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Re: Mark 8:19-21

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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
                ------------------------------------
                The Codex II Student Resource Center
                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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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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