In a message dated 11/25/2003 6:33:41 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... Karel, we disagree on much of the above, although there is one point of consensus. I would
Message 1 of 1
, Nov 25, 2003
In a message dated 11/25/2003 6:33:41 AM Pacific Standard Time, k.hanhart@... writes:
On the contrary. Mark was trained both in Hellenic drama (the form) and Judean Haggadah (the content). He applied the scriptural texts from his bible concerning the promise to his people as he understood them in the light of Jesus' mission and message and also seen through Paul's spectacles.
Karel, we disagree on much of the above, although there is one point of consensus. I would agree that Mark seems to have had some level of training in Greco-Roman dramatic composition, which probably implies some advanced level of education, and may argue against the view of the author as simply a bumbling Galilean peasant with little or no formal education. Since I am not convinced of Markan priority, I do not see Mark as possessing the specific Jewish-scribal competency that you are confident he has. (And by the way, it is perfectly clear to me that he would have to be regarded as possessing this competency IF Markan priority could be successfully argued). Nevertheless, I must admit that there is one Markan passage that gives me pause, and maybe you would like to comment on it.
I am thinking of Mark 4:26-29. This passage is interesting because it is a rare case where Mark (alone) has a Scriptural citation, or at least allusion (to Joel 4:13) that he cannot have derived from Matthew. If we both can agree that this parable is essentially a Markan composition (as I think it is) then it might be an interesting passage to probe for light it may shed on the author of the gospel. I think it poses a number of interesting questions. For one thing, I think it may show that Mark's knowledge of things Hellenistic was not limited to "form" (namely, drama) but may have extended to common literary motifs. In my Greek New Testament, for example, I have written marginal references beside this text to Cicero, De Senectute, XV and Epictetus, Discourses, I.14 as Greco-Roman literary parallels to the "gradual growing" motif of this parable. This morning I was reading Hesiod, ERGA KAI hHMERAI 117-118 and noticed quite a number of striking thematic and verbal contacts with the Greek of Mark 4:26-29. Did Mark know Greco-Roman literary works of this kind? Or would these motifs have been so common as to be generally known even to the uneducated? What is also still unclear to me is how the biblical citation in 4:29 relates to this material, and whether Mark shows any awareness of the context of the prophecy in Joel, the judgment of the enemy nations. It seems to me that he does not, at least within the compass of the parable itself, which seems focused on the spiritual growth of an individual who has abandoned everything for the kingdom. Maybe you or others on this list could shed some light on this Markan parable which has always been something of a puzzle to me.
Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
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