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Old 08-21-2001, 05:31 AM   #51
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Iíve been away for a few days, but I see that E_muse has done more than an adequate job in making the same points I was trying to demonstrate. Rather than re-hash the same things again, Iíd like to make one comment. I would venture to bet that if we gave the story found in Mark chapters 15 & 16 to a group of eight-year olds who had never heard of Jesus they would all interpret the story as claiming that Jesusí body had been raised from the dead.

Turton wants to claim that Mark doesnít explicitly describe a bodily resurrection. Such a claim is equal to claiming that Mark doesnít explicitly present an empty tomb. After all, Mark NEVER says the tomb is empty or that the BODY is gone. How a person can claim that Mark clearly describes an empty tomb, but that he is ambiguous in portraying a bodily resurrection, is difficult for me to fathom.

Peace,

Polycarp
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Old 08-21-2001, 06:17 AM   #52
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Quote:
Turton wants to claim that Mark doesn’t explicitly describe a bodily resurrection. Such a claim is equal to claiming that Mark doesn’t explicitly present an empty tomb. After all, Mark NEVER says the tomb is empty or that the BODY is gone. How a person can claim that Mark clearly describes an empty tomb, but that he is ambiguous in portraying a bodily resurrection, is difficult for me to fathom.
Thank you Polycarp, I was about to ask Michael the same question.
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Old 08-21-2001, 06:30 AM   #53
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Michael, you asked me:

Quote:
I agree that the corpse isn't there. Guess what! That doesn't tell us where it is.
You also said:

Quote:
The fact of the empty tomb is open to differing interpretations by people using differing a priori assumptions.
Emphasis mine of course.

Yet later you asked me:

Quote:
Would you please point out to me the passage that says clearly that Jesus' body has been raised? I don't see one there.
Michael, would you please point our to me the passage that says clearly that the tomb was empty? I don't see one there.

If your top comments are to be taken at face value, you seem to be changing the rules to fit the arguement.

[ August 21, 2001: Message edited by: E_muse ]
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Old 08-21-2001, 06:48 AM   #54
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Michael: But, to draw out your method further, the thing about Mark is that nobody has any idea what Jesus' means when he says he is coming back, and he isn't really believed. The women were shocked and scared to find that he had been raised. If it really happened, do you think they had some ready-made idea, some commonsense approach to resurrection, some concept of what it meant to come back? No way!
E_muse: No they wouldn't, and that is my whole point! So they wouldn't have read Docetic ideas into the young man's assertion, so neither can we.


They wouldn't have read EITHER Docetic OR anti-Docetic views into the Resurrection. They stood there scared out of their minds and had no idea what was going on. That is the point, E_muse: EITHER idea is supported by the text.

In this young man's use of language (even if it is merely a projection of the writer's own opinion), where does he differentitate between the 'him' who was the corpse laid in the tomb and the 'He' who's gone ahead to Galilee? You're the one who seems to be insisting that I see a Docetic interpretation as an equally valid interpretation of the text Michael. Why? Can you start answering some questions please Michael?

I've been answering questions. In the young man's use of language, where does he confirm that the body has been raised? It isn't in the text. Because it is not in the text, and because the text contains no denial of a purely spiritual resurrection of Jesus (as you have noted) we may now find either interpretation equally valid. As you confirm:

A rule of Biblical interpretation adopted by scholars (but not by the Docetics at the time) is that one cannot argue from silence. You can't use something the text doesn't say to make a theological point.

Thanks, E_Muse. Now, the text doesn't say specifically that the body has been risen. So how can you use the text to justify an anti-Docetic position?

I'm pointing at what the text actually says - 'he' is risen, 'he' is not here (absent body), look at where they laid 'him' (corpse). 'He' has gone to Galilee.

E_Muse, WHAT has gone to Galilee? Can you prove from the text that the body is in Galilee? It is perfectly possible that the body is gone and Jesus is in Galilee in spirit. The text does not tell us where the body is. It only tells us where the body isn't.

But that doesn't mean that I must accept these interpretations as all equally valid.
I reject the Docetic idea on the grounds that it involves reading something into the text which isn't there.


