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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 16:7

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  • Karel Hanhart
    Dear Bruce, Without trying to be being presumptuous, I believe important alternative interpretations on the tomb story should be mentioned and discussed for
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 13 6:57 AM
      Dear Bruce,

      Without trying to be being presumptuous, I believe important alternative interpretations on the tomb story should be mentioned and discussed for your project to succeed.

      I am thus far not confronted by any theory except the provocative exegesis by Adele Yarboro Collins which you refute.
      My own interpretation, namely, that Mark is ending his post-70 gospel with a haggadic midrash on lxx Isa 22,16; 33,16 and Gen 29, 2.3.10 is not discussed, except by a superficial dismissal.

      If one adopts the classic understanding that this post-70 gospel was written by John Mark, mentioned in the epistles of Peter and Paul and in Acts, wouldn't it be logical that he used the ancient known Jewish method of conveyeing religious truth? Mark literally cites the lxx isaiah 22 passage on a "monumental grave hewn from the rock" as well as the lxx Genesis 29 passage on the "large stone being rolled away". Citations like that always mean that the message must be interpreted in light of these passages in the Hebrew Bible.
      Gen 29 deals with the important passage of Israel's ancestry, of Jacob and Rachel. In Isa 22 the prophet accuses Shebna - possibly the high priest or at least a leading scribe - of preparing doom on the temple because of his (corrupt) behavior. Mark's Christian Jewish audience in the wake of the disaster of 70 would certainly have understood Mark's signals.

      If it is the purpose of your project apologetically to defend the theory that Jesus' tomb was found empty, wouldn't it be fair to indicate that aim in those terms. If it is not its purpose - I do believe it is broader - than you should acquaint yourself with the argumentation Mark 15.42 - 16,8 is an haggadic midrash. No less a Jewish authority as Rashi endorses the interpretation that the 'tomb' in Isaiah 22 refers to the temple! and no less a modern authority as the late Walter Harrelson endorsed my interpretation. The grammar of 16,7 "behold, the (holy) Place" in the women's frightful vision of the future, demands the tomb is not a literal grave, but the Maqom, the Holy Place! They see to their horror what will happen forty years later in 70.

      Looking forward to this broader discussion,

      cordially,

      your Karel Hanhart



      ----- Original Message -----
      From: E Bruce Brooks
      To: Karel Hanhart
      Cc: Synoptic ; GPG
      Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 12:11 PM
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 16:7


      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG
      Responding to Private Communication From: Karel Hanhart
      On: Empty Tomb
      From: Bruce

      [I am in a quandary. I don't like to discuss Synoptic matters privately,
      because I lose the chance of wider correction if I am wrong, and that chance
      is my sole motive for writing in the first place. I also don't like to take
      a private conversation public, for standard reasons of protocol and
      propriety. I do so in the present case (pending a change in the Synoptic
      "Reply" rules, so that my correspondent can finally get into the public
      arena all by himself) as the lesser of two evils. But not by much. / EBB]

      KH: You know the major argument against a literal empty tomb is Paul nowhere
      writes about the tomb being found empty. The clinch is that he would
      certainly have used this discovery by the women in his writings about the
      resurrection.

      EBB: Arguments about what some ancient writer "would certainly" have done
      are intrinsically weak. This particular argument is refuted by Paul himself.
      As he emphasizes, he is determined NOT to know Jesus "after the flesh,"
      meaning, by means of somebody else's statements about what Jesus did during
      his mortal life on earth. Paul simply did not care what Jesus did during his
      life, except in the practical sense of "words of institution" for various
      customs and observances that were current in, and had become part of the
      daily workings of, the communities he encountered. Apart from this (the
      housekeeping of the early Jesus movement), in everything that really counts
      toward salvation, Paul is determined to know Jesus only by revelation, that
      is, by the vision(s) of Jesus which appeared to him directly and personally.
      All the rest, to him, is simply unreliable gossip.

      (Papias, for what it may be worth, took a somewhat similar view, no? I think
      it may go with the territory. The thing Papias was Bishop of seems to have
      been near Colossae. Like Paul's Tarsus, it was within modern Turkey, not
      part of the Galilean/Syrian homeland of the Jesus movement. Go figure).

