The Jesus Myth Part II

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huckelberry
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

Post by huckelberry »

Philo, I said what was frustrating, your comments were general. You have supplied an actual example, 153 fish is special unlike 132.
Ok
It appears that the gospel writers were not above gilding the lily.
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Kishkumen
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

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What is frustrating about having more sources for various aspects of the Jesus tradition? I don't understand how it is frustrating. Sure the story is about a Jewish prophet, but that can easily be accorded using Greek sources, epics, tragedies etc., as MacDonald has shown. Many events used anciently and described in the available literature were continually used by the Jewish population (such as fishing), and we now know, without question, that the idea of Jesus helping his disciples catching the 153 fish is a borrowing of an ancient Pythagorean story, as David Fideler (Jesus Sun of God) has demonstrated along with John Michell (The City of Revelation). It has nothing to do with history, it is a numerology puzzle and code hidden in plain sight for the initiates in the know. The same thing of the supposed miracle of Jesus walking on the water. The reason the Gospel authors utilized that Greek epic story was to show the Homeric readers of the Hellenized Diaspora from 600 B.C. that though great as the story is in Homer, it is even better in Jesus. This is a major premise and principle of mimesis, using a well known story and improving on it, giving it a better twist, a more confirming morality, etc. In Jesus day, Homer was considered as the premiere inspired theologian/poet as Lamberton (Homer the Theologian) has aptly and abundantly demonstrated, most especially to the early Neoplatonist authors.

MacDonald is showing the continuation of centuries old tradition which virtually all education and ancient authors insisted upon, namely taking from the best literature, the best examples of "inspired" stories from the original poet/author, and working it into their own stories. Vergil is primo evidence No. 1 for doing this with Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, in his world wide read and famous Aeneid whom many Roman areas and communities considered the most sacred, powerful writing in existence, and all three epics were continually being taught, read, memorized and emulated in Jesus' day by Greek and Roman authors alike. To find the Gospels utilizing not only the main important technique in rhetoric and writing, but also the most credible authors is pure historic gold as far as I am concerned.
Great post, Philo! You gotta think that the gospel authors were doing their level best to pack their works with appealing meaning for their ancient readers!
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Philo Sofee
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

Post by Philo Sofee »

huckelberry wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 1:18 am
Philo, I said what was frustrating, your comments were general. You have supplied an actual example, 153 fish is special unlike 132.
Ok
It appears that the gospel writers were not above gilding the lily.
Oh! Sorry, I misunderstood. Thanks. As I have time I shall add specifics.
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

Post by Philo Sofee »

Kishkumen wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 1:48 am
What is frustrating about having more sources for various aspects of the Jesus tradition? I don't understand how it is frustrating. Sure the story is about a Jewish prophet, but that can easily be accorded using Greek sources, epics, tragedies etc., as MacDonald has shown. Many events used anciently and described in the available literature were continually used by the Jewish population (such as fishing), and we now know, without question, that the idea of Jesus helping his disciples catching the 153 fish is a borrowing of an ancient Pythagorean story, as David Fideler (Jesus Sun of God) has demonstrated along with John Michell (The City of Revelation). It has nothing to do with history, it is a numerology puzzle and code hidden in plain sight for the initiates in the know. The same thing of the supposed miracle of Jesus walking on the water. The reason the Gospel authors utilized that Greek epic story was to show the Homeric readers of the Hellenized Diaspora from 600 B.C. that though great as the story is in Homer, it is even better in Jesus. This is a major premise and principle of mimesis, using a well known story and improving on it, giving it a better twist, a more confirming morality, etc. In Jesus day, Homer was considered as the premiere inspired theologian/poet as Lamberton (Homer the Theologian) has aptly and abundantly demonstrated, most especially to the early Neoplatonist authors.

MacDonald is showing the continuation of centuries old tradition which virtually all education and ancient authors insisted upon, namely taking from the best literature, the best examples of "inspired" stories from the original poet/author, and working it into their own stories. Vergil is primo evidence No. 1 for doing this with Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, in his world wide read and famous Aeneid whom many Roman areas and communities considered the most sacred, powerful writing in existence, and all three epics were continually being taught, read, memorized and emulated in Jesus' day by Greek and Roman authors alike. To find the Gospels utilizing not only the main important technique in rhetoric and writing, but also the most credible authors is pure historic gold as far as I am concerned.
Great post, Philo! You gotta think that the gospel authors were doing their level best to pack their works with appealing meaning for their ancient readers!
And, there could not possibly be anything more appealing to the Gospel writer's audiences than the Greek epics (literally all the schools taught them to the students in every possible country, both Homer and Vergil, amongst others - even Philo and Josephus use them to make illustrations of points they were making). What would have truly caught their eye (and we miss this because no one in our day has been taught the classics as necessary in order to graduate - Greek itself being begun to be taken off the curriculum as necessary after WW II, sadly) is the numerous allusions to so many of their stories, and how Jesus outdoes them in his own actions! They would have lapped this up! It's a form of what we moderns label confabulation - Oh you have a good story about your hero, ha! Get this! Ours is even better, Jesus always does one up better! It is most certainly the guiding principle of John using Euripides for one main purpose, to show Jesus in a greater light in all of Dionysus' specialties! John's audience would have certainly caught onto the miracle of water to wine (Jesus filled much more and larger jugs with the best wine than Dionysus ever did, and in Jesus being the Logos, even in the divine realm before birth, which outdoes Dionysus utterly unique Greek god of having been the only one twice born. Things like that are fantastically fascinating to see how John more or less just man-handles (and mansplains) Jesus vs. Dionysus and giving Dionysus uppercuts, cross jabs, and knock out blows). But it was most especially in Jesus's morality in favor of loving all people that decimatingly eclipsed Dionysus, and John's audience would clearly have known this, and absolutely soaked it up. I shall share more specifics as I have time. In the meantime it is quite helpful to read Euripides Bacchae. There are literally throughout the Gospel of John beautiful examples of how Jesus ends up in a better light, or greater power, or more convincing love than Dionysus, and by the dozens. It is the exact same with Luke and Vergil, and Mark with Homer's epics.
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Kishkumen
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