You don't have to accept any interpretation as valid. However, the text supports several interpretations, and those who hold them need not accept your interpretation either.

The question is, did the Docetics gain this understanding from the text itself? Is this what the text itself says happened?
Why, NO! The text doesn't say what happened? Where is the body? With Jesus? That's not in the text. Any claim of the disposition of the body comes from some a priori idea of the reader. Please show me where the text makes a positive statement as to the final disposition of Jesus' body.

Are you saying, "You are looking for Jesus. He was crucified. He is risen. He is not here. Look at the place where they laid him. He's gone to Galilee." is hard to understand Michael ?

It's easy to understand. However, it can be understood in many ways. Where in those lines does it give us a specific and positive remark about where Jesus' body is?

And the are really out of bounds here, E_Muse. I don't mind if you think your theology is a serious argument, but I do mind if you think your theological positions entitle you to look down on others.

Like the starting assumption, 'We can't understand what Mark is saying here'?
Why should I then accept your interpretation that this is impossible to understand?
If you're saying you can't know what the true interpretation is, how can you tell me that my interpretation is the wrong one?


This paragraph, I think, goes to the heart of your inability to really think about what I am saying. I am not saying we cannot understand what Mark is saying here. I am saying We CAN understand it in more than one way. It is not my claim that this is impossible to understand. I don't know what the "true" interpretation is because all interpretations, E_Muse, are just that: INTERPRETATIONS, not "TRUTHS." There can be no "true" interpretation because the "truth" here is theological and hence not subject to evidentiary claims. Many interpretations might be true and still be in accord with the text.

You're asking me to take some specifically rationalist stance with regard to the final disposition of Jesus' body. But I cannot. Not only is it not in the text, there are no rules governing resurrections, so you cannot appeal to some rational argument -- "but the body's not there, so he must have taken it with him" -- because you stepped outside of the rules when you said he was raised. Now that you have invoked the miraculous, you cannot continue to claim that this event is rule-governed. It is NOT rule-governed. Thus, I know of no rule anywhere that says If X is raised, and there is no body, he's wearing the body. Also, I know of no rule anywhere that says If X is raised, and a man uses the pronoun "he," the man means the body has been raised. In fact -- if it comes to that -- we know from other Biblical passages (see the episode of Saul and the Witch of Endor) that raised spirits may be referred to with ordinary pronouns.

Certainly, in ordinary usage, if my cat goes missing, I don't look for her body in one place and her consciousness in another. Nor, when I refer to "her," do I mean only her spirit. But "cat-going-missing" is a rule-governed situation. "Omnipotent-being-miraculously-raised-from-the-dead" is not a rule-governed situation, at least not any rules I know. There is no way we can know what is going to be seen in Galilee, a spirit Jesus or a physical one (at least in Mark). The pronoun "he" used by the man at the Tomb could mean either. Gnostic texts used "he" to refer to a spiritual Jesus with absolutely no trouble at all. So do other places in the Bible.

You seem to want me to play a game whereby rationalist interpretations are utilized whenever you need them to be, but not when you don't want them to be. Either we understand the resurrection as a fable (rule-governed rationalist view) or we understand it as a miracle (no rules). We cannot understand it as "Ok, he was raised outside of the rules, but now, within the rules, he has his body." The young man at the tomb says the body is gone, and says that we'll be seeing Jesus in Galilee. Since we do not know what rules apply to this event, we cannot say that Jesus is wearing the missing body in Galilee. It is just as likely that the body has been taken up to heaven, and Jesus is in Galilee in spirit. There are no rules, so you cannot now invoke some understanding of the pronoun "he" that you had prior to the Resurrection. Once the Resurrection has occurred, any rules you impose on the situation come from some a priori or outside understanding of the event.

From observation alone I couldn't know what had happened to the body. But what would I understand about the situation on the basis of the comments made by the young man, especially if I have no knowledge of resurrection?

Exactly. We have no knowledge of resurrection as a process. So what can we understand about it based on the man's comments??? We are all in the position of the Marys before the Tomb: confused and scared. We don't know what to expect, just as they didn't. So we have to go and see just what has happened. Is the body with Jesus? We don't know. As you have affirmed, the fact that the body is not there does not tell us WHERE it is. The young man tells us where Jesus is, but not where his body is. Since some people understood Jesus as a spiritual being, it is perfectly consistent with that interpretation as well. Either a Docetic or an anti-Docetic view are consistent with this passage, and neither is ruled out.

In short, you have conceded two key points:
  • The text does not rule out that Jesus has risen as a spirit.
  • The fact that the body is missing does not tell us where it is.

Both Docetists and anti-Docetists have a priori understandings of this text. All I am trying to get you to understand is that your reading is every bit as a priori as theirs.

Perhaps Mark thought that his story was already clear enough and needed no further embellishment.

I agree. But we don't know in which direction that comment runs: clear to Docetists, or clear toward their foes? Or clear to both?

Michael
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Old 08-21-2001, 11:25 AM   #55
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Quote:
Thanks, E_Muse. Now, the text doesn't say specifically that the body has been risen. So how can you use the text to justify an anti-Docetic position?
What the young man says is 'He is risen'. The question is, does the term 'he' include the entire person, body and all?

The Greek word for 'risen' is agiro and conveys the idea of collecting one's faculties. It means to waken, rouse from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease or death. It seems to suggest restoration to a former state.

If Christ being risen didn't include the body, how could he be described as having regained his faculties?

Also, what you haven't answered, is how you can refer to the tomb being empty as a fact when the text doesn't explicitly state it and yet reject physical resurrection for the same reasons.

Quote:
The text does not rule out that Jesus has risen as a spirit.
No, but then it doesn't rule out the possibility that the women walked to the tomb on their heads either!

Quote:
The fact that the body is missing does not tell us where it is.
No, but if the man says 'he' is not here (referring to the body), having said, 'he' is risen, what leads us to conclude that the 'he' in one sentence doesn't refer to the whole person whereas the other does?

Assumption plays a part in all interpretation. What is the obvious assumption.

Quote:
E_Muse, WHAT has gone to Galilee? Can you prove from the text that the body is in Galilee? It is perfectly possible that the body is gone and Jesus is in Galilee in spirit. The text does not tell us where the body is. It only tells us where the body isn't.
Michael, the writer doesn't simply say that the body is gone, he writes that 'he' has gone. The text doesn't refer simply to a body but a person.

All through the passage, the location of Christ is always associated with the location of his body.

The young man says:

HE is risen.
HE is not here.
HE has gone to Gaililee.

The question is, in the use of the word 'HE', is the writer always referring to the whole person, body and all? I would suggest that he is.

Quote:
You don't have to accept any interpretation as valid. However, the text supports several interpretations, and those who hold them need not accept your interpretation either.
You haven't said what these differing views are, you've only mentioned the Docetic one and for me such an interpretation would involve imposing something on the text which clearly isn't there.

Even if I concur that the body might have disappeared, if Jesus' followers saw him in a recognisable form following his resurretion, how would they be able to tell him apart from the body he was in before? Even if it could do different things a simplistic understanding would leave a person to simply conclude that the body was somehow enhanced.

But applying the most simple form of interpretation to the text, there is simply no point to inventing the scenario in which the spiritual Jesus should be separated from his body.

I must concur with Polycarp here. Any child reading the text would conclude that the body was risen too.

Quote:
And the are really out of bounds here, E_Muse. I don't mind if you think your theology is a serious argument, but I do mind if you think your theological positions entitle you to look down on others.
Don't even go there Michael! I've seen Christians referred to as mentally ill on these forums.

None of this alters the fact that you regard the missing body as a fact when the text doesn't explicitly state it and yet you refuse to believe in a physical resurrection on the same basis.
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Old 08-21-2001, 01:07 PM   #56
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Mike: The text does not rule out that Jesus has risen as a spirit.

E-Muse: No, but then it doesn't rule out the possibility that the women walked to the tomb on their heads either!


What kind of response is this? Is this part of someone's serious system of religious beliefs?

The spiritual resurrection of Jesus is a serious belief that has been hanging around for a couple of thousand years, despite the Churches' best attempts to suppress it.

