Text and Exegesis

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Ziggy, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. Ziggy

    Ziggy
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    While I realize that Baptists traditionally have cherished the right to interpret the Bible according to what they perceive as the leading of the Holy Spirit, from time to time issues of questionable interpretation or exegesis come up which make me wonder.

    On a now-closed thread, Michelle replied (thank you!) to a demand that she provide an explanation regarding the apparent contradiction concerning the number of Gerasene/Gadarene/Gergesene demoniacs. I commend Michelle for giving her explanation, but it does raise issues of interpretation, and I am not sure that this is strictly KJV related, although I see from the KJV quotes what might have triggered her interpretation.

    To summarize:

    Mt 8:28 “there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.”
    Mk 5:2 “there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit”
    Lk 8:27 “there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.”

    Michelle makes a specific point regarding the Matthean account: “(Notice, this does not say two men)”, and then proceeds to interpret Matthew as actually supporting the concept that it was only a *single* demon-possessed person that confronted Jesus on that occasion.

    She justifies this by interpreting the “two possessed with devils” as a *single* person, and claiming (with no further proof) that “It seems to be that God separated the man from the unclean spirit and considered them separate from one another explaining the ‘two’ being referred to in Matthew”. This is further clarified in Michelle’s interpretation by the statements: “Jesus was addressing the unclean spirit called Legion, who was many, but not the man” and “So the two being spoken of in Matthew was the man, and the unclean spirit called Legion”. Her summary thus is “No contradiction, and no need for a history lesson to understand this.”

    My question: is this “advanced revelation”, Michelle? The reason I ask is because I have *never* heard anyone attempt such a convoluted explanation of this passage.

    Some interpreters (e.g. Dake) claim a simpler solution: two different occasions and locations, with different numbers of demoniacs present.

    Other interpreters (probably most) simply claim that Mk and Lk chose to focus on one particular demoniac rather than both, as did Matthew, much the same as with the one or two blind men outside of Jericho.

    John Gill's comment on the Matthean demoniac is typical (Gill, it must be remembered, was writing only 150 years after the KJV and used the KJV exclusively): “Both Mark and Luke mention but one, which is no contradiction to Matthew; for they do not say that there was only one; and perhaps the reason why they only take notice of him is, because he was the fiercest, had a legion of devils in him, and was the principal one....”).

    Seems to me that either of those two solutions is better than a questionable suggestion that Matthew was separating the demon(s) from the one possessed. Does anyone else hold the same interpretation as Michelle on this point? Does Ruckman attempt such an answer in his "Problem Texts"? Or is this just some convoluted spin to try to support KJVOism? (I ask this seriously).
     
  2. Phillip

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    I would think that if God seperated the man from the devil, then you would have a devil that was possessed by a devil. Is this possible?

    The point is clear that the Mathean account may be more descriptive and the other accounts left out another demon possessed person because it simply was not important to the writers (or God, who inspired the writers.)

    I am interested in seeing what the TR actually says, when I get home to my reference books.
     
  3. TC

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    Michelle's interpretation did not make much sense. If she is correct, then one is the man possessed by demons and the other is a demon possessed by demons. Other wise you do not have two possessed. I have never heard of a demon possessing another demon (why would one have to, they are all on the same team). While it is an interesting proposition, it just doesn't add up.
     
  4. Phillip

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    She can step in and defend herself if she wishes. But, some of the defense tactics being used to defend the KJVo theory (especially in the last month), were quite --well, to be blunt.....ridiculous.
     
  5. Ziggy

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    Philip: "I am interested in seeing what the TR actually says, when I get home to my reference books."

    No problem there, since *all* Greek texts are in agreement at this point in Mt 8:28, and read hUPHNTHSAN AUTW DUO DAIMONIZOMENOI ... EXERCOMENOI, CALEPTOI LIAN ["they met him, two demon-possessed ones, ... ones coming out, very violent (ones)"].

    All descriptive terms are in the plural, and, if somehow the two are supposedly separated between the demon and the man (as Michelle claimed), then the man would have to have been violent on his own, since the descriptive adjective "violent" is plural. That is the primary reason why I suggested something was amiss in her exegesis.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    One account gives two. The other accounts say one. But they don't exclude the possibility of more than one.

    Logically there is no issue here. No contradiction. Just one text being more complete an account.

    Think of the wording of the sign above the cross as a good parallel. Every Gospel has it different! But put together they comprise an accurate pix of the whole.
     
  7. Ziggy

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    Dr Bob: "Logically there is no issue here. No contradiction. Just one text being more complete an account."

    No problem with that explanation. The problem raised lies with Michelle's (forced) exegesis that claims there was only *one* demoniac even in the Matthean account, and that Matthew was led under inspiration to mystically *separate* the Legion of demons from the demon possessed individual, thus making Matthew's "two" demoniacs.

    Good exegesis this is not. :cool:
     
  8. HankD

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    Good eisegesis this is.

    HankD
     
  9. robycop3

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    It's very possible that there were two men, and that one either fled because his demon(s) knew who Jesus was, or remained silent in the background. When the one man ran toward Jesus, his demons spoke through him, and Jesus addressed THEM, not the man. The man spoke on his own only after the demons were gone. There's even the possibility that the second man was the one who scarfed up Sceva'a seven sons in Acts 19.(That happened NOT because Jesus had become weak, but because the Scevaites' FAITH IN JESUS was weak, and they were attempting to use His power in a sinful, for-profit manner.)

    Another valid possibility is that not all the apostles were present at the event, but knew there had been two violent men living in the tombs, and their accounts were secondhand.

    Ten-Four on the eisegesis.

    What we DO know for sure is that Jesus spoke and the demons HAD to obey. His power over them was, and is, simply irresistable.
     
  10. Dogsbody

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    This is too simple.

    "I met a group of boys on the street."

    "I talked to a boy on the street."

    Which one is true? There is a real danger reading "between the lines". I had a Bible institute instructor explain his version of why Paul re-baptisted the deciples of John because "the times they are a changin'. Whaaat?! [​IMG]
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    Sorry I missed that attempt to help God along with such an odd interpretation!

    I simply never read Michelle's posts and treat her as a spurious troll. If you report her position accurately, it adds to that understanding of her.
     
  12. Bluefalcon

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    There's another pericope in the Synoptics where Matthew has two men instead of the other two's one.

    Mt. 20:29-34 = Mk. 10:46-52 = Lk. 18:35-43

    Now Luke's account has the event occurring as Jesus was drawing near to Jericho, while Matthew & Mark have it occurring as Jesus went out of Jericho. This is a good synoptic problem for inerrantists. The dialogue of the parallel passages is so similar that it seems they all must be talking about the same event. Matthew has one beggar, Mark mentions Bartimaeus, and Luke mentions a certain beggar. Rectifying the location of the event is probably more of a problem than the number of individuals in the event, where a proper solution is, as has appeared in various forms in this thread, "If there were two then there had to have been one," etc.

    There have been many takers-on of this critical problem, which remains a favorite passage of those who denounce inerrancy. Any takers here?

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  13. gb93433

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    In Matthew you will read two of some things whereas in the other gospels you will read just one. My understanding is that was a common thing in Jewish literature as a stylistic way of expressing increasing credibility. With two it gives more credibility than just having one. Matthew was written for the purpose to evangelize the Jews.
     
  14. Bluefalcon

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    Interesting point, gb93433! Any comment on the difference between Luke and Matthew/Mark on where the event took place (cf. Mt. 20:29-34 = Mk. 10:46-52 = Lk. 18:35-43)?

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  15. robycop3

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    Jericho is about 30 miles east of Jerusalem, and was an important city in Jesus' time as it is now. Jericho straddles a road which leads from Jerusalem to Amman, Jordan, and has many booths and "roadside rests" along the way. Jesus could've been anywhere along this road at the time. There were most likely many beggars all along this road at the time. And again, we must refer to the fact that ALL the apostles may NOT have been eyewitnesses of all the events.
     

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