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the occasion of the demand for a sign in Matt. 16:1

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    With apologies for cross posting. Matthew presents the feeding of the 4000 (Matt. 15:32-39) as the occasion of his second account of the story of a demand for
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 14, 2004
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      With apologies for cross posting.

      Matthew presents the feeding of the 4000 (Matt. 15:32-39) as the
      occasion of his second account of the story of a demand for a sign
      (Matt. 16:1-4; cf. Matt 12:38-39). What is the scholarly consensus
      nowadays regarding Matthew's assumptions about the ethnicity of the
      4000? Is it that they are Gentiles? If so, what evidence is pointed to
      as supporting this contention? I note, for starters, that the stories
      which immediately precede that feeding of the 400 seem to locate Jesus
      in Gentile territory and have him healing at least one Gentile. Then
      there's the curious fact that those who witness Jesus' healings of "the
      lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb that they have brought out to him,
      give glory to "the God of Israel" when they saw the cures that Jesus
      wrought, which would seem to indicate that they and those whom Jesus
      heals are not Jews. Anything else?

      Thanks in advance.

      Yours,

      Jeffrey

      --

      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

      1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
      Chicago, IL 60626

      jgibson000@...
    • Munachi E. Ezeogu
      Dear Jeffrey, Two points. Firstly, have you looked into the symbolism of numbers in the two accounts? There may be something there. In the first feeding,
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 14, 2004
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        Dear Jeffrey,

        Two points.

        Firstly, have you looked into the symbolism of numbers in the two accounts?
        There may be something there.

        In the first feeding, said to be of Israel (Matt 14), the narrative employs the
        numbers 5 (number of books of the law) and 12 (number of the tribes of Israel).
        Hence, 5,000 people are fed using 5 loaves of bread, and with 12 baskets of
        leftover.

        In the second feeding, said to be of the Gentiles (Matt 15), the narrative
        employs the numbers 4 (four corners of the earth, four winds) and 7 (seventy is
        the number of the nations, the LXX). Hence, 4,000 people are fed using 7 loaves,
        and with 7 baskets of leftover.

        Secondly, it might help to point out that in these accounts Matthew is following
        Mark, and Mark (7:24), more than Matthew (15:21-22), makes it clear that the
        feeding of the 4,000 takes place in Gentile territory (Mark 7:24).

        Ernest M. Ezeogu, PhD
        Toronto School of Theology
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jeffrey B. Gibson [mailto:jgibson000@...]
        Sent: November 14, 2004 3:39 PM
        To: Crosstalk2
        Cc: Synoptic-L; ematthew
        Subject: [ematthew] the occasion of the demand for a sign in Matt. 16:1


        With apologies for cross posting.

        Matthew presents the feeding of the 4000 (Matt. 15:32-39) as the
        occasion of his second account of the story of a demand for a sign
        (Matt. 16:1-4; cf. Matt 12:38-39). What is the scholarly consensus
        nowadays regarding Matthew's assumptions about the ethnicity of the
        4000? Is it that they are Gentiles? If so, what evidence is pointed to
        as supporting this contention? I note, for starters, that the stories
        which immediately precede that feeding of the 400 seem to locate Jesus
        in Gentile territory and have him healing at least one Gentile. Then
        there's the curious fact that those who witness Jesus' healings of "the
        lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb that they have brought out to him,
        give glory to "the God of Israel" when they saw the cures that Jesus
        wrought, which would seem to indicate that they and those whom Jesus
        heals are not Jews. Anything else?

        Thanks in advance.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey

        --

        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
        Chicago, IL 60626

        jgibson000@...



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      • MillerJimE@AOL.COM
        Glorifying the God of Israel implies to me that they were Jews. I understand how a reader might conclude that this God of Israel implies non-Israelites,
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 14, 2004
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          "Glorifying the God of Israel" implies to me that they were Jews. I
          understand how a reader might conclude that this "God of Israel" implies
          non-Israelites, but it doesn't seem odd to me to have a Jewish crowd using that phrase.
          I always assumed the crowd was Jewish until I read your post. The previous
          Syro-Phoenician woman was very clearly specified as non-Jewish. I assumed a
          similar specification would be needed for the crowd if it was non-Jewish.
          Also there are two other problems with a non-Jewish identity. Would
          non-Jews be called "this evil and adulterous generation"? Adulterous implies
          Israel, not gentile listeners. The gentiles are not God's people, therefore
          cannot be adulterous. Second, the "sign of Jona" would mean a lot more to a Jewish
          audience than a non-Jewish audience. Jonah, of course, was the figure of a
          Jewish story.
          What intrigues me on this issue is something of a parallel in the Gospel
          of John 6:26. Jesus had fed the 5000 (not 4000, I know), and there was the
          crossing of the sea, and the audience is clearly Jewish, as part of the
          discourse occurres in the synagogue. Jesus tells the crowd, "Amen, amen I say to you,
          you do not seek me because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of
          the loaves." Matthew's crowd seeks signs but John's crowd does not -- it just
          seeks to fill its belly. If John was familiar with the synoptics, this
          contrast in John is quite intriguing.

