2  THE MESSIANIC MIRACLES

A HERMENEUTIC



It remains to define more precisely the relation of the three forms of unity to God, so let us begin with the identification first announced in the creation narrative of the Son as uniquely manifest in the form of unity mind : body. Mark has thirteen different accounts of Jesus healing the sick. We adduce every one of these as first order evidence for this postulate of the intimate link between the Son and the psychophysical. Each of these healing stories evinces the identification of the Son relative to the conceptual category mind : body, the delivery of rubrics, Day 1 and Day 4. It is the Son who mediates the archaeological and eschatological categories, space : time and male : female. Thus the claim that the prime exemplar of the identity of the Son is the psychophysical receives insistent vindication in Mark. The Markan Jesus is ever a healer of the sick. Each of the thirteen healing miracle stories has as its presupposition, the lived body,  the psychophysical unity which is the soma of our own being. Before we consider the messianic events themselves for the light they shed on the latter, we need to recognise that both sets of narratives are miracle stories. Surely they are related in some way touching upon the doctrine of mind : body. A summary look at just two of the stories of healing will prepare our investigation of the messianic events.

It would be a simple state of affairs if we could simply divide the healing miracles into two classes: exorcisms, and so psychic miracles, and other physical events. However, that is not a valid procedure. In total, the exorcisms number four: The Man In The Synagogue (Mark 1.21-8), The Gerasene Demoniac (5.1-20), The Daughter Of The Syrophoenician Woman (7.24-31), and The Boy With An Unclean Spirit (8.14-29). Certain other episodes have about them, qualities in keeping with the exorcisms. So for example, the healing of The Paralytic (2.1-12) largely concentrates on a saying about forgiveness. The story of Jairus' Daughter likewise contains a dominical saying - "Little girl, I say to you, arise." (5.41), as does the healing of The Deaf And Dumb Man (7.32-37) - "Be opened." (v 34). The gospel preserves both sayings in their original forms. Consequently, it might seem legitimate to classify these as exorcisms. Too much attention has been given to the exorcism as a kind of miracle. Certainly, the Markan miracle stories are logically ordered, but not in terms of exorcisms and other events. We can say that the evangelist was clearly aware of the role of mind, consciousness, in illness. On no account however can we simply equate the exorcisms with the depiction of mind. For one thing, we find an awareness of mind in stories about events that are not exorcisms. The Paralytic is one such. For another, the metaphysics of the gospel is altogether more refined.

We noted that the messianic miracles consist of two subspecies and that these in turn confirm the theology of creation. The three transcendent Days establish the primordiality of space, and four immanent Days pre-empt the further disclosures of the gospel. As for the gospels, the same binary pattern recurs, with exactly three transcendent episodes centred on the notion of identity, and four immanent events which cohere by reason of the Eucharistic motif. We expressed the latter as the principle of unity. The process of assimilation means the incorporation, union, of food and drink with the body. Therefore we used these notions, identity : unity, to paraphrase both the internal patterns of Genesis and the gospel, and the external relation they subtend to each other. The latter is a reformulation on a broader scale still, of the paradigm transcendence : immanence. For these two juxtaposed concepts encapsulate the very relation of the two texts in terms of their congruent morphology and content. They summarise what is thus far emerging as a biblical metaphysics.

We examined a range of secondary criteria evincing an emergent polarisation within the messianic series. These were (1) public/private, (2) conviviality/awe, (3) nocturnal/diurnal, (4) determinism/freedom. We also noted the presence of a typological contrast between feminine and masculine polarities as part of this presentation, but without any detailed exposition. The secondary criteria betoken the consistent conformity of the messianic series with the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence. Now the question arises whether or not the healing events are also organised according to the very same criteria. This is the question of the integration of the one set of miracles, messianic, with the other, healing, the issue of the integrity of the gospel of Mark. A proper treatment of the application of the several criteria observed in the messianic series to the other set of miracles in Mark, the healing miracles, requires considerable detail which the immediate focus of this essay precludes. The short answer to these questions is that these secondary criteria do function in Mark's series of healing miracles, but not always as clearly as they operate within the messianic episodes. It is preferable to adopt the primary criteria, identity : unity, so as to distinguish transcendent and immanent messianic episodes. We may of course use the secondary criteria in combination with this fundamental paradigm which observes the interdependence of the two narrative cycles, Genesis and gospel, creation and salvation, beginning and end. The overarching pattern of identity : unity is formulated throughout Mark's accounts of Jesus healing the sick. With the application of this formula, identity : unity,  to the healing miracles, the gospel now begins to reveal itself as remarkable in its logical coherence and aesthetic consistency. Let us take two narratives as examples to demonstrate this argumen, The Paralytic, and The Daughter Of Jairus.

 

The Paralytic (Mark 2. 1-12)

The episode deals at some length with the controversy generated by Jesus' saying "My son, your sins are forgiven." From the point of its introduction (v 5) halfway through the narrative onwards, it dominates the story, effectively the last seven of twelve verses. The content of the story is highly concentrated. The words 'say' (five times), 'question in one's heart' (twice), 'speak', 'blasphemy', 'perceive in one's spirit', 'question within oneself', and 'know' (vv 5-10) are consistent. All are surely expressions suggestive of the category mind. They tend to indicate this event as transcendent in type. This list of terms does not easily fit any of the secondary criteria, except perhaps that of privacy/publicity. Here however, the evidence is contradictory:

And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door ... and when they could not get near him because of the crowd ... (Mark 2.2-4)

This shows that the secondary criterion public/private can be misleading. It is preferable to analyse the story in terms of the primary criterion of identity. We found that the identity : unity criteria were definitive for the messianic series. They will prove just as reliable in sorting the healing events. The concept of identity sits at the very core of the controversy:

"Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (v 7) … But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he said to the paralytic - "I say to you ... (vv 10, 11)

The focus of the narrative is Jesus' identity, something it has in common with the transcendent messianic miracles. Attempts which purport to understand this story as belonging to anything other than the genre of miracle story fail routinely on this count. The episode conforms perfectly to the pattern maintained by the three transcendent messianic events. Jesus' identity is the cause of the healing. Mark portrays Jesus' function here as healer of the paralytic, in the light of who he is. The narrative discerns the reality behind the man's illness, the phenomenon of consciousness, mind, in relation to who Jesus is. He is here identified, either by himself or by the evangelist, with the 'Son of man'. The same identity touches intrinsically on what consciousness is. In other words, the identity of Jesus as Son of man is inseparable from the nature of human consciousness. Quite clearly, this particular episode is of the transcendent kind.

Jairus' Daughter (Mark 5.21-24a, 35-43)

Mark dramatically interrupts the story of Jairus' daughter with his account of The Woman With The Haemorrhage (5.24b-34). The interpolation of this text is purposeful and strategic in so far as it directs the interpretation of the situation of the daughter. Its location at the crown of a parabolic arc whose exact apex can be identified by the verb 'ceased', would seem to indicate its import to this evangelist in particular. It may even function as a signature for the psychological disposition of this gospel if we interpret it in keeping with the conceptual form, space : time, which acts as its metaphysical rationale. These several miracle stories belong to a chain, beginning with the healing of The Gerasene demoniac (5.1s), and ending only with the story of The Syrophoenician Woman's Daughter (7.24-31). The complex and fascinating issues surrounding this string of events include the link between The Woman With The Haemorrhage and Jairus' Daughter. With characteristic ingenuousness, Mark has depicted the onset of sexual maturity in the young girl. Such points influence our understanding of the story in the light of transcendence : immanence.

We can profitably take the secondary criterion public/private to settle the question of the kind of the event, transcendent or immanent, in the case of The Haemorrhagic Woman. A more public healing Mark does not record. He refers repeatedly to the social aspect of the event:

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him ... (v 24b); She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd ... (v 27); Jesus ... turned about in the crowd ...' (v 30); "You see the crowd pressing around you ..." (v 31).

There is no contradiction or modulation of the theme of publicity. From start to finish the story remains certain in its presentation of the phenomenon of sociality. When the narrative resumes the story of Jairus' Daughter with the scene at his house, the house of the ruler of the synagogue, we read of  'a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly' (v 38). The situation is the same as when Jairus first importuned Jesus, and is that of the haemorrhagic woman - 'a great crowd gathered about him...' (v 21). The two introductions to Jairus' Daughter are at one on this point. Then however, subtle differences begin to appear:

And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James  (v 37) ... But he put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was (v 40b) ... And he strictly charged them that no one should know this … (v 43)

We cannot determine the type of the healing of Jairus' Daughter by this particular secondary criterion.  Another secondary criterion, is only slightly more useful in pointing to an episode that is immanent in its type, that of awe / conviviality. It appears to tell for an immanent as opposed to a transcendent event, even if somewhat strangely. Just how ill is the little girl? The gravity of her situation might seem difficult to estimate. There is on the one hand the wonderfully ironic tone of the description of the people, who had been 'weeping and wailing loudly' now 'laughing' at Jesus who believes that the child is not dead but sleeping (vv 39, 40). This has the appearance of neither awe nor exactly conviviality. The reasons for this apparent ambivalence we shall soon observe. The later statement that 'they were immediately overcome with amazement' (v 42) compounds the mood. Amazement as such is not fear or awe, of which there is no mention in the text. Hence the secondary criterion awe / conviviality is also too ambiguous to establish the kind of the event.

One other secondary criterion is however decisive: the theme of determinism/freedom. Determinism very clearly marks the episode from its inception as immanent. The attitude of Jairus himself is anything but ambiguous. He does not doubt the gravity of the situation. The condition of his daughter compels him to beg Jesus for help:

... and seeing him, he fell at his feet, and besought him saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." And he went with him. (vv 22b-24)

The later report from the ruler's house that his daughter is dead (v 35), if anything heightens this same mood of necessity. But, if we are still in any doubt, the concluding clause will allay it. For there, we encounter  as primary criterion, the metaphor of assimilation for unity used in all three of the immanent miracles:

  ... and he told them to give her something to eat. (v 43).

There is only one other healing story, that of Simon Peter's Mother-In-Law (1.29s), with a comparably concise index of the immanent. The immanent messianic events, beginning with the story of the miracle at Cana, all have as their defining moment, ingestion of either food or drink. All are nurturing events, and typologically accord with the feminine. There is no doubt that the evangelist perceives the healing of Jairus' daughter as an event of the immanent type. It thus stands in keeping with the bipolar structure that consistently underpins the rudimentary Christological premise of the gospel - its doctrine of the psychophysical.

This squares very nicely with the fact that Mark has carefully demonstrated the nature of the illness in terms of the girl's menarche. The text is inflected with a variety of words which reflect the notion of the passage from childhood to womanhood: 'little daughter' (v 23); 'daughter' (v 35); 'the child' (v 39, 40, 41) - a neuter term in the Greek (to paidi/on); 'little girl' (vv 41, 42). The intention to specify the nature of her illness accounts for the interpolation of the story of The Haemorrhagic Woman, and the strong resonance ('daughter' (vv 34, 35), 'twelve years' (vv 25, 42)) between the two narratives. The fact of her status as a child albeit of a gender other than that of the Son, and the irreversible sexual determination of her body, formulate Markan immanent Christology. The narrative functions within the healing cycle, in connection with the first event of the messianic cycle, the miracle at the wedding at Cana. This is further evidence of the coherence of the two cycles. Both address the identity of the immanent Son. Accordingly, the ambiguity proper to the erotic characterises both stories.

These two narratives do nevertheless vary. The story of the miracle at Cana ultimately expresses the Son in relation to the phenomenon of physical, erotic, love. As a theology of immanence, it is unqualified. We must in due course account for certain subtleties in the story of Jairus' Daughter. But we can now explain the apparently ambivalent mood of the text. Jairus perceives the situation as unquestionably grave. The people however, vacillate between 'weeping and wailing loudly' and 'laughing' (vv 38-40). The association of Eros and Thanatos is charged theologically and psychologically. The contradictions of mood we observed in applying the secondary criteria are authentic and deliberate. Even if the mood appropriate to the erotic is the comic rather than the tragic, the irony of the clause 'And they laughed at him' (v 40), could hardly be more trenchant.

Our response to sexual love, like our response to death remains characterised by ambivalence. A major philosophical component of this ambivalence rests upon the fact that love as a form of corporeity stands at the lower threshold of the same. Two people as constitutive of a relationality that is both social and erotic, constitute the bare minimum of a form of discourse, which is necessary condition for the social. Sexual love is communicative in some sense similar to verbal discourse. (We shall say more about the integration of the various forms of sense-percipience, since they loom so large in Christian epistemology, but it is plain from the texts on the subject which we read in the gospels, that these forms of sense-percipience, including that of touch, are to be viewed as of a kind. They cohere in virtue of the concept of communion, for which reason the three Eucharistic miracles all point to the final messianic event, the Eucharist itself. These considerations belong to a developing theory of language as consorting with the Johannine doctrine of logos. They are an essential part of the theology of 'signs' which I shall refer to as the theology of semiotic forms.) It is true enough that the the social and the erotic diverge, notwithstanding the essential sociality of erotic love as presented in the story of the miracle at Cana. In one sense, erotic love individuates the self and promotes personal identity, in another sense it does not, given its minimal nature as 'social'. Where we find the application of the criterion of public/private applied to the miracle narratives, we find that transcendence is depicted in terms of the latter. The subjects of narratives such as The Transformation of Water Into Wine and Jairus' Daughter do not belong to this sort. We shall resume this problematic issue relative to the discussion of 'phylogeny and ontogeny' later. It recapitulates the categoreal paradigm - identity : unity.


We have examined cursorily two stories of miraculous healing preparatory to the hermeneutical study of the messianic events. Both of these participate in the same logical and theological concerns which dominate and shape the latter. We could have pursued further the Trinitarian rationale of these narratives. That both are Christological is indubitable. But a still more immediate task will be to take stock of the systematic presentation of soma in exactly one half of the healing stories.

 

SOMA


That a number of miracles explicitly put the phenomenon of human sense perception is more than merely apparent. The role of sense perception in theories of mind in general and theories of knowing, (epistemologies), especially, suggest the interest of the gospel in the same. The fact that we are sentient is in Mark's view, virtually the same as the fact that our existence is embodied. The gospel tacitly identifies bodiliness with sentience. That is, Mark all but equates the soma and the manifold of sense perception. The implications of this are paramount for his doctrine of human nature or 'anthropology' so-called, and his doctrine of the Christ. We shall later see that the subject of sense perception assures the rapport of healing miracles and  messianic miracles witheach other, that is, it guarantees their coherence.

We have just considered the story of Jairus' Daughter. This will suffice as an introduction to the systematic presentation of human sense perception in the stories of healing. This miracle story leans towards a specific mode of sense perception, the tactile. Immediately before Jesus' words wake the girl from the comatose state, the text reads - 'Taking her by the hand ...' (v 41). The theme of tactile sense-perception is another motif the story shares with that of The Haemorrhagic Woman (5.28) - 'For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well."' The illness of the haemorrhagic woman rendered her impure and an untouchable. The record of her illness and cure involves the concept of touch, although, like that of Jairus' Daughter, it is not specifically about the mode of touch. It has its own theological rationale, and the differences between the woman and the girl are significant. In the woman's case, the flow of blood, which had afflicted her for twelve years, now finally ceases. Whereas the twelve year old girl, is ushered into womanhood. The gospel inflects their situations in substantively different ways. Thus, Mark associates the mode of tactile sense perception more properly with the second episode. Not only does he refer to touch as part of the girl's recovery, but also the notion of her sexual awakening invokes it. That is not to say that the story of Jairus' Daughter denotes this form of sentience. It does not, and clearly, other narratives do. Rather, there is a clear relation between the governing concept of this narrative which we will leave undefined for the moment, and those that deal with the mode of touch. Other stories of healing involve Jesus touching a sick person, and these also do not bear immediately upon the theology of touch: the healing of The Blind Man At Bethsaida (Mark 8.22-26), and that of The Deaf And Dumb Man (7.32-37). Although the tactile sense is somehow germane to the process of healing, it does not indicate the specific forms of sentience with which the theology of these narratives is concerned. The presentation of  Jesus vis-a-vis tactile sentience in miracle narratives which do not immediately taxonomise this mode of sense-percipience is linked albeit subtly, to the notion of incarnation, and a much broader pattern which establishes correspondences between the Son, the Transcendent and the Holy Spirit and the modes of sense-percipience except that of smell-taste, and also sorts with the doctrine of imago Dei. However these are issues which we must temporarily leave in abeyance.

This will help to resolve the numerous references to 'daughter' which we have already listed. They began with the concluding line of the woman's story - '"Daughter, your faith has made you well ..."' (5.34). Mark indubitably understands Jesus' own identity as the Son in relation to the body. His theology of soma will assign specifically the mode of touch to him, the Son, in keeping with the story of the miracle at Cana. Thus if Mark has Jesus touch and heal the sick in the course of events which are identifiable on other than the Christological basis of the sense percipient mode of touch itself, it is because the Son discloses the other identities; namely the Transcendent and the Holy Spirit. We cannot read every passing reference to touch in the healing miracle stories as a Christological signifier.

At this point, let us list briefly in chronological order, those healing miracle stories that present the various modes of sense perception:

the cleansing of a leper (Mark 1.40-5) - touch

the man with a withered hand (3.1-6) - touch

a deaf and dumb man (7.32-37) - hearing

a blind man at Bethsaida (8.22-26) - seeing

the boy with an unclean spirit (9.14-29) - hearing

blind Bartimaeus (10.46-52) - seeing

We notice at once, that there are just six such episodes. We encountered this figure as the overarching framework of the series of Days of creation and the messianic series. Moreover, there are two stories for each of the three modes, touch, hearing, and sight. Even at first blush, this has every bit the appearance of a schema. The analogy of the six Days and the six messianic miracles squares with what begins to emerge as the organisation of the twelve healing events.

The narratives about the various modes of sense percipience belong essentially to the Markan doctrine of mind : body. Almost exactly half of the healing miracles depict modes of sense perception. It is necessary to add the rider 'almost' due to the ambiguous status of the story about Simon Peter's Mother-In-Law, which even for Mark is uncommonly brief and is passed over with indecent haste. Moreover there is an equal number of miracles depicting each mode of sentience: two miracles relating to touch, two to hearing, and two to seeing. The variety of the stories concerning sentience is both balanced and representative. The only mode of sense perception absent from this list is smell-taste. This as we shall see, is not an oversight. A special status attaches to the osmic-gustic mode, just as the Eucharist is determined especially in relation to the Eucharistic miracles. With the results of this summary in mind, we can now resume our study of the messianic miracles.


The Four Immanent Messianic Events


It was not difficult to acknowledge the doctrine of imago Dei in the creation theology of Genesis. We recognised at once in the three entities, the forms of unity, the unique instances of the identities in God of the Transcendent, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Genesis is equally about God and the world. The nature of God determines the world of creation as radically threefold. Space-time is the unique exemplification of the Transcendent and of transcendence generally; male-female is the unique instantiation of immanence and of the Holy Spirit in particular; while these two forms of unity, the first primordial and the second eschatological, are mediated by the form of unity mind-body, the single occasion which reveals the identity of the Son. The three forms of unity delineate six categories that consist in a variety of relations, relations that we are yet to comprehend, and the generality of these six categories determines human consciousness at its most radical level. Here then, are the utmost general, fundamental, radical, irreducible constituents of mind(s), which establish the potential for  communication between human beings - hence John's depiction of the Son as logos or Word. It is in virtue of these conceptual entities that thought and so communication obtains. This was the essential meaning of the categories. Their ontological status concerns us far less than the fact that they impinge  upon ourselves as embodied conscious beings. And this in a way that is pervasive, encompassing and ineradicable. What is significant about these six entities for biblical metaphysics, is  that they radically compose the anatomy of mind : body, that is to say, consciousness.  Hence, certain of the fundamental structures and processes of consciousness will be reducible ultimately to these various conceptual forms, or ideas. The concepts of space and time, mind and body, male and female are pre-eminently determinative of our own human consciousness. Thus we have to reckon with the idea of six ultimately general centres of human consciousness. The psychophysical stands at the centre of these categories, and reflects the phenomenal world as likewise centred on the logos.

Now the messianic events are homologous with the theology of creation, formally in full, and referentially with a view to the reciprocity of the two narrative centres. But the miracles do not simply repeat the categories of the story of 'beginning'. They function complementarily, indicating the precise phenomena which 'end' the story begun in Genesis. We have still to analyse the messianic stories. Already however, we have noted the relatedness of the healing and messianic stories. From an all too brief survey of some of the miracles of healing, we have unearthed the direction of our exposition of the messianic miracles. We know that the stories of healing too concern the evangelistic doctrine of human consciousness. They too recapitulate the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence, identity : unity. But the hypothesis which now recommends itself in view of such facts is that the messianic stories themselves concern sense perception.

The formal aspect of our clue, the fact that exactly six of the healing miracles deal with sense perception, is a promising start. By now we are accustomed to associating the figure six with the Christological category, mind : body, it appears all too pertinently for us to ignore in both messianic Christologies, Transfiguration and Transformation Of Water Into Wine. However, the four feeding events are definitive for the messianic series as a whole. They pronounce it in contradistinction to the theology of transcendence in Genesis. Their content complements and concludes the story of beginning. An even still more promising fact confronts us here. For these four feeding events exhibit the predominant formal feature of the messianic series. What is so promising about the fourfold aspect of the theology of immanence is that it fits perfectly the shape of sense percipient modality.

Systems of enumerating the modes of sense perception do vary. Some of them include a sense of the location of one's body, called 'proprioception'. There does not seem enough warrant for this sort of analysis in any rigorous understanding. Nor is there any reason to divorce the sense of smell and the sense of taste. The portrait the gospel give will be squarely fourfold, and in each case, whether metaphorical or actual, it will involve assimilation as the basis of a communio. We also have to conjure with the fact that taste involves touch, which lies at the basis of the metaphorical use of the language about taste for the sexual and by extension, in reference to death. This was implicit in both creation narratives, P and J; and in connection with this, we noticed references to taste in both Christological narratives, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine and The Transfiguration. The simplest pattern that proffers itself is the fourfold one.

Three modes are formally co-extant, in just the sense that we have now mentioned, for they are more or less all ingredient in communication: touch, hearing and vision. These stand together as somehow of one kind, an they are the subjects of virtually half of the healing miracles in Mark. The olfactory and gustatory modes, smell and taste, belong together as one and in distinction from the others. It is only in the sub-human realm that the so-called 'chemical senses' maintain a role of some sort in communication. Another distinguishing feature resides in their dual aspect, and more significantly, in that it is more immediately compresent with the body itself than the others. It is only by eating and drinking that the body sustains itself. If we said that Mark virtually equates the soma (mind : body) and sense perception, here is the reason. Without eating and drinking, the body would cease to be. The other three forms of sense perception accordingly take their cue from this, the most essential of the four modes, or what we might alternatively call the generic form of sense-percipience, or its ground. The modes of touch, hearing and seeing are not implicated in our day to day survival in the same way as is the single mode smell/taste. The role of appetition in sentient processes was first suggested in the second half of the creation narrative and then in the story of the Garden of Eden. The 3:1 measure first enunciated in  the second half of the creation taxonomy marks the beginning of the theology of the sense-percipient modes.

The other argument from form, which strongly supports our emerging interpretation of the four Eucharistic events, must be the application of the principle of unity. We shall have more to say about unity later, but the modes of sense perception satisfy this aspect of the theology of immanence. The 3:1 configuration of both subgroups, immanent Days and miracles, is  effectively fourfold. Seriality assures the tetradic form in the creation story; the Eucharistic motif secures it for the miracles. The significance of tetradic form in the narratives is of unity.  Here immanence stands logically and numerically distinguished from the categories of transcendence. The point is that the various forms of perception co-inhere. They function together, as one. This idea requires elaboration, but we enter it here in noting the fourfold shape of sense perception. This is part of the biblical epistemological understanding of the difference between the conceptual and the perceptual. The paradigm of the former is the three-dimensional spatial manifold. Ideas as divergent espouse the principle of identity. But the paradigm of the perceptual, the immanent, is fourfold. The four-dimensional manifold is the manifold of sense perception. With the addition of a fourth dimension, time, outlined all too  briefly in Genesis, there is a consequent shift from the conceptual  to the perceptual, even as death enters the picture. Time qua death means sentience rather than ideation. Hence time as it will be deployed in the miracle narratives, particularly in the final messianic miracle, is the time of sentient being. The doctrine of sense perception rescues time from the status of a mere abstraction, and locates it firmly within the quotidian experience of each living entity. It is the business of the gospel to enunciate it clearly and fully. So too, tetradic structure as identifying immanence, is coterminous with unity rather than identity, and the functioning of sense perception in human (and animal) consciousness tends towards the expression of the same principle. The gospel thus presents a complex interaction between the notions: time-appetition/consumption-death, where the compound term appetition/consumption is identical with the tetradic manifold of sense percipience. These are ideas we can pursue only by dint of interpreting the messianic miracles in light of the same construct governing precisely half of the healing miracles, namely sentience or sense perception as it radically informs consciousness, or mind.

It is necessary to forestall the longer discussion of the Eucharist. For the moment it suffices to note the obvious fact that it literally nominates just that mode of sense perception which this interpretation seeks to assign it, smell- taste.

We have already examined the story of the miracle at Cana in sufficient detail to have observed that it offers  preliminary vindication of the interpretation of the series of four feeding episodes a propos the phenomenon of sense perception. That first messianic miracle story is about many things. It reformulates the three immanent polarities of the three conceptual forms first articulated in the creation theology: mind, space and the symbolic masculine. That is, the Johannine narrative reformulates the categories of the second half of the creation story: temporality, somaticity and the feminine as signal of humanity. This is hardly surprising, for the story of the Fourth Day of creation, its analogue in the archaeological week, in introducing the forms of unity, announces the soma as the first of these and simultaneously adumbrates Eros. The temporal and the feminine are the closely related categories.

But, in an unqualified sense, John's first miracle story, the first of the messianic miracles, is about the reality of sexual experience as this is formed by the sense-percipient mode of touch. The primary topos of the narrative is the perceptual category touch. Touch provides the fundamental appetitive content of the erotic. It is the single lure directing this specific form of satisfaction. In other words, without sense perception of the 'haptic' mode, there would be no erotic, no sexual experience. Touch is at once the precise identity of this form of appetition and satisfaction. Jesus at Cana is none other than Christ-Eros. Incarnate, he embodies the real lure of desire. That is to say, conscious sexual desire signifies a vital aspect of Mind, or logos. Hence we have Jesus in both Mark and John achieving miracles of healing by means of touch. Hence also the great controversy which necessarily surrounds this sign, for it imputes to Jesus as the incarnate Word an aspect of existence more germane to the animal and human world - that of sexuality. This is not to say that the theme of the erotic exhausts the meaning of the episode. The perceptual as the basis of a type of appetition, a form of desire, is one aspect of what the evangelist is describing. There is another, which concerns the way that touch functions as the source of a mode of knowing. Desire relates more immediately to this particular form of sentience, as we shall later argue. But we must not get ahead of our story here. The foremost instantiation of touch as a determinant in human consciousness engages that particular form of awareness or intentionality we shall refer to as desire. There is no way of avoiding the psychological import of the miracle story. It ascribes to the immanent Son what is readily recognisable as the erotic aspect of reality.

Rather than pursue either expression of this sentient mode touch, either its conative, that is, appetitive face, or its cognitive, that is, rational side, we must  follow first the broader picture, that of the class of messianic miracles as systematically related to the class of things we discerned in the creation narrative. Consequently we must entertain the real possibility  that the remaining two Eucharistic miracle stories might have to do with the body as a manifold of sense perception. For clearly the healing miracles elaborate a theology of perception, and just as clearly, those narratives cohere theologically and metaphysically with the messianic cycle. In view of the manifest hermeneutical link between the first sign, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine and the sense-percipient modes of touch, are thus proposing that the two other feeding miracles, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, events belonging obviously to this class of Eucharistic miracles, concern the remaining modes of sentience, namely hearing and sight. As for the actual Eucharist itself, clearly it denotes the generic mode of appetition-satisfaction, the compound mode smell-taste. Firstly, let us consult Mark's own narrative. Two very notable points strike us immediately, which support this hermeneutical possibility:
Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? (v 18)

The emphasis here is effectively that of Mark. The saying invokes several Old Testament texts:

Listen, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes and see nothing, ears and hear nothing. (Jeremiah 5.21);
The word of the Lord came to me: Man, you live among a rebellious people. Though they have eyes they will not see, though they have ears they will not hear, because they are a rebellious people.  (Ezekiel 12.2);
He said, Go and tell this people: you may listen and listen, but you will not understand. You may look and look again, but you will never know. This people's wits are dulled, their ears are deafened and their eyes blinded, so that they cannot see with their eyes nor listen with their ears, nor understand with their wits. So that they may turn and be healed. (Isaiah 6.9, 10)

Matthew's much-expanded version, retains the logion, but he has detached it from its original context. He has placed it after the parable of The Sower and the teaching on parables (13.1-13a):

This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: 'You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Matthew 13.13-17, parallel Isaiah 6.9s).

Matthew's account of the discourse on the feeding miracles, that is, his apparent parallel to the Markan context for the citation, contains only a vestige of the Markan original:       

  "Do you not yet perceive ... How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread?" (16.9, 11)

The degree of elaboration in 13.13s means that although Matthew's context has disordered the original conception in the gospel of Mark, Matthew himself highly esteemed its significance.

In light of this, we must ask whether the two miracles of loaves concern these very modes of perception, seeing and hearing.  The facts advocating such an interpretation are cogent:
Further to the above, a hermeneutic of the miracles of loaves which understands as their primary reference, the two modes of sense-percipience, hearing and seeing, can be proposed, which will make good the contents of the discourse (8.11-21). By way of introduction to this, the theology of signs, we notice Mark's introduction to the discourse on the miracles. The first part of this section (vv 11-13) considers the demand for a sign:
The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation." And he left them, and getting into the boat again he departed to the other side.
This is indubitably one of the gospel's most remarkable texts because it puts paid to any literalist interpretation of the feeding miracles themselves. At this point, Mark's very narrative appears to virtually self-deconstruct. The pericope militates against every reading of the Eucharistic miracles which relies for its final meaning on their actual, historical, status. The immediate effect of the discourse is to redirect any grasp of the three feeding miracles as well as the Eucharist which predicates them as actual and demonstrative of the supernatural, 'from heaven'. Neither is its force  merely critical. The intention of the passage is not merely to be self-refuting, or to undermine our own confidence in the gospel narratives. For in the next section, Mark has Jesus' teaching concentrate on the details of quantities of substances involved in the feeding miracles.

Like the first part of the discourse, this second half is introduced with a polemic against the 'Pharisees' (and those 'of Herod' or 'the Herodians'.) The subject passes to our ('the disciples') understanding of the episodes, before the various details of both episodes are scrupulously recalled; the number of initial provisions, the number of persons present, and the quantity of remaining portions. The conclusion restates the theme of the disciples' failure:

"Do you not yet understand?"                          

 

Immanence And The Theology of Signs


We should remark concerning Mark's own usage, that apart from the longer ending of the gospel, Mark 16.17, 20, the evangelist uses the word 'sign' only in the introduction to the discourse on the Eucharistic miracles (8.11-13) and in the so called Markan Apocalypse (13.4, 22). This word, shmei~on, occurs frequently in the gospel of John, who uses it for example of the first two miracles (2.11, 4.54). In both John and the synoptics some ambivalence attaches to the role of the miracles in the life of faith.  We have already noted in relation to the discourse in Mark 8.11-13 a reluctance on the part of the evangelist to permit the sign to obscure the signified. This comprises a study in itself, a major part of which should explicate the absence of the miracle at Cana, the first of the messianic series, from Mark and the fellow synoptics.

Here we can give some account, however brief, of the theology of signs. This will add significantly to the already persuasive argument for understanding the whole messianic series as a theology of perception which functions  complementarily to the theology of conceptual forms, introduced in the creation narrative. There seems no other satisfactory way of understanding the formal, numerical content of the two miracles of loaves which are so vital to Markan theology that Jesus himself  recapitulates these in the discourse (Mark 8.14-21), nor of broaching the recesses of meaning within the Johannine narrative of the first messianic miracle, and that of the last, The Transfiguration. It will be possible and logically incumbent upon us to incorporate in the same hermeneutical process, the similar content  in the Johannine story, the miracle at Cana.

We interpret the meaning of the two miracles of loaves, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, as indicative of the very relationship between perception by means of hearing ('acoustic') and seeing ('optic') respectively and time as death. It is obvious at the outset that a clear relationship between hearing and time exists. Music at the very least signals something of their metaphysical affinity. On hearing music, as on hearing the course of any acoustic event, we are aware of the passage of time. The relationship to time of optic sentience is less obvious. For all that, astrophysics speaks of the two polarities of the visible spectrum, its red and blue ends, juxtaposed as those of light sources which are moving away from and towards us respectively. If nothing else, the science of the Twentieth Century has forged an ineradicable bond between light and time, even if it did for some time, ignore the role of the observing, that is seeing, subject.

