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Re: Eric Eve Re: [XTalk] Miracles Again

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  • Karel Hanhart
    ... From: To: Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 6:16 AM Subject: Eric Eve Re: [XTalk] Miracles Again ... Dear
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 5, 2003
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <mwgrondin@...>
      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 6:16 AM
      Subject: Eric Eve Re: [XTalk] Miracles Again


      > --- Jeffery Hodges wrote:
      > > ... some people might be interested in reading an online article
      > > by William Lane Craig, "The Problem Of Miracles: A Historical And
      > > Philosophical Perspective":
      > >
      > > http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/miracles.html
      > >
      > > I have to confess that I haven't actually read it, but Craig
      > > is a good philosopher, very knowledgeable, very careful. So,
      > > he probably gives a respectable overview of the problem.

      Dear Mike and Rikk,

      While I have followed your posts with interest, I've refrained
      from entering into the discussion. Now that William Lane Craig has been
      mentioned I cannot help referring to his book and articles on Mark's
      resurrection story and my attempt [in the "The Open Tomb, A New
      Approach. Mark's Passover Haggadah (±72 CE)] to answer
      his arguments. He tried to answer point by point all arguments
      of interpreters who questioned an historically empty grave.
      I in turn researched the reasons offered in favor of a historically
      literal interpretation of the text. I venture to say his attempt
      to provide a philosophical foundation for supernatural
      miracles is anchored in his exegesis of the story of what he calls
      the "empty tomb".
      However, I believe the quest for understanding the miracle stories
      willnot be solved through a philosophical dispute of the secular
      versus the sacred. In this regard a literary analysis
      of Mark's epilogue should provide an answer not a philophical
      dispute on miracles and the afterlife.
      Thus far Craig hasn't been forthcoming with a exegetical reply to my
      thesis of 600 pages. If someone has found an article or review in which such
      a reply has been aired - except the sterile argument that my argumentation
      is "speculative" - I would be, believe me, very much obliged.
      Briefly, I have taken seriosuly Claude G. Montefiore's suggestion in his
      1927 (!)
      commentary on Mark in his Synoptic Gospels. Mark's 'opened memorial tomb'
      story may well be a midrash on LXX Isa 22,16; 33,16 en Gen 29,3. Of course,
      Montefiore was the only English liberal Jewish scholar who wrote a full
      fledged
      commentary on the Gospels.
      My findings were that the Gospel of Mark is not antisemitic as some
      believe; it is a genuine Jewish work by a follower of Jesus. Read in its
      proper
      historical context Mark must have written a post-70 Passover Haggadah to be
      used in the liturgy of a first century ecclesia during Pesach and Shabuot.
      Craig claims that a first century Jew, like Paul, could not have imagined a
      bodiless existence
      after death: "a Jew could not think otherwise". I answered "of course not,
      nobody can! One
      need not be a Jew for that". Paul was assured however that God "gives it a
      body as
      he has chosen" (1 Cor 15,38). Thus far ..philosophy.
      Four literary data appear to me sufficient to arouse one's interest in a
      rebuttal against
      Craig's literal interpretation. 1) Mark evidently refers to LXX Isa 22,16
      with his
      "monumental grave hewn out of the the rock" in 15,46 eventhough the critical
      editions of the Greek New Testament fail to mention the parallel
      expression.
      2) What the women [metaphorically] "saw", provides the framework of
      Mark's epilogue ( 15,40.46; 16,4). Mark uses three different words for
      their "seeing" :
      THEOREIN, ORAN and BLEPEIN.
      3) Mark makes clear that their seeing is visionary, just as in LXX Isa
      22,1ff and 32,9.
      If they had literally seen that the stone had been removed (by a
      supernatural power)
      the women would have looked ahead of them in order to observe this
      phenomenon. In
      stead, they look 'up' ( ANABLEPSSASAI ), just as Jesus looked 'up' before
      he multiplied the bread (6,41 ANABLEPSAS). This looking up evidently
      establishes
      a contact with heavenly realities.
      4) If they had literally seen the removal of the stone, the angel should
      have said
      in Greek IDETE (plural - there were three women-) TON TOPON (accusative
      as the object of their seeing). In stead the angel speaks with a Hebraism
      IDE - HO TOPOS - ra'eh ha-maqom = behold - the (holy) place.
      In LXX Isa 22,16 the monumental tomb represents the doomed temple in the
      days of Isaiah.

      cordially yours,

      Karel
    • mwgrondin
      ... Hi Karel- I entirely agree that the _understanding_ of the miracle stories (or, rather, their rhetorical function and purpose) isn t a philosophical issue.
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 5, 2003
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        --- Karel Hanhart wrote:
        > ... I believe the quest for understanding the miracle stories
        > willnot be solved through a philosophical dispute of the secular
        > versus the sacred. In this regard a literary analysis
        > of Mark's epilogue should provide an answer not a philophical
        > dispute on miracles and the afterlife.

        Hi Karel-
        I entirely agree that the _understanding_ of the miracle stories
        (or, rather, their rhetorical function and purpose) isn't a
        philosophical issue. The philosophical issue is the _possibility_
        of their being literally true. But textual analysis of the type
        you've performed reveals that it wasn't even their raison d'etre in
        the first place to report historical events, so whichever approach
        one takes, the result is the same - non-historicity. (And here, as
        elsewhere, I have in mind the so-called "nature miracles", not
        stories of "miraculous" healings, most of which one can readily
        believe. Indeed, the two types of stories are so disparate in my
        own mind that I'm constantly amazed that anyone would think to lump
        them together. To me, the one is possibly true, the other not.)

        I might also add that Craig's philosophical paper on methodology
        is of a different order from his arguments for the historicity of
        the empty tomb (the familiarity with which caused me to say that I
        was initially "biased" against him). One can agree with Craig the
        philosopher, and yet strongly dispute Craig the exegete.

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
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