Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

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

Expand Messages
  • Steph Fisher
    I m posting this for James Crossley: Ron, Again I really do not want to get embroiled in arguments when they are really not engaging properly and can t (or
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 25, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      I'm posting this for James Crossley:

      Ron,

      Again I really do not want to get embroiled in arguments when they are really not engaging properly and can't (or won't?) read a basic text but I'll do it reluctantly again because I get too annoyed for my own good.

      Price: '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.'

      This is really misleading and ironically enough full of empty rhetoric. The other contexts being just as plausible was based on pointing out how different context in the first century could potentially fit Mark 13 alone. I wrote a fair few pages on this. It could have been the Caligula crisis. It could have been following decades when there was worry of a threat. It could have been one of a few of the events surrounding the Jewish war. I provided evidence for these and argued that on the basis on Mark 13 alone it is not easy to date Mark's Gospel. Why is that not a rational argument? I would have thought it was precisely that: a rational argument. I'm afraid you are just inventing things when you talk of 'opinion' and 'rational argument'.

      Brandon's argument is too speculative because he provided a very, very precise historical location for Mark's gospel which is impossible to prove because there are so many other plausible alternative. That is not merely opinion, that is an argument.

      Oh, and you keep telling me Mark was writing for gentiles and no doubt he was but just gentiles? Not Jews too? For someone who loves rational argument and not opinion there's a lot of opinion here because you haven't argued for this heavy use of writing for gentiles. And then there are other complicating factors: observant gentiles, for instance.

      The 'most peculiar interpretation of Mk 7:14-23' is again rhetoric. Others take this view too so presumably we must talk of them having a 'most peculiar interpretation' too, right? Ron then goes on to say this:

      '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.

      I'll avoid the ruled out-ness of Mk 7.18 argument because I gave a very lengthy discussion of purity law in relation to the outside/inside issue. Anyway, on to the 'only' logical deduction. Well no. For a start, Mk 7.18-19 has well known grammatical problems. We might add that not all the Syriac tradition took it as the 'only logical deduction'. These are well known but presumably not worthy. Also, the transmission of impurity through not washing hands goes from hands to food to eater (via a liquid), not to mention the other issues surrounding meal time purity (immersion, washing utensils and dining couches - cf. Mark 7.1-5). So Mark 7.1-23 would work with the logic of the transmission of impurity and only doesn't because, erm, Ron says so. Others, incidentally, have also noted this kind of interpretation of the 'what goes in.' sayings. Ron's 'only logical deduction' only works then if he ignores Jewish evidence, Christian evidence, the logical deductions of others, and indeed material collected in my chapter.

      Ron also said, 'He is here [Mark 7.19b] expressing in different words what his hero Paul had written in Rom 14:14a, thus establishing a clear ethical [sic?] divide between Judaism and Christianity'

      Rational argument? Opinion? Hmmmm. I wrote a section on Mark and Paul and gave several alternatives so I won't bother repeating.

      Ron: '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.

      That is far too vague to take remotely seriously. There are other arguments to explain this from a basic narrative link to Exodus connections. It does not follow that it means the kingdom of God coming is 'somehow fulfilled'. Rational argument. Opinion. Etc and so on. I'm still looking for Mark showing embarrassment.

      Ron: 'But in 40 CE "some standing here" would still have been alive

      How on earth do you know that? Life expectancy was very low so why not???? Don't tell me, rational argument! Or opinion?

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

      Can't argue with that rational argument. Or was it opinion?

      James

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Ron Price
      To: Synoptic-L elist
      Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 9:27 PM
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Date of Mark (was: sources of Matt. 4:1-11//Lk.4:1-13)



      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






      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


      No virus found in this incoming message.
      Checked by AVG.
      Version: 7.5.524 / Virus Database: 270.4.1/1512 - Release Date: 21/06/2008 9:27 a.m.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ron Price
      My thanks to James Crossley for his responses. I will not attempt to formulate a reply (apart from one brief point, see below), partly because the tone of the
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 25, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        My thanks to James Crossley for his responses.

        I will not attempt to formulate a reply (apart from one brief point, see
        below), partly because the tone of the discussion has become too heated. It
        is not helpful to resort to sarcasm.

        >> Ron: 'But in 40 CE "some standing here" would still have been alive

        > How on earth do you know that? Life expectancy was very low so why not????
        > Don't tell me, rational argument! Or opinion?

        Simon Peter, as one of Jesus' leading disciples, would quite probably have
        been present when Jesus spoke these words. Peter attended the Jerusalem
        conference (normally dated between 46 CE and 52 CE) and was therefore still
        alive in 40 CE. There's at least one other quite probably present on both
        occasions, namely John. In any case the real issue (which I did not express
        sufficiently accurately - my apologies for this) is not whether anyone
        "standing here" was actually alive when Mark wrote, but rather in what year
        Mark could reasonably have *assumed* that none of the original hearers were
        still alive (he could hardly have known for sure), and thus have become
        convinced that the saying had not been fulfilled. This would take us way
        beyond 40 CE.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • Ron Price
        After a cooling down period, having again referred to Crossley s book, and having now read a review by John Painter which homes in on the same fundamental flaw
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 5, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          After a cooling down period, having again referred to Crossley's book, and
          having now read a review by John Painter which homes in on the same
          fundamental flaw as I did, and comes to a conclusion virtually the same as
          mine, it is time to try to put the record straight following the intemperate
          criticisms levelled at my assessment.

          I had written:

          >> '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.'

          James Crossley had replied:

          > This is really misleading ...

          Given what is stated in the footnote, my comment is apt. A cross-reference
          might have avoided the apparent absence of rational argument here.

