Once more into the breach. I'm going to respond to the second of Stephan's three replies to my last post here because it is the most substantial and least nutty, in that it offers evidence to be considered in support of Stephan's claims. The first reply was pretty much just Stephan throwing a tantrum. I may respond to the third after I finish this one.
Stephan Huller wrote:
The beggar undoubtedly was envisioned as having the same layering of clothing as the youth in Secret Mark. Neither is explicitly identified as naked.
Adding the word “undoubtedly” to an assertion does not add to the weight of evidence being presented, it merely describes the author's level confidence, and Stephan has had and continues to have a lot of confidence in claims that are not true. The text of Secret Mark says the youth had a linen cloth over his naked body.The story of blind Bartimaeus says only he cast off his himation. It does not state that he was naked except for it. Therefore, we have very different levels of evidence for nakedness in the Secret Mark fragment and blind Bartimaeus, and Stephan's conclusion that the youth and the beggar Bartimaeus had the same layering of clothing permits of doubt.
I can't believe that it comes down to me 'having to prove' that the poor were depicted as naked or near naked. Next it's going to be the 'controversy' over the sky being blue and ice cream tasting good.
First, Stephan was not being asked to prove that the poor were described as naked. He was asked to prove his claim that beggars did not wear layers of clothes in antiquity, which he made in response to me when I pointed out that the himation was an outer garment, often translated as “cloak,”and normally worn over a chiton or tunic. Showing that the word naked was often used to describe the poor might be the beginning of such a proof, but does not constitute such a proof by itself. I will explain why below.
Second, Stephan continues to act as though being asked to provide evidence for his claim is some sort of singular and ridiculous burden being placed on him, whereas it's actually standard operating procedure to ask people for the evidence for their claims. Stephan might believe his opinion is so obvious as not to require argument, but this is not the case. Much of the purpose of forums like this is to examine the assumptions behind people's assertions.
So what evidence does Stephan present for his claim?
First, Stephan provided a link to Rainier Kessler's chapter “'When You See the Naked Cover Them' (Isaiah 58:7); The Clothing of the Poor as an Act of Righteousness in Clothing and Nudity in the Hebrew Bible,” edited by Christopher Berner et al. (London: T&T Clark, 2019) 331-342, as supporting evidence for his case.
https://books.google.com/books?id=fDadD ... ed&f=false
Stephan, as is his habit, simply appealed to an authority that he suggests supports his claims. He did not lay out the argument of the scholar to whom he was appealing, nor explain how that scholar supported his case, nor did he quote him at all.
So we need to look at what Kessler actually says about the poor. First:
Though we do not have absolute proof, it seems improbable that nakedness in the context of poverty means absolute nakedness.
Kessler goes on to quote a text in which people are described as completely naked or nude, but then allows :
However, these are not the needy and poor of the country but foreign nomads living in the desert. Poor people who lived at the margins of towns or villages probably were barely clothed. They walked around dressed in rags, as the proverb says, “The drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them with rags (Prov. 23:21). In the book of Job, Eliphaz accuses Job of having “stripped the naked of their clothes” (Job 22.6). It seems that even the “naked” wore something that could be taken away. Thus, in her study of textiles, Claudia apparently concludes that the best translation for the Hebrew ‘ērôm or ‘ārôm is “naked” but that it often must be left open whether this means total nakedness or being insufficiently clothed. (334).
Kessler observes that the naked in these texts are not absolutely naked (the text from Proverbs describes people dressed in rags, not naked), but “barely clothed,” “dressed in rags,” or possibly “insufficiently clothed.” Stephen seems to be assuming, without argument, that this means nearly naked (in the sense of nude) and that this would exclude wearing both a tunic and a cloak. This is a non sequitur. Perhaps “barely clothed” would suggest this; “dressed in rags” and “insufficiently clothed” do not.
It was the naked or near naked beggar was proverbial.
