That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us - that which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you, so that you may have fellowship with us ... (1 John 1.1-3a)

Any quest to grasp the tetramorphic contours of the gospel must first relinquish as its solution, what is otherwise central to Christian metaphysics at the categoreal level, namely its understanding of the role played in human and animal consciousnesses by the modes of sense-percipience. This may seem surprising for the same metaphysics views these modes themselves as formally fourfold in nature. They confront us not only in some of the earliest New Testament texts which we possess, the messianic miracles and the Eucharist, but they are portended by the theology of immanence configured in the second half of the P creation narrative, that of the last four Days, and again, even more explicitly in the ensuing J narrative, where we encounter the event of assimilation  in the story of the 'fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' as a metaphorical construct for the two primary modes of perceptual intentionality, knowing and desire. The first letter of John confirms the obvious rapport they must have not only for a Christian theory of language, and we should note in this much, that the role of touch or haptic sentience is accorded its dues, something which most if not all contemporary denominations of linguistic theory/semiotics are unprepared to concede. It also prepares the way for a doctrine of revelation. In these studies we are all too concerned with the form of the texts, its shape, its bodiliness, the way in which certain of its members are similar and or dissimilar to others, and so 'comprehensible' or 'apprehensible'; in short, that which we may prehend, touch, grasp, not to be aware that this itself is somehow delivered to our understanding by means of touch or feeling. Any theory of language which ignores the essential co-operation between these three phenomenal modes of percipience, hearing, touching and seeing, and the role of touch in particular, must forfeit all claim to being a Christian theory of language, and consequently relinquish also the obvious duty of articulating a doctrine of revelation.

Difficult as it may seem then, we must give consideration to the fact that we have urged this co-operation or consistency of the four modes of sense-percipience as the hallmark of unity. That is to say  that their unity is undeniable. The four Eucharistic episodes in the gospels clearly mark the four sentient modes as ordered in virtue of the principle of unity, the formal criterion distinguishing them from the conceptual polarity of mind with its equally undeniable logical disposition, that of the triad.

Simple reflection on the mediation of the body, 'the withness of the body', will render more than questionable the widespread tendency of the current discussions of language and semiotics to underplay if not ignore the bearing that the mode of touch has on consciousness generally, and must necessarily have on its own objects of inquiry. The voice does not spring magically from nowhere; it is the product of a larynx, the member of a body. It also engages the mouth, lips, tongue and so on. No discarnate hand produces the visible signs which constitute the written word; rather, the means of inscription, the actual hand itself too exists in the same relationship of membership of a body. Such members of the body are all equally palpable; all are susceptible of touch. Moreover ths body itself, in turn exists in relationship to other bodies. Talk of graphic and phonetic structures, graphemes and phonemes as of much else, proceeds as if the actual body itself was never party to the phenomenon of communication. This body, this soma is a given. It is, to employ  all too favoured bywords beloved in much post-structuralist discourse, 'always already' there. That being the case we must reckon with that of which the same body is pre-eminently susceptible, to wit touch. The failure to so conjure with the same is as serious a solecism of many contemporary, or post-structuralist semiotics and linguistic theories as any. These can never sit comfortably with the Christian account of language as of semiosis which the opening of the letter of John proposes in a rudimentary way. The haptic modes of sense-percipience and the body, soma,  are the perceptual and conceptual structures respectively which are embedded at the heart of the gospel, and two gospels in particular Luke and John as we shall see; the reason for which is that they are embedded in the semiotic process itself.

But as central to the Christian theory of language  as are all four modes of sense-percipience, and as central also as they are to the theology of Trinity and the doctrine of imago Dei, they are not the means of specifying the particular orientations of the four gospels. If it is simply the case that not one of the four gospels shows any particular marked predilection for a specific mode of sentience, and so to our surprise perhaps, because they reckon with all four components of consciousness in such a thoroughgoing way, this fact must be offset by another, which we will posit directly. For the three phenomenal modes of sense-percipience certainly do account for the congruence of three textual centres of the biblical narrative, something which we cannot overlook. This confirms the delivery of the messianic miracle stories: that the operation of these three modes of sense-percipience in our consciousness is ultimately general and pervasive, or as we have been urging, radical, categoreal. That these same three phenomenal modes of sentience characterise the creation narrative, the messianic miracles and The Apocalypse to a degree that is nothing short of exceptional, nothing less than outstanding, secures their intertextuality. Thus it confirms their contextual treatment as required not merely by the presence in each of them of sevenfold series, their formal  coherence, it demands that we ought to seek if not find in them, something of a Christian doctrine of language, and moreover, of revelation, both of which the First Letter Of John associates with the person of Christ.

Those narratives which detail the natures and functions of the four modes of sense-percipience we have already observed. In each of the gospels they are ordered in precisely the same way, as a chiasmos, culminating in the Eucharist. They establish unmistakably the polar or dyadic character of human sense-percipience, the fact that it is inextricably co-extant with memory and imagination. By the first term we understand the perceptual in its actual, true and immanent nature, that of memory which necessarily comprises imagination. By the latter term, imagination, we refer to the fact that to some degree this polarity of perceptual consciousness exists independently of memory,  in some measure in itself and for itself; that is, according to virtual transcendence. We shall for the moment, set aside consideration of the Eucharist, insofar as this denotes within the overall purpose of the messianic series, a specific sense-percipient mode, that of smell/taste. Where language and semiotics are concerned it no longer plays the part  in  human communication that it continues to do for the sub-human realm. Accordingly, we have interpreted the story of creation, Genesis 1.1-2.4a as complementary to the same aim, that of an exposition of mind or consciousness. It too subdivides the conceptual pole of mind according to the same paradigm. Thus the reiteration of the categoreal paradigm within the messianic series supplements their division into truly  immanent and virtually transcendent subgroups. Correspondingly the reiteration of the categoreal paradigm within the creation taxonomy consists likewise of truly transcendent entities, and virtually immanent entities. The two rudimentary polarities of consciousness, the perceptual and the conceptual, are the basis of the present study. It concerns the form and content of each of the four gospels. But it adds to consideration the presence of The Apocalypse within the same theological project as already defined by the cohering narratives of beginning and end, creation and salvation.


Reverting to the citation of the first epistle of John above, we can see then that the three phenomenal modes of sentience do not supply us with the information necessary to answer the questions relating to exactly how we apprehend the fourfold form of the gospel(s). By apprehend we mean more precisely still, grasp, or as the epistle puts it 'touch'. For if the messianic and healing miracle stories by dint of their subject, the Son, rather than either Transcendence or the Holy Spirit, are logically related to the phenomenology of the haptic, then we ought to be able to understand the contours, the shape, the very form of the documents themselves, and in the first instance, this is fourfold. This fourfold structure reiterates immanence, but the selfsame subject of the gospels, The immanent Son, specifies the immanent identity in question. Why do we have four gospels? How is each different from the other three? How moreover, are we to understand their configuration given our interpretation of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, which, since it relates to visual sentience, relates also to the phenomenon of the written word? How should we feel and touch and grasp this written word? Such questions concern most fitly what we are addressing in these pages: the three narrative cycles whose interpretations are interrelated as establishing a coherent and comprehensive whole. Even though the fourfold perceptual polarity of consciousness does not itself answer our questions, it is nevertheless true that the three sevenfold cycles of the creation story, the gospels, and The Apocalypse, conform very remarkably to the same radicals, the same triadic order, which in its Christological ('messianic') depiction contained in the gospels, immediately proposes the existence of 'The Word'.  This admits at once the pertinence to theology as to philosophy and to psychology, of the same: the rudimentary contribution of sense-percipience to consciousness. The specifically visual (optic) modality is more than incontrovertibly obvious in the case of The Apocalypse. That book superabounds with visions, stars, sights, colours, appearances, lightnings, rainbows, coloured stones, and indeed eyes themselves (Apocalypse 4.8, 5.6). How can we miss its Pneumatological cast? That The Apocalypse is the story of the visionary experience of an individual follows logically from the fact of its four paramount concerns: the sense-percipient categories, optic imagination and optic memory, and the anthropic categories, the symbolic masculine and symbolic feminine. These are prime instances of the beautiful in the known world, and its primary exemplars of the Holy Spirit.

An equally assured argument for the first creation narrative stands, where nothing is achieved without the spoken, and thus heard word of God, and where also in the first section of the archaeological fiat the same entities called into existence are identified and named. It is true that God 'sees' that what is thus brought into being is good; but even if that doesn't exactly come as an afterthought, in the first instance the prevailing sentient mode is the acoustic, precisely because in the first instance, acoustic sentience exists in apposition to the primordial conceptual categories, space and space : time. The divine will is uttered or spoken, or as has been suggested, sung by the poet, the creator of this world, because of the singular appositeness to the same transcendent will of this very mode of sense-percipience. The Feeding Of The Five Thousand articulates this plainly in relating as one-to-one correspondence, the two acoustic radicals, memory and imagination, with space : time and space respectively. The Johannine recension of that miracle story is followed by numerous references to the 'will' of 'the Father', and our later discussion of intentionality will posit the specific affinity between the same conceptual form, space, and this particular mode of intentionality, willing, in relation to the same identity.  It is in speaking, in vocalising, in being heard, that the will is manifest. Once again, how can we miss this, the abiding predilection of the description of beginning for acoustic sentience? Here of course, the real and effective occasion or instantiation of transcendence as of will itself, remains the pure conceptual form, space, 'heavens'. It is reconfigured in the perceptual manifold as acoustic imagination,
rather than acoustic memory, whose classical or taxonomic, that is rubrical, description is given in the story of The Walking On the Water.

We have on the basis of the hermeneutic of the messianic miracles as a whole, referred to these same two modes, the characteristic sentient modes deployed in those two books which begin and end the canon of scripture, acoustic and optic respectively, those of the two stories of specific Eucharistic miracles of loaves and fish, as archaeological and eschatological respectively. They sit well with one another in accordance with that hermeneutic. Thus that the three textual cycles are clearly analogously related  to one another reifies, or embodies these three modes of sense-percipience consistently with the hermeneutic of the three immanent messianic miracles which we have proposed, and positively supports this hermeneutic. The predilection of Genesis, the gospels, and The Apocalypse, for specific sentient modes, specific dimensions of the word we might say, is the consequence of the fact that each is specifically related to one particular given identity, the Transcendent, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Of the three immanent messianic miracle stories, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand will most repay our attention here at the introduction of the theology of semiotic forms, for it is the best equipped to begin the exposition not just of the simpler relations between the various  subjects of the narratives, but also to commence the task of a Christian doctrine of revelation, by which we mean, the doctrine of revelation qua text itself: the written, graphic, visible tradition. We have interpreted this narrative as the theological description of a radical centre of consciousness, optic memory. That is, the narrative specifies the way in which  specifically visual rationality/affectivity is deployed in human consciousness. It must concern us, because of what was just said regarding the perceptible, and so 'tangible' shape or form of the narratives. The sevenfold patterns systematically correlate the three textual cycles, creation story, messianic series and Apocalypse. Moreover, if optic memory has anything whatever to do with the written word, with 'scripture', then we should expect that this narrative has to do with these same systematic theologies. We alluded previously to the immediate references within the story to the phenomenon of vision. That is, in the first place, the concrete stuff of optic sentience as denoted by the repeated figure 7, quantifies the seven hues of the visible spectrum. Often enough they will be tallied as sixfold, usually, the last member of the series, being referred to conventionally as 'violet', is deleted from the series. That is well and good, but two points are vital here. The first is that the overall pattern of messianic 'events'  if not 'miracles', like that of Days of 'beginning' if not Days of 'creation proper', is consistently enumerated as sevenfold. Any reduction of the members of the series to six will consequently downplay if not ignore the role of the Eucharist itself, the 'sabbath' or seventh occasion in the reckoning of the perceptual consciousness.  The semantic worth of such a tally is provided in The Apocalypse. Again this enumerative schema has important repercussions for the theory of intentionality, which manifests the bipolarity of transcendence : immanence everywhere reiterated in the three narrative cycles. In other words, the intentional modes consist of both transcendent (conceptual) and immanent (perceptual) components. Either series, that of Genesis or that of the gospels, is bifurcated in this way, for we noticed the reduplication of the same paradigm, transcendence : immanence, which initially served to distinguish the former from the latter, operative once more within each of the very two series themselves, Days and messianic events.

Hence the overall relevance to biblical theology of this miracle story is methodological. The two ciphers 4 and 7 which identify respectively immanence in general, and the Holy Spirit in particular, are given repeatedly in the narratives, not simply in the story of the Eucharistic miracle itself. We encountered them in Genesis, and the gospel and will encounter them once more in The Apocalypse. In the last case their presence is obvious immediately, for there we find four clearly demarcated series of seven units: letters, seals, trumpets and bowls; (Apocalypse 2.1-3.22, 5.1-8.5, 8.6-11.19, 15.1-16.21), as well as other material. The Pneumatological orientation of that book comports perfectly with the same two  interdependent factors, immanence and the identity of the Holy Spirit. Equally however, both figures as referential to the form and content of the gospels which function at the centre of this arrangement, in accordance with the doctrine of the Word,  insofar as it is there that we find this doctrine expounded explicitly, will serve us in our quest to explicate their specific natures. That is, they will promote the doctrine of mind, hence Christology, precisely as this relates to the doctrine of intentionality and as it explicates the fourfold form of the gospel(s).

The second reason for accepting the value of a sevenfold reckoning here in conjunction with optic sense-percipience, with the Holy Spirit, with immanence and so on, is that the cipher six is already identifiable in relation to the Son. The arrangement of the three reiterated figures five, six, and seven in the three miracles, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine, and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand respectively, situates at the pivot of this schema the identity of the Son  as the immediate and central concern of the gospels, if not of all three textual cycles, since the formal arrangement renders the significance of the creation narratives and The Apocalypse referable to the same. So insisting on the centrality to the schema of the Christological cipher, the hexad, we cannot fail to distinguish the Son from the Holy Spirit. At the same time, we can be sure of safeguarding the peculiar status which attaches to the Christological categories, whether these be conceptual or perceptual, and their mediation of transcendence ('5') and immanence ('7'). We encountered the figure 6 in both Christological miracles, and did so observing its ramifications, namely, its extensive epiphany equally of both transcendence, the theological outlook of the creation narrative(s), and immanence, that of The Apocalypse.

If the hermeneutic of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand situates the phenomenon of vision within the context of a theology of the body, or more exactly, the theology of perception, and offers to theological method as resources, the contents of our visual experience, the seven colours of the spectrum, that need not exclude the possibility of a reference by the same narrative to the traditions, the three 'finally' written, graphic, visible traditions, the texts themselves, the narratives of Days and messianic miracles, and The Apocalypse as a whole, in each of which we find the two formal factors, the fourfold and sevenfold, as formal or logical determinants. As we noted again and again, this squares with the self-relational or reflexive capacity of the word 'Word' itself. What was already delivered in the creation taxonomy, the concept that mind is somehow inclusive of itself, or somehow self-referential, this is the meaning of selfhood. Such a postulate avails us in the interpretation of the forms of the narratives and the numerals contained within the stories of the Eucharistic miracles whose meaning has eluded interpreters for far too long.

I mean to propose here as elsewhere, that the hermeneutic of this particular miracle narrative entails the occasion of self-reflexiveness, or self-referentiality which the doctrine of 'the word' involves. If the messianic series receives the creation story as a point of reference, then it is bound to comment at length on the tradition, that is, on itself, and precisely itself, the tradition as written. This is all the more the case in The Apocalypse, which readily presents itself as a text, a writing, a scripture, a document, and which refers consistently to writing, scrolls, little books, as to the gospels, albeit in a manner which might best be described as symbolical if not semiological. It is to be a book about books, not the least of which is the book about 'the beginning'. One of the great merits of The Apocalypse for the contemporary theological outlook is that it recasts 'the fall' so called, as teleological, as final. If we can no longer believe, except disingenuously, the Pauline hermeneutic of the P creation narrative, this situation is remedied by the fact that one of the primary intentions of The Apocalypse is the deconstruction and reconstruction of that mythology in accordance with historical and actual time. Thus eschatology concerns itself with 'first things' insofar as the created order suffers an inevitable incursion by the condition antecedent to creation, that of chaos, first depicted in Genesis 1.1, at the hands of humankind. While it is not synonymous with time qua death, this nevertheless in the visionary experience of the author of The Apocalypse must be understood in the light of the same: that which has had not beginning but will have an end, just as time has had no beginning and will have and end. Time without beginning is or was transformed in creation, with the inception of space, with which it necessarily co-exists. Such a reading of the Apocalypse can best deal with its patently mythological content, and its deliberate intent to recast the story of 'the fall' not as an actual verity, as Paul did, but in terms of a prophetic understanding of the course of the created order to its end. Thus also, salvation concerns itself with creation. For the conceptual categories are the depiction of the transcendent logos as will be depicted also in The Transfiguration, an event which signifies the alliance between the birth of the one and the death of the many. In this way we must completely rethink our approaches to both stories, that of the beginning contained in the P and J narratives, and the gospel narratives, where as it must, the notion of time intrudes. Effectively, we are required to invert the manner in which we approach these two texts where our common notions of time and the course of time intervene without due reflection. This is especially true of the second creation story, that of J, with its aetiology of death. This story is one of many narratives which The Apocalypse not only adopts, but adapts to its own purposes.

When we noted that comparably to the healing miracle stories, the various recensions of the messianic miracles contain very few discrepancies, in some cases we have as many as four different redactions of the one episode, it was precisely with the content of the two miracles stories which deal with optic and acoustic sentience, in mind. Mark has carefully restricted the number of healing miracles to just twelve, and links them systematically with both 'the twelve', meaning of course the disciples, but also with the oral tradition. We allege that the acoustic series of the dodecaphonic scales semiologically instantiates immanent Transcendence. It reflects Mark's presentation of the oral tradition, that of the twelvefold healing/disciple series. That The Feeding Of The Five Thousand comes to refer to the acoustic semiosis is never in doubt, unless we close revelation. But initially the details of the 'baskets full of  remaining portions', twelve in The Five Thousand, and seven in The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, do indeed refer immediately to the tradition, now oral now written, clearly exhibited in both series, now messianic, now healing. Of course these mesh; they depend on one another. What is more, they mesh with the creation narrative; but the first point to notice of the editing of the two sets of miracle stories themselves, both
the twelvefold cycle of healings in Mark and the sevenfold messianic tradition, is that the immediate referents of the two figures, seven and twelve are these very same narrative cycles themselves. Here we encounter the self-referential character of 'the word', its innate capacity to reflect itself. The inference of which is, if anything, that the sevenfold messianic series was in essence predisposed to having been written from an early stage in its history, and that for a considerable time the healing series remained a largely spoken tradition.

We shall find at later remove, in The Apocalypse, or much sooner than that, in the story of The Flood, literary precedents at least for the hermeneutic of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand as postulating optic sense-percipience.  Hence these texts are seminal in any theology of revelation, if by that we mean exclusively the written tradition which testifies to The Word itself. So we must stress here, in advance of the theology of the optic semiotic forms, that the first referents of this and its companion episode, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, are the traditions themselves, whether written or oral, or as we should say, both written and oral, since these clearly consist as one whole. Illustratively, they remain peripheral to the centrality to consciousness of haptic sentience, and in so doing, they invite the fullest integration of the three cycles.

Therefore we remain always in media res, with the gospels as with the focus of these three instances of the written, graphic, visible forms of these narratives, outlined in The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, with which we shall have much to do in the first part of this essay, since it pertains to that aspect of the doctrine of mind we refer to as 'intentionality'. It is from there that we can extend the compass of biblical metaphysics to both worlds; the 'acoustic' world of the transcendent forms in which the fivefold dominates logically, and the  immanent world of the visible, and invisible, wherein the sevenfold recurs to such a conspicuous extent, a world which clearly concerns the same doctrine of intentionality. This means that central to our quest will be the recognition of the hexadic contour of all three narratives, for it prevails in The Apocalypse to precisely the same degree that we witness it in Genesis and gospel, but without confusing this reckoning. We are in media res in understanding ourselves corporately, that is, with respect to mind : body, envisaged in the gospel narratives. These texts require that we handle them; that we feel and perceive their form; which can only occur if we revert to the stories situated in the canon as their beginning and end. In short it demands an approach fully cognisant of their intertextuality as of their respective differences. This is how we endorse the opening of the first Epistle of John  and lay claim to having 'touched with our hands ... that which was from the beginning'. It will be in grappling with the various texts, and grasping their own corporeal nature, their own belonging as members to a body, by comprehending the tissue of their relatedness; it will be in bringing each of the three narratives into contact with one another, and so in assimilating them palpably, that we should understand them. It will moreover be by this means alone; for it is already apparent that any comprehension of the creation narrative as of The Apocalypse must assume the same methodological premise.

Such intertextuality relies upon the formal plasticity of  all three narrative centres, Genesis 1.1-2.4a, the messianic series and The Apocalypse as a whole. So for example, given the peculiar status of the Sabbath in the first case, and the equally conspicuous status of the seventh events in each of the last three sevenfold series in the last, we are fully justified in arguing that both of these texts are logically ordered to identify the Son, whose  numerical cipher  in the messianic series is the 'six'.  The previous Christological hermeneutic of the creation story which deferred to the gospels not simply as supplementary but as conclusive, corroborates the fact that discerning the acoustic predilection of the creation narrative, in no way proscribes the presence of the Son. Nor does it proscribe the role of the Holy Spirit, whom we see from the very inception of the narrative, and of course in the heptad itself. For even if the creation series unfolds conspicuously and with an obvious theological intent in affinity with the phenomenon of speaking/hearing, its contours, its morphology, its shape, which linguistically we are inclined to apprehend in virtue of the haptic, these remain undeniable. Just as the story as story precisely of 'beginning', and so of space and space : time, brings before us the dyadic rubrics of Days 2 and 5, which will be reiterated in the feeding miracle story which correspondingly manifests The Transcendent, there is no denying its protean morphology. If the latter were not the case, then the story of creation could not logically function qua text; that is, it could never have been committed to a written form in the first place, extensively related morphologically to others of its kind. Just so, those sentient radicals which these same ciphers identify, the haptic and optic, also present themselves at virtually every point in the narrative.

