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Re: [John_Lit] water jugs (Re: Jesus and JB in Jn

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  • Paul Schmehl
    ... From: Yuri Kuchinsky To: Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:07 PM Subject: [John_Lit] water jugs (Re:
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 6, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Yuri Kuchinsky" <yuku@...>
      To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:07 PM
      Subject: [John_Lit] water jugs (Re: Jesus and JB in Jn


      >
      > On Fri, 1 Mar 2002, Paul Schmehl wrote:
      >
      > > I am not convinced that "shorter" or "less developed" equates to
      > > antiquity. It could equate to a damaged exemplar, a lazy scribe,
      > > intentional shortening,
      >
      > Dear Paul,
      >
      > Could you please suggest some reason why the author of the Magdalene
      > Gospel would have intentionally replaced "20 or 30 gallon" jugs with "3
      > gallon" jugs?
      >
      Certainly. If the "author" (or redactor) was aware of a tradition that read
      "3" rather than "20 or 30", (s)he could easily have "corrected" the reading
      in his manuscript. One of the tendencies of copyists is to elaboration and
      exaggeration. "20 or 30" sounds like so much better a miracle than only 3,
      and it hardly seems like a corruption. After all, the Lord did perform
      miracles. Why not make them just a bit more miraculous? The author, being
      aware of this tendency, may have sought to adhere to what he believed to be
      the original text.

      > > and a host of other possibilities. In an earlier post you stated
      > > something to the effect that the "shorter reading rule" was an
      > > accepted fact of TC. That "fact" is now being questioned, and I think
      > > there are cases where the shortening is quite possibly deliberate.
      > > In any case, I certainly don't think it's as cut and dried as you seem
      > > to think it is.
      >
      > Actually, I'm in basic agreement with you here. While the "shorter reading
      > rule" is indeed a widely accepted rule of TC today, myself, I do see some
      > considerable limitations of this. In fact, recently I've been moving
      > closer to the Byzantine text supporters, who, of course, have challenged
      > this rule.
      >
      > And yet, at the same time, this particular case of Jn 2:6 is not
      > necessarily relevant to this. Because here it's the size of the jugs that
      > is mostly in question, rather than the reading just being shorter or
      > longer.

      Perhaps my recollection is faulty, but I thought you rested your argument
      upon that "rule" (as well as other considerations.) My point is that the
      "rule" of the shorter reading is not to be slavishly followed as if it can
      resolve every argument.

      Paul Schmehl pauls@...
      pschmehl@...
      http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: Paul Schmehl To: Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 3:25 PM Subject: Re: [John_Lit]
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 6, 2002
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Paul Schmehl" <pschmehl@...>
        To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 3:25 PM
        Subject: Re: [John_Lit] water jugs (Re: Jesus and JB in Jn


        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: "Yuri Kuchinsky" <yuku@...>
        > To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
        > Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:07 PM
        > Subject: [John_Lit] water jugs (Re: Jesus and JB in Jn
        >
        >
        > >
        > > On Fri, 1 Mar 2002, Paul Schmehl wrote:
        > >
        > > > I am not convinced that "shorter" or "less developed" equates to
        > > > antiquity. It could equate to a damaged exemplar, a lazy scribe,
        > > > intentional shortening,
        > >
        > > Dear Paul,
        > >
        > > Could you please suggest some reason why the author of the Magdalene
        > > Gospel would have intentionally replaced "20 or 30 gallon" jugs with "3
        > > gallon" jugs?
        > >
        > Certainly. If the "author" (or redactor) was aware of a tradition that
        read
        > "3" rather than "20 or 30", (s)he could easily have "corrected" the
        reading
        > in his manuscript. One of the tendencies of copyists is to elaboration
        and
        > exaggeration. "20 or 30" sounds like so much better a miracle than only
        3,
        > and it hardly seems like a corruption. After all, the Lord did perform
        > miracles. Why not make them just a bit more miraculous? The author,
        being
        > aware of this tendency, may have sought to adhere to what he believed to
        be
        > the original text.

