons is a capital offense in CD 12.2–3.
Different works might understand demonology differently (see, e.g., Noack, «Qumran and Jubilees,» 200); but cf. the Mishnah, which because of its halakic focus includes few references to demons (m. 'Abot 5:6; Yamauchi, «Magic,» 121 says only m. 'Abot 5:6; but cf. also Šabb. 2:5; Erub. 4:1); John focuses on seven major signs.
Beasley-Murray, John, 109; Ridderbos, John, 264. This sense of «deed» or «work» (in favor of God's law) in 7is picked up in 8:39–41.
Arguing from the agreed to the disputed was an established rhetorical practice; e.g., Cicero characterizes the opponents as supporters of Clodius, who was disliked by his audience (Cicero Mi1. 2.3).
Occasionally the Sabbath outranked a festival day on a matter (p. Meg. 1:6, §3; Pesah 4:4). Punishment for breaking the Sabbath sometimes exceeds that for breaking a festival (p. Besah 5:2, §11; Meg. 1:6, §2; Šabb. 7:2, §15).
T. Pisha 5(R. Eliezer, by John's day); but cf. t. Pisha 4:13.
T. Sukkah 3:1.
T. Šabb. 15:16; p. Roš Haš. 4:3, §3; Matt 12:5. Qumranites мая have been stricter; 4Q265 2 2.3 prohibits priests from sprinkling cleansing water on the Sabbath.
See Gen 17:11–14; Exod 12:48; Lev 12:3; Sir 44:20; Jdt 14:10; 2Macc 6:10; 4 Macc 4:25; Josephus Ant. 12.256; 20.44; t. cAbod. Zar. 3:12; Ber. 6:13. Jewish Christians practiced circumcision (Acts 21:21), though apparently only the strictest required it for Gentiles (Acts 15:15).
E.g., m. Ned. 3:11; Šabb. 18:3; 19:1–2; t. Shehitat Hullin 6:2; Mek. cAm. 3.109–110; b. Hu1. 84b, bar.; p. Ned. 3:9, §2; Šabb. 19:3, §3; cf. in doubtful cases (Sipra Taz. pq. 18.104.22.168; p. Yebam. 8:1, §12). Some debated whether this could also apply to the son of a Gentile woman (Gen. Rab. 7:2; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 4:3). Some principles (such as protecting life) could even override circumcision (b. Hul 4b).
According to tradition, in the late first century B.C.E. many people disagreed with Hillel's view that Passover overrides the Sabbath (t. Pisha 4:13). Even an Amora could articulate a minority position, though his disciples might try to harmonize his teaching with the mainstream (p. Besah 5:2, §9, that betrothal takes precedence over the Sabbath).
E.g., Brown, John, 1:313; Longenecker, Exegesis, 69.
E.g., t. Ber. 4:16–17; 6:19; B. Qam. 7:6; cEd. 3:4; Ki1. 5:6; Macai. 2:2; Šabb. 15:16; Péah 3:8; Ter. 6:4.
E.g., Mek. Pisha 1.38; 2.36–37; 7.48; 7.61; 9.45; 13.105; 16.119, 126; Bes. 1.54; 2.73; 7.128; Bah. 5.90; 11.64, 109; Nez. 1.101; 2.17; 3.43, 69, 128; 10.47, 67; 12.5; 16.92; 18.79, 80, 83, 97; Kaspa 2.26; 5.51, 80, 103; Šabb. 1.14; 2.41.
Sipra VDDen.par. 22.214.171.124; par. 126.96.36.199; par. 188.8.131.52; VDDeho.pq. 184.108.40.206; Savpq. 220.127.116.11; par. 18.104.22.168, 8; pq. 22.214.171.124; Sav M.D. par. 98.8.5, 7; 98.9.5; Sh. M.D. 99.3.9; Sh. par. 126.96.36.199; pq. 188.8.131.52; pq. 184.108.40.206; pq. 105.3.2; pq. 220.127.116.11–8; pq. 9.115.7–8; Neg. pq. 18.104.22.168; 127.3.11; par. 22.214.171.124; pq. 126.96.36.199; Mes. par. 188.8.131.52, 5,10; Zabim par. 184.108.40.206; par. 220.127.116.11; pq. 18.104.22.168; par. 22.214.171.124; Qed. pq. 126.96.36.199; Emor par. 188.8.131.52; par. 184.108.40.206; Behuq. par. 1.260.1.1; pq. 2.262.1.9; pq. 12.276.3.13.
E.g., Sipre Num. 1.4.1; 1.6.3; 8.1.1; 15.1.1; 15.2.2; 16.3.1; 18.1.1; 23.1.1; 25.7.1; 26.6.1; 28.2.2; 29.1.1; 30.1.1; 30.2.1; 31.3.1–2; 31.4.1; 35.1.2; 42.1.1; 42.2.3; 78.1.1; 78.4.1; 92.4.1; 99.2.2; 103.1.1; 104.1.1; 105.1.1; 107.3.2–3; 111.5.3; 112.2.3; 115.3.2.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 1.8.2–3; 18.2.2; 26.1.1; 27.2.1; 32.5.1, 4; 34.2.1; 35.1.2; 37.1.2, 5; 37.2.1; 38.1.4; 38.2.3; 47.3.1–2.
Cf., e.g., t. Sanh. 7:11; Beraita R. Ishmael pq. 1.8 (in Sipra, ed. Neusner, 1:63); 'Abot R. Nat. 37A.
Cf., e.g., Aristotle Rhet. 2.23.4–5, 1397b; Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric, 71; Lieberman, Hellenism, 47–82. It appears in the earliest rabbinic traditions (e.g., m.'Abot 1:5).
For the utility of antithesis in rhetoric, see Rhet. Alex. 26,1435b.25–39; Anderson, Glossary, 21–22 (citing Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.21, 58; Demetrius 22–24, 247, 250).
R. Eliezer (ca. 90 C.E.) in t. Šabb. 15:16; and other passages (cf. b. Yoma 85b) cited by commentators (e.g., Dodd, Tradition, 332; Hoskyns, Gospel, 316; Smith, Parallels, 138; Schnackenburg, John, 2:134). Later rabbis also applied qal vaomer arguments to other matters superseding the Sabbath (p. Roš Haš. 4:3, §3). Haenchen, John, 2:15, cites another line of argument from Num. Rab. 12 (the foreskin as a physical blemish), but it is late and probably irrelevant.
Josephus Ant. 12.277; 13.12–13; 14.63; War 1.146; b. cArak. 7a; Yoma 84b, bar.; Gen. Rab. 80:9; cf. Urbach, Sages, 1:368; it overrides even Yom Kippur (b. Yoma 82b). One should care for all a birthing mother's needs even on the Sabbath (Safrai, «Home,» 765, cites m. Šabb. 18:3; Roš Haš. 2:5).
E.g., m. 'Abot 1:6, 8; 2:4. In broader Greco-Roman thought, see, e.g., Seneca Ep. Luci1. 14.1; 94.13; for rhetorical invitation to «judge for yourselves,» see, e.g., Alciphron Courtesans 7 (Thaïs to Euthydemus), 1.34, par. 7; Acts 4:19; 1Cor 10:15; 11:13. The more specific contrast some offer to the Tabernacles ritual (Moloney, Signs, 79–80) мая presuppose knowledge not available even to most Tabernacles pilgrims over two decades before the Gospel's writing.
Cicero Off 2.14.51
Cato Col1. dist. 53; Columbanus, (probably) Catonian lines, line 27; Hesiod Precepts of Chiron 2.
Brown, John, 1:313.
Populist support could shield a person from the Jerusalem elites power (e.g., Josephus Life 250). Yet pace Morris, John, 415, the language of 7and 7does suggest that by this point they wished to arrest, not merely watch, Jesus.
Cf. Yee, Feasts, 78.
See, e.g., Judg 19:17; 1Sam 25:11; Homer Od. 19.104–105; Euripides Cyc1. 102, 275–276; Helen 86; Iph. taur. 495, 505; Rhesus 682; Virgil Aen. 2.74; 8.112–114; Terence Eunuch 306; Propertius Eleg. 1.22.1–2; Appian C.W. 1.14.116; Parthenius L.R. 26.4. See comment on 3:8.
Hunter, John, 82; Cadman, Heaven, 103; Haenchen, John, 2:16; Michaels, John, 118; ÓDay, «John,» 620. Commentators cite 1 En. 48:6; 4 Ezra 13:52; Justin Dia1. 8.4; 110.1; for rabbinic documentation, see Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 137–39; our comment on 8:59. See further 1 En. 62:7 (no later than first century C.E.).
E.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. 5:8; Num. Rab. 11:2; Ruth Rab. 5:6; Song Rab. 2:9, §3; Pesiq. Rab. 15:10; Glasson, Moses, 103.
Smalley, John, 65, declares that the hidden Messiah appears only in rabbinic sources, but this is true only of its developed form. Wrede, Secret, 213–14, thinks the early Jewish concept is too far from the Christian idea.
In this case, agnosticism on the matter. But Greek polemic against the Skeptic school suggests that the philosophical principle of agnosticism was much debated among Greek thinkers (e.g., Epictetus Diatr. 1.5; Sextus Empiricus Pyr. 1.2.5–6; Aulus Gellius 11.5.8).
Cf. Maximus of Tyre Or. 1.10 (which warns against evaluating a philosopher by appearance, age, or status rather than by his wisdom); Eunapius Lives 472–473; 2Cor 5:16.
The crowd wondered if Jesus was «truly» the Christ (7:26; cf. 1:9; 7:40); Jesus now speaks of the one who sent him as «true» (7:28; cf. 8:26; 17:3).
Schillebeeckx, Sacrament, 27–28, plays on both aspects of being «going from» a father in Jewish tradition: going on a mission for the father and rupturing family relations (here in embracing the world's sin); but probably only the former is intended.
The term πιάζω contains no double entendre but is characteristically Johannine (7:30, 32, 44; 8:20; 10:39; 11:57; 21:3, 10; cf. Rev 19:20; only three other times in the NT and only once in the LXX). Their attempts to «lay hands» on Jesus (7:30, 44; 10:39) might contrast with the Father's authority (10:29) that the Father assigned to Jesus' «hands» (3:35; 10:28; 13:3), but it мая simply be idiomatic, as it usually is (e.g., Mark 14:46; Acts 4:3; 5:18; 12:1; 21:27; cf. also Menander Rhetor 2.1–2, 375.15–17, which exempts those who have fled to sanctuaries from such violence).
E.g., Homer I1. 15.612–614; 16.441; see further the discussion on John 2:4.
E.g., Homer Il. 6.487–488.
Excepting his military victories (Pss. So1. 17:21–25); Martyn, Theology, 96. But on new-Moses signs of some of the «signs prophets,» see our introduction, pp. 270–72.
Martyn, Theology, 93.
Tilborg, Ephesus, 101–7, suggests that John's audience will read «high priests» through the lens of those in Ephesus; but even uninformed Ephesian readers would know of Jewish high priests (cf. Acts 19:14), and believers might know them from the gospel tradition preserved in the Synoptics. Still less likely is Derrett's association of «rulers» in 7with cosmic powers («Άρχοντες»); though this association appears in some passages (see Keener, Paul, 64–65), «rulers» were normally human (e.g., Rom 13:1).
Despite the same Greek term as in Luke 4(and CIJ l:xcix; 1:124, §172; Leon, Jews, 190), these bear no relationship with the hazzan of the synagogue (cf. Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 49); the term had a broader usage (Prov 14:35; Isa 32:5; Dan 3LXX; Wis 6:4; John 18:3,12, 18,22,36; 19:6; Matt 5:25; Mark 14:54,65; Luke 1:2; Acts 5:22,26; 13:5; 26:16; 1Cor 4:1). John 7:32, 45–46 refers to the templés Levite police (Jeremias, Jerusalem, 210); see also comment on 18:3.
Cf. here also Von Wahlde, «Terms,» 233. Probably by the end of the second century, the head of the rabbinic movement could dispatch troops, authorizing arrests of wayward rabbis (p. Hor. 3:1, §2; Sanh. 2:1, §3, though probably fictitious).
See Keener, Matthew, 351–53, 538–40.
Thus Pharisees and chief priests are linked especially by Matthew (Matt 21:45; 27:62) and, writing after those who saw themselves as Pharisaism's heirs had gained greater power (led by the Pharisaic leader Gamaliel II), John (7:32,45; 11:47,57; 18:3). See further comment on our introduction to 1:19–28.
John probably recycles his material in various contexts, which was acceptable rhetorical technique (Theon Progymn. 4.73–79; 5.388–441); cf. Brown, John, 1(citing 8:21–22).
So also Holwerda, Spirit, 17–24; Hunter, John, 82.
So also, e.g., Hunter, John, 83.
Hunter, John, 83; Köstenberger, John, 137.
Cf. Robinson, Trust, 88; idem, «Destination.»
E.g., Isocrates Nic. 50, Or. 3.37; Paneg. 108, Or. 4; Helen 67–68, Or. 10; Plato Alc. 2, 141C; Theaet. 175A; Laws 9.870AB; Strabo Geog. 6.1.2; 13.1.1; 15.3.23; Plutarch Agesilaus 10.3; Timoleon 28.2; Eumenes 16.3; Bride 21, Mor. 141A; Dio Chrysostom Or. 1, On Kingship 1, §14; Or. 9, Isthmian Discourse, §12; Or. 12, Olympic Discourse, §§11, 27–28; Or. 31.20; Or. 32.35; Or. 36.43; Sextus Empiricus Eth. 1.15; Diogenes Laertius 6.1.2; Athenaeus Deipn. 11.461b; Tatian 1,21,29.
E.g., Josephus War 5.17; Ant. 1.107; 15.136; 18.20; Ag. Ap. 1.201; 2.39; Philo Cherubim 91; Drunkenness 193; Abraham 267; Moses 2.20; Decalogue 153; Spec. Laws 2.18,20,44,165; 4.120; Good Person 94, 98; Contemp1. Life 21; Embassy 145,292.
E.g., Bar 2:13; Tob 13:3; Pss. Sol 8:28; Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.33; Jas 1:1. John also applies the expression to the scattering of believers (10:12; 16:32; cf. Acts 8:1,4; 11:19; 1Pet l:l;perhaps Jas 1:1).
Cf. Brown, John, 1:349.
Talbert, John, 145 (following Lindars). Cf. the repetition some scholars find in the discourses of chs. 6, 14–16.
E.g., Westcott, John, 123; Grigsby, «Thirsts.»
The public part of the procession was in the court of women (Safrai, «Temple,» 866–67, 894–95; for women's participation, Safrai, «Relations,» 198); processions were also central to pagan religious festivals (Grant, Gods, 53; Ferguson, Backgrounds, 151; SEG 11.923 in Sherk, Empire, 58, §32; Xenophon Eph. 5.11; Chariton 1.1.4–5; Dunand, Religion en Egypte, 96,103; Frankfurter, Religion in Egypt, 52–53; Bleeker, Festivals), including carrying sacred objects (Xenophon Eph. 1.2; Philostratus Vit. soph. 2.20.602).
E.g., m. Mid. 2:7; Sukkah 4:9; t. Sukkah 3:14; b. Sukkah 48ab; Tacan. 2b-3a. Libations were employed regularly in the temple, including other festivals (cf., e.g., Lev 23:18, 37; Num 28:7–10; p. Ter. 9:8), as also in other cultures (Egyptian cults in Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 135; cf. Wild, Water). If our Tannaitic sources are accurate, the people expected the water to be poured out as a libation in the temple during the day's lamb sacrifice (t. Sukkah 3:16); cf. 19:34. Some rabbis contended that the pits under the altar derived from the time of creation (t. Sukkah 3:15; b. Sukkah 49a; p. Sukkah 4:6, §1).
It мая have been a Pharisaic innovation in that period (Charles, Jubilees, lxv; Bowman, Gospel, 35); compare Josephus Ant. 13.372 with 13.292.
