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Re: [Synoptic-L] Sequencing Early Christologies

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... How can you distinguish what is Markan redaction of a Markan work. let alone determine that there has been Markan redaction of GMark, if in terms of
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 23, 2008
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      Karel Hanhart wrote:
      > My own solution is that the "redactor" is John Mark, native of Jerusalem (Acts 12). As a vald hypothesis I believe, John Mark - helper of Peter- was ALSO the author of the document that was revised. My reason is that it is impossible to detect a specific non-Markan style and vocabulary in the gospel. So a question remains. Why would an author revise his own work so radically as the "redactor" (John Mark himself) apparently did.
      How can you distinguish what is Markan redaction of a Markan work. let
      alone determine that there has been Markan redaction of GMark, if in
      terms of Markan style and vocabulary the work is entirely and
      consistently homogeneous?

      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: Jeffrey Gibson On: Layers in Mark From: Bruce Karel Hanhart at one point in his earlier message had applied his
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 24, 2008
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        To: Synoptic
        Cc: GPG, WSW
        In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
        On: Layers in Mark
        From: Bruce

        Karel Hanhart at one point in his earlier message had applied his specific
        author hypothesis for the Gospel of Mark to the topic under discussion. In
        my reply, I had passed over that part of because I doubt the wisdom of
        author hypotheses at the start of an investigation. Of the several passages
        which we agree were probably later added to the Gospel, Karel had said that
        he thought that "John Mark" had added them, because "it is impossible to
        detect a specific non-Markan style and vocabulary in the gospel."

        Jeffrey Gibson came forward to challenge that suggestion in this way:

        JEFFREY: How can you distinguish what is Markan redaction of a Markan work.
        let alone determine that there has been Markan redaction of GMark, if in
        terms of Markan style and vocabulary the work is entirely and
        consistently homogeneous?

        BRUCE: I think Jeffrey means to imply that we have here an impossible
        circularity. I suggest that this is because the questions are being asked in
        the wrong order, and on the wrong basis. I will take a moment to clarify,
        and my apologies herewith for reverting to philological basics, but I can't
        think of any other clarification than by reliance on the basics:

        The first thing we have to do with a text which is before us for the first
        time (if we memorized it in childhood, we somehow have to bracket that
        information off for the present) is ask:

        1. It this one text or many?

        To answer the question, we scan the text for discontinuities of whatever
        sort. It's not all that arcane. For instance, I was dining with a group of
        college teachers yesterday evening, and the problem of student plagiarism
        came up. How do you detect it, asked one. Answered the other, "If you find
        that one paragraph is coherent and relevant but the next paragraph is
        careless and disorganized, or if one paragraph uses American spellings in
        the rest of the paper (the speaker was referring to her days at Manchester)
        uses British ones, you know there is something wrong." I remarked, "This is
        exactly what we philologists spend our time doing, 24 hours a day." The
        whole table laughed. Apparently they recognized not only the problem, but
        the technique for dealing with it.

        That technique is one way that one detects interpolations.

        What the technique in that case spotted was a paragraph purloined from
        Wikipedia and sliced into the middle of an essay of which the student had
        less competently written the beginning and end. I have earlier given
        examples, not, as it happens, of *stylistic* discontinuity, but of
        *narrative* discontinuity in Mark. Cases in which a certain segment causes
        problems in what we envision as happening (a crowd vs a few disciples
        following Jesus to the house of Jairus, etc), and where the problem vanishes
        if that segment is removed. By this sort of scanning and determination, with
        no presuppositions but simply being alert to detect bumps in the narrative
        road, we find that there are in fact interpolations in Mark.

        Then the answer to Question 1 is, "Mark is not a simple text, but rather
        composite."

        Proceeding in this way, we find that several of the interpolations, though
        intrusive in their respective immediate contexts, are coherent WITH EACH
        OTHER. That is, the interpolations are not isolated whims of some graffiti
        vandal, they are a more systematic attempt to change the text.

        Proceeding thus, and using only objective "same and different" criteria as
        our tools (never mind, for the moment, about John Mark's mom's house in
        Jerusalem; never mind that we even know the name of the doormaid; we are not
        there yet), we arrive at the conclusion that gMark is not only *composite,*
        but more precisely *layered.* It has apparently undergone an update of one
        sort or another.

        (In fact, several, but I am trying to keep this note below book length).

        The order of the material is given by the fact, which any archaeologist will
        recognize as basic ABC, that the intrusive material is younger than the
        material into which it intrudes. The spade left behind by the grave robber
        is a more recent thing than the grave goods proper. So now we not only have
        two layers, we know which one is the earlier and which the later.

        NOW, as it seems to me, we are in a position to deal with Jeffrey's
        question. Since so far we have not used stylistic differences (but only
        concinnity breaks) as our identification criterion, we can WITHOUT
        CIRCULARITY ask,

        2. Is the style of these layers the same, or different?

        I don't wish to anticipate all discussion at the NT Quest session at the
        coming SBL, but it is fair to say that this question also came up in the
        discussion of my Mark paper at SBL/NE last spring. Those who happened to be
        there would have heard my report on this, and so I share it with the rest.
        It was:

        The style of the layers is different. For instance, take the adverb EUQUS,
        which most people regard as a signature trait for this text, occurs often in
        the first layer, but only moderately in the second (meaning, all subsequent
        layers taken together). That is, EUQUS in Mark is overused in the early
        layer, and subsides to what one might call a normally mild Synoptic level
        thereafter. Furthermore, the instances of EUQUS in the later material tend
        to be in close conjunction with a EUQUS in the material in which that
        particular passage was interpolated. So to speak, the interpolator was not
        himself (or herself, if it was the housemaid, but I am not getting into that
        yet) much addicted to EUQUS, but was aware of it as a characteristic of the
        text he was working on, and when, so to speak, reminded of it by working in
        the vicinity of a EUQUS, he might use another as a style smoother.

