The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
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12-12-2016, 07:29 AM
The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
In "The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins" John's disciples come to Jesus and ask why they fast all the time, but the followers of Jesus do not. Then suddenly, with no explanation, segue or transition, Jesus jumps in with this strange parable about putting new wine in new bottles to not make them burst. It has always puzzled me and no one has ever been able to give me satisfactory explanation of what the parable could mean or what it has to do with fasting.

In the context of a satire of the works of Josephus, however, it all makes perfect sense (remember that John is one of the main leaders of the rebel factions in the siege of Jerusalem):

[Image: asztxdssz43y.png]

Jesus seems to be suggesting that you should give the wine and food to the fresh Roman soldiers that will not burst upon eating it, no need to waste it on those Jewish rebels, he, he. Finally the parable makes sense to me, but it is pretty dark.
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12-12-2016, 09:55 AM
RE: The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
I don't mean to be a pain... but I am not getting this at all. You have a passage from Josephus which says that people swallowed gold so when this was discovered, they were killed and opened up to get the gold.

Then you have a passage from the New Testament asking why the Pharisees fasted so often. The response, I admit, isn't easy to understand, but seems to say that you fast when it is appropriate to fast, and you don't use new material to repair an old garment, presumably because it will rip the old garment and make the tear worse. I'm not a seamstress so i can't explain that any further. They it says that you shouldn't use old bottles to bottle wine because the old bottle might break, I guess because it might have some damage to it and be weak, so you use a new bottle.

I just read this as saying that you don't do things which don't make sense. You fast when appropriate just as you use the appropriate cloth and bottles. It's just saying that fasting for no reason doesn't make sense and is a waste of time. Do what is appropriate to the circumstances instead of following a ritual which is a waste of time. Following rituals which have no purpose or significance doesn't improve your life and may just make it worse. Or something like that.

Again, I don't see the two paragraphs are saying anything similar and I don't find them to be part of a satire, or in any way funny.
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12-12-2016, 10:26 AM
RE: The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
Sorry, but I have to call you out on this, and Atwill to a degree.

I was impressed by Atwill's logic in using a mathematical probability theory. After that, saying that the New Testament is satirical just does not make sense.

The NT is aimed at the people of the Levant and Asia Minor, what was the Assyrian or Greater Armenian empire. When the Romans adopted Christianity at the Council of Nicea in 325, they had conquered Asia Minor. Nicea is in Asia Minor, south of Istanbul. It makes sense that they would want to use a religion to pacify the area and that they would use a religion from that area, but with the Hellenistic message which Christianity contains. Constantinople was made the capital of the Roman Empire in 330AD.

There is no reason to see the NT as a satirical work. The people it was intended to convert, were believers in the myths of the NT and they wouldn't have seen it as satirical but, rather, referencing their religion and promoting one of their own as the Messiah.

The Romans, in Rome, would not have needed to be converted and were Hellenistic in outlook or pagan, but this work would not have been aimed at them because no one was trying to convert them. It might have seemed amusing if they had read it but that would be because they found Near East monotheism to be silly.

Why would the Romans who convened the Council of Nicea put forward religious texts which they thought would be seen as satirical? None of this makes any sense in its context.

What is happening is that Atwill was raised in Catholicism and went to a a Roman Catholic school. Later in life he fell out with Catholicism and gave up his career in IT and studied the Gnostic Gospels and came up with the theory that the NT was a Roman/Alexandrian work written in conjunction with the War with the Jews. That is a viable theory based on his statistical analysis and that is his background. However, he developed a disdain for Christianity and saw it as ridiculous. What he then does is to see the NT as a comedic work because of his own attitude towards Christianity. He produces no evidence to show that the NT was read in Rome as some sort of satire. In fact, he suggests that Vespasian and his court adopted Christianity themselves, much earlier than we think Romans adopted it. That does not show that anyone wrote or read the NT as a satire. Quite the contrary. The theory he puts forward is more consistent with the Romans needing an ideology to pacify the people of the Near East and it would not make sense to give them something that could be seen by anyone as satirical and a comedy.

