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Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing com

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Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing com

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed May 23, 2018 1:47 pm

Are there other examples of εἰ meaning "not"? Is it a contracted syntactic construction or an idiomatic use of the particle?

Mark 8:12 (μέρος) wrote:Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον.

How does Jesus think of that generation, as implied by this construction - is he disappointed, vengeful, resolved, or a pigs would fly backwards joke, etc. ?

How can I culturally interpret this statement correctly?
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby jeidsath » Wed May 23, 2018 2:22 pm

Ps 94:11 -- ὡς ὤμοσα ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ μου. Εἰ εἰσελεύσονται εἰς τὴν κατάπαυσίν μου
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed May 23, 2018 2:47 pm

So, an angry oath based on a literal translation of an original Hebrew אִם־?

Psalm 95:11 wrote:אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֥עְתִּי בְאַפִּ֑י אִם־יְ֝בֹא֗וּן אֶל־מְנוּחָתִֽי׃
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby jeidsath » Wed May 23, 2018 3:16 pm

It's in-character for Jesus to say this in Mark, but it doesn't make much narrative sense. Matthew and Luke both continue on and have Jesus tell them that they will see the "sign of Jonah" -- his death and resurrection.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed May 23, 2018 3:45 pm

A Semitism:

There shall no sign be given unto this generation (εἰ δοθησεται τῃ γενεᾳ ταυτῃ σημειον [ei dothēsetai tēi geneāi tautēi sēmeion]). Matt. 16:4 has simply οὐ δοθησεται [ou dothēsetai], plain negative with the future passive indicative. Mark has εἰ [ei] instead of οὐ [ou], which is technically a conditional clause with the conclusion unexpressed (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1024), really aposiopesis in imitation of the Hebrew use of ἰμ [im]. This is the only instance in the N. T. except in quotations from the LXX (Heb. 3:11; 4:3, 5). It is very common in the LXX.

Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Mk 8:12). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed May 23, 2018 4:36 pm

jeidsath wrote:Matthew and Luke both continue on and have Jesus tell them that they will see the "sign of Jonah" -- his death and resurrection.

The sign of Jonah is illogical (or revolutionary) from the point of view of Kaoskrieg of a solar religion. In Egyptian versionof the myth, the Solar Barque (Atet) is manouvered through the chaos at the same time avoiding being devoured by Apep the sea monster.

While it is debatable to what extent, if any, Jesus is represented (implictly or explicitly) as the fulfilment of popukar solar religion or mythologies in passages like καὶ ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ, ὡς ὁ ἥλιος φαίνει ἐν τῇ δυνάμει αὐτοῦ (Rev.1:16), the notion of a solar deity being voluntarily thrown into a tempetuous sea to be eaten by the sea creature to end the recurring (daily) cycle of good avoiding evil, turns the other versions of the myth (in which the sun god repeatedly triumphs) on their head. Winning in defeat.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby jeidsath » Wed May 23, 2018 4:53 pm

Lol, Archarya S. This thread turned unhinged fast.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Wed May 23, 2018 5:55 pm

jeidsath wrote:
ἑκηβόλος wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:aposiopesis [ἀποσιώπησις]

Apep [Ἄποφις]

This thread turned unhinged fast.

Ha ha. Discussion of the encyclopedic knowledge that is needed to make sense of what is written.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed May 23, 2018 11:06 pm

I thought this was a discussion on the use of εἰ in Mark 8:12, quite interesting from a variety of perspectives, particularly whether it's directly a Semitism or a Septuagintalism. But your "encyclopedic knowledge" just comes across as weird, with all due respect. I mean, really, can you find any of the commentaries that talk about such things in relationship to the text?
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Thu May 24, 2018 2:06 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I mean, really, can you find any of the commentaries that talk about such things in relationship to the text?
Strictly speaking, the commentary is a genre that brings snippits of other knowledge to bear on a text in the sequence that the text is laid out. In that case, I do not. Turning that inside out, namely if you were to allow citation of a work that discusses another body of knowledge making references to the text in question, then yes. I hadn't seen her work before, but the DMM/AS that Joel mentions is one, which makes interesting reading, despite her writing as if she has an agenda of belief driving her interpretation and findings. I think that the occasional references or possible allusions to astronomy (or astrology / solar theology) are no more than that, and can they inform us about the state of some people's thinking at the time of Christ. If there was a popular belief about the sun of righteousness shining on people in darkness in the mixture of ideas surrounding the coming messiah that wouldn't surprise me. There are so many features of the Gospel and New Testament world that weird me out already - raising the dead, spitting into a blind man's eye-socket, convulsing demoniacs, groups virgins walking around in groups a night with or without oil flasks, catching a fish with a coin in its mouth, telling time like they do in Ethiopia, a woman travelling on a donkey right before birth, crucifixion of criminals, flattering civil authorities to make requests, to name a few.

