Mark 7:31

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And again he went out from the borders of Tyre, and came through Sidon unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis. (ASV)

Contents

Pro

First Problem = Going From Tyre Through Sidon To The Sea Of Galilee

Language

For starters, we need to consider the underlying Greek in order to try and determine the likely meaning of the author:

http://biblos.com/mark/7-31.htm

Greek---Transliteration-Strong's---Morphology-English
Καὶ-------kai-----------------2532--------CONJ---------and
πάλιν----palin---------------3825--------ADV----------again
ἐξελθὼν -exelthōn------1831----V-2AAP-NSM---having departed
ἐκ---------ek----------------1537---------PREP---------from
τῶν-----tōn------------3588--------T-GPN------the
ὁρίων---oriōn---------- 3725--------N-GPN------region
Τύρου---turou----------5184--------N-GSF------of tyre
ἦλθεν---ēlthen--------- 2064--------V-2AAI-3S--he came
διὰ-----dia------------ 1223--------PREP-------through
Σιδῶνος-sidōnos--------4605--------N-GSF------Sidon
εἰς-----eis-------------1519--------PREP-------against
τὴν-----tēn------------3588--------T-ASF------- the
θάλασσαν-thalassan-----2281--------N-ASF-------sea
τῆς---- tēs-------------3588--------T-GSF-------of
Γαλιλαίας-galilaias----1056--------N-GSF-------Galilee
ἀνὰ-----ana------------ 303---------PREP--------within
μέσον---meson----------3319--------A-ASN-------midst
τῶν-----tōn------------3588--------T-GPN-------of the
ὁρίων---oriōn---------- 3725--------N-GPN-------region
Δεκαπόλεως-dekapoleōs--1179--------N-GSF-------of decapolis

The route of Jesus here is from Tyre, north to Sidon and southeast to the Sea of Galilee. The narrative of Chapter 7 indicates that Jesus went to Tyre for the purpose of leaving Galilee and the only reason to go to Sidon was that it was on the way to the Sea of Galilee. Note that in general "Mark" always provides the reason for a road trip and the only reason for Sidon here is the claim that it was on the way to the Sea of Galilee. Since Sidon was in the wrong direction to get to the Sea of Galilee, a literal reading of the text indicates the directions are in error.

The language is clear that Jesus:

1) Departs from Tyre

2) Goes through Sidon

3) Arrives at the Sea of Galilee.

It's all in one related verse so the English equivalent would be:

[B]Jesus departed from Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee.[/B]

The Greek indicates it's one related action. RH wants a meaning of a separation of action between Sidon and the Sea of Galilee:

1) Jesus went through Sidon

2) Jesus than went to the Sea of Galilee.

But the Greek doesn't say that. It's clear that the natural understanding of the verse is that Sidon was a means or a route/path to get from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee. Beyond that I don't even think the meaning RH wants is even possible based on the known uses of the offending word:

"διὰ dia 1223 PREP through"

Strong's gives a definition of:

[url]http://strongsnumbers.com/greek/1223.htm[/url]

[quote] through, on account of, because of [/quote]

A common use of διὰ is in the context of a gate, which spin gave. The relationship is between inside and outside and the gate is the means. Strong's gives the most common usage of:


"through".

Strong's gives an expanded definition of:


Note the primary meaning of "cause".

There's no substitute for looking at the meanings of the uses of the word. Here we have them:

[url]http://concordance.biblos.com/dia2.htm[/url]

Here's a nice example of the word being used in the context of directions:

[quote] Matthew 8:28 Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πέραν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γαδαρηνῶν ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ δύο δαιμονιζόμενοι ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἐξερχόμενοι χαλεποὶ λίαν ὥστε μὴ ἰσχύειν τινὰ παρελθεῖν [B]διὰ[/B] τῆς ὁδοῦ ἐκείνης.

When he came to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed by demons met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way. [/quote]

There are 520 uses here RH and Jesus really got around. So try to find one use in the context of a departure and arrival that does not mean that whatever διὰ is attached to was the means of getting from departure to arrival.


Oh, but "Mark" says more than that. He says that Sidon was the route (διὰ) Jesus took to get from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee. Jesus departed (ἐξελθὼν) from Tyre and went through (διὰ) Sidon coming to (εἰς) the Sea of Galilee. The context and structure is clearly directional. It tells how Jesus got from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee. If "Mark" intended to communicate what I just said he would have written it like I said. If he intended what you said he would have said it differently.

