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Salt and forgiveness for forgiveness in Mark

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  • Gentile, David
    Hello all, This is slightly off the main focus of the topic of the synoptic relationship, but still it might be important for understanding them. The three
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
      Hello all,



      This is slightly off the main focus of the topic of the synoptic
      relationship, but
      still it might be important for understanding them. The three ideas are
      interrelated, and don't separate well.

      I checked with the moderators to make sure this fell within the topic
      limits of the list, and since the list expressed at least some interest
      I'd like to continue the thread here.



      I'm arguing three main points.



      1) I think one of the salt saying found in Mark/Matthew/Luke could have
      been directed against the Pharisees by the historical Jesus.

      2) I think that "salt" refers both to "that which makes one acceptable
      to God" and "having forgiveness for others within oneself".

      3) I think that an important message of the original gospel of Mark was
      "forgiveness for forgiveness" and that is obscured by later gospels.



      Our earliest gospel, Mark, has the following 3 sayings about salt -



      Mark 9:47-50 It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one
      eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into [Gehenna], where "'their
      worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be
      salted with fire. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can
      you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with
      each other."



      In Leviticus (2:13), and in the general knowledge of the region, salt is
      something that is added to sacrifices to purify them, to make them
      acceptable to God.



      Paul says Roman's 12 (New Jerusalem). "I urge you, then, brothers,
      remembering the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living
      sacrifice, dedicated and acceptable to God; that is the kind of worship
      for you, as sensible people. Do not model your behavior on the
      contemporary world, but let the renewing of your mind transform you, so
      that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God - what is
      good and acceptable and mature." And Paul also has Colossians 4:6 Let
      your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that
      you may know how to answer everyone.



      From this I think we can say that "salt" in a person makes a person
      acceptable to God.



      The second of Mark's salt saying occurs in different contexts in Mark,
      Matthew, and Luke, and could have been a unit of oral tradition. My
      hypothesis here would be that the historical Jesus directed this salt
      saying against the Pharisees. When Jesus says "Salt is good, but if it
      loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?" I think this
      refers to the Pharisees, and they are missing something good inside them
      that makes one acceptable to God



      We could compare this to yeast which was something that should not be in
      sacrifices. Jesus warns of the yeast, that is "what makes one
      unacceptable to God", of the Pharisees. (Mark 8:14-15) The disciples
      had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in
      the boat. "Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of
      the Pharisees and that of Herod." We can also look at Mark 7 where Jesus
      is criticizing the Pharisees for following their traditions rather than
      following the will of God. Mark 7:14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him
      and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside
      a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes
      out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' And then we can look at Paul
      Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned
      with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Mark apparently
      tells us that what comes out of the Pharisees is unclean. We could then
      say that the Pharisees have yeast in them rather that the salt that
      makes what comes out of one acceptable to God.



      And as yet another indicator that 'loss of salt' might refer to the
      Pharisees, we can look at the "salt" sayings in Matthew 5. If salt makes
      something acceptable to God then when Matthew says. "You are the salt of
      the earth", we can read "You are what makes the earth acceptable to
      God". This is followed by the "light of the world" saying, which is
      clearly an exhortation to spread the word. Together they might be read,
      "You've got the good stuff in you, now go spread it around". Shortly
      following this, Jesus comments that he requires followers to have a
      righteousness greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees. Apparently
      they don't have the good stuff (Salt).



      So what is salt then?



      The "salt" sayings in Mark end with "Have salt in yourselves, and be at
      peace with each other." This could be read - "Have 'that which makes one
      acceptable to God' in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. And
      Paul has Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace,
      seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.



      Mark and Paul both seem to say that salt is needed for living at peace,
      and without discord. How does a group live at peace? They forgive each
      other! So my hypothesis is that "having salt" is "forgiving each other"
      which is what makes one "acceptable to God". And we can note that if
      "not having salt" is "not forgiving others" then this could easily apply
      to the Pharisees who were long on judgment and harsh justice and short
      on forgiveness.



      We can also look at Matthew 5 where the salt sayings are soon followed
      by an extensive section on forgiveness, including things like: "Turn the
      other cheek", "Love your enemy", "Set no bounds on your love, just as
      your heavenly Father sets no bounds on his" and the Lord's prayer,
      "forgive as we have forgiven".



      Even if we can not push as far back as the historical Jesus, we may be
      able to push back to an earlier version of Mark than the one we
      currently see. For this we can take a new look at Mark 11. Clearly the
      text underwent some evolution here. In Mark, the entry into Jerusalem
      and the cleansing of the temple happen on two different days. In Matthew
      these things happen on the same day. Also the withered fig tree in Mark
      separates the temple cleansing and the discussion of the authority of
      Jesus. But these incidents are directly connected in John. Finally, in
      Mark 2:1-12 when Jesus forgives sins, his authority is immediately
      questioned by the Pharisees. So, it seems quite possible that the fig
      tree is a late addition to Mark. Also the "uprooted and planted in the
      sea" saying is in a different context in Luke 17:6. So, here we could
      speculate that this saying comes from "Q" and was not a part of original
      Mark.



      If we try to read Mark 11 but subtract Matthew's text as being suspect,
      we can then see a text that reads something like this - Mark 11:10 -
      Hosanna (please save) in the highest heavens! He entered Jerusalem and
      went into the Temple and began driving out the men selling and buying
      there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the seats of the
      dove sellers. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the
      Temple. And he taught them and said "Does not scripture say: My house
      will be called a house of prayer for all people? But you have turned it
      into a bandits' den...[...]...Have faith in God and when you stand in
      prayer forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in
      heaven may forgive your failings too"....and they said to him "What
      authority have you...".



      Just as "salt" is the forgiveness of others that makes one acceptable to
      God, here Mark has said "Trust God. He answers prayers for forgiveness,
      but asks that we forgive others." Forgiveness of others makes one
      acceptable to God.



