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Re: [XTalk] Sabbath and Circumcision

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  • Karel Hanhart
    Ernest, Before one enters the discussion on the strict or lenient observance of the Sabbath itself, one must explain the peculiar use of a) the use of sabbaton
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 9, 2005
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      Ernest,

      Before one enters the discussion on the strict or lenient observance of the
      Sabbath itself, one must explain the peculiar use of
      a) the use of sabbaton in the singular and the plural in Mark; as I see it
      sabbaton in the plural stands for the seven weeks of Pentecost.
      b) the important characterization of Mark by Papias 'ou mentoi taxei': Mark
      did not write in the (liturgical!) order
      c) the peculiar name 'en miai ton sabbaton' of the Sunday of the women's
      vision in Mark's ending
      d) the remarkable connection between 'healings' and 'sabbaton' (singular and
      plural) in the canonical Gospels.
      e) why in 'story time' Jesus was buried on the first day of Pentecost
      according to the Pharisaic calendar (instituted as I calculate under Herod
      Agrippa, 40-44 CE) and why the angel's message on Jesus'resurrection was
      heard 'on day ONE OF THE SABBATHS' , meaning on the first day of the
      Pentecostal harvest.

      I am eager to know your reactions to my explanation of these points given
      in the archive in message 18664 on March 24, 2005 (en tois sabbasin) and
      message 18655 (ou mentoi taxei) also on March 24, 2005.

      cordially,

      Karel


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Ernest Pennells" <pennells@...>
      To: "XTalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 1:28 PM
      Subject: [XTalk] Sabbath and Circumcision


      >
      >
      > The Gospels provide ample evidence that Sabbath was a high profile issue
      > between Jesus and his antagonists. It stands alongside sharing table with
      > tax collectors and sinners as a major point of conflict. Any polemic that
      > might attach to Jesus resting in the tomb throughout a Sabbath would
      > appear
      > to soften the issue by a demonstration of compliance. Apart from an
      > oblique
      > reference to observing Sabbaths, there is no indication of this being an
      > issue in the NT church. That is odd because, as Gentiles joined the
      > ranks,
      > this would seem to offer no less a flash-point than the highly contentious
      > issue of circumcision.
      >
      > That circumcision is not an issue in the Gospels is hardly surprising.
      > The
      > only references relate to the birth of JBap and Jesus, and an argument
      > that
      > circumcision is one form of work accepted on the Sabbath. Circumcision is
      > clearly an interface issue between Jew and Gentile converts. Sabbath also
      > has that potential, but is presented as an internal Jewish issue on
      > levels
      > of observance. Jesus did not assault Sabbath with anything like the venom
      > attributed to Paul regarding circumcision. His recorded habit of
      > attending
      > synagogue on the Sabbath is another token of compliance.
      >
      > From this textual evidence, it might be argued that the NT portrays an
      > assault upon two pillars of Judaism: Sabbath and circumcision. This
      > certainly has a legitimate ring when Judaism is viewed from a Gentile
      > perspective, where Sabbath and circumcision stand out as distinctive
      > features that clash with Gentile praxis. The odd thing is that Sabbath is
      > portrayed as a major issue for Jesus, but not for the nascent church;
      > but
      > circumcision is portrayed as a major issue for the church, but not for
      > Jesus. This appears to run counter to the argument that Gospel tradition
      > reflects concerns of the church at the time the Gospels were written.
      >
      > I am puzzled by the dichotomy between the prominence of Sabbath in the
      > Gospels, and its conspicuous absence later. Any suggestions?
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Ernie Pennells
      > Samaa el Maadi Tower No 2B
      > Level 12 Apartment 4
      > 28 Corniche el Nil
      > Cairo, Egypt
      > Tel: (20-2)526 6383 Mobile 0121001490
      > http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html
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    • Ernest Pennells
      [Karel Hanhart] ... I regret that I have not kept pace with the intricacies of your arguments along this theme, Karel. With my study resources still stranded
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 10, 2005
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        [Karel Hanhart]
        >I am eager to know your reactions to my explanation of these points <

        I regret that I have not kept pace with the intricacies of your arguments
        along this theme, Karel. With my study resources still stranded in
        Vancouver I am ill equipped to tackle breaching that gap. Meanwhile I am
        comfortably paddling in less controversial waters where the events of the
        Passion are tied to Passover rather than Pentecost, and the record of
        Jesus' frequent arguments about Sabbath relate to the seventh day of the
        week. I must leave the debate on the questions you raise in better equipped
        hands until I am granted an opportunity to catch up on this subject matter.