What the young man says is 'He is risen'. The question is, does the term 'he' include the entire person, body and all?

Good question. There is no answer in the text. If it did, though, we have some problems with the Witch of Endor scene in the OT.....

The Greek word for 'risen' is agiro and conveys the idea of collecting one's faculties. It means to waken, rouse from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease or death. It seems to suggest restoration to a former state.

If Christ being risen didn't include the body, how could he be described as having regained his faculties?


Dunno. Perhaps you're reading too much into a single greek word. I can't recall the text in Mark saying that he HAS regained his faculties. The assurance the we can see him in Galilee implies nothing about the condition he is in.

Also, what you haven't answered, is how you can refer to the tomb being empty as a fact when the text doesn't explicitly state it and....

Thanks for the reminder that I'm reading my own assumptions into the text....more room for interpretations.

[b]....yet reject physical resurrection for the same reasons.[/b

Gods above! Will you quit it with the deliberate misreadings! How many times do I have to repeat it:

I DO NOT REJECT A PHYSICAL RESURRECTION IN MARK!!!!!

in case that wasn't clear:

I DO NOT REJECT A PHYSICAL RESURRECTION IN MARK!!!!!

All I argue is that other interpretations are possible. The text is ambiguous and can be interpreted either way. I am not operating in this two-valued world you inhabit. Your interpretation is not true. It is only your interpretation. Other groups have their interpretations. There is not one "true" interpretation, except in the fantasies of theologians, and the nightmares of their victims.

Even if I concur that the body might have disappeared, if Jesus' followers saw him in a recognisable form following his resurretion, how would they be able to tell him apart from the body he was in before?

This question doesn't make any sense. How should I know what the rules are for miraculous beings? You're the one inventing miracles here. Obviously he's the Son of God, he can make himself known to them if he wishes. And the ancients believed spirits were recognizable; as a cursory glance at the OT, the Odyssey, and a hundred other ancient writings in a thousand cultures make clear. When Saul saw the ghost of Samuel, he knew who it was.

But applying the most simple form of interpretation to the text, there is simply no point to inventing the scenario in which the spiritual Jesus should be separated from his body.

I do not consider your interpretation the simplest one. One could argue that a spiritual resurrection is much simpler, it does not require the raising of two things. Further, we already know that some Docetics argued that Jesus' spirit had left his body at his death, so that there is now no reason to assume that his body had anything to do with his resurrection. So the simplest solution is that his spirit is in Galilee. "Simple" depends, as always, on one's interpretive assumptions.

None of this alters the fact that you regard the missing body as a fact when the text doesn't explicitly state it and yet you refuse to believe in a physical resurrection on the same basis.

How delightful! You're absolute right, the text doesn't even explicitly say the body is missing. Thanks, room for YET ANOTHER interpretation. It's always a pleasure to watch apologists undermine their own case.

Again, I don't refuse to believe in the physical resurrection in Mark. My position is that the passage as written is ambiguous and can support either interpretation, and probably others I am not aware of. I refuse to believe in a physical resurrection because it is impossible, not because of some ambiguous passage in Mark.

I must concur with Polycarp here. Any child reading the text would conclude that the body was risen too.

Of course, the Docetists were dumber than children. >sigh<

Yes, we're lucky that we have the Christians to teach us the eminently sensible idea that bodies are raised from the dead.....not like those insane Docetists, with their silly idea that only spirits got raised....by the way, what end do I break the egg on? The Big End...?

Basically, E_Muse, you have no case. You have your set of a priori assumptions, the Docetists have theirs, and judging from Mark, there is no way to determine that one interpretation is wrong.

Michael
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Old 08-22-2001, 05:45 AM   #57
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Michael

What I'm concerned about here is interprative rules or rules applied to interpreting a text.

You have declared that you consider the absent corpse a fact. This must be based on the following statements (if you are sticking rigidly to the text):

1. He is risen.
2. He is not here.
3. Look where they laid him.

Now, if you claiming that the absence of the physical body is a fact then you don't seem to be applying a strict Docetic interpretation to this event.