'Abot R. Nat. 27, §55B. With characteristic anachronism, Amoraim claimed it stemmed from Moses (b. Móed Qat. 3b; cf. Zebah. 110b; p. Roš Haš. 1:3, §43; Sukkah 4:6, §1) and was practiced in the time of Ruth (Ruth Rab. 4:8).
Against scholarly consensus, the Sadducees мая not have rejected the water libation even in early rabbinic texts (see Rubenstein, «Libation»).
See Engle, «Amphorisk,» 117. For second-century Diaspora Jews, cf., e.g., CP] 3:5–6, §452.
See, e.g., St. Clair, «Shrine.» For widespread evidence concerning the festivals lulab and ethrog, see Leon, Jews, 198; Goodenough, Symbols, 4:145–66, 12:86–88 (only the menorah appears more frequently in Jewish artwork). Daniélou, «Symbolisme,» seeks to trace messianic interpretation of this festival from biblical times to fourth-century C.E. Jewish sources. Belkin, Philo, 192–218, finds many parallels between Philo and Tannaitic views on festivals, but for differences on Tabernacles, see p. 217.
Sipre Deut. 142.3.1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 27:2; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 2:8. See further Safrai, «Temple,» 894–95. Greek festivals also included celebrative dancing and could include bearing a sacred vessel (e.g., Eleusis's Lesser Mysteries at initiation, Mylonas, Eleusis, 241) and libation processions (Philostratus Hrk. 53.9).
E.g., Apol1. Κ. Tyre 39 (which suggests that people also visited strangers during the festival, 39–40); Diogenes Laertius 2.68; Willis, Meat, 61.
E.g., m. Sukkah 5(given its most likely sense); b. Sukkah 51ab, 53a.
See Moore, Judaism, 2:44–45 (comparing the functions of libations among pagans); Ringgren, Religion, 190; Harrelson, Cult, 69; Uval, «Streams»; cf. Zech 14:16–19.
On winter rains, see comment on John 10:23.
E.g., 1 En. 76:4–13; 2 Bar. 10:11.
Often compared with the eschatological resurrection because rain also brings life, e.g., b. Ber. 29a; 33a; Šabb. 88b; Tacan. 2ab; 7a; p. Ber. 5:2; Tacan. 1:1, §2; Gen. Rab. 13:6; 73:4; Deut. Rab. 7:6; Pesiq. Rab. 42:7.
See further Sipre Deut. 41.6.4; thus, in later sources, repentance (Gen. Rab. 13:14), obeying Torah (Num. Rab. 3:12), the temple service ('Abot R. Nat. 4A), tithing (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 1:4), Sabbath observance (Song Rab. 7:2, §2), or charity (Lev. Rab. 34:14) brings rains.
E.g., 1 En. 101:2; Pss. So1. 17:18; Josephus Ant. 8.318–319; Lev. Rab. 35:10.
Jdt 8:31; Josephus Ant. 14.22; m. Tacan. 3:8; t. Tacan. 2:13; 'Abot R. Nat. 6A; b. Tacan. 8a; 19b-20a; 23a-26a; p. Tacan. 1:4, §1; 3:9, §§6–7; 3:11, §4; cf. 1 Kgs 17:1; 18:41–46; Jas 5:17–18. Among Greeks, e.g., Diogenes Laertius 8.2.59; Iamblichus Bab. St. 10 (Photius Bibliotheca 94.75b); on rainmakers in some traditional societies, see, e.g., Mbiti, Religions, 234–36.
'Abot R. Nat. 4A; b. Tacan. 19b, bar.; Pesiq. Rab. 52:3; see comment on obedience and rain, above. Greeks might also undergo rituals (cf. Iamblichus V.P. 10.51) or require sacrifice to propitiate a deity who sent drought (Pausanias 2.29.8; Alciphron Farmers 33 [Thalliscus to Petraeus], 3.35, par. 1–2; rejected by Seneca Nat. 4.7.3).
E.g., t. Sukkah 3:18; Ecc1. Rab. 7:14, §3; Song Rab. 7:2, §2.
M. Tacan. 1:1; b. B. Mesfa 28a (R. Gamaliel); p. Tacan. 1:1, §§1–10. Prayers for rain appear in the OT (1 Kgs 8:36; cf. Jer 14:22); twice in the Amidah (second and ninth benedictions); and in Jdt 8(Johnson, Prayer, 13–14).
E.g., t. Roš Haš. 1:13; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 7:2; p. Roš Haš. 1:3, §43; perhaps also m. Roš Haš. 1(but cf. m. Tacan. 1:1). Cf. the association instead with his decrees at the New Year (Rosh Hashanah) in Sipre Deut. 40.4.2; p. Roš Haš. 1:3, §§45–46.
B. Tacan. 25b.
Cf. also the invitation of a sage to drink from the wisdom he offers (Sir 51:23–24; cf. here, e.g., Reim, Studien, 193); wisdom or wise speech (Philo Worse 117; Sib. Or. 1.33–34) and prophecy (Plutarch Obso1. 5, Mor. 41 IF) as a stream or river. Some (e.g., Blenkinsopp, «Quenching,» 44–45; Pancaro, Law, 480–81; Whitacre, John, 193; cf. Turner, Spirit, 62) find wisdom background here; Jeremias, Theology, 159, finds the familiar cry of the seller of water (cf. Isa 55:1). Contrast the fanciful identification with John the Baptist in Thiering, Hypothesis, 191.
Noted by Painter, John, 49.
M. 'Abot 1:4; 2:8; Mek. Vay. l:74ff.; Bah. 5:99; Sipre Deut. 48.2.7; 306.19.1; 306.22–25; 'Abot R. Nat. 18 A; cf. b. Tacan. 7a; B. Qam. 17a, 82a; Gen. Rab. 41:9, 54:1, 69:5, 70:8–9, 84:16, 97:3; Exod. Rab. 31(Wisdom); 47:5; Song Rab. 1:2, §3; as a well, Sipre Deut. 48.2.7; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 24:9; for heresy as bad water, m. 'Abot 1:11; Sipre Deut. 48.2.5.
Some suggest the Spirit мая take here the role the Torah held in early Judaism (e.g., Freed, Quotations, 38).
Gen 1may associate the Spirit more with wind than with water itself.
E.g., p. Sukkah 5:1, §3 and Ruth Rab. 4:8, citing Isa 12:3; Pesiq. Rab. 1:2. People reportedly sang from Isa 12during the water libations (Westcott, John, 123).
E.g., Lightfoot, Gospel, 184; Bowman, Gospel, 323; Lee, Thought, 217; Hunter, John, 84; Barrett, John, 329. Dodd, Interpretation, 350–51, also cites «a somewhat vague tradition» that the Messiah might appear near the time of this festiva1.
Assuming the correctness of the attribution to R. Joshua b. Levi in Pesiq. Rab. 1:2.
Gen. Rab. 70:8.
On the symbolism of Rev 22:1, see, e.g., Ladd, Revelation, 286.
E.g., 3 En. 48A:7; t. Sotah 12:2; Sipra A.M. pq. 220.127.116.11; par. 18.104.22.168; 'Abot R. Nat. 28, 30A; 23, §46B; Esth. Rab. 10:5; Rom 4:3; 9:17; Matt 19:4–5; 1 Clem. 56.3; cf. the similar wording, probably intended as analogous to oracular authority, in Epictetus Diatr. 1.10; and appeal to philosophic authority in Epictetus Diatr. 3.13.11.
Guilding, Worship, esp. 92–120. Some have tried to date the triennial cycle as early as the first century (Monshouwer, «Reading»).
See Morris, Lectionaries.
Ancient texts, like modern ones, often assume a fair degree of cultural competence for their ideal audience (e.g., Philostratus Hrk. 1.3; see Maclean and Aitken, Heroikos, 5 n. 6). Informed members of even very hellenized churches a few decades before John knew of the festivals (e.g., 1Cor 5:7; 16:8; Acts 20:6,16; 27:9). That some of this information might be unknown in John's day, however, could also be used to support the tradition's authenticity (Blomberg, Reliability, 137–38).
Commentators often note this lectionary reading, e.g., Dodd, Interpretation, 350; Hunter, John, 84–85; Schnackenburg, John, 2(citing b. Meg. 31a); Bruce, Time, 46. Haenchen, John, 2:17, curiously takes the tradition for Zech 14, Ezek 47, and Isa 12 back to 90 C.E. (R. Eliezer b. Jacob) but then denies its relevance to the Fourth Gospe1. Early synagogue readings from the prophets are probable (Riesner, «Synagogues,» 202–3, cites the Masada synagogue scroll and Luke 4:17), though early standard lections are not.
T. Sukkah 3(trans. Neusner, 2:222–23).
T. Sukkah 3:3–10.
T. Sukkah 3(4) (trans. Neusner, 2:218–19).
T. Sukkah 3(trans. Neusner, 2:220).
T. Sukkah 3(trans. Neusner, 2:220).
The gate of John 10 could allude to the prince and his people going in and out through the gate of Ezek 46:9–10, but the phraseology мая be much broader than that: Num 27:17; 2Sam 5:2; 1 Kgs 3:7; 1 Chr 11:2.
Hodges, «Rivers,» 247; the other uses of «last day» in the Fourth Gospel are uniformly eschatological (6:39–40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48). We base this opinion on Johns propensity for double entendres and his usual use of «last day,» not on the construction, which is acceptable in the form in which it appears (cf., e.g., 1QM 18.1).
E.g., Matt 5:19; 22:38; cf. Mussies, «Greek in Palestine,» 1042.
E.g., Glasson, Moses, 72; Sanders, John, 212; Beasley-Murray, John, 114.
See t. Móed Qat. 2:13; Sukkah 4:17; Sipra Emor par. 22.214.171.124; b. Sukkah 47ab; p. Ned. 6:1, §1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 28:8; Pesiq. Rab. 52:6; cf. Jub. 32:27–29; m. Sukkah 4:6; p. Roš Haš. 1:3, §43; the seventh day in Lev. Rab. 37:2.
Though not part of the festival proper, it is treated as such when dealing with vows of abstention during the festival, etc. (e.g., p. cErub. 3:1, §6).
The «great day» could also have eschatological significance (Joel 2:11, 31 [3LXX]; Zeph 1:14; Mal 4:5; cf. Jer 30[37LXX]; Hos 1:11; Acts 2:20; Rev 6:17; 16:14), but there is no internal evidence in the Gospel to support a double entendre here (cf. «great day» in 19:31). By this period, «great» could mean «greatest» (cf., e.g., Mussies, «Greek in Palestine,» 1042).
E.g., Marcus, «Rivers,» suggests a midrash on Isa 12in which the Hebrew for «from wells of salvation» is understood as «from Jesus' belly.»
Westcott, John, 123; Longenecker, Exegesis, 153. Glasson, Moses, 48, finds evidence in the early linking of the water from the rock with manna, as in 1Cor 10; b. Šabb. 35a; etc. Some texts associate the water drawing with Num 29 (e.g., p. Roš Haš. 1:3, §43; Ecc1. Rab. 7:14, §3). Menken, «Origin,» cites the related Ps 78:16, 20 (77:16, 20 LXX), though taking «living» from Zech 14:8.
T. Sukkah 3:11. The artistic attestation of this motif is considerably less founded than the Sukkoth motifs above, especially if Leon, Jews, 214, is correct about the Christian nature of the fragment in Rome; but the OT text is commonly cited in antiquity.
See Carson, John, 326–27.
E.g., its creation on the eve of the first Sabbath (b. Pesah. 54a); it comes up from the abyss (Tg. Neof. 1 on Num 21:6; Tg. Neof 1 on Deut 32:10) or travels with Israel (L.A.B. 11:15; t. Sukkah 3:11; b. Šabb. 35a; Num. Rab. 19:36; Tg. Neof. 1 on Deut 2:6; 1Cor 10:4). Sib. Or. 3.439–440 мая include an allusion from Asia, but other biblical sources are possible. The story of Moses getting water from the rock was already in Scripture stored in the temple (explicitly in Josephus Ant. 3.38), but Josephus says that Moses promised a «river» from it (Ant. 3.36).
E.g., Sipre Deut. 313.3.1; 355.6.1; b. Pesah. 54a. Many of these texts also particularly link the gift with the merit of Miriam (Sipre Deut. 305.3.1; b. Šabb. 35a; Tacan. 9a; Num. Rab. 1:2; 13:20; Song Rab. 4:5, §2; but cf. Ecc1. Rab. 1:9, §1).
E.g., Dodd, Interpretation, 350; Hunter, John, 84–85; Schnackenburg, John, 2:155.
Hodges, «Rivers,» 244.
Freed, Quotations, 23; Barrett, «Old Testament,» 156; Grelot, «Rocher»; Bürge, Community, 92; Bienaimé, «L'annonce,» 417–54. Hanson, Gospel, 113–14, rightly notes a number of allusions with primary emphasis on Ezek 47 and Zech 14:8.
Long, Philosophy, 52 (citing Lucretius Nat. 3.136ff.). Cf. Sib. Or. 3.762, where minds (φρένας) are located in the breasts (στήθεσι).
Burney, «Equivalent,» 79–80; cf. Freed, Quotations, 24; Beasley-Murray, John, 116–17.
Fee, «Once More»; Blenkinsopp, «Note»; Hodges, «Rivers»; Bernard, John, 1:282; Cortes, «Look»; Horton, Spirit, 131; Augustine Jr. Ev. Jo. 32.2.2; Luther, 8th Sermon on John 7; Ridderbos, John, 273.
Fee, «Once More,» 117; Morris, John, 423–24; Hodges, «Rivers,» 242. But if John is citing Scripture, this is weakened; «my» would not have been a preferred substitute.
Hodges, «Rivers,» 242; Cortés, «Look,» 78–79; but cf. 6as a parallel if the source is Christ.
Fee, «Once More,» 116–17. But 7speaks of giving, not receiving, waters and seems to be the source of believers receiving in v. 39.
Cortés, «Look,» 79; Hodges, «Rivers,» 240.
Barrett, John, 326; Cortés, «Look,» 77; Kuhn, «John vii.37–8,» 65.
Dodd, Interpretation, 349; Brown, John, 1:321–23; Dunn, Baptism, 179–80; Michaels, «Discourse,» 208–9; Menken, «Origin»; Smith, John (1999), 174. Punctuated thus, the two lines are parallel, a «rhythmical couplet» (Bruce, Time, 46; cf. Bruce, John, 181–82; Hoskyns, Gospel, 321).
Brown, John, 1:321; Turner, «Punctuation»; cf. some of the early textual evidence in Bruce, Time, 46. Cf. Odes So1. 30:1–7; church fathers appeared on both sides of the question.
Hoskyns, Gospel, 321; Jeremias, Theology, 159. The structure мая link thirsting with drinking, and coming with believing, but also chiastically arrange the subjunctive and participle around the imperatives (cf. Anderson, Glossary, 106, for a different example of chiastic syntax).
Cf. Kilpatrick, «Punctuation»; Brown, John, 1:321; Strachan, Gospel, 132; Bienaimé, «L'annonce,» 281–310.
Note Blenkinsopp, «Quenching,» 40, for the structure; it is an invitation formula (p. 41). Cf. Glasson, Moses, 50–51.
Cf. Allen, «John vii.37, 38»; Sanders, John, 213–14; Robinson, Studies, 164. If believers are the source, perhaps one could argue from Prov 4:23; but neither the MT nor the LXX clearly refers to waters (though the LXX term could function thus–cf. Prov 25:13, 26; esp. Sir 50:8–it is not the most common nuance), and nothing else suggests it here.
Perkins, «John,» 964.
Schnackenburg, John, 2:154; Allen, «John vii.37, 38,» 330.
That is, the era of the Spirit's outpouring had not yet come; cf. Lightfoot, Gospel, 184; Holwerda, Spirit, 1. Hooke, «Spirit,» 379, argues for the significance of the newness of this event. For the connection of the Spirit, Jesus, and glory in the Fourth Gospel, see Floor, «Spirit.»
Most scholars agree that the hour of Jesus' glorification includes (though not all hold that it is limited to) his death (12:23–28); e.g., Taylor, Atonement, 139; Käsemann, Testament, 19; Lindars, Apologetic, 58; Holwerda, Spirit, 7–8; Appold, Motif, 28.
