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Re: [XTalk] Re: Jesus the Mathematician

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  • Jan Sammer
    Upon a careful consideration of the critiques provided by Mike Grondin and Frank McCoy, I would like to hereby withdraw a part of the thesis I presented
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 1, 2002
      Upon a careful consideration of the critiques provided by Mike Grondin and
      Frank McCoy, I would like to hereby withdraw a part of the thesis I
      presented earlier, specifically, the idea that Jesus' warning about the
      yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod in Mk. 8:15 is a reference to ordinary
      bread of the type offered by the disciplies for distribution to the crowds.
      This follows from the logic of the narrative. In 8:14 the disciples are said
      to have forgotten to bring extra bread with them in the boat. The next verse
      contains the mentioned warning. The verse that has convinced me to withdraw
      this part of my thesis is 8:16: "They started discussing among themselves:
      'He says this because we don't have any bread.'" Now it is clear that the
      disciples were wrong in this deduction. Not only is there no perceivable
      logical connection between the warning and any lack of bread on the boat,
      but given the general obtuseness of the disciples, any deduction of this
      sort made by them should be considered suspect. The subsequent exchange
      concerns a review and a comparison of the two feedings and is unrelated to
      the warning.

      The warning may refer to the request of the Pharisees for a sign from
      heaven, as Mike suggests, however this does not explain the reference to
      Herod. It may be a reference to false doctrines invented by human minds, as
      Frank suggests. The yeast was apparently viewed as something that has the
      ability to corrupt. I am not yet sure of my position on this; I just wished
      to correct my position by admitting that the link I previously suggested
      between the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod and the bread used in the
      feedings cannot be sustained.

      Jan

      Jan Sammer
      sammer@...
      Prague, Czech Republic
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... I have reasons for thinking this --and a number of other elements in this discussion (especially the Philonic interpretation) -- are incorrect. These
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 1, 2002
        Jan Sammer wrote:

        > Upon a careful consideration of the critiques provided by Mike
        > Grondin and
        > Frank McCoy, I would like to hereby withdraw a part of the thesis I
        > presented earlier, specifically, the idea that Jesus' warning about
        > the
        > yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod in Mk. 8:15 is a reference to
        > ordinary
        > bread of the type offered by the disciplies for distribution to the
        > crowds.
        > This follows from the logic of the narrative. In 8:14 the disciples
        > are said
        > to have forgotten to bring extra bread with them in the boat. The next
        > verse
        > contains the mentioned warning. The verse that has convinced me to
        > withdraw
        > this part of my thesis is 8:16: "They started discussing among
        > themselves:
        > 'He says this because we don't have any bread.'" Now it is clear that
        > the
        > disciples were wrong in this deduction. Not only is there no
        > perceivable
        > logical connection between the warning and any lack of bread on the
        > boat,
        > but given the general obtuseness of the disciples, any deduction of
        > this
        > sort made by them should be considered suspect. The subsequent
        > exchange
        > concerns a review and a comparison of the two feedings and is
        > unrelated to
        > the warning.

        I have reasons for thinking this --and a number of other elements in
        this discussion (especially the Philonic interpretation) -- are
        incorrect. These reasons were set out in a study of the passage I
        published in 1986 in JSNT article entitled "The Rebuke of the Disciples
        in Mk 8:14-21. Instead of summarizing them here, I'd rather set them out
        in full by reproducing the entirety of the article for your
        consideration. But it will take me until tomorrow morning to scan and
        upload it (it was written in pre word processor days, so it's not on
        disk!).

        I hope the discussion will wait until then.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey Gibson


        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Floor 1
        Chicago, Illinois 60626
        e-mail jgibson000@...
        jgibson000@...



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jan Sammer
        From: Wieland Willker ... understood ... Hello Wieland, I have looked for such evidence but have not found it (yet). I plan to
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 2, 2002
          From: "Wieland Willker" <willker@...-bremen.de>

          > Jan,
          >
          > is there any evidence from the first centuries that the story is
          understood
          > "correctly", that is in the way you proposed?
          >
          Hello Wieland,

          I have looked for such evidence but have not found it (yet). I plan to do
          another session this week with the CD-ROM version of J.P. Migne's
          Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, which has some fairly
          sophisticated search tools for its 220 digitized volumes. My preliminary
          search last month did not reveal anything noteworthy on this topic. The most
          common interpretation seems to be that the 12 kophinoi stand for the 12
          apostles. But I need to do a more systematic search. I will report on the
          results.