If you are basing your conclusion, which you are presenting as fact in this thread, on the phrase, 'He is not here' then I am saying that you are being inconsistent.

If we apply Docetism to this phrase, the 'he' who is absent from the tomb could simply be the spirit being who is now walking and talking in Galilee.

The young man in the tomb could simply be pointing to the rotting corpse as evidence that the spiritual Christ is now absent from his body and gone to Galilee.

However, you have referred to the absent body as a fact, meaning that you are not applying a Docetic interpretation to this portion of the text.

I therefore find it hard when you criticise me for not seeing a Docetic interpretation as equally valid in considering this passage.

What I am saying is that, whatever rule of interpretation you apply to the text, it must be consistent throughout.

What rule of interpretation are you using Michael and can we agree on it?

I will share my own rules.

In approaching the text I am prepared to lay aside all my assumptions. I am prepared to admit that the whole story is concoted by the young man (if the evidence points that way) or that the whole story was invented by the writer to convey his own ideas.

However, I am prepared to examine the text to see what the writer is trying to convey.

I will work on the assumption that the most straightforward understanding of the text is probably the correct one in seeking to apply Occam's Razor principle. This idea was first put forward by a monk but has been accepted by many secular thinkers in the field of science.

I am also prepared to apply Aristotle's Dictum which is adopted by many scholars studying ancient classical texts. This states that the benefit of the doubt but always be given to the writer and not arrogated by the sceptic to himself. This on the grounds that the writer is closer both chronologically and geographically to the events he describes.

I am also prepared to apply the rule that one cannot argue from something which the text doesn't say to make a point. However, I will point to inferences which seem reasonable and from which we can draw certain assumptions.

You have said that the text supports a number of different interpretations. In an absolute sense I would claim that this statement is false. In an absolute sense, the only interpretation which the text represents is that of the writer - this relates to Aristotle's Dictum - and so the true aim of examining the text is not to defend an a priori theological stance but to understand the message which the writer is wishing to convey. He's probably not wishing to defend someone else's theology.

Therefore I would argue that we must allow the text to shape our theology, not use our theology to shape the text.

But first Michael, I would like to hear the rules of interpretation which you wish to apply.
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Old 08-22-2001, 06:41 AM   #58
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I therefore find it hard when you criticise me for not seeing a Docetic interpretation as equally valid in considering this passage.

For the umpteenth time, I am not criticizing you for having a Docetic interpretation. All I have said, consistently, is that many interpretations are possible, Docetic or anti-Docetic. The text is ambiguous.

These are my last words on the topic.

Michael
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Old 08-22-2001, 11:33 AM   #59
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Quote:
Mike: The text does not rule out that Jesus has risen as a spirit.

E-Muse: No, but then it doesn't rule out the possibility that the women walked to the tomb on their heads either!

You said:

What kind of response is this? Is this part of someone's serious system of religious beliefs?
Hyperbole Michael.

Is the Invisible Pink Unicorn part of someone's serious system of religious beliefs?

It's often used as a means of pointing out the weaknesses in Theist's lines of reasoning when defending a belief in God.

The fact that a method of interpretation is a part of someone's serious system of belief does not make it a valid interpretation does it?

Quote:
You said:

The spiritual resurrection of Jesus is a serious belief that has been hanging around for a couple of thousand years, despite the Churches' best attempts to suppress it.
It can still be wrong and based on faulty textual interpretation. People believed the world was flat for a long time.

Quote:
I asked:

What the young man says is 'He is risen'. The question is, does the term 'he' include the entire person, body and all?


Good question. There is no answer in the text. If it did, though, we have some problems with the Witch of Endor scene in the OT.....
I'd have to look that up to see why.

There is no answer in the text if you hold that all interpretations of the text are equally valid.

I'm suggesting that they're not if we examine certain rules of interpretation.

If the writer of Mark's Gospel assumed that all his references to Jesus should be taken so as to include his whole person, then there is no ambiguity. Without being able to read the author's mind, I think that this is the only valid and rational assumption, unless evidence can be brough in to the contrary.

