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Re: Re: Mark 8:19-21

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... I dunno. I d rather have the author s biases overt and on the table, than covert, requiring that I go to the work of figuring out his biases for myself. As
    Message 1 of 20 , Sep 1, 1998
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      At 04:11 PM 9/1/98 -0400, Mike Grondin wrote:
      >Jeff Peterson, Institute for Christian Studies, mentions:
      >
      >>... Austin Farrer['s] ... unjustly neglected _St Matthew and St Mark_...
      >
      >Unjustly? Maybe, based on the contents, but perhaps it was the title that
      >was off-putting. I myself tend to shy away from books that have the word
      >'St' in the title. I take it to be a warning-flag that the author is going
      >to be a mite too concerned about religious sensitivities for my liking.
      >
      >Mike G.
      >------------------------------------
      >The Codex II Student Resource Center
      >http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
      >

      I dunno. I'd rather have the author's biases overt and on the table, than
      covert, requiring that I go to the work of figuring out his biases for
      myself. As for me, I can more easily deal with Austin Farrer's biases than,
      say, Burton Mack's.

      Bob
      "We all do tend to be hypercritical of the evangelists and take other
      texts at face value."
      --Stevan Davies, Wed, 14 Jan 1998 17:26:33
    • INTERPRES
      ... I don t know, but that s the premises the riddle is working with. This question, while interesting in itself, is irrelevant to the riddle as posed. ...
      Message 2 of 20 , Sep 1, 1998
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        >Jan Sammer writes:
        >> ... the volume of 5 spyrides is the same as that of 12 kophinoi ...
        >
        >Although this goes some way toward explaining the riddle, I think that your
        >analysis cannot be the whole of the story. You have left out of account:
        >
        >1. Why _two_ feedings? Just Markan styling? Or symbols of two missions?
        I don't know, but that's the premises the riddle is working with. This
        question, while interesting in itself, is irrelevant to the riddle as posed.

        >2. What about the fish? (In the 1st feeding, two fish are specified. In the
        >2nd story, a single brief passage mentions fish, but does not say how
        many.)

        The fish do not figure in the riddle as posed. There are many other details
        of the feedings that are left out in the riddle. The riddle consists of two
        parallel questions, containing numerical data about loaves and two types of
        basket. Hence the solution must involve a calculation involving the number
        of loaves and volumes of the baskets. The fish play no part in the riddle as
        posed in Mk 8:19-21, where Jesus himself selects the data that are relevant.

        I may not have solved the riddle, but I certainly did address the issue,
        where most other commentators refuse to deal with the mathematics. They
        interpret the numbers as allegories of apostles, deacons, tribes of Israel.
        But that does not address the riddle at all. In terms of Mark's narrative,
        the numerical answers that Jesus extracts from the apostles have a meaning
        that explains why they should not worry about not having enough bread.

        >To me, the presence of the fish indicates that Mark has a different point
        >in mind than the one you suggest. The loaves must represent, as others have
        >speculated, the original male inner circle - the fish, the females of that
        >same inner circle. Of course we are not talking about literal bread here,
        >but about "the Word" that is brought to the multitude by those who have
        >known Yeshu.

        Sorry, Mike, but this is mere speculation. Reading the account of Feedings
        as an allegory smacks of Neo-Platonism, which similarly interpreted the
        Homeric epics. We are talking about literal bread, and Mark states
        unambiguously that Jesus broke the bread. But in 6:44 Mark carefully avoids
        saying that the multitude ate the bread that Jesus broke; the words "tous
        artous" are an interpolation. Mark only said that the crowds ate. He did not
        say what. And that's the entire point of the story.

        >
        >When the disciples are on the boat after the second feeding, they are
        >worried that they have _only a single loaf_ with them. The one original
        >disciple who outlived the others to such an extent as to be remarkable
        >elsewhere was John. It seems to me that Mark is concerned to soothe the
        >apprehension among the "flock" brought about by the progressive dying off
        >of the first generation of disciples.
        >
        Sorry, cannot follow you in your allegorical reading of Mark. The point of
        Jesus' rebuke to the disciples is that, having witnessed on two separate
        occasions the way that Jesus sustains his followers, have still not grasped
        that in his presence they do not need to worry about sustenance. There is no
        indication the story should be read as an allegory or a parable. The author
        of Mark’s gospel presents it as a straighforward narrative of events events
        that happened in the course of Jesus' ministry.
      • Mike Grondin
        I take note first that Philip Lewis finds a somewhat different symbolism ... parable. ... events ... This is quite an extraordinary position to take, if I
        Message 3 of 20 , Sep 2, 1998
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          I take note first that Philip Lewis finds a somewhat different symbolism
          than I do in Mark's two feeding stories, but we do agree in general that:

          > The Feedings themselves employ symbolic terms. In a way they have to be
          > understood allegorically.

          But Jan Sammer opposes this general view, saying:

          > There is no indication the story should be read as an allegory or a
          parable.
          > The author of Mark�s gospel presents it as a straighforward narrative of
          events
          > that happened in the course of Jesus' ministry.

          This is quite an extraordinary position to take, if I understand it
          correctly. Jan seems to sharply separate Mk 8:19-21 from the two feeding
          stories upon which that passage evidently rests. With respect to the
          former, he wants to regard it as a mathematical puzzle with no connection
          to the details of the stories, other than the numbers of loaves. But if the
          numbers are not symbolic, then they might as well be some other set of
          numbers - the mathematics will be the same, provided that the appropriate
          relationship between the two types of "basket" are maintained. This makes
          no sense to me. Is it just coincidence that Mark has chosen a set of
          numbers so rich in symbolic meaning just to make a little arithmetic
          "in-joke"? I say not.

          Jan's position with respect to the feedings themselves is equally remarkable:

          > We are talking about literal bread, and Mark states unambiguously that
          Jesus broke
          > the bread. But in 6:44 Mark carefully avoids saying that the multitude
          ate the
          > bread that Jesus broke; the words "tous artous" are an interpolation.
          Mark only
          > said that the crowds ate. He did not say what. And that's the entire
          point of the
          > story.

          How much subtlety and cleverness is ascribed to Mark here! On this view, he
          must have expected his audience to grasp the importance of his (allegedly)
          leaving out a few otherwise-insignificant words, yet at the same time to
          recognize that all those richly-symbolic details he does furnish are
          nothing more than "red herrings". Is this the same Mark who has trouble
          with Greek? Is this the same simple Christian audience we have always
          imagined reading Mark? What's wrong with this picture?

          I don't want to put words into Jan's mouth, but he seems to be taking the
          position that Mark's two feeding stories are largely descriptions of actual
          events, and perhaps also that Yeshu's purported words in 8:19-21 are also a
          description of actual events. How very far from the truth this must be is
          beyond my capacity to explain.

          Mike G.
          ------------------------------------
          Center for the Study of NH Codex II.
          http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
        • INTERPRES
          MIKE: Jan seems to sharply separate Mk 8:19-21 from the two feeding stories upon which that passage evidently rests. JAN: I beg to differ. I do no such thing.
          Message 4 of 20 , Sep 2, 1998
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            MIKE: Jan seems to sharply separate Mk 8:19-21 from the two feeding
            stories upon which that passage evidently rests.
            JAN: I beg to differ. I do no such thing.
            MIKE: With respect to the
            former, he wants to regard it as a mathematical puzzle with no connection
            to the details of the stories, other than the numbers of loaves.
            JAN: On the contrary, the puzzle is fully inherent in the stories; but the
            meaning of the stories is derivable from a subset of the details, which are
            presented in the puzzle. The puzzle is Jesus' reaction to the disciples’
            obtuseness (as presented by Mark). Its intent is to extract the key elements
            of the feedings that demonstrate their meaning .
            MIKE: But if the
            numbers are not symbolic, then they might as well be some other set of
            numbers - the mathematics will be the same, provided that the appropriate
            relationship between the two types of "basket" are maintained.
            JAN: There's only so much bread that will fit into any particular type of
            basket.
            MIKE: This makes
            no sense to me. Is it just coincidence that Mark has chosen a set of
            numbers so rich in symbolic meaning just to make a little arithmetic
            "in-joke"? I say not.
            JAN: Units of measure (such as a dozen) are often "special numbers" rich in
            symbolic meaning.
            Besides, the Kingdom of God is no joke, at least not to the author of Mark.
            Mark really overestimated his readers. He put in Jesus' mouth two simple
            statements, involving measures of volume (two types of basket) and numbers
            of loaves that fill those baskets, the solution of which is not at all
            difficult, but his modern readers seem to think that all they have to do is
            to invent allegories, rather than look for for a straightforward solution.
            The solution must be sought in terms of the problem as posed:

            "Dont' you know or understand yet?
            Are your minds so dull?
            You have eyes- can't you see?
            You have ears-can't you hear?
            Don't you remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand
            people?
            How many kophinous of leftover pieces did you take up?"
            "Twelve," they answered
            "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand people," asked
            Jesus
            "how many spyridon of leftover pieces did you take up?"
            "Seven, they answered."
            "And you still don't understand?" he asked them.

            What, according to the author of GMark, did the disciples fail to
            understand?
            That seven deacons were to be appointed in the mission to the Gentiles?
            I don't think so. Mark was not so bad an author to anticipate events so
            crassly.
            That the gentiles were subject to the seven Noahic laws?
            I don't think so. At least I don't see how that follows from the text.
            The solution must be something that follows from the measures and numbers
            given.
            According to the author of GMark, the disciples failed to understand that
            Jesus had fed the multitudes on something other than ordinary bread.