      We can also look at the parable of the measure Mark 4:24-25 (New
      Jerusalem). He also said to them "Take notice of what you are hearing.
      The standard you use will be used for you - and you will receive more
      besides; anyone who has, will be given more; anyone who has not, will be
      deprived even of what he has." The first part of that is clearly "judge
      not or you will be judged even more harshly", which is how the tradition
      evolves in Matthew 7. But what about giving to those that have, and
      taking away from those that do not? Again, I think this is
      "forgiveness". Those that have forgiveness (for others) will be given
      forgiveness (by God), those that don't have forgiveness for others will
      have their forgiveness by God taken away from them.



      Luke 6:36-38 makes this connection between the parable of the measure
      and forgiveness. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not
      condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be
      forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed
      down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
      For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." However, Luke
      has omitted any reference to "more being given to those that already
      have". He places this part of the measure parable it in a completely
      different context in Luke 19:26. "Forgiveness for forgiveness" has been
      obscured by Luke



      There is yet another place where the forgiveness message in Mark may be
      partially obscured by Matthew. Mark 9:37 says that one should welcome
      little children, and in doing so one welcomes God. The parallel in Luke
      9:48 agrees with Mark. But Matthew's version (18:1-5) interprets this to
      say that one should become child-like. Mark 10:13-16 also talks about
      little children. This has a parallel in Luke 18:15-17 and in Matthew
      19:13-15. But Matthew omits Mark's line, "In truth I tell you, anyone
      who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never
      enter it." It's easy to assume that, just as in Matthew, this line in
      Mark means that we should become child-like. But Mark has never said
      anything like that, and Matthew's omission should cause us to take a
      closer look.



      What if we take our clue from Mark 9:37 instead of from Matthew and read
      this line, "In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom
      of God [as they would welcome] a little child will never enter it"? Now
      if we say that we need to welcome little children with forgiveness, we
      can then say that we should welcome the kingdom of God with forgiveness.
      And we then have "To enter the kingdom of God, you must welcome it with
      forgiveness (of others)".



      So again the main ideas here are

      1) Mark has a message of forgiveness for forgiveness partly
      obscured.

      2) "Salt" is both "having forgiveness of others in oneself", and
      "what makes one acceptable to God"

      3) The historical Jesus may have used salt sayings against the
      Pharisees.



      Thank you,

      Dave Gentile

      Riverside, IL





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... I hope you ll forgive me for saying that your thesis seesm to me to be entirely forced. Not only have you gone looking for evidence that supports a
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
        "Gentile, David" wrote:

        > Hello all,
        >
        >
        >
        > This is slightly off the main focus of the topic of the synoptic
        > relationship, but
        > still it might be important for understanding them. The three ideas
        > are
        > interrelated, and don't separate well.
        >
        > I checked with the moderators to make sure this fell within the topic
        > limits of the list, and since the list expressed at least some
        > interest
        > I'd like to continue the thread here.
        >
        >
        >
        > I'm arguing three main points.
        >
        >
        >
        > 1) I think one of the salt saying found in Mark/Matthew/Luke could
        > have
        > been directed against the Pharisees by the historical Jesus.
        >
        > 2) I think that "salt" refers both to "that which makes one acceptable
        >
        > to God" and "having forgiveness for others within oneself".
        >
        > 3) I think that an important message of the original gospel of Mark
        > was
        > "forgiveness for forgiveness" and that is obscured by later gospels.
        >
        >

        > Our earliest gospel, Mark, has the following 3 sayings about salt -
        >
        >
        >
        > Mark 9:47-50 It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one
        >
        > eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into [Gehenna], where "'their
        > worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be
        > salted with fire. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how
        > can
        > you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with
        >
        > each other."
        >
        >
        >
        > In Leviticus (2:13), and in the general knowledge of the region, salt
        > is
        > something that is added to sacrifices to purify them, to make them
        > acceptable to God.
        >
        >
        >
        > Paul says Roman's 12 (New Jerusalem). "I urge you, then, brothers,
        > remembering the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living
        > sacrifice, dedicated and acceptable to God; that is the kind of
        > worship
        > for you, as sensible people. Do not model your behavior on the
        > contemporary world, but let the renewing of your mind transform you,
        > so
        > that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God - what is
        > good and acceptable and mature." And Paul also has Colossians 4:6 Let
        > your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that
        >
        > you may know how to answer everyone.
        >
        >
        >
        > >From this I think we can say that "salt" in a person makes a person
        > acceptable to God.
        >
        >

        I hope you'll forgive me for saying that your thesis seesm to me to be
        entirely forced. Not only have you gone looking for evidence that
        supports a conclusion that you have, so far as I can tell, deemed in
        advance as true, but you've constructed the syllogism that you use to
        prove your conclusion -- i.e., salt is an element added to sacrifices,
        sacrifice is tantamount to right living, the essential element of
        "right living" is forgiveness", therefore "salt" = forgiveness -- from
        texts that have nothing to do with one another. More importantly, and
        leaving aside whether there's anything in Roman's 12 which substantiates
        the third premise above, you assume in your first premise what needs to
        be proven, namely, that the only thing that salt connoted in first
        century Judaism was something that makes sacrifices acceptable to god.

        May I suggest that before you pursue this thesis any further, you check
        out not only some standard lexicons to see whether this is the only
        meaning hALAS" had, but also some good commentaries on Mark to see what
        has been said about the meaning and possibly proverbial nature of Mark's
        salt sayings?.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey Gibson
        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Chicago, Illinois
        e-mail jgibson000@...



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Patricia Walters
        I am just a lurker on the list, but this post brought to mind a question that probably you have already asked and found the answer to -- but I ll mention it:
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
          I am just a lurker on the list, but this post brought to mind a question
          that probably you have already asked and found the answer to -- but I'll
          mention it: What did salt mean in the first century? What extra-biblical
          sources might provide contextualization for the meaning of salt in the
          various ancient gegraphies? Who used salt and for what? Wouldn't knowing
          this also help to interpret the meanig of the salt sayings? I would bet
          there exists ample scholarship on this subject -- commentaries, ATLA, and
          even JSTOR.