He's just imposed his own jaundiced view of Christianity on history and there's no basis for it in fact or in a plain reading of the NT. None at all.
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12-12-2016, 10:32 AM
RE: The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
DB did you miss '(Satire)' in the title of this thread?

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

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12-12-2016, 02:41 PM
RE: The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
(12-12-2016 09:55 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I don't mean to be a pain... but I am not getting this at all. You have a passage from Josephus which says that people swallowed gold so when this was discovered, they were killed and opened up to get the gold.

Then you have a passage from the New Testament asking why the Pharisees fasted so often. The response, I admit, isn't easy to understand, but seems to say that you fast when it is appropriate to fast, and you don't use new material to repair an old garment, presumably because it will rip the old garment and make the tear worse.

Ok, you are missing most of the points here. These two stories are almost exactly the same story. In the siege of Jerusalem, John was one of the leaders of the rebellion. The people under him were undergoing an extreme famine and many were dying. Some of them escaped and went over to the Romans and got food. In the book of Matthew, the disciples of John came to Jesus and asked him why they had to fast so much, I guess they were hungry. If Jesus represents here either Josephus or Titus then these are so far exactly the same story because Jesus is on the side of the Romans so they were likely to see Josephus. But then Josephus tells us that those deserters who came over to the Romans met with "too great abundance among the Romans", so Jesus compares that to a wedding, the main place where you have too great abundance and says "Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?", so still pretty much the same story, the disciples of John came to Jesus and were wondering why they had to fast while the Romans got to eat like they were at a wedding or something. Then Josephus tells us that those hungry Jews ate too much and "they all on the sudden overfilled those bodies that were before empty, and so burst asunder" and Jesus tells us about wineskins being over filled and breaking and the wine running out. These are still the exact same story! Then Josephus tells us that those who were able to resist their hunger and not over eat were "preserved" and so Jesus tells us that we should put new wine into new bottles and both will be "preserved". These are the exact same story, just that the one in the NT never made any sense until just now. But once you understand that they are almost down to every single story detail the same story, then you can understand the fine differences which makes satire. For example, Jesus seems to be telling us that we should not put any wine in those old wineskins, it would be a waste to give it to those dying Jews. That is the hidden meaning to understand why Jesus tells the parable of the wineskins bursting exactly at the place where John's disciples come over to Jesus and ask why they have to fast all the time but the followers of Jesus don't. Since Jesus mostly represents Josephus, it seems to be suggesting that Josephus had that attitude of fuck those rebellious Jews just let them die. Which is a take-away message you get from Josephus all the time.


“But as for John... he betook himself to sacrilege, and melted down many of the sacred utensils... he did not abstain from those pouring vessels that were sent them by Augustus and his wife... this man, who was a Jew, seized upon what were the donations of foreigners, and said to those that were with him, that it was proper for them to use Divine things, while they were fighting for the Divinity... on which account he emptied the vessels of that sacred wine and oil...and distributed it among the multitude, who, in their anointing themselves and drinking... And here I cannot but speak my mind, and what the concern I am under dictates to me, and it is this: I suppose, that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, that the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed.”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, 13:6

This guy Josephus just cursed his own people to death because John used up the sacred oil and wine. He pretends always to be a good guy, sent by God, but is constantly cursing his own people to death and then they all die. He is satirically represented by Jesus who does exactly all the same things, but just remove all the bad words like "besiege" and "slaughter" with "baptize" and "heal" to make it sound more holy and miraculous, like Josephus says it was. It is suggesting that Josephus was secretly a bad person who was pretending to be a good person, and if you only hear the good parts, filter out the bad from Josephus, pretend like it's not there, then you get the story of Jesus.
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12-12-2016, 03:43 PM
RE: The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
(12-12-2016 10:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Sorry, but I have to call you out on this, and Atwill to a degree.

I was impressed by Atwill's logic in using a mathematical probability theory. After that, saying that the New Testament is satirical just does not make sense.