Post by Kishkumen »

Yeah, the wedding at Cana was always a dead giveaway. Definitely Dionysus competition there.
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huckelberry
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

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If someone suffers from curiosity about Mark and Homer here is a bit of information
http://www.ibiblio.org/GMark/afr/HomerorNotHomer.htm
MacDonald's chapter seven, "Sleeping Sailors," is an excellent place specifically to examine his method in general. The chapter starts with some comments about how Mk. 1:16-20, the calling of the fisherman to follow Jesus, is an imitation of Odyssey 2.383-387, when Athena, disguised as Telemachus, goes through the city, bidding sailors come join Odysseus' ship. Then, MacDonald suggests that Mk 4:35-42 is an imitation of Odyssey 10.1-69. Here is his synopsis, taken directly from page sixty-one. I have added the line numbers:
Odyssey 10.1-69

1. Odysseus's crew boarded and sat down.

2. On a floating island Odysseus told stories to Aeolus

3. After a month he took his leave, boarded, and sailed with 12 ships

4. Odysseus slept

5. The greedy crew opened sack, "All the winds rushed out."

6. The crew groaned.

7. Odysseus woke and gave up hope

8. Odysseus complained of his crew's folly.

9. Aeolus was master of the winds.
////
Mark 4:35-41

1. Jesus boarded and sat down to teach

2. On a floating boat Jesus told his stories to the crowds

3. When it was late, he took his leave; "Other boats were with him."

4. Jesus slept.

5. A storm arose: "[A]nd there was a great gale of wind."

6. The disciples were helpless and afraid.

7. Jesus awoke and stilled the storm

8. Jesus rebuked his disciples for lack of faith.

9. Jesus was master of the winds and sea.


As he does in other comparisons, MacDonald provides Greek terms that seem important because of their appearance in both texts. In this chapter, he intensifies his lexical examination when he includes a review about the importance of the Markan terms lailaps and galênê, since both terms appear in various places elsewhere in Homeric tales, though not in Odyssey 10. An abundance of exact terminological similarities between Homer and Mark like this is rare, even in most of MacDonald's other synoptic comparisons. This might suggest that comparison of these two particular texts could potentially uncover some of the strongest evidence in support of a theory that Mark imitated Homer's text. The more one might show that Homeric terms are specifically re-articulated in a Markan paraphrase, the more one could argue how accomplished is that paraphrase, since good paraphrases kept Homeric terms, used them differently, and added other terms to them. For example, it could be that Mark's thalassa replaces Homer's pontos, or his ploion replaces Homer's naus. MacDonald does note some of these terminological overlaps, but unfortunately he does not note them all or even use to full advantage the similarities he does identify. When he admits that lialaps may have been in such common use that it cannot be shown that Mark lifted it from a Homeric text exclusively, he seems inexplicably not to exercise his own method enough, appearing to lose heart as he pulls back in this way. The question of the use of in Mark takes on a different importance when one notes that there are numerous terminological similarities that could be identified between Mark, Od. 10.1-69, and other Homeric texts with content like them. A full list includes the terms lailaps, anemos, prumnê, kuma, galênê, thalassa, apollumi, egeiro, êmera.(11) This being said, perhaps MacDonald's synopsis should be redrawn.


Odyssey

10.18 Odysseus's crew boarded and sat down.

10.11-17 On a floating island Odysseus told stories to Aeolus


10.18 After a month he took his leave, boarded, and sailed with 12 ships

10.28 sailed nine days, "night and day"

1.98 & 5.48 divinities walk over water and across the boundless land

4.510 Aias sunk deep into the boundless sea

10.33-49 The greedy crew opened the sack and storm. "[A]ll the winds rushed out."

12.312-314 At night, Zeus stirred wind. and sent a storm

12.399-400 the wind ceased from blowing in a tempest

12.403-410 a great storm, blast of wind

5.109. Athena sent evil wind and towering waves

10.31 Odysseus slept

13.74-75 Odysseus spread a rug and linen sheet in stern and slept.

