September 13th, 1995, Serial No. 00284

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New Testament Class




It may be hard to understand at first what that means, it gradually dawns on you, but if you have any experience with the Eastern religious traditions, like Hinduism and Buddhism or Taoism, the unitive understanding of reality is familiar to you, because that's what they do. It's been said that at the heart of those three traditions is a unitive reality or a unitive experience, or what some Hindu traditions call Advaita or Mandala, or what the Buddhists refer to when they speak of enlightenment. And they may not speak of duality or dualism or non-dualism, but what we mean is some kind of reality in which all things are joined, in which all things are one, in which all things have their root. Now, I don't have to argue very hard that that's in the New Testament, if you read the Prologue of John, where John says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and all things came from Him, all things came from the Word. So that all things somehow can be understood at their center if you know the Word, if you


have the Word. But to have the Word is to be one with the Word. And this Word of God is the wisdom of God, and it's Jesus in the New Testament. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and of His fullness we have all received. So it immediately comes towards you, and that which somehow is the secret, the center and the meaning of all things becomes one with you, so that the meaning of all things is somehow in you. It's in your consciousness, but it's also at a level deeper than your consciousness, but it flows into your consciousness. And that's the kind of interpretation of the New Testament that we're talking about. Now I believe that that's what the New Testament is really about, from one angle. From another angle, you can say it's about the Church, and it's about the growth of the Church in the world. That's obvious. That's true, too. I believe that's what the New Testament is about, and you can find it everywhere in the For instance, the writer of the letter of James may be less conscious of it than the


author of the Gospel of John, the first letter of John. You could rank the New Testament writings on a kind of a spectrum between the ones which are most openly satiangical and the ones which are least, and the spectrum might go from... Do you remember that letter of Jude that we read to those first people in the Esalen books? It's all fire and mist now. It's all judgment. Now, it's all judgment, and it's not like the Old Testament. It's hard to find anything that assures you that it's got the Gospel in it, that the New Testament assures it. So you might have a spectrum, like that one would be way over here, and a couple of other things. The letter of James has some surprising things in it about that wisdom that comes from love and a pure, peaceful objection. In other words, it has that flavor and that wisdom core, that core of the Spirit, which is the core of the New Testament, isn't it? But this one has so much, and there are parts of the letter of James that sound that way.


Even some of the letters that are attributed to Paul, the later pastoral letters, sound very much like the Old Testament, and they don't have a unit of flavor to them. At the other extreme, somewhere in the middle you've got Paul, but he's to this side of the middle. And then you've got John over here. Both the Gospel and the first letter of John. One John. And that's the extreme, because the unit of it is evidentially right out in the open, and that's the only way you can read it, mostly. You can't read the Gospel of John simply as a history, as if Jesus were, I don't know, simply were a human being, let us say, who has God concealed within him in some way. No, it's flashing out over John, right from the prologue. And the letter of John is the same. God is light, and the lights come into the world and so on. God is love. It's all unit of language. I think the first letter of John is at the very extreme over here, because in the first


letter there's hardly any history. Whereas still in the Gospel of John, you've got some history. But the first letter of John is like poured out from the interior, and it's occurring in the baptism and in the Eucharist. And so it's completely sapiential, completely evident. And so we're moving back and forth across the spectrum. The same thing is true to some extent in the Old Testament. The sapiential is not so evident in a lot of the Old Testaments. It's very evident in certain places, obviously in wisdom books, and especially where the figure of wisdom, feminine wisdom, is talked about. I'm going to talk about that in a few minutes, because it's important as background, not only for Mark, but for the other Gospels as well. Let me just review what we did with Mark so far. We were looking for the wisdom approaches to Mark, the unitive approaches to Mark. You could also call them in a sense the monastic approaches, but that would not be quite true, because monasticism should be able to take not only a sapiential approach, but all kinds of approaches. But there's a particular resonance between a wisdom approach, a unitive approach, and


the monastic tradition. As you can see if you read the monastic authors, they don't tend, for instance, in modern times even, they don't tend to be hard-nosed, historical, critical, scientific exegetes. They tend to move a little bit towards the sapiential. Somebody like Augustin Stock, you know, his books are moving towards the sapiential, even though they haven't fully gone over the edge into it. But for instance, the people who write about these concentric structures, or the people who write about the baptismal core of Mark's Gospel, see, that's edging towards the patristic, edging towards the monastic, edging towards the sapiential. We talked about the symmetrical structure of Mark, and first of all we talked about a fivefold structure, which you have on page 10, or at least Peter did one of the handouts on page 10. I can't blame him, I know, he has all the different figures. The fivefold structure, which is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.


Wilderness, tomb, Galilee, Jerusalem, and the crossing, the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, which is the core of the heart of Mark's Gospel, and which is the central teaching of Mark, which is the wisdom from the cross. Okay? And then we talked about a more developed form of this, in which you divide these big sections. See, this is a long section. These two, compared to 1 and 5, 2 and 4, and also 3 are very long, especially 2 and 4, where you can further divide those, so you get something like this. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, which again is 7, 6, 7, 8, and finally 9. And this works out like this, the crossing from Galilee to Jerusalem looks like this. This is Galilee over here, this is Jerusalem over here, this is the wilderness, and this is the tomb, and this is the central, the same journey to Jerusalem.


Now, when you do this, you get certain parallels between this and this, for instance, which are very interesting. We have a cross on Mark and we put it there, and perhaps we'll be parallelizing the table. So I'll just say a little bit about it. I want to put that there so we can get closer. For instance, you have a movement towards a section on bread up here, which is parallel to the section over here, but the supper of Jesus and the fashion of Jesus have enclosed. And what I think is happening is that there's a movement towards a Eucharistic symbolism, which is both wisdom and Eucharist, but particularly Eucharist at this point. See, Jesus prophesies the bread that lies over here, in this section. And we're going to talk about that section of bread. But the metaphors of bread are similar to those that are up in this section. Even the one that's happening doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. Jesus heals that Syro-Phoenician woman's daughter in order to cast out the devil. And it has nothing to do with bread in our normal way of thinking. But the metaphors of bread is there.


He said it's not good to take the bread of the children and give it to the dogs. And she said, yes, even the dogs, even the puppies, eat the crumbs and pulp on the table. So for some reason the metaphor of bread is there. We'll look into that. It's really very interesting. And that's parallel with Jesus' passion and death, and his supper when he institutes the Eucharist. So what's happening here is that the wisdom of Jesus, the teaching of Jesus, becomes a revelation of his identity. The metaphor of bread is used for Jesus' wisdom and for his teaching. And the wisdom is turning into sacrament in some way. And the sacrament is expressed in the supper and in the death. The supper and the death. The Eucharist and the death of Jesus. The bread and the cross. The bread and the tree. The fruit, the bread, the food, and the tree of life are coalescing, are converging. So the whole thing is winding up in that way. In this last section. And it pulls the gospel together.


Behind us is a paradise imagery, you see, of the tree of life. Which is much more explicit in John. The bread of life is expressed in John 6. But it's also in John. Okay, so structure. And then we talked about the wilderness theology, which particularly relates to the first part. The wilderness part, where the baptism of Jesus takes place. But it obviously also relates to the tomb, doesn't it? Which is also a desolate place, a place of demons. And we said that it relates to the whole first part of Mark. That there's continual recurrence of Jesus to the mountain, to the sea. We're talking about the whole first half, the Galilee part, and the journey towards Jerusalem. So the mountain, the sea, takes his disciples off alone. All those are signs of this wilderness theology. And we said that the wilderness theology in the first half moves into and becomes the cross theology, where the way of the wilderness becomes the way of the cross in the second half.


So the way of John the Baptist is completely aligned with the way of Jesus. The desert, the wilderness leads to the cross. And for Mark, that's the fundamental axis of his gospel, from one perspective. From another perspective, we'd say the fundamental axis is baptism. But baptism and wilderness, for some reason, are inseparable. Then we talked about baptism as being a key to Mark's gospel, and especially the unitive or wisdom interpretation of Mark's gospel. And baptism particularly at the Easter vigil. That Mark was designed to be the leading preparatory to baptism, to initiation at the Easter vigil. And we gave some arguments for that. But I gave you only a few arguments. There are a lot more. The arguments, the places in Mark's gospel where that comes out, particularly at the beginning, wilderness, baptism of Jesus. At the end, the scene at the tomb. And also, during the Passion of Jesus, there are these signs.


When the veil of the temple is torn, from top to bottom. Remember that the heavens were torn open. It's a violent word in Greek. Schizomenos, schizomenos. They were torn open. And those tearing opens are connected also with the opening paradise. But they're all connected with baptism. The baptismal scene moves into everything in Mark's gospel. Particularly, you have the signs of this at the beginning, at the end, and at the middle. Where you have the transfiguration and the word of the cross. The teaching of the way of the cross. And remember that the cross and baptism, in some way, are inseparable. The anointing in the form of the cross, and so on. The most convincing things, probably, are like the young man with the white robe, and so on, in the tomb. And everything that surrounds that tomb scene. And the way that it relates to the scene of the baptism of Jesus. Okay, now I want to talk more about wisdom discourse in Mark. And then Jesus is identified with wisdom in Mark, okay? First, a little bit about wisdom language in Mark.


You may not think there's a lot of that in Mark. But if you look at chapter 4, the chapter of parables in Mark, there are a couple of lines I want to point out. These parables are a kind of wisdom speech, okay? You find them in all three synoptic Gospels. But they are a form of the speaking in mystery. A form of speaking with obscurity. A deliberate obscurity, in some way. Now there's an outside to the parable, and there's an inside to the parable. And Jesus says that most people only understand the outside of the parable, but to the disciples it's going to be given to understand the inside of the parable. That is the real meaning of the parable. Look at chapter 4, verses 11 through 13. This is after the parable of the sower. But before the explanation. The sower and the seed, remember that one? That's the fundamental, sort of the arch parable, by the way.


It's the first parable in Mark, and it's carried through in the other two Gospels. And he says, if you don't understand this parable, how are you going to understand any of the parables? So it's presented, sort of, as the key parable. It's very interesting that in this parable, the sower sows the word. That word is Logos. Logos has a lot of reverence, a lot of resonance. It not only means the particular word, but it means also the Gospel, it means the message, it means the whole thing about Jesus. And John identifies Jesus with the Logos. With that great Logos, that great Word of God. So Mark isn't saying all that, but those resonances are behind it. So when you realize that that word Logos is coming up again and again and again in the sower parable, it helps to solidify those other interpretations, other senses of the parable, and helps to make it reasonable that it be the parable of the parable in some way. We'll talk more about the parable later on, next time, I hope. And this is after now, the parable of the sower, but before Jesus is explained it.


And when he was alone, those who were about him of the twelve asked him concerning the parable. And he said to them, to you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything is a parable. So, Jesus is confiding this secret of the kingdom of God, the mystery of the kingdom of God, to his disciples. And this is about wisdom, therefore, and this is the heart of the Gospel. Now part of the secret of the kingdom of God, obviously, is the word of the cross. And that's the hardest part of it. And that will come up at the center of Mark's Gospel. So that they may indeed see but not perceive, may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn again and be forgiven. They've argued and argued and argued, trying to take the sting out of those words, because they sound terrible, you know, but they're words of the prophet that are quoted here. And he said to them, do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? So the parables are a wisdom discourse that has a surface and has an interior.


And the problem is to penetrate into the interior. But to penetrate into the interior requires some kind of a mental revolution. Then look at verses 21 through 25 in the same chapter. I noticed that in that handout I gave you, when they list the parables, they don't mention the parable of the lamp, or the synod of food, or the metaphor of the lamp. But it's part of the discourse here, it shouldn't be forgotten. He said to them, there's a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, but under a bed and not on a stand. For there is nothing hid except to be manifest, and there is anything secret except to come to light. Now it's as if he's talking about the seed that's going to burst out and manifest what it contains, the seed of the Word. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Take heed what you hear. The measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to him who has will more be given, from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is wisdom discourse. This mysterious gift, this mysterious thing.


Notice there's a thing that floats through all the parables. It's as if it's one thing. Remember how Matthew will say, The kingdom of heaven is like a man who goes out and does his plants or whatever. What is this thing that floats through all the parables? Would it be possible to write about all the parables? Would it be possible to make one great parable talking about that thing and its different permutations and manifestations, whatever it is. Now it's a lamp. Now it's something that you measure out and give. Now it's a seed. Now it's a treasure. Now it's a pearl. It's fascinating, really. And it's a big wisdom discourse. And all of these things are different facets. You can say it's the kingdom, but when you say it's the kingdom of God, don't make that a stopper. In other words, don't let it stop your mind and your imagination. Because it's still a mystery and the word doesn't finish it. We have all these religious stopper words which stop you from thinking, which stop you from wondering, and they shouldn't. Even the word God does that very often. And we make a sentence and we think we've understood something and all we've done is closed it up. All we've done is closed the door


instead of understanding anything. So this is something you have to absorb, you have to become one with. Like the seed that grows up and fills the earth. Okay, now about Jesus as unit of wisdom in the Gospel of Mark. My reference for this is Hugh Humphrey, who has written a book called He is Risen, about Jesus and wisdom in Mark's Gospel. And unfortunately I can't find the book. Somebody's got it. It may be somebody that's not here right now. When I find it I'll put it out on the show. I have a copy of it in a binder which is not quite complete, however. And then he's got this article in the Biblical Theology Bulletin about Jesus as wisdom in Mark, which I put a copy of, as well as the issue of the BTB, the Biblical Theology Bulletin, on the class show. I'd recommend that you take a look at it. We'll go into that in a bit of detail here.


Now in the book, what Humphrey does is to take the wisdom tradition of the Old Testament, or personified wisdom he's talked about, and use that as a background for reading Mark's Gospel. Now the chief books for that are Proverbs, Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, and the Wisdom of Solomon. There's also some material in Job and in Baruch at one or another point. If you have a handout, the one that you've got this time, it's got Humphrey and his title on the top, punched with one hole for the word risen. Now it's got two different things on it, with Roman numerals 1 and 2. Roman numeral 1 is the concentric structure of Mark, according to Humphrey. Now that's this one here, you see. It's not the five-fold structure, it's the nine-fold structure. And we're not talking about that right now, but we want to make the connection,


so you can understand what that is. It's got nine parts with those capital letters, A, B, C, D, E, and a time, D, B, E, and A time. And then it's got those little integers in there. And there are eight of those, little hinges in between. So we'll say something about them in a little while. But what I want to focus on now is Roman numeral 2, the Old Testament wisdom literature, and the wisdom myth. You've got the page references to Humphrey's book there. Now, he says, The Jewish story of our wisdom is known to us only in fragments of its features. Job 28, there you have your basic references, okay? Those chapters of those books of the Old Testament contain the story of personified wisdom. That means Sophia, the feminine divine wisdom. That's what he's talking about. Where wisdom somehow becomes a person. Now, most of these are late books, of course, in the history of the Old Testament. Especially Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon.


Proverbs is further back. In Proverbs, it seems to be the beginning of this tradition of personified wisdom. The others are written in Greek, too. That is, Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach. And then he makes a synthesis of this story of wisdom from these different sources, and that's what you have in the right-hand column there. Wisdom was created by God before God created the world. I was just looking at the Septuagint there, the Greek, and the word arche is very prominent in some of those places, especially in Proverbs 8. That is, in arche. Do you remember those words, in arche? Have you run into them in any place in the beginning? They're in the beginning of Genesis, aren't they? And then, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Then they're in the beginning of John's gospel, I think. In the beginning was the word, in arche, and the logos. In arche, in the beginning. Mark's gospel. The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.


So, I don't think those things are accidental. I think probably even Mark wants that recurrence. He wants definitely the resonance with Genesis, and he probably wants the resonance with Proverbs, too, if they were familiar with the Septuagint wisdom book. That's important. See, because that's a sapiential approach right away. That kind of resonance. And especially the reference to the beginning, you see. Why? Because Jesus brings a return to the beginning. He brings a new beginning. He brings what Paul and Irenaeus call a recapitulation, in which you go back and somehow become one with the beginning of all things, the beginning which was before the beginning, which is God and God's wisdom, or God's word, the logos. See, that's behind very much of the New Testament. It's very important. And the idea of the New Testament as a new creation, always going back to the beginning, and it goes back to the beginning, and it goes back to the fullness at the same time. Because the fullness is at the beginning. It's a fullness which goes beyond all the limitations and all the particular histories.


This is characteristic of the wisdom vision. It's cosmic in some way. It's not only historical. It's also historical. But it moves to the fullness of the cosmos, and before the cosmos was, the fullness out of which the cosmos came, out of which it was created, or begotten. So wisdom was created by God before God created it. See, they say the same things about Jesus in the New Testament, except they don't say he was created. But remember, where you have this in the Old Testament, creation, it hasn't yet been differentiated, that is, between creation and begetting, because there isn't any revelation of the Son of God there. There isn't a theological notion of somebody being begotten by God as distinct from being created by God. There's a metaphor of the Son of God. But this is something that comes with the New Testament, this idea of being begotten by God. So wisdom was created by God. It doesn't mean that it's not a participation in God. It doesn't mean it's purely distinct from God. It's present in the creation of the world. The connection between wisdom and creation is extremely important, you see.


So all things kind of nestle into wisdom, and continually bathe their roots in this wisdom, as if it were a stream, or an underground river or something. The beginning is always with us in some way, and so wisdom is always with us. But wisdom is a participation in God. And its feminine quality is something we'll talk about in another time. Wisdom appears to create in man as hidden, as concealed. And if you ask yourself how much of that is there in the New Testament, there's a lot of it in the New Testament. There's a lot of the idea of hidden mystery. And right in these parables we've been looking at, we looked at briefly, and in those words of Jesus, to you the power, the secret of the kingdom of God has been revealed, but to the others, they're just outside. They only see the outside. They only hear the surface, as it were, of the parable. And maybe everything is a parable. See, Jesus himself is a parable in a certain way. You can say he's a symbol. He's got an outside and an inside. Lots of people only see the outside of Jesus, and don't wake up to what's inside Jesus, so they don't wake up to what's inside themselves either,


or inside the creation itself. So the rest of the story is here. There's this coming of wisdom to earth, and then it's quite a touching story, actually, as you read it in the Wisdom of Solomon. Remember, I prayed that wisdom might be sent to me from God's side. You get the picture that wisdom is the companion of God, the feminine companion of God, who becomes the companion of man. It's quite beautiful in that particular book, where it's the point of view of Solomon, a proverbial wise man, who's praying foolishly, but then he sees wisdom and takes it into his house. And acceptance of her gives wisdom, life, righteousness, salvation, and will. Her value is incalculable. On the other hand, failure to accept her leads to the withdrawal of her gift. There's this whole thing about wisdom sending her messengers, sending her maidens, and so on, to cry out to people. And there was a Jewish tradition of wisdom sending the prophets, for instance, and the prophets being rejected.


So the tragedy of Israel is the sending of the prophets by wisdom and their rejection. And you see lots of that in the New Testament. It comes out in Mark 2 and in Matthew. Okay, so that's the background. But I'd recommend that you read those chapters of the wisdom books that are listed there, if you haven't already done so. Especially Proverbs 8, Serac 24, and the wisdom of Solomon, 6 through 9, I think 7 and 8 are the critical ones, the central ones. It's beautiful. And it's necessary to have some grasp of it in order to understand a lot of the things that are going on in the New Testament, and also in Mark. Okay. I'm just going to read a few words from a couple of these wisdom things, since I've taken the trouble to put them on paper. The Lord created me at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old. Arcane. Hodana, too. I was set up ages ago, before the beginning of the earth,


at the first, NRK. That's Proverbs 8, 22 and the following. And now my sons listen to me. Remember at the Transfiguration, after Moses and Elijah have appeared and vanished, there's only Jesus, and the voice from heaven says, this is my beloved son, listen to him. Now my sons. Actually, it's now my son, listen to me, in the Greek. Proverbs 9. Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven pillars, she has slaughtered her beef, she has mixed her wine, she has set her table. Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave simpleness and live, and walk in the way of insight. Notice how bread and wine, food, are used as metaphors for what? For wisdom. For wisdom is more than knowledge. Wisdom, just like the seed that goes into the ground somehow, wisdom is not just knowledge as we think of knowledge. It's a knowledge, like a seed of knowledge that opens up inside you and becomes life,


becomes everything, becomes spirit, becomes life, becomes power and energy and health and immortality and all these things. So it's a knowledge which cracks open like a seed and becomes everything else. So it soaks into everything else, roots itself in everything else, and transforms what it permeates. Sirach 24, here you get this idea of wisdom as being something spiritual which penetrates everything and joins everything with God, because it's a participation of God which then penetrates and is participated by things, the people especially, the friends of God. There's this story about wisdom coming forth from the mouth of the Most High and seeking a resting place in every people and being with every people, but finally settling in Israel, in Zion, in Jerusalem, in the holy place. In the holy tabernacle I ministered before him and so I was established in Zion. In the beloved city likewise he gave me a resting place,


and in Jerusalem was my dominion. And then she compares herself to a tree. She's singing her own hymn, as it were, singing her own praises, so nobody else is going to do it. She's like all kinds of tree and all kinds of incense and perfume. Finally, Come to me, you who desire me, and eat your fill of my produce, for the remembrance of me is sweeter than honey, and my inheritance sweeter than the honeycomb. Those who eat me will hunger for more, and those who drink me will thirst for more. Do those words have any resonance for you? Like in John's Gospel, John 6, He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever. And he who eats of this bread will never hunger again. It's the opposite of what she's saying, but it's in continuity with what she's saying. The hungering for more and the not hungering for anything else. The being filled and the not being filled, being made more hungry. Wisdom 7 I learned both what is secret and what is manifest.


For wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. For in her, now this is the one where the spiritual participation comes in. For in her, there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile. About 23 qualities of wisdom there. Overseeing all and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent. For wisdom is more mobile than motion. Because of her pureness, she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty. Therefore, nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God. Do you remember where that's picked up? For one thing, it's picked up in the beginning of the prologue to the Letter of the Hebrews, remember? Letter of the Hebrews. For he is a mirror of the divine and so on. I don't remember the exact words right now. So Jesus is identified with this wisdom at the beginning of the Letter of the Hebrews, which sounds most unlikely, but that's the key to understanding Hebrews anyway. It's also in Colossians, remember? In the hymn in Colossians chapter 1, about 15 to 20.


An image of his goodness. Though she is but one, she can do all things. And while remaining in herself, she renews all things. Do you see the way wisdom is the link somehow between God and everything else? The link between oneness and multiplicity, okay? The link between the unity of God and the multiplicity of creatures. Because she passes into everything, and yet she remains one, and her oneness is a participation in the oneness which is God. So she remains her divine oneness in some way, which is not remote from us, but is filtering into all things, and somehow within themselves making them one. Now, what that sounds like in the New Testament is the Holy Spirit, isn't it? The Holy Spirit. Wisdom and the Holy Spirit can be identified in some way. Especially when she's identified as the Spirit, which is most subtle and pure and penetrating. And nothing defiled can enter into her. It sounds like almost the definition of the Holy Spirit. While remaining in herself, she renews all things,


and every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God and prophets. For God loves nothing so much as a man who lives with wisdom. It sounds like wisdom is the only thing that connects you to God in some way. And wisdom is a participation in God. And strangely, wisdom is given on a feminine gender, without any hesitation in these wisdom books. She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well. Somehow she does everything. There she sounds very much like the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God, isn't it? The power of God achieving things is distinguished from the Word of God. Okay. Now, in his book, Humphrey contends that Jesus, he's not too audacious in the book, surprisingly, which is later in the paper, but he contends that Jesus is the righteous man who is the disciple of wisdom. And therefore he's tested, because you have these two ways and these two kinds of people. You have the way of wisdom, and you have the way of folly. But the way of folly, the way of foolishness, in Old Testament language, is the way of sin.


It's the way of evil. And so the people who are on the way of folly, the path of folly, have to persecute the people who are on the way of righteousness. You remember those texts that we have in the liturgies sometimes? Let us test him, let us try him, and see if he's really God's son. He says he's God's son, let's try him out. Let's subject him to torture and humiliation. Remember, those are applied to Jesus' passion. So Jesus is the righteous man, the friend and disciple of wisdom, the true mediator and revealer of wisdom, and therefore he must be persecuted and tried and put to death. But the righteous one, and this is where, this is particularly in the wisdom of Solomon, will live forever. That's what the wisdom of Solomon says. And that's why Humphrey names his book He Is Risen. He contends that the resurrection, at the end of Mark, the news of the resurrection, even without a resurrection appearance of Jesus, is the climax which proves that Jesus is this righteous man, the disciple of wisdom, who therefore is immortal and gives immortality.


It goes further than that. But the book doesn't go as far as the paper does. In the paper it says Jesus is wisdom. And I think that's where it's at, actually. Not only in John's gospel, but also in Mark and in Matthew. Let's take a look at what he does with this particular section called the section of bread in Mark's gospel. It goes from chapter 6, verse 30, through chapter 8, verse 21. Now, Humphrey brings forth a lot of evidence to show that this is a unit, that this is a coherent section in Mark. That's this paper, which you have over there on the shelf, on the cross shelf. Now, the section that he's talking about is just about the same as this part up here.


Okay, this part of Mark's gospel. The end of the Galilee section, which just precedes the journey to Jerusalem section, and that teaching of the secret wisdom of the cross. So this is a wisdom section, which is preparing for this other wisdom section. But the wisdom section here is like a triumphant wisdom section, a revelation of Jesus' wisdom. This here is another kind of wisdom. It's like the bright side and the dark side. It's like the seed, this part, and almost like the seed which is ripened into the full manifestation of wisdom, and it's sort of waving in the sunlight there. And this is the descent of the seed back into the ground, where Jesus is preaching that order to grow. This cardifying order of John is where the Greeks come, and Jesus, he said, he would lead us to fall into the ground. And he lifted up. What he lifted up is to fall into the ground. But the metaphor of the seed there is in John 12,


where Jesus is moving from this triumphant manifestation of grace and pleasure now into the grave, into the ground, through his baptism in heaven. So this is the bright wisdom, as the seed of patience is descended to the ground. And then over here, we're going to get a sort of reflection where somehow the wisdom is becoming sacrament, or somehow the wisdom of God, the teaching of God, that manifestation of God, which is his wisdom, which is Jesus, is now becoming somehow a sacramental mediation of the being of God through the institution of Jesus, through the sacrament of Jesus Christ. So 630, the apostles... There are two pieces at the beginning and end of this section, which are further evidence of the unity of the section, according to Humphrey, where Jesus goes away with his disciples alone in the boat.


That's the kind of thing called an inclusion, which tends to mark off a separate section, a symmetry like that. Another symmetry which marks off the section is the two multiplications of bread. Jesus first multiplies bread for 5,000 people, or 5,000 men, and then he multiplies bread for 4,000 later on. So you've got this symmetrical structure in this section. In his paper, I forget how many sections Humphrey assigns to it, but his disciples have A and M, a matching section, A time over there, B, B time, and then you have the center. Now the center, according to Humphrey, is chapter 7, verses 1 through 23, where Jesus is arguing with the Pharisees. And it doesn't right away seem to have anything to do with bread. The issue is that the disciples have been eating without washing their hands. They've been eating bread, eating food without washing their hands. And the Pharisees say you can't do that. And then Jesus argues with them. And he exposes the total revolution that's happening.


It's not to convince somebody to defile them, it's to compel them to defile them. But see, that's not only an argument about defilement, that's an argument also about nourishment. It's an argument about where your life comes from. It's an argument about the way you relate to reality. Are you feeding from outside of yourself, or are you feeding from inside of yourself? Are you feeding from the bread of this world? Are you feeding even from a law, from a wisdom which is outside of you, which is expressed in the commandments by the saints? Or are you feeding actually from the divine wisdom which comes up from inside of you and feeds you from your senses? And this is what Jesus brings and this is what Jesus does. And this is what Jesus expresses when he argues with the Pharisees. He's not referring to the table of the law. He's not referring to the tradition. He speaks of authority because the wisdom is inside of him. It is him. It's identical with him. And therefore it collapses the arguments of authority and tends to make them look ridiculous. So that's the center of this section of bread. Let's just look at some of the references to bread here. Okay, at 6.30 they go away to a lonely place and rest.


But then the people come and Jesus begins... He has pity on them. They're like sheep without a shepherd. That's another feeding image we should have. Sheep without a shepherd. Don't know where to find something to eat. And now they get lost. And he began to teach them many things. And then, what are they going to eat? So he tells them, well, you give them something to eat. Which is a surprising word from Jesus after he's done anything, before he's done anything like this, isn't it? You give them something to eat. But he's saying something about what they're going to have to do later on. And then he multiplies the bread and the fishes. Now, Humphrey points out that the multiplication of the bread is a metaphor for the teaching of Jesus here. To look at it from what I know. He began to teach them many things. And then he takes these few loaves of fishes and breaks them


and gives them many things. He feeds them all. He teaches them many things, the many people. And then he feeds them. From one he brings forth many of them. There's also something in the numbers here. If you read Humphrey's paper, that sort of thing may not appeal to you. But the numbers can be interpreted as corresponding to the different writings of the Old Testament. The, what is it? Five and two, you've got seven. And there are twelve baskets full of broken pieces. So what is it? It's the five books of Moses. And then the seven major prophets. And the seven minor prophets. And the seven, another twelve minor prophets. And the seven writings. The writings of the other things that don't fit into Torah or Prophets. So you can figure that out if you're interested in it. That's taking the two feedings together. The feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000. There's a Jewish tradition of that kind of interpretation. It's called gematria.


Of playing with numbers in that way. So it may be here. But I wouldn't put too much weight on it. Then they get into the boat again. And he walks on the sea. And while he's walking on the sea, what he says actually is, I am, ego am me. Which has the strong Old Testament resonance. He doesn't say, it is I. He got into the boat with them and the wind ceased and they were utterly astounded. For they did not understand about the loaves. That their hearts, why should, why should Mark bring up the loaves? Bring up the bread at that point? What does the bread have to do with the walking on the water? It's a sign of Jesus' power. And it's power over natural things. Over material things. But does it go any further than that? Well, let's go on. And then he has a long argument with the Pharisees. Which is about food, as I said. And in which Jesus announces this revolution of interiorization. When he says, it's not what comes in through amenity


but what comes out of amenity. What comes from the heart. What comes from the heart eventually is this food which God gives through Christ. Which is the wisdom of God. The participation in God. The unit of participation in God. In which you have not many commandments but one wisdom. One union with God at the center of your being. Okay. And then in verse 724 and the following. He arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. So he's outside Jewish territory. Orthodox territory now among the Gentiles. A woman whose little daughter was possessed. And he said, let the children first be fed. For it's not right to take the children's bread and kill them for their bread. Now, this situation seems to have nothing to do with bread. And yet Jesus and Mark use the metaphor of bread here. Bread absolutely has to be a metaphor here, doesn't it? It doesn't have to do with teaching even. It has to do with some kind of power. It seems to have to do...


The bread seems to express everything that Jesus brings and everything that he gives. As if he himself was the bread. And that he couldn't be broken for those outside Israel until the children of Israel have been fed. Or at least until the bread has been offered to them. And she said, yes. Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crops. So she maintains the metaphor, the image. And in reward, Jesus heals her and her child. Then there's the healing of the deaf and dumb. Which seems to have nothing to do with bread. There's no mention of bread. But there's something similar about the issue of being deaf and dumb. In other words, it easily becomes a metaphor for those things. It easily becomes a metaphor for faith, for understanding, for communication. Now you have the second multiplication of bread in chapter 8.


He breaks seven loaves for the four thousand. And they collect seven baskets. Then the Pharisees challenge him about a sign. And then finally, in this last part. I particularly like this part. The last part of this section of bread. They'd forgotten to bring bread. And they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Actually what it says is one bread. They had only one bread with them in the boat. It's interesting. They'd forgotten to bring bread and they had only one bread with them in the boat. They didn't bring any, but they had one in the boat. I didn't check the Greek to see how that works together. And he cautioned them saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. What would that be? Some kind of communication from the Pharisees and from Herod. A spirit or a teaching or what? With the Pharisees, the teaching might be Herod. It might be the spirit, sort of. The attitude. The interior spirit of the Pharisees.


With Herod it sounds like what? It sounds like example, the way. And they discussed it with one another saying, We have no bread. Notice how they're taking it literally there. And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? Remember how that refers back to the chapter parable? To verses, what was it? 11 to 13 of chapter 4, the parable chapter. So, somehow what's involved here seems to be the same kind of wisdom issue that was involved in that chapter on the parable and the understanding of the parable of the sower. And of course the parable of the sower and the seed, what normally would be the seed? It would be a seed for food, right? The seed probably of wheat or barley or something like that for grain. So perhaps that is tied here into the section of bread,


but also in terms of, and the seed is the lotus, is the word, Mark says in that explanation in chapter 4. So it's tied into this. Do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pizza did you take up? Now, you know that curious rabbinical type number interpretation for me is a little bit made more likely by the fact that Jesus insists on the numbers here, OK? The numbers are not permitted to be accidental and left behind, but somehow he brings them up once again. So it may be that he actually wants to say, see, the point would be that the teaching of Jesus, and Jesus himself, is equivalent to the whole Torah. The completeness of the revelation is in him. Very much like what the prologue to the letter of the Hebrews says. In many ways, and in fragmentary ways, remember, your fathers were spoken to by God through the prophets, but now he sent his son, he's revealed himself completely through his son. One bread, actually, is Jesus.


In other words, that at the source of everything that's happening here, at the source of the multiplications of bread and the miracles, and the interpretation, the meaning of the multiplication of the bread is the teaching of Jesus, but more than being the teaching of Jesus, it's Jesus himself. In other words, if he's there, the whole thing is there. The wisdom of God is there. And the wisdom of God is the one who is at the creation, the one who orders all things. But the wisdom of God is also the one out of whom everything comes. Now, what Humphrey does, therefore, is to identify Jesus with the wisdom of God that we have in these wisdom writings of the Old Testament, to personify the wisdom of God, which is Sophia. And I think that's valid. But when we do that, I think we have to be careful, because notice what we're doing. When we do that, we are circumscribing Jesus in some way by identifying him with something that comes before, okay? With something that we already find in the tradition. So, you say he's the son of man,


and they say, oh, we know what that means. We know what son of man means in the book of Daniel and elsewhere in the Old Testament. Or Jesus is wisdom, Jesus is Sophia, and we know what that means, okay? It's what you have in the Old Testament. But is that really all that Mark is doing? Is that really all that the Gospel is doing? Or is there something more? Is that only a kind of preparation, only a kind of ramp, an introduction to something else? What I mean is that what's really happening is that it's not just the figure of wisdom of the Old Testament, but that's a kind of doorway to the immensity and the fullness, which is in the presence of Jesus, okay? That somehow the whole thing is here. The whole thing is here. That the divinity itself is here. And even there, we can't circumscribe what is here, what is present with Jesus, or present right now, with a name. Even with the name God. That seems to solve something. It doesn't solve anything. It leaves us with the mystery which is present at every moment. And particularly with the disciples here, with this presence of Jesus, and this power of Jesus, and what's in him.


Which somehow is all-powerful. The whole thing is there. There's no word for it. The word God doesn't quite satisfy it either, because the word God tends to be too impenetrable, and too dualistic and remote. So the whole mystery of reality sometimes opened up in this presence of Jesus. And that's the one oath that they have written in the book. And it's the metaphor of bread, therefore, which encloses this whole thing. Encloses not only feeding, but also healing, and teaching, and all of that. This one bread, ultimately, is Jesus. So the section is tied together at the end by the image of bread, and the one bread, who, it turns out, is Jesus himself, and he says, do you still not understand? And of course the metaphor of bread can't be allowed to exhaust anything either, because that's only another doorway to the immensity, to the fullness which is in Jesus, in which he is. The other point, of course, in Mark is that his fullness is not just revealed in Jesus, but it comes into us, and the metaphor


of bread expresses that very well, doesn't it? If Jesus is the wisdom of God as bread, fine. But what happens to bread? You eat bread. It disappears and it becomes one with you. And that's the further, what we say, excellence of the metaphor of bread, is that Jesus is the one bread of wisdom, which then disappears, because it's in you, because it's one with your own being. So you have somehow become one with the wisdom of God, which is like that anointing that John talks about in the first letter. You have received an anointing, and you all know and therefore you don't need a teacher, and so on. So I think that's where Mark is getting, and that's what happens through baptism. Any questions about that before we close? There are a few other things we could talk about in Mark, the sacrilegious approaches, but we really don't have time. I think we need to get to the other the other Gospels. Let me mention one thing, though. And that is the women episodes


in Mark. If you look at those hinged sections on this handout, he calls them interludes. There's Roman Bible Part 1, the concentric structure of Mark, and in Huffer's book. Now, the major sections there, the circles here, are denoted by capital letters. Huffer's interludes are very interesting, because in some way they suggest an interpretation of the whole Gospel. And it works largely through the women episodes. Now, the titles that Huffer gives to those those interludes don't show up in the presence of the women in them. Notice that there is a symmetry sometimes, a parallelism between the interludes. The key is those two blind banks. See interlude number 4 and interlude number 4 with the prime of the apostrophe? That's the healing of two blind banks.


Now, because those two are obviously parallel and intended that way, it suggests that there are also relationships between the other interludes. And that's what becomes interesting. Okay? Now, Huffer doesn't completely concentrate what he asks of moving on, but I think there may be both of a parallel relationship like this between them. Right? There's an interlude between each transition there. The two blind men are here and here. And then you've got one between 1 and 2. You've got another between 2 and 3. And so on. And these are actually letters from ABCD. Now, I think it's not only the first relationship of that, but also there are cross relationships between this one and this one. And this one and this one. And the women are surprisingly present


in these interludes. For instance, the first one is Jesus' first followers. Okay. But the last one there, Jesus' last followers, actually, 1540 to 42, goes like this. There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger, and of Joseph, and of Salome, and so on. And also many other women who came up with interludes. First you've got the choice of the first disciples, okay, who are all men. And here you've got the listing of all these women. They're all women. Now, why? Why would you move from the... What it seems to me to be is actually the image of construction of a house from these male stones, as it were. And then, at the end, you're getting to the point where somebody's going to come and dwell in the house. And who's going to come and dwell in the house? That's what's intimated by the women at the end. Another very interesting one, where I don't


think that... I don't think that Humphrey's parallel is adequate. This is one where it's parallel instead of theastic. It's between the death of John the Baptist. The Baptist gives his life. That's his interlude three, okay? And then the anointing of Jesus. How does it go? Jesus' departure and discipleship. See, the titles are not adequate. What that actually is, is the anointing of Jesus by Mary at Bethany. Okay? And the other one is the death of John the Baptist, but what happens to John the Baptist? A woman gets it. Remember? Herodias. The parallel between the death of John the Baptist, because of Herodias and her daughter's dance at the king's banquet or Herod's banquet, the kind of travesty banquet. And the anointing of Jesus in Bethany at the banquet which is given for him.


A royal anointing. A messianic anointing in some way. And what those two women do when the head of John the Baptist is carried in on a platter at the demand of Herodias, and when this woman pours out the precious perfume over Jesus. So put those side by side. And at the end of Mark's gospel, the passion and death and resurrection of Jesus are surrounded by women at the service. You have the anointing of Jesus by Mary at Bethany before the passion, and then you have the women standing there at the cross looking on. Women looking on from afar. And then afterwards, you have the women who come to anoint Jesus in chapter 16. The whole end of the gospel is surrounded by these women either interludes or sections of the gospel. Now what's the meaning of that? I suspect that the meaning of that is


that this Sophia, this feminine wisdom, is actually the spirit which comes to dwell in the house that Jesus is constructing, and who only comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the departure of Jesus. It's like pointing to the pointing metaphorically to the spirit which is to come and is to be the presence of Jesus among his disciples, the spirit of wisdom or Holy Spirit in the other metaphor, the metaphor of expression of Luke, for instance, and of Acts. So there's a lot more in Mark than meets the eye. Remember, a lot of people have said that Mark is naïve and clumsy and crude in writing his gospel like he did it in a hurry. But Austin Farrer said that he's systematically enigmatic and that he is not what you call it crude, but he is subtle. And that he's very well aware of the mysteries which are underneath the history of Jesus. He's interpreting those mysteries


concealing them as he reveals them in these ways that we've been talking about. Okay, that's plenty for the day. I'm sorry to keep you so long. Next time, you have this handout on the parables which I gave you last time. It's age 13, I believe. What I'd like to do next time is start with Matthew and Luke, still taking a look back at Mark, and especially to be interested in the comparison between equivalent passages in different gospels. I think I've mentioned a little bit of that already. But if you find the same let's say the same miracle, the same teaching, in Mark and Matthew and Luke and say only in Matthew and Luke, how does it differ in these different gospels? What does that mean about the particular thrust of Mark and Matthew and Luke? We can't do it so often in John, that's why they call themselves two gospels. Now, the typical passages would be the prologue to each gospel, the very beginning,


the inauguration of Jesus' private ministry, the center, the structural center of the gospel, which is a little harder to find unless somebody helps you, unless you've got a book which has given you a structure for each gospel, and then the resurrection account. But I'd like to pay particular attention also to the parables, because we find parables in all three of those gospels and a different choice of parables, a different selection. So that's what you have in this handout. There are two appendices from Boucher's book here, very useful. The first one is simply a list of the parables that you find in each of those three gospels, in Mark and Matthew and Luke. But where do those parables come from? In other words, which ones did Matthew get from Mark, and did Luke get from Mark, and which ones did he get somewhere else? Now, that's what the second appendix is about. So, she and others have tried to figure out, it's obvious enough that Mark isn't, because he's only got these three parables. When you get to Matthew and Luke, you've got a problem. But we'll talk about that next time,


the whole synoptic problem. But some of those are found only in Mark. Some are found only in... Now, none are found only in Mark. Some are found only in Matthew. Some are found only in Luke. Some are found both in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark. And that's where this source Q comes in. The hypothetical second source, the two-source theory of the Synoptic Gospels is that Matthew and Mark get their main structure from... Matthew and Luke get their main structure from Mark. What they don't get from Mark and what they both have, they get from Q. And then they have other things that they get from their own individual sources, which are called N and L. So, I'll review that next time. And then, I encourage you to look at these parables, especially in the second appendix, and see if you find any patterns. See if you find anything characteristic of parables, say, in Matthew or in Luke or in Mark. And then we'll develop that for the next time. Okay. Thank you.