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Re: [Synoptic-L] Sequencing Early Christologies

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  • 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 1 of 9 , Oct 24, 2008
      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 2 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
        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 3 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
          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 4 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
            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 5 of 9 , Oct 25, 2008
              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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