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Avatarmark
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Andres,

In reference to Simcha Jacobovici’s “The lost tribe of Gad–found!,” Jesus voyaging to Spain sounds very intriguing, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. Matthew 8:23-34, Mark 4:35-41 and 5:1-20, and Luke 8:22-39 each present the accounts of the calming of the storm at sea followed by the healing of the Gadarene demoniacs/Gerasene or Gergesene demoniac. Mark’s and Luke’s narrations focus on one demoniac, presumably the more violent around whom the account centered.

The Gospel of Luke mentions that Jesus and His disciples crossed to the other side of the “lake” (λίμνη in the Greek; ימא in Aramaic, which can mean lake or sea), while Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospels are nondescript, using θάλασσα (a large body of water, e.g., sea or lake) in regard to the identification of the body of water as a lake or a sea, as we distinguish them. Nevertheless, Luke’s reference to a “lake” disqualifies the Mediterranean Sea as a possibility, and the geographical descriptions of all three Gospels certainly seem to identify this lake as Lake Tiberias, also named Lake Gennesaret and the Sea of Galilee. Under favorable conditions (which they were not!), with first-century-crafted fishing boats, they may have reached the other side within perhaps six hours. In addition, Matthew’s Gospel depicts Jesus and the disciples disembarking in the territory of the Gadarenes in the district of Gedara, a well-known town of the Decapolis—hardly a mysterious place—called “the metropolis of Peraea” by Josephus. Matthew may have used the name “Gadarenes” to refer vaguely to the disembarkation site. Mark’s and Luke’s “territory of the Gerasenes” refers to the same—some manuscripts of both Gospels read “Gadarenes” or “Gergesenes.”

The Sea/Lake of Galilee, surrounded by high hills and mountains of the Golan Heights (some of which house caves that could have been used as tombs), is more than 600 ft below sea-level. The temperature differential there sometimes produces sudden, high winds and violent storms, such as the kind depicted in the Gospels. So there is no inconsistency with the testified account taking place on the Sea of Galilee.

Regarding the Gospels’ reference to pigs in this account, the prohibition against rearing them would be ignored because the district Jesus entered was predominantly pagan. Also, the Gospels do not state that the owners or consumers of the swine were Jews. The Gospels are not disclosing a contradiction or inconsistency; the pigs are in pagan territory.

In “The lost tribe of Gad–found!,” Simcha Jacobovici correctly underscores the importance of Jesus’ mission to ingather the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Strong historical and genetic evidence as well as the Biblical historical narrative suggest that the exiled, northern tribes of Israel formed the origin of the Scythians, and that at least some Ashkenazi (and possibly Sephardic) Jews have Scythian ancestry. Jacobovici’s “tribe of Gad-Spain” connection may have some merit: among other reasons, some Scythians did reach and inhabit Spain.