2392RE: [GPG] Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: Mk 1:2
- Sep 2, 2009I'm only going to comment on one point here. I don't have time to look at the specific details of Mark 1:2 at the moment. But I think it is a near certainty that some of the original published versions of NT documents have been altered in all surviving copies. One way we could look at this is to look at some small set of our best surviving copies, then look at a list of details and see how many times the earliest version survives in say 1,2, or 3 copies. We could estimate the distribution and from that estimate how often the original text should be expected to have survived in zero copies. We don't have to do the calculation to know the answer is clearly not zero.
However, it is still a difficult case to make that something we find in all surviving copies is not original. It can be done of course, but it is difficult. This is easier in some parts of Mark, however, I believe, because I think Luke does provide us a witness to an earlier version of Mark at some points. Thus on occasion the original text of Mark survives in Luke but not in Mark. Mark 1:2 may be an example of this (or not), but there are better examples, I believe.
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From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of E Bruce Brooks
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 12:37 PM
Subject: [GPG] Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: Mk 1:2
In Response To: Dave G
On: Mk 1:2
DAVE: I note a couple of points about this passage that incline me towards
First of all by saying this is an addition to Mark, I mean an addition made
after it has left the authors full control, that is after "publication"
date, or at least after the date where it shifted from "private" to
"proprietary". Obviously, the change still has to be early enough, however,
for it to eventually replace the original text in all existing copies.
BRUCE: If the book has left its protected state (in the care of a person or
institution, with limited distribution outside), then it is in the "copying"
period. More or less by definition, changes made at this level are copyist
changes or improvements, and should show up in manuscripts. But as Ron
points out, there is no confirmation on that side. Not even Bezae, whose
ancestor diverged very early from the ancestor of Vaticanus, shows a
difference (of this type; there are some tiny changes that don't affect the
present argument, or at least I think they don't). The proposed addition is
still possible, but I wouldn't say it is strongly supported.
If such a copyist improvement WERE made, what was its agenda? I cannot but
think that the supposed copyist was aware of one or both of the Mt/Lk
parallels, and is here conflating one or both with Mk. Since neither of
those passages identifies the source of the quote, our copyist might have
felt is was OK to stick it under Mk's "Isaiah" rubric. Can we say which of
Mt/Lk was the immediate source? No, since the quote is identical in Mt/Lk.
Then it might have been either, or both together. But the wording if that
identical quote differs slightly from the form in Mk, so we are positing an
altered addition. (Both have a final EMPROSQEN SOU "before you" which is
lacking in the Mk version).
Here is a problem for the Markan Posteriorists, and I think also for the
present theory of a single late addition to Mark. I thus don't regard this
first argument as tending weightily toward the given conclusion.
DAVE: One thing that fits with this is the misattribution. The early layers
of Mark, in my view, show a deep familiarity with the OT, in fact he seems,
in my view, to assume more on the part of his audience than may seem
reasonable to us. I see it as unlikely that this author made this mistake.
BRUCE: I guess it depends on one's layer theory. I note in passing that it
is welcome news that someone HAS a layer theory. My own impression is that
the early layers of Mk are written by someone, probably the same person
updating himself, who is a little off-center in his Greek, a little
breathlessly oral (rather than written) in his delivery, and a little
careless with his facts, including his quotes. The later layers of Mk, as I
see them, depart from all these details, and that perhaps second accretional
author is pretty adroit with his OT allusions (not quotes), which he works
subtly into the texture of things.
DAVE: Another point is that Luke groups this material outside of the
material he gathers from Mark, and with material he gathered from elsewhere
(Matthew/Q/Luke's mind, etc...). At other points when this happens, I find
the best solution to be that Luke did not see this bit of text in his copy
of Mark. This passage seems to fit that pattern, in my view. That is - Luke
tells us he didn't see in in Mark, by not placing it with the material he
got from Mark.
BRUCE: I doubt that Luke is trying to tell us anything at all in the way of
self-source criticism; he is probably trying to convince us that his
integrated account of salvation history is the one to go with. Given that
Luke is after Mark and also after Matthew, the question of why he puts the
piece which Matthew removed from its Markan location into a still different
location needs to be assessed against Luke's attitude toward Matthew; it
doesn't directly relate to Lk vis-a-vis Mark.
But the determinative case is surely that of Mt: How can we explain what
changes he made in Mk? I haven't an answer to propose (nor one to cite; the
only detailed studies of the Mt ~ Mk relation I have so far found are those
by Bacon, Farrer, and Goulder), except that I notice that Mt has invented a
scene with John in prison, hearing about the doings of his former protege,
and sending to inquire about them. The historical plausibility of this is
somewhere near nil, but anyway, Matthew is in charge, and that is what he
does. Two things may be relevant to Matthew's state of mind. (1) He is aware
of the gaucherie in the original Mark quotation, and rather than have Mark
cite two scriptures by name, he silently removes the erroneous one, leaving
a more correct but perfectly adequate Mark. He improves Mark. (2) He notices
that John the B drops out of sight after Jesus begins preaching (save for
the highly unlikely execution story in Mk, which reads like a late, if still
authorial, addition to Mk), and he thinks the story would be stronger if
John not merely predicted great things for Jesus at the beginning, but
verified his own prediction later on. Again, he doubtless feels that he is
strengthening the story this way, and mirabile dictu, here is this stray bit
of mislabeled prediction from Mark which he can slot into his story, by way
of reintroducing John to his readers. [I here decline to follow out the
details of the mixed Malachi/Exodus citation; maybe later].
I think what Mt has seemingly done to Mk here is authorially intelligible,
in both of its aspects well-intentioned toward Mk, though determined to
leave the reader with a less incorrect and more persuasive document.
DAVE: Finally, Fledderman's argument about the word SOU, sticks in my mind.
Without going back to review in detail, he argues that SOU is not in the OT
passages, and is a slightly poor fit in Mark, but well suited to its "Q"
environment. This may indicate that the passage in Mark is dependent on a
"Q-like" passage containing the word SOU.
BRUCE: So much for attempts to banish the OT angle. See, ad interim,
Beale/Carson 38f, 114f. It has been noted by previous generations that Mt is
strictly Septuagintal in his OT, save for a special group of passages,
possibly to be attributed to a second redaction of Mt, in which there is
unmistakable contact with the MT; that is, we may have a second authorial
hand in Mt who knows Hebrew as well as Greek. But again, this is not the
paragraph in which to follow out these possibilities.
DAVE: Not exactly an iron clad case, but that's why I'm inclined to see it
the way I do.
BRUCE: It seems to me that there are other possibilities here, all of which
look stronger to me on present evidence. Not that all relevant aspects have
yet come up for discussion.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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