Two Squalls: Mark and John

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Charles Wilson
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Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by Charles Wilson » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:03 pm

Hello everyone --

In examining another piece on another Site, I had reason to think about the Two Squalls, where "...the wind was against them". The Passages have figured prominently in what I've written. As I read them through again in the last few days I became aware of a certain tension. I would say my "Spidey Sense" was on alert but someone else has trademarked that phrase so I won't use it. There is a Swerve in this entire Operation.

Mark 4: 35 - 38 (RSV):

[35] On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."
[36] And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.
[37] And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
[38] But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?"

There are Key Phrases throughout this Passage:

A. "Let us cross to the other side": Skip these Sections if you wish. To many, "Boat on the Sea of Galilee/Tiberias" means just that. Not to me. Antonia is the "Boat". "Crossing over" means that Priests are moving from the Temple to Antonia and vice-versa through a Tunnel. See Josephus for details.

B. "...just as he was": This phrase is an odd one. Moffatt translates it in John 4: 6 - "Jesus exhausted by the journey, sat down at the spring, just as he was." Perhaps it doesn't mean anything special. There is a Latin form used in various places but, here? I dunno.

C. "And other boats were with him": Here is the reason for the Post. During this particular event, there are boats <Plural>. We don't know how many but shall we agree that "boats" implies some agreeable people on the "water" (continuing their Symbolism) with Jesus?

D. "[37] And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling": This is either great Nonsense or Deep Symbolism [Hint: It ain't nonsense]. Jesus and everyone else cannot Read the Signs of a coming great storm? Further, the waves beat into the boat so the boat was already filling - "ALREADY FILLING?!??" From when? [Edit Note: "Already" is not in Moffatt and, I assume, not in others.]

E. "[38] But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?": One of the most Radioactive verses in the NT. Waves are crashing into the boat and Jesus is asleep in the stern and on a cushion no less - a dry one, we would hope. Then, perhaps the most important phrase in the NT: "Are we to drown, for all you care?" Yikes!!!

Mark 6: 45 - 51 (Moffatt)

[45]Then he made the disciples at once embark in the boat and cross before him towards Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd;
[46]and after saying goodbye to them he went up the hill to pray.
[47]Now when evening came the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was on the land alone ;
[48] but when he saw them buffeted as they rowed (for the wind was against them) he went to them about the fourth watch of the night walking on the sea. He meant to pass them,
[49]but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and shrieked aloud
[50] for they all saw him and were terrified. Then he spoke to them at once; " Courage," he said, " it is I, have no fear."
[51] And he got into the boat beside them, and the wind dropped. They were utterly astounded

A. "cross before him towards Bethsaida...": I have "Bethsaida" as "Bezetha" for all you Real Estate Types. Remember "Houston Street" in New York/Brooklyn is pronounced "House-Tonn Street" (Or "House-Tonn Skreek" f'ya wanna git Rill 'bout't.) YMMV.

B. "...he was on land alone" Here is the point of this again. For some reason, the Authors want to make it very distinct and noticed: Jesus is ALONE here - Being on the land while the disciples are in trouble is not enough. Jesus is alone.

C. "...about the fourth watch of the night". "Fourth Watch" is a Roman Military Term. I suppose Apogetix(r) would have it that by that time, the Jewish Three Watches would have been replaced by the Four Watches ("Could you have stayed awake one more hour (each of you?")).

D. "He meant to pass them..." YIKES and DOUBLE YIKES!!! Internal States Language Full Alert!!! He MEANT to pass them by?!??

E. "...they thought it was a ghost and shrieked aloud": A GHOST, eh? What does that gross violation of Jewish Thought imply about Jesus? Here's a reasonable interpretation: "The Jesus they saw should have already been killed." D-E-A-D...already. "Jesus" in the Past Tense. This Story is about something else entirely.

...But on to John:

John 6: 16 - 25 (RSV):

[16] When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,
[17] got into a boat, and started across the sea to Caper'na-um. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
[18] The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing.
[19] When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened,
[20] but he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."
[21] Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
[22] On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
[23] However, boats from Tiber'i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
[24] So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper'na-um, seeking Jesus.
[25] When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"

Not much in the way of Internal States here. This appears to be a compressed rewrite of the second Markan Passage above ("...and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going...) Notice, however, the LARGE interest in Jesus getting across the sea when it was known that he was NOT with his Disciples. There are certainly boats <Plural> but they form their flotilla after Jesus and the Disciples separate. [Edit Note: Mark has separate Stories here. KEY: Why would there be "Boats" <Plural> in one Story and a single boat in the second. Second, why would John feel the urgent need to repair what should be a non-existent problem in his single Story?]

This points to an Odd formation of Scripture. In John, there is no reason for Jesus to come to the Disciples. Big Wind - Big Deal. Jesus reassures the Disciples and, "Oh!! It's just Jesus walking on the water. Hi, JC! Good to see ya'. What's it like on the track out there?"

It's the appearance and necessity of the boats that make the comparison interesting between Mark and John.

