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Old 12-19-2007, 02:50 PM
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Mark 5:13


Jesus drives evil spirits out of a man and into a herd of pigs. What's a herd of pigs doing in Judea? Were there gentile pig farmers, or was it OK for a Jew to own a pig farm? And were there enough Romans around to make owning a pig farm profitable?
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:56 PM
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The Jews weren't the only people around. Plenty of others who ate pigs (I assume, because the contemporary explanation of the ancient dietary laws emphasizes separation of Jews from their then-neighbors via restricting foods favored by others).
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:11 PM
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This miracle took place in the country of the Gadarenes. This was a Greco-Roman area, so there would have been a market for pigs.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rube E. Tewesday
This miracle took place in the country of the Gadarenes. This was a Greco-Roman area, so there would have been a market for pigs.
Makes sense. Thanks.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rube E. Tewesday
This miracle took place in the country of the Gadarenes. This was a Greco-Roman area, so there would have been a market for pigs.
Actually, Mark identifies the town as Gerasa*. Matthew changed it to Gerada, probably because Gerasa was 30 miles away from the lake which the pigs were supposed to have jumped into (not only that but it had no less than three rivers blocking the route). Gerada was still 6 miles away from the Sea of Galilee and still had a river in the way, but it was not as badly situated for the credibility of the story as Gerasa. Mark had a lousy understanding of Palestinian geography.

Here's a map. (look south of the sea of Galilee and yu'll find Gadara. A little south of that is Gerasa).

Having said all that, both towns were in the region of the Greek inhabited Decapolis, so pigs would not have been out of place.







*The Textus Receptus uses later manuscript sources in which choran ton Gerasenon ("the land of the Gerasenes") has been redacted to choran ton Gadarenos to make it jibe with Matthew. The older and more reliable manuscripts show the Gerasenon reading. While Gerasa is the correct reading, many English Bible versions, such as the KJV, still retain the Gadrerenos redaction as an artifact of the Received Text.

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 12-19-2007 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:00 PM
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Thanks for that, Diogenes. After I posted that, with the wiki reference, I started wondering how Mark had managed to get something more or less right about Palestinian geography. Anyway, point remains, in the Decapolis, so no problem with pigs.

Mmm...sacrificed pig.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rube E. Tewesday
Mmm...sacrificed pig.

You would think the evil spirits would ruin the taste....


Also I always wondered what the poor pig herder did to deserve to loose his pigs to a bunch of evil spirits. Never thought that was very nice of Jesus considering he could have done anything, why did he have to kill the guys pigs?

Last edited by askeptic; 12-19-2007 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by askeptic
Also I always wondered what the poor pig herder did to deserve to loose his pigs to a bunch of evil spirits. Never thought that was very nice of Jesus considering he could have done anything, why did he have to kill the guys pigs?
It was a request of the demons, not a command of Jesus:
Quote:
12The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." 13He gave them permission, and...
But the reason that Jesus did that may be revealed here:
Quote:
14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well.
The demons' request was used by Jesus to show the population what had happened to the man that was demonized.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird
It was a request of the demons, not a command of Jesus:


But the reason that Jesus did that may be revealed here:

The demons' request was used by Jesus to show the population what had happened to the man that was demonized.

Still don't see what the poor pig herder did to deserve having his pigs drowned. Back then a herd of pigs probably represented all his earthly wealth. How would you like to lose all your wealth merely to prove a relatively minor point? And since the pig herder probably was not a jew, I mean how would you like to lose your wealth to prove an atheists point.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:32 AM
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Why, Jews? Why? Why do you hate piggies so much?
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:41 AM
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I think Jews and muslims are self loathing cannibals. They probably all got rickets and mad cow disease in their prehistory in Africa and the taboo stuck, long pig and all that. The pig reminds them of human flesh in some weird genetic memory.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:44 AM
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<nevermind>

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Old 12-20-2007, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilsknew
I think Jews and muslims are self loathing cannibals. They probably all got rickets and mad cow disease in their prehistory in Africa and the taboo stuck, long pig and all that. The pig reminds them of human flesh in some weird genetic memory.
Well, kuru, and if anyone outside of some Pacific islands had ever originated the phrase "long pig". And if... Actually, you might be better advised to drop this whole hypothesis and come up with something more plausible involving seventeen-toed mauve aliens from the planet Neptune.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilsknew
I think Jews and muslims are self loathing cannibals. They probably all got rickets and mad cow disease in their prehistory in Africa and the taboo stuck, long pig and all that. The pig reminds them of human flesh in some weird genetic memory.
Uh.. what? Is that an airplane going over my head?
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic
You would think the evil spirits would ruin the taste....
Mmmmm, deviled ham!
http://www.goodsearch.com/Image.aspx...=7.3&type=jpeg
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Why, Jews? Why? Why do you hate piggies so much?
It wasn't just the Jews. The Muslims have an injunction against pig. So did the ancient Egyptians, and, IIRC, the Sumerians, too. Notice that they all live in the Middle East.

One rationale that has been written about it is that Pork was unhealthy there. Moses Maimonides suggested that, implying that it had something to do with the heat and vapors it generated. More recently, people have suggestyed it might have something to do with trichinosis.

as ever, I cite Marvin Harris, who has suggested in books and articles* that the cause is something completely different -- that Pigs compete with people for food and resources, and that caring for them in that environment (where they must be kept cooled by mud wallows, or they die) was too labor-intensive, and used up even more resources (this is he quick version, that doesn't do the theory justice. see Harris' books for details), and that all those people experienced the same problems, leading them all to formulate the no-pigs rule.


Nevertheless, pigs fatten quickly on their feed, and are nutritious (if you cook it long enough to kill the parasites), so there's certainly a temptation to raise pigs and eat it. Hence the prohibitory passages in the OT and in the Koran. You don't need prohibitions on things people aren't likely to do**. And it explains why pigs were being raised there -- not everyone had such prohibitions. Especially those who came from elsewhere, or whose ancestotrs did. Pigs aren't the heavy tax on resources in Greece that they are in the Middle East (As Harris points out, pig consumption is actually a religious duty in some places in the world, like parts of Polynesia).







*Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, or Good to Eat (also punlished as The Sacred Cow and the Abominable Pig).

** At least until our current litigious society. "Not Intended as a Life-Saving Device"
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic
Still don't see what the poor pig herder did to deserve having his pigs drowned. Back then a herd of pigs probably represented all his earthly wealth.
Maybe he had demon insurance?

Whether the destruction of the pigs was Jesus's "fault" or not, it may explain verse 17 (immediately following the verses kanicbird quoted): "Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region."
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic
Still don't see what the poor pig herder did to deserve having his pigs drowned. Back then a herd of pigs probably represented all his earthly wealth.
A bigger message in those verses, Jesus (God) allowing the self direction (free will) of the demons. What the demons thought would be a good idea, just lead them to the same result when the pigs died anyway. (demons are 'uncomfortable' when outside a body Matthew 12:43 & Luke 11:24). Not that the demons had any chance anyway, but it shows their efforts are ultimately in vain.

The later verses indicate the choice that the population made, they chose to follow their own desires instead of the miracle that God had preformed.

The story does not say what happened to the pig farmer, I'm sure he was very upset, perhaps God replaced it, perhaps not. The pigs did belong to God anyway.

Last edited by kanicbird; 12-20-2007 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:37 PM
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Homer Simpson: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Lisa, honey, are

saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?

Lisa Simpson: No.

Homer Simpson: Ham?

Lisa Simpson: No.

Homer Simpson: Pork chops?

Lisa Simpson: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!

Homer Simpson: [Chuckles] Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic
Still don't see what the poor pig herder did to deserve having his pigs drowned. Back then a herd of pigs probably represented all his earthly wealth. How would you like to lose all your wealth merely to prove a relatively minor point? And since the pig herder probably was not a jew, I mean how would you like to lose your wealth to prove an atheists point.
But Jesus didn't drown the pigs, nor direct them to be drowned. The demons drowned them. So that wasn't done "to prove a point," unless the point was "demons don't like to be inside pigs."
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:55 PM
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But Jesus didn't drown the pigs, nor direct them to be drowned. The demons drowned them. So that wasn't done "to prove a point," unless the point was "demons don't like to be inside pigs."
But surely Jesus didn't think anything good was going to come out of letting the demons into the pigs. Couldn't he have said, "No, leave poor Porky alone, go straight to Hell", like one of the Winchesters from Supernatural would have done? It's a strange story, and I'm to think that it has some meaning that is no longer apparent.
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:23 PM
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Just being GQ I think it is fair to add that there are of course non-insane academic-type people who would say that this was never meant to be read as a literal story: Mark never meant it to be read that Jesus actually did this in the first place & plotting it on a map and trying to make literal sense of it would be the equivalent of plotting out the Garden of Eden and postulating why God placed the Fruit there in the first place.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilsknew
I think Jews and muslims are self loathing cannibals. They probably all got rickets and mad cow disease in their prehistory in Africa and the taboo stuck, long pig and all that. The pig reminds them of human flesh in some weird genetic memory.
Moderator note

I'm going to assume that this is a rather bizarre attempt at humor. However, given its dubious nature I don't believe it is really appropriate for GQ.