          Thank you for letting me ask the question -- one that you have probably
          already researched.... If so, please disregard this post!

          Sincerely yours,

          Patricia Walters
          Beloit College (Beloit, Wisconsin)

          On 2/13/06, Gentile, David <gentile_dave@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello all,
          >
          >
          >
          > This is slightly off the main focus of the topic of the synoptic
          > relationship, but
          > still it might be important for understanding them. The three ideas are
          > interrelated, and don't separate well.
          >
          > I checked with the moderators to make sure this fell within the topic
          > limits of the list, and since the list expressed at least some interest
          > I'd like to continue the thread here.
          >
          >
          >
          > I'm arguing three main points.
          >
          >
          >
          > 1) I think one of the salt saying found in Mark/Matthew/Luke could have
          > been directed against the Pharisees by the historical Jesus.
          >
          > 2) I think that "salt" refers both to "that which makes one acceptable
          > to God" and "having forgiveness for others within oneself".
          >
          > 3) I think that an important message of the original gospel of Mark was
          > "forgiveness for forgiveness" and that is obscured by later gospels.
          >
          >
          >
          > Our earliest gospel, Mark, has the following 3 sayings about salt -
          >
          >
          >
          > Mark 9:47-50 It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one
          > eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into [Gehenna], where "'their
          > worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be
          > salted with fire. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can
          > you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with
          > each other."
          >
          >
          >
          > In Leviticus (2:13), and in the general knowledge of the region, salt is
          > something that is added to sacrifices to purify them, to make them
          > acceptable to God.
          >
          >
          >
          > Paul says Roman's 12 (New Jerusalem). "I urge you, then, brothers,
          > remembering the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living
          > sacrifice, dedicated and acceptable to God; that is the kind of worship
          > for you, as sensible people. Do not model your behavior on the
          > contemporary world, but let the renewing of your mind transform you, so
          > that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God - what is
          > good and acceptable and mature." And Paul also has Colossians 4:6 Let
          > your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that
          > you may know how to answer everyone.
          >
          >
          >
          > From this I think we can say that "salt" in a person makes a person
          > acceptable to God.
          >
          >
          >
          > The second of Mark's salt saying occurs in different contexts in Mark,
          > Matthew, and Luke, and could have been a unit of oral tradition. My
          > hypothesis here would be that the historical Jesus directed this salt
          > saying against the Pharisees. When Jesus says "Salt is good, but if it
          > loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?" I think this
          > refers to the Pharisees, and they are missing something good inside them
          > that makes one acceptable to God
          >
          >
          >
          > We could compare this to yeast which was something that should not be in
          > sacrifices. Jesus warns of the yeast, that is "what makes one
          > unacceptable to God", of the Pharisees. (Mark 8:14-15) The disciples
          > had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in
          > the boat. "Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of
          > the Pharisees and that of Herod." We can also look at Mark 7 where Jesus
          > is criticizing the Pharisees for following their traditions rather than
          > following the will of God. Mark 7:14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him
          > and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside
          > a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes
          > out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' And then we can look at Paul
          > Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned
          > with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Mark apparently
          > tells us that what comes out of the Pharisees is unclean. We could then
          > say that the Pharisees have yeast in them rather that the salt that
          > makes what comes out of one acceptable to God.
          >
          >
          >
          > And as yet another indicator that 'loss of salt' might refer to the
          > Pharisees, we can look at the "salt" sayings in Matthew 5. If salt makes
          > something acceptable to God then when Matthew says. "You are the salt of
          > the earth", we can read "You are what makes the earth acceptable to
          > God". This is followed by the "light of the world" saying, which is
          > clearly an exhortation to spread the word. Together they might be read,
          > "You've got the good stuff in you, now go spread it around". Shortly
          > following this, Jesus comments that he requires followers to have a
          > righteousness greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees. Apparently
          > they don't have the good stuff (Salt).
          >
          >
          >
          > So what is salt then?
          >
          >
          >
          > The "salt" sayings in Mark end with "Have salt in yourselves, and be at
          > peace with each other." This could be read - "Have 'that which makes one
          > acceptable to God' in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. And
          > Paul has Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace,
          > seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
          >
          >
          >
          > Mark and Paul both seem to say that salt is needed for living at peace,
          > and without discord. How does a group live at peace? They forgive each
          > other! So my hypothesis is that "having salt" is "forgiving each other"
          > which is what makes one "acceptable to God". And we can note that if
          > "not having salt" is "not forgiving others" then this could easily apply
          > to the Pharisees who were long on judgment and harsh justice and short
          > on forgiveness.
          >
          >
          >
          > We can also look at Matthew 5 where the salt sayings are soon followed
          > by an extensive section on forgiveness, including things like: "Turn the
          > other cheek", "Love your enemy", "Set no bounds on your love, just as
          > your heavenly Father sets no bounds on his" and the Lord's prayer,
          > "forgive as we have forgiven".
          >
          >
          >
          > Even if we can not push as far back as the historical Jesus, we may be
          > able to push back to an earlier version of Mark than the one we
          > currently see. For this we can take a new look at Mark 11. Clearly the
          > text underwent some evolution here. In Mark, the entry into Jerusalem
          > and the cleansing of the temple happen on two different days. In Matthew
          > these things happen on the same day. Also the withered fig tree in Mark
          > separates the temple cleansing and the discussion of the authority of
          > Jesus. But these incidents are directly connected in John. Finally, in
          > Mark 2:1-12 when Jesus forgives sins, his authority is immediately
          > questioned by the Pharisees. So, it seems quite possible that the fig
          > tree is a late addition to Mark. Also the "uprooted and planted in the
          > sea" saying is in a different context in Luke 17:6. So, here we could
          > speculate that this saying comes from "Q" and was not a part of original
          > Mark.
          >
          >
          >
          > If we try to read Mark 11 but subtract Matthew's text as being suspect,
          > we can then see a text that reads something like this - Mark 11:10 -
          > Hosanna (please save) in the highest heavens! He entered Jerusalem and
          > went into the Temple and began driving out the men selling and buying
          > there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the seats of the
          > dove sellers. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the
          > Temple. And he taught them and said "Does not scripture say: My house
          > will be called a house of prayer for all people? But you have turned it
          > into a bandits' den...[...]...Have faith in God and when you stand in
          > prayer forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in
          > heaven may forgive your failings too"....and they said to him "What
          > authority have you...".
          >
          >
          >
          > Just as "salt" is the forgiveness of others that makes one acceptable to
          > God, here Mark has said "Trust God. He answers prayers for forgiveness,
          > but asks that we forgive others." Forgiveness of others makes one
          > acceptable to God.
          >
          >
          >
          > We can also look at the parable of the measure Mark 4:24-25 (New
          > Jerusalem). He also said to them "Take notice of what you are hearing.
          > The standard you use will be used for you - and you will receive more
          > besides; anyone who has, will be given more; anyone who has not, will be
          > deprived even of what he has." The first part of that is clearly "judge
          > not or you will be judged even more harshly", which is how the tradition
          > evolves in Matthew 7. But what about giving to those that have, and
          > taking away from those that do not? Again, I think this is
          > "forgiveness". Those that have forgiveness (for others) will be given
          > forgiveness (by God), those that don't have forgiveness for others will
          > have their forgiveness by God taken away from them.
          >
          >
          >
          > Luke 6:36-38 makes this connection between the parable of the measure
          > and forgiveness. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not
          > condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be
          > forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed
          > down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
          > For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." However, Luke
          > has omitted any reference to "more being given to those that already
          > have". He places this part of the measure parable it in a completely
          > different context in Luke 19:26. "Forgiveness for forgiveness" has been
          > obscured by Luke
          >
          >
          >
          > There is yet another place where the forgiveness message in Mark may be
          > partially obscured by Matthew. Mark 9:37 says that one should welcome
          > little children, and in doing so one welcomes God. The parallel in Luke
          > 9:48 agrees with Mark. But Matthew's version (18:1-5) interprets this to
          > say that one should become child-like. Mark 10:13-16 also talks about
          > little children. This has a parallel in Luke 18:15-17 and in Matthew
          > 19:13-15. But Matthew omits Mark's line, "In truth I tell you, anyone
          > who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never
          > enter it." It's easy to assume that, just as in Matthew, this line in
          > Mark means that we should become child-like. But Mark has never said
          > anything like that, and Matthew's omission should cause us to take a
          > closer look.
          >
          >
          >
          > What if we take our clue from Mark 9:37 instead of from Matthew and read
          > this line, "In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom
          > of God [as they would welcome] a little child will never enter it"? Now
          > if we say that we need to welcome little children with forgiveness, we
          > can then say that we should welcome the kingdom of God with forgiveness.
          > And we then have "To enter the kingdom of God, you must welcome it with
          > forgiveness (of others)".
          >
          >
          >
          > So again the main ideas here are
          >
          > 1) Mark has a message of forgiveness for forgiveness partly
          > obscured.
          >
          > 2) "Salt" is both "having forgiveness of others in oneself", and
          > "what makes one acceptable to God"
          >
          > 3) The historical Jesus may have used salt sayings against the
          > Pharisees.
          >
          >
          >
          > Thank you,
          >
          > Dave Gentile
          >
          > Riverside, IL
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jeffrey B. Gibson
          ... Here is the entry on hALAS from TDNT: In the ancient world salt has religious significance. Because of its purifying and seasoning (Job 6:6) and preserving
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
            Patricia Walters wrote:

            > I am just a lurker on the list, but this post brought to mind a
            > question
            > that probably you have already asked and found the answer to -- but
            > I'll
            > mention it: What did salt mean in the first century? What
            > extra-biblical
            > sources might provide contextualization for the meaning of salt in the
            >
            > various ancient gegraphies? Who used salt and for what? Wouldn't
            > knowing
            > this also help to interpret the meanig of the salt sayings? I would
            > bet
            > there exists ample scholarship on this subject -- commentaries, ATLA,
            > and
            > even JSTOR.
            >
            > Thank you for letting me ask the question -- one that you have
            > probably
            > already researched.... If so, please disregard this post!

            Here is the entry on hALAS from TDNT:


            In the ancient world salt has religious significance. Because of its
            purifying and seasoning (Job 6:6) and preserving qualities it is a
            symbol of endurance and value. It is linked with God, as putrefaction
            and corruption are linked with demons. For this reason it was much used
            in worship, as in the OT. It was sprinkled on or mixed into the
            sacrifices (Ex. 30:35; Lv. 2:13; Ez. 43:21). Newborn children were
            rubbed with it (Ez. 16:4). It was used by Orientals to drive away evil
            spirits. Lasting covenants were made by eating bread and salt, or salt
            alone (Nu. 18:19; 2 Ch. 13:5: the covenant of salt).

            In the NT its cultic significance is lost. The sacrificial ritual is
            simply a means to convey the truths of the religious and moral world.
            This seems to be the point of the obscure saying in Mk. 9:49. The
            disciple must be seasoned with salt like the sacrifice. This will take
            place through trials (cf. the fire of 1 C. 3:13), and everything
            contrary to God will be purged away. Salt also typifies the religious
            and moral quality which must characterise the speech of the Christian
            (Col. 4:6), and esp. the quality which is an inner mark of the disciple
            and the loss of which will make him worthless (Lk. 14:34 f.; Mt. 5:13;
            Mk. 9:50).

            Lk. gives us the original wording, linking the saying with serious
            demands made on the disciple. Mt. gives us, secondarily, a direct
            application to the disciples themselves. The saying seems to have in
            view conditions in Palestine. Salt from the Dead Sea, which is mixed
            with gypsum etc., acquires easily a stale and alkaline taste (cf. Plin.,
            31, 34: tabescit). There seems to be a scoffing reference to this saying
            of Jesus in b.Bek., 8b: “(R. Joshua b. Chananja (c. 90) was once asked
            to tell a story). He said: There was once a mule which had a foal. On
            this was hung a chain with the inscription that it should raise 100,000
            Zuz from its father’s family. He was asked: Can then a mule bear
            offspring? He said: These are fables. He was then asked: When salt loses
            its savour (ayrm), wherewith shall it be salted? He answered: With the
            young of a mule. He was then asked: Does then the unfruitful mule have
            young? He answered: Can salt lose its savour?”


            Kittel, Gerhard; Friedrich, Gerhard, The Theological Dictionary of the
            New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
            2000, c1964.

            Jeffrey
            --
            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
            1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
            Chicago, Illinois
            e-mail jgibson000@...



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • R. Steven Notley
            For the readers on this list, I would recommend an article by Weston Fields, executive director the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and a member of the Jerusalem
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
              For the readers on this list, I would recommend an article by Weston
              Fields, executive director the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and a member
              of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. The short article is now
              posted on JerusalemPerspective.com. The URL is:
              http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/Default.aspx?
              tabid=27&ArticleID=1454.

              In his study, Fields examines the phrase in Mark 9:49 looking at a
              possible Hebraic or Aramaic idiom behind our Greek. He concludes that
              the verse should be translated:

              "Everyone [who is sent to hell] will be completely destroyed" - that
              is, destroyed by fire.

              shalom
              R. Steven Notley
              Professor of Biblical Studies
              Nyack College NYC


              On Feb 13, 2006, at 11:36 AM, Patricia Walters wrote:

              > I am just a lurker on the list, but this post brought to mind a
              > question
              > that probably you have already asked and found the answer to -- but
              > I'll
              > mention it: What did salt mean in the first century?  What
              > extra-biblical
              > sources might provide contextualization for the meaning of salt in the
              > various ancient gegraphies?  Who used salt and for what?  Wouldn't
              > knowing
              > this also help to interpret the meanig of the salt sayings?   I would
              > bet
              > there exists ample scholarship on this subject -- commentaries, ATLA,
              > and
              > even JSTOR.
              >
              > Thank you for letting me ask the question -- one that you have
              > probably
              > already researched....  If so, please disregard this post!
              >
              > Sincerely yours,
              >
              >           Patricia Walters
              >           Beloit College (Beloit, Wisconsin)
              >
              > On 2/13/06, Gentile, David <gentile_dave@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > Hello all,
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > This is slightly off the main focus of the topic of the synoptic
              > > relationship, but
              > > still it might be important for understanding them. The three ideas
              > are
              > > interrelated, and don't separate well.
              > >
              > > I checked with the moderators to make sure this fell within the
              > topic
              > > limits of the list, and since the list expressed at least some
              > interest
              > > I'd like to continue the thread here.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > I'm arguing three main points.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > 1) I think one of the salt saying found in Mark/Matthew/Luke could
              > have
              > > been directed against the Pharisees by the historical Jesus.
              > >
              > > 2) I think that "salt" refers both to "that which makes one
              > acceptable
              > > to God" and "having forgiveness for others within oneself".
              > >
              > > 3) I think that an important message of the original gospel of Mark
              > was
              > > "forgiveness for forgiveness" and that is obscured by later gospels.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Our earliest gospel, Mark, has the following 3 sayings about salt -
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Mark 9:47-50 It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with
              > one
              > > eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into [Gehenna], where
              > "'their
              > > worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be
              > > salted with fire. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how
              > can
              > > you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace
              > with
              > > each other."
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > In Leviticus (2:13), and in the general knowledge of the region,
              > salt is
              > > something that is added to sacrifices to purify them, to make them
              > > acceptable to God.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Paul says Roman's 12 (New Jerusalem). "I urge you, then, brothers,
              > > remembering the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living
              > > sacrifice, dedicated and acceptable to God; that is the kind of
              > worship
              > > for you, as sensible people. Do not model your behavior on the
              > > contemporary world, but let the renewing of your mind transform
              > you, so
              > > that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God - what
              > is
              > > good and acceptable and mature." And Paul also has Colossians 4:6
              > Let
              > > your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so
              > that
              > > you may know how to answer everyone.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > From this I think we can say that "salt" in a person makes a person
              > > acceptable to God.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > The second of Mark's salt saying occurs in different contexts in
              > Mark,
              > > Matthew, and Luke, and could have been a unit of oral tradition. My
              > > hypothesis here would be that the historical Jesus directed this
              > salt
              > > saying against the Pharisees. When Jesus says "Salt is good, but if
              > it
              > > loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?" I think this
              > > refers to the Pharisees, and they are missing something good inside
              > them
              > > that makes one acceptable to God
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > We could compare this to yeast which was something that should not
              > be in
              > > sacrifices. Jesus warns of the yeast, that is "what makes one
              > > unacceptable to God", of the Pharisees. (Mark 8:14-15)  The
              > disciples
              > > had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with
              > them in
              > > the boat. "Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast
              > of
              > > the Pharisees and that of Herod." We can also look at Mark 7 where
              > Jesus
              > > is criticizing the Pharisees for following their traditions rather
              > than
              > > following the will of God. Mark 7:14 Again Jesus called the crowd
              > to him
              > > and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing
              > outside
              > > a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what
              > comes
              > > out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' And then we can look at Paul
              > > Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace,
              > seasoned
              > > with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Mark
              > apparently
              > > tells us that what comes out of the Pharisees is unclean. We could
              > then
              > > say that the Pharisees have yeast in them rather that the salt that
              > > makes what comes out of one acceptable to God.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > And as yet another indicator that 'loss of salt' might refer to the
              > > Pharisees, we can look at the "salt" sayings in Matthew 5. If salt
              > makes
              > > something acceptable to God then when Matthew says. "You are the
              > salt of
              > > the earth", we can read "You are what makes the earth acceptable to
              > > God". This is followed by the "light of the world" saying, which is
              > > clearly an exhortation to spread the word. Together they might be
              > read,
              > > "You've got the good stuff in you, now go spread it around". Shortly
              > > following this, Jesus comments that he requires followers to have a
              > > righteousness greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees.
              > Apparently
              > > they don't have the good stuff (Salt).
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > So what is salt then?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > The "salt" sayings in Mark end with "Have salt in yourselves, and
              > be at
              > > peace with each other." This could be read - "Have 'that which
              > makes one
              > > acceptable to God' in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
              > And
              > > Paul has Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of
              > grace,
              > > seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Mark and Paul both seem to say that salt is needed for living at
