Skeptical Textual Criticism

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Fire Is Good

Post by JoeWallack » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:39 pm

A Skeptical critical look at the use/misuse/abuse of the word fire πῦρ in GMark:

Manuscript support for:
  • 9:22






Skeptical Textual Criticism though indicates that 9:44, 45 & 46 are additions:


Verse Commentary
22 And oft-times it hath cast him both into the fire and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.
Note that "Mark" only uses "fire" in a negative sense. This accounts for the absence of the word in "Mark's" original John the Baptist story. You could and they do use "Matthew"/"Luke" agreement of "fire" here as evidence that there was a common source and "Mark" exorcised "fire" for the reason I gave. I think though that a prediction of Jesus baptizing with the fire of the holy spirit just reflects subsequent Christian ritual practice.
  • 43 And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire.
First use in the pericope. Our ever clever first author uses "fire" in an opposite sense from its normal usage. Fire is usually destructive/transforming. Here it is used in a context of preserving. While still negative, combined with preserving, it represents ultimate pain.
  • 48 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Second use. A repetition of the eternal fire theme. First use indicated the fire can not be ended. Second use indicates the fire will not be ended. For Christian dopes out there, relax. The wording is figurative. The author just means after you make your choice in life the decision is final. It does not change when you are dead.
  • 49 For every one shall be salted with fire.
Third use and one of the most misunderstood verses in GMark. The verse goes with what preceded (and why wouldn't it) and not what follows. Salt is a preservative. The fire is used in a preserving context. So everyone in hell will have eternal torment preserved by fire. The image/context is the humans are the food, seasoned by the fire (the fire is eating the humans and not verse-vices, humans eating what was fired).

Skeptical Takeaways:

1) I've demonstrated Ad Nazorean on this Unholy forum that "Mark" (author) has a style which contrives 3 Petes. Bible scholarship also generally concedes "Mark's" overuse of 3. This then should be an Internal evidence criterion for Textual Criticism as illustrated above. Note that the extra uses of the offending word have a lot of support in the Lucian generated Byzantine Recension.

2) As always "Mark" carefully avoids use of the offending word elsewhere where it would not connect thematically. See the effort "Mark" makes to avoid having Peter be by the "fire".


The New Porphyry

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