Re: [Synoptic-L] Date of Mark
- Bruce Brooks wrote:
> ..... the Syrophoenician Woman .....Bruce,
> 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,Surely the trajectory reflects either an increasing remoteness from
> 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.
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 IIndeed.
> (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 theYes. But those traces were retained because Mark's aim (among others) was to
> 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
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 DeathOf course the earliest material in Mark is pre-Pauline. Mark was portraying
> 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.
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 itsI agree with the last sentence. But I would argue that Mark had to report
> 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.
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.
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- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Jeff Peterson
On: Paul and Jesus
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