Friday, November 27, 2020

Another scholar's summary of my doctoral thesis

The Johannine scholar Suzanne Webster (Ingesting Jesus: Eating and Drinking in the Gospel of John, 2001) drew upon my thesis a few years before Esther Kobel did, but her reading is much the same:

The most comprehensive study of ingesting language and its symbolic interpretation has been conducted by Horace Jeffery Hodges in a dissertation entitled, "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts."[Footnote 111] Hodges compares the synecdochical use of food (i.e., food as being part of and as signifying both the heavenly and earthly realms) in early Jewish and Christian texts, with a focus on the Gospel of John and Gnostic texts. He concludes that the Gnostic understanding of the heaven/earth dualism is quite distinct from that of the Gospel of John. The Gnostic texts represent the world as essentially evil; the dualism is ontological. The Gospel, however, reflects the Jewish ethical notion of a good-creation-gone-bad. By identifying Judaism as the principal source of background for the Gospel of John, Hodges argues that Jesus exists by doing the will of the Father (his "food," see 4:34) until he consumes the vinegar on the cross. The vinegar represents the curse that the world took on with the fall from paradise. In this way, Jesus takes on the curse of the world in order to redeem it.[Footnote 112] The real strength of his study is his thorough investigation into the development of ingesting images throughout various religious traditions. 

[Footnote 111. Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1995. UMI9621181.]
[Footnote 112. Hodges, "Food," xii-xiii.]
(Pages 34-35.)

That's a pretty fair summary.


At 1:55 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

"...ingesting images throughout various religious traditions."

So now, I'm curious to know what other religious traditions had their ingestion-related aspects examined. Buddhism? Taoism? Hinduism? Islam? Jainism? Guess I'll need to read your paper if you have it on file. Or, hey, if it's up for purchase somewhere, I'll gladly buy a copy.

I can say a little—very little—about food in Korean Buddhism and American Sikhism, largely thanks to personal experiences there, but I'd be hard pressed to delve into the deeper significance of food in those traditions.

And since synecdoche is central to your exploration of food in the Fourth Gospel, you're the perfect person to ask: what the hell is the difference between metonymy and synecdoche? I explored this question years ago on my blog and came to no firm conclusions. Perhaps I simply don't understand what ought to be a clear distinction.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I never did quite understand metonymy's difference from metaphor. Synecdoche is simply the part for the whole.

As for me looking at various religions, I really looked just at middle eastern religions.

Jeffery Hodges

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