This brings to our attention an important formal aspect common to the acoustic 'semeia' or signs, which are the twelve tones of the dodecaphonic scale, and to the optic signs, which are the visible hues of the spectrum: the fact that both are polarised. Thus whereas pitches are determined relative to one another as high or low, the optic signs are likewise divisible into the two ends of the spectrum. This polarisation not only integrates the two series as intimately adverting to one another, it reiterates the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence. Let us then look very briefly at the possibilities for hermeneutics such a reading of all three miracle narratives will provide.

 

The Transformation Of Water Into Wine

As Christological, and therefore as concerning the psychophysical, all the messianic miracles and their antecedent Days comprise the biblical understanding of humankind. The disclosure of God is necessarily the disclosure of the human to itself, and central or pivotal to this must be the revelation of the psychophysical, the embodied mind of humanity, or human consciousness. We have urged that the Days series expounds the ideal or conceptual radicals of consciousness; and that this is complemented by the gospels which present a doctrine of perception, the doctrine of soma. The relevance of the miracle narratives to thought itself if not its palpable expression in communication, that is to sense-percipient consciousness if not language, is affirmed by the opening of the gospel of John. The first miracle story of the series follows fast upon the heels of the opening hymn to the Word become flesh. Thus we cannot divorce the relevance of the event at Cana, and the subsequent Eucharistic miracles from the same concept. If the conceptual polarity of mind guarantees thought, then the perceptual is complementary and indispensable to this same process as its end; it is the warrant for communication of the very same. Thought whatever it is, does not remain in splendid isolation. It seeks expression, it demands incarnation. The incarnation of the Son itself expresses the essential equilibrium between the conceptual and perceptual polarities of consciousness on this point. Thus at the outset the theology of semiotic forms or signs, semeia, sits with the opening of the fourth gospel. It endorses the hymn to the Word. In effect then, the theology of semiotic forms establishes the basis for a Christian doctrine of language.

The first sign is the event which denotes the haptic mode of perception. It announces the immediacy of touch as elemental in any construction of the symbolic means of communication. We shall discover upon close examination of Mark's twelve healing miracle stories the very basis of this haptic semiosis. Thus a first point concerns the reference to the form of the healing miracle narratives themselves made in the final discourse on the miracles of loaves . If the story of The Five Thousand details the quantity of remaining portions or fragments of loaves and fish as contained within just twelve baskets, then the healing miracle series will flesh out certain details concerning this.

The miracle story itself, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, as we contend, refers in the first instance to the 'miracle' of hearing at the heart of which lie the semiotic forms constituting the dodecaphonic series.  We shall obviously be justified in reading the same narratives, Mark's healing miracle stories, as expressions of these semiotic forms; or rather, the semiotic forms themselves, will be exemplary or representative to the paramount degree of the realities contained within the narratives. This does not mean the acoustic series alone. For the miracle at Cana places haptic sentience first. Its numerical details clearly signify the categoreal scheme given in the congruent narrative cycles of beginning and end, Genesis and the gospels. Let us be sure, this is no mere exercise in analogy, the basis of metaphysical thought. The narratives are as real and as actual as the very deliveries of sense-percipience. They divulge ourselves to ourselves, for the texts themselves speak of the very things which lie at the heart of our human consciousness: the conceptual forms and their perceptual counterparts.

The miracle at Cana and the haptic semiosis which it entails as an essential component in the theology of semiotic forms, stands more intimately linked to the actual Eucharist than either of the other two comparable events with their attendant semiotic forms. This claim follows from its Christological function. In this sense, the episode at Cana is the first of the series; just as its analogous Day, the fourth, in the creation series, introduced the immanent polarities of the transcendent categories. The first miracle story in the gospel of John very precisely puts the twelve radicals of consciousness in it presentation of the process of 'becoming'. The six stone jars of water for the Jewish rites of purification to which he refers so posit the conceptual categories. But these same, the six conceptual forms are somehow the entities which 'become' the perceptual forms. That is precisely what the evangelist intends in the description of The Transformation Of Water Into Wine. This entails that the six perceptual radicals are placed in a one-to-one correspondence with their conceptual counterparts, a tenet which follows logically from the congruent morphology of the two narrative cycles, underpinned as it is by the theology of three identities in God, recognisable under the two aspects of transcendence and immanence. This process, the formal basis of which remains not only a major tenet concerning the doctrine of human consciousness, but one also concerning the nature of God triune, is to be later complemented by what occurs in The Transfiguration of Jesus. There is in these two Christologies, a doctrine regarding the relation of God to the world and the consequent relation of the world to God, which we are not yet at liberty to pursue.

Generally, the sequential order of the Days of creation and that of the messianic miracles do not concur; for the former categorises the three transcendent events and subsequently the three-four immanent events in parallel, whereas the latter proposes a pattern of even oscillation between transcendent and immanent episodes, immediately recognisable in Mark's consistent and recurrent use of the expression ' ... to the other side'. One point however where they do concur is in respect of 'the first of his signs'. Just as Day 4 inaugurates the second half of creation, its analogue, the miracle at Cana is the first of the series of four Eucharistic events. The question whether or not the creation pattern sets up a hierarchy of forms must be deferred for now. We shall have occasion later to comment on this regarding the New Testament doctrine of creation. Here however, we can recognise the possibility that the haptic ingredience in consciousness is focal or central, and virtually enjoys the same status as primordial of space, the space which the body itself inhabits.

This haptic semiosis may seem less obvious than the other two semiotic forms. To be sure, touch is a fundamental ingredient in human and sub-human consciousness. But the way in which it so ingresses is certainly far from immediately apparent. The idea at the heart of the story of the miracle at Cana which advances the gospel's doctrine of the logos and of communication and sits contextually within the theology of these four events, is that of the body's own representation of itself to itself. Here however, the expression 'representation' is of course inappropriate. A representation is not something we are inclined to touch, and the term is far too 'imagistic'. The idea at stake here, is that one of the rudimentary forms, processes, of human understanding is our apprehension of our incarnate self. It is self-awareness as embodied self-awareness. If we are endowed with consciousness, and if in turn we are conscious of this, we know that we know,  its manner, depends upon bodiliness, that is, how we know that we know. This  'how', or modality, follows from the fact that the body consists of members, and that these are effectively recognisable as distinctly as are the several acoustic and optic semeia. An arm is not a leg, though both are nameable as limbs. These two members, like others, are set in certain fundamental relationships to one another, relationships of similarity and dissimilarity. A variety of such relationships obtains, and they are like the Transcendental and Pneumatological semiotic series, polarised. They are radically disposed as binary.

The relationship of the body to space clearly reflects the conceptual polarity of mind. We argued that in no uncertain way, the three-dimensional spatial manifold, which evinces the cruciform pattern, stands as the biblical iconography for the relationality of the transcendent forms, the six ideas constituting the mental polarity of mind. Now the body is not space itself; even so it is one way, perhaps the only way, we have of knowing about space. Bodies reflect space, they manifest it. We can no more take the body out of space than we can take space out of the body. There is here, a certain fundamental ontology between these two categories which can be described as mimetic. The body mirrors space. Thus, if three-dimensional space is the model for the three forms of unity, then the body as the mirror of this space, also acts somehow as the mirror of these very ideas, these transcendent forms. Here the operative word is mirror. In the narrative it is equivalent to the verb 'become'.

We must not lose sight of the fact that the body functions as paragon, a copy only, a mimetic and palpable reproduction of the ideas, the conceptual polarity of mind. If we hold within consciousness something like this palpable reflection of our own bodiliness, or rather, if consciousness entails one's prehension (feeling) of oneself,  then it follows that this is also a prehension of mind as constituted by the ideas disclosed in the creation story. For just as space acts as the model for these ideas, and depicts their certain relational divergence from one another,  the body reflects or represents space. Just as the separation of the 'waters above' and 'waters below' portends the initiation of space, water in the miracle story suggests all three transcendent forms, particularly space, as well as all three immanent denominations of the same - the time of space : time, the body of mind : body, the female of male : female.

The author of this messianic miracle story at least, is no stranger to the story of creation, as the beginning of the gospel made clear. The invocation of the P creation narrative is the invocation of the six conceptual forms. In the story of the miracle at Cana, the mention of the six stone jars of water evokes these same. The six jars of water changed into wine so places the perceptual forms in juxtaposition with them. Conceptual and perceptual forms are to be reckoned as equal here, even though as we see there are in both series, always four and not three immanent episodes, both manifests of their provenance in God.

The point at issue here is that the morphology of the body itself informs us as to the existence of the categoreal forms. If the Markan stories of healing  expound a semiotic of this kind, they do so in the interests of abandoning any hard and fast division between  ideas on the one hand, and  perception on the other, or as we may say, between mind and mind-body, thought and its expression. No lasting separation is maintained between mind and body,  even though we have to urge the existence, and persistence, of Mind independently of the unity mind : body. The two sixfold series integrate morphologically. This stipulates their intimate relationality, and it might be summed up by saying no beginning without end, and no end without beginning. The idea of transformation-transfiguration which we will later examine, concerns the ramifications of the isomorphism between the narrative of Days and the messianic miracle stories. Not for nothing are these two narrative centres, so  fundamental to Christian metaphysics, formally and literally analogous. Their respective concerns, the conceptual and the perceptual polarities of mind, do not occur in isolation from one another. They obtain in the closest possible relationship as given by both Christological miracles, Transformation Of Water Into Wine, and Transfiguration.

We can hardly overemphasise that there is a precise and comprehensive correspondence between the conceptual forms and human corporeal existence.
The body 'represented' in the mind is none other than the mind-in-the-body. It pertains to the possibility of language as the event of shared communication whose persisting reality is mind itself, the conceptual constituents of which are posited in the story of creation. However, here in the context of a theology of the Word, the expression 'representation' is too one-sided if by it we understand the visible nature of the word; that is, if we mean exclusively its visible or graphic forms. Etymologically, the term 'represent' need not have this all too imagistic nuance, but it usually nevertheless does. We shall see that there is a close connection between the phonetic and the conceptual, just as there is between the graphic and the perceptual. This reverts to the fundamental juxtaposition maintained by the Transcendental and Pneumatological miracles themselves, as theologies of  acoustic and optic sense-percipience respectively. These are as are the conceptual forms space and male : female, maximally variant, maximally opposed to another. For just as the  (transcendental) conceptual forms are weighted a propos of transcendence : immanence, the same occurs amongs the modes of sense-percipience. The acoustic semiotic forms are thus the fittest of any to speak for the conceptual consciousness. So this 'representation' in the mind of the body, or what is the same thing, this 'representation' in the body of the mind of conceptual forms in particular, we should understand not in terms of image but of sound.

What is clear is that the acoustic readily epitomises the 'abstract' as opposed to the 'concrete', the 'mental' rather than the 'physical',  and as such, effectively the conceptual as distinct from the perceptual, even though it is itself a perceptual mode.
It really does not matter how we phrase their disparity. I have already referred to the apparent contradiction involved in the symbolic masculine, which even though it is a pure conceptual form is nevertheless weighted in favour of immanence. In the same vein, acoustic sentience amounts to a contradiction of perception qua immanence since it intantiates the Transcendent. It is obvious that the acoustic, in virtue of its transcendental status among the three modes of sense-percipience expounded in the messianic miracles, will be necessarily germane to the theology of transcendence, the theology of conceptual forms, in a manner complementary to the nexus established by optic sentience and the perceptual pole. The more detailed exposition of this aspect of the theology of semiotic forms lies ahead. But in advance of a mored detailed analysis, we should caution here against any restrictive sense of understanding the 'representation' of the body-in-the-mind/mind-in-the-body by the haptic semiotic forms, as irretrievably concrete in the sense of visual. We must consciously sustain equal attention to the phenomenal aspects of language as on the one hand acoustic-spoken, and on the other graphic-written, as to the fact of the mediation by haptic sentience itself of these very same, if we are to reach a viable Christian doctrine of language which is implicit in the narratives before us.

There is a precise and comprehensive correspondence between the conceptual forms and human corporeal existence.
We can now give two examples of the theology of haptic semiotic forms, one of each kind, transcendent and immanent.


The Haemorrhagic Woman (Mark 24b-34)


This is one of the six or so stories from the healing miracle cycle in Mark, whose subjects are other than the sense-percipient soma. That is, its metaphysical purpose is the presentation of one of the conceptual forms. There are six such stories which recapitulate every one of the six conceptual categories so that the healing miracle cycle dovetails perfectly with the two sixfold series of 'beginning' and 'end' - the Days and the messianic miracles.

Mark 5.1 begins a chain of stories of Jesus healing the sick. Its overarching form is a trajectory which begins with The Gerasene Man (5.1s) and concludes with The Syrophoenician Woman (7.24s). At the apex is The Woman With The Haemorrhage. The word 'ceased' -  e0chra/nqh (v 29), which could be rendered more literally, 'was dried' - plots the precise apical point of the two arms of this parabolic curve of narrative.

 In addition to the fact that the nature of the illness which indicates that this particular Markan narrative  belongs to that half of the theology of haptic semiotic forms concerned with the conceptual rather than the perceptual, that it involves a woman also specifies which half of the conceptual categories we are dealing with. We recall that the division into transcendent and immanent of the two halves of the narrative centres 'beginning and 'end' or Genesis and the gospel, Days and messianic miracles, is followed by the subsequent division of these two categories themselves according to the same paradigm.  Thus the transcendent categories, the conceptual forms themselves have immanent denominations as well as the transcendent ones, and thus too the perceptual modes have transcendent as well as immanent forms. This makes for four categories in all. Where the feminine sits within this scheme is as immanent rendering of a conceptual category. The three transcendent conceptual forms, space, mind and the symbolic masculine, each have their immanent counterpart, space : time, mind ; body and male : female. That we are dealing with a healing episode that reiterates a conceptual category rather than a perceptual one, and that this involves a woman, means effectively that the idea at the heart of the narrative must be one or the other of the three conceptual categories we have referred to as conceptual forms of unity:  time (that is space : time), the body (that is mind : body) or the feminine (that is male : female).

Reading the narrative of the healing of The Haemorrhagic Woman it is obvious that all three of these ideas are present. Gender, the eschatological, is presented as epitomised by her suffering (v 26); temporality, the primordial, is clearly indicated by the reference to the duration of the illness (v 25), and will be emphasised by the repetition of the very same duration in the ensuing miracle narrative (v 42); and the body, the Christological category, is implicated by several means, the references to 'daughter' (v 34), and of course by the word 'body' itself (v 29). Only one of these however is paramount.

Remember that our survey of the conceptual forms concluded with a co-ordination of the three forms of unity according to the paradigm transcendence : immanence, with reference to the pivotal role played by the mediating category mind : body. This aligned the morphology of the feminine body with the past, and that of the masculine with the future. For the analogous relationships sustained by the three forms of unity results in the congruence of 'beginning' and 'end', the categories space : time and male : female, intervenient between which is focal or mediating category, soma or mind : body. Thus the body replicates both the primordial and the eschatological. The 'phallic' body and the 'womb' body co-ordinate temporality and gender. For just as temporality is bifurcated into oppositional perspectives towards the past and towards the future, the body is bifurcated into female and male. These convergent primordial and eschatological conceptual forms simultaneously impinge on the human constitution, mental and physical,  conferring upon it the image and likeness of God. This convergence of temporality and gender entailing the identification of masculine with the future (transcendence) and that of the feminine with the past (immanence) is reiterated in the drama. Mark presents us with that very alignment or metaphysical co-incidence between the womb-body and the past:

And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. (Mark 5.25, 26)

The illness of the woman is specific to her gender, and the multiple references in the introduction to time past are anything but casual. The orientation of the gender of the woman's body signals the temporal vector. There is even a sense in which the 'flow of blood' (v 25) suggests something like the confluence of past into present, the passage of time as suffering of a specific kind. The association of the feminine with the past is not gratuitous. It follows upon the metaphysics seminal to the creation narrative. To this Mark adds more and more detail in conformity with the theology of the body, the theology of haptic semiotic forms:
She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said ... And immediately the haemorrhage ceased .. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said ... (5.27-30).
We have extracted this passage from a carefully constructed whole. It is prefaced by the story of The Daughter of Jairus, to which it reverts having concluded, so that the arc of a parabola reflecting the very movement of the characters in this story, is subtended from the point of the woman's cure, a point given by the word translated 'ceased' (v 29). Still closer examination of the narrative would begin  with a consideration of the story of The Gerasene Man and end with that of The Syrophoenician Woman. This would confirm and extend the same pattern. That the healing story was important enough for the evangelist to have crafted it in so fine a way is evidence of its meaning and value. A significant part of that is its careful recapitulation of the concept of time. This places it among the corpus of six Markan miracle stories dealing with the conceptual polarity of human consciousness, and further still, amid the wider body of twelve miracle narratives which reconfigure the categories expounded in the narrative cycles of creation and redemption.

The identification of the haptic form will add yet more weight to this postulate, and will provide us with the opportunity to comment upon the haptic semiosis. We might be inclined to rush to the conclusion that the womb is the somatic bearer of meaning of the concept time. But the semiology of the story is subtler than one might first think. Moreover it demands as already observed, much more detailed consideration of the related pericopae, here notably those of The Daughter of Jairus and The Syrophoenician Woman. The theological rapport between these texts, and of course that of The Gerasene Demoniac, must be taken into account if any real understanding of them is to be reached.

The woman's coming to Jesus from 'behind' is signal in view of the fact that Mark has so conspicuously interpolated the episode into a string of related events and in view of the extensive structuring of the text as noted. The Woman planned to avoid confronting Jesus and succeeded. He is forced to 'turn about' in order to face her. These literal means designate the semiotic form proper to the category - the back. Her approach from 'behind' - o)/pisqen (v 27) -  and his 'turning about' ( e)pistrafei\v (v 30)) -  both articulate the behind part of the body, its back, as that member which signifies time in the process of human self-reflexiveness.  

The spinal column is the centre of this member just as the solar plexus is centre of one's front. Between back and front are the sides bordering both sites. The lateral body is the point beyond which our vision, unless we turn about, is impeded. Since we are speaking here of time, we need to incorporate the concept of motion, which the narrative itself does noticeably. When moving, this lateral region of our bodies, its sides, is one that we palpably associate with the confluence between past and present, and the present and future. If we are walking forwards, or  travelling in  a vehicle of any kind which is moving in that direction, provided we are facing the direction in which we are travelling, which is always the case for anyone wanting and needing to see that direction, we can perhaps begin to understand this sign. By the back of the body, we include part of its lateral aspect, that precise region of one's body which measures a beyond which any given point or points seem to pass as we move. Hence we speak of our past as being 'behind' us. In the miracle story this is reflected by the apex of the parabolic text, indicated by the word 'ceased'.  The association of time with this semiotic form is thus borne out at an experiential level. The back is that member of the human body  which we associate with the idea of time by dint of our self-understanding as embodied beings. It is necessary to repeat that the relation of past to present is continuous, and the semeion conjures fittingly with this fact. We have emphasised that the future, the direction which we more or less must face, that is which confronts us, presents us with an antithetical relation. For we have argued here that the future as devoid of temporal passage, can only be said to be linked with the present discretely. There is therefore a specific and succinct way in which time, demonstrated as the continuous inheritance of the present of a settled past, is portrayed by means of the haptic/somatic signifier, the dorsal body.

It goes without saying that the bodies of males no less than those of females are party to this precise element of haptic signification. The bodies of males no less than females possess a back as well as a front. Thus the conceptual forms of unity must be signified irrespectively of the gendered body. The meanings of 'womb' body and 'phallic' body as in this context therefore, do not in the first place refer to the specific sexual differentiation of any particular body. If anything, they controvert this. In sum then, there is a precise and comprehensive correspondence between the conceptual forms and human corporeal existence. The story of The Haemorrhagic Woman contributes to this with its clear exposition of the body's 'back'  qua semeion or sign, and the categoreal form time. It is one of exactly six such narratives in the gospel of Mark which accomplishes this, in accordance with the categoreal scheme first proposed in the creation story.


Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10.46-52)


This is our second example before we finish with the introduction to the theology of haptic semiotic forms. It is useful for two reasons: the first is that dealing with a mode of perception it stands in contrast to the previous example which concerned a conceptual form, and secondly, it will dispel any facile association between specific functions of organs or members of the body and their theological signification. Reading the narrative carefully enough, even if only for a first time, should reveal the specific form concerned.

And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. (Mark 10.50)

The story has much in common with other healing narratives; for example, the theme of faith, and the theme of following or discipleship (v 52). But nothing in any other healing story situates this particular mode of perception a propos of the somatic form  indicated by the word 'mantle' i9ma/tion. The plural of the same word is used  in the story of The Transfiguration (9.3), of Jesus' 'garments', and later (15.20) of Jesus' clothes in the Passion narrative.

This word designates that part of the body including the shoulders and arms.  This may seem odd, but it is necessary to remember that the schema is representative at a broad level. It incorporates the body dismembered so to speak, at the most elementary level. The eyes in themselves do configure the conscious process involved here. The semiosis of the haptic must involve members, parts, regions of the body which are susceptible of touching, of feeling. One cannot touch one's eyes, the very things one sees with; or certainly, one does not often do so. Nor do the eyes come into contact with anything on a regular basis. This precludes them from the status of haptic semiotic form. As does the fact that there is no obvious antithetical member of the body. For in each semiosis polarity is a significant factor as restating the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence. There are two stories of cures of blindness, and these confirm the binary structure common to all semiotic forms. The countervailing semeion is given in the only other story of a healing of blindness in Mark 8.24.

This is the briefest of introductions to the haptic semiosis. (For the complete account see Semeihaptika: The Body And Touch.) Certain key characteristics must be met by all semiotic forms, and certain criteria fulfilled. Haptic signs must be bodily zones which come into contact with things and of course, with other persons. The arms and shoulders accomplish this.  Moreover the forms in this case, the arms-shoulders, are set in relation of antithesis or opposition to the lower limbs of the body, as for example back is to front. We see this pattern of polarity in Mark's two narratives which deal with vision. It is specifically the arms of one's body which tell us the distance of things from us, for the arms sweep out before and behind in arcs of varying sizes, not dissimilarly to the way in which our eyes function. The span of the arm, because of the joints at the shoulder and the elbow, provide us with very exact information regarding the distance of things from us. Thus whatever other functions they achieve, the limbs of the body generally serve to focus our location in relation to the environment in lieu of vision if needs be, due to their capacity to calibrate our distance from the objects around us. When  we consider that we do in fact use our arms (and legs) to measure distances, when for example we find ourselves groping in the dark, and equally, considering that the eyes virtually reach out before and around us, prehending things in just the way that our limbs do, this particular semiotic form becomes intelligible. In the Markan theology of haptic semiosis, this particular miracle story equates the upper limbs of the body as signifying  visual processes in self-reflexiveness. In other words, the member of the body shoulders-arms stands for vision in a semiological schema, the haptic, and it will have its analogue in the other two semiotic series,  acoustic and optic.

Little wonder then that Mark relates the man's action of 'throwing off' his mantle. The description conveys his joy and alacrity at dispensing with a great burden. We have all too briefly alluded to the other story of a healing of a blind man in the gospel, these two figures taken together, reveal that the limbs of the body represent the visual processes in a schematic theology of semiotic forms. It will be necessary to make good the difference between the two narratives in terms of their diverse semiotic forms. For there is again much that remains to be accounted for here, especially the divergence as to past/future and analogously feminine/masculine. Even so, these two examples should suffice to introduce the idea that the semiotic forms, which by dont of of expressing the mode of touch are Christological, bring together in a corpus or whole, both the conceptual and perceptual categories.

Even though the gospel of Mark currently lacks the story of the miracle at Cana, which stands in relation to the theology of haptic semeia as the two stories of loaves and fish stand to the optic and acoustic signs, the form and content of the miracle stories are absolutely consonant with the comprehensive patterns given in the texts of these messianic miracles. Every one of Mark's twelve stories of healings recapitulates either one of the six conceptual forms or one of the six perceptual forms and assigns it a somatic/haptic, index. (This adds to the possibility that the gospel of Mark may have originally contained the story of The Transformation Of Water Into Wine; an interesting conjecture and one in support of which further evidence exists in the gospels.)
 

The Feeding Of The Five Thousand

There is no need here, nor is it the most opportune point, to enjoin detailed consideration of the theology of signs. That said, this miracle narrative which sits with its complement at the centre of the chiasmos, is vital to Markan metaphysics. The reason is that the acoustic semiosis provides the most succinct and practical exposition of the relational nature of the entities under consideration, the categoreal constituents of human consciousness. We should note, the acoustic semiosis, and not numbers, which are of course mentioned not only in the feeding miracle narratives, but which establish the story of creation as a taxonomy. We should recall here that the first of the immanent messianic events does not involve multiplication/fragmentation. It is less about quantity than quality. This points to the various semiotic forms, the haptic, optic and acoustic, for they all, unlike numerical data, function as qualia. A musical tone, like a visible hue, or a tangible bodily member has an affective aspect, a qualitative property, which no geometrical or mathematical abstraction enjoys. This is of the greatest value for practical rather than exclusively doctrinal purposes. It promises the delivery by the narratives of a praxis. But our first and foremost obligation here is nevertheless to establish the doctrines stemming from the  texts, and this cannot be done without reference to the semiotic forms, perhaps the most important of which remains the musical scale.

Because it presents every one of the formal features contained in numerical form in the three Eucharistic miracle stories, it discloses the formal characteristics of the  contours of time as of human consciousness and Mind, or God the Son. In the musical  tradition handed down  and shaped by various Christian civilizations in the West, the fundamental unit, an octave, consists of twelve members, the figure mentioned in the first miracle of loaves and fish, in which it enumerates the quanta of remaining portions or baskets full of fragments. This figure is fundamental to our study since it concerns the analogous six Days and miracles. This does not mean the exclusion of the Sabbath : Eucharist from consideration, but clearly the hexad is a prominent formal feature of the two texts. It recurs in both Christologies, so that the acoustic semiosis is at once congruent with the exposition of the haptic semiosis which these stories denote, and which the series of twelve healing miracles in the gospel of Mark iterates. We have just now provided two examples of these.

That the semiotic forms established by the acoustic series also comport formally with the remaining Eucharistic miracle narrative is obvious, given the prevalence of the figure 7 in the narrative. This is certainly surprising, considering that the stories of Days, and messianic miracles, in their entirety, are heptadic in form. The commonest, clearest, and most salient expressions of the heptad in the musical scale, are the so-called diatonic scales, the major and minor scales.
The commonest of musical scales in use in the west since the Renaissance, employ seven tones. These are known as the diatonic scales. Thus where there are two scales consisting of five serially order tones in any octave, there are also two scales consisting of seven tones in distinct forms of serial order. These scales, the major and minor, both comprising just seven tones, do not exist merely by default, or by exclusion once the pentatonic is given. That is, they do not occur simply as the result of any prior division of the octave into the pentatonic scale. They form the basic series of tones which accounts for the harmonic structures of western music. The seven tones or elements of the diatonic scales bear upon this figure which we have seen often enough in the narratives which concern us: the creation story consists of seven serial units, and the messianic miracle series likewise contains seven serial members. We encounter a raft of sevenfold series in The Apocalypse also. The link between the archaeological immanent messianic miracle, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, and the eschatological one, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, is secured by the iterated cipher in the former, the figure 5, and the iterated figure 7 in the latter. Thus the dodecaphonic series consists of combinatorial sevenfold and fivefold scales, as well as two sixfold scales. These structures are amongst the most commonplace of all the various morphologies expressed by the acoustic semiosis. The acoustic semiotic series, the twelve tones of the dodecaphonic scale which constitutes an octave, thus stands itself in the very best stead for integration with the formal rudiments of the other semioses. These are the first points we should raise in support of the emerging hermeneutic.

Just as there are both a pentatonic or five-tone and two (diatonic) or seven-tone scales in the western musical tradition, there exists also, and again neither merely by default, a twelve-tone or dodecaphonic scale. Again, due to the plasticity of the acoustic series, to say nothing of human inventiveness, there are within the octave exactly two scales with just six members. These are the two whole tone scales. If we observe the presence of this cipher in both Christological miracle narratives, six, we must remember that also that both series 'beginning' and 'end',  can be reckoned as sixfold. The total tally of beginning and end events, Days excluding the Sabbath, which is not a day of creation proper,and messianic miracles excluding the Eucharist, which is not a miracle proper, is therefore twelve.

The musical scales, or what is the same thing, the acoustic series, present structural features corresponding to the quanta detailed not only in both miracles of loaves and fish, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, but just as clearly the Johannine story of the miracle at Cana, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine and its certain complement, The Transfiguration which explicity enumerates the six conceptual forms and correlates these with the theology of perception contained within the messianic series. It is this semiosis which is thus best fitted to elaborate the relations obtaining extensively between the various entities, conceptual and perceptual, depicted in both narrative cycles. Clearly then, if  the details of the immanent messianic miracle stories enmesh, so too do their corresponding semiologies.  

The difference which secures the co-existence of so many serial forms of order in the twelve musical tones of an octave, depends entirely on the intervals between them. So for example, the interval between each member of the two sixfold whole-tone scales, is always one whole tone. These are the two scales which will signify the two serially ordered entities, conceptual and perceptual, and which fully articulate the various relationships referred to by means of the various numerical details. The intervals between members of the pentatonic scales are unequal; as are the intervals subdividing the members of the diatonic scales. So that the two whole tone scales, each consisting of six members, are perfectly fitted to express the serial taxonomies of both the theology of creation, Days, and the theology of salvation, messianic miracles. The cogent factor which fits them for just such a purpose, is the logical one of the equal interval measuring each step from one to the next member of the series. The use of an interval as the principle of serial order reflects the notion of fragmentation, of division, or its obverse, multiplication, depending on one's point of view, both being deployed in the two stories. Thus the creation narrative uses the fission motif for the first three Days of transcendence proper, and the fusion motif for the subsequent four Days. Similarly, the miracles of loaves and fish entail division/multiplication.

The Christological miracle at Cana on the other hand, involves no division/multiplication; the story begins and ends with equal quantities, now of water, now of wine. We have already remarked on the singular character of the Christological miracles and their antecedents in the creation story. Here too, that is within the acoustic semiosis, the two whole-tone scales consisting of six (different) members each, distinguish themselves; for the division between each successive member of the series is equal, that is, it is always the same. Pentatonic and diatonic scales contain at least two unequal divisions or intervals; three and two semitones (or one whole tone) in the former case, and two semitones (one whole tone) and the semitone in the latter case. We could propose that the chromatic (dodecaphonic) scale compares to the two whole-tone scales in singularity, for the intervals it contains are the same, a semitone serving to divide each and every member of the series. But it leaves nothing out; that is, the chromatic scale,just like the gathering up of all the fragments, includes everything such that in one sense there is no division, no fragmentation. (The word 'chromatic' in this context is profoundly apt from a semiological point of view for it suggests the spectrum of visible hues. It suggests the analogous members of the optic semiotic series, which are denoted in the subsequent miracle of loaves and fish.)

These various acoustic serial forms of order are indubitably man-made, nonetheless they are equally natural. They reflect the innate structures and patterns which formulate the manner in which humans hear sound, and sound moreover, which is susceptible of precise mensuration. We chose to begin with the acoustic semiosis because it meshes with both other semioses. The 'signs' intrinsic to the process of hearing confirm corresponding structures in both semiotic series, seeing and touch. Perhaps for the same reason, who can say, this narrative, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, is to be found in all four gospels. Indeed in John it is virtually equivalent to the Eucharist. This evidently most primordial of the Eucharistic miracles, in effect the theology of hearing, provides the best opening, or beginning to a semiotic theology. It surely conveys the closest association between the human sentient body, soma, and reception of the Word. This is an ongoing concern in the fourth gospel, and we find for example, immediately prior to the story of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, John consistently reverts to the idea of hearing as itself radically implicated in the process of believing:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live .... Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice ... I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me." (John 5.25, 28, 30)

This last reference is striking because it precisely confirms the specific mode of sentience, hearing, as identifying the Transcendent, the 'Father', more of which directly. Immediately prior to the miracle story we find:

"But if you do not believe his [Moses'] writings, how will you believe my words?" (John 5.47)

The first miracle of loaves then, concerns acoustic percipience: hearing. This mode of sentience, like others comparable to it, presents us with the phenomenon of a variety of serial forms of order, scales. These are congruent with the organic and formal properties inherent in the two textual series, Days and messianic events. That is, they elaborate the same structures and patterns which scripture proposes as the disclosure of mind (consciousness) to itself. To understand further what this phenomenon involves, is to pursue the formal patterns inherent in the acoustic 'signs' presented to us by evolving human consciousness in relation to the disclosure of the same, Mind, within special revelation.