        Take another point that people tend to notice in Mark: the high level of
        initial KAI. If you want to write a Markan style in English (I have in mind
        the Fables of Oscar Wilde), you put in a lot of initial "ands." The other
        Gospels also use initial KAI, but again, not so often as gMk. The
        conspicuousness of KAI and EUQUS go far to define what I like to call the
        "breathless" style of gMk. So KAI is another thing to check, and we find a
        similar result: the incidence of sentence initial KAI is notably less in the
        later material than it was in the original narrative. Initial KAI is not
        *absent* in the later material, mind you, it just recedes to a more Synoptic
        level of initial KAI usage.

        Those are *lexical* aspects of style. There are other types as well. Timothy
        Dwyer did an interesting study a few years back, called The Motif of Wonder
        in the Gospel of Mark (JSNT Supplement Series #128, 1996). If I had been on
        his committee, I would have suggested not including so many different kinds
        of "wonder," but even so, the outcome was a sufficiently worthy monograph.
        We may then ask, with that book in one hand and my text of Primitive Mark in
        the other, are these motifs equally prominent in both layers? Again, the
        answer is No. Especially is it No if we subdivide the categories Dwyer has
        somewhat mixed together. But even as things stand in Dwyer's data, the
        "incidence of wonder" is notably higher in the primitive layer than in the
        rest of Mark taken together.

        We now have three style differences. We may pause at this point to ask: Is
        there any common tendency among them? Can we sum up their literary tendency
        in a single sentence? Do they suggest the stylistic profile of an imaginable
        individual?

        Yes, we can. That sentence might run this way: "The style of Primitive Mark
        is more authorially headlong, and more tinged with wonder in the persons
        described, than is the style of the remaining material."

        Some statistically savvy person will ask: Are the two halves about the same
        size? Because if not, the comparison of mere wordcounts is invalid, we have
        to use relative and not absolute frequency to get a comparable result. The
        answer is, Yes, they are of about the same size. Everything that was later
        added to Mark, taken together, amounts to as much again as the size of the
        primitive narrative. The comparisons reported above are thus in proper form,
        and the conclusion seems to stand.

        COMMENT

        This is interesting, or so it seems to me, in a couple of different ways.

        First, in Mark we are dealing not with a conflation of several previous
        texts (as several from Meyer to Crum have ingeniously supposed), but with a
        single text that was theologically updated, and in the process also
        stylistically somewhat diluted, in the years following.

        Second, the literary and depictive style, the emotional tone of both the
        describer and the described, is notably more excited in the primitive layer
        than in the second (even though the most majestic miracles, that might seem
        likely to call forth the most extreme expressions of amazement, are all in
        the second layer). We don't know the name of the author of the primitive
        narrative, but we are getting a little better sense of his personality. And,
        by subtraction, a little better sense of the later contributors to the text,
        who seem to have, collectively, a somewhat different personality. Calmer in
        representation.

        Of course that of itself doesn't yet prove that a different person took
        charge of the formative process of gMk after its initial launch. It could
        have been the same person only a little older, wouldn't you think?

        QUESTIONS

        At this point, it might occur to somebody to ask, Who would have been the
        possible informants for the material in the primitive layer, as distinct
        from those for the later layers? That's a rather clever thought, and why?
        Because it lets us test the notion that gMk somehow derives from the
        preaching, and thus the reminiscences, of somebody like, as who should say,
        Peter. And before we can deal with that, somebody else might have their hand
        up to ask, Does the primitive narrative show a high degree of acquaintance
        with the city of Jerusalem? (having in mind a certain house in the city, the
        one with the doormaid whose name we know).

        But this is already too long a letter, and I guess I should close here for
        the time being.

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst

        [Reminder: Accretional Mark is the topic of this year's NT Quest session at
        SBL, 7-8:30 AM on Monday 24 Nov 08, in the Sheraton Conference Room]

        http://www.umass.edu/wsp/biblica/quest/index.html
      • Karel Hanhart
        Bruce, Thank you for the long answer in which you explain the modus operandi of your research. (1) I admire your desire to start so to speak from scratch
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
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          Bruce,

          Thank you for the long answer in which you explain the modus operandi of your research.
          (1) I admire your desire to start so to speak from scratch without any regard for tradition including the text tradition of Mark - which as far as I know always had "kata Markon" and the numerous times a certain Markos or Joannes Markos is mentioned in Acts and in the epsitles. However, author, time and place of the provenance of a gospel are a priori requirements for studying a manuscript.
          I have learned from my peers to respect the letter of the text and the tradition unless the textual evidence leads me to believe otherwise.

          (2) You begin by saying that late in the game a librarian invented the catalogue listing of this gospel 'Kata Markon'. But why this indifferent librarian? Isn't it more logical that early on when the manuscript was copied within the chrisrian community it was marked 'kata Markon' to distinguish it from the others? In your desire to start from scratch you place yourself above tradition and above the text we have. That is an admirable stance from it eliminates two or three of the requirements to study a document: its provenance. I for one ask myself: does the identity of John Mark writing either from Rome or from Alexandria as tradition has it, seem plausible?. And does the Farrar theory about the sequence of the gospels seem reasonable or not?

          (3) I donot admire your hints that my position would be speculative implying that yours is not. Believe me all interpretations are theory and the desire to make sense of the documents we have is our common motivations. All theories on our subject are largely speculative.

          (4) I furthermore note your belittling of the well established position that the dating of the gospels are dependant on the question whether or not a document displays a knowedge of the Judean War of 66 - 70. Paul's letters do not; Matthew and Luke do, as most agree. The sticker is precisely Mark. "Just before or just after the war" exegetes say.

          At my old age, - having gone through the misery of Word War II in a country that experienced cruelties and hungre under the Nazi regime -, I have often wondered about the ease and disinterest with which my younger colleagues (listening to BBC's World Service or Fox) write about the reasons why 'delay of the parousia' is an important criterion.
          "Did the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 have any effect on people's impatience about the appearance of that event? Whatever that event was? I am not sure that this is a necessary inference."

