Those stupid disciples!

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Martin Klatt
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Those stupid disciples!

Post by Martin Klatt » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:37 am

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Last edited by Martin Klatt on Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:20 am

The word ἀμφίβληστρον is cognate with ἀμφιβάλλω, and it simply means a casting net (among other things). Classical writers tended to use περιβάλλω for the act of casting it, but the meaning for ἀμφιβάλλω would be much the same, as is shown by the Old Greek of a verse in Habakkuk:

Habakkuk 1.17 (OG): 17 Διὰ τοῦτο ἀμφιβαλεῖ τὸ ἀμφίβληστρον αὐτοῦ καὶ διὰ παντὸς ἀποκτέννειν ἔθνη οὐ φείσεται.

Habakkuk 1.17 (Brenton): Therefore will he cast his net, and will not spare to slay the nations continually.

Habakkuk 1.17 (Vulgate): 17 Propter hoc ergo expandit sagenam suam et semper interficere gentes non parcet.

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Stuart
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Stuart » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:50 pm

A gnostic reading would no doubt lead one to point out that the father of James and John is merely symbolic, as is his name Zebedee, which means "thunder." Throughout the gospels father is synonymous with a God. In John chapter 8, Jesus repeatedly refers to his Jewish ecclesiastical questioners as having a father who is evil, different than his own father. The gospel is clearing talking about Gods. One has to be suspicious, outside of the nativity stories in Matthew and Luke -which are generally considered later additions to the gospel narratives-, that references to a father is to a God and not a human (e.g., Luke 11:11-13) . Gospel language after all is full of double meaning words, with a surface level and either an ironic or deep second meaning.

Back to the father who is thunder, well that is Zeus, the King of the Gods (Lord of Hosts) who is equivalent in the Gnostic view with Jehovah the Jewish God. So this could be seen as representing James and John leaving their old father, the Jewish God, to follow a new God, Jesus.

You also have the bridal parallel in Mark 10:7 where the bridegroom leaves his mother and father. Jesus is often referred to as the bridegroom and his disciples as the friends of the bridegroom. And James and John leaving is a preview of the saying in Mark 10:29 where to become a preacher for the gospel you have to leave your family. (Similar Luke 9:59-60, 14:26 -- Matthew 10:37 defuse this, as he also strongly defends the Jewish God as Jesus' father.)

The hired servants by the father one can see in Luke's Prodigal son story. There is a general theme about how hirelings are inferior to sons, especially in Luke. Now it's no guarantee this concept was held by Mark, but the imagery seems to be there in the calling of the fishermen, even if not developed.

The early Christian communities resemble the monastic settings of groups like the Theraputae described by Philo. Men and women were recruited by these groups, but to join they had to leave behind all their possessions and cut their family ties. This is not radically different than the calling to be monks or nuns in pretty much any religion the last twenty five hundred years if not longer. James and John are showing this in the most exemplary manner.

James and John are iconic patron saints. Placing them in the calling of the fishermen along with Simon is meant to show their preeminence as Apostles and patron saints, being the first called. (Note, only Simon likely appeared in Luke's version; 5:10a them looks like a scribal addition to harmonize with the other accounts tacking the brothers into a scene they are otherwise not present at - Zebedee occurs nowhere else in Luke.) The familial connection is dubious, but works in the theological setting of Christian brothers. We have to keep in mind the double meanings. Brother and sister are what priest/ministers and nuns and pious lay people call each other to this day. Stories in the gospels often depict the metaphor literally.

The legends of James and John seem quite independent. It is curious that the gospel writers wanted to tie them together. The entire story is thus both fictitious and metaphorical for what is expected of those who are called. They must drop family like a stone, and leave behind prior beliefs and Gods/fathers.
“’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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Secret Alias
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:04 pm

his name Zebedee, which means "thunder.
?!!!
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Secret Alias
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:07 pm

My guess is - like Matthew - it means something like 'gift' or to give https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%96%D7%91%D7%93%D7%99
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Stuart
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Stuart » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:56 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:04 pm
his name Zebedee, which means "thunder.
?!!!
Mark equates it with in the naming of the apostles with the Aramaic (?) "Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder". So I did as well. Probably a reach

Nobody is sure what Zebedee means. Some of the better WAGS from Wikipedia

The name given in the Gospels, Greek: Ζεβεδαῖος, is probably a transliteration of the Hebrew name Zebadiah according to Spiros Zodhiates (The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary), or the truncated version Zabdi, says BDB Theological Dictionary, and so means 'Yahweh (or The Lord) Has Bestowed'. Other popular interpretations of the name are: abundant (Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary) or my gift (Smith's Bible Dictionary)

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Zebedee.html

"Yahweh Has Bestowed" is probably as reasonable a guess as any.
“’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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Secret Alias
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:14 pm

I see no connection between Zebedee and Boanerges. In one sense each are connected with being sons but one is clearly actual parents and the other something more abstract or 'spiritual.' I don't know of anyone who thought that Jesus's father had a name related to 'thunder.'
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Stuart
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Stuart » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:02 pm

I disagree. Zebedee is not an actual name anyone ever had. It is a stand-in for something long lost, something about a gift from Yahweh. There is an association with Yahweh there.

The fishing scene is completely artificial. We need to consider the whole Ichthys concept and Jesus Christ as God's son and savior. Catching fish is synonymous with saving souls in Jesus' name. That is what they are called for, that is the metaphor.

John and James are not actually related any more than Jesus is supposedly related to his siblings, named Jacob (James), Joseph, Simon and Judas, which correspond to 5 to 7 of the apostle names (8 if Judas Thomas is considered yet another Judas), plus that of his supposed father and that of Joseph of Arimathea.

Names an familial relationships are very polymorphic in the gospels and Acts. What we seem to be dealing with are a few legends of early apostles (patron saints), whose names keep reappearing in different roles as the passage requires. You basically have a John (baptist and apostle), James, Simon (most varied of all), Judas and Phillip apostle legends. Joseph seems a bit different, there doesn't seem to be an apostle legend. Mary/Martha seems more probably to have been an early apostle legend.
“’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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Secret Alias
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:36 pm

Zebedee is not an actual name anyone ever had.
זַבְדִּי • (zab'di) m

Zabdi, the name of four Israelites in the Hebrew Bible.
A son of Zerah and grandson of Judah; grandfather of Achan.
A one of the sons of Shimhi, a Benjaminite.
An officer of David, in charge of the produce of the vineyards for the wine cellars.
A son of Asaph the minstrel; also called 'Zaccur' and 'Zichri'.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Those stupid disciples!

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:25 pm

Stuart wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:02 pm
The fishing scene is completely artificial.
I agree.
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