4892RE: [Synoptic-L] Error in Rethinking the Gospel Sources, Volume 2, The Unity and Plurality of Q, by D R Burkett?
- Jul 5, 2013To: Synoptic
In Response To: Ron Price
Ron recently remarked, in rejecting a theory of Mark as a descendant of a
more linguistically normal proto-Mark,
"if only because that would in many cases involve replacing good Greek by
somewhat cruder Greek."
Exactly. The Matthean Prioritists sometimes explain this by saying that Mark
intentionally wrote down to a vulgar audience, and for this purpose used
inferior Greek. That is, Mark is a street version of Matthew. The street
preachers among us can say if they find themselves doing this. Assuming that
they do (that in informal situations in Hawaii, for example, they would
lapse into pidgin), it remains to be convincingly demonstrated that the text
of Mark is aimed at a subliterate audience.
I find that unlikely. What I do seem to see, taking Mark by itself for the
moment, is the intrusion of vulgar elements (popular elements) into an
originally less vulgar Gospel. One possibility that occurs to me is the
Story of the Pigs (the exorcism frame story is almost an excuse to hang the
Pigs on). The Pigs looks to me like the kind of thing you could look up in a
folklore motif index, and find more of. I can just hear Peter recounting it
I would class it as a Comeuppance Tale. Are there others in the literature
of that period? Stories where the seemingly superior party is fooled by his
own cleverness? I think I can see one or two in the late Apocryphal Gospels
and Acts. There are also exact parallels in, say, the 04c Dzwo Jwan (a very
long and well written classical Chinese text), all of which champion
socially lower persons against their murderers or oppressors, certain
socially higher persons.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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