              > peace,
              > > and without discord. How does a group live at peace? They forgive
              > each
              > > other! So my hypothesis is that "having salt" is "forgiving each
              > other"
              > > which is what makes one "acceptable to God". And we can note that if
              > > "not having salt" is "not forgiving others" then this could easily
              > apply
              > > to the Pharisees who were long on judgment and harsh justice and
              > short
              > > on forgiveness.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > We can also look at Matthew 5 where the salt sayings are soon
              > followed
              > > by an extensive section on forgiveness, including things like:
              > "Turn the
              > > other cheek", "Love your enemy", "Set no bounds on your love, just
              > as
              > > your heavenly Father sets no bounds on his" and the Lord's prayer,
              > > "forgive as we have forgiven".
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Even if we can not push as far back as the historical Jesus, we may
              > be
              > > able to push back to an earlier version of Mark than the one we
              > > currently see. For this we can take a new look at Mark 11. Clearly
              > the
              > > text underwent some evolution here. In Mark, the entry into
              > Jerusalem
              > > and the cleansing of the temple happen on two different days. In
              > Matthew
              > > these things happen on the same day. Also the withered fig tree in
              > Mark
              > > separates the temple cleansing and the discussion of the authority
              > of
              > > Jesus. But these incidents are directly connected in John. Finally,
              > in
              > > Mark 2:1-12 when Jesus forgives sins, his authority is immediately
              > > questioned by the Pharisees. So, it seems quite possible that the
              > fig
              > > tree is a late addition to Mark. Also the "uprooted and planted in
              > the
              > > sea" saying is in a different context in Luke 17:6. So, here we
              > could
              > > speculate that this saying comes from "Q" and was not a part of
              > original
              > > Mark.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > If we try to read Mark 11 but subtract Matthew's text as being
              > suspect,
              > > we can then see a text that reads something like this - Mark 11:10 -
              > > Hosanna (please save) in the highest heavens! He entered Jerusalem
              > and
              > > went into the Temple and began driving out the men selling and
              > buying
              > > there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the seats of
              > the
              > > dove sellers. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through
              > the
              > > Temple. And he taught them and said "Does not scripture say: My
              > house
              > > will be called a house of prayer for all people? But you have
              > turned it
              > > into a bandits' den...[...]...Have faith in God and when you stand
              > in
              > > prayer forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your
              > Father in
              > > heaven may forgive your failings too"....and they said to him "What
              > > authority have you...".
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Just as "salt" is the forgiveness of others that makes one
              > acceptable to
              > > God, here Mark has said "Trust God. He answers prayers for
              > forgiveness,
              > > but asks that we forgive others." Forgiveness of others makes one
              > > acceptable to God.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > We can also look at the parable of the measure Mark 4:24-25 (New
              > > Jerusalem). He also said to them "Take notice of what you are
              > hearing.
              > > The standard you use will be used for you - and you will receive
              > more
              > > besides; anyone who has, will be given more; anyone who has not,
              > will be
              > > deprived even of what he has." The first part of that is clearly
              > "judge
              > > not or you will be judged even more harshly", which is how the
              > tradition
              > > evolves in Matthew 7. But what about giving to those that have, and
              > > taking away from those that do not? Again, I think this is
              > > "forgiveness". Those that have forgiveness (for others) will be
              > given
              > > forgiveness (by God), those that don't have forgiveness for others
              > will
              > > have their forgiveness by God taken away from them.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Luke 6:36-38 makes this connection between the parable of the
              > measure
              > > and forgiveness. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not
              > > condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be
              > > forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed
              > > down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your
              > lap.
              > > For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." However,
              > Luke
              > > has omitted any reference to "more being given to those that already
              > > have". He places this part of the measure parable it in a completely
              > > different context in Luke 19:26. "Forgiveness for forgiveness" has
              > been
              > > obscured by Luke
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > There is yet another place where the forgiveness message in Mark
              > may be
              > > partially obscured by Matthew.  Mark 9:37 says that one should
              > welcome
              > > little children, and in doing so one welcomes God. The parallel in
              > Luke
              > > 9:48 agrees with Mark. But Matthew's version (18:1-5) interprets
              > this to
              > > say that one should become child-like. Mark 10:13-16 also talks
              > about
              > > little children. This has a parallel in Luke 18:15-17 and in Matthew
              > > 19:13-15. But Matthew omits Mark's line, "In truth I tell you,
              > anyone
              > > who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will
              > never
              > > enter it." It's easy to assume that, just as in Matthew, this line
              > in
              > > Mark means that we should become child-like. But Mark has never said
              > > anything like that, and Matthew's omission should cause us to take a
              > > closer look.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > What if we take our clue from Mark 9:37 instead of from Matthew and
              > read
              > > this line, "In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the
              > kingdom
              > > of God [as they would welcome] a little child will never enter it"?
              > Now
              > > if we say that we need to welcome little children with forgiveness,
              > we
              > > can then say that we should welcome the kingdom of God with
              > forgiveness.
              > > And we then have "To enter the kingdom of God, you must welcome it
              > with
              > > forgiveness (of others)".
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > So again the main ideas here are
              > >
              > > 1)      Mark has a message of forgiveness for forgiveness partly
              > > obscured.
              > >
              > > 2)      "Salt" is both "having forgiveness of others in oneself",
              > and
              > > "what makes one acceptable to God"
              > >
              > > 3)      The historical Jesus may have used salt sayings against the
              > > Pharisees.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Thank you,
              > >
              > >            Dave Gentile
              > >
              > >            Riverside, IL
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
              > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
              >
              >
              >
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              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Gentile, David
              I hope you ll forgive me for saying that your thesis seesm to me to be entirely forced. Not only have you gone looking for evidence that supports a conclusion
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
                I hope you'll forgive me for saying that your thesis seesm to me to be
                entirely forced. Not only have you gone looking for evidence that
                supports a conclusion that you have, so far as I can tell, deemed in
                advance as true, but you've constructed the syllogism that you use to
                prove your conclusion -- i.e., salt is an element added to sacrifices,
                sacrifice is tantamount to right living, the essential element of
                "right living" is forgiveness", therefore "salt" = forgiveness -- from
                texts that have nothing to do with one another. More importantly, and
                leaving aside whether there's anything in Roman's 12 which substantiates
                the third premise above, you assume in your first premise what needs to
                be proven, namely, that the only thing that salt connoted in first
                century Judaism was something that makes sacrifices acceptable to god.

