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).