15.285 Telemachus and Theoclymenus sit in stern

10.49 Odysseus woke and gave up hope

10.27 Lost through folly

10.93 In harbor, there is no wave and a bright calm prevails

12.169 Wind ceases, calm ensues, and the daimwn lulls the waves asleep

10.68-69 Odysseus complained of his crew's folly.

10.19 Aeolus was master of the winds.
/////
Mark 4:1-2

Boarding a boat and sitting in the sea [ µ ]

Jesus taught in parables.

Mark 4:35-42

When it that day it got late [ µ µ], he announced, "Let us go to across" and sailed while "other boats were with him."

A storm arose: "[A]nd there was a great gale of wind, so that waves crashed upon the boat to swamp it."

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping upon a pillow.

The disciples woke Jesus and asked him if he didn't care that they were about to perish

Jesus awoke censured the wind and spoke to the sea ,"Silence, be quiet" The wind ceased and a great calm ensued.


Jesus asks the disciples why they are afraid and if they do not yet have confidence in him.

Subsequently, the disciples have a great fear and they inquire of each other what kind of person Jesus might be, that the wind and the sea comply to his command.

There are numerous detailed elements in the stories that overlap, from sleeping figures, to stormy winds, to ocean calms. One not implausibly asks how all these elements of The Odyssey did not affect the narrative of Mark. And if they affected, how?

huckelberry notes,
the comparison is bit easier to follow side by side as in the original. cut paste placed the comparison one after the other which is inconvenient.

I am inclined to think that people around the Mediteranian were concerned about boats in storms or at least found the subject of interest. I would not wish to deny that previous storm stories affected later storm stories being told.

.....adding,
Parallelomania? well perhaps, well perhaps not entirely.
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Kishkumen
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

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Yes, huckleberry, I am not all that persuaded by a fair chunk of what MacDonald argues, but I think there are some interesting possibilities there. Homer was such an integral part of Greco-Roman culture. It would not take much to nudge people into relating things to Homer. And, if Mark was written in Rome in the 70s CE, there would have been plenty of people around who would get the references.
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huckelberry
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

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Kishkumen wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:12 am
Yes, huckleberry, I am not all that persuaded by a fair chunk of what MacDonald argues, but I think there are some interesting possibilities there. Homer was such an integral part of Greco-Roman culture. It would not take much to nudge people into relating things to Homer. And, if Mark was written in Rome in the 70s CE, there would have been plenty of people around who would get the references.
kishkumen, I think it is possible to see some mixed links here. Like your comment about the marriage at Cana, I would not deny your observation about a competitive comparison with Dionysus. Still I am not going to stop reading it as an introduction to the marriage theme which developes into representation of the coming of the kingdom of God and the messiah as the bridegroom.

I do not know any reason such things are to be limited to one function only.
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

Post by Physics Guy »

The wedding at Cana is a funny story, all right. It features an odd little non-sequitur dialog between Jesus and his mom: she remarks that they've run out of wine; he infers that she's implicitly asking him to do something about it and objects; she concludes in spite of his complaining that he has agreed to help.

And thereafter I can't help but notice that the whole interpretation of the story as a miracle hangs on the one narratorial parenthesis "which had become wine". Without that one phrase, the rest of the story reads like a rabbinical joke of some kind, to which the "ruler of the feast" catches on and supplies the punchline, that the wine they've had so far has been worse than washing water.

The episode does end with the summary that Jesus's followers took it as a "sign". And obviously somebody thought the story worth telling, whatever it was supposed to be about, or it wouldn't be in the gospel. It has always seemed to me rather quirky as a miracle story, though. It seems easier to riff on water-into-wine in a sermon than to get any profound message out of the story itself as it reads—and elsewhere in John Jesus is by no means shy about making explicit theological assertions. So I wonder whether this story had a first edition with no miracle involved, maybe some parabolic teaching point at the most, and later got rebooted with special effects, perhaps by an editor who simply missed the joke, along with whatever point the story's first version had.

Perhaps an effort to appeal to an audience familiar with myths about Bacchus was part of the reboot. If the story was just supposed from the get-go to be about Jesus out-Dionysosing Dionysos, though, then it was clumsily done, with too many distracting irrelevant details and no real close-up of the miracle itself.
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Kishkumen
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Re: The Jesus Myth Part II

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huckelberry wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:58 am
kishkumen, I think it is possible to see some mixed links here. Like your comment about the marriage at Cana, I would not deny your observation about a competitive comparison with Dionysus. Still I am not going to stop reading it as an introduction to the marriage theme which developes into representation of the coming of the kingdom of God and the messiah as the bridegroom.

I do not know any reason such things are to be limited to one function only.
They certainly do NOT have to be limited to one function only. And I think they are not in these texts. Jesus is the vine. Right? Pretty strong Dionysian reference there. At the same time, there is the great End Times banquet to look forward to, and Jesus' important meals are a foretaste (pun intended) of those wrap-up events. Yes, there is a lot going on in the Gospels, and it is not just wishful thinking or an English degree that makes it so. No, these texts were written to be pregnant with meaning.
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