In sum then, the twelve tones of the western musical chromatic scale, the dodecaphonic series, in its variety of permutations, effectively presents us with the real content of the story of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand. That these semeia or signs themselves are innately connected to temporality, and so finally to mind, is the premise for this part of the theology of semiotic forms. There is no other means of determining the plethora of relations which obtain between the various members of the two orders, conceptual and perceptual. Any effort to come to terms with not just the meaning of this particular immanent messianic miracle, but also with that of the series in its entirety, and moreover with a Christian understanding of the revelation made in the story of creation must countenance these phenomena - the acoustic semeia. There is no alternative method. To begin to understand the theology of signs, is to begin to understand the acoustika. This system, which has evolved over time in tandem with the development of Christian culture constitutes a primary resource for theology. (A rider is necessary here, since we find the pentatonic scale in many cultures other than the Christan one.) Part of the reason for this claim must lie in the fact of the affinity of the same with time. That hearing is to be linked with time, will follow from their categoreal co-incident instantiation of the Transcendent, ('the Father') within the overtly Trinitarian theology of both cycles, beginning and end, Genesis and gospel.

 

The Feeding of the Four Thousand

The next step in our procedure will probably by now be readily foreseeable. We are establishing the hermeneutic of this narrative Pneumatological as centred on seeing, thus its numerical schemata should add to an emerging theological understanding of the sentient body, the soma. The repeated figure is here seven.

The term 'chromatic' used above in relation to the dodecaphonic scale is an apt cue for the introduction of the theology of 'optic' signs, the theology expressed in the schemata of this miracle story. Although it is used in the context of music, it also refers to express the notion of colour. Since the publication in 1704 of Newton's magisterial work on light and colour, Opticks, (although the actual discovery had taken place some thirty years previously), we have thought of white light as composed of the hues visible in the rainbow, into which the scientist divided and from which he recombined them by means of prisms. We see virtually everything as a two-dimensional coloured surface. These colours are none other than the semeia or signs with which the miracle story is concerned. We do not always agree on the precise number of colours that we perceive, although just like audible tones, they are determinable by specific measurement. Whether we reckon the number of colours as six or seven is not an issue, since both figures occur in these stories of miraculous feedings. The figure six is employed in the tradition of the miracle at Cana, and the figures seven here in the related final feeding miracle story. If we emphasise the aptness to immanence of unity, and hence the fact that each of the somisms or sentient modes, touching, hearing and seeing, operate sympathetically to one another, there is a logical case for reading the repeated figures in the three immanent miracles as emblematic of the same. These are the figures 5, 6, and 7. The number of visible hues and the number of tones in the two diatonic scales, the most common of any musical scales, are the same. So too, the serial narratives in Genesis, the gospel, and The Apocalypse, all employ these basic forms, all involve sevenfold patterns which tie them intimately to Trinitarian theology. The meshing or co-incidence of the two series of signs, tones and hues, includes the event at Cana. Thus while they may serve to distinguish the episodes from one another, it is necessary to note also their apparent integration, as given by the fact that they constitute a numerical progression. Several features which guarantee the utility of the colour scale are as follows.

The colour series is polarised. Thus when tallied as containing six units it consists of two triads. The vocabulary of art and psychology uses vernacular terms 'warm/cool' to express this polarity. Astrophysics speaks of the juxtaposed red and violet or blue, ends of the spectrum as indicating light sources moving away from and towards us respectively. Whichever terms we employ, we can extend the reformulation of the binary form to the entire spectrum and so speak of the oppositional relationship between red and green, orange and blue, yellow and indigo. These six signifiers reformulate the antithetical pairs of Days and corresponding pairs of messianic miracles, for example Day 1 and Day 4, Transfiguration and Transformation Of Water Into Wine. This binary pattern of the optic semeia conforms to the serial structures of the narratives of beginning and end, of Genesis and the gospel. It is a finite series with a first and a last term.

To speak of the breaking up - 'refraction' - of white light as pertinent to the meaning of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, and of the division of the musical octave into various scales, pentatonic, whole-tone, diatonic and dodecaphonic, in the context of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, clearly brings to mind the relation of these events to the Eucharist and more clearly still to the death of Jesus on the cross. The Eucharist  is in one sense, closer to the haptic semiosis than either of the other semiotic forms because of its pertinence to the Son. The body in the light of the fractio panis can be understood in terms of dismemberment. Thus the 'breaking of the bread' ritually concerns identity as well as unity in the sense that the body itself is the manifest of the same dialectic. We said above that the somatic/haptic sign of the categoreal form time, is that particular member of the body, the back, which 'embodies' this in our self-understanding. That part or fragment of the body necessarily becomes isolated for consideration, even as simultaneously it remains a vital part of the whole, in any epistemology-psychology of the way in which this concept functions in consciousness.

The haptic semeia reproduce both the propensity to absolute identification of the acoustika on the one hand, and yet the inevitable constraint towards to unity of the optika on the other. For just as the conceptual Christological categories achieve the conjunction and disjunction of relata, the perceptual categories do likewise. They no less than the conceptual forms are accentuated according to the categoreal paradigm. This is encapsulated for us in the copula of the various Christological titles:  'beginning and end', 'alpha and omega', 'first and last'.  The process of  semiotic configuration, the 'embodiment' of the various categories, both transcendent and immanent, which number twelve in all, is therefore also the process of dismemberment from the corpus, of differentiation from  undifferentiated unity, of morphological severance from the body of something less than a whole yet more than a part. For this is demanded by the law of identity. Nevertheless, it is also the process of the body's being made whole, the task of immanence, as of the Holy Spirit. The haptic semiosis as hexadic, stands poised between those of the acoustic and optic, whose ciphers, 5 and 7, repeated in the miracle narratives are signal of the Transcendent and the Holy Spirit respectively. We shall later pursue this idea in relation to the forms of intentionality, or prehensive modes, which are specifically or innately tied to the categories.

We are adverting here to the value of a theology of the body, a theology of the haptic semeia at the heart of the Johannine miracle story. The members of the body as members, are exemplars of the necessary communication between the dialectical principles, identity and unity. The hand, for example, is conceivable as just that and that alone; yet it also belongs to something else - the body.  The haptic semeia are weighted according to neither principle, alternatively, we may say that they are accentuated in virtue of both at once. If the category mind : body mediates between primordial and eschatological categories, then just so does the haptic semiosis mediate between the acoustic and optic semiotic series. This corporeal mediation,  the meaning of the event of the cross as constituting the heart of the theology of Eucharist,  confers alterity on these two antithetical semiotic forms and also rescues them from absolute inconsistency. The syntax of all three semiotic series, their linguistic coherence, can be put as follows:                                                                              

 

                                                                                                   transcendence        :          immanence

                                                                                                              acoustic    haptic     optic

 

Remember that the two peripheral forms or categories, those of 'beginning and end', are weighted antithetically. That is, the acoustic semeia show a greater propensity to express  identity, while the optic semeia are more determined to express unity. As Newton discovered, white light is constituted by light of component wavelengths which manifest themselves to us as the various chromatic values, or visible hues. That indeed says it all. The acoustic semeia do not offer the same kind of integration. They do not innately manifest the same kind of propensity to unity. We cannot hear all twelve tones of the dodecaphonic series simultaneously - it is a cacophony. Although it is true that harmony consists in the simultaneous sounding of certain tones, and this is just one of the many phenomena which is part and parcel of the theology of acoustic semeia. The optic semeia are invaluable precisely in that they stand over and against the acoustic signs. They assist us in  overcoming  much of the difficulty occasioned by conceiving the reality of the principle of unity in theological terms. For they put the case for unity of some of the various entities which they signify.

We should note yet another divergence among the three series of semiotic forms relative to the paradigm transcendence : immanence. It governs  so many of the  theolougmena we encounter in biblical metaphysics.  We cannot press for any one-to-one correspondence between the three phenomenal modes of sense perception which disallows or curtails the paramount fact of their integration. As espousing the principle of immanence, each of these perceptual modes obtains relative to the others according to the principle of unity. The modes of sense perception conform to the fourfold aspect of Godhead, that of the unity of identities in God. It is certainly clear that the gospels propose each of the three phenomenal modes of sense perception in specific relation to one of the identities in God: hearing, (the acoustic), to God Transcendent, or 'the Father', seeing, (the optic), to the Holy Spirit, and touch, (the haptic), to the Son. But the real relevance for these sentient modes is directed by the fact that overall they reveal the immanen polarity of God. This means that they express unity at the expense of the antithetical principle identity. It means also they bear a particular relationship to the Holy Spirit.

Something of their ingrained proclivity towards non-differentiation is demonstrated by the fact that there is actually a fourth entity comparable to these three phenomenal modes of sentience - smell/taste. We must not lose sight of the fact that the Eucharist belongs to the very same set of events. Furthermore, the Eucharist, as denoting the reality of consumption, epitomises this very concept - unity. That which we consume becomes an inseparable part of us. Thus the Eucharist irrevocably expresses the principle of immanence - unity. There is not adequate accounting for these four terms along the lines of a theology of transcendence, since it is committed before all else, to the disclosure the differentiation of identities in God. This is prohibited by the existence of the fourfold form. The explanation of just how a fourth categoreal is implicit in the doctrine of God's immanence, must await the later discussion of the gospels. We shall contend that their fourfold form is a vital part of that explanation, and its clearest and most concrete expression.

Conversely, if we were to say of the conceptual forms, the transcendent categories or ideas, that they are indistinguishable from one another, we would be committing an error just as serious and defiantly of the clear logical tenets set by the two series of narratives. The pure conceptual forms posit the reality of identity, the complementary and immanent modes of sense perception exemplify  unity. Both concepts are vital to a proper understanding of God. The following table summarises the trinitarian rationale of the Christology emergent in the P creation narrative and the messianic series. The pure conceptual forms, rather than the forms of unity, which are those categories univocally expressive of identity, are listed as underlined.



Transcendence - Conceptual Form of Unity

Immanence - Mode of Sense Percipience
The Transcendent
space : time
acoustic
The Son
 mind : body
haptic
The Holy Spirit
    male : female
optic

                                     
 

Apart from the fact that they elaborate a Christian theory of language, the real value of the semiotic forms is their utility for praxis. They can take us to the heart of Christian prayer and meditation. The development of their potential in this direction must accept certain procedures long developed in the religious traditions of the East such as are encapsulated in the terms, 'mantra', 'mandala', and 'mudra'. Adopting an insight central to the Buddhist tradition we may repeat here that prayer-meditation without understanding is aimless, and that understanding without prayer-meditation is fruitless. We require both a theological grasp of the realities of Christian metaphysics and a means wherewithal to practise the same. It is here exactly that the semiotic forms are indispensable. In themselves, they avow that theological understanding can never subsist in an objective vacuum; that in fact it must always affect the subject. Such technologies as are involved in terms like 'mantra', 'mandala', and 'mudra' testify to the transformative power inherent in semiotic forms. In this regard they are paramount methods of recreating the conative consciousness. I mean by the latter, those processes of both will and desire which spring from the conceptual and perceptual poles of mind respectively.

In no uncertain sense is the theology of the body, a theology of the haptic semeia first delivered in the Johannine miracle story, central to this doctrine concerning language, the doctrine of the Word. The members of the body qua members are exemplars of the intercourse necessary between the antithetical principles, identity and unity. The hand, for example, is conceivable as just that and that alone ; yet it also belongs to something else, the body.  The haptic semeia are weighted according to neither principle. Alternatively, we may say that they are accented in both directions at once. If the category mind : body mediates between primordial and eschatological categories, then just so does the haptic semiosis mediate between the acoustic and optic semiotic series. This corporeal mediation,  reflects the meaning of the event of the cross as constituting the heart of Eucharistic theology,  and confers alterity on the two antithetical semiotic series, retrieving them from absolute disintegration.

The miracle at Cana is the first of the string of miraculous Eucharistic stories. The two similar events have clearly defined series of semeia or signs, whose elucidation in relation to the biblical doctrine of Mind is the theology of signs or semiotic forms. Hence we provided two examples above to show how the reference to the six jars filled with water which is transformed into wine, expounds the shift from the conceptual polarity to the perceptual, and correspondingly a semiosis, the haptic, which added to the two other semiologies, those of the acoustic and the optic, encompasses the sentient body itself. This theology has all the hallmarks of a comprehensive philosophy. In all then, there are three patterns or series of signs: haptic, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine; acoustic, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand; and optic, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand. We have outlined the barest aspects of their concurrent configuration, their syntactical integration, above.

We have drawn attention here to the various numerical details of all three feeding miracles to show that the theology of semiotic forms can account for them in a manner consonant with the same presence of formal logic within the creation story. To neglect one is to neglect the other. The consequences are dire in either case, because they make of both narrative cycles, nothing more than ad hoc textual fragments. The series of creation events and the series of salvation events are not truncated literary items lacking in all internal and extensive coherence. The semiological hermeneutic given here, which has required an all to summary introduction to the theology of semiotic forms, posits that the feeding miracle narrative supply a vital component of Christological, that is Christian epistemological-psychological, doctrine. For it is only by means of elaboration of the various relational and structural details inherent within the three semiotic series themselves , haptic, acoustic and optic, which can deliver the meaning of these narratives. The alternative is to doom them to lasting triviality.

Hence the three Eucharistic miracles thus announce the role of three modes of sense perception - touch, hearing and seeing - in expounding the doctrine of the (human) soma. We have in this briefest of introductions to the theology of semiotic forms, accounted for the basic numerical details which are a significant part of the narratives. We cannot ignore them. Numbers belong to language, and to simply pass over them as if they had no bearing at all on the meaning of the episodes is itself the failure of understanding of which the final discourse on the feeding miracles speaks. The patterning of the creation story itself includes as germane such ways of reasoning. If serial order is apparent in that narrative as germane to the theological project, then it must be because of the concepts of time and  death. No serious attempt to reckon with either textual cycle, that of Genesis or the messianic miracle series, can disregard them, as for the most part contemporary theology has tried to do. We shall find later yet another reference, this time in the gospel of John, to these three episodes which also utilises numerical details, emphatically indicating their significance.

The reason for introducing at this point the theology of semiotic forms was to offer further evidence for the hermeneutic. In effect, the numerical details are but the very beginning of this. For they point to the three systems of signification. Of these, the acoustika are certainly the more important. This claim is justifiable on the basis of its prominence of the narrative in the gospels and its multiple attestation. It sits at the centre of each of the four. But it is equally assured by the mereological capacity of the acoustic series of semiotic forms. The various entities, conceptual and perceptual categories, given in the texts are the rudiments of Christian metaphysics, and a fully articulated doctrine of the Christ. But these entities sustain a very wide variety of relations among themselves. To such relations, rather than any mathematical reasoning itself, the acoustika are the final and best testimony. Surely this squares with the notion of incarnation and just as surely it offers the basis of a praxis, without which no adequate philosophy can hope to survive. The first task of incarnational theology, and hence of a Christology 'from below', will be to render a systematic explication of  these very same signs or semeia. From the use of the expression 'become' in the Johannine miracle story onwards it is obvious that the relation of the six conceptual categories to the six perceptual categories cuts to the very core of Christian theology. Likewise any competent hermeneutic of The Transfiguration must confront the same conceptual schema. The primary means of achieving this lies in reasoned consideration of the acoustic semiotic forms, which as we said before, centres the messianic series in every one of the four gospels. Now we must indicate how the Eucharist itself forms part of the Markan theology of perception.

 

The Eucharist And Soma In Mark

The relation of the final messianic event to the three feeding miracles poses no problem for the interpretation put here, namely that these episodes are a theology of perception. Where the miracle narratives posit a systematic theology of three modes of sense perception, the story of the Last Supper belongs to the same. Actual ingestion of food and/or drink necessarily involves smell-taste. In this way, the Eucharist completes the series. In terms of the doctrine of soma, the Eucharist denotes the mode of smell-taste.

We discerned at least two different intentions behind the narrative of the Last Supper. In one sense, it enjoins a ritual remembrance. Contemporary scholarship is now inclined to accord the specific lack of any mention of remembrance in Mark's and Matthew's accounts of the Last Supper its full value. It is contended that these particular narratives do not enjoin ritual observance, a liturgical act which is fundamentally re-iterative. The all important term 'in remembrance of me' - th\n e9mh\n a(na/mnhsin (1 Corinthians 12.24, Luke 22.19) which will be so vital to an understanding of the messianic series as an entirety from the standpoint of the primordial category, is actually missing from both Mark and Matthew. It is necessary to emphasise in response however, that Mark does use the concept of anamnesis (memory) in the discourse recalling both miracles of loaves (Mark 8.14-21):

"Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?" (kai\ ou( mnhmoneu/ete Mark 8.18,19)

Moreover, this discourse brings into view the full spectrum of immanent messianic episodes. That is, it suggests precisely what we shall directly do, namely consider the Eucharistic events as a fourfold series which finally answers the categoreal theology of transcendence elaborated in the first creation story. Here then, the precedent for the Eucharist, the last event of the sevenfold messianic series,  is either the event in the Garden of Eden, or the Passover. It can hardly be both. As a rite, or religious act, the Jewish feast of Passover is the substantial model or precedent for the Eucharist, if we mean by the latter, that which Paul and Luke have in mind. On the other hand, we have observed the relationship between the Eucharist and the Sabbath. This is very plain to both Mark and Matthew among the synoptists and also to John. Luke does seem to have overlooked or to have ignored the logical intention behind the messianic series as a whole, which influences his theology of the Eucharist. Paul tends to look to the mythology of the second creation account. He accepts the Genesis 3.1s story as a veridical report of the prehistory of mankind. Such acceptance cannot survive the scrutiny of contemporary criticism. On the other hand, we noted in passing, that the P creation narrative is not only congenial to an evolutionary theoretical understanding of the origins of humankind but positively supports it.

Thus Mark, Matthew and John, because their primary reference in creation theology is to the first, the P narrative, all stand in good stead where issues concerning the evolutionary past of humankind are concerned. The other injurious effect of the Pauline adoption of the J narrative is to have influenced thinking about the New Testament theology of creation. Received wisdom deems this a to be non-existent; that is, it argues that there is little if any creation theology in the entire New Testament. The thrust of the present hermeneutic of Mark routinely rejects that view. The closest possible link between creation and salvation exists due to the clearest possible congruence, isomorphism, analogy, between the Day series and the messianic events. The same is in turn borne out or at least anticipated, for example, by the expressions 'first and last' in Isaiah 41.4, 44.6, 48.12. These of course evolve into the identical Christological formulae of the New Testament -  'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.' (Revelation 22.13)  

To stress any relationship between the Sabbath of creation and the last of the messianic events is not to deny the cultic or religious correspondence between the Eucharist and the Passover. Rather, the relationship of the Eucharist and the Sabbath such as we find in Mark, Matthew and John, subordinates the ritual to the didactic purpose. Our concern is with this alternative doctrinal, metaphysical, dimension of the Eucharist. This is what connects the feeding miracles to the Eucharist, and of course, the messianic series to the Days series: Markan teaching. The single most important philosophical premise of that avowed intent is the doctrine of the form of unity mind : body. The story of the Eucharist is vital to the theology of soma. Therefore we repeat that it vindicates the identification of the logical subjects of the miracles of feeding as the three  modes of sense perception, touch, hearing and vision, to which it adds the fourth, the last of the series, the Eucharist proper as the exemplar of immanence, and so consistently identifies the remaining sense percipient mode, smell-taste, the one most linked with death.

The pattern of the Markan Eucharistic theology emphasises unity - one loaf and only one  exists in the boat with the disciples and Jesus. In effect then, the one loaf of this narrative, an overt reference to the Eucharist, stands for the Eucharistic mode of sense percipience, smell-taste. There is no requirement of a 'miracle' of feeding in this case, for the event refers to itself. What it involved is quite literally ingestion of food and drink, and consequently the olfactory and gustatory modes  of sense-percipience. Such sentient modality stands outside the pattern of the three phenomenal modes, and no semiotic series is involved. Nor is the event paired with any transcendent occasion, unless of course that be the resurrection. For Luke especially, and to a certain extent John, this may be so. Both evangelists include appearance stories in which the risen Christ himself eats with his disciples. Such a reckoning brings the tally of events to a total of eight, a figure which Luke incorporates into his introduction to the story of The Transfiguration (Luke 9.28), and one which just as conspicuously John uses for the beginning of his appearance story about Thomas (John 20.24ff. 26ff). Any resolution of the meaning of such an inclusion of the 'octave', all the more noticeable in John's story which contains a reference to  'Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin' (20.24), cannot be undertaken without recourse to the theology of semiotic forms, just noted.

The 3:3:1 structure recapitulates the sevenfold pattern in Genesis, where more than ever, the seventh Day is distinguished. The Eucharist centres the whole pattern. If we were to determine its signification as part of the intersection of three axes epitomising the cruciform, it would have to be their single point of intersection. We can thus argue that Mark sees the three phenomenal modes in relation to this singular unifying event. In a sense he is urging that the appetitive nature of perceptual consciousness takes its cue from the structural centrality of the olfactory-gustatory modes of sentience. In other words, this mode of sense-percipience is foundational to the entire corpus of sentient existence.

The Eucharist epitomises the mundane , the immanent, in contradistinction to the transcendent, more irrevocably even than the miraculous feedings, in part as we saw, because it points to itself as the signified mode of sentience. Moreover, as the last member of the messianic series, it possesses exceptional status. Consequently, we should read the relation between the Eucharist and the Eucharistic miracles as stressing the originary or generic status of the former. Short of affirming that the stories of miraculous feedings originated from a sustained meditation on the significance of the Last Supper, we may say that the Eucharistic miracles extend or derive from the Eucharist. The Eucharist stands as their first and final point of reference.

We have yet to account for the fourfold rendering of immanence, and indeed for the various ways of reckoning perceptual consciousness. Thus far, we have seen the figures, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, applied in turn to the sense-percipient manifold. We have concentrated until now only on the four immanent events from the messianic series, it is time to turn to the three transcendent counterparts to the feeding miracles: The Stilling Of The Storm, The Walking On The Water, and The Transfiguration Of Jesus. Part of the reason for delaying consideration of them stems from the fact that the defining moment of the messianic miracles is the normative subset of four immanent feeding events, just as, conversely the three transcendent Days remained regulatory in the Days series.  In answering the questions relating to these narratives we shall return to the doctrinal content of Mark's Eucharistic theology.

 

The Three Transcendent Messianic Miracles


The real difficulty concerns what if anything we are to make of the transcendent miracles complementary to the feeding events. These three miracles bear such immediate resemblance to the first three Days that we are almost inclined to the view that they really add nothing or very little to the emerging doctrine. The formal structures common to both narrative cycles are essential to the interpretation of the three transcendent miracles. These will prove consistent and fully reliable. The three transcendent messianic miracles do put the case for the analogy between the two series indubitably. This is the first function these narratives fulfill.

We should first notice the incidence of the numeral six in the two Christological miracles, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine and The Transfiguration. Both of these contain references (John 2.6, Mark 9.2) to the figure six, just as both contain references to the Son of man, and to taste. This indexes their Christological intent. The figure as it stands in the story of the transcendent miracle should certainly be read as a reference to the creation story itself, though commentators have been all to slow to draw this conclusion. The combination of the figure six with the word 'days' in the introductions to both miracle stories places the comparison of the miracle story and the theology of beginning beyond reasonable doubt. We have expounded the latter in terms of the six categories that furnish the roots of human consciousness: space-time, mind-body, male-female. These categories consist not only as bipolar entities, but also in a triadic relation with one another. Thus, polarity and analogy function interdependently. This is indeed a common enough characteristic of very many early religious/metaphysical systems of thought.

What is remarkable about these six categories when we compare them with the modes of sense-percipience, is that their nature is ideal. By this, I mean that they are ideas. In every case, we are dealing with ideas.  Whether we take space, or the body, time or Mind, or either eschatological category, male or female, the result is the same. As ingredients in consciousness these entities all have in common one thing - they are concepts. The gospel on the other hand, is concerned with sentient forms, the stuff of which we are likely to describe as concrete. However we phrase it, there is an obvious difference between the six transcendent categories of the stor of 'beginning', and the categories of immanence, disclosed in the gospels. This difference is the first thing put in the texts which refer by means of the same figure, six, now to the conceptual (transcendent), and now to the physical (immanent) categories. The same difference is summed up in the incarnational aspect of the miracle narrative in John, which implies that the difference between conceptual and perceptual is of the same order as that between above and below, or heaven and earth, God and the world.  The same expression - 'become ' - is used: 'And the Word became ( e)ge/neto) flesh' (John 1.14), 'the water now become (gegenhme/non) wine' (John 2.9).

Even though it belongs to the series of messianic events, it is clear from its introduction, that the story of The Transfiguration recapitulates the six categories of transcendence, as a doctrine of the transcendent Son. Mark's use of the expression 'six days' adroitly captures the six categories of transcendence. It thus serves in reference to the Christological, mind : body, which is constituted by these 'ideas' or 'conceptual forms'. But it serves not simply to repeat these categories. It must somehow fulfill, conclude, in effect end them. Thus The Transfiguration and with it, the other two transcendent episodes from the series of (immanent) messianic miracles function complementarily to the conceptual polarity envisaged by Genesis.

The actual content of all three transcendent miracle stories  bolsters the analogous relation between the texts of Genesis and gospel.  At first glance, they may even appear void of novel content. However, any view that the three transcendent messianic miracle stories do not add to the theology of soma is a mistaken estimate of their significance. For in addition to guaranteeing the analogy between Days and messianic events, they perform another vital function. Their further role is to delineate the twofold aspect of the structures of perception. This evidence of polarity secures the isomorphic, or analogical, relation between the bipolar conceptual forms, and the structure of perceptual consciousness which is beginning to surface in the gospels.

We noted in the prior study of the Genesis text, that the three transcendent episodes are normative for the series as a whole. The pattern of the second half reproduces what is already given in the 'beginning', for beginning is a criteriological notion for the theology of transcendence. This was the reason for avowing that the real significance of the narrative accrues to the presentation of the three pure ideas or conceptual forms: space, Mind and the symbolic masculine. Now however, any examination of the three transcendent messianic miracles must conclude that they are indebted in some way to their precedents, the first three Days of the creation. Even so, this relation is complemented by the equally obvious fact that the last four Days of the creation can only avoid apparent redundancy by acknowledging their counterparts in the messianic miracle series, which assign with full finality, meaning to the immanent polarity of the opening inclusio, the 'earth'. Concrete and material, or rather, earthly as they are, the four feeding events alone lend real weight and purpose to the creation story. For it is not a story about beginning ('heavens') only; it is a story about heavens and the earth, beginning and end. The semantic value of the latter cannot be realised without the analogous narratives in the gospel, the three immanent messianic miracles and the Eucharist. The quanta of the four feeding events, the concrete stuff of the sense-percipient manifold are at last what the expression 'earth' in the creation story points to. Here then we are again confronted with the evident purpose behind the analogical morphology of the two narrative cycles:


The analogy of Days to messianic events: the normative rubrics of the analogous texts are shown underlined and shaded



DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3
DAY 4
DAY 5
DAY 6
 SABBATH
TRANSFIGURATION
WALKING ON THE SEA
STILLING THE STORM
WATER BECOMES WINE
FEEDING 5,000
FEEDING 4,000
EUCHARIST



We have already averred that to isolate any one messianic narrative and treat it as discrete and self-contained is out of the question. This applies equally to the two cycles. The nexus of meaning on which all miracle stories in Mark rely, is the messianic miracle series as a whole. It is established as a totality, something clearly indicated by the opening inclusio of the creation cycle, as well as the by two references to the figure six in the first and last episodes, and its integrity is essential to its meaning.  The dependence of the gospel on the creation story however is matched by the relation of the story of beginning to that of end. The narratives are mutually inclusive, and any dependence, any relationality is reciprocal. The creation story for its part requires the completion supplied only by the messianic series.

So the gospel narratives will require that instead of working from the definitive status of the transcendent to the immanent, we reverse the procedure, and so interpret the analogous rationale of the texts. It is the four feeding events, the immanent members of the messianic series, which clearly possess normative status. That is why we examined them first. This is guaranteed by the apparent similarity between the three transcendent miracles and their corresponding Days. For the transcendent messianic narratives mirror the theology of Genesis to such an extent that they appear to border on redundancy. It is also secured by the role of the Eucharist. As the last of its series, this is that episode to which all others tend. As final, the Eucharist endows true telos and definitive status upon the Eucharistic miracles rather than their transcendent counterparts.  By extension it recapitulates the Sabbath. Accordingly, the four immanent messianic events are those episodes which confer upon the rubrics contained within the second half of the creation narrative, real, effective and final intent. Thus where the three transcendent Days are identifiable as statutory for the analogy between Days and transcendent messianic episodes, the obverse must also be the case. Namely, the analogous relation between the four last Days and the four immanent messianic will entail that the former in some sense defer to the status of the latter.

Consequently, any hermeneutic of The Stilling Of The Storm, The Walking On The Water and The Transfiguration, must in the first instance devolve upon the authoritative role given to their Eucharistic counterparts. For at the most radical or categoreal level, the messianic events are of a piece, and even though we refer to three of their number as 'transcendent', they clearly all belong to the one class. This pairing of the messianic events is a significant aspect of their meaning for which any hermeneutic of the transcendent miracles must account.

The same will apply to the latter four Days, and it will entail not a revision of their hermeneutical role, but a status in accordance with that of the transcendent miracles. For whereas the first three Days stand out as pre-eminently telling for the theology of creation, the theology of transcendence, alternatively the four feeding events do likewise a propos of the theology of salvation, the theology of immanence. We must observe therefore, that at the broadest level, the transcendent miracles in some sense defer to their normative counterparts in the messianic series, each of the immanent events with which they are paired. Clearly then, they subtend a relation of complementarity to the Eucharistic events. If the series is triadic, Trinitarian, then it is necessarily also binary. The central events are linked together by contiguity as well as by referential means. We recognised various inflections in the texts of the first and last, the Christological events, too conspicuous to be anything other than a deliberative theological link. Of the second and second last events, the Pneumatological episodes, we affirmed their necessary subscription to the structural logic of the texts by dint of their positioning in the series, and of similarity to the central miracles.

These are all factors which we must bear in mind as we determine the possible  meanings of the transcendent miracles. Nor is this as complex as it may seem since the  story of the archaeological Days is a precedent. It allows us to have established already, certain paradigmatic structures of meaning. The other signal consideration, is that of the part played by time. This was a key factor in the creation series, obviously since it is a story about 'days'. But it was also presented in the forefront of the compound Sabbath-Eucharist. It is true that we rely on the second creation story to more fully depict what is only implicit in the P narrative, the link between time and death. That is as it must be. These texts are no more than preparatory. They do not pretend to be a theology of death.  The disclosure of time as an immanent determination of a conceptual form,  space : time, remains the business of the theology of immanence, for the gospel in other words. It is for this reason that we must be alert to the concept of time as presented in the theology of soma, that is, the theology of perception. The first remark about time is of course the prominent one of the link between the Eucharist and the death of Jesus. The gospel proposes that perceived time - time not in the abstract but as indivisibly part and parcel of any act of sense perception, ordains the background against which the realities divulged in the miracles stories transpires. such 'perceived' or 'sentient' time is foundational to the doctrinal purpose of the narratives. It was to begin with, in Genesis, but is now more than ever so. This is something we must also bear in mind.

In each of the three immanent miracle stories - remember, these are normative for the series - we find references to time:
And Jesus said to her ... "My hour  has not yet come." (John 2.4, the miracle at Cana;)
... and they had no time even to eat. (Mark 6.31, The Five Thousand;)

"I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat:" (Mark 8.2, The Four Thousand.)    

These are incidental details, but nonetheless underline the significance of temporality for these stories. It is the Last Supper which provides us with our really important clue. Mark concludes his account thus:

"Truly, I [Jesus] say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14.25, 26)

 Matthew 26.29, 30 is virtually the same. But the Lukan parallel is:

"... for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of god comes." And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22.18, 19)

 This account proposes something otherwise all too obvious, and it is reflected in 1 Corinthians 11.23-26:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me...This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Even though this same element - remembrance - was missing from both accounts of the Last Supper, Mark's and Matthew's, we noticed that their recapitulation of the feeding miracles, which is nothing less than an Eucharistic theology, refers to it (Mark 8.18, Matthew 16.9). There it is perhaps all the more significant for having prompted the discourse in the first place:

Now they had forgotten to bring bread; (Mark 8.14)

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. (Matthew 16.5)

The all-important clue is the mental-temporal framework. On this point and in their conclusions all four records agree, whether or not  the Eucharist, like the Passover, bears repetition, that is whether or not Jesus himself actually enjoined its repeated observance.  Very succinctly, all of these narratives plot the orientation of the present towards the past. They all posit the same temporal vector which is in keeping with the immanent disposition of perceived time, as it is with the feminine principle. By the latter is meant, time manifest indivisibly from sense-percipient awareness.

This brings to light the temporality intrinsic to the Eucharist. It is an event within the present - just as the Sabbath event is. Nonetheless, it exists in reference to the past. The phrasing in both Paul and Luke is th\n e0mh\n a0na/mnhsin, 'in remembrance of me', is unmistakeable.

The role of anamnesis or memory in the Eucharist has thoroughgoing implications for the hermeneutic of the Eucharistic miracles. It posits the compresence of memory in sense-percipience. We cannot therefore argue for the existence of a particular mode of sense perception, in the case of the story of the miracle at Cana for example, the haptic, touch, without reference to the spatiotemporal bifurcation into immanent and transcendent realms; those of the past-present and present-future respectively. What we must propose instead is something we will call 'haptic memory', and accordingly for the other two stories, 'acoustic memory' and 'optic memory'. That is, we must make full provision for the fact that the primordial category reiterates the categoreal paradigm. Such that sense-percipience and memory consist indivisibly; they are concomitant, and the subjects of the three immanent messianic miracles. Thus the continuity of the past of sense-percipient occasions immanently within the present of the same, is the psychophysical reality to which the narratives point with utmost clarity. This 'Eucharistic' tenet of the intrinsic complicity between sense-percipience and memory is fundamental to the doctrine of mind, and to Christology. There is no abstract memory shorn of content, just as there is no sense-percipience void of vectoral temporality. Sense-percipience obtains in virtue of the ability of the consciousness to recall. This was the point of the co-ordination of the spatiotemporal and anthropological categories in the discussion of the 'feminine body', 'womb body'. The archaeological and eschatological forms of unity in their extensive relation do not indicate merely the physical disposition of the body as sexually determined in one of two forms. Their co-ordination signifies the intrinsic temporal inclination of sense-percipience in one of two forms. It is obvious that for the moment then, in the normative events of the messianic series, we are confronted with sense-percipient memory.

We have already acknowledged the peculiar spatiotemporal orientation of immanence. The nexus between present and past exemplifies the meaning of immanence due to the principle of unity. The referentiality - we cannot say 'relation' in the sense just used - between present and future, conforms to the transcendent. In either case we are taking the present as the point of reference, the point of departure, but not construing the terms themselves as more than two in number, for the paradigm transcendence : immanence must remain canonical. Hence if the vectoral quality of present-past is retrospective, that of the present-future is alternatively prospective. The certain equilibrium demonstrated by these two orientations is that of the continuous and the discrete as echoing the categoreal paradigm. We cannot doubt that the future is somehow ingredient in the present, but the nature of this contrasts with the continuity, contiguity, unity, between past and present. That the future is unknown, is tantamount to its being the source of novelty, and this precludes repetition, and so too remembrance. The future is not remembered, it is imagined. The Eucharist, regardless of its ritual stature, posits appetitive consciousness as the occasions of sense-percipience in relation to past such occasions, perhaps to just one such occasion of which the single Eucharist, the repeatedly recurring event, is the token. Thus the Eucharistic miracles convey the same co-ordination between temporal vector and sense-percipience. We say temporal vector, but we might just as well say anthropic form, in reference to sexual dimorphism. The point is effectively neither just the  involvement of primordial space : time nor just the involvement of consequent male : female, but both. Both forms of unity are implicated in sense-percipience, for it is structured in accordance with their extensive relatedness.

The merit of this proposition lies in its application of the twofold category transcendence : immanence. It provides us with an adequate logical basis for understanding the theology of soma. We shall argue that the real semantic importance of the categoreal paradigm, the understanding of consciousness from the point of view of the co-ordination of both primordial and consequent categories, tells for the interpretation of the messianic events as a whole, in accordance with this tenet. Thus when we spoke of the relatedness of the categories and included primordial space : time and eschatological male : female, in a composite view  of the manifold as determined in two juxtaposed orientations, those of inherited continuous pasts ingredient in the present, and the same present disposed in terms of the ingredience of discrete futures, it was in order to fully appropriate the significance of the relatum 'earth' in the opening inclusio of the creation story and its rubrical description, ostensibly contradictorily, in the story of Day 3. But the significance of that term cannot end there. We argued that the rationale of the relation between the stories 'beginning and end' is proleptic, and that the latter term acquires its final significance only by means of the messianic series, with which we are now concerned. Hence the extensive relatedness of the categories will require that we take the meaning of 'earth' vis-a-vis what is disclosed in the immanent section of the messianic series.  What thus begins to emerge is the doctrine of sense-percipient consciousness, and this is fully adequate to render the given understanding of the primordial form of unity, space : time. For the sense-percipient  polarity of mind is itself bifurcated. It consists of complementary pasts and futures, which are known to us, in ordinary language terms, as those of memory and imagination. The former is already explicitly announced as vital to the Eucharist, which is nothing if not the touchstone of the 'Eucharistic' miracles themselves.

Having proposed that the Eucharist is paradigmatic for the Eucharistic miracles, we so apply to each of the Eucharistic episodes the same temporal frame of reference. All alike, obtain in virtue of the contiguity with the past and continuation of the past within the present. The feeding episodes all reaffirm the concept of the inheritance of the past by the present in relation to sense-percipience. This confirms their presentation of the related ideas of soma and the symbolic feminine. Now, since the three transcendent miracles accede to their defining, normative, Eucharistic counterparts as far as concerns their interpretation, we may finally put the case that they represent structures of consciousness which are likewise perceptual, but in terms of the temporal vector of past-future in co-ordination with the anthropic masculine. That is, they explicate a theology of what can only be called perceptual imagination. As is already evident from the fact that the transcendent miracles are members of a category which is by nature and by definition, in the first place immanent, something of a paradox is at large here. We see as much in the claim already made that the future is both non-determined and void of 'actual' temporality, the reason for describing it in relation to the present as discrete. But these characteristics do not mean that it is not real. (This offsets the paradox we encountered in the examination of the conceptual categories. For three of them were defined as transcendent, and normatively so, yet these also had specifically immanent denominations. That is, there four of the seven Days appeared to controvert the emphatically transcendent inclination of the P creation narrative. This means that in due course we shall have to review all four fundamental categories of the Markan epistemology.)

The consequences for theology are plain. In its treatment of the phenomenon of sense perception, the gospel does not traffic in abstractions. It defines sense perception proper inextricably in relation to the past. We say sense perception proper, because the transcendent messianic miracles are if anything contrasted to the feeding episodes, and will have to be distinguished from them even while the two kinds remain an integrated serial whole. Although these two subspecies of events are nevertheless systematically linked in relationships of binary complementarity, there is between them a juxtaposition reflecting the categoreal paradigm to some degree. Now we are in a position to reckon with the apparent absence of genuine novelty in the transcendent messianic events, or rather, their closeness to the actual transcendent episodes in the creation story. Thus, we argued that the feeding episodes as denoting the forms of perception contribute what is new and valuable in the ongoing revelation, or rather, that they realise the meanings implicitly posed by such terms in the creation narratives as 'earth', and that they propose a set of events, the messianic feeding miracles, which stand to the second order theology of immanence in that story of beginning analogously to the relation between the transcendent first three Days and the transcendent messianic miracles. For in either case, the theology of creation or the theology of salvation, one half of the series alone is normative as conforming to the general morphological scheme which is reciprocally binding for the two narrative cycles. As the conclusion of the gospel, the Eucharist vouches for the viability to Christian metaphysics of memory generally. Nor is there any doubt on the part of philosophical psychology that memory is an essential factor in our emotional and mental life. But further to any generalised appreciation of memory it might affirm, the gospel systematically places memory and sense-percipience at the forefront of its exposition of the Christological category, mind : body.

As for the role of the three transcendent miracles in all of this, just as the transcendent in the theology of Genesis was normative, so the immanent is the defining moment in the messianic series of the gospels, and this means that the task of interpreting the  three stories, The Stilling Of The Storm, The Walking On The Water, and The Transfiguration, ultimately devolves upon those events with which they are each paired. As narratives, the former  are not slavish imitations of the corresponding stories of Days; nor are they otiose. They are invaluable as party to Mark's Christian epistemology, or what is the same thing, his doctrine of the Word.

No less than the six transcendent categories, ideas or conceptual forms, perception determines human consciousness. It stands in relation of alterity to these as being concrete, yet it is formally consonant with them. That is because it consists of structures of anamnesic, or mnemic, and imaginative consciousness based on the triadic anatomy of the phenomenal modes of sense perception. In other words, the gospel articulates the three modes of sense perception, haptic, acoustic and optic, concomitantly with the binary temporal orientation of consciousness, backwards and forwards, and simultaneously with the fact of sexual dimorphism. These six centres of consciousness, adumbrated in the story of creation, are explicitly referred to in both Christological miracle narratives and the subject of the messianic miracle series in its entirety. This will guarantee the fullest integration of the two sets of categories, conceptual and physical. Now more than ever, it is clear that there can be no possibility of precluding memory and imagination from human psychophysical constitution. So too, more than ever is the meaning of incarnation grounded in the event of human communication.

This is yet another vital component in the doctrine of 'the image and likeness of God' in the creation of humankind. The sense-percipient, sentient, immanent polarity of mind is in its own internal anatomy, congruent with the twofold pattern, transcendence : immanence. For the analysis of sense perception commences with the observation that it occurs analogously to sexual dimorphism. We have for the moment referred to this binary structuring as perceptual imagination : perceptual memory. Having now taken the step essential to any understanding of Mark's doctrine of the human being, we have grasped just how he frames the phenomenon of sense perception in relation to the paradigm transcendence : immanence. It is by no means the whole story. Indeed a very great deal follows upon it, as is obvious from the fact that Markan theology intends the complete integration of the formal semiological patterns explicated in the various feeding miracles. The initial step however, in understanding the theology of soma which is the backbone of the gospel, is to consider how it frames the phenomenon of sense perception in relation to transcendence : immanence. The perceptual polarity of consciousness has now been aligned analogously with sexual dimorphism, the anthropic and eschatological category, just as the conceptual consciousness was revealed as determining analogously the tri-dimensional spatial manifold, the archaeological category. In reviewing the reification of the categoreal paradigm in the polarities of Mind, at the conclusion of study, we will emphasise further the specificity of the analogy of the conceptual and the analogy of perception as those of the primordial and eschatological respectively. Until now, we have had to stress the triadic form of the perceptual at the expense of its dyadic morphology. Our concern was to convey the integrity and comprehensiveness of the extensive relation of the categories, and the greatest intimacy between the two polarities, conceptual and perceptual. This lies at the heart of the isomorphic consonance of the creation series and messianic series. If the Days and the messianic miracles are fully congruent morphologically, which they are, then the congruence of conceptual and perceptual elements of Mind follows. However, a finer point will be to appreciate the weighting of these polarities. For the conceptual is intelligible as according to the paradigm supplied by the formal shape of primordial, archaeological, three-dimensional space, whereas the perceptual remains that polarity of consciousness which fully and finally explicates the category male : female.

Given the clearly primordial role of space : time, and equally the finality of sexual dimorphism, the Markan analysis of human, 'immanent' consciousness asserts the role of sense perception in the most intimate connection with 'memory' and 'imagination'. These common language expressions, although they are rather more spatial than we would require, and insufficiently identify the male : female form of unity as the key to their understanding, fit Mark's broad definition of soma as radically disposed in virtue of  feminine and masculine and analogously past and future. The 'sexual' dimorphism of sense perception iterates the categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence. Where the concept of sense-percipient memory is reasonably self-explanatory, we need to elucidate the idea of the perceptual imagination. So it is now time to consider the miracle stories themselves, and any related material in the cycle of healing miracles, which verifies this hermeneutic.


The Walking on the Water

We possess three recensions of this narrative. Matthew's is distinguished by the fact that it includes a role given to Peter which pictures him as unsuccessfully emulating Jesus. The Johannine narrative and the Markan are similar in most respects, although the dominical saying in John is shorter than in Mark. There are a number of factors which lend real weight to the interpretation of the miracle according to the terms outlined in the theology of perceptual imagination. We shall arrange these in order of occurrence.

Immediately he made  his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. (Mark 6.45-47)

The contiguity of this miracle with the previous event, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand is purposeful and has several implications for the messianic series as a whole. The first contrast we notice concerns the dismissal of the crowds. Both Mark and Matthew use several neuter terms such as 'crowds', 'them', 'all'. In addition, Mark refers to the participants in the feeding miracle as men - a0/ndrev (v 44). Matthew however  at the conclusion of the story adds:

And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (a/0ndrev ...gunaikw=n kai paidi/wn Matthew 14.21)

He is alone in this usage, and it is invaluable for it heightens at least two of the many secondary criteria distinguishing immanent from transcendent episodes. The first is the contrast between public and private. This complies with  our understanding of the difference between perceptual memory and perceptual imagination. Imagination is always that much more private, although that is too broad a term here, for the real significance of this contrast pertains to identity. There is a vital sense in which imagination rather than memory informs us about our identity. A second point of difference is that of gender. The Walking On The Sea comprises Jesus and his disciples. Mark used the word 'apostles' in the introduction of the feeding miracle story, this sits well with its congeniality and communality. Not so in the event following during which Jesus alone speaks in the gospel of Mark, although the disciples are said to 'cry out'. The second difference, and it is equally and noticeably pronounced in the similar The Stilling Of The Storm as we shall see, is that of the absence of women and children. The miracles at sea involve boats of the kind associated with the trade of some of the disciples who were fishermen. Operative here is a clear polarisation of the miracles according to the category masculine : feminine. We have referred to the feeding events as typologically feminine, and we have urged that the symbolic feminine accords with the principle of immanence, unity, and thus comprises male and female. The antithesis of this is bound up with the significance of the term 'Son of man'. Here however, all we need to observe is that the transcendent messianic miracles conform to the typology of this polarity, masculine, which as being transcendent depends on the notion of identity, separation, fission and so on. In other words, there is a significant separation of persons according to gender, which should be associated with the concept of collective identity. The basis of the distinction between the form of unity male and female, the symbolic feminine, and the conceptual form symbolic masculine was given in the discussion of the creation narrative. The transcendent relatum is that of the masculine. It occurs in all three transcendent miracle stories in varying ways.

The motif of privacy, and even more so the masculine typology of this miracle, like its associates, conform to the theology of perceptual imagination which we have seen postulated in terms of the masculine body, whatever we choose to call it; 'phallic', 'centrifugal', 'excentric' or 'efferent'. The explication for this has been reviewed. Thus from the outset, the transcendent miracle is imbued with a tone and typology absolutely suited to the concept of perceptual imagination: the theology of perception is the theology of soma qua masculine.

He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them, and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." (Mark 6.48-50, par. Matthew 14.26, 27)

The first sentence - 'He meant to pass by them ...' - has perplexed generations of scholars and continues to generate real puzzlement. But when we read the three transcendent miracle stories as a whole, and contrast them to the four feeding events, we begin to understand. The latter are all characterised by 'determinism'. This is not too strong a word, nor are its philosophical-psychological connotations inappropriate. All three transcendent miracles are portrayed as profoundly  gratuitous. They serve little or no ostensibly real purpose, and they even look like displays of pure power when juxtaposed next to the four immanent events. Why? What does this mean? A very large part of its meaning is the depiction of the philosophy of freedom and the psychology of free-will. This stands in sharp distinction from the determined as from desire. There can be no doubt that Mark's philosophical psychology is perfectly articulate on this point. This is not mere tone, mere tenor, mere ambience for its own sake. What is at stake is the depiction of  perceptual imagination rather than perceptual memory. Imagination is characterised and indeed virtually defined by what we encounter in this remarkable sentence: the gratuitous, the free, the non-contingent.

'Ghost' - fa/ntasma - (Mark 6.49). This is the very word for 'imagination' in both Aristotle and Plotinus. The only difficulty the term occasions here, and it is slight, is that it would be still more apt for the miracle which sets out the concept of optic imagination - The Stilling Of The Storm. We notice repeatedly the connection between these two events, pursuant to that of Day 2 and Day 3 in the creation story. The disciples initially think what they see is a 'ghost', fa/ntasma/, (Mark 6.49 par. Matthew 14.26).  This description gives much purchase to the idea that sense perception is here and now coterminous with 'imagination' and not  with 'memory'. We must concede that the thing so described is visual rather than auditory. One cannot however, speak of a ghost in any other terms. If the story is to convey the idea of imaginative perceptual consciousness, it must use common coin. There are a number of factors qualifying the appearance motif, and we must consider these in assessing its interpretation. There is the fact that the appearance immediately gives way to Jesus' saying. The effect of which is to allay the terror of the disciples. This gives the saying its due power and force over whatever it is they have seen. That is to say, at the climax of the story Mark has envisaged Jesus' response to the crying out of the disciples in kind. The real weight of the narrative is thus ceded to the saying which is remarkable in its own right as resonating with the story of God's revelation to Moses.

The role of sense perception is predominant; the twelve disciples both see and hear Jesus. That is, the narrative contains references to both modes of perception, something we shall find in the story of The Transfiguration also, where neither serves as the index of the form of sentience. Their initial response is to 'cry out' (a0ne/kracan, 6.49). Mark uses this verb of The Demoniac In The Synagogue (1.23), The Gerasene Demoniac (5.5, 7), and of The Boy  With A Dumb And Deaf Spirit (9.24, 26). All three stories, as exorcisms,  in the first instance announce the phenomenon of human consciousness. Mark has deliberately linked two of these, the first and the last, with the role of hearing and speaking. The use here of this verb then follows its deployment in two closely allied contexts which associate it with acoustic perception if not the imagination.

John's recension contains no mention of a 'ghost' (fa/ntasma/) - just as his gospel lacks also the related event, The Stilling Of The Storm, to which the motif of the fantasma or 'ghost' would of course be perfectly suited. Moreover, because there is no further reference to the wind, and no details pertaining to the abatement of any storm, it does seem likely that the author was completely unaware of that story.  John states quite plainly:

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. (John 6.16-21)

'... and Jesus had not yet come to them' - kai\ ou0pw e0lhlu/qei pro\v au0tou\v o9  0Ihsou=v (John 6.17).

These words are remarkable on two counts, both of which concern us. The phrase 'not yet' encapsulates precisely the gist of a process of consciousness such as perceptual imagination. We have understood this in terms of the spatial and anthropic analogues which impinge directly on the psychophysical, though it is here the former which prevails. In other words, John opts for a spatial presentation of the notion rather than that of the symbolic masculine, the Son of man, even though the latter is the governing paradigm of the perceptual imagination in each of its three modes. Here Mark seems to be more comfortable in his presentation of the idea of the masculine. He does so probably because it is easier and less prone to misunderstanding.  The alternative is the spatial construct, of future as against past.  The 'not yet' is the future; which is not the same as the simple 'not'. Clearly there is intention on the part of Jesus to reach the disciples, to come to them, but it is yet to happen. The temporal perspective thus identifies imagination. This phrase says so much about perceptual imagination that no mention of any fantasma is required.


The second exceptional point concerning the phrase is its allusiveness to the Resurrection. There can be no doubt that all three of the Transcendent miracles are similar to the stories of Resurrection appearances; once again, the visual becomes the dominant mode of sense-percipience, as if by default. The argument that this narrative bears close resemblance to the Resurrection appearance story in chapter 21 of John, has often been advanced, as has the claim that The Transfiguration is actually a misplaced Resurrection appearance narrative. From a theological standpoint, the key concept linking the transcendent messianic miracles and such stories, is that of identity. We have more to say below about the relation between perceptual imagination and God, and transcendence, and about perceptual imagination and the Resurrection narratives. Both ligatures surface in John's account of  The Walking On The Sea, just as both lend overwhelming support to the hermeneutic put here.

"Take heart, it is I; have no fear." - qarsei=te, e0gw/ ei0mi mh\ fobei=sqe. (Mark 6.50, Matthew 14.2.)

'Take heart' - qarsei=te. This imperative reverts to the concept of the masculine as being an injunction to courage. The whole picture we have of the disciples manfully battling the elements is in keeping with such a masculine virtue, the obverse of which is their overwhelming fear.

And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, (Mark6.51)

It is very difficult to assess if there has been any textual assimilation between the two stories of miracles at sea, and if so, in which direction it has been. The remark 'and the wind ceased', like the motif of the visible 'ghost' would better sit in the story of The Stilling Of The Storm. Matthew's account of The Walking On The Sea which includes Peter attempting to reach Jesus on the water, concludes with that disciple's affirmation:

"Truly you are the Son of God." (Matthew 14.32)

This tells for the identification of the polarity as transcendent ('God') rather than immanent; hence it supports the notion of a perceptual imagination rather than a perceptual memory. We shall resume the link between 'God' and perceptual imagination later.

And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6.51, 52)

Such an ending clearly bolsters the postulate of this miracle as being of the same sense-percipient mode to the previous one which specified acoustic memory.

The conclusion: 'or they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts (h0 kardi/a) were hardened' (v 52) reaffirms the notion of consciousness. Mark now hearkens back to the very event, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, which posited the role of the acoustic form of sentience. We have stressed repeatedly that these transcendent episodes accept as their cue their immanent counterparts. That is, this miracle, The Walking On The Water is linked formally to the previous episode which is now invoked. Thus here, Mark highlights the contiguity of the two, and explicitly mentions the episode that identifies the specific mode of the acoustic. The sclerotic condition of the 'hearts' of the disciples is tantamount to a deficiency in the kind of imaginative consciousness depicted in the narrative - the acoustic, and marks them as lacking in the very capacity that would render them more like God.

This is a vast amount of cumulative evidence. Wherever we turn in the narrative we meet words, images, and references which support the hermeneutic we are proposing. The remaining narratives only add to this in terms of the coherence of the messianic series as a thematically and logicallyintegrated whole.
 

The Stilling of the Storm

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." (Mark 4.35)

Mark 4.35-41 is the first of any transcendent miracle story. As involving a transit 'to the other side', it sets up that constant pattern of chiastic oscillation exclusive to the messianic series, which brings into relation the transcendent and immanent polarities. It contains evidence vital to the hermeneutic we are pursuing. In view of its debt to the creation narratives and because the formal demands placed upon it restrict its scope this occurs all the more noticeably. The author exploits rather than conceals the link with the creation narratives. The introductory 'On that day ...' is conspicuously similar to the introductory phrase of The Transfiguration narrative, which likewise invokes the series of Days.

And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And the other boats were with him. And a great storm of wind arose, (vv 36, 37a)

It is not difficult to see even as early as this third verse, an explicit reference to the identity of the Holy Spirit, of whom the word 'wind' - a)/nemov - functions as an index.  It will be ratified by at least two other references of the same kind (vv 37, 39, 41).

and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern asleep on the cushion; (vv 37b, 38a)

Here is a second reference to the creation narratives, and specifically to the anthropic, eschatological, form of unity, male : female  which thus identifies the Holy Spirit. The evangelist is recalling the second, the J creation narrative which recounts the creation of Eve from the rib of the sleeping Adam - Genesis 3.20-23. Thus Jesus is momentarily envisaged as an Adam, but notably the solitary Adam extant prior to the symbolic couple, Adam and Eve. That is, he is conceived here very precisely as the symbolic masculine, that masculine which must be, to no matter however slight a degree, transcendent of its immanent counterpart, the feminine. Hence, where this narrative identifies the masculine polarity, it does so with real sensitivity and theological intention. It is essential to notice once again that Jesus is in the company of men. Just as at the The Walking On The Sea and at The Transfiguration, so too here, transcendence is articulated by the masculine principle. We should note that it pertains in relation to the collective nature of identity of which Jesus, a human mortal, a 'Son of man', is the iconic representative. Nor should we forget that this miracle story has as its counterpart the typologically feminine The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, a fact which fully proscribes any polemical allegations of a subtextual and sexist ideological bias in this narrative. This will be confirmed in the conclusion of the story with references to the identity of Jesus.

... and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?" (v 38b)

In the saying attributed to the disciples, we find a third reference to the P creation narrative; the Day 3 rubruc is conspicuous as exclusively containing the creation of life within the formative first section of narrative. In so doing, it clearly tells for the identity of the Spirit, 'the life-giver'. It is important to pick up the allusion of this reference to the Holy Spirit. Generally, the Holy Spirit must be aligned with the feminine polarity, the same as feminine and masculine, or 'Adam and Eve'. Nonetheless, even though tthe Holy Spirit is intimately linked with immanence, she is exemplified in a transcendent form or polarity, the masculine, which is that understood here. From the psychological point of view, birth-and-the-feminine : death-and-the-masculine, reformulate the paradigm immanence : transcendence. That is why each of the three transcendent miracles are correlated with the future, death, fear, Resurrection and so on. All three transcendent miracles transpire against a background of death-transfiguration, the reason for their tone of anxiety and fear. Accordingly, all invoke the Resurrection.

And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (v 39)

This underpins what we have already observed concerning the cycle of healing miracles and the messianic miracles, namely their fullest integration, because it frames the event in terms of an exorcism. The sea plays a greater role in this story than in the similar miracle at sea,  just as we see it dominate the Day 3 rubric. The clause describing the abatement of the wind is identical to that in 6.51 which now looks like assimilation.

He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?" (vv 40, 41)

We have said nothing concerning the concept of optic imagination; like so much else in this narrative, it is presented succinctly and subtly:

But he was in the stern - kai\ au0tov h0=n e0n th=? pru/mnh -, asleep on a cushion - e0pi to\ proskefa/laion kaqeu/dwn. (Mark 4.38a)

At first sight, it would seem that there is very little indeed in the text that pronounces explicitly the perceptual modal structure we are proposing. The vocabulary of the story does not function as it did in the previous case. Because of its visibility, the fantasma, ghost, spectral apparition, of the other sea-crossing miracle would better suit our purposes as part of this story. The closeness in content of the two stories and the proximity of the ideas they contain may lend itself to seeing that figure as a cross-reference of a kind between the texts. Nevertheless, the one relevant image which this pericope yields is the central one of a Jesus 'in the stern, asleep on the cushion' (v 38). The image of a sleeping individual is that of a dreaming individual. Dreams are peculiarly visual, peculiarly 'optic'. In this way, the narrative does not disappoint us. On the contrary, it presents directly and as cogently as possible the very idea we seek. The text is bound to comply with the recapitulation of the creation motifs. The concept of creation itself endorses the notion of imaginative consciousness. The first transcendent messianic miracle story is wonderful not in the least for its faithful preservation of so many elements from both creation stories. Yet, it conveys with formidable simplicity the very notion of optic imagination.

The connection between sleep and visual consciousness is far greater than any similar link between acoustic consciousness and sleep. Sleep is not synonymous with the exercise of visual imagination nor are we proposing that the two are equivalent. Nonetheless, dreaming as visual is a process intuitively linked to optic imaginative consciousness. The central image of this narrative, the sleeping Jesus, conjures up more  articulately than any metaphysical thesis can, the idea we are putting; the idea of 'optic imagination'.
 

The Transfiguration

This episode relates to the event at Cana as does The Stilling Of The Storm to The Four Thousand, and as does The Walking On The Sea to The Five Thousand. The word 'six', so roundly articulated in the opening,  comports with the same figure in the story of the miracle at Cana, for both are Christologies. This story however, concerns the  Son transcendent rather than immanent, as identified by the 'voice ...out of the cloud' and the plethora of other criteria as noted. It is difficult to marshal the elements of the narrative not because they are disparate and unrelated, but for the opposite reason. The consistency of the narrative content is such that its various components forge relationships with all the others, and to treat any of these without deference to the others is misguided. Therefore we shall discuss the story in close connection with that of The Transformation Of Water Into Wine.

As the last of the messianic events, the miracle bears all the hallmarks of being the most encompassing. And if we aver that mind somehow contains or includes its 'self', this is part of that encompassing, and part of the reason for the figure 'six' which enumerates this process of encapsulation just as it enumerates the event itself in its function of including the others prior to it. To this same theme belongs that of death in its ultimate or encompassing nature.

The opening phrase redirects us not just to the story of creation, but to the theology of transcendence as a whole. But even prior to that, the reference in Mark 8.38 to the coming of the Son of man points ahead to the pericope within the Markan apocalypse (13.24-27), which also connects the same figure with 'angels', and further to The Apocalypse.

And he said to them," Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." And after six days ... (9.1.2)

At the outset then, the episode is linked irrevocably by at least four significant textual factors, to the miracle at Cana, all of which, quite apart from the logical function of the chiasmos which construes the first event at Cana against this the last, secure the hermeneutic we are proposing. They are:
Taste is not touch, but touching is inseparable from tasting and this is but the beginning. There is a hint in this overture of the second creation story, which introduces the archetypal compounding of the ideas, death and consumption. This  follows naturally from the fact that as the prime exponent of the messianic series, Mark's vision is fixed on the first narrative of creation. The verb 'taste', with its analeptic reference to the Sabbath and proleptic signalling of  the Eucharist, supports both miracles as expositions of haptic perception. It places the sense percipient mode of touch in closest possible association with the Eucharist as with the core of Mark's theology of perception. If scripture is Filiocentric, then the filial immanent category - the haptic - must enjoy a status in keeping with this fact. In other words, it resides at the very marrow of perceptual consciousness. Incidentally, that the author of The Transfiguration at the very least was aware of the story of the miracle at Cana seems likely. The probability that the one author is responsible for the two narratives is well worth considering.

We can broach the difference between these two theologies of the Son by condensing them into the psychological-theological terms Eros-logos ensarkos of the miracle at Cana, and Thanatos-logos asarkos of Transfiguration. The theology of death concerns the Son, even if in the first instance it recurs to the conceptual form mind, rather than the perceptual analogue, haptic imagination. The deference appropriate to the conceptual form by the perceptual analogue is evident in the narrative; its introductory invocation of the creation story leaves no room for doubt on that score. But for its own part, imagination too sorts adroitly and immediately with the event of death. Imagination is prospective, it propels us forward, and this projection entails the encounter with the one future event about which all others galvanise, our own death. This accounts for the tenor of the narrative, and those of its kind, the other two transcendent miracles. Death as the psychological centre of gravity of imagination in its various modes gives rise to angst, to that range of emotions comprising awe, fear and so on, which qualify the transcendent miracles. Eros and Thanatos in this regard, establish the ultimate or extreme peripheries of existence, and the furthest boundaries of the spectrum which is consciousness itself. Just so, they mark the inception and resolution of the messianic chiasmos. We exist between them, in terms of our location within the trajectory from birth to death; and are always necessarily closer to one or the other as to a focal point. They establish two radically polarised moments of human existence, notwithstanding their certain relation, as a process crossing from one side to the other. That here is one only crossing in John, as against Mark's constant pattern of oscillation, is observant of this fact. Concerning more of which we shall have to say later.

The relationship of the phenomenon of touch, both sensuous, as haptic memory, and non-sensuous yet perceptual, as haptic imagination, to sexual love and to death respectively, belongs logically to the significance of the two episodes as Christologies. The Markan narrative puts it with unexampled ease, largely because of the associations that the various texts engender among themselves. If implicit in the introductory reference to 'tasting death' (9.1), is the somewhat contradictory idea of sensuous touch, then there was a similarly discordant note in the first messianic miracle involving Jesus - 'my hour ...' There it was understated as being ill-suited to the convivial tenor of that occasion. So too, in this story, the Christological title - "This is my beloved Son", (or "My Son, my (or the) Beloved" (9.7)) - can refer us back momentarily to the miracle at Cana; but only momentarily. The sensuous, that is, the sentient mode of hapticity, thus invades The Transfiguration narrative just as the idea of death intrudes upon the story of the miracle at Cana, for these are linked as the polarities imagination and memory link the one mode, the haptic, in the identity of the Son. In light of this, we might say that here The Transfiguration rather than remembering 'Eros' imagines it, and The Transformation Of Water Into Wine rather than imagining 'Thanatos', remembers it.

These two episodes, even though they are both theologies of the Son, are juxtaposed according to the paradigm transcendence : immanence. The chiasmos which organises the events following their binary and triadic logic, places the two Christological messianic events at greatest remove from one another. Where imagination is compared to memory on the basis of a common mode of sense perception, it is done so in terms of antithesis if not complementarity. It may be possible to construe the sequence of events as denoting the maximization of contrast in the case of the two Christological events, coming as they do first and last. In essence, the perceptual category, 'haptic imagination', is the occasion of transcending 'haptic memory', or Eros. This is not a simple mental capacity but a centre or perspective of consciousness on par with other perceptual and conceptual forms. It is as authentic as the erotic consciousness itself. Every form, whether perceptual or conceptual, every radical of consciousness of either polarity, exists in a relationship of antithesis or complementarity with its relatum. Thus the binary or bipolar shape of consciousness in general, follows the eschatological form of unity male : female.

The movement towards unity and equilibrium we see everywhere in both series, Days and miracles, is evidence of the identity of the Holy Spirit. To put it another way, the eschatological category male : female moulds the anatomy of mind in the image and likeness of itself, the fundamental shape of which is antithesis. Hence 'haptic imagination' obtains in opposition to 'haptic memory' as non-sensuous to sensuous, symbolic masculine to feminine, imagination to memory, Thanatos to Eros. 'Haptic imagination' thus stands over and against 'haptic memory' as in a certain sense, the overcoming or transcendence of the erotic. That this should be associated with death is hardly surprising, for the erotic itself operates in league with birth. It is important to remember this when considering the introductory remarks about 'this adulterous and sinful generation' (Mark 8.38). The value in adopting a psychological hermeneutic of the messianic miracles, and of speaking in the present context of 'Eros' and 'Thanatos', lies in their application to the description of the life trajectory of the individual and of the race. They signify at the levels of both ontogeny and phylogeny a succession of distinct times ('days'), or stages, each of which enjoys increasingly complex relationships to the others as time advances. The last miracle, Transfiguration, and what it signifies in terms of the reality of mind, 'haptic imagination' qua Thanatos, is proper to the latter if not the very last phase of one's existence. This relation between time-as-death and mind, lies at the heart of the meaning of Transfiguration and the theology of death.

Here then we will sketch in the briefest outlines some of the elements which bring the two Christological episodes into a complementary if antithetical relation. Cana denotes as we have indicated haptic memory - a synonym for which is erotic love. This is not to confine the meaning of the structure 'haptic memory' to a single psychological mode, that of desire, but certainly, our purposes here demanding as they are of the introduction only of this part of Christian epistemology, will concentrate on that particular attitude or species of awareness, desire. Here erotic is redefined according to the incarnation itself. That is, by such terms as 'erotic love', 'Eros' and so on, we do not mean simple physical gratification, on par with the satisfaction of a particular appetition, even though that is the basic psychological reality at stake. We mean instead love informed by the axiological functioning of mind which drives the satisfaction of this particular form of desire. The conclusion of the miracle contains this value judgement, and that it is in keeping with the creation story comports with the other factors serving to establish the closest rapport between the series of Days of 'beginning' and the messianic events comprising the 'end':

When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom, and said to him, "Every man serves the good (kalo\n) wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good (kalo\n) wine until now." (John 2. 9, 10)

This is no mere after-thought. Like the refrains extolling the 'good-ness' of creation in the P narrative, it forms the conclusion of the narrative, and accounts for almost half of it. The evaluation of the wine does not give rise to awe and anguished astonishment, the mood of the companion miracle, but certainly occasions much perplexity, if not irony. For John is commenting on the experience of erotic love after the incarnation, and his comment will stand on its head judgments of the kind that "Christianity gave Eros poison to drink." (Nietzsche). The evangelist has already stood on its head, our expectation concerning the Parousia preparatory. For if  'the Christ' is now already present, what further need is there for sexual reproduction? What further role exists for erotic desire, since it has accomplished its goal - the incarnation of the Word? This lies behind the ironical remark of the mother of Jesus' regarding the exhaustion of the wine supply (2.3). It is as if erotic love itself has now become superfluous, the reason for the motif of superabundance. John is now writing for a generation of Christians who had not ceased to hope for the Parousia,  something of which is visible in the promise given to Nathanael (1. 51). But he is writing from the point of view of a psychologist, who understands desire in general, of which sexual desire must remain the most canonical of forms, in terms of its role in the satisfaction of creation towards its own ends. Ends which are summed up for us in the word salvation.

He controverts the commonplace judgement that life and love in the pre-Christian world is superior in terms of this fundamental component of our experience, the experience of physical love. For he evaluates the same experience after the incarnation, in spite of the fact that it is already superfluous to need if not to desire, as in fact 'the good wine'. The first experience, the former wine, by comparison is 'poor'! These are remarkable claims whose truth only time itself can adjudicate.

Desire, here envisioned in arguably its most powerful, recognisable, and salutary form, the erotic, certainly in a form in which we apprehend the very meaning of the term 'desire', is here assigned to the Son. (The Lukan version of The Last Supper will appropriate the same metaphorical construct John utilises, wine as a figure for the nature of love grounded in sexual desire.) If in the creation story we were confronted with the sheer will of God, that power which we recognise in ourselves as pertaining to conceptual consciousness or ideas rather than perceptual consciousness, and whose primary psychological gauge is freedom, now in the perceptual polarity of consciousness to which John introduces us in no uncertain terms, and whose conative counterpart must be the power of  'desire', we can begin to understand something of the relation between the two series. The world is not simply the province of 'will' in the sense that it conforms to our freely determined purposes, nor for that matter to those of God. We are also 'servants' (dia/konoi, John 2. 5, 7, 8, 9) of the world-process; we are also subject to the constraining forces of 'desire', just as clearly in some sense 'God',  here the incarnate logos, is. The same epithet is often applied to Jesus himself. The somewhat imperious tone of his response to his mother's request, '"O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come."' (v 4), is another fine moment of Johannine irony, for at a stroke it associates with death the subjection of Jesus the Son to the satisfaction of desire in its most canonical form, the erotic. It does so because of love, rather than in spite of the same.

Desire Versus 'Desire'

In the following discussion it is important to remember that desire, occasioned by of either mode of sentience, haptic memory, or haptic imagination, is part of a larger network of epistemic and psychic processes. It is the affective or emotive expression of this centre of consciousness, which must have also an intellective or rational component. If we have taken the affective rather than intellectual form of the haptic in either case, memory or imagination, that is because these are more immediately recognisable. They are so because feeling rather than thinking is more the more immediate, familiar and dynamic factor in our conscious life. Epigrams such as "The basis of experience is emotional" (Whitehead), "Reason is the slave of the passions" (Hume); "Man is a useless passion", (Sartre), all of which are similarly dismissive of the rational capacity of humankind relative to its domination by the conative or appetitive nature of consciousness, all testify in somewhat cavalier fashion to this notion. A more balanced statement however begins to emerge in the gospels as we shall now see.

The Transfiguration, as revealing the Son,  no less than The Transformation Of Water Into Wine, is about desire. So many elements frame the two narratives as complementary that it is hardly possible to understand the event of Jesus' identification in the miracle, couched as it is in terms which distinctly recall those of the first episode, without recourse to the notions of love and desire:

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son [alternatively, my Son, my (or the) Beloved]; listen to him." (v 8)

To the event of The Transfiguration however, the term 'desire' simpliciter is not entirely apt, though something very much like it is involved. It is not entirely apt as being insufficient, for something more than desire is at work in the psychology envisioned in this story. This affective tendency native to the haptic imagination consists of the individual 'desire'  for purity - given a caveat concerning the judgement of sexual love. It corresponds to transcendence in its total freedom from relationality, intersubjectivity, dependency on the other. It knows that 'Eros' desires that this other should desire s/he who already desires the other, and the consequent proclivity of the same to deferment if not lack of attainment. The word 'purity' is infelicitous as suggesting that sexual desire is innately impure. We must be wary of such a judgement - for it contradicts the very judgement in the miracle story we have just observed and the refusal of Johannine psychology to make counter-intuitive claims concerning desire-sexual love. This story admits resolutely the goodness of satisfaction of this form of appetition. The Transfiguration with its picture of Jesus' 'garments ... glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them' (Mark 9.3), is in fact speaking of something at considerable remove from the satisfaction of earthly desire, to which it is nevertheless related as complementary even if contrastive. It too concerns the satisfaction of a 'desire', though here we will have to say a 'desire' that is both more and less than what we mean by the word 'desire' in the context of sexual love. In other words, while its object is other than profane, it is aspirational in the same sense that erotic desire is. We can suggest tentatively that this entails another way or mode of desiring. We shall argue later that the very differentiation of imagination from memory, requires that we broaden the scope and nature of desire simpliciter, that is, erotic desire. We cannot doubt the reality of the form of appetition indigenous to haptic imagination any more than we can doubt its essential goodness:

And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well (kalo/n) that we are here...(Mark 9.5, cf. Matthew 17.4, Luke 9.33)

The adjective is identical with that used by the steward of the feast (John 2.10), and is an indubitable point of contact between the two Christological miracles - the two theologies of haptic sentience.

Purity in this context is tantamount to individuation as fulfilling the requirements of self-determining autonomy - identity; something which is comparatively less achievable within a sexual relationship. For the latter requires one's definition (identity) in the light of the 'other'. The same impulse to self-sufficiency, or an impulse similar to it, is implicit in the sexual form of desire, which reduces plurality to its lowest level - that of the pair or couple. Two is the minimisation of the immanent. It is a kind of shared existence, but one which compares intensely with social existence, as pictured in The Feeding Of The Five Thousand. Or as we may say, it attenuates immanence to its least where plurality is concerned. Other forms of communion, other forms of the ontic and epistemic nexus, other forms of the connective tissue of reality do not posit the manifold in such a condensed, contracted and intense form. There exist the family, the society, the nation, the class and so on. These are all in varying degrees exponents of existence as immanent. But already and always implicit in sexual satisfaction is this reduction of the plural and social nature of being to the level of a simple dyad. We might even argue, given the sufficient literary precedents in the second creation narrative, that the 'two' in this case, is effectively a one. Here something about the real ambiguity of the erotic emerges. For it appears to mesh with what is truly proper only to the genuine monad, and hence it evokes death. So we must suggest, if a dyad, or a crypto-monad, then why not a true monad?

Then there is the issue of freedom as just conveyed by the word 'autonomy', another reason why the concept of desire misses the mark regarding what The Transfiguration denotes. Any discussion of desire in the context of  aspirations to transcendence, a large part of whose objective is the circumvention of desire, if it isn't paradoxical, must at least be circumscribed. This is a thorny issue, not just for Buddhist epistemology. Hinayana and early Mahayana Buddhist doctrines make renunciation all but the necessary condition of the soteric process. The problem is just how does one achieve such a goal, the transcendence of desire, if not by means of desire itself, the very thing one seeks to transcend? It is an equally problematic question for Christian epistemology for just the same reason.

Nor are we at liberty to revert to the concept of will. Let us assume for the moment that it stands to transcendence as does desire to immanence. Whether we say will or desire, what is meant is the completion of a motive, the fulfillment of an intention, the satisfaction of a project. On the face of it there is no reason to opt for the moral superiority of will over desire. This was fundamentally affirmed, even while it remained largely unspoken, or unformulated, in the psychology of Reformation theology. Something of the kind, the refusal to privilege will at the expense of desire, lies behind these words in the Johannine prologue, preparatory as they are to the story of the wedding at Cana, a story which could well do justice as an archetype of Reformation theology. We affirmed just now, that the temporal psychology stemming from Mark's series of messianic events, and so too from the creation story, operates at both levels, those of ontogeny and phylogeny, of the individual and society both. The numbers of persons present in the miracles are strongly supportive of this. For example, the miracle at Cana is preceded by a list of disciples whose personal names we learn, whereas the more public occasions involving bread and fish fail to mention any such individuals. They refer only to multitudes. This theme of the public or private tenor of the various messianic events is highly signal. We can so contend that entire phyla, certain classes or groups of persons aggregated on the basis of heredity, geography, race, and even epochs, conform to the archetypal patterns at work in the very things disclosed in both narratives. For these narratives point in the first place to our own psyche, our own conscious and aconscious being.

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1.12, 13)

It is true enough that every human is born as human 'of the will of the flesh' (e)k qelh/matov sarko\v).  John here subsumes both will and desire under the one heading 'will'; hence 'the will of man' (qelh/matov a)ndro\v) corresponds to 'will' in the foregoing discussion. The point is that either intentional state of consciousness - will or desire - remains human. Will no less than desire remains subject to the tyranny of the self, the very thing to be overcome. Will cannot trump desire (qelh/matov sarko\v) merely in virtue of being conceptually based rather than perceptually based. Such a judgement might be Platonic, Gnostic, and the rest, but it remains at variance with Christian doctrine. The subtleties attendant upon the Buddhist doctrines of nirvana, like those pertaining to the psychology of The Transfiguration cannot be easily brushed away by any simple division and the subsequent claim of the priority of mind over body, even granting meaning to such terms.

But we should not forget here the equivocal status of the transcendent miracles in respect of transcendence : immanence. They denote entities which are in the first instance perceptual, the three forms of imagination, and as such comply categoreally with immanence. Nevertheless this is perception of a 'non-sensuous' kind, and for this reason the three miracle stories bear close resemblance to the three transcendent Days. The equivocal status pertaining to processes of consciousness stemming from a form of perceptual imagination such as haptic imagination in the case before us, proves its worth here, because it appears to bridge any permanent and irrevocable divide between transcendent and immanent, conceptual and perceptual, as between will and desire, and to recognise the latter for what it is - complex - and subsequently to qualify it in terms of the normative incidence of the transcendent; whence its ambivalence, its status as 'non-sensuous perception'.

Inadvertently or not, we have just introduced a major theme of Markan and biblical metaphysics in having discerned a fundamental psychological divergence between the creation story and the messianic events. The former writes large the concept of freedom, as is given by the archaeological category - space. This sits well with the notion of 'will'. The theology of immanence on the other hand, for which the Eucharistic miracles with their motif of necessity are the typical occasions, pictures something, we have referred to it as 'desire', far removed from will. One of the classical themes, and persistent dilemmas, of philosophical psychology concerns the relationship between these psychological processes and the extent to which they account for human affective experience. It was not possible to speak of creation without noticing that the notion of will pervades the entire series, and conversely it is not possible to deal with the four immanent events in the gospel without paying particular attention to the role of desire. In the Lukan account of the Eucharist we read:

And he said to them: "I have earnestly desired (e)piqumi/a e)pequ/mhsa) to eat this passover with you before I suffer ... (Luke 21.15)

Luke's narrative on this point accords perfectly with the link between the miracle at Cana and the death of Jesus, a point reinforced by John 19.34, the description of the death of Jesus in terms of water and blood, recalling the first miracle. Of course it is not merely the messianic miracles in which we find this pattern of contrast between the gratuitous as a marker of transcendence and the necessary as that of immanence. It  is one of the secondary criteria serving the polarisation of every one of the miracles, both healing and messianic.

We therefore used the vocabulary of classical philosophical psychology, freedom/determinism. The discussion of these psychological processes, of which there are more than just the two now mentione, is of paramount importance in Christian psychology and epistemology. It will take us in another direction to the hub of the biblical view of the person. But without digressing from our task of investigating The Transfiguration in the light of the exposition of sense-percipient consciousness, we must say here that while the concept of 'desire' is appropriate to that which the event records, it is so not without thorough qualification. This should follow axiomatically from what we have already proposed - namely that the transcendent messianic events, while they are nevertheless immanent in their fundamental orientation, for they stand in a relationship of complementarity to the unequivocally immanent feeding miracles. Thus the transcendent miracles as categoreally immanent, nonetheless qualify the notion of immanence. The same was conveyed by their conditional description: 'non-sensuous', 'equivocal', 'ambiguous' and so on. In other words, by noticing that they appear to enjoy an almost hybrid status, halfway between absolute transcendence and unequivocal immanence - corollary to the description of the forms of unity in the creation story. We must remember everything that we have indicated concerning the difficulties of adhering to the P creation narrative, that is of describing what is simultaneously similar and dissimilar to the subjects of that text. That is, the nature of perceptual imagination as paradoxical. Because of this, what we mean by 'desire' also bears qualification. For in the first place, desire belongs to unqualified immanence. We can say without remainder that 'desire' is proper to just those psychological forces and mental processes envisioned by the story of the miracle at Cana, and the other members of its kind, feeding episodes, which expound the concept of actual forms of perceptual memory. Perceptual imagination on the other hand, even if it is immanent in a qualified form, possesses its own psychological or affective mode. This may indeed be similar to desire, but it must nevertheless enjoy similarity to its counterpart, will. The reach of imagination as prospective rather than recollective endows it with such similitude.


The focus of Mark's account is on the 'garments' of Jesus. At the core of the episode, the details which mention these present Mark's image of 'haptic imagination'. It is as if the 'transfigured' body of Jesus itself - because of transcendence - was not susceptible of actual touch, in spite of the fact that touch remains the governing concept.

No significance attaches to the garments of Jesus as garments in themselves. Their contact with his body is what rendered them effective in the cure of the woman with the haemorrhage who '... touched his garment. For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well."' (5.27, 28).  The mention of garments is figurative.  It signifies the organ of skin, the organ of touch. Clothing rests on the surface of the body, like a second skin. (In the case of John the baptiser, skin is clothing - 'Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist ...' (Mark 1.6.)) It is the orientation outward which is linked to the theology of masculine gender, as we noted, of one's clothing, which vindicates it as a metaphor for the skin. That this fact is effectual in The Haemorrhagic Woman, and again in Jairus' Daughter highlights the specific nature of their illnesses, as illnesses connected to sexuality. Though here too the tone of the evangelist is one of utmost restraint. Thus if the final image of haptic imagination with which the narrative leaves us, that of the luminous garments of the transfigured Jesus, is rremarkably chaste, that is precisely due, or as it should be. The pericope as a whole is qualified by genuine reserve, for the essential connection it bears with the story of the miracle at Cana must be articulated in such a way as to guard against any misinterpretation.

So rather than a reference to the body, more precisely to the skin, the body's outer surface, we read a description of 'his [Jesus'] garments'- ta\ i9ma/tia au0tou= (9.3). Mark here discloses the haptic semiotic form proper to the centre of consciousness 'haptic imagination' - the skin. It is the skin which we seek to clean, to wash, to purify; the skin, the outer ('phallic'), garment which remains the object of our wish/urge ("desire") for purity, for oneness with the monadic self which we are. It accords with the principle of the masculine as disposed outwards, centrifugally; thus it reconfigures the masculine body as 'phallic'. Such a reading makes sense of the role of purification in the healing of The Leper, (Mark 1.4-45) which, like The Transfiguration, refers to Moses (Mark 1.40, cf. 9.5), and moreover resumes the mention of purification in the initial messianic miracle (John 2.6) with which the latter acts as complement and foil. Concerning this, we shall say more.

That is not to say however, that the semeion of Transfiguration is phallos; it is not. The  phallos remains the sign for the symbolic masculine - a pure conceptual form, an idea. The mention of shame in Mark 8.34-38 regarding the glory of the Son of man suggests nothing if not the semiotic form of the symbolic masculine - 'phallos'. This particular moral emotion complies with the nature of collective (rather than individual) identity. The adjectives describing 'this generation', 'adulterous and sinful', which leap at us from the page - moixali/di kai \a9martwlw=? - read in a part of the tradition - pornhra kai moixalidi - 'wicked and adulterous'. Whichever tradition we follow, they reaffirm the central conative force of haptic imagination. Here then, the collective, 'this generation'  is contrasted with the individual 'me and ... my words'. Mark uses denunciations of this kind rarely and with evident reluctance, given that they are stock in trade of  authorial religious fulmination. His intention here is not paraenetic as such. Instead he seeks to elaborate the doctrine of mind, which in turn involves the doctrine of perception, more specifically, the doctrine of  haptic imagination as a fundamental source of the religious impulse. The Transfiguration deals with the perceptual polarity of mind, whose semeion is the skin.  This iconography of the skin as designating  the perceptual form rather than the phallos as the sign of the conceptual form, promotes the motif of individuation and sets the haptic imagination apart from the symbolic masculine as irreducibly personal rather than collective. It also secures the notion of identity fully exemplified in the uniqueness of Jesus, in keeping with the Christological intent of the messianic miracle narrative. Thus rather than the collective experience of the moral emotion shame, we would expect that of guilt to correspond to the single individual, the person. Only here, rather than guilt, it is the opposite, the absence of the same, to wit, innocence:

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. (9.2-3)

What was said of the motifs of privacy, the symbolic masculine and the mood of awe about the previous two transcendent events applies here; and just as touch is indeed the most private of any mode of sense-percipience, this is the most private of any miracle in Mark:

'apart by themselves' - kat' i0di/an mo/nouv (v 2)

The hermeneutic of the transcendent messianic events as the theology of perceptual imagination prescribes that this story should posit the idea 'haptic imagination'. If Mark for reasons of his own has not included any explicit reference to this mode of sense-percipience in The Transfiguration, then Matthew makes up for it:

But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." (Matthew 17.7,  - kai\ prosh=lqen o( I)hsouv kai\ a)ya/menov au)tw=n ei1pen  e)ge/rqhte kai\ mh\ fobei=sqe.)

Even so, Mark's story is replete of references to sense perception. Thus vision: '... before them ... (v 2), glistening, intensely white ... (v 3), appeared ... (v 4), overshadowed ... (v 7), no longer saw any one with them.' (v 8); and hearing: 'they were talking to Jesus. (v 4), For he did not know what to say. (v 6), and a voice came out of the cloud ... (v 7), " My beloved Son; listen to him"... tell no one what they had seen ...' (v 9). Such references may seem strange in view of the fact that we are urging that the story vouches for the existence of a centre of consciousness grafted to the tactile mode of sense-percipience, 'haptic imagination'.

The explicit references to hearing and seeing that we do find of course do promote the general relevance of sense perception to the interpretation of these narratives, linked as they are. Neither mode, vision nor hearing, are out of place here, given the centrality of the haptic as Christological. The Christological categories are equally transcendent and immanent in terms of their accentuation. Thus if the optic memory is that particular mode of sentience weighted in favour of immanence, then this accentuation is equaled by the form haptic memory. Conversely, where the acoustic imagination reifies the transcendent albeit as perceptual category, to an exceptional degree, then haptic imagination is equal to it in terms of the same, transcendence. Paradox belongs to the nature of the haptic consciousness. The relative potency of this particular mode is reflected in that both miracles which concern it are first and last. If the contrast between haptic memory and haptic imagination is different in degree as being the greatest of any such of the structures of consciousness, this means that the potency or might, in a word force, attributable to the erotic is attributable no less to its antithesis, as is represented in this story. Accordingly we drew the parallel between the two Christological events as that of Eros and Thanatos. This does not mean that the other modes are inferior in rendering the essential antithesis between transcendence and immanence. Only, we must recognise the value of the chiastic structure of the nexus of messianic events, and draw the relevant conclusions from it.

Moses and Elijah

And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. (9.4)

Directly, we shall examine the three healing miracles which recapitulate the subjects of the three messianic miracles. In the case of the  healing miracle linked with The Transfiguration, The Cleansing Of A Leper (Mark 1.40-45), we shall find a similar reference to Moses. The presence of this two figure has occasioned substantial hermeneutical problems. Moreover, it has led to the conclusion that the chief hermeneutical resource for the event is to be found in those narratives such as the revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai. The consequences for this particular narrative as for the messianic series as a whole have been disastrous. No detailed consideration can be entered here, but we can provide an overview of their significance and point the way of the hermeneutic.

In the messianic event, the persona of Elijah, which has become so overlaid with theological and mythological tradition, is the one mentioned to a greater degree. The figure of John the baptiser is superimposed with that of Elijah and this relates to the figure of the Son of man whom we have encountered already (8.38):

And he said to them, "Elijah does come first to restore all things; and how is it written of the Son of man , that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? " But I  tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him." (vv 12,13)

One dilemma is that already Jesus has all but conceded that he is neither John the Baptist nor Elijah (8.27-30); yet he seems to be referring to himself ('me ... Son of man/he') as the Son of man in the ensuing pericope (8.38), and at the end of the miracle story we find what looks like a figure compounded of Elijah-John-Son of man (9.12,13). This compound persona Elijah-John-Son of man, recounts the notion of transcendence in relation to the anthropic category; that is the transcendent form of the eschatological category, the symbolic masculine, the masculine  in se, in accordance with the principle of identity.  Mark's portrayal of the ascetic John then accords with the relation of the symbolic masculine and haptic imagination. The Cana miracle story on the other hand pursues the relation between the symbolic feminine and haptic memory.

Feminine : Cana : : Masculine : Transfiguration

This is not to say that the feminine : masculine and correspondingly Moses-Elijah typology is the main concern of the Transformation-Transfiguration complex. Hence:

And suddenly looking around they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. (v 8)

Both narratives elaborate the theology of perception or soma, pursuant to the epistemology-psychology of the creation story. But we can hardly begin to understand the concepts of haptic memory-haptic imagination without the additional notion of the gendered body and its eschatological semantic. We begin the discussion of these two figures a propos of the Transformation-Transfiguration alliance, as indicated earlier. Even prior to the Cana miracle pericope we are introduced to both Moses and Elijah. As the prologue draws to its close John places both figures in close proximity:

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed, he did not deny but confessed, "I am not the Christ." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No." (John 1.19-21)

There is a substantial portrait following this of John the baptiser. It passes without interruption into the calling narrative, and of course the miracle story. In the latter we find the symbolic masculine and feminine under the aegis of water and wine respectively. The first of these metaphors recurs immediately to the creation narrative, and is already associated with John by the theme of baptism, which announces the role of the Holy Spirit (1.33), the source, provenance, generatrix of the eschatological category masculine : feminine. The evangelist uses this metaphor - water - again in the later story about Jesus And The Samaritan Woman At The Well (John 4.1-42), where an exchange between the two figures comparable to that between Jesus and Jairus' Daughter/The Haemorrhagic Woman takes place.

I am drawing some sort of comparison not only between feminine and masculine, but also between the two miracles and the two personae. The first comparison should not cause any surprise. Although we did not explicitly enlist the category of gender as a criterion establishing the polarisation of the status of the miracles, nor that of the Days, it is clear that it operates in this way. We have already referred to the role of John the baptiser as an exemplar of the symbolic masculine, a persona which devolves upon the enigmatic Son of man figure. Mark draws upon this in his portrayal of the death of John (6.14-29), and it is likely that it forms part of the meaning of the enigmatic introduction to The Transfiguration which speaks of those 'standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.' (Mark 9.1) Note that this also suits perfectly the categoreal alignment (analogy) between the symbolic masculine and the present-to-future trajectory, and hence it squares with the category haptic imagination.

Certainly the image of John consistently provided by the gospels conforms to what we have defined as the symbolic masculine. He is the earliest of any proponent of asceticism in the gospel, although in this respect  his identity is singular rather than participatory in any collective. He stands apart from if, he doesn't actually flout traditional Jewish values with their emphasis on the family. For which very reason he is a target of the religious and civil authorities and prone to ostracism. The logion preserved in the gospel of Luke makes this a basis of his comparability with Jesus:

"To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another, "We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep. "For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, 'He has a demon.' the Son of man has come eating and drinking; and you say, 'Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by all her children." (Luke 7.31-35)

Luke captures seems to cpature perfectly the link betwen Eros and Thanatos. He pictures a contrast between Jesus and John on the basis of a theology virtually identical to that of the miracle at Cana, a pericope which his gospel lacks, all the more remarkably since that story accords so completely with one of the evangelist's most favoured of subjects, commensality. Luke's fondness for this theme results in a portrait of Jesus decidedly weighted in favour of immanence. This short pericope is no exception. Its figure of wine consorts perfectly with that element as the chief exemplar of the feminine in the story of the miracle at Cana. In so far as the latter is about wine, not water, it conforms to the feminine as the occasion of masculine and feminine. Hence Jesus here in Luke as Son of man, is portrayed in terms quite antithetical to the figure of John as Elijah-Son of man. The figure of John the baptiser does not sort well with the Cana miracle story, but with that of Transfiguration, in which the concluding extended discourse superimposes him figuratively on Elijah-Son of man.

That conclusion, like the introduction, contains a battery of perplexing references to time. And it is the categoreal analogy between space-time and male-female which will assist in unravelling the presence of the personae in the Transfiguration as well as their relevance to the first messianic miracle. Here is the introduction:

And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." (Mark 9.1)

And the conclusion:

And they asked him, "Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?" And he said to them, "Elijah does come first to restore all things; and how is it written of the Son of man, that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him." (Mark 9.11-13)

The first reference to time we have previously quoted: '"will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."' Mark uses three verbs: the first '"will not taste"' (geu/swntai)) is a third person, plural, middle voice, subjunctive aorist; the second '"before they see"' (e1wv a1n i1dwsin) is a third person plural, active voice, subjunctive aorist; the third '"has come"' (e)lhluqui=an) is a feminine, third person singular (the kingdom of God), active voice, perfect participle in the accusative case. Luke, who is often complimented on his polished Greek, has the same two first verbs, having elided the clause '"kingdom of God has come"' to simply '"kingdom of God"' (Luke 9.27). Matthew (16.28) also follows Mark's first two verbs, but he writes the concluding clause: '"before they see the Son of man coming (e)rxo/menon) in his kingdom."' He thus substitutes a masculine, singular, middle voice, accusative case, present participle. On any reading this presents a baffling array of personae, times and places!

The conclusion is little if any clearer. 'Must come' (dei= e)lqei=n), a construction using active, indicative, third person singular of the present tense for the first verb and the active, infinitive aorist tense for the second. This is followed by the masculine, singular, active, aorist participle in the nominative case -  'coming' - here translated 'does come' (e)lqw\n). Verse 13 picks up the same verb the introduction used of the subject 'the kingdom of God', the verb '"has come"' (e)lhluqui=an); here in the conclusion, the subject is Elijah and the verb ('has come' - e)lh/luqen), is a third person, singular, active, indicative, perfect. The three intervening verbs are 'restore' (a)pokaqista/nei), a third person, singular, active, indicative, present; 'suffer' (paqh?), a third person, singular, active, subjunctive, aorist;  and 'be treated with contempt' (e)coudenhqh=?), a third person, singular, passive, subjunctive aorist. They hardly help matters. One thing is clear, the eschatological category, the anthropic male : female, sits at the nucleus of this raft of times, places, and persons. Little wonder then that we see its so many permutations alluded to - past-present, Moses-Elijah, wine-water, memory-imagination.

If the myth of an Elijah regressus or Elijah redivivus, the figure based on Malachi 3.1 and 3.23, connects this conclusion to the introduction, we can at least make this distinction: it is far from the case that we can simply identify the Son of man with the person Jesus, even though certain theologians have done so. It is obvious from the quotation above that Jesus both does identify himself with the Son of man (v 9) and doesn't in so far as he distinguishes himself from the subsequent Elijah-John reference (vv 11-13).  Whatever the nature of John's post-mortem 'being', it is not identical to the resurrected being which is the Christ. The introduction seems to project a corporate figure - 'some standing here' (tinev w]de tw=n e)sthko/twn) - towards a future. But it is not nearly as corporate as the terms 'generation' in the prior denunciation (8.34-38) would suggest. That is, the miracle itself does not point immediately to the symbolic masculine, the occasion of collective identity, any more than the story of the miracle at Cana in the first instance isolates for consideration the symbolic feminine.

The introduction sounds the inextricable complicity between the symbolic masculine and corporate identity and futurity which so fits the Elijah-John figure, even if, as the conclusion makes patent, he 'has already come'. He is more and less than a single individual. We must remember that the symbolic masculine is one of two eschatological categories, and that this concept allows for the kind of concept indicated by Elijah regressus  or Elijah redivivus. Its specific spatiotemporal orientation however is altogether other than these words suggest. The value of the categoreal analogy of present-to-future and the symbolic masculine - quite apart from the obvious relevance it has for a theology of perceptual imagination - lies in that very value of novelty which transcendent space itself confers upon the world. In this sense, the Elijah-John figure is counter to the figure of Moses, to whom the epithet redivivus (or regressus) is certainly more apt. Another fact which suggests this same differential is that Moses is generally associated with the law. It is Elijah and John the baptiser rather than a reincarnate Moses who incarnate the office of prophecy with its attendant link to what is yet to come.

John the baptiser is already dead by the time Jesus' transfiguration takes place. Nor does the story of his death (Mark 6.14-29) fail to mention the possibility that he was an Elijah of sorts, and the possibility of some further future manifestation yet of the same persona. Here again, if only momentarily, he is compared to Jesus, or rather, Jesus is compared to John, on the basis of being' raised from the dead'. The expression 'raised' which Mark uses for this report - e0ghge/rtai [e)k nekrw=n] - we saw in Matthew's account of The Transfiguration; when Jesus, having come to the disciples who were overwhelmed with fear, touched them and said "Rise, and have no fear." (Matthew 17.7).

