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Re: [XTalk] Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark Used CG in 15:42-16:8, Pt. 2-Fatigue in 16:6

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  • Ted Weeden
    ... Stephen, my apologies for not responding to your very incisive critique to my post. I am behind in responding to many posts because of the number I have
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 7, 2002
      Stephen Carlson wrote on Saturday, February 02, 2002:

      > What is important, however, is the view of an exegete who
      > has taken the trouble to interpret the sense of EQHKAN in
      > Mark 16:6. After looking at my commentaries and monographs
      > on Mark, including Tayler, Hooker, and, yes, even your
      > TRADITIONS IN CONFLICT, the issue of the plural subject
      > of EQHKAN is neglected in favor of making the point that
      > Jesus's body is no longer there.

      Stephen, my apologies for not responding to your very incisive critique to my
      post. I am behind in responding to many posts because of the number I have
      received, for which I am appreciative, and because I decided what I really
      needed to do is to set forth my methodological presuppositions which I have used
      in working out my thesis. As you probably have noted I posted those
      presuppositions in a post, "Mark and CG: Methodological Presuppositions,"
      yesterday afternoon (2/6/02), and now I am trying to catch up.

      With regard to the commentaries: that has been my experience. Commentators have
      neglected to note what I now describe as a compositional error on Mark's part
      due to editorial fatigue. You are correct that I did not see "the error"
      myself when I wrote _Mark-Traditions_ in 1971, nor when I developed my original
      thesis on Mark for my 1964 Claremont dissertation, "The Heresy That Necessitated
      Mark's Gospel," which became, as a result of a radical rewrite, my book. It
      was not until four years ago, when I was asked to write a commentary on Mark
      that I returned to a serious relook at Mark, except for a piece I did for
      _Chicago Studies_ in 1995, after being away from Markan studies for many years.
      I had a lot of catching up to do. In the course of that catching up, I reread
      Crossan's _The Cross That Spoke_ and saw some interesting elements in the texts
      to which I have given my attention in the thesis I am now presenting.

      It was at that point, because I began to compare the Greek text of Mark with the
      Greek text of Crossan's reconstructed CG (Crossan does not provide the Greek
      text itself), that I spotted what I had not seen before, EQHKAN in 16:6, an
      occurrence which did not comport in my thinking with EQHKEN in 15:46, though
      EQHKAN was to be found in the initial statement regarding what I presumed to be
      the beginning of the burial process in CG 6:21. That is when I began to wonder
      if Mark had mistakenly copied CG's EQHKAN in composing 16:6. I did not know
      quite what to call the compositional error until I read Mark Goodacre's
      editorial-fatigue theory. By then I had put aside an unfinished draft of my
      thesis, which I now am trying to finish and update and present as a result of
      Karel Hanhart's post that prompted me to do so. I share this only to set the
      record straight with regard to the hermeneutical path I have followed, lest it
      should be misunderstood that I spotted the Markan "error" in 16:6 and then went
      searching for some source to explain the error; and viola: CG. I began with
      CG and comparing its Greek text with Mark, and then saw for the first time
      EQHKAN..

      [snip]

      > Gundry's analysis on this point is somewhat incoherent. Gundry
      > correctly recognized that "Mark likes *indefinite* third person
      > plural verb" (emphasis added), but then he failed to realize that
      > indefinite verbs, regardless of the actual grammatical number,
      > also comprehend a singular subject or at the very least render
      > the actual subject irrelevant.

      Gundry is a very careful writer. I have not found him to be incoherent. That
      is why I am wondering if he had a certain ambivalence over how one explicates
      EQHKAN in 16:6. You mention again the use of a verb in third person plural with
      reference to a singular subject. In your previous post on this you drew my
      attention to BDF #130 in which this compositional practice is discussed, and
      particularly to #130.2 where Markan texts are cited in which this particular
      rhetorical use of the verb in the third person plural can be found. BDF (#130.
      2) offers two examples of such Markan use of the verb (10:13 and 15:27). In
      10:13 the verb is PROSEFERON ("they brought"). However I cannot find the
      EPOUSIN BDF claims is an example of such a use in 15:27; moreover I cannot find
      it in Mt. 5:15; Lk. 12:20 and other texts cited there, with the exception of
      17:23. Am I misreading or misunderstanding BDF at this point? Am I losing it?

