Walking upon the sea.

Matthew 14.22-33 = Mark 6.45-52  (John 6.16-21).

Current mode: View.

Notes and quotes.

§ Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 1.179-184 (translation by E. V. Rieu; text and translation taken from a weblog post by Michael Gilleland):

Ταιναρον αυτ επι τοισι λιπων Ευφημος ικανε
τον ρα Ποσειδαωνι ποδωκηεστατον αλλων
Ευρωπη Τιτυοιο μεγασθενεος τεκε κουρη.
κεινος ανηρ και ποντου επι γλαυκοιο θεεσκεν
οιδματος, ουδε θοους βαπτεν ποδας, αλλ οσον ακροις
ιχνεσι τεγγομενος διερηι πεφορητο κελευθωι.

After them, from Taenarum, came Euphemus, the fastest runner in the world, whom Europa daughter of the mighty Tityos bore to Poseidon. This man could run across the rolling waters of the grey sea without wetting his swift feet. His toes alone sank in as he sped along his watery path.

Refer also to the follow-up post by Gilleland for more classical parallels, as well as to yet another post with the following parallel from Dio Chrysostom, Third Discourse on Kingship 30-31, Hippias the Elaean (that is, of Elis) speaking:

Ω Σωκρατες, εφη, τουτο μεν επιστασαι παντος μαλλον, οτι των υπο τον ηλιον ανθρωπων εκεινος εστιν ισχυροτατος και μηδε των θεων αυτων ηττονα εχων δυναμιν ω γε ενεστι και τα αδυνατα δοκουντα ποιησαι δυνατα, ει βουλοιτο, πεζευεσθαι μεν την* θαλατταν, πλεισθαι δε τα ορη, τους δε ποταμους εκλειπειν υπο ανθρωπων πινομενους· η ουκ ακηκοας οτι Ξερξης ο των Περσων βασιλευς την μεν γην εποιησε θαλατταν, διελων το μεγιστον των ορων και διαστησας απο της ηπειρου τον Αθω, δια δε της θαλαττης τον πεζον στρατον αγων ηλαυνεν εφ αρματος, ωσπερ τον Ποσειδωνα φησιν Ομηρος; και τυχον ομοιως οι τε δελφινες και τα κητη κατωθεν υπεπλει την σχεδιαν οποτε εκεινος ηλαυνε.

* The definite article την is from the 1844 edition by Emperius. I have followed the Loeb edition by J. W. Cohoon.

O Socrates, he says, this you know altogether well, that of humans under the sun that man is mightiest and has power not at all less than the gods themselves for whom it is possible to do seemingly impossible things as if they were possible, if he wishes, that the sea be walked upon, that the mountains be sailed, and that rivers be drained, drunk by men. Or have you not heard that Xerxes the king of the Persians made a sea of the land, cutting through the greatest of mountains and separating Athos from the continent, and that he led his infantry through the sea and rode upon a chariot, just like Homer says Poseidon does? And perchance likewise the dolphins and monsters from below swam under the raft when that man drove along.

The conversation with Hippias appears to be based on Xenophon, Memorabilia 4.4, but the exchange about Xerxes is lacking in Xenophon.

Michael Turton gives this passage as a parallel to the synoptic (and Johannine) pericope in his commentary on Mark 6.