Re: Eric Eve Re: [XTalk] Miracles Again
----- Original Message -----
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
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
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
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
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
he has chosen" (1 Cor 15,38). Thus far ..philosophy.
Four literary data appear to me sufficient to arouse one's interest in a
Craig's literal interpretation. 1) Mark evidently refers to LXX Isa 22,16
"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
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
the women would have looked ahead of them in order to observe this
stead, they look 'up' ( ANABLEPSSASAI ), just as Jesus looked 'up' before
he multiplied the bread (6,41 ANABLEPSAS). This looking up evidently
a contact with heavenly realities.
4) If they had literally seen the removal of the stone, the angel should
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.
- --- Karel Hanhart wrote:
> ... I believe the quest for understanding the miracle storiesHi Karel-
> 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.
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.
Mt. Clemens, MI