          Jim Miller


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • John Lupia
          Dear Jeffrey: This is a question of geography and demography. In both Matt. 16:1-4 and Matt 12:38-39 Jesus is in Upper Galilee. Mt 15:21-28 he is in Lebanon
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 15, 2004
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            Dear Jeffrey:

            This is a question of geography and demography. In
            both Matt. 16:1-4 and Matt 12:38-39 Jesus is in Upper
            Galilee. Mt 15:21-28 he is in Lebanon at Saida (Sidon)
            and Sur (Tyre). Mt 15:29-39 Jesus travels 35 miles NE
            from Sur (Tyre) to Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee; also
            Lake Tiberias). Mt 15:29b places him on a mountain
            along the Lake Kinneret rim. Where is uncertain. The
            demographic mix would be predominantly Jewish.

            Best regards,
            John


            > Sent: November 14, 2004 3:39 PM
            > To: Crosstalk2
            > Cc: Synoptic-L; ematthew
            > Subject: [ematthew] the occasion of the demand for
            > a sign in Matt. 16:1
            >
            >
            > With apologies for cross posting.
            >
            > Matthew presents the feeding of the 4000 (Matt.
            > 15:32-39) as the
            > occasion of his second account of the story of a
            > demand for a sign
            > (Matt. 16:1-4; cf. Matt 12:38-39). What is the
            > scholarly consensus
            > nowadays regarding Matthew's assumptions about the
            > ethnicity of the
            > 4000? Is it that they are Gentiles? If so, what
            > evidence is pointed to
            > as supporting this contention? I note, for
            > starters, that the stories
            > which immediately precede that feeding of the 400
            > seem to locate Jesus
            > in Gentile territory and have him healing at least
            > one Gentile. Then
            > there's the curious fact that those who witness
            > Jesus' healings of "the
            > lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb that they
            > have brought out to him,
            > give glory to "the God of Israel" when they saw
            > the cures that Jesus
            > wrought, which would seem to indicate that they
            > and those whom Jesus
            > heals are not Jews. Anything else?
            >
            > Thanks in advance.
            >
            > Yours,
            >
            > Jeffrey
            >
            > --
            >
            > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
            >
            > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
            > Chicago, IL 60626
            >
            > jgibson000@...
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
            > ADVERTISEMENT
            > Eliminate Your Debt!
            > * Get out of Debt
            > Now . Christian counselors
            > available
            > * Click here to find
            > out how you can become free
            > from debt.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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            >
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            >
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            >
            > c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the
            > Yahoo! Terms of Service.
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been
            > removed]
            >
            >


            =====
            John N. Lupia, III
            Toms River New Jersey 08757 USA
            Fax: (732) 349-3910
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/
            God Bless America



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          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... Even assuming that the Matthew s geography is as precise as you believe it is (and why do you insist on using terminology for the places named at Matt.
            Message 5 of 6 , Nov 15, 2004
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              John Lupia wrote:

              > Dear Jeffrey:
              >
              > This is a question of geography and demography. In
              > both Matt. 16:1-4 and Matt 12:38-39 Jesus is in Upper
              > Galilee. Mt 15:21-28 he is in Lebanon at Saida (Sidon)
              > and Sur (Tyre). Mt 15:29-39 Jesus travels 35 miles NE
              > from Sur (Tyre) to Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee; also
              > Lake Tiberias). Mt 15:29b places him on a mountain
              > along the Lake Kinneret rim. Where is uncertain. The
              > demographic mix would be predominantly Jewish.

              Even assuming that the Matthew's geography is as precise as you believe it is (and
              why do you insist on using terminology for the places named at Matt. 15:21 and
              15:29 that the Matthew himself doesn't use?), there is still the fact that you
              haven't taken account of -- that the mutes were *brought* to Jesus. The real
              issue is where they were brought from, not where Jesus is.

              Besides that, are there no mountains PARA THN QALASSAN THS GALILAIAS that are
              Gentile territory? And what do you make of the description in Matt. 15:38 that
              the healings take place somewhere away from and outside of the region of Magadan?
              .
              JG
              --

              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

              1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
              Chicago, IL 60626

              jgibson000@...
            • John Lupia
              ... First, it is what the text says. Second, you are the one who wishes to know the demography of the mutes. To ignore the geographic locale that can be
              Message 6 of 6 , Nov 16, 2004
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                --- "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
                wrote:

                >
                >
                > John Lupia wrote:
                >
                > > Dear Jeffrey:
                > >
                > > This is a question of geography and demography. In
                > > both Matt. 16:1-4 and Matt 12:38-39 Jesus is in
                > Upper
                > > Galilee. Mt 15:21-28 he is in Lebanon at Saida
                > (Sidon)
                > > and Sur (Tyre). Mt 15:29-39 Jesus travels 35 miles
                > NE
                > > from Sur (Tyre) to Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee;
                > also
                > > Lake Tiberias). Mt 15:29b places him on a mountain
                > > along the Lake Kinneret rim. Where is uncertain.
                > The
                > > demographic mix would be predominantly Jewish.
                >
                > Even assuming that the Matthew's geography is as
                > precise as you believe it is


                First, it is what the text says. Second, you are the
                one who wishes to know the demography of the mutes. To
                ignore the geographic locale that can be considered in
                answering or attempting to answer the question, would,
                in my opinion, fail to be a complete investigation on
                the question and would leave you open to criticism on
                that point. Third, I was imprecise myself since I
                noticed a lapsus calami on my part when I wrote "Jesus
                travels 35 miles NE" when it should have read "Jesus
                travels 35 miles SE". Sorry for the typo. Fourth, it
                has nothing to do with what I personally believe. I
                was pointing out essential material that must be
                considered using scientific criteria.




                (and
                > why do you insist on using terminology for the
                > places named at Matt. 15:21 and
                > 15:29 that the Matthew himself doesn't use?),


                The nomenclature of the geographic places is properly
                given with both modern or contemporary names as well
                as those given by Matthew or any other antique writer
                (the ancient names) as a standard academic form as I
                was taught back in graduate biblical studies.


                there
                > is still the fact that you
                > haven't taken account of -- that the mutes were
                > *brought* to Jesus.


                This is selective on your part. You choose to not give
                credence to Matthew's geography but at the same time
                choose to completely believe "that the mutes were
                *brought* to Jesus. How do you make determinations on
                which parts of the text you selectively choose to
                believe and discard or disregard? Moreover, the lame,
                blind and mutes were among the crowd that came to
                Jesus from the geographic location on the Lake
                Kinneret rim that might be identifiable in light of Mt
                16:5,13. Since traveling to the other side of the Lake
                Kinneret rim placed them within walking distance of
                Caesarea Philippi NE it indicates that the time of the
                healing of the lame, blind and mutes he was NW in
                Upper Galilee as I said yesterday. Being NE in the
                district of Caesarea Phili put Jesus then on the
                east-west highway, an international trade route
                running from there to Sur (Tyre), Lebanon and
                Damascus, Syria. If Jesus and the crowds with the
                infirm had convened there then your inquiry regarding
                Gentile ethnicity would be further strengthened and
                legitimized. However, Mt 16:5 tells us they crossed
                over to the other side to be in that location. So,
                hence, the crux of your question becomes severely
                weakened in any attempt to identify the infirm with
                Gentile specific ethnicity. However, if you
                selectively choose to disregard Matthew's geography
                the question of demography will remain open and
                answerable exclusively by other criteria that ignores
                geography.


                The real
                > issue is where they were brought from, not where
                > Jesus is.


                This needs to be seriously reconsidered by you if you
                are to be taken seriously.

                > Besides that, are there no mountains PARA THN
                > QALASSAN THS GALILAIAS that are
                > Gentile territory? And what do you make of the
                > description in Matt. 15:38 that
                > the healings take place somewhere away from and
                > outside of the region of Magadan?

                See my above comments regarding this. Curiously, you
                selectively choose to believe this and are aware that
                Jesus, in Matthew's description, is on the west side,
                not the east. If they are away from Magadan (Magdala)
                they are obviously north or possibly south, but
                certainly, not east prohibited by Mt 16:5.

                Cheers,
                John

                =====
                John N. Lupia, III
                Toms River New Jersey 08757 USA
                Fax: (732) 349-3910
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/
                God Bless America



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