        Does your reading of the text yield particular insights regarding the
        disparity between the prominence of Sabbath conflict in the Gospels, and
        its relative invisibility in the rest of the NT?

        Regards,

        Ernie Pennells
        Samaa el Maadi Tower No 2B
        Level 12 Apartment 4
        28 Corniche el Nil
        Cairo, Egypt
        Tel: (20-2)526 6383 Mobile 0121001490
        http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html
      • Karel Hanhart
        [Ernest] Members of an age old Christian culture and worship, are so used to think of Passover in terms of the triduum: Friday-Saturday- Easter Sunday that
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 10, 2005
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          [Ernest]

          Members of an age old Christian culture and worship, are so used to think of
          Passover in terms of the triduum: Friday-Saturday- Easter Sunday that
          thinking in terms of Pesach in the night of nisan 14/15 (full moon) and
          Shabuoth (first of the 50 harvest days) is highly confusing to them.
          Students are constantly confused - especially in Holland since the Dutch
          word for the Jewish Pesach and for the Christian Easter is the very same
          word: Pasen. Nevertheless, it is self evident that in pre-70 times
          Christian Judeans followed the Jewish calendar and farmers brought their
          "firstlings" to the Temple on what we call Easter Day, that is the Sunday
          after Pesach (cf. Lev 23,11.15), until the calendar was changed.

          You write about wanting to "comfortably paddle in less controversial waters
          where the events of the Passion are tied to Passover rather than Pentecost".

          I have been writing about the Passion and the (Jewish) Passover in the time
          of Jesus. I simply point out that Jesus died on Friday, which fell on the
          day of Passover that year, and that the story of the Supper on Thursday
          night, was a Christian interpretation of the meaning of Pesach.

          I truly wonder why you and others consider the indisputable historical
          difference as CONTROVERSIAL between the PHARISAIC calendar (the first day of
          the harvest is nisan 16 - the day of the burial story -) and the ANCIENT
          PRIESTLY calendar (the first day should be the Sunday after Pesach - the day
          of the women's vision)? The latter was followed by Christian Judeans,
          Samaritans and Qumranites.

          I wonder is it controversial because I insist on considering the narrative
          as a first century (Christian) JEWISH document? Or is it because of my
          denial of the historicity of the empty tomb because Mark's ending is a
          midrash on LXX Isa 22,16; 33,126 and Gen 29, 2,3,5? One strange aspect of
          the so-called controversy is, that the conclusions I derived from the above
          facts have not been seriously reviewed up till now; they are simply
          dismissed. My perplexity is genuine, I assure you.
          As to your last question (below). The disputes in chapters 1, 2 and 3 of
          Mark should not be called Sabbath controversies, as is often done. They take
          place within the seven weeks of the harvest (N.B. ch 4) and they describe
          the astounding and ever widening effect of Jesus' ministry in Galilee and
          the ever increasing opposition by Jesus' opponents (with a fast forward
          glance at the later post crucifixion opposition of his followers).
          Close reading shows that only two Sabbaths (1,21; 3,1) are involved; 'tois
          sabbasin' in the plural means, I think, during Shabuoth; 1,21 and 4,1 are
          the last two of the seven Sabbaths of Shabuoth (Pentecost).
          The Gospel begins and ends on the "first" of the fifty days of Pentecost, a
          Sunday.

          cordially

          Karel




          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Ernest Pennells" <pennells@...>
          To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2005 11:10 AM
          Subject: RE: [XTalk] Sabbath and Circumcision


          >
          > [Karel Hanhart]
          >>I am eager to know your reactions to my explanation of these points <
          >
          > I regret that I have not kept pace with the intricacies of your arguments
          > along this theme, Karel. With my study resources still stranded in
          > Vancouver I am ill equipped to tackle breaching that gap. Meanwhile I am
          > comfortably paddling in less controversial waters where the events of the
          > Passion are tied to Passover rather than Pentecost, and the record of
          > Jesus' frequent arguments about Sabbath relate to the seventh day of the
          > week. I must leave the debate on the questions you raise in better
          > equipped
          > hands until I am granted an opportunity to catch up on this subject
          > matter.
          >
          > Does your reading of the text yield particular insights regarding the
          > disparity between the prominence of Sabbath conflict in the Gospels, and
          > its relative invisibility in the rest of the NT?
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Ernie Pennells
          > Samaa el Maadi Tower No 2B
          > Level 12 Apartment 4
          > 28 Corniche el Nil
          > Cairo, Egypt
          > Tel: (20-2)526 6383 Mobile 0121001490
          > http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
          >
          > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
          > crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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        • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... A very curious claim.  It seems to me to overlook several facts. In the first place, the plural  TA SABBATA was not originally a plural; it is simply
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 10, 2005
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            Karel Hanhart wrote:

            >  'tois
            > sabbasin' in the plural means, I think, during Shabuoth;.

            A very curious claim.  It seems to me to overlook several facts.

            In the first place, the plural  TA SABBATA was not originally a plural; it is
            simply the Heb. sáabbaµt or ãabbat --  the "A" is from the outset a purely vocal
            addition to reproduce the Heb. -t in Gk. (see ” E. Schwyzer, “Altes u. Neues zu
            [hbr.-]griech. sabbata [griech.-]lat. sabbata usw.,” Zschr. f. vergleichende
            Sprachforschung, 62 (1935), 10). In practical usage, however, TA SABBATA was then
            assimilated to the comprehensive plur. of Gk. festivals (see Schwyzer, Griech.
            Grammatik, II, 43 with n. 5).

            Secondly,  when we see the noun used in Greek Biblical and related literature in
            the dative plural -- in either in the form TOIS SABBASIN or in the form TOIS
            SABBATOIS (the first in 1 Macc. 2:38; Jos.Ant., 13, 337; 16, 163; Vit., 279, the
            second in Nu. 28:10 LXX; 2 Ch. 2:3 etc.  and also in Jos.Ant., 3, 294; 11, 346;
            12, 4 and 276 f.; 13, 252; Bell., 1, 146,  it is never used to mean to mean
            "during Shabuoth"  (see further Str-BilI, 610f.; Pr.-Bauer5, s.v.).

            Third, the use of the plural of the noun to mean "the Sabbath" is common in Greek
            Biblical and related literature. See e.g.,  Ex. 20:10;  Jos.Ant., 3, 143. Ant., 1,
            33; 3, 237; 11, 77.  See too Ex. 20:8 LXX; 35:3: Dt. 5:12; Jer. 17ò21f.; Jos.Ant.,
            7, 305; 12, 259 and 274; 13, 12; 14, 226  where we find hH hHMERA TWN SABBATWN
            used for "the Sabbath".

            So like your claim about what Papias is saying with his OU MENTOI TAXEI (which
            patently ignores the context in which these words appaer and their referent),  I
            find this claim about the meaning of TOIS SABBASINanother example of your special
            pleading.

            Jeffrey
            --

            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

            1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
            Chicago, IL 60626

            jgibson000@...
             
          • Karel Hanhart
            Jeffrey, May I refer you to pp 269 - 298 in particular to note 35 of my The Open Tomb on the critique of Schwyzer s article? In fundamental scholarly
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 12, 2005
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              Jeffrey,


              May I refer you to pp 269 - 298 in particular to note 35 of my The Open Tomb
              on the critique of Schwyzer's article? In fundamental scholarly discussion
              it is customary to at least know the argumentation and conclusions of the
              partner before critiquing his/her position. Forgive me for being slightly
              irritated. Are we simply rehashing tired old arguments in this list, or are
              we informing each other of new research and discuss it?
              It is easy to check Bauer-Gingrich, Greek Dictionary of the New Testament
              Literature and then triumphantly cite the article mentioned there [in casu
              Schwyzer's article in your reply below] in defence of the questionable
              position taken by that dictionary as the authority on which one bases a
              reply. Most of us have Bauer's Dictionary on their shelf and it is an easy
              matter just to cite it. I assume you actually have read that article, have
              you? But what do you say about my critique of that article?

              cordially,

              Karel

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
              To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 1:54 AM
              Subject: Re: [XTalk] Sabbath and Circumcision


              >
              >
              >
              > Karel Hanhart wrote:
              >
              >> 'tois
              >> sabbasin' in the plural means, I think, during Shabuoth;.
              >
              > A very curious claim. It seems to me to overlook several facts.
              >
              > In the first place, the plural TA SABBATA was not originally a plural; it
              > is
              > simply the Heb. sáabbaµt or ãabbat -- the "A" is from the outset a purely
              > vocal
              > addition to reproduce the Heb. -t in Gk. (see ” E. Schwyzer, “Altes u.
              > Neues zu
              > [hbr.-]griech. sabbata [griech.-]lat. sabbata usw.,” Zschr. f.
              > vergleichende
              > Sprachforschung, 62 (1935), 10). In practical usage, however, TA SABBATA
              > was then
              > assimilated to the comprehensive plur. of Gk. festivals (see Schwyzer,
              > Griech.
              > Grammatik, II, 43 with n. 5).
              >
              > Secondly, when we see the noun used in Greek Biblical and related
              > literature in
              > the dative plural -- in either in the form TOIS SABBASIN or in the form
              > TOIS
              > SABBATOIS (the first in 1 Macc. 2:38; Jos.Ant., 13, 337; 16, 163; Vit.,
              > 279, the
              > second in Nu. 28:10 LXX; 2 Ch. 2:3 etc. and also in Jos.Ant., 3, 294; 11,
              > 346;
              > 12, 4 and 276 f.; 13, 252; Bell., 1, 146, it is never used to mean to mean
              > "during Shabuoth" (see further Str-BilI, 610f.; Pr.-Bauer5, s.v.).
              >
              > Third, the use of the plural of the noun to mean "the Sabbath" is common
              > in Greek
              > Biblical and related literature. See e.g., Ex. 20:10; Jos.Ant., 3, 143.
              > Ant., 1,
              > 33; 3, 237; 11, 77. See too Ex. 20:8 LXX; 35:3: Dt. 5:12; Jer. 17ò21f.;
              > Jos.Ant.,
              > 7, 305; 12, 259 and 274; 13, 12; 14, 226 where we find hH hHMERA TWN
              > SABBATWN
              > used for "the Sabbath".
              >
              > So like your claim about what Papias is saying with his OU MENTOI TAXEI
              > (which
              > patently ignores the context in which these words appaer and their
              > referent), I
              > find this claim about the meaning of TOIS SABBASINanother example of your
              > special
              > pleading.
              >
              > Jeffrey
              > --
              >
              > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
              >
              > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
              > Chicago, IL 60626
              >
              > jgibson000@...
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
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            • Karel Hanhart
              Should we not take Mark s clear distinction between sabbaton in the singular (2,27) and sabbata into account? Mark names the day of the women s vision
              Message 6 of 14 , May 14, 2005
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                Should we not take Mark's clear distinction between 'sabbaton' in the
                singular (2,27) and 'sabbata' into account? Mark names the day of the
                women's vision near the monumental tomb "day one of the sabbaths (16,2
                plural)." Because this day fell after the day of Passover, Mark must have
                meant the first day of the Pentecostal harvest that should fall on the
                Sunday after Passover according to Lev 23,11.15.
                The emphasis Mark lends to the time-sequence of Good Friday (on Passover
                Day), and the sharp contrast between the burial at the onset of the Sabbath
                and the resurrection message on Sunday, can be explained by the sharp
                contrast between the priestly calendar (cf Leviticus) and the (newly)
                introduced Pharisaic calendar declaring Nisan 16 (the burial Sabbath) to be
                the "first day of the harvest". The introduction was most likely forced on
                the population under Herodes Agrippa I (40-44 CE); it coincided with a
                severe persecution of the Christian adherents to Jesus (Acts 12,1).
                Consequently, the 'healing' miracles in the face of disapproving elders,
                Pharisees and 'Herodians' taking place in chpt 2 and 3, are wrongly labeled
                "sabbath controversies." The term 'en tois sabbasin' (2,23.24; 3,3 and 4)
                refers to "the harvest season" (lit. during the period of the seven
                sabbaths); the healings reflect the beneficial 'harvest' of Jesus'ministry
                as well as the controversy that arose after the Pharisaic calendar was
                introduced.
                The use of the term ''Sabbath" is highly significant and the question why
                the early community insisted on the 'Sunday' and at the same time continued
                hallowing the Sabbath is not an easy matter to solve. As we all agree, the
                exegete is bound to follow Mark's own distinctions and avoid facile
                explanations circumventing these real problems of the festival calendar.
                Part of the explanation regarding John using 'sabbaton' (sing) in 5,9.10;
                9,14.16 is the simple fact that the Pharisaic datings of the seven weeks of
                Pentecost had been official for some 60 years. Another part of the
                explanation has to do with John's peculiar dating of the crucifixion and the
                appearnce to M.Magdalene His Gentile readers would have difficulty to
                unravel the complications of these time indicators. John simplified the
                controversy: With the synoptics the days remain on Friday and Sunday and
                with the Pharisaic dating the appearance to Mary and the eleven on (Sunday)
                Nisan 16!!

