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Jesus as Mathmetician

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    I have uploaded my article on the Rebuke of the Disciples in Mark 8:14-21 (from JSNT 27 [1986] 31-47) to our files page. It may be accessed through:
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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      I have uploaded my article on the Rebuke of the Disciples in Mark
      8:14-21 (from JSNT 27 [1986] 31-47) to our files page. It may be
      accessed through:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/files/ReBuke%20of%20the%20Disciples.htm

      I will be very interested in hearing how those who have been
      participating in the Jesus as mathematician thread react to all that I
      say there.

      Yours,

      Jeffrey

      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      Floor 1
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
      jgibson000@...
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... Thank you very much for making available such an intriguing article. It puts this crux into a whole new light. I am not sure I buy into it -- yet. Some
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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        At 02:32 PM 4/2/2002 -0600, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
        >I have uploaded my article on the Rebuke of the Disciples in Mark
        >8:14-21 (from JSNT 27 [1986] 31-47) to our files page.

        Thank you very much for making available such an intriguing
        article. It puts this crux into a whole new light. I am
        not sure I buy into it -- yet.

        Some questions:

        1. How do you view Mark 6:52 on your interpretation?

        2. Is there anything outside of 8:14-21 that would indicate
        that the disciples would be opposed to the extension of Israel's
        salvation to the Gentiles? If not, why would Mark bring up
        this issue in such an indirect and subtle manner?

        3. Didn't the feeding of the 4000 already occur in Gentile
        territory?

        4. Aren't you disappointed that Marcus's commentary did not cover
        your proposal? :-)

        Stephen Carlson
        --
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
        "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... To be honest, I am not certain how it fits. At some point I will have to give the passage some attention. ... Is it subtle and indirect? The fact that Mark
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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          "Stephen C. Carlson" wrote:

          > At 02:32 PM 4/2/2002 -0600, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
          > >I have uploaded my article on the Rebuke of the Disciples in Mark
          > >8:14-21 (from JSNT 27 [1986] 31-47) to our files page.
          >
          > Thank you very much for making available such an intriguing
          > article. It puts this crux into a whole new light. I am
          > not sure I buy into it -- yet.
          >
          > Some questions:
          >
          > 1. How do you view Mark 6:52 on your interpretation?

          To be honest, I am not certain how it fits. At some point I will have to
          give the passage some attention.

          > 2. Is there anything outside of 8:14-21 that would indicate
          > that the disciples would be opposed to the extension of Israel's
          > salvation to the Gentiles? If not, why would Mark bring up
          > this issue in such an indirect and subtle manner?
          >

          Is it subtle and indirect? The fact that Mark has Jesus use OT apostasy
          language of the disciples that he has had Jesus used at 4:11-12 of
          Pharisees and Herodians and all those opposed to what he says and does,
          seems hardly subtle to me.

          In any case, Mark presents the story of Jesus as a story in which Jesus
          is progressively bereft and abandoned by (to use Johannine language)
          those who should have received him, **especially** the disciples,
          because of their going over to "thinking the things of men" with respect
          to a representative of Yahweh serving, and giving his life on behalf
          of, the "many". In other words, the whole "blindness of the disciples"
          theme, as well as the theme of the disciples' betrayal of Jesus is
          grounded in their opposition to what Jesus says with regard to the
          traditional enemies of Israel.

          There's also the fact that the Rebuke story -- and its warning that the
          disciples are being corrupted by the leaven of the Pharisees and the
          Herodians -- takes place after the Pharisees, in response to the
          feeding, dispute with Jesus over the validity of what he does in God's
          name and show themselves, as they do in Mk 2:13-3:1-6, to be violently
          opposed to Jesus refusing to make distinctions on the basis of Pharisaic
          definitions of who is in and who is out regarding who is in and who is
          outside of Israel.

          > 3. Didn't the feeding of the 4000 already occur in Gentile
          > territory?
          >

          In one of my end notes, I note that this is what Boobyer argued, and if
          true, heightens the issue, since there would be no mistaking what
          direction the Marcan Jesus' ministry is taking.

          >
          > 4. Aren't you disappointed that Marcus's commentary did not cover
          > your proposal? :-)
          >

          Sure am, especially since he seems to be aware of other things on Mark I
          wrote after I wrote this article. However, R.T. France in his new
          commentary on GMark did take the article into account. You win a few you
          lose a few.

          Yours,

          Jeffrey

          --
          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]
        • mwgrondin
          ... Yes, on the face of it, 6:52 seems to support the view that the rebuke in the ship may have been occasioned by the failure/refusal of many Xians of Mark s
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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            --- Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
            > To be honest, I am not certain how [6.52] fits. At some point
            > I will have to give the passage some attention.

            Yes, on the face of it, 6:52 seems to support the view that the
            rebuke in the ship may have been occasioned by the failure/refusal
            of many Xians of Mark's generation to accept the necessity of "a
            representative of Yahweh ... giving his life on behalf of,
            the "many"." An echo of martyrological debates? If so, Mark may
            have been reminding his readers of earlier days in which "the
            five" and "the seven" were "broken" to "feed the many". Not to say
            that I think this excludes your analysis. Is it possible that Mark
            may have (also?) been chiding the Jerusalem group for a refusal to
            send any of their own apostles to "the other side" other than a
            single "loaf" (Paul?) This would certainly explain his bitterness
            toward "the disciples", and perhaps also the rather schizophrenic
            nature of 8:14-21. (On the one hand, one loaf is enough, but on
            the other hand, don't be restricting the number of "loaves" you
            send to "the other side" for Pharisaic-type reasons.)

            [Stephen]:
            > 2. Is there anything outside of 8:14-21 that would indicate
            > that the disciples would be opposed to the extension of Israel's
            > salvation to the Gentiles? If not, why would Mark bring up
            > this issue in such an indirect and subtle manner?
            [Jeffrey]:
            > Is it subtle and indirect? The fact that Mark has Jesus use OT
            > apostasy language of the disciples that he has had Jesus used at
            > 4:11-12 of Pharisees and Herodians and all those opposed to what
            > he says and does, seems hardly subtle to me.

            But the language of 4:11-12 is significantly different. There,
            it's that those outside see but don't perceive, etc, whereas
            in 8:18 it's that the disciples don't see. Even in 8:17, Mark
            doesn't use the same words that he does in 4:12. This appears to
            be a different order of disapproval. In any case, the disapproval
            isn't subtle, but what you suggest they've done to earn that
            disapproval _is_.

            Regards,
            Mike
          • Frank McCoy
            ... From: Jeffrey B. Gibson To: Crosstalk2 Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 3:32 PM Subject: [XTalk] Jesus
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 4, 2002
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
              To: "Crosstalk2" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 3:32 PM
              Subject: [XTalk] Jesus as Mathmetician


              > I have uploaded my article on the Rebuke of the
              Disciples in Mark
              > 8:14-21 (from JSNT 27 [1986] 31-47) to our files
              page. It may be
              > accessed through:
              >
              >
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/files/ReBuke%20of%20the%20Disciples
              .htm
              >
              > I will be very interested in hearing how those who
              have been
              > participating in the Jesus as mathematician thread
              react to all that I
              > say there.


              Dear Jeffrey Gibson:

              You give a well-reasoned discourse on this Markan
              narrative. I have a number of disagreements, but they
              regard judgment calls and, on each one, you might be
              right. I would have liked to know, though, why you
              apparently do not think that the specific numbers
              cited by Mark in this narrative (i.e., 5, 7, 12, 4,000
              and 5,000) have any special significance in and of
              themselves. I also would have liked to have known why
              you apparently do not think that there is any
              significance to there being two types of baskets.

              I think this is a key passage in your paper, "T'he
              reason for the disciples' 'forgetting' to take extra
              loaves is, therefore, to deny those not of Israel the
              'bread' which Jesus had previously demonstrated is
              theirs. And because of this, Jesus is made aware
              that, like 'those outside', his disciples have
              'hardened hearts' and do not 'see', 'hear',
              'perceive', or
              'understand' his ministry and its implications."

              If what you say in this passage is correct, then Mark
              7:24-30 perhaps helps us to understand the nature of
              the "bread" that the disciples want to deny to those
              not of Israel.

              In this passage, when a Syrophoenician woman who is
              Greek asks Jesus to free her daughter of an unclean
              spirit, he tells her, "Suffer first to be satisfied
              the children--for it isn't good to take the bread of
              children and cast (it) to dogs."

              His words, ISTM, allude to Solomon 16:20-21, "Instead
              whereof thou feddest Thine own people with angels'
              food, and didst send them from heaven bread prepared
              without their labour, able to content every man's
              delight, and agreeing to every taste. For Thy
              sustenance declared Thy sweetness into Thy children."
              (AV)

              So, I take it, in Jesus' statement, the "children" are
              God's children (i.e., the Jews), the "bread" is the
              heavenly bread, and the "dogs" are Gentiles.

              In this case, Jesus' statement has two elements to it.
              First, he lets the woman know, he has the heavenly
              bread or manna that can free her daughter of
              the unclean spirit. Second, he tells her, he
              hesitates to do this for a mere Gentile when he
              hasn't, as yet, given God's chosen people, the Jews,
              their fill of this heavenly bread.

              What is this heavenly bread that expels demons from
              human souls?

              An answer to this question is found in the teachings
              of Philo--where the logoi (words) of God are a type of
              heavenly bread. So, in L.A. iii (162), he states,
              "'Behold I rain upon you bread out of heaven, and the
              people shall go out and they shall gather the day's
              portion for the day, that I may prove them whether
              they will walk by My law of not' (Exod. xvi. 4). You
              see that the soul is fed not things of earth that
              decay, but with such logoi as God shall have poured
              like rain...".

