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Re: [XTalk] Digest Number 272

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  • b/t long
    Dear Jeffrey Thanks for your help. I knew - even though the topic was off line - that someone would be able to point me in the right direction. If I think of
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2001
      Dear Jeffrey

      Thanks for your help. I knew - even though the topic was off line - that
      someone would be able to point me in the right direction.

      If I think of a connection I'll let you know.

      Best wishes

      Brian Long
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, 16 February 2001 8:32
      Subject: [XTalk] Digest Number 272


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      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > There are 6 messages in this issue.
      >
      > Topics in this digest:
      >
      > 1. Re: Miracles and modern historians/Healing stories
      > From: Karel Hanhart <K.Hanhart@...>
      > 2. Re: apples
      > From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
      > 3. classics list archives
      > From: Mike Myers <mmyers@...>
      > 4. Re: Apples
      > From: RSBrenchley@...
      > 5. Re: re: historical healing stories
      > From: "Antonio Jerez" <antonio.jerez@...>
      > 6. RE: List Buisness: Profiles
      > From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 1
      > Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 11:39:58 +0100
      > From: Karel Hanhart <K.Hanhart@...>
      > Subject: Re: Miracles and modern historians/Healing stories
      >
      > Dear Tom,
      >
      > Thank you for your reply. Let me preface your comments by stating that I
      recently
      > joined
      > X-talk but contributed to the L-Synoptic list. I referred there to my
      study of
      > Mark, The Open Tomb - a New Approach. Mark's Passover Haggadah (± 72 CE),
      > Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN
      > USA. Re: my methodology I would refer you to that publication.
      >
      > tomkirbel@... wrote:
      >
      > > I found Karel Hanhart's treatment of the walking on water, the healing
      of
      > > Jairus' daughter and the healing of Bartimaus very interesting. On
      closer
      > > examination, however, I think they illustrate exactly the problems I
      have
      > > with "midrash" interpretations in general, and lack of methodological
      > > transparency in particular.
      >
      > You are quite right. One must first study the phenomenon of midrash
      > in order to try to apply this kind of approach to Scripture. I also would
      > like to repeat that we should pursue "controlled midrash". The exegesis
      should
      > pass the controls of
      > source- and redaction criticism and of rhetorical analysis and of the
      other
      > hermeneutic methods to revover the original meaning in as far as that is
      possible.
      >
      > > Very briefly, my problem with the treatment
      > > of the Jairus and Bartimaus stories is that the refferences are too
      obscure
      > > for the treatment to be convincing.
      >
      > Why obscure? The religious, cultural and political situation of these
      small
      > Judean
      > towns and villages in the region with the biblical name "villages of Yaïr"
      was
      > precarious surrounded as they were by the Ten Cities in which Hellenic
      culture
      > where 'foreign' religions were practiced and enemy forces were encamped.
      >
      > > On the assumption that "Mark" intended to be understood in "creating"
      these
      >
      > > stories, refferences ought to be easily
      > > understandible for his intended audience.
      >
      > It is my assumption that Mark did not write for the general public but for
      > the celebration of Pesach by the early Christians. The stories were read
      > for the worshipers, children and adults, the uneducated and the literate.
      > Like all the stories in Scriptures they were told in a vivid manner that
      children
      > could easily understand. But the local presbyter would be the person to
      > interpret the metaphors in the stories. Names like Jaïrus and Bartimaeus
      > signaled the educated reader to search for the deeper meaning of the
      > story.
      >
      > The Jairus/villages of Jair
      >
      > > refference is unlikely to have been understood outside of Galilee even
      if
      > > Karel's otherwise unsubtantiated speculation that that designation of
      the
      > > villages surrounding Gallilee was used in the 1st century is correct.
      >
      > One rule I followed is that in midrash one searches first of all for a
      reference
      > to the
      > Hebrew Scripture that would apply to the text. In this case the "villages
      of Yaïr"
      >
      > would fit the requirement of the name (Gr Iaïros) would match the Hebrew
      Yaïr
      > the two regions would match and a Roman legion was indeed located in the
      > Decapolis.
      >
      > > Likewise, the refference to Plato's dialogue from Bartimaus is too
      obscure.
      > > If "Mark" was inventing a name, why choose the name of that dialogue?
      >
      > The "Timaios" was a well known, much debated and authoritative work by
      Plato.
      > Both the author of Mark and at least some of his bi-lingual readers were
      educated
      > in the Greek language and in rhetoric. Plato's works were read and studied
      in
      > the grammar schools.
      >
      > > Turning to the walking on water, Karel's interpretation is (I think)
      better
      > > subsantiated than Gordon's. At least it has some slight extended
      parallels
      > > in that both Jesus' and Moses' crossing the of the sea are preceded by
      meals,
      > > and both are succeded by an authoritative giving of/ interpretation of
      the
      > > law.
      >
      > In your reply you do allow for midrashic references to Scripture; to the
      > Exodus story and to Jonah. I wonder if you still want differentiate
      between
      > healings with at its core should be taken literally and so-called nature
      > miracles which alone may .be interpreted as metaphors?.
      >
      > > But this is the extent of the parallels (that I can determine in
      > > english translation). If "Mark" was making a midrash on that theme we
      would
      > > expect the theme to be more thoroughly interwoven into the related
      passages.
      > > Stronger parrallels between passover and the feeding of the five
      thousand
      > > would be drawn (perhaps by a meal of loaves and roast lamb?). The law
      theme
      > > would have been more dominant in uncleaness dispute. Further lexical
      > > parralells would also be in evidence (and may be in the original
      languages
      > > for all I know). We would also have expected "Matthew", surely amongst
      > > "Marks" intended audience, to have picked up the theme and more
      appropriatly
      > > located the pericope given his known organisational principles.
      > >
      > > The point of all this is that in this story the midrashic interpretation
      is
      > > again ad hoc. It is not predicted by general theoretical
      considerations, and
      > > generates no new predictions about editorial or lexical features of the
      text.
      > > All that it "explains" are the slight parrallels that suggested the
      > > hypothesis in the first place. So again, the naive interpretation,
      because
      > > simpler, is better supported by the textual evidence.
      >
      > The stories appear naive because they were intended also and first of
      > all for the children in the congregation. As such they can still
      > validly be taught to children. Our problem is the interpretation and
      application
      > by adults.
      >
      > I hope this has clarified my exegesis somewhat.
      >
      > your
      > Karel K.Hanhart@...
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 2
      > Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 08:04:43 -0600
      > From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
      > Subject: Re: apples
      >
      > b/t long wrote:
      >
      > > Hi
      > >
      > > I have been a part of on-going conversations for some time, albeit from
      the sidelines.
      > >
      > > I am a religious studies teacher at a high school in Australia.
      > >
      > > I ask this question - aware that it is not part of the discussion area.
      Ignore it if I am totally out of line.
      > >
      > > As I teach the story of Adam and Eve (as myth) I wonder where the apple
      came from - no translation of the bible has it; is not in the original. I
      look at Christian iconography. I ask myself why an apple. Is it a pun on
      malus? That's my best guess. The real reason may be simpler.
      > >
      > > Can anybody help?
      > >
      >
      > Let me begin by noting that strictly speaking, this question **is** "out
      of line". That is to say it really belongs on Jim West's Biblical Studies
      Discussion List at
      >
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblical-studies/
      >
      > in that (so far as I can see) it has almost nothing to do with the stated
      focus of XTalk.
      >
      > Be that as it may, I note that you are on the right track in sussing out
      why apple became synonymous with what actually is only denoted as "fruit" in
      Genesis. A full discussion of this took place some time ago on the Classics
      List. And I'm replying on this matter because I you message
      > gives me an opportunity to draw List Member's attention to the
      availability of the Classics List's archives, which can be searched by going
      to:
      >
      > http://www.plexoft.com/DTF/tint.html
      >
      > To see what was said on your question, go there and search under "bad
      apple".
      >
      > Yours,
      >
      > Jeffrey Gibson
      >
      > --
      > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
      > 7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      > Chicago, Illinois 60626
      > e-mail jgibson000@...
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 3
      > Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 09:12:23 -0800
      > From: Mike Myers <mmyers@...>
      > Subject: classics list archives
      >
      >
      > Let me begin by noting that strictly speaking, this question **is**
      > "out of line". That is to say it really belongs on Jim West's
      > Biblical Studies Discussion List at
      >
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblical-studies/
      >
      > in that (so far as I can see) it has almost nothing to do with the
      > stated focus of XTalk.
      >
      > Be that as it may, I note that you are on the right track in sussing
      > out why apple became synonymous with what actually is only denoted
      > as "fruit" in Genesis. A full discussion of this took place some
      > time ago on the Classics List. And I'm replying on this matter
      > because I you message
      > gives me an opportunity to draw List Member's attention to the
      > availability of the Classics List's archives, which can be searched
      > by going to:
      >
      > http://www.plexoft.com/DTF/tint.html
      >
      > To see what was said on your question, go there and search under
      > "bad apple".
      >
      > Yours,
      >
      > Jeffrey Gibson
      >
      > --
      > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
      > 7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      > Chicago, Illinois 60626
      > e-mail jgibson000@...
      >
      >
      > 09:12:23
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 4
      > Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 13:51:13 EST
      > From: RSBrenchley@...
      > Subject: Re: Apples
      >
      > Brian Long writes:
      >
      > > As I teach the story of Adam and Eve (as myth) I wonder where the apple
      > came
      > > from - no translation of the bible has it; is not in the original. I
      look
      > at
      > > Christian iconography. I ask myself why an apple. Is it a pun on malus?
      > > That's my best guess. The real reason may be simpler
      >
      > I can't place the reference, but I've come across the pun theory
      before;
      > as far as I know, it's probably correct.
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Robert Brenchley
      >
      > RSBrenchley@...
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 5
      > Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 23:11:48 +0100
      > From: "Antonio Jerez" <antonio.jerez@...>
      > Subject: Re: re: historical healing stories
      >
      > Tom Curtis wrote:
      >
      > Antonio Jerez wrote:
      > >the answer above makes me wonder.
      > >I would like to ask Tom a few questions:
      > >1. Why should a historian take seriously a claim by an ancient or
      modern text
      > >that a man is walking on water? Does Tom Curtis treat all ancient
      religious
      > >texts with the same kind of methodological seriousness as he does with
      the NT?
      > >Would he spill much sweat on investigating thoroughly muslim claims that
      Muhammed
      > >flew on a horse to Jerusalem or Buddha having a fight with the demon
      Mara?>>
      >
      > >> If I was studying (as I am not) Muhammed or Buddha, yes. If I was
      studying
      > >>Claudius, and similar miracles were attributed to him, no. The
      difference is
      > >>in the range of open questions regarding the respective persons. It is
      not
      > >>an open question for any scholar or any member of the public (so far as
      I
      > >>know) that Claudius was the son of a god, and latter became divine. It
      is an
      > >>open question for many scholars, and still more for many non-scholars
      that
      > >>(respectively) Jesus was the son of God, Muhammed was Allah's last and
      > >>greatest prophet, or that Buddha achieved enlightenment and showed many
      > >>others how to do the same.
      >
      > Good for you if you want to check out the veracity claims of Buddha's or
      Muhammeds
      > miracles - though I personally see it as a total waste of time. But I
      believe that you
      > bypassed my question(s) a bit. You mentioned that some scholars and layman
      think it is an
      > open question if Jesus is the son of God. Although I think a historian can
      answer that question
      > with a high degree of probability (= NO, since there is little sign that
      anything remotely like the
      > Christian God exists in this universe), I do believe that the question is
      so broad that the answer
      > would be more of a value judgment. I was asking a more specific question.
      Why should a historian
      > take seriously a claim by an ancient or modern text that a man is walking
      on water? Do you have
      > any kind of evidence (outside old texts) that there is the slightest
      possibility of walking on water
      > by willpower?
      >
      > << 2. Has Tom Curtis ever seen a man walking on liquid water? What makes
      him
      > >believe that a historian should put much effort into investigating claims
      > >like that?>>
      >
      > >> Well, no actually. Nor have I seen anyone who was claimed to be the
      son of
      > >>God. Nor have I seen any a priori disproof of the religious claims made
      > >>about Jesus. So long as a question is open for any significant numbers
      of
      > >>the scholarly community or the general public, we should not employ a
      > >>methodology that begs that question.
      >
      > Maybe here is where we find the problem. You say you have never met anbody
      > who claimed to be the Son of God. I on the other hand have met both people
      who
      > claim to be divine incarnations (in India), prophets who are in direct
      contact with
      > God and Jesus (in Sweden), supposed healers (around the world) and
      believers
      > and non-believers of all kinds. I have studied parapsychology, physics,
      astronomy,
      > antropology and traveled extensively around the globe. That is probably
      the reason
      > why I do not find it meaningful to investigate claims about people walking
      on water.
      > I am always open for new evidence, but I will not be content with a
      scholar just pointing
      > to a book and saying that just because he believes in that book and
      millions of others
      > do it it is a perfectly legitimate question to ask for a serious
      historian. I do not see much
      > difference between your line of reasoning and the line taken by the
      creationist "scientists"
      > in the USA.
      >
      > <Personally I am dead tired of biblical scholars trying to insinuate
      that one
      > > worldview is not really better than the other and that the secular
      > >historical
      > >method (basically invented by Thycydides) has no more explanatory power
      > > than the method (don't exclude the supernatural!) that Tom Curtis is
      > >offering.
      > > If Tom Curtis wants to follow in the footsteps of Herodotus that is OK
      for
      > >me,
      > >but don´t try to argue that you are doing serious historical research
      or
      > >that
      > >your treatment of the data is just as good as anybody elses.>>
      >
      > >>Actually I am certain that one world view is better than any other. I
      am
      > >>uncertain as to which world view that is, and I want to strenuosly
      resist
      > >>methodological assumptions as to which beg the question as to which is
      the
      > >>best world view. I had hoped that if you responded you would provide a
      more
      > >>cogent argument for the secular historical method than this. As it
      stands
      > >>your argument seems to rest on an appeal to authority (Thucydides is
      better
      > >>than Herodotus). As an aside, my methodology is not that ascribed to
      > >>Herodotus, but rather; do not exclude the supernatural without reason.
      >
      > Maybe your uncertainty about which world view has better explanatory power
      > is due precisely to what I perceive to be a lack of deeper aquaintance
      with the
      > real world outside the ancient texts that you have probable spent
      thousands of
      > hours reading through. I do not rest my case on appeal to authority. What
      I find
      > refreshing about Thycidides is that he FIRST tried to find natural
      explanations for
      > historical phenomena. If you can explain things without the supernatural
      you do
      > not have to ask much further. The last 500 years of European scientific
      history
      > has amply demonstrated that this is the way to go forward, both in science
      and
      > the historical inquiery. My own opinion is that you are worthless as a
      historian
      > (specially one who wants to study supposed supernatural events) if you do
      not
      > study quite a bit of science. I also want to point out that I do not rule
      out the
      > supernatural without reason; it's precisely because I have studied the
      world outside
      > the books that I have come to the conclusion that we can leave out
      supernatural
      > explanations IF we do not find strong evidence to the contrary in certain
      cases.
      > If I understand your line of reasoning a historian should never rule out
      anything
      > when he deals with texts. If enough people think a thing is still open to
      debate
      > they are asking perfectly legitimate questions and should be treated as
      scholars
      > and true historians. What about the creationist scientists or all the
      millions around
      > the world who believe that we still haven't solved the mystery of the
      fairies? I don´t
      > see much difference between you and them.
      >
      >
      > > So,
      > >>for example, there are very good historical reasons to reject Matthew's
      > >>account of ressurections accompanying the death of Jesus (supernatural),
      as
      > >>also there are good historical reasons to reject the historicity of the
      guard
      > >>at the tomb (natural). It is not clear to me that there are good
      historical
      > >>(as opposed to metapysical) reasons to reject the walking on water. If
      you
      > >>have such good historical reasons I would very much like to see them.