            That is consistent with the Mark's presentation of the feedings and his
            entire presentation of Jesus' mission. It is not allegorical, and it does
            not introduce any divide between the actual feedings and Jesus' explanation
            of them. The disciples had assumed that the crowds were fed with actual
            bread that had somehow been miraculously multiplied. Jesus in forcing them
            to solve the numerical puzzle, was trying to make them realize that no bread
            was consumed by the crowds, and that the sustenance he provided was
            something else than bread. Mark assumed that his readers would grasp the
            solution that the disciples failed to grasp. He couldn't have anticipated
            that his readers would go on wild goose chases and bring in 7 deacons, 7
            Noahic laws, 7 pillars of wisdom, the 7 dwarves, or whatnot. Mark didn't
            expect his readers to be brilliant, but he did expect them to read for
            meaning.

            MIKE: Jan's position with respect to the feedings themselves is equally
            remarkable:
            (quoting JAN:)
            > We are talking about literal bread, and Mark states unambiguously that
            > Jesus broke the bread. But in 6:44 Mark carefully avoids saying that the
            > multitude ate the bread that Jesus broke; the words "tous artous" are an
            > interpolation.
            > Mark only said that the crowds ate. He did not say what.
            > And that's the entire point of the story.

            MIKE: How much subtlety and cleverness is ascribed to Mark here! On this
            view, he
            must have expected his audience to grasp the importance of his (allegedly)
            leaving out a few otherwise-insignificant words, yet at the same time to
            recognize that all those richly-symbolic details he does furnish are
            nothing more than "red herrings".

            JAN: Mark's readers were not expected to grasp the meaning of the feedings
            from the omission of "tous artous"; the only point I was making is that
            "tous artous" is a recognized interpolation and as such is consistent with
            my hypothesis. Mark's audience is supposed to grasp the meaning of the
            feedings on the basis of some of the strongest language in all of the NT.
            The translation I used tones down the intensity of the abuse heaped on the
            disciples by Jesus. Mark has Jesus excoriate the disciples, telling them
            that their brains have turned to stone (pepwrwmenhn exete thn kardian hymwn)
            , for failing to understand the meaning of the feedings, which he then goes
            on to summarize in the cited syllogism.

            MIKE: Is this the same Mark who has trouble
            with Greek? Is this the same simple Christian audience we have always
            imagined reading Mark? What's wrong with this picture?


            JAN: Does Mark have trouble with Greek? The Latinisms and other oddities of
            Mark's Greek are an indication of Mark's milieu, not of his lack of
            education or intelligence. As I said, Mark definitely overestimated his
            latter-day readers. I bet the simple Christian audience for which Mark wrote
            could count their loaves and baskets.

            MIKE: I don't want to put words into Jan's mouth, but he seems to be taking
            the
            position that Mark's two feeding stories are largely descriptions of actual
            events, and perhaps also that Yeshu's purported words in 8:19-21 are also a
            description of actual events. How very far from the truth this must be is
            beyond my capacity to explain.


            JAN: Just how that follows from my statement : "The author
            of Mark’s gospel presents it as a straighforward narrative of events
            that happened in the course of Jesus' ministry" is a mystery to me.
            Let me try to make myself clear:
            Mark presents an account of the course of Jesus' ministry. He also presents
            Jesus as making allegorical statements (parables). That is where I would
            like to draw the sharp line. The accounts of the feedings are not parables
            and they cannot therefore be interpreted allegorically. Things that can be
            interpreted allegorically are things such as the seed sowed by the Sower,
            On the contrary, the feedings are descriptions of purported historical
            events. For the record, I do not believe that Mark's account of Jesus'
            ministry is historically accurate. In fact, I regard it as highly
            tendentious, with not much historical data discernible. What we can and
            ought to do is to analyze its internal logic, as we would in dealing with
            any other work of literature. We should ask, What clues did the author give
            us with respect to the solution of the puzzle he poses? All the clues are
            present in Mk 8:20 and they do not logically lead to seven deacons or seven
            Noahic laws. They do logically lead to the conclusion that no bread was
            consumed in the feedings, a realization that should have occasioned much
            wonderment among the disciples

            Regards,

            Jan
          • PetersnICS@aol.com
            ... The hurrieder I go the behinder I get, but I ll try to comply with Bruce s request tomorrow morning, if he hasn t returned to complete the summary by then.
            Message 5 of 20 , Sep 2, 1998
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              In a message dated 9/1/98 5:25:11 PM, Bruce Brooks wrote:

              >Jeff, could you complete the summary for me?
              >
              >How does Farrer deal with, or what symbolic resolution does he make of, the
              >
              >5000 plus 4000 equals 9000? Or does he? I see, by skipping ahead, that the
              >
              >end of the chapter includes the line: "We have been led to an answer which
              >
              >has not the neatness necessary for entire convincingness . . . "

              The hurrieder I go the behinder I get, but I'll try to comply with Bruce's
              request tomorrow morning, if he hasn't returned to complete the summary by
              then. In the meantime, if my presence on CrossTalk has encouraged only one
              closer reading of _St Matthew and St Mark_ than the book has previously
              received, I'll consider it time not spent in vain.