          For a first century Jew - Pharisee or christianos - the destruction of the temple was catastrophic!! The future of the nation was radically altered, the suffering widespread, the persecutions before and after intense. .

          (5) Finally, you argue at length why you are disinterested in the questions of provenance. But you do not deem it necessary to answer my exegetical notes on the opened tomb narrative.

          " [Karel continues with his own solution. He may be right. But at this stage
          of things, I have no real basis for either agreeing or disagreeing. "

          My notes are based on the literal text of the narrative. In effect you are saying: "I don't want to listen to someone's arguments" I go my own way. That's your privilege, Bruce. Good luck to you. Frankly I wonder if you will stumble on any surprising discovery or "new basis" which others didn't notice.

          cordially,

          Karel Hanhart







          .

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: E Bruce Brooks
          To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
          Cc: GPG
          Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 12:26 PM
          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Sequencing Early Christologies


          To: Synoptic
          Cc: GPG
          In Response To: Karel Hanhart
          On: Interpolations in Mark
          From: Bruce

          [My heartfelt thanks to the List Managers, for the newly luxurious
          conditions under which one now posts to Synoptic. The mere Reply button now
          suffices to reach the list, as nearly all Replyers will tend to desire. It
          is a great kindness, and a sovereign facilitation. / Bruce]

          I had suggested (1) that recognizing interpolations, as establishing earlier
          and later segments within the text of Mark, and (2) then further recognizing
          that the early segments tend to cohere Christologically (as, but on their
          own separate and distinct basis, do also the later segments), can lead to
          (3) a clarification of the Gospel of Mark, which is widely recognized to be
          Christologically composite as it stands. They offer the possibility of
          reducing the composite into its elements. I had offered this as a useful
          possibility for the future.

          KAREL: You may be right that the two sections you discussed, 14,1-11 and
          5,22-43, were inserted by a redactor. They are part of a sandwich
          construction, however.

          BRUCE: No, they aren't. A sandwich construction, in the sense meant by
          Edwards (and by Carrington et al long before him) is a *single-author
          construct,* whose middle element, in Edwards' view, gives the
          interpretational key to the surrounding matter. I have tried to show that
          the center element in these two samples is not organic, *not authorially of
          a piece* with the surrounding matter, but rather a later insertion. The
          center is thus of later date than the surround. This makes all the
          difference in the world. I welcome Karel's agreement that the two sections
          in question represent subsequent insertions. But this automatically voids
          the "sandwich" option. In a sandwich, whether free or franchised, the burger
          is the same age as the bun.

          Also, the term "redactor" prejudices the situation by removing all but one
          of its options. I don't know whether the person who inserted the intrusions
          into these interrupted sequences was the same as the person who wrote the
          prior text, and at this stage of the investigation, I don't have a way of
          making a guess. All I know from the text evidence is that there are at least
          two stages in the *formation* of the text. That is all I plan to make use of
          in following up these possibilities. I don't need to preassign the functions
          of the people who produced the several stages. That will come out in the
          wash, maybe. I plan to let it do just that.

          KAREL. My question pertains to the identity of the redactor and of the
          author who wrote the original. One must decide, I think, between roughly (a)
          the classic tradition: the author of Mark is the John Mark of Scripture or
          (b) he is an unknown Gentile. Those who opt for position his identity is
          unknown (b), must at least make clear why they reject (a) since the Mark of
          the epistles and of Acts is prominently mentioned.

          BRUCE: Here comes the old "burden of proof" ploy. It's of dubious validity
          in court, and of no use at all outside of court. I decline to rise to the
          bait. (Also, there is a logical fallacy of the enforced doublet. There are
          more possibilities than two. What about "an unknown Jew?").

          More generally, I venture to suggest that all this author speculation is
          merely a distraction. As with most ancient texts, so also (as it seems to
          me) with gMk: the title is the least solid thing about it. And why? The
          general case in antiquity seems to be that many of the titles we now have
          were supplied by librarians, and were not part of the original text. This
          seems particularly likely with gMk, since "According to Mark" is
          intrinsically contrastive, that is, it is meant to distinguish this Gospel
          from other Gospels that are also before eye or mind of the reader. Such a
          situation could not have arisen before the arrival, and more or less general
          knowledge, of at least one of the second tier gospels, Matthew and/or Luke.
          Up to that point, the present title of gMk would have met no reader need of
          disambiguation, and thus would have made no textual sense. Ergo, that title
          is posterior to the completed text. If so, it is surely valueless for any
          deductions, authorial or other, *about* the original text.

          The only thing resembling a title that is at all likely to be intrinsic to
          the text is not KATA MARKON, but something about the Gospel of Jesus. It
          does not advertise itself as relating the experiences of some particular
          observer, but rather as presenting something observed. The authority of the
          author is not one of the devices used by the text to convince its readers.
          (Compare gJn for a completely opposite strategy).

          I thus don't have to say why I reject "the Mark of Acts." I reject everybody
          in sight. Especially at the beginning of an investigation, which is where I
          am just now. Maybe later, when we might know a little more about the several
          textual layers, we will have a basis for proposing new possibilities for
          authorship, or evaluating old ones. I decline to embark on that topic at
          this stage, since doing so would be little more than speculation. We don't
          yet know even what is in the earliest layer of the text; so even if we were
          inclined to speculation, we really don't have anything yet to speculate
          about.

          (Though I plan to make a tentative Urtext available for the previously
          mentioned Monday morning session at SBL; it runs to a couple of pages).

          [Karel continues with his own solution. He may be right. But at this stage
          of things, I have no real basis for either agreeing or disagreeing. I have
          only the text, and the beginnings of what I hope is a careful process of
          tweezing apart some of its different archaeological strata. I thus rejoin
          the conversation a little further down].

          KAREL (concluding): "In other words. - in exegetical parlance ! - , the
          revision was needed because the parousia was delayed."

          BRUCE: That Mark at some points deals with the delayed Return of Jesus - and
          we may yet discover that those points are all contained within a single,
          philologically defined, layer of the text - is more or less obvious. My
          discovery, if such it proves to be, is that other parts of the text do NOT
          deal with any such problem; they confidently expect something to happen (I
          prefer to leave that something undefined for the moment; the early community
          may themselves have redefined it). Here is one radical and manifest
          difference between early and late within Mark. I think the difference is
          worth following up.

          Did the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 have any effect on people's
          impatience about the appearance of that event? Whatever that event was? I am
          not sure that this is a necessary inference. Nor, if we are looking for
          possible theologically drastic events, is Jerusalem 70 the only one. Plenty
          of people think that the terms of the Apocalyptic segments of Mk
          (essentially, Mk 13) are much more closely matched with the approaching
          defilement of the Temple in 40 than by its accomplished destruction in 70.
          The difference between the two is a little over a generation. And a
          difference of a generation, in where we imagine the text to be situated in
          real time, is very likely to have an effect on any author calculations we
          may undertake, as well as on context calculations in general. Here is
          another reason not to rush in to author speculations.

          Delay. The distance between 30 and 70 is 40. Would it take a generation and
          a half for people to notice that their expected event had not occurred? I
          have addressed this problem before, but seemingly without effect on this
          conversation. To recapitulate: I feel that a generation-plus gap between the
          expectation and the realization of its nonfulfilment is extraordinarily
          unlikely. For consider. If you have sold all you have to join the Jesus
          movement, and the Jesus movement suddenly lacks its leader, so that your
          fellow followers have dispersed to their villages, and no new contributions
          are coming in, you are going to have to look around for something else,
          perhaps including a somewhat modified expectation, in about eight hours at
          the outside. Not finding an alternate arrangement, you will sit down on the
          curb beside the bag ladies with your hat out (hopefully it isn't raining),
          and wait for some still affluent nonmember of the movement to happen by and
          be moved by your hunger. As Peter says at one point (in one or another
          layer; I will get to that presently), We have given up all and followed you.
          If we believe this, then we must also believe that the followers possessed
          nothing of their own, up to and including a change of tunic. They were
          sustained, one gathers, by the movement itself. And when the movement in its
          original form faltered, these people would probably have felt their suddenly
          untenable position very keenly.

          Then. Right away. Not forty years afterward. Did some elderly and emaciated
          beggar on the curb in Bethany look up at the destruction of the Temple in 70
          and say, Oh, and by the way, wasn't there something I was expecting to
          happen?"

          Others are free to form their own ideas. For myself, I think this scenario
          unlikely.

          People make a big deal of Jerusalem 70. I don't doubt it was highly
          perceptible at the time, as a civic disruption and a personal inconvenience.
          But theologically? I would prefer to have a citation of just one place in
          the NT where this event is openly and unambiguously mentioned as itself
          creating a theological crisis, not for Judaism but for Christianity, before
          placing my bet on that square.

          KAREL (last word): I grant anyone that one cannot offer solid proof
          concerning the identity of author and / or redactor, but frankly solid proof
          is nowhere to be had.

          BRUCE: Another methodological crux, and again I find myself taking the other
          path. To me, that is not a reason to choose among alternative authors, it is
          a reason NOT to choose, and instead, to hold the whole thing in suspension
          until further evidence becomes available. And if it never does become
          available, then the personal name of the writer of Layer A (and of Layer B,
          and so on upward) will be forever unknown.

          So?

          The library cataloguers hate this sort of thing, since there is a spot on
          their MARC record that demands to be filled by an author name. That's their
          problem. I don't propose to complicate my life by borrowing their problem. I
          am quite content (and even if I were not, I feel methodologically
          constrained) to leave the author thing undecided and even undiscussed,
          unless and until the impossibility of discussing it profitably somehow
          changes.

          Who wrote the Copa Surisca? We know it wasn't Vergil. But as for a
          substitute name, well, that's asking a lot. It may be that one day, in some
          monastery dumpster southwest of Lyon, the signed original will come to
          light, and be saved from the monastery oven flames by some modern
          Tischendorf. Two suppositions, which by the way must coincide in time.
          Probabilities of sequential events multiply, and so do their
          improbabilities. I am not about to hold my breath on this one.

          Meanwhile, we have the poem. We can enjoy it if so inclined, without
          necessarily inventing a romantic goliardish name to stick onto it. No?

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst





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        • Karel Hanhart
          Jeffrey, That is a very important question, difficult to answer. I will not go into all the reasons why Neyrinck and others have found plausibly some traces of
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
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            Jeffrey,

            That is a very important question, difficult to answer. I will not go into all the reasons why Neyrinck and others have found plausibly some traces of a redactional hand. I myself believe the introduction of "the twelve" into the text and with it the figure of Iscariot, "one of the twelve", is redactional. However, it remains difficult to prove. One cannot detect in some place a passage with a deviating style or vocabulary. My theory is that John Mark radically revised his own gospel in the aftermath of the catastrophe of the Judean war. The entire Gospel is written by one hand. John Mark revised his own work meant for the post-70 Passover celebration of his christian Judean community.

            cordially,

            Karel Hanhart
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Jeffrey B. Gibson
            To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 8:16 PM
            Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Sequencing Early Christologies


            Karel Hanhart wrote:
            > My own solution is that the "redactor" is John Mark, native of Jerusalem (Acts 12). As a vald hypothesis I believe, John Mark - helper of Peter- was ALSO the author of the document that was revised. My reason is that it is impossible to detect a specific non-Markan style and vocabulary in the gospel. So a question remains. Why would an author revise his own work so radically as the "redactor" (John Mark himself) apparently did.
            How can you distinguish what is Markan redaction of a Markan work. let
            alone determine that there has been Markan redaction of GMark, if in
            terms of Markan style and vocabulary the work is entirely and
            consistently homogeneous?