        Since there were no "gallons" in 1st century Palestine, Early English
        translators used a "Firkin" to represent the Greek METRHTHS which was an
        amphora equivalent to a little less than 9 gallons. The Jewish liquid
        measurement of a "bath" was about 20-30 liters and smaller capacity "jugs"
        were hins and logs. I am more inclined to believe a medieval translator
        didn't know what a metrhths was.

        Jack
      • Yuri Kuchinsky
        On Wed, 6 Mar 2002, Jack Kilmon wrote: [Yuri:] ... [Paul:] ... Hello, Paul, The standard Greek text of course says METRHTHS DUO HE TREIS, as Jack Kilmon has
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 8, 2002
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          On Wed, 6 Mar 2002, Jack Kilmon wrote:

          [Yuri:]
          > > > Dear Paul,
          > > >
          > > > Could you please suggest some reason why the author of the Magdalene
          > > > Gospel would have intentionally replaced "20 or 30 gallon" jugs with "3
          > > > gallon" jugs?

          [Paul:]
          > > Certainly. If the "author" (or redactor) was aware of a tradition
          > that read > "3" rather than "20 or 30", (s)he could easily have
          > "corrected" the reading > in his manuscript. One of the tendencies of
          > copyists is to elaboration and > exaggeration. "20 or 30" sounds like
          > so much better a miracle than only 3, > and it hardly seems like a
          > corruption. After all, the Lord did perform > miracles. Why not make
          > them just a bit more miraculous? The author, being > aware of this
          > tendency, may have sought to adhere to what he believed to be > the
          > original text.

          Hello, Paul,

          The standard Greek text of course says METRHTHS DUO HE TREIS, as Jack
          Kilmon has already helpfully noted. So the question then becomes, What did
          the translator of MG have in his/her source text? Was it METRHTHS, or
          perhaps some other word?

          But of course if one accepts your suggestion that our MG translator was
          aware of a tradition that was different from the standard canonical text,
          then it's also possible that this tradition was pre-canonical. Which is
          what my argument is all about.

          > Since there were no "gallons" in 1st century Palestine, Early English
          > translators used a "Firkin" to represent the Greek METRHTHS which was an
          > amphora equivalent to a little less than 9 gallons. The Jewish liquid
          > measurement of a "bath" was about 20-30 liters and smaller capacity "jugs"
          > were hins and logs. I am more inclined to believe a medieval translator
          > didn't know what a metrhths was.

          KJV actually has "two or three firkins" here.

          John 2
          6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone,
          after the manner of the purifying of the Jews,
          containing two or three firkins apiece.

          And New KJV has "twenty or thirty gallons" in this verse.

          As to Jack's suggestion that this variant reading was merely a
          mistranslation by the medieval translator, this is undermined somewhat by
          the fact that some further details in MG story are inconsistent with this.
          Namely, the same Chapter 10 includes the following,

          "9 And Jesus told them to take them up,
          and to carry them to him who was the chief
          of the feast. 10 And they took them up,
          and carried them over."

          So this looks like the servants are carrying the jugs, themselves, over to
          "the chief of the feast", rather than just a sample of the wine, like in
          the canonical version of the story. But this is only possible if the jugs
          are quite small.

          Regards,

          Yuri.

          Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

          What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may
          reflect on them, and know their outcome; or declare
          to us the things to come -=O=- Isaiah 41:22
        • Yuri Kuchinsky
          Dear friends, In this post I will compare 3 versions of that famous incident of Jesus turning water into wine -- the canonical version, the Magdalene Gospel
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 9, 2002
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            Dear friends,

            In this post I will compare 3 versions of that famous incident of Jesus
            turning water into wine -- the canonical version, the Magdalene Gospel
            version, and also a very interesting version as found in the Dutch
            Diatessaron (the Liege Gospel). This Liege Gospel was of course the text
            that WL Petersen has extensively compared with the Hebrew Gospel of
            Matthew (Shem-Tob's text), and found lots of special and sometimes unique
            parallels between the two.