Authority

Translations

Commentaries

Christian critical commentaries generally acknowledge this. R.T. France, in The New International Greek Testament Commentary writes:

p. 299

"31. See the textual note on 7:24 above. Here the reading Τύρου Καὶ Σιδῶνος [Tyre and Sidon] is less well supported, and is best seen as a further reversion to the familiar biblical pair of names. The difficult geography of a journey from the region of Tyre to Decapolis via Sidon (which is in almost the opposite direction) would be another reason for "correction" by a scribe who knew something of the geography of the area."

p. 301

"If we accept the reading of διὰ Σιδῶνος, the text describes a round-about journey which takes Jesus first northwards from the district of Tyre to that of Sidon, then back south to the Lake of Galilee, "in the middle of the region of Decapolis". Since the Decapolis reached up to the lake only at its south-east quarter, a route from the region of Sidon to the lake in the region of the Decapolis would involve a considerable detour to the east and south. All of this route would be through non-Jewish territory, but there is no obvious reason why Jesus should go on such a long journey through this largely desert region in order to regain the lake. Mark's geographical terms may not be used with precision."

We have the following geographical problems here based on the language:

1) From Tyre, Sidon would not be on the way to the Sea of Galilee.
2) From Sidon he would be on the north-west side of the Sea instead of the south-east where the Decapolis was.
3) On the Sea Jesus is on the edge of the Decapolis and not in the middle.



The author of Mark appears to be ignorant of the geography of the region. Sidon is north of Tyre, not south of it: nobody starting from Tyre would pass through Sidon on the way southwards to Galilee. Furthermore, the group of ten towns known as the "Decapolis" lay beyond the Sea of Galilee, to the southeast.

This passage is equivalent to a modern commentator saying "And he left Washington DC and passed through New York on the way to the Everglades, through the midst of the Florida Keys", or "And he left Istanbul and passed through Moscow on the way to Cairo, through the midst of the Serengeti".

It should be noted that an apologist might argue that Jesus had other business to attend to in Sidon and the Decapolis, which could explain his curiously indirect route. But even though Mark claimed that Jesus was going to "the borders of Tyre and Sidon" a few lines earlier (Mark 7:24), he doesn't then mention Jesus doing anything in Sidon or the Decapolis (and it isn't his only geographical error: see Mark 5:13). --Robert Stevens 10:11, 30 Aug 2006 (CDT)

Some embarrassment over this ignorance of geography is shown in Mt 15:21, where the author of Matthew, who copied from Mark but is apparently is familiar with Galilee, rewords the story to correct the error. When the author of Luke copies Mark in this section, he completely removes this geographical reference. -- Equinox 2006.08.30

[[Image:First_century_palestine.gif ]]


Greek Transliteration Strong's Morphology English Καὶ kai 2532 CONJ and πάλιν palin 3825 ADV again ἐξελθὼν exelthōn 1831 V-2AAP-NSM having departed ἐκ ek 1537 PREP from τῶν tōn 3588 T-GPN the ὁρίων oriōn 3725 N-GPN region Τύρου turou 5184 N-GSF of tyre ἦλθεν ēlthen 2064 V-2AAI-3S he came διὰ dia 1223 PREP through Σιδῶνος sidōnos 4605 N-GSF Sidon εἰς eis 1519 PREP against τὴν tēn 3588 T-ASF the θάλασσαν thalassan 2281 N-ASF sea τῆς tēs 3588 T-GSF of Γαλιλαίας galilaias 1056 N-GSF Galilee ἀνὰ ana 303 PREP within μέσον meson 3319 A-ASN midst τῶν tōn 3588 T-GPN of the ὁρίων oriōn 3725 N-GPN region Δεκαπόλεως dekapoleōs 1179 N-GSF of decapolis

Reaction to Original Text

Editing of "Mark"

Wieland Willker notes at:

http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/TC-Mark.pdf

the editing of 7:31:

"TVU 126

This reading must be taken together with verse 31:

NA27 Mark 7:31 Kai. pa,lin evxelqw.n evk tw/n o`ri,wn Tu,rou h=lqen dia. Sidw/noj eivj th.n qa,lassan th/j Galilai,aj avna. me,son tw/n o`ri,wn Dekapo,lewj

BYZ Mark 7:31 Kai. pa,lin evxelqw.n evk tw/n o`ri,wn Tu,rou kai. Sidw/noj h=lqen pro.j th.n qa,lassan th/j Galilai,aj avna. me,son tw/n o`ri,wn Dekapo,lewj

T&T #98

Byz P45, A, W, 0131, 0211, f1, f13, 28, Maj, q, Sy, samss, goth

txt 01, B, D, L, D, Q, 33, 565, 700, 892, 1342,Lat, samss, bo, WH, NA25, Trg, Tis, Bal, Tu,rou h=lqen eivj 579 B: no umlaut

Verse 31: The txt reading is clearly the more difficult one. Sidon lies north of Tyre and it is strange to go from Tyre "through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee". The Byzantine text reads in both verses Tu,rou kai. Sidw/noj, which is smooth and straightforward."

