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3328Re: [gthomas] Moments of Truth

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  • odell mcguire
    Oct 2, 2000
      joseph baxter wrote:

      > At 09:31 AM 10/1/2000 , you wrote:
      > >--
      > >If you are willing to actually accept synchronicity as real I suppose it
      > >could exist. The problem with synchronicity is that it is purportedly
      > >"acausal". It is very difficult to reject the laws of cause & effect which
      > >are required by science & the scientific method.
      > Jung called it acausal, but I don't see that as part of the necessary
      > explanation. As you put it, it is difficult to reject cause and effect. So
      > it could be that two things happening at the same time are the effects of
      > causes. By way of example only, one could argue that both efffects are
      > sympathetic responses to something larger, as opposed to one being the
      > cause of the other. I believe that Jung himself meant something like this.
      > Joe


      Excuse me for butting in, but it seems to me this 'synchroneity' business poses
      something of a dilemma for the historian. No one trying to do history from
      primary sources can accept the kind of seemingly meaningful coincidences being
      discussed without exhaustively eliminating all possibility of causal
      connection. If he does not hesitate to entertain the idea of simple coincidence
      he will never learn anything about his subject from his documents except what
      their writers want him to think.

      Coincidences happen. But some cannot be swallowed. I keep thinking of
      Jesus bar Ananias. According to Josephus (Jewish War.VI.300ff) this character
      was a peasant, a posessesed lunatic who, some four years before the war began,
      created an incident in the temple by repeating the words of his 'voices' at the
      Feast of Booths: "... a voice against Jerusalem and the temple (NAOS), a voice
      against bridegroom and bride, a voice against all the people" and carried these
      cries into the streets. "Woe to Jerusalem" he kept repeating. He was chastised
      first by 'leading citizens' and finally brought before the Roman governor and,
      when he refused to identify or defend himself, he was scourged 'to the bone.'
      Woe to Jerusalem.' he said. But he recovered and continued repeating his dire
      prophecies until he was finally killed by a ballista bolt during the last weeks
      of the siege in 70 AD.

      A total coincidence that a peasant named Jesus, thought to be crazy, speaking
      with the voice of a spirit, was involved in a temple incident, predicted the
      fall of city and temple before the war, was finally hauled before the Roman
      governor, refused to say who he was or defend himself, and was severely scourged
      -all a few months before Mark composed his tale--??? Some say so. But I smell
      fish, a barrelful. Else I am no historian.

      But I am nowhere near accepting as explanation the theory, currently being
      mentioned favorably by some on the Xtalk list, that Jesus, as Mark portrays him,
      was a Markan midrashic creation. (Partly based on an oral memory of Jesus

      What, then? The best I am able to come up with is that there *was* a lunatic
      Jesus Ananias who prophesied the destruction of the city, but probably after the
      siege began, and that he thereby got himself in somekind of trouble with the
      authorities and thus left a trace in the documents that Josephus worked with.
      (So far, an acceptable mass of coincidence; one can easily imagine kooks such
      as this in Jerusalem under siege and Jesus was a very common name; Josephus
      alone deals with some 20 Jesuses)

      But it was not enough by itself for a good Josephan story. (And they *were* all
      *very* good stories) By most accounts, I think, Josephus wrote 'War' in the
      80s. About 10 years after Mark wrote 2G. I suspect that Josephus had a copy of
      Mark's gospel in his library (or its predecessor PN), recognized the real
      parallels, and copied the rest to
      flesh out his story. If this is true, the real historical value of the Jesus
      Ananias 'coincidence mass' lies in the fact that Josephus had access to Mark
      before he wrote 'Antiquities' and the passages lying behind the Testimonium
      Flavianum. Etc. Etc.

      I love a mass coincidence in primary texts. As another Mark wrote about
      Historical Geology:

      "It yields such wholesale returns of conjecture out of a trifling investment
      of fact"
      From *Life on the Mississippi*
      Best wishes, Odell

      Odell McGuire
      Prof. Geology Em., W&L
      Lexington, VA
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