This is a belated response to Joseph D.L.'s posts of a week ago. I am very conscious of the fact that some of my exchanges with Stephan do look like sniping contests and I regret that. I have tried, where possible, to write separate posts dealing directly with the source material and just presenting my analysis. In the case of the post to which Joseph was responding, I claimed that Stephan was ignoring counterevidence against his unjustified assertion that poor people did not wear layers of clothing antiquity, that he used ellipsis to remove the part of the passage he quoted from Joan Taylor that plainly showed she disagreed with his position, and that he had not produced the evidence he claimed to have for an oral tradition that Jesus walked naked from the Jordan in Mark 10. I realize that sounds hostile, but I honestly could not think of a nice way to say it. That said, I don't think any of what I wrote was unjustified.
Joseph D.L. wrote:
I understood it as, if Jesus could have been naked when he entered Jerusalem.
This is what Stephan wrote:
How did Jesus end up naked in front of the disrobed blind man? Only one answer makes sense. At the very least there seems to have been an oral monastic tradition that Jesus walked naked from the Jordan (regardless of Secret Mark he has to cross the river before arriving at Jericho), the impure blind man takes off his clothes and presumably follows a naked Christ.
This does not sound to me like Stephan was just posing a hypothetical possibility, nor does it sound like he's using “naked Christ” in a non-literal sense. Stephan seems to be claiming that he has evidence that shows, at a minimum, that there was an oral tradition that Jesus walked naked from the Jordan, and by implication remained naked at least until the episode of Blind Bartimaeus. Can you suggest any other plausible way to read what Stephan wrote?
You quoted the text of Jerome's Epsitle 125 (which is more than Stephan did) but then you did not go on to explain how it demonstrates Stephan's claim that Jesus walked naked from the Jordan as far as his encounter with Bartimaeus, or, rather that there was at least an oral tradition of such. In fact, it looks like you were willing to accept nudus nudum in a metaphorical sense, which is not what Stephan, from all appearances, is suggesting. I think that the reason Stephan did not quote the passage and has not revealed what, if any, other evidence he has for his claim is that he knows his evidence would not survive critical examination if he did present it.
Joseph: I think if it can be argued sufficiently it can be considered as possible.
This is backwards. It is possible that Jesus walked naked from the Jordan to Jerusalem, or that there was an early church tradition that he did. If it could be argued sufficiently, we would accept it as true. My point though, is that Stephan has definitely not offered sufficient evidence, or anything close to it, for his claim.
Joseph: Nothing is guaranteed with this subject. Heck, we have all sorts of suspects for the beloved disciple, with absolutely nothing to go on. One is just as plausible as the others, and Stephan's interpretation is as likely as any others. People treat this as a science when it isn't. It is pure guess work. Whole denominations have been created based on one marginal aspect of the text. If it's good for the goose, etc.
This bit is seriously problematic. To see why, try replacing the name Stephan with the name Giuseppe. Is it all just guess work, so that Giuseppe's interpretations are just as likely as any others? Or do we have ways to evaluate Giuseppe's claims to determine their degree of plausibility?
As to your question: why the hostility? Here are the things to which I was hostile in the post:
I am hostile to making up facts about the ancient world, ignoring counterexamples and counter-arguments, and asserting things that we have already seen good reason to conclude are false. This is what Stephan does when he says beggars or poor people did not wear layers of clothing in antiquity, or that only rich people did.
I am not fond of appeals to authority in general, but I am actually hostile to quoting a particular scholar as though she supported one's position and using ellipsis marks to remove the part of the passage one is quoting where she clearly says she does not.
I am hostile to making a claim that Jesus walked naked from the Jordan and then failing to present the evidence that one claims to have for that conclusion when asked for it.
I think those things are enough to justify the degree of hostility I exhibited. Do you think hostility to those particular things is unreasonable, or do you think I am unjustified in claiming Stephan did them?
Joseph: Also, my reasoning for bringing up Matthew and Luke was that they may have been consciously aware of this feature in Mark or Secret Mark or what have you, and thus wanted to explain it away as a commandment for being naked before Christ, or destitute before Christ.
Yes, when you are arguing for something you quote sources and use reasoning. This suggests you don't think it's all pure guess work. That said, I think your argument would need considerable further development before it could be accepted as establishing likelihood.
Joseph: Maybe I'm biased because I like Stephan's thought experiments. It did give me some things to ponder.
I think that may well be the case (though I don't think Stephan's claims about nudity in Mark 10-11 can all be classified as thought experiments – he is making positive claims in many cases). But seriously, I am trying not to create a straw man of Stephan's arguments, but to evaluate what he's actually arguing using established critical standards. If you saw somewhere in the post to which you were objecting where I misrepresented Stephan's argument, would you quote it and tell me why you found it unfair?