            Jeffrey

            --
            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
            1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
            Chicago, Illinois
            e-mail jgibson000@...





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          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: Synoptic Cc: GPG; WSW In Response To: Karel Hanhart On: The Philology of Mark From: Bruce I think we may be reaching a methodological impasse, but I
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
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              To: Synoptic
              Cc: GPG; WSW
              In Response To: Karel Hanhart
              On: The Philology of Mark
              From: Bruce

              I think we may be reaching a methodological impasse, but I thought it might
              be useful to at least indicate where I think the impasse lies, and then to
              suggest where it might be resolved. And I wish to suggest at the end that
              the results I get are reasonable on their face, respectful of all the
              evidence as far as I know it, and deserving of Karel's reconsideration.

              KAREL: I admire your desire to start so to speak from scratch without any
              regard for tradition including the text tradition of Mark - which as far as
              I know always had "kata Markon" and the numerous times a certain Markos or
              Joannes Markos is mentioned in Acts and in the epistles.

              BRUCE: KATA MARKON is an exterior label. The book happens to have an
              interior label also, a noun phrase which now counts as Mk 1:1. If titles are
              going to be part of the evidence, I suggest that this is the earlier one,
              and that accordingly it deserves precedence in our thoughts. As for Acts and
              Epistles, it seems to me that those are, respectively, the pseudo-Pauline
              and Pauline traditions. Start with the more genuine of the two; the
              Epistles. How much did Paul know, according to his own writings, about the
              daily doings of Jesus or his followers? Exactly zero, and why? Because he
              himself emphatically tells us, in completely clear terms, that he is not
              concerned to know Jesus "after the flesh;" it is his personal vision of the
              Resurrected Jesus - his mandate from Jesus - that is the basis of his
              Christianity. Paul knows of someone called John Mark, and seemingly didn't
              get on too well with him. Nothing Paul says, positive or negative, about
              this John Mark, invites the inference that John Mark had anything to do with
              the tradition of Jesus "after the flesh," or that he had any special
              knowledge of, or interest in, that tradition. For Paul, John Mark was just
              one of those involved in the missionary effort. That adequately establishes
              John Mark as a real person. But I don't think that this is much of a basis
              for attribution statements about the so-called Second Gospel.

              That leaves Acts. By general agreement of those who specialize in things
              Pauline, the second part of Acts is a less than wonderful source for Paul.

              As for the first part, which deals with Christian history before Paul, I
              myself get from it a weird sense like that in no other NT writing: a
              symbolical world that it is hard to get hold of, populated by African queens
              and Roman officials, and Peter fading away in a cloud of smoke, and James
              the Brother coming on in another cloud of smoke. Disturbing. And is early
              Acts really consistent with the end of Luke? Some have raised doubts,
              especially about the double narrative of the Ascension, not to mention the
              seeming reuse of Gospel material in constructing the supposed post-Gospel
              narrative (Stephen being constructed partly out of the Markan Jesus). Is
              Acts then really by the author of gLk? It says it is. And that is the common
              scholarly judgement too, but as far as I know the common judgement isn't
              really based on any close study of the texts in question, apart from their
              lexical aspects, and I want to point out that, for someone at the time with
              a reason to do so, few things can have been easier to imitate, up to a
              point, than the lexical style of an extant document. I find none of this so
              convincing as to preclude further study.

              If there was an early tradition that John Mark was the author of our gMk,
              then Luke will probably have known of that tradition. Is there anything in
              the mentions of John Mark in either Luke or (waiving all objections) Acts
              that implies that the author saw John Mark as the author of the text on
              which, above all others, be based his own Gospel? I don't see any, but I am
              very available to the reports of those who do.

              KAREL: However, author, time and place of the provenance of a gospel are a
              priori requirements for studying a manuscript.

              BRUCE: Sorry, but I think this is simply wrong. The requirement for studying
              a text is to possess that text. I admit that it would also be very handy to
              know, at the outset and from solid evidence, who wrote it, and when, and
              why, but in the ancient world as far as I am aware, this is rarely the case.
              The plays of Seneca that once packed the Roman theaters? Mostly fake. The
              epistles of Plato? Good luck. The sayings of Confucius? You need to pick
              your spot with extraordinary care, your chance of coming up with a genuine
              one at random are, by actual count, about 1 in 30. The economic philosophy
              of Mencius? Ditto, squared. Homer? Don't get me started on Homer. "Mark?"
              Well, you see the pattern. Why should "Mark" be a privileged exception to
              the frequent weakness of author statements in ancient times?

              KAREL: I have learned from my peers to respect the letter of the text and
              the tradition unless the textual evidence leads me to believe otherwise.

              BRUCE: Well, it is perhaps possible to learn too much from others. The
              Chinese have a saying, "The blue dye comes from the indigo plant, but it is
              bluer than the indigo plant." Meaning, it is a poor student who does not
              excel his teacher. Against this sensible and forward-looking advice,
              deference to one's Doktor Vater, or to contemporaries in general, or to
              one's own childhood memories, admirable as these may be in their proper
              spheres (respectively, public deportment and private sentiment), have no
              methodological place in philology or history. The evidence is what should
              count. Privileging past experiences, whether one's own or that of one's
              teachers, simply prevents the evidence from operating on one's mind. I
              strongly advise against it.

              It is true that in real life one must also make one's terms with other
              people's opinions. I merely point out that the most honorable terms may not
              be those of intellectual surrender. At least some of the powder should be
              kept dry for possible future use.

              KAREL: You begin by saying that late in the game a librarian invented the
              catalogue listing of this gospel 'Kata Markon'.

              BRUCE: All this is pejorative terminology. There is no "game," there is only
              what happened, and we are trying our best, I like to think, to determine
              what that might have been. There is no "invented," there is just an
              imaginable bibliographic need to distinguish between several texts
              purporting to be "the Gospel," but differing at many points.

