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Re: [Synoptic-L] Date of Mark

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  • Ron Price
    ... Bruce, I suggest that here you may be missing the underlying Sitz im Leben of Mark as an author. For Mark wanted to present a gospel primarily for
    Message 1 of 38 , Jul 6, 2008
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      Bruce Brooks wrote:

      > ..... the Syrophoenician Woman .....
      > .....
      > If the Jesus Movement of that time had wholly embraced the Gentile Mission,
      > they would probably have done so in a less grudging manner.


      I suggest that here you may be missing the underlying Sitz im Leben of Mark
      as an author.

      For Mark wanted to present a gospel primarily for Gentiles, yet he knew that
      Jesus historically had had very little contact with them. How could he make
      his audience more at home with an inescapably Jewish Jesus? At the
      relatively early date when he wrote, he could not risk openly presenting
      Jesus as supporting a mission to Gentiles. But he could create a story which
      hints that Jesus was favourably disposed towards a non-Jew.

      > ..... Here is another Synoptic Trajectory,
      > which despite a considerable garbling of Retained and New traditions,
      > especially in Mt and Lk (Jn is pretty consistent and cleaned up in this
      > regard), shows a steady rise in the place accorded to non-Jewish believers
      > in Jesus.

      Surely the trajectory reflects either an increasing remoteness from
      knowledge of the historical Jesus, or a progressively increasing boldness in
      the gospel writers' willingness to misrepresent him, or some combination of
      both. After all, Paul's first extant letter already reveals a church
      composed primarily of non-Jews (1 Thess 1:9).

      > ..... The shift from the Messiah to the Savior, as I
      > (and a number of others) see it, is precisely the shift from the Historical
      > Jesus to the Christ of Faith.


      > Paul is already an early believer in the Risen Jesus as the emblem of the
      > Christ of Faith, whereas Mark retains considerable traces of the Messiah
      > theory of Jesus, which was probably the one held by Jesus's followers in his
      > lifetime.

      Yes. But those traces were retained because Mark's aim (among others) was to
      compose a biography of Jesus, whereas Paul showed more interest in Jesus'
      death than in his life.

      > Mark is at some pains to show they were mistaken, that the Death
      > and Resurrection was the real point. The pains taken with this demonstration
      > only show that there were contrary opinions to be overcome. By the time that
      > Paul made contact with Jesus tradition (or it with him), that evolution was
      > already complete in at least some places. Ergo (as I think I mentioned
      > above), the earliest stories in Mark are pre-Pauline.

      Of course the earliest material in Mark is pre-Pauline. Mark was portraying
      the life of someone who died ca. 30 CE when Paul was not even a blip on the
      radar. Some of the material had to be early, otherwise the whole biography
      would have been a fabrication, which I don't accept.

      > ..... the text itself argues, in its
      > later layers, against the position held in its earlier layers. Much of Mark
      > is devoted to showing that those who heard Jesus preach, or those who
      > accompanied him on his preaching tours, completely missed the point of what
      > he was saying, a point which would only be revealed to them (by miraculous
      > means) after his death. I can't imagine anything more openly revisionist.

      I agree with the last sentence. But I would argue that Mark had to report
      the material you call the "earliest layers" in order to expose the views
      deemed erroneous - such as Peter's view that Jesus was (only) the Messiah -
      of which his own pro-Pauline view was the revision.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: Jeff Peterson On: Paul and Jesus From: Bruce JEFF: ) The Pauline testimonia to Jesus ministry don t exhibit the degree of verbal
      Message 38 of 38 , Aug 25, 2011
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        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Jeff Peterson
        On: Paul and Jesus
        From: Bruce

        JEFF: ) The Pauline testimonia to Jesus' ministry don't exhibit the degree
        of verbal agreement with the Synoptic parallels that commends a literary
        explanation of inter-Synoptic agreements.

