Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Year: John 7-8 for Nov 10

The theme of response to opposition is heavy in John 7-8, along with what goes on despite it.

In a passage from yesterday (5:18) the opposition to Jesus was described in the same extreme as in our chapters, and indeed the discussion is similar (5:30-47) in some places (cf. 8:14).

When, in matters of religion, a discussion focuses on what authority there is for an assertion (8:13), the discussion is usually one of opposing views. It's similar to any two opponents discussing things on the merit of each view, and getting nowhere, and one of the participants saying "who thinks like you think?" Indeed, this is a form of "argumentum ad populum," trying to say that a view has this X amount of outside support. Indeed, the discussions of Jesus in the temple show forth many examples of the type of fallacies that arguments are subject to.

For example, the famous fallacy of judging an opinion by the origin of the one who holds it: 7:52. Another one is judging an opinion by the status of the one(s) speaking, either socially or educationally (7:15; 7:49).

What was the lack of faith among his brothers or family, in 7:1-9? It says that "not even His [Christ's] brothers were believing in Him" (7:5), but they hadn't said anything that seemed negative, on the face of it (7:3-4). It's all in the "if," of verse 4, I think. Maybe He was doing these things, maybe He wasn't? Did they doubt that He did them? The brothers' words were a possible contrast to Peter's in 6:68-69. The brothers wanted more actions in central places like Judea (7:3), but the disciples inferred from the actions to the character of the person, and Peter summed it up "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." The brothers were not believing in Him, but wanted Him to do more, "if" He really was doing those things. So the "if" can conceal a syllogism something like "sure, you've done these things in a small region of the world, but we suspend judgment on their significance ... perhaps this small corner of the world is unable to figure out something fishy about these things, so go do them where they big boys can see." A possibility for unbelieving brothers.

No comments:


Blog Archive