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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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

Post by Ken Olson »

Ben C. Smith wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:08 am 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?
Ah! No, or not much. But the context of John 3.1-10 doesn't either (that I can see). But it's clear from content in that case.

Best,

Ken
Last edited by Ken Olson on Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stuart
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Another thing to explore is the relationship of John's Cana Wedding (John 2:1-11) and the both the bridegroom and the wineskin parables. I think John derivedthe wedding from Luke/Marcion 5:33-38. [1]

You have all the elements of the eating and drinking, the bridegroom and the old and new wine. Many commentators have identified Jesus as the unnamed bridegroom. And Jesus' new wine from water (i.e., baptism) is so much better. The story has the same significance as the Marcionite reading.


Notes:
5:39 is a later addition in brackets in most translations, identified by WNI. In my view the author of the verse may have had John 2:9-10 in view, missing the theological significance.
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Peter Kirby
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Stuart wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:48 am identified by WNI
WNI?
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:42 am
Ben C. Smith wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:08 am 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?
Aaah!, No, or not much. But the context of John 3.1-10 doesn't either (that I can see). But it's clear from content in that case.
Right. John 3.1-10 is clearer to me ("born of water," for example). John 3.1-10 also has the advantage of having been interpreted as pertaining to baptism as early as Justin Martyr (1 Apology 61.1-5).

I am certainly open to finding baptismal sayings in different contexts in our extant texts. What I am wondering is why you think Mark put a baptismal saying here, in this context. Was it a saying he knew and decided that this was a good home for it? Did he invent it on his own, about baptism, and then wind up putting it in a context that would soon lead interpreters down the wrong path in search for the saying's meaning? Or what?
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Peter Kirby wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:51 am
Stuart wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:48 am identified by WNI
WNI?
Western Non-Interpolations
Charles Wilson
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Since it involves the Pharisees, perhaps this is not originally a Christian Passage.
The Romans and Herodians will be eliminated.
The Priesthood will be restored.

Etc. I'll not say much more (You've heard it all before.).
Transvaluation.
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Ben C. Smith wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:01 am I am certainly open to finding baptismal sayings in different contexts in our extant texts. What I am wondering is why you think Mark put a baptismal saying here, in this context. Was it a saying he knew and decided that this was a good home for it? Did he invent it on his own, about baptism, and then wind up putting it in a context that would soon lead interpreters down the wrong path in search for the saying's meaning? Or what?
In the OP I was suggesting that the use of clothing metaphors for the old and new self and a wine metaphor for the holy spirit are not unknown in the rest of the New Testament. I think the use of such metaphors may have been more easily recognizable in Mark’s century than they are in ours (and possibly more than they were in the centuries immediately following Mark’s own).

The connection between wine and the spirit is also found in Acts, in the scene where the disciples receive the holy spirit:

2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy.(Acts 2.1-18)

I believe this is the only time the word wine appears in Acts. Luke may well have been playing on a known metaphor for the holy spirit (as well as a bit of dramatic irony) when he has the others say that the disciples were filled with new wine. What the others said is true, but not in the way they intended it. Despite the fact that Luke uses a different word for the new wine than he does in Luke 5.37-38 (=Mark 2.21-2), and different words for ‘filled’ in ‘filled with the holy spirit’ in v.4 and ‘filled with new wine’ in v.14, I do not think this likely to be a coincidence. I would argue that Luke probably understood the wine in the Parable of the Wineskins in the way I have suggested.

Now that I look at the context of Mark 2.21-22, following the saying in Mark 2.19-20:

19 Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

If we take Jesus to be the bridegroom, as pretty much all interpreters do, then the passage that I take to be about the reception of the holy spirit follows immediately after the passage about Jesus being taken away.

This sequence occurs two other times in the Gospels and Acts that I know of. The first is at the beginning of Acts shortly before the passage quote earlier where the disciples receive the holy spirit:

While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

The other is in Jesus’ Farewell Discourse in John 14:

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 

So, no, I do not think it likely that Mark invented this context, but rather that he is very briefly describing a tradition relating Jesus’ departure and the arrival of the holy spirit that was known in the early church, perhaps in catechumenical instruction or the baptismal liturgy (which, unfortunately, I don’t think we know much about until the fourth century).