              Jeff Peterson
              Institute for Christian Studies
              Austin, TX, USA
              e-mail: peterson@...
            • Mike Grondin
              ... Thanks for sharpening the debate, Jan. I could hardly disagree more than I do with the above statement. I can understand your frustration at the seeming
              Message 6 of 20 , Sep 3, 1998
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                Jan Sammer writes:

                >... the meaning of the [feeding] stories is derivable from a subset of the
                > details, which are presented in the puzzle. The puzzle...['s] intent is to
                > extract the key elements of the feedings that demonstrate their meaning.

                Thanks for sharpening the debate, Jan. I could hardly disagree more than I do with the above statement. I can understand your frustration at the seeming impossibility of judging between various sets of proposed symbolic meanings for the two feeding stories, and I take your point that we tend to find meaning when we look for it, yet I think that these considerations are not strong enough to deny altogether the rather obvious Jewish-Gentile contrast evident in the two stories.

                Take the matter of the "baskets" for example. Your position, as I take it, is that it's the _size_ of the "baskets" that's important. I would say that it's the _type_ of "basket" (i.e., Jewish vs Gentile). In defense of your proposition, you have put forward the following claim:

                > [Mark's reader] must have known that a spyris is fashioned so as to
                > carry a single loaf of bread, and that the volume of 5 spyrides is
                > the same as that of 12 kophinoi.

                Since much depends on whether this claim is true, I now want to ask for your source. My bet is that this is an "invented fact", which you (or someone else) thinks could be approximately true, and which provides a tidy way of resolving the puzzle. But I cannot imagine any system of measurement wherein a specific number of Jewish kosher "knapsacks" is made to be equivalent to a specific number of market-baskets. In fact, on your own account (above), the numbers don't work out at all. Please explain.

                As I understand it, you suggest the following exegetical principle: any details of a story not mentioned in Yeshu's "follow-up" statement cannot be important to the meaning of the story. This principle would result, for example, in saying that in the cursing of the fig tree, the fact that it is a _fig tree_ and that it is a _cursing_ has no symbolic meaning, since Yeshu is not made to mention those "details" in his follow-up statement at 11:22-25. Is this really a result that you want?

                Let me also widen the scope of this discussion slightly, to include the mention of the "leaven" of the Pharisees and Herodians at 8:15. The intertwining of these passages indicates to me that Mark is contrasting their "leaven" with Yeshu's, and that indeed the symbolism of the feedings _does_ include the "multiplying" of loaves and fishes, which is something your analysis denies.

                Finally (since I have little time to write this morning), I would like to put forward the proposition that a hypothesis cannot be adequate if it does not account for all the known facts. To deny that the specific mention of _males_ and kosher "knapsacks" in the story of the feeding of the 5000 is intended to point to a specifically Jewish event/mission seems to me to be indefensible.

                Regards,
                Mike
                ------------------------------------
                Center for the Study of NH Codex II.
                http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
              • INTERPRES
                MIKE GRONDIN ... to ... do with the above statement. I can understand your frustration at the seeming impossibility of judging between various sets of proposed
                Message 7 of 20 , Sep 5, 1998
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                  MIKE GRONDIN
                  Jan Sammer writes:
                  >
                  >>... the meaning of the [feeding] stories is derivable from a subset of the
                  >> details, which are presented in the puzzle. The puzzle...['s] intent is
                  to
                  >> extract the key elements of the feedings that demonstrate their meaning.
                  >
                  >Thanks for sharpening the debate, Jan. I could hardly disagree more than I
                  do with the above statement. I can understand your frustration at the
                  seeming impossibility of judging between various sets of proposed symbolic
                  meanings for the two feeding stories, and I take your point that we tend to
                  find meaning when we look for it, yet I think that these considerations are
                  not strong enough to deny altogether the rather obvious Jewish-Gentile
                  contrast evident in the two stories.

                  JAN: The element of Jewish-Gentile contrast may be there, but that does not
                  imply that the Feedings are to be read as allegories of the mission to the
                  Jews and the mission to the Gentiles. The Feedings are a most powerful
                  prefiguration of the Kingdom of God, where the monarch of the new age
                  provides for his flock (refer also to Plato's Politicus, or The Statesman).
                  In GJohn the incident of the feeding is immediately followed by the crowds'
                  attempt to make Jesus a king. In this prefiguration Jesus condemns those who
                  try to rely on their own devices, and the pitiful amount of sustenance that
                  they have brought along only signifies their dependence on divine grace.
                  Mark portrays Jesus as being increasingly frustrated with the fact that the
                  disciples do not grasp the simple fact that in the dawning kingdom the
                  divine shepherd will provide for all their needs. Perhaps he's also
                  suggesting that Jews and Gentiles alike will be provided for.

                  MIKE:
                  >Take the matter of the "baskets" for example. Your position, as I take it,
                  is that it's the _size_ of the "baskets" that's important. I would say that
                  it's the _type_ of "basket" (i.e., Jewish vs Gentile). In defense of your
                  proposition, you have put forward the following claim:
                  >
                  >> [Mark's reader] must have known that a spyris is fashioned so as to
                  >> carry a single loaf of bread, and that the volume of 5 spyrides is
                  >> the same as that of 12 kophinoi.
                  >
                  >Since much depends on whether this claim is true, I now want to ask for
                  your source. My bet is that this is an "invented fact", which you (or
                  someone else) thinks could be approximately true, and which provides a tidy
                  way of resolving the puzzle.

