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Re: [Synoptic-L] Dates in Mark

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Karel Cc: GPG, WSW On: Dates in Mark From: Bruce KAREL: May I point out with reference to the date of writing that (a) I date the
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 31, 2008
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Karel
      Cc: GPG, WSW
      On: Dates in Mark
      From: Bruce

      KAREL: May I point out with reference to the date of writing that
      (a) I date the known edition of Mark approximately 72 CE.

      BRUCE: I know. It's in the subtitle of your book. I didn't miss it. I have
      been commenting on it these many days, and I must confess that I find it
      dubious.

      KAREL: (b) our Nestle edition is, however, a radical revision of an earlier
      document

      BRUCE: Why just Nestle? Surely by now Nestle-Aland? And one might perhaps
      more simply say, our modern critical text (all of them descendants in some
      degree of WH).

      If this present best hypothesis as to the archetype of Mark is in fact a
      "radical revision" of an earlier document, then any statements made about
      that "radical revision" are likely to be misleading for the earlier
      document, and we should accordingly not be talking about the year 72 (which
      I suppose is what you mean in your book by "Mark II"), but about the earlier
      document, presumably "Mark I." But this seems to be impossible, because so
      far as I have found, you nowhere describe Mark I. You are thus operating in
      this conversation with an offstage quantity. Could you post to the list (or
      give page references to a published version of) an outline or summary of how
      you see Mark I? Otherwise, there is really nothing to discuss. It's weird
      work evaluating a supposed revision unless we can compare it with the thing
      supposedly revised.

      KAREL: (c) the earlier document reflected the ecclesia expected the parousia
      was impending. The catastrophic ending of the war made this rethinking and
      reformulating of the meaning of the resurrection necessary in view of the
      delay of the parousia.

      BRUCE: Well, that's at least a start. In considering it, I find that you
      seem to be mixing two factors. One, the delay of whatever event it was the
      Jesus followers were expecting, after the year 30, and Two, their reaction
      to the destruction of the Temple in the year 70. You seem to be saying that
      the latter event produced the reaction that I would have been willing to
      attribute to the former anxiety alone. To ask the question yet again: Why
      should the destruction of the Temple have produced a crisis of expectation?
      More precisely: Where can we see, in what look like reports of early
      Christian belief, any role for the Temple in that expectation; expectations
      that might have been upset by its destruction? Does Paul, for example, who
      is continually concerned with future expectations, and with people's
      increasing anxiety about their nonfulfilment (years before the destruction
      of the Temple) ever connect the Temple with those expectations? I don't
      recall an instance, but I am quite willing to be informed otherwise.
      Reference appreciated.

      Pending same, I think it highly unrealistic to suppose that people would
      have waited 40 years before becoming anxious about the nonfulfilment of
      their apocalyptic or other expectation (see previous posts). You haven't yet
      said why you think this issue slumbered in people's minds until the
      destruction of the Temple 40 years later reminded them of it, or why the
      Temple was connected with it in their minds in the first place.

      KAREL: (d) since one is not able to detect a difference in style or
      vocabulary in sections of our known Gospel, the pre/70 document was probably
      written by John Mark as well. He revised his own document.

      BRUCE: To this "one is not able," and to all statements of similar tendency,
      my reply is, "How hard have you tried?" This or any other assertion of
      stylistic identity cannot be tested until meaningful differences are
      isolated, and their style separately assessed. This seems not to be widely
      appreciated in the field, and I pause for some examples of the technique. I
      number them from 1 to 3, for easier skipping by those familiar with standard
      philological methods.

      1. If you mean, for example, that EUQUS "straightway" occurs in all the
      chapters of our Mark, I would be tempted to agree. But in fact we would both
      be wrong. There is no EUQUS in the Apocalyptic insert Mk 13, nor, slightly
      more puzzling, are there any in the more typical Markan narrative chapter
      12. (Also not in Mk 16, but that is just a few lines: not statistically
      significant). Is this result just a chance anomaly? I think not. I turn to
      my reconstruction of Accretional Mark, and I find that there is not a single
      line of Mk 13 that figures in the lowest (earliest) layer of that
      reconstruction, and of Mk 12, only three lines out of 44. Looking at the
      statistics in terms of that model, I would say, EUQUS is abundant in the
      earliest layer of Mark, and very rare in the later layers. That is, when
      tested against a hypothesis otherwise formed (my present layer theory), we
      do indeed see usage differences in the different parts of Mark, even at the
      simple level of the word EUQUS. The assumption of Markan stylistic
      uniformity cannot be maintained against that result. It was a reasonable
      enough first expectation, but it fails under test. If it fails, it is in
      fact not after all reasonable, whatever we might have expected, and it has
      to go.

      [Somebody with a Moulton/Geden or equivalent will now pipe up: "There is
      only one EUQUS in Mk 3. What about that in terms of the supposed Accretional
      Theory of Mark?" I reply: Of the 34 verses into which Mk 3 (not a very long
      chapter) is conventionally divided, only 10 verses figure in the
      reconstruction of the earliest layer of Mark. The same pattern thus seems to
      hold, but in fairness I must add that the one EUQUS occurs in 3:6, where the
      aggrieved Pharisees "immediately" go out from their confrontation with Jesus
      (healing on the Sabbath) to confer with "the Herodians, how to destroy him."
      This in my view is a non-prime-layer EUQUS; there are, as above mentioned,
      several of these. The later layers do not entirely dispense with this very
      conspicuous feature of the earlier layers, perhaps in a conscious effort to
      make their additions stylistically appropriate.