Quote:
I said:

The Greek word for 'risen' is agiro and conveys the idea of collecting one's faculties. It means to waken, rouse from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease or death. It seems to suggest restoration to a former state.

If Christ being risen didn't include the body, how could he be described as having regained his faculties?


You said:

Dunno. Perhaps you're reading too much into a single greek word. I can't recall the text in Mark saying that he HAS regained his faculties. The assurance the we can see him in Galilee implies nothing about the condition he is in.
Perhaps I am. But then you don't know. If you don't know, how are you in a position to decide which interpretations of the text are valid enough to be held on an equal basis and which are not?

Quote:
I asked:

Also, what you haven't answered, is how you can refer to the tomb being empty as a fact when the text doesn't explicitly state it and....


Thanks for the reminder that I'm reading my own assumptions into the text....more room for interpretations.
Indeed. That's why I'm asking you to present a consistent method of interpretation.

The fact that you can accept the empty tomb as a fact says much about the way you choose to interpret the text at this point.

Quote:
I said:

....yet reject physical resurrection for the same reasons.


Gods above! Will you quit it with the deliberate misreadings! How many times do I have to repeat it:

I DO NOT REJECT A PHYSICAL RESURRECTION IN MARK!!!!!

in case that wasn't clear:

I DO NOT REJECT A PHYSICAL RESURRECTION IN MARK!!!!!

All I argue is that other interpretations are possible. The text is ambiguous and can be interpreted either way. I am not operating in this two-valued world you inhabit. Your interpretation is not true. It is only your interpretation. Other groups have their interpretations. There is not one "true" interpretation, except in the fantasies of theologians, and the nightmares of their victims.
The interpretations create ambiguity. Isn't what the author intended his writing to mean the true interpretation?

Oh, and I haven't said my interpretation is true.

Neither have I said that I agree with the conclusions I reach as result of applying particular interpretive rules to the text.

You called the empty tomb a fact based on an inference within the text which is also ambiguous if we accept a Docetic interpretation as equally valid.

With regard to the empty tomb I would suggest that you apply a non-Docetic method of interpretation whereas when you reach the issue of the risen Christ you want to leave the method of interpretation open in order to maximise doubt.

Quote:
Even if I concur that the body might have disappeared, if Jesus' followers saw him in a recognisable form following his resurretion, how would they be able to tell him apart from the body he was in before?

This question doesn't make any sense. How should I know what the rules are for miraculous beings? You're the one inventing miracles here. Obviously he's the Son of God, he can make himself known to them if he wishes. And the ancients believed spirits were recognizable; as a cursory glance at the OT, the Odyssey, and a hundred other ancient writings in a thousand cultures make clear. When Saul saw the ghost of Samuel, he knew who it was.
But are spirits claimed to be 'risen'? When Saul saw Samuel, is there any suggestion that he was led to believe that Samuel had regained his faculties?

I haven't invented any miracles. If anyone has done that it is either the author of Mark's Gospel or the young man in the tomb.

My question is one surrounding the perception of the disciples. If they knew that the body had gone from the tomb and later saw Jesus in a recognisable form, wouldn't they assume that they were seeing the same body?

In terms of their perception, they wouldn't know the rules regarding resurrected beings either. I'm asking what their assumption was likely to be.

Quote:
I said:

But applying the most simple form of interpretation to the text, there is simply no point to inventing the scenario in which the spiritual Jesus should be separated from his body.


I do not consider your interpretation the simplest one. One could argue that a spiritual resurrection is much simpler, it does not require the raising of two things. Further, we already know that some Docetics argued that Jesus' spirit had left his body at his death, so that there is now no reason to assume that his body had anything to do with his resurrection. So the simplest solution is that his spirit is in Galilee. "Simple" depends, as always, on one's interpretive assumptions.
You need to explain a vapourising body then Michael as part of your simple explanation.

When I use the term 'simple', I'm asking you if separating the body and spirit of Jesus at the resurrection presents the simplest understanding of the text, or the simplest method of interpretation.

You're confusing what you think I believe with my attempts to understand the text, which might be two different things.