              KAREL: But why this indifferent librarian? Isn't it more logical that early
              on when the manuscript was copied within the Christian community it was
              marked 'kata Markon' to distinguish it from the others?

              BRUCE: Precisely. But *what* others? What kind of Christian community would
              have possessed several Gospels? Presumably not some simple house church with
              a little local tradition of its own, but some more omnivorous entity. We
              don't need to call it a library, in the sense of Alexandria. But it would
              appear to be something bigger than the common community experience. And in
              any case, that experience, whether unusual or not, could not arise before
              competing Gospels actually existed. During the lull before the appearance of
              Matthew and/or Luke, there would have been no need for any such label as
              KATA MARKON. The title of the work standing as Mk 1:1 would probably have
              sufficed nicely. I suggest that attention be redirected to it.

              KAREL: In your desire to start from scratch you place yourself above
              tradition and above the text we have. That is an admirable stance from it
              eliminates two or three of the requirements to study a document: its
              provenance.

              BRUCE: I do indeed recommend putting tradition aside in beginning to study a
              text. And I recommend ignoring provenance when we do not in fact know what
              the text's provenance actually was. I do this not to exalt myself, as seems
              here to be implied, but to center the text in my study of the text. I want
              to know what the text seems to be up to, not what somebody else (for
              whatever reason) *thinks* or *once thought* it was up to. There is a time
              and place to look at what is said about a text, whether by old tradition or
              by modern opinion. But I think that, heuristically, it is wrong to place
              this step at the beginning. Opinion prejudices observation. It does not
              matter whether the opinion is one's own or someone else's; it prejudices
              observation. I think it not only fair, but necessary, to exclude at the
              outset factors that are known to prejudice observation.

              KAREL: I for one ask myself: does the identity of John Mark writing either
              from Rome or from Alexandria as tradition has it, seem plausible?

              BRUCE: I can't imagine how one could begin to answer this question without
              having previously looked at the text onself. By "previously" I mean before
              one considers the tradition of John Mark, and/or Rome, and/or Alexandria. Or
              anything else.

              KAREL: And does the Farrar theory about the sequence of the gospels seem
              reasonable or not?

              BRUCE: Same answer. And same answer for Griesbach. And for Augustine. And I
              add that once we start considering specific scholarly notions, there is
              literally no end to it. NT in our time has such a large (and sometimes
              contentious) literature that the survey of previous opinion routinely
              demanded as the first chapter of a thesis can easily wind up being the whole
              book. Just a *listing* (never mind an evaluation) of the literature on Mark
              occupies, in Neirynck's version, a very thick volume. To begin by weighting
              each of those entries (and if not all, to begin by deciding *which* to
              weight) very quickly adds up to enormous time. It thus does not seem
              "reasonable" to me to begin with Farrer, or Weiss, or Harnack Before and
              Harnack After, or Joel Marcus, or anybody else. It seems to me reasonable to
              begin with the text. The text, I venture to suggest, is the best possible
              orientation to the *literature on*the text.

              KAREL: (3) I do not admire your hints that my position would be speculative
              implying that yours is not. Believe me all interpretations are theory and
              the desire to make sense of the documents we have is our common motivations.
              All theories on our subject are largely speculative.

              BRUCE: In that case, they are all largely worthless, and the enterprise of
              trying to understand the texts is a waste of time. That position exists, and
              has its advocates. They are welcome to it. I don't myself agree with it. I
              think there are firmer and less firm places where the student of the text
              might begin to put a foot down. See above.

              KAREL: I furthermore note your belittling of the well established position
              that the dating of the gospels are dependant on the question whether or not
              a document displays a knowledge of the Judean War of 66 - 70.

              BRUCE: Whether that position is "well established" is precisely the
              question, is it not? And how do we answer that question? By counting heads?
              Then all will depend on which heads we elect to count. It's surely too
              risky. I can think of no other way to answer the question than by examining
              the text. And what do we find on examining the text? The claim that aMk was
              aware of the Jewish War of 70 rests solely on Mk 13, nothing else. No other
              part of Mk breathes the slightest hint of a suspicion that the Temple is not
              standing, and that it constitutes a vital center for whatever Jesus is
              trying to bring off. Mk 13 itself is not necessarily original in gMk, and in
              any case, it can also be read - and by reputable persons has been read - as
              referring to the threatened profanation of the Temple in 40, rather than to
              something 30 years later. So which is the more convincing reading? That
              deserves discussion, and it has received discussion in the literature. I
              think the discussion is proper, and may acceptably continue. I don't think
              it should be foreclosed by claiming a consensus on one side or another, and
              then electing to enshrine that consensus as beyond further dispute.

              KAREL: Paul's letters do not; Matthew and Luke do, as most agree. The
              sticker is precisely Mark. "Just before or just after the war" exegetes
              say.

              BRUCE: So they do, or some of them, but consider for a moment the pattern
              here implied, bearing in mind the possibility that Mk 13, or its original
              core, may refer to the year 40.

              If Mark *does* have in mind something around 40, and the second tier
              Gospels, Matthew and Luke, adapt that part of Mark in the direction of
              making it a prediction of the Destruction of Jerusalem, as anyone after 70
              might well feel a need to do, where is the problem? I think there is no
              problem. We are simply saying what is indeed the majority view, that Mark
              precedes Matthew/Luke. The remaining question is, By how much?

              Paul, as Karel rightly notes, does not mention the Jewish War, as well he
              might not, since he died a couple of years before it began. Mark, as some
              have argued, does not necessarily mention the Jewish War either. If we
              interpret Mk 13 as referring to the threat of the year 40, we would have
              this pattern:

              (1) Mark = Paul. Events up to 40 responded to in Mk, later ones in Paul

              (2) Matthew. Rewrites Mk, in part by clearly alluding to the Jewish War.

              (3) Luke. Further rewrites early Christian history, and adds a history of
              Paul.