All three textual cycles are indeed pliable if not protean enough to be reckoned in this way, or these ways. Thus in just the same manner too, the theology of immanence does not confine itself at the expense of transcendence. We do find in The Apocalypse not just significantly formal but also referential  reminders of the complementary polarity, which here of course means the Transcendent, and also of The Lamb, its favoured name for the Son. So just as the creation story may function in a secondary fashion as about the immanent, The Apocalypse may for its part also adopt that modality counter to its very own and function orally:

Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near. (Apocalypse 1.3)

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Apocalypse 2.7a, 11a, 17a, 29a, 3.6, 13, 22)

In the second of these examples, there is a clear-cut correspondence to the repeated formula 'And God saw ...' of the Genesis text. Thus where this latter sense-percipient mode identified immanence and the Holy Spirit subsequently to each creative act, in The Apocalypse at the very beginning, there is a conscious and repeated mention of Transcendence given by the same index, the sense-percipient mode, here acoustic. Once again this secures the intertextuality of the two narratives, notwithstanding their oppositional or complementary relationship.

Before we leave the First Letter Of John as the introduction to the present discussion, it is necessary to note here another part of the Johannine tradition - the last chapter of the gospel, chapter 21. Many commentators have thought it to be a later addition to the whole of the gospel, a judgement we will repudiate here. It is of interest for many reasons; for example, it contains the first and only reference in this gospel to 'the sons of Zebedee' (21.2), disciples who assume quite important roles in the synoptic gospels. It is held by some scholars to have been written by the redactor of the gospel, whom they regard as the author of the First Epistle of John. Others maintain that it sits well within the gospel and that the author of the gospels of John as a whole and the author of the Epistle are one and the same. What most concerns us however, is that it shows clear evidence, the clearest of any, that the tradition of the six messianic miracles consisted as an entirety, quite early in the history of the tradition. The portion of the text which concerns us immediately here is as follows:

When they got on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21.9-14)

We notice in this passage at once, two things most pertinent to our studies, the presentation of the motifs which are tantamount to the categoreal paradigm, identity and unity. The identity motif has already been given as just one of several contrasts drawn by the author between Simon Peter and '(that) disciple whom Jesus loved' (21.7, 20):

That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!' (John 21.7a)

The idea of identity surfaces here as surely in the appearance stories as it does in the transcendent miracle narratives, and previously just as it did in the first half of the creation taxonomy. The cryptically unnamed beloved disciple is not referred to in the same terms in the opening of the narrative which lists the seven persons engaged in the fishing expedition, but we understand him to be one of the 'two others who were his disciples' (21.2). This has the effect at once of returning us to the initial list of persons given in the lead up to the first miracle story:

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold , the lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. (1.35-37)

There are so many deliberate points of contact between these two episodes, the commissioning of the first disciples, and the events related in chapter 21. The last chapter of the gospel of John all but reverts to the story as it begins with the calling of the first disciples, so that to consider them all, worthy indeed as it is, would take us far afield from our immediate concerns. Apart from the names of the figures, Simon Peter, Nathanael, somewhat remarkably, along with the reference to 'Cana', and the two unnamed disciples, the verbs common to both pericopae are as follows: 'follow' (1.37, 38 cf. 21.20, 22); 'turn' (1.38 cf. 21.20); 'see' (1.38, 42 cf. 21.9, 20); 'stay/remain' (1.38 cf. 21.23). Equally remarkable is the manner in which Jesus addresses Simon Peter on both occasions: 'Simon the Son of John' (1.42), Si/mwn o( ui(o\v I)wa/nnou and 'Simon Son of John' (varr. Jonah), Si/mwn I)wa/nnou, (21.15-17). This is too conspicuous to miss, for the evangelist uses it no less than three times in the 'epilogue' (as well as the more traditional 'Simon Peter' (1.40 cf. 21.15)): 21.15, 16, 17. This form of address is important both in its use of the expression John, and in its variant form in part of the tradition  'Jonah' (Iwna), for it connotes the expression 'sign of Jonah' employed by Matthew and Luke in the pericope following the recapitulation of the two miracles of loaves and fish, The Demand For A Sign (Mark 8.11-13). Indeed, Matthew in fact uses it twice:

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah ( I)wna~). For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah ( I)wna~), and behold, something greater than Jonah ( I)wna~) is here ... (Matthew 12.38-42)

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven (ou)ranou~), He answered them, "When it is evening, you say 'It will be fair weather; for the sky (ou)rano/v) is red (purra/zei = fiery).' And in the morning. 'It will be stormy today, for the sky (ou)rano/v) is red (purra/zei) and threatening.' You know how to interpret  the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given it except the sign of Jonah (  I)wna)." So he left them and departed. (Matthew 16.1-4)

When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah ( I)wna~, varr. tou proqhtou). For as Jonah ( I)wna~v) became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. ... The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah ( I)wna), and behold, something greater than Jonah ( I)wna) is here. (Luke 11.29-32)

Mention of 'the sign of Jonah' and the recurrence of that highly charged name in this the last chapter of the gospel of John is not the main reason we have cited it here, even so, we should nevertheless make a momentary digression in the interests of several factors, the main one being the history of the tradition. As noted, this last appearance story in John recurs to the opening of the gospel. There was no mention of a fishing expedition or The Sea of Tiberias  in John's narrative of the commissioning of the first disciples, but  such a reference here in the final scene with its clear resonance of the former stories, suggests that the first narratives of the disciples having been called, may be read along lines which set the gospel more in keeping with the synoptics on this score (John 1.35-51 cf. 21.1). This means also of course, that efforts to harmonise the name 'Nathanael', since it is a given name, with the figure in the synoptic lists referred to only by his patronymic, 'Bartholomew', must be accorded some credibility (Mark 3.13-19). He, Bartholomew, is the sixth figure in Mark's list, and as noted, in the gospel of John, the same number is purposively associated with Nathanael, as it is with the miracle at Cana, and with Jesus And The Woman Of Samaria, the pericope which concludes the evangelist's presentation of the haptic form of memory. More to the point, and this applies even more emphatically still to what we are about to contend regarding the incidence of numerical referencing in chapter 21, accounts of the relation between John and the synoptic gospels and between John and Mark in particular which rule out of court any interdependence or influence will not stand. But first to the enigmatic Jonah references, and to the equally important clues which Matthew provides  in this context for the theology of semiotic forms.

We may suspect that the 'sign of Jonah' logion has something to do with the tradition history of the messianic miracles. We have not rehearsed the full argument concerning the durations of these six events within the nocturnal/diurnal cycle here, but we have alluded to it as party to  the polarity which logically and consistently throughout the gospels elaborates the Markan formula '... to the other side'. For the chiasmos arranges in pairs of one-to-one correspondence exactly three of each polarity, nocturnal, the feeding miracles, and diurnal, the identity, that is transcendent, miracles. This coheres with the Matthew's prompt for the theology incorporative of the optic semeia, his remark which combines references to colour, to 'signs', to Jonah, and of course to time(s). There is no mention of Jonah in the same context in Mark, which allows some historians of the tradition to assign the saying about the sign of Jonah to a putative Quelle source (Q).

Matthew more than once refers to Jonah, and this in its turn would seem immediately to evoke one particular messianic miracle, The Stilling Of The Storm, which of course he relates (Matthew 8.23-27). The first reference in Matthew to the 'sign of Jonah' mentions 'three days and three nights' twice (Matthew 12.40). The second does not include such a mention, although the pericope comes most noticeably immediately on the heels of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, which we have said denotes optic memory, and just as significantly immediately before the recapitulation of the details of the two miracles of loaves, and again just as tellingly, just prior to Peter's Confession (Matthew16.13-20), in which the evangelist yet again refers to 'Simon Bar-Jona' (Si/mwn Bariwna~ varr. Ba\r Iwna~ v 17). There is no mistaking the names 'John' and 'Jonah' here, just as there wasn't in John 21. In all then, this makes for five references to Jonah in Matthew within just as many chapters.

This is the first of the three passion predictions, and its parallel in Mark (8.27-30) lacks the same patronymic, as do the following two both in Mark (Mark 9.30-32, 10.32-34), and Matthew (Matthew 17.22-23, 20.17-19), although the second Markan prediction includes the phrase 'three days' (9.31), as does the last (10.34), just as the second in Matthew uses the expression 'raised on the third day' (17.23), while the last has the very same Greek clause (20.19). In Luke's accounts of the same three sayings, the first is almost identical to the last two of Matthew's expressions, but it reads 'and on the third day be raised' (Luke 9.18-22). Of Luke's two subsequent passion predictions (Luke 9.43b-45, 18.31-33), the next has no references to periods of time, diurnal or nocturnal, whereas the last does: 'and on the third day he will rise' (Luke 18.33b), in which the form of the verb is different yet again from Matthew's form of the same verb, and from Luke's own previous usage.

Mark interpolated The Blind Man At Bethsaida (8.22-26), just before the first Passion prediction, and indeed there is an even logical flow from the last miracle of loaves, the one which denotes optic memory as a radical form of sentience, to this healing narrative about the very same phenomenon. But Matthew's recension also deserves enormous credit, for it conjoins so adroitly the themes proper to this aspect of biblical metaphysics. We noted just now in the first of Matthew's two references to 'the sign of Jonah', how articulately he forges a connection to the book of that name in the Hebrew scriptures. For he places that saying after his recension of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, the transcendent partner to which is The Stilling Of The Storm. These are the two Pneumatological miracles of the messianic series, the one immanent in kind, and specifying the radical of consciousness optic memory, the other transcendent, and specifying optic imagination. Of course the book of Jonah is instantly recognisable in the transcendent miracle story itself, centering as it does on a storm at sea, and the peculiar role of the 'prophet' who, in order to quell the tempest, is thrown overboard and spends the ensuing three days and nights in the belly of the whale. This must certainly have been an accessible enough paradigm for the evangelists. Whether or not the miracle story, The Stilling Of The Storm, can be accounted for in terms of it is undecidable.

If the 'sign of Jonah' saying is as early as proponents of the Q source theory would have us believe, then this may be the first of the six stories to have been committed to writing. On the other hand, we aver here the integrity of the messianic miracle series as an entirety, and equally the fact that it corresponds formally and referentially to the P creation narrative. This tells against any division of the series into single units composed independently of one another. A single correspondence between the book of Jonah and only one particular messianic event is hardly sufficient to warrant the contention that it served as a prompt or a source of some kind for the messianic series as a whole. Yet the same name itself occurs three times in the final chapter of John, a fact which is highly significant, as we shall see, for the messianic series. If it refers to the book of that name in the Hebrew canon of the twelve minor prophets, then it also recalls another famous narrative in the canon in virtue of another of its meanings. The  meanings of the name given by the Koehler-Bumgartner Lexicon are as follows:
I hnfwOy: I dove, Columba Gn 8.8-12; cooing, symbol of the moaning of those who suffer Is 38.14; ...  II hnfwOy n. pers. Jonah 2K14.25, Jon 1-4 ... (William L. Holliday, Ed., A Concise Hebrew And Aramaic Lexicon Of The Old Testament, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971, p 131).
The following discussion resumes this first meaning of the word in its original form, the Aramaic one, not the Greek of the text. For the latter inclines us to overlook the associations of the word any further than the single book of Jonah.

In the first reference to the story of The Flood with its certain and immediate links to the creation narrative, we may indeed find something of the intention behind the 'sign of Jonah' saying. The story is a well known one, just as well known as that of the prophet Jonah himself. The references to 'dove' are many; Genesis 8.8, 9, 10, 11, 12. (There are further references in Psalms 55.6, 68.13, The Song of Songs and so on.) In the story of The Flood, Noah first sends out the raven, 'and it flew to and fro until the water on the earth had dried up.' (Genesis 8.7):

Then he sent out the dove (hnfwOyO, ; peristera\n) to see if the waters on the earth had subsided further.

But the dove (
hnfwOy; LXX peristera\) did not find any place where it could rest the sole of its foot, so it came back to him in the ark because there was still water over the whole earth. He put out his hand and caught it and brought it back into the ark.

He waited another 7 days; then he sent the dove (
hnfwOyO ; LXX peristera\n) out of the ark again.

And the dove (
hnfwOyO ; LXX peristera\) returned to him in the evening, and it had a fresh olive leaf in its beak. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.

He waited yet another 7 days and sent the dove (
hnfwOyO ; LXX peristera/n) out again; this time it did not come back to him. (Genesis 8.8-12. Claus Westermann, Genesis 1-11: A Commentary, translated by John J. Scullion S.J.,  SPCK, London, 1984, p 390)

Surely the mention of '7 days', like the three tentative dispatches of the 'dove', as well as still other elements of the story, are relevant to our argument here. Time is a salient factor, as is the fact that the creatures are enjoined to 'increase and multiply' after leaving the ark at God's command, just as they were in the creation, (8.17). After the description of Noah's building an altar upon which he offers whole-burnt offerings, we read:

And Yahweh smelled the sweet odour and reflected: "Never again will I curse the ground because of people; indeed the inclination of the human heart is evil from its youth; and never again will I slay every living creature as I have done.

While earth lasts, there shall never cease seedtime and harvest, frost and heat, summer and winter, night and day. (Genesis 8.21-22)

And God said: This is the sign (twO)O ; LXX  to\ shmei~on) of the covenant that I am establishing between myself and you and every living being that is with you for all future generations.

My bow I am putting in the clouds, which shall be the sign (shmei~on) of the covenant between me and the earth,

When I now form clouds over the earth and the bow becomes visible in the clouds,

then I will remember my covenant which exists between me and you and all living beings, and never again shall the waters become a flood so as to destroy all flesh.

And when the bow is there in the clouds, I will look at it so as to recall the everlasting covenant, between God and all living beings, all flesh that is on the earth.

And God said to Noah: This is the sign (to\ shmei~on) of the covenant, which I am setting up between myself and all flesh that is on the earth. (Genesis 9.12-17)

The latter text, the later blessing and covenant made by God with the new creation, is as noticeable, and just as significant, as its sign, particularly given the Matthean redaction of the Jonah saying. Here we resume the discussion of Matthew's articulation of the two Pneumatological miracles - signs of the Holy Spirit, represented by the dove in Christian iconography - in conjunction with their underlying subject, that of optic sense-percipience.  The first instance of the Jonah saying extends the references of its second version. The expression 'stormy' in the latter (xeimw/n Matthew 16.3), in league with 'the sign of Jonah' and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, just related (Matthew 15.32-39), reiterates the miracle of The Stilling Of The Storm, the transcendent counterpart to that feeding miracle, and whose optic semeia is explicitly given, even if Matthew uses for the latter, 'storm', an expression quite different from that which the transcendent miracle story contains: seismo\v (Matthew 8.23). He twice mentions the colour of the sky in relation to the stormy weather. The Greek word for 'sky' is also the word for 'heaven'. Simply put, the sign or signs of 'Jonah', signs of 'the dove', for that is a meaning of the Hebrew word every bit as salient as the proper noun, are in the second variant of the Jonah saying, thus just two,the two colours of the heaven/sky: one the blue of 'fair weather', which is only referred to implicitly, the evening colour, and secondly the reddish or 'fiery' hue, of the morning of the stormy day. These then are two of the 'signs from heaven/sky' (Matthew 16.1). (Mark's account of The Demand For A Sign (Mark 8.11-13), just after the second miracle of loaves (8.1-10) and just prior to the recapitulation of the details of both feeding miracles (8.14-21), even though it lacks any mention of  'Jonah', contains the phrase 'a sign from heaven' (shmei~on a0po\ tou~ ou)ranou~ (v 11)). These 'signs', blue and fiery red, are the chromatic values to be assigned to the Pneumatological events; and at a stroke Matthew has deployed them both, mentioning one twice by name, and referring to the other under the noun 'sky/heaven'. Thus in the second of the above citations from Matthew, themes germane to the two miracle narratives, their time of occurrence and their optic semeia, are clearly interwoven.

The first 'sign of Jonah' saying (Matthew 12.28-42) may have been included after the second saying, since this latter pericope (Matthew16.1-4) is situated immediately after the Pneumatological miracle of loaves in accordance with its Markan parallel (Mark 8.11-13), which we presume he was following, and since Matthew also places the recapitulation of the two miracles as does Mark, immediately after the pericope The Demand For A Sign From Heaven, (Matthew 16.7-12 cf. Mark 8.16-21). He therefore has to find another context for the first instance of the 'sign of Jonah' logion. He places it after the pericope A Tree and Its Fruits (Matthew 12.33-37 cf. Luke 6.43-45), and prior to the story of The Return Of The Unclean Spirit (Matthew 12.43-45), which notably includes sevenfold imagery. Luke contains only one occurrence of the Jonah logion (Luke 6.43-45), citing the pericope about The Unclean Spirit in which he too uses sevenfold imagery, prior to his redaction of the Jonah saying, though not immediately (Luke 11-24-26), and the parable about The Light Of The Body: The Eye (Luke 11.33-36), immediately after the Jonah saying. This parable too intersects perfectly with the Pneumatological mode of sentience, vision. (Most exegetes have argued that Luke's single version of the saying better reflects its Q origins. But if we dispense with Q altogether, which would entail the hypothesis of some sort of interdependence between Matthew and Luke if not Luke's dependence on Matthew, then there is no reason to entertain this argument. Matthew's versions may better reflect any presumed original version, not that this matters a great deal to our argument.)

What is of greater moment is that the prior of Matthew's two versions extends the referentiality of the second account from just two to all messianic miracles and hence to all six or seven optika. For in addition to the mention of 'the prophet Jonah', 'the belly of the whale', 'Nineveh' and so on, it has 'three days and three nights'. This accounting indicates the series in its sixfold and Christological entirety.

Part of the rationale of the signification of such semeia rests upon the time of the occurrence of the two episodes; we shall put that The Stilling Of The Storm took place during the morning (prwi~ Matthew 16.3, h(merw~n Luke 8.22), and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, during the precisely complementary interval, twelve hours prior to/after, the morning, that is, during the 'evening' (oyi/av 16.2), though not of course on the same day. The connotations of the name 'dove' are thus several in fact. We fully concede the allusion to the book of Jonah, with its clear mention of the time interval. This does not proscribe however other purposes behind the same word. One of these is of course to specify the identity associated with The Stilling Of The Storm, as with its complement, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, namely the Holy Spirit whom we know from the very inception of scripture as associated with water:

The earth was still a desert waste, and darkness lay upon the primaeval deep and God's wind (myhilo)e: haw=r ; LXX pneuma qeou) was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1.2)

And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens (ou)ranou\v) opened and the Spirit (to\ pneu~ma) descending upon him like a dove (peristera\n); (Mark 1.10)

And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit (to\ pneu~ma) descend as a dove (peristera\n) from heaven (e)c ou)ranou~), and it remained on him." (John 1.32)

We should note the occurrence of the same expression in the book of Jonah:

When the sun began to shine, God sent a hot east wind (haw=r; ; LXX pneu/mati kau/swnov). So the sun beat down on Jonah's head,and he grew faint. So he despaired of life, and said, "I would rather die than live!" (Jonah 4.8 NET Bible)

The important points are these: we are allowing the two 'sign of Jonah' sayings in Matthew their fullest referential compass as recurring not only to the book of Jonah, but to the story of The Flood, and by extension, to the story of creation, thereby finally presenting the messianic series as a sixfold whole. Both the 'three days and three nights' saying and the narrative of The Flood in its capacity as creation theology serve as references to the entire messianic miracle series. One final point concerning the 'dove' as an invocation of The Flood must claim our attention; at the conclusion of that narrative we notice not only the role of the dove, but also the 'sign' of the rainbow, which immediately confronts us with the phenomenon of seeing itself, and calls to mind the optic semeia. In  The Flood, the three flights of the dove square at once with the threefold patterns of the creation narrative and messianic cycle, just as its references to '7 days' tend towards the same meaning.

Before we pass to a brief exposition of the optic iconography behind the miracle stories, we need to see that there is yet another reference to the messianic series, which once again maintains its integrity. This will justify the attention just given to the three 'Jonah' references in the last chapter of John.


We began by noting the triple usage of the expression 'Simon, son of John' in this chapter, and a well attested variant reading of the latter name, 'Jonah'. Even if in the setting of the first instance of this form of address of Peter by Jesus (John 1.40-42), we are not evidently in the vicinity of the sea, in the last, we certainly are, a fact which tells in favour somewhat for the variant reading. There is no storm here; nor any appearance of Jesus on the sea. But there is a miraculous catch of fish, and an episode in which Jesus gives both fish and bread to the seven disciples. The same or a similar incident is told in Luke 5.1-11, in the course of which Simon also, or Simon Peter also,  figures prominently; he is referred to by both names, (Luke 5.5, 8 respectively and once again as Simon (v 10)). But Luke's account lacks any Eucharistic motif as well as what is equally notable for us:

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them (e(kato\n penth/konta triw~n); and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21.9-14)

This text abounds with threes, so often a veritable formal signature for the evangelist Mark; there are the three figures constituting the number of fish, which as we shall argue in a moment, are as important as the figures in Mark's own recapitulation of the two miracles of loaves of bread and fish (Mark 8.11-13, 14-21); as just observed, this episode is enumerated as the third (tri/ton v 14) appearance of the risen Lord to the disciples; finally there are the three times which Jesus puts to Simon Peter the question concerning his love for him (vv 15-19), these too are enumerated lest we fail to notice the pattern: ' ... a second time ... a third time ...' (vv 16-17).

We contend here that efforts on the part of textual critics to determine the chapter as anything other than an integrated whole are misguided for failing to notice the underlying theme - the Eucharist. In its record of Jesus' actions, there is no mention of  'thanksgiving' as there was in the Johannine miracle story. The text simply says e!rxetai I)hsou~v kai \lamba/nei to\n a!rton kai\ di/dwsin au)toi~v, kai\ to\ o)ya/rion o(moi/wv - 'Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.' (21.13) However, both verbs recall John's recension of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand - e!laben ou)~n tou\v a!rtouv ... die/dwken ... o(moi/wv kai\ e)k tw~n o)yari/wn ... (John 6.11) (The verb rendered 'distributed', (die/dwken), is a cognate of the verb 'to give'.) Mark has both verbs 'take' and 'give', in both accounts of the two Eucharistic miracles contained in his gospel (Mark 6.41, 8.6). The occasion John describes in chapter 21 in itself, the fact that this event speaks of the risen Christ feeding his disciples, an action which he then three times enjoins Peter to repeat, surely settles its Eucharistic status undeniably. But we have to do with the mysterious or not so mysterious figure, 153, which has generated speculations ranging from the mundane to the bizarre.

The Eucharistic-feeding motif is the one single theme which binds together this final chapter of the gospel of John. From start to finish, the action gravitates about this idea. Scholars who have deemed it to consist of two or more parts must be oblivious to its aesthetic integrity secured by the prominence and consistency of this theme. Little wonder then that this cipher, '153', which is really not so enigmatic at all, combines at a stroke all three Eucharistic miracles, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine - the first; The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, the fifth; and The Feeding Of the Five Thousand, the third. Why does the ordering of the events vary their chronological sequence? Quite simply because it takes into account not just the immanent (feeding) miracles themselves, but the entire sixfold series. In this series the Pneumatological episodes, The Stilling Of The Storm, and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, are second and second last respectively, or what is the same thing, second and fifth respectively. Therefore the enumeration of the feeding events alone, reckons the inclusion of the three transcendent miracles in its specification of the innate chiastic complementarity of the series. In other words, the enumeration of the serial order of the immanent episodes alone, points just as surely to their complements. The setting, by the sea again supports this, since it denotes the same location of two of those miracles. This figure '153', is extraordinarily concise in its reference and meaning, since it articulates by means of indicating the seriality of the feeding events, the entire sixfold series of messianic miracles. As it now exists, the cipher sits within its context as a succinct summation of the entire messianic miracle series and the Eucharist, the last episode now taking place. It would seem then, that it was included in the gospel to achieve this very purpose; the final full summation of the sevenfold messianic series. In other words, this last episode,may be considered the seventh and final member of the messianic series, it is for John 'the' Eucharist. Whoever wrote this last chapter of the gospel knew well enough for sure of the existence of all six of the miracle stories, even though three of these are missing from John, and the same author knew also of their chiastic form, just as that person knew of the Eucharist. We can summarise this hermeneutic as follows, where the order of the events on the left, all immanent (feeding) by definition, conforms to their signification in John 21 as first, fifth and third respectively. This ordering follows that of the diurnal/nocturanl sequence. Thus the juxtaposed complements in one-to-one correspondence according to their Tinitarian rationale, occur at opposite intervals within the same twenty-four hour cycle. So for example, the two Christological events, Transformation and Transfiguration, take place during the intervals centred on midnight and midday respectively:

There is only one further point we need to enter here, that of the normative status of the immanent messianic events. The author of John 21 tallies the full six episodes, adding the seventh, the Eucharist proper, while  referring only to the feeding events. The effect of simultaneously highlighting their chiastic structure thus both incorporates the three complementary transcendent episodes and acknowledges the Eucharist itself, while it also stresses that these 'feedings' are definitive for this entire class of events, that is, normative for the series as a whole. The obvious echo of all of which follows in the ensuing three times Jesus enjoins Peter:

... "Feed my lambs."

... "Tend my sheep."

... "Feed my sheep." (John 21.15-17)

In the second essay of Miracles As Metaphysics, we considered the close links between the three transcendent messianic miracles and various Resurrection narratives in Mark, Matthew and John, having concentrated on the last gospel. We contended that the three appearance stories in John, The Appearance To Mary Magdalen (John 20.11-18), The Appearance To the Disciples (20.19-23), and Jesus And Thomas (20-24-29) portrayed the identities of the Transcendent ("the Father"), the Holy Spirit and the Son, respectively, just as the three miracle stories did, albeit in relation to the Son. That is, we postulated the triune rationale behind these texts as equally and systematically formulated behind the three miracle narratives, only one of which is contained in John. Chapter 21 of John needs to be assessed in the light of this clear pattern which aligns the three prior stories of appearances of the risen Christ with the three transcendent miracles. For it delivers to us the fourth and final feeding episode - again, apparently despite the fact that John lacks The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, and some would say, also the Eucharist proper. There is in this final chapter thus a very clear and certain summation of the theology of immanence as given in terms of Christian epistemology-psychology. For it brings into focus as a whole, not just the three immanent episodes which taxonomise the perceptual soma, and in so doing, their three transcendent counterparts, but all four immanent events. It thus speaks with the utmost  clarity of the manifold of sense-percipience. The ordering of the three feeding events appears to contradict their sequential pattern, for if we take the two subspecies patterned in terms of the three figures, first, fifth and third, the Pneumatological occasions are ostensibly not the last, as they were in the creation, Days 3 and 6 being the final members of their respective halves. But this ordering in John 21 complies with the occurrence of the events relative to one another within the nocturnal-diurnal cycle, and it conforms with the optic semiosis as indicated by the presence of two references within the narratives, temporal references to the same twenty-four hour cycle and colour terms.

The several stories of The Flood, The Sign Of Jonah and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand dovetail in a way that makes it binding upon us to link the sevenfold series of both Genesis and the gospels and The Apocalypse, with what the miracle narrative indicates, the semeia of vision and so of inscription, of the visible word; that is, the seven or so visible hues of the spectrum. The utility of these to our task will be indispensable, for their serial structure will avail the exposition of the variety of relationships that the various radicals of consciousness subtend to one another. But in addition to that, they will also disclose certain aspects of time, and so of mind, which will be otherwise insusceptible of description. As qualia, that is as certain properties or qualities which are visually perceptible, they will tell us about the entities in question; they will as no other resource will, put certain judgements about the actual nature of not only the categoreal forms, but the modes of intentionality which these entail. It is going too far to say that the semeioptika perform certain propositional functions of which other semiotic system is capable. The same may be said of the acoustic semeia, and it may seem that these are even more resourceful in that they more adequately approximate mathematical language, if indeed mathematics may be said to be such. But it will be necessary to use all three semiotic series if we are to reach any comprehensive and balanced doctrine of mind.

We have just seen in the 'sign of Jonah' sayings which include a reference to 'three days and three nights', another application of the optika vis-a-vis the six conceptual radicals along with their six perceptual counterparts. Two of these signs were framed for us in the Matthean redactions of the 'sign of Jonah' saying. They are the orange of dawn-morning and the blue of evening-night, which are formally separated by a twelve hour interval. These designate the Pneumatological dyads: the conceptual categories, male and female, and their perceptual equivalents or counterparts, optic imagination and optic memory respectively. All three pairs of events, whether 'Days' or messianic miracles, that is, whether conceptual or perceptual categories, are thus signified by means of oppositional or complementary optic semeia as these refer to the diurnal/nocturnal temporal cycle. Later we can and will utilise also the annual, that is solar, cycle, as well as the lunar cycle, which will entail a twelvefold system, but for the moment at least, we will pursue our task as simply as possible and address the sixfold schema as referent to the twenty four hour cycle alone. Moreover, we will rely on the indications given in the miracle narratives, for we have already noted in the Matthean pericopae the prompt for this part of the theology of semiotic forms. There are expressions in the creation taxonomy also which will avail us in this procedure, but the messianic series remains the best guide, not only due to its references to colours, but also its references to time. This link between colour qua light and time is perfectly consonant with the same semantic in the creation story.

Just as comprehensibly, both Christological miracles use the hexad in relation to the Christological categories, which always serve to focus our endeavours. Those narratives speak of two processes, 'becoming' in the case of the first and 'changing of form' in the second. These two processes of transmutation reflect as noted, the relation of God to the world, and that of the world to God; the first pointing to the event of birth and the last being a clear reference to the phenomenon of death, not just the birth and death of the Son, but also to the same events for ourselves. (In which respect we must allow that The Transfiguration defers to the Day 1 rubric which posits Mind, as precisely normative in this case.) Thus the 'changing of form' (metemorfw/qh Mark 9.2) or 'transfiguration' of Jesus, is nothing other than his death as a human person, a fact which Mark and the other synoptists articulate in the subsequent pericope dealing with Elijah and the Son of man, and which Luke makes doubly clear in speaking of his, that is Jesus', 'departure'.

The six conceptual and the six perceptual categories stand in a relation of one-to-one congruence. So in the examples just noted, the symbolic masculine and optic imagination are equally about the transcendent Holy Spirit; whereas the feminine and optic memory are equally about the immanent Holy Spirit. This is the logical justification for employing the optika for both series congruently. The use of the optika must reflect this; the fact that the same signs designate both conceptual and perceptual radicals. At the basis of this same congruence, represented in the two processes of change in the two Christological 'events', is one and the same entity: a specific value. In this instance, that of the Holy Spirit, it is the value beauty. The difference between the two processes of change, of transmutation, has already been observed. In the case of immanence ('transformation'), change is continuous and conforms to the symbolic feminine and to memory; in that of transcendence ('transfiguration'), it is discrete, conforming to the symbolic masculine and to imagination. The legitimacy of this distinction devolves upon the fundamental disparity between the relationships of the present to the past and to the future respectively, and is tantamount to the difference obtaining between unity and identity.

It must be emphasised that what we are about to advance, the theology of optic semiotic forms as this concerns the Holy Spirit, in no way depends on either or both of the two 'sign of Jonah' sayings in the gospel of Matthew. We have already postulated as the hermeneutic of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, the existence of two centres of consciousness inextricably stemming from the phenomenon of visual sentience - optic imagination and optic memory. The latter is of course the topic of the feeding miracle story, and the former, the topic of its counterpart, The Stilling Of The Storm. If the theology of optic semiotic forms, (henceforth 'semeioptic' forms and semeioptika), depends upon any of the biblical texts at all, it is this second of the miracles of loaves. We must emphasise that the 'sign of Jonah' logia as we have understood them in Matthew at least, merely confirm the hermeneutic of the feeding miracle story. Thus the feeding miracle narrative repeats one of the most immediately recognisable of all ciphers for the Holy Spirit:

And he asked them, "How many loaves have you? "They said, "Seven."  ( e(pta/) ... and he took the seven loaves ( e(pta\ a!rtouv) ... And they ate and were satisfied; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full ( e(pta\ spuri/dav). And there were about four thousand people. (Mark 8.5-9)

"When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets (kofi/nouv) full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven ( e(pta\) for the four thousand, how many baskets (spuri/dwn) full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven." ( e(pta/) And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?" (Mark 8.19-21)

It is well worth noting that in both episodes, the recounting of the miracle itself and the recapitulation of the two miracles of loaves, which follows it  so promptly, the words for 'loaves'  and 'baskets' are sometimes dropped, making the figures function even more abstractly. It is not necessary to repeat the arguments resulting in the hermeneutic. Its further  application is what must now occupy us. In the first place we should observe the clear function of the repeated figure 7. For if it refers to the role of visual sentience in human consciousness, then it must also certainly apply not only to the systematic arrangement of the narrative cycle of which The Feeding Of The Four Thousand is part, the sevenfold messianic series, but equally to those other cycles in Genesis  and in The Apocalypse which are formally consonant with the messianic events. In other words, the text reflects itself. In bringing to our notice the phenomenon of vision, and so too the visible semeia, it is at the same time referring to itself as manifesting the very patterns inherent in the visible semeia. We notice this again and again as according with the Johannine and creation descriptions of mind; for they both depict its reflexive or self-referential capacity. The first purpose in applying the hermeneutic therefore must consist of the recognition that the visible forms of the words in Genesis, the gospel, and The Apocalypse, in a word, these 'scriptures', all comply with the heptadic schema. This does not entail that the four series of sevens in The Apocalypse can be mapped onto the existing relation between the categoreal morphology that binds together the creation and the salvific events in a relation summed up in the paradigm transcendence : immanence, as well as by the various Christological formula, 'beginning and end' and so on. We have insisted all along that  the categoreal paradigm presents us with just two relata and their ensuing relatedness. There are two terms at work here, not three, and we must be mindful not to multiply our categories beyond the exigencies of the principle of parsimony. The relation of the contents of The Apocalypse will necessarily concern us, and these will become clearer as we proceed, but it will repay us now at the outset to be constantly aware of the systematically dyadic relation that obtains between beginning and end as between creation and salvation. The categories of consciousness are taxonomically two in number at the most radical of levels; we know these as conceptual (Genesis) and perceptual (the four gospels).

There is an obvious reference of the repeated figures in each of the three feeding miracles to the intertextuality of the three narrative cycles. Clearly the Christological events which portray the figure six in relation to the identity of the Son, can be read in terms of the central relation obtaining between beginning and end, creation and salvation, Genesis and the gospel. The Sabbath day in the P narrative is passed over if not in silence, then without the same import as that story attaches to the six Days of beginning proper. This fits it to the Christological purposes of the later narratives in the messianic series, Transformation Of Water Into Wine and Transfiguration. If then, we find in the gospel of John no real formal equivalent to the account of Jesus instituting the Lord's Supper or Eucharist such as we have it in the three synoptic gospels and in Paul, that speaks for the awareness of the author(s) of John of the logical contact between the two cycles, Days and messianic miracles, as between the conceptual forms and perceptual forms. The sixfold enumeration of these leaves the Sabbath-Eucharist correspondence out of consideration in order to make the clearer the precise semantic attaching to the Christological titles as well as to the categoreal paradigm. John's understanding of the messianic series posits it in relation to the Christological. If it reduces the categories to the hexad then it also highlights the singular relationship between Genesis and gospel as 'messianic'.

Thus the two Christological miracle narratives centre the theology of semiotic forms for they interrelate the 'two' members of the canon, the two testaments as reflected in the events of 'beginning and end'. This reverts to the status of the categories belonging to the same identity, the Son. For whereas the repeated fives of the first miracle of loaves posit the semiosis of the acoustic, it is weighted in favour of transcendence, just as it identifies the Transcendent. On the other hand, the repeated figure seven, of the last of the miracles of loaves, is referent to the identity of immanence and the Holy Spirit. These formal patterns are immediately recognizable as configuring essential aspects of the internal construction of the same two narrative cycles and their relatedness. There is a clear reference in the story of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand to the organization of the Hebrew canon as it consists of two related sets of texts, Torah and Megilloth, The Festival Scrolls. The Hebrew Tanakh collects the twelve minor prophets on a single scroll, calling them The Book Of The Twelve. But it would be difficult to ascertain how widespread knowledge of such formal features as these was at the time when the two miracles stories were written. In keeping with this, there is a certain reference to the internal constitution of the New Testament by means of the repeated figure seven, indicating the corresponding connection between the (four) gospels and The Apocalypse.

We do not need to rely on such notions however. For the rationale which interrelates the three texts concerning us is the phenomenological one; it adverts to the obvious orientation of each of the three texts in virtue of a specific sense-percipient mode.  In addition to this, we will interpret the figures of the three miracle narratives which logically denote the same three modes of sentience. This we will do in relation to a theory of language, and simultaneously, a doctrine of the word, and a theology of revelation itself. Thus centering the synthesis of the texts, Genesis 1.1-2.4a and The Apocalypse on the gospels not only introduces the eschatological dimension first adumbrated in the story of beginning as the paired rubrics concerning the eschatological category, the anthropic category, Day 3 and Day 6, major concerns for The Apocalypse. It also reduces to two relations what might be otherwise reckoned as three divergent and unrelated terms. The initial or 'beginning' and final or 'end' point of reference for all three texts remains the gospel. It is not this co-ordination of the three main textual cycles alone which occupies us, it is the corresponding co-ordination of their governing phenomenal modes of sense-percipience, acoustic, haptic and optic, and hence the prospect they offer to semiotic and linguistic theory as to the doctrine of revelation.

It will be possible to elaborate this hermeneutic when we come to deal with the first of the gospels. The point necessary to grasp here is that of all three episodes, the story of the miracle at Cana co-ordinates the theology of semiotic forms. For not only do the two concerns with which it and its complement, The Transfiguration, concern themselves, the haptic radicals of consciousness, evince their intermediate status as to the total disparity between transcendence and immanence, 'heaven and earth' so to speak, as emblematic of the Son, and in so doing corroborate the same premise first predicated of the Christological conceptual categories, mind and mind : body, but they serve simultaneously to model the actual correlation between the two canons as between the two events, 'beginning' and 'end'. The elementary formal logic of these patterns can be put here. We shall elaborate upon them when dealing with the gospel of Luke, when we shall have occasion to consider the nature of the body as semiosis indicative of the dialectic between identity and unity.

Further to the opening of the first letter of John, and the introduction to the theology of semiotic forms, we repeat what was said previously as regards the difference between the three phenomenal modes of sense-percipience and the categoreal paradigm: the haptic semeia are weighted according to neither principle. They do not as the acoustic signs do, propose more or less exclusively a theology of transcendence; nor only a theology of immanence, the business of the optic signs, given that these two interact and are mutually inclusive according to the bifurcated phonetic and graphic structure of language itself, and according to their mediation by the haptic. Alternatively, we say of the haptic semeia as of the mind : body as conceptual form of unity, that they are accentuated in both directions at once. They are equally transcendent and immanent. The peculiar identity of the Christological categories resides in this fact, and is manifest in the nature of language itself. 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, or co-ordination of the primordial (archaeological) and teleological (eschatological), itself confers alterity on the two antithetical semioses as represented in the two components of the canon, Old and New testaments as they are known in the Christian tradition.  In short then, the body and haptic sentience as equivocally determined in respect of transcendence : immanence, entail the reality of language itself; this will be vital to a doctrine of revelation. Thus for the conceptual polarity of mind as for its perceptual pole, the intervenient and Christological categories correlate both enumerative systems detailed in the feeding miracles, those of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand and The Feeding Of The Four Thousand. Without the story of the miracle at Cana and its complement, The Transfiguration, we can never make any sense at all of any of the many numerical details of the immanent messianic events, including the Eucharist.

                                                                                                           transcendence : immanence

                                                                                                                         space : space-time   (beginning                 

                                                                                                                         mind : mind-body      and

                                                                                                                          male : male-female    end)


                                                                                                   transcendence        :          immanence

                                                                                                             acoustic    haptic     optic

The implications of the archaeological and teleological semioses, the acoustic and optic, and of the haptic and Christological semiosis for a Christian theory of language as for its doctrine of revelation are far reaching. We must understand at once the primordiality of orality, or the orality of primordiality. If we take the creation story in terms of its own self-referential nature, its own operation as 'logos', then the acoustic semiotic forms, the patterns reflected in the story of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, signal the orality of the word. On the other hand, its inscripted form, its graphic and visible mode, that of 'scripture' as a whole, of which The Apocalypse must remain in some sense, the final exemplar, stands in direct opposition to this very primordiality. The final or written epiphany of language as of the word, its self-constitution as text, and as all but palpable, something which orality necessarily lacks, stands in antithesis to the primordial. There is thus an absolute discrepancy as far as the theology of semiotic forms is concerned, between beginning and end of the word; between the sound and the sight of the same. This collocation, the juxtaposition of the primordial and eschatological (consequent) natures of the word are disclosed in the haptic as in the soma. That is, the resolution between these ultimately variant aspects of language is the business of the theology of hapsis. In this way, cognition and conation both may be understood as embodied, and language must begin with the body itself. The identifiable membra disjuncta of the body, those of its components or elements which are nevertheless whole, as fully integrated as immanence itself, these establish the basis of communication. This 'erotism' of the word, the tangibility or haptic reality of communication as of physical love, will be discussed in the first of the gospels at which we must look, Luke, in the context of the intentionality of desire and the conceptual form soma.

We cannot press into service a specific sense-percipient modal propensity  vis-a-vis  each gospel. Even if the sense-percipient manifold, the soma, the body is reckoned in this fourfold way, it will never serve to explicate the specific natures of each of the four gospels. We must look elsewhere. The inapplicability of the fourfold structure of soma as a manifold of sense-percipience to the fourfold form of the gospels, should be also at once clear from the fact that no one of these in particular can be deemed Eucharistic, to the exclusion of the remaining three. All four gospels gravitate towards the final episode in the messianic series, the Eucharist, including the gospel of John. Whether the final chapter of that gospel is intended largely to make up for any apparent absence of a narrative relating the institution of the Lord's Supper or not, and so exhibits a synoptic provenance, does not belong to the discussion here; but we must observe the clear existence of a theology of the Eucharist in John 21. In just this sense, we again confront the collusion that occurs between the mode representative of the Son, the haptic, and the Eucharistic modes(s), smell-taste. The prevalence of references to taste in the Christological narratives, the first and last miracles of the messianic series, and the story of Lazarus, has been noted. It is equally clear that no one evangelist evinces a clear inclination for any particular form of sentience. Even so, all four gospels may be deemed 'Eucharistic', and this renders by dint of the closest possible intimacy between touch and taste, what we have put concerning the haptic orientation of the gospels.  Just such an orientation, the apparent predilection of the gospels for the haptic, reiterates the mediatory nature of hatpicity itself, the fact that it is weighted neither in favour of transcendence nor immanence, but realizes both equally, as do the two conceptual Christological categories, soma and mind. This intervenience, this mediation of what are the otherwise disparate conceptual and sentient modal entities reflecting transcendence and immanence, is put in the above data. It should follow from what was said at the beginning of this study that we may attribute the three phenomenal modes to the three instances in scripture of texts given according to serial forms of order. Thus it was argued that The Apocalypse does exhibit a certain predilection for that form of sentience, vision, which identifies the Holy Spirit. Nor need we resile from the observation concerning the prevalence of the acoustic mode in Genesis and by extension in John.

We must emphasise that the same formal systems disclosed in the pericopae formulate the actual texts. We have then, twelve healings, twelve oral traditions. (We shall later deal with the two stories of Simon Peter's Mother-In-Law and The Syrophoenician Woman's Daughter a propos of this reckoning.) That they were passed down to us in this way is probable as noted from the many variations involved in their several recensions. Not that this counts against them. As for the written 'gospel', a word fairly infrequently used in the New Testament, but remarkably present in The Apocalypse, matters are very much otherwise. Not only are all seven accounts of the messianic episodes in closest conformity with one another as to their details, but their very existence as inscribed places them at significant remove from the healing miracle pericopae, and also completes the promulgation of the gospel as finally written. It achieves this in just the same way as the oral kerygma, that of the reflexive, the self-referential, so pronouncing the idea of selfhood indivisibly from the content. The Apocalypse, whatever else may be true of the time of its composition,  articulates as written, the very last stage of this process of the embodiment of the Word. Hence this coherence must be the first recourse for the hermeneutic of the miracles. We cannot suppose, nor have I supposed, that the evangelists were prescient enough of the course of the evolution of human culture to know anything much concerning the final determination of the dodecaphonic series, and the various acoustic scales, which replicate the sevenfold, sixfold, and fivefold patterns of the three miracle narratives. That was never posited. But that they might indeed have understood at one or another level of consciousness, just as John seems to have understood, the clearest possible link between language itself and the semiotic variance between heard and seen signs, and the role of the intervenience of haptic semiosis in all of this, as again expressed in the opening of the first letter, this certainly seems not simply possible, but very probable.


I have not found one work which dealt in any way with the figures of these miracles. Commentaries which are intended to explain the Gospels line by line suddenly skip over entire verses when they come to the miracles of the multiplication of bread and fish.

A clear example of what may be termed resistance to understanding is provided by the first rate commentary by Father Raymond E. Brown to the gospel of John in the Anchor Bible. He includes a presentation in table form of all details of the two miracles of multiplication, lining up in parallel columns against each other the two miracles according to each of the four gospels. Every single item in the accounts is compared, but the figures in the miracles are left out. The same blind spot is to be found in similar comparisons by other scholars. (See Livio C. Stecchini, A History Of Measures,  Part IV: Hebrew Measures, They Have Eyes And Do Not See.)

We should never expect to understand these narratives without some conviction that the numbers contained within them, are at least as meaningful as the words which comprise the text, assuming for the moment  the existence of some kind of difference between numbers and words. Yet that invariably happens. Few if any interpretations of the narratives even broach the subject. The figures in the texts, figures which are the same in all synoptic versions of the narratives as well as in John's account of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand are generally passed over in silence as Livio Stecchini justifiably and indignantly observes. Indeed in the recapitulation of both miracles of loaves and fish in Mark (8.14-21), where the same details are faithfully repeated, Jesus reproaches his disciples for their 'hardness of heart' (Mark 8.17), and their failure to understand (v 21). These same reproaches still stand; they indict contemporary theologies which purport to deal with these very narratives while ignoring the numerical details. No reasonable hermeneutic of the three feeding miracles can afford to neglect these most salient details of the narratives, the figures. Furthermore no truly biblical theology of the Eucharist itself, can evade the same responsibility, given that the feeding miracle stories are intrinsically germane to it. Reading the events of either series, beginning or end, in terms of a semiosis of the hues of the visible spectrum is at last a start towards unraveling some of the pedagogical objective behind Mark's very purposive accounts of the stories. Theological method may not do without such a procedure; even though we shall argue later that it is necessary initially to dispense with the Pneumatological occasions in search of the meaning of the fourfold form of the gospels, and even though the acoustic semeia will fully articulate the forms of relatedness and the doctrine of intentionality (consciousness) as an essential component of Markan metaphysics.

Why methodologically employ such 'signs', the semeioptika? Is it merely for the re-enchantment of theology? There is no reason for theology to remain monochromatic, or achromatic, and still less why it should remain innumerate. The semiological factors in the theology of semiotic forms occur hand in hand. There is no other way to begin the exposition of the details in the miracle narrative, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, which are of such import to Mark than by means of the semeioptika. Colours are in a sense, inscribed upon everything visible to us. If we are to understand the messianic miracles, we are to understand the fact of this phenomenon as incorporated quite literally not just in one particular member of the seven episodes, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, and to codify the entities in question, both conceptual and perceptual radicals of mind accordingly. We are also by the same means to begin to pursue a doctrine of revelation itself. For the tradition as written, inscribed as well as passed on orally, demands the same method of understanding.  Indeed it is this written tradition with which we have most to deal. This does not mean simply The Apocalypse alone, that most 'written' part of the whole written tradition, and the most abstruse book in the canon. It means the systematic entirety which is the theology of semiotic forms, and which as 1 John suggests is more than merely tangential to the doctrine of the Word.

Here at the beginning of the theology of semiotic forms, it will greatly assist us in simplifying matters and in forestalling misunderstandings if we conjure with the semeioptic series. Its elements will moreover be available to those of us who choose to avail ourselves of visualization techniques in Christian meditation. That is, semeioptika commend themselves at the level of praxis as well as that of doctrine. We shall deal first with the Pneumatological semeioptikon in association with the transcendent term of the anthropic category, the conceptual form symbolic masculine, identifying the transcendent Holy Spirit. We encounter the semeion for the optic imagination, the subject of The Stilling Of The Storm, in the allusions in Matthew 16.1-4, the perceptual radical analogous to the conceptual radical, symbolic masculine. We need not put too fine an edge on this. For above all, we have urged that the immanent inclination of vision itself towards unity, is immediately evinced in the very fact that spectral hues proximate  to one another, colours in the visible spectrum which are contiguous, tend imperceptibly to fuse. This phenomenon puts better than anything else, that which is germane to consciousness as intentionality: wholeness, integrity, unity. If Matthew's use of 'fiery' red of the morning in connection with the time of day, as well as miracle story may allude to  both incipient intervals, dawn and morning, The Walking On The Water and The Stilling Of The Storm, that is good and well. For these two forms of the imagination, the 'first' and 'last' forms, the acoustic and the optic, are ordered in the texts in the same way, proximately, in the greatest possible propinquity. This means that such forms of imagination are mutually compatible, as are their equivalent forms of memory. Even so, it will be possible just as it is necessary, to isolate one of these texts, and so too, one form of the imaginal consciousness, as signified by the expression 'fiery red'.

Here we can repeat the bare outlines of the diurnal/nocturnal sequence with which the six messianic miracles are synchronised. The details of the argument remain to be rehearsed. If we adopt the sixfold schema rather than include the Eucharist so as to reckon with the full compass of seven events, that is because of the centrality to the theology of semiotic forms of the hexad as already noted. The procedure here therefore follows the Christocentrism of the texts in their co-ordination. It is in the later consideration of the concatenation of four sevenfold serial events in The Apocalypse, and in relation to the Pneumatological doctrines espoused by the same, that it will be incumbent on us to reconfigure the semeioptika in their role. We shall also have to include the fivefold forms referred to in the other similar miracle of loaves. That is, we shall have to bring into mutual correlation the numerical details of both stories, hence the obvious and simplest way to set out is by means of the shape central and mediatory to both as just indicated, the Christological hexad. We enter here also, in advance of the full argumentation, the semioptika assigned to the messianic miracles.


There is nothing new for the history of thought, in methodically relating analogously the hues of the spectrum to the intervals of the  twelve hour diurnal cycle. Aristotle carried out the same procedure in De Metereologica (See Color Systems: Color order systems in art and science, Aristotle). Obviously with results quite different from those given here.  Our premise differs from his own empirical method. At its base, stands our conviction implicit in the creation narrative that time is a radical constituent of human (conceptual) consciousness, and that it is of fundamental importance to religious consciousness in particular. This means that the theological exposition of the fourfold form of the gospel will have recourse to the same fact: the pertinence of time both to the Markan catechetical project, his metaphysical doctrine, and to religious praxis, the ritual celebration of times and 'seasons'. This last is of course the operative word for us, since it is only in relation to the broader annual pattern that such an analogy, that between the semeioptika  and the cardinal points of the (annual) temporal cycle, will serve the exposition of what is rudimentary to the morphology of all mandalas, their fourfold structure. The method we are employing here is not empirical, insofar as it does not depend on any supposed observations of particular colours at particular times of day. Again in departure from Aristotle and others, we shall also plot the semiosis consisting of analogous relations of the visible spectrum and the annual cycle. But our procedure relies in the first place on the analogy between the six visible hues as these are sequentially or serially ordered in the spectrum and the diurnal/nocturnal cycle and sets them in one-to-one correspondence with the contents of revelation. We have emphasised that the spectrum is polarised; it has a 'beginning' and an 'end'. We have thus taken the beginning as the red end, repeating the pattern of the colours as every school child learns them: red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo. (Regarding the connection between 'the sign of Jonah' and the 'sign of the rainbow' in the story of Noah and the flood, see the following two articles in The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning: Chad Pecknold, Reading the Sign of Jonah: A Commentary on our Biblical Reasoning and Rachel Muers, Reading the Rainbow).

Matthew 16.1-4: purra/zei

Matthew twice uses the verb purra/zw meaning 'to be fiery red, of the sky', to depict the colour of 'the heaven' on the morning of an approaching storm.  Liddell And Scott cite its use in Josephus, Pausanius, and Strabo as well as in the New Testament, but only here in Matthew. The Apocalypse uses purro\v both of the second horse to appear at the opening of the seven seals, and of the 'great red dragon', Apocalypse 6.4, 12.3. The Stilling Of The Storm has already been told (Matthew 8.23-27). The root of the word for this hue is 'fire'. The translations almost always given in The Apocalypse notwithstanding, we are reluctant on several counts to translate the term that Matthew uses, simply as 'red'. First we should note that a word for the same is extant in Greek, eruqro/v, occurring in Acts 7.36 and Hebrews 11.29 of the 'Red Sea'. Secondly, this derivative of the word for 'fire' occurred in the compounds 'red-haired' (pu/rro-qrix)  or 'red-bearded' (purro-gen/eiov). Yet again, the words describing the redness of skin used the former, thus, e)ruqrai/nomai: 'to blush', 'to become red', and e)ruqrai/nw: 'to paint red', 'to rouge'. Considering the differences in these two applications to anatomical features, hair/beard colour and skin colour, we can more exactly determine the meaning of 'fiery' as a Pneumatological signifier. Colour terms are notoriously slippery and we need to be sure just what is intended in the sign of Jonah logion. Since the cognate of 'fire' is used of the stormy sky in the morning and also of the colour of hair and of beards, we can legitimately propose that what is meant is akin to that which we understand by the expression 'orange', the predominant colour of fires, which Luke also will associate with the Holy Spirit in a description that also involves visionary experience:

And suddenly a sound came from heaven, like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared (w!fqhsan) to them tongues of fire (puro\v), and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2.2-4)

This brings us to the next consideration; the story of the creation of 'mankind' during the sixth day:

And God said: 'Let us make man (mdf)f) in our own image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth (Cre)f).'

And God created man (mdf)f) in his own image ... (Genesis 1.26, 27 NET Bible)

The rubric describing the sixth Day, has for its counterpart in the theology of transcendence, Day 3. On the third Day both types of plants are produced. We have interpreted the two dyads as representative of the instantiation of the Holy Spirit in sexual dimorphism, male and female. The degree to which transcendence is applicable in this final and indeed eschatological category is circumscribed. Nonetheless all the entities in these taxa, the two types of conceptual entities given in the halves of the narratives, are formulated according to the same categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence. This entails that a transcendent form obtains for the anthropic just as for the other categories. We refer to this as 'symbolic masculine'. The word 'man' used in the story of the last day of the creation proper, is a generic term, which the Septuagint renders similarly: a)nqrw~pon. Nevertheless, the link with the previous 'beginning' half of the narrative is ensured by this same expression. In every case, Days 1 and 4, Days 2 and 5, and Days 3 and 6, we have to consider that the preferred stance of the author is that of transcendence. This was what was meant by saying that the first three Days represent normative occasions for what is at stake - conceptual forms, true ideas. Therefore to miss the certain invocation of the role of the masculine here, even where the feminine stands as emblematic of the conjunction male and female, is mistaken. With this in mind we should observe that this is effectively the second allusion to a colour word in the scriptures:
md): qal w,md:)F: be red; I mdf)f: people, men; III mdf)f: n. pers., Adam, first in Gn 4.25, 5.1a, 3, 5, IC 1.1; IV mdf)f = I hmfdf)a:fa ground; ... surface of the earth Zc 9.1; ... mdO)f (4x) mwOd)f (1x) colour of blood, red (-brown) Gn 25.30. (A Concise Hebrew And Aramaic Lexicon Of The Old Testament, p.4)
Here we encounter a longstanding difficulty associated with all language referring to colour, and indeed with sense perception in general. The history of language is also the history of consensus or accord concerning entities as 'subjective' as percepta. 'Red' is among the first of references to any hue in many languages. (See World Atlas of Language Structures Online). Nevertheless, colour terms often expose language at its most duplicitous. The surest way to represent, that is refer to, any colour, is literally to exhibit it. So once again, because soils present an extraordinary range of colours, predominantly browns, reds, ochres, yellows, and greys, it may seem insuperably difficult to fix any specific meaning to the term as precisely referent to a known colour. In accordance with the hermeneutic of the creation story the specific rubric denoting the symbolic masculine is that of Day 3, which speaks of the two types of plants as produced by the earth or ground. We posited that these stand in relation to the male and female of Day 6, but there, in the more definitive account of the Pneumatological category, the anthropic is finally realised, because logically placed in the immanent second half of the narrative, in favour of which this particular form of unity is weighted, the male and female as sexually dimorphic and conjunct relata manifest the eschatological contrastively to the primordial. This meant that the anthropic itself should be subsumed under the symbolic feminine, and the symbolic masculine understood as that first expressed in terms of transcendence, fission, separation, the condition of the two types ('kinds') of plants. Effectively then, the hermeneutic reads the Day 3 narrative as denoting the symbolic masculine. Thus the  plants signify a method of generation, the asexual, distinct from the final ordering of the human couple. In just this respect they denote the symbolic masculine which insists on the concept of identity, symbolic masculine being the category under which either the exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine are subsumed. The point is that as in each occasion of transcendence, there is no commerce, no transaction, no fusion between the two. It is to this rubric of Day 3 signifying the application to the anthropic of the nature of transcendence then, that in keeping with the hermeneutic we should take the term denoting both 'ground' or 'surface of the earth' and its related colour term 'red', 'red (-brown)'.

Although the Day 6 rubric does include the proper noun 'Adam', the Day 3 story does not. This name will be the subject of the paronomasia establishing the link between the generic term 'man' (humankind) and the word 'ground' or 'soil' in the ensuing J narrative of Adam and Eve, and of course the Day 3 story does indeed mention 'the earth' (Cre)e Genesis 1.10, 11, 12). Of these two narratives, the former is the most important for us, since we are working on the temporal sequence given by the messianic series rather than that of the Days.  We should note  in direct support of this link, the mention of 'three days' in both accounts of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, Mark's and Matthew's. The references to the humans in both narratives, P and J, in close association with the 'ground', or 'soil', or 'earth', establishes something of the illuminative power of the optic semeion, amber, or orange, as a sign for both radicals of mind, the symbolic masculine and optic imagination. This first association between the transcendent Holy Spirit and the 'earth', 'ground' and so on, may be the reason for the proliferation of references to jewels in The Apocalypse. It connects directly with the tradition of the breast-piece of the high priest's accoutrements, which was adorned with twelve stones representing the twelve tribes and is writ large in the book of Ezekiel, so much of which functions as a prompt for that part of The Apocalypse which must concern any discussion of the forms of the gospel, and immanence: the four living creatures. In the latter as in Ezekiel the stones are representative of these collectively identifiable groups. We have consistently associated the attenuated concept of identity in the case of the anthropic category, the symbolic masculine, with the same, collective or generic identity, the identity of one's own 'kind'. An equally common metaphor for the transcendent Holy Spirit is that of fire, and it too will be resumed in the last book of the canon, further to the precedents established in Ezekiel. That there is a logical thread binding the several notions light, fire, and colour is obvious enough. 

The creation taxonomy is arranged serially. There can be no doubting that as the concept of time is so central to its meaning, it is a logically ordered sequence. But is it an actual temporal one? With the achievement of the archaeological week and the institution of Sabbath, we can see something of mundane lived time, but the six conceptual categories are presented distinguishably from this. The hermeneutic which posits the conceptual categories as pervasive, ultimate, epistemic and psychic generalities does not require that we read the hexadic structure of the narrative in this way. In the first instance, the interpretation rested upon the tenet that the story's paramount concern is mind, principally transcendent mind. There is a definite relation between the two entities, time and mind, this after all is set out in The Transfiguration. Something of the kind is set out in evolutionary theoretical accounts of the pre-history of humankind. Only in the latter case of course what we mean is the mind : body unity, the psychophysical. The abiding perspective of the creation story remains that of transcendence, and this must qualify any understanding of the conceptual categories as serially ordered in virtue of a temporal scale of whatever sort. The two primary concerns that shape the awareness of the author(s) P, space or 'the heavens', and mind, and so, Transcendence, must repudiate the organization of the conceptual forms as a graded hierarchy unless that be with recourse to the insights that are to be provided by the messianic series, since it is there that we encounter the description of actual time (space : time), which will portray in terms of its perceptual manifestation, this same scaled hierarchy. Here is the reason after all for accepting the sequence of the messianic miracles as definitive. They portray events clearly located within the spatiotemporal continuum; they deal with the data of consciousness, as these obtain inseparably from what we mean by time (space : time).  But just as surely, the two series are ordered differently, a major part of the meaning of the messianic events is the consequence of their chiastic arrangement. The messianic series certainly exhibits adaptation of the paradigms set out in the story of beginning. In view of this, in reckoning the proper optic semeion for the events under consideration, The Stilling Of The Storm and the Day 3 rubric, it is vital to consider the messianic event by reason of its provision of actual temporal criteria. These are the outcome of (i) its sequential location, and (ii) actual temporal references which  also assist us to resolve uncertainty.

In the brief introduction to the hermeneutic of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, we observed the use made by astrophysics, and by spectography in particular, of the hues of the visible spectrum. The latter utilises the inherent polarity of the spectrum. Consequently it speaks of a red shift and a blue shift; of lights sources moving away from the observer and of those moving towards the observer respectively. This same polarity fits the categoreal paradigm. We can co-ordinate both the archaeological category, space : time and the teleological category, male : female, just as we did for the categoreal analogy of immanence. Thus it was put with reference to the intermediate event, that of psychophysicality, that the symbolic masculine and the vector present-to-future, and the symbolic feminine and the vector present-to-past, stand analogously to the inherent polarity of the optika. The real import of the categoreal analogy of immanence is not effectively, merely the alignment of the masculine with the future and conversely that which occurs between the feminine and the past, but of the eschatological category itself, male and female, with the entirety of the percipient modes, those of imagination and memory respectively. These modes are to be thought of as an unity in the first instance, as must be suggested by the principle of immanence: male and female. However, notwithstanding its own innate paradoxes, imagination presents us with virtual transcendence, which means virtual distinguishability. In the case of Ezekiel for example, we see the prevalence of optic sentience over other forms of the percipient. (In the discussion of the forms of intentionality which is to follow, we shall notice of the form of intentionality proper to optic imagination, just how appositely it fits with his incorporation of the theme of movement in his visions. This is so often a feature of portrayals of the Holy Spirit in the literature, we saw it first in the opening verses of Genesis.)

As to the sequence of the Pneumatological miracles, the second and fifth of the chiasmos, they are so to speak, of the essence of betweeness. They sit between the two pairs which identify now Transcendence  and now the Son, and here once more we can envisage the very same theme - that of movement, of an intervening phase, of transition from an initial to a final state. We can revert to what has already been said in relation to the polarity of the diurnal/nocturnal cycle. The distinguishing criterion is that of the increasing/diminishing light, so that the entire spectrum if it is to be mapped onto the same, must contain an equal number of members for the two halves of the twenty-four hours. In the second essay of Miracles As Metaphysics, we introduced this pattern of the diurnal/nocturnal cycle vis-a-vis the six messianic miracles. We have a clear and certain indication from Mark as to the time of the occurrence of the first of the three transcendent episodes. We recall that it recapitulates the 'first' of the conceptual forms, the archaeological initiation of space, the primordial entity par excellence, in terms of the percipient manifold.  Therefore the first of the optika must be proper to these things - space in itself as conceptual form (Day 2), and acoustic imagination (The Walking On The Water), the perceptual equivalent. That temporal reference, repeated verbatim in Matthew, (Mark 6.48 peri\ teta/rthn fulakh\n th~v nukto\v: 'about the fourth watch of the night'  cf. Matthew 14.25 teta/rth| de\ fulakh~| th~v nukto\v: 'in the fourth watch of the night'), tells for the fact that the miracle occurs in the first of the six intervals of four hours each. That is, it takes place in the first of the three intervals during which the light increases as the sun moves towards its zenith. It will be this episode of course which is to be signified by the very first, 'beginning' optikon at the transcendent (solar) pole of the spectrum, red.

The Time Of The Stilling Of The Storm

Matthew presents no temporal construct regarding when the event took place. This is certainly passing strange given the working assumption that he was copying from Mark who begins his account:

On that day (h(me/ra|) when evening (o)yi/av) had come ... (Mark 4.35)

and given moreover, that Luke flatly contradicts this:

One  day (mia~| twn h(merw~n) he got into a boat ... (Luke 8.22)

Mark of course does not mention the length of the journey, none of the three do. But even allowing for the intervention of the stormy weather it would be amiss to reckon it such lengthy journey as to have taken the entire night, thus fitting with the morning arrival depicted in  Mark 5.1. Matthew's parallel text not only omits the initial reference to time which we find in Mark, it also lacks the ensuing statement of Jesus to his disciples of his intention, having it at 8.18:

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. (Mark 4.35, 36)

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. (Matthew 8.23)

Matthew's mise-en-scene here is somewhat sudden. 'The' boat suggests that we ask, 'Which boat?' There has been no prior mention of a boats nor of boats. The last explicit reference to place was to Simon Peter's house where his mother-in-law lay ill with a fever (Matthew 8.14). In the Matthean text there is an intervening couplet of parables regarding dwellings:

And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead." (Matthew 19-22)

It is at the beginning of this pericope containing the two sayings that we find:

Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. (8.18)

The statement regarding Jesus' intention and the reference to time both thus bear the traces of redaction. This is neither the first nor the last of Matthew's emendations of the Markan text which we may suppose him to have been following. Mark much earlier in the piece, at the beginning of chapter 4, provided the setting:

And he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. (Mark 4.1)

A collection of parables follows, notably The Sower and considerable text on the purpose of parables and the explication of this, one of his most important parables (Mark 4.10-12, vv 13-20); A Light Under A Bushel (vv 21-25); The Growing Seed (26-29); The Mustard Seed (vv 30-32); and finally, two verses again on the use of parables (vv 33-34). In all of which there has been no apparent deviation from the previous location.

Luke's text previously has had Jesus traversing cities and villages with 'the twelve' and also some women. His collection of parables prior to the miracle story more closely resembles that of Mark, but there is no prior setting beside the sea for these. We thus have three witnesses and absolutely no multiple attestation about the time of the event. Luke and Mark in fact contradict one another, since for Luke clearly the event occurs during the day. We are unable to argue from silence, but at least this contradiction suggests the temporal clause in Mark to be redactional. In all three cases (Mark 5.1-20, Matthew 8.28-34, Luke 8.26-39),  the healing of The Gerasene Demoniac - in Matthew, two demoniacs - follows the crossing during which the sea had been calmed. Clearly there is a theological link between the two miracles. The latter one presents nature in a demonic guise. And if we are to make any sense at all of this strand of biblical metapsychology, there is no better place to begin than here. Nature itself as well as human nature does manifest an aspect that can only be called 'demonic' - here it is the symbolic masculine in its destructive aspect which confronts Jesus. The meaning of the healing narrative is the conceptual form now depicted in the Markan twelvefold series just as it was in the Day 3 rubric. Thus the messianic miracle at sea recounted immediately prior to the healing, so places the perceptual structure, optic imagination in closest proximity  to the conceptual  form, symbolic masculine. (We find this and similar patterns elsewhere in the gospel, for example, the close proximity of the two healings, The Leper and The Paralytic, Mark 1.40-45, and 2.12, which locate the perceptual form haptic imagination vis-a-vis the conceptual form mind.)  The provenance of both  components of mind in this case is the transcendent Holy Spirit. Hence the miracle at sea  is portrayed in terms very similar to the 'exorcism'.  This particular healing story is very clearly for Mark as for Matthew and Luke, about the symbolic masculine. So once again, we are in the province of the Pneumatological. The storm at sea and the powers extant in the figure, or figures whom Jesus heals, are one and the same. On this account the cure of the Gerasene ('Gadarene'?) man takes place during the morning, Mark telling us that: 'And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;' (Mark 5.6), so clearly by the time of the arrival on the other side of the sea, it is morning. In view of these facts, and since the temporal clause 'when evening had come'  finds no support from Matthew and is moreover contradicted by Luke, we are justified in questioning its value. But there is one other point to consider, and that is Matthew's use of a temporal adverb in his discussion of the 'sign of Jonah' pericope:

Matthew 16.3:

This word is usually translated 'in the morning', although 'early' is a reasonable alternative. We find the same expression in John 18.28, just after the story of the cock crowing and signaling the fulfillment of the prophecy of Peter's denial, a more exact and explicit reference, and it is used also in Acts 28.23, there in juxtaposition to evening, a)po\ prwi~ e(/wv e(spe/rav, 'from morning till evening'. John's example is salient, for it complies with the sense in Matthew. Once again it is certain that the colour indicative of the approaching storm to be visible, must occur after the period initiating the diurnal half of the cycle. For this latter interval of course belongs to The Walking On The Water, and we possess a clear marker as to its temporality - 'about the fourth watch of the night'. (Matthew clearly associates Peter with that event which initiates the chiasmos from its centre and which mirrors space, the initiating event unparalleled in this capacity.) This means that The Walking On the Water sits on the cusp between night and day, marking the very initiation of the same. The Pneumatological episodes are located internally within the chiastic structure, as second and fifth, a locus which supports their processive role in keeping with the identity of the Holy Spirit, to whom the notion of movement is so often ascribed.  The Johannine epilogue made this quite certain by means of  referring to The Feeding Of The Four Thousand as fifth, simultaneously referring to the order of the companion event, The Stilling Of The Storm as second. It thereby recalls the importance of serial order for the messianic events generally, as well as their chiastic arrangement. Thus the assignation to the second miracle of the series, The Stilling Of The Storm of the second hue of the spectrum receives support from this source also. Given so many considerations, the use of 'evening' in Mark, which in any case, applies to the embarkation only, should not be allowed to obscure the pattern of events. We have more than sufficient warrant for the claim that the Pnematological miracle at sea takes place during the morning, the interval succeeding the dawn, and the second of the six durations dividing the twenty-four hour cycle. Its semeioptikon is therefore as Matthew has already put, the one we see occupying the second  position in the visible spectrum beginning at the 'solar' (red) end.

Designating both Pneumatological radicals, optic memory (The Stilling Of The Storm), and symbolic masculine (Day 3, and again in the twelvefold healing series, The Gerasene Demoniac), by the same chromatic value which we have translated as 'orange' or 'amber', is confirmed by the optic signifier given above, the term  used twice in Matthew 16.1-2, purra/zei; by the temporal reference in 16.3 to 'morning'; and also by the serial contiguity of the miracle story with that for which there is a precise temporal reference, The Walking On the Water.

The Time Of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand

This narrative has so much potential for the hermeneutics of all the narratives which concern us, that it is difficult to know where to begin. That is because the very narratives  themselves are written visible texts, and this particular miracle narrative itself taxonomises the functions of optic memory in consciousness. The miracle story therefore brings to our attention the existence in either cycle, Genesis and gospel, of a sevenfold series; but of course it points beyond there to the same morpheme in The Apocalypse. The word 'morpheme' is intended to convey that these three series remain consistent. Their semantic value and import for Christian metaphysics insists on as much. We must therefore attempt to integrate all three, even though until now, it it has been two series, those of creation and salvation, the Days and the messianic events, which have claimed the bulk of our attention. In the first of the messianic episodes, mention is made of this broader pattern:

Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons (a0na\ metrhta\v du/o h! trei~v). (John 2.6)

This mention of 'two or three measures' is decisive, coming at the very inception of the messianic series. It points to the systematicity involved in the theology of signs. That is, it points not just to the two series, Days and messianic events, which, both because of the status of the seventh event, Sabbath, and Eucharist, are radically determinable in terms of the sixfold pattern, here the one at large in the actual miracle, as in its counterpart, The Transfiguration, which speaks literally of 'six days' not seven. It also points to the sevenfold serial form itself - properly confined to the eschatological and Pneumatological Eucharistic episode, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, where the same cipher is repeated, as 7 loaves and 7 containers full of fragments. The term 'two or three' perfectly encapsulates the significant difference of The Apocalypse from the Genesis and gospel series, which may be counted as two, conformably to the relation of beginning and end. In either case, we have only one series of 6-7 events. In The Apocalypse, we have in all, four. Thus the two salient figures of the Pneumatological feeding miracle, are systematically engaged at the core of the organisation of this last book of the canon, and the one which is most readily recognizable as a Pneumatology.

There are several other instances of threefold symbolism in the first miracle story of John, which reiterate the coherence or consistency of the three verbal (phenomenal) modes of sense-percipience. The account begins with 'On the third day ...' (John 2.1), which also figures in the last of the three feeding miracles, Mark 8.2, and Matthew 15.32. In John there are three references to 'the steward of the feast' (John 2.8, and verse 9 twice). This term, a)rxitri/klinov, is a translation of a Greek expression which even if poetically, certainly alludes to the creation story since it consists of three roots, one meaning 'three' - tri - and the other, a)rxh, meaning 'ruler' (a!rxwn), as it does here, but also, of course' 'beginning' - a!rxomai. (The verb kli/nw means 'to incline', 'to recline', but also 'to wear away'; Luke uses it in this very sense in his introduction to the story of the Five Thousand : 'Now the day began to wear away ... ' (Luke 9.12.))

The introductions of both Mark's and Matthew's version of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand (Mark 8.2, Matthew 15.32), contain the expression 'three days' which comports with the introduction to The Transformation Of Water Into Wine:

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days (h(me/rai trei~v), and have nothing to eat; and if I send them away hungry to their homes (oi!kon), they will faint on the way; and some of them have come a long way." (Mark 8.1-4)

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days (h(me/rai trei~v), and have nothing to eat; and I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.' (Matthew 15.32)

The temporal clause in Mark and Matthew's story of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand is similar to and comparable with John's expression 'On the third day', nor can it be a reference to the theology of transcendence in Genesis. Indeed these references in the gospel if taken in respect of the creation series, might give rise to the confusion of the episodeswith the rubric Day 3, which first introduces the concept of food as well as that of life, into the creation story, notwithstanding that this rubric is our first encounter  of the theology of immanence, and the identity of the Holy Spirit within the actual taxonomy. The Day 6 narrative which fully and finally realises the presentation of the Pneumatological conceptual category, that is, which presents the symbolic feminine precisely as masculine and feminine, in keeping with the Pneumatological emphasis in favour of immanence, is invoked in these references of Mark and Matthew, just as it is in John, and just as it will be in The Apocalypse, where both categoreal principles, masculine and feminine figure to a degree reminiscent of their presentation not in the P story of creation, but in that of J. It is the sexual psychology redolent in the latter, that these represent archetypal forms of evil, as they did for the Jahwist, which fits them for a remaking of the original myth of 'the fall'. The apocalyptist, unlike Paul, seems perfectly aware of his material as mythical. He makes no effort to contrive the Eden myth as anything other than a 'literary' account of the 'last things'. In this sense, his vision of the course of history, a vision quite literally, because it must necessarily take into its sweep the full final course of events first portended in the J account, can be nothing other than 'literary', nothing other than 'symbolic'. It must view, or review the total trajectory of history as an accomplished fact just as  the Jahwistic 'beginning' is; except of course, what lies in the past is not the event formulated in the P narrative.

We affirmed of the temporal referentiality of Genesis, that it primarily concerns 'heaven' as the ordering of primordial events of the kind envisaged by the philosophical tradition by expressions such as 'universals', or more recently 'eternal objects' (Whitehead), since these indicate in the first instance, the existence of the pivotal category, Mind itself as transcendent. The concept will be taken up and amplified in the messianic series, particularly in the narrative of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand. It is the second story of creation, where the perspective is that of immanence,  that the course of mundane history commences. The creation story of J taken in the full context of the syntax that obtains between the three scripted landmarks which concern us, the three points of reference of the tradition, grasped according to their obvious morphological intertextuality which itself reifies or exemplifies the essential, universal event, perceptual (immanent) Mind, and hence the incarnate logos, The Word, represents history already fulfilled, ' the fall' so called as what is definitively a past occasion. It too points ahead of itself. Both the J story and The Apocalypse will be obliged logically  to comprehend with the full force of the same means, the symbolic, the literary, that which will have taken place, where the perfect future so to speak, is a settled, fixed event. The Apocalypse can therefore do no other than speak of such things as a 'red dragon', and variously coloured horses, of a woman clothed in scarlet and purple, and so on. For its essential  topoi are the contents of visual sentience, the hues of the visible spectrum, and the anthropic categories, male and female, which compel the symbolic nature of its discourse, and these formulate the stuff of its historical case, its narratological understanding.

Neither of the two accounts of the Pneumatological miracle of loaves has a reference to any nocturnal-diurnal interval. But just as we did find such a term in The Walking On The Water, so in the complementary episode immediately prior, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, we find:

And when it grew late (Kai\ h!dh w(/rav pollh~v) ... (Mark 6.35)

When it was evening (o)yi/av de\ genome/nhv) ... (Matthew 14.15)

Now the day began to wear away ... (Luke 9.10)

John's account has no such reference, although it does refer both to 'barley loaves' and 'grass' (John 6.9, 10), the latter agreeing with Mark's even more explicit 'green grass' (Mark 6.39); Matthew has simply 'grass' (Matthew 14.19). So whereas the time of the first of the three transcendent messianic events supports the assignation to that event of the first optikon of the series, red, so here, concerning The Feeding Of the Five Thousand, the time and optikon accord complementarily; they are the  interval of afternoon shading into evening and its token 'green'. This means that the next, or 'later' chroma, blue, the complement of orange, is proper to the second miracle of loaves. We have seen already in the Matthean text (16.1-3) the use of  'sky-heaven' and the temporal expression 'evening' as pointing in the very same direction, while the same intention stands behind Mark's own recension of the 'sign from heaven' (Mark 8.11-13), since he puts this immediately after The Feeding Of The Four Thousand. Then just as the colour of 'grass' is green by default, so the colour of the sky is blue by default, notwithstanding the 'fiery' hues of the morning when the storm is approaching.

Having determined the two signs for the Pneumatological dyads: symbolic masculine/optic imagination and symbolic feminine/optic memory, which are orange and blue respectively, we shall pursue the issues germane to the fourfold form of the gospels. What follows will be a study of the sources for the other four radicals of the series, two of which which identify the Son, and the other two which identify the Transcendent. This means of course another eight items in all. We shall endeavour to apply optic semeia to the same four elements of consciousness according to the theology of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand as they arise in the course of the study of the fourfold form of the gospel. For it is the doctrine of consciousness, or as we say, intentionality, one of the most fundamental tenets of Christology, that this 'optic' component of the theology of semiotic forms subserves.


1:1 In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles at the Kebar River, the heavens opened and I saw a divine vision. 1:2 (On the fifth day of the month – it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile – 1:3 the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel the son of Buzi, at the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. The hand of the Lord came on him there).

1:4 As I watched, I noticed a windstorm coming from the north – an enormous cloud, with lightning flashing, such that bright light rimmed it and came from it like glowing amber from the middle of a fire. 1:5 In the fire were what looked like four living beings. In their appearance they had human form, 1:6 but each had four faces and four wings. 1:7 Their legs were straight, but the soles of their feet were like calves’ feet. They gleamed like polished bronze. 1:8 They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, 1:9 their wings touched each other; they did not turn as they moved, but went straight ahead.

1:10 Their faces had this appearance: Each of the four had the face of a man, with the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left and also the face of an eagle. 1:11 Their wings were spread out above them; each had two wings touching the wings of one of the other beings on either side and two wings covering their bodies. 1:12 Each moved straight ahead – wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. 1:13 In the middle of the living beings was something like burning coals of fire or like torches. It moved back and forth among the living beings. It was bright, and lightning was flashing out of the fire. 1:14 The living beings moved backward and forward as quickly as flashes of lightning.

1:15 Then I looked, and I saw one wheel on the ground beside each of the four beings. 1:16 The appearance of the wheels and their construction was like gleaming jasper, and all four wheels looked alike. Their structure was like a wheel within a wheel. 1:17 When they moved they would go in any of the four directions they faced without turning as they moved. 1:18 Their rims were high and awesome, and the rims of all four wheels were full of eyes all around.

1:19 When the living beings moved, the wheels beside them moved; when the living beings rose up from the ground, the wheels rose up too. 1:20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise up beside them because the spirit of the living being was in the wheel. 1:21 When the living beings moved, the wheels moved, and when they stopped moving, the wheels stopped. When they rose up from the ground, the wheels rose up from the ground; the wheels rose up beside them because the spirit of the living being was in the wheel.

1:22 Over the heads of the living beings was something like a platform, glittering awesomely like ice, stretched out over their heads. 1:23 Under the platform their wings were stretched out, each toward the other. Each of the beings also had two wings covering its body. 1:24 When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings – it was like the sound of rushing waters, or the voice of the Almighty, or the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.

1:25 Then there was a voice from above the platform over their heads when they stood still. 1:26 Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man. 1:27 I saw an amber glow like a fire enclosed all around from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire. There was a brilliant light around it, 1:28 like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light; it looked like the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I threw myself face down, and I heard a voice speaking. (Ezekiel Chapter 1 NET)

10:1 As I watched, I saw on the platform above the top of the cherubim something like a sapphire, resembling the shape of a throne, appearing above them. 10:2 The Lord said to the man dressed in linen, “Go between the wheelwork underneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” He went as I watched.

10:3 (The cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court.) 10:4 Then the glory of the Lord arose from the cherub and moved to the threshold of the temple. The temple was filled with the cloud while the court was filled with the brightness of the Lord’s glory. 10:5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard from the outer court, like the sound of the sovereign God when he speaks.

10:6 When the Lord commanded the man dressed in linen, “Take fire from within the wheelwork, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood by one of the wheels. 10:7 Then one of the cherubim stretched out his hand toward the fire which was among the cherubim. He took some and put it into the hands of the man dressed in linen, who took it and left. 10:8 (The cherubim appeared to have the form of human hands under their wings.)

10:9 As I watched, I noticed four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; the wheels gleamed like jasper. 10:10 As for their appearance, all four of them looked the same, something like a wheel within a wheel. 10:11 When they moved, they would go in any of the four directions they faced without turning as they moved; in the direction the head would turn they would follow without turning as they moved, 10:12 along with their entire bodies, their backs, their hands, and their wings. The wheels of the four of them were full of eyes all around. 10:13 As for their wheels, they were called “the wheelwork” as I listened. 10:14 Each of the cherubim had four faces: The first was the face of a cherub, the second that of a man, the third that of a lion, and the fourth that of an eagle.

10:15 The cherubim rose up; these were the living beings I saw at the Kebar River. 10:16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels moved beside them; when the cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels did not move from their side. 10:17 When the cherubim stood still, the wheels stood still, and when they rose up, the wheels rose up with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.

10:18 Then the glory of the Lord moved away from the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 10:19 The cherubim spread their wings, and they rose up from the earth while I watched (when they went the wheels went alongside them). They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord’s temple as the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them.

10:20 These were the living creatures which I saw at the Kebar River underneath the God of Israel; I knew that they were cherubim. 10:21 Each had four faces; each had four wings and the form of human hands under the wings. 10:22 As for the form of their faces, they were the faces whose appearance I had seen at the Kebar River. Each one moved straight ahead. (Ezekiel Chapter 10 NET)

This book repeatedly uses the title 'Son of man', it occurs also in Daniel, Job, Psalms, and Isaiah. In Ezekiel however, we meet it more than ninety times. This formula, which we have identified as synonymous with what is meant by 'symbolic masculine', finds in the book of Ezekiel its single greatest meditative concentration in the Hebrew scriptures. The value and meaning of the semeia, symbol, sign of the 'phallos' accords with this conceptual form. It is perfectly at home in this frame of reference rather than in the New Testament. For all three transcendent conceptual forms, mind, which exemplifies the Son, space which exemplifies the Transcendent, and the symbolic masculine, exemplifying the Holy Spirit, as manifest in specific members of the Tanakh, elaborate the Christological postulates given definitively in the creation taxonomy. In other words the conceptual polarity of consciousness has its proper representation in the Hebrew Scriptures rather than in the New Testament. We have repeatedly drawn attention to the link between immanence, the feminine as masculine and feminine, and the Holy Spirit, and to the fact that the feminine rather than the masculine, remains the defining occasion of the anthropic category, as of the Holy Spirit. It is in the light of this fact that we are to understand The Apocalypse as representative of the feminine, for its context, that of the New Testament, assures it of this role, complementarily to that of Ezekiel in the former canon. Ezekiel in this respect is indeed a prophetic work - it is pre-emptive or proleptic in respect of The Apocalypse, thoroughly in keeping with the symbolic masculine, and the Son of man. Feminist theologies have failed, just as have secular psychologies, to account adequately for the roles of the masculine and feminine in Christian theological texts beyond determining the all too plainly obvious faults endogenous to their male authorship. Criticism has thus far had the last word, much to the detriment of hermeneutics.

The stance here adopted is that the book of Ezekiel therefore requires no apologia for what may occur to some as undue anthropomorphism; nor, to take issue with the more strident polemics of at least some current feminist theologies, whose governing intention is political rather than theological, is it necessary to rebut charges of 'phallocentrism'  or 'phallocratism', on the part of the work. (See for example Cynthia R. Chapman's 'Sculpted Warriors: Sexuality and the Sacred in the Depiction of Warfare in the Assyrian Palace Reliefs and in Ezekiel 23:14-17'.) It is of course in this particular chapter of the book that we encounter that which is to some the most shocking of Ezekiel's utterances:

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. 3 They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. 4 The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

5 “Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians—warriors 6 clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. 7 She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after. 8 She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her.

9 “Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. 10 They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.

11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister. 12 She too lusted after the Assyrians—governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men. 13 I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.

14 “But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeansa portrayed in red, (r#f$#f$), 15 with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea. 16 As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.

22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side— 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses. 24 They will come against you with weapons, chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire. 26 They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. 27 So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore.

28 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. 29 They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you naked and bare, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity 30 have brought this upon you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand.

32 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“You will drink your sister’s cup,
a cup large and deep;
it will bring scorn and derision,
for it holds so much.
33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,
the cup of ruin and desolation,
the cup of your sister Samaria.
34 You will drink it and drain it dry;
you will dash it to pieces
and tear your breasts.
I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.

35 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.”

36 The LORD said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, 37 for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. 38 They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths. 39 On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.

40 “They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry. 41You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and oil that belonged to me.

42 “The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; Sabeans were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the arms of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, ‘Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.’ 44 And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah. 45 But righteous men will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.

46 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. 47 The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.

48 “So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. 49 You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel chapter 23, NIV)

There is of course another colour word pertinent here: r#f$#f$ : 'red pigment used for paint: minium (lead oxide) or vermilion (= red ocher, hematite, an iron oxide) Je 22.14, Ez 23.14' (A Concise Hebrew And Aramaic Lexicon Of The Old Testament, p. 385). The latter of these two references accords with what has already been put regarding the semeioptikon of the symbolic masculine. We shall have to consider much of the Book of Ezekiel in this essay, not merely because the visions of the four living creatures so-called in chapter 1, and of the similarly described cherubim, they are referred to as such only in the second vision, that of chapter 10, certainly concern the fourfold aspect of the gospel, by virtue of the later reconfigurations of this same iconography in The Apocalypse. We shall contend that if these four icons, 'likenesses', do indeed immediately refer to the gospels themselves, by dint of their later 'canonical' adoption in The Apocalypse where they are subordinated to a purely and clearly eschatological purpose. In describing this procedure as 'canonical', we mean to fully articulate the relation between time, which as the motif of change of place and movement is a preeminent concern in the visions of Ezekiel, and the four gospels themselves. This very relation moreover involves immediate implications for the Christian doctrine of time, as is apparent from the 'apocalyptic' concentration on the phenomenon of death and the final destiny of the created order.

We must mention here, as already stipulated, not in any apologetic tone, but rather in the interests of Pneumatology, that of the many references to The Spirit in Ezekiel, the following are feminine in gender:  Ezekiel 1.12, 1.20-21, 2.2, 3.12, 3.14, 3.24, 8.3 (twice), 11.1, 11.5, 11.24, 36.26, and 43.5.  Needless to say, none of these references are derogatory, pejorative, or 'sexually violent' in any way whatsoever. In the following references, the gender cannot be decided due to the absence of a pronoun or verb: 10.17, 36.27, 37.1, 37.14, 39.29. Thus there are no instances of a masculine 'Spirit' as such in this entire book, which is replete of references to this identity. The real point is that without this member, by which I mean the actual text, as well as that which from the point of view of a corporeal, somatic, haptic semiosis it must signify, to wit, the phallos, the actual canon would remain emasculated. This symbolism must needs be understood in the context of the identity of The Paraclete as lifegiver, a function we first observed in the Day 3 rubric of the creation story. That the sign does not function as it does in contemporary secularist iconography cannot be stated too emphatically. It bears a meaning altogether at variance with the almost compulsorily sexual denotation of the phallos in current mainstream western cultures.

The creation rubric, Day 3, presented the symbolic masculine vis-a-vis its complement, the symbolic feminine, Day 6, which latter is to say, male and female, in terms of the contrast between two different 'kinds' of plant, biota, or living things which reproduce asexually - and the anthropic category, the sexually dimorphic humans, male and female, made in the image and likeness of God. The hermeneutic therefore stressed  the aptness to the concept 'symbolic masculine'  of transcendence of the phenomenon of sexual dimorphism as a whole, thus leaving no room at all for any charge of misogyny to be leveled at Ezekiel. Hence there is an essential paradox at work in the semeion of the phallos, lingam, vajra, and so on, its signifiers are legion. It does not matter how we refer to it, since taken by itself, and in itself, rather than as 'the jewel in the lotus', that is, as conjunct with its somatic counterpart, it is the least 'sexual' of any signifier. For as such, what does it amount to? The phallos does not refer to the erotic in systematic biblical semiology - it designates the same idea of collective identity as is given by the name 'Son of man'. As for actual libidinal consciousness, this consists of two categoreal radicals: the conceptual form of unity the body, soma, systematically proposed in the Day 4 rubric, and the (perceptual) haptic memory, the subject of The Transformation Of Water Into Wine (John 2.1-11). The bodily, (haptic) sign for the conceptual form the body, is the gut, the belly, the stomach, so beautifully evoked in the book of Jonah, arguably the reason why that same parable has been used by Christian theology to refer to the ultimate destiny of the body in the 'sign of Jonah' logia, Resurrection; and further to which, by means also The Daughter Of Jairus with its unmistakable references to the girl's menarche and by the conclusion, 'And he told them to give her something to eat' (Mark 5.43). The bodily, (haptic) signifier for the perceptual radical haptic memory, is the hand, which Mark presents in his story of The Man With A Withered Hand (Mark 3.1-6), a narrative  which he adroitly locates at the conclusion of several pericopae all of which deal with the same category: The Calling Of Levi; The Question About Fasting; and Plucking Grain On The Sabbath (Mark 2.13-28). His intentions here are unmistakable. These observations are put here in advance of the ensuing references to Ezekiel, some of which in accordance with post-feminist sensibilities may be deemed pornographic; so be it. What is remarkable about and  in keeping with Ezekiel's contemplation of the 'loins' of 'the one that appeared to be a man', is the prevalence of terms relating to colour, many of which will be utilised later in The Apocalypse. These testify to the sense in which the work participates in the epistemic-psychic category, optic imagination, as well as that of the symbolic masculine:

Then there was a voice from above the platform (firmament ((ayqirf : LXX sterew/matov) over their heads when they stood still. Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire (ryp,i,sa : LXX sa/pfeirov) shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man (mdf)f : LXX a!nqrwpov). I saw an amber (lmoa#$"xa : LXX hle/ktrou = molten bronze) glow like a fire (#$)" : LXX puro/v) closed all around from his waist (mynat:m : LXX osfu/ov) up. From his waist (mynat:mf : LXX osfu/ov) down I saw something that looked like fire (#$)" : LXX puro/v). There was a brilliant light (h,gfnO : LXX fe/ggov) around it, like the appearance of a rainbow (t#$eq,e : LXX to/cou = bow) in the clouds after the rain. This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light (h,gfnO LXX fe/ggouv); it looked like the glory of the Lord, when I saw it, I threw myself face down, and I heard a voice speaking.   (Ezekiel 1.25-28 NET Bible)

Because Ezekiel so often refers to dates, that this prophet, who later married, was probably about thirteen years old when he received the first vision of the four living creatures, which we may reasonably conjecture,  is highly relevant in coming to terms with the significative power of what is so often modestly translated as 'loins downwards' or 'waist down'. The visions in Ezekiel speak repeatedly of  mynat:mf, 'the strong musculature which unites the upper & lower part of the body, lumbar region, hips & small of the back, loins Gn 37.34 ... ' (A Concise Hebrew And Aramaic Lexicon Of The Old Testament, p. 223).

Scholars have been slow to realise just how much of the Ezekiel is given over to what I am referring to as the 'symbolic masculine', evident not merely the recurrent phallic preoccupation of the visions which effect his commissioning, but also in what some consider his misogynistic tendencies, apparent in an almost obsessive concern for Levitical purity laws pertaining to menses. The symbolic masculine is again evinced in the role and significance of the lands apportioned the twelve tribes and the description of the twelve gates to the city of Jerusalem which are named after each of them. These motifs in chapter 48 will be resumed in The Apocalypse, along with his vision of the 'likeness of four living creatures', albeit with certain modifications. These two books are the pre-eminent pneumatological members of their respective canons, and learly their authors' intentions are in both cases informed by strong visual imaginations, their descriptions of the city in both cases, reading much like cruciform mandalic patterns. Howard Ellberg-Schwartz for one, seems at least to have determined in part, the presence of the somatic index of Ezekiel's imagination:
Thus we find that the metaphors of marriage are first appled to the relationship between God and Israel by Hosea, the prophet whos is also credited with having initiated the turn towards a more monotheistic worship of Yahweh. Significantly, Ezekiel's vision comes after these developments. His vision is by far the most explicitly erotic of the God sightings, describing God from the loins up and the loins down. It is as if Ezekiel gives us the erotic version of the myth in which God turns his back to Moses. What I am suggesting, therefore, is that the homoeroticism that was always latent in Israelite theology was intensified by the emerging exclusive worship of Yahweh. (Ellberg-Schwartz, Howard, God's Phallus And Other Problems For Men and Monotheism, Beacon Press, Boston, 1994, p. 107).

The prophet Ezekiel provides a still more explicit depiction of the sexual relationship between God and Israel. In this case, God first discovers Israel as an abandoned baby, cares for her, and watches her mature:
Your breasts became firm and your hair sprouted. You were still naked and bare when I passed by you and saw that your time for love had arrived. So I spread My robe over you and covered your nakedness and I entered into a covenant with you by oath - delares the Lord God; thus you became Mine. (Ezek. 16:8).
This passage comes the closest of any to imagining God as an anatomically male deity. Most interpreters sanitize it and ignore its sexual overtones. They construe "spreading a robe" over the naked Israel as a symbol of marriage, as an act of acquiring the woman as a wife, or simply as protecting her. But the sexual meanings in the passgage are conveyed in a number of ways. First, the very same language is employed when Ruth goes to her kinsman Boaz (Ruth 3:3-9).

God's promise that he "will enter" into a convenant with Israel carries similar sexual overtones. In Hebrew, "coming in" is sometimes used to describe sexual intercourse (e.g., Gen.  38:9, 15). And the expression "coming into a covenant," though occasionally used in other contexts (I Sam. 20:8; Deut 29:11; Jer. 34:10), is not a typical way of expressing the idea of making a covenant. The expressions "cutting a covenant" and "establishing a covenant" are used more frequently by Ezekiel (16:62, 17:13, 34:25, 37:26).
Finally, in a similar parable about God marrying two sisters (Israel and Judah) who had earlier whored in Egypt, Ezekiel has God say, "They became Mine, and they bore sons and daughters" (23:4). The birth of children here makes explict the idea that divine intercourse has occurred with the feminized nations of Israel and Judah.
Some interpreters view Ezekiel's imagery as bordering on pornographic and dismiss it as a product of his idiosyncrasies (Cooke 1951; Eichrdot 1970). From another perspective however, Ezekiel is simply stating more boldly what is implicit in the thought of Hosea and Jeremiah. God's intercourse with Israel is simply the mirror image of Israel's "whoring" after other gods or other nations. If Israel's relations with other gods and nations is sexual, then fidelity to God may be sexual as well. (Ibid p. 111-112).
The Ezekiel passage is as close as we get to a graphic image of God having sexual intercourse. But even here, the sex of the deity remains veiled, for in this case the gaze emanates from God and alights on the body of the female Israel. The divine body is shifted behind the look and not the object of it. This represents a critical shift of perspective. (Ibid p. 113).

I agree with Halperin that there is something disturbing about Ezekiel's vision that did not involve the problem of anthropomorphism generally. "We are looking for a 'something,' he writes, "that somehow has to do with the visions of Ezekiel, that somehow had the power to stir fear, excitement and perhaps even ecstasy" (1988,11). I suggest that the something for which we are looking is Ezekiel's reference to God's loins. Recall that Ezekiel twice describes God from the loins up and the loins down, as if his gaze was irresistibly drawn there (Ezek. 1.2, 8.2). It is possible that while the idea of God in human form did not trouble the rabbis greatly, they were upset by the focus of Ezekiel's gaze. This would explain why the rabbis found his vision more problematic than other God sightings. Ezekiel's vision, more than others, raised the possibility of a male desire for God, a desire that could cause death if men were unable to act with propriety. (Ibid pp. 178-179).
Essential to the understanding of both writers, or sets of writers, the authors of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse, are all four Pneumatological categories: the concepts 'symbolic masculine' and 'symbolic feminine', which latter is equivalent to both male and female of the anthropic category, and the two forms of optic sense-percipience, both that of the imagination and that of memory. All four of of these are exemplars of the beautiful. In each case there is a different emphasis: we may reasonably expect of the book of Ezekiel that it will in some way adhere to the predominant perspective of the Hebrew scriptures, namely transcendence. This leaves The Apocalypse the essential as well as supplementary role of establishing the import of the symbolic feminine and of course optic memory, which in large measure will be synonymous with the epistemic or cognitive aims of historiographical literature. By the latter we mean not just history of course, but evolutionary theory. It is by dint of such concerns that theriomorphic forces both for good and evil are presented throughout the latter work. We need to consider Ezekiel here insofar as it functions proleptically for The Apocalypse and additionally of course, the title 'Son of man', as these both concern the present study. Regarding the latter however, it may be signal of the currently critical if not parlous state of scholarship that it all but abjures understanding this very title as employed in the New Testament vis-a-vis its plainly remarkable prominence in Ezekiel. The two references in Daniel to the same, have been afforded a vast amount of attention, the reason of course being that they are seen to be 'apocalyptic' and 'eschatological' both, in accordance with the majority of New Testament usage, and they have claimed the lion's share of academic attention at the expense of Ezekiel. No examination of the fourfold form of the gospel in light of the essential tenet of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand, which construes vision generally, and so by logical extension the written tradition itself, can maintain such a stance.

The four Pneumatological categories establish the rational and not just rational alone, but also the affective defining parameters for both texts, Ezekiel and The Apocalypse. These categories engage both species of intentional modes, cognitive and conative, thinking and feeling, epistemic and psychic. The discussion of these modes belongs to the next stage of our study, but it is necessary to put here in broaching the semiotic forms, the obvious consonance of these two members of the canon. For whether we wish it or not, any discussion of the messianic miracles, and effectively any discussion of the Christian doctrine of revelation, must comprise The Apocalypse. It is not just the single story of the messianic miracle, The Feeding Of The For Thousand, which poses for us the value of the visible, actual texts to any doctrine of the Word as also to any Christian theory of language itself, though clearly that makes addressing The Apocalypse in part incumbent upon us; it is also the clear consonance of the four sevenfold series it contains  in conformity with the creation rubrics and messianic series, which insists that it be accepted in reference to the gospel and the stories of creation both. The discussion of The Apocalypse is best entered by a careful consideration of some of the contents of the book of Ezekiel.

Of course the visions of Ezekiel predate the appearance of the four gospels. It is possible that the same may even be true of The Apocalypse, the other text in the canon which speaks of 'four living creatures'.  Namely, that its reference to the latter may occur prior to the manifestation in the canon of the New Testament, of four distinct gospels. Whether or not the images of the latter in that text can be taken as referential to the gospels will be hotly contested by any scholar with a view to the history of the tradition. The adoption of the 'four living creatures' as iconic representations of the four gospels, takes place at a later period in the overall development of Christian iconography. Hermeneuts with a specific concern for the historicity of the tradition will doubtlessly and necessarily urge that construing 'the four living creatures' in The Apocalypse (4.6b-9, 5.6-11, 6.1-8, 14.3, 15.7) referentially to the actual gospels themselves is anachronistic. But as it stands this claim, must be tested against the fact of the intertextual nature of that book. The apocalyptist is also laying claim to aspects of the tradition in a completely different way. The Apocalypse strategically replicates the tradition from Ezekiel 1 and 10. Thus it binds together the two canons, Judaic and Christian, just as the Days series and messianic series function congruently. The charge of anachronism against the interpretation of the four living creatures as references to the gospels must therefore address the intimate bond between the two books. Certainly Ezekiel predates The Apocalypse, and just as certainly, the astral imagery it adopts, whatever its provenance, predates both. We are confronted in either case, Ezekiel 1 and 10 and those sections of The Apocalypse already cited, with a 'religious' tradition of greater antiquity than is suggested by even the relevant details of Babylonian mythology, if as is put here, the essential meaning of these images situates us within an emerging stream of cultural consciousness, at the basis of which remains the temporal constructs we are adducing.

In any case, we reaffirm that our method is overtly that of speculative philosophical psychology, which adopts a synchronic view of the texts. We will differ in terms of the emphasis given to this reading of the figures. That is, we will specify the four symbols not as symbols tout court as if that were the end of the matter. For what is the value of such a claim? To identify the four living creatures of the visions of Ezekiel and The Apocalypse with specifically formed written documents, as well as being naive, does not advance our understanding in any degree. We have merely substituted one thing, a document, for another, a visual symbol or icon. That is the reason here for interpreting the vision of Ezekiel with specific reference to time, and subsequently the observations that the common periodic patterns of both temporal, and visible cycles, solar and lunar, are analogous. We have therefore set ourselves the more comprehensive task of incorporating a vital aspect of natural theology, one which has occupied religious consciousness since the dawn of time itself, since the emergence of consciousness itself.

Certainly when it comes to the 'literary' and visionary appropriation by the author(s) of The Apocalypse of Ezekiel's visions of the four living creatures, which ought to be the first recourse for any interpretation of the structure of the text as a whole, and as such, the first step in interpretation, it will be necessary to acknowledge the obvious astral imagery operative from start to finish. That these same four living creatures are discernible prior to their appearance in Ezekiel as elements of Babylonian astronomical time keeping, matters not a whit. Rather it performs the necessary duty of a prompt, since the same four zodiacal figures mark the four quarters of the solar, annual, year as marking the equinoxes and solstices. But this does not mean that the significance  of the entire book can be dispensed with by allowing such imagery its fullest and freest rein. Astrology is not a key to unlock the meaning of The Apocalypse, (pace Bruce Malina). Indeed what is understood in the contemporary context by the term 'astrology' does not apply to the argument put here at all. Astrology, even in its relatively more developed Babylonian form, appears fairly late in the history of thought.
The suggestion that the zodiac was originally established as an intended scheme of 12 constellations and 12 equal divisions some 6000 years ago (or even earlier) is untenable. The fact that these ideas have been effectively disposed of seems to be ignored in publications addressed to the jury and not to the bench. The zodiac is not that old. It is Babylonian in origin and dates to the 5th-century BCE. There is no evidence that the Greek scheme of 12 zodiacal constellations existed anywhere prior to its evolvement in Greece circa 500 BCE. (Gary D. Thompson, The Origin of the Zodiac).

Instead, the observation of the parallel between the same iconic tetrad and the creatures of the visions of both Ezekiel and The Apocalypse removes us to the furthest reaches of the past and delivers us to the realms of an emerging human consciousness grafted to the phenomena of cyclical time, as fundamental to religious consciousness. Two examples which spring immediately to mind as intimately related to the solstitial moments in the annual cycle are Stonehenge and the temple at Karnak. (See Ancient Observatories - Timeless Knowledge, an article from Stanford Solar Centre which discusses structures as early as The Goseck Cirlce, and as recent as The Bracewell Radio Sundial for a comprehensive list; and for more information, The Stanford Solar Centre page.) For the immediate significance of the four 'zodiacal' signs given in Ezekiel and The Apocalypse does not devolve upon the beliefs of Babylonian astronomy. It defers rather to fundamental features of the solar year which have at various times and places been observed. It concerns precisely the four cardinal point-instants of time which in turn belong to the subject under survey, the rapport between mind and time as disclosed in The Transfiguration. It is these and other aspects of the temporal compass and not any astrological symbolism that will best serve the hermeneutic of the gospels as well as The Apocalypse.

The recapitulation of the theology of the Holy Spirit in respect of the narrative of the second miracle of loaves, our point of entry into the discussion of the fourfold aspect of the gospel, has been given because we must initially dispense with the  very same identity in order to appreciate the fourfold paradigm which acts as the rationale of the form of the gospels. Such a procedure may seem at first altogether at odds with our reading of the same figure, the four, indicative of unity, as in the Pneumatological event, The Feeding Of The Four Thousand. However we have urged that one purpose behind the identification of optic sentience as evincing the same identity, the Holy Spirit, recurs to the existence of a fourfold written, that is visible, inscripted gospel. We do not have six gospels, a number which might immediately suggest the Christological hexad; neither do we have five, which might be signal of the Transcendent. For although the gospel(s) must have been transmitted orally at some stage, what we have to conjure with here and now, is its final graphic, written form, immediately recognisable as fourfold. At a later point, we shall still more closely align the Holy Spirit, and the two immanently oriented categories of the same, symbolic feminine, and optic memory, with The Apocalypse, so as to make up for any apparent shortcoming in this method.

In other words, The Apocalypse replicates the figures, 4 and 7 of the Pneumatological feeding miracle, and in utilising these same two figures to an extraordinary degree, it posits its paramount theological topos, the Holy Spirit, at the same time adapting the morphological relation already sustained between Genesis 1.1s and the gospel.  But it inflects this narrative, with the later creation story of J, as is shown by the prevalent role of the woman and the serpent.  Thus the Apocalyptist takes for granted the continuity between the two stories, regardless of their differing perspectives. It is of course, the second narrative, that of the immanentist oriented J that is the more important  of the two creation stories for this book. Even so, the P narrative and the categories inherent in both it and the messianic series, are indispensable to the meaning of the work.

This reverts to what we began by saying, namely the peculiar specificity to The Apocalypse of the perceptual mode of vision. Nevertheless, the same figures, 4 and 7, point to the role that immanence and the Holy Spirit play in both other narrative cycles, the creation story and the messianic miracles. These too are texts, written traditions, visible, though without an equivalent emphasis on immanence. The cipher 4, can therefore aptly and logically be applied in the case of the gospels - its intended meaning is aimed directly at what we understand by 'incarnation', the final achievement of immanence - the bodily existence of 'the Word', 'the divine Eros', 'the divine bridegroom', as a being in all respects like ourselves. As far as must therefore concern the doctrine of the 'triune' nature of God, the gospels remain more focused on the Son, and to a lesser extent 'the Father', since the former designation implies the same.  Whereas the creation sufficiently addressed the latter, the identity of the Holy Spirit remains to be accounted for in equally adequate terms. This is the task of The Apocalypse. The same motivation is present in The Acts, which Luke appended to his gospel. Its purpose is to provide an adequate theology of the  Holy Spirit insofar as this seems to him requisite for a comprehensive canon. To this end its primary epistemic purpose is that effected by the conceptual form, symbolic feminine; namely the historiographical.

But we need to stress the reason for the apparent reduction of the hexadic structures which resonate in all three textual cycles, ostensibly and initially at least, to a tetradic form, as again omitting from consideration the Holy Spirit. For we do not have six gospels, reducible to a threefold pattern, but rather four, outlined in the miracle narrative, and if the same morpheme indicates the role of the Holy Spirit, as is entailed by the notion of 'inspiration', while somehow leaving for later consideration of this identity, that fact conforms with the radical tetramorphic structure reducible to the twofold binaries - solstistices and equinoxes - representative of both the Son and 'the Father' respectively and mirrored in the mandala as in the annual course of time itself. For finally, there are just four tipping points, four turning points, four morphologically distinct moments or point-instants in the annual (solar) year, not six. This is affirmed throughout both apocalyptic and Pneumatological narratives themselves, Ezekiel and The Apocalypse.