          Regards,

          Jan

          Jan Sammer
          sammer@...
          Prague, Czech Republic
        • Jan Sammer
          ... most ... I have now had the opportunity of doing more thorough research with the electronic version of J.P. Migne s Patrologiae Cursus Completus, courtesy
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 15, 2002
            Wieland Willker asked:

            > > Jan,
            > >
            > > is there any evidence from the first centuries that the story is
            > > understood "correctly", that is in the way you proposed?
            > >
            I responded:
            > I have looked for such evidence but have not found it (yet). I plan to do
            > another session this week with the CD-ROM version of J.P. Migne's
            > Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, which has some fairly
            > sophisticated search tools for its 220 digitized volumes. My preliminary
            > search last month did not reveal anything noteworthy on this topic. The
            most
            > common interpretation seems to be that the 12 kophinoi stand for the 12
            > apostles. But I need to do a more systematic search. I will report on the
            > results.
            >
            I have now had the opportunity of doing more thorough research with the
            electronic version of J.P. Migne's Patrologiae Cursus Completus, courtesy of
            the Theological Faculty of Charles University here in Prague. For someone
            used to consulting the venerable folio tomes of the PL and PG, its
            versatility more than makes up for the nostalgic feeling of handling the
            physical volumes. One can only hope that the PG will also become available
            in electronic format before too long.

            This time I did searches on cophinus, cophini, cophinorum and cophines; in a
            single day I was thus able to consult literally hundreds of authors. The
            most frequent interpretation is the one that still prevails, namely, that
            the twelve cophini refer to the twelve disciples, or the twelve tribes, or
            both. The seven spyrides (sportae in Latin) are most commonly linked with
            the seven churches.

            Numerous commentators state that cophini were used to carry earth and manure
            and that gathering anything in cophini was a demeaning and humiliating task.

            An interesting suggestion is made in a 12th century Commentary on the Gospel
            according to St. John by Rupertus Tuitiensis (PL. volume 169), who suggests
            that the twelve cophini of fragments were left over in order that each of
            the disciples who distributed the food should have a cophinus for himself to
            take away. ("duodecim fragmentorum cophini superfuerunt, ut unusquisque
            discipulorum qui ministraverant, suum reportaret cophinum.") I find this
            idea intriguing. After all, a cophinus was a small wicker basket used by
            Jews to carry their daily bread ration; if the disciples, after feeding the
            multitude, had to make do with the leftovers, that would be an extreme form
            of humiliation for them. This would tie in the narrative very neatly with
            the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman, who begs Jesus for figurative
            leftovers. The idea does not work quite so well for the feeding of the 4000,
            but there one should notice that after 8:8 ("they gathered of the leftover
            pieces seven spyrides") 8:9 states: "There were about four thousand of
            them." The grammatical structure of the Greek is consistent with the reading
            that those who gathered the leftovers in the spyrides were the four
            thousand. Thus in the first instance, the disciples would have taken up the
            pieces for themselves and in the second instance would have left the crowds
            to carry away the fragments. In any event, Rupertus' suggestion is certainly
            an original one and worth further consideration.

            I will continue this survey in a separate email, but before closing let me
            cite a sensational curiosity that made me shake my head in disbelief when I
            came across it: The "authentic" twelve cophini, with the original fragments
            of bread still in them, were among the relics kept in Constantinople as
            late as 1095 A.D.! This is made clear in a letter from the Emperor of
            Constantinople to Robert of Flanders, published in Vol. 155 of the PL. The
            Emperor tells Robert that it is better that you (presumable the Latins)
            should have Constantinople than the pagans, "because the city houses some
            of the most preciouse relics of the Lord, that is, the post to which he was
            tied, the whip with which he was whipped, the scarlet robe in which he was
            dressed, the crown of thorns with which he was crowned, the reed with which
            he held in his hands instead of a sceptre, the clothes that were taken off
            him before he was crucified, the greater part of the wood of the cross on
            which he was crucified, the nails with which he was attached, the linen that
            was found in the tomb after the resurrection, the twelve cophini of
            fragments of the five loaves and two fish, the head complete with hair and
            beard of St. John the Baptist..." An impressive list indeed. Here is the
            original citation:

            IMPERATORIS CONSTANTINOPOLITANI EPISTOLA AD ROBERTUM FLANDRIAE COMITEM ET
            OMNES CHRISTIANOS Ut sibi contra paganos opem ferant. (Anno 1095.) [MARTENE
            Thes. Anecd. I, 267, ex mss. duobus, uno monasterii S. Albini, altero
            monasterii S. Ebrulfi.]

            Nam melius est ut vos habeatis Constantinopolim quam pagani, quia in ea
            habentur pretiosissimae reliquiae Domini, id est statua ad quam fuit
            ligatus, flagellum unde fuit flagellatus, chlamys coccinea qua fuit indutus,
            corona spinea qua fuit coronatus, arundo quam vice sceptri manibus tulit,
            vestimenta quibus ante crucem spoliatus fuit, pars maxima ligni crucis in
            qua crucifixus fuit, clavi quibus affixus fuit, linteamina post
            resurrectionem in sepulcro inventa, duodecim cophini fragmentorum de quinque
            panibus et duobus piscibus, caput cum capillis integrum et barba sancti
            Joannis Baptistae, reliquiae vel corpora multorum innocentium, quorumdam
            prophetarum, et apostolorum, et martyrum, et maxime sancti Stephani
            protomartyris, et confessorum et virginum, quae ob nimium incrementum
            singulariter scribere intermisimus.


            To be continued...

            Jan

            Jan Sammer
            sammer@...
            Prague, Czech Republic
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