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1499Re: [Synoptic-L] On The Earliest Markan Narrative

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  • Jeff Peterson
    Jan 15, 2009
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      Bruce,

      I hope you'll pardon me for jumping in medias res, but can you specify
      briefly the philological criteria that justify dispensing with the
      resurrection as a secondary accretion in Mark?

      On the face of things, it would seem to me in narrative terms that the
      titulus of the work, promising the reader "the origins of the gospel
      of Jesus Christ" (1:1) and the early evocation of the binding of Isaac
      in the voice from heaven at the baptism ("my beloved Son," 1:11) are
      fulfilled precisely in the declaration, "He is risen" in 16:6; and the
      PARRHSIA(i) of 8:32 marks this motif as the disclosure of the "secret
      of the kingdom of God" intimated in Jesus' ministry (4:11�12). I'd be
      interested to know just what you see in the text that closes off this
      line of interpretation.

      All the best,

      Jeff Peterson
      Austin Graduate School of Theology
      Austin, TX


      On Jan 15, 2009, at 10:35 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:

      > To: Crosstalk
      > Cc: GMark, GPG
      > In Response To: Several Personal Inquiries
      > On: The Earliest Markan Narrative
      > From: Bruce
      >
      > It may help if I answer at large, and thus for others who may be
      > interested,
      > several questions which have arisen in response to my earlier
      > invitation on
      > this list (and on GMark, to which this is being cross-posted; it is
      > also
      > being cross-posted to Synoptic, where earlier versions of some of
      > these
      > ideas were shared), to take part in an effort currently in progress to
      > reconstruct in detail the whole accretional structure of Mark.
      >
      > 1. It hurts to say so, but no, we can't realistically accommodate
      > spectators
      > in the little NT working group. It is tempting to include them, and I
      > greatly appreciate their interest, but classroom experience teaches
      > us that
      > silent auditors quickly inhibit the work of nonsilent participants.
      > The
      > sense of being watched is unnerving, or something like that. Our
      > working
      > group expects to be making small progress reports from time to time
      > (on
      > Crosstalk and/or what seem to be other appropriate fora), and I hope
      > this
      > will provide something in the way of spectator interest for those not
      > regularly involved. Responses to such reports as they are posted, to
      > me or
      > to the list in question, will always be most welcome. Feedback is
      > what we
      > are looking for, in order to draw on the widest possible range of
      > expertise
      > and experience as we attempt to accomplish a task which is beyond the
      > ability of any one of those currently involved, myself very much
      > included.
      > We look forward to feedback of that kind, and tender in advance our
      > thanks
      > to those willing to provide it.
      >
      > 2. Requests to look at the working reconstruction of Mark Layer 1
      > are in a
      > slightly different category: a sort of middle zone between passive E-
      > list
      > spectatorship and full seminar participation. Such a zone would
      > consist of
      > interested individuals who have seen the current reconstruction, and
      > are
      > willing to share their suggestions and criticisms with me, for
      > possible
      > secondary sharing with the working group.
      >
      > The only thing I want to emphasize beforehand is this: according to
      > our best
      > philological judgement, Mark is indeed accretional, and as a
      > stratified
      > text, whose successive strata were laid down at successively later
      > times, it
      > does indeed witness to several stages in the evolution of what finally
      > crystallized as Christianity. Details are still under study, but
      > that much
      > seems pretty certain. The early layers of this sequence turn out to be
      > doctrinally prior to the Christianity of Paul; that is, they do not
      > include
      > the Resurrection Doctrine. And the earliest layer of all (as E P
      > Sanders
      > long ago warned us to expect) shows Jesus not operating as a
      > Christian of
      > any sort, Pauline or other, but wholly within the boundaries of Jewish
      > belief and expectation. Christianity itself came later, as Luke
      > seems to
      > have been in some sense aware; see again Acts 11:26.
      >
      > Specifically, as we see it, the earliest Jesus which can be
      > philologically
      > recovered from Mark, itself the earliest of the consecutive
      > witnesses to
      > Jesus, was Messianic rather than Apocalyptic. It shows Jesus as
      > concerned
      > with exactly what Blind Bartimaeus at one and, and Pontius Pilate at
      > the
      > other, SAID he was concerned with, namely, the return of God, and
      > thus of
      > political sovereignty, to Israel.
      >
      > How would one frame a narrative which, like the Passion Narrative
      > recently
      > excavated by Adela Yarbro Collins (in her 2007 commentary, page
      > 819), ends
      > with Jesus's death and seeming defeat? What would be the point of
      > it? What
      > would be the *use* of it, for any still remaining followers of
      > Jesus? Those
      > are the questions. I think they can be answered, and our little
      > group is in
      > the process of answering them, as best it can with the time and talent
      > currently available to it. But the idea of Christianity without the
      > Resurrection, which so enraged Paul when he encountered it in
      > Corinth, is no
      > less unwelcome to many people at the present time. We have no wish
      > to upset
      > anyone, and we do not seek to overturn any convictions to the
      > contrary. We
      > *do* invite comment by those who are prepared to see Christianity as
      > evolving, rather than as defined from the beginning, and who are
      > prepared to
      > consider a proposal about what amounts to a pre-Christian Jesus. But
      > we
      > don't want to lure anyone into exposure to a hypothesis which can
      > only be
      > distressing to them.
      >
      > On those terms, which are meant to avoid offense and minimize
      > static, I will
      > be glad to share, with suitably interested parties, the URL at which
      > the
      > current reconstruction of Mark Layer 1 may be found. Would such
      > persons
      > contact me privately, or renew to me privately their earlier
      > expression of
      > interest in that option?
      >
      > Thanks to everyone for their patience with these qualifications, in an
      > inevitably delicate matter. I hope the qualifications may serve as
      > an aid to
      > interest, while avoiding irritation to those whose interests lie in
      > other
      > directions.
      >
      > Bruce
      >
      > E Bruce Brooks
      > Warring States Project
      > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      >
      >
      >



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