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  #21  
Old 05 June 2007, 06:07 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Grand Illusion View Post
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?
In the usual way with these silly stories and myths: The writer ignorantly (or deliberately?) read a word which is still used in its archaic sense (any smallish cloth or towel) in some versions of the Bible, as if it had its (much more restricted) 21st century US meaning.
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  #22  
Old 05 June 2007, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
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
Silas, this was really well put. As soon as you get over that atheism thing, you must come become a theologian, yes?

In any case, I doubt that startrek dematerialization is all that important or central to PeterK's theology; it could be, but my hunch is that, just as the last time I tangled with him, he's simply excessively partial and predisposed to whatever he brought to the, uh, table.

That said, the dematerialization idea did not originate with PeterK, however. It was first offered by H Latham in 1901 in his book The Risen Master. It then found another defender in 1966 when M. Balague wrote his article "la prueba de la resurreccion" in the journal EstBib (vol. 25, pp. 169-92). On a related note, the German K. Bornhauser in 1947 and the Englishman E.G. Auer in 1958 made arguments about how the build up of oil and spices made the linens retain their form, much like an ancient spray-starch I guess.

In any case, none of these arguments have won any consensus at all, as Raymond Brown surveys in his most excellent commentary on John (it's in the Anchor Bible series put out by doubleday press. Silas, if you're ever looking for a good commentary on any given biblical book, just start with the AB volume. Odds are it will meet all your needs, and if not, it will have all the bibliography you need). And for good reasons.

First, look at a wooden translation of the text:

Quote:
and the cloth, which had been upon his head, (was) not lying with the linen cloths but separately was rolled up into one spot.


Note a few things. First, the face cloth was "rolled" (or "folded") up. Had it kepts its form due to oil and spices or simply fallen limp due to dematerialization, why would it be rolled up? What kind of monstrous deformity occurred to Jesus head prior to the dematerialization that would leave the head covering rolled up!? Second, note that it was apart from the other wrappings. Unless Jesus was decapitated after wrapping but before being placed in the tomb, then dematerialization should have left the head wrapping right at the top of the other wrappings, exactly where the head had been. Third, dematerialization calls into question the emphasis in the rest of the gospel on the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Whether Jesus rose in bodily form or just as a spirit was a key point of debate, and the gospels already show great concern with this (note that whole doubting thomas affair "stick your finger in my side!")

So textually the theory is suspect right from the start. From another perspective, the history of the text's interpretation also belies the idea: from the earliest church fathers on nobody offered up the startrek interpretation until 1901 when Latham came along. For the 1900 years previous the church was pretty much agreed that the reason John included those details was for apologetic purpose: to undermine the theory that Jesus body had simply been stolen by thieves. Thieves, of course, would likely not take the time to unwrap the body before stealing it, and if they did what are the odds that they would take the time to neatly refold the wrappings? The folded grave clothes then were always seen as evidence that the grave robber theory was untrue and that instead Jesus had resurrected. This is discussed at length as early as John Chrysostom's commentary on John in the 3rd century.

I for one think that's a much better explanation than either the LAtham/PeterK proposal or the OP, since I think it treats the text more responsibly and fits better with the known social context of the time, where grave-robber accusations really did need to be addressed while thoughts teleportation would still be waiting for gene rodenberry.
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  #23  
Old 06 June 2007, 01:51 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by callee View Post
Silas, this was really well put. As soon as you get over that atheism thing, you must come become a theologian, yes?
IMO it's a very poor argument. Did you read my response?
For those who believe in the astounding miracle of the Resurrection, any incidental miracle performed by the risen Christ, such as passing through a wall or a cloth, is neither surprising nor does it add or detract from their faith.
For those who do not believe there was a Resurrection, it is neither necessary nor logical to try to "naturalise" any minor claimed miracles which the Risen Christ is alleged to have performed after and consequent to the resurrection. In fact by trying to do so they would only raise the question of whether they in fact DID believe in the Resurrection.
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In any case, I doubt that startrek dematerialization is all that important or central to PeterK's theology; it could be, but my hunch is that, just as the last time I tangled with him, he's simply excessively partial and predisposed to whatever he brought to the, uh, table.