      Some people, particularly those who had themselves been partial eyewitnesses
      of Jesus, relied on eyewitness testimony to earthly events. We can see Mark
      as catering to their needs by adding to his narrative, over time, ever more
      miraculous events, and especially predictions, from within Jesus's life.
      Others, like Paul, relied on direct spiritual perception; they got their
      convincement straight from God, or anyway from the divine sector. Paul and
      his most characteristic followers were ecstatics: given to possession
      states, speaking in tongues, and all the rest of that well-known pattern.
      All of them relied on the direct pipeline, not on the text stream.

      KH: Thus the question is renewed: Did Mark intend his readers to take his
      narrative literally - if not what message about Jesus' resurrection did he
      intend to convey to his readers.

      EBB: Mark was providing his congregation with a narrative which spoke to
      their particular condition: what we may most accurately call an apologia for
      Jesus. His congregation were early followers, some of whom had known Jesus
      "in the flesh" and wanted assurance that Jesus's life somehow made sense
      despite - meaning, in terms of - his unexpected death. They wanted the two
      things reconciled. Mark reconciled them. He did so by theologizing Jesus's
      death, and serving up the life and death together as making one consistent
      whole. His narrative is meant to *be* that whole. From this it follows that
      he expected his narratives to be believed literally. Notice the recurring
      details in Mark that are intended to familiarize his narrative to his
      audience, such as the little aside that Simon of Cyrene "was the father of
      Rufus and Alexander" - that adds less than nothing to the story, but the
      audience would have recognized Rufus in particular (not that common a name,
      as compared with "Alexander") as one familiar to them in the faith, and
      would have granted the narrative in which it occurs that much readier
      acceptance. (And it was this part of the narrative, the Crucifixion part,
      that was especially in need of reconciliation and explication). The Markan
      story, so to speak, carries its credentials of authenticity bundled together
      with it.

      KH: 16,7 must be part of that.

      EBB: It is. Mk 14:28 and 16:7 (which cannot fruitfully be considered except
      together) jointly amount to a prediction of Jesus's Appearance, in a
      narrative which is obviously headed toward that event, but which itself
      *does not predict it.* The two added passages make Jesus predict that event
      in advance. That is absolutely all they do, but that is a lot. Obviously, it
      strengthens the narrative to add the fact that the Appearance was another
      completely foreseen and thus inevitable part of Jesus's course on earth.

      Some early believers who had known Jesus but weren't present in Jerusalem on
      the fatal weekend might say, "Oh, that story of Appearances is just Peter's
      hysterical imagination." They might not take Peter's word for it, or even
      that of Mark. But they might take Jesus's word for it, and Jesus's word for
      it is precisely what Mark, in this late added improvement to his previous
      narrative, gives them.

      Paul's crowd got their convincement direct from God. Mark's crowd, different
      in temperament and at least some of them probably also different in their
      degree of prior acquaintance, also got their convincement from God, but it
      is the God that speaks to them in some of Mark's more dramatic scenes, and
      the God whose foreknowledge of everything is enshrined in (and by Mark, is
      continually quoted or echoed from) the Sacred Scriptures.

      All this implies that there were at least two major sources of authority in
      the early Jesus movement, and that people like Paul were only one of them.
      Do we have evidence, preferably from Paul himself, of the other source? I
      would answer: Yes. We have in Paul's letters almost nothing else: continual
      exasperation with opponents who claimed to have a different pipeline to
      Jesus, and whose beliefs and practices, whose emphases within the range then
      available to faith, were different from Paul's. As has often been pointed
      out, Paul does not expound his own theology in a vacuum, for the sake of
      talking theology, but often in an adversarial way, as opposing some other
      belief.

      Paul had no biographical contact with Jesus. Peter did have such contact.
      Once Paul admits that Peter's way of knowing Jesus outranks his own, then
      his constantly challenged Apostolic credentials vanish, and "those of Peter"
      at Corinth and elsewhere will win all the arguments, and Paul will be left
      as nothing more than an itinerant tentmaker, one of particularly irascible
      disposition, but not otherwise remarkable in the history of the world.

      That Paul was controversial is not a new suggestion. That Mark was (or was
      related to) the other side of the controversy is perhaps more novel. But it
      is not necessarily insusceptible of proof, or at least of relevant evidence.
      Those who are jaded with the Synoptics might try this as a freshening
      exercise: Go through Mark as though you had never seen it before, and read
      it not as a report of events but as a controversialist document in the arena
      of ideas. Highlight in green (on your Xerox) everything that might be called
      a "credentials argument." I think you will be surprised - nay, refreshed -
      to see how much green color there is on the resulting page.

