New wine into fresh wineskins

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Ken Olson
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New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Ken Olson »

I have been looking at the metaphor (or parable) about the cloak and the wineskins in Mark 2.21-22. It seems to me it would most plausibly be interpreted as a reference to the Christian becoming a new person in baptism through reception of the holy spirit. That interpretation seems fairly obvious to me (i.e., it’s an obvious possibility that should be considered), but I could not find it discussed in the dozen or so commentaries on Mark that I checked, and that puzzles me.

Mark 2.21-22 reads:

21 “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2.21-22).

There are several passages in the New Testament that are generally accepted to refer to the belief that a Christian becomes a new person through baptism. It’s found in Paul:

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2.19-20)


6 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6.1-10).

And Deutero-Paul:
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.  (Col. 3.5-10).

And John:

 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”[or “anew”] 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.(John 3.3-6).

The Romans 6 and Colossians 3 passages suggest that the reception and indwelling of the holy spirit is incompatible with the old sinful or sinning nature. Colossians 3.9-10 even employs a clothing metaphor. The good wine, which Jesus had made into wine from water in The Wedding a Cana (John 2.1-11) is sometimes taken as a metaphor (or symbol) for the holy spirit; more often commentators relate it to supercessionism, that is, Jesus’ new wine (or new faith) is better than the old wine of Judaism. Raymond Brown considers the possibility it symbolizes the wine of the eucharist. C.K. Barrett and Andrew Lincoln suggest that John may have consciously developed his story from the metaphor of the wineskins in the synoptics.

Perhaps commentators are just not expecting Jesus to compare people to cloaks and wineskins or take the metaphor on a more general level. Are there serious weaknesses for this interpretation of Mark 2.21-22 that I’m missing?

Best,

Ken
Last edited by Ken Olson on Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Giuseppe
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Giuseppe »

Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:23 am Are there serious weaknesses for this interpretation of Mark 2.21-22 that I’m missing?
Sure. You are missing completely the marcionite essentia of the Parable of Wineskins.
Ken Olson
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Ken Olson »

Giuseppe wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:32 am
Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:23 am Are there serious weaknesses for this interpretation of Mark 2.21-22 that I’m missing?
Sure. You are missing completely the marcionite essentia of the Parable of Wineskins.
Or you and Klinghardt are imagining that there is such a thing in the text when there is not.
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Giuseppe
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Giuseppe »

Only think about this curious anomaly in your scenario:
  • "Luke" (editor) felt someway that the parable of wineskins supported Marcion, hence he changed radically the sense of the parable, by making it sure that (5:39) No one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”
  • "Mark" (author and adorer of YHWH) invented a parable who supported so strongly Marcion without knowing it in advance.
perseusomega9
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by perseusomega9 »

Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:42 am
Giuseppe wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:32 am
Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:23 am Are there serious weaknesses for this interpretation of Mark 2.21-22 that I’m missing?
Sure. You are missing completely the marcionite essentia of the Parable of Wineskins.
Or you and Klinghardt are imagining that there is such a thing in the text when there is not.
I side with Ben and Klinghardt, Matt and Luke's changes are too obvious to be anything but an anti-marcionite reaction
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Ben C. Smith »

Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:23 am I have been looking at the metaphor (or parable) about the cloak and the wineskins in Mark 2.21-22. It seems to me it would most plausibly be interpreted as a reference to the Christian becoming a new person in baptism through reception of the holy spirit. That interpretation seems fairly obvious to me (i.e., it’s an obvious possibility that should be considered), but I could not find it discussed in the dozen or so commentaries of Mark that I checked, and that puzzles me.
I agree that the baptismal connection ought to be explored, and find myself a tiny bit surprised that I, too, cannot find reference to it in the commentaries I have access to.

Most commentators seem to be influenced by the Marcan context, whether the narrow context of John the Baptist and fasting (2.18-20) or the broad context of Jesus announcing the dawning of a new age (1.14-15) and offering a new (kind of) teaching (1.27).

If the sayings are referring to the new life of baptism, do you think (A) that Mark either misunderstood them or deliberately reinterpreted them and inserted them here in order to make them point to something more in keeping with the context or (B) that Mark understood them and intended them to be understood in that way?
Ken Olson
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Ken Olson »

Ben C. Smith wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:30 am Most commentators seem to be influenced by the Marcan context, whether the narrow context of John the Baptist and fasting (2.18-20) or the broad context of Jesus announcing the dawning of a new age (1.14-15) and offering a new (kind of) teaching (1.27).

If the sayings are referring to the new life of baptism, do you think (A) that Mark either misunderstood them or deliberately reinterpreted them and inserted them here in order to make them point to something more in keeping with the context or (B) that Mark understood them and intended them to be understood in that way?
Ben,

(1) I'm not getting the premise of the question. I don't see that the interpretation I suggested is necessarily in conflict with the Markan context in which it is set.

(2) Very generally, I think Matthew tries to be as explicit as possible in his parables and tries guide the reader to come to the specific interpretation he intends, Luke is much more elliptical and often says unexpected, jarring, counterintuitive, seemingly irreverent (and sometimes irrelevant) or just enigmatic things to grab his readers attention and try to make his readers think through the issue he's discussing (or maybe just to show off). I thin Mark is somewhere between the two. He's not as inclined to beat his readers over the head with what he means as Matthew, but not as intentionally oblique as Luke.

Best.

Ken

PS - I lost a long (well, medium sized) reply I wrote to Giuseppe in this thread. I'll rewrite it later, but I have some other things I need do right now.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Ben C. Smith »

Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:55 amI'm not getting the premise of the question. I don't see that the interpretation I suggested is necessarily in conflict with the Markan context in which it is set.
I would not say it is necessarily in conflict with the context, but the context would not have suggested a baptismal interpretation to me (and it seems from the commentaries that I am not alone in this respect). Does the context suggest it to you? If so, how?
perseusomega9
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by perseusomega9 »

Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:55 am

PS - I lost a long (well, medium sized) reply I wrote to Giuseppe in this thread. I'll rewrite it later,
you masochist
Ken Olson
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Ken Olson »

perseusomega9 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:12 am
Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:55 am

PS - I lost a long (well, medium sized) reply I wrote to Giuseppe in this thread. I'll rewrite it later,
you masochist
:lol:
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