That said, the dematerialization idea did not originate with PeterK, however.
I never claimed that the resurrection was immaterial, in fact I strongly disagree. I had never heard of the "dematerialization idea" until Silas brought it up, and then I scoffed at it.

And I am quite open to abandoning the idea which I "brought to the table" if anybody can produce evidence to convince me that an alternative idea is more rationally sound. IIRC it was you in a previous topic who refused to even consider the possibility that your initial opinion might be wrong, even though acknowledged experts are divided on the subject.
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Note a few things. First, the face cloth was "rolled" (or "folded") up. Had it kepts its form due to oil and spices or simply fallen limp due to dematerialization, why would it be rolled up? What kind of monstrous deformity occurred to Jesus head prior to the dematerialization that would leave the head covering rolled up!?
Your ridicule is misplaced. "rolled up", "folded", or "wrapped around" as if it was still wrapped around Jesus' head.
Quote:
Second, note that it was apart from the other wrappings. Unless Jesus was decapitated after wrapping but before being placed in the tomb, then dematerialization should have left the head wrapping right at the top of the other wrappings, exactly where the head had been.
Yes, apart from the other cloths, in its proper place where Jesus' head had lain. John doesn't say "a long distance" apart, so don't insert such an idea.
Quote:
Third, dematerialization calls into question the emphasis in the rest of the gospel on the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Whether Jesus rose in bodily form or just as a spirit was a key point of debate, and the gospels already show great concern with this (note that whole doubting thomas affair "stick your finger in my side!")
and as I said, in the same passage John says that Jesus' material risen body came into a closed room twice, (without any "dematerialisation")
Quote:
So textually the theory is suspect right from the start. From another perspective, the history of the text's interpretation also belies the idea: from the earliest church fathers on nobody offered up the startrek interpretation until 1901 when Latham came along. For the 1900 years previous the church was pretty much agreed that the reason John included those details was for apologetic purpose: to undermine the theory that Jesus body had simply been stolen by thieves. Thieves, of course, would likely not take the time to unwrap the body before stealing it, and if they did what are the odds that they would take the time to neatly refold the wrappings? The folded grave clothes then were always seen as evidence that the grave robber theory was untrue and that instead Jesus had resurrected. This is discussed at length as early as John Chrysostom's commentary on John in the 3rd century.

I for one think that's a much better explanation than either the LAtham/PeterK proposal or the OP, since I think it treats the text more responsibly and fits better with the known social context of the time, where grave-robber accusations really did need to be addressed while thoughts teleportation would still be waiting for gene rodenberry.
My "proposal" as you call it is exactly along the lines that the church Fathers discussed and has nothing to do with "dematerialisation".

Last edited by PeterK; 06 June 2007 at 01:57 AM.
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  #24  
Old 06 June 2007, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by TrishDaDish View Post
Our "pants" may be their "boxer shorts".
Crikey, those Aussies must be 15 feet tall. Maybe it has something to do with wiping their mouths with our diapers.
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  #25  
Old 06 June 2007, 03:24 AM
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PeterK, my response was directed at silas. you're unwilling to learn anything, and thus I'm just not willing to waste time teaching you. It's nothing personal, I'm just a busy guy.

But to show that there's no hard feelings, I'll give you two pieces of data that you wouldn't otherwise be able to access, well not easily anyway, and I'll do it for free.

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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
"rolled up", "folded", or "wrapped around" as if it was still wrapped around Jesus' head.
you are falsely equating the terms. In english "rolled up" "folded" or "wrapped" have semantic domains large or flexible enough to support both possible uses, but this usage of the Gk entulisso could not refer to a cloth as wrapped around an object like a head. It would be comparable to attempting to press the english word blend into such service (whereas both "blend" and "fold" could be interchanged synonymously in a recipe).