      Here, I end by suggesting, is the other half of Paul's exasperation: the
      people who had known Jesus in the flesh, and were claiming authority from
      that fact.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst





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    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Would you be kind enough not only to define what you mean by classical understanding but to show us the evidence that post 70 CE is the classical
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 13 7:09 AM
        Karel Hanhart wrote:
        > Dear Bruce,
        >
        > Without trying to be being presumptuous, I believe important alternative interpretations on the tomb story should be mentioned and discussed for your project to succeed.
        >
        > I am thus far not confronted by any theory except the provocative exegesis by Adele Yarboro Collins which you refute.
        > My own interpretation, namely, that Mark is ending his post-70 gospel with a haggadic midrash on lxx Isa 22,16; 33,16 and Gen 29, 2.3.10 is not discussed, except by a superficial dismissal.
        >
        > If one adopts the classic understanding that this post-70 gospel was written by John Mark,
        Would you be kind enough not only to define what you mean by "classical
        understanding" but to show us the evidence that post 70 CE is the
        "classical understanding" of the date of composition of GMark?

        Jeffrey

        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Chicago, Illinois
        e-mail jgibson000@...
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic Cc: GPG; WSW In Response To: Karel Hanhart On: Mk 16 From: Bruce Nice to hear from a viewer, and thanks to Karel for taking the trouble. In the
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 13 5:30 PM
          To: Synoptic
          Cc: GPG; WSW
          In Response To: Karel Hanhart
          On: Mk 16
          From: Bruce

          Nice to hear from a viewer, and thanks to Karel for taking the trouble. In
          the end, I don't think the objection is cogent, and I invite attention again
          to the main problem, which in my view is this: (1) is Mark stratified, and
          if so, (2) how shall we identify its layers?

          KAREL: Without trying to be being presumptuous, I believe important
          alternative interpretations on the tomb story should be mentioned and
          discussed for your project to succeed.

          BRUCE: Karel means his book. I have had a brief look at it, via Interlibrary
          and therefore under constraints. It is a long book and hard to summarize,
          with or without the constraints. But I think it is safe to say that it
          regards the Empty Tomb, meaning the Resurrection of Jesus, as the central
          fact of Christianity.

          Paul would have agreed, and that right vehemently. But there were those in
          the early Church who felt otherwise, as Paul himself notes with extreme
          exasperation. Here then is the operative question: Were these people
          deviating from a prior acceptance of the Resurrection, or did they represent
          an earlier form of belief, of which the Resurrection doctrine is itself a
          later development? Since there is nothing logically against the latter
          possibility (for instance, one can believe in the Second Coming of Jesus
          without also believing that Jesus was himself resurrected after being
          entombed for three days), and since there is direct evidence for such a form
          of Christianity (the early hymns, ironically enough preserved by
          incorporation in Paul's own epistles, and thus by standard rule earlier than
          Paul's epistles; for details, see Fitzmyer and several others), I think that
          the most reasonable inference, surprising as it may at first seem to those
          accustomed to the Pauline view, is that the Pauline view is a later growth
          in Christianity, and that the non-Resurrection belief is the earlier form.

          (I would even suggest that it might well have been this shift in Christian
          belief that was a factor in the never explained Pauline volte-face, from
          deadly opponent to passionate advocate of Christianity. But that's properly
          another letter for another day).

          KAREL: I am thus far not confronted by any theory except the provocative
          exegesis by Adele Yarboro Collins which you refute.

          BRUCE: I don't exactly refute it; I accept it in spirit, and I accept many
          of its details. I am rather pleased with it. And why? Because here is a
          modern scholar daring to apply standard tools of philology to a canonical
          text, and honestly reporting what she finds. She not only does it, she does
          it better, at least at some points, than the many who have preceded her in
          the same task. My hat is off to her. What I do with her reconstruction is to
          use it as an entry point to the general question of stratification in Mark.
          I do not so much refute it (though I do note some places where her argument
          seems circular, and where I would draw a different philological conclusion)
          as I end by concluding that the right thing to do with it is to extend it.