Howard Teeple, Literary Origins of John, has a time with this verse 22:

S [Source]
On the morrow the crowd,

E [Editor]
the one having stood [s. "Singular"] on the other side of the sea,

S.
saw [pl. "Plural"] that

R [Redactor]
another small boat [ploiarion] was not there except one, and that
[R tries to make it more explicit that there was only one boat and Jesus was not in it, so he must have walked on water].

S
Jesus [arth. "Arthrous"] did not get into the boat [ploion] with his disciples, but his disciples went away alone.

Clearly, there is a Tension in the writing of these Passages and the tension is in the necessity and time of appearance of the BOATS. The descriptions of the two Stories in Mark cannot be as described. The artifice given in John is very Apologetic in view.

If the Stories are Symbolic rewrites - and they are - what is the importance of the boats?

More later, if there is any interest.

CW

lsayre
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by lsayre » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:59 am

Charles Wilson wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:03 pm
More later, if there is any interest.

CW
I'm struggling to follow. Please continue.

Stuart
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by Stuart » Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:01 am

This can also apply to Matthew as well as Mark (ignoring the 14:28-31, an obvious interpolation) as source.

Detering says the boats are not so important, rather the crossing to the other shore. This is common in mythology of many ancient societies, of crossing from the physical world to the spiritual: the river Styx (Greek mythology), the Nile (Egyptian religions), the Ganges (Buddha); it is also moving from the realm of the living to the dead, from the desert to the rich lands "of milk and honey". The story most resembles that of Buddha, who would glide over the water, arrive instantly on the other shore, showing he could move from one realm to the other effortlessly, while his disciples struggled and needed boats. The stormy sea is another element, where it is difficult for the disciple to move beyond his temporal being, his worries about the day, to that of the enlightenment or in western terms accepting God.

My wag is the boats represent the need for assistance to cross realms. The language is like all NT, and most religious texts, telling a story or myth on two levels, as metaphor. The key is always the other shore. I find it telling that as soon as the storm calms they are surprised to find they are already on the other shore.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:54 am

Not to deny the resonances with religious themes about crossing thresholds, but the "other ships" (ἄλλα πλοῖα) come from the Psalm upon which the incident is based:

Psalm 107.23-32 (106.23-32 OG):

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships [ἐν πλοίοις],
Who do business on great waters;
24 They have seen the works of the Lord,
And His wonders in the deep.
25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.

26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their misery.
27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
29 He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.

30 Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.

31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.

Jonah 1.1-17 is also involved.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

Stuart
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by Stuart » Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:11 pm

Ben,

I think you have a combination going on. You have the two realms theme, and the interpretation of the Psalms as the basis for that metaphor. These are not exclusive sources, rather complimentary.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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MrMacSon
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:42 pm

fwiw, Isaiah 8 and 9 (mostly 9)

Isaiah 8

5 The Lord spoke to me again:

...6 “Because this people has rejected
......the gently flowing waters of Shiloah
......and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,

...7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them
......the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates
......the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
......It will overflow all its channels,
......run over all its banks
...8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,
......passing through it and reaching up to the neck.
......Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,
......'Immanuel' [God is with Us]!”

...9 Raise the war cry [or, Do your worst], you nations, and be shattered!
......Listen, all you distant lands.
......Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
......Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
...10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
......propose your plan, but it will not stand,
......for 'Immanuel' [God is with Us]!

The end of Isaiah 8 segues into Isaiah 9 with -

Isa. 8:20 "If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn .. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness."

Isaiah 9

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

2 The people walking in darkness
...have seen a great light;
...on those living in the land of deep darkness
...a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
...and increased their joy ...
...


Charles Wilson
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by Charles Wilson » Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:45 pm

But wait...There's more!

1. Thank you, Isayre, Stuart and Ben [and now MrMacSon].

2. Choice 1: The Texts give us three Stories, two in Mark and one in John.
Choice 2: The Texts give us two Stories, two in Mark and one in John [which would be one or two or a rewrite of one and two].

Here's where it gets difficult and interesting. May we see that John's is an attempt to rationalize the two Stories into one? BTW, the first thought would be to say, "...rationalize the two Stories from Mark...". This would probably be the wrong move, if Mark and John were writing their Books from a common Source.

3. We must look at What-is-Remaining from the Texts that, esp. Matthew, completed the Original. There are those who will not accept these ideas.

Matthew 14: 28 - 31 (RSV):

[28] And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water."
[29] He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus;
[30] but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."
[31] Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

This appears to be the continuation of Mark 6 [Edit Note: By use of the phrase "Fourth Watch", for example]. It is, however, to a different end:

[34] And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.
[35] And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent round to all that region and brought to him all that were sick,
[36] and besought him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.

Compare with John 6: 21 - 25 (RSV):

[21] Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
[22] On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
[23] However, boats from Tiber'i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
[24] So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper'na-um, seeking Jesus.
[25]When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"

John has a history of "Correcting" the Synoptics, sometimes with catastrophic results:

John 2: 19 - 21 (RSV):

[19] Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
[20] The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?"
[21] But he spoke of the temple of his body.

