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Old 01-21-2001, 06:03 AM   #1
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Post The "Mark's" brothers

A debate has arisen on another thread about Jesus' brothers and sisters. Since the "discussion" has gotten somewhat untidy, I thought it might be a good idea to begin again, this time with some focus and clarity.

Nomad: ...it is not established that Jesus had any brothers at all. The Greek for brothers is identical to the Greek for brethren and cousins (that's why the Catholic and Orthodox Churches teach that Mary was a virgin her entire life you know).

I contend that the anonymous writer of "Mark" clearly and unambiguously establishes the fact that Jesus had brothers and sisters. In my view, the textual evidence is overwhelming.

1. The writer uses the Greek word adelphos to denote "male sibling," or simply "brother" or "brothers." A reading of the text clearly shows that this is the writer's understanding of the Greek word.

2. The writer NEVER uses the Greek word suggenes which denotes "cousin" or "kin."

3. In only one passage (3:31-35) does Jesus call his followers "brothers, sisters, and mother." In this passage, Jesus clearly and unambiguously distinguishes his biological brothers, sisters, and mother from his followers. Any reader can clearly see that Jesus considers his mother and male and female siblings are on the "outside," both literally and figuratively, while his followers are on the "inside."

Since the vast majority of people have not read the book known simply as "Mark," I will present every instance in which he uses the word "brother" or "brothers." I have included in all caps what I think is the writer's understanding of the word "brother" or "brothers.". Remember that "Mark" always uses the Greek word adelphos to denote "brother" or "brothers."

MALE SIBLING
1:16 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets.

MALE SIBLING
1:19 James the son of Zeb'edee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-aner'ges, that is, sons of thunder;

MALE SIBLINGS/THOSE WHO ARE NOT SIBLINGS
3:31-35 And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and brothers?” And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.


MALE SIBLING
5:37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.

Jesus as MALE SIBLING
6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.

MALE SIBLING
6:17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero'di-as, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her.

MALE SIBLING
6:18 For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

MALE SIBLING
10:29-30 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time...”

MALE SIBLING
12:19 "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children.

MALE SIBLING
13:12 And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;

That is my case. I have used the text of "Mark" as my best evidence.



[This message has been edited by penatis (edited January 21, 2001).]
 
Old 01-21-2001, 09:34 AM   #2
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Penatis,

have you asked Nomad his position? Obviously not. He was showing that the Catholic position was not totally unfounded, not necessarily accurate, but it has its reasons.
He was not stating his position. In fact, he has said that he does not have an offical position yet.

Give the heckling a rest.
 
Old 01-21-2001, 10:31 AM   #3
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Josephus:
Penatis,

have you asked Nomad his position? Obviously not. He was showing that the Catholic position was not totally unfounded, not necessarily accurate, but it has its reasons.
He was not stating his position. In fact, he has said that he does not have an offical position yet.


First of all, I have no respect for Nomad or his opinions. I have been very clear about that. Second, I am not interested in his position. He has made an unevidenced assertion, and I have presented an arguent that refutes said assertion.


Josephus: Give the heckling a rest.

Presenting a well-evidenced argument is not "heckling." BTW, Nomad is under no obligation to respond to me, nor I to him.

 
Old 01-21-2001, 03:49 PM   #4
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Once again we have an example of penatis needing to beat a very dead horse again and again.

The basic assertion of the thread is that Mark only used the word word adelphos to mean biological brother by the same parents. Since this is simply not true, and I have explained this ad naseum in the previous thread, and penatis STILL does not get it I will offer the proof one final time so that others might benefit,

Mark 6:17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married.

Now, Herod and Philip are half-brothers, not full brothers. The Greek word adelphos does not make this distinction.

Thus, if Jesus had half brothers (in other words, brothers by Joseph), then they would be called adelphos. This is as simple as I can make this point. The Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church have both told us that this was the case for as long as they have been around, and still the truly stubborn and/or dense wish to argue about it.

My suggestion is that these people do a study in linguistics and learn that things are rarely as simple as they would like when it comes to translations.

Thank you again for your time, and my condolences to those that have had to slog through these long and meaningless discussions in the vain hope that penatis will eventually actually understand that sometimes, he simply does not understand.

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 01-21-2001, 05:18 PM   #5
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Nomad:
The basic assertion of the thread is that Mark only used the word word adelphos to mean biological brother by the same parents.

Nomad is incorrect. I stated very clearly that, in my view, the writer of "Mark" denoted "male sibling" when he used the Greek word adelphos. I never stated that the word had to mean "biological brother by the same parents." That is a restriction that Nomad added.

Nomad in his original statement said the word adelphos, as used by "Mark," could mean "cousin" or "brethren." I simply used textual evidence to demonstrate his error.

Nomad: Since this is simply not true, and I have explained this ad naseum in the previous thread, and penatis STILL does not get it I will offer the proof one final time so that others might benefit,

Mark 6:17
For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married.

Now, Herod and Philip are half-brothers, not full brothers. The Greek word adelphos does not make this distinction.[/b]

There is still no good reason to think that Jesus had anything but natural brothers and sisters from natural parents.

Nomad: Thus, if Jesus had half brothers (in other words, brothers by Joseph), then they would be called adelphos. This is as simple as I can make this point.

There is no reason to think that Jesus had half brothers and sisters. That is as simple as I can make this point.

Nomad: The Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church have both told us that this was the case for as long as they have been around, and still the truly stubborn and/or dense wish to argue about it.

I will try to make this point as clearly as I possibly can: The position of the Church is irrelevant.

Nomad: My suggestion is that these people do a study in linguistics and learn that things are rarely as simple as they would like when it comes to translations.