          What means, Extend it? (Pardon this question style, it comes of too much
          reading the Gungyang Jwan). I think the only really serious error in her
          presentation is not in her distinguishing of layers in the text, which on
          the whole has been rather capably done (as far as my experience with texts
          in these and other traditions enables me to judge), but rather in her
          failure to see that the sort of stratification which she carries out on Mk
          14-15 could with equal validity be carried out on the whole of Mark, since
          the same evidences for interpolation or accretion are abundantly present
          there as well. She has noticed a few of them herself, in her main
          commentary, but she has not combined that data with the points on which she
          concentrates in her reconstruction project. She ends up affirming the
          Pre-Markan Passion Narrative or PPN theory of Schmidt (in play since 1919),
          but as I read the text, and with support at some points from her own reading
          of the rest of Mark, her evidence really tends to support something like the
          Proto-Gospel or PG theory of Wendling (1905, extending and thus improving on
          von Soden 1904). That is, her PPN evidence also counts toward a PG theory,
          in that it supports the general idea of stratification, but it does not of
          itself establish the PPN theory at the points where it contrasts with the PG
          theory, since (as I read it) her resulting reconstruction is not viable as
          an earlier independent document, which is what the PPN theory requires. It
          is viable instead *as a part* of an earlier independent document, that
          document being precisely the Proto-Mark which Wendling more or less
          suggestively envisioned. Wendling's detailed proposal (to my eye) needs a
          lot of work. A lot of work. But I get the impression that he had the general
          situation figured out pretty well.

          KAREL: My own interpretation, namely, that Mark is ending his post-70
          gospel with a haggadic midrash on lxx Isa 22,16; 33,16 and Gen 29, 2.3.10 is
          not discussed, except by a superficial dismissal.

          BRUCE: I don't recall any dismissal, superficial or otherwise. What I do in
          my three Critique notes (and in my later alternate reconstruction of the end
          of Mark) is to put forward a theory of Mark in which the Resurrection
          narrative is late within the text. If this is true, then the Empty Tomb part
          of Mark does not really come up for discussion, and any theory of how it was
          constructed, whether along Haggadic or other lines, is not relevant. That
          is, the Haggadic theory can be absolutely correct, sensationally correct,
          without thereby proving that the passages which it addresses are early in
          Mark. The two questions are separate, and it is the earliness question with
          which I am here concerned.

          INVITATION

          I may add, for those who may be interested in these things, that I have now
          posted all three of my detailed Critiques of the Yarbro Collins
          reconstruction, and also my own alternative reconstruction of all of MK
          14-16, much of the argument for which is given in the Critiques. Like AYC's
          integral reconstruction (on p819 of her commentary), this will allow a
          judgement as to whether the reconstructed text reads convincingly as a
          document. If so, it is not established as correct, but at least it has
          survived a test which might have proved it *in*correct. That is perhaps
          something.

          The URL for the three Critiques and the Reconstruction is:

          http://www.umass.edu/wsp/biblica/quest/index.html

          Would those who may have earlier printed out Critique 1 be kind enough to do
          so again? The current version incorporates a few changes, for greater
          consistency with the other documents in the group. Thanks.

          Comments always welcome.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Chuck Jones
          Bruce wrote:   ... I think that the most reasonable inference, surprising as it may at first seem to those accustomed to the Pauline view, is that the Pauline
          Message 4 of 10 , Oct 14 7:41 AM
            Bruce wrote:
             
            ..."I think that the most reasonable inference, surprising as it may at first seem to those
            accustomed to the Pauline view, is that the Pauline view is a later growth in Christianity, and that the non-Resurrection belief is the earlier form."
            ___________________________
             
            Bruce,
             
            I'd like to make some side-bar observations on the above.  I think you're onto something important.  I would modify it a bit, making a distinction between belief in resurrection vs. belief in post-death appearances.
             
            I believe that reports of Jesus *appearing* to a few disciples after his death go all the way back; i.e., I believe that it is historical that some of the disciples had visions in which they saw Jesus after his death.  These appearances occured in Galilee at an undetermined time.
             
            I believe that for some within Xnty, "appeared" developed fairly quickly into "was exalted" (to god's right hand after his death), which morphed into "was raised" ("didn't stay dead"), and then full-blown resurrection ("conquered death and ushered in death-proof-ness for his followers").
             
            Only then, I think, came the legends of appearances at an empty tomb in Jerusalem on Sunday morning.  What began as "Jesus appeared" was now "the bodily resurrection of Christ on the third day."
             
            If something like this trajectory is historical, then Mk is closer to history than the other canonical gospels.  Even though he has an empty tomb and uses the word "raised," Mk does not have Jesus appear that morning.  Instead, the young man at the tomb sends word to the apostles to go to Galilee because "there you will see him" (i.e., he will appear).
             
            Mk 16:7 is in fact incompatible with the legends of Jerusalem appearances added by Mt, Lk and Jn, and these legends are mostly incompatible with each other, suggesting late, geographically dispersed development.
             
            Finally, I believe it is quite possible that Mk invented the scene at the empty tomb as a narrative device ("...some characters are composites and some scenes are fictionalized for dramatic affect...").
             
            Rev. Chuck Jones
            Atlanta, Georgia
             
             




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: Synoptic Cc: SJS, WSW; Bark Ehrman In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Theories of Jesus in the Early Church From: Bruce I had suggested, . . . I think that
            Message 5 of 10 , Oct 14 10:15 PM
              To: Synoptic
              Cc: SJS, WSW; Bark Ehrman
              In Response To: Chuck Jones
              On: Theories of Jesus in the Early Church
              From: Bruce

              I had suggested, ". . . I think that the most reasonable inference,
              surprising as it may at first seem to those
              accustomed to the Pauline view, is that the Pauline view is a later growth
              in Christianity, and that the non-Resurrection belief is the earlier form."

              CHUCK: I'd like to make some side-bar observations on the above. I think
              you're onto something important. I would modify it a bit, making a
              distinction between belief in resurrection vs. belief in post-death
              appearances.

              I believe that reports of Jesus *appearing* to a few disciples after his
              death go all the way back; i.e., I believe that it is historical that some
              of the disciples had visions in which they saw Jesus after his death. These
              appearances occured in Galilee at an undetermined time.

              BRUCE: All appearance stories known to me feature Peter as the leading
              figure in the Appearance scene, and yes, the ones that seem early, or to go
              back to early roots, are always in Galilee. The time, as far as I can see,
              is indeed undetermined, which I take to mean that these stories don't
              necessarily go "all the way back" in the sense that they occur within
              post-Crucifixion Christianity, and were not envisioned within the lifetime
              of the historical Jesus. (See further at end).

              CHUCK: I believe that for some within Xnty, "appeared" developed fairly
              quickly into "was exalted" (to god's right hand after his death), which
              morphed into "was raised" ("didn't stay dead"), and then full-blown
              resurrection ("conquered death and ushered in death-proof-ness for his
              followers").

              Only then, I think, came the legends of appearances at an empty tomb in
              Jerusalem on Sunday morning. What began as "Jesus appeared" was now "the
              bodily resurrection of Christ on the third day."

              BRUCE: That's a plausible possibility, and I have nothing to say against it.
              There may be variants which on our present knowledge are equally plausible.
              One way of assembling the possibilities, before deciding among them, it
              seems to me, is to study more closely the non-Resurrection traditions, which
              are admittedly both scrappy and controversial. But assuming the evidence can
              somehow be assembled, how great a variety of detail do those texts display?
              What features are always associated with others? I haven't carried this out
              to any great extent myself. Has anyone? If so, a reference would be
              appreciated.

              CHUCK: If something like this trajectory is historical, then Mk is closer to
              history than the other canonical gospels. Even though he has an empty tomb
              and uses the word "raised," Mk does not have Jesus appear that morning.
              Instead, the young man at the tomb sends word to the apostles to go to
              Galilee because "there you will see him" (i.e., he will appear).

              BRUCE: [We are here at the parting of the ways, New Testamentically
              speaking. Those who are prepared to see Christianity as evolving, with the
              final evolution product being the Christianity of recent times, will tend to
              agree that Mk is the first of the Gospels, and therefore most likely closer
              to history than the later ones. That view, for example, can accommodate the
              statement that Paul was a major shaper of the form that Christianity
              eventually took (I have heard this acknowledged, comfortably, from more than
              one pulpit). Those who prefer to see Christianity as always the same, from
              the time of Jesus until now, probably won't be prepared to take that option.
              The present discussion is for those who do take that option].

              CHUCK: Mk 16:7 is in fact incompatible with the legends of Jerusalem
              appearances added by Mt, Lk and Jn, and these legends are mostly
              incompatible with each other, suggesting late, geographically dispersed
              development.

              BRUCE: I would largely agree, though I think the time factor is the more
              important one, and that evolution of doctrine over time is the chief thing
              that this sequence of the Gospels (Mk > Mt > Lk > Jn) exhibits. But those
              are points of evidence, and we can let them float. What is important to me,
              because it is what we can see from the texts themselves and thus is
              philologically grounded, is the time sequence. The lines of development
              within the four are what I call Trajectories; I find them, as an argument
              about the large situation, and saving special cases to be dealt with
              specially, irrefutable.

              In addition to that area of present agreement, I think it is possible to
              detect the growth of the tradition, in at least one detail, and it shows
              that the different strata of Mk themselves are witnesses to both doctrinal
              and presentational evolution. I have mentioned it before, but briefly the
              argument for Mk 16:7 notes that it explicitly refers back to Mk 14:28, the
              Appearance Promise of Jesus. Now, it is conspicuous that both of these
              passages (as various commentators have pointed out, though they seem not to
              have drawn the indicated conclusion) are insecure in context. They are
              ignored by the persons in the respective passages. If these two verses are
              removed, the respective passages knit together and flow smoothly. The women
              in Mk 16 become more psychologically intelligible, and the way Peter in Mk
              14 ignores Jesus's assurance in 14:28 and responds instead to the challenge
              of 14:27 gets rationalized if 14:28 was in fact not present in the text when
              it was first written. Peter is a coherent and intelligible figure *in that
              shorter version of the passage."

              This is the classic way in which an interpolation manifests itself, in any
              text in any language, and we may conclude that these two verses were then
              added later to Mk 14-16. Why? Not to foretell the appearance of the Risen
              Jesus, since the story up to that point in Mk 16 (as Matthew for one has
              clearly seen, in improvising the indicated conclusion) does seem to be
              leading to it. Rather, in the fact of Jesus having *previously predicted*
              that appearance. This, like all the other predictions in Mark (the Denial of
              Peter is predicted in precisely the context around Mk 14:28), is meant to
              show, not what happened, and not even that it was somehow cosmically
              foreseen (as the OT echoes here and there in Mark are probably meant to
              suggest), but that Jesus himself was aware of it all in advance. This
              increases the stature of Jesus as a prophet. It also adds to the
              authenticity of the Appearance to Peter, which might otherwise be felt as an
              irrelevant addendum to previous tradition. It avoids the possible objection
              that Christianity, in the sense of the Risen Jesus, was an invention of
              Peter. I would interpret thus: a new element in Christianity which in fact
              may have gone back to a post-Crucifixion vision of Peter has here been more
              firmly incorporated in Christianity by being brought within the
              foreknowledge of Jesus.

              [The "possible objection" strikes me as a live possibility. Accepting the
              John version for the moment, can't you just see the neighbors, Peter's
              fellow converts, when Peter comes in excitedly, saying "I have seen Jesus,
              and he gave me a piece of fish," answering, "You're a piece of fish
              yourself, you nitwit. Jesus never led us to expect anything like that."
              Well, the Gospel of Mark, in 14:28 and 16:7, can be seen precisely as
              answering that objection]

              CHUCK: Finally, I believe it is quite possible that Mk invented the scene at
              the empty tomb as a narrative device ("...some characters are composites and
              some scenes are fictionalized for dramatic affect...").

              BRUCE: Again agreed. Another very dramatically effective Markan scene is the
              Denial of Peter; it was written by someone with a sharp pictorial sense, and
              if a modern movie director were handed Mark as a script, he would take one
              look at that scene and say, Fire the writers; I can shoot this right off the
              page.