Euripides Medea 667–668 (όμφαλόν γης); Orest. 591 (μεσομφάλους); Pindar Pyth. 4.74; 8.59–60; 11.10; Paean 6.17; 21, frg. 54 (in Strabo 9.3.6); Varro 7.2.17 (umbilicus); Livy 38.48.2; Ovid Metam. 10.168; 15.630–631; Lucan C.W. 5.71; Menander Rhetor 1.3, 366.29. Scott, «Horizon,» 485, cites Herodotus Hist. 4.36 and Aristotle Mete. 2.5.362b. 13; cf. Geroussis, Delphi, 6. Scott, «Horizon,» 486, cites later Greek writers who made Rhodes the center (Agathemerus Geographiae informatio 1.5). Although Philostratus Hrk. 29.9 applies the phrase «belly of earth» literally to an oracular chasm, he probably intends a parallel to the Delphic use. Harrelson, Cult, 36, мая also be correct in citing Mesopotamian parallels, though even unrelated cultures could see their own land as the world's center (e.g., China; Kantowicz, Rage, 45).
Cf. Scott, «Horizons,» 498–99, citing especially Philo Embassy 281; Isa 1:26; 2LXX.
Jub. 8:12; Sib. Or. 5:249–250 (probably late-first- to early-second-century C.E. Egypt); b. Yoma 54b; cf. Ezek 5:5; 38:12; Alexander, «Imago Mundi»; Davies, Land, 7. Let. Arts. 83 (cf. 115, μέση for seaports also) places it in the midst of Judea, as does Josephus War 3.52. Curiously, 1 En. 18ignores the opportunity to identify where the cornerstone of the earth is located, but this does not mean the tradition was unknown in that period, against Jubilees; 1 En. 26may place the middle of the earth in Jerusalem (26:2–6). On the new Jerusalem image here, see, e.g., Allison, «Water.»
Some of the references in the preceding note; Jub. 8:19; b. Sanh. 37a; Num. Rab. 1:4; Lam. Rab. 3:64, §9; Pesiq. Rab. 10:2; 12:10; cf. Hayman, «Observations»; Schäfer, «Schöpfung»; Goldenberg, «Axis.» For the site of the temple as the «pupil of God's eye,» cf. b. Ber. 62b; for its elevation, e.g., b. Qidd. 69a; for its identification with the site of the Aqedath Isaac (Mount Moriah), see, e.g., Gen. Rab. 55:7.
T. Kip. 2:14; Lev. Rab. 20:4; Num. Rab. 12:4; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 26:4; cf. Böhl, «Verhältnis.» For a «navel» within a city, see Pindar Dithyramb 4, frg. 75 (possibly on a prominent altar within Athens); cf. Pausanias 10.16.3.
Besides clearer data above, cf. 3 En. 22B:7 (from God's throne); Odes So1. 6:7–13 (to the temple). Let. Aris. 88–91 speaks of an underground water system beneath the temple, no doubt part of its Utopian idealization of the temple; cf. the possible allusion to the source of universal waters in Josephus Ant. 1.38–39 (perhaps even in Gen 2:10–14; cf. Diodorus Siculus 1.12.6; Pausanias 2.5.3).
Gaston, Stone, 211; Hooke, «Spirit,» 377–78; cf. Freed, Quotations, 30; Coloe, Temple Symbolism, 132–33. Some naturally see baptismal associations here (Blenkinsopp, «Quenching,» 48; Cullmann, Worship, 82).
Some commentators also note that κοιλία sometimes functions as the equivalent to καρδία in the LXX; elsewhere in John the term applies to the womb (3:4), which is also abdomina1.
See comment on 7concerning the well as a proposed background for the Scripture.
Aune, Prophecy, 155; see comment on 6:14–15.
Painter, John, 72–73; Bruce, Time, 41; Ellis, Genius, 8; Duke, Irony, 67; Ridderbos, John, 277. Cf. Smith, John (1999), 175 (irony, whether because Jesus was from Bethlehem or because he was Messiah without being from there). A Bethlehemite Messiah was a widespread expectation (Longenecker, Christology, 109; Keener, Matthew, 103; also Tg. Mic. 5:1, though it polemically explains away possible ideas of preexistence; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 35:21, for Messiah's revelation near Bethlehem; pace Dodd, Interpretation, 90–91). There мая also be an allusion here to 2Sam 7LXX, as in 4QFlor 10.11 (Lane, Hebrews, 25), though the verbal parallel is far from coercive. On evidence concerning Jesus as descendant of David, see Matt 1:6; Luke 3:31; Rom 1:3; b. Sanh. 43a, bar.; Julius Africanus Letter to Aristides; Eusebius Hist. ecc1. 3.20; further, e.g., Meier, Marginal Jew, 216–19.
Duke, Irony, 24, citing Sophocles Oedipus the King.
Cf. Jerome Letter 58 to Paulinus 3; Paulinus of Nola Epistles 31.3; Finegan, Archeology, 20–23.
Malina, Windows, 106.
E.g., Terence The Lady of Andros 1–27; The Self-Tormentor 16–52; The Eunuch 1–45; Phormio 1–23; The Mother-in-Law 1–57; The Brothers 1–25; Phaedrus 2.9.7–11; 3.pro1.23; 4.pro1. 15–16; Appian R.H. 3.7.3; 7.5.28; 8.10.68; C.W. 1, introduction 1; 4.8.64; Aulus Gellius 6.19.6; 17.4.3–6; Cornelius Nepos 7 (Alcibiades), 4.1–2; 25 (Atticus), 7.1–11.6; Herodian 4.3.2, 5. Such adversarial relations weakened the state or other institutions that it plagued (Sallust Jug. 73.5; Livy 2.60.4; 3.66.4; Herodian 8.8.5).
E.g., Acts 23:7; Chariton 5.4.1–2 (Callirhoés beauty); 5.8.4; 6.1.2–5; Plutarch L.S. 1, Mor. 772C; Josephus Life 139, 142–144.
For the sending of officers to arrest one or transfer detention, see P.Oxy. 65.
See Keener, Matthew, 351–53, 538–49,613–16; cf. Meier, Marginal lew, 3:289–388.
E.g., Ovid Metam. 13.92, 137, 382–383; Nador, «Sophismus.» For abuse of rhetoric to twist truth, see, e.g., Aristophanes Clouds 244–245; Euripides Medea 580–583; Plato Greater Hippias; Lesser Hippias; Demosthenes Or. 35, Against Lacritus 40–41; Isocrates Encomium on Helen 1, Or. 10; Sallust Speech of Gaius Cotta 4; Cicero Inv. 1.3.4–4.5; Epictetus Diatr. 3.23; Plutarch Educ. 17, Mor. 12F; Lucian Professor of Rhetoric passim; Aulus Gellius 5.3.7; 5.10; Marcus Aurelius 1.7; cf. Pearcy, «Galen.»
E.g., Aulus Gellius 8.10; cf. Seneca Ep. Luci1. 20:2; Epictetus Diatr. 1.8.7; Marcus Aurelius 1.16.4; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.4.
Babrius 15.10–12; Philo Creation 45.
Appian C.W. 1.8.72 (ended when the tribune rushed in and slew the speaker, Marcus Antoninus, 87 b.C.E.); again in Valerius Maximus 8.9.2; cf. similarly Valerius Maximus 2.10.6; Boring et a1., Commentary, 278, cites a similar account in Plutarch Cuius Marius 44.3–4.
Euripides Hipp. 988–989.
E.g., Aristophanes Frogs 419,1085–1086; Isocrates Ad Nic. 48, Or. 2; Xenophon Hel1. 2.3.27, 47; Aristotle Po1. 3.6.4–13, 1281a-1282b; 4.4.4–7, 1292a; 5.4.1–5, 1304b-1305b; 6.2.10–12, 1319b; Rhet. 2.20.5, 1393b; Diogenes Laertius 6.42; Polybius 6.3–4; Diodorus Siculus 10.7.3; 15.58.3; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.8.1; 7.31.1; 7.56.2; 8.31.4; 9.32.4; 10.18.3; Livy 3.71.5; 6.11.7; 22.34.2; Appian R.H. 2.9; 3.7.1; 7.3.18; 11.7.40; C.W. 1.5.34; Phaedrus 1.14.10–13; Plutarch Cicero 33.1, 3–4; Camillus 31.2; Praising 16, Mor. 545C; Statecraft 5, Mor. 802 D-Ε; Maximus of Tyre Or. 6.5; 27.6; Aelius Aristides Defense of Oratory 189, §57D; 201–202, §§61D-62D; Philo Creation 171; Josephus Ant. 4.223; 6.36. On Dio Chrysostom's mistrust of the mob, see Barry, «Aristocrats.»
E.g., Epictetus Diatr. 1.18.10 (noting, ironically, that the masses call people καταράτους–"accursed» or «abominable»!); 1.2.18; 1.3.4; 1.18.4; 2.1.22; 4.8.27; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 66.31; 108.7; Marcus Aurelius 11.23; Musonius Rufus frg. 41, p. 136.22–26; Maximus of Tyre Or. 1.7–8; 33.1; Iamblichus V.R 31.200,213; Porphyry Marc. 17.291–292; 30.475; Diogenes the Cynic in Diogenes Laertius 6, passim.
Aristophanes Ach. 371–373.
T. Hag. 1:2. The rabbis did require higher moral standards for the learned (Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 190), but any who neglect Torah study or even listening to sages would be damned ('Abot R. Nat. 36A). Priests were also trained in the Law (Sanders, Judaism, 178).
Cf. m. 'Abot 3(though contrast m. 'Abot 4:8).
M. 'Abot 2:6, probably a hyperbolic way to underline the importance of learning Torah, but a not unnatural view, considering the price he himself reportedly had to pay to acquire learning.
M. 'Abot 3:10/11, unless it means death in the present world (also not a pleasant event).
For the contrast, see, e.g., m. Git. 5:9; Hag. 2:7; t. Demai2:5,14–15,19; 3:6–7; 6:8; Macas. 2:5; on the Am Háarets, see also the excursus in Keener, Matthew, 294–96.
Though the severest rabbinic accounts (including Akibás comments on his former antipathy toward scholars) мая be intended hyberbolically (b. Ber. 61a; Pesah. 49b); cf. kinder sentiments in m. Git. 5:9; 'Abot R. Nat. 16, 40A. Many see a reference to the Am Háarets here (e.g., Schnackenburg, John, 2:160; Barrett, John, 332; Hunter, John, 85; Brown, John, 1:325; cf., at more length, Karris, Marginalized, 33–41); Du Rand, «John 7:49,» allows that Jesus' followers мая be viewed thus but notes that not all of them were Am Háarets (19:38–41).
Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.224. Josephus elsewhere appeals to Galilean populist support on his behalf against the Jerusalem aristocracy, distancing himself from it, both because of its purported role in the war and the rhetoric of egalitarianism popularized by propaganda concerning the princeps.
E.g., Virgil Aen. 2.40–56; 11.243–295.
Cf. similarly Jonge, Jesus, 29–30.
See favorably τον νόμον … των Είουδέων, C7/2:34, §774 (third-century C.E. Phrygia).
Wessel, «Mensch,» points out that the Law judges only those who know it (cf. Rom 2:12) and that Nicodemus's title for Jesus in 7:51, τον άνθρωπον, matches 19(but cf. 7:46).
Whether the «curse» (επάρατοι, a biblical hapax) might allude to the Birkath Ha-minim in the Johannine community's experience (cf. also 9:28) is not clear.
Commentators (Barrett, John, 332; Brown, John, 1:325) cite here Exod 23:1; Deut 1:16; 17:4; 19:16–17; Exod. Rab. on 21:3; and also note that one could not be condemned without trial (cf. Josephus Ant. 14.167; War 1.209). The defendant's sole testimony could not, however, acquit him or condemn him (Pancaro, Law, 141); John adapts the legal principle to fit his purposes (ibid., 142–43).
Sipre Num. 76.2.1; 115.5.6; cf. Matt 9:13; Sib. Or. 3.562–563.
Cf. Freyne, Galilee, 208; see comments on Galilee in our introduction on background.
Cf. Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 55; Freyne, Galilee, 1. Given some recent Galilean prophetic figures' involvement in revolution, it is not implausible that Jerusalem aristocrats would distrust Galilean prophets (Longenecker, Paul, 33 n. 44).
Davies, Rhetoric, 303, thinks the Gospel's presentation incorrect here, but Duke is more likely correct that this represents irony (Duke, Irony, 68); the elite are repeatedly mistaken in this Gospe1.
E.g., Lewis, Prophets, 40; cf. Sandmel, Anti-Semitism, 108. By contrast, some later rabbis affirmed that prophets had risen from every tribe in Israel (b. Sukkah 27b; Lightfoot, Gospel, 186; Fenton, John, 97) or even from every city (Seder Olam Rabba 21; Haenchen, John, 2:19; Talbert, John, 151). By the first century C.E., the label «Galilee» could be projected into the OT (a mid-first-century B.C.E. purported letter of Solomon in Eupolemus, in Eusebius Praep. ev. 9.33).
So, e.g., Culpepper, Anatomy, 170.
E.g., Bruce, John, 186; idem, Time, 41, citing the first hand of P66; see also P75 vid.
Duke, Irony, 68.
With Talbert, John, 151. On negative perceptions of Galileans and the urban-rural divide, see comments on Galilee in the introduction.
That Nicodemus's veto would have stopped an excommunication (Stauffer, Jesus, 91) is quite improbable; even in later rabbinic schools (and reportedly first-century conflicts between Shammaites and Hillelites), the majority opinion dominated. The priestly aristocracy would be less concerned with minority objections.
E.g., Hodges, «Adultery»; Heil, «Story»; idem, «Rejoinder» (cf. Trites, «Adultery,» on John's structuring style). Hodges, «Adultery,» supposes that its deletion in one manuscript affected others, but this argument (1) must admit our lack of textual evidence in the earliest extant sources, i.e., argues from silence, and (2) supposes a model of deletion possible on a word processor but more difficult in the middle of a scroll (which the first generations of manuscripts were)!
See full discussion in Metzger, Commentary, 219–21; Wallace, «Reconsidering.»
See Metzger, Commentary, 220. Calvin, John, 1(on 7:53–8:11), already noted that it was missing among Greek manuscripts preserved by Greek churches.
For androcentric early-church prejudices (e.g., the focus on the woman's adultery rather than that of her accusers) that could have marginalized the passage, see ÓDay, «Misreading.»
Metzger, Commentary, 221.
E.g., Michaels, John, 113; Riesenfeld, Tradition, 95. Perrin, Kingdom, 131, notes that over one-sixth of the words occur nowhere else in John. Admittedly the vocative γύναι is more common in this Gospel (2:4; 4:21; 19:26; 20:13, 15) than elsewhere in the NT (Matt 15:28; Luke 13:12; 22:57; 1Cor 7:16).
E.g., Comfort, «Pericope.» By contrast, Baylis, «Adultery,» thinks the passage climaxes Johns portrayal of Jesus as the prophet of Deut 18.
Also, e.g., Yee, Feasts, 77.
E.g., Montefiore, Gospels, 1:280; Derrett, Law, 156; Hunter, John, 199; Michaels, John, 132; Watkins, John, 176; Ridderbos, John, 286; Whitacre, John, 204; Bürge, «Problem»; idem, John, 238–41; Beasley-Murray, John, 144; Grayston, Gospel, 73; Bordiert, John, 225, 329, 369.
Stanton, Gospel Truth, 46–47, attributes this view to «most exegetes.» Papias frg. 6 (Eusebius Hist. ecc1. 3.39.17) knew the story in the Gospel of the Hebrews; Beasley-Murray, John, 143–44, also cites Syr. Did. 7 (early third century C.E.); for the tradition in Didymos the Blind, see Luhrmann, «Geschichte.»
Rius-Camps, «Origen»; Gourgues, «Mots»; Romaniuk, «Jezus.»
Cf. the vast rabbinic literature collected around the Mishnah tractate Sota. See further Keener, «Adultery,» 7–10.
Ilan, Women, 159–62; cf. Jeremias, Jerusalem, 178 η. 94, 221. Abrahams, Studies, 1:73, rightly objects that Jewish courts lacked capital jurisdiction in this period; but one suspects that if these «executions» occurred, they were carried out without Romés knowledge and probably without its interest.
Abrahams, Studies, 1:73; Montefiore, Gospels, 1:230; Morris, John, 885.
Morris, John, 885, suggesting that they were all guilty. If her husband was away long enough to allow her to conceive and bear a child by another, sages probably would have allowed her to divorce long before the point of unfaithfulness.
Pace Watson, «Jesus and Adulteress.» This proposal мая also misinterpret Jesus' teaching on divorce (Keener, Marries, 21–49).
Maccini, Testimony, 235.
See ÓDay, «John,» 630.
From the Mishnah one might gather that this woman is betrothed rather than married, because they cite stoning as the penalty (m. Sanh. 7:4; 11:1; Montefiore, Gospels, 1:280), but those rules are probably later than this case (MacGregor, John, 212; Barrett, John, 591).
Barrett, John, 591–92; Hunter, John, 200; Witherington, Women, 22.
Cf. Schnackenburg, John, 2:165.
Silencing proud interlocutors was good rhetorical form (e.g., Aulus Gellius 1.2.13; 18.13.7–8; b. B. Bat. 115b), though it sometimes generated lingering enmity (e.g., Philostratus Hrk. 33.8–9).
One could write in the sand when not permitted to speak (Antigonus 18 in Plutarch Sayings of Kings and Commanders, Mor. 183A), but that principle is not applicable here. One was not permitted to write on a sabbath, including the last day of Tabernacles (7:37; Whitacre, John, 206–7, noting comments of Κ. E. Bailey), but if this is an interpolation, we do not know its original setting– nor would it tell us what Jesus wrote or why the accusers reacted with perplexity.
Brown, John, 1:334, provides examples in Arabic literature.
Jeremias, Parables, 228; Schnackenburg, John, 2:166; one possibility in Whitacre, John, 207–8. But it мая be the «turning away» rather than the «writing» that is explicitly «on the earth.»
Various scholars plausibly suggest a general allusion to God writing the law (Nugent, «Write»; Schöndorf, «Schreibt»); Whitacre, John, 207–8, notes that καταγράφω can apply to writing out an accusation (Zenon Papyrus 59), hence Jesus might cite commands they had broken.
Keener, Background Commentary, 284–85.
Cf. Hermogenes Issues 69.12–13; Libanius Declamation 36.47; perhaps Rhet. Alex. 4, 1427a.37–40.
Jeremias, Parables, 228 n. 1; Hunter, John, 200; Sanders, John, 465; Morris, John, 888, all following T. W. Manson. Yet to Westcott, John, 126, the «very strangeness of the action marks the authenticity of the detai1.»
Seven times in Musonius Rufus άναμάρτητος means «free from error» (Van der Horst, «Musonius,» 309, on the NT hapax legomenon in John 8:7), but αμαρτία appears 13 times elsewhere in the Gospel (4 times in ch. 8) and about 150 times in the NT, usually in the sense «sin.»
E.g., b. Sanh. 37b, bar. In such cases they presumably believed God himself would carry out the correct sentence (e.g., Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 9:6), a matter possibly of some relevance for the discussion in 8:18–19.
Abrahams, Studies, 1:74, compares R. Akiba on the ordeal: the bitter waters will prove effective only if the accusing husband is guiltless himself.
Cf., more homiletically, Augustine Tr. Ev. Jo. 33.5.4 (trans., p. 56): «There were left [but] two, the pitiable woman and Pity.»
Schnackenburg, John, 2:188, divides the discourse into w. 12–20, 21–29, 30–36, 37–47, and 48–59. John's transitions are often too smooth to allow us certainty on where to place breaks in our modern outlines.
Bultmann's proposed gnostic background for the image (John, 342 n. 5) lacks adequate supporting data (ÓDay, «John,» 632 n. 206); the phrase appears, e.g., in 4Q451 frg. 24, line 7 (where it мая be eschatological; cf. frg. 9, co1. 1, lines 3–4).
For attestation of the figure in the Jesus tradition, cf. Luke 2:32; applied differently, Matt 5:14. «Light of the world» also appears in pagan texts, not surprisingly in an invocation to Helios the spirit, power, and life of the world (Macrobius Sat. 1.23.21, in Van der Horst, «Macrobius,» 225).
See Hanson, Gospel, 116, noting that John employs Zech 14in John 7:38.
E.g., Westcott, John, 123; Glasson, Moses, 60; Dodd, Interpretation, 349; Brown, John, 1:343–44; Longenecker, Exegesis, 153; Yee, Feasts, 80. Philo also associated the festival with light (Bernard, John, 2:291).
E.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.118; m. Sukkah 5:3–4; h. Sukkah 52b-53a (a Tanna); see also Safrai, «Temple,» 895. Glasson, Moses, 60–61, less convincingly finds an allusion in Zech 14:6–7, the Tabernacles lection (see comment on 7:38). Although Hanukkah (John 10:22) is «the feast of lights» (Josephus Ant. 12.325), John only makes the association with the biblical festival of Sukkoth.
Noted here by, e.g., Hunter, John, 86; Longenecker, Exegesis, 154; some мая have expected its eschatological restoration (Glasson, Moses, 64). The older ritual мая have revered God as the creator of light (Urbach, Sages, 1:60).
Scripture (Ps 105:39–41; Neh 9:12, 15) and subsequent Jewish tradition connected these various symbols of wilderness sojourn (Glasson, Moses, 62–63; see comment on 7:38).
E.g., 1QS 3.21; 4.11 (the way of those outside the community); a hymn in 1QS 11.10 (והולכי חוך); Pesiq. Rab. 8:5; see also Charlesworth, «Comparison,» 414.
Cf. 1QS 3.7 (באור החיים); see also Charlesworth, «Comparison,» 414; Coetzee, «Life,» 64.
Odeberg, Gospel 286–87. Charlier, «L'exégèse,» thinks Jesus claims deity here.
E.g., Isocrates Nie. 46–47, Or. 3.36; Plutarch Praising 15, Mor. 544D; see further references under the introductory comment on John 5:31–47.
Cf. Pilch, «Lying,» 128.
E.g., Thucydides 3.61.1. Circumstances, however, varied, so that sometimes one should open a speech with self-praise, sometimes with accusing opponents, and sometimes with praise of the jury (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 17).
Normally the prosecutor would speak first, so the accused would be able to respond to the charges specifically (e.g., Cicero Quinct. 2.9; 9.33; Terence Eunuch 10–13; Chariton 5.4.9; Apuleius Metam. 10.7; t. Sanh. 6:3; Acts 24:2–8; cf. a legal exception in t. Sanh. 7:2). But the prosecutor offered entire speeches, not the trading of charges and countercharges found here (though even court transcripts were at best summaries, e.g., P.Oxy. 37; 237.7.19–29; P.Ry1. 75.1–12; P.Strassb. 22.10–24; P.Thead. 15; P. Bour. 20).
Deut 17:6; 19:15; 11QT 61.6–7; 64.8; CD 9.3–4,17–23; Josephus Ant. 4.219; T.Ab. 13:8A; see Daube, «Witnesses»; and further citations under the introductory comment to John 5:31–47. Cf. Rabinovitch, «Parallels,» though he мая minimize too much the difference between Qumran and rabbinic approaches.
E.g., Josephus Ant. 4.219; Life 256.
Secondary «even if» claims (here, «Even if I testify concerning myself») appear elsewhere in ancient rhetoric (e.g., Hermogenes Issues 48.19–23).
Cf. also the philosophical condemnation of evaluating by physical standards (Seneca Ep. Luci1. 14.1; 94.13); some philosophers even appeared to condemn sensory knowledge (Plato Phaedo 83A), but most did not (Aristotle Soul 3.1,424b; Seneca Dia1. 5.36.1 ; 7.8.4; Diogenes Laertius 7.1.52, 110; Let. Aris. 156; Philo Spec. Laws 4.92; Confusion 19; Heb 5:14; Murray, Philosophy, 26; Long, Philosophy, 21), and John certainly does not move in a philosophic framework that would condemn the senses. Many writers shared an emphasis on moral discernment (Cicero Off. 3.17.71; Leg. 1.23.60; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 45.6; Epictetus Diatr. 1.4.1; 1.7.8; 2.3.1; Marcus Aurelius 2.1, 13; 4.41; 9.1.2; Diogenes Laertius 7.1.122).
Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 157, take «judging according to the flesh» literally, for physiognomies, determining character by appearance (Ps.-Aristotle Physiognomies 806a, 22–23); but we have argued that Jesus probably appeared mostly average (see comment on John 7:10–11). «Flesh» more likely means «earthly perspectives» here, as in 3(cf. also 2Cor 5:16, which they cite).
Dodd, Interpretation, 96; Brown, John, 1:341, note that «I and he» ( אני והוא) can appear as a substitute for «I am [he]» in postbiblical Hebrew, possibly implying a connection with the divine name here. The proposed parallel in Epictetus Diatr. 1.14.13 cited by Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 47, has more to do with the deity's omnipresence. On God judging alone, see comments on 5:22.
E.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. 24:3; 27:2; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 7:3.
Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 2:7.
Dodd, Interpretation, 82; see further discussion in our introduction, pp. 214–28.
Whitacre, Polemic, 66.
Ibid., 65–66; Westcott, John, 129. If the term often appears in a negative light as does «the Jews,» Scripture (including the Law) appears repeatedly in a positive light (as does Israel).
E.g., Boice, Witness, 49; Pancaro, Law, 276–77.
On their lack of understanding, see, e.g., Bultmann, John, 282.
Hunter, John, 87–88.
The treasury was primarily a storage chamber, so it is better to read έν as «near,» in view of the weakened precision of Koine prepositions (Brown, John, 1:342).
E.g., Cornelius Nepos 23 (Hannibal), 9.3; Herodian 1.14.3.
E.g., Lucan C.W. 9.515–516.
Theissen, Gospels, 120, on Mark 12:41–43.
See Lightfoot, Gospel, 196. Dancing characterized many ancient religious celebrations (e.g., Euripides Bacch. 62–63; Apollonius of Rhodes 2.714; 2Sam 6:14, 16; Ps 149:3; 150:4; Jdt 15:13; 3Macc 6:32,35; t. Sukkah 4:4; Lam. Rah. proem 33), as did the use of torches (e.g., Frankfurter, Religion in Egypt, 54; for weddings, see texts in Keener, Matthew, 596).
Brown, John, 1:349, thinks that 8:21–22 preserves another form of the scene reported in 7:33–36. The debate structure in 8:25–35 also bears resemblances to 6:30–40; 10:24–28 (Von Wahlde, «Structure,» 576–77); such parallels мая, however, stem from Johannine editing.
Jesus would not have been the first to apply the image of «going away» to suicide (see Appian R.H. 12.9.60).
Also, e.g., Brown, John, 1:349; Haenchen, John, 2:27.
Acts 16:27; Sophocles Track 721–722; Demosthenes 3 Philippic62; Diodorus Siculus 2.6.10; 12.19.2; 16.45.4–5; 20.71.4; 25.17.1; Tacitus Ann. 1.61; 3.42; 4.25; 6.23–26,38–40; 11.37–38; 12.8,22; 13.1,25,30; 15.57,63–64,69; 16.11,14–15,17; Suetonius Aug. 27,53,67; Tib. 45,61; Nero 49; Otho 9, 11 ; Dio Cassius R.H. 17.15.4; 18.4.6; 19, frg. in Zonaras 9.21 ; 48.44.1 ; 51.15.3; 57.18.10; Appian C. W 1.8.74; 1.10.94; 2.14.98–99; Livy 26.15.13–15; 41.11.4–6; Cornelius Nepos 20 (Timoleon), 1.6; 23 (Hannibal), 12.5; Epictetus Diatr. 2.1.19; 3.8.6; Pausanias 9.17.1–2; 9.25.1; Apuleius Metam. 1.16; Philo Names 62; Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.236.
4 Macc 17:1; Josephus Life 137; the Sicarii at Masada (Josephus War 7.320–406); cf. Goodblatt, «Suicide.»
So Seneca Controv. 2.3.10.
Schnackenburg, John, 2:198. Beasley-Murray, John, 130, provides some evidence for the Jewish expectation of judgment on those who committed suicide.
Barrett, John, 341, citing m. Hag. 2:1; b. Hag. 14b, bar.
See our discussion of vertical dualism in our introduction. The attribution of vertical dualism to gnostic redaction (Westermann, John, 87) reflects inadequate sensitivity to its presence in apocalyptic. Antithesis was also a standard category in rhetoric (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 14).
E.g., Homer II. 3.276–278; Virgil Aen. 12.199; Livy 31.31.3; Pausanias 2.2.8; Chariton 5.7.10; PGM 1.264, 315–316; 17a.2–3; 117.frg. 14; PDM Sup. 131–134; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.240; cf. the subterranean dead in Hesiod Op. 141; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 11.37.6. The Jewish worldview also could accommodate a three-tiered universe (Pr. Jos. 11; 'Abot R. Nat. 2A; Phil 2:10; Rev 5:13).
For hostile spirits in the air realm, cf., e.g., Incant. Text 17.2; 43.6–7; T. So1. 2:3; 25:3; b. Git. 68b; Hag. 16a, bar.; Num. Rab. 12:3; Deut. Rab. 6:6; Eph 2:2. Some expected magic spirits (PGM 1.179–182; 4.3043–3044; 12.67), «daemons» (Dillon, Platonists, 288), or deceased souls (Philo Dreams 1.135; Giants 9,12; Pythagoras in Diogenes Laertius 8.1.32; temporarily in Apoc. Zeph. 4:7) in the air realm.
1 En. 10:4–5, 12; Jub. 5:6, 10; 10:7–9; Apoc. Zeph. 6:15. This was in Tartarus (Sib. Or. 1.101–103; L.A.B. 60:3; 2Pet 2:4; cf. T. So1. 6:3), probably after the analogy of the Titans (Hesiod Theog. 717–719; cf. Sib. Or. 1.307–323; 2.231).
For antithesis in rhetoric, see Anderson, Glossary, 21–22; and our comments on the technique of comparison in John 13:23.
E.g., Freed, "Egō Eimi."
E.g., Lightfoot, Gospel, 134–35; Hunter, John, 89; Bell, I Am, 258. Cf. also Exod 3:14; Deut 32LXX.
Stauffer, Jesus, 91, citing purportedly pre-Christian tradition in b. Sukkah 53a.
Cf., e.g., Robert, «Malentendu.»
Sanders, John, 224. Haenchen, John, 2suggests substituting «at all» for «beginning,» citing Ps.-Clem. Homilies 6.11.
That «lifting up» includes the cross is nearly always recognized, although many also include the resurrection-ascension, as probably implied here (e.g., Holwerda, Spirit, 11). Pretending to dare onés hearers to act against the speaker's counsel could be good rhetorical form (Rowe, «Style,» 147, on permissio or epitrope; Porter, «Paul and Letters,» 582), though this мая function as a form of rhetorical παρρησία (see comment on 7:4).
Bauckham, God Crucified, 64–65, thinks this passage combines Isaiah's «lifting up» (52:13) with Isaiah's «I am he» (41:4; 43:10, 13; 48:12). On Jesus' claim to deity here, see, e.g., Pancaro, Law, 59–63; Brown, John, 1:348. Bowman, Gospel, 267 finds here God on Ezekiel's throne-chariot.
E.g., Hunter, John, 89.
Thus Abraham challenges Death in T. Ab. 19(σύ άφ' έαυτοϋ λέγεις), though he employs this as an excuse to evade Death (see T. Ab. 15:8A). See the introduction on the christological motif of agency, pp. 310–17.
Cf. the probable allusion in Ign. Magn. 8.2; perhaps T. Ab. 15:14A. Jesus' «always» is significant (11:42); it also runs against the grain of some concepts of filial relations in his day (cf. Sussman, «Sons»; Matt 21:28–32).
Cited also in Hanson, Gospel 122–23.
Epictetus admonishes one to seek to please God, not people (Diatr. 4.12.11; cf. Gal 1:10) and notes that we please (άρέσοντα) and obey the gods by seeking to be like them (Diatr. 2.14.12); Seneca Ep. Luci1. 102.29 emphasizes seeking God's approval in light of God's omniscience; cf. Porphyry Marc. 17.284–286 (and for God's continuous favor, perhaps 16.274–275).
T. Ash. 3:2.
In the context of the Feast of Tabernacles, it мая be relevant that Tannaim debated especially whether the sukkah was a temporary or a permanent dwelling (see Rubenstein, «Dwelling»); but again, John's use of the verb extends far beyond this section.
Stibbe, Gospel 115–18 (who regards its target as apostasy, not Judaism in general, p. 130).
See, e.g., ÓDay, «John,» 642–43.
See Johnson, «Slander»; Overman, Gospel and Judaism, 16–23.
Even if we do not, with Stauffer, Jesus, 174, cite the later lection in support.
Without employing the term, CD 8.20–21 seems to portray Baruch as Jeremiahs disciple and Gehazi as Elishás; yet Gehazi failed to persevere (2 Kgs 5:20–27). On the perseverance theme in the NT, see Marshall, Kept, passim.
Dahl, «History,» 140.
On apostasy in early Jewish sources, see Marshall, Kept, 29–50.
Malherbe, Exhortation, 55; see further our comment on 6:66–71.
E.g., Seneca Ep. Luci1. 108.5–6, referring even to those who study for years (108.5) but only for leisure, not for change (108.6).
In the NT αληθώς appears eight times in the Synoptics (christological in Mark and Matthew, stylistic in Luke-Acts), eight times in Johannine literature (usually christological), and on only two other occasions.
For this verb as «remains,» see, e.g., Musonius Rufus frg. 51, p. 144.7–9.
E.g., m. 'Abot 5:19; b. Ber. 6b.
In parabolic language they also could speak of Israel as God's disciples at Sinai (Pesiq. Rab. 21:6).
See Marmorstein, Names, 180; our comment on 14:6. Because truth about discipleship is not the issue, άληθώς in 8provides at most a verbal link for άλήθεια in 8:32.
Jesus' opponents lack this; see 7:17,49, 51.
E.g., Xenophon Hel1. 1.7.16–17; 5.11.32; Acts 24:14; 25:11.
See Johnston, «Parables,» 590.
Dodd, More Studies, 48–49, citing also Philós Every Good Person Is Free; cf. Origen Comm. Jo. 2.112, who interpreted 8likewise. Commentators often seek to differentiate the NT and Stoic conceptions (e.g., Kelly, Peter, 111; Sevenster, Seneca, 117–22); Schmithals, Gnosticism, 218–24, traces the concept in Gnosticism.
E.g., Seneca Benef. 3.20.1–2; Epictetus Diatr. 1.9.21; 1.12.9; 1.19.8; 1.25.3; 2.18.28; 4.1.1 (cf. the whole of 4.1, «Περί ελευθερίας»); Dio Chrysostom Or. 14, On Slavery and Freedom 1, §18; Achilles Tatius 6.22.4. (Some suggest that Epictetus's background in slavery was highly formative in his emphasis on freedom; see Oldfather, «Introduction,» vii-viii.) Some also contended that suicide freed one from suffering (Chariton 6.2.9).
Cicero Parad. 33–41; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 27A; Diogenes Laertius 2.72 (Aristippus); Plutarch Lect. 1, Mor. 37E; 4 Macc 14:2. Cf. Epictetus Diatr. 1.17.28; Malherbe, Exhortation, 159. In Senecás tragedies, those who seek autonomy from God become slaves (Lefèvre, «Cult»).
Marcus Aurelius 8.1; Diogenes Laertius 7.1.33 (Zeno); cf. further Engberg-Pedersen, Paul and Stoics, 74–75. In Stoic thought, such liberating wisdom and virtue amounted to the same thing (Diogenes Laertius 7.1.121–122).
E.g., Plutarch Superst. 5, Mor. 167B (including Judaism as a superstition in Superst. 8, Mor. 169C). Cf. freedom from fear of death (Cicero Nat. d. 1.20.56; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 80.6; Nat. 3.pref.l6; Epictetus Diatr. 1.17.25; 2.5.12; Heb 2:15).
Seneca Ep. Luci1. 94.19.
E.g., Aristotle Rhet. 1.9.27, 1367a; Plutarch S.S., Anonymous 37, Mor. 234B; Dio Chrysostom Or. 18, On Freedom; Epictetus Diatr. 1.4.19. Aeschylus Prom. 50 opines that none but Zeus is free from all troubles.
Epictetus Diatr. 2.14.13.
Seneca Dia1. 1.5.6.
Brown, John, 1:355.
E.g., Diodorus Siculus 10.34.8; Strabo Geog. 10.4.16.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.42.2. For freedom from undue interference in internal Jewish affairs, see 1 Esd 4:49–50; Josephus Ant. 16.2.
Arrian Alex. 4.11.8; Sallust Cati1. 51.31; Jug. 31.11; Speech of Macer 1,9; Letter to Caesar 2A; 10.3; Cornelius Nepos 8 (Thrasybulus), 1.2; Musonius Rufus 9, p. 72.9–10.
Demosthenes 3 Philippic 36; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.23.18–19; 6.7.2; Appian R.H. 4.10.80; Maximus of Tyre Or. 23.4; cf. Philostratus Hrk. 4.1–2.
Lucan C.W. 7.445; Cornelius Nepos 8 (Thrasybulus), 1.5; Cicero Att. 14.14; Phi1. 3.5.12; 3.11.29; 3.13.33; 6.7.19; 14.14.37; Seneca the Elder, Historical Fragments 1; Iamblichus V.P. 32.220; Philostratus Vit. soph. 1.15.498; 1.486.
Lysias Or. 2.21, §192; Demosthenes 3 Philippic 36; 4 Philippic 25; Isocrates Peace 105, Or. 8.180 (though employing άνδραποδισμός); Sallust Jug. 102.6; Letter of Mithridates 10; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.23.20; Appian R.H. 8.9.56; Herodian 3.2.8; Cornelius Nepos 15 (Epaminondas), 5.3; 1Macc 2:11; Musonius Rufus relates it to freedom to speak out (παρρησία, see comment on 7:4) in 9, p. 72.23, 27–29; 72.31–73.3; 74.10–13) and to reason (16, p. 106.6–8).
Culpepper, Anatomy, 157, thinks Jesus' interlocutors here mean freedom politically but are ironically self-evidently wrong.
E.g., 3Macc 2:6; Josephus Ant. 3.19–20; 6.86. Some later rabbis celebrated this freedom also as ability to rule (Song Rab. 6:12, §1).
T. Mos. 3:14.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 305.2.1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 2(Tannaitic tradition); 12:25; 15:5. Cf. traditions on the four kingdoms (Dan 2; 2 Bar. 39:7; 5/7?. Or. 8.6–11; Midr. Pss. 40, §4; cf. Lucas, «Origin»).
Philo Rewards 137; Good Person 36. One enslaved might be said to have lost half onés worth (Homer Od. 17.322–323), and the impoverished free, as much as aristocrats, resented treatment as slaves (Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 19.9.4; Livy 4.3.7; Dio Cassius 8.36.3; Chariton 1.11.3). Although high-status slaves existed (e.g., Herodian 1.12.3; see our comment on 1:27), a slavés position was otherwise socially low (e.g., Cicero Acad. 2.47.144; Num. Rab. 6:1).
Lucian [Asin.] 5.
Terence Self-Tormentor 668–678; Lady of Andros 495; Chariton 2.10.7; Apuleius Metam. 10.7,10; cf. MacMullen, Relations, 116.
Plato Ale. 1.135C; Achilles Tatius 7.10.5; Chariton 6.5.5; Josephus Ant. 4.219; m. Sotah 1:6; b. Menah. 43b-44a, bar.; Syr. Men. 154–67.
Homer Od. 24.252–253; Chariton 1.10.7; 2.1.5; T. Jos. 11:2–3.
Homer Od. 4.63–64; Arrian Alex. 5.19.1; Apuleius Metam. 4.23.
E.g., Aeschines Timarchus 42. For manual labor, see, e.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 9.25.2; further Finley, Economy, 40–41; Luwel, «Begrip.» Manual laborers themselves were probably more pleased with their status (Martin, Slavery, 44–46,123–24; Lenski, «Crystallization»).
E.g., Demosthenes Against Leptines 132; Epictetus Diatr. 1.6.30; 1.9.20; 1.12.24; 1.13.3; 1.24.17; 1.29.16; 2.7.13; 2.13.18; 3.24.74; Diogenes Laertius 6.2.33; 6.2.43; probably Plutarch Virt. 2, Mor. 100E. Also Jeremias, Jerusalem, 351, citing a baratta in b. Qidd. 28a. To call one a «son of a slave» was to imply one s illegitimate birth (Josephus Ant. 13.292)–a charge one polemical document, probably from the early first century, levels against the Jerusalem priesthood (T. Mos. 5:5).
M. B. Qam. 8:6; see further development of this idea in texts in Bonsirven, Judaism, 61. Some suggest that even Roman Jewish freedmen omitted mention of their manumission because Judaism acknowledged only God as master (cf. Fuks, «Freedmen»), but this probably assumes too monolithic a view of Roman Judaism.
See Schnackenburg, John, 2:207; cf. Sanders, John, 227.
E.g., Borchert, John, 304.
See, e.g., Urbach, Sages, 1(citing Sipre Shelah 115). This is not a dominant motif in Deuteronomy, where έλευθερ- is always used for literal slaves.
E.g., m. 'Abot 6:2; b. B. Mesica 85b; Qidd. 22b (attributed to ben Zakkai); Gen. Rab. 92:1; Num. Rab. 10:8; Pesiq. Rab. 15:2; see further Abrahams, Studies, 2:213; Odeberg, Pharisaism, 50.
Crates Ep. 8, to Diogenes; Epictetus Diatr. 4.7.17; cf. similarly Epictetus Diatr. 3.24.68; Iamblichus V.P. 7.33; 17.78. Euripides Hec. 864–867 says all are enslaved by something (money, fate, or law).
E.g., Arrian Alex. 3.11.2; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 8.7; 27.4; Plutarch Lect. 1, Mor. 37E; Superst. 5, Mor. 167B. One is also a slave of goals one serves (Philostratus Hrk. 53.2).
A pervasive topic, e.g., Aeschines Timarchus 42; Xenophon Oec. 1.22–23; Hel1. 4.8.22; Apo1. 16; Mem. 1.3.8, 11; 1.5.1, 5; 4.5.3, 5; Sophocles Ant. 756; Trach. 488–489; Plato Phaedrus 238E; Isocrates Demon. 21, Or. 1; Nic. 39, Or. 3.34; Arrian Alex. 4.9.1; Diodorus Siculus 10.9.4; 32.10.9; Sallust Cati1. 2.8; Speech to CaesarS.2; Cicero Amte. 22.82; Off. 1.29.102; 1.38.136; 2.5.18; Sen. 14.47; Horace Sat. 2.7.83–87; Tibullus 2.4.1–3; Cicero Prov. cons. 1.2; Appian C.W. 5.1.8–9; Musonius Rufus 3, p. 40.19; Seneca Benef. 3.28.4; Ep. Luci1. 14.1; 39.6; 47.17; 110.9–10; 116.1; Nat. 1.16.1; Epictetus Diatr. 3.24.70–71, 75; Plutarch Bride 33, Mor. 142E; Maximus of Tyre Or. 36.6; Porphyry Marc. 34.523–525; Achilles Tatius 1.7.2–3; 5.25.6; Longinus Sub1. 44.6; Diogenes Laertius 2.75; 6.2.66; Diogenes Ep. 12; Heraclitus Ep. 9; Socratics Ep. 14; Pyth. Sent. 21,23; Apuleius Metam. 11.15; Arius Didymus Epitome 1 lh, pp. 76–77.10–11; Sir 47:19. Derrett, «John 8,32–36,» also finds the idea in ancient Buddhist texts, though these are much further removed geographically.
E.g., Seneca Benef 3.20.1–2; Epictetus Diatr. 1.11.37; 1.19.8; 3.24.68; 4.7.16–18; Aulus Gellius 2.18.9–10; Diogenes Laertius 7.1.121–122; cf. Philo Cherubim 107. Epictetus regarded as freedom pursuing only what one can control (see Pérez, «Freedom»).
E.g., Phaedrus 1.2.1–3, 11–31.
E.g., 4 Macc 3:2; 13:1–2; T. Ash. 3:2; 6:5; T. Jos. 7:8; T. Jud. 18:6; Josephus Ant. 1.74; 4.133; 15.88; War 1.243; Philo Abraham 241; Alleg. Interp. 2.49; Creation 165; Good Person 17; Heir 269; Unchangeable 111; cf. Decharneux, «Interdits»; Let. Arts. 211,221–223; T. Jud. 15:2,5; Sim. 3:4; Rom 6:6; 16:18; Phil 3:19.
Odeberg, Gospel 297–301; idem, Pharisaism, 50–52,56; cf. Gen. Rab. 94:8; Wis 1:4. Cf. freedom from the hostile angel in CD 16.4–6; from the Angel of Death in late material in Exod. Rab. 41:7; 51:8; Num. Rab. 16:24; Song Rab. 8:6, §1; from astrological powers in t. Sukkah 2:6; b. Ned. 32a; Šabb. 156a; Sukkah 29a; Gen. Rab. 44:10; Pesiq. Rab. 20:2.
Odeberg, Gospel 296–97; Whitacre, Polemic, 69,75–76; but cf. Schnackenburg, John, 2:208.
Black, Approach, 171, comparing 'abed and 'abd.
Cf. the two spirits and ways in Qumran and elsewhere (Deut 30:15; Ps 1:1; m. 'Abot 2:9; T. Ash. 1:3, 5; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 8.3; 27.4; Diogenes Ep. 30; see further Keener, Matthew, 250, on 7:13–14). Barrett, John, 345, appeals especially to Greek thought here, but he cites for it only Philo and Corp. herm. 10.8.
CPJ 1:249–50, §135; p. Ter. 8:1; Rawson, «Family,» 7; Dixon, Mother, 16; Safrai, «Home,» 750.
They could be divided at inheritance (P.S.I. 903, 47 C.E.).
Cf. abundant references to freedpersons, e.g., P.Oxy. 722 (ca. 100 C.E.); CIL 2.4332; 6.8583; ILS 1578. Such freedom sometimes had strings attached (see, e.g., Horsley, Documents, 4:102–3); cf. the freedwoman who inherited half her master's debt (CPJ 2:20–22, §148).
E.g., BGL/5.65.164; 5.66–67.165–70.
E.g., P.Cair.Zen. 59003.11–22; P.Oxy. 95; Terence Self-Tormentor 142–144.
For rare examples of disownment, see, e.g., P.Cair.Masp. 67353 (569 C.E.); Isaeus Estate of Menecles 35; 43; especially in hypothetical declamations, e.g., Seneca Controv. 1.1.intr.; 1.6.intr.; 1.8.7; 2.1.intr.; 2.4.intr.; 3.3; Hermogenes Issues 33; 40.20; 41.1–13; Berry and Heath, «Declamation»; in Roman law, see Garnsey and Sailer, Empire, 137; for the revocation of wills, e.g., P.Oxy. 106 (135 C.E.); for the usual (but not certain) presumption of disinherited sons' guilt, see Hermogenes Issues 47.1–6; the disinheritance could be challenged at times if the grounds were inadequate (Hermogenes Issues 38.12–17; Valerius Maximus 7.7.3). For the son being greater than the servant in this Gospel, cf., e.g., John 1:27.
For «remaining forever,» cf. 12:34; 1 John 2:17; 2 John 2 (there are only three non-Johannine uses in the NT; cf. 1 Esd 4:37–38). That legal adoption of a son was also μένω (P.Oxy. 1206.9) is probably irrelevant.
E.g., Dio Chrysostom Or. 64.13.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 40.6.1 (parable); b. B. Bat. 10a (about Akiba but probably later); Deut. Rab. 3:2; Pesiq. Rab. 27:3; see further Montefiore and Loewe, Anthology, 117–18.
See Westcott, John, 134; Sanders, John, 221 ; Evans, John, 93. For background on Hagar's and Ishmael's «freeing» as slaves, see Sarna, Genesis, 128–29,155–57.
E.g., Culpepper, Anatomy, 157.
Jos. Asen. 10:4; 17:4; possibly Acts 13:1; Dixon, Mothers, 128.
For people dwelling in shrines, see, e.g., Livy 40.51.8. The gate of John 10 could allude to the prince and his people going in and out through the gate of Ezek 46:9–10, but the phraseology мая be much broader than that: Num 27:17; 2Sam 5:2; 1 Kgs 3:7; 1 Chr 11:2.
E.g., Isaeus Estate of Astyphilus 16; Estate of Nicostratus 27–31; Lysias Or. 7.24–33, §110–111; 7.41, §112; 16; 18; Cicero Verr. 126.96.36.199; Vat. 1.1–2; Rosc. com. 7.21; Pro Sulla 24.68; 26.72; Dionysius of Halicarnassus Isaeus 3, 9; Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.50.63; Valerius Maximus 8.5.6; Acts 23:1.
E.g., Plutarch Demosthenes 11.4; Cicero 38.2–6; 40.3. Sometimes even the butt of the joke was forced to laugh (Xenophon Cyr. 2.2.16).
Plutarch Cicero 5.4; 27.1; 39.1. Cicero was sometimes intemperate with his vice lists (e.g., Pis. 27.66)!
E.g., Lysias Or. 3.1, §96; Aeschines Against Timarchus passim, esp. (and ironically!) 179; False Embassy 3,14,56,69; Thucydides 3.61.1; Cicero Verr. 188.8.131.52; Rosc. Amer. 30.82–45.132; Cae1. 13.31; 24.60; Quinct. 3.11–9.33 (the entire narratio!); Pro Scauro 13.29; Sest. 37.80; Matt 12:24–45; probably Acts 24(implied in the anacoluthon); cf. comments in Anderson, Glossary, 72–73. Occasionally one brought countercharges only afterward (Thucydides 3.70.3–4); such behavior might serve to deter future claimants.
As noted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 24; see likewise Cicero Or. Brut. 40.137. Cf. returning the charges in other handbooks: Rhet. Alex. 36, 1442b.6–9; Rhet. ad Herenn. 3.3.6; Hermogenes Issues 39.1–5.
E.g., Xenophon Hel1. 2.3.37.
Thus Cicero Mur. 29.60, dealing softly with Marcus Cato.
E.g., Horace Carm. 4.6.
Dodd, «L'arrière-plan»; idem, More Studies, 46–47; cf. Dozeman, "Sperma" Dodd, More Studies, 41–42, heavily emphasizes the Abraham material here. Contrast Robinson, «Destination,» 123–24 n.1.
For such sarcasm in the face of hostility, see, e.g., Silius Italicus 11.254–255; Matt 23:32; perhaps 1 Kgs 22:15.
Thus Jesus employs parody (see Stibbe, Gospel 118; cf. Rev 13:3, 18; 17:8). Some later philosophers also spoke of hearing and speaking God's message as if in his presence (Porphyry Marc. 15.258–259, though for him this means undistracted by bodily desires).
See, e.g., Aeschines Timarchus 107; Cicero Pis. 2.3; Verr. 184.108.40.206–2; Agr. 24.63–64; Cat. 1.6.14; perhaps Acts 24:19.
E.g., Rom 4:1; Sipre Deut. 311.1.1; 313.1.3; 'Abot R. Nat. 23, §46B; 36, §94; b. Ber. 6b; Ned. 32a. Those not his descendants also could greet him with the honorary title «father» (T. Ab. 2:3A; 9:4B); in some sense he was father of the whole world (t. Ber. 1on Gen 17:5). Cf. «our fathers» in 6:31.
Many Tannaim probably even denied the use of the phrase to proselytes (m. Bik. 1:4–5; Cohen, «Fathers»).
Augustine Tr. Ev. Jo. 42.5.2 triumphantly reads the stones in that passage as Gentile Christians.
Schnackenburg, John, 2:210.
E.g., Mek. Pisha 16.165–168 (other opinions in 16.169–172); p. Tacan. 1:1, §8; Gen. Rab. 55:8; 74:12; 76(Jacob's merit); 84and 87(Joseph's merit); Exod. Rab. 2:4; 15:10; 23:5; Lev. Rab. 34:8, bar; Num. Rab. 13:20; Song Rab. 4:4, §4; Pesiq. Rab. 10(in prayer); see further Moore, Judaism, 1:537. Some Tannaim suggested they could have used more merit (Sipre Deut. 2.1.1–4); some Amoraim attributed the exodus to the merit of, or faith in, Moses (Exod. Rab. 15:3; 16:1), to righteous acts (Exod. Rab. 1:28; Lev. Rab. 28:4; Num. Rab. 20:22), to the merits of Israelite women (Exod. Rab. 1:12; Num. Rab. 3:6, bar.), or to various factors, including patriarchal merits (Deut. Rab. 2:23).
E.g., in Mek. Bes. 4.52–57 (Shemaya and Abtalion).
E.g., m. 'Abot 2:2; Sipra Behuq. pq. 8.269.2.5; Sipre Deut. 8.1.1; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 1:1; 2:5; 5:8; 22:4; Pesiq. Rab Kah. Sup. 5:2; Gen. Rab. 39:3; 44:16; 48:12; 49:11; 70:8; Exod. Rab. 1:4; 15:4; 44:5; Lev. Rab. 31:4; 36:5; Song Rab. 7:6, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 15:9; 27/28:1; Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 48:20; cf. Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 30:27; 39:5; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 18:18; 19:29; 21:17. This included expiation of Israel's sins (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 23:8; Lev. Rab. 29:7; Deut. Rab. 3:15).
Pesiq. RabKah. 11:6; Lev. Rab. 21:11; 36:5; Num. Rab. 11:2; Pesiq. Rab. 12:5; 15:9.
E.g., 'Abot R. Nat. 12, §30; 22, §46B; Gen. Rab. 74:12; Num. Rab. 8:9; cf. individuals' benefits from ancestral merit, p. Tacan. 4:1, §14; Lev. Rab. 9:2. Amoraim differed as to whether patriarchal merit could eventually run out (p. Sanh. 10:1, §6; Lev. Rab. 36:5).
See Sipre Deut. 329.3.1, following biblical precedent (Ezek 18:20); cf. 2 En. 53:1. Even in Song Rab. 1:2, §3, biblical sacrifices appear preferable to ancestral merits.
Noted also by Marmorstein, Merits, 38.
Cf. protection from judgment on account of the patriarchs in T. Levi 15(possibly a later interpolation); perhaps Moses' virtue and the law (Josephus Ant. 3.322).
Cf. invoking an ancestor in 3 En. 1:3; supplication on the basis of the honor of the patriarchs in CIJ 1:519, §719 (if it means the biblical patriarchs); invoking their merits in prayer in Gen. Rab. 60:2.
For the salvation of all Israel, cf. also b. Hag. 27a; Sanh. 110b; Rom 11:26. For Abraham's involvement, see also Justin Dia1. 44.1 ; Williams, Justin, xxxii.
Cf. T. Ab. 14:5–8A; Gk. Apoc. Ezra 2:5.
E.g., Gen. Rab. 35:2. At least as early as 2Macc 15:12, 14, the deceased could intercede for Israe1.
E.g., b. cErub. 19a; Gen. Rab. 48(third century C.E.).
Gen. Rab. 14:6; Ecc1. Rab. 3:11, §2. Although later rabbis often emphasized Adam's stature before the fall (Sipra Behuq. pq. 3.263.1.9; 'Abot R. Nat. 8, §22B; 42, §116; b. Hag. 12a; Sanh. 38b; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 1:1; 5:3; Gen. Rab. 2:3; 8:1; 12:6; 21:3; 24:2; 58:8; Lev. Rab. 14:1; 18:2; Num. Rab. 13:12; Song Rab. 3:7, §5; Pesiq. Rab. 15:3), perhaps exploiting some Greek imagery (cf. Homer Od. 11.576–577; but cf. Bare, «Taille»; Niditch, «Adam»; 3 En. 9:2; 18:25), some eventually claimed that Abraham's was greater (Pesiq. Rab. 7:2; cf. Jos. Asen. 1:5/8).
The contrasting tenses in the two lines of 8allow the interpretation that Jesus «saw» (perfect) the Father in «a préexistent vision» (Brown, John, 1:356); but cf. the present tense in 5:19–20. Bernard, John, 2:310, and Michaels, John, 143, take ποιείτε as imperative, hence a challenge to kill him (contrasted with the alternative imperative for true children of Abraham in 8:39).
M. 'Abot 5:19; Dibelius, James, 168–74. He even became the model Pharisee (p. Sotah 5:5, §2).
For more detail, see further DeSilva, Honor, 202–6.
See ibid., 194 (citing esp. 4 Macc 13:24–26 and texts in Philo).
Cf., e.g., the «children of the prophets» in 1 Kgs 20:35; 2 Kgs 2:3, 5, 7, 15; 4:1, 38; 5:22; 6:1; 9:1. See more fully under John 13:33.
4 Macc 9:21 (Άβραμιαΐος νεανίας).
4 Macc 15(OTP2:560).
Ps.-Phoc. 178; t. Sanh. 8:6; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 11:6; Lev. Rab. 23:12; probably Wis 4:6; cf. Aristotle Po1. 2.1.13,1262a. Children were said to bear the images of their parents (Gen 5:3; 4 Macc 15:4; LA.B. 50:7; Chariton 2.11.2, 3.8.7; Philostratus Hrk. 52.2; P.Oxy. 37).
Homer Il. 16.33–35.
Lysias Or. 13.65–66, §135 (noting that the defendant's brothers had all been executed for crimes); cf. Rhet. Alex. 35, 1440b.5–13; in nonlegal contexts, Theophrastus Char. 28.2. Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 161, rightly note that ancients could infer ancestry from behavior or the reverse.
A rhetorical attack used, when possible, before classical Athenian juries (Aeschines False Embassy 78; Ctesiphon 172).
Lysias Or. 30.1–2, §183; for honorable background, e.g., Aeschines False Embassy 148–150. For honorable birth as a matter of praise, e.g., Xenophon Agesilaus 1.2.
Lysias Or. 10.2, §116; Plutarch Cicero 26.6.
Phaedrus 6. Aristocrats assumed that thieves usually had some dishonest lineage on one side or the other (Sophocles Searchers 280–283).
Philostratus Vit. soph. 2.25.611; cf. Acts 23:6. Pindar praises a victor who is also son of a victor (Ryth. 10.12).
Rhet. Alex. 35,1440b.23–40; 1441a.l-5.
Philostratus Vit. soph. 1.25.544. One could have honorable ancestors but make dishonorable choices (e.g., Isaeus Estate of Dicaeogenes 47).
Isocrates Peace 41–53, quoted in Dionysius of Halicarnassus Isoc. 17.
B. Yoma 71b. A much later tradition has Aaron protest that the people who worshiped the golden calf really were children of the righteous but were simply carried away by the evil impulse (Tg. Ps.-J. on Exod 32:22).
See Odeberg, Pharisaism, 49.
E.g., Jub. 23:10; Sir 44:19–22; 2 Bar. 57:2; T.Ab. 1:3,18; 2:3; 4:6–7; 7:8; 9:2; 13:2; 15:6,9; 16:7, 11; 17:10; 18:1; 20:3,11A; 4:10; 13:5B; m. Qidd.Á.4:4; 'Abot R. Nat. 36, §94B; b. B. Bat. 17a. God could have found fault had he wished, however (Rom 4:2; b. cArak. 17a, bar.)
Gen 18; Philo Abraham 107–114; Josephus Ant. 1.200; T. Ab. 1:4–9, 19; 3:7–9; 4:6; 17:7A; 2:3–12; 3:5–6; 4:10; 13:5B; Gen. Rab. 48:9; 50:4; Num. Rab. 10:5; Koenig, Hospitality, 15–20; probably transferred to Job in T. Job 10:1–4.
Including «faithfulness» (πιστός) in testing (1Macc 2:52); cf. commentaries on Rom 4:3. Nick-elsburg, «Structure,» 87–88, thinks Abraham's obedient faith is less evident in Testament of Abraham.
E.g., Mek. Nez. 18.36–40; b. Sukkah 49b; Gen. Rab. 38:13; 39:8; 46:1; Num. Rab. 8:9; Pesiq. Rab. 11:4; cf. CD 3.1–2.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 32.2.1; 'Abot R. Nat. 12A; 26, §54B; Gen. Rab. 30:8; Song Rab. 1:3, §3; Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 21:33; Bamberger, Proselytism, 176–79. In such Amoraic traditions, surrounding peoples respected Abraham (Gen. Rab. 82:14), and Sarah witnessed through feeding Gentile infants (Gen. Rab. 53:9).
Philo Migration 130, citing Gen 26:5. The rabbis also based their case on this verse (see Pancaro, Law, 393, largely following Strack-Billerbeck, Kommentar, 3:186).
CD 3.2; in the rabbis, see Urbach, Sages, 1:318; Moore, Judaism, 1:275–76; also Lev. Rab. 2:10. Compare the law-keeping pre-Sinai patriarchs in Jubilees (see comment on John 1:10).
E.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. 27:7. Onés own works could also be viewed as more relevant than dependence on those of onés ancestors (Gen. Rab. 74:12).
E.g., Koenig, Hospitality, 15–20; see comment in above paragraph. Later Jewish tradition also emphasized Abraham's mercy (Gen. Rab. 78:8; Whitacre, Polemic, 70, cites b. Besah 32b).
«Man» (άνθρωπος) here is probably not an allusion to the incarnation (1:14) but «simply a semitism for 'someoné (BDF, §301 )» (Brown, John, 1:357). The similar image of martyring truth (e.g., Philostratus Hrk. 33.37) might be relevant.
Jesus thus answers his own question (a form of rhetorical question that some interested in classification called αιτιολογία; see Anderson, Glossary, 14; idem, Rhetorical Theory, 170; Porter, «Paul and Letters,» 580); the practice of appealing to the justice of onés case (Anderson, Glossary, 36) мая also be relevant here.
Whitacre, Polemic, 71.
E.g., Exod 4:22; see more fully comment on John 1:12.
Biographies sometimes opened with the protagonist's parents or noble family background (e.g., Cornelius Nepos 2 [Themistocles], 1.2; 7 [Alcibiades], 1.2); although such background did not always shape how a child turned out (Sallust Cati1. 5.1; cf. 2 Chr 28:1; 29:2; 33:3; 34:2; 36:5), onés background could help define a herós character (e.g., Homer Il. 20.215–241).
Cf. also the strategy of blaming his parents for his birth ( [ Cicero ] Invective Against Sallust 5.13).
The term πορνεία is broad enough to include adultery; see Keener, Matthew, 467–69. Here it probably implies spiritual adultery, as likely in Rev 2:23.
E.g., Lightfoot, Gospel 196; Hunter, John, 93; Brown, John, 1(citing Origen Gels. 1.28; Acts of Pilate 2.3); Sanders, John, 230; Barrett, John and Judaism, 71; Carson, John, 352; Blomberg, Reliability, 146.
For such traditions, see, e.g., Klausner, Jesus, 23–24,48–51; cf. Herford, Christianity, 35–50; Maier, Jesus in Überlieferung, 198–200; Origen Cels. 1.28, 32, 33, 39.
Plutarch Cicero 26.6; Philostratus Vit. soph. 2.19.599.
Meier, Marginal Jew, 1:228, thinks it unlikely because Jesus challenges their spiritual legitimacy. It is not, however, clear that they understand Jesus spiritually.
See Keener, Matthew, 83–86, though cf. our comment on John 9:29.
One might compare here the myth that the serpent impregnated Eve in the guise of her husband (for various strands of the story, cf., e.g., 2 En. 31J; t. Sotah 4:17–18; 'Abot R. Nat. 1A; Gen. Rab. 20:4; 24:6; perhaps 4 Macc 18:8; 2Cor 11:3, 14), or fallen angels or demons impregnated women in Gen 6 (CD 2.18; 4Q180; Jub. 4:22; 5:1; 7:21; 1 En. 69:5; 106:13–14; 2 En. 18:5; 2 Bar. 56:10–15; T. Reu. 5:6; T. So1. 6:3; 1Pet 3:19; Justin 1 Apo1. 5; cf. T. So1. 4; Incant. Text 1:12–13). But such comparisons miss Jesus' point: like many people in this Gospel, Jesus' interlocutors here take him literally, whereas he refers to spiritual descendants.
Sanders, John, 230, combining this suggestion with polemic against Jesus' birth.
Carson, John, 352, suggests an allusion to Jewish and Samaritan questions about one another's origins; but this would make more sense after 8:48.
Jesus' claim that he ήκω from God (8:42) appears in Hellenistic inscriptions for the epiphany of a deity (Brown, John, 1:357). Just as the patronage system produced informal urban networks of friendship and enmity, so love for one member of a household might produce love also for others (e.g., Cicero Fam. 16.4.4).
Sibling murder was a horrendous crime (Cicero Off. 3.10.41; Horace Epodes 7.17–20; Apuleius Metam. 10.8), though other public reports of its occurrence existed (Diodorus Siculus 16.65.5–6; Livy 1.7.2; Herodian 4.5.2; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.57–58).
On the sense of «hear» here, see comment on 3:8.
See Whitacre, Polemic, 75.
Thus, e.g., Edomites could not relinquish murder because they inherited this character from Esau (Sipre Deut. 343.4.1). Many ancients regarded character as inborn, not changing (Pindar O1. 13.12; also 11.19–20; but see our comment on John 3:19–20).
Hoskyns, Gospel, 343; Lightfoot, Gospel, 197; Hunter, John, 93; Barrett, John, 349. For Satan's origination of such activity in rabbinic sources, see Odeberg, Gospel, 303. Early Judaism associated sin's origin with Adam, the devil, and/or the evil yetzer (see Baudry, «Péché»).
On Satan's involvement in deception, see, e.g., T. Dan 3:6; T. Job 3:6/3:5.
E.g., Wis 2:23–24; Rev 12:9; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 3in McNamara, Targum, 121 (Ellul, «Targum,» argues here for the angel of death); 3 Bar. 9:7; Apoc. Ab. 23:1,11; Apoc. Sedr. 5:1–6; contrast 1 En. 69:6); others saw the serpent as his agent (Apoc. Mos. 16:1, 5); for more general evil associations, cf. Horace Sat. 1.8.33–35; Sir 21:2; 1 En. 69:12; Luke 10:19; 2 Bar. 10:8; Incant. Text 2.3–4; 6.8; Exod. Rab. 9:3.
Though sometimes employed thus, T. Mos. 12:4; Incant. Text 20:11–12; perhaps Rom 1:20; 1 En. 69:18; T. Mos. 1:12–13; Diogenes Laertius 10.1.75.
Also in L.A.B. 1:1; Hesiod Theog. 452. «From the beginning» appears often in the Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch (McNamara, Targum, 143) but is a frequent phrase in Johannine texts (6:64; 15:27; 1 John 1:1; 2:7, 13–14, 24; 3:8, 11; 2 John 5–6).
Sir 25:24; Sib. Or. 2.42–45; L.A.E. 18:1; 35; 38:1–2; 44:1–5; Apoc. Mos. 9; 11:1–2; 14; 31–32; 42–43; Philo Creation 151–152, 165; 'Abot R. Nat. 9, §25B; p. Sanh. 2:4, §2; Gen. Rab. 17:8; 21:5; Exod. Rab. 28:2; Lev. Rab. 18:2; 1Tim 2:14; perhaps influence from the Greek tradition of Pandora amplified Evés guilt (Hesiod Op. 90–95; cf. Babrius 58). In another line of tradition, he also deceived her sexually (see comment above), but there is no reason to see that idea here.
On other traditions about the devil's or serpent's envy, see also Josephus Ant. 1.41; 'Abot R. Nat. 1A; b. Sanh. 59b.
In Jubilees, see 11:5,11; 17:16; 18:9; 48:2,9. Yadin, War Scroll 233–34, compares the use of this term in Jubilees with 1QM 13.4, 11; 14.9; Ginsberg, «Scrolls,» 79, compares its use in Jubilees and CD (cf. Driver, Scrolls, 451). Mastemoth in 1QS 3.23 is probably not a proper noun (though associated with Belial and angel of darkness–1QS 1.18,21; 2.19; 3.22) but reflects the same linguistic milieu (cf. also Marcus, «Scrolls,» 12–13). The name мая appear in 4QAmram b (Kobelski, «Melchizedek,» 64).
See Jastrow, Dictionary, 1554. Flusser, «Mastema,» 1119–20, prefers «enmity» or «prince of enmity.» Cf. also the «angels of destruction» (חבל) in 1QS 4.12.
Wis 10:3; 4 Macc 18:11; Jub. 4:2–3, 31–32; 1 En. 22:6–7; Josephus Ant. 1.52–59; L.A.B. 16:2; L.A.E. 23; Apoc. Mos. 2–3; Τ Ben). 7:3–5; Philo Worse32; 'Abot R. Nat. 31; 41A; Heb 11:4; 12:24; Matt 23:35; Luke 11:51; Jude 11; 1 Clem. 4.1–7; see further Philo LCL l:xxiv-xxv; Grayston, Epistles, 110; Plummer, Epistles, 82; Sidebottom, James, 89. For Abel's reward, cf. Ascen. Isa. 9:8; Apoc. Mos. 40:4–5; T. Ab. 13:2–3A; 11:2B. For early Syrian Christian application of Cain (including to Jewish opponents of Jesus), see Niklas, «Söhne Kains» (citing Aphrahat Demonstratio 16.8).
Some later rabbis homiletically associated Satan's creation with Eve (Urbach, Sages, 1:167), but this view is probably late.
John 8:44's term for murder appears elsewhere in the NT only at 1 John 3and nowhere in the LXX.
E.g., T. Job 3:6/3(του Σατανά έν ω άπατηθήσονται οί άνθρωποι); Τ. Dan 3:6; cf. 1QS 10.21–22. Satan (T. Job 3:6) or the devil (διάβολος, T. Job 3:3/4) or demons are behind idols (cf. Deut 32:17; Ps 96[95LXX]; Bar 4:7; 1 En. 19:1; Jub. 1:11; 7:27; 22:17; T. Job 3:3; T. So1. 5:5; 6:4; Sipre Deut. 318.2.1–2; Gen. Rab. 23:6; 24:6; 1Cor 10:20; Athenagoras 26; Tertullian Apol 23.5–6).
Falsehood and theft also appear together in t. B. Qam. 7:8; cf. John 10:1–10.
Only three non-Johannine uses of ψεύστης appear in the NT; cf. also ψευδής in Rev 2:2; 21:8, of three uses in the NT.
E.g., Lysias Or. 3.39, §99; 4.13, §101; Cicero Mur. 6.13; Quinct. 6.22; Rose. com. 16.46; Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 33; cf. Isaeus Estate of Astyphilus 19. Writers against Jews tell «lies» about them (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.79, 147, 289); Apion is a prime example of such a liar (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.85,90,98,111,115,121,122). Perkins, «John,» 966, points out that Qumran's opponents are misled «by the Man of Lies of Interpreters of Error (lQpHab 2:2; 5:11; CD 20:15; 1QH 2:13–14; 4:10).»
Cicero Cae1. 29.69.
Aeschines Timarchus 1–3; cf. Musonius Rufus frg. 32, p. 132 (applying the principle to moral exhortation).
E.g., Acts John 94.
Von Wahlde, «Apocalyptic Polemic» (comparing esp. 1QS 3.13–4.26 on pp. 426–29; Γ. 12 Patr. on pp. 430–34).
Cf. Motyer, «Anti-Semitic»; Bondi, «Abraham.»
Falk, Jesus, 118, even thinks Hillelites could speak thus about Shammaites (b. Yebam. 16a); but given the need for Pharisaic schools to work together in the first century, one wonders if the evidence is not anachronistic.
E.g., CD 4.15–17; Perkins, «John,» 966, cites the Scrolls' pervasive contrast between children of God (or light) and children of the devil (Belial), 1QS 1.18, 23–24; 2.19; 3.20–21; 1QM 13.11–12 (for Satan in ancient Judaism, see Elgvin, «Devil»). Charges of being «from the devil» also become part of intra-Christian polemic (1 John 3:8; Po1. Phi1. 7.1)
For this sort of rhetorical question, compare the note on 8:43.
E.g., Lysias Or. 24.24, §170; 27.12–13, §178–179; 29.5, §181; Isaeus Estate of Cleonymus 41, §27; 49, §37; Estate of Nicostratus 9; Cicero Rose. Amer. 29.79; Pro Flacco 15.34; Mur. 6.13; Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lit. Comp. 3; Aelius Aristides Defense of Oratory 242, §75D; Hermogenes Issues 45.1–2; 45.21–46.8; Acts 24:13.
Cicero Rose. Amer. 23.64–65.
Aulus Gellius 12.12.1; Xenophon Hel1. 1.7.16–17; 5.11.32; Acts 24:14. One could also gain pardon by confessing (Phaedrus 3, Epi1. 22).
Cicero Sest. 69.145; cf. Epaminondas in Appian R.H. 11.7.41.
Appian R.H. 11.7.40–41.
E.g., Aeschines Timarchus 44–45, 55–56,65, 77–78,80, 89; False Embassy 14; Isaeus Estate of Pyrrhus 40; Acts 26:5.
Lysias Or. 25.14, §172, picking a crime he obviously did not commit but related to the charges. Pleading that one had been wronged might create juror sympathy (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 24).
Cicero Vat. 10.25–26.
Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.23.33.
E.g., Josephus Ant. 4.219; m. Yebam. 15:1, 8–10; 16:7; Ketub. 1:6–9; t. Yebam. 14:10; Sipra VDDeho. pq. 220.127.116.11.
It was honorable and in onés favor to have no accuser (Seneca Controv. 2.1.7) or (more relevant here) no past criminal record (e.g., Cicero Sest. 30.64).
Enoch is ό έλεγχων of sins in T. Ab. 11:1–3B, but he appears more as a scribe recounting sins than a prosecutor exposing them.
T. Ab. 10:13A; 'Abot R. Nat. 14A; but normally even the patriarchs were not thought completely sinless (T. Ab. 9:3A; Moore, Judaism, 1:467–68; cf. Apoc. Zeph. 7:8).
Cf. 1QS 6.26–7.9; 7.15–16; Josephus Ant. 3.67; b. Sanh. 101a; references in Edersheim, Life, 378; Beer, «lykwdm.» Publicly shaming onés fellow could be said to warrant exclusion from the coming age (m. 'Abot 3:11).
Likewise, «synagogue of Satan» is used for the jarring effect of its disjunctive image in Rev 2and 3:9, not because it had become a standard association of terms; the portrayal of churches as lampstands in Rev 1suggested their continuing Jewishness (see introduction, chs. 4–5).
Brown, Community, 37, uses this to suggest that the Jewish community viewed John's community as including «Samaritan elements.» By denying the demonization charge but not the Samaritan one, Jesus' response would encourage Samaritan converts (Duke, Irony, 75).
Thus the emphatic σύ at the sentencés conclusion (Bernard, John, 2:316). Cullmann, Church, 192, connects the charge with the fact that Jesus, like Samaritans, «was criticized for his attitude to the temple worship» (2:14–16); but the matter of descent from Abraham relates better to this context.
The rhetorical practice of returning a charge had sufficient precedent (e.g., Plato Apo1. 35D; Matt 12:24,45); see further my introduction to 8:37–51.
Hesiod Op. 719–721; Livy 44.34.4–5; Horace Sat. 1.4.81–82; Martial Epigr. 3.28; Dio Chrysostom Or. 37.32–33; Lucian A True Story 1; Slander passim; Marcus Aurelius 6.30.2.
1QS 7.15–16; Sib. Or. 1.178; Josephus Ant. 13.294–295; 16.81; Ag. Ap. 2.89; War 1.77, 443, 532, 564; Philo Abraham 20; Spec. Laws 4.59–60; T. Ab. 12:6–7B; Rom 1:30; Sipre Deut. 1.8.2–3; 275.1.1; 'Abot R. Nat. 9, 40A; 41, §116B; b. cArak. 15a-16a; B. Bat. 39ab; Pesah. 118a; Sanh. 103a; Tacan. 7b; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 4:2; Gen. Rab. 79:1; 98:19; Exod. Rab. 3:13; Lev. Rab. 16:6; 26:2; 37:1; Num. Rab. 16:6; Deut. Rab. 5:10; 6:8,14; Ecc1. Rab. 3§1.
Kraeling, John, 11–12.
E.g., Justin Dia1. 69:7; b. Sanh. 43a; 107b. For more detailed discussion, see Klausner, Jesus, 27–28, 49–51, 293; Dalman, Jesus in Talmud, 45–50; Herford, Christianity 50–62; Gero, «Polemic»; Horbury, «Brigand,» 183–95; Stanton, Gospel Truth, 156–58.
E.g., Homer Od. 18.15,406; 19.71; see more detailed comment on John 7:20.
Stanton, Gospel Truth, 161–62, suggesting that Mark 3and Q attest it independently. (But Mark мая follow Q here.)
Also, e.g., T.Ab. 11:5B.
E.g., 4 Bar. 5:28. Cf. John 3:3, where only the righteous will «see» the kingdom.
E.g., Mark 9:1; Heb 2:9; Sib. Or. 1.82 (of Adam); Gen. Rab. 21:5; Lev. Rab. 18:1; Pesiq. Rab. 48:2; «taste death's cup» in Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 40:23; and on Deut 32:1; cf. Homer Od. 21.98. A newborn infant who died had merely «tasted life» (IG 14  1607 2171, in Horsley, Documents, 4:40, §12); cf. Longus 1.19; Musonius Rufus 19, p. 122.1.
Cf. Philo Abraham 51–55; 4 Macc 16:25; Ecc1. Rab. 9:5, §1. In other Jewish traditions, the prophets died (cf. also T. Mos. 1:14–15) but their words endure (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 13:3; Pesiq. Rab. 1:2). Of course, the observation that all great people have died and no one will escape this is a natural one (e.g., Lucretius Nat. 3.1024–1052).
T. Ab. 8:9A. Cf. Homer Il. 21.107, where Achilles reminds Lycaon that Patroclus was a better man than he and died anyway (then slays him, 21.115–119).
Commonly noted, e.g., Barrett, John, 351; Morris, John, 469.
Q also polemicizes against false claims to descent from «Abraham our father» (Matt 3:9; Luke 3:8).
See further comments by Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 126–27; our comments on 5:18.
Publilius Syrus 597; Plutarch Praising, Mor. 539A-547F (esp. 15, Mor. 544D); 2Cor 12:11; see our introductory comment on John 5:31–47.
Some later Jewish traditions allowed him to share it with Israel (Pesiq. Rab Kah. 21:2); see further the comment on 5:44.
The claim is ad hominem (so Michaels, John, 144; Barrett, John, 351), but it does not strictly reject their physical ancestry here; rather, he exhorts them to function as children of Abraham ought (cf. 1Cor 6:6–11).
Cf. revelation on the «Lord's Day,» possibly an eschatological double entendre (cf. Shepherd, Liturgy, 78), in Rev 1(on the noneschatological aspect of the phrase, see Did. 14.1; Deissmann, East, 358–59; Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 65; perhaps also Ign. Magn. 9.1, but cf. Lewis, «Ignatius»).
So Schnackenburg, John, 2:221, citing Jub. 15:17; Targum Onqelos; Philo Names 154, 161, 175; cf. Haenchen, John, 2:29. In Genesis, however, Abraham's laughter undoubtedly functions as Sarah's would (18:12–15; cf. 21:6).
Hanson, Gospel, 126–28.
4 Ezra 3:14; 2 Bar. 4:4; L.A.B. 23:6; Apoc. Ab. 9–32; Gen. Rab. 44:12. In Philo, Abraham encounters the Logos (Migration 174, in Argyle, «Philo,» 38; on Philo here, cf. more fully On the Change of Names in Urban and Henry, «Abraham»).
E.g., Hunter, John, 94; Cadman, Heaven, 115; Morris, Studies, 221; Brown, John, 1:360; Bell, I Am, 197. Contrast McNamara, Targum, 144–45.
E.g., b. B. Bat. 16b-17a, bar. Others also receive such visions; e.g., Adam (2 Bar. 4:3; 'Abot R. Nat. 31A; 42, §116B; b. Sanh. 38b; Gen. Rab. 21:9; 24:2; Pesiq. Rab. 23:1); Joseph (Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 45:14); Amram (4Q544 lines 10–12; 4Q547 line 7); Moses (Sipre Deut. 357.5.11); and R. Meir (Num. Rab. 9:20).
E.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. 5:2; Gen. Rab. 44:15, 22; 56:10; Exod. Rab. 51:7; Lev. Rab. 13:5; Pesiq. Rab. 15:2; cf. 2 Bar. 4:4. Braun, «Sacrifice,» cites Tg. Neof. and Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 22:1–18 to suggest that Isaac functions for John (here and in 8:35–36; cf. 1:29; 3:16) as a type of Christ (cf. Brown, John, 1:360). The future vision of the patriarchs appears to be a favorite emphasis of Genesis Rabbah's editors, but the earliest tradition refers especially to Abraham; «he went into the days» (Gen 24:1, lit.) мая have provided a natural basis for rabbis assuming that Abraham saw the future world (e.g., Dodd, «Background,» 334; Fenton, John, 104).
Gen. Rab. 69:7; 97 NV. Joseph also wept for the destruction of the first and second temples (Gen. Rab. 93:10). In a tradition newly created in the third century, many biblical heroes saw a new world, but this мая refer to their change in status (Gen. Rab. 30:8).
He also foresaw Joseph's survival (Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 37:33, opposite MT!); Jephthah's victory in Gilead (Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 31:21); and Samson (Gen. Rab. 98:14). In earlier texts Jacob receives a revelation apparently of the temple (4Q537 frg. 1–2; so Adam in 2 Bar. 4:3); that Wisdom revealed God's reign to Jacob (Wis 10:10) мая be relevant, though eschatologically oriented Jewish interpreters seem to have done little with this work.
Some Tannaim felt he lost his prophetic sight in Gen 48(Gen. Rab. 97 MSV). In the Targumim (McNamara, Targum, 140), although Jacob looked for the messianic redemption (Neofiti) he could not see it even in a vision (Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 49:1).
Num. Rab. 13:14, extrapolating from the tradition in Gen 49 (cf. T. 12 Patr.). More simply, Jacob simply saw the Lord (i.e., the archangel) in Philo Dreams 1.157. Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 49allows him an eschatological revelation, which he then forgot (cf. similarly Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 49:1).
Cf., e.g., m. Ber. 1:5; Num. Rab. 13:14; Luke 17:22, 26; other references in Moore, Judaism, 1:346,2:247,375–76.
Dahl, «History,» 134. Aune, Eschatology, 91, compares Isaiah's ascent in Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah 6–11.
Discrepancies concerning chronology or other details proved useful in discrediting opposing arguments (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 15; Acts 24:11; Cicero Vat. 1.3).
This is probably also the implication if one reads, «You have been seeing Abraham for less than fifty years?» (cf. Delebecque, «Contemporain,» who connects this reading with the claim in 8:58).
Jub. 23:8–15, esp. 23:9–10 (over three jubilees). Although Gen 25gives him 175 years, he lived 995 in T. Ab. 1:1A. In rabbinic texts, old age (and senility) started with Abraham (Schiffman, Law, 33). In some early-third-century traditions, he recognized God as his creator around the age of fifty (Gen. Rab. 30:8; 46:1; Pesiq. Rab. 21:12; but this is likely ad hoc: cf. Gen. Rab. 64:4; 95:3; Num. Rab. 18:21; Song Rab. 5:16, §1, which vary between the ages of forty-eight, one, and three).
Pace Stauffer, Jesus, 59. Irenaeus Haer. 2.22 similarly thinks Christ over fifty at his crucifixion (though thirty at his baptism), using this long ministry against the gnostics.
Meier, Marginal Jew, 1:379; cf., e.g., the objection in Gen. Rab. 38:13. Edwards, «Fifty,» suggests that it means less than one jubilee; but cf. Buchanan, «Age.»
Dionysius of Halicarnassus RA. 4.29.3; some locations had laws excluding from office those under thirty (Cicero Verr. 18.104.22.168). Dionysius of Halicarnassus, LCL 2n. 1, cites also Solon 27. Aristotle claimed that fifty was the upper age for the best procreation (Aristotle Po1. 7.14.11–12, 1335b). Athenians over fifty spoke first in the assembly (Aeschines Timarchus 23; Ctesiphon 4).
So to give counsel (m. 'Abot 5:21); for the meturgeman (b. Hag. 14a). To be an elder, one should be sixty (m. 'Abot 5:21).
In the Scrolls, overseers should be between thirty and fifty (CD 14.8–9); Buchanan, «Age,» cites also lQSa 1.13–21. This was the age range for temple service (Num 4:35; cf. 8:24; t. Šeqa1. 3:26); thirty (Luke 3:23) held wider precedent as a transition age (Gen 41:46; 2Sam 5:4; Gaius Inst. 1.20); forty was the minimum for a chorēgos so that he could be trusted not to corrupt children (Aeschines Timarchus 11–12).
Or at least surprise (Philostratus Hrk. 21.6).
On controversia, see Black, «Oration at Olivet,» 88 (Quintilian 9.2.65–95).
E.g., T. Job 27:2/3 (of Satan); an angelic annunciation in Tob 12:15; T. Ab. 16:11; 17:5A; 13(Death).
E.g., Τ Job 29:4; 31:6/7.
See Painter, John, 37–38; cf. Rabiej, «Jestem»; Probst, «Jésus»; Gwynne, «Invisible Father»; Okorie, «Self-Revelation.»
«I am» appears predicatively in divine (Rev 1:8; 21:6) and equivalent christological (1:17; 2:23; 22:16) speech in Revelation, but never absolutely (Hill, Prophecy, 81).
E.g., Nicholson, Death, 112–13.
E.g., ibid., 112–13; Pancaro, Law, 60; Bell, I Am, 195–98. Some (e.g., Schnackenburg, John, 2:88) take this only as a claim that God utters himself through Jesus the eschatological revealer.
Cf. Harner, I Am, 49–50, noting the use of the definite article in these predicate nominatives despite its relative rareness in Greek.
See further Reinhartz, Word, 34–35.
See most fully Bell, I Am, 27–32.
E.g., Betz and Smith, «De Iside,» 45; Kysar, Maverick Gospel, 42. Some (e.g., Aune, Environment, 52) acknowledge Hermetic and gnostic parallels, but these мая depend on Johns language.
Horsley, Documents, 1:19–20, §2; Boring et a1., Commentary, 272–73; Kee, Origins, 62, comparing Isis with the figure of Wisdom; more extensively, Kee, «Isis.»
CIJ 2:54, §802: Έγώ είμι ό μέγας ό èv ούρανω καθήμενος.
Carson, John, 58 n. 1.
See Aune, Prophecy, 41,65, and esp. 71.
See in fuller detail Harner, I Am, 18–21 (also, e.g., Pesiq. Rab. 33:7–8); against a Hellenistic origin, see ibid., 26–30. Those who cite Hellenistic backgrounds usually also recognize the Jewish background (Kysar, Maverick Gospel, 43).
Dodd, Interpretation, 95; Freed, «Samaritans Converts,» 252.
See evidence in Odeberg, Gospel, 308–10.
See Harner, I Am, 15–17; Bell, I Am, 195–98 (who sees it also in 8:18,24,28, on pp. 185–94).
Stauffer, Jesus, 176–78; Harner, I Am, 57; Bauckham, God Crucified, 55. For a summary of views, see Kysar, Evangelist, 119–20; for a thorough collection of Jewish sources, see Williams, I Am He (unfortunately too recent for me to treat as fully as it deserves).
See m. Sukkah 4:5; b. Sukkah 45a; 53a, bar. (also Hillel in m. 'Abot 1:14, but not clearly at Sukkoth); Marmorstein, Names, 73. Sanders, Judaism, 143,180, says that the divine name was mentioned on the Day of Atonement.
Dodd, Interpretation, 94, 350; Stauffer, Jesus, 91, 179; Harner, I Am, 18, 61; Davies, Land, 295. That Scripture proclaimed God's character at the festivals (Stauffer, Jesus, 174) мая also prove relevant here.
If the Tetragrammaton was uttered with its vowels by priests in the temple (Hayward, Name, 99; Sipre Num. 39.5.1–2), this мая have been more widely known (cf. Acts 19:13–14). Normally, however, it was forbidden (Josephus Ant. 2.276; Sir 23:9–10; 1QS 6.27–7.1; m. Sanh. 7:5; t. Ber. 6:23; Sent. Sext. 28; cf. the special writing of the Tetragrammaton at Qumran noted in Siegel, «Characters»).
Thus many doubt that the claim stems from Jesus in these particular words (Harner, J Am, 65).
Motyer, Father the Devil, 209; Blomberg, Reliability, 149, 162, suggesting that Jesus merely claims to bear the divine name like some exalted angels or humans. These examples, while real, come from mystical fringes and would not likely have come to the minds of the average hearer of Jesus even in the story world.
Reim, Studien, 260–61.
Stauffer, Jesus, 124, finds Ani Hu from Isa 43 in Mark 14:62, but that text does not support his claim (cf. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 55).
See Keener, Matthew, 66–67,130–31,346–48; Witherington, Christology, 221–28; see our introduction, ch. 7, on Johannine Christology.
Also Carson, John, 58, though his citation of Mark 13is probably less persuasive.
Despite our skepticism on Mark 14(above), see the supporting evidence in Stauffer, Jesus, 190–95; Freed, "Egō Eimi" (1:20; Acts 13:24–25; Mark 13:6; 14:61–62). Theissen, Gospels, 152–53, reads Mark 13especially in the context of early Christian prophets (Origen Cels. 7.9).
On the irony here, see Stibbe, Gospel, 117.
E.g., Longenecker, Christology, 7.
Some dialogues involved increasingly intense conflict, culminating in violence or a threat of war (Thucydides 5.87–113, climaxing in 5.112–113). Cf. Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 147–48, on violent responses to shameful loss in a public challenge-and-riposte setting.
See Haenchen, Acts, 353. In contrast to normal lectures (Plutarch Lect. 11, Mor. 43BC; Aulus Gellius 8.10; 12.5.4; 16.6.1–4; 18.13.7–8; 20.10.1–6; t. Sanh. 7:10; 'Abot R. Nat. 6A; cf. Aulus Gellius 1.26.2; Goodman, State, 79), interrupting the speech of one of higher rank was considered inappropriate (Livy 3.40.5; Diogenes Laertius 7.1.19; cf. Plutarch Lect. 4, Mor. 39CD; 18, Mor. 48AB; 1Cor 14:34–35).
Also elsewhere in the ancient Mediterranean world; see Sophocles Ajax 254; Lucian Zeus Rants 36; cf. Lucian The Dead Come to Life, or the Fishermen 1.
E.g., Virgil Aen. 1.150; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 8.59.1; 9.48.2; Pausanias 2.32.2; 8.23.7; Libanius Declamation 36.19; 1 Kgs 12:18. Although stoning was a biblical mode of execution, it was also widespread among earlier Greeks (e.g., Euripides Orest. 442, 625; Arrian Alex. 4.14.3; Cornelius Nepos 4 [Pausanias], 5.3; Polybius 1.69.10, 13; Plutarch Alex. 55.4; Philostratus Hrk. 33.31, 37; Apol1. Κ. Tyre 50; Iamblichus V.P. 35.252).
T. Pisha 4:13. For another stoning in the temple, Brown, John, 1:360, cites Josephus Ant. 17.216.
So also Brown, John, 1:360.
Smith, Magician, 120, citing a long list of ancient references to magical invisibility.
E.g., PGM 1.222–231, 247–262 (esp. 256–257). Cf. Tibullus 1.2.58, though this is farce.
Stibbe, «Elusive,» finds sources for Jesus' escapes, linguistic elusiveness, etc., in Wisdom, Isaian, and Markan traditions.
Cf.,e.g., Appian R.H. 4.6.
E.g., Aristophanes Ach. 390; Sophocles frg. of Inachus 8, 26 (Sei. Pap. 3:24–25); Apollo-dorus 2.4.2.
E.g., Homer I1. 16.788–789; 17.551–552; Ovid Metam. 12.598–599; Silius Italicus 9.488. They could also escape by flying over walls (Euripides Bacch. 655, reflecting staging limitations).
E.g., Homer I1. 3.381; 5.23, 344–345; 20.321,443–446; 21.597–598; 24.334–338; Od. 7.14–17, 41–42; 13.189–193; Sophocles Ajax 70, 83–85; Euripides Helen 44–45; Iph. taur. 27–30; Orest. 1629–1636; Apollonius of Rhodes 3.210–213; 4.647–648; Virgil Aen. 1.411–414,439–440; 12.52–53, 416; Ovid Metam. 5.621–624; 12.32–34; 15.538–539; Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 4.16; Apollodorus 3.6.8; Silius Italicus 9.484–485. Mist was also used to conceal horses (Homer Il. 5.776; 8.50) or to rape mortals (Apollonius of Rhodes 1.218; cf. Ovid Metam. 1.601–606); transformations also concealed mortals (Homer Od. 16.454–459; Ovid Metam. 8.851–854, 872–874); cf. temporary invulnerability (Apollodorus 1.9.23).
Mortals could not even render themselves visible again until the deities wished (Virgil Aen. 1.579–581, 586–587; cf. Homer Od. 7.143; 13.352; 16.167–179).
Virgil Aen. 9.657–658.
As in b. Sanh. 98a; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 5:8; Num. Rab. 11:2; Ruth Rab, 5:6; Song Rab. 2:9, §3; Pesiq. Rab. 15:10; Tg. Mic. on 4:8. Also note the more general hidden Messiah expectation in 1 En. 62:7; 4 Ezra 13:52; Justin Dia1. 8.4; cf. Barnard, Justin, 46–47; Shotwell, Exegesis, 72; Higgins, «Belief,» 300; Ford, Revelation, 191: See also comment on 7:27.
Rabbis understood the tabernacles celebrated at this feast as recalling the clouds of glory (Rubenstein, "Sukkah").
Though Jer 43LXX prefers a more ambiguous passive κατεκρύβησαν, perhaps allowing construal as a divine passive but also allowing readers to avoid the Hellenistic connotations with regard to deities or magicians more widely circulated in the time of this translation.
Davies, Land, 295.
Also, e.g., Sipre Deut. 258.2.3; 320.2.1; p. Sanh. 8:8, §1. See more Tannaitic citations in Urbach, Sages, 1:43; see comment on John 1:14.
Also, e.g., b. Šabb. 33a; Yoma 21b; Exod. Rab. 2:2; Ecc1. Rab. 12:7, §1; Lam. Rab. proem 25; Pesiq. Rab. 5:7.
God's presence also was said to dwell on the earth because of merit, but once that merit ceased, his presence departed (Pesiq. Rab. 10:2).
The seventeenth of the Eighteen Benedictions (Oesterley, Liturgy, 61).
Cf. also the departure of rejected truth (Babrius 126; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 5:9). Hidden Wisdom (cf. Witherington, Christology, 243) might be more appropriate than a hidden Messiah in this context.