      But back to PROSEFERON in Mk. 10:13. It strikes me that PROSEFERON in 10:13
      could be read either as an aggregate of people (thus: "they" ) or as a
      collective, and thus referring to the singular "one." It is not clear to me in
      this case which is meant. Moreover, I have yet another probing question.
      When the use of the third person plural is used with the singular meaning
      understood, I understand how that could be the intended meaning when the subject
      of the verb has not been previously identified and thus is left unspecified.
      But what about the case of an act, such as burial which has been described with
      a specified singular subject, Joseph in Mk.15:46, followed by the reference back
      to that act performed by that specificed singular subject, shortly thereafter,
      in which the subject of the verb referring to that act, burial, is in the third
      person plural? In other words is not the subject of EQHKAN in 16:6 really
      understood to be Joseph? Now you can argue that the EQHKEN in 15:46 is really
      a collective use of the third person singular, meaning Joseph and his serviants.
      If that be the case and the intent, then why not use EQHKEN again with the same
      collective meaning in 16:6? At best there seems to be an inconsistency in my
      mind in the use of "person" in the verbal form as it is represented in 15:47 and
      16:6. Of course, one way to check out what Mark's stylistic practice is would
      be to check the entire Markan Gospel to see what he does in other cases in which
      an act is ascribed to a singular individual and is referred back to later as an
      act ascribed to "they." I do not have time to do that kind of tedious work
      now. Perhaps you have some insights regarding the questions I pose.

      > [Mark 15:46 states that Joseph rolled (PROSEKULISEN, singular)
      > the stone. The sheer physics of the operation, as recognized
      > by Mark's audience, implies that Joseph had help.]

      Agreed the physics of the matter does suggest Joseph must have had help. That
      is certainly an issue in the real world of the "Einsteinian" space-time
      continuum, but I do not find either the laws of Newtonian or Einsteinian physics
      to be operative in the narrative world Mark has created. In that world, Newton
      and Einstein to the contrary, Jesus walks on water (see my post on
      methodological presuppositions).

      [snip]

      > Your position would be stronger if Matthew and Luke surgically
      > corrected EQHKAN by a simple letter change, but Matthew and Luke's
      > redaction was much more radical: Matthew rewrote the sentence,
      > and Luke omitted it. This suggests the fault is elsewhere and
      > the change of EQHKEN to a different verb EKEITO in Matthew and
      > its omission in Luke is merely collateral damage.

      You are correct. It could suggest that; yet it could also suggest that they
      recognized an error and chose to correct it, each in his respective way.

      > Furthermore,
      > the fact that no scribe copying Mark changed EQHKAN to EQHKEN
      > shows that, whatever narrative difficulty there was, it was not
      > perceived before modern times.

      That is a good point. However, Nestle does not give all the variant readings
      of a text in all the manuscripts. It does look like there was some scribal
      redaction of the portion of 16:6 that leads into EQHKAN AUTON in the textual
      apparatus cited in the eighth revised edition of Nestle. It is not clear to me
      whether those variant readings omitted EQHKAN AUTON altogether and thus those
      readings did not refer back to the burial itself.

      > >My argument for my theory that Mark may well have used CG as a source for
      > >composing his burial and empty-tomb stories is a cumulative one. I am not
      > >placing all "my eggs" in the basket of a Markan error in 16:6. I am
      suggesting
      > >it is plausible to see Mk. 16:6 as an error, and Gundry, for one, appears to
      > >view it that way. CG offers an explanation for the error, and if additional
      > >examples from CG account for other "odd" features of the Markan empty-tomb
      > >story, in particular, then that gives more weight to the plausibility that
      16:6
      > >is an instance of Markan editorial fatigue.
      >
      > I've gone back over both your argument and the Gospel
      > of Peter, and I just cannot see how the argument can
      > be made to work.

      It may not work, but I ask you to reserve judgment until I have presented my
      entire argument. The editorial fatigue, if that is what it is finally, is only
      a small part of my thesis. Again the argument in support of the thesis is
      cumulative.

      > The plural EQHKAN, as you noted, occurs in two places.
      > The first is GPt 6:21 KAI EQHKAN AUTON EPI THS GHS,
      > where, after pulling nails from Jesus's hand, "they
      > put him on the ground" and an earthquake ensued. There
      > is no clear antecedent for "they" in 6:21, but it would
      > have to be the the Jews (hOI IOUDAIOI) in 6:23, who
      > rejoice and give the body to Joseph.

      I think the antecedent is expressed in CG 2:5a: namely hO LAOS.