          > Brandon's argument is too speculative because he provided a very, very
          > precise historical location for Mark's gospel which is impossible to prove
          > because there are so many other plausible alternative. That is not merely
          > opinion, that is an argument.

          It is true that Brandon's scenario cannot be proved, but very little in this
          field of study can be proved. We should be looking for the *most* plausible
          solution. Finding 'plausible' alternatives does not necessarily knock the
          Jewish war from its position of most likely candidate scenario.

          > Oh, and you keep telling me Mark was writing for gentiles and no doubt he was
          > but just gentiles? Not Jews too? For someone who loves rational argument and
          > not opinion there's a lot of opinion here because you haven't argued for this
          > heavy use of writing for gentiles.

          I can't write an essay to back up my every sentence. In any case, as
          Crossley agrees ("no doubt he was"), the objection seems pointless.

          > The 'most peculiar interpretation of Mk 7:14-23' is again rhetoric.

          It is not just rhetoric. Crossley's interpretation is most peculiar in the
          sense of different from the great majority. It is also most peculiar in the
          sense of "very strange" for the reason I gave, which I will enlarge upon
          below.

          > Others
          > take this view too so presumably we must talk of them having a 'most peculiar
          > interpretation' too, right?

          Yes. Crossley plus others with a similar view are still in a small minority
          and their interpretation can still be deemed strange.

          >> '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.

          > ..... not all the Syriac
          > tradition took it as the 'only logical deduction'.

          The fact that some fraction of the Syriac tradition did not see the logic
          here proves only that (a) they didn't understand it or (perhaps more likely)
          (b) they didn't agree with it and altered the text to try to bring it closer
          to their own opinion of what it should have been.

          > These are well known but presumably not worthy.

          Worthiness doesn't come into it.

          > Also, the transmission of impurity through not washing
          > hands goes from hands to food to eater (via a liquid), not to mention the
          > other issues surrounding meal time purity (immersion, washing utensils and
          > dining couches - cf. Mark 7.1-5).

          Here Crossley relies on his context argument. I don't buy it. The Corban
          episode in Mk 7:9-13 has nothing whatsoever to do with hand washing. Also
          there is a break at v.14 (KAI ..... PALIN .....). Therefore we should not
          necessarily expect the following episode (7:14-23) to have anything to do
          with it either. The three texts 1-8, 9-13 and 14-23 have in common that they
          all present Jesus' reaction to Jewish traditions or regulations, not that
          they all deal with hand washing.

          > So Mark 7.1-23 would work with the logic of
          > the transmission of impurity and only doesn't because, erm, Ron says so.
          > Others, incidentally, have also noted this kind of interpretation of the 'what
          > goes in.' sayings. Ron's 'only logical deduction' only works then if he
          > ignores Jewish evidence, Christian evidence, the logical deductions of others,
          > and indeed material collected in my chapter.

          O.K., so I need to spell out the logic.
          Firstly the relevant text is Mk 7:14-23 as argued above.
          This passage contrasts two categories, what goes into a person with what
          comes out of a person. Mark's Jesus asserts that what goes in (food) cannot
          defile a person, and that it is what comes out of a person's heart (evil
          thoughts etc.) which causes defilement. The list of the types of things
          leading to defilement includes moral failings but does not include
          contravening arbitrary rules. The stark contrast leaves no room for
          distinctions between pigs and sheep.

          > I wrote a section on Mark and Paul and gave
          > several alternatives so I won't bother repeating.

          I note Crossley's section on Mark and Paul. He tackles, among other
          arguments, the one which may be the most crucial, namely that Mark took over
          the title "Son of God" from Paul. He mentions that the title was accepted by
          Matthew, Luke and John. But these later gospel writers were influenced by
          Mark's gospel, so their use of it is hardly relevant. Crossley then goes on
          to say that the title could have originated from Jewish sources such as
          Psalm 2:7. So it could. But that is not the issue. The issue is the use of
          the title for Jesus with an explicit or implicit indication of uniqueness.
          We know for sure that Paul applied the title to Jesus as early as 1 Thess
          1:10 ("his [God's] Son"). Luke attributes this theology to Paul within days
          of his conversion (Acts 9:20), suggesting that this was Paul's special
          insight. This seems to be supported by the fact that in none of his extant
          letters does Paul refer to Jesus as "Son of man". Paul didn't want anyone to
          be confused as to Jesus' special relationship with God. Mark on the other
          hand was prepared to use both labels, which is consistent with the view that
          Mark was aiming in some sense to bridge the gap between the original
          disciples and the gospel of Paul.

          Crossley gives as an alternative the possibility "that Mark came first and
          indirectly influenced Paul" (p.53). Possible, but highly unlikely. The fact
          that Paul is known to have delved deeply into theology (Romans) and to have
          been reluctant to be dependent on others (e.g. Gal 2:6), makes it far more
          likely that Mark was dependent on Paul.

          One final point: Crossley states that a late Mark would have clarified the
          scenario in Mk 2:23-28 to show clearly that no work was involved when the
          ears of corn were plucked (p.182). There are two things wrong with this
          statement. Firstly is assumes that a late Mark would have had the same
          attitude to biblical law as Matthew and Luke. Secondly it admits to a degree
          of ambiguity in Mark's scenario, and on this basis we can't be sure that the
          passage was *not* challenging biblical law. This weakens his whole case
          because if this passage *did* imply a deliberate challenge to the law then
          according to his own criterion (if a gospel shows signs of these debates
          then it is reacting to them, p.159 ) the gospel may have to be dated later.

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.