              But notice what we have here, at least for those who have had a peek at my
              Critique notes on the AYC Passion Narrative (see at
              http://www.umass.edu/wsp/biblica/quest/index.html ). She and I, with support
              from the previous century, agree that the Denial of Peter is an element
              later added to a more primitive Passion Narrative. If so, it was probably
              added at the same time as the prediction of it in Mk 14:27, again to excuse
              the defection of Peter by making it foreknown and this inevitable, and if
              inevitable, then surely allowable. The prediction puts a better light on
              Peter's known flight from Jerusalem, and the story shows him as having the
              courage to go as far as he could in following Jesus after Jesus's arrest,
              thus mending his reputation insofar as it could be done without
              transgressing the prediction itself. We would then have these three layers
              (listed with the earliest on the bottom, like an archeological
              stratification:

              3. Prediction (Mk 14:28, interpolated in #2; also Mk 16:7) of Jesus's
              Appearance
              2. Prediction (Mk 14:27, 29-31) and dramatization of Peter's Denial
              1. Basic Passion Narrative, with no entombment story at all (Mk 15:38)

              This strikes me as textual evidence; indications *in the text* of how the
              text got to be the way it presently is. I feel that it gives a solid
              evidential reason for preferring one possible scenario for early
              Christianity over another.

              In that indicated textual evolution, I submit, we can see not only an
              increase in cinematographic skill, among the successive contributors to Mk
              (for all I care, they may have been the same person at different times), but
              also and more consequentially the growth of doctrine. The growth of doctrine
              lies in the fact that the Basic Passion Narrative made no mention of the
              later Appearance of the Risen Jesus. That was not part of Christianity as
              Mark was meant to convey the substance of Christianity. It was a detail that
              was added at a later stage in the formation of Mark as a text.

              Meaning that the opponents of Paul in Corinth and other places already knew
              this earliest form of Christian belief, and had not been affected by the
              later, Resurrection development. Paul on this account is not merely the
              missionary of Christianity to the heathen; he is the envoy of Later
              Christianity to enclaves still harboring Earlier Christianity. And a lively
              enough time he had of it.

              I don't think that exactly this has been suggested before, but I venture to
              suggest it. I think it may lead to a useful clarification of Paul. But then,
              anything we can clarify about the earliest Christianity is probably going to
              clarify Paul in turn. The present clarification, it seems to me, gives Paul
              a more specific role, in a situation slightly more complicated, than the
              average reader of Corinthians may be aware.

              Notice, in conclusion, that Paul is explicitly not concerned "to know Christ
              after the flesh," meaning that what Jesus did or did not do during his
              lifetime was irrelevant to (perhaps even inconsistent with) the content of
              his own belief. Paul's own belief was based exclusively on what happened
              after Jesus's death. On his own testimony, and the weight he attaches to the
              testimony of the many witnesses to Jesus's appearances (his list is longer
              than anything in the Gospels), the Appearances were everything to him. His
              own commission as an Apostle, after all, the Last and Littlest Apostle, was
              by the same channel: a direct manifestation of Jesus to him personally. It
              put him on a par with Peter, or what of Peter he cared to acknowledge.

              Always excepting Eusebius, the serious study of early heresy goes back to
              Bousset, and continues under Ehrman. I think Ehrman's basic point is well
              taken. Some heresies really were divergences from original doctrine. In this
              class I would put the Gnostic group, not that I dislike the Gnostics,
              necessarily, but that such ideas don't seem to turn up until late in the
              Gospel sequence. But other heresies, such as what I have called Ascension
              Christianity, seem to have antedated the eventually victorious Resurrection
              Christianity, and were victims of its success. The early views were squashed
              out by the later ones. (For Chinese-aware persons, there is a neat parallel
              in the way Analects 9:1 argues, on behalf of LI Confucianism but against the
              textual facts, that Confucius himself had never advocated the earlier RVN
              Confucianism; see my article in Van Norden (ed) Confucius and the Analects:
              New Essays, Oxford 2002). To borrow a title from Ehrman, they are among the
              Lost Christianities; Christianities That Might Have Been, and even that
              *were* for a while, in places as far flung as Corinth and Philippi, until
              overtaken by the somehow more persuasive Resurrection version, with no less
              than the indefatigable Paul to beat its drum.

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • Chuck Jones
              Bruce,   Excellent thoughts, well communicated.  I comment on one brief passage.   Bruce wrote:  ...the fact of Jesus having *previously predicted* that
              Message 6 of 10 , Oct 15 6:45 AM
                Bruce,
                 
                Excellent thoughts, well communicated.  I comment on one brief passage.
                 