      > After the body
      > is turned over Joseph, the Gospel of Peter, like Mark,
      > relates the events in the singular, including that
      > Joseph brought the body to his own tomb (EISHGAGEN
      > [sing.] EIS IDION TAFON). Mark does not relate anyone's
      > putting Jesus on the ground, the earthquake, the rejoicing
      > Jews, or any intermediary for Joseph. Matthew, however,
      > does mention an earthquake.
      >
      > The second occurrence of the plural form EQHKAN is
      > at 8:32 where the centurions and soldiers put a large
      > stone at the entrance of the tomb (EQHKAN EPI THi QURAi
      > TOU MNHMATOS). This instance of EQHKAN is not used of
      > Jesus's body. Mark, of course, does not mention the
      > guarding of the tomb, a detail present in Matthew.
      >
      > Furthermore, in the place where Mark does use the
      > grammatically plural EQHKAN, i.e. 16:6, the Gospel
      > of Peter follows Matthew instead: "KAI IDETE TON
      > TOPON ENQA EKEITO, hOTI OUK ESTIN" (13:56). The
      > GPt agrees with Matthew against Mark in: (1) the
      > plural IDETE versus Mark's sing. IDE, (2) the
      > accusative TON TOPON versus Mark's nominative
      > hO TOPOS, and (3) replacement of Mark's EQHKAN
      > AUTO with EKEITO. Both the additional ENQA and
      > hOTI OUK ESTIN look like explanatory glosses
      > on a Matthean base.

      But I agree with Crossan and Brown that the author of the Gospel of Peter itself
      also drew upon Matthew (Brown=from memory), while at the same time incorporating
      "the guard-at-the-tomb story" as it has been, from my view, too narrowly dubbed.

      >
      > The fatigue argument cannot stand up. If Mark
      > were fatigued and lapsed into the wording of
      > his source at 16:6, there is no EQHKAN in the
      > corresponding place in the Cross Gospel (as
      > known via GPt) to use. In fact, the parallel
      > to Mark 16:6 is virtually identical to Matthew's
      > text at 28:6. So, Mark would have to have
      > rewritten a literary sentence in more colloquial
      > terms. While not impossible, it is important
      > to realize that the Mark 16:6 // Matthew 28:6
      > parallel is viewed as one of the strongest
      > indications of Mark's priority over Matthew!
      > (e.g., Stein, SYNOPTIC PROBLEM, p. 53).

      My position is that the parallels between Mark and CG are not verbatim use of
      terminology or even common terminiology found in the same structural location in
      the respective narratives, but parallels lie rather in the ideational
      relationships and the necessary cause for the creation of an burial-empty tomb
      story in the first place. I have referred briefly to these factors in my post
      on presuppositions. I will articulate them in detail in the next portions of my
      thesis.

      [snip]

      Thanks, Stephen, for engaging me on this thesis and for your usual penetrating
      critique in response to what I have proposed.

      Ted


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... Thanks for your comments and other posts. I ll try to just address some of the questions you ve had. ... Just so you know where I m coming from, I require
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 7, 2002
        At 03:46 PM 2/7/02 -0600, Ted Weeden wrote:
        >Stephen, my apologies for not responding to your very incisive critique to my
        >post. I am behind in responding to many posts because of the number I have
        >received, for which I am appreciative, and because I decided what I really
        >needed to do is to set forth my methodological presuppositions which I have used
        >in working out my thesis. As you probably have noted I posted those
        >presuppositions in a post, "Mark and CG: Methodological Presuppositions,"
        >yesterday afternoon (2/6/02), and now I am trying to catch up.

        Thanks for your comments and other posts. I'll try to just
        address some of the questions you've had.

        >It was at that point, because I began to compare the Greek text of Mark with the
        >Greek text of Crossan's reconstructed CG (Crossan does not provide the Greek
        >text itself), that I spotted what I had not seen before, EQHKAN in 16:6, an
        >occurrence which did not comport in my thinking with EQHKEN in 15:46, though
        >EQHKAN was to be found in the initial statement regarding what I presumed to be
        >the beginning of the burial process in CG 6:21. That is when I began to wonder
        >if Mark had mistakenly copied CG's EQHKAN in composing 16:6. I did not know
        >quite what to call the compositional error until I read Mark Goodacre's
        >editorial-fatigue theory.