Atwill's look into chronology and attempts at probabalistic textual comparisons are great. The main thing I don't like is that he jumps to some crazy conclusions about authorship. What he shows with his methods are textual dependence, not authorship. There is no argument for that except Constantine, which is a terrible argument. I am more interested in the question of what it is that was written than in who wrote it. Since I found over 400 jokes and ironic parallels, I conclude it is a satire. Now, the NT was written in Greek and who was writing Greek satires in Greek in the first century? That is why I would strongly suspect some Greek scholars and writers as the culprits.

But Atwill had only 10% of the parallels that I have found and some of the ones he had, I claim to demonstrate to be wrong. So he also, with limited information, is misguided in thinking that Jesus always represents Titus. It is a bit more complex than that. I would say, if you want to know who the son of God is, you should ask who God is. Once Vespasian becomes emperor he also became deified shortly after that for his role in the war. At that point, Titus can be represented as the son of God, but I have many examples where it is his adopted brother Josephus, the only son be-gotten of the Father, because he was captured by Vespasian in the siege of Jotapata. But I have also one example where his biological brother Domitian is represented as Jesus. And besides that, there is at least a few examples from before Vespasian became God, when Nero was God and sent Vespasian to do the will of God on earth (i.e. in Israel) and so Vespasian is represented as the son of God, doing God's will (it's the one where Jesus had his "face set to go to Jerusalem" which never made any sense what that could mean, the explanation is very ironic;).


(12-12-2016 10:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  It makes sense that they would want to use a religion to pacify the area and that they would use a religion from that area, but with the Hellenistic message which Christianity contains. Constantinople was made the capital of the Roman Empire in 330AD.

Some things get used for something other than their original purpose. Have you perhaps ever heard of a case where a fake news website wrote a satirical article but a bunch of people didn't understand that it was satire and so you got the wrong president? A good satire always imitates its target. Now if the NT is a satire of Josephus then it should imitate him. That means that if the works of Josephus are Roman propaganda, then the NT would also sound like Roman propaganda to those that don't understand satire and don't get the joke and know the reference. If you understand the joke, suddenly you see that the joke is not Roman propaganda but just imitating in a humorous way some real Roman propaganda. That is why Atwill insists on "Flavian Vanity" he only sees the propaganda and doesn't get the joke. If you don't get the joke, try reading them both very carefully, keeping the whole of both stories in your head at the same time. Then read again the NT passage with a very dismissive voice in your head, like "oh, yeah, totally Jesus, you really came here and saved those Jews, didn't you, now they are all dead, thank you! You healed them of their infirmities, just like a real messenger from God, right? now they're all dead ;)".


(12-12-2016 10:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  The Romans, in Rome, would not have needed to be converted and were Hellenistic in outlook or pagan, but this work would not have been aimed at them because no one was trying to convert them. It might have seemed amusing if they had read it but that would be because they found Near East monotheism to be silly.

I don't know if most Romans would have necessarily understood the Joke, you probably needed to be very fluent in Greek (probably Titus and Vespasian, soldiers, were not so good at literary Greek) and have studied both the NT and the works of Josephus carefully to understand the joke. It is not that easy to find it, if you don't know you are looking for a joke. I was looking for jokes and it was really, really hard and took me a lot of time. This satire is very carefully and very well written, even for the Greek scholars, I think this is a masterpiece.


(12-12-2016 10:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  What is happening is that Atwill was raised in Catholicism and went to a a Roman Catholic school. Later in life he fell out with Catholicism and gave up his career in IT and studied the Gnostic Gospels and came up with the theory that the NT was a Roman/Alexandrian work written in conjunction with the War with the Jews. That is a viable theory based on his statistical analysis and that is his background. However, he developed a disdain for Christianity and saw it as ridiculous. What he then does is to see the NT as a comedic work because of his own attitude towards Christianity.

I was raised Mormon and was homeschooled and basically only read the Bible and the Book of Mormon for school every day until I was 14 so that King James English is almost more of a native language to me than modern English. I was convinced it was all a lie by the time I was 8 but was only able to leave the Mormons when I was 18. When I grew up and got a PhD in astrophysics and then found out that the Book of Mormon was a mash-up of "Captain Kidd", "the view of the Hebrews" and the Old Testament, I was not surprised to find out that the NT was exactly the same. A really bad joke of mish-mash. Atwill informed me of what it was a mish-mash of. I found the joke in it.