              I don't see anything "a priori" impossible here. I see an intelligible
              sequence. I see a particular version of relative date relationships for
              which there is ample evidence, as well as wide (though not universal)
              acceptance. Does it self-destruct? Surely not; it hangs together rather
              well. For a start, it includes all the facts which Karel recently mentioned,
              which is surely one test of an adequate theory of the NT texts.

              KAREL: (5) Finally, you argue at length why you are disinterested in the
              questions of provenance. But you do not deem it necessary to answer my
              exegetical notes on the opened tomb narrative. . . . My notes are based on
              the literal text of the narrative. In effect you are saying: "I don't want
              to listen to someone's arguments" I go my own way.

              BRUCE: I put the Open Tomb aside for the moment because I think, as several
              others including Dibelius have thought before me, that Mk 15:39-16:8 did not
              form a part of the original text of Mark. That the Open Tomb later became
              important to the Christians of whom aMk was aware, and whose views he
              reflected in his text, is obvious. I think it is also obvious, from the
              results of the stratification survey, that this was indeed "later." If so,
              then nothing in the Resurrection layer of Mark can constrain interpretation
              of the earlier layers of Mark.

              Karel's view of Mark, at the risk of oversimplifying an 867-page book, is
              that Mark was composed all at once, and with a single purpose, namely as a
              "response to the destruction of the Temple in the wake of the revolt against
              Rome in 66-70 CE. This new Haggadah was meant to be read during Passover. .
              . From this perspective the open tomb story is not a timeless myth but a
              post-70 midrash."

              But perhaps the "myth" and the "midrash" are not the only alternatives
              available to us. Lectionary theories of Mark have their own history within
              the field. One early proponent was Philip Carrington (mentioned in Karel's
              bibliography), who based himself on certain seeming lectionary dividers
              within the Vaticanus text of gMk. Carrington succeeded in arranging Mark so
              as to match the seasons of one year, which would be an ideal lectionary
              routine. That someone in the Age of Vaticanus read the text this way, or
              proposed to have it read this way, is very possible. That someone in the
              wake of the Jewish War proposed to read Mark all at one go (it takes about
              an hour), is also possible. The question for me, in both cases, is, Was the
              text designed *in the first instance* to be read in this way?

              Without contemporary videotape, my only way of beginning to answer this is
              to look at the text. What I find is that the text is stratified, and that
              the whole of our present text was not written for *any* single purpose,
              whether lectionial or Haggadic. I find also that the Open Tomb story, and
              with it the Resurrection Christology which it serves to introduce, were not
              part of the original text of Mark, and thus were not within the theological
              purview of the first author of Mark. That somewhat challenges the idea that
              Mark as we have it, whether or not Haggadic, was written with any single
              design. It was written with one design, and then rewritten (largely by
              interpolation) to convey another design. The Resurrection story was not part
              of the first design, it was instead the thrust of a later layer of the
              design.

              That conclusion sounds strange to many, including evidently Karel, for whom
              (as he says near the beginning of the book), "The heart of the Christian
              faith concerns Jesus' passion, his crucifixion and resurrection."

              For some, yes. For others, not. I mention again that Paul in his lifetime
              contended with opponents who denied the Resurrection, and/or the general
              Resurrection in which other Christian believers expected to participate.
              Some shreds of preserved early Christian hymns mention the Resurrection as
              the center of their future hopes, but other hymns skip that part, and see
              Jesus as Glorified, indeed, but not specifically as having reached Heaven
              via a previous detour through Hell.

              If the early Christians differed this much, and we have Paul (not to mention
              1-2 Peter and Jude) to witness that they did, is it not acceptable to keep
              in mind the possibility that the Resurrection was not always, and for all
              persons, the center of Christian faith? I would think so, and even if I
              didn't, there are those who hold to a non-Resurrection view of things, right
              there in the Pauline record. If this variety *did* exist in the early days
              of the Christian movement, then the theology of Mark is not predetermined in
              this respect, and the question of whether Mark believed in the Resurrection
              or not becomes a real one.

              The answer, of course, as has been noticed since Branscomb, is both Yes and
              No. The theology of Mark is not something with one voice, it is a Babel of
              voices. What is going on? One thing that I find is going on is that Mark is
              a text with a time depth; it took its first shape at one period, and then
              was adapted at one or more later periods, not just in a literary way, but
              chiefly in a theological way. The many Christologies of Mark are
              *successive.* In the original document as interpolation tests define it,
              there was no Resurrection theology. Later on, thanks to addenda and extenda
              and other improvements, there *came to be* a Resurrection theology. The text
              of Mark, then, seems on its face to have lived through an early period in
              which the reigning view was that of Paul's opponents in Corinth, and then to
              have reversed itself so as to be in closer agreement with Paul's theories.
              Bacon, at two-book length, has called Mark "Pauline." My response would be,
              Yes, eventually.

              I thus don't find the question "What was the theology of Mark" either
              gratuitous or disrespectful, and I suggest that the answer I have recently
              proposed, that the theology of Mark is a moving quantity, which evolves in
              the same general direction as early Christian orthodoxy generally, has at
              least some historical plausibility. That it has *philological* plausibility,
              at least at several of the specific passages previously discussed as
              interpolations, Karel has already agreed. That would seem to leave the
              historical question as the only remaining possible ground of difference. I
              invite Karel to reconsider the matter.

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Karel On: The Twelve From: Bruce In responding to Jeffrey Gibson s inquiry (about how you distinguish interpolations
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                To: Synoptic
                Cc: GPG, WSW
                In Response To: Karel
                On: The Twelve
                From: Bruce

                In responding to Jeffrey Gibson's inquiry (about how you distinguish
                interpolations when the style is consistent, to which I earlier gave a
                different reply), Karel said in part:

                KAREL: I myself believe the introduction of "the twelve" into the text and
                with it the figure of Iscariot, "one of the twelve", is redactional.
                However, it remains difficult to prove.

                BRUCE: Maybe not so difficult to prove. Meyer proposed a "Twelve Source" for
                Mark. I cannot find that the Twelve passages together form any sort of
                coherent independent text. They consist of three longer passages and a few
                tipped-in phrases. I find instead a *Twelve Layer* in Mark.