            These comparisons aim to establish, among other things, that MG and the
            Liege share a large number of textual parallels against the canonical
            text. And this seems to indicate that these similarities come from a
            shared common source, which was most likely an Old Latin Diatessaron, now
            lost. (Of course, these similarities may also go even further back, and so
            they may even be resulting from common dependence on a very ancient
            Semitic-language source, now lost.)

            First, here's the canonical version for reference.

            John 2:1-11 :: Revised Standard Version (RSV)

            1 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in
            Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;
            2 Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his
            disciples.
            3 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to
            him, "They have no wine."
            4 And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you
            to do with me? My hour has not yet come."
            5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he
            tells you."
            6 Now six stone jars were standing there, for the
            Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or
            thirty gallons.
            7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And
            they filled them up to the brim.
            8 He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take
            it to the steward of the feast." So they took it.
            9 When the steward of the feast tasted the water
            now become wine, and did not know where it came
            from (though the servants who had drawn the water
            knew), the steward of the feast called the
            bridegroom
            10 and said to him, "Every man serves the good
            wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the
            poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until
            now."
            11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in
            Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples
            believed in him. (221 words)

            ____________

            And now, the Magdalene Gospel version of this story. Here, I put MG
            Special Material in capitals letters.

            THE MAGDALENE GOSPEL
            10 # How Jesus Made Wine Out Of Water.

            1 On the third day Jesus CAME TO Galilee, and was LED to a FEAST, with his
            disciples. And his mother was there. 2 And IT CAME TO PASS that THERE
            failed wine. 3 And his mother said to him that they had no wine. 4 And
            Jesus said that the hour (ms?) has not yet come THAT [he] SHOULD SHOW HIS
            POWER. 5 And then his mother said to the servants that they should do all
            that he tells them to do. 6 Now, there were six jars that the GOOD MAN AND
            ALL THE MEN WASHED FROM, each holding THREE gallons. 7 And Jesus told them
            that they should fill them full of water. 8 And they filled them full
            RIGHT AWAY. 9 And Jesus told them to take THEM UP, AND TO CARRY THEM TO
            HIM WHO WAS THE CHIEF OF THE FEAST. 10 And they took THEM UP, AND CARRIED
            THEM OVER. 11 And as soon as THE GOOD MAN had drank thereof, he called the
            BUTLER, and said to him, "Every wise man serves the BEST wine first, and
            when men are [already] drunk, then HE SERVES the one that is NOT AS GOOD.
            12 And you have kept the BEST wine even until now." 13 This WAS the first
            MIRACLE that Jesus did. 14 And BECAUSE OF THAT his disciples believed in
            him. (215 words)

            As we can see, the Magdalene version is very similar in length to the
            canonical version (221 words vs. 215 words). There's a lot of shared
            material there, as well as some seeming expansions, although these
            expansions tend to be quite different in the two versions.

            The biggest and the most striking difference in MG is that, in this text,
            this is not a wedding, and it's not taking place at Cana. So this is just
            a feast that Jesus has been invited to.

            Also, the harsh words that Jesus uses in the canonical version to address
            his mother are absent in MG.

            The size of the water jugs is also different, of course, however is this
            to be explained. In MG 10:6, they are 3 gallons, while in the canonical Jn
            2:6 they are "20 or 30 gallons". Normally, this more modest size of the
            jugs should be counted as an indicator of primitivity for the Magdalene
            version.

            In connection with this, also to be noted is the detail that, in MG, the
            servants take the jugs together with the wine to be tasted by the "chief
            of the feast". While, in the canonical Jn, only some wine is taken to be
            tasted. This seems to indicate that the smaller size of the jugs is an
            integral part of MG narrative, and not just some sort of a mistake in the
            manuscript.