By way of contextualisation, let me quote the whole of the twelfth verse together with the one preceeding it.

Καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι, καὶ ἤρξαντο συζητεῖν αὐτῷ, ζητοῦντες παρ’ αὐτοῦ σημεῖον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, πειράζοντες αὐτόν. Καὶ ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ λέγει , Τί ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ; Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον.


Jesus was being asked for a sign from heaven. If the meaning of σημεῖον once limited in the first mention is still limited to a sign from heaven in the two subsequent mentions, that makes more sense to me. Joel's mention of the Jonah reference in the other two synoptic gospels - presumably not a victorious sign from heaven prompted my mention of wider context of mythological subtext of the Jonah story. Seeing as Jesus body was burried in a tomb, rather than thrown into a river to be eaten by a huge fish before regurgitation there is presumably a symbolic or mythological reference to Jonah, rather than a literal one. In that case, discussing it is reasonable.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu May 24, 2018 3:32 pm

ἑκηβόλος wrote:

By way of contextualisation, let me quote the whole of the twelfth verse together with the one preceeding it.

Καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι, καὶ ἤρξαντο συζητεῖν αὐτῷ, ζητοῦντες παρ’ αὐτοῦ σημεῖον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, πειράζοντες αὐτόν. Καὶ ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ λέγει , Τί ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ; Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον.


Jesus was being asked for a sign from heaven. If the meaning of σημεῖον once limited in the first mention is still limited to a sign from heaven in the two subsequent mentions, that makes more sense to me. Joel's mention of the Jonah reference in the other two synoptic gospels - presumably not a victorious sign from heaven prompted my mention of wider context of mythological subtext of the Jonah story. Seeing as Jesus body was burried in a tomb, rather than thrown into a river to be eaten by a huge fish before regurgitation there is presumably a symbolic or mythological reference to Jonah, rather than a literal one. In that case, discussing it is reasonable.


RE: "By way of contextualisation ..." While you're meaning here is perfectly clear, you are using contextualisation in a completely different sense from what has become somewhat mainstream. That's a side issue, no need to dwell on it.

RE. "mythological subtext of the Jonah story."

I'm unfamiliar with the bulk of the secondary literature on Jonah. On the other hand, I have had a long term (40+ years) interest in the mythological subtext of Genesis 1, which may or may not be connected with Jonah. The particular thread I have explored begins with Creation and Chaos, Herman Gunkel, Frank Moore Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic Harvard UP 1973, followed by students of F.M.Cross, John J. Collins, Bruce K. Waltke. More recently Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan by John Day. Many others too numerous to list. This thread continues ..., see Conflicts at Creation: Genesis 1-3 in Dialogue with the Psalter, Hulisani Ramantswana, 2014.

The relevance to Jonah should be fairly obvious, the sea monster and the storm are stock elements in the combat myth, see Mary K. Wakeman God's Battle with the Monster, 1973.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there are multiple roads one can travel in exploring intertexuality between the NT and ancient mythology. Jesus calming the storm on the sea of Galilee might be intertexually related to the ANE Combat Myth just mentioned. Jesus descent into "hell"[1] is not a narrative but it does share significant features with the Jonah motif.

Mainstream commentaries do explore intertexuality, e.g., David Aune's three volume work on Revelation.


[1]Bo Ivar Reicke,The Disobedient Spirits & Christian Baptism: A Study of 1 Peter 3:19 1946.

Postcript: Exploring intertexuality is not "weird" but you may run into trouble if you bring this up at your next small group bible study. I discovered this 25 years ago talking about intertexuality with bible students at Calvary Fellowship in Seattle. A Univ of Wash. graduate student got all worked up and ran around telling the pastors and elders I was promoting a mythological reading of Genesis 1. Bottom line is few people outside academia understand the biblical studies establishment, what it is and how it works. It is terra icognita to graduate students in other disciplines. On the other hand few years later I had some long discussions with a Phd Derrida disciple from John Knox Church in Normandy Park who understood intertexuality very well but he wasn't in the same galaxy with other people at his church.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Fri May 25, 2018 2:51 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Postcript: Exploring intertexuality is not "weird" but you may run into trouble if you bring this up at your next small group bible study. I discovered this 25 years ago talking about intertexuality with bible students at Calvary Fellowship in Seattle. A Univ of Wash. graduate student got all worked up and ran around telling the pastors and elders I was promoting a mythological reading of Genesis 1. Bottom line is few people outside academia understand the biblical studies establishment, what it is and how it works. It is terra icognita to graduate students in other disciplines. On the other hand few years later I had some long discussions with a Phd Derrida disciple from John Knox Church in Normandy Park who understood intertexuality very well but he wasn't in the same galaxy with other people at his church.


Of course, "intertextuality" is not weird. People have been doing it since the invention of writing, it just took scholars a few millennia to come up with a nice official name for it. What I found weird were the specific connections εκηβολος was making. Most modern (mid-20th century and on) commentaries are pretty good at discussing real connections.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sat May 26, 2018 2:23 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Postcript: Exploring intertexuality is not "weird" but you may run into trouble if you bring this up at your next small group bible study. I discovered this 25 years ago talking about intertexuality with bible students at Calvary Fellowship in Seattle. A Univ of Wash. graduate student got all worked up and ran around telling the pastors and elders I was promoting a mythological reading of Genesis 1. Bottom line is few people outside academia understand the biblical studies establishment, what it is and how it works. It is terra icognita to graduate students in other disciplines. On the other hand few years later I had some long discussions with a Phd Derrida disciple from John Knox Church in Normandy Park who understood intertexuality very well but he wasn't in the same galaxy with other people at his church.


Of course, "intertextuality" is not weird. People have been doing it since the invention of writing, it just took scholars a few millennia to come up with a nice official name for it. What I found weird were the specific connections εκηβολος was making. Most modern (mid-20th century and on) commentaries are pretty good at discussing real connections.

What is a sign? What is the difference between a sign and a magical trick? A sign is more than a decontextualised miraculous event. It is a miraculous event that takes its significance from another context. Feeding so many people with bread in a desterted place indicates to us the divinity of Jesus because we know that that is what God did for his people with the manna. Without the mythological subtext the miracle might just be seen in itself as proof that Jesus was a great man or a cunning magician. Perhaps Barry was weirded out because I assumed a logical step in the argument.

Before beginning, let me ask by way of that, whether we agree that the evangelisation of the gentiles is part of the "sign of Jonah"? In other words, does the significance to salvific history of the Jonah story stop when he is spewed up out of the water by the sea creature or does it continue to the council of Jerusalem (or right through the book of Acts till the present day)? As you have no doubt already guessed my answer to that question by my simply asking the question, I should now introduce the missing step in the argument. How did the story of Jonah relate to the resurrection of Jesus?

While the number of days is straightforward, Jesus didn't get thrown into water. It is the ANE mythological context and/or subtext of the Jonah story that allows Jesus to call his death, burial and three-day ressurection a "sign" of the prophet Jonah. It is an identification of the miraculous current event with a salvifically significant event in the past. The sacrificial death of one man to save all the others, the calming of the sea, taming the sea monster, emerging from the sea monster in the Jonah story tell us about the theology (and cosmology) of Jesus death and ressurection. So far, that is what I assumed was a common ground of understanding of the connectedness of the typology / mythological context of the Jonah story and the life of Christ. Based on that assumption I made a comparative statement about the difference between the version of the Kaoskrieg myth that occurs in the Bible and the other versions that we know of, to make a point about uniqueness of the Biblical in terms of that family of myths.

Perhaps without that step - either now stated or previously assumed to be in the historical/archeological/geographical/mythological ANE general knowledge that can be assumed of educated people reading the Bible (Old Testament) - it may have seemed like I was making a connection. Actually, I was making a comparison. The daily cycle of the Kaoskreig in the example of a solar religion that I mentioned never leads to the evangelisation (repentence and acceptance by God) of other peoples of the world, while the Christ event did.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sat May 26, 2018 3:59 am

This is where we need a reality check. First century audience -- to what extent would they have made such connections? Or would they rather tend to connect to their current thought world, which was quite different from when Jonah was composed? It's pretty obvious that the sign of Jonah has to be looked at in terms of the passion/resurrection narrative. Intertextuality has to start with contextuality, and the connections most likely within the text as written. I doubt very seriously that the writer of Mark is thinking of sunshine and sea.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sat May 26, 2018 5:54 am

I think the idea of Jonah's resurrection is problematic.

Did biological death occur when he was in the belly of the fish? How does his state of conciousness and ability to pray while dead affect our theology of death and intercessions by the dead, or how does the lack of a real death affect our understanding of Jesus's death?
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sat May 26, 2018 2:01 pm

ἑκηβόλος wrote:I think the idea of Jonah's resurrection is problematic.

Did biological death occur when he was in the belly of the fish? How does his state of conciousness and ability to pray while dead affect our theology of death and intercessions by the dead, or how does the lack of a real death affect our understanding of Jesus's death?


I don't think you understand how "signs" work in the genre. Like parables, there are usually one or two points of comparison. Most people intuitively pick up what the point of comparison is with Jonah once they have read the gospel once or twice.

Of course, that's not the only way σημεῖον is used. It has a range of meaning.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sat May 26, 2018 10:41 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I doubt very seriously that the writer of Mark is thinking of sunshine and sea.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:I don't think you understand how "signs" work in the genre. Like parables, there are usually one or two points of comparison. Most people intuitively pick up what the point of comparison is with Jonah once they have read the gospel once or twice.

I think you do understand how this sign of Jonah is being used, viz. non-literally. Without a literal fish, nor sea, (nor physical sun shining), the symbolic or mythological meaning of those things in the Jonah story become important. Yes. It is very quickly clear that Jesus is not reading the Jonah story with literally physical parallels to his own life - there is clearly a deeper meaning to Jonah that he is alluding to. I don't think that reading only the Gospels could give that meaning. As with any ancient document, they are written for a contemporary audience and what that audience was assumed to know before reading them is not often explained.

If Jesus were just a man, reflecting on just the 1st century understanding of the story, makes a lot of sense. If he was also the divine Word that wrote (or guided authourship of) the book of Jonah, then such a brief mention of Jonah, without a lot of explanation, leaves a tension between the authour's intent and audience reception.

There is of course the other dynamic of interpretation that Joel brought up with Archarya S. Positioning the interpretation of the Jonah story within recent (twentieth century) thinking adds an extra dynamic to this discussion.
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Re: Mark 8:12 εἰ = if they think ..., there is another thing

Postby Markos » Mon May 28, 2018 3:00 pm

Of the Hebrew versions, some use אִם (εἰ,) some לאֹ (οὐ)

Delitsch: אִם־יִנָּתֵן אוֹת לַדּוֹר הַזֶּה

(εἰ δοθήσεται σημεῖον τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ.)

The Bible Society in Israel: אִם יִנָּתֵן אוֹת לַדּוֹר הַזֶּה

(εἰ δοθήσεται σημεῖον τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ.)

Robert Lindsey: לאֹ יִנָּתֵן אוֹת לַדּוֹר הַזֶּה

(οὐ δοθήσεται σημεῖον τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ.)

Salkinson-Ginsberg: אוֹת לאֹ יִנָּתֵן לַדּוֹר הַזֶּה

(σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ.)

ἑκηβόλος wrote:The sign of Jonah is illogical (or revolutionary)... Winning in defeat.

Well put, Stephen. In the earlier layer of Jesus teaching, τὸ τοῦ Ἰωνᾶ σημεῖον is an almost comic oxymoron. The Ninevites did not need a sign. They repented immediately at the word of God which came through Jonah. Thus the faithful do not need miracles. Jesus' word is enough. So, to say that you will get the sign of Jonah is to say that you will get no sign at all, because only ἄπιστοι need σημεῖα.

But, as Joel points out, at a later, deeper (which is not to say secondary) layer of Jesus' teaching, it is revealed that the one sign that every one gets is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
περὶ ἧς σωτηρίας ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηρεύνησαν προφῆται οἱ περὶ τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος προφητεύσαντες...

Jonah himself being among these prophets. We could add that Jonah, a successful prophet, felt defeated in winning, whereas Jesus and Paul were strongest when they were weak.
ἑκηβόλος wrote:Without a literal fish...

I suppose you know that it has been pointed out that the fact that Jesus, following the LXX, uses the more realistic κῆτος (as opposed to the closer-to-the Hebrew ἰχθὺς μέγας) may indicate that a literal scenario is envisioned.
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