Quote:
Yes, apart from the other cloths, in its proper place where Jesus' head had lain. John doesn't say "a long distance" apart, so don't insert such an idea.
The Gk. preposition choris in fact means just that.


There you go, that's all for me.
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  #26  
Old 06 June 2007, 05:10 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by callee View Post
PeterK, my response was directed at silas. you're unwilling to learn anything, and thus I'm just not willing to waste time teaching you. It's nothing personal, I'm just a busy guy.

But to show that there's no hard feelings, I'll give you two pieces of data that you wouldn't otherwise be able to access, well not easily anyway, and I'll do it for free.



you are falsely equating the terms. In english "rolled up" "folded" or "wrapped" have semantic domains large or flexible enough to support both possible uses, but this usage of the Gk entulisso could not refer to a cloth as wrapped around an object like a head. It would be comparable to attempting to press the english word blend into such service (whereas both "blend" and "fold" could be interchanged synonymously in a recipe).



The Gk. preposition choris in fact means just that.


There you go, that's all for me.
All praise and thanksgiving to thee, o great guru, for condescending to spend a minute of your precious time to share a little of your infinite wisdom with a wretched idiot who can't learn anything. Of course I wouldn't be so impudent as to demand that you reference your claims in a dictionary, I'll just lap up your precious words gratefully without question or dissent as manna from the gods. After all you must be so busy deigning to spread your golden words on all the other poor dumb schmucks. And I'm so grateful that you don't harbour any hard feelings for my atrocious offence of asking you to justify your opinion and questioning why you arbitrarily and dogmatically consign to the rubbish bin any expert who disagrees with your preconceived opinions. And you've even deigned to give me your wondrous wisdom for free! Oh joy, I thought at least I'd have to send you a big cheque before I was allowed the privelege of reading your posts!

Seriously, I don't think I've ever met anyone who was as "up himself" as you. If you don't want us to converse with each other, fine, then don't tell blatant lies about me in posts which you "direct" to others. I responded to you only to refute your false allegations about me.

Last edited by PeterK; 06 June 2007 at 05:25 AM.
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  #27  
Old 06 June 2007, 07:14 AM
PeterK
 
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And guess what, even dumb ox I found the meanings of the two words you "taught" me are precisely NOT at all what you claimed they are. No charge and it took me less than a minute.
Choris can mean "beside," "by itself," "without," "separate" or "apart." Nothing mentioned about "a long distance"!
Entulisso means "to entwine, to wind up in, to wrap in". Not even any mention of "roll up" or "fold".
See eg http://www.antioch.com.sg/cgi-bin/bi...fn.pl?num=2424 and http://www.answers.google.com/answer...view?id=336008

Last edited by PeterK; 06 June 2007 at 07:34 AM.
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  #28  
Old 06 June 2007, 11:29 AM
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Peter,

If you want to see an example of the kind of disinterest in actual debate that callee has accused you of, turn you attention to your response to him.

Your concern about the definitions callee provided is entirely fair and seems supportable. You overlook the more significant claims and offer nothing either to repudiate those claims or better support your own position -- this probably being one of the most frustrating parts of most of the theological debates you've participated in lately. You say your position is obviously the most rational one, and you won't change it until you've seen better evidence -- and yet you routinely do a very poor job of actually providing a well-fleshed out articulated version of what it is you're supporting against everyone else's arguments. Instead you cherry-pick minor points.

For example, you "defend" your position by saying: "My "proposal" as you call it is exactly along the lines that the church Fathers discussed and has nothing to do with "dematerialisation"."

But, in fact, your original description was: "The only possible explanation for what he saw was that Jesus had risen through the cloths without unwrapping them."