King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the baptiser has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him." But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised." (Mark 6.14-16)

The terms Mark uses in the discourse on Elijah and John: 'risen from the dead',  e)k nekrw~n a)nasth=? (v 9), and 'rising from the dead', e)k nekrw=n a)nasth=nai (v 10), both relate directly to the participle in the introduction 'standing' - e)sthko/twn (v 1). Whatever the precise relation between the two figures, 'Moses with Elijah' and Jesus, one point seems clear enough: if they stand as representative of eschatological principles corresponding to the eschatological relata masculine and feminine as paradigmatic of differing if related eschatologies, the one operative in the era prior to the incarnation and death-resurrection of Jesus, the other after it, it is the latter, Elijah, and not the former, Moses, who dominates Mark's account of The Transfiguration. Elijah and the figure of John the baptiser play a much greater role in the gospel of Mark than ever Moses does. To the same end, Mark appears to envisage Jesus and John as belonging to the same epoch. Jesus' death and resurrection inaugurate the new age, the second age, and for this reason Elijah and not Moses is the main presence in the episode representative of the new eschatological dispensation.

The introduction and the conclusion of the narrative are linked, just as the two personae Moses and Elijah are, for they apparently reify the two related eschatological principles, one conforming to the symbolically feminine past-present which Moses epitomises, and the other to the symbolically masculine present-future, which Elijah embodies. It is in the context of the new or second dispensation, the epoch in which the eschatological reality conforms to the masculine eschatological principle, that we should speak not of Elijah regressus, but of an Elijah progressus. The meaning of the symbolic masculine, and in part, Son of man, and therefore of the future rests upon this figure. The initial association of the two figures 'Moses with Elijah' and the later singularity of the figure Elijah/John the baptiser, fits the hermeneutic which identifies them as representative of the associated but different eschatological principles which are analogous to the relata of the eschatological category - symbolic feminine and symbolic masculine. That is, as we have emphasised, that the feminine as through and through immanent by nature, incorporates the masculine - 'Moses with Elijah', while the latter itself in some measure is transcendent of this conjunction 'Elijah-John the baptiser'. Analogously intimately with the same complex as if we could not speak of one without the other, perceptual memory is implicitly connected to the symbolic feminine, and perceptual imagination correlatively linked to the symbolic masculine.


The Feminine And Haptic Memory In The Transformation Of Water Into Wine


Broadly speaking, the haptic memory is identifiable as Eros, but not so the symbolic feminine with which it is connected nonetheless. In the miracle story the symbolic feminine is manifest first in the person of Mary, Jesus' mother, who prompts the actual miracle. She also elicits the retort: "O woman, what have you to do with me? ..." (John 2.4). This reveals some measure of distinction between  the economic, symbolic feminine, and the erotic, haptic memory. The symbolic feminine is not intrinsically erotic, any more than the symbolic masculine is intrinsically the business of the transcendence of the same, the erotic, even though the conceptual radical and the perceptal radical of consciousness in each case are clearly related. For one thing, the symbolic feminine is counter to the masculine as its complement. The symbolic masculine for its part seeks the transcendence of this form of unity; it seeks transcendence of the feminine, it does not seek transcendence of the erotic as such. Just so, haptic imagination does not require transcendence of the feminine, it requires the transcendence of haptic memory, the erotic.

That said, there is a sense in which the erotic also subserves the reproduction of the species, and this we can term briefly the 'economic', an expression which conveys the Pneumatological aspect of the anthropic category, whether this be feminine or masculine. But as to  what was said now about Eros and reproduction, reproduction is not intrinsic to the erotic. It is important to concede the compatibility of the two forms - here symbolic feminine and haptic memory - but it is just as important that we not blur or gloss their essential differentials. The eschatological, Pneumatological, anthropic category, symbolic feminine, is not in the first instance to be phrased according to the erotic, but rather in terms of the economic. It pertains firstly to the household, the familial, the regeneration of living beings. This defines the parameters of the category as a form of unity,  as masculine and feminine. The oikos, home, household, family, phylum, serves as iconographic of the feminine. It acts then as the complement to, and also, up to a certain point, as antithesis of, the 'symbolic masculine'. As for the erotic, its province is the soma, the body. Just as there is a profound difference between the symbolic masculine and mind, there is an analogous difference between the feminine and the body.


The Masculine And Haptic Imagination In The Transfiguration


In the relation between the symbolic masculine and haptic imagination - one may be congenial to the other. This means that the desire for transcendence of the erotic impulse as a pervasive form of consciousness, and the general ideological tendency towards the collective expressions of identity, these are generally compatible. But they are by no means always so, nor are they the same. That they do differ in point of the contrast between individual and collective, is overlooked by this congeniality, for such collectives even though they may be constituted by a single gender, whether male or female, nevertheless provide for the erotic. They may in fact even subserve the erotic, haptic memory, rather than its complement, haptic imagination. The transcendence of forms of erotic appetition is properly galvanised by the desire and need for personal individuation. In this regard it is no different from erotic appetition as such. There is thus a strong association between the 'haptic imagination' and the symbolic masculine, given repeatedly in the Son of man references. For all that, they remain nevertheless distinguishable, and we should not make the mistake of conflating them. Mark's reverence for his subject belongs just to this distinction as we are about to see. We can now add to the link between the conceptual form symbolic masculine and the persona the Son of man. That the latter plays an important role in the miracle is attested by a Son of man saying in Mark 8.38 immediately prior to the miracle story, and two further references to 'him' in the concluding postscript, Mark 9.9,12.


The Symbolic Masculine

We introduced the Son of man in relation to the symbolic masculine, or the category of the masculine in the general treatment of the transcendent forms of the conceptual categories. The fundamental theme of which is the separation, division, fission of the same from the relatum with which a conceptual form is otherwise conjunct as form of unity. Hence we proposed: there is a space which is void of space-time; and mind persisting independently of soma, mind : body, whatever the shape or form of the latter; and finally the masculine transcending the feminine, where feminine itself means precisely masculine and feminine. It follows that the immanent forms of the conceptual categories do not obtain independently of their relata. There is no time-in-itself, body-in-itself, or feminine-in-itself. There is only space : time as conjunction, mind : body as conjunction, and male : female as conjunction of the two relata. These immanent forms of the conceptual categories thus evince unity as distinct from identity. From its very introduction in the Day 3 rubric:
 'And God said: Let the water beneath the heaven  gather together in one place, so that dry land may appear. And it was so.' ((LXX: sunaxqh/tw, sunagwgh\n, sunh/xqh, sunagwga\v (Genesis 1.9))
The idea of the symbolic masculine confronts us with identity as a collective phenomenon. It is this feature of the generic, 'gathering together', which accounts for the ambiguous status of its transcendence, even if that were necessary, since the inclusion of the creation of 'earth' within the 'heavens' category consisting of the first half of the text, already marks it as such. Society presents various forms of collective 'identity'. The defining factor may be gender, age, race, nationality, health, language and so on; but the most common rationale is that of gender, 'kind' , spoken of the two types of plants in the Day 3 rubric. As we observed, the two forms of living plants are the prototypes of masculine and feminine which appear finally in the last of the six Days. The creation of animals in conjunction with that of humankind during that Day we may well see as a construal for its complement, the Day 3 rubric, which I am understanding in terms of the symbolic masculine, the sense of the latter being encapsulated in the axiom "Birds of a feather flock together." This conceptual form is then not exclusive to humanity, but a pervasive characteristic of the entire animal kingdom, and even we may say, of biota in general.

The emotive tone of the symbolic masculine must stress the collective nature of its identity. One can only be male, or female, in relation to others who are the same, male or female. There is no specific, individual, unique masculinity or femininity; there is no single male or single female. Gender is by definition generic as opposed to the singularity of space in contradistinction to which it obtains, as the 'waters below' to the 'waters above'. The same concept of collective existence is native to the meaning of  'man', 'mankind' and to the meaning of Son of man.  The angelology of the Son of man references is no facile solution to this problem, it recurs to the theology of the Holy Spirit, and the exemplification of the same in the anthropic. The references to angels in the Son of man sayings which precede both Christological miracles give full reign to two ideas. Firstly they concern ideal/mental beings (conceptual forms) rather than corporeal (physical-perceptible) ones, and secondly they connote the idea of many such beings, a collective or family of the same. Gender is plurality; it is the men of man, the women of woman; and it is a conceptual determinant of consciousness.

In the second creation story, a gloss on this difference between the individual as unique, by which the event of death obtains, and a member of the phylum occurs. The tendency to view the first human couple as a pair of individuals, a tendency which Pauline Christology adopts, has given rise to numerous philosophical problems. Akin to this confusion, is the tendency to construe in just the same diametrically opposed ways simultaneously, those of individual and society or class of persons, the references to the Son of man.  It is not clear from the theology of creation alone, whether the 'symbolic masculine' is one single person or a collective. In this regard, the same ambiguity surrounds the conceptual form as surrounds the personae Adam and Eve, the very dilemma reproduced in the various Pauline Christologies of recapitulation - anakephaliosis - which envision Jesus as the second Adam. Philosophically the issue is critical; it pertains to the central most persistent controversy in 'sociology', the question regarding the dichotomy individual-society and the presumed ontological priority of one or the other. The relevance of the same for any doctrine of the Trinity is immediately obvious. In other words, we have also to reckon in these proceedings with diametrically opposed anthropological views and concepts of personhood. We shall refer to the two perspectives by the terms 'phylogeny' for the society, and 'ontogeny' for the individual.  

But first we must secure what was just said concerning the uniqueness or principium individuationis which identifies the Jesus of The Transfiguration vis-ŕ-vis death. In connection with the ambiguity of the eschatological references to the Son of man which somehow are compelled to envision at least as a possibility, the harvest of the age as some sort of death of the whole of humankind, we must add this. All things are possible, but not all are equally possible. Whereas for now at least, as a rule, it is the individual and not the society which dies. Death remains the primary occasion of individuation, and here, by the term death, we mean the Thanatos compresent with the conceptual form mind, the logos, the Word made flesh. We mean the very mind to which The Transfiguration reverts by default, since it is the normative correlative of this transcendent and Christological form of  haptic sentience, haptic imagination. To acknowledge this, is to grant the very reason for the echoes of the three conceptual forms delineated in the three transcendent miracles, especially in The Transfiguration. The Son of man can never be identified tout court with the same Jesus. For given the plethora of eschatological Son of man sayings in the gospel, that figure must be sited within the context of the possible death of the race as a whole, the perishing of the entire human phylum illustrated as a distinct possibility in The Stilling Of The Storm. The death of which Jesus speaks in the concluding passage in the Markan account, and during the actual miracle itself in the Lukan account (e!xodon, Luke 9.31), is none other than his own. It is not and can never be the death of anyone else than a single individual. It is certainly no collective death. It is not the death of any group, class, society, species, or phyla. It is his very own death, the death of the human person Jesus. This acts as the final differential between the Jesus of the last messianic miracle and any putative Jesus as Son of man. Mark is perfectly clear on this point, where the second creation narrative and subsequently Paul, are anything but so. That said, the certain juxtaposition between Eros of the first Christological episode, and the outlines of its antithesis, Thanatos in the last, mark the latter event exactly in accordance with the concept of the symbolic masculine as both Pneumatological, and hence concerning humankind as a whole, and the idea of collective identity or identities. This theme will occupy us later, under the discussion of the conceptual forms, and the general bearing they have on the relation of the world to God.

 

The symbolic masculine  is a conceptual form with an expansive and visible application in human life, primarily collective as 'aneconomic' or crypto-economic. It is an idea, a conceptual form, a transcendent category; but that is not to say it has no bearing upon lived existence. The transcendent masculine or 'symbolic masculine' is a most useful term in the discussion of religion in general, particularly in the discussion of the history of various traditions, two of which are indicated for us in The Transfiguration story by the two names, Moses and Elijah, and by the reference of Peter to the 'three booths' (Mark 9.5), one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. Several of these traditions have longstanding practices of celibacy and other forms of ascesis. Hence the religious practice of celibacy during long ages prior to the birth and death of Jesus and even subsequent to it, readily lends itself to the hermeneutic of the complex of factors: Son of man, Moses and Elijah, John the baptiser, death, resurrection and 'haptic imagination' as the transcendence of Eros. It is the last of these which lies at the heart of the narrative. Purity stands as the dominant motif of the story as is given by the references to 'intensely white',  'no fuller on earth' and so on. This theme recurs to the references to the jars of water 'for the Jewish rites of purification' in the first miracle story. The link between sexual desire and the 'desire' for purity according as we have defined these latter two terms, is as real as anything else in the narrative. We can speak of such a desire for purity as 'anerotic' or crypto-erotic, for the basis of its inspiration is nevertheless love: '... and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my Son, my Beloved; listen to him."' (Mark 9.7)  Moreover, what it seeks will be some sort of intellectual or mental equivalent to the ecstasy of the flesh; its object will be bliss in another form: ananda, eksatasis, as lasting joy. Desire expressed by haptic imagination will on this count be insusceptible of repetition, like both death itself and baptism itself, for it belongs to the domain of imaginal rather than that of mnemic sentient consciousness.

Collective, that is conventual types of celibacy, by men or women, may be driven  by economic motives, or by the will to collective identity, being together - mitsein -  fraught nonetheless as it is with undertones of the homoerotic, or by both. We need to distinguish this - the symbolic masculine - on the one hand, and the aspirations of haptic imagination on the other. The symbolic masculine has its own creedal impulse. This may or may not serve the interests of  transcendence of Eros. For example, the symbolic masculine replete as it is with its drive towards mitsein, collective identification with one's own kind, can easily degenerate into malevolent forms of nationalism. Judaism itself, and Christianity which inherited so much from it, has always been liable to this form of decay. Both the conceptual form, the symbolic masculine, and the perceptual form of consciousness, haptic imagination, generate their own constellations of moral emotions, and as sympathetic as these may be to one another, they are not so entirely. The congeniality of the former to the latter is not unconditional.

When we read of  Jesus taking 'with him Peter and James and John', the least number of witnesses to any miracle in the gospel, and the following description of the place of the event, 'up a high mountain apart by themselves', (9.2), and likewise when we read later 'And suddenly they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only' (v 8), we are reminded of the specific subject of the narrative; haptic imagination'. Mark is telling us something quite important about this aspect or structure of mind; to wit that it enjoys the extremist tendency towards individuation as towards death. If death were a collective experience, and here the meaning of genocide comes unbidden to mind in all its horror, as one of the more persistent evils characterising the twentieth century, there would be no real purposes in distinguishing the meaning of this last miracle from the conceptual form, the symbolic masculine. In the animal kingdom of course, the deaths of species do occur. Evolution is marked by the phenomenon of death of a generic magnitude. And it is questionable whether such catastrophic acts of destruction form any part of the consciousness of sub-human life forms. But for the human person matters are altogether otherwise. For humans a pre-eminently conscious of Thanatos. Such awareness shapes the very nature of mind, that is, consciousness itself, to an extraordinary degree, a degree arguably equivalent to the extent to which mind is shaped by Eros. Then there is the factor of one's being as unique. On both scores, consciousness of death, and the 'ontogenetic' ('ontogenic') awareness, we stand divorced from the animal realm.

In sum then, societies do not die; they are pre-eminently assured of survival. Just as assuredly, it is the individual who dies. Here we can carve at the joint the profound difference between the conceptual form - symbolic masculine - on the one hand, and the perceptual form - haptic imagination - on the other.

The symbolic masculine does not specify the transcendence of touch, the transcendence of the erotic. In its commonest manifestation it may specify the absence of one gender in relation to another, the typical form of generic identity.  There are others of course, which depend upon various criteria other than gender. In other words, the symbolic masculine is precisely non-reproductive, it renounces 'oikos', it is strategically aneconomic as we see from the introduction to The Transfiguration. We are defining the symbolic masculine in terms of its governing concept, albeit negatively. What is denied in any monosexual or 'homosocial' culture, is in short, offspring, progeny and all that goes with it, as denoted by terms such as oikos and phyla. The several references to the antipathy between following Jesus and the demands of the family in the gospel thus sit very well indeed with the notion of the symbolic masculine as first sounded in the overture to the miracle story, Mark 8.34-38.  But even though such collective forms of being may ostensibly deny the erotic, or do so by implication, that is not the prime motivation operative in the conceptual form symbolic masculine. We tend to identify the principle purpose of such cultures as being in league with the transcendence of the erotic; this is a miscalculation. For as is well known, a certain proportion of the population will experience erotic attraction to members of the same sex. This has been a difficult lesson not only for religious traditions; it is a lesson which other 'homosocial' cultures, for example the armed forces, institutions of learning which segregate the sexes, must confront.

The Markan doctrine of  haptic imagination is sympathetic to the idea of the symbolic masculine, but it far from identifies the two. As forms of consciousness, both generate a range of moral emotions, some of which may be compatible with one another; but their difference is as real as the fact that the former, the actual subject of the miracle narrative is perceptual, physical, and the latter, whose topicality is tangential to the narrative, is conceptual, mental.

The emotional ambit of haptic imagination, though congenial to the symbolic masculine, is never identical. We looked at their respective complements to see this in its immediacy. The complement of the perceptual form is haptic memory, which is responsible for erotic desire. Precisely this is what the haptic imagination seeks to transcend. We should not lose sight of the fact that one and the same identity lies at the base of these disparate modes of consciousness. That is, haptic memory and haptic imagination as complementary, evince identity through contrast, or contrast through identity. The very same applies to the conceptual forms, symbolic masculine and symbolic feminine. Here the identity is not the Son, but the Holy Spirit. What the symbolic masculine then seeks to transcend is not the erotic as such, but the feminine. I am bound to emphasise this point in the interests of clarity. What the erotic is to haptic sentience, the economic is to the feminine. The genuine similarity as well as the real difference between these centres of consciousness, haptic imagination and symbolic masculine, can be grasped by framing their concerns in this way. The elaboration of the role of desire in relation to the structural compatibility between both haptic memory and the symbolic feminine on the one hand, and haptic imagination and the symbolic masculine on the other will further our understanding of its meaning. This we will undertake in developing the doctrine of intentionality. We introduce desire for that reason.

Haptic Imagination


For its part, haptic imagination represents the affective at what is its most intellectual extreme. The 'desire' to disestablish the erotic ties of affectivity itself accords with the tendency of transcendence to separate itself from any putative polarity, in the interests of identity. Identity which occurs in the symbolic masculine on the basis of the collective is clearly second order identity. On the other hand, identity  in the case of the haptic imagination, concerns the individual, and an authentic experience of identity. If haptic imagination means anything, it means the individual. The problem here however, is that of the normative status of the erotic as a perceptual category. There is a clear sense in which haptic imagination if it is not beholden to haptic memory, then it defers to the status of the same as normative. The love of 'God' is the driving force behind my desire that I touch or am touched by God. We see as much in the story of The Leper, the healing miracle equivalent to the messianic event. Thus it takes at face value everything believed concerning incarnation. This is the essential meaning of haptic imagination: that which one cannot touch or be touched by as yet.

The erotic enjoins the private. It exists at the lowest threshold of communication, as occurring between just two persons. Thus if haptic memory in the form, erotic desire, all but precludes plurality, the more so does haptic imagination. In one sense, it is the culmination of what is implicit in the erotic, as death, although this requires time, and the full trajectory of life experienced in its plenitude. There is thus a very clear equivalence between haptic imagination and the individual, clearer still than the equivalence between the erotic and the individual. The haptic imagination  reproduces the status of  'the only Son from the Father' (John 1.14) - it is both filial, or Christological, and transcendent. The tone of the introduction is irreducibly and forcefully personal, private, individual, on which count it evokes the principium individuationis - death:

"... there are some standing here - tinev w0=de tw=n e9sthko/twn - who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." (9.1)

This pronoun 'some', or 'certain ones', should be read in light of the actual difference between generic identity as expounded immediately prior by Mark's use of the word 'generation', which he typified as 'wicked and adulterous'. The 'some' of which he speaks in the introduction to the miracle narrative itself are those who have attained a state of purity and transcendence relative to that of Jesus himself, 'the only Son'. They have, in virtue of the power of the centre of consciousness haptic imagination, reached the last and final stage of personhood, irrespective of the religious traditions to which they are nominally allied, as suggested by the presence of the figures of Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. The pronoun 'certain ones' means that they are beyond all collective expressions of identity, and so beyond those very traditions themselves. It is expressive of the meaning of individuation, and the plural form does not obscure the notion of uniqueness which is conveyed by the link sustained by The Transfiguration and The Baptism. The Transfiguration envisages a process and an outcome conferred not merely upon The Son alone. The mention of the personal names in the introduction, 'Peter and James and John', supports this conclusion. Thus the miracle contrasts the realisation of individuation with the collective identity of the symbolic masculine. The opening pledge in Mark 9.1 thus speaks of death as the means of transcendence of death. This transaction is the work of haptic imagination, with its necessarily essential desire for purification : '... and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.' (Mark 9.3)

 In this its fullest sense, it therefore recapitulates what preceded the first miracle in the gospel of John, the description of the baptism of Jesus by John which in Mark reads as follows:

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son [or my Son, my (or the) Beloved]; with thee I am well pleased." (Mark 1.9-11)

The account of the baptism of Jesus in John does not use any title; which is all the more intriguing since the two references in Mark to the Son as 'the Beloved', one in The Baptism, the other in The Transfiguration. The title on both occasions is profoundly consonant with the theology of the first miracle story. Of course both evangelists agree on the role of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who is readily identifiable as both symbolic masculine in The Transfiguration and the symbolic feminine in the miracle at Cana.

Enough has been said concerning the perceptual mode. The patterns connecting the conceptual and perceptual radicals of mind should be clear. We are not suggesting however, that the symbolic masculine precludes the influence of the feminine in the miracle of The Transfiguration; it does not. Conversely, in emphasising the appropriateness of the feminine to the first event, the miracle at Cana, neither do we mean to exclude the role of the masculine.

The symbolic masculine qua eschatological principle, is conceivable in terms of identity. It exists as a transcendent form; but the overall accentuation of the category masculine : feminine in virtue of immanence exacts the qualification of the same at almost every turn. The element of water in the lengthy descriptions concerning baptism and the figure of John prior to the first miracle betoken  the symbolic masculine. In the same way, Moses stands as representative of the feminine eschatological principle in The Transfiguration, even if his role does not compare with that of Elijah.

Thus the relation between the symbolic feminine and haptic memory is analogous to that subtended by the symbolic masculine and haptic imagination. These relations are just two of many such which obtain among the conceptual and perceptual forms. What this means in the first place, reaffirms the doctrine of logos. Analogy, so fundamental to the method of metaphysics, confirms the doctrine of logos. If 'the only Son of The Father' is equivalent to what we would otherwise call mind, then a procedure which emphasises the nexus between the various entities it involves on the basis of analogy is perfectly reasonable. The point is that what is apparent in one relation, may be difficult to discern or scarcely apparent to us in the analogous relation. The possibility of extrapolating from one  relation to the other, allows us to obviate some of the lacunae in our understanding.

Now in the case before us initially, the miracle at the wedding in Cana, it has been easy enough to recognise a particular 'prehensive', intentional, psychological, mode, that of desire. The language of the last episode repeats much of the initial vocabulary; Son of man, the formal figure 'six', 'Beloved', as well as the Elijah-John persona who is instrumental in the events leading up to the transformation of water into wine. We see something of the same intentional mode 'desire', in the intellectual curiosity of the disciples after The Transfiguration. They may have been extremely fearful during what transpired, but once it has happened, they want  to understand, want to know '"what the rising from the dead means''' and '"Why the scribes ... say that first Elijah must come?"' Even before this, in Peter's request we sense their fear giving way to a mode of desire that the episode as a whole generates:

And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you one for Moses and one for Elijah." For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. (Mark 9.5, 6, emphasis added.)

As afraid as he is, Peter is nevertheless glad to be where he is at this point, and his perplexity itself can be understood in keeping with the predominant affective tone of the Cana miracle, 'desire' provided that we modify the conventional sense of 'desire' in order to account for the difference of imagination from memory.  The first episode is normative for haptic sentience, and we might also say, normative for 'desire'. If desire/appetition is the defining conative mode of that polarity of consciousness expounded in the immanent series, the feeding miracles, then we can apply it, albeit with some qualification, to their complements or counterparts, the three transcendent miracles. Hence we can speak of a mode of 'desire' appropriate to these forms of consciousness which constitute the sentient imagination, particularly in relation to haptic imagination.  For the moment, let us use the expression 'intellectual desire'. Such will certainly fit with the second aspect of the identification of 'the beloved Son':

"... listen to him." - (a)kou/ete au)tou= v 7).

Now in conjuring firstly with the relation feminine : haptic memory, and then with that of masculine : haptic imagination, we can conceive of the relation, just expressed by the sign ':' in the first instance as desire proper, desire readily recognisable in the form of erotic appetition. The feminine stands to haptic memory  as the masculine stands to haptic imagination. The relation (:) in the first case can be summed up as physical desire, the relation (:) in the second case can be summed up as mental desire. Remember that the soma is always the union of such components, however we describe them, physical/mental, perceptual/conceptual and so on. Concerning the nature of erotic desire John Anderson's epigram aptly describes this idea: "Copulation is a mental event." That said, the presence of mental desire in relation to the erotic, its intellective or non-physical component, necessitates the presence of the symbolic masculine vis-ŕ-vis haptic memory, just as the presence of  physical desire in relation to haptic imagination, engages the presence of the symbolic feminine in intellectual desire.

I do not mean to pre-empt here the detailed discussion of what belongs to a further stage of study, even so, having already introduced the two forms of desire so recognisable in the two Christological miracles, which we have somewhat inadequately called desire simpliciter or erotic, physical desire, and the desire-to-know, intellectual or mental desire, we can justify the remarks just made in the interests of allaying any charge of sexists bias, since the fact that the topic is so fraught ideologically and polemically. The main details to be set out as are as follows:

Put even more simply, the symbolic masculine 'wants', 'desires', in relation to things which are the objects of perceptual imagination, whereas the symbolic feminine 'wants-to-know', 'desires-to-know', these same; and conversely the symbolic masculine 'wants-to-know', 'desires-to-know', those very thing(s), datum or data, which the symbolic feminine 'wants', 'desires', namely things given in haptic memory.

Although the primary instance of relationality between the two principles masculine and feminine involves correspondingly the two forms of desire - one physical the other mental - and correspondingly the two forms of haptic sentience, the relations of these things in themselves means mutatis mutandis the relation between the symbolic feminine and haptic imagination, and similarly the relation between the symbolic masculine and haptic memory. The full exposition of these relations is the task of the theology of semiotic forms. There is absolutely no hard and fast appropriation by the one event, therefore centre of consciousness, of the one principle. Both principles are operative in both forms of haptic sentience, and the procedure of analogy will make this plain, and so expound a Christian doctrine of desire. But this is a theme proper to another story entirely.

This discussion has been phrased in terms of consciousness or mind, but that it is equally about the eschatological should be obvious. The appearances of Moses and Elijah in the miracle if they do justice for the feminine and masculine principles respectively, nevertheless do so because in the first place they embody the eschatological. This function takes us to the second part of Peter's confession, which speaks of 'three booths'

All three evangelists report Peter's suggestion regarding the three 'tents' ('booths'). The last word - skhna/v - which brings to mind the identity of the Holy Spirit, also calls to mind the 'tent of meeting', the 'tent' of assembly, where God encounters his people', where God indwells. (Tent is an image which coincides nicely with Mark's semiotic index, that of the derma or skin.) This tradition itself probably recalls Davidic and pre-Davidic times when tent shrines were in use. The Priestly redaction (Exodus 25-40) of the earlier tradition which had been conceived before the building of Solomon's temple, tends to archaize. Its description of the tabernacle as mishkan connotes the verb 'to tent'; the word  itself designated 'tent' in an earlier period. The Greek word here for the same thus immediately invokes the Moses tradition, as does the term 'departure' - exodon - by means of which Luke refers to the exchange between the three figures; something neither Mark nor Matthew mention:

And behold, two men talked to him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory (e)n do/ch?) and spoke of his departure (th\n e1codon) which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9.30)

These motifs, the mountain, Moses, the booths, 'tents', the fear of the disciples, 'his exodon', the cloud which overshadows, all invoke the Moses tradition. All configure the previous dispensation, that particular eschatological epoch defined by the feminine principle. That the eschatological is a primary if not the primary theme here should be clear. The references to death start building in Mark 8.31, the first of the three Passion predictions. They continue unabatedly: 'cross' (8.35) is followed immediately (8.34-38) by the discourse on losing one's life, and then by the reference to 'taste death' in 9.1. Luke's stated subject of the talk between the figures, and the subsequent discussion among the disciples concerning the Son of man, the rising from the dead and Elijah, the latter discourse bein absent from Luke's account, all tend directly to the same purpose. The Transfiguration if it enumerates haptic imagination as part of a schematic epistemology/Christology, makes the idea of death inseparable from this.

The value and relevance of such a radical of consciousness as haptic imagination for a theory of mind in general, and moreover for religious studies is inestimable. The Judaic tradition does not have anything like a monastic tradition. Here, we must reserve judgement on the Essene community. The Essene sect, with which some scholars are anxious to associate John the baptiser, is one of the few incidences of such praxis in Judaism, that is proto-Judaism, known to us, either prior to or after the time of Jesus. Appearing in the second century BCE, in rural Palestine, it probably survived until the Jewish war c. 73 CE. Pliny (Natural History, 5.73) refers to the Essenes' practice of celibacy. Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, 18.11, 18-22), and Philo (Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit, XII.75-87), both give detailed accounts of the sect, but the former also mentions an order of the same group whose members were married, had children, and whose wives participated in the purification rites of the community, (War 2.160-161). Whatever their views regarding celibacy, the Essenes were not and are not representative of mainstream Jewish religion. Nor can we consider the phenomenon of the Essene community as comparable with the expressions of monastic religious cultures in Buddhism and Christianity. These are instances of religious and metaphysical traditions throughout whose virtually entire history, celibacy has been highly regarded. It is the virtual sine qua non of salvation in the former case.

Of the three monotheistic religions, all of which conform  typologically to the transcendent perspective, although they do so in varying ways, only Christianity has enjoined celibacy on any remarkable scale. The absence of any such phenomenon in Islam provoked Schopenhauer's judgement that it was not in fact a religion at all. I do not know if he extended this judgement to Judaism, which is logically warrantable given his premise. Segregation of the sexes is expressed in a variety of cultural norms in Islamic society, yet there has been no whole scale relinquishment of the family as the economic unit of society.

One serious dilemma confronting the simple literal interpretation of Moses or Elijah in the story of Jesus' transfiguration as a reference to any Judaism past, or contemporaneous with Jesus, or future, is this notable paucity of traditions of religious asceticism in Judaism. Historical time is a major factor militating against a narrow and purely ethnico-religious, if not ideological interpretation of the two figures, Moses and Elijah. Judaism proper I will argue, is concurrent with the eschatological epoch of the formation of the other two monotheistic faiths; namely after the Christ. The biblical theology of religions supports the identification of two families of religions, in virtue of the eschatological relata, symbolic feminine and symbolic masculine. These stand as taxonomic principles at the broadest level identifying immanent and transcendent eschatologies. At the temporal hub of the shift from the former epoch, with its doctrines centering on samsara, is the incarnation-resurrection, which ushers in the second and final eschatological epoch. All three monotheisms, Judaism, Islam and Christianity have emerged in their definitive forms, subsequently to the birth of Christ. All three also have in common the doctrine of the resurrection: Orthodox Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with its teaching regarding Yaum al-Qiyama. (Progressive Judaism holds the belief in the immortality of the soul.) This was not yet the case with the 'proto-Judaism' of Jesus' day; when the doctrine of resurrection was still not formally part of the tradition. The three monotheistic faiths have eschatological doctrines which are equally transcendent in type; eschatological doctrines which accord with the masculine principle. One token of which is the fact that they all have shared at one time or another, the practice of male circumcision, not extant in the East. Eschatology here, I am taking as the governing criterion of the theology of religions. By 'eschatology' I mean in the very broadest senses, the ultimate fate of the embodied individual, and the final destiny of humankind, as of the world. Thus a didactic concern with death is the defining moment for what I mean by 'metaphysics' or 'religion', notwithstanding the fact that the earliest forms of Buddhism profess an anti-metaphysical stance. (See Jan Nattier, Buddhist Eschatology, The Oxford Handbook Of Eschatology, Edited by Jerry L. Walls, Oxford University Press, 2008.)

In order to pursue the hermeneutic of the references to 'Moses with Elijah' and to Elijah, and also those to the Son of man, in the narratives under scrutiny, we must look elsewhere than the monotheistic faiths other than Christianity. Islam and Judaism both offer too little that vindicates what is the central proposition of The Transfiguration, the mode of consciousness we refer to as haptic imagination. In line with the latter, certainly the Son of man reference in the overture to the narrative has been accentuated preparatory to the miracle narrative itself. The relative sympathy between the two complexes symbolic masculine and  haptic imagination has been emphasised. And if Islam corresponds to any one of the six normative forms of consciousness it must be to the conceptual form, symbolic masculine. Some sort of case therefore emerges for associating this particular religious culture with the John-Elijah figure who is always still to come.