                  JAN:
                  Congratulations! The fact that you have challenged me on this point means
                  that (unlike others in the past) you have grasped the argument I tried to
                  present. I freely admit that the 5:12 relation between kophinos and spyris
                  is derived from the text of Mark 8:19-21. I have made some effort at
                  determining whether it is in fact supported by independent evidence, thus
                  far unsuccessfully. Please note, that your position that the TYPE of basket
                  is important is perfectly compatible with my position that the SIZE of
                  basket is important.

                  MIKE:
                  But I cannot imagine any system of measurement wherein a specific number of
                  Jewish kosher "knapsacks" is made to be equivalent to a specific number of
                  market-baskets. In fact, on your own account (above), the numbers don't work
                  out at all. Please explain.

                  JAN:
                  The kophinos and spyris were apparently units of measure, akin to our
                  bushel, also originally a type of basket. Mark's readers would not have to
                  be told how many kophinoi there are to a spyris, just as we do not have to
                  be told how many quarts there are to a gallon, or how many inches to a foot.
                  And why do you say the numbers don't work out? If seven loaves were broken
                  into pieces and collected in seven spyrides, then five loaves would fill
                  five spyrides. Since (ex hypothese) five spyrides equal 12 kophinoi, the
                  mathematics works out
                  perfectly. It may well be that the kophinos was a sexagesimal measure and
                  the spyris a decimal one. Compare the story of Aqihar, which largely hinges
                  on the relation of sexagesimal to decimal measures. I would like to stress
                  that even if my specific solution is wrong, I am at least barking up the
                  right tree, whereas attempts at allegorical solutions are sort of like
                  baying at the moon.

                  MIKE:
                  As I understand it, you suggest the following exegetical principle: any
                  details of a story not mentioned in Yeshu's "follow-up" statement cannot be
                  important to the meaning of the story.

                  JAN:
                  I do not suggest any exegetical principles. Where on earth did you get such
                  an idea?

                  MIKE:
                  This principle would result, for example, in saying that in the cursing of
                  the fig tree, the fact that it is a _fig tree_ and that it is a _cursing_
                  has no symbolic meaning, since Yeshu is not made to mention those "details"
                  in his follow-up statement at 11:22-25. Is this really a result that you
                  want?

                  JAN:
                  Your attempted reductio ad absurdum is invalid, since I have not suggested
                  any exegetical principles. I merely tried to solve the question posed in Mk
                  8:21 and my comments only apply to this passage. I would not dare to presume
                  to generalize them into an exegetical principle.

                  MIKE:
                  Let me also widen the scope of this discussion slightly, to include the
                  mention of the "leaven" of the Pharisees and Herodians at 8:15. The
                  intertwining of these passages indicates to me that Mark is contrasting
                  their "leaven" with Yeshu's, and that indeed the symbolism of the feedings
                  _does_ include the "multiplying" of loaves and fishes, which is something
                  your analysis denies.

                  JAN:
                  On the contrary, it is left for you to explain why Jesus, who speaks against
                  the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, would have used the same
                  for his alleged multiplication miracles. Mark's point here is that the
                  leaven of the Pharisees and of the Herodians is not the sustenance
                  characteristic of the Kingdom of God. It is woefully inadequate for the job
                  of sustaining the people in the wilderness, indicating the foolishness and
                  false pride of the Pharisees and Herodians. Just when it looks that the
                  crowds will starve Jesus assumes the role of the divine shepherd who feeds
                  his flock without recourse to any of this leavened bread. This is made clear
                  by the fact that even though it was offered to them, the crowds ate none of
                  it, and let it be collected again in the spyrides and kophinoi. The
                  disciples did not grasp this fact and later, in the boat, again worry about
                  provisions. Jesus, now exasperated, forces them to repeat the numbers of
                  spyrides and kophinoi and asks, "And you still don't understand?" Doesn't
                  that suggest to you, Mike, that the point he is making has to do with these
                  numbers as measures of bread, rather than as allegories of seven deacons or
                  seven Noahic laws? Mark certainly implies that the disciples should be able
                  to grasp some fact on the basis of the information given. The information
                  given does not include deacons or Noahic laws. According to the structure of
                  this chapter of Mark, what the disciples are expected to grasp should be
                  both easy to figure out and surprising. That condition is satisfied by the
                  hypothesis I have proposed, namely that the pieces of bread broken by Jesus
                  are the very same ones that are later collected in the baskets. The
                  disciples had not realized that up to this point. The questions that Jesus
                  solicits from them virtually give the solution away. It would have been
                  anticlimactic for Mark to spell out the solution, which should obvious to
                  anyone whose brain hasn't turned to stone (paraphrasing the words Mark
                  ascribes to Jesus in 8:17).