You've built up a lot of fire and fury over what you took to be some kind of slander based on associating the miraculous with "Star Trek" etc. You seem more upset that Silas appears not to be taking your religious beliefs seriously than you are to actually understand what he's describing. Also, despite your assertions of open-mindedness, the "only" in your statement above seems pretty defensive (and hardly seems "rationally" warranted).

What's at stake is whether or not "the only possible explanation" for this passage is "it shows us something miraculous happened" (and what does it matter if you call it "dematerialization" or "rising through" solid matter?) or if it shows that the tomb was not molested by other people before the disciples arrived.

So far, I don't see where you've shown that "It's telling us a miracle occurred (above and beyond just returning from the dead)" has the demonstrably better claim over "It shows that grave-robbery wasn't involved." Indeed, the lack of any interpretive commentary on this passage providing such a reading before the 20th century (as callee has argued) would seem to be pretty strong evidence.

Now, you can say "I'm not taking callee's word for it that there's no existing interpretation like this in the Church Fathers' writings!" That would be an appropriate response for debate. Arguing that callee is arrogant doesn't do anything to contradict the larger claim.

--Logoboros

Last edited by Logoboros; 06 June 2007 at 11:35 AM.
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  #29  
Old 06 June 2007, 06:25 PM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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Thank you, Logoboros; you've summarized the dispute clearly and logically, and done so in a gentle manner.

My primary complaint was with the phrase "only possible explanation." I proposed a number of alternative possibilities, consistent with scripture, or, perhaps, consistent with scripture's silence.

i.e., the Bible doesn't say what color Jesus' shroud was. External evidence suggests white, but that isn't the only possibility. It might have been some other color.

Someone might even argue that it had to be white, because if it had been any other color, that would be so unusual that the gospels would have had to have taken note of it. In that vein, we can fairly safely assume that Jesus didn't have three legs: someone would certainly have said something about it.

PeterK, as I see it, is arguing something of the sort: because the Gospel calls attention to the state of the shroud, there must be something unusual about it. But to most interpretations, the fact that it wasn't wrapped around a body is what is unusual. (Like Holmes and the behavior of the dog in the night time.)

Silas
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  #30  
Old 06 June 2007, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
Seriously, I don't think I've ever met anyone who was as "up himself" as you. If you don't want us to converse with each other, fine, then don't tell blatant lies about me in posts which you "direct" to others. I responded to you only to refute your false allegations about me.
I have found callee to be far from "up himself." He rarely fails to express himself with both humility and a teaching spirit. I have learned a great deal from him, and I trust him to present a balanced view of theological debate. And I say that as a person who does not agree with him theologically. Your charge is more than unfair.
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  #31  
Old 06 June 2007, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Logoboros View Post
Peter,

If you want to see an example of the kind of disinterest in actual debate that callee has accused you of, turn you attention to your response to him.
OK I laid on the sarcasm thickly, but that was only to express my frustration AFTER he had made it clear he had no interest in debating the points I raised, merely in saying in effect "I'm right no matter what, so up yours".
Quote:
Your concern about the definitions callee provided is entirely fair and seems supportable. You overlook the more significant claims and offer nothing either to repudiate those claims or better support your own position -- this probably being one of the most frustrating parts of most of the theological debates you've participated in lately. You say your position is obviously the most rational one, and you won't change it until you've seen better evidence -- and yet you routinely do a very poor job of actually providing a well-fleshed out articulated version of what it is you're supporting against everyone else's arguments. Instead you cherry-pick minor points.
Your accusation seems bizarre. What claims have I "overlooked"? The problem here seems exactly the reverse of what you say: callee has completely overlooked most of what I said and not only "cherry-picked" but accused me of something I definitely did not say, and in fact I clearly disagreed with. This is the "straw man" fallacy.
Quote:
For example, you "defend" your position by saying: "My "proposal" as you call it is exactly along the lines that the church Fathers discussed and has nothing to do with "dematerialisation"."

