Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Apocryphote of the Day: 2-11-09

And he kissed my mouth. He took hold of me, saying, "My beloved! Look, I shall reveal to you that which neither the heavens nor their archons have known. Look, I shall reveal to you that which he did not know, he who boasted, 'There is no other God except me. Am I not alive? Because I am a father, do I not have power over everything?' Look, I shall reveal to you everything, my beloved. Understand and know them, that you may come forth just as I am. Look, I shall reveal to you the Hidden One. But now, stretch out your hand. Take hold of me."

2 Apocalypse of James 56.15-57.10 (Jesus purportedly speaking to James his "milk" brother)


Frank McCoy said...

In this passage, we possibly have reflected a belief that James had been the Beloved Disciple. Notice that, shortly before, Jesus tells James, "And those who wish to enter, and who seek to walk in the way that is before the door, open the door through you. And they follow you; they enter [and you] escort them inside, and give a reward to each one who is ready for it. For you are not the redeemer nor a helper of strangers. You are an illuminator and a redeemer of those who are mine, and now of those who are yours." Here, James appears to be identified as being the shepherd of the sheep of John 10:2-5 ("But the one entering through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens to this one and the sheep hear his voice and his own sheep he calls by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all of his own, he goes before them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But a stranger they will never follow, but will flee from him because they do not know the voice of strangers."). It is difficult to understand why the author of this text would have identified James as being the shepherd of the sheep of John 10:2-5 unless, (s)he believed, James had been the Beloved Disciple.
In any event, I am convinced that James had been the Beloved Disciple. In the Jesus Dynasty (pp. 206-7), James D. Tabor states, "Later, just before Jesus' death, the gospel of John tells us that Jesus put the care of his mother in the hands of this 'disciple whom Jesus loved' (John 10:26-27). How could this possibly be anyone other than James his brother, who was now to take charge of the family as head of the household?"
I suggest that an attempt is made in John 21, which I regard as a later appendix, to make it appear that James had not been the the BD and had not been appointed by Jesus to be the shepherd of the sheep after his departure. In particular, this appendix leads one to think that the BD had been John the Son of Zebedee and that Peter had been personally appointed by Jesus to be the shepherd of the sheep after his departure.
This suggestion has not been taken seriously because, in The Beloved Disciple (p. 399), John H. Charlesworth states, "I am more persuaded that the mention of 'those of Zebedee' (in Jn 21:2) is to harmonize the GosJ with the Synoptics. It thus is not an attempt to shift the identity of the Beloved Disciple from some disciple to John the son of Zebedee."
Who is going to disagree with this statement by, arguably, the most authoritative scholar on the BD?
I also think that Jn 6:1-7:14 is another late addition to Jn designed to falsely lead the reader to think that the BD can't be James.
That Jn 6:1-7:14 is an intrusion into the narrative has long been known. Rudolph Bultmann(The Gospel of John, p. 10), "For example, Jn. 6.1 reports a journey of Jesus to the other bank of Lake Gennesaret, although chapter 5 is set in Jerusalem: 7.15-24 harks back directly to the sabbath healing that lies far off in chapter 5." He thinks this is due to an interchange of leaves or else a number of loose leaves being brought together. However, there really is no other place for 6:1-7:14 in Jn, so I think it a later addition--with the intent being to try to establish the primacy of Peter (6:66-68) and to make it appear that the BD can't be James because the brothers of Jesus allegedly didn't believe in him and belonged to the world (7:5-7).

John Shuck said...

Always enjoy these! What is "milk" brother? Is that a reference to mother's milk--same mother--or Harvey Milk? said...

James was the son of Judas.

Greg said...

"Milk brother": they suckled at the same breast but they did not have the same mother.

John Shuck said...

Thanks, Greg. I will have to remember that one.