Friday, July 03, 2009

Another blunder in the Gospel of Mark

On page 211 of 'Mark for Everyone', the Bishop of Durham , NT Wright, says that 'kings and senior nobles wore purple in the ancient world'.

Mark 15 'They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.'

How many kings and senior nobles were there in Jerusalem at the time?

Does anybody seriously expect us to believe that the Roman soldiers took one of Pilate's robes so they could spit on it?


15 Comments:

Blogger WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Silly atheist. The Bible doesn't say there *wasn't* a splendid dry cleaning service back then.

Ben

1:51 AM  
Blogger randiss said...

I really hope you're not really making a serious objection Steven.

Do you really think it would've been that hard for Roman soldiers to find a cheap purple robe for mockery if they wanted one?

8:16 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

On page 211 of 'Mark for Everyone', the Bishop of Durham , NT Wright, says that 'kings and senior nobles wore purple in the ancient world'.

So kings and senior nobles wore purple, but common soldiers could easily find cheap purple robes?

Perhaps Pilate lent the soldiers his robe to be spat on, much in the same way that the Queen gives her old furs to the servants to use as dusters.

11:38 PM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Eh?

Posh people might wear top hats - but it doesn't mean other people can't get hold of one.

Is this a serious objection, or a parody?

3:40 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

And kings might wear crowns, but that doesn't mean other people can't get hold of one.

Pilate would not have lent out his old robes to be spat on. He had a position to maintain.

It is irony on the part of Mark, who has the soldiers mock Jesus as king, unaware that he is the real king.

It is as fictional as this ludicrous claim that a released criminal was set free each Passover.

And this released criminal just happened to be called 'Son-of-The-Father', while the real Son of the Father was about to be crucified , although innocent.

This is all as fictional and symbolic as the events and names in Pilgrim's Progress.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

I heard that some prisoners in Guantanamo had been dressed up in a general's uniform, complete with a helmet with 3-stars on it.

Is this true?

6:07 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

It could also be irony on the part of the soldiers. You are letting your conclusions about the gospel as a whole let you overreach when talking about the details.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Like the way prisoners in Guantanomo were 'ironically dressed in a 3-star general's uniform.

Why would it be 'ironic' if people generally had access to purple robes?

And why would Pilate allow his dignity to be degraded by having some of his old clothes spat on?

And, of course, the whole story includes such utter absurdities as Barabbas not being crucified....

6:13 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

>>Why would it be 'ironic' if people generally had access to purple robes?

For the same reason that a crown of thorns is ironic - it's nothing to do with the material not being readily available. It's all about the context.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Correct.

And the context is that only kings and senior nobles had purple robes, as Mark is ironically portraying the soldiers as mocking Jesus, unaware that Jesus is the real king.

But Pilate would no more have lent out an old robe to be spat on than US soldiers are given the old uniforms of generals to spit on.

9:32 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

"the context is that only kings and senior nobles had purple robes"

Hold on. Where did the "only" come from? That's the whole point. Neither Wright/Mark's gospel make that assumption. You do, to support your argument. The context does not need that "only".

3:36 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Are you really so ignorant as not to know that what purple signified?

What was the point of the author of Mark explaining that the robe was purple, if people like you come along and say that commoners wore purple?

5:31 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

I'm not saying that commoners wore purple at all. I'm agnostic on whether a purple robe was rare, or common, or expensive, or whether someone might discard a purple robe after years or wear and tear, or whether captains of the guard also wore purple...who knows where the guards got it from?

I'm just saying that you have chosen one possibility out of many, many possible alternatives to support your presupposition. The crown of thorns is ironic because it signified royalty - it's not hard to find. The purple robe is also ironic because it signified royalty - not for any other reason.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

I guess soldiers in Guantanomo bay could easily get hold of discarded general's uniforms and would then spit on them.

Or they could dress up prisoners in Guantanomo in discarded American flags (in an ironic sense ,of course) and then spit on that.

After all, if Roman soldiers thought nothing of dressing up Jesus in purple robes and spitting on that, American soldiers would think nothing of draping prisoners in American flags and spitting on them.

5:59 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

That is a false analogy that obscures the situation described in Mark's gospel, rather than clarifies it.

6:05 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home