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Re: [XTalk] The Rebuke of the Disciples

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  • Frank McCoy
    ... From: Jeffrey B. Gibson To: Crosstalk2 Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 3:32 PM Subject: [XTalk] Jesus
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 4, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      ----- 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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