Colibri
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Last edited by Colibri; 12-20-2007 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink
Maybe he had demon insurance?
Even if he had insurance, that the demons went into the pigs was because of an Act of God and thus the insurance company wouldn't pay.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham
.., I cite Marvin Harris, who has suggested in books and articles* that the cause is something completely different -- that Pigs compete with people for food and resources, and that caring for them in that environment (where they must be kept cooled by mud wallows, or they die) was too labor-intensive, and used up even more resources (this is he quick version, that doesn't do the theory justice. see Harris' books for details), and that all those people experienced the same problems, leading them all to formulate the no-pigs rule.
And as I have often pointe dout everytime someone mentions this nonsense, it is utter nonsense that doesn't stand up to even cursory scrutiny by someone with a bit of knowledge.

The more massive flaws are:

1) Only a tiny, tiny majority of people living in that environment ever had laws against pigs. The vast majority fo people living oustide of Judea itself happily kept and ate pigs and they were far more numerous than the Jew sliving in the exact same envrionemnt. So the story doesn;t even meet its own basic predictions. Even the Arabs were happily keeping and eating pigs for 3, 000 years after the Jews introduced their laws. So the idea that the Koranic laws especially ahve some positive benefit is just ridiulous. If a practice has no detrimental effect for 3,00 years claiming that it suddnely became useful in 500 ad is just ludicrous.

2) The dietary laws are not against pigs specifically. They also prohibit the eating of, amongst other things, camels. ostriches and termites. Those animals don't compete with humans for food, they don't need more water than cattle and so forth. The laws do however allow the eating of chickens which do comepete directly with humans for food and do need huge amounst of water and vast amounts of care. Once again, Harris' "theory" fails to meet it sown most basic prediction because the laws don't preclude all or even most water an management intensive animals, whiel simultaneously it retsricts the use of very management and water effeicient animals such as donkeys or camels.

Those are just two of the more masisve flaws and really don't do justice tot he massive debunking I have given Harris' ridiculous theory in the past. How anyone can seriously buy into it is beyond nme. the Jewsih dietary laws are mystical mumbo-jumbo. They have no basis in rationality and there is simply no pratcial common thread in terms of the animals that are outlawed and those thatr are allowed. Many of the most water and management efficient and disease free animals available (eg camels, donkeys) were outlawed, while simulateously water wasting and management intensive animals like chickens were endorsed. The laws are based on recieved religion, not any kind of common sense.


Quote:
..And it explains why pigs were being raised there -- not everyone had such prohibitions. Especially those who came from elsewhere, or whose ancestotrs did.
Can we see some evdience for this claim that people whose ancetsors moved to the middle east were more likely to have no taboo against pigs than people who originated there? Just based on my knowledge of the Semitic people at the time it seems to have little basis in fact.

Quote:
As Harris points out, pig consumption is actually a religious duty in some places in the world, like parts of Polynesia
That is because Harris seems to be ignorant of the fact that pigs and dogs are the only domesticated animal in Polynesia. It has nothing at all to do with resource strain. Pigs are a massive resource strain in many parts of Polynesia. It is a religious duty to consume pigs because if you want to make an animals sacrifice and your only domestic animal is a pig then you need to consume pigs.
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:13 AM
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Blake, I strongly suspicion you haven't read Harris. But you do make belligerent noises that aren't warranted.


Quote:
That is because Harris seems to be ignorant of the fact that pigs and dogs are the only domesticated animal in Polynesia

He addresses these issues and the others you bring up, at considerable length.

Quote:
The dietary laws are not against pigs specifically. They also prohibit the eating of, amongst other things, camels. ostriches and termites. Those animals don't compete with humans for food, they don't need more water than cattle and so forth.
Right. And not all automobile accidents are caused by the same factor, therefore that factor can't be responsible for causing automobile accidents.

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