            Another striking difference in MG is that it's the "chief of the feast"
            who is in charge of this whole affair, and not merely a
            "steward/headwaiter", like in the canonical Jn. The importance of this
            detail is that, as a result, in MG, the story appears to be a lot more
            coherent and logical. Indeed, logically, how can it be that the
            "headwaiter" can chide the groom for keeping the best wine for the last?
            Shouldn't this be the other way around, since it is the headwaiter,
            himself, who should have normally been in charge of the wine? And so, in
            the Magdalene text it is indeed the "chief of the feast" who chides the
            butler/headwaiter for keeping the best wine until later. And, importantly,
            this narrative detail is also supported by the Dutch text. (Of course,
            since in MG the feast is not a wedding, there is no "groom" involved in
            this story at all.)

            ____________

            And now, here's the Middle Dutch text of this story. This medieval Liege
            Diatessaron is a lot better studied, compared to the Magdalene Gospel. It
            is also included in the apparatus of the standard Nestle-Aland Greek
            gospels. Two English translations of this gospel have been published.

            I have now counted 10 special parallels between MG and the Liege. They are
            numbered in the text below, and then commented upon later.

            THE LIEGE DIATESSARON; the English translation as printed in D. Plooij
            edition, Koninklijke Akademie Wetenschappente, Amsterdam, 1929-1970, pp.
            99-103. (This monumental work can be found in most large academic
            libraries, although it's not listed under "Plooij". Rather, it came out as
            part of the Proceedings of the Royal Dutch Academy, vol. 31.)

            ____________

            One day there was a wedding feast in a city which was called Chana, in the
            land of Galilee, and there was Mary, Jesus' mother. Jesus and his
            disciples were also called there to the feast. (1) It happened at this
            wedding that (2) there lacked wine. Then Jesus' mother spoke to him and
            said, "They lack wine". And Jesus answered her, "Woman, what have I in
            common with thee? Mine hour is not yet come".

            [Omit an 11 line theological expansion about the right interpretation of
            this remark, and about Jesus' humanity vs. his divinity.]

            Then his mother spoke to those that were serving there and said, "Whatever
            he says to you, do that". There stood six stone jars, which had been set
            there after the manner of the Jews, (3) who used to do their purification
            in such vessels. Those held as much as two or three measures. Then Jesus
            said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water". And they did so, and
            filled them to the brim. "Now scoop and (4) carry it to (5) the master of
            the house", and they did so. And when the master of the house tasted of
            the wine that had been made of water, and knew not how it had happened,
            (but the servants knew it well, who had filled the jars with water), the
            master of the house asked for the bridegroom and said to him thus, "Every
            man is wont to give first the (6) best wine, and after that, when they
            have drunk of this, he gives wine of his which is weaker. But thou has
            kept thy (7) best wine until now". (8) This was one of the first (9)
            miracles that Jesus did in Chana of Galilee, and there he revealed his
            divine power. And (10) therewith his disciples were strengthened in the
            faith. (280 words)

            So here are these 10 parallels, together with some comments.

            #1
            MG: And IT CAME TO PASS
            LIEGE DT: It happened at this wedding

            This sort of a detail is a very conventional detail as used by traditional
            storytellers. It looks like this may have been quite a primitive detail.

            #2
            MG: that THERE failed wine
            LIEGE DT: that there lacked wine

            Exact parallel in these two passages with the word "there". In his notes,
            Plooij does draw attention to this MG variant. And he also supplies a
            parallel for this in Ephrem the Syrian.

            #3
            MG: the GOOD MAN AND ALL THE MEN WASHED FROM
            LIEGE DT: the Jews, who used to do their purification

            Although the parallel is not exact here, still, these two expansions seem
            to be in parallel overall. The canonical version lacks any of these
            details.

            #4
            MG: CARRY THEM (used twice in MG)
            LIEGE DT: carry it

            A pretty close parallel here with this specific word "to carry". In the
            canonical version, we find "to take".

