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Wineskins and Covenants

11 May

I was just looking up the “old/new” wineskins parable in the Synoptic gospels. This, also, has another curious evolution in the Synoptics.

Mark 2.21-22 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

Matthew 9.16-17 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved
Luke 5.36-39
No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.' “
 
For now I'm not someone who holds on to the “Q” hypothesis to solve the Synoptic Problem (as exemplified by my more recent post). I think that Mark was first, followed by (or edited to become) Matthew; Matthew refuted by Marcion's gospel, and Marcion's was edited to become Luke.
 
Some people may be confused about what the parable means. But if you subsitute “wineskins” or “clothes” with “Testament” or “Covenant” then it will make sense for modern readers. Oddly, Mark follows the theology of Marcion (literally “Little Marc”). The New Testament is wholly different than the old one, and the two religions are incompatible. Which is exactly what Marcion promulgated. That Christianity was a whole new beast that was distinct from Judaism. Matthew refutes this, thinking that the Old and New Covenants can coexist peacefully (“both are preserved”). Luke, as a refutation of Marcion, is a re-Judaizer and overly lauds Judaism. For example, unlike the other three gospels, Luke has Jesus appear in Jerusalem instead of Galilee which is the more “Jewish” of the two locales. Thus he says “the old is better”.
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2 Comments

Posted by on May 11, 2011 in gospel of mark

 

2 responses to “Wineskins and Covenants

  1. beowulf2k8

    May 12, 2011 at 5:36 am

    When Matthew says “No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” I think the “both” just refers to the new wine and the new wineskin. I see no actual difference between Matthew and Mark here in meaning. Luke alone has actually altered the sense by adding “And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.' “

     
  2. J. Quinton

    May 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    The comment was erased when blogger went down, but a commenter pointed out that “both are preserved” more than likely just refers to both the wine and its wineskin, not the two separate wines.

    That's what I get for reading a bit too much through the lens of my exegesis 🙂

     
 
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