Best,

Ken
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Ken Olson wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:13 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:01 am I am certainly open to finding baptismal sayings in different contexts in our extant texts. What I am wondering is why you think Mark put a baptismal saying here, in this context. Was it a saying he knew and decided that this was a good home for it? Did he invent it on his own, about baptism, and then wind up putting it in a context that would soon lead interpreters down the wrong path in search for the saying's meaning? Or what?
In the OP I was suggesting that the use of clothing metaphors for the old and new self and a wine metaphor for the holy spirit are not unknown in the rest of the New Testament. I think the use of such metaphors may have been more easily recognizable in Mark’s century than they are in ours (and possibly more than they were in the centuries immediately following Mark’s own).

The connection between wine and the spirit is also found in Acts, in the scene where the disciples receive the holy spirit....
Not to mention in "Hotel California," by the Eagles: "So I called up the Captain, 'Please bring me my wine.' He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since 1969.'" ;)

The image of removing old garments and putting on new ones makes a lot of sense to me as a metaphor for the spiritual transformation which is supposed to happen at baptism. The image of not using a new patch on an old garment does not strike me in quite the same way; a new garment is not even mentioned. How do you think the image is supposed to work?
I believe this is the only time the word wine appears in Acts. Luke may well have been playing on a known metaphor for the holy spirit (as well as a bit of dramatic irony) when he has the others say that the disciples were filled with new wine. What the others said is true, but not in the way they intended it. Despite the fact that Luke uses a different word for the new wine than he does in Luke 5.37-38 (=Mark 2.21-2), and different words for ‘filled’ in ‘filled with the holy spirit’ in v.4 and ‘filled with new wine’ in v.14, I do not think this likely to be a coincidence. I would argue that Luke probably understood the wine in the Parable of the Wineskins in the way I have suggested.
Maybe. I will give it some thought.

In the meantime, my own current understanding of this passage is that the author knew the Pauline epistles:

1 Corinthians 13.1: 1 Though I speak with the tongues of humans and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 14.23-25: 23 Therefore if the whole church gathers together and all the people speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are maniacal [μαίνεσθε]? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

An entire church speaking in (incoherent) tongues (as opposed to individual practice, which is what Paul seems to recommend) comes across as madness, and madness ("mania") can be interpreted as the natural result of being drunk:

Jeremiah, 25.15-16: 15 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to me, “Take this cup of the wine of wrath [λαβὲ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ οἴνου τοῦ ἀκράτου τούτου] from My hand and give it to all the nations to whom I send you, to drink from it. 16 Then they will drink and loudly vomit and act maniacally [μανήσονται] because of the sword that I am going to send among them.”

So the author seems to me to be saying that the Pentecost event was not actually what Paul condemned but was rather the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy: not drunkenness/madness but order.

Does this interpretation of mine mesh with yours, or do they conflict, do you think?

Also, if "Luke" understood Mark's meaning here, what do you think he was doing in 5.39? Why is the old wine good considered good?
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Ben C. Smith wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:28 pmWhy is the old wine good considered good?
Luke 5: 39 : (RSV):

[39] And no one after drinking old wine desires new; for he says, `The old is good.'"

As stated earlier, I believe that this Passage has been Transvalued, and perhaps greatly Transvalued. Luke has a number of one or two verse Passages that point back to Judaic History in a manner that is not at all obvious. Hannah the Prophetess. "Quiet your Disciples". 'N so on.

The following may be too Literary.