              Further, as personified in the angels, these logoi can
              expel demons from human souls. So, in Som. i
              (148-149), Philo declares that "in the understandings
              of those who are still undergoing cleansing....there
              walk
              angels, divine logoi, making them bright and clean
              with the doctrines of all that is good and beautiful.
              It is quite manifest what troups of evil tenants are
              ejected, in order that One, the Good One, may enter
              and occupy."

              So, I suggest, in 7:24-30, Mark's Jesus believes that
              he can give humans a heavenly bread *that expels
              demons from human souls* because he believes himself
              to have the logoi of God that are a heavenly bread and
              that, as personified in the angels, can expel demons
              from human souls.

              Mark's narrative thusly continues, "But she answered,
              and says to him, 'Yea, Lord--for even the dogs under
              the table eat of the crumbs of the children.' And he
              said to her, 'Because of this logos (word) go--the
              demon has gone forth out of your daughter.'"

              The reason why she asks Jesus for a few "crumbs" of
              the heavenly bread, I suggest, is because, she knows,
              these "crumbs (i.e., individual words (logoi)" can, as
              personified in the angels, free her daughter of the
              demon.

              Ironically, though, I further suggest, what the woman,
              in effect, states (i.e., that the Gentiles, even
              though they are not God's chosen people, deserve to
              partake of the heavenly bread) is, itself, a divine
              logos (word) of God. Further, as personified in an
              angel, it has expelled the demon out of her daughter.
              This is why, ISTM, Jesus tells her that 'because (in
              the sense of "due to( the actions)"?) of this logos
              (word)...the demon has gone out of your daughter"
              rather than "I have sent this demon forth out of your
              daughter."

              Relevant to the discussion is Mark 8:35-38, which
              includes these phrases: (1) 35: "me and the Gospel",
              (2) 38a: "me and my logoi (words)", and (3) 38b: "He
              (i.e., the Son of Man)...the angels--the holy (ones)."

              I suggest that they are taken to be equivalent, so
              that: (1) me = me = Son of Man and (2) Gospel = my
              logoi = the angels.

              If so, then Mark's Jesus not only accepted the
              doctrine, taught by Philo, that the logoi (words) are
              personified in the angels, but also (and this
              goes beyond anything that Philo states in any of his
              surviving works) took these logoi, as a totality, to
              constitute the Gospel.

              This relates to 7:24-30, where, it appears, the
              heavenly bread is taken to be the logoi (words).
              Since these logoi (words) constitute the Gospel, this
              means that the heavenly bread is the Gospel.

              In this case, the lesson of 7:24-30 is this: one of
              the words of the heavenly bread of the Gospel is that
              the Gentiles, even though they aren't God's chosen
              people, yet deserve to hear this Gospel.

              Let us re-look at your statement, " T'he reason for
              the disciples' 'forgetting' to take extra loaves is,
              therefore, to deny those not of Israel the 'bread'
              which Jesus had previously demonstrated is theirs.
              And because of this, Jesus is made aware that, like
              'those outside', his disciples have 'hardened hearts'
              and do not 'see', 'hear', 'perceive', or 'understand'
              his ministry and its implications."

              I suggest that, for your phrase, "the 'bread'", we
              substitute, "the Gospel". In this case, if your
              analysis of 8:14-21 is reasonably accurate, then the
              grievous sin of the disciples is that they have
              refused to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.

              This might relate to Gal 2:7, where Paul states, "When
              they (i.e., the pillars) saw that I had been entrusted
              with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter
              had been entrusted with the gospel to the
              uncircumicised,..".

              Whatever else one wants to make of this statement, it
              appears to be based on a reality of Peter limiting his
              own preaching of the Gospel to the Jews. If so, then
              I think it likely, since he had been the head of the
              Twelve, that the rest of the surviving members of the
              original Twelve had imitated him and, so, had,
              likewise, limited their preaching of the Gospel to
              Jews.

              If Mark 8:14-21 relates to this, then the point that
              Mark tries to make in it is that Peter and the rest of
              the surviving members of the original Twelve, by not
              preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, showed a willful
              hardening of heart in that they refused to acknowledge
              what Jesus did acknowledge in his own words and deeds,
              i.e., the validity of the doctrine that the Gentiles,
              even though they are not God's chosen people, yet
              deserve to have the Gospel preached to them.

              In any event, I appreciate you placing your paper on
              the internet for reading. It's going to take a while
              for me to think through and evaluate it, but I already
              know that it is going to change my understanding of
              8:14-21 in several significant ways.

              Sincerely,

              Frank McCoy
              1809 N. English Apt. 17
              Maplewood, MN USA 55109


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