                Bruce wrote:  "...the fact of Jesus having *previously predicted*
                that appearance...., like all the other predictions in Mark (the Denial of
                Peter is predicted in precisely the context around Mk 14:28), is meant to
                show, not what happened, and not even that it was somehow cosmically
                foreseen (as the OT echoes here and there in Mark are probably meant to
                suggest), but that Jesus himself was aware of it all in advance. This
                increases the stature of Jesus as a prophet. It also adds to the
                authenticity of the Appearance to Peter, which might otherwise be felt as an
                irrelevant addendum to previous tradition. It avoids the possible objection
                that Christianity, in the sense of the Risen Jesus, was an invention of
                Peter. I would interpret thus: a new element in Christianity which in fact
                may have gone back to a post-Crucifixion vision of Peter has here been more
                firmly incorporated in Christianity by being brought within the
                foreknowledge of Jesus."
                 
                I agree with this analysis of the purpose of the prediction passages in Mk.
                 
                I believe that Peter and others experienced unexpected visions of Jesus post-death.  I believe these experiences caused them to conclude Jesus was the Messiah after all.  They then went tanakh spelunking to authenticate the view.  And they also created scenes like the ones you describe because it would be pretty implausible for the Messiah to be surprised by his own (long-predicted) resurrection to glory!

                Rev. Chuck Jones
                Atlanta, Georgia




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Peter and Resurrection Theory From: Bruce Chuck had begun, and I hope I may be forgiven for repeating
                Message 7 of 10 , Oct 15 9:04 AM
                  To: Synoptic
                  Cc: GPG, WSW
                  In Response To: Chuck Jones
                  On: Peter and Resurrection Theory
                  From: Bruce

                  Chuck had begun, and I hope I may be forgiven for repeating it to our other
                  list:

                  CHUCK: Excellent thoughts, well communicated. I comment on one brief
                  passage.

                  BRUCE: The passage in question was my suggestion that the Predictions of
                  Jesus in Mk are meant to "increase his stature as a prophet," as well as to
                  "add to the authenticity of the Appearance to Peter."

                  And I concluded: ". . . I would interpret thus: a new element in
                  Christianity which in fact may have gone back to a post-Crucifixion vision
                  of Peter has here been more firmly incorporated in Christianity by being
                  brought within the foreknowledge of Jesus."

                  CHUCK: I agree with this analysis of the purpose of the prediction passages
                  in Mk.

                  I believe that Peter and others experienced unexpected visions of Jesus
                  post-death. I believe these experiences caused them to conclude Jesus was
                  the Messiah after all. They then went tanakh spelunking to authenticate the
                  view. And they also created scenes like the ones you describe because it
                  would be pretty implausible for the Messiah to be surprised by his own
                  (long-predicted) resurrection to glory!

                  BRUCE: This seems a convincing account of the scenario I have mentioned:
                  prevention of embarrassment. And I think the is also a larger dimension.
                  Those who know the Dzwo Jwan (a world-famous Chinese text, but perhaps not
                  equally famous in all worlds) will see there the same mix of narratively
                  fulfilled and prospectively unfulfilled predictions. The fulfilled ones are
                  to establish the higher knowledge of the text, and lend weight to what turn
                  out to be its unfilled ones (predictions about the future course of the
                  Unification wars, then vigorously in progress). They validate it as a
                  political oracle. So the first function of the Markan and other predictions
                  may well be to incorporate post-Crucifixion experiences into the
                  pre-Crucifixion narrative. But the second function is to validate Jesus
                  himself as a predictor; in this case, a predictor of his own second coming.
                  As many of the canonical texts show us, the continually retreating "horizon
                  of fulfilment" of this prediction, which was the one they really cared
                  about, greatly disheartened the early Christians. So the reinforcement of
                  faith in Jesus as a predictor would have been a welcome second effect of
                  these other narrative closures.

                  The same problem of delayed vindication continually bedevils the Psalms, and
                  it was evidently to the Psalms that the early Christians turned, among other
                  places, for justification of the timetable they were actually experiencing.

                  EXCURSUS ON PETER

                  To me, the role of Peter before and after the Crucifixion is still one of
                  the riddles of the record as we have it (including the Petrine apocrypha). I
                  hope it will get a little clearer as the reconstruction of Markan
                  stratigraphy proceeds. The problem at present seems to be that some layers
                  of Mark are pro-Petrine, and others anti-Petrine. But next week is another
                  week, and perhaps we shall see, in a little more detail than at right this
                  minute.

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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