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
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" is not a narrative but it does share significant features with the Jonah motif.
, e.g., David Aune's three volume work on Revelation.
Bo Ivar Reicke,The Disobedient Spirits & Christian Baptism: A Study of 1 Peter 3:19
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.
C. Stirling Bartholomew