; Cannibalistic Language in the Fourth Gospel and Greco-Roman Polemics of Factionalism (John 6:52-66)
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Cannibalistic Language in the Fourth Gospel and Greco-Roman Polemics of Factionalism (John 6:52-66)

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An exclusive focus on "sacramentalism" has framed the kinds of questions previous commentators have brought to John 6, a preoccupation that has often been concerned more about the theological controversies between Protestants and Catholics than about the text itself.2 Exegetes have debated the "sacramental tradition" of the Lord's Supper in John 6, and many have repeated the standby interpolation hypothesis of Rudolf Bultmann's "ecclesiastical redactor," to "solve" the crux.3 One view holds that the cannibalistic language has antidocetic intent.4 But, as is well known, John's narrative departs from the Synoptic Gospels on, among other things, precisely this point: the Lord's Supper is never instituted in the Gospel of John. By ideology, I mean language that colludes with, supports, and makes use of the current structures of authority and domination that a particular community uses to construct and maintain its social "reality" and in which people can participate even if the collusion is not altogether conscious.8 The charge of the cannibal in "our" midst signaled for ancient audiences a recognizable Greek and Roman condemnation of domestic rebels and internal conspirators.

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