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  #1  
Old 24 May 2007, 08:02 PM
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Saran Wrap Saran Wrap is offline
 
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Ponder The folded napkin/gravecloth

I'm not familiar enough with the Greek language or Jewish customs from 2000 years ago to make heads or tails about this, but I wouldn't think that they would have had napkins as we know them. What do you think?
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The Gospel of John (20: 7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin. Is that important? You'd better believe it! Is that significant? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now if the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, "I'm done". But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the servant knew that the folded napkin meant, "I'm not finished yet." The folded napkin meant, "I'm coming back!"

He is Coming Back!
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  #2  
Old 24 May 2007, 08:38 PM
qualli qualli is offline
 
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So we're supposed to sit around and do nothing until God is done, and then clean up his mess?


..uh..sorry.. I have nothing relevent to add.
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  #3  
Old 24 May 2007, 08:55 PM
Thera Thera is offline
 
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I thought you're supposed to leave the napkin in the chair if you have to get up before you're finished...
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  #4  
Old 24 May 2007, 09:55 PM
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Buckle Up Buckle Up is offline
 
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D'oh!

So when does Jesus get to wad up his napkin and stop eating the world? And how many of his servants will starve to death in the corner waiting for him to finish? And where is he going if he's not done yet? What, is he in the next room watching the Saints game or something?

This is one of the funniest, most forced, crazy, literally unbelievable pieces of rubbish I've ever read in the Christ metaphor realm. I hope Jesus is having a good laugh over it, wherever the h ...uh... wherever he is.
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  #5  
Old 24 May 2007, 11:07 PM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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That one reminds me a bit of the "reason" for the thirteen folds of an American flag. Here's one example.

It's a load of nonsense, invented -- I just have to say it -- out of whole cloth.

Silas
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  #6  
Old 24 May 2007, 11:13 PM
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Wicked Tinkerbell Wicked Tinkerbell is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
That one reminds me a bit of the "reason" for the thirteen folds of an American flag. Here's one example.

It's a load of nonsense, invented -- I just have to say it -- out of whole cloth.

Silas
Silas,

I lurve you to death, but

(OK, maybe just because I got here late & didn't get to post it first. )
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  #7  
Old 24 May 2007, 11:18 PM
Bettie Page Turner Bettie Page Turner is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thera View Post
I thought you're supposed to leave the napkin in the chair if you have to get up before you're finished...
Correct. Leave the napkin in the chair if you are returning to the tomb, place the napkin beside the plate when you are leaving the tomb to appear to your apostles and then ascend to heaven.
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  #8  
Old 25 May 2007, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
That one reminds me a bit of the "reason" for the thirteen folds of an American flag. Here's one example.
You, Sir, owe me a new keyboard. I just threw up on the old one.
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  #9  
Old 26 May 2007, 03:14 AM
Gg83
 
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Is that important? You'd better believe it! Is that significant? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes!
Do you think the author may possibly attribute some significance to this detail?

I do wonder, though, what the importance was of the setting aside of the cloth that covered Jesus' head. Was it simply a specific detail in the scene, or did it have some symbolic meaning? It seems to me that it ought to mean something, but that's just an intuitive feeling based on how symbolic John's gospel can be and the fact that the detail was apparently important enough to mention. I certainly don't know what it might symbolize, but I doubt the explanation in the OP. Also, not all translations say that it was neatly folded--for instance, the New American Bible says it was "rolled up in a separate place" (John 20:7).
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  #10  
Old 26 May 2007, 03:26 AM
Zakor
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gg83 View Post
Do you think the author may possibly attribute some significance to this detail?

I do wonder, though, what the importance was of the setting aside of the cloth that covered Jesus' head. Was it simply a specific detail in the scene, or did it have some symbolic meaning? It seems to me that it ought to mean something, but that's just an intuitive feeling based on how symbolic John's gospel can be and the fact that the detail was apparently important enough to mention. I certainly don't know what it might symbolize, but I doubt the explanation in the OP. Also, not all translations say that it was neatly folded--for instance, the New American Bible says it was "rolled up in a separate place" (John 20:7).
It means that someone was eating Jesus' face?
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  #11  
Old 26 May 2007, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakor View Post
It means that someone was eating Jesus' face?
Judas betrayed him with a kiss...but not that kind of kiss!

