Saturday, November 28, 2020

Vinegar again, this time with Suzanne Webster

Here's Suzanne Webster's summary in her book Ingesting Jesus of my view on the vinegar in John's Gospel:

The [Fourth Evangelist's] choice of vinegar is strange here and may be dependent on Ps 69:21, a Psalm that is culled for images and citations throughout the Gospel (see Ps 69:9 and John 2: 17; Ps 69:4 and John 15:25). Hodges argues that the vinegar, like a poison, causes Jesus' death, because Jesus as a man "from above" has ingested substances from the earth.[Footnote 6.] This argument is unconvincing, however, because the Gospel claims crucifixion as the cause of death, the marks of which are used as proof of his death to the disciples and to Thomas after his resurrection (20:20, 25, 27).[Footnote 7] 

[Footnote 6. Hodges, "Food," 612-67. The Gospel implies a negative comparison between the delicious wine (oivos) provided in 2: I-II and this vinegar (oxos).]

[Footnote 7. The Gospel of Peter describes the mixture of gall and vinegar as if it were a poison to hasten death (16).]

As I have noted elsewhere, the acceptance of the vinegar is the final event in a series of events that constitute the crucifixion. Vinegar could scarcely leave behind a mark of its action, so that objection by Webster lacks force. Her own footnote 7 even supplies evidence that at least one other early text (mid-second-century AD) included vinegar as part of the crucifixion process. Moreover, my argument concerning vinegar is more complex than here depicted. Elsewhere, I note that the Hebrew radicals for vinegar are identical with the Hebrew radicals for leavening. As the symbolic Passover lamb, Jesus must be kept  pure from contact with leavening (including vinegar). Also, one ancient rabbinical text states that as one settles down to eat, one must not say a blessing over vinegar because one does not say a blessing over a cursed substance. Such examples and more add to my argument.


At 8:44 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Shall I track this Webster character down and "tutor" her with a baseball bat? Lemme know.

At 9:04 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

No, she's one of the few who have even noticed my thesis. That puts her on the side of the angels.

Jeffery Hodges

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