                  MIKE:
                  >Finally (since I have little time to write this morning), I would like to
                  put forward the proposition that a hypothesis cannot be adequate if it does
                  not account for all the known facts. To deny that the specific mention of
                  _males_ and kosher "knapsacks" in the story of the feeding of the 5000 is
                  intended to point to a specifically Jewish event/mission seems to me to be
                  indefensible.

                  JAN:
                  As I mentioned above, the story may be indicating something about the
                  position of Jews and Gentiles in the Kingdom of God, but it has nothing to
                  do with missionary activities, as far as I can see.
                • Mike Grondin
                  Let me first say, Jan, what a pleasure it is to discuss these matters with you. You are an excellent proponent of a viewpoint that I would otherwise take to be
                  Message 8 of 20 , Sep 5, 1998
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                    Let me first say, Jan, what a pleasure it is to discuss these matters with
                    you. You are an excellent proponent of a viewpoint that I would otherwise
                    take to be hopelessly misguided. There are still many things to be said on
                    this topic, but I want to concentrate on the two types of "basket" for a
                    moment, to see what can be made of their relative size.

                    (the 5000): 5 loaves and two fish --> 12 kophinoi of fragments
                    (the 4000): 7 loaves (+ some fish?) --> 7 spyridoi of fragments

                    Can it be doubted that "multiplication" is going on here? Well, maybe - if
                    your hypotheses are true, viz.:

                    H1: ... a spyris is fashioned so as to carry a single loaf of bread
                    H2: ... the volume of 5 spyrides is the same as that of 12 kophinoi

                    But is H1 true? Well, according to Philip Lewis on this forum:

                    A multitude of four thousand, fed by seven "spyridoi," common market
                    baskets, flat and large enough for Paul to be seated in one as he was let
                    down over the walls of Damascus, was chosen by Mark as the symbol of a
                    Gentile feeding. (end Lewis quote)

                    Obviously, Paul cannot have been "seated" in a basket only large enough to
                    hold a single loaf of bread. But perhaps he only had one foot in it (toe
                    downward?)?

                    Again, there is the pesky matter of those NT translators. Some of them
                    actually translate 'spyridoi' as '_large_ baskets'. A "large" basket
                    holding only a single loaf of bread? How could they be so wildly mistaken?

                    Or again, take your own mathematics: According to H2, spyridoi are _larger_
                    than kophonoi. That makes sense, but when taken together with H1, it
                    results in the conclusion that kophonoi carry less than half a loaf of
                    bread! Is that likely?

                    So evidently, H1 is simply false. I'm not sure whether you would want to
                    try to save it or not. What say you?

                    Mike
                    ------------------------------------
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                    http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
                  • INTERPRES
                    ... I think you ve identified some weak spots in my hypothesis, but that these may be clarified by a better understanding of ancient units of volume. Firstly,
                    Message 9 of 20 , Sep 5, 1998
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                      Mike Grondin:

                      >Can it be doubted that "multiplication" is going on here? Well, maybe - if
                      >your hypotheses are true, viz.:
                      >
                      >H1: ... a spyris is fashioned so as to carry a single loaf of bread
                      >H2: ... the volume of 5 spyrides is the same as that of 12 kophinoi
                      >
                      >But is H1 true? Well, according to Philip Lewis on this forum:
                      >
                      >A multitude of four thousand, fed by seven "spyridoi," common market
                      >baskets, flat and large enough for Paul to be seated in one as he was let
                      >down over the walls of Damascus, was chosen by Mark as the symbol of a
                      >Gentile feeding. (end Lewis quote)
                      >
                      >Obviously, Paul cannot have been "seated" in a basket only large enough to
                      >hold a single loaf of bread. But perhaps he only had one foot in it (toe
                      >downward?)?
                      >
                      >Again, there is the pesky matter of those NT translators. Some of them
                      >actually translate 'spyridoi' as '_large_ baskets'. A "large" basket
                      >holding only a single loaf of bread? How could they be so wildly mistaken?
                      >
                      >Or again, take your own mathematics: According to H2, spyridoi are _larger_
                      >than kophonoi. That makes sense, but when taken together with H1, it
                      >results in the conclusion that kophonoi carry less than half a loaf of
                      >bread! Is that likely?
                      >
                      >So evidently, H1 is simply false. I'm not sure whether you would want to
                      >try to save it or not. What say you?
                      >
                      I think you've identified some weak spots in my hypothesis, but that these
                      may be clarified by a better understanding of ancient units of volume.

                      Firstly, the kophinos basically contained a daily ration of bread. I can
                      well imagine that this ration was approximately 4/10 of a standard loaf (but
                      see below).

                      Secondly, we do not know how big a standard loaf was. Unfortunately,
                      historical metrology as an academic discipline died an untimely death in the
                      first decades of this century and is now of concern to just a few isolated
                      individuals. For this reason these types of metrological questions are not
                      easy to answer.

                      Thirdly, with respect to the spyris, it is quite possible that a spyris was
                      simply a type of basket when used in one sense of the word, and a specific
                      measure of volume when used in another. Cf. the English word "cup" which may
                      mean a cup of any size or a recognized unit of volume. Therefore the spyris
                      used by Paul in Acts 9:31 may be different from the unit of volume referred
                      to by Mark.