        BRUCE: I would agree that Paul's Epistle is not here being copied from
        Mark's Gospel. We do not have a scriptorium situation. But I think it is
        still open that Paul may be expressing in his own words tradition that
        ultimately comes from Mark. Not that this is the only option, but neither
        does it seem to be eliminated.

        JEFF: Seems to me at least equally plausible to hold that Paul and Mark
        both derived their knowledge of Jesus' teaching and activity from oral
        tradition (as Luke's preface suggests was the norm in the first generation).

        BRUCE: I think there are other factors which may help us here. First, it is
        notable (and Koester duly noted it) that Paul accepts none of Jesus's
        ethical principles; only his sayings on church order. That is, whatever he
        knew of, he is apparently being selective with. Second, he himself says that
        he has no interest in Jesus "after the flesh," which I take to mean, the
        teachings and deeds of Jesus during his lifetime. Why not? I presume,
        because others had superior access to those details. It is only in the
        revelation department, the spiritual department, that he can hope to rank
        even with the other Apostles; to compete with them on a level basis.

        Third, take miracles. Mark tells of several miracles of Jesus, obviously
        thinking that they will add to readers' impressment with Jesus, and their
        acceptance of Jesus as bringing a message, along with healing power, from
        God. The demand for a "sign" in Mark assumes that supernatural deeds are the
        best proof of Jesus's qualification for what he was doing. All this is
        consistent with itself, and with the extreme emphasis on miracles in the
        Apostolic literature. Did Paul have any knowledge of Jesus's miracles? I
        defy anyone to spend a week in Peter's company, as Paul tells us he had
        done, without getting an earful of Jesus's miracles. Presumably in a
        Galilean twang which, I have suggested, led a Jerusalem hearer like Mark to
        get the name Gerasa wrong; he had misheard Peter's Gergesa (so Origen, I
        believe correctly). Likely though it is that Paul was exposed in one way or
        another to such stories, he rigorously excludes them from his Epistle
        teaching. The only signs he invokes are his own miraculous performances:
        healings, speaking in tongues, and other evidence of indwelling spirit.
        Somebody else's spiritual feats or doings have no authenticating power, or
        other interest, for Paul. The only miracle of Jesus that interests Paul is
        the Resurrection, and this is really a miracle of God. The only part of
        Jesus's life that Paul can use is Jesus's death. I think the filter here is
        in Paul, and not in what was available to him.

        (I have earlier said why I find "oral tradition" so vague as to be
        analytically meaningless. The question is: Who said what to whom? I have
        tried to keep to that more realistic standard in the above).

        As for Mark, Peter used to come to his house, and he will have had more than
        Paul's opportunity to acquaint himself with what Peter knew, or claimed to
        know, as an eyewitness. This seems to me to be a good deal more direct than
        the phrase "oral tradition" tends to suggest. And does not Mark himself
        slyly claim to have been in at the beginning? Like every other Evangelist,
        he seems to contrive to put himself into his own story, in his case as the
        youth who fled naked at the Gethsemane Arrest scene. No one has ever
        suggested a plausible alternative for this otherwise absurd detail
        (including Mt and Lk, who omit it). Luke has his We section (in Acts), with
        its implicit claim of accompaniment of Paul for many of his journeys. John,
        as is well known, has his teasingly introduced Beloved Disciple figure, who
        is validated in the superadded Jn 21 as the real source of that Gospel. It
        then seems that staid Matthew is the exception. But is it really? Is our
        version the original, or is the original better reflected in the Gospel of
        the Ebionites (Epiphanius, Adv Haer 30/13:3), "And you, Matthew, sitting at
        the tax office, I called and you followed me." Note the direct address. I
        get the sense of Evangelists reaching for something better than indirect
        tradition, whether oral or otherwise. Doesn't mean they are right, but I
        think their implied opinion deserves to be considered as reflecting the
        dynamic of the times.

        Nearly every NT text seems to be concerned with authentication. In the case
        of the spurious 2 Thess, also with disauthentication. (Compare Paul's own
        bitter comments about the Pillars, the Super-Apostles).


        E Bruce Brooks
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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