            #5
            MG: THE CHIEF OF THE FEAST
            LIEGE DT: the master of the house

            A very important parallel. For some reason, Plooij omits this parallel
            between the Liege and MG in his notes.

            #6
            MG: the BEST wine
            LIEGE DT: the best wine

            An exact parallel here. Again, Plooij omits this parallel with MG in his
            notes. And yet he comments that the Liege version of this story does not
            really involve any drunkenness. (In the Liege, this seems like one of
            those later encratistic/ascetic expansions that the Diatessaron is
            believed to feature, as noted by numerous scholars.)

            #7
            MG: the BEST wine
            LIEGE DT: thy best wine

            Again, an exact parallel with the word "best". Not noted by Plooij.

            #8
            MG: This WAS
            LIEGE DT: This was

            Again, like in #1, we have a much simpler grammatical construction here
            both in MG and in the Liege. Such a turn of phrase seems more primitive
            than what we find in the canonical version.

            Plooij does cite MG here, and also notes a number of additional parallels
            with some Old Latin mss.

            #9
            MG: MIRACLE
            LIEGE DT: miracles

            This parallel seems quite important (not noted by Plooij). In my view, the
            more primitive version of this story didn't yet have this rather odd word
            "sign".

            #10
            MG: BECAUSE OF THAT
            LIEGE DT: therewith

            This parallel is pretty close (not noted by Plooij). Such a turn of
            phrase, i.e. saying that the disciples believed _because_ of the miracle,
            seems quite simple and rather primitive.
            __________

            In his notes, Plooij also cites plenty of other parallels between the
            Liege and various ancient sources, such as versions of Ephrem's
            COMMENTARY, a wide variety of gospel and Diatessaron mss, Irenaeus, the
            COMMENTARY by Zacharias Chrysopolitanus, etc. To me, this indicates that
            the Liege is based on a version of an Old Latin Diatessaron that had
            plenty of parallels with the texts that were quite common in the Ancient
            Near East. And yet, most likely, this was a more developed version of the
            Old Latin Diatessaron, compared to the one which served as the basis for
            the Magdalene Gospel.

            MG is cited by Plooij very often indeed (perhaps hundreds of times)
            throughout this whole edition of the Dutch Diatessaron. And yet, as we
            have seen, he also misses plenty of still other parallels between the
            Liege and MG.

            These close textual parallels between MG and the Liege seem to indicate
            that both texts ultimately derive from some mysterious pre-canonical
            version of the Gospel of John. And the same can of course be said in
            regard to the other 3 NT gospels.

            Best wishes,

            Yuri.

            Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

            What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may
            reflect on them, and know their outcome; or declare
            to us the things to come -=O=- Isaiah 41:22
          • Paul Schmehl
            ... From: Yuri Kuchinsky To: Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 10:34 AM Subject: Re: [John_Lit] water jugs
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 9, 2002
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Yuri Kuchinsky" <yuku@...>
              To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 10:34 AM
              Subject: Re: [John_Lit] water jugs
              >
              > Hello, Paul,
              >
              > The standard Greek text of course says METRHTHS DUO HE TREIS, as Jack
              > Kilmon has already helpfully noted. So the question then becomes, What did
              > the translator of MG have in his/her source text? Was it METRHTHS, or
              > perhaps some other word?
              >
              > But of course if one accepts your suggestion that our MG translator was
              > aware of a tradition that was different from the standard canonical text,
              > then it's also possible that this tradition was pre-canonical. Which is
              > what my argument is all about.

