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Re: [XTalk] Jesus as Mathmetician

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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