Mention has been made just now of both sevenfold series, that of the seven Days and the seven messianic events, in terms of the twenty-four hour cycle, the diurnal/nocturnal pattern. This is the most effective way of determining the optic semeia proper to each rubric/messianic event. We have begun with the Pneumatological members for a good reason, for as we shall argue, it is the remaining four non-Pneumatological members which establish the four cardinal points in the mandala. 'Points' of course is too exclusively spatial an expression if by that we mean simply, the four cardinal points of the compass. These are ineffective for our requirements due to the relative cardinality of space. They will not meet the analogical needs of metaphysical method. In the  two visionary experiences of Ezekiel  just cited, as in so many other  of the Pneumatological texts, descriptions of movement are a key to the theological hermeneutic. A major innovation introduced by this work to the theology of the Hebrew canon, is the realisation that the divine presence was not confined, not spatially restricted to the temple in Jerusalem. This, the exiles had left behind. The strikingly novel feature of so much of the two visions involves movement. For us, the relevance of this, the introduction of the concept of time to the notion of sacred space, that of the temple, is considerable. It is evinced in a variety of expressions all of which are concerned with movement: 'wings', 'moved', 'each moved straight ahead', 'wherever the spirit would go they went, without turning as they went', 'torches moving to and fro among the creatures', 'The living creatures darted to and fro like a flash of lightening', ' a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them', ' their construction being something like a wheel within a wheel', 'when they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved', and so on. There is here a plethora of images almost all of which have to do with movement, change, and of course the passage of time.

Thus no longer is the 'God' of Israel confined to a single place. The same God can and does move 'wherever the spirit would go'. This movement occurs in time, that is in space-time. The same characterisation of the Holy Spirit by means of the idea of movement and process, or change, resurfaces profusely in The Apocalypse. We have tied the figure four to the idea of immanence and to the identity of the (Holy) Spirit. Much else in this extended text from Ezekiel complies with the general cast of the theology of immanence. The 'stormy wind' for example recalls the Day 3 rubric and more nearly The Stilling Of The Storm, both of which identify the Paraclete; the various expressions referring to colour - 'amber', 'flash of lightening', 'beryl', 'sapphire', 'gleaming amber', 'splendour all around', ' Like the bow in a cloud on a rainy day, such was the appearance of the splendour all around ... This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God.' All of these expressions concern visual experience, and this sits well with the previous description: 'for the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.' Our hermeneutic has consistently allied the specific mode of sense percipience, vision, with the same identity, the Paraclete.

This now brings into view the analogical spatiotemporal sequence which will supply the basis of the next stage of our inquiry; the annual cycle, that of the four seasons, which we found first set down in the creation story. There it was pronounced within the Day 4 rubric, which we have interpreted as essentially linked to the Christological purposes of the text. The Day 4 rubric lists the category mind : body (soma), relatively to the other two members of the same taxon or class, space : time (Day 5) and male : female (Day 6).  It reiterates the diurnal/nocturnal pattern of light-time. So its references stand in very good stead the next step in our procedure:

And God said: Let there be lights in the vault of the heavens, to separate the day and the night; let them serve there as signs to determine the seasons, days and years. (Genesis 1.14)

We have previously employed one of the four forms of serial order, the four being: beginning with end, beginning without end, end without beginning, and neither beginning nor ending. In the discussion of the denumerability of mind, we referred to one such: beginning without ending. This  reference was in order to highlight the categoreal distinction of the psychophysical from the spatiotemporal, since both evince transcendence and do so equally. We affirmed that whereas  space as defined in the creation narrative, is precisely that which has a beginning and no ending, we can say of Mind, that it has no beginning and no end.  Care is needed to avoid understanding this in any mathematical manner, at least where mind is concerned. It may be logically appropriate to posit some sort of numerical form of seriality where space is concerned, although it is assuredly more the property of the symbolic masculine. These categories, Space and the masculine, though they stand in the most direct antithesis to one another, are depicted in quite comparable terms in the rubrics, Day 2 and Day 3 respectively. But number is finally epistemically appropriate to the symbolic masculine and to the anthropic category. Geometrical method properly belongs to the spatial. Thus in having said of mind that it remains insusceptible of counting, that it has neither beginning nor end, which also means effectively that we cannot decide either way for or against either the singularity or plurality of mind, we are speaking not of any numerical transfinite, nor of a spatial (geometrical) transfinite, but of the temporal one.

The analogy of the 4 seasonal divisions of the year best fits the exposition of the fourfold form of the gospels, and it is that referred to in the story of 'beginning' just noted (Genesis 1.14). The four  annual, or solar, cardinal 'points' of the spatiotemporal compass, as of the mandala, are the two solstices and the two equinoxes. These iconically frame the four momentously singular and different point-instants in the annual cycle, related to one another in terms of the ratios of light to darkness and day to night. The word 'mandala' here should be extended to comprise those ancient and varied systems of thought cognizant of these very same contours of the solar year. Hence it can include some of the earliest examples from archaeoastronomy such as Stonehenge, the temple at Karnak, and many others. From earliest recorded history given to us in architectonic and graphic symbols, it is obvious that the human spirit was aware of these same radically formal aspects of the course of time. It  has always continued to develop with consciousness, and with religious consciousness in particular, due to the affinity between time and death.


If the gospel is one as expressive of the concept of immanence, and immanence guarantees plurality as the polar antithesis of identity, then it is also true that its fourfold form requires attention and understanding of some sort. On the basis of the comparison between the theology of transcendence, (creation, or 'beginning'), and the theology of immanence, (salvation, or 'end'),  we established a contrastive rapport between the concepts of identity and unity respectively. Even if the gospel is determined in virtue of the principle of immanence, a tetradic unity, it remains to consider such tetradic contours. Unity is by definition compounded, it is not simple but composite. So, it must have parts which are in some measure at least disparate. In biblical metaphysics the two models of this same composite unity are male : female for the theology of transcendence, and imagination : memory for the theology of immanence. The first is the more problematic as we noted. For by definition, ideas or conceptual forms have as their governing criterion identity rather than unity. Thus the composite nature of the anthropic category, the symbolic feminine, as consisting of male and female, lacks the fullest integration of memory and imagination. It was for this reason that we proposed that the second half of the creation narrative containing the rubrics of the three forms of unity of which male and female is the last, and certainly the one weighted in favour of immanence, anticipates the messianic series. The chiasmos which shapes the latter, suggests the fullest integration of both aspects of perceptual consciousness, imagination aligned with the symbolic masculine, and memory aligned with the symbolic feminine. Of the two templates which exhibit the composite nature of immanence at the broadest level, that of binary form, it is the true immanence of the forms of memory that best manifest the principle of unity.

Historically, much of the effort to discriminate between the four gospels according to their peculiar interests was instrumental in redaction criticism. Redaktiongeschichte, a term used by Willi Marxsen in 1954, was in large measure a response to form criticism. The intention of the latter, which dates from the 1920s, was to discern two levels or layers of the written gospel: an earlier tradition supposed to have been transmitted orally and consisting of a variety of categories or forms - miracle story, parable, controversy story, sayings and so on - and the later (written), 'editorial' elements of the text, which were therefore supposed to be of lesser significance. Redaction criticism however, proposed to  account for the latter more constructively. In so doing it postulated, in the case of the synoptic gospels and for most of its practitioners, a single and purposeful redactor acting as collector and editor, who framed the various components of the tradition according to a particular Sitz-im-Leben, or life-setting, which reflected the existence of the redactor's community. Both methods are based on textual analysis and presuppose historical methods - that is, they both assume a history (geschichte) of the tradition. Whether or not they come to terms with the specificity of the various gospels and whether or not they account for the relationships between the same is a moot question. Redaction criticism for its part, assumes the Two Source Hypothesis. That is, it relies on the hypothesis that Matthew and Luke used the gospel of Mark, supposed to be the earliest of the synoptic gospels, and that they used also a sayings source Q (Quelle) which pre-dates it. The relationships between the gospels proposed by this hypothesis notably fails to reckon with the gospel of John.

What we will undertake here will differ completely. Our method in the first place, overtly acknowledges psychological and epistemological realities rather than historical ones. We will propose specific modes of intentionality peculiar to each gospel, a concept which replicates a vital tenet of the doctrine of mind contained in the very narratives which the gospels themselves share. Moreover, these will stem from the hermeneutic itself of the narratives concerned. This method conforms to the self-referential intention inherent in the narrative. If we are correct, the numerical details of the three feeding miracle narratives specify among other things, something of the tradition (-history) itself. Thus, as already put, part of the meaning of The Feeding Of The Four Thousand relates to the written gospel itself, an essential element of which is the sevenfold messianic series, culminating in the Eucharist. This brings the story of salvation into congruence with the story of creation, that of the seven Days. For we cannot urge that this Pnematological miracle story posits visual sentience as the incarnate mode of sense-percipience of the Holy Spirit as if this had no reference at all to the fact that the actual story itself, and moreover, that the actual narratives in their entirety which comprise the gospels, are written, visible, entities. The numerical details in the miracle narrative are here taken as polysemantic, as referring to several things at once. Just so, we have already indicated their equally certain referentiality to the semeia or optic signs themselves, the visible, virtually 'inscripted' hues of the spectrum. But an equally important strand of that referentiality is to the fourfold tradition of the gospels. The repeated figure 7 in the story secures the relation between the stories of 'beginning and end' - the stories of the seven Days of creation and the seven messianic events precisely as things written, iconic, graphic, visible, and the object of faith. Further to that, it is inclusive of the reiteration of the same form within The Apocalypse, and hence the more extensive hermeneutic must include the eschatological aspect of the soteriologies contained in the four gospels.We have already begun to explore the meaning of that aspect of 'beginning and end'. That is, we have already begun to include consideration of The Apocalypse within the framework of the theology of immanence as this remains the primary concern of the New Testament.

Recurring to the idea of time then, to introduce a basic postulate of the conceptual scheme which will occupy us in trying to account for the specific variation in the four gospels, we find more than one tetradic paradigm. The recurrence of the fourfold typology within the two fundamental temporal orders, lunar and solar suggests that we incorporate both templates in any reckoning of the significance of the series. The first references to time in the creation story are:

... And it was evening, and it was morning, a ... Day. (Genesis 1.8, 13, 19, 23, 31)

In the Day 4 rubric we find:

And God said: Let there be lights in the vault of the heavens, to separate the day and the night; let them serve there as signs (tOtO)0) to determine the seasons, days and years.

And let them serve as lights in the vault of the heavens, so that it may be light on the earth. And it was so.

And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule over the day, and the lesser light to rule over the night, and the stars too. (Genesis 1.14-16)

t is important to repeat that the immanent events, the three feeding miracles and the Eucharist, are normative, as are the Days 1, 2 and 3 of the creation series. Thus there is a complement of seven normative entities, which for the sake of simplicity, and in deference to the Christological categories, we are reducing to six. The figure six acts as a pivot in the list of numerical details in the feeding miracle narratives. The sevenfold series suggest a lunar accounting, even though the product of the two figures, 7 and 4, namely 28, does not accord with the lenght of a lunar month. The moon orbits the earth in 29.53059 days, so that a lunar year of 354 days, equivalent to 12 lunar months, is less than a solar year of 365.2422 days by 11 days. Various attempts to reconcile the lunar and solar methods of reckoning time have been proposed:

The complexity of the calendar is a permanent challenge to human ingenuity. That's why we say: if God exists, either he's got a sense of humour or he's a lousy mathematician ... or else he just can't be understood by the human mind. (Stephen Jay Gould, Time Scales and the Year 2000, in Conversations About The End Of Time, Edited by Catherine David, Frederic Lenoir and Jean-Philippe de Tonnac, Translated by Ian Maclean and Roger Pearson, Penguin, London, 1999, p.7)

It will be possible and moreover desirable to fit the semeia (signs) not just to intervals within the twentyfour hour cycle, as is suggested by references to the same in the messianic series. In light of the isomorphic and analogous relationship between these  seven events and the seven Days, we ought to follow the same procedure in relation to either system of accounting for days, lunar or solar, or both. Initially, examination of the texts in the gospels which do mention the time of day will most repay us. That is why we have begun with Matthew 16.1-4, and how we have established already the interval assignable to The Stilling Of The Storm, and its equivalent rubric, Day 3.
Where the lunar and monthly method of reckoning does seem adaptable or congruent with the solar method, is in terms of the tetrad, if we take the criterion for distinguishing  four distinct phases and/or seasons, to be the variation of the ratio of light to darkness. The  term 'light'  emphasises daylight, since we are speaking in terms of solar rather than lunar, for the night is marked by the absence of daylight proper, even though the moon may appear during daylight hours. But the moon itself either waxes or wanes. It gives either less or more light during the nights of its cycle. Congruently, the days either lengthen or shorten, according to their season, that is, according to the orbit of the earth around the sun. The relation of day to night viewed at any point in the years, varies.

Now it should be apparent to anyone not living in either equatorial or polar regions of the planet, that four relatively distinct seasons obtain, four different occasions which process the dynamic relationship between night and day. These establish paradigms which are highly significant and which will avail the hermeneutic, and more importantly, they interpret the two visions of Ezekiel 1 and 10 foundational to the eschatological thrust of The Apocalypse, and this in turn has an obvious bearing on the messianic series, and by extension on the creation series itself. The four seasons will furnish us with templates necessary to the explication of the specificity of the four gospels vis-a-vis the Christological categories of the Day 1 and Day 4 rubrics, Mind and mind : body. Thus if the light in relation to darkness, that category first presented to us in the creation story, is constantly changing, there are four rudimentary cosmic resultant types of this relation. In summer the light reaches its maximum, the days lengthening up to the point-instant of the solstice, when the duration of daylight is at its maximum, exceeding that of night by a considerable margin. The opposite, the winter solstice, occurs in the opposite hemisphere at the same time. However, during winter in the hemisphere where we began, reaching its peak at precisely six months later in the solar cycle, the winter solstice takes place. These two seasons, summer and winter, thus establish a relation of contrast with one another, resulting as they do in the longest day/shortest night for the summer solstice and longest night/shortest day for the winter solstice. Nevertheless, we must not ignore the fact that they occur simultaneously in the two hemispheres.

The most salient feature of the four point-instants of the annual cycle is the fact that they mark distinct divisions. The ratio of daylight to darkness is constantly either increasing or decreasing. Thus we divide the year into its two halves consisting of the spring quarter culminating at the vernal solstice and also the summer quarter, which reaches its apotheosis at the summer solstice. These two quarters, this whole half of the year, will be read in connection with the categories described here as 'normative', and listed in the top half of the iconography, employing the entire spectrum of optic semeia. The other half of the year consists of the autumn and winter quarters, which also have equinoctial and solstitial points. These are represented by the same semeia, for the narratives of Genesis and the gospels logically construct a one-to-one correspondence between events of 'beginning' and those of 'end', or, as we have labelled these same, the conceptual forms and the perceptual forms of mind. So no new signifiers need to be introduced at this stage. What is absolutely pertinent to the theology of semiotic forms, and so also to the exposition of the form of the gospel, is that the otherwise unremitting movement from one quarter to another, includes four puncta at which there is ostensibly no change, no movement. In the Pneumatologies of both Ezekiel and The Apocalypse we witness this constant and unrelenting process of change, just as the metaphorical and literal language which depicts the Holy Spirit engages the concept of motion, from the inception of scripture, where we first find 's/he was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.' (Genesis 1.1). This is the very condition of the temporal annual cycle, except that we must realise that the logical and formal configuration of the same does comprise four very remarkable instants. We may call these puncta, or points, or point-instants, and say that such are more than nothing, but possibly less than something, at least as far as their ontological status is concerned, given the prevailing fact of transition. It is these same four 'points' in the year which we shall relate to the visions of Ezekiel and the apocalyptist, the author of The Apocalypse, and these same four points which in accordance with the latter, we shall utilise in the exposition of the theory of mind. This phenomenon, according to the Christian doctrine of mind, as we know from The Transfiguration, is contracted with time. Whatever time is, and whatever mind is, they are inextricably co-extant, compossible, compresent. Their relation more than anything else is just what occupies us here.

The equinoxes also establish a relation with one another, albeit of a different kind, for it is obviously very much other than one of total contrast. The spring and autumn equinoctial seasons both tend  towards the adequation of light and darkness. If we divide the year into four equal intervals, we shall have to use the solstices and equinoxes as termini. So for the purposes of argument certainly, the equinoctial seasons - spring and autumn - can be said, logically at least, to begin immediately after the solstices, and correspondingly, the solstitial seasons - summer and winter - can be said to begin after the equinoxes. Precisely at the actual equinoxes of course, there is neither contrast between light and darkness nor between the equinoxes themselves. That is to say, the spring equinox like the autumn equinox, is marked by the fact that the duration of day and the duration of night are equivalent. Here then the pattern of light to darkness is one of parity. Additionally the two equinoxes do not contrast with one another as the solstices do. Instead they are entirely comparable if not actually the same. Of course, they are tending in opposite directions, and we must always bear in mind that what we are considering is the constantly changing relation between light and darkness, day and night. Thus what is at stake is a series of processes, a series of dynamic patterns which are always moving or changing. (It is important to distinguish between the two dyads: light/darkness and day/night. Both the Genesis narrative and the fourth evangelist do so. We have followed this differentiation elsewhere, since it clearly relates to the axiological strand of the texts. Only for now, we have suspended that distinction.) We can so put the entire isomorphic series of both Genesis and the gospels according to the semeioptic spectrum, listing the normative rubrics and their categories in the above half of the following diagram:

Those categories in the top half of this image are normative for their counterparts. Thus the first three - space, the masculine and mind - are truly transcendent entities, and the final three - acoustic memory, optic memory and haptic memory - are truly immanent entities. The forms of imagination, the first three things listed in the lower half of the image, are by definition perceptual. They belong formally to the messianic series, relating to the forms of memory by means of the chiasmos, and as such are in the first instance determined as immanent, that is perceptual. Yet they enjoy a virtual transcendence; they are in many respects like the pure conceptual forms. In the bottom section of the diagram are listed also the compound conceptual forms, the forms of unity. These are taxonomically given in the theology of transcendence, the creation story. Hence they are in the first place, conceptual entities. But they too replicate the paradigm transcendence : immanence within their categoreal parameters, so they are capable of being considered virtually immanent. In other words, they function in consciousness very much like the forms of memory. These two indispensable subdivisions within the rudimentary polarities of conceptual and perceptual consciousness which appear to subvert the logical categorisation of radicals, introduce paradox to the doctrine of mind.

Concerning the normative nature of the six categories above, we should allot each an interval within the twentyfour hour cycle so that the entire diurnal/nocturnal cycle is represented. We will see that the three feeding miracles take place during the afternoon, evening and late night time. In the same vein, the solar imagery of Day 1 sets the tone for the transcendent entities, so that the six normative radicals can be assigned to the six durations constituting the cycle of twentyfour hours. But what then of the remaining six categories? An immediate response would be to reply that it is neither necessary nor logically defensible to entify all twelve radicals. The two Christological events, the first of 'transformation', the last of 'transfiguration', central to the entire spectrum of twelve categories, both with their sixfold form which we are adopting, as emphatic of the concept of process, insist on the relevance of the idea of transmutative exchange between the two polarities of consciousness, conceptual and perceptual. These are interdependent, and mutually interrelated. They are mutually inclusive, such that there is no change from one polarity into the other, without a correlative transmutation. There is the transition from the conceptual pole to the perceptual pole envisaged in the first Christological event, and correspondingly, that from the perceptual pole to the conceptual pole which is the event of 'transfiguration'. In this way, there is a perpetual process of two relations, God relating to the world, and the world relating to God. These are precisely what are evinced in both miracle narratives, The Transformation Of Water Into Wine and The Transfiguration, respectively. One way of resolving the dilemma of co-ordinating the twentyfour hour diurnal/nocturnal cycle and the hexad, given that there are in all, twelve and not just six radicals of consciousness, is to emphasise these same Christologies, refusing any reification of the twelve entities as anything other than relationally interdependent. For this reason we use the same optikon of each category, conceptual and perceptual, as these are correlated according to the formal sixfold rationale, which is of course triadic and theological.

This roundly contradicts the reconstruction of the messianic series itself as identifying the same cycle, a procedure in which we shall nevertheless persist, even if, only because of the pattern or isomorphism between 'beginning' and 'end' events. It allows for the application of one specific  interval, from the total of six, to the three pure conceptual forms, as well as assigning an interval to each of the three forms of memory, since these three conceptual forms are normative like the forms of memory. These six normative categories are candidates for the six intervals identifiable on the basis of textual evidence from the messianic series alone. But the final plasticity of what the various figures in the narratives deliver to us, as best suits our quest for understanding the fourfold structure of the gospels vis-a-vis mind and time both, is clearly apparent in the two tetradic cycles, lunar and solar. Of these, the latter best befits our initial purposes. That is, the clarity of four annual seasons exhibiting the dynamic relatedness between night and day, not, we should note, light and darkness, best subserves the doctrine of consciousness. For the interpretation of the first narrative, the story of creation, noticed its abiding and undeniably epistemological rather than ontological tenor. Thus we are able to read the signs of Jonah, the signs of the six messianic events which reformulate the Triduum; the signs of the dove, the Pneumatological signs; the signs of the rainbow, the semeioptika, the signs of the times, according to a variety of temporal templates, and the archaeological signs, which are analgous to the messianic series. This we must do a propos of mind, as it is readily and distinctly rendered by these four classes or taxa of things: pure conceptual forms, forms of memory, forms of imagination and conceptual forms of unity. Only, neither do these four divisions themselves answer to the fourfold form of the gospel as we shall soon see.