              This is the part of your argument that bothers me the most. It is equally
              possible that this tradition is post-canonical. ISTM that your tendency is
              to assume early provenance if no evidence supports late provenance.
              Essentially it's an argument from silence, which is by far the weakest
              argument one can make.
              >
              [snipped]
              >
              > As to Jack's suggestion that this variant reading was merely a
              > mistranslation by the medieval translator, this is undermined somewhat by
              > the fact that some further details in MG story are inconsistent with this.
              > Namely, the same Chapter 10 includes the following,
              >
              > "9 And Jesus told them to take them up,
              > and to carry them to him who was the chief
              > of the feast. 10 And they took them up,
              > and carried them over."
              >
              > So this looks like the servants are carrying the jugs, themselves, over to
              > "the chief of the feast", rather than just a sample of the wine, like in
              > the canonical version of the story. But this is only possible if the jugs
              > are quite small.
              >
              Why is it only possible if they were quite small? 1) You're assuming the
              servants couldn't carry large jugs full of wine and 2) you're assuming that
              each servant carried one jug. What if they had devised a carrier that could
              hold multiple jugs, with extensions so that several servants could carry
              them? I'm not saying it's true, mind you, merely that it's possible. Again
              I think this points out the weakness of arguments from silence. If we don't
              *know* how it was done, there is no warrant to *assume* certain parameters.
              ISTM there is so much speculation in your arguments that I remain thoroughly
              unconvinced.

              Paul Schmehl pauls@...
              pschmehl@...
              http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
            • Yuri Kuchinsky
              ... Paul, I don t agree that it s equally possible that this tradition is post-canonical. I think that, for a number of reasons, the chances are greater that
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 11, 2002
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                On Sat, 9 Mar 2002, Paul Schmehl wrote:

                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "Yuri Kuchinsky" <yuku@...>
                > To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                > Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 10:34 AM
                > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] water jugs
                > >
                > > Hello, Paul,
                > >
                > > The standard Greek text of course says METRHTHS DUO HE TREIS, as Jack
                > > Kilmon has already helpfully noted. So the question then becomes, What did
                > > the translator of MG have in his/her source text? Was it METRHTHS, or
                > > perhaps some other word?
                > >
                > > But of course if one accepts your suggestion that our MG translator was
                > > aware of a tradition that was different from the standard canonical text,
                > > then it's also possible that this tradition was pre-canonical. Which is
                > > what my argument is all about.
                >
                > This is the part of your argument that bothers me the most. It is
                > equally possible that this tradition is post-canonical. ISTM that
                > your tendency is to assume early provenance if no evidence supports
                > late provenance. Essentially it's an argument from silence, which is
                > by far the weakest argument one can make.

                Paul,

                I don't agree that it's equally possible that this tradition is
                post-canonical. I think that, for a number of reasons, the chances are
                greater that it's pre-canonical.

                > > As to Jack's suggestion that this variant reading was merely a
                > > mistranslation by the medieval translator, this is undermined somewhat by
                > > the fact that some further details in MG story are inconsistent with this.
                > > Namely, the same Chapter 10 includes the following,
                > >
                > > "9 And Jesus told them to take them up,
                > > and to carry them to him who was the chief
                > > of the feast. 10 And they took them up,
                > > and carried them over."
                > >
                > > So this looks like the servants are carrying the jugs, themselves, over to
                > > "the chief of the feast", rather than just a sample of the wine, like in
                > > the canonical version of the story. But this is only possible if the jugs
                > > are quite small.
                >
                > Why is it only possible if they were quite small? 1) You're assuming
                > the servants couldn't carry large jugs full of wine and 2) you're
                > assuming that each servant carried one jug. What if they had devised
                > a carrier that could hold multiple jugs, with extensions so that
                > several servants could carry them? I'm not saying it's true, mind
                > you, merely that it's possible. Again I think this points out the
                > weakness of arguments from silence. If we don't *know* how it was
                > done, there is no warrant to *assume* certain parameters. ISTM there
                > is so much speculation in your arguments that I remain thoroughly
                > unconvinced.

                Well, my only point here is that the smaller size of jugs in MG is
                consistent with the rest of the story, as we find it in MG. So this
                decreases the chances that this was some sort of a mistranslation by a
                medieval translator.

                Of course they could have had a whole army of servants carrying such huge
                jugs around, but this is not what our texts are really indicating.

                Best wishes,

                Yuri.

                Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
                equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
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