                FIVE

                As those who can call the text up in memory will not need to be informed,
                gMk recounts individually the calling of exactly *five* disciples: Peter,
                Andrew, James and John the sons of Zebedee, and Levi. Every disciple who
                figures by name, anywhere else in that Gospel, utterly without exception
                (unless you count Judas, and I agree with Karel that Judas is better left
                out of the reckoning for now) is one of those Five. Here, I would suggest,
                is the early tradition of the disciple circle of Jesus. They accompany him.
                They or a subset of them are present at his healings. Rabbinic tradition
                also (as summarized by Klausner) also speaks of five disciples, not twelve.
                That seems to be a pretty stable situation. It has a few rough edges, but
                the general congruence of numbers is not unencouraging.

                TWELVE

                In addition to this Five tradition, we have the snippets aforementioned,
                which are superfluous ("he called his disciples, with the Twelve" - exactly
                why are not the Twelve included in the Disciples?), plus three longer
                passages, where the Twelve are chosen, where they are sent out, and where
                they return. All this is phony on its face. The Twelve have no other
                preaching function (and no nonpreaching function) anywhere else in the
                Gospel, apart from these highly confined places, it is always and only Jesus
                who preaches. One can readily imagine that the Twelve are there to
                regularize the conduct of twelve who emerged as leading figures after
                Jesus's death, but their superfluity *during the story of his life* is
                manifest.

                INTERPOLATION

                That's in general. Is there anything more specific? Yes, the latter is an
                especially clear interpolation. Remember how the women in 16:8 behave as
                though the assurance in 16:7 had never been given? Remember how Peter in
                14:29 responds to 14:27, as though 14:28 with its identical reassurance were
                not there in between? I think the likely supposition in both cases is that
                those passages were NOT originally present, and that when they were added,
                they created the inconcinnities just mentioned. That is why 14:28 and 16:7
                are plausibly judged to be interpolations.

                OK. Now we turn to the Sending of the Twelve, and this is what we find:

                6:6b. And he went about among the villages teaching.

                6:7-13. Sending of the Twelve. "So they went out and preached that men
                should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many
                that were sick and healed them.

                6:14. King Herod heard of it; for Jesus's name had become known. Some said,
                John the Baptizer has been raised from the dead, that is why these powers
                are at work in him. . . ."

                Now, question on the weekly quiz: To which of these preachings is Herod
                responding? To the contiguous Twelve preaching? Not in a million years. It
                is to the noncontiguous Jesus preaching, as the text clearly states: "for
                Jesus' name had become known." He completely ignores the seemingly much more
                threatening whole army of preachers, out there exorcising demons over the
                countryside. As though they were not there. It is my conclusion that in fact
                they WERE NOT there when this passage was originally written. Mentally
                eliminate 6:7-13 and read from 6:6b straight on to 6:14, and you will see
                what I mean. The road has been fixed; there is no more bump of inconcinnity.

                That fact, that the text of Mk 6 reads more consecutively without the
                Sending of the Twelve passage, is independent of the fact that the Twelve
                are *substantively* anomalous in gMk generally. The two facts together
                support each other, and constitute a very strong case for judging the Twelve
                here to be an interpolation.

                How about the Calling of the Twelve? The case there is not quite as
                clearcut, but it is certainly possible. I will give the passage as it would
                be without the Calling present, and ask if anyone would really see a problem
                with the text that way:

                7:11. And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him
                and cried out, You are the Son of God. Then he went home, and the crowd came
                together again, so that they could not even eat. And when his friends heard
                it, they went out to seize him, for they said, he is beside himself . . .

                See? Jesus attracts a crowd by his healing in one place, and goes home
                afterward, but the crowd assembles again and gives him no peace. His friends
                start to worry about him, his family come to plead with him, and you know
                the rest. It is completely consecutive.

                So the tiny "and the Twelve" phrases are mere flyspeck annoyances, and the
                two major Twelve passages are something that the consecutivity of the text
                would be much better off without. How much clearer a case do we need? I
                think that the secondarity of the Twelve mentions in Mark is very strongly
                evidenced, at all points.

                JUDAS

                So much for the Twelve. I further agree with Karel that Judas is a later
                insertion within the Twelve; this one is a little more complicated to
                demonstrate, and I defer that demonstration for now. But the Twelve proper,
                technically speaking, is a pushover.

                RETROSPECT

                What does this tell us about Mark? That it is a historical account of Jesus?
                That is certainly what it purports to be. But here as in the other places so
                far mentioned, we can see that it is also functioning as an authentication
                document. Practices mentioned in gMk are OK for the Markan community to
                follow. Leaders certified by mention in gMk are OK to accept as guides.
                Doctrines that gMk embraces, even if a little late in the day, are cleared
                for general belief. The theory of Jesus that gMk conveys, albeit that the
                gMk theory keeps mutating in line with rapidly evolving post-Crucifixion
                attempts to make sense of it all, are OK theories, each in its turn. If the
                community, having first been in the Glorification camp, shift instead (under
                what influences, we need not here inquire) to the Resurrection persuasion,
                gMk is right on the button and shifts with them. It both leads and follows
                the evolution of thinking in at least one segment of the early Christian
                community.

                PROVENANCE

                Where that segment was located, I would be happy to know. Who exactly the
                author or series of authors was, ditto. What dates subtend the beginning and
                ending of this evidently protracted text formation process, ditto. But I can
                wait on those. Indeed, I have little choice, since I am not yet quite where
                I would like to be, before I take up the evidence in any new light which the
                stratification of the text - a new factor in NT calculations as far as I
                know - may throw on the aetiology of the text.

                Iscariot next time. Meanwhile, I am happy to support Karel's suggestion on
                intrusive nature of the Twelve, even if I have had to end by differing with
                him as to its supposed undemonstrability.

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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