c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at worldnet.att.net
Sat Oct 6 21:03:37 EDT 2001

At 12:46 PM -0700 10/6/01, c stirling bartholomew wrote:
>> It would seem that church fathers had it right on this one. This is a
>> description of descent into the nether world.

on 10/6/01 2:39 PM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> I quite agree with you on this one, Clay. It seems to
> me that for TA KATWTERA to refer to the incarnation we would have to assume
> the fully-dualistic cosmological conception of the created world as a dark
> prison for souls never meant to dwell there. I would think to that the
> genitive qualifier THS GHS should in this instance mean that TA KATWTERA
> designates a region of the earth--and ought not to be viewed appositionally
> as identical with the earth.


If we are right about this, then Eph 4:9 and 1Pet 3:18-22 would seem to blow
a hole in Dennis R. MacDonald's hypothesis* that Mark's gospel is
intentionally borrowing plot patterns from Homer's Odyssey.

MacDonald sees the naked young man escaping from the garden (Mk 14:51-52) as
patterned after Elpenor in Homer Od. 10.552-53. But if we assume that a
tradition about Jesus' descent into Hades was available to Mark, and he was
intentionally mimicking the Odyssey, then it is very difficult to see why he
would include a reference to Elpenor but excluded the descent into Hades.

Of course we don't know for sure that this descent into Hades was available
to Mark. But if it was, this puts a lot of strain on MacDonald's hypothesis
which seems like it is suffering from a fair amount of strain already.

Thanks for your observations.



Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*See pages 128-129 in Dennis R. MacDonald, Homeric Epics and the Gospel of
Mark, Yale 2000. 

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