The meaning of the appearance and disappearance of Moses and Elijah, like that of Peter's suggestion that the earthly trio of persons,' Peter and James and John' (v 2), make three booths, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah (v 5), depends upon the complex associations which  we have tried to elucidate, that between symbolic masculine and the attendant concept, Son of man, and the actual topic of the miracle, haptic imagination as a form of consciousness. It is no foregone conclusion that the two figures who appear 'talking to Jesus' (v 4) are synonymous with their historical counterparts, if indeed such individuals existed at all. The problem of accepting the names at face value is not confined to the question of the historicity of the two figures, as significant as that very question is. It accrues not only moreover, from the deliberate compounding of the Elijah figure with John the baptiser in the epilogue (v 9-13); nor only from the mythology implicit in such references, since both figures are subjects of redivivus myths. The 'epiphany' of the two, similarly to their disappearance,  must also form a meaningful part of the hermeneutic. The word 'appeared' - w1fqh (Mark 9.4) in this context is highly significant. This word which occurs repeatedly in the Apocalypse, occurs only twice in a resurrection appearance story:

"... and behold, he is going before you to Galilee, there you will see (w1yesqe) him." (Matthew 28.7)

"The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared (w1fqh) to Simon!" (Luke 24.34)

The introduction to The Transfiguration announces the theme of time - 'six days'. This is vital to the hermeneutic. Not only have we noticed that in distinct ways the two characters who appear with Jesus and talk to him seem to have the function of fleshing out time in its fullness so as to connect backwards to a remote past and forwards to an unknown future, but the same concept of time logically meshes with the theme of death. The fact that the subject of the exchange between the three figures is the exodon of Jesus, the fact that the topic is death, suggests as does the 'booths', the relation of other religious traditions. Moses and Elijah thus stand in some important degree, as designating the same other traditions. These other traditions are marked by their correspondence to the eschatological reality conforming in principle to the symbolic feminine, as represented by Moses in one case, and the eschatological reality conforming to the symbolic masculine represented by Elijah in the other. These two other faiths, or metaphysical systems, stand respectively prior to and subsequent to the death-resurrection of Jesus.

The categoreal forms are not merely determinants of consciousness; they must propose certain radical manifestations of religious consciousness itself. This lies at the heart of the appearance of the two personae as well as Peter's discombobulated longing. A key to these same forms of religious consciousness as noted, is the phenomenon of the beliefs and praxes generated by the haptic imagination, of which the most clearly recognisable is the celibate/ascetic lifestyle. These various factors, time/death/eschatology/'booths'/Moses with Elijah/talk of Jesus' exodon/ascetic praxis taken together, all work towards this end, the depiction of a theology of religion. It is here precisely that attention is due to the fact that real otherness is involved. The formative Judaism of Jesus' day does not satisfy the vital meaning of the event. It remains insufficiently differentiated from the Christian, hence 'Judaeo-Christian' revelation.

Nor is it merely the absence of any sustained and widespread ascetic practice  within the Judaisms of the past and present which diminishes its candidature for what is represented by either mythological figure, Moses or Elijah. The same unsuitability of Judaisms as candidates for the identity of alternative traditions prior to and after the Christian revelation, epochs of which Moses and Elijah respectively are emblematic, yet nonetheless  in discourse with it, is present in other aspects of the text. There is the fact that Judaism lacks the capacity to universalizability. Judaism is barely susceptible of the status of world religion precisely because of its ethnic particularity. The concept of the election of an exclusive ethnic group conflicts utterly with the meaning of universal, which the event of the discourse between the three figures The Transfiguration betokens. Again, Peter, the apostle to the Jews, has been characteristically rebuked just prior to The Transfiguration (Mark 8.27-33), regardless of his identification of Jesus as 'the Christ', for being 'not on the side of God, but of men.' These various facts in league with the serious problematic regarding the historicity-mythology of both personae, Moses and Elijah, would all seem to proscribe the identification of either of those 'other' particular world religions as the Judaic faith.

The Transfiguration portrays a world  broader in its range than anything imagined by the Judaism of Mark's day, as well he knew.  His intention encompasses the world of human religious aspiration expressed according to the reality of the 'Son of man in the glory of his Father with the holy angels', the transcendence  represented by  the haptic imagination, and in keeping with the symbolic masculine. The image of the parousia at the end of chapter 8 signals the latter, the reference to the 'some standing here' at the commencement of chapter 9, the former, as we said above.

In this last event of the messianic series, Mark presents Christ as saviour not solely to the Jews. Instead we see his portrait of the 'cosmic' Christ. The Christ of The Transfiguration is the universal saviour, and a hermeneutic in keeping with the stature of the universality of the category mind : body is requisite. There is no mention of a place recognisable as the homeland of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which plays so vital a role in Judaisms. Mark says of the setting nothing more than that it was upon 'a high mountain' (v 2). This transcends the parochial confines of Peter's dubious yearning. This last great messianic event envisions the universal Christ, not a tribal deity. What Peter's impetuous desire to make 'three booths' (9.5) suggests, is precisely a kind of ethnico-religious ideological longing that finds no refuge whatsoever here. The same tenor of encompassing which was concentrated in the introduction - 'And after six days ...' -  telescoping Genesis and the gospel in one fell swoop, is now sustained in a momentary irony recalling the character of the disciple. Given the breadth of the scene, the theological rationale of its filiocentric topicality, universality,  and  the concept of a religiously inspired ascetic praxis, we are led in another direction. And to another time, extending to the furthest reaches of the past as is given by the mention of Moses, a figure synonymous with antiquity. Everything points in the direction of the East and to a time prior to the formation of Judaisms and Judaism proper. The 'Eastern' faiths and metaphysical creeds had already fully embraced what is connoted by the allusion to redivivus rather than resurrection, which is to say, an immanent rather than a transcendent eschatology,  belonging to the epoch prior to the birth of Jesus. Their eschatology with its doctrine of rebirth, in effect the doctrine of redeath - punarmrtyu - that is the doctrine of samsara, is in keeping with the feminine as denoting the temporal vector past-present.

Moses and Moksa


The phenomenon of religious asceticism has been and remains practised on a prevalent scale on the Indian sub-continent. The Jain, Buddhist, Ajivika and Hindu family of religions all manifest this phenomenon. Indeed they are sometimes referred to as sramanic on this basis. Sramana is the Sanskrit expression for a wandering ascetic, a monk, (Pali - sammana, Chinese - shamen); the feminine form is sramani. In the Jain tradition, at one time, the main rival to the Buddhist, ascetic praxis was central. Jain tradition celebrates its foundation by Vardhamana or Mahavira ('Great Hero'), whose life story resembles that of the Buddha. Indeed both figures have more in the way of documented evidence guaranteeing their actual (historical) existence than either Moses or Elijah can be said to enjoy. The Mahavarata, 'great vow', taken by the monk or nun, proscribed sexual relations as well as personal possessions. In the case of  Maksarin Gosala, the practice of asceticism led to voluntary self-starvation c. 487 BCE, in accordance with the ideal of noble death. This gave rise to the Ajivika school.

The Buddhist tradition speaks of the monastic community, the sangha, as one of its three jewels, and ascetic praxis, in a form clearly distinguishable from the Jain practice, which it would consider excessive, has been and remains one of its foundational elements.

The most enduring of the Indian religious cultures, broadly definable as Brahmanism, teaches the Vedic doctrine varnasramadharma. This comprises both the enjoyment of one's privileges and the observance of one's obligations, based on the notion of caste, and the observance of the asramas, the stages of life. They are usually counted as four, and during the last of them, the follower of the Vedic way becomes a renouncer, samnyasa. Throughout this stage of life, the disciple concentrates on moksa, liberation, which calls for the renunciation of possessions, social status, home-life with its trappings, and so on. Although married couples today do not adhere to observance of the asramas, voluntary celibacy as enjoined by the tradition is still practised on a wide scale on the sub-continent. In the west, clearly for some time, it has been in decline.

We alluded above to the developmental psychology of the messianic miracles. The antecedent Days series links the conceptual forms, that is to say mind, with time. The morphology shared by the two cycles entails something similar for the perceptual manifold, the sentient soma. Thus a significant part of the hermeneutic of the miracles concerns the appearance in time of the entities they depict. The Transfiguration is the last event of the miracle series, and its chiastic relation to the first, sets it over and against the event at Cana, even though both pertain to the same identity, the Son. The doctrine of the asramas, is congenial to this aspect of Markan philosophical psychology. Although much more remains to be said on the subject, particularly concerning the distinction between ontogenetic existence and phylogenetic existence, we resume what was put above  concerning the perceptual form elaborated in this last miracle story and the psychological understanding of the human life course. It is final, a ne plus ultra, a point of reference beyond which there is no other. We saw  the same in the depiction of mind in the conceptual categoreal scheme of Genesis 1.1-2.4a. As the event of self-reflexiveness, mind is self-referential and inclusive of itself as of every other entity like itself, the remaining conceptual forms. If the location of The Transfiguration in the chiastic series of messianic events reflects haptic imagination in like terms that is because both categories, mind and haptic imagination, reveal the one identity with respect to his universal stature and theirs. Here then the description:

"... there are some standing here - tinev w0=de tw=n e9sthko/twn - who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." (9.1)

can be seen to answer to the realisation of what is implicit in the form of consciousness, haptic imagination, that is, as nothing other than moksa, in whichever tradition we find it. The subject - tinev- is plural, and need not be confined to a single figure. The meaning of 'Moses' is not to be identified tout court with either Vardhamana, Maksarin Gosala, or Sakyamuni Buddha. Nor for that matter with any figure though the same be an actual and identifiable individual. The symbolic feminine entails the idea of phylum or family, and so includes variation from any specific norm. (The single term buddha itself contains a variety of different meanings. In addition to referring to the historical figure of the fifth century BCE, the expression covers other 'buddhas' and the concept 'buddhahood'. So the word may denote equally, a particular entity,  the class of such entities, or again the quality which such actual entities hold in common.) In this way it is legitimate to read the indefinite pronoun 'some' as referring to any and all of the traditions mentioned: 'buddhas' or awakened ones (Buddhism), 'Jinas' or conquerors (Jainism) or the 'jivanmukti', liberated ones, of the Hindu tradition.

The quality or property which such persons may be said to hold in common, a property which members of related if different creeds also share, is summed up in the term which transposes the expression e)/codon, 'exodus', liberation from samsara, meaning moksa, or deliverance. The relatedness of this to the Christian eschatological promise is given by the fact that the second part of the description - e9sthko/twn - is a form of the verb frequently used to designate the resurrection. In other words, the e)/codon of which Jesus speaks with Moses and Elijah, may in the case of the first figure be readily transposed into moksa. The liberation from slavery of the people of God with whom the third covenant is established becomes in the light of Transfiguration, identical with this - moksa - as a final goal. Another relevant, and equally prominent part of the Moses tradition, that of the association of this figure with Torah, likewise becomes immediately recognisable in the context of the sramanic faiths as Dharma (Pali Dhamma), sometimes translated identically to the translation of Torah: 'law'.

Whether or not the dharma is as the Hindu epithet puts it, 'eternal' - sanatana dharma - it is older than the concept of moksa and the practices pertaining to the latter. The understanding of dharma by these various traditions differs considerably. For example the Hindu tradition speaks at length of varnashrama dharma, the observance of the obligations and rules binding one as a member of a caste, jati. Aspects of this bear comparison with many of the Jewish mores relating to ritual purity, commensality, food laws and so on. But Buddhism does not adopt the same attitude and beliefs concerning dharma. It overturns at one stroke the close connection between social hierarchy and dharma. But on any account, dharma remains the universal order, the abiding structure underpinned by an eschatological reality.

I do not propose to do anything other than introduce the hermeneutic of the single figure 'Moses' here. This component of the hermeneutic alone demands detailed consideration which cannot be entered at this point. The present purpose is to establish the categoreal scheme more or less in its entirety and moreover in this particular case, to rescue The Transfiguration from its own entrenched captivity to a hermeneutic which not only privileges Judaism at the expense of the demands of the text itself as well as those of contemporary theology, but which I cannot find worthy of belief. Like the aetiology of death contained within the second creation narrative, belief in the historicity of a national superhero, Moses, is untenable and unhelpful to the advance of Christian theology in the third millenium.

What we are seeking in this hermeneutic of the two figures Moses and Elijah who stand in relation to Jesus in varying but related ways, ways which are essentially bound to the concept of the eschatological, should be plain. It is not a re-interpretation of the Moses tradition, much less that of the relation of Judaism to Christianity itself. Our brief is with The Transfiguration; our quest is to understand the meaning of this, the one great last messianic miracle, which is a transcendent theology of the Son. It is all too important a text for us to simply trust to the unthinking acceptance of Moses and Elijah as somehow nominating actual human persons. Like the second creation story with its aetiology of death which a community of faith grounded in contemporary scientific understanding can no longer accept as anything other than mythological in sensu plenu, to avow that 'Moses' and 'Elijah' are identical with past individual human persons is intellectually indefensible. Like the mythological explication of death in the second creation narrative, such a demand I believe raises serious questions regarding the ethics of belief.
 

These are in the broadest of terms, the reasons for construing the roles of the various figures mentioned in the narrative in relation to Jesus as we have done. The eschatological category, male : female, is just that. It not only reveals the identity of the Holy Spirit in creation, but acts as the construal for the eschatological. To aver that the incarnation stands as the axis of historical time, engages eschatology. These ideas of mind, time, and eschatology are all galvanised in the description of Jesus' Transfiguration, and any hermeneutic of the figures of Moses and Elijah in particular, cannot avoid at the very least the consideration of an eschatology  which answers to the principle of the feminine. Those eschatologies developed over long periods of time which are the legacy of the sramanic family of religions prior to the birth and death of Jesus do this admirably. Thoroughly immanentist in persuasion, they espouse the principle of the feminine.

This hermeneutic entails not merely the  recognition of the legitimacy of the same samsaric eschatology as prevailing during the period in question, but its adoption as the universal eschatology prior to the incarnation. Why? Currently, Christian eschatology does not allow the fullest incorporation of an eschatological understanding of the immanent as feminine. Eschatology does not simply begin with incarnation, that is with the three monotheistic faiths; nor is it simply the business of the masculine. In other words, to call the anthropic the eschatological category has ramifications for Christian theology which on no account can be dodged. It inflects with new significance, the incarnation from the  perspective of feminist theologies. In short, it demands appreciation by specifically feminist Christian theologies of those world faiths involved. There is all too little indication that this has occurred or is occurring even now. Such neglect on the part of feminist theologies has been unconscionable and obtuse. The completeness, comprehensiveness, consistency, and equilibrium of Christian theology require a thoroughgoing rethinking of eschatological doctrine which recurs to the notion of incarnation-resurrection as focusing  historical and eschatological time. Eschatology before and after Christ would thus embrace the feminine and masculine polarities respectively.

Mark's last great messianic miracle, which the Christian east has always taken to its heart, contains untapped hermeneutical potential for the future of Christology now that the recognition of religious traditions other than the Judaeo-Christian is finally incumbent on us. This is indeed just one reason why the story of The Transfiguration is from the theological point of view, so astonishing and promissory.

 

Stories of the Resurrection Appearances and the Three Transcendent Miracles


We have come some distance from the Eucharist as point of departure. Even so, that The Walking on the Water, The Stilling Of The Storm and The Transfiguration have a lasting contribution to make to the theology of soma is sure. We can say tentatively that the internal evidence of the texts for the existence of centres of consciousness of the kind here described, is already substantial. Given the arguments from form, or what is the same, the fact that this hermeneutic satisfies the existence of the messianic  series as a cycle, a whole, and one in keeping with the story of 'beginning', and the additional fact, as we are still in the process of affirming, that it reckons with the integration of Mark's two great cycles of miracles, messianic and healing, there seems little reason to doubt it.

We have noticed repeatedly the gospel accentuates the association between Eucharist and Eucharistic miracles, and that this extends even to the transcendent events. We have thus construed them as essential to the theology of perception. Having said that, we may now note the tacit relationship between the transcendent miracles and the resurrection. This relationship is complementary to the pattern of Eucharist-Eucharistic events. The Eucharist indeed remains the final episode of the sevenfold series, and as such, effectively has no corresponding transcendent event. Such is the overall tendency in the synoptic gospels. True to its immanentist perspective, the gospel of Mark virtually understates the resurrection. Nevertheless, as far as the resurrection is the point at which the narrative culminates, there is a discernible pattern that orients the transcendent messianic events towards the resurrection complementarily to the pattern of the relation between the Eucharist and the three feeding miracles. This helps explain Luke's introduction to The Transfiguration: 'Now about eight days after these sayings ...' (Luke 9.28). That there is a perceptible association of sorts between the Eucharist and the resurrection on par with or at least comparable with the binary relations maintained by the three feeding miracles and the three transcendent miracles is supported also by the resurrection appearance stories in John and Luke both in which the risen Christ eats with the disciples (John 21.9-14, Luke 24.28-35, 41-43.)

That said, the  formal integrity of the sevenfold series remains undiminished. Its presence in Genesis, the gospels, and The Apocalypse assures it as one of the mainstays of Christian metaphysics. That is to say, one cannot enumerate the resurrection as an eighth serial event. The Eucharist is not a miracle as such; and the resurrection is not a miracle precisely because the gospel portrays the miracles as aspects of the resurrection, especially the healing miracles. The miracles each reflect the resurrection and none more so than the three transcendent messianic events. Furthermore, there is no counterpart to the resurrection in the archaeological week, which is foundational to the messianic series and the Eucharist, except by dint of the indubitable relation of analogy maintained by both series, beginning and end, and by the significance of The Transfiguration in deferring to the Christological rubric, Day 1, which denotes the conceptual form mind. The significance of the heptad as the formal core in  the organisation of the gospel of Mark can hardly be overestimated. Its literary integrity and the meaning of every one of its miracles look to the creation narratives as to a semantic precedent.

Not infrequently, scholars have been led to the mistaken notion that The Transfiguration narrative in particular is a 'displaced appearance' story. This completely ignores the structural nexus of meaning proposed by the narratives and everything we have said concerning it - that to perceive it is to begin to understand them. It also leads to a view of the resurrection narratives which bears no relation to the antecedent material in the gospel. Some scholars have impugned the value of narratives such as John 20.11-18, The Appearance To Mary Magdalene, or John 20.24-29, The Appearance To Thomas, on the basis of their reliance upon the role of sense-percipience. But they have usually done so in a vacuum; that is, without having said a word about the theology of soma seminal to any understanding of the Eucharist, nor with any reference whatsoever to that whole  strain in Mark which deals consistently with perception, the healing miracles and the messianic miracles. The presumptions inherent in such estimates render them totally worthless. By this I mean that such evaluations have failed miserably to engage in any measure at all with the systematic epistemology and anthropology of the gospel to which the very resurrection narratives point, much less to appreciate its aesthetic integrity. The appearance stories are thus characterised; they do indeed concede a dominant role to perception. What we have been at pains to expose is the extent to which  sense perception is innate to the doctrine of the imago Dei, and that the contents of the gospel prior to the resurrection narratives, is nothing if not an exercise in preparation. That we see, hear, and touch, testify to the image and likeness we bear to the Spirit, the Father and the Son, respectively. To impugn the 'appearance stories' for their reliance on sense-percipience, without so much as a glance even at the clear concern of the six healing miracle narratives with the same, and void of any inkling that so much attention has been given to the doctrines of perceptual consciousness in the gospel, there in tandem with an overarching doctrine of mind, which was the business of the very first of the biblical narratives, must be called what it is, arrant nonsense.

Thus the relationship of the transcendent messianic events to the resurrection epitomises the resurrection in relation to systematic Markan metaphysics. We need to reassess Mark's ostensible paucity of interest in the resurrection a propos of the messianic miracles. The links between the story of The Appearance To The Women At The Tomb (Mark 16.1-8), the only resurrection story in his gospel, and The Transfiguration are too plain to ignore:
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that such associations are intended. This is not to contend however, that The Transfiguration is a resurrection narrative.

In John we find three narratives, prior to the epilogue. The latter may be considered an addition, but an exceptionally important one in respect of the history of the tradition. A comprehensive study of the same three would take us as far afield as the epilogue itself, John 21.1-19, a narrative somewhat reminiscent of  The Walking On The Water. Chapter 21 of the gospel of John will prove invaluable in support of the hermeneutic of the chiastic form of the messianic miracles, with important repercussions for the theology of optic semiotic forms in particular. In the first of the Johannine 'appearance stories' so-called, Mary Magdalene is expressly told: '"Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father ..."' (20.17). The fact that the exchange is between a man and a woman, and that it involves touch - mh/ mou  a(/ptou - is less than fortuitous. What we have discerned in relation to the organisation of the miracles, namely the Trinitarian rationale of their formal configuration and their systematic exposition of what we have called perceptual imagination, is relevant to the resurrection narratives, given the clear relation between these and the transcendent miracles. In John the three narratives prior to the epilogue are:

(1) The Appearance Of Jesus To Mary Magdalene - John 20.11-18;

(2)The Appearance Of Jesus To The Disciples - John 20.19-23;

(3) Jesus And Thomas - John 20.24-29. 

The most cursory reading of these stories by the most casual reader such as we have just initiated, reveals something very intriguing. The first depicts Jesus, portrayed in terms of his close relationship with Mary Magdalene, who nonetheless is prohibited from touching him. Jesus gives the reason for this as:

"... for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God." (v 17).

The second reads:  

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit ... (vv 22, 23);

in the third, the only story in which Jesus is apprehended by haptic sensation, and which enjoins his disciples to faithfulness in Jesus himself, Thomas calls him:

"My Lord and my God!" (v 28, emphasis added)

The difficulty here is why the Trinitarian rationale of this catena was never observed? Perhaps after all it is just too apparent. It might seem that either the first narrative or the last, could be deemed Christological; and so too, it is not immediately easy to decide whether the first or last should be interpreted as identifying Transcendence- the "Father". However, this very undecidability sits perfectly with the chiastic structure of the messianic series. For it is possible to begin enumerating the series with the first miracle at Cana, or at the centre of the chiasmos with The Feeding Of The Five Thousand - The Walking On The Sea. The former procedure yields the series Son - Spirit - Transcendence, whereas the latter would give Transcendence - Spirit - Son. If these appearance stories in John can be taken as a guide of the gradual evolution of the tradition of messianic miracles as it appears in his gospel, then given the negative injunction concerning the haptic, and the specific naming of the "Father" in the first of them,  it would seem preferable to opt for the latter. This would comply with John's general preference for the transcendent Son rather than the immanent Son, and would suit the details of the text. Moreover, a reading of the messianic chiasmos which begins from the centre includes both arms of the structure simultaneously.

The reason for pressing the suit  discerning a link between resurrection narratives and messianic miracles concerns the history of the tradition. It is essential to read the formal tripartite aspect of the resurrection narratives in this way, for it reflects faithfully the organisation of the chiasmos to which the messianic events conform. It connects messianic miracles and resurrection with the theology of creation. Thus relating the messianic miracles to the resurrection narratives is not the exercise of forcing a procrustean bed of Trinitarian theologizing onto the latter. There are clear indications in the texts themselves that a procedure of this kind should be followed in the interests of the history of the tradition. These indications are as different from each other as they are strong:
The latter connections, between the tradition of rising 'after three days', the sign of Jonah sayings, the three transcendent messianic miracles, and finally the three transcendent Days of beginning, are absolutely germane to the development of the tradition of the messianic miracles. Such considerations constitute a theological study in itself. None of these issues has been dealt with, and we do not propose to pursue them here. They have arisen as the result of the corroborating evidence the resurrection narratives provide for the hermeneutic of the three transcendent messianic miracles proposed in this study. That they are well worth pursuing is beyond doubt, not in the least for the light they shed on the relation between John and Mark. John lacks three messianic miracles; the Transfiguration, with which his account of The Raising Of Lazarus bears comparison at both levels, those of form and content; he lacks also the two messianic events which postulate the identity of the Holy Spirit, The Stilling Of The Storm and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand; even though the two healing miracles by means of which he accounts for this identity - The Healing Of The Official's Son (John 4.46-54), and The Man Born Blind (9.1-12) - occupy positions in his sequence of miracles which correspond precisely to those maintained by the two messianic events in their proper sequence, that is, second and second last respectively, and even though they function formally as a pair. If something of the tradition of the resurrection narratives is recoverable, then so too is something of the tradition of messianic miracle stories. All the evidence therefore suggests that  the closest of possible ties is maintained between the three sets of narrative: creation story, messianic miracle cycle, especially the three transcendent episodes, the sign of Jonah sayings, and resurrection narratives.

 

The Transcendent Miracles and 'God'

In the above discussion of The Transfiguration, in refining the notion of perceptual imagination, we spoke of  'non-sensuous' perception. That all three structures of imaginative consciousness can be described as non-sensuous yet perceptual is a sign of their paradoxical status. The expression 'not yet' - ou0/pw - in the story of Jesus And Mary Magdalene like the same expression in John's account of The Walking On The Sea captures the same paradox.

The concept of non-sensuous perceptual imagination that we encounter in the transcendent messianic miracles is not paradoxical for its own sake. The forms of perceptual imagination reify the transcendence of immanence. That is their paradox. Perception is taxonomically immanent; it stands in contrast to the conceptual polarity at the broadest level of logical distinction. (Both conceptual forms and pure perceptual or mnemic modes iterate the paradigm transcendence : immanence in its entirety.)  Transcendence is synonymous with God. Moreover, we have identified the logos or Mind with the Son. The idea of perceptual imaginative centres of consciousness as put by the messianic episodes under consideration answers to what we mean when we ascribe to God something as fundamental to consciousness as perception is. Scores of texts in this tradition abound.

Paramount here is the categoreal disparity between memory and imagination, of which we gave an overview in the discussion of Eros and Thanatos. There is a profound sense in which sense perceptual memory denotes the parameters of the peculiarly human, the finite, the transient. This is never more poignantly exposed in the Christian tradition than it is in the Eucharist. The ascription of actual rather than potential sense perception to God is problematic in virtue of the finite dimensions of soma. But, if the concept of a 'God' (the Transcendent) who experiences sense perception is problematic, the idea of a God who nevertheless perceives is not. This is why the idea of non-sensuous perception, namely 'perceptual imagination' is vital to the theology of soma. It is precisely the transcendent nature of perceptual imagination, which justifies its ascription to God. The enjoyment  of perceptual events by God is equivalent  to the transfinite perspective of eschatology, the fact that it is not yet actualized. This is not a licence to underrate its reality; the future is real, as real the masculine principle, and as real as one's own mortality is. Thus the explanation of these miracles allows us to appropriate a longstanding tradition in the Hebrew canon, which attributes perceptual consciousness to God. Its status as paradox  represents more than conventional anthropomorphism. It constitutes an attempt to resolve the relation of God and the world as evinced in consciousness, as in the following examples:

His eye is upon mankind, he takes their measure at a glance. (Psalm 11.4)

Does he that planted the ear not hear, he that molded the eye not see? (Psalm 94.9)

Hearing, to take one particular example of perception, engages what we have called 'acoustic memory', but it also engages 'acoustic imagination', potentiality for hearing. This does not mean the possibility of hearing what is not heard, but the possibility of hearing what is not yet heard. The expression 'imagination' in 'acoustic imagination' is equivalent to 'not yet'. The sense in which 'God hears/is heard', is the meaning of 'acoustic imagination'; the sense in which 'God touches/is touched' is the meaning of 'haptic imagination' and the sense in which 'God sees/is seen' is the meaning of 'optic imagination'.

That as humans, as mortals we own the same enjoyment is to be expected. As private as The Transfiguration is, it is nevertheless experienced by three of the disciples. Absolute transcendence as witnessed in the first half of the creation narrative is of another order. And even then, the absolute transcendence of the conceptual forms lends to perceptual imagination as the occasion of transcendence within immanence, transcendence of immanence, that which is expressed by the word 'beginning', to wit, the propensity to creation. The latter so becomes all but synonymous with perceptual imagination.

To repeat, the spatiotemporal manifold is bifurcated; it exists radically as past and future polarities. From the vantage point of the present, in which we are already and always immured, two vectoral possibilities are offered us; forwards and backwards. We can 'move' ('emote') to a future or a past, that is all. This binary form, the real significance of which is the eschatological category male : female, and finally the soma as bifurcated perceptual consciousness, consists with the tri-dimensionality of the spatial manifold, as divulged in the creation story. The ground of this bifurcation is the immediate present. Nothing is past except in reference to the present, nor can anything be future unless it is so in reference to the present. The primary, radical distinction between the past and the future posits the paradigm transcendence : immanence. Future space  transcends its otherwise corporate existence with time. The temporal referentiality of the expression 'future' is discordant if by 'temporality' we mean the kind of passage and relation to the present with which the past is imbued. It should be obvious by now that this term here is used to mean the transcendent form of the primordial entity, space - 'the heavens'. This transcendence is what we mean by 'the future'. The ingression within the immediate present of the future, which is discrete, confers novelty upon the same present. The non-determination of any event is therefore the measure of its future. The categoreal co-ordination of the future and the symbolic masculine likewise means the absence of passage; the absence of perishing. Thus, according to the principle of identity, the co-incident future-masculine is ontologically other than the feminine-past. It is deficient in determination (actuality), but lures temporal passage towards itself as towards potentiality.

The real analogy proper to the sense-percipient consciousness, by which we mean the whole manifold of perceptual consciousness, memory and imagination, is not the category of space. For as we saw, that is proper to the tri-dimensional structure of conceptual forms. The paradigm which is proper to the perceptual is not the primordial, but the eschatological, female : male, emphasitic of polarity, of bifurcation. In co-ordinating both the spatial and anthropic categories relatively to perceptual consciousness, it is the latter which is paramount. Thus every one of the four Eucharistic episodes is qualified by the typology of the feminine; conversely the three transcendent miracles in their delineation of what are essentially the three modes of non-sensuous perceptual imagination, espouse the polarity of the symbolic masculine, with its attendant theology of the Son of man.


Perceptual Imagination in the Healing Miracles


Concentrating as we are, on the messianic series, it is not possible to say enough concerning the healing cycle, even though we have had recourse to it already on several occasions. Of the twelve or so healing miracles, half deal with the perceptual forms. The fact that Mark has two events involving touch, another two about hearing, and two also about sight, drew our attention to  recapitulation of the binary aspect of the messianic cycle. In each pair, one healing is immanent in type and the other transcendent. In other words, three healing narratives propound sentient memory, and another three deal with sentient imagination. The three Markan healing miracles of the latter kind are: The Cleansing Of A Leper, (Mark 1.40-45); The Healing Of A Blind Man At Bethsaida, (8.22-26); The Healing Of A Boy With An Unclean Spirit, (9.14-29).

These stories reproduce the theological and logical rationales of the three transcendent messianic miracles. In other words, there are three narratives of healings which confirm Mark's doctrine of perceptual imagination, yet one more fact which demonstrates the great aesthetic and logical merit of Mark's gospel, its consistency and thoroughness. Our next step is to consider those three texts. We shall do so in their order of occurrence. In brief, we will repeat the various criteria which specify as events of either kind transcendent or immanent. These criteria are of two orders, secondary and primary. The secondary criteria are as follows: 1) private/public; 2) awe/conviviality/; 3) diurnal/nocturnal; 4) freedom/determinism.

The third criterion which relates to the hour of the occurrence of the miracle, scarcely comes into play in the healing events, even though in some cases it can be stated fairly surely. The primary criterion for the distinction is stated as identity :  unity. The presence of one or the other of these factors can be decisive in the distinction. There is also the consideration of the gender of the person or persons involved. In Mark, though not in John, we find not infrequently that females are the subjects of the miracles of healing.


The Cleansing Of A Leper


We should firstly list those criteria telling for the kind of this event as transcendent. The motif of privacy is present to a high degree. Unlike its incidence in other stories, its is presented without any contradiction. The conclusion builds upon the motif and so reinforces it:

And a leper came to him ... And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone ... But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. (1.40, 43-45)

Equally sure is Mark's presentation of the psychology of free will. Here Jesus is not constrained to respond. His action is wholly voluntary. This certainly denotes the polarity of the transcendent. It is stated explicitly in order to inhibit any inference of constraint the introduction - 'came to him beseeching him' - may carry. If further evidence were required that the event conforms to the transcendent type, this amply provides it:

And a leper came to him, beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will - e0a\n qe/lhv -  you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched - h1yato - him, and said to him, "I will - qe/lw - be clean - kaqari/sqhti." (vv 40, 41)

Both here and in the story of Transfiguration, as in the story of the miracle at Cana, touch and ritual cleanliness, 'purification', are closely linked. This narrative, short though it is, brings to light the relationship between will and imagination. The orientation of both the messianic event and the healing is forwards, towards the future, or as we may say in anthropic terms typologically masculine. It also reveals the compossibility of imaginative consciousness and sympathy: 'moved with pity' - splagxnisqei\v.

