Re: [Synoptic-L] Date of Mark
- 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 ofJames Crossley had replied:
>> 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 ...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, veryIt is true that Brandon's scenario cannot be proved, but very little in this
> 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.
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 wasI can't write an essay to back up my every sentence. In any case, as
> 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.
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
> OthersYes. Crossley plus others with a similar view are still in a small minority
> take this view too so presumably we must talk of them having a 'most peculiar
> interpretation' too, right?
and their interpretation can still be deemed strange.
>> 'Crossley insists on interpreting the last in the context of the first,The fact that some fraction of the Syriac tradition did not see the logic
>> 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'.
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 washingHere Crossley relies on his context argument. I don't buy it. The Corban
> 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).
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 ofO.K., so I need to spell out the logic.
> 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.
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 gaveI note Crossley's section on Mark and Paul. He tackles, among other
> several alternatives so I won't bother repeating.
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.
Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm