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Marks riddle of the loaves and the Twelve 3rd Post

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  • Richard Richmond
    KAI EXHLQON hOI FARISAIOI KAI HRXANTO SUZHTEIN AUTWi and came the Pharisees and began to debate with him ZHTOUNTES PAR AUTOU SHMEION APO TOU OURANOU seeking a
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 8, 2005
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      KAI EXHLQON hOI FARISAIOI KAI HRXANTO SUZHTEIN AUTWi
      and came the Pharisees and began to debate with him

      ZHTOUNTES PAR AUTOU SHMEION APO TOU OURANOU
      seeking a sign from him, a sign from heaven

      PEIRAZONTES AUTON KAI ANASTENAXAS TWi PNEUMATI AUTOU
      And groaning in the spirit of him

      LEGEI TI hH GENEA hAUTH ZHTEI SHMEION
      he says "why does this generation seek a sign?


      AMHN LEGW hUMIN EI DOQHSETAI THi GENEAi TAUTHi SHMEION

      Truly I tell you if will be given to this generation
      a sign

      KAI AFEIS AUTOUS PALIN EMBAS APHLQEN EIS TO PERAN
      and leaving them again embarking he went away to the
      other side

      KAI EPELAQONTO LABEIN ARTOUS KAI EI MH hENA ARTON OUK
      EICON
      and they forgot to take loaves and except one loaf the
      had
      not

      MEQ hEAUTWN EN TWi PLOIWi KAI DIESTELLETO AUTOIS LEGWN
      with themselves in the ship and and he forbid them
      saying

      hORATE BLEPETE APO THS ZUMHS TWN FARISAIWN KAI THS
      Perceive, Look away from the leaven of the Pharicees
      and the

      ZUMHS hHRWiDOU KAI DIELOGIZONTO PROS ALLHLOUS hOTI
      from the leaven of Herod and they reasoned with one
      another

      ARTOUS OUK ECOUSIN KAI GNOUS LEGEI AUTOIS TI
      That loavs they had not, knowing (that they reason
      thus) he
      says to them

      DIALOGIZESQE hOTI ARTOUS OUK ECETE OUPW NOEITE OUDE
      why do you discuss that loves you have not not yet

      SUNIETE PEPWRWMENHN ECETE THN KARDIAN hUMWN OFQALMOUS
      do your having been hardened, has your heart? eyes

      ECONTES OU BLEPETE KAI WTA ECONTES OUK AKOUETE KAI OU
      having do you not see and ears having do you not hear
      and not


      MNHMONEUETE hOTE TOUS PENTE ARTOUS EKLASA EIS TOUS
      and do you remember when the five loaves I broke to
      the

      PENTAKISCILIOUS POSOUS KOFINOUS KLASMATWN PLHREIS
      five thousand how many of Kosher baskets of frangments
      full

      HRATE LEGOUSIN AUTWi DWDEKA hOTE TOUS hEPTA EIS TOUS
      you took they say to him twelve, when the seven into
      the

      TETRAKISCILIOUS POSWN SPURIDWN PLHRWMATA KLASMATWN
      four thousand of how many baskets of fulnesses of
      fragments

      HRATE KAI LEGOUSIN AUTWi hEPTA
      you took and they say seven.

      Several Points need to be made concerning this text
      before we move to the issue of the twelve.

      1.) The Pharisees ask for a sign and Jesus' response
      is not to deny them a sign only to say that he will
      tell them if a sign will be given. Why not just say no
      sign will be given to this generation? I suggest it
      is because, in a few lines a sign will be given to “
      this generation” but not to the disbelieving
      Pharisees.

      2.) He takes himself away from the Pharisees and is in
      the boat with disciples. We do not know if there are
      twelve disciples nor if they are "his own disciples"
      and we must not assume either at this point.

      3.) On the trip to the other side the disciples become
      aware that they have forgotten to take loaves. Note
      that it is in the plural form of noun ARTOUS. The
      point is not that they forgot to bring food; they
      forgot to bring the loaves necessary to celebrate the
      Eucharist. I believe the traveling missionaries like
      the Essenes carried loaves to represent the loaves of
      the setting forth. It was this bread that the Essenes
      called "the sacred food of the masters. In the early
      movement of the Way this bread was part of the Agape
      meal. It was celebrated daily and in the Essene
      communities. According to the Community Rule of Qumran
      the meal was presided over by a priest There was also
      a ritual of washing that took place before the eating
      of the sacred food and it is that ritual washing that
      comes into play in Mark chapter seven where the
      Pharisees criticize Jesus for allowing his disciples
      to eat the loaves with unwashed hands. Notice that
      noun is plural, loaves in Mark 7:2.and it has the
      definite article. All of this is to show that the
      forbidden bread of Mark 6:8, and the forgotten bread
      of 8:16 is the bread of the Eucharist not ordinary
      bread.

      4.) In Mark’s narrative the fact that the disciples
      would even discuss not having loaves is an indication
      to Jesus that they do not understand the point of the
      feeding parables. They are like outsiders seeing but
      not perceiving, hearing but not understanding.

      5.) The explanation that Jesus gives has as its focus,
      the meaning of the feeding stories and in particular
      the issue of the loaves. In effect he is saying "do
      the math." Interesting that such an expression fits a
      situation almost 2000 years old.

      6.) Five loaves divided by 5000 men yielded 12 kosher
      baskets of leftovers. There is much that could be said
      about the military overtones of the first feeding
      story but for now we need to focus on the bread and
      the full kosher baskets (KOFINWN) of leftovers. The
      repetition of the kosher type of basket here from 6:43
      in chapter is deliberate to be sure and an
      unmistakable reference to the nature of the teaching,
      what was leftover from the first feeding was Jewish.
      We do not have the information necessary to do the
      math yet because we only have the first half of the
      equation. Note that Mark is not so meticulous as to
      repeat the fact that the five thousand were men, a
      point not cogent to the matter at hand.

      7.) Seven loaves (the number of Gentile Nations for
      Jews) divided by 4000 people yields only 7 regular
      baskets of fulnesses. The math indicates that the
      second feeding resulted in a ratio of one loaf to one
      basket. Now the warning at the beginning of this
      narrative comes into view. The ratio of loaves to
      baskets in the first feeding where the baskets were
      kosher has 7 too many baskets of leftovers. What began
      as five loaves came to be 12 Kosher baskets. And the
      cause of the increase by implication is the leaven
      ascribed to the Pharisees and to Herod.

      8.) There are two points that Mark wants his readers
      to get from this symbolic equation. First, among the
      twelve disciples only five were called by Jesus.
      Secondly the way to recognize the leaven of the
      Pharisees and of Herod is by doing the Math i.e. by
      counting as in comparing the ratio of loaves to the
      number of baskets of leftovers.

      The first order of business then is to count the
      disciples that Jesus actually calls within the
      narrative. We have Andrew and Peter, James and John,
      and Levi. These are the disciples to which Jesus
      actually issued an invitation according to Mark's
      narrative. Now you might think this is mere
      coincidence; five called five loaves. If you follow
      the flow of the plot and the themes in Mark's
      narrative it is integral to what he is saying. So what
      about the other seven disciples? According to Mark
      they constitute the leaven introduced by the Pharisees
      and by Herod, spies if you will. So then what can we
      say about Mark 3:14 to 3:19b where Jesus called the
      twelve to him and surnamed Simon; where the text
      provides us with the list of the twelve? Nothing more
      than others have pointed out before, that this section
      interrupts the flow of the text and has the appearance
      of an interpolation. It is obvious than any redactor
      of the opposition would regard this little snip and
      essential to the primacy of the twelve in the
      movement. An interesting point is that Mark tells us
      absolutely nothing about any of the other 7 apostles
      save Judas. And according to Mark he would constitute
      leaven or shall we say a spy. What happened to the
      rest of the twelve and why are thy so unimportant that
      Mark does nothing to develop their characters?.
      Already you can see that we have by virtue of counting
      the disciples discovered a discrepancy and eliminated
      one of the text that forms the 15 occurrences of the
      word twelve. It is very important to remember that
      Mark's opposition made their changes to his text very
      early, but perhaps not early enough. The interpolation
      of 3:14 to 3:19b clearly shows that Mark anticipated
      the introduction of the twelve as true disciples
      within his own text by opposing factions and by use of
      the riddle has actually exposed the interpolation
      before it was made. He knew in advance that those who
      wanted to promote the twelve would simply included the
      traditional list and promote the notion that Jesus
      called them by choice. They could never completely
      replace what he wrote do to the nature of his
      protection scheme within the document. Attempts to
      distribute a copy of Mark with many changers would
      result in failure by virtue of immediate recognition
      by those in the know. Repeated attempts to forge Mark
      offer the best explanation for understanding how two
      other documents that include so much of his text came
      about. Add to this the fact that these contemporary
      documents include adjustments to accommodate more
      traditionally Jewish views and you have an interesting
      mix.

      A second text to consider that makes use of the term
      twelve is at Mark 4:10. Mark has a habit of
      introducing numbers at certain points in the text. for
      the number 12, that would likely be in the narrative
      of the woman with the issue of blood. There is no
      obvious connection to the disciples which leads me to
      suspect the occurrences that precede the woman with
      the issue of blood for twelve years.

      KAI hOTE EGENETO KATA MONAS HRWTWN AUTON hOI PERI
      AUTON SUN TOIS DWDEKA TAS PARABOLAS
      and when he was alone asked him the ones round him
      together with the twelve the parables

      From a literary stand point it is easy to see
      "together with the twelve" as a expansion of an
      earlier text to add the twelve into this important
      passage that forms the key to understanding all the
      parables. But in contrast chapter eight indicates that
      the disciples in question did not understand nor does
      Jesus explain the parables of the feeding stories in
      normal terms as he does the parable of the soils in
      this passage. From a text critical perspective we have
      the witness of Codex D and Codex W that indicate “the
      twelve” was not originally at this point in the text.
      Some of the copies must have escaped any correction at
      this point in the text.

      So then where is the final interpolation that would
      bring us to the exact number of twelve occurrences? We
      can look at 6:7. This is such an important point for
      the people of the Way and for the leaders of the
      movement that it would have been one of the very first
      changes introduced to the text of Mark if his text had
      failed to associate the apostolic commission with the
      twelve. It is dealing with the commissioning of
      disciples to preach the Gospel. It is important to
      remember that according to our interpretation of the
      riddle, Mark does not regard all of the Twelve to be
      authentic apostles of Jesus. Therefore, it is not
      likely that he would present the scenario that Jesus
      called them to him, to send them forth. On the other
      hand if he intends to show that they were disobedient
      he might use the designation to identify a group that
      did in fact exist in the early church. The first use
      of the word twelve was at 5:25 but unrelated to the
      apostles. My impression from the Pauline literature is
      that Paul did not regard the Twelve as apostles. (I am
      sure that someone will refer me to 1Corinthians 15:5
      and the single time where Paul is presented as
      mentioning the Twelve. I have taken that text into
      consideration but do not regard it as from Paul and
      even if it were it does not indicate that he regarded
      the twelve as apostles).
      I do see that he regards Peter, James and John as such
      in the epistle to the Galatians, where he refers to
      them as "those who were apostles before me." The fact
      that the number twelve is not mentioned by Mark in the
      return of those disciples that had been sent out and
      that the term is absent at both feeding stories leads
      me to conclude that this text is likely to have been
      altered. Even in disobedience Mark is not promoting
      the idea that it was the Twelve who here disobedient.

      So there you have my take on the incidents where
      twelve appears in the text of Mark.
      Next I will demonstrate the consistency shown by Mark
      in the times where key words conform to the numbers 5,
      7 and 12.

      Peace,

      Rick

      Rick Richmond rickr2889@...



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    • Chuck Jones
      Richard, a few comments inserted below. But overall, this seems like an anachronistic and allegorical reading of this story and the two feeding stories that
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 8, 2005
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        Richard, a few comments inserted below.  But overall, this seems like an anachronistic and allegorical reading of this story and the two feeding stories that precede it.
         