My suggestion is that these people stop making unevidenced assertions. Also, if it takes a degree in linguistics to understand the JC Bible, then virtually all Christians are in total darkness, including Nomad.

Nomad: Thank you again for your time, and my condolences to those that have had to slog through these long and meaningless discussions in the vain hope that penatis will eventually actually understand that sometimes, he simply does not understand.

I would like to offer my condolences to all who have had to suffer the humiliation of Nomad's sarcasm, name-calling, condescension, insensitivity, arrogance, and general bullshit.

Perhaps Nomad someday will get the message that posters don't like to be called "bigot," "stupid," "slugger," "sport," "dense," "daft," etc. Thus far, he has not shown how he is qualified to label any poster any of those names.

 
Old 01-21-2001, 07:26 PM   #6
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Penatis: I don't think you're ever going to get Nomad to agree with you. You convinced me about a month ago as well as everyone else who doesn't have a theological stake in the interpretation.

I recommend you move on.
 
Old 01-21-2001, 08:17 PM   #7
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Question

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:

I don't think you're ever going to get Nomad to agree with you. You convinced me about a month ago as well as everyone else who doesn't have a theological stake in the interpretation.</font>
This raises an interesting question SD. Since there is no alternative word available to us in Koine Greek to designate a non-biological brother, or a half-brother, what is your basis for rejecting this possibility in Mark's Gospel?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I recommend you move on.</font>
Yeah, I agree. I hope penatis does too.

Nomad
 
Old 01-21-2001, 09:19 PM   #8
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You have the peculiarly christian tendency to insist that the possibility of something is evidence somehow of its truth. Being an atheist, I'm really not concerned with the "proper" amount of scriptural stretching you need to do to make your theology come out ok. Whatever scripture floats your theological boat is no concern of mine.

It is not the absence of words for non-biological brothers that is persuasive. Rather the presence of a word to indicate non-sibling blood-relations (suggenes), coupled with Mark 3:31-35. Jesus contrasts his biological brothers with his real brethren: his followers.

The question is really irrelevant. You and Josephus have made the persuasive claim that Mark is not historical in nature, it is theological. I completely believe this. Mark was writing theology first, history second, if at all. That interpretation erodes Mark's credibility as a secondary historical source, while his anonymity destroys his credibility as a primary source.

[This message has been edited by SingleDad (edited January 21, 2001).]
 
Old 01-21-2001, 09:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:

You have the peculiarly christian tendency to insist that the possibility of something is evidence somehow of its truth. Being an atheist, I'm really not concerned with the "proper" amount of scriptural stretching you need to do to make your theology come out ok.</font>
Well, since I have already stated very clearly more than once that I have no personal position on Mary remaining a virgin her entire life, I wonder what motivates you to say I am defending my theology.

Secondly, since those who were around at the time, and did happen to use Greek as their primary language insist that the Gospels do not tell us that Jesus had biological brothers, but only half brothers, why do you discount this possibility so easily? I cannot imagine doing this to people of any other language, especially since you do not read, write or speak any Greek at all. I do not put this last forward so much as an argument (since clearly the Greek and Roman Churches could be lying to us and how could we know), but simply to suggest a bit more humility when denegrating the opinions of people about their own understanding of their language.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Whatever scripture floats your theological boat is no concern of mine.</font>
And yet you feel perfectly free to use only those parts of Scripture that suit your own prejudices. Blindness to a personal prejudice is common, but I have hoped that you might remain open to the possibility that the question is not so straightforward as it may seem.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It is not the absence of words for non-biological brothers that is persuasive. Rather the presence of a word to indicate non-sibling blood-relations (suggenes), coupled with Mark 3:31-35.</font>
And as you can see when the Synoptics talk about the relationship of the known half-brothers Herod and Philip, no distinction is given at all. We simply cannot offer more than personal speculation or preference in either direction to decide whether Mark thought Jesus had full or half brothers. Is that so hard to admit?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Jesus contrasts his biological brothers with his real brethren: his followers.</font>
No, he contrasted his related broghers, not necessarily full brothers. They could easily be half brothers by Joseph.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The question is really irrelevant.</font>
True, except that even when the questions are small, the stubborn unwillingness of the sceptics to entertain even one other possibility than the one they already have is very frustrating.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> You and Josephus have made the persuasive claim that Mark is not historical in nature, it is theological.</font>
I would say you find this persuasive only because it fits with your own biases already. When we say that Mark is not a 20th Century biography like we would find in a newspaper for example, this is simply a recognition of something that is obvious. It certainly does not mean that you should discard every historical claim made by Mark though, nor that you should insist on only one possible translation of his words or thoughts.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I completely believe this. Mark was writing theology first, history second, if at all. That interpretation erodes Mark's credibility as a secondary historical source, while his anonymity destroys his credibility as a primary source.</font>
This is too big a can of worms to open here on this thread. Since you are a sceptic and an atheist, I would expect you to say these things of course, but if you could show at least some openess to possibilities you had not considered or known before, that would be a very good, and refreshing start.

Nomad
 
Old 01-29-2001, 02:55 PM   #10
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On the suggestion given to penatis "I recommend you move on.", I am improving myself when penatis stays put with scientific-minded persistence on historically profound information I am learning. To me diplomacy for politeness is not of benefit, proved data are.
(I had this benefit under the topic "Refutation of Nomad", when penatis proved in my mind, there aren't texts contemporary to the years around 10 A.D. regarding the New Testament and Jesus).
Many arguments for belief in the Bible come from angles that surprise me sometimes, and I value the common-sense reasoning backed by scientific-minded persistence penatis has on historically profound information.
 
 

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