Extrabiblical Mark

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Madhu

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Jul 14, 2022, 12:49:44 PMJul 14
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During "bible study" on Mark, I hear the following claims

- The last supper was celebrated in the house of Mark's father in an
upper room
- The disciples were gathered in upper room of Mark's father's house in
the days leading to the Pentecost
- The same house is referred to as being Mark's mother's in Acts 12:12

Before I start looking it up, have others seen these claims before?


Kendall K. Down

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Jul 14, 2022, 3:39:44 PMJul 14
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a) Presumably if the house belonged to the mother of John Mark, it also
belonged to his father. I know of nothing in Scripture which would
justify distinguishing between the two.

b) There are repeated references to an "upper room". It is sheer guess
work to claim that every reference to "upper room" is dealing with the
same room. On the other hand, there are reasonable reasons for thinking
that may be so.

i) The room seems (or rooms) to have belonged to someone who was
sympathetic towards Jesus and His cause.

ii) The room was large enough for 120 people at a pinch and was adequate
to accommodate 13 men at a Passover. Dining rooms were judged - at least
by the Greeks - on the basis of how many couches they could accommodate.
Although the Passover regulations stipulate that the meal should be
eaten standing up, lying down was considered more fitting for free men
and the reference in John 13:23 to John "leaning on Jesus' bosom" during
the Last Supper seems clear evidence of two things: 1) that they were in
fact lying down on couches during the meal; 2) that at least some of
them were sharing couches. Usually two per couch was the accepted
norm,[1] which implies that the Upper Room could accommodate at least
seven couches. That would make it reasonably large and probably larger
than most rooms in Jerusalem outside of palaces.

iii) The curious episode of the young man - generally assumed to be John
Mark himself - who saw Jesus and His disciples leaving, followed them
and was nearly arrested and fled leaving his garment behind, seems to
indicate that John was at least in the same building during the Last
Supper - which would be odd if it were held somewhere else, but entirely
natural if it was in the building belonging to his parents.

God bless,
Kendall K. Down

Note 1: A child or a wife might sit at the foot of a man's couch. Guests
would expect to be allowed to lie down, but where doubling up was
required, both men would lie on their left sides, propping themselves up
with their left elbows and able to reach for the food on a table in
front of them with their right hands. Expecting a man to sit at the foot
of the couch would be an insult.


Mike Davis

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Jul 15, 2022, 4:59:44 AMJul 15
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On 14/07/2022 17:45, Madhu wrote:
Never!

Mike
--
Mike Davis


Charles Lindsey

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Jul 15, 2022, 7:09:45 AMJul 15
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Yes, all that is a well-known supposition consistent with the recorded facts,
but incapable of exact proof.

I accept that they were sitting or lying on the floor, but couches would be
expensive pieces of furniture so I doubt whether sufficient would be available
for the whole party.

Moreover I reckon there were more like 30 people present at the Last Supper.
Clearly a large party of disciples had accompanied Jesus from Galilee, including
a bunch of women (who were presumably downstairs). Clearly Clopas and the
unnamed disciple on the road to Emmaus had been present. Likewise Justus and
Mathias and other candidates for apostleship. Also John the Gospel writer who
was clearly distinct from John bar Zebedee. OTOH the meeting of 120 may well
have taken place outside.

There is still an Upper Room in Jerusalem which is alleged to be the original
(although clearly subject to much subsequent renovation). How big is it? I doubt
cramming 120 people would have been possible.

--
Charles H. Lindsey ---------At my New Home, still doing my own thing------
Tel: +44 161 488 1845 Web: https://www.clerew.man.ac.uk
Email: c...@clerew.man.ac.uk Snail-mail: Apt 40, SK8 5BF, U.K.
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Kendall K. Down

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Jul 15, 2022, 4:19:43 PMJul 15
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On 15/07/2022 12:01, Charles Lindsey wrote:

> I accept that they were sitting or lying on the floor, but couches would
> be expensive pieces of furniture so I doubt whether sufficient would be
> available for the whole party.

If John was "leaning on Jesus' bosom" the implication is clear that both
men were sharing a couch and John was reclining in front of Jesus.
Jesus' reason for selecting that particular Upper Room was doubtless
because it *was* big enough to hold His entire party - and I think you
exaggerate the expense of a couch. They were not leather upholstered,
inner-sprung, you know.

> Moreover I reckon there were more like 30 people present at the Last
> Supper. Clearly a large party of disciples had accompanied Jesus from
> Galilee, including a bunch of women (who were presumably downstairs).
> Clearly Clopas and the unnamed disciple on the road to Emmaus had been
> present. Likewise Justus and Mathias and other candidates for
> apostleship. Also John the Gospel writer who was clearly distinct from
> John bar Zebedee. OTOH the meeting of 120 may well have taken place
> outside.

That is an interesting suggestion but I think it would be hard to
support it from the texts which we have. Certainly there was a larger
group around Jesus, but at the Last Supper I think there was just the
inner group of twelve disciples.

> There is still an Upper Room in Jerusalem which is alleged to be the
> original (although clearly subject to much subsequent renovation). How
> big is it? I doubt cramming 120 people would have been possible.

The Coenaculum is certainly large enough to take 120 people, though I
agree that it would be rather crowded. (I have been in it with other
tour groups, which are almost always in groups of 52 as that is the
number that fits on a coach!) So two tour groups plus my own party of
20-24. Yeah, it's possible.

That said, the likelihood that the Coenaculum is the actual Upper Room
is very very small. There is, in fact, evidence that the Upper Room was
originally identified with a site close to or identical with the present
St Peter Gallicantu while the Coenaculum site was identified with the
palace of Caiaphas. At some point, when venturing outside the walls of
Jerusalem was dangerous, the two seem to have swapped places, probably
for the convenience of mediaeval tour guides.

But in any case, the entire area was thoroughly devastated by the Romans
in AD 70 and reworked by Hadrian after AD 132 and it is highly unlikely
that any building would have survived those two catastrophes.

"Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder,
because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, (for they
would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be
done,) Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city
and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of
the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus and Hippicus and Mariamne; and
so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was
spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison,
as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity
what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valour
had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid
even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that
there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had
ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the
madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great
magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind."
Josephus: Wars of the Jews VII.1.i

On the other hand, we have this:

"Hadrian found the temple of God trodden down and the whole city
devastated save for a few houses and the church of God, which was small,
where the disciples, when they had returned after the Saviour had
ascended from the Mount of Olives, went to the upper room. For there it
had been built, that is, in that portion of Zion which escaped
destruction, together with blocks of houses in the neighbourhood of Zion
and the seven synagogues which alone remained standing in Zion, like
solitary huts, one of which remained until the time of Maximona the
bishop and Constantine the king, 'like a booth in a vineyard', as it is
written."
Epiphanius: de Ponderibus et Mensuris (Of Weights and Measures) 14, 15

Unfortunately both the Coenaculum and St Peter Gallicantu are on Mt Zion
and of the two, Gallicantu is more likely to have escaped the
destruction by the Romans, simply because it was further away. However
it is *possible* that the reference is to a building on the site of what
is now the Coenaculum.

The joys of archaeology.
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