Quote:
None of this alters the fact that you regard the missing body as a fact when the text doesn't explicitly state it and yet you refuse to believe in a physical resurrection on the same basis.

How delightful! You're absolute right, the text doesn't even explicitly say the body is missing. Thanks, room for YET ANOTHER interpretation. It's always a pleasure to watch apologists undermine their own case.
I'm not presenting an apologetic arguement. I'm trying to assertain a consistent method of interpretation.

That you refer to the empty tomb as a fact suggests a method of interpretation at that juncture in the acceptance of inferences in the text. I'm simply trying to ensure that our method of interpretation remains consistent.

Quote:
Again, I don't refuse to believe in the physical resurrection in Mark. My position is that the passage as written is ambiguous and can support either interpretation, and probably others I am not aware of. I refuse to believe in a physical resurrection because it is impossible, not because of some ambiguous passage in Mark.
The text only supports the intentions of the writer. Text should never be twisted to fit theology - our theology must be twisted in the light of what we are presented with.

[quote]I must concur with Polycarp here. Any child reading the text would conclude that the body was risen too.

Of course, the Docetists were dumber than children. >sigh<

No, they read their theological assumptions into the text and present an arguement from silence - that the risen Jesus was separate from his body. For this reason Mark cannot be used to support that belief.

However, from the claims of the young man we learn that:

Jesus has regained his faculties.
Jesus isn't in the tomb - the body is gone.
Jesus is going to Galilee.

The young man's phrase 'He is not here' I take as referring to the body - as do you Michael. This is immediately followed with, 'He has gone to Galilee'. The young man seems to link these events and I think that the inference is for a bodily resurrection rather than a purely spiritual one.


Quote:
Yes, we're lucky that we have the Christians to teach us the eminently sensible idea that bodies are raised from the dead.....not like those insane Docetists, with their silly idea that only spirits got raised....by the way, what end do I break the egg on? The Big End...?
Many Christians were Docetists. They still believed in resurrection albeit a spiritual one.

I'm not ridiculing them - I'm simply questioning their methods of textual interpretation - and yours!

Quote:
Basically, E_Muse, you have no case. You have your set of a priori assumptions, the Docetists have theirs, and judging from Mark, there is no way to determine that one interpretation is wrong.
Can't we examine the methods of interpretation being employed?

Unless we examine interpretive methods your statement that, 'there is no way to determine that one interpretation is wrong' is a faith statement as it is not based on empirical understanding. This is especially true if you apply your generalization to interpretations which you don't yet know of.

You are saying that there is a large and finite number of interpretations which can be applied to the Markan text which are all equally valid and none of which can be proven wrong.

What is the rationale behind this statement?

[ August 22, 2001: Message edited by: E_muse ]
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Old 08-22-2001, 04:32 PM   #60
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I have no idea why I said I wouldn't continue this….

Turton: The spiritual resurrection of Jesus is a serious belief that has been hanging around for a couple of thousand years, despite the Churches' best attempts to suppress it.

It can still be wrong and based on faulty textual interpretation. People believed the world was flat for a long time.


You're still stuck in that mode of "there is only one right interpretation." There isn't one right interpretation. There are many possible ones, some more believable than others, perhaps. "Truth" is only possible when claims can be empirically verified through scholarly or scientific investigation, and even then only provisionally.

But let's talk about Mark.

You want to take as your starting point that the proper interpretation should be whatever the author meant. You seem to think the simplest view available is that the writer of Mark meant that Jesus' body tagged along with him when he was raised.

Let me raise some problems:

1. Even with the text we have, we cannot know what Mark meant when he broke off the text at 16:8. We don't even know if he intended to do this. We know almost nothing about the writer of Mark, and can only be reasonably certain about where he lived (either Syria or Rome). We do not even know the gender of the writer, let alone what the writer was thinking or what the writer "meant." Can you tell me whether the writer was Docetic or anti-Docetic? There's nothing in the text that tells us anything about his beliefs in that regard. So which set of assumptions should I use in interpreting Mark? What did he mean? We can't know for sure.

In light of your idea that we should attempt to get inside the writer of Mark's head, and we can use the text in front of us to help us do this, how should we interpret Mark 4:11?

2. Some scholars have argued that the gospel we have is a revision of an earlier document called Ur-Mark. The text shows signs of redaction. A bigger problem arises because some authorities believe that a gospel called Secret Mark is a real gospel, and our current Mark is a redaction of it with lots of interesting stuff taken out. Thus, the process would run Ur-Mark to Secret Mark to Current Mark. That would put the current document at two removes from the intentions of the writer. Personally I believe that Secret Mark is a post-200 forgery, but one cannot be sure…..

3. We are separated from Mark by 20 centuries of change. The term "Son of God" apparently meant something very different to Jews of Mark's time than it does to us now. So how can we get in Mark's mind and discover what s/he meant across that gulf of time and culture?

4. The writer of Mark is telling a story about Jesus. We have no idea how much of this Mark made up, how much reflects his ideas, and how much is factual in some sense. In other words, if Mark is simply reporting what happened, how much "Mark" can there be in the text? If I open the newspaper and read an article on Pres. Bush, what does that article tell me about the writer? Nothing.

Another problem I am having with this discussion is answering the same nonsense over and over. To wit:

There is no answer in the text if you hold that all interpretations of the text are equally valid.

I do not, and never have, held that "all interpretations are valid." I have already answered this, and hope I will not see it again. I do hold that the text supports a number of interpretations, a cautious and uncontroversial position. If it were clear on the Docetic and other issues, different communities would not use it, and the scholarly debate would be very different.

Perhaps I am. But then you don't know. If you don't know, how are you in a position to decide which interpretations of the text are valid enough to be held on an equal basis and which are not?

I can't decide which interpretations are "valid enough to be held on an equal basis." That's why I allow for differing and multiple interpretations of the text!

The fact that you can accept the empty tomb as a fact says much about the way you choose to interpret the text at this point.

Yes, it says I've absorbed 2,000 years of anti-Docetic theology and didn't catch it!

The interpretations create ambiguity……

To me, differing interpretations are the RESULT of ambiguity.

….. Isn't what the author intended his writing to mean the true interpretation?[/b]

Who knows what the author intended? Some things are clear. Others are not. Since Mark did not say that Jesus' body was with Jesus, we can't make any conclusions.

My question is one surrounding the perception of the disciples. If they knew that the body had gone from the tomb and later saw Jesus in a recognisable form, wouldn't they assume that they were seeing the same body?

No doubt. But we're not told this in Mark, are we? The ending of Mark is ambiguous on this point.

You need to explain a vapourising body then Michael as part of your simple explanation.

God made it disappear. We're talking about a miracle here.

When I use the term 'simple', I'm asking you if separating the body and spirit of Jesus at the resurrection presents the simplest understanding of the text, or the simplest method of interpretation.

We don't know anything about the resurrection in Mark. We have no details at all about. So how can we make a decision about what the text says ABOUT SOMETHING IT DOESN'T TALK ABOUT!!!!!!!! There isn't a word about where Jesus' body IS.

There is no "simple" method of interpretation. They all depend on one's a priori assumptions……

The text only supports the intentions of the writer.

That's one interpretative strategy, based on an A PRIORI VALUE you have about how texts should be interpreted. Of course, in redacted texts with multiple authorship, that strategy may pose a problem for you.

In any case, we do not know what the writer of Mark intended with respect to the Resurrection, because he or she didn't tell us. So your method fails.

Please point out where Mark makes a positive statement about the state of Jesus after he has been raised.

In my view, we can only work with the text AS IT IS. And read it in light of what we know about the communities it MAY have been intended for, and attempt to discern what a reader in the first or second century may have thought of it, bringing to bear archaeology, textual criticism, and other disciplines. Maybe we can develop a critical text, if we suspect the version we have is heavily corrupted (I am not suggesting that about Mark). I submit that this is more difficult than "what the writer meant," but it will produce a more robust range of possible views of the text. However, it will only produce a range, because, different readers have their own views of the text and what it means.

In other words, the text supports a variety of interpretations, and none is "true" because we cannot determine what "truth" is here without a pre-existing set of values to tell us what it might be.

Michael
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