        Just so you know where I'm coming from, I require a fairly
        strict set of criteria (which was outlined in Goodacre's
        article) to be present before I'll conclude that a particular
        case is an instance of "fatigue" sensu strictu. If, on
        the other hand, you want to call the EQHKAN in Mark 16:6
        (assuming the rest of the argument holds up) an editorial
        lapse I would not object.

        >> Gundry's analysis on this point is somewhat incoherent. Gundry
        >> correctly recognized that "Mark likes *indefinite* third person
        >> plural verb" (emphasis added), but then he failed to realize that
        >> indefinite verbs, regardless of the actual grammatical number,
        >> also comprehend a singular subject or at the very least render
        >> the actual subject irrelevant.
        >
        >Gundry is a very careful writer. I have not found him to be incoherent. That
        >is why I am wondering if he had a certain ambivalence over how one explicates
        >EQHKAN in 16:6. You mention again the use of a verb in third person plural with
        >reference to a singular subject. In your previous post on this you drew my
        >attention to BDF #130 in which this compositional practice is discussed, and
        >particularly to #130.2 where Markan texts are cited in which this particular
        >rhetorical use of the verb in the third person plural can be found. BDF (#130.
        >2) offers two examples of such Markan use of the verb (10:13 and 15:27). In
        >10:13 the verb is PROSEFERON ("they brought"). However I cannot find the
        >EPOUSIN BDF claims is an example of such a use in 15:27; moreover I cannot find
        >it in Mt. 5:15; Lk. 12:20 and other texts cited there, with the exception of
        >17:23. Am I misreading or misunderstanding BDF at this point? Am I losing it?

        I'll admit that the citation list is misleading, but the EROUSIN
        is meant to apply to Luke 17:23 only. The remaining verses feature
        other 3d pers. pl. verbs, some of which I agree with and some I
        do not.

        Matt 5:15 OUDE KAIOUSIN LUCNON ("neither do they light a candle").
        The referent of the "they" is unclear and the NRSV translates it
        with an indefinite pronoun ("No one after lighting a candle").

        Mark 15:27 recites STAUROUSIN ("they crucify"). A rather poor
        example in my opinion since plural soldiers are clearly in view.

        Luke 12:20 THN YUCHN SOU APAITOUSIN APO SOU ("they demand your
        life from you"). The NRSV, NIV, NASB, NAB, and AV all employ
        the English passive here. The Amplified Bible actually says
        "they" but then footnotes Marvin Vincent, WORD STUDIES as
        saying "The indefiniteness is impressive."

        Luke 14:35 EXW BALLOUSIN AUTO ("they throw it out"). The referent
        for "they" is unclear and the NIV, NASB, NAB, and Rheims use the
        passive.

        John 15:6 KAI SUNAGOUSIN AUTA KAI EIS TO PUR BALLOUSIN ("They
        gather and throw them into the fire"). The NRSV and NIV use
        the passive here.

        John 20:2 HRAN TON KURION EK TOU MNHMEIOU KAI OUK OIDAMEN POU
        EQHKAN AUTON ("They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we
        don't know where they put him.") The referent of "they" is
        unclear and not important. Also a good parallel to Mark 16:6.

        Acts 3:2 hON ETIQOUN ("whom they put"). The NIV and NAB used
        the passive voice.

        Rev 12:6 hINA EKEI TREFWSIN AUTHN ("so that there they may
        feed her"). Passive in NRSV, NIV, NAB, and NASB.

        >But back to PROSEFERON in Mk. 10:13. It strikes me that PROSEFERON in 10:13
        >could be read either as an aggregate of people (thus: "they" ) or as a
        >collective, and thus referring to the singular "one." It is not clear to me in
        >this case which is meant. Moreover, I have yet another probing question.
        >When the use of the third person plural is used with the singular meaning
        >understood, I understand how that could be the intended meaning when the subject
        >of the verb has not been previously identified and thus is left unspecified.
        >But what about the case of an act, such as burial which has been described with
        >a specified singular subject, Joseph in Mk.15:46, followed by the reference back
        >to that act performed by that specificed singular subject, shortly thereafter,
        >in which the subject of the verb referring to that act, burial, is in the third
        >person plural? In other words is not the subject of EQHKAN in 16:6 really
        >understood to be Joseph? Now you can argue that the EQHKEN in 15:46 is really
        >a collective use of the third person singular, meaning Joseph and his serviants.
        >If that be the case and the intent, then why not use EQHKEN again with the same
        >collective meaning in 16:6? At best there seems to be an inconsistency in my
        >mind in the use of "person" in the verbal form as it is represented in 15:47 and
        >16:6. Of course, one way to check out what Mark's stylistic practice is would
        >be to check the entire Markan Gospel to see what he does in other cases in which
        >an act is ascribed to a singular individual and is referred back to later as an
        >act ascribed to "they." I do not have time to do that kind of tedious work
        >now. Perhaps you have some insights regarding the questions I pose.

        Two studied treatments of impersonal plurals in Mark are C.H.Turner
        in J.K.Elliott, THE LANGUAGE & STYLE OF MARK (Brill, 1993): 4-12 and
        39-45 and E.J.Pryke, REDACTIONAL STYLE IN THE MARCAN GOSPEL (Cambridge,
        1978): 107-115. Turner gave lots of examples where Mark seems to go
        back and forth between the singular and plural, with Matt. and Luke
        often correcting Mark. I suggest now that you may have discovered
        another example.

        >> [Mark 15:46 states that Joseph rolled (PROSEKULISEN, singular)
        >> the stone. The sheer physics of the operation, as recognized
        >> by Mark's audience, implies that Joseph had help.]
        >
        >Agreed the physics of the matter does suggest Joseph must have had help. That
        >is certainly an issue in the real world of the "Einsteinian" space-time
        >continuum, but I do not find either the laws of Newtonian or Einsteinian physics
        >to be operative in the narrative world Mark has created. In that world, Newton
        >and Einstein to the contrary, Jesus walks on water (see my post on
        >methodological presuppositions).

        How about Aristotelian physics? ;-) It is true that our physical
        rules are violated when certain miracles are narrated, but it
        does not seem to me that Joseph's rolling the stone is intended to
        be a miracle story.

        >> Your position would be stronger if Matthew and Luke surgically
        >> corrected EQHKAN by a simple letter change, but Matthew and Luke's
        >> redaction was much more radical: Matthew rewrote the sentence,
        >> and Luke omitted it. This suggests the fault is elsewhere and
        >> the change of EQHKEN to a different verb EKEITO in Matthew and
        >> its omission in Luke is merely collateral damage.
        >
        >You are correct. It could suggest that; yet it could also suggest that they
        >recognized an error and chose to correct it, each in his respective way.

        You could be right. C.H.Turner has many examples of Matthew
        and Luke correcting Mark's number usage.

        >> Furthermore,
        >> the fact that no scribe copying Mark changed EQHKAN to EQHKEN
        >> shows that, whatever narrative difficulty there was, it was not
        >> perceived before modern times.
        >
        >That is a good point. However, Nestle does not give all the variant readings
        >of a text in all the manuscripts. It does look like there was some scribal
        >redaction of the portion of 16:6 that leads into EQHKAN AUTON in the textual
        >apparatus cited in the eighth revised edition of Nestle. It is not clear to me
        >whether those variant readings omitted EQHKAN AUTON altogether and thus those
        >readings did not refer back to the burial itself.

        You are right about Nestle, which is why I looked at Tischendorf's
        8th ed. and Swanson. No variants are cited.

        >It may not work, but I ask you to reserve judgment until I have presented my
        >entire argument. The editorial fatigue, if that is what it is finally, is only
        >a small part of my thesis. Again the argument in support of the thesis is
        >cumulative.

        Please note that my comments presumed the strict fatigue
        criteria from Goodacre's article. If you had a broader
        understanding editorial lapses in mind, then your milage
        my vary. However, looking over at Turner's notes on
        Markan usage, it appears that mixing up singular and
        plural is so pervasive that it would be unnecessary
        to invoke dependent on a source to explain only one of
        them.

        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

        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • jlupia2
        Ted Weeden has pointed out problems of so-called inconsistencies in the drink motif in the Crucifixion Narrative . The following are some thoughts I have
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 8, 2002
          Ted Weeden has pointed out problems of so-called
          inconsistencies in the "drink motif" in the "Crucifixion Narrative".

          The following are some thoughts I have had on this subject.

          The Drink

          1. Historical Background

          Plato was the first author to use the term anaisthesia.
          According to Isidorus, Serapion, and Pliny, Nat. hist. xxxv, 94 the
          Romans used Mandrake or Mandragora juice and atropine as
          an anesthetic. Nepenthes was a plant mixed with wine that was
          drunk to remove sorrow. In the Odyssey it is referred to as an
          Egyptian drug. It was given to Telemachus by Helen at the court
          of Menelaus when he sought news of Odysseus. Xenophon, in
          his history called the Anabasis tells us that story of how his
          soldiers lay on the ground in a drunken madness after having
          eaten some wild honey at Colchis. Pliny refers to such honey as
          meli maenomenon or the mad honey. This honey was produced
          by bees that gathered toxins from Nerium or dogbane, the
          Mediterranean oleander, and from the Rhododendron ponticum,
          among other such toxic plants of the region. Pliny tells us that
          aged meli maenomenon was made into a mead-wine.
          Although Romans developed various anesthetic drinks they
          never offered them to prisoners to deaden or ease their pain at
          execution. So, the significance of the drink offered to Jesus must
          have another meaning. All four Gospels mention that Jesus was
          offered a drink during the crucifixion. Luke 23: 36 and John 19:
          29 both agree that it was vinegar. Historically, Roman soldiers
          carried a potable tart or pungent wine used to quench or slake
          their thirst when water was not readily available. Frequently they
          washed down their food with this acetum or vinegar. The
          presence of the acetabulum or oxybaphon (OXUBAFON) or
          vinegar dipping vessel attested to by John 19:29 who uses the
          word SKEUOS instead evokes the image that the Roman
          soldiers had been eating and drinking as they guarded the
          executed prisoners. We know that Roman soldiers made a fire
          and cooked grain or meat for the afternoon meal. Luke is even
          more precise about this. In 23:36 he mentions the vinegar and
          in 23:44 says it was about the sixth hour. For the Romans the
          sixth hour was the time for the prandium (PRWHN) or lunch.
          This presence of the acetabulum is strengthened by Poll. 6.85
          and Athen 11.494 b, who attest to the food at table was dipped or
          sopped into the acetabulum. John relates that a soldier dipped
          a spongia (SPONGIOS) into the acetabulum to soak up some of
          the vinegar. The Greeks used OXALMH, a wine and brine
          mixture, medicinally, as cited by Philumenus, Ven., 32.3, quoting
          Apollonius. They also had OXOS a vinegar put to the nose as a
          mode of torture mentioned by Aristophanes, Ranae, 620 . The
          Romans putting the sponge to Jesus' lips would have not
          necessarily served as a drink since he was far within reaching
          distance to have easily offered him a cup. To press the sponge
          to his lips was to force him to inhale the fumes of pungent OXOS
          (vinegar) as a torture much like the quote from Aristophanes.
          Then taking a small twig of hyssop he used it as a batillum or
          scooper to press it against Jesus' lips, which were well within
          arms reach. However, this twig of hyssop was more probably
          the peniculi cited by Ter. Eun. 4.7,7; Martial 12.48; and Plautus
          Stich. 2.2,23. These were sponges on short sticks Roman
          soldiers carried for cleaning their boots described by Plautus in
          Menaechm. 2.3, 40. Romans used three grades of sponges (1)
          TRAGOS which was a hard and course variety, (2) MANOS a soft
          type, and (3) ACILLEION, a fine variety. This latter type was also
          used for fitting the ocrea or greaves which were leg armor, and
          for lining helmets. So, the sponge on a short stick and
          wine-viegar were commodities commonly held by Roman
          soldiers and are in keeping with what we should expect to find if
          the story is consistent with the historical facts.

          2. Pesharim

          Besides having evidence of this custom practiced in his day
          Luke and John also had the Sacred Scriptures. When they wrote
          their Gospels they needed to discover how the events in Jesus'
          life fulfilled the description of the messiah given in the
          prophetical writings of the bible. This method "pesher" was
          used by Jewish scholars who studied the scriptures to see how
          they might be fulfilled in their day. The apostles used this
          method to see how the events in Jesus' personal life were the
          fulfillment of Sacred Scriptures in their day. These Evangelists,
          therefore, cite vinegar as the drink offered to Jesus on the cross
          since it serves as a pesher, or fulfillment of a prophecy about the
          Messiah, proving once again that Jesus is it. In Psalm 69: 21-22
          we read:

          "In thy sight are all that afflict me; my heart hath expected
          reproach and misery. And I look for one that would grieve
          together with me, but there was none: and for one that would
          comfort me and there was none. And they gave me gall for my
          food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

          Yet another meaning can be gleaned from Sacred Scripture that
          does not refer to the Messiah but the disciples. Proverbs 10:26
          says:

          "Like vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so is the
          dawdling messenger to the one who sends him."