                      Fourthly, the text of Mark does not state that the spyris and the kophinos
                      were ever filled with whole loaves, but rather that they were filled with
                      fragments of loaves. It says that Jesus broke seven loaves and seven
                      spyrides of pieces were collected; he broke five loaves and twelve kophinoi
                      of pieces were collected. The fragments would obviously take up more space
                      than the whole loaves. The volume of a spyris was filled with the fragments
                      from one loaf of bread, and the volume of a kophinos was filled with the
                      fragments of about 4/10 of a loaf of bread.

                      I do need to do my homework in historical metrology.

                      Jan
                    • INTERPRES
                      ... I think you ve identified some weak spots in my hypothesis, but that these may be clarified by a better understanding of ancient units of volume. Firstly,
                      Message 10 of 20 , Sep 5, 1998
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                        Mike Grondin:

                        >Can it be doubted that "multiplication" is going on here? Well, maybe - if
                        >your hypotheses are true, viz.:
                        >
                        >H1: ... a spyris is fashioned so as to carry a single loaf of bread
                        >H2: ... the volume of 5 spyrides is the same as that of 12 kophinoi
                        >
                        >But is H1 true? Well, according to Philip Lewis on this forum:
                        >
                        >A multitude of four thousand, fed by seven "spyridoi," common market
                        >baskets, flat and large enough for Paul to be seated in one as he was let
                        >down over the walls of Damascus, was chosen by Mark as the symbol of a
                        >Gentile feeding. (end Lewis quote)
                        >
                        >Obviously, Paul cannot have been "seated" in a basket only large enough to
                        >hold a single loaf of bread. But perhaps he only had one foot in it (toe
                        >downward?)?
                        >
                        >Again, there is the pesky matter of those NT translators. Some of them
                        >actually translate 'spyridoi' as '_large_ baskets'. A "large" basket
                        >holding only a single loaf of bread? How could they be so wildly mistaken?
                        >
                        >Or again, take your own mathematics: According to H2, spyridoi are _larger_
                        >than kophonoi. That makes sense, but when taken together with H1, it
                        >results in the conclusion that kophonoi carry less than half a loaf of
                        >bread! Is that likely?
                        >
                        >So evidently, H1 is simply false. I'm not sure whether you would want to
                        >try to save it or not. What say you?
                        >
                        I think you've identified some weak spots in my hypothesis, but that these
                        may be clarified by a better understanding of ancient units of volume.

                        Firstly, the kophinos basically contained a daily ration of bread. I can
                        well imagine that this ration was approximately 4/10 of a standard loaf (but
                        see below).

                        Secondly, we do not know how big a standard loaf was. Unfortunately,
                        historical metrology as an academic discipline died an untimely death in the
                        first decades of this century and is now of concern to just a few isolated
                        individuals. For this reason these types of metrological questions are not
                        easy to answer.

                        Thirdly, with respect to the spyris, it is quite possible that a spyris was
                        simply a type of basket when used in one sense of the word, and a specific
                        measure of volume when used in another. Cf. the English word "cup" which may
                        mean a cup of any size or a recognized unit of volume. Therefore the spyris
                        used by Paul in Acts 9:31 may be different from the unit of volume referred
                        to by Mark.

                        Fourthly, the text of Mark does not state that the spyris and the kophinos
                        were ever filled with whole loaves, but rather that they were filled with
                        fragments of loaves. It says that Jesus broke seven loaves and seven
                        spyrides of pieces were collected; he broke five loaves and twelve kophinoi
                        of pieces were collected. The fragments would obviously take up more space
                        than the whole loaves. The volume of a spyris was filled with the fragments
                        from one loaf of bread, and the volume of a kophinos was filled with the
                        fragments of about 4/10 of a loaf of bread.

                        I do need to do my homework in historical metrology.

                        Jan
                      • INTERPRES
                        YURI: Because he ate the magic sushi, he was able, having already written, according to Jan, the Book of Acts before 60 ad, to *Travel Forward In Time* to ca.
                        Message 11 of 20 , Sep 6, 1998
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                          YURI:
                          Because he ate the magic sushi, he was able, having
                          already written, according to Jan, the Book of Acts before 60 ad, to
                          *Travel Forward In Time* to ca. 120 ad. And having found out what the
                          needs of the Church will be in the future, he was able to write, 60 years
                          later, the Gospel of Luke, i.e. Volume One of his two-part treatise (using
                          in part also the Gospel of John, and the other 2 synoptics in the
                          process!).