These six chromatic values - optic semeia - should be grasped as best fitted to reflect the seamless integration of adjacent radicals, whether conceptual or perceptual. Part of the rationale behind optic semiosis is its ability to render visible the (immanent) connectedness of adjacent forms. That is to say, it is best fitted of all three semioses to express the principle of unity. The acoustic semeia do not perform the same function quite so readily. The twelve tones do not literally shade seamlessly between each other, each now into its predecessor and now its successor. The acoustic semeia are distinct from one another and, signify properties of time at variance with those demonstrated by the optic signs. But the optic semeia are perfectly equipped to demonstrate the before-and-after pattern of the forms, and the quality of time we refer to as its successiveness, if not simultaneity. This topic belongs to the theology of semiotic forms, but it must be mentioned here. Thus by means of ascribing optic semeia to both the six conceptual radicals and the six parallel, perceptual radicals of mind, we can conceive and literally express the phenomenon of their possible indetermination. This is restricted to immediately adjacent or contiguous categories. There is a sense in which haptic imagination and optic imagination 'meet' and no boundary between them exists. This after all is the meaning of the principle of immanence, unity, and the optic semeia, the visible hues of the spectrum, are the proper expression of this same principle. Since vision itself rather than any other phenomenal mode of sentience, exemplifies the Holy Spirit, who guarantees the purpose and function of immanence, we should expect of optic semeia the manifestation of this principle, unity. The acoustic semeia on the other hand, will be better predisposed to tell a completely different story, one which defines mental/affective processes in terms of the principle of identity.

In the above iconography as a result, we can imagine the graded hierarchical transition from each optic semeion to the next adjoining one, not only as bounded, but also as non-bounded. That is, we should regard those signs which are contiguous, yellow-amber for example, as portraying non-differentiation, a graduated transition, which reveals two things only at the peripheries of the same transition. At its inception the sign is yellow, but it nevertheless 'bamberecomes'  in its final phase. This is one way in which all the forms, and not merely the perceptual modes, those of imagination and memory, work. If, because all sentient modes are by nature given to unity, then non-differentiation between contiguous forms of both memory and imagination, the source of this principle of unity in consciousness - the fact that one mode of sentience blends without differentiation into another - will be shared by the conceptual forms of consciousness. This follows from the relation of analogy between the stories of creation and salvation. Hence in the example just given, that of the semeioptika amber (orange) and yellow, representative of the possibileintegration of the two forms of imagination, optic and haptic, there is likewise the capacity of the (parallel) conceptual forms, namely the symbolic masculine and mind, to function indiscernibly. This fact is pertinent to the doctrine of intentionality, where once again the Pneumatological cast of consciousness acts to combine specific modes of intentionality, such as desiring and knowing. I cite this one of the four instances of such composite modes of intentionality, because it appears so conspicuously in the J creation narrative, that is, in the story of Adam and Even in the garden of Eden.

Conversely, transcendence being tantamount to 'identity' rather than 'unity', and since conceptual forms and forms of unity are natively at least, clearly and distinctly bounded and differentiated from one another in accordance with the principle of identity, that the same property of identity will be extended to cover the sentient modes will follow logically. We require both factors, identity and unity, to be predicated of both polarities of consciousness, conceptual and perceptual, in both cases, normative and non-normative orders, so as to grasp them. This is one of the logical consequences of the isomorphism of the two textual cycles. At a later point we can elaborate this postulate, the compresence of threefold and fourfold patterns manifesting identity and unity respectively, of the constituents of consciousness, but for the moment, we shall deal with the immanent, for it will lead us into the exposition of the fourfold and unified nature of the gospel(s).

The analogical relation of both narrative cycles, creation and  salvation, entails that the same two semioses applie equally to both series of categories. The above signs do not signal the perceptual radicals of mind only; they also signify for the six members taxonomised in the Genesis narrative. One of the great merits for metapsychology and epistemological philosophy both, of such a method, particularly as it is given here in a linear gradation which all but obliterates the distinctions between contiguous radicals of both kinds, conceptual and perceptual, is that it highlights what is always germane to immanence and to The Spirit, unity. The discussion of intentionality will revert to the translation of the categoreal paradigm into the dialectic between identity and the same. So we put the common morphology of the Genesis and messianic series as identity : unity. It is usual, and legitimate to think of unity in relation to sense-percipience, assimilation is after all the recurrent metaphor for each of the miracle stories which denote the normative perceptual categories. But the morphology interleaving two narrative cycles will insist that what is proper to one, in this instance, unity, belongs by virtue of their analogous relation, to the other. This entails that the conceptual forms too are party to the same fact of graded differentiation verging on non-differentiation where contiguous members are concerned. Its obverse demands the application of identity, the indigenous property of the transcendent, that is of conceptual radicals, to their immanent counterparts. We shall say more on this topic later. The above iconography thus brings to our appreciation the role that a semiosis of the kind outlined in The Feeding Of The Four Thousand has for any emerging doctrine of mind which accepts as it basis, the four gospels.

The various relations which follow this shared morphology between the conceptual and perceptual polarities of mind, are what ensue in the discussions of the four gospels. For just as we have already contended, the Pneumatological members of the corpus, optic imagination and symbolic masculine are present to an extraordinary degree in Ezekiel, and as we will allege, the complementary Pneumatological radicals, optic memory and symbolic feminine are prevalent in The Apocalypse to an equally remarkable degree. The gospels themselves as four distinct texts clarify the relation which holds the creation and redemption similarly in parallel, in a common and reciprocal morphological syntax. It is with regard to consideration of the specificity of the intentional orientation of each of the four gospels, and the clarification this will bring to the doctrine  of the categories, that we can best proceed.

The fundamental paradigm of bipolarity is given in the introduction to the story of creation 'the heavens and the earth'. Subsequently, it is recapitulated in Mark's phrase '... to the other side', also used by John. That is, the gospel adopts the same paradigm which it presents as the consistent oscillation between one and the other side of a spatial unity, the actual Sea of Galilee, where or near to which, so many of the miracles take place. The hermeneutic proposed in the first essay of The Markan Mandala, 'Miracles As Metaphysics: A Hermeneutic Of Mark', which undertook a survey of the creation  narrative, Genesis 1.1-2.4a, understood the first of these bipolar formulae as referring to the three entities - space : time, mind : body, and male : female, in two ways. Firstly, in determining the internal triadic structure, of each of the three events or things in question, and secondly as referring to their extensive relatedness. Such referencing is not confined merely to these three words, for other similar, Christological formulations, analogously tripartite - for example, 'beginning and end', ' first and last', 'alpha and omega' - put the same propositions. To cover all of these permutations of the inclusio we adopted the expression transcendence : immanence. Like the others, this expression is non-commutative. In other words the actual placement of each term is part of its meaning. This formula, the categoreal paradigm 'transcendence : immanence', ('heavens and the earth'), can thus refer to any of the three forms of unity. As a whole, it also refers to their extensive relatedness, such that the initial conceptual form, space, is arranged in antithesis to the final form of unity male : female, as first is to last, while the median, universal and Christological event, mind : body, conforms now to the initial pure conceptual form space  in its realization of transcendence, and now also conforms as mind : body to the form of unity male : female in its realization of immanence. Hence the copula indicates that the Christological categories integrate the juxtaposed terms 'transcendence and immanence'.

The same categoreal paradigm, transcendence : immanence, reiterates the interrelatedness of the perceptual radicals of mind. It manifests equally the relationship between the various forms (modes) of imagination 'and' memory. These words, imagination and memory, call to mind an essential feature not just of the various modes of sentience, the perceptual forms of consciousness, but also of the conceptual modes. Explicit in both expressions, 'imagination' and 'memory', is a temporal vector. Imagination points to the orientation of the perceptual consciousness towards the future, while memory expresses the attitude of perceptual consciousness towards the past. Both function with reference to a present,  the hic et nunc, thus both are perspectival. This means the number of terms is limited to two, there being a past and a future in relation ('and'). The present is not granted the same entitative status as these two orientations, but is said to be the consistency, the confluence of both. Exactly the same formal co-ordination obtains in the conceptual polarity of mind. That is, the transcendent forms - space, mind, and the symbolic masculine -  are equally determined in relation to the future, with reference to consciousness or mind itself. The three  forms of unity - space : time, mind : body, and male : female - express the complementary principle. They function in human consciousness in terms comparable to the function of memory; their disposition shows an essential predilection in virtue of the past. As polarised, the semeioptika are  perfectly fitted to reflect this basic feature of the radicals. They bring before us the pre-eminence to consciousness of time, and of the two Christological occasions, birth and death. That is one important function they fulfill, and it is mentioned here, in keeping with a fundamental tenet of The Transfiguration which relates time and mind.


We have already launched the meaning of this basic tenet by drawing a fairly obvious if not self-evident conclusion, which seems to fit much of the language of both Testaments concerning darkness, night, sleep, and death. That is the distinction at once recognisable between a waking form  and a sleeping form of consciousness. We shall refer to these with the following working hypothetical distinction: conscious and aconscious respectively. It must be said here and now, this does not fit the categoreal paradigm. It is not the case that the conceptual polarity of mind fits the conscious, and the perceptual fits the aconscious. Hence neither is it so that those events which are signified by the 'nocturnal' optika, the three forms of memory and the three forms of unity, correspond wholly and directly to the aconscious. The former events are certainly established in the narratives as occurring within the periods we refer to as afternoon, evening and night. But this does not require their relegation to that order of mind which is termed here aconscious. Where we have employed the annual fourfold cycle, instead of the lunar cycle , in the above introduction to the theology of semiotic forms, we have given equal significance to both day and night, or, 'morning and evening' to use the phrase of the creation story. The conscious cannot be restricted to just one half of a spectrum or compass, signifiable by the semeioptika. Given the status of pure conceptual forms as equal to that of the forms of memory, namely, normative, for their own respective classes or taxa, it would be unintelligible to downplay the latter. Perception is as real to consciousness as its transcendent counterpart, the pure conceptual polarity of mind. These both dispose the order of mind we are referring to here as 'conscious'.

In regard to the manner in which the division of the annual temporal cycle divides the year into two halves, the defining criterion is the dynamic role of light. In either case, that of spring or that of summer, the duration of the night is decreasing, even if as it must be, half of these categories classified as normative, those of perceptual memory, are signified by the nocturnal rather than the diurnal intervals. In that half of the year comprising the vernal equinox and the summer solstice the light is incremental. We must repeat here, that the basis of the ascription of the semeioptika takes into account the twelve radicals which are the subjects of the creation story and the messianic series, as well as of the healing miracle narratives in the gospel of Mark. We have not to deal with a total of six, but of twelve entities. Since these are classed in terms of four distinct groups or taxa, each with three members, the obvious temporal template first to pursue is the solar rather than the lunar one. Hence 'conscious' as used here is not necessarily equivalent to 'diurnal' or even 'waking', and neither is 'aconscious' equivalent to 'nocturnal' or 'sleeping'. But we shall see that the notions of darkness, night, sleep and death, certainly function in the biblical depictions of what we mean by 'aconscious'.  Both classes of categories, forms of imaginationa and forms of unity, bear certain characteristics utterly logically incompatible with their formal taxonomical description, the former having certain properties in common with the transcendent pure conceptual forms, the latter sharing qualities with the forms of memory.
That particular half of the annual cycle which conforms to both members of this order, the non-normative 'aconscious', is to be represented iconographically by the half of the annua, cycle containing both the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. It is here then that the images of sleep, darkness and death enter the biblical portrayal of mind.

But the real theological legitimation of applying the annual cycle to both series, that of creation and the messianic series, so that we have two interlocked sets of events corresponding to the binary division of both the year itself, and the sum of categories, twelve in all, are the several references to 'the sign of Jonah' which include images immediately relevant to any discussion of the aconscious in such metaphorical terms already indicated: darkness, death and the like. We have already linked the book of Jonah with the story of The Flood as with the Pneumatological signs, the signs of the rainbow. In so doing, we have proposed that the reference to 'sign' is a reference to the several signs which constitute the messianic signs as a whole. These total six of course, and are configurable in precisely the temporal construct, 'three days and three nights', that both the Matthean and Lukan versions of the saying include. There are various references to the 'three days and three nights' other than those which are part of the 'sign of Jonah' logion. Thus even though Mark's account of The Demand For A Sign
(Mark 8.11-13) includes no mention of either Jonah or 'three days and three nights', all three passion predictions (Mark 8.31, 9.31, 10.34) contain the phrase 'after three days', somewhat reminiscently of the introduction to The Transfiguration, 'And after six days ...' (9.2). These can hardly fail to connect to both series, that of 'beginning' and that of 'end', and indeed in the latter, the messianic series, we find two references to time which use the term 'day':

"I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat; and if I send them away hungry (nh/steiv = 'fasting') to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come a long way." (Mark 2-4)

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. (John 2.1-2)

The gospel of John also, which has no tradition of the 'sign of Jonah' logion nevertheless reiterates the tradition of the Passion predicition after the cleansing of the temple which follows the first sign:

The Jews then said to him, "What sign have you to show us for doing this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2.18-19)

It will be in the discussion of the gospel of Luke that we first examine in more detail some of the implications of such texts, and others, for the doctrine of the aconscious. Each gospel in its turn will address the same issue. But certainly, everything we already understand concerning the ambiguity of those six conceptual and perceptual radicals which comprise the 'aconscious', suggests the validity of the emerging framework that represents them and it, by that which the temporal construct of the annual cycle when the light diminishes, in other words, in which the days decline in length. These terms, 'conscious' and 'aconscious', which have no occurrence in any of the actual texts themselves, but which we use to interpret a fundamental feature of the Markan doctrine of mind, are not imported from psychological discourse as for example  'sociological' terms are by certain schools of theology, without qualification. Our procedure borrows from psychology, but it stems from a Christology which is the sum of the currently defined hermeneutic. In the course of this as of other essays, the psychology involved cannot be said to be other than 'biblical' at least, and Christological at best. I do not know if there is a specifically Christian 'sociology', the very possibility would seem to be ideologically fraught. Sociological discourse by definition can hardly evade political engagement. Whether or not this is also true of the secular humanist psychological enterprise I neither know nor care. What is obvious however, is that there is a specifically Christian psychology, just as there is a specifically Christian epistemology, and these concern us. We will hence provide a justification, again Christological, that is epistemological-psychological, of the role of psychology itself within this enterprise. Christology itself, will seek to give an account of the method, that of combined epistemology and psychology. If such a project seems circular, then it is not viciously so. Indeed, it is circular in the same way that 'logos', the word 'word',  marks the self-referentiality of consciousness itself,  and in the way that theoretical reasoning must be for the sake of its own internal coherence.

It will best suit us to first address both the pure conceptual forms and the pure perceptual forms a propos of the doctrine of intentionality. Both of these are what we have called 'normative'. Because the categoreal paradigm recapitulates itself within the two taxa,  it subdivides the six events in Genesis into true or pure transcendent occasions, signifying the three ideas - space, mind, symbolic masculine - and also their immanent determinations, the forms of unity - space : time, mind : body and male : female. The latter are notoriously ambivalent as regards the first level taxonomy. For they are virtually immanent. They are proleptic of the contents of the messianic series, as we see from the ideas of feeding and multiplication of kind, in the second half of the creation story, and from their number, four, equating to the three feeding or 'Eucharistic' miracles and the actual Eucharist itself. But these latter, the truly immanent events, the messianic feeding miracles, propose the normative immanent consciousness; their precedents, in which we encountered the figures of the planets, and various animals also, are non-normative, and are explicable on the basis of the  other than conscious mind.

The three compound ideas themselves, the conceptual forms of unity, with the possible exception of the idea of time, that is space : time, are immediately discernible as somewhat more concrete than the truly abstract, pure, conceptual forms, yet nevertheless somewhat less concrete than the occasions depicted in the feeding miracles which articulate the anatomy of the perceptual memory. The obverse occurs within the perceptual theology of the messianic series. There we understand immediately, and without qualification what is meant by haptic, acoustic and optic modes of sentience when these are given as for memory. They are material, concrete, and actual, depicting the settled past of such sense-percipient events. This is outlined clearly and without any qualification in the feeding miracles, all with their several expressions quantifying the elements involved. But imagination is another affair altogether as the three transcendent messianic miracles make plain. For they seem to borrow from the creation story, and they have been presented to us more or less ambiguously as virtually transcendent occasions. Their taxonomic status, like that of the forms of unity, is ambivalent, highly dubious, evidently questionable. Here then again, we have to do with the aconscious. For if the forms of unity look towards the gospels and to the feeding miracles for their normative counterparts, then the transcendent messianic events look back to Genesis for theirs. It is the pure conceptual forms which determine the conceptual conscious along with the normative modes of conceptual intentionality. The forms of imagination produce modes of intentionality every bit as important as those of their conceptual counterparts, only these must be classified as ordering the aconscious. This distinction is vital in both cases, forms of unity and forms of imagination. These two taxa furnish the basis of the aconscious. The two normative taxa, pure conceptual forms and forms of memory are the foundation of the conscious modes of intentionality. The former is responsible for conceptual modes of intentionality, the latter for perceptual modes of intentionality.

The recapitulation of the paradigm within each already extant polarity, transcendent events of beginning and immanent events of end, makes for no confusion at all once we fully accept the value and function of the ambivalent status of the two non-normative sets of events. Both classes of events or taxa, are perfectly adapted to deliver the doctrine of the 'aconscious'. It is this very notion which will account for their apparent mediation of the fundamental differential which establishes transcendence and immanence as absolutely contrastive.  The same arrangement reckons the discussion of subject and object, but we will postpone that for now. It is necessary to put here that there is no obfuscation at work in the narratives. The formal definitions they impart are more than adequately capable of a doctrine essential to Christian metaphysics, that of the aconscious, and one which secular psychology has hitherto failed to elaborate satisfactorily. We shall say more directly concerning the aconscious, but the first part of the study will pursue the conscious forms of intentionality, that is those which are the outcomes of what we have called the normative radicals or categories of mind. These consist of the three  members of the two taxa, pure conceptual forms, and forms of memory, standing in thorough and unqualified contrast to one another.

Before we examine the typologies of time-light and so too consciousness, operative in the four gospels, we must set out another binary distinction essential to the parameters of Christology, or what is the same, the doctrine of mind. The metaphorical language centred on light will serve to introduce what is perhaps the most basic aspect of the same, one to which we have alluded already by the compound expression epistemology-psychology. Light and heat are for our purposes, that of understanding these texts seminal to theology, distinguishable, notwithstanding their certain relatedness. In day to day human experience, we usually encounter one where there is the other. So we can use such metaphorical language about light to draw attention to the fact that consciousness consists of the two sides we are referring to as cognitive-conative, intellective-affective, thinking-feeling, in short, epistemic-psychic.
The two terms, epistemology and psychology, and their cognates, epistemic and psychic, thus refer here to what we can broadly determine as the thinking and feeling modes of consciousness. Western philosophy and psychology are replete with a battery of expressions; we have just used one which calls to mind Spinoza, 'conative'. The conatus of his philosophy conforms fairly closely to the deterministic appetitive consciousness as pictured in the immanent messianic events. It is broadly identifiable as desire.

We use such binary terms to indicate the inherence in consciousness of two distinct intentionalities: one intellective, the other emotive. Thus we can divide consciousness itself into its cognitive and conative processes. One problem with any rendering of the Greek lo/gov is that all too often it refers to the cognitive, intellective apparatus, leaving the emotive out of consideration. Looking at the role of the four feeding episodes in the messianic cycle should be enough to correct this. For such events highlight at once the role of appetition in human as well as animal consciousness. (Concerning the latter, there are at least two healing miracle stories in Mark: The Gerasene Demoniac and The Daughter Of The Syrophoenician Woman.) So any understanding of the breadth of mind which is in some sense at least, coterminous with logos, must allow for those functions which have to do with 'feeling' rather than 'thinking'. One can certainly think about being hungry, but in the first place, it is something one feels. Our understanding must so concede a status to this aspect or component of consciousness, the conative, affective, emotive, as functioning in parity with the rational.

The first order fundamental difference between the subjects of the creation story and those of the messianic events is that of conceptual and perceptual. The role of light in the former story is crucial, and comports instantly with the interpretation of the 'archaeological' events, by which we mean conceptual. But we should not mistake this for a connection between rational and conceptual. That is, we must not on any account identify the pure conceptual forms, the ideas - space, mind, symbolic masculine - nor the forms of unity - space : time, mind : body, male : female - exclusively with the epistemic, cognitive, intellective, thinking processes. Correspondingly, except by completely ignoring the evidence of the text, nor can we equate the messianic series exclusively with the psychic, conative, affective, emotive processes. The distinction just made between centres of consciousness which are describable as somehow distinct according to the various terms cognitive-conative, intellective-affective, thinking-feeling and so on, does not refer to the radical distinction between conceptual and perceptual polarities of consciousness as these are disclosed in Genesis and the gospels respectively. There is no simple equation tout court between conceptual : perceptual and thinking; feeling. That is a first caveat to aver. Thus conceptual consciousness, the thing first outlined in the creation story, has its affective or feeling side, and so too, perceptual consciousness has its side which is other than merely appetitive, other than affective or emotive. Perceptual consciousness must also be cognitive.

Finally we should note that three sets of binary terms are utilised here: we are using three fundamental binary constructs which must serve us in the discussion to come. These are conceptual/perceptual, which resulted from the consideration of the analogously structured stories of 'beginning' and 'end'; conscious/aconscious which we have introduced as essential to any Christological reading of the light/darkness : day/night language of both Genesis and the gospels, and germane to the consideration of time; and epistemic/psychic, which we are just now considering. The latter too picks up something already implicit in the same metaphorical language and a commonplace of discussions concerning consciousness and mind, namely the substantial and essential difference between thinking and feeling, cognition and conation. In the course of this essay, we shall deal with each of these distinctions, but it is emphatically necessary to understand that none of them is analogously related to any other.
We are now in a position to examine how the twelve constituent radicals of mind determine both processes, epistemic and psychic, that is, cognitive and conative, and how these in turn give rise to the specifically fourfold form of the gospels.

This page was updated 10th March 2018.

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