1 Chronicles details the Organization of David's Kingdom. The Mishmarot Priesthood begins here:

1 Chronicles 24: 1 - 5 (RSV):

[1] The divisions of the sons of Aaron were these. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abi'hu, Elea'zar, and Ith'amar.
[2] But Nadab and Abi'hu died before their father, and had no children, so Elea'zar and Ith'amar became the priests.
[3] With the help of Zadok of the sons of Elea'zar, and Ahim'elech of the sons of Ith'amar, David organized them according to the appointed duties in their service.
[4] Since more chief men were found among the sons of Elea'zar than among the sons of Ith'amar, they organized them under sixteen heads of fathers' houses of the sons of Elea'zar, and eight of the sons of Ith'amar.
[5] They organized them by lot, all alike, for there were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God among both the sons of Elea'zar and the sons of Ith'amar.

Later, we find:

1 Chronicles 27 (RSV):

[27] and over the vineyards was Shim'e-i the Ra'mathite; and over the produce of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite.

Zabdi?

"My Gift" or "Gift of Yah" (https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Zabdi.html , among others). Of the four entries, the last two are interesting here. The last entry, after the return from exile:

Nehemiah 11: 15 - 18 (RSV):

[15] And of the Levites: Shemai'ah the son of Hasshub, son of Azri'kam, son of Hashabi'ah, son of Bunni;
[16] and Shab'bethai and Jo'zabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who were over the outside work of the house of God;
[17] and Mattani'ah the son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, who was the leader to begin the thanksgiving in prayer, and Bakbuki'ah, the second among his brethren; and Abda the son of Sham'mua, son of Galal, son of Jedu'thun.
[18] All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred and eighty-four.

The Old Wine is good since it came from a time Sanctified by God (Yah) and was found Just in his eyes (See also again: John, the very Semitic Phrase: "Behold the Lamb of Yah"). The High Priesthood has been corrupted by Herod and the Romans. It has been Politicized and is an appointed Office, given, no doubt, to the Cronies who are Loyal to the Herodians and the Romans.

This, then becomes another Coded Message: "One does not sew a new patch on old cloth" - the UN-Transvalued message is that the Priesthood will reassert itself after the Herodians and Romans are gone.

"THE OLD WINE IS BETTER": The Priesthood, held by people of greater "Piety and Purity" (Josephus) will conduct the Representations of the People before God in the proper manner.

(As an aside, the importance of Wine Symbolism is seen in John:

John 2: 9 - 10 (RSV):

[9] When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom
[10] and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."

They knew their wine!!! After a short time, the tongue becomes dulled to the wine alcohol. "Time to slip in the ol' cheap stuff!" (G Armstrong).)
Even though this points to the Romans...

CW
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Re: New wine into fresh wineskins

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Ben,

Perhaps he does mean drunken oracles. Of course that is what oracles did, like at Delphi, breath in a less than fatal level of toxic fumes then ramble, with a priest or priestess (never can remember which oracles had females and which had males) interpreting the meaning.

What strikes me however, as the passage 1 Corinthians 14:23-25 is not attested in Marcion, is that we have arrived at a much later date in the churches formation that the early evangelizing days symbolized by Paul and other legendary apostles. The church has become established and regular part of the local community, and so is worried about it's image with "unbelievers". Issues like mixed faith marriages are not something a very early evangelical movement makes great pronouncements about, as they are trying to convert everyone. But a more established movement does worry about such things, which is reflected in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 pronouncements on how to handle mixed marriages of a Christian and an "unbeliever." including whether their children are considered clean (i.e., Christian) in 7:14. We see in 6:1-8 concerns about lawsuits among members, admonishing them to keep such matters "in house, " keeping the community out of the legal system. Again this is not a fledgling movement just started, rather an established on with significant standing in the community. And not just one place, as these statements require encyclical publication via a Pauline instruction. I judge all these to be a couple generations after the establishment of a network of churches.

And again we see in 1 Corinthians 12:28 the structure of the church has expanded greatly from the early house churches of the first generation of apostles to a a significant organized operation, with need for a hierarchy to be spelled out, and even a position for the rector (κυβερνήσεις) to handle the administrative tasks of the church and its attendant bookkeeping as his job.

I think you have to separate the early elements from the later ones. Verses 14:21-25 share the term unbelievers with 7:12-16, 6:1-8 and 10:27, all of which concern appearances and interactions between the now larger established church and those out side. We have shifted far from the first evangelical era.
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