Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

## Re: Mark 8:19-21

Expand Messages
• ... 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 1 of 20 , Sep 1, 1998
>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.
• 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 2 of 20 , Sep 2, 1998
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
• 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 3 of 20 , Sep 2, 1998
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
• ... 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 4 of 20 , Sep 2, 1998
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@...
• ... 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 5 of 20 , Sep 3, 1998
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
• 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 6 of 20 , Sep 5, 1998
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.
• 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 7 of 20 , Sep 5, 1998
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
------------------------------------
The Codex II Student Resource Center
http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
• ... 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 8 of 20 , Sep 5, 1998
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
• ... 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
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
• 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 10 of 20 , Sep 6, 1998
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
• ... 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 11 of 20 , Sep 7, 1998
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.
• ... 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 12 of 20 , Sep 8, 1998
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
Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.