Re: 153 (was gerim and converts)

Trevor Nicholls (
Mon, 13 May 1996 12:01:35 +1200

Quoting Alexander Pruss:

->I might as well say exactly what it is that I was thinking about. A
->person had asked me about the passage in John 21:11 which talks about the
->miraculous catch of 153 fish. This person (Mario Latendresse of Montreal
->to be precise) pointed out that in 2 Chr. 2:16 the text talks of 153,600
->labourerers. He wondered if there might not be a connection. Apparently
->the idea was originally raised by an M. Pole in the 18th century, but
->despite all the speculation about the symbolism of the "153 fish" (and it
->seems likely that the number had some significance for the author; it
->would be a strange number to just make up or estimate).

<some text deleted>

->But still the idea does seem a bit more attractive than the myriad of
->gematric or numerological interpretations of "153". Also the fact that
->the fish caught by the Apostles are equated with gentile converts would
->(if true) have some implications for the question of Christian-Jewish
->relations around John's time, although it probably wouldn't actually add
->anything to what is already known. (Here by "John" I mean "the author of
->Jn 21.11, whoever he might be").

How about a very simple explanation. 153 is pretty close to the actual
number of disciples identified at the time; there were 120 gathered in
the upper room a short time later. Perhaps it *was* the actual number.
None of the 153 fishes made up the disciples' breakfast; Jesus was already
cooking fish for that!
Of course this suggestion has nothing to do with b-Hebrew! So I have taken
the liberty of crossposting to b-Greek.

Trevor Nicholls, Development Manager, InForm Group Ltd,
PO Box 1444, Wellington, New Zealand.
Ph: +64 4 472 0996 Fax: +64 4 473 2407 Email: