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Re: [Synoptic-L] Salt in Mark

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  • Tim Lewis
    In regards to Dave s salt suggestion I forget to mention that losing saltiness would be more applicable as a reference to Pharisees if it could be shown that
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 8, 2006
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      In regards to Dave's salt suggestion I forget to mention that losing saltiness would be more applicable as a reference to Pharisees if it could be shown that Pharisees were not good examples of a united group or an effective group (if as it appears to me that "having salt" amongst believers meant a lack of animosity).

      For example if the Pharisees were known more for debating about the intricacies of the law (what constituted anger, adultery, grounds for divorcing a woman, oath-making, retaliation and determining enemies who were exempted from receiving love) then this is exactly what we find in Mt 5, immediately after the salt saying and Jesus' comment that he is not opposed to the law as such but that he requires BASILEIA entrants to have a greater righteousness than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. If then squabbling over definitions constituted the group, they could easily be thought to have lost their saltiness. If they also were known more for what they did NOT do, then their ineffectiveness could be called a loss of saltiness.

      Indeed the next episode following the salt saying in Mk has Jesus questioned by Pharisees interested in testing him on the divorce issue! Coincidence?
      Tim Lewis.
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    • Bob Schacht
      ... This is an interesting thread on saltiness , raising some issues that I hadn t thought of before. To take the discussion in a different direction, the
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 8, 2006
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        At 07:47 PM 2/8/2006, Tim Lewis wrote:
        >In regards to Dave's salt suggestion I forget to mention that losing
        >saltiness would be more applicable as a reference to Pharisees if it could
        >be shown that Pharisees were not good examples of a united group or an
        >effective group (if as it appears to me that "having salt" amongst
        >believers meant a lack of animosity). . .

        This is an interesting thread on "saltiness", raising some issues that I
        hadn't thought of before.

        To take the discussion in a different direction, the thing about salt
        losing its saltiness is clearly about purity vs. corruption, or so it seems
        to me. Its not only that salt is acceptable in food for God at the altar,
        and that yeast corrupts, so that it is unleavened bread that is offered. It
        also raises other purity issues, that some Jews were known to have concerns
        about.

        The first thing that brings to my mind, in the context of these verses, is
        acculturation: Jews who acculturate to the Hellenistic/Roman world become
        "corrupt" and lose their Jewish "saltiness." Jews who became too Hellenized
        were no longer "Jews" in any meaningful sense.

        Weren't the Essenes also concerned with Purity issues?

        Anyway, I suggest this avenue for consideration, and will be interested to
        hear what others think about this.

        Bob



        Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
        University of Hawaii
        Honolulu, HI

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Gentile, David
        Thanks for the feedback. I m going to sign up for the X-talk list, since that seems to be the direction this is going. But I did want to add one more thing
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 9, 2006
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          Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to sign up for the X-talk list, since
          that seems to be the direction this is going.



          But I did want to add one more thing along this chain of thought. Salt
          does seem to be "what makes one acceptable to God" and also seems to be
          "living at peace with one another" which involves *forgiving* each
          other. I'd note here that Matthew 5 goes into a large section of
          forgiving others shortly after the salt sayings. Can we then say that
          forgiving each other is what makes one acceptable to God?



          Mark might also be argued to be saying that forgiving others is what
          makes one acceptable to God here.



          Mark 11:22-25 (NIV) "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the
          truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the
          sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says
          will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you
          ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be
          yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,
          forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."



          If you pull out the text of Matthew from Mark it says



          Mark 11:22-25 (NIV) "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. And when you
          stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that
          your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."



          In Mark the Pharisees then question the authority of Jesus. And if the
          setting had not changed here, I think we would assume the Pharisees are
          questioning Jesus' teachings on forgiveness.



          Could "Forgiveness for forgiveness" be the message of Mark before
          Matthian influence?



          Dave Gentile

          Riverside, IL

          ________________________________

          From: Tim Lewis [mailto:tim_lewis@...]
          Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2006 11:48 PM
          To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com; Gentile, David
          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Salt in Mark



          In regards to Dave's salt suggestion I forget to mention that losing
          saltiness would be more applicable as a reference to Pharisees if it
          could be shown that Pharisees were not good examples of a united group
          or an effective group (if as it appears to me that "having salt" amongst
          believers meant a lack of animosity).



          For example if the Pharisees were known more for debating about the
          intricacies of the law (what constituted anger, adultery, grounds for
          divorcing a woman, oath-making, retaliation and determining enemies who
          were exempted from receiving love) then this is exactly what we find in
          Mt 5, immediately after the salt saying and Jesus' comment that he is
          not opposed to the law as such but that he requires BASILEIA entrants to
          have a greater righteousness than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. If
          then squabbling over definitions constituted the group, they could
          easily be thought to have lost their saltiness. If they also were known
          more for what they did NOT do, then their ineffectiveness could be
          called a loss of saltiness.



          Indeed the next episode following the salt saying in Mk has Jesus
          questioned by Pharisees interested in testing him on the divorce issue!
          Coincidence?

          Tim Lewis.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Daniel Grolin
          Dear Bob, I was wondering how you would square this view with Marcus Borg s reading that the Jesus tradition placed Jesus against the Pharisaic emphasis on
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 9, 2006
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            Dear Bob,

            I was wondering how you would square this view with
            Marcus Borg's reading that the Jesus tradition placed
            Jesus against the Pharisaic emphasis on purity? (I
            know that this is not strictly speaking a synoptic
            issue, but I have been wondering how Mark interprets
            the saying. Matthew appears to make it an issue of
            virtue, but that is his m.o..)

            Regards,

            Daniel

            --- Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...> wrote:

            > At 07:47 PM 2/8/2006, Tim Lewis wrote:
            > >In regards to Dave's salt suggestion I forget to
            > mention that losing
            > >saltiness would be more applicable as a reference
            > to Pharisees if it could
            > >be shown that Pharisees were not good examples of a
            > united group or an
            > >effective group (if as it appears to me that
            > "having salt" amongst
            > >believers meant a lack of animosity). . .
            >
            > This is an interesting thread on "saltiness",
            > raising some issues that I
            > hadn't thought of before.
            >
            > To take the discussion in a different direction, the
            > thing about salt
            > losing its saltiness is clearly about purity vs.
            > corruption, or so it seems
            > to me. Its not only that salt is acceptable in food
            > for God at the altar,
            > and that yeast corrupts, so that it is unleavened
            > bread that is offered. It
            > also raises other purity issues, that some Jews were
            > known to have concerns
            > about.
            >
            > The first thing that brings to my mind, in the
            > context of these verses, is
            > acculturation: Jews who acculturate to the
            > Hellenistic/Roman world become
            > "corrupt" and lose their Jewish "saltiness." Jews
            > who became too Hellenized
            > were no longer "Jews" in any meaningful sense.
            >
            > Weren't the Essenes also concerned with Purity
            > issues?
            >
            > Anyway, I suggest this avenue for consideration, and
            > will be interested to
            > hear what others think about this.
            >
            > Bob
            >
            >
            >
            > Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
            > University of Hawaii
            > Honolulu, HI
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been
            > removed]
            >
            >




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          • Tim Lewis
            So far we have several related ideas concerning possible early meanings and applications for the not losing your saltiness/have salt saying. 1) Dave asked
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 9, 2006
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              So far we have several related ideas concerning possible early meanings and applications for the not "losing your saltiness/have salt" saying.

              1) Dave asked whether it was contrasted with "yeast" of the Pharisees and whether the Pharisees were in mind as those who had lost saltiness,
              2) I agreed that Paul's church advice in Rom 12 seemed to fit as a warning NOT to be like those outside who conform to "this age" thereby endangering favour with God,
              3) I then suggested it meant maintaining unity by a lack of internal animosity or quibbling,
              4) Bob suggested that it could be being corrupted by outside acculturation (to Hellenistic/Roman world),
              5) Dave suggested based on Mk 11:22-25 forgiving others made one acceptable to God which might be what the Pharisees did not like about Jesus.

              Possessing saltiness would seem to imply "having something good to offer" so the warning is against losing your value (as a group). If there is nothing special about your group, you've lost saltiness, you've been compromised. But what was that speciality exactly...no internal quibbling? forgiveness? resistance to Hellenistic culture? Perhaps the saying could already be applied all round generally? I wonder who has done research on its application?
              Tim Lewis
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Gentile, David
              To: Tim Lewis ; Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 2:59 AM
              Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Salt in Mark


              Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to sign up for the X-talk list, since
              that seems to be the direction this is going.



              But I did want to add one more thing along this chain of thought. Salt
              does seem to be "what makes one acceptable to God" and also seems to be
              "living at peace with one another" which involves *forgiving* each
              other. I'd note here that Matthew 5 goes into a large section of
              forgiving others shortly after the salt sayings. Can we then say that
              forgiving each other is what makes one acceptable to God?



              Mark might also be argued to be saying that forgiving others is what
              makes one acceptable to God here.



              Mark 11:22-25 (NIV) "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the
              truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the
              sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says
              will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you
              ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be
              yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,
              forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."



              If you pull out the text of Matthew from Mark it says



              Mark 11:22-25 (NIV) "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. And when you
              stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that
              your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."



              In Mark the Pharisees then question the authority of Jesus. And if the
              setting had not changed here, I think we would assume the Pharisees are
              questioning Jesus' teachings on forgiveness.



              Could "Forgiveness for forgiveness" be the message of Mark before
              Matthian influence?



              Dave Gentile

              Riverside, IL

              ________________________________

              From: Tim Lewis [mailto:tim_lewis@...]
              Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2006 11:48 PM
              To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com; Gentile, David
              Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Salt in Mark



              In regards to Dave's salt suggestion I forget to mention that losing
              saltiness would be more applicable as a reference to Pharisees if it
              could be shown that Pharisees were not good examples of a united group
              or an effective group (if as it appears to me that "having salt" amongst
              believers meant a lack of animosity).



              For example if the Pharisees were known more for debating about the
              intricacies of the law (what constituted anger, adultery, grounds for
              divorcing a woman, oath-making, retaliation and determining enemies who
              were exempted from receiving love) then this is exactly what we find in
              Mt 5, immediately after the salt saying and Jesus' comment that he is
              not opposed to the law as such but that he requires BASILEIA entrants to
              have a greater righteousness than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. If
              then squabbling over definitions constituted the group, they could
              easily be thought to have lost their saltiness. If they also were known
              more for what they did NOT do, then their ineffectiveness could be
              called a loss of saltiness.



              Indeed the next episode following the salt saying in Mk has Jesus
              questioned by Pharisees interested in testing him on the divorce issue!
              Coincidence?

              Tim Lewis.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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