Stephan does not quote or cite any passage in which a beggar is said to be near naked. The argument seems to be: (1) beggars are poor, (2) the poor are described as naked, (3) therefore beggars are naked. This could be contested, but it's not actually the logic that presents the biggest problem for Stephan's case. It's the definition of the term naked. Isaiah 58.7, and in particularly it's use of the word naked, is the subject of Kessler's chapter and the text to which Stephan appeals, pointing out that Tertullian uses it no less than six times in Against Marcion. So now we have to look at Isaiah 58.7:
Isaiah 58.7: Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
In his comment on Isaiah 58.7, Paul D. Hanson, interprets the text to concern:
those denied their fair share of the land's produce, those denied housing and proper clothing, those turned away even by their own relations. (Isaiah 40-66, 206).
He takes the text to be about not those who are nude, but those denied proper clothing.
When we move to the New Testament, we have to look at how the word γυμνός “naked” was used in Greek, including how the Septuagint was understood and how the New Testament was written and read. The standard Greek-English Lexicon BDAG distinguishes three (or four if you count 1a and 1b as two) different senses for the word “naked” in Greek:
γυμνός, ή, όν (Hom.+; also s. Just. A I, 37, 8 γυμνὸν σκέπε [ref. Is 58:7]; Mel.)
① pert. to being without covering
ⓐ lit. naked, stripped, bare (PFay 12, 20; Gen 2:25, 3: 7, 10f al.; Job 1:21; Mel., P. 97, 739 γύμνῳ τῷ σώματι) Mk 14:52 (Appian, Bell. Civ. 5, 140 §582 γυμνοὶ … ἔφευγον; TestJos 8:3 ἔφυγον γυμνός); Ac 19:16 (cp. Philo, In Flaccum 36); Rv 3:17; 16:15; 17:16. περιβεβλημένος σινδόνα ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ who wore a linen garment over his naked body (Tyndale: ‘cloothed in lynnen apon the bare’) Mk 14:51 (for the subst. τὸ γυμνόν=the naked body cp. Lucian, Nav. 33 τὰ γυμνά). πόδες (Euphorion [III b.c.] 53, 1 Coll. Alex. p. 40; Jos., Ant. 8, 362) Hs 9, 20, 3.
ⓑ fig. uncovered, bare (cp. Diod S 1, 76, 2; Themistocl., Ep. 16 p. 756 H. γ. ἀλήθεια; Lucian, Tox. 42, Anachars. 19 ὡς γυμνὰ τὰ γεγενημένα οἱ Ἀρεοπαγῖται βλέποιεν; Heliod., Aeth. 10, 29 w. ἀπαρακάλυπτος; Job 26:6; Philo, Migr. Abr. 192; Jos., Ant. 6, 286; Ar. 13, 5 αἰσχύνην; Mel., Fgm. 9, 19 P. a bared sword) Hb 4:13. Of the soul, whose covering is the body: naked 2 Cor 5:3 (cp. Pla., Cratyl. 20, 403b ἡ ψυχὴ γυμνὴ τοῦ σώματος, also Gorg. 523ce; 524f; Aelian, HA 11, 39. Artem. 4, 30 p. 221, 10f the σῶμα is the ἱμάτιον of the ψυχή; 5, 40; M. Ant. 12, 2 of the divine element in man, ‘which God sees without any covering’.—Of the νοῦς: Herm. Wr. 10, 17). S. on this EKühl, Über 2 Cor 5:1–10, 1904; JUbbink, Het eeuwige leven bij Pls, Groningen diss. 1917, 14ff; WMundle, D. Problem d. Zwischenzustandes … 2 Cor 5:1–10: Jülicher Festschr. 1927, 93–109; LBrun, ZNW 28, 1929, 207–29; Guntermann (ἀνάστασις 2b); RBultmann, Exeg. Probl. des 2 Kor: SymbBUps 9, ’47, 1–12; JSevenster, Studia Paulina (JdeZwaan Festschr.) ’53, 202–14; EEllis, NTS 6, ’60, 211–24. γ. κόκκος a naked kernel 1 Cor 15:37, where an adj. is applied to a grain of wheat, when it properly belongs to the bodiless soul which is compared to it; s. σπέρματα γ. 1 Cl 24:5 and AcPlCor 2:26.