      > >>However, if your historical argumentation presuposes the answer to a
      > >>metaphysical question, I think it is question begging in relation to
      many of
      > >>the historical questions raised about Jesus, including the ones I am
      > >>interested in. Not as question begging as the fundamentalist's whose
      > >>methodological assumptions beg even more questions - but the difference
      is in
      > >>degree, not kind.
      >
      > Je ne comprand. As I see it historical study can hardly stand apart from
      other
      > sciences like sociology, antropology and "hard" sciences like physics and
      chemistry.
      > Before a historian should even consider taking a claim about walking on
      water seriously
      > we should want the scholar who argues otherwise to give at least one
      little
      > piece of evidence from the real world that this phenomenon is even a
      remote possibilty.
      > One who only argues from what happenes in an ancient text is hardly a
      historian. The
      > burden of evidence is on you, not on me. You could just as well ask me to
      disprove that
      > there are no Unicorns anywhere in the universe.
      >
      >
      >
      > >>t asking you to reject your world view in your writtings. I am
      > asking you, and other scholars to admit, were appropriate that on
      historical
      > grounds, Jesus walking on water could have happened (or is as well
      supported
      > as his baptism by John, or the triumphal entry or whatever best captures
      the
      > case), but because I am a metaphysical naturalist (or whatever) I do not
      > believe it happened so this is my account of what happened (or how the
      story
      > came into existance etc.). I am asking, in fact, for methodological
      > >>transperacy, not methodological naivete.
      >
      > I still don't understand. I hardly think that you can compare a man's
      baptism
      > with a man walking on water. The first case is hardly out of the ordinary,
      > the second is very much out of the ordinary. It would be a fool of a
      historian
      > who treated both kind of phenomena with the same kind of "methodological
      > transparency", specially if he lives in the year 2001
      >
      > >> Turning to another point, I do think that the secular historical method
      has
      > >>no more explanatory power than the naive supernaturalism if Herodotus or
      the
      > >>"method" I am recommending. It is theories (I believe) that have
      explanatory
      > >>power, and methods are means of testing theories. The appropriate
      method
      > >>depends (and this is my point) on the theories which are still live
      options
      > >>in the area of study. A theology is a theory, whether we agree with it
      or
      > >>not. No theology is a good predictor in science. The theories of God's
      > >>psychology are simply to vague to make detailed predictions. In
      consequence
      > >>no theological theory is tested by science, and methodological
      naturalism is
      > >>appropriate in science. The same applies in secular history. Certainly
      in
      > >>World War 1 the theologies of British and German theologians and pastors
      were
      > >>not adequate to make any predictions about whose side God was on. In
      > >>"sacred" history, however, many theologies do make effective predictions
      and
      > >>so those theories are in question as to their explanatory power.
      > >>Methodological naturalism is, therefore, as out of place as
      methodological
      > >>supernaturalism (admiting only of supernatural explanations) in sacred
      > >>history.
      >
      > This reminds me of the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould's recent essay
      where
      > he argued that science and theology shouldn´t really be in opposition to
      each
      > other since they dealt with different things. The essay only showed that
      Gould
      > is a good scientist but an ingnoramus when it comes to theology and
      comparative
      > religion. Theology is not just about "God's" psychology. Theology and
      religious
      > systems also make claims about the outside world and why it looks and
      works in
      > a certain way. Many of these claims can be tested scientifically. Which is
      why
      > fewer and fewer people knowadays believe in raging demons or the ability
      of
      > gurus to walk on water.
      >
      > Best wishes
      >
      > Antonio Jerez
      > Göteborg, Sweden
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 6
      > Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 18:23:57 -0500
      > From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
      > Subject: RE: List Buisness: Profiles
      >
      > Jeffrey Gibson said:
      >
      > >>For the heck of it, I've just added my photo to my (admittedly
      > brief) profile.<<
      >
      > Hmmm. I thought you'd be taller. <g>
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Dave Hindley
      > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      >
      >
      >
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