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Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 14:26:37 -0600
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Sign from the fish's belly

At 07:36 AM 1/27/2003, you wrote:
>I asked this:
>--- Marble prophesies for Horn regarding the community (at the beginning of
>OBW): "The city searches the sky for a sign, but no sign shall it have but
>the sign from the fish's belly."  Anybody have an explanation for this?


>So it seems clear that "sign from the fish's belly" = "sign of Jonah". (I
>take it that Marble is repeating a phrase from the Chras writings here.)
>Googling reveals a whole bunch of varied ravings about the meaning of the
>sign of Jonah, but maybe this:
>- Jonah's  3 days in the belly of the fish as a prefigurement of Jesus'
>death & resurrection. So should we think of Horn's time in the pit on the
>island, or should we scrap the 3 days & nights and think of this as a
>prophecy of SilkHorn's return to straighten things out in New Viron - Horn
>having "died" and been "reborn"?
>- After he is disgorged by the whale, Jonah goes to preach repentance to the
>heathen city of Nineveh. Suprisingly, all 120,000 of them immediately do so,
>covering themselves with ashes & sack-cloth etc. (Jonah is pissed, because
>he was hoping Yahweh would do some serious smiting, Nineveh being an enemy
>to Israel.) So the imagery is maybe the conversion of all a whole nation to
>righteousness, after the "death" and "resurrection" of the prophet.

         The question is how much of the Jonah//Jesus story does (a) Wolfe 
catch, and (b) Wolfe intend.
         Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh, because of the prophecy in 
Deuteronomy that if God's people provoke Him with "no-gods" (idols), He 
will provoke them by going over to another people ("no-people"). God 
announcement to Jonah was an announcement that He was fed up with Israel, 
and was going to go over to these gentiles. Jonah, as one who loved his own 
people, did not want to see this happen.
         At this point in history, Assyria (Nineveh) was not a great power, 
and not much of a problem to Israel, whose major enemy was Syria 
(Damascus). After a century, Assyria would become the enemy. So careful 
expositors don't usually say that Jonah hated the Assyrians, but that he 
understood that his call to go there was a judgment on his own people. But 
Wolfe may not have studied all this out.
         Jesus' "sign of Jonah" is of a piece with this history. Repeatedly 
He has indicated that His new kingdom will be received by more gentiles 
than Jews. Indeed, His new assistants are no longer shepherds but fishermen 
(in Biblical imagery, Gentiles are associated with the sea, across waters, 
while Israel is associated with land).
         The death-resurrection business is, thus, in part a death to the 
old people and a resurrection to a new one. The old people don't want what 
the prophet brings, but the new people will hear it.
         I suspect Wolfe knows part of this at least. New Viron searches 
the sky for a sign (looks to Silk on the Whorl), but what they receive will 
be something they may well reject, and will be good news to others. To 
whom? Who actually takes the most interest in Silkhorn's "ministry"? New 
Viron or other places? Or even the inhumi, so pathetically desperate to be 
fully human?
         Perhaps closer to the actual events: Horn dies and is resurrected, 
and then goes not to anywhere on Blue but to Green. What does he do on 
Green, but clean out the city there (Nineveh, a gentile city - ?). Does 
this correspond in Lupine thought to evangelism of the city, cleansing it? 
Who benefits from it? (A good question: Who does? I'm not sure I know.)
         Now, in the gospels, the sign of Jonah is a sign to the Jews. That 
is, that the reception of the resurrected Jesus by gentiles is a sign to 
the Jews that they'd better get on board. In what way is Horn's work on 
Green (Nineveh Gentiles) a sign to people on Blue (Jews)? Maybe that if 
they don't shape up,  if they don't learn the wisdom that the 
double-resurrected Silkhorn brings them, they'll wind up like the city on 
Green? Or something else?
         I don't know. But it looks as if this is a deepstructure in the 
narrative that would repay closer attention.
         Someone asked about the "3 days/nights" in the gospels. Start the 
clock with the arrest of Jesus on Thursday night, after he has agreed to 
die, when everyone abandons him. "In the heart of the earth" is a broader 
concept than merely lying in a tomb; note the symbolic use of "heart" in 
the phrase. One has to read Biblical language in terms of the Biblical 
worldview, not in terms of ours. 3 days/nights under the "power" of death.




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