② pert. to being inadequately clothed, poorly dressed (Demosth. 21, 216; BGU 846, 9; PBrem 63, 30; Job 31:19; Tob 1:17; 4:16) Mt 25:36, 38, 43f; Js 2:15; B 3:3 (Is 58:7).
③ pert. to being lightly clad, without an outer garment, without which a decent person did not appear in public (so Hes., Op. 391, oft. in Attic wr.; PMagd 6, 7 [III b.c.]; 1 Km 19:24; Is 20:2) J 21:7 (Dio Chrys. 55 , 1 the ναύτης wears only an undergarment while at work).—Pauly-W. XVI 2, 1541–49; BHHW II 962–65; RAC X 1–52.—B. 324f. M-M. TW.
Another standard reference work, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament similarly distinguishes between the senses of 1a “Unclothed (including Mark 14.51, 52) and 1b “Badly clothed” (including Isiah 58.7 and Matt 22:36, 38, 43, 44). [vol.1, 773-774].
Stephan's argument about Mark having an interest in nudity would necessarily require the first definition, “naked, stripped, bare,” found in Mark 14.51, 52 and not the second, “inadequately clothed, poorly dressed,” found in Matt 25.26, 38, 43, 44 and Isaiah 58.7.
Most Matthean commentaries understand Isaiah to be the primary OT text with which Matthew 25 is interacting (Allison merely notes it, Luz gives it pride of place, Gundry refers to Matthew as paraphrasing it).
Stephan calls special attention to the use Tertullian makes of Isaiah 58.7 in his comment on the story of Zacchaeus in Against Marcion 37.
But most importantly he says that Zacchaeus saw and heard what happened with the beggar in the previous scene which likely included the nakedness unmentioned in our copies of Luke. How else do you explain:
Salvation also comes to the house of Zacchaeus. How did he earn it? Was it that even he believed that Christ was come from Marcion? No, for there remained still in the ears of all of them that blind man's cry, Have mercy upon me, Jesus thou son of David,a and all the people were giving praises to God—not Marcion's god, but David's. For in fact Zacchaeus, though a foreigner, yet perhaps had breathed in some knowledge of the scriptures by converse with Jews, or, what is more, without knowing about Isaiah, had fulfilled his instructions. Break thy bread, he says, to the hungry, and bring into thy house them that have no covering—and this he was even then doing when he brought the Lord into his house and gave him to eat. And if thou see the naked, cover him—at that very moment he promised this, when he offered the half of his goods for all works of mercy, thus loosing the bonds of enforced contracts, and letting loose the oppressed, and breaking down every unjust assessment [Tertullian, Against Marcion, 37 ]
So Tertullian - apparently commenting on the Marcionite gospel - says that Zacchaeus witnessed what happened in the scene before takes Jesus in and demonstrates that he fulfilled what Isaiah wanted. But Jesus is a beggar? Jesus is naked? He saw the beggar naked? He saw Jesus treat the naked beggar with kindness? It's unclear. But Tertullian includes the naked reference in his citation for some reason. He could have stopped at the first part of the citation. He says the first part is him bringing Jesus into his home but then goes on include the bit about 'the naked' - why? Is the implication that he is going to take care of the blind beggar? How far was the beggar envisioned from Zacchaeus? Close enough that he could see and hear the previous scene. It's at least possible it was read this way.
It is possible to read the passage the way Stephan does, but there's nothing in the text to suggest it ought to be read that way and much against it. The most difficult part of this version of the Zacchaeus story to interpret is what is meant by the blind man's cry still ringing in the eras of all of them. Who are all of them? Stephan understands it to include Zacchaeus. I think it more likely to mean all the party traveling with Jesus at this point, but not Zacchaeus who has just been introduced. Following BeDuhn's reconstruction of the text (which is certainly debatable, but I will assume here for purpose of discussion), the story of Zacchaeus follows immediately after the story of Bartimaeus, as it does in Luke. I do not believe Bartimaeus is attested as throwing off his himation or as following Jesus in Marcion (and not in Luke, of course). Tertullian uses the blind man's cry to falsify Marcion's belief that the God Jesus spoke of was not God of Israel known to the Jews. If Jesus was the Son of David, as the blind man said, then the God Jesus spoke of must be the God of David, who is the God of Israel.