But, in fact, your original description was: "The only possible explanation for what he saw was that Jesus had risen through the cloths without unwrapping them."
If you see some kind of contradiction between these two statements please explain it.
Quote:
You've built up a lot of fire and fury over what you took to be some kind of slander based on associating the miraculous with "Star Trek" etc. You seem more upset that Silas appears not to be taking your religious beliefs seriously than you are to actually understand what he's describing.
I have no "fire and fury" over this, if you see any you are mistaken. I'm not upset with Silas and I don't care what he thinks of my religious beliefs, which have nothing to do with the subject under discussion. As I have said twice now and explained in some detail, the theory I presented holds up better than the one Silas presented regardless of one's individual religious beliefs.
Quote:
Also, despite your assertions of open-mindedness, the "only" in your statement above seems pretty defensive (and hardly seems "rationally" warranted).

What's at stake is whether or not "the only possible explanation" for this passage is "it shows us something miraculous happened" (and what does it matter if you call it "dematerialization" or "rising through" solid matter?) or if it shows that the tomb was not molested by other people before the disciples arrived.
And you accuse me of "cherry-picking"? The word "only" in the context of what I said is that IF one has already concluded that the headcloth was still wrapped around in its proper position, THEN the only possible explanation is that Jesus' head passed through it. I certainly was not saying that Silas' theory is impossible, only that on a rational comparison of the evidence it seems to me less likely.
Quote:
So far, I don't see where you've shown that "It's telling us a miracle occurred (above and beyond just returning from the dead)" has the demonstrably better claim over "It shows that grave-robbery wasn't involved." Indeed, the lack of any interpretive commentary on this passage providing such a reading before the 20th century (as callee has argued) would seem to be pretty strong evidence.

Now, you can say "I'm not taking callee's word for it that there's no existing interpretation like this in the Church Fathers' writings!" That would be an appropriate response for debate. Arguing that callee is arrogant doesn't do anything to contradict the larger claim.

--Logoboros
The fact that I perceive callee as arrogant is not a point in my argument, merely the conclusion I reached after he pontificated in a highly arrogant and condescending language and then haughtily withdrew from the argument, as he has done before. If others perceive that at times he can be other than arrogant, fine, they're entitled to their opinion as I am to mine.

Last edited by PeterK; 06 June 2007 at 11:40 PM.
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  #32  
Old 06 June 2007, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Thank you, Logoboros; you've summarized the dispute clearly and logically, and done so in a gentle manner.

My primary complaint was with the phrase "only possible explanation." I proposed a number of alternative possibilities, consistent with scripture, or, perhaps, consistent with scripture's silence.

i.e., the Bible doesn't say what color Jesus' shroud was. External evidence suggests white, but that isn't the only possibility. It might have been some other color.

Someone might even argue that it had to be white, because if it had been any other color, that would be so unusual that the gospels would have had to have taken note of it. In that vein, we can fairly safely assume that Jesus didn't have three legs: someone would certainly have said something about it.

PeterK, as I see it, is arguing something of the sort: because the Gospel calls attention to the state of the shroud, there must be something unusual about it. But to most interpretations, the fact that it wasn't wrapped around a body is what is unusual. (Like Holmes and the behavior of the dog in the night time.)

Silas
No, as I have said several times now, the remarkable fact is that John not only speaks at some length about the state of the shroud, but makes it clear that just looking at it for a moment was enough to convert himself and Peter from unbelievers to believers. AFAICS no-one else here has even addressed this latter point of John's, let alone provided a convincing alternative explanation of it.
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  #33  
Old 07 June 2007, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
No, as I have said several times now, the remarkable fact is that John not only speaks at some length about the state of the shroud, but makes it clear that just looking at it for a moment was enough to convert himself and Peter from unbelievers to believers. AFAICS no-one else here has even addressed this latter point of John's, let alone provided a convincing alternative explanation of it.
My problem is that you are adding terms to the proposition.