                May I suggest that before you pursue this thesis any further, you check
                out not only some standard lexicons to see whether this is the only
                meaning hALAS" had, but also some good commentaries on Mark to see what
                has been said about the meaning and possibly proverbial nature of Mark's
                salt sayings?.

                Yours,

                Jeffrey Gibson



                Jeffrey: I hope you'll forgive me...

                Dave: O.K. You're forgiven. (Now go and do likewise)

                :o)

                Jeffrey: from texts that have nothing to do with one another.

                Dave: I'd say they all could have informed the early Christian
                community, or be seen as indicators of how the early Christian community
                viewed metaphorical hALAS.

                Jeffrey: you have, so far as I can tell, deemed in advance as true

                Dave: I don't think I decided in advance that anything was true. The
                idea would never have occurred to me if it was not suggested to me by
                what I read. Nor do I know it to be true. It is just an idea for
                discussion.

                Jeffery: May I suggest that before you pursue this thesis any further,
                you check out not only some standard lexicons to see whether this is the
                only meaning hALAS" had, but also some good commentaries on Mark to see
                what has been said about the meaning and possibly proverbial nature of
                Mark's salt sayings?.

                Dave: I do plan to do some more research, so thanks for the suggestion.
                But I was interested to see what others thought of the idea at this
                stage. The only other idea I've come across for what metaphorical salt
                means, relates to "a covenant" of salt, and as Tim suggests, salt may
                not be so much something that an individual possesses, as something that
                a group possess.

                But going back to my idea here -

                Jeffrey: sacrifice is tantamount to right living

                Dave: Mmm...no. That's not quite it. Paul says we should make ourselves
                *into* the sacrifice. Not that we should make sacrifices, but
                metaphorically, we are the sacrifice. The analogy then is salt must be
                in sacrifices to make them acceptable to God, so metaphorical salt must
                be in us to make us acceptable to God. Also, if we assume Mark refers to
                something like a purgatory with GEHENNA, then "Everyone will be salted
                by fire" is "Everyone will be made acceptable to God by fire"
                Metaphorical salt makes us a metaphorical sacrifice acceptable to God.

                Paul then goes on to say lots of things that we should do or be, all of
                which could be seen as part of "making ourselves into metaphorical
                sacrifices". For example, in Romans 12:10 he says to the church
                community that they should have deep affection for each other. That
                could support the "salt covenant". But then in 12:18 he says "don't pay
                back evil with evil" and in 12:19 he says "never try to get revenge".
                That could support salt as "forgiveness".

                He also says we should also "be humble", "charitable", "merciful",
                "loving", "avoid evil", "pray regularly", "hospitable", "love our
                enemies", "don't rely on our own wisdom". From that I don't think we can
                get much more that being a sacrifice means "having good stuff" in you.
                Or maybe we could say "being selfless".

                Mark has "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another".
                Salt could be anything that allows peaceful living. It could refer to a
                "covenant of salt" in the group. It could be forgiveness for others. It
                could be "being humble" or "being loving" or "being selfless".

                So why focus on "forgiveness" specifically? The hermeneutical key I'm
                using is Mark 11:22-25. It looks to me that there is deliberate effort
                there to somewhat obscure a "forgiveness for forgiveness" message. Then
                looking through Mark, I see other examples of places where later authors
                have altered Mark in ways that could be viewed as motivated by trying to
                hide a message of "forgiveness for forgiveness". These include salt, the
                little children, and the measure parable.

                For the measure parable just read Mark and Luke together - Luke 6:36-38
                "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will
                not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will
                be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and
                running over, will be poured into your lap." Mark 4:24-25 (New
                Jerusalem). The standard you use will be used for you - and you will
                receive more besides; anyone who has, will be given more; anyone who has
                not, will be deprived even of what he has."

                Look at Luke's first three sentences. The first two are "Do not and you
                will not" but "forgive" is stated in the positive. So when it says
                "anyone who has will be given more" this certainly seems to be
                "forgiveness". "Anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has"
                then is "He who does not forgive, will lose God's forgiveness".

                So, the measure parable says to be forgiven by God we must forgive. Mark
                11 says that too. "Salt" could also be how we avoid purgatory in Mark 9.


                To say it differently, from the argument above, "salt" is something good
                inside, an internal property, it allows good group relations. Then
                "salt" in Mark also could be about avoiding purgatory. Where in Mark can
                we find something that could be both about "avoiding purgatory" and fit
                with the "selfless" idea of salt? My answer is in Mark 11 where he talks
                about "forgiveness for forgiveness".

                So what I'm seeing in Mark is this -

                "Forgive so that God can forgive you" Mark 11

                "Forgive as you would forgive little children to welcome the Kingdom"

                "If you do not have forgiveness, your forgiveness will be taken." (the
                measure)

                :"If you don't want to be salted (made acceptable to God) with fire have
                salt (forgiveness of others) within you."

                Dave Gentile

                Riverside, IL















                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Dave
                Thanks for that refference. Both purification by fire and destruction by fire sound like valid possible translations to me. In the context of Mark 9
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
                  Thanks for that refference.

                  Both "purification by fire" and "destruction by fire" sound like
                  valid possible translations to me.