(12-12-2016 10:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  He produces no evidence to show that the NT was read in Rome as some sort of satire.

Neither do I, it probably doesn't exist. Greeks wrote Greek satire and the NT was written in Greek. The Romans didn't have such a well developed culture of satire, most probably would not have understood it.


(12-12-2016 10:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  In fact, he suggests that Vespasian and his court adopted Christianity themselves, much earlier than we think Romans adopted it. That does not show that anyone wrote or read the NT as a satire. Quite the contrary.

He suggests a lot of things that have no justification. Although some of his analysis is very good, he jumps to conclusions that are not justified.


(12-12-2016 10:26 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  The theory he puts forward is more consistent with the Romans needing an ideology to pacify the people of the Near East and it would not make sense to give them something that could be seen by anyone as satirical and a comedy.

Satire is not inconsistent with that at all. Like I explained, they needed an ideology so they had Josephus write one for them. He wrote them a wonderful piece of propaganda. And what happens in the modern world when someone produces blatant propaganda? People make fun of it. And when you make fun of it, you imitate it. Only back then, mocking the adopted son of the living God could get you sent to the Egyptian mines, so you did it anonymously. Like in an anonymous gospel in a satirical form which you can't understand "unless it has been given to you to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God". It sounded just like propaganda and was exactly what the Romans wanted without know that that was what they wanted. They did it better than Josephus himself and who could ever find out for the next thousand years if we just kill all those gnostics who knew it wasn't real?
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13-12-2016, 07:32 AM
RE: The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins (satire)
I think, to be honest, that concentrating on these works as satirical of each other misses the point. It may be, as you say, that there are a lot of "satirical" passages. I haven't seen anything that I would call satirical.

As I said, I read the empty tomb story in the NT again, after reading Atwill and I tried to see it as amusing. He calls it a comedy of errors.

I have a pretty highly developed sense of humour... I saw nothing funny, amusing or comedic about it. What I saw was a writing style which needs to be plausible, by presenting more than one viewpoint, and needs to show "depth" in that one can follow the plot. If you read all of the synoptic gospels and think about the empty tomb story, you will forget which gospel said what. and you will remember Jesus not being in the tomb and various people being shown the way up to the tomb and coming into contact with Jesus as he makes his way down the hill. You need to have several writers and stories to make this come to life and not be either just "static" or appear to be a novel or one person's viewpoint. It's like any situation, such as a crime scene where you read police reports from different officers. They all differ. They arrive at different times, see different things, speak to different people. It paints a picture which is three dimensional. Atwill thinks the significant thing is that there are discrepancies and that this shows it is a farce, when in fact it makes it more believable.

I think if I were to accept what you are saying I would have to bend my mind to see these as satirical. I don't think for one moment the writers of these works sat down thinking they were writing something which was amusing or satirical. Perhaps this is the wrong word but it has put me off.

I think the starting point is no to look at the literary style but at the historical period in which this took place. Atwill is important because by showing the works are written in concert with the War with the Jews he shows that it is about something occurring at a much later date and then one can see the historical significance of the NT.

I read the NT, now, as a moral philosophical work aimed at a religion of Syria and since I live next door to Syria I have a familiarity with the religious groupings and the culture of this area, which still reflects a suppressed cult in its cultural practices and iconography, much of which is not Islamic.

The key to understanding it is to read it as one would a moral treatise, starting by looking at the underlying moral principle and what that is based on. In the NT it is "do unto others" and it is based on a notion of god as the "logos". From that moral principle Jesus derives a moral philosophy which does not depend on the existence of a god at all. That means it is Hellenistic and rational. The parables are just examples of how to apply this moral philosophy while the narrative and mystical aspects are from a semi-fictional character imbued with mythological characteristics of the Messiah of the religion which prevailed in the area at the time.
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