Silas
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  #12  
Old 26 May 2007, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Gg83 View Post
Also, not all translations say that it was neatly folded--for instance, the New American Bible says it was "rolled up in a separate place" (John 20:7).
Great - now we won't know whether he's coming back to finish his meal or the napkin was rolled up because he was done. Is there any mention, perhaps, of the use of a napkin ring with the rolled napkin (signifying, most likely, the neverending eternity that his return will require)?
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  #13  
Old 29 May 2007, 11:58 PM
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I'd like to think this was written as satire, but unfortunately given what I've learnt about such people, probably the poor deluded soul who wrote it actually thought he was onto something with his anachronistic reading of the KJV's "napkin" as a table napkin (or serviette as we call it here; our napkins are your "diapers"). I was half expecting it to end with "so kids, let's all be like Jesus and have good table manners and fold up our clothes neatly"! Instead it's even more absurd. There have been some real doozies of "symbolic" interpretations of Bible passages, but I think this one takes the cake.

And yet the story starts out so well. Yes indeed there IS an extremely important reason why John goes to some length to explain the detail about the head-cloth. Up until he saw it, he and the other apostles refused to believe Jesus could rise from the dead, but with just one glance at the cloth, "he saw and believed; for previously they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead". He instantly saw that no other explanation was possible. No, he didn't have time to work out some symbolic meaning about it. The head-cloth was still "folded" or "rolled up" in the place where Jesus' head had been, ("in its proper place, by itself") just as if it was still wound around Jesus' head, but there was no head inside! It was immediately obvious that it wasn't just a matter of someone having taken the body, or that they went to the wrong tomb; or even that Jesus had come back to life like Lazarus and he or someone else had then unwrapped the cloths (John 11:44). The only possible explanation for what he saw was that Jesus had risen through the cloths without unwrapping them.
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  #14  
Old 30 May 2007, 12:07 AM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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PeterK: I'm afraid you're reading more into the text than it can support.

The NRSV says, "Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesusí head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself."

Not necessarily exactly where Jesus' head had been, as if Jesus' head had been "beamed up," as you extrapolate. Christ might have awakened from the dead, unwrapped himself (or been unwrapped by angelic attendants) and the cloth over the face set aside.

Sufficient unto the day are the evils...and the miracles...thereof. You don't need to add these jots and tittles; in fact, the Bible rather forbids it.

Silas
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  #15  
Old 30 May 2007, 12:40 AM
PeterK
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
PeterK: I'm afraid you're reading more into the text than it can support.

The NRSV says, "Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesusí head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself."

Not necessarily exactly where Jesus' head had been, as if Jesus' head had been "beamed up," as you extrapolate. Christ might have awakened from the dead, unwrapped himself (or been unwrapped by angelic attendants) and the cloth over the face set aside.
If John does not mean that the head-cloth is where Jesus head had been, why did he bother pointing out the otherwise irrelevant and utterly trivial detail that the head-cloth was separate from the body-cloth?
Quote:

Sufficient unto the day are the evils...and the miracles...thereof. You don't need to add these jots and tittles; in fact, the Bible rather forbids it.

Silas
It was John who added this detail. I am merely repeating what is the most convincing reason I have seen why he added it. Don't scorn this explanation unless you can come up with a better one.

Also requiring another explanation is the fact that the apostles obviously and immediately regarded Jesus' resurrection as utterly different from the other instances in the Bible where people came back from the dead.
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  #16  
Old 30 May 2007, 01:43 AM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
If John does not mean that the head-cloth is where Jesus head had been, why did he bother pointing out the otherwise irrelevant and utterly trivial detail that the head-cloth was separate from the body-cloth?
It makes just as much sense my way as yours: the winding shroud was unwound and the facial cloth rolled up and set aside.

You are adding detail to the narrative, and drawing conclusions that are not warranted. You conclude that Jesus' body was "beamed up" by some form of evaporation, leaving the shroud and mask to fall limp. But that is not what the verse actually depicts.

