Stephen Notley wrote:
> Again, not exactly. What you and Goodacre have overlooked is probably
> the most significant element in this story. The (reason and) timing of
> the withdrawal and miraculous feeding occurs immediatley after John's
> death at the hands of Antipas (tetrarch of Galilee). BTW this is why
> the immediate travel to Bethsaida in Luke is more reasonable than Mark's
> U-turn and return to Galilee (Antipas' tetrarchy).
Thank your for your continuing contributions and your interesting
obesrvations about the followers of John the Baptist. It seems that here is
another point where we read the Gospel texts a little differently, for I
would take both Mark 6.14-29 and Luke 9.7-9 to be referring to an execution
of John the Baptist that had taken some time before (with Mark's more
detailed account being a flashback) rather than to events that immediately
preceded, and hence precipitated, Jesus' withdrawal.
> (1) an understanding of geographical setting related to
> John's ministry [e.g. A. Of the synoptic gospels only in Matthew is the
> "wilderness" identified in "Judah."
True enough, though Mark 1.5, which mentions the people of Jerusalem and
Judea coming to John for baptism, could be taken as implying a Judaean
location. I grant you, though, that John's arrest by Antipas tends to
support your argument.
> Moreover, Goodacre has made two assumptions that in fact create a
> problem that is not necessitated by the text. First, as I have
> mentioned above that the multitudes are residents of Bethsaida (and thus
> can easily go home to get food). As explained above, I am not certain
> this is true. Second, that Bethsaida was easily accessible. The area
> that Nun identified is a considerable expanse. It would not have been
> easily traversed at the end of the day.
I don't recall Goodacre making either assumption; at least, I don't think
either assumption is essential to his case. Goodacre's point is simply that
at Luke 9.10 Jesus and the disciples withdraw to Bethsaida, at Luke 9.11 the
crowds follow him (since they apparently follow him to Bethsaida presumably
there are *not* residents of Bethsaida, and I would therefore assume
precisely the opposite of the view you attribute to Mark Goodacre). At Luke
9.12 the disciples tell Jesus that they are in a lonely place and need to
send the crowd into the surrounding villages and farms for food and lodging.
To me (and I think to Goodacre) this indicates that Bethsaida was *not*
easily accessible, which is once again the precise opposite of the
assumption you attribute to Goodacre here. That the area identified by Nun
is a considerable expanse in fact helps to reinforce this point. Luke 9.11
indeed suggests that the crowds were at a distance from Bethsaida that could
not be easily traversed at the end of the day. Agreed - completely! But then
Goodacre's point is that Jesus and the disciples arrive in Bethsaida at Luke
9.10, the crowds follow him there at 9.11, and yet in 9.12 they are suddenly
at some distance from Bethsaida. This is precisely the continuity error to
which Goodacre is calling attention here. Far from undermining his case your
geographical obesrvations only serve to reinforce it.
Harris Manchester College
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