"So Jesus was 46 years old?"
Ummm...No. Subtract 46 from the pivotal year(s) of 8/9 and find out what happened in 37/38-ish BCE (Hint: Ask maryhelena).

The question is always, "What did they know?" and the answer should be, "Almost everything." Except that If John is covering the tracks, he should be aware of what Mark had cut out. In these two Passages from John, it does not appear that John has any interest at all in aligning with Mark or the Synoptics. There is something deeper here but what we see now is what we have. Jesus gets out at the Gennesaret Stop and heals everyone or he gets off at "The other side of the sea" and the flotilla sails/rows to Capernaum. "Say HEY Jesus! Nice to see you again!!!"

4. There is still the Problem:

Mark 4: 35 - 36 (RSV):

[35] On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."
[36] And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.

Mark 6: 46 - 47 (RSV):

[46] And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
[47] And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.

John 6: 21 - 24 (RSV):

[21] Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
[22] On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
[23] However, boats from Tiber'i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
[24] So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper'na-um, seeking Jesus.

5. I can accept all suggestions here, especially Ben's succinct Statement and I find that there is still something left. It is easy to state that John was (much) later than Mark and written in a far different locale but there is another possibility. Matthew didn't have to add the Peter Section with Jesus walking on water - The Symbolism of the boat was already there - unless the Original told the Tale in an important manner.

Though the Jesus Stories were written from Source Stories, it does not follow that the Source Stories were about Jesus.

6. John is "Correcting" something in the Story but he does not appear to be correcting Mark.

7. So, The Question: Was there already an argument concerning the Stories of "Jesus on Land" and "Jesus in the boat"? Why boats in one Story and no boats in the other with John offering a "Solution" in his "One Story" version?

8. There is, as I have offered, another Solution to this. It may be no better than what we have now, however, but it works.

Thanx all,

CW

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MrMacSon
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:45 pm

Charles Wilson wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:45 pm
5. ... It is easy to state that John was (much) later than Mark and written in a far different locale but there is another possibility. Matthew didn't have to add the Peter Section with Jesus walking on water - The Symbolism of the boat was already there - unless the Original told the Tale in an important manner.
Isn't it Peter that walks on water, for a moment, at least?, -

Matthew 14: 28 - 31 (RSV):

[28] And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water."
[29] He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus;
[30] but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."
[31] Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

This appears to be the continuation of Mark 6 ...

Charles Wilson wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:45 pm
7. So, The Question: Was there already an argument concerning the Stories of "Jesus on Land" and "Jesus in the boat"? Why boats in one Story and no boats in the other with John offering a "Solution" in his "One Story" version?
Which stories with boats are you referring to? All the relevant gospel pericope-passages have boats in them ...

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MrMacSon
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:57 pm

fwiw, Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, in ‘The Jesus of Mark and the Sea of Galilee’, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 103, No. 3 (Sept 1984), pp. 363-377, noted, -

The significance of the ‘sea’ [of Galilee] in the Marcan Gospel is its opposition to the land … land versus sea implicitly underlies the narrative as a whole … Jesus calls his first disciples while “passing along by the Sea of Galilee” (1.16). Jesus often teaches the crowds on the land “beside the sea” (2:13; 3:7; 4:1; 5:21). Physically the seas is a barrier between the land of Galilee and the foreign lands on its eastern shores, but Jesus easily crosses that barrier … At certain points in Mark, land vs. sea comes to explicit expression (4:1, Jesus is on the sea, the crowd is on the land).

She argued the land is normally a secure environment of human beings, as opposed to the sea which is a temporary place of movement for humans and also a place that threatens and is [more] capable of destruction. The land is the realm of promise. Genesis and Exodus stories come into play.

Malbon noted various passages show Jesus overcoming the sea: “in mediating the opposition of land and sea, Jesus manifests the power of God.”



Mark 1.17, with its call to Simon and Andrew in Galilee to become fishers of men, seems to be based on Ezekiel 47.10, which is part of a bigger passage, Ezekiel 47.1-12, which outlines how the prophet beholds a river issuing from under the threshold of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. It's a river with trees of healing upon its banks, and it gives life wherever it courses. Fishers standing upon its banks are to catch a great multitude of fish (v. 10), and it was flowing towards Galilee (v. 8).

From an essay, Galilee and Galileans in St Mark’s Gospel, by G.H Boobyer, which addresses the significance and roles of the ‘Sea of Galilee’ and of Galilee per se.

Charles Wilson
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Re: Two Squalls: Mark and John

Post by Charles Wilson » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:15 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:45 pm
Isn't it Peter that walks on water, for a moment, at least?
Yes! In fact, in the Story I see, it is the child Peter who saves "Jesus" (actually a Priest, at Antonia).
Which stories with boats are you referring to? All the relevant gospel pericope-passages have boats in them ...
Yes, but these two are related, as I see them, in the Construction of the NT, in the changing of the Original Story of the Passover Slaughter to the Symbolic Stories of Jesus being saved by Peter, to the second Passover 12 years later where Peter finds the Priest he saved being crucified.

'N yes, all the boat Stories are related.

You're too good at this, MrMacSon...

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