          The association of the vinegar in Luke's text to the Roman
          prandium indicated the presence of smoke from the fire
          customarily used for cooking in the field. The reference to
          Proverbs 10:26, if it was intended, associated through the
          imagery of Luke's text possibly drew the analogy that lacking true
          devotion to Jesus by witnessing the Gospel with all due
          diligence grieves him like that historical vinegar offering or the
          smoke from the soldier's campfire.

          Matthew 27:34, rather, says they offered him wine mixed with
          gall. Here it is possible that Matthew was also referencing
          Psalm 69. Matthew may have been trying to purposefully allude
          to the manner of execution offered to the Greek philosopher
          Socrates, who was given wine mixed with hemlock, since
          hemlock was sometimes called gall (Hosea 10:4). The Greeks
          had a variety of wine called ABROTONINOS since it was mixed
          with wormwood from the Artemisia arborescens or ABROTON.
          This way the parallel between Socrates and Jesus could easily
          be accomplished. Socrates was put to death because he taught
          virtue to the youth of Greece. By doing this he violated the
          tradition of the Greek pagan polytheistic religion. Likewise,
          Jesus also violated the human traditions that began to strangle
          the spiritual life out of Judaism. He too taught people how to live
          meaningful and virtuous lives. Creating this parallel between
          these two great men would have facilitated the apostles to easily
          convert the Greek speaking people who already knew about
          Socrates. Recently, J. S. Kloppenborg (1992) pointed out that
          Luke's attention to Jesus' final words was reminiscent of the
          Greek manner of describing the last words of Socrates.

          Mark 15:23, on the other hand, says it was wine mixed with
          myrrh. Pliny Nat. Hist. 14.15;92, and 14.19,107 tells us that the
          finest wines were scented with myrrh. The first thought is that
          this was intended to have symbolic meaning and not be taken
          literal. Why would Roman soldiers have on them the finest
          wines at an executioners post? Furthermore, why would they
          offer Jesus the finest wine? However, Roman soldiers imbibed
          on perfumed wines during meals. Their jentaculum or breakfast
          typically consisted of a wine scented with seselis or silis at
          meal. It was from this scented wine that the jentaculum was
          sometimes called silatum. Since Romans frequently consumed
          scented wines at meals it seems only natural that at crucifixion
          sites these wines served as an emunctary, an inhalant to
          cleanse their noses like a snuffer, to fumigate the foul stench
          from those crucified. This scented wine served as an aromatic
          deodorant to freshen the air they inhaled. This was
          accomplished by keeping the cups or goblets at their mouths
          tilted upward so that the rim touched the bridge of their nose.
          Consistent on the level of assonance puns or words of similar
          sounds being associated the Aramaic or Hebrew word for myrrh
          "mor" was associated with the Latin "morsus" meaning "a
          pungent taste" as used by the Roman poet Marcus Valerius
          Martialis (1st cent. B.C.-1st cent A.D.), commonly called Martial.
          This would have been a poetic way of expressing the salvific
          crucifixion of Jesus as a bitter cup whose fragrance is the
          perfume of the tomb. Since myrrh was used for burial, as
          attested to by John 19:39, the myrrh in the wine symbolizes the
          death of Christ associated with the cup of wine or Eucharist.
          This interpretation is reinforced by the use of the term for myrrh
          in Latin. Since Roman goblets were made of a mineral called in
          Latin "murrah' or `murra," meaning myrrh, a term also used by
          Martial to signify the goblets themselves. Also mor may have
          been targeted as an assonance pun on morus or the mulberry
          tree. This black berry bearing tree was an arbor infelix, the type
          used in the manufacture of the patibulum.


          Just a few thoughts.

          Cordially,
          John

          John N. Lupia
          Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA


          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          ... If anyone s intersted, look at what I have to say on the vinegar (and food and drink generally) in two SBL papers. These are online:
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 8, 2002
            John Lupia wrote:

            > Ted Weeden has pointed out problems of so-called
            > inconsistencies in the "drink motif" in the
            > "Crucifixion Narrative".

            If anyone's intersted, look at what I have to say on
            the vinegar (and food and drink generally) in two SBL
            papers. These are online:

            http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/~fjust/John/SBL1999.html

            Jeffery Hodges

            =====
            Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
            447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
            Yangsandong 411
            South Korea

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