        Richard:

        3.) On the trip to the other side the disciples become
        aware that they have forgotten to take loaves. Note
        that it is in the plural form of noun ARTOUS. The
        point is not that they forgot to bring food; they
        forgot to bring the loaves necessary to celebrate the
        Eucharist.

        Chuck:

        This is an excellent example of an anachronistic reading.  The Eucharist evolved over multiple decades after Jesus died, and there is no evidence in Mark of an awareness of a tradition of re-enacting the Last Supper.  Are you suggesting Mark would have his readers believe the disciples celebrated the Lord's Supper before there was a Last Supper?

        Richard:


        4.) In Mark’s narrative the fact that the disciples
        would even discuss not having loaves is an indication
        to Jesus that they do not understand the point of the
        feeding parables.

        Chuck:

        The feedings were not parables.  They were miracle stories and were not recorded in the synoptics to teach symbollic or allegorical lessons (Jn interprets the feeding of the 5,000 allegorically in his gospel, making it even more striking that the synoptics do NOT do this).

        Richard:

        8.) There are two points that Mark wants his readers
        to get from this symbolic equation. First, among the
        twelve disciples only five were called by Jesus.
        Secondly the way to recognize the leaven of the
        Pharisees and of Herod is by doing the Math i.e. by
        counting as in comparing the ratio of loaves to the
        number of baskets of leftovers. 

        Chuck:

        If this was what Mark wanted his readers to understand, he failed miserably, didn't he?

        Chuck Jones

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      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic [sic] In Response To: Rick and Chuck On: Loaves in Boat From: Bruce I thought there might have been a methodological issue in here: RICK: On the
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 8, 2005
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          To: Synoptic [sic]
          In Response To: Rick and Chuck
          On: Loaves in Boat
          From: Bruce

          I thought there might have been a methodological issue in here:

          RICK: On the trip to the other side the disciples become aware that they
          have forgotten to take loaves. Note that it is in the plural form of noun
          ARTOUS. The point is not that they forgot to bring food; they forgot to
          bring the loaves necessary to celebrate the Eucharist.

          CHUCK: This is an excellent example of an anachronistic reading. The
          Eucharist evolved over multiple decades after Jesus died, and there is no
          evidence in Mark of an awareness of a tradition of re-enacting the Last
          Supper. Are you suggesting Mark would have his readers believe the
          disciples celebrated the Lord's Supper before there was a Last Supper?

          BRUCE: Anachronistic indeed, but an anachronistic reading is ruled out only
          if we assume the Gospels are transcripts from life, and can be tested
          against what could have happened in real time before 33 AD. If the text in
          question (here, GMk) is instead late, retrospective, and reinterpretive, it
          is quite thinkable that it might have worked in such late symbolism or
          references.

          Or that such might have been later added to it, by hands unknown. It is
          typical of all evolving traditions (including the one the US Supreme Court
          presides over) that they are inclined to refer all clarifications and
          developments back to the founder, the first stage, the original charter,
          whatever. If someone about, oh, say 70 BC, more than a generation after the
          facts, was feeling uncomfortable about the lack of a scriptural warrant for
          a given observance (here, the Eucharist), then one solution is to provide a
          scriptural warrant, and the best possible scriptural warrant is a text
          already accepted as authoritative. Hence the popularity of interpolation in
          texts perceived as early in the tradition. This is a statement in general.
          Whether it applies to GMk requires to be established, but it would be no
          surprise to general theory if it did.

          We can turn that around. If there are three or thirty texts recognized in a
          young tradition, and one of those texts is notably more interpolated than
          the others, then the reason might be that the early tradition regarded that
          one text as earliest, and thus more authoritative. Early tradition might be
          wrong, but its opinion would still be useful to know. On that test, if we
          may call it such, which of the Synoptics is the most interpolated, and this
          perhaps the one regarded as earliest, in early times?

          I haven't got an official list of passages in the Gospels which one or
          another commentator has suggested may be interpolated. Has anyone? If so, I
          will appreciate a reference. But my personal list of possibles would give
          the prize here to GMk, several times over.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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