                          JAN:
                          I have selected this passage out of Yuri's sarcastic outburst, since it
                          contains a scrap of a rational argument, on which I would like to briefly
                          comment. Yuri has apparently boundless admiration for Loisy’s
                          "deconstructive" approach to the NT, and he takes as "gospel truth" the
                          Master's conclusion that GLuke originated after A.D. 120 (actually Loisy
                          guesses 130-140). I would have no quarrel with some interpolations to Luke
                          being late (particularly the so-called Non-Western Non-Interpolations),
                          though definitely not as late as all that, but I do argue that the original
                          GLuke and Acts were written before 58 A.D, just prior to Paul's execution.
                          BTW, Loisy is singularly unconvincing in his attempted explanation of the
                          "Significant Silence of Acts as to the Fate of Paul" in his The Origin of
                          the New Testament. But we've covered this ground before and I'd rather not
                          start another round of fruitless bickering with Yuri, who has evidently
                          still not learned the rules of civilized debate.

                          Jan Sammer
                        • y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
                          ... Jan, Just as we were beginning to see eye to eye on some of these theories, you re sending me such an unkind note. I m deeply disappointed that you are so
                          Message 12 of 20 , Sep 7, 1998
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                            On Sun, 6 Sep 1998, INTERPRES wrote:

                            > YURI:
                            > Because he ate the magic sushi, he was able, having
                            > already written, according to Jan, the Book of Acts before 60 ad, to
                            > *Travel Forward In Time* to ca. 120 ad. And having found out what the
                            > needs of the Church will be in the future, he was able to write, 60 years
                            > later, the Gospel of Luke, i.e. Volume One of his two-part treatise (using
                            > in part also the Gospel of John, and the other 2 synoptics in the
                            > process!).
                            >
                            > JAN:
                            > I have selected this passage out of Yuri's sarcastic outburst, since it
                            > contains a scrap of a rational argument, on which I would like to briefly
                            > comment.

                            Jan,

                            Just as we were beginning to see eye to eye on some of these theories,
                            you're sending me such an unkind note. I'm deeply disappointed that you
                            are so negative towards my Suchi Ur-Eucharist theory. (Of course another
                            poster suggested it should rather be called the Sashimi Eucharist, but I'm
                            still not quite prepared to accept that Jesus couldn't ensure that some
                            steam rice be provided for the public when the occasion demanded it.)

                            And my theory seemed to fit so nicely with your highly intriguing Feeding
                            Basket Size Variation theory (or should it rather be described as the
                            Sammer Basket Case?). Don't be in any hurry to retreat from your Basket
                            Theory, Jan. I'm sure all these small problems Mike Grondin found with it
                            can still be addressed by and by. I may even help you later on with that
                            metrology thing. I suppose metrology just doesn't come easy, one must
                            sruggle for it...

                            > Yuri has apparently boundless admiration for Loisy�s "deconstructive"
                            > approach to the NT, and he takes as "gospel truth" the Master's
                            > conclusion that GLuke originated after A.D. 120 (actually Loisy guesses
                            > 130-140). I would have no quarrel with some interpolations to Luke being
                            > late (particularly the so-called Non-Western Non-Interpolations), though
                            > definitely not as late as all that, but I do argue that the original
                            > GLuke and Acts were written before 58 A.D, just prior to Paul's
                            > execution.

                            So, Jan, are you now going to leave your good friend Steve Davies in the
                            lurch as to the dating of Lk? He agreed with you as to the dating of Acts,
                            so the least you could have done is provide some support for him with his
                            radical redating of Lk/Acts project... Oh, well, this is how it is with
                            you I guess. I suppose you're a man of principle, and will speak the truth
                            without fear or favour, come Hell or High Water...

                            I admire your rectitude, Jan.

                            > BTW, Loisy is singularly unconvincing in his attempted explanation of
                            > the "Significant Silence of Acts as to the Fate of Paul" in his The
                            > Origin of the New Testament. But we've covered this ground before and
                            > I'd rather not start another round of fruitless bickering with Yuri, who
                            > has evidently still not learned the rules of civilized debate.

                            Not at all, Jan. In fact, with your valued help, I may be beginning now to
                            see certain inadequacies in Loisy. I may have to look for a better Master
                            now. If you perchance may reconsider your rather intemperate rejection of
                            my Sushi Ur-Eucharist, maybe you will become my new Master... Who knows?

                            Yours Scientifically,

                            Yuri.
                          • INTERPRES
                            ... Historical Metrology does seems to unnerve some people. I have studied its demise as an academic discipline in the early decades of this century and I was
                            Message 13 of 20 , Sep 8, 1998
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                              YURI:

                              > I'm deeply disappointed that you
                              > are so negative towards my Suchi Ur-Eucharist theory. ...
                              > And my theory seemed to fit so nicely with your highly intriguing Feeding
                              > Basket Size Variation theory (or should it rather be described as the
                              > Sammer Basket Case?). Don't be in any hurry to retreat from your Basket
                              > Theory, Jan. ...I suppose metrology just doesn't come easy, one must
                              > sruggle for it...


                              Historical Metrology does seems to unnerve some people. I have studied its
                              demise as an academic discipline in the early decades of this century and I
                              was incredulous to find that the attacks to which it succumbed were at
                              approximately the same degree of rationality as Yuri's. Scholars who had
                              devoted their entire lives to the study of ancient units of weight and
                              volume and were trained in the presentation and rebuttal of factual
                              arguments, were helpless against this tide of unreason.

                              Jan
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