Tertullian's second argument about this passage is that Zacchaeus must have been following Isaiah 58.7, part of the Scriptures of Israel, which Marcion rejected. His evidence for this is that Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully, implying as a guest at his home (this is explicit in Luke 19.7), and that would have involved feeding and housing and him. Tertullian notes that this fulfills the first two instructions of Isaiah 58.7, breaking your bread with the hungry and giving shelter to those who had none. (The text of Isaiah, of course, does not mention beggars and would apply to itinerant preachers quite well).
At that point Tertullian applies a bit of force to make the story of Zacchaeus fulfill the instructions of Isaiah 58.7. Tertullian has pointed out that Zacchaeus has fulfilled the instructions to break bread with the hungry and house the homeless, but what about the following command to clothe the naked? Tertullian declares that Zacchaeus' promise at the same moment to give half his income for all works of mercy must necessarily include clothing the naked. As the naked are mentioned in the text of Isaiah, there is no need to assume a naked beggar present in the text especially when there's no indication in Marcion or Luke of the immediate presence of a naked beggar with Zacchaeus and company at the moment the promise was made. Indeed, if that's what Tertullian had in mind, it seems likely that would have said the clothing was accomplished right then and there, along with the feeding and housing, rather than deferring it to the indefinite future.
Stephan: But even without this there is no doubt that the proverbial beggar was naked or near naked, wearing only the barest of clothing.
Despite Stephan's insistence, there is considerable doubt about this. He has not given us an example of a proverbial beggar being naked in the sense of nude, or wearing only the barest clothing, and the blind beggar in Mark 10 is not described as naked (we would not be arguing about this if he were). He has pointed out that Isaiah 58.7 describes the poor as naked, but has not examined the different senses in which the word naked could be used – nude or poorly clothed.
That said, is there evidence that beggars in antiquity were, or were depicted as, wearing layers of clothes? Wendy Cotter discusses this in her treatment of the story of blind Bartimaeus:
The conventional appearance of a beggar in any of the literature always stipulates rags for clothes and often there is direct reference to filth. In Homer's Odyssey, Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar: “She withered his fair skin on his supple limbs, and destroyed the flaxen hair from off his head, and about all his limbs she puts the skin of an aged old man. And she dimmed his two eyes that were so beautiful, and clothed him in other raiment, a vile cloak and a tunic, tattered garments and foul, begrimed with filthy smoke. And about him she cast the great skin of a swift hind, stripped of the hair, and she gave him a staff, and a miserable wallet, full of holes, slung by a twisted cord (Od. 13.31-388) (Homer, Odyssey [trans. A.T. Murray; 2 vols., LCL; London: Heinemann, 1931], 2:33) ...
And again, as one of several more references, Odysseus responds to the insulting servant Melantho, “Is it because I am foul and wear mean raiment on my body, and beg through the land?” ((Od. 19.72-73) … As a second example, in Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus, Polyneices, Oedipus's son, upon arriving and seeing his father's condition laments, “Ah me, my sisters, shall I first lament / My own afflictions or my aged sire's / Whom I here find castaway with you, / In a strange land, an ancient beggar clad / In antic tatters, marring all his frame, / While o'er the sightless orbs his unkempt locks / Float in the breeze; and as it were to match, / He bears a wallet against hunger's pinch” (Oed. Col. 1254-60) [Wendy Cotter, Christ of the Miracle Stories 70-71, n. 61).
Cotter's examples show that beggars were thought of as dressed in poor clothing, not naked. The clothing might be described as vile, foul, filthy or as rags. The example of Odysseus, from the most widely read or recited author in the Greco-Roman world, depicts that a beggar's disguise that included a cloak, a tunic, and the skin of a hind, however dirty and ragged they may have been.