JFAlward at JFAlward at
Tue Jun 12 22:05:08 EDT 2001

Joe Alward:

  > Furthermore, does it not seem much more likely
 > that Mark had one or more of the images in the ten verses above in mind 
 > he spoke of Jesus' dazzling white clothes?  Can Homer's "well-washed cloak"
 > really compete with Daniel's "clothing whiter than snow," or indeed with 
 > of the other images in the cited verses?
 Neil Godfrey:
Further, a "well-washed cloak" from a divinity would appear to me to have 
more direct similarity with Mark's "such as no launderer on earth could 
whiten them" than any of the verses listed above talking about snow and fire 
Joe Alward:

Let me try to strengthen my case by focusing on its strengths and removing 
some of the weaker parts.  Please look more closely at the following possible 
antecedents of the "dazzling white" clothes (Mark 9:3) in which Mark had 
Jesus clothed:

Daniel 7:9..."As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of 
Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow."  Note:  The divine in 
Daniel has white clothing, just as did Jesus in Mark.

Psalm 51:7..."wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Note:  Whiter than 
snow is whiter than white, or the brightest white, or dazzling white.  This 
person's whiteness represents purification of sin, just as did Jesus' white 
clothing in Mark.

Ezekiel 1:26-28..."high above on the throne was a figure like that of a 
man... and brilliant light surrounded him....This was the appearance of the 
likeness of the glory of the LORD.  Note:  in Ezekiel, the messenger of the 
Lord has a "brilliant" appearance; similarly, Mark's Jesus was a messenger of 
the Lord, and was "dazzling" in appearance)

Psalm 18:12..."Out of the brightness of his presence.."  Note: Brightness 
accompanies the Lord, just as it did with Mark's Jesus in his "dazzling 
white" clothes.
Proverbs 13:9..."The light of the righteous shines brightly."  Note:  
Brightness connotes righteousness, which Mark's Jesus surely had in 
abundance, as suggested by his "dazzling white" clothes.

Daniel 12:3..."Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the 
heavens."  Note:  The "dazzling white" appearance of Jesus connotes wisdom.

In contrast, in Odysseus' transfiguration before Telemachus, Homer only has 
Athena provide clothes which are suitably clean--"well washed," according to 
the translation Dennis used.  In the translation by Samuel Butler, Butler 
describes it this way: "As she spoke she touched him with her golden wand. 
First she threw a fair clean shirt and cloak about his shoulders."

How can a "well washed" cloak, or a "fair clean shirt and cloak" worn by 
Odysseus compare more favorably to the "dazzling white" clothes worn by the 
divine Jesus  than, say, the "white as snow" clothing worn by the divine 
figure in Daniel?  How, too, can we take note of all of the references above 
to brightness and whiteness associated with the divine, the wise, and the 
pure in the Old Testament, yet fail to believe that Mark almost certainly had 
these images in mind when he put "dazzling white" clothes on the divine, 
wise, and pure Jesus?  

Finally, I find it extremely difficult to believe that Seneca's eclectic bee 
is at work here.  Why would Mark wish his readers to simultaneously hold in 
their minds the Scriptural images of "white as snow" clothes, brightness, 
whiteness, and brilliance alongside the one of Homer's Athena giving clean or 
well-washed clothes to Odysseus?  What would be gained by that?

Articles on Mark's gospel stories and their possible connection to Homer's 
epic are found in the "Mark's Gospel" section, and at the bottom of the web 
page at

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