                cordially,

                Karel Hanhart


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Ernest Pennells" <pennells@...>
                To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 8:03 PM
                Subject: RE: [XTalk] Sabbath and Circumcision


                >
                >
                > [John Poirier]
                >>But perhaps sabbath observance is included in Paul's reference to
                >>observing
                > "days, and months, and times, and years" (Gal 4:10).<
                >
                > [Liz Williams]
                >>Yes, and also "Some judge one day to be better than another, while others
                > judge all days to be alike", in Rom 14:5.<
                >
                > Agreed, but I am not aware of any record of discord comparable with the
                > sabbath and circumcision controversies.
                >
                > [John Poirier]
                >>it isn't that Jesus healed on the sabbath ... but rather that he commanded
                > those whom he healed to break the sabbath,... If we consider this in the
                > light of J. L. Martyn's stereoscopic hermeneutic (as I believe we should),
                > it would seem to imply that the Johannine church was fighting against a
                > group insisting on sabbath observance.<
                >
                > Stereoscopic hermeneutic sounds like fun, John - does it come with
                > coloured
                > glasses? :-). Seriously, though, given the strength of the discord
                > around
                > sabbath and circumcision, I am amazed that we don't have direct evidence
                > of
                > disputes around the sabbath issue [to my knowledge: have I missed
                > something?].
                >
                > [Ian Rock]
                >>Would you not have to add a third to these - the issue of diet, which is
                > common to the Gospels, Acts and the Pauline corpus?<
                >
                > Peter's vision; the domical saying about not being defiled by what enters
                > the body; and, possibly, table fellowship issues certainly show there
                > was
                > disagreement on this front. But, again, somewhat low-key compared with
                > S&C.
                >
                > Let's face it: sabbath was a rather more visible issue than
                > circumcision -
                > how did it not generate a rift? The stance attributed to Jesus in the
                > canonical Gospels might easily have become like fuel to the fire for such
                > a
                > dispute, although it is hard to believe that the tradition could be taken
                > as abrogating the sabbath, in line with the dominical saying that was
                > said
                > to declare all food clean.
                >
                > Regards,
                >
                > Ernie Pennells
                > Samaa el Maadi Tower No 2B
                > Level 12 Apartment 4
                > 28 Corniche el Nil
                > Cairo, Egypt
                > Tel: (20-2)526 6383 Mobile 0121001490
                > http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                >
                > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
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