You have added "makes it clear" and you've added "just looking at it for a moment." Those phrases do not appear in the gospels. You added "was enough." That isn't in the original source either.

But, worse, you're re-interpreting the actual language of what is written in scripture. You're taking "apart from the other cloths" to mean essentially the opposite of what it means in English and in Greek: you're taking it to mean "together with the other cloths," exactly where it would be if the body had evaporated.

Suppose an energetic and devout person came forward and said, "It is because the shroud and head-cloth were clean that John and Peter were so impressed." Such an hypothetical person would say that it was the absence of the blood-stains that was so persuasive. You, I, and Callee would all say, "Nice theory, but that isn't what the gospel account actually says."

As far as I can tell, you've developed your own theory, every bit as unsubstantiated, which might be true, but which also might not be and cling to it as if it is the only possibility.

You display great vigor, but little rigor.

Silas
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  #34  
Old 07 June 2007, 01:09 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
My problem is that you are adding terms to the proposition.

You have added "makes it clear" and you've added "just looking at it for a moment." Those phrases do not appear in the gospels. You added "was enough." That isn't in the original source either.
John 20:8-9 : "He saw and believed, for previously they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead." I have added nothing. John says that before seeing the cloths they did not believe, and upon seeing the cloths they believed.
Quote:
But, worse, you're re-interpreting the actual language of what is written in scripture. You're taking "apart from the other cloths" to mean essentially the opposite of what it means in English and in Greek: you're taking it to mean "together with the other cloths," exactly where it would be if the body had evaporated.
No, as I said choris in Greek means "beside". It is callee who asserted, apparently without any justification, that it means the opposite, "a long distance away", as if blown away by a "monstrous deformity". And it was you who introduced the idea that the body evaporated (or "dematerialised". Hmm looks like you've progressed from Star Trek to I Dream of Jeannie! :-)).
Quote:
Suppose an energetic and devout person came forward and said, "It is because the shroud and head-cloth were clean that John and Peter were so impressed." Such an hypothetical person would say that it was the absence of the blood-stains that was so persuasive. You, I, and Callee would all say, "Nice theory, but that isn't what the gospel account actually says."

As far as I can tell, you've developed your own theory, every bit as unsubstantiated, which might be true, but which also might not be and cling to it as if it is the only possibility.

You display great vigor, but little rigor.

Silas
You display an amazing lack of rigor if you have read this whole thread and have formed the opinion that I "developed" this theory, and that I have ever asserted, let alone "cling to" with "vigor", that it is "the only possibility". These accusations are all demonstrably false.

Last edited by PeterK; 07 June 2007 at 01:21 AM.
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  #35  
Old 07 June 2007, 01:29 AM
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For those who are interested in the OP, here's what Chrysostom had to say in the third century:

Quote:
Seest thou how she knew not as yet anything clearly concerning the
Resurrection, but thought there had been a removal of the body, and
tells all simply to the disciples? And the Evangelist hath not
deprived the woman of such a praise, nor thought it shame that they
should have learnt these things first from her who had passed the
night in watching. Thus everywhere doth the truth-loving nature of his
disposition shine forth. When then she came and said these things,
they hearing them, draw near with great eagerness to the sepulcher,
[2514] and see the linen clothes lying, which was a sign of the
Resurrection. For neither, if any persons had removed the body, would
they before doing so have stripped it; nor if any had stolen it, would
they have taken the trouble to remove the napkin, and roll it up, and
lay it in a place by itself; but how? they would have taken the body
as it was. On this account John tells us by anticipation that it was
buried with much myrrh, which glues linen to the body not less firmly
than lead; in order that when thou hearest that the napkins lay apart,
thou mayest not endure those who say that He was stolen. For a thief
would not have been so foolish as to spend so much trouble on a
superfluous matter. For why should he undo the clothes? and how could
he have escaped detection if he had done so? since he would probably
have spent much time in so doing, and be found out by delaying and
loitering. But why do the clothes lie apart, while the napkin was
wrapped together by itself? That thou mayest learn that it was not the
action of men in confusion or haste, the placing some in one place,
some in another, and the wrapping them together. From this they
believed in the Resurrection. On this account Christ afterwards
appeared to them, when they were convinced by what they had seen.
Observe too here again the absence of boastfulness in the Evangelist,
how he witnesses to the exactness of Peter's search. For he himself
having gotten before Peter, and having seen the linen clothes,
enquired not farther, but withdrew; but that fervent one passing
farther in, looked at everything carefully, and saw somewhat more, and
then the other too was summoned to the sight. [2515] For he entering
after Peter, saw the grave-clothes lying, and separate. Now to
separate, and to place one thing by itself, and another, after rolling
it up, by itself, was the act of some one doing things carefully, and
not in a chance way, as if disturbed.
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  #36  
Old 07 June 2007, 01:33 AM
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And Augustine:

Quote:
7. "Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to
the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and that other disciple did
outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre." The repetition here is
worthy of notice and of commendation for the way in which a return is
made to what had previously been omitted, and yet is added just as if
it followed in due order. For after having already said, "they came to
the sepulchre," he goes back to tell us how they came, and says, "so
they ran both together," etc. Where he shows that, by outrunning his
companion, there came first to the sepulchre that other disciple, by
whom he means himself, while he relates all [1922] as if speaking of
another.

8. "And he stooping down," he says, "saw the linen clothes lying; yet
went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into
the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lying, and the napkin, which
had been about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but folded
up in one place by itself." Do we suppose these things have no
meaning? I can suppose no such thing. But we hasten on to other
points, on which we are compelled to linger by the need there is for
investigation, or some other kind of obscurity. For in such things as
are self-manifest, the inquiry into the meaning even of individual
details is, indeed, a subject of holy delight, but only for those who
have leisure, which is not the case with us.
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  #37  
Old 07 June 2007, 01:37 PM
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Saran Wrap Saran Wrap is offline
 
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Callee,
Thank you for taking the time to look those up. I have read other commentary on the subject, but Augustine does have a unique way of clarifying things.

Has anyone found any evidence of the social habits of the Jews, i.e. using cloth napkins at the dinner table or folding these napkins in certain ways to signal certian things? I haven't been able to find a shred of evidence, in my research, but who would take the time to record such a tradition, anyways?
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Old 07 June 2007, 05:50 PM
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I know back then you ate with your hands & it got messy. If you were rich enough your slave or servant would wash your hands with water & dry them with a towel between courses. I don't think the master in the OP who cleans himself is accurate.
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Old 07 June 2007, 06:24 PM
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I've never yet encountered any references to using anything like napkins as we think of them. The new testament already records references to footwashing, which was accomplished primarily with a bowl of water and a large apron or towel, and it seems reasonable to me that handwashing wouldn't be that different. But I can't say for sure - the dinner napkin could have simply been an overlooked detail in every study I've read so far. I do think that's less than likely, however, especially in light of other trends I do know about, such as the emphasis on assigned hands, i.e. the left hand for dirty work, the right hand for eating and social interaction. The purpose of the distinction was precisely to keep the dirty from mixing with the clean. Seems to me the need for that would be somewhat mitigated by the common use of such dinner napkins. Further, neither did they use tables as we think of them, but rather lounged on mats around a short platform or tray of sorts.
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Old 07 June 2007, 06:32 PM
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Jacbo Neusner in his Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period gives several references from various mishna tractates which specify that it was absolutely necessary for water always to be used for handwashing for meals. Even the amount of water is specified. A "quarter log." Seems to me any napkin wouldn't be able to hold the form of "folded" or "unfolded" after absorbing that amount of water, so at very least the strict analogy of the OP doesn't work.
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