Scholar in Training

The blog of a new postgraduate student hoping to make it against all odds in the harsh world of modern biblical scholarship. Wow, it almost sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's been a while... again!

However, I am still here!

Just got back from church, which brought up some stuff that I thought I'd dealt with, but obviously haven't. My grandad passed away earlier this year (February), and after tonight it's clear that I'm still grieving. He was a loving and caring man, a huge support throughout my undergraduate degree, and it was so hard not having him at my graduation ceremony.

Still, onto more directly related academic stuff. I had another idea for a dissertation topic on Friday as I was reading in the Sheffield library, prompted by a recent CBQ article by Kelli S. O'Brien entitled "Written That You May Believe: John 20 and Narrative Rhetoric". What is the function of the beloved disciple (BD) in John? Is he, as so many commentators have claimed, the 'ideal disciple', or is it a lot more complicated than that? To be honest, I'd never really considered the problems of reading the BD as an 'ideal' before - indeed, in my last undergraduate essay on John's Gospel, I thouroughly endorsed the idea! But there are real problems with the reading of the 'ideal' BD.

For starters, does the BD fulfil the conditions of Johannine discipleship? As far as I'm aware, disciples are to believe in and witness about Jesus. Until ch.21, which by all accounts is a later addition to the gospel, the BD doesn't do any witnessing. Would an ideal disciple leave Mary weeping by the tomb in ch.20, while just going home. (Just like Peter, it must be added - so, while Peter and the BD are frequently contrasted in the gospel, they still do the same thing in ch.20!)

I think deconstruction/poststructuralism can make a positive contribution to the study of the character of the BD, and also to the whole construction of the 'ideal' in John. Obviously, the idea needs a little more work, but hopefully I can shape it enough to suggest it to my supervisor, Hugh Pyper, after he gets back from SBL.

Goodnight, all. Looking forward to some cool posts on 'biblioblogs' from SBL!


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