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Re: [Synoptic-L] Date of Mark (was: sources of Matt. 4:1-11//Lk. 4:1-13)

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  • Ron Price
    ... Steph, Having now had a chance to study Crossley s book, I find some of his main arguments regarding Mark s date to be extremely weak. Firstly I note that
    Message 1 of 36 , Jun 24, 2008
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      Steph Fisher wrote:

      > I strongly recommend James Crossley's book. His argument demonstrates
      > Matthew's redaction of Mark (not the other way around) but it also suggests an
      > early date for Matthew as well - before the war. Mark is around 40.

      Steph,

      Having now had a chance to study Crossley's book, I find some of his main
      arguments regarding Mark's date to be extremely weak.

      Firstly I note that he dismisses Brandon's nationalistic scenario of the
      aftermath of the Jewish war (71CE) as "too speculative", claiming that many
      other contexts are "just as plausible". (p.76,n.119) This is opinion, not
      rational argument.

      Secondly he puts great weight on the argument that Mark did not show signs
      of Jewish legal debates, and so it is likely to have been written before
      these debates were raised by Christians sometime after ca. 45 CE or
      thereabouts. It's not clear why he doesn't consider Mk 7:1-23 as airing such
      debates. But in a different phrasing of the argument he takes Mark's lack of
      an equivalent to Mt 5:17-21 or Lk 16:16-17 ("general defences of the Torah")
      to "suggest an early date" (p.159). Not so. Mark was writing for Gentiles,
      and so he changed Jesus' saying about the longevity of the law into a saying
      about the longevity of Jesus' words (c.f. Fleddermann). This is consistent
      with his omission of the sayings behind Mt 7:6; 10:5b-6 and his
      transformation of the saying behind 10:23 into the innocuous Mk 13:10.

      Thirdly Crossley has a most peculiar interpretation of Mk 7:14-23. Mark
      presents three consecutive passages relating to Jewish legal issues: 7:1-8,
      9-13 and 14-23. Crossley insists on interpreting the last in the context of
      the first, deducing that "he declared all foods clean" means "he declared
      permitted foods clean" (denying the role of handwashing). But this
      interpretation is ruled out by 7:18b: "Do you not see that whatever goes
      into a man from outside cannot defile him...". The only logical deduction
      from this is that all foods are clean, as stated explicitly by Mark in
      7:19b. Crossley claims that if Mark wanted to reject the Jewish food laws
      "he would have to be a lot more explicit than the editorial comment in 7:19"
      (p.191). On the contrary, Mark was writing for Gentiles, and must have known
      that 7:19b would have been taken at face value by his readers. He is here
      expressing in different words what his hero Paul had written in Rom 14:14a,
      thus establishing a clear ethical divide between Judaism and Christianity
      which has lasted to this day.

      Fourthly, a period of ten years between the crucifixion and the publication
      of Mark's gospel is far too short to account for some features of the
      gospel. For instance, Mark shows his embarrassment at the fact that Jesus'
      prophecy of the coming of the kingdom had not been fulfilled (Mk 9:1) by
      placing the saying just before the transfiguration (c.f. "And after six
      days...") and so suggesting that this happening had somehow fulfilled the
      prophecy. But in 40 CE "some standing here" would still have been alive, so
      the prophecy would not have appeared unfulfilled at that time.

      My conclusion is that Crossley has not succeeded in making a convincing case
      for an early Mark. Mark was written ca. 70 CE.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • Ron Price
      ... Steph, Having now had a chance to study Crossley s book, I find some of his main arguments regarding Mark s date to be extremely weak. Firstly I note that
      Message 36 of 36 , Jun 24, 2008
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        Steph Fisher wrote:

        > I strongly recommend James Crossley's book. His argument demonstrates
        > Matthew's redaction of Mark (not the other way around) but it also suggests an
        > early date for Matthew as well - before the war. Mark is around 40.

        Steph,

        Having now had a chance to study Crossley's book, I find some of his main
        arguments regarding Mark's date to be extremely weak.

        Firstly I note that he dismisses Brandon's nationalistic scenario of the
        aftermath of the Jewish war (71CE) as "too speculative", claiming that many
        other contexts are "just as plausible". (p.76,n.119) This is opinion, not
        rational argument.

        Secondly he puts great weight on the argument that Mark did not show signs
        of Jewish legal debates, and so it is likely to have been written before
        these debates were raised by Christians sometime after ca. 45 CE or
        thereabouts. It's not clear why he doesn't consider Mk 7:1-23 as airing such
        debates. But in a different phrasing of the argument he takes Mark's lack of
        an equivalent to Mt 5:17-21 or Lk 16:16-17 ("general defences of the Torah")
        to "suggest an early date" (p.159). Not so. Mark was writing for Gentiles,
        and so he changed Jesus' saying about the longevity of the law into a saying
        about the longevity of Jesus' words (c.f. Fleddermann). This is consistent
        with his omission of the sayings behind Mt 7:6; 10:5b-6 and his
        transformation of the saying behind 10:23 into the innocuous Mk 13:10.

        Thirdly Crossley has a most peculiar interpretation of Mk 7:14-23. Mark
        presents three consecutive passages relating to Jewish legal issues: 7:1-8,
        9-13 and 14-23. Crossley insists on interpreting the last in the context of
        the first, deducing that "he declared all foods clean" means "he declared
        permitted foods clean" (denying the role of handwashing). But this
        interpretation is ruled out by 7:18b: "Do you not see that whatever goes
        into a man from outside cannot defile him...". The only logical deduction
        from this is that all foods are clean, as stated explicitly by Mark in
        7:19b. Crossley claims that if Mark wanted to reject the Jewish food laws
        "he would have to be a lot more explicit than the editorial comment in 7:19"
        (p.191). On the contrary, Mark was writing for Gentiles, and must have known
        that 7:19b would have been taken at face value by his readers. He is here
        expressing in different words what his hero Paul had written in Rom 14:14a,
        thus establishing a clear ethical divide between Judaism and Christianity
        which has lasted to this day.

        Fourthly, a period of ten years between the crucifixion and the publication
        of Mark's gospel is far too short to account for some features of the
        gospel. For instance, Mark shows his embarrassment at the fact that Jesus'
        prophecy of the coming of the kingdom had not been fulfilled (Mk 9:1) by
        placing the saying just before the transfiguration (c.f. "And after six
        days...") and so suggesting that this happening had somehow fulfilled the
        prophecy. But in 40 CE "some standing here" would still have been alive, so
        the prophecy would not have appeared unfulfilled at that time.

        My conclusion is that Crossley has not succeeded in making a convincing case
        for an early Mark. Mark was written ca. 70 CE.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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