As a theology of haptic perception, this event evinces the idea of imaginative consciousness rather than memory. There can be little doubt that the somatic theology behind the story of the leper is identical with that of The Transfiguration. The name 'Moses' - Mwu+sh=v - occurs in the injunction to silence just as The Transfiguration mentions him in conjunction with Elijah, 'talking to Jesus' (9.4). The mention of Moses here must therefore be thoroughly weighed in understanding the meaning of the same figure in The Transfiguration. This pushes the understanding of haptic imagination in the direction indicated above. Both the messianic miracle and the healing miracle denote the 'haptic imagination'. The theme of identity though not explicit, is nevertheless part of the conclusion. The man publicises his healing such that Jesus is known and identified:

... so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. (v 45)

Mark strikes an exceptional compromise here between the demands of one secondary criterion - privacy - and the demands of the major one -  identity, at the same time allowing the recovered man to bear the responsibility! More remains to be said on the subject of this narrative; however, as an exposition of the theology of haptic imagination it is a fait accompli.


The Blind Man At Bethsaida


This story begins and ends with the theme of privacy:

And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; (8.23) ... And he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village." (v 26)

More significantly, there are two important signals of the transcendent and the identity of the Holy Spirit. These appear to the recovering man as indistinguishable from his own kind:

And he looked up and said, "I see men; but they look like trees walking." (v 24)

a0nqrw/pouv o3ti w9v de/ndra - 'men which are like trees'. How immediately this conjures up the story of Day 3 in which the creation of the two types of plants foreshadows the creation of male and female of Day 6. We discussed the description of the reproductive or generative disposition of the two types of plants as a categoreal definition of the symbolic and symbolic feminine. The combination of these two symbols - men and trees - in this narrative is unmistakable. Mark carefully places them adjacent to one another, and the meaning could not be more patent. The narrative reverts directly to the story of Day 3. If we had to isolate the reference to the category of the masculine in the creation story, it could only be the Day 3 rubric about the earth and plants. The story of The Man Born Blind in John chapter 9 incorporates the use of clay formed by earth mixed with spittle (John 9. 6), and the mention of the pool of Siloam (v 7) with the same purpose in mind, evoke the transcendent theology of The Holy Spirit after the Day 3 rubric. The consistency and deliberation of the motifs common to the Markan and Johannine pericopae illustrate a theology of the transcendent Holy Spirit. We have dealt with the link between transcendence, the masculine and The Holy Spirit.

Thus where the masculine : feminine denotes the conceptual category proper to the Holy Spirit, the perceptual mode which does likewise is that of vision, the optic memory and optic imagination delineated in the two stories of blind persons. Here Mark specifies the latter, the transcendent form of this immanent mode - perceptual imagination. The fact that the person is male, although Bartimaeus is also male, and the clear reference to the symbolic masculine indicate this.

We should not fail to note also the context of this passage. The crossing from the location of the previous feeding (immanent) miracle has been accomplished (8.10) before the cure at Bethsaida, and this signals the alterity of transcendence to immanence. Additionally, Peter's declaration of the identity of Jesus (vv 27-30), which we discussed above in relation to The Transfiguration,  a theme which redoubles Mark's efforts to depict transcendence, follows the story of the cure. Both The Blind Man At Bethsaida and the messianic event subsequent to it, The Transfiguration, conform to the transcendent. The location of the intervening texts allows the fullest radiation of their influence.

This story re-affirms Mark's theology of what we have called 'optic imagination': a centre of consciousness which exists in virtue of the mode of seeing, and which is disposed in the direction of futurity, or as we should say the perspective of the symbolic masculine. Its theological rationale is identical with that of the story of The Stilling Of The Storm. Thus it reinforces the hermeneutic advanced for the three transcendent messianic episodes.


The Boy With An Unclean Spirit


The story follows immediately the account of Transfiguration, a transcendent event. The lack of any detail suggesting a movement towards the opposite is noticeable. To the same end, the episode is clearly associated with death and resurrection, just as the subsequent pericope (9.30-32) is a prediction of Jesus’ death and resurrection:

 "... And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him (Mark 9. 22) ..." ... and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose - h0/geiren au0to/n kai a0ne/sth (vv 26, 27).

The orientation of the episodes is prospective; its gearing forwards in time towards the future and towards the death of the boy surely denotes transcendence. More importantly, to the same end, both protagonists are male, one a boy the other his father (vv 17, 21, 24). The latter functions as a virtual index of "The Father" so that the episode identifies the acoustic precisely in terms of The Transcendent.

We have commented already on the use of the verb 'to cry out' - kraxei=n -  in the story of The Walking On The Sea - the messianic equivalent of this event. It is used twice in the text: the father first crying out (v 24), and then the dumb and deaf spirit possessing the boy doing likewise (v 26).

The final reference to prayer (v 29),  connotes a state of mind which sits perfectly with all of this as an image of the transcendent rather than the immanent. The addition to the latter verse by some texts of the phrase kai nhsteia - 'and fasting' -  is of a piece with what we are beginning to understand in relation to the perceptual imagination - namely its propensity to ascetic praxis.

Mark portrays the illness similarly to that of the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman (7.24-30), not only as requiring an exorcistic technique, but as somehow stemming from the relationship between parent and child. Hence, the role of the belief/unbelief of the father is not just an aside; it is of principal relevance. The father is a major influence in both the origination and resolution of the crisis. The cumulative effect of all of which is again incontestable. This event is unambiguously identifiable as transcendent in type.

It should be obvious by now that this story reiterates the major premise of The Walking On The Water, following precisely the relation of The Leper to the story of The Transfiguration, and the two narratives, The Blind Man At Bethsaida and The Stilling Of The Storm. It is further evidence of the systematic nature and thoroughness of Markan metaphysics, that is Mark's doctrine of mind. Here is his doctrine of perceptual imagination, in particular, what we have termed 'acoustic imagination'.

The closest and most systematic organisation obtains between the healings and the messianic series, so that each of the twelve subjects depicted in the Days series and the messianic series, is replicated in a healing narrative. It is not now possible to examine more thoroughly the relation of the healing stories to the messianic miracles. As just briefly noted however, this is one of absolute co-incidence and reveals the artistic and logical integrity of the gospel of Mark. The three particular narratives we have discussed, do systematically restate the subjects of the three transcendent messianic miracles. They expound the theology of soma and depict consciousness in terms of the three modes of perception, touch, vision and hearing, and their concomitant ingression in consciousness. That was the reason for investigating them in the present context. They support our interpretation of the transcendent messianic events to the fullest extent.

 

The Extensive Relation of the Immanent Categories


The opening inclusio of the P narrative, 'the heavens and the earth', provided the hermeneutic key of the same, the co-ordination of the three/six events of creation. That is, it allowed us to understand the story of creation as the consistent relation of the three great occasions which reveal transcendence, God. That these same three entities, forms of unity, differ from one another is as certain as is the fact that they are analogous and so related to one another. Analogy and polarity function cooperatively in this way in a variety of metaphysical belief systems. On the basis of the text's self-presentation  we were able to predicate the differences between the forms of unity. Because the narrative demonstrates and refers to its own form as highly significant, in just which respect it is comparable to the word 'word' or logos, we were able to comprehend the distinctive quality of the three entities which it concerns. Accordingly we argued that space : time and male : female co-exist in a relation parallel to that which the inclusio denotes, transcendence : immanence. Thus even where these two forms of unity - like all three forms of unity - contain a transcendent and an immanent term, even where internally they recapitulate the paradigm transcendence : immanence, their relation to one another, which of itself comprises the third form of unity, mind : body, also recapitulates the categoreal paradigm.

This means that the initial relatum in the form of unity space : time, namely space itself, functions as the exemplar of transcendence and that male : female as form of unity acts likewise as the immanent relatum. Significant in either form of unity is space in the case of the primordial entity, and the feminine in the case of the immanent, since by feminine is meant precisely the unity of both masculine and feminine. We said, on account of this, that primordial space : time was weighted in favour of transcendence, a predisposition which reveals the natural inclination of the author since the narrative was effectively one about beginning and writes large the role of space : time, and that conversely the eschatological category male: female was weighted in favour of the feminine. (We might say, conversely, that the gospel of Mark shows an inclination or bias towards the eschatological, male :  female, except that the real significance of this category is for the truly immanent, the soma, the body as the manifold of percipience for which that, the eschatological form of unity is the paradigm.)

What this further entails is the matter of real interest to us, the peculiar tendency of the central category, mind : body. For as being both transcendent to the same degree as the primordial and immanent to the same extent as the eschatological, effectively and paradoxically, it has no real bias, no real weighting. It reaffirms the innate proclivity of both forms of unity to which it relates analogously. This co-ordinating Christological category which is of most interest to us, thus becomes the centre of the resolution of the inherent tension between the other two, and it is just this  to which the various Christological titles point - 'beginning and end', 'first and last', 'alpha and omega'.

This process of reasoning depends purely on the structures native to the text. In philosophical terms, the tenets regarding the specific natures of the forms of unity are 'analytic statements', they follow from the use of its own terms by the text itself, no reference outside of which is required. We can pursue the same process in respect of the things revealed in the messianic series to consist beside the transcendent categories, namely the forms of memory and the forms of imagination. Thus we can make a truly comparable set of analytic statements about the immanent categories precisely because they 'inherit' the same formal characteristics that belong to the conceptual forms. Because the messianic miracles are truly analogous (isomorphic) to the series of Days, the same principles which account for the peculiarities of the various forms of unity will be operative in the consistency of the immanent categories. When we take them together as clearly their precedent indicates we must, we arrive at grasping certain differences between them.

The co-ordination of the categories ensures the further development of Christology, by which we mean the doctrine of mind. The primordial category, space : time, allowed us to model the consistency of the three true transcendent forms (pure conceptual forms) themselves according to the paradigm of the three-dimensional manifold. That this same model configures the cruciform is more than simply gratuitous. This was part of the reason for saying that the central, universal, sovereign category is mind : body. The extrapolation occurs not from the spatial to the psychophysical, but from the latter to the former. Space is three dimensional both because of its provenance and because there are two other entities - mind and the symbolic masculine - which are in categoreal affinity with it. In other words, the tri-dimensionality of space is a witness to its epistemic orientation. Space has three dimensions because there are two other things in direct affiliation with it, and because the nature of each of these three entities is in the first instance epistemic/psychic or Christological.

Neither category, space : time nor male : female provides us with entities which are epistemic and psychic ends in themselves. The psychophysical alone functions as an epistemic/psychic end in itself, and it is the final and sovereign explanation for both these entities. Hence the fundamental pattern which associates the Christological categories is sixfold; it combines the triadic shape of space, and the binary form of the anthropic male : female. The real significance of space is as analogue of the transcendent, threefold structuring of mind. Just so the real gist of the dyad male : female is complementarily the metaphor of perceptual consciousness, soma, whose binary structure consists as forms of imagination and corresponding forms of memory. Here then, we revert to the initial model of this Trinitarian contour of mind as first illustrated in the interpretation of the P narrative of creation:



The axes marked A-B in this iconography actually anticipate what only the final eschatological disclosures of the canon can bestow. Transcendence as it exists unequivocally, that is, as it consists of the three transcendent forms, space, mind and the symbolic masculine, ought to be represented iconographically by three axes at right-angles, illustrative of their maximum differentiation from one another of the same three forms:




These same three forms will not have reference to their immanent modes, namely space : time, mind : body, and male : female, all of which may be properly signified by the A-B vectors. As far as transcendence disposes mind, the  model should simply consists of three axes at right-angles emergent from what appears to be a single point. Transcendence of itself does not account for  the complementation of the true conceptual forms by the three forms of unity, that which the completion of the three axes of 180 degrees signifies. Not that this was the full and final meaning of immanence; it was but a prolepsis. This is what was meant by proposing the normative status of the immanent messianic miracles for immanence in general.

Thus the iconographical value of the axis of 180 degrees lies in its illustration of immanence, and true bipolarity. Such bipolarity occurs between the sentient forms of both imagination and memory of one and the same mode. The forms of memory, and by memory we mean the necessary conjunction of memory and imagination, are responsible for complementing the categoreal analogy of transcendence with that of immanence. The forms of unity instantiate immanence, the conjunction of polarities, less ably than the forms of memory. The latter are the final and definitive expressions of the immanent. Just as forms of imagination are something of a shadow of the pure conceptual forms, ideas, so too the forms of unity are an echo of the forms of memory. Both intervening categories, forms of unity and forms of imagination, are truly equivocal as to the real antithesis between transcendence and immanence; both are somewhat hybridized, equivocal, or ambiguous in relation to the ratio set by true conceptual forms - space, mind, the masculine -  on the one hand, and actual perceptual forms - acoustic memory, haptic memory, optic memory - on the other.

It is the business of the eschatological soma to dispose mind, consciousness, in virtue of true bipolarity. In this shift from the  transcendent/conceptual polarity of mind to its immanent/perceptual polarity, is the change from threefold divergence to bipolar convergence. This bipolarity is the first stage in the progress of immanence. We have said previously that the seal of immanence is fourfold. So indeed it is; but the first and most basic step is to construe the bipolar or dyadic structure of immanence. Our model for this is thus the axis in its entirety, the axis that is of 180 degrees. This stands as the paradigm for each of the three sentient modes consisting of the relation between sentient, perceptual imagination and sentient, perceptual memory.

Once more it is incumbent upon us to stress that the extrapolation in this case again defers to the sovereignty of the Christological event mind : body. If the anatomy of mind is dyadic as well as triune, this is the effect of the eschatological, the Pneumatological, and it means not that the shape or structures of consciousness follow from the event of sexual dimorphism, but that sexual dimorphism itself is entailed by the central, universal, and sovereign event - the psychophysical.  This is the meaning of 'end' or 'salvation'. Just as space defers to mind as 'three-dimensional', so too the unity of female and male defers similarly to mind as consisting of truly binary perceptual polarities - memory and imagination. In other words the eschatological category, anthropic male : female ultimately defers to the psychophysical just as space does. Its ultimate rationale is to be found in the Christological event. The soma is the arbiter of male : female, and not the other way around. The Christian metaphysical understanding of male and female rests finally upon the phenomenon of perceptual consciousness; we have referred to that here as perceptual imagination and perceptual memory. There are male and female because there is percipient imagination and percipient memory - these are the protagonists in the salvific process. These furnish the content of salvation, not male and female. The 'real' male and female are the perceptual imagination and perceptual memory respectively. That is to say that the direction of fit is from the conceptual form of unity, male : female to the normative perceptual forms.

Although it is a task best suited to the theology of semiotic forms, we need briefly to indicate the progression from dyadic immanence, perceptual  imagination : memory, to the final cipher of immanence which is fourfold. In either narrative cycle, Genesis or the gospel, we encounter the fourfold structure as the single most important signifier of immanence, and this tetradic manifold demonstrates the unity, as opposed to 'trinity', of God. We have just completed the categoreal analogy, and noted that the immediate epistemological/Christological concern of immanence is for sentience, the sense-percipient soma, in all three modes - haptic, acoustic and optic - and in both complementary aspects, imagination and memory. This results in a sixfold sequence, three forms of memory and three corresponding forms of imagination. If we place these in a sequence, neither that of Genesis, nor that of the messianic series, but in fact, the kind of serial order which we find implicit in the gospel of John, we are in a position to indicate just how the binary axis generates a fourfold sequence. Perceptual imagination is one relatum and perceptual memory the other. These relata are of the same mode. In this manner the unity of modality converges contrastive imagination and memory. The structures in consciousness which answer to the iconography of the true axis of 180 degrees are those same perceptual radicals or categories generated by one and the same mode of sentience - whether haptic, acoustic or optic - in both forms, the form of imagination and the form of memory.


Both procedures, the co-ordination of the primordial spatiotemporal category with analogous transcendent mind, and the co-ordination of the eschatological anthropological category with analogous soma, mind : body, are what we refer to as the categoreal analogies; the conceptual and perceptual categoreal analogies. What we are affirming in them, is the ontological priority of the psychophysical in relation to both space and to the anthropic form of unity. The question of what space is in se cannot arise if mind is prior to it in this respect, because mind is not adding to space in any way or distorting its intrinsic reality. The same applies to the eschatological event, male : female. As to what this is or could be in itself need not concern us. We should look not to the fact of sexual dimorphism as explaining mind, but rather conversely, mind : body, soma, accounts for sexual dimorphism. What is ontologically prior is once again soma as telling for the identity of the Son, only this time, in relation to the Holy Spirit, not to Transcendence, ("The Father"). This ensued like the categoreal analogy of the conceptual forms, from the logic inherent in the narrative structures. Both entities, primordial space, and eschatological male : female conform themselves to the universal category, the sovereign and arbitrating event - mind : body. Whereas space is created, in the image and likeness of Transcendence, (God), and whereas the same is true of the anthropic in respect of immanence, to wit, that it is created in the image and likeness of immanent God, Mind is God. This is the justification for asserting its ontological priority.


When we investigate the cyclical temporality of the messianic miracles, we find an interesting pattern. Remember that what was said concerning the two temporal perspectives of the spatiotemporal manifold applies here, the past-to-present of immanence, and the present-to-future of transcendence. Applying these two radical orientations to the binary theological systems of Genesis and the gospel, we see that the story of Days conforms to the transcendent perspective, and the messianic series to that of immanence. This means that cyclical temporality is naturally appropriate to the chiastic structure of the miracles.


The chiasmos therefore, is not without significance. But the semiotic forms, and the actual references to time within the text itself, provide the answer to the way in which immanence is shaped by the tetrad. The references to time in the feeding miracles, and in The Walking On The Water explicate an important aspect of the meaning of the chiastic structure itself. If events are patterned correspondingly first to last, second to second last, and third to third last, then when we examine the references to time in the narratives we find that the episodes related in such one to one correspondence occupy diametrically opposed intervals within the nocturnal/diurnal cycle. This sorts perfectly with:
These factors all prompt the understanding of the six messianic events as fulfilling a cycle. I will not rehearse the full argument for this feature of the messianic miracles series here, but these episodes do clearly function as metaphysical markers in this way. We can extrapolate from that twenty-four hour cycle to the annual (solar) cycle or to the lunar cycle and so on; but the net result is the same; the full quota of six events encompasses temporal intervalsas an entirety, each interval being characterised identifiably by the differential decreasing/increasing light. We could use the annual cycle to illustrate the innately temporal quality of the messianic series, the result will be the same. We shall utilise the twenty-four hour cycle instead, for it is primary, being referred to in the texts themselves. The nocturnal/diurnal cycle occupied by these six occasions is as follows:

WALKING ON THE SEA

acoustic imagination
STILLING THE STORM

optic imagination
TRANSFIGURATION


haptic imagination
FEEDING FIVE THOUSAND

acoustic memory
FEEDING FOUR THOUSAND

optic memory
WATER BECOME WINE

haptic memory

sunrise ...

morning ...

midday ...

sunset ...

evening ...

midnight ...


These are ordinary language expressions for the various intervals, the ellipses referring to the fact that the intervals extend seamlessly into each other, in a recurrent cyclical pattern. We could be more precise in confining every interval to a period of four hours, which would mean that the first for example, begins around 2 A.M. and ends around 6 A.M. ('... about the fourth watch of the night ...' Mark 6.48). Additionally we could further add the Eucharist as that particular event situated between the last period of decreasing light which adjoins the first period of increasing light. But there is no point in being pedantic, since the periods of daylight in relation to those of nighttime vary according to time and place, and a general idea of the pattern is all that is required here. The real point here is that the two episodes which mark one and the same identity - and so one and the same mode of sense-percipience - occur during antithetical intervals. Thus for example, The Transfiguration takes place during the period of maximum daylight, and the miracle at Cana occupies the interval separated from this by exactly twelve hours, during the darkest part of the night. The defining factor here is the juxtaposition of periods of increasing and decreasing light.

Now imagine the above pattern in a linear and cyclical representation such that three diameters through the centre of a circle join corresponding events, Transformation Of Water Into Wine to Transfiguration and so on. This is the complementarity first adumbrated in the 'earth' axis of the creation story, the complementarity of feminine and masculine as the paradigm of the relationality of perceptual memory and perceptual imagination. It signifies the fact of the synergistic relationality of nevertheless oppositional centres of consciousness, one functioning as memory, the other as imagination, which share the same sense-percipient modality. In this context any two such elements, once again take the previous example, that of haptic memory relative to haptic imagination, will encompass two other members of the cycle. Every such instance of a dyad in this structure includes two other elements, so making for four components in all. Of these four, only two share the same sentient mode. But the two other elements included in the same structure complete the full quota of three sentient modes. Neither of these other two modes enjoys full representation, actual complementarity. For that belongs to just one particular mode of sentience marking the boundaries of the tetrad. But their presence in one form or another, either perceptual memory or perceptual imagination, accounts for the full, unitive,  representation of somatic consciousness. The series is an entirety; it is perfect synthesis and has a given telos. It is thorough, final, and in a real sense 'eschatological'.

Thus taking the example of haptic imagination relative to haptic memory, there are the following two modes of sense-percipience contained in this compass: acoustic memory and optic memory, for the entire string of four intervals includes midday-haptic imagination, sunset-acoustic memory, evening-optic memory, and finally midnight-haptic memory. (The complete discussion of this pattern involves the examination of the texts of the messianic miracles with a view to discerning their temporal location within the diurnal-nocturnal cycle, and is part of Mind And Time: The Theology Of Semiotic Forms.) Alternatively, taking the same pattern but this time beginning with haptic memory, the four forms of sentient consciousness strung together are as follows: haptic memory, acoustic imagination, optic imagination, haptic imagination. Formal sequences of this kind illustrate a vital tenet of Markan metaphysics, they begin the explication of immanent consciousness as the event of the unity of the same, in contradistinction to the conceptual polarity of consciousness, which defines mind in terms of identity, divergence and the like.




                                                        
The interpretation of the binary form of the messianic narratives in terms of the role of perceptual memory and perceptual imagination answers the question of how we attach any real meaning to the transcendent miracles; the question of how  we ascribe any further meaning to the stories of The Stilling Of The Storm, The Walking On The Water, and The Transfiguration when they so self avowedly emulate the events described in the first three Days. The ostensible redundancy of these putatively transcendent miraculous events stemmed from the fact that their having thoroughly vindicated the analogy between the theology of transcendence, series of Days, and that of immanence, the miracle series itself, tended to obscure their own import. In the wake of this, there arose the issue of their interpretation independently of what the creation theology has already imputed to them. The solution lies at hand in the normative status of the immanent messianic episodes.

The chiastic structure of the messianic series correlates a transcendent counterpart with each immanent miracle. We argued that the latter are definitive. Thus, any interpretation of the transcendent miracles must start with these facts. It must only be in relation to its immanent partner that we can posit a meaning for each transcendent messianic event. This gave us adequate reason to ascribe to them the task of designating what we have called the perceptual imagination. Such a procedure vindicates the co-ordinating pattern of the eschatological and primordial categories, the categoreal analogy. For it depicts soma as the orientation of consciousness forwards and backwards so as to square with the binary shape of spatio-temporality (the primordial) and sexual dimorphism (the eschatological) in their formal congruence. This reasserts the focus of biblical metaphysics as Filiocentric, as concerning the identity of the Son, in this case the immanent Son, whose unique instantiation is soma, the psychophysical.

The six messianic miracles, referred to in the first of their number, the story of The Transformation of Water Into Wine, and then again in the last, The Transfiguration, where they are juxtaposed to the six Days, are for biblical metaphysics - we might also say, philosophical psychology - nothing less than a systematic exposition of the phenomenon of perceptual consciousness. In short, theirs is the business of what we have termed the various forms of memory and the various forms of imagination. What is remarkable about the six  conceptual forms  when we compare them with the modes of sense-percipience, is the nature of the first as ideal; they are ideas. In every case, we are dealing with ideas.  Whether we take space, or the body, time or mind, or either eschatological category, male or female, the result is the same. As ingredients in consciousness the transcendent categories all have in common one thing: they are concepts. The gospel on the other hand, is concerned with sentient forms, the stuff of which we are likely to describe as concrete. However we phrase it, there is an obvious difference between the six transcendent categories, and the categories of immanence, disclosed in the gospels. This difference is the first thing put by the texts which refer by the same figure, six, now to the conceptual (transcendent), and now to the perceptual (immanent) categories.

The radical difference between the two series of entities derives from the fact of what we have called the conceptual and perceptual polarities of our human consciousness. On no account does this imply that we can assign the former to mind, and the latter to body. That does not form any part of Mark's intention. We have seen already that the status of the forms of unity is not unequivocally transcendent; that the three transcendent ideas, pure conceptual forms, themselves contain an immanent polarisation: the three forms of unity: body, temporality and the feminine. In addition, perceptual imagination on the surface look like nothing else so much as it looks like the three transcendent forms, another ambiguity, this time concerning the gospel.  Soma is the psychophysical as unity; it consists indissolubly with the mind. This of itself precludes any superimposition onto the Mind/mind : body dichotomy of the two classes of things, conceptual and corporeal. In using terms such as mental/physical or ideal/corporeal or conceptual/perceptual to describe the patterns disclosed in the various texts, we are accenting the radical difference between ideas (concepts) and the contents of sentience (sense perception), both of which pertain with equal effect to the mind : body if in a somehow antithetical way.

We have concentrated on the messianic series as it occurs relative to the series of Days, following the cues in the two Christological narratives. Thus we have analysed its hexadic structure, and there is more to be said concerning the fourfold aspect of the sense-percipient manifold. This tetradic contour expresses the principle of immanence, unity, and sets out the real difference of the messianic, immanent, events as a whole from the conceptual forms expounded in Genesis, the theology of transcendence proper.

The three transcendent categories, or forms of unity, space : time, mind : body, and male : female, articulated in the rubrics of Days 4, 5 and 6 and also the ensuing sabbath, stand in analogous relation to the immanent messianic miracles and the Eucharist. As a series, the modes of perception articulated in four immanent messianic events, three feeding miracles and one actual Eucharist, answer to the second half of the creation narrative.  This is the result of the two narrative cycles, 'beginning and end', sharing exactly the same formal logic. The form of the propositions in both cases is notably identical: it is bipolar and Trinitarian, and ultimately heptadic. This means that the gospel's image of the significance to mind : body of the four modes of sense-percipience is also a theology of the trinity. How can this be? The Eucharist is of a different order. It stands apart as being neither paired nor miraculous. How do we assess the Trinitarian aspect of the schema in relation to the Eucharist?

The biblical account of transcendence distinguishes itself from immanence in two ways. (1) The form or shape of transcendence is triadic, whereas that of immanence is fourfold and unitive. (2) The contents of the two notions also differ radically. We have expressed this as the disparity between the idea of identity (transcendence), and that of unity (immanence). As far as the latter is concerned, there are at least two paradigms. There is the transcendent category which designates unity and the Holy Spirit, the human entity, male : female. This paradigm is logically valid for an understanding of unity, in spite of the fact that it utilises a transcendent category, a form of unity, to formulate what is proper to the antithetical polarity, the immanent. The second of the biblical paradigms for unity as for immanence, concerns human consciousness as systematically defined by the four immanent messianic events. These describe mind : body in terms of the various modes of perception. Whereas the dyadic male : female paradigm pertains to the theology of transcendence, the messianic events as a whole, and the four feeding episodes in particular, are clearly formulated as the theology of immanence. In other words, the latter are definitive for the biblical conception of unity. This does not mean that we cannot utilise the paradigm of 'transcendent immanence', the male : female form of unity, only it does focus unity on the subject of the theology of immanence, soma.

The theology of Trinity is not only about the threefold nature of God. It is also about the unity of God. Trinity means "tri-unity". If then, there is a fundamental opposition of sorts between transcendence and immanence, it is because of these two aspects: three identities  in one God. The latter aspect does not conform to the former. Three identities do not entail unity or oneness which is otherwise threefold. This explains the formal difference in these serial narratives. Transcendence, identity, obtains in virtue of the threefold; alternatively, immanence, which is effectively fourfold, is the occasion of unity. Thus the unity of  God is formally or logically a fourfold, tetradic, unity. Why should we expect that the one aspect - threeness - would express the 'other'? Why should God's threefold nature and God's unity be formally identical? They are not.

Thus, all the fourfold patterns in the narratives we have been examining, as theologies of immanence, logically refer to the unity of God. They stand in relation of complementarity to the presentation of threefold identity in God. This is the fundamental theological difference between immanence and transcendence. The oneness of God is a fourfold oneness. Moreover, the definitive instance of the same unity, is human consciousness. The mind : body, soma, a virtual theological byword for the disposition of human consciousness by the modes of sense perception, is what we mean by the term world, 'earth', when we urge the connexity of the world to God. Human consciousness ensures the oneness of God. This returns us at once to the creation theology of Genesis which announced the relation of humankind to the subhuman and to God in these terms:

And God said: Let us make human beings according to our image.

And God created humanity according to his image, according to the image of God he created it, as male and female he created them. (Genesis 1.26, 27)

The Day 3 story pre-empted that of Day 6, the rubric of the male and female human beings made in the image and likeness of God. Even the latter however, was not the conclusive meaning of the idea represented by the term 'earth'. For the real 'end' of the story is delivered in the gospel, to which, the theology of immanence in Genesis must ultimately defer. The significance of this word 'earth', it is used by the author of the second narrative in explaining the name of the first male, Adam, devolves ultimately upon the four immanent messianic events.

The significance of the 'world' to God, is the provision it makes for God's unity. This, the  belongs to mystery of the identity of the Holy Spirit, who expresses the immanent polarity of God more absolutely than any other identity in God, is accomplished by the human soma as this fulfills the unfolding drama of sense perception. And because human persons as embodied sentient creatures, are the occasion of God's unity, the relationship of God to 'the world' is characterised by obligation. Immanence entails the idea of the responsibility of God to the world. In this much, it complements the notion of God's absolute independence from creation. The world is internally related to God, which means that it must affect God. Here, the 'incarnation' as the unique expression of immanence of the Son through the Holy Spirit, is consonant with the presentation of the concept of determinism or obligation which we saw in every one of the four messianic events of that type. In immanent miracles Jesus is obliged to act, and he acts for the world, and for humanity.

The immanence of God is more than simply timely care. It is availability, engagement, and indebtedness. Jesus' response to the multitudes depicted in the feeding narratives, is the image of God's responsive and susceptible availability to the world. The immanent God is not free, but obliged, obliged as in a relation of constraint, to act on behalf of the world. We can summarise such a relation by the word 'providence'. The providence of God is the fact that the 'world' or 'earth', which effectively is tantamount to the embodied being of all life, all soma, is the occasion of God's oneness. To put this basic tenet of the theology of immanence is to avow the creation of 'the world' in terms of the provision it makes for the unity of identities in God.

This fact colours any 'incarnational' theology. There is a real sense in which the 'incarnation' is necessary; it announces the indebtedness of God to the world. For this reason alone, God cannot abandon the world, since the 'earth' in the form of human sentient perceptual consciousness(es) ensures the unity of God. God must act for the world, within the world. S/he does, first by ensuring the continuation of the body, the continuation of life; next, by the provision of the Son. The significance of God to the world is the provision God ensures for the world's continued existence.


Soma means sentience, the body's assimilation of the world through the various modes of sense-percipience. Such a 'somatic world' promotes the unity of God. The world of sub-human and human consciousness secures the integration of the identities in God. The body, the psychophysical event is thus the final  satisfaction of oneness in God of the three identities of the same God. All of this belongs to the doctrine of the Eucharist. Here too, the person of Jesus is signal. Jesus' human nature realises the demand for the unity of God. But the oneness of God secured by sub-human and our own human consciousness is not the sole property of Jesus. The doctrine of immanence stresses the likeness to us of Jesus, the Son; hence we need not envisage the consciousness of the Son as profoundly distinct in kind from that of another human, male or female. As 'children of god' (John 1.12), all humans are like 'the only Son of the Father', Jesus. His representative status does not remove him from the world, but immerses him within it. The kind of consciousness the gospel associates with the Son extends to all human persons. For neither parenthood, the 'fatherhood' of God or 'his' Transcendence, nor the status of being a spouse, the countervailing image of the immanent as of the anthropic category, male and female, is the common experience all of humankind; childhood alone remains the one, universal human condition. Thus the Christological categories remain the focal or central concerns of the narratives. So we may say of creation as of the universe that it is fiolocentric:

He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
(ou)tov h)~n e)n a)rxh~? pro\v to\n qeo/n. pa/nta di' au)tou~ e)ge/neto, kai xwri\v au)tou~ e)ge/neto ou)de\ e(/n o(\ ge/gonen. (John 1.4)

 


Copyright 1st January 2017.

MM Publications, all rights reserved, including international rights.