JW: The original text reads Τύρου (Tyre) ἦλθεν (he came) διὰ (through) Σιδῶνος (Sidon) and the edited text is Τύρου (Tyre) Καὶ (and) Σιδῶνος (Sidon) λθεν (he came) προς (unto)

Clearly scribes thought the original was a problem and changed Sidon's role from only being the supposed path taken from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee to being the joint departure point along with Tyre. Note that in order to do this the editors [B]also[/B] had to edit 7:24 in order to add "Sidon" here as a co-arrival point with Tyre. That would be a lot of effort to go through just to improve something you did not think was an error.

Editing of "Matthew"

Note especially the extreme reaction here of "Matthew":

[url=http://www.errancywiki.com/index.php?title=Matthew_15] Matthew[/url]


After returning from Tyre and Sidon, "Matthew's" Jesus climbs a mountain. "Mark's" Jesus though returns for a healing:

[quote] 7:31 And again he went out from the borders of Tyre, and came through Sidon unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis.

7:32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to lay his hand upon him.

7:33 And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue;

7:34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

7:35 And his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

7:36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it.

7:37 And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well; he maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. [/quote]

"Matthew's" Jesus does not follow "Mark's" Jesus here because he is not sure exactly where the hell he went after 7:31.

Physical Route Problem

As far as we know there was no road at the time between Sidon and the Sea of Galilee. As the following map show there is a mountain range to the east of Sidon so in order to get to the Sea of Galilee from Sidon you would probably have to go back South to the Tyre area.

peutinger_holy_land.jpg


http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/sigoph.html

nt_israel-flat.jpg


http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/ShreddingTheGospels.htm#errors

Palestine2.gif


http://lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/jordan_rel_2004.pdf



Context

Purpose of leaving Galilee

You gave the reason yourself. "Mark's" Jesus wants to be by himself. That would be hard to do with the disciples there. "Mark" has a primary theme that the disciples are grooving on all the attention from the Teaching and Healing Ministry but Jesus isn't enjoying it. Having people believe based on miracles is not faith. Having people believe despite suffering is. So your point above fails at every consideration. The text gives reasons for Jesus to go to Tyre and to go through Sidon and for the disciples to go to Bethsaida. Actually I think "Mark" always provides a reason for Jesus' moves. Thanks for confirming my point again. Still no defense against error at this point.

"Mark's" language is in the context of directions. As I've indicated, that is the reason to mention Sidon. There is no other reason given to go to Sidon and "Mark" always gives reasons for Jesus to go somewhere. The route that Jesus took is not the issue. The only issue is would stating that the way to get from Tye to the Sea of Galilee would be to go through Sidon, be a directional error?


1) We have been given the reason to go to Tyre = to get away from Galilee.

2) We have been told that Jesus is not trying to Minister to the Gentiles at this point so that would not be the reason to go to Sidon. Jesus has already gone to Tyre to get away from Galilee o he does not need to go to Sidon to get away from Galilee.

3) The text gives us the reason Jesus goes to Sidon. Because it was the route needed to get from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee. This is a geographical error. This is followed by a complimentary geographical error, going through the Decapolis borders to get to the Sea of Galilee.

4) The text than gives the reason to go back to Galilee:

Quote:

   32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to lay his hand upon him.
   33 And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue;
   34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
   35 And his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
   36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it.
   37 And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well; he maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. 

Jesus is back in Galilee to resume his Ministry.


I've already indicated why the text shows no other reason to go to Sidon:

1) No other reason is given.

2) "Mark's" Jesus always/almost always has a reason to go somewhere.

3) "Mark" gives a reason to go on the trip in general, to get away from Galilee.

4) Jesus overall purpose in the text here is to minister and "Mark" normally gives some description of it by location

Normally Reason for Jesus' Trips

when διὰ is attached to a location that is in between a departure and arrival in a directions/geographical context, it always has a meaning of "between" in a directions/geographical context.

Other Geographical Errors

Figurative Explanation

[COLOR="Blue"]JW[/COLOR]: Getting back to the reaction of the Church Fathers, we see at [url=http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/e-catena/mark7.html] e-catena[/url] that Origen is the only Father here to comment on Mark 7:24/31:

[url=http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101611.htm] Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XI)[/url]

[quote] 16. Concerning the Canaanitish Woman. Meaning of the "Borders of Tyre and Sidon." ... Mark says that "He rose up and went into the borders of Tyre, and having entered into the house wished no man to know it." Mark 7:24 ... But some one might say that Tyre and Sidon are used for the Gentiles; accordingly when He withdrew from Israel He came into the parts of the Gentiles. ... When Jesus, then, went out from Gennesaret He withdrew indeed from Israel and came, not to Tyre and Sidon, but into "the parts" of Tyre and Sidon, with the result that those of the Gentiles now believe in part; so that if He had visited the whole of Tyre and Sidon, no unbeliever would have been left in it. [/quote]

[COLOR="Blue"]JW[/COLOR]: Note that Origen, the first textual critic of the Church, was relatively honest by Church Father standards. He is reading Mark 7:24 before it has been forged to Tyre [I]and[/I] Sidon so presumably he sees the geographical error of 7:31. Its likely that "Mark" here was avoided by the Fathers in general as confusing and embarrassing. Also note that Origen is looking here for a [B]figurative[/B] explanation of why Jesus goes to Tyre and Sidon here. So the earlier, smarter and honester Father sees the figurative intent. Just like me.

Origen's general position was that the Greek copies contained numerous errors as to names, especially place names:

[url=http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101506.htm] Commentary on the Gospel of John (Book VI)[/url]

[quote] 24. The Name of the Place Where John Baptized is Not Bethany, as in Most Copies, But Bethabara. Proof of This. Similarly "Gergesa" Should Be Read for "Gerasa," In the Story of the Swine. Attention is to Be Paid to the Proper Names in Scripture, Which are Often Written Inaccurately, and are of Importance for Interpretation. ... In the matter of proper names the Greek copies are often incorrect, and in the Gospels one might be misled by their authority. [/quote]

[COLOR="Blue"]JW[/COLOR]: Admittedly, saying that the Gospels in general have many wrong names of places, is a different error than saying the Gospels contain errors in directions. But you can get there from here.

As always, think of how useful Mark 7:24-31 would have been to Paul/Fake Paul. There would appear than to have been no tradition of Jesus going to the Gentiles in the 1st century. Q for "Mark". Entrance = [url=http://www.errancywiki.com/index.php?title=Mark_16:5] "right" side"[/url]

Second Problem = Going To The Sea Of Galilee In The Middle Of The Decapolis

Third Problem = Sidon is on the Northwest Side of the Sea of Galilee. The Decapolis is on the Southeast Side

Con

The argument for error poses that the apologist "might argue that Jesus had other business to attend to in Sidon and the Decapolis, which could explain his curiously indirect route," as if there is something wrong with such an argument. However, the only argument against this understanding of Mark's account is that Mark "doesn't then mention Jesus doing anything in Sidon or the Decapolis." The illusion of geographical error is thus thought to be realized through the wanderings of the imagination.

As Mark has previously stated that Jesus traveled to the region of Tyre and Sidon (7:24, as the argument for error notes), we might naturally expect that Mark tell us that Jesus traveled from Tyre to Sidon as there is nothing unnatural about that route. If Mark had told us that Jesus had traveled from Sidon to Tyre, we might well be perplexed, but we would still have no basis to say he erred in his account.

Once in Sidon, the route to the Sea of Galilee is no less difficult going through the region of the Decopolis than a seemingly more direct route through Israel. Considering the crowds who now come to Jesus for healing on every occasion (6:56) and the Pharisees who come from Jerusalem to challenge Him (7:1), we may naturally conclude that Jesus went to Tyre first, and then Sidon, perhaps only for some rest, and then through the region of the Decopolis so as to avoid the crowds and the Pharisees and reach Galilee as quickly as possible.

The argument for error is built on strawmen arguments that seek to take advantage of an absence of information. However, there is no reason to think that Jesus did not follow the exact route that Mark has described.

Neutral

Edit this section to note miscellaneous facts.

Mainstream Christian commentary generally concedes that this is a geographical error. But maybe Jesus just went out of his Way to minister.

--JoeWallack 09:26, 4 Sep 2006 (CDT)

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