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Re: [XTalk] Re: Jesus the Mathematician

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  • 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 1 of 4 , Apr 1, 2002
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      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 2 of 4 , Apr 2, 2002
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        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 3 of 4 , Apr 15, 2002
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          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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