                  In the context of Mark 9 however, salt seems to be something good.
                  Mark says "have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one
                  another". "Have destruction in yourself" does not work.

                  Dave Gentile
                  Riverside, IL


                  --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, R. Steven Notley <Notley@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > For the readers on this list, I would recommend an article by
                  Weston
                  > Fields, executive director the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and a
                  member
                  > of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. The short article
                  is now
                  > posted on JerusalemPerspective.com. The URL is:
                  > http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/Default.aspx?
                  > tabid=27&ArticleID=1454.
                  >
                  > In his study, Fields examines the phrase in Mark 9:49 looking at
                  a
                  > possible Hebraic or Aramaic idiom behind our Greek. He concludes
                  that
                  > the verse should be translated:
                  >
                  > "Everyone [who is sent to hell] will be completely destroyed" -
                  that
                  > is, destroyed by fire.
                  >
                  > shalom
                  > R. Steven Notley
                  > Professor of Biblical Studies
                  > Nyack College NYC
                • Chuck Jones
                  Dave, Salt was used to preserve meat (primarily fish) and so have saving power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
                    Dave,

                    Salt was used to preserve meat (primarily fish) and so have "saving" power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so was also destructive in the wrong setting.

                    Chuck Jones

                    Dave wrote:
                    Thanks for that refference.

                    Both "purification by fire" and "destruction by fire" sound like
                    valid possible translations to me.

                    In the context of Mark 9 however, salt seems to be something good.
                    Mark says "have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one
                    another". "Have destruction in yourself" does not work.

                    Dave Gentile
                    Riverside, IL

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                  • R. Steven Notley
                    David I would read Mark 9:49 as the concluding statement regarding the judgment introduced in Mark 9:42-48. The mention of salt triggered Mark s appending
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
                      David

                      I would read Mark 9:49 as the concluding statement regarding the
                      judgment introduced in Mark 9:42-48. The mention of "salt" triggered
                      Mark's appending of Mark 9:50 (where salt does have a positive notion).

                      Steven Notley
                      Nyack College NYC


                      On Feb 13, 2006, at 2:10 PM, Dave wrote:

                      > Thanks for that refference.
                      >
                      > Both "purification by fire" and "destruction by fire" sound like
                      > valid possible translations to me.
                      >
                      > In the context of Mark 9 however, salt seems to be something good.
                      > Mark says "have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one
                      > another". "Have destruction in yourself" does not work.
                      >
                      > Dave Gentile
                      > Riverside, IL
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, R. Steven Notley <Notley@...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > For the readers on this list, I would recommend an article by
                      > Weston 
                      > > Fields, executive director the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and a
                      > member 
                      > > of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research.  The short article
                      > is now 
                      > > posted on JerusalemPerspective.com.  The URL is:
                      > > http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/Default.aspx?
                      > > tabid=27&ArticleID=1454.
                      > >
                      > > In his study, Fields examines the  phrase in Mark 9:49 looking at
                      > a 
                      > > possible Hebraic or Aramaic idiom behind our Greek.  He concludes
                      > that 
                      > > the verse should be translated:
                      > >
                      > > "Everyone [who is sent to hell] will be completely destroyed" -
                      > that 
                      > > is, destroyed by fire.
                      > >
                      > > shalom
                      > > R. Steven Notley
                      > > Professor of Biblical Studies
                      > > Nyack College NYC
                      >
                      >
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                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Dave
                      ... have saving power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so was also destructive in the wrong setting. ... Again, I
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
                        --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Dave,
                        >
                        > Salt was used to preserve meat (primarily fish) and so
                        have "saving" power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it
                        burned and poisoned it and so was also destructive in the wrong
                        setting.
                        >
                        > Chuck Jones
                        >

                        Again, I suppose it could be either.

                        We could read Mark -

                        "If you don't want to be destroyed by fire, make yourself an
                        acceptable sacrifice to God"

                        or

                        "If you don't want to be made acceptable to God by fire, make
                        yourself into an acceptable sacrifice to God"

                        The latter is more symetrical, however.

                        Chuck: spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so was also
                        destructive in the wrong setting.

                        Dave: But in Matthew 5 salt of the earth is a good thing. He is not
                        telling his followers they are the destruction of the earth. (I hope)

                        "Acceptable to God" works with all NT refferences to salt, with
                        Leviticus, and with Paul's metephor of the follower as a sacrifice.
                        I can't think of anything else that works in all places like that.

                        I suppose it could shift meaning to be "destruction" in that one
                        spot, but that seems less likely to me.

                        Dave Gentile
                        Riverside, IL
                      • Dave
                        That is what is often suggested here. Mark just threw random salt sayings together. But if we can make a unified whole of it, isn t that a better reading?
                        Message 11 of 11 , Feb 13, 2006
                          That is what is often suggested here. Mark just threw random salt
                          sayings together.

                          But if we can make a unified whole of it, isn't that a better
                          reading?

                          Assume Mark's idea of salvation is "faith in God, and forgiveness
                          for forgiveness" (Mark 11) then read Mark 9

                          Millstone/cutting off body parts - cut of from the church those that
                          would cause loss of faith, they will sent you to GEHENNA.

                          GEHENNA/salted by fire - you don't want to be made acceptable to God
                          with fire.

                          "If salt loses...how can it be made salty" - Look at those Pharisees
                          that have lost their salt, they are all judgement and no
                          forgiveness, don't be like them.

                          "have salt, and be at peace" - Have acceptableness to God in you,
                          have forgiveness of others in you, so you can be at peace with
                          others.

                          Reading it with Mark 11 in mind as a plan of salvaition, makes it a
                          unified whole.


                          --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, R. Steven Notley <Notley@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > David
                          >
                          > I would read Mark 9:49 as the concluding statement regarding the
                          > judgment introduced in Mark 9:42-48. The mention of "salt"
                          triggered
                          > Mark's appending of Mark 9:50 (where salt does have a positive
                          notion).
                          >
                          > Steven Notley
                          > Nyack College NYC
                          >
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