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[Synoptic-L] Question on impurity of the Jordan below Galilee

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  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
    I sent a post a couple of days ago on this issue, but it didn t appear on the listserve, so I m assuming that it got lost. I was wondering what sources there
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
      I sent a post a couple of days ago on this issue, but
      it didn't appear on the listserve, so I'm assuming
      that it got lost.

      I was wondering what sources there are on the Jordan's
      impurity south of the Sea of Galilee. Are these late
      or early, rabbinical or Second-Temple, and do they
      have a ground in the Tanakh?

      On this point, where was Naaman healed/purified? Above
      the Sea of Galilee?

      Also, what is the reasoning behind declaring the
      Jordan south of the Sea of Galilee impure?

      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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    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      I think that everyone probably received the email from Mr. (Ms.?) redskins@gowebway.com. It seems to have gone to the entire list. I also hope that s/he gets
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
        I think that everyone probably received the email from
        Mr. (Ms.?) redskins@.... It seems to have
        gone to the entire list. I also hope that s/he gets
        successfully removed.

        Jeffery Hodges

        --- "R. Steven Notley" <Notley@...> wrote:
        > To whom it may concern (Mark?)
        >
        > I don't know how this works, but could whoever is
        > responsible please
        > help this person remove themself from the
        > Synoptic-L. I received a
        > "Remove" request, which I tried to re-direct and
        > this was the response I
        > received:
        >
        > >>>Pure rhetoric in it's lowst form!!!
        >
        > >>On Mon, 01 Apr 2002 19:08:23 -0500 "R. Steven
        > Notley"
        > <Notley@...> wrote:
        >
        > >>Excuse me, whoever you are. I think you need to
        > direct your "Remove
        > from Synoptic-L" to
        > >>someone else.
        >
        > >>Regards,
        > >>Steven Notley
        >
        > redskins@... wrote:
        >
        > > Remove Synoptic-L. Please, Please, Please!!!
        > >
        > > redskins@...
        >
        >
        >
        > > begin:vcard
        > n:Notley;R. Steven
        > tel;fax:212-625-1018
        > tel;home:845-753-6831
        > tel;work:212-625-0500
        > x-mozilla-html:FALSE
        > org:Nyack College NYC;Biblical Studies
        > version:2.1
        > email;internet:Notley@...
        > title:Professor
        > adr;quoted-printable:;;361 Broadway=0D=0A;New
        > York;New York;10013-3904;USA
        > x-mozilla-cpt:;1
        > fn:R. Steven Notley
        > end:vcard
        >


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

        __________________________________________________
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        Yahoo! Tax Center - online filing with TurboTax
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      • Mark Goodacre
        Yes, sorry about that; I received twenty or thirty messages from him/her (in addition to 460 others) on returning from an Easter break today. Let me take the
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
          Yes, sorry about that; I received twenty or thirty messages from
          him/her (in addition to 460 others) on returning from an Easter break
          today. Let me take the opportunity to remind everyone how to
          subscribe and unsubscribe from the list.

          (1) To subscribe to the list, simply send the message:

          Subscribe Synoptic-L

          to majordomo@...

          (2) To unsubscribe from the list, simply send the message:

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          to majordomo@...

          (3) If you would prefer to view messages only on the web (but would
          still like to post), let me know at Synoptic-L-Owner@...

          (4) If you would prefer to view messages in dailiy digest format (but
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          Owner@....

          OK?

          Best wishes
          Mark


          On 2 Apr 2002 at 14:58, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

          > I think that everyone probably received the email from
          > Mr. (Ms.?) redskins@.... It seems to have
          > gone to the entire list. I also hope that s/he gets
          > successfully removed.
          >
          > Jeffery Hodges
          >
          > --- "R. Steven Notley" <Notley@...> wrote:
          > > To whom it may concern (Mark?)
          > >
          > > I don't know how this works, but could whoever is
          > > responsible please
          > > help this person remove themself from the
          > > Synoptic-L. I received a
          > > "Remove" request, which I tried to re-direct and
          > > this was the response I
          > > received:
          > >
          > > >>>Pure rhetoric in it's lowst form!!!
          > >
          > > >>On Mon, 01 Apr 2002 19:08:23 -0500 "R. Steven
          > > Notley"
          > > <Notley@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > >>Excuse me, whoever you are. I think you need to
          > > direct your "Remove
          > > from Synoptic-L" to
          > > >>someone else.
          > >
          > > >>Regards,
          > > >>Steven Notley
          > >
          > > redskins@... wrote:
          > >
          > > > Remove Synoptic-L. Please, Please, Please!!!
          > > >
          > > > redskins@...
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > > begin:vcard
          > > n:Notley;R. Steven
          > > tel;fax:212-625-1018
          > > tel;home:845-753-6831
          > > tel;work:212-625-0500
          > > x-mozilla-html:FALSE
          > > org:Nyack College NYC;Biblical Studies
          > > version:2.1
          > > email;internet:Notley@...
          > > title:Professor
          > > adr;quoted-printable:;;361 Broadway=0D=0A;New
          > > York;New York;10013-3904;USA
          > > x-mozilla-cpt:;1
          > > fn:R. Steven Notley
          > > end:vcard
          > >
          >
          >
          > =====
          > Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
          > Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
          > 447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
          > Yangsandong 411
          > South Korea
          >
          > __________________________________________________
          > Do You Yahoo!?
          > Yahoo! Tax Center - online filing with TurboTax
          > http://taxes.yahoo.com/
          >
          > Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...


          -----------------------------
          Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
          Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
          University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
          Birmingham B15 2TT UK

          http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
          http://NTGateway.com


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        • R. Steven Notley
          Jeffery Thanks for your note asking for the reference to the purity issues relating to the Jordan. It is found in Mishna Parah 8:10-11óthus tannaitic and
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 4, 2002
            Jeffery

            Thanks for your note asking for the reference to the purity issues relating to the Jordan.  It is found in Mishna Parah 8:10-11—thus tannaitic and early rabbinic.  It is part of a longer discussion about what types of waters are acceptable for a "mikveh."  As Sanders has demonstrated (Judaism: Practice and Belief 63BCE-66CE) concerns for ritual purity and waters for immersion are quite early.  The Mishnah reads:

            "The waters of the Jordan and the Yarmuk are invalid because they are mixed waters [i.e. they receive tributaries of questionable origin].  They are deemed "mixed waters" whereof the one is valid and the other is invalid and they mingle together...."

            By contrast it continues:  "The well of Ahab and (the waters from) the cave of Panias are valid."  In other words waters flowing in the Jordan north of the Sea of Galilee are considered "valid" for ritual immersion, waters flowing south from the point of joining with the Yarmuk (just to the south of the Sea of Galilee) are invalid.

            Having said all of this I need to qualify the whole issue a bit and remind folks that in Luke's account Jesus is not specified to be baptized "in the Jordan."  Instead we hear only that John is in "the regions of the Jordan" (Luke 3:3).  It is Mark who specifies that John is baptizing "in the Jordan" (1:5:  EN TW IORDANH POTAMW).

            It is interesting that you mention Na'aman.  I have wondered whether Mark's portrayal of Jesus' baptism has not been influenced (geographically) by the singular mention of BAPTIZEIN with the sense of "immersion" in the OT:  2 Kings 5:14:  "So he (Na'aman) went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan (EN TW IORDANW)."

            Matthew, again in that "middle role" (i.e. conflation) echoes Luke's geographical description (Lk 3:3/Mt 3:5: "region of the Jordan" PERIXWROS TOU IORDANOU) and Mark's EN TW IORDANH POTAMW (Matt 3:6).

            Not only is Luke's geographical description more realistic, likewise is his presentation of John's "role" in Jesus' baptism.  It is Mark who says that Jesus was baptized "by John" (HUPO IWANNOU).  Of course, one may excuse Mark's description and say that what he really meant was that Jesus merely submitted to the authority of John's baptism and he did not mean to suggest that John either put Jesus under the water or poured water over his head (whichever Christian tradition one wants to put forward).

            In Jewish terms either of these physical portrayals are disallowed.  Jewish immersion is just that—immersion (3 times).  Moreover, one is forbidden to be touched while in the water—thus eliminating John's role in actually putting Jesus under the water.  The earliest known "picture" of Jesus' baptism is from 2/3 century catacombs in Rome.  There John is seen on the bank extending a hand to Jesus who is come out of the water.  That portrayal of their respective locations fits Jewish roles/requirements in ritual immersion.

            As I stated one can avoid the obvious in Mark's description by suggesting he is only speaking metaphorically.  Nevertheless, the portrayal of Jesus being baptized (HUPO IWANNOU) is lacking altogether in Luke.  What is likewise seldom noticed is that while Matthew earlier follows Mark's portrayal that Jesus came..."to John to be baptized by him (Matt 3:13:  HUP' AUTOU), when the actual act of Jesus' immersion is given in Matthew he lacks Mark's detailed mention of John's role.  Instead, it is more akin to Luke's description where no mention is made of John.

            All this is to say that both the geographical and ritual description in Luke's account are more "realistic" in light of what we know of Jewish practice and understanding in the first century.  Mark presents details that seem to lack an understanding of those issues.  Matthew (as I have suggested occurs frequently) reflects both Luke's precision and Mark's blurring of the picture.

            BTW, one thing I just noticed in regard to language and geography:  Matthew and Mark's designation "Jordan River" is odd—in linguistic terms.  Note that in the OT there is never a need to qualify "Jordan" with "River."  It is unnecessary, superfluous.  Luke retains the simple (Hebraic) designation.  I would suggest that Mark's "Jordan River" (NB: its sytnactical order is patently Greek) is evidence of Mark's own hand.  What is particularly fascinating is that Matthew knows and follows this Markan geographical oddity.

            Shalom,
            Steven Notley
            Nyack College NYC

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