In fact, if anything, it suggests my interpretation: that Jesus awakened, climbed out of his wrappings, took a moment to roll up the cloth that was over his face -- otherwise, why would the cloth have been "rolled up in a place by itself?" (Again, maybe an angelic servitor stood in as his valet.)

Why are you even bothering to "interpret" it? Is it somehow important to your theology that Jesus "dematerialized" when he died, or rose, or ascended, or at any point in the affair? Is a Star Trek style teleportation necessary to your catechism or dogma? Why couldn't he have been lifted up by angels, or put in a golden chariot, or have grown four pairs of wings and flown upward on his own power? What conceivable inspiration gives you the power to add details to the narrative?

The worst part of this is that you don't need to go about painting additional gold-leaf onto the miracle to make it shinier and prettier. You may think you're enlarging the Lord, but the rest of us just see it as painting the lily.

Silas
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  #17  
Old 30 May 2007, 06:58 AM
PeterK
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
It makes just as much sense my way as yours: the winding shroud was unwound and the facial cloth rolled up and set aside.

You are adding detail to the narrative, and drawing conclusions that are not warranted. You conclude that Jesus' body was "beamed up" by some form of evaporation, leaving the shroud and mask to fall limp. But that is not what the verse actually depicts.

In fact, if anything, it suggests my interpretation: that Jesus awakened, climbed out of his wrappings, took a moment to roll up the cloth that was over his face -- otherwise, why would the cloth have been "rolled up in a place by itself?" (Again, maybe an angelic servitor stood in as his valet.)

Why are you even bothering to "interpret" it? Is it somehow important to your theology that Jesus "dematerialized" when he died, or rose, or ascended, or at any point in the affair? Is a Star Trek style teleportation necessary to your catechism or dogma? Why couldn't he have been lifted up by angels, or put in a golden chariot, or have grown four pairs of wings and flown upward on his own power? What conceivable inspiration gives you the power to add details to the narrative?

The worst part of this is that you don't need to go about painting additional gold-leaf onto the miracle to make it shinier and prettier. You may think you're enlarging the Lord, but the rest of us just see it as painting the lily.

Silas
Who's getting carried away now? Maybe you shouldn't assume that the entire planet agrees with you with the single exception of myself.

John said that just one look at the napkin converted him and Peter from unbelievers to believers. You have offered no explanation what he meant by this. I maintain that the explanation I gave (not mine, but published by others) is by far more cogent than your idea. I am not trying to "interpret" any more than you are. I certainly am not trying to "add details" or impose any "theology" or "catechism" or "dogma", or to "enlarge" or "make prettier" the stunning story which John relates. I certainly didn't suggest "beamed up" or "evaporation" or "dematerialized". John matter-of-factly states that the risen Jesus twice came into a solid room with closed doors. I can't see why you think that simply passing through a thin linen cloth is somehow impossibly more difficult than that. I certainly don't claim to have any idea how he did it.
If you prefer to interpret the passage your way, go ahead, but I think that both believers and nonbelievers in Christ's resurrection would see your interpretation as equally unlikely and unnecessary.

Going on John's and Peter's previous behaviour, if they had seen the napkin merely rolled up and chucked into a corner, their reaction would have been "those bastards have stolen his body after unwrapping the face-cloth to make sure it was him". It certainly wouldn't inspire an instant change from unbelief to belief.

Last edited by PeterK; 30 May 2007 at 07:22 AM.
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  #18  
Old 31 May 2007, 12:14 AM
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[O]ur napkins are your "diapers."
Mental note: Wipe hands on pants when visiting Australia.
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  #19  
Old 04 June 2007, 06:00 PM
Grand Illusion
 
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If we believe the symbology in the original story, that a folded cloth means "I'm coming back," I would think that a folded cloth in a tomb mean "I'm coming back to the tomb."

Also, why did the writer call the cloth a "napkin?" How did a burial cloth become associated with an eating cloth?
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  #20  
Old 05 June 2007, 12:39 AM
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TrishDaDish TrishDaDish is offline
 
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Mental note: Wipe hands on pants when visiting Australia.
Another mental note: Make sure Australians know what you mean by "pants". Our "pants" may be their "boxer shorts". Best to call them "trousers", on the safe side.
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