      What is the NT position? EUQUS is confined in the NT *entirely* to the
      Gospel area (including Acts). By far the greater part of it is in Mark. In
      Matthew, EUQUS is retained in only 7 of the cases where it occurs in Mark,
      and no new ones are added. In Luke, all Markan cases, whether or not
      retained in Matthew, are eliminated, and only one new one is introduced (at
      6:49, the "immediate" fall of the insecurely built house). There are a few
      further novelties (Ac 10:16, where the sheet with the animals "was at once
      taken up to Heaven," Jn 13:30 "[Judas] immediately went out," 13:32 "and
      will glorify him at once," and 19:34 "and at once there came out blood and
      water." None of these Lk - Ac - Jn occurrences have anything to do with
      Markan precedent, whether or not mediated through Matthew; they are new
      cases. I suppose they represent the rather low frequency of EUQUS in
      Biblical Greek at large (at least its Gospel version; the word is never used
      in the Pauline or Johannine segments of NT). Against this background, we
      have to say that Mark, and I would myself specify, the earliest author of
      the Markan text, had a special predilection for EUQUS; it suited the
      breathlessness of his style, which has other features as well. (I pointed
      out two of those other features in an earlier message).

      2. So much for that, and now take an Indian example. Hartmut Scharfe noticed
      that all the chapters of the Arthashastra contained, amid the basic Vedic
      Sanskrit, elements of Pali language. Pali-isms in Sanskrit are agreed to be
      a sign of linguistic lateness. Scharfe thus wrote a book attributing all the
      Arthashastra to a late period, a post-Asokan period. And the Indologists
      seem to have approved his result. But if we isolate within the huge
      Arthashastra the parts *explicitly attributed* to its supposed author, the
      lawgiver Kautilya, and their close contexts, we find that those sections of
      the text, collectively, are free of Pali-isms. That means that there are
      linguistically Pali-ized but also linguistically Pali-free sectors within
      the Arthashastra, and they can be isolated by criteria which are not
      themselves linguistic in nature, and thus noncircular. When I had finished
      presenting this result at a mini-conference at Harvard some years back,
      Patrick Olivelle (whose critical edition of the Laws of Manu came out a few
      years ago) shook his head and said, "Scharfe didn't do his homework." The
      final result is that the Arthashastra is not a late text, it rather is a
      small early text which has expended enormously over later years to keep up
      with the increasing commercial complexity and financial savvy of the Mauryan
      Empire. The accountant's Bible of that time and place.

      3. Finally, a third example, from my own home area. The book of Mencius
      (seminarians seem not to have heard of Mencius; he is the Chinese
      philosopher central to Neo-Confucian thinking, and thus the core text of
      Confucianism for the last eight hundred years, including the present moment)
      is thought to be exceptionally free of contamination, "the purest of the
      pure" stylistically as well as doctrinally. It is the text that is relied on
      repeatedly by linguists who want a pure, untainted, unmixed sample of
      standard Classical Chinese language. Very well, we have that assurance of
      the ages ringing in our ears.

      And now we ignore the ringing, and start to do our homework. The first of
      the seven Books of Mencius consists of transcripts of 23 interviews of
      Mencius with the rulers of his time. The rest is conversations, and who
      knows how disciple-contaminated these might be? But the MC 1 interviews
      ought to be, linguistically and stylistically, the purest of the "purest of
      the pure." But if we separate into two groups the interviews which do, and
      which do not, presume Confucian acquaintance on the part of the rulers
      addressed, we find that those groups are also defined by independent
      criteria, including some that suggest a slight dialect difference. Other
      points of difference turn up, to parallel and reinforce our first
      hypothetical division of the corpus. Then that division is confirmed as real
      and not specious. That is, the assumption of uniformity of style for this
      highly select corpus fails against a properly defined test.

      What we have in Book 1, it turns out, is a core of probably genuine
      transcripts of the Historical Mencius (a thing incalculable precious to the
      historical linguist and the historical historian alike), mixed with some
      later imagined interviews which are pleased to assert the universality of
      Confucian learning in Mencius's time (probably not true), and which also
      attribute to Mencius an impossibly arrogant and accusatory stance toward the
      various sovereigns of the day. These latter look very much like Monday
      morning wishful thinking of the later Mencians, esprits d'escalier; and of a
      particularly irascible sort. (The failure of Mencius as Prime Minister of
      Chi - he led Chi into a near national disaster - really grated with his
      later followers, and much of their writing is merely retrospective shifts of
      blame for that result).

      (I could go on to mention the supposedly uniform rhyming of the Chinese
      Classic of Poetry (our Rg Veda or Psalms, though nowhere near as old as
      either), but I think it already came up in an earlier message. Same story.
      The supposed uniform rhyming applies only to what an NT person would
      probably call the redactional layer, which happens to be very large in
      extent (the moralists were hard at work to sanitize the original, sometimes
      indecorous, material before them), and not to the pieces which have any
      change of being from a folk level, or of relating to a specific local
      tradition; compare the Northern elements in the Psalms).

      CONCLUSION

      These are some of the ways we might test for "uniformity of style" in a
      supposedly uniform text. All of them, and all the others I have noticed,
      involve a certain amount of homework. Have you done your homework for the
      Gospel of Mark? Have you in fact isolated Mark I amid Mark II? If so, what
      is the result, and what are the implications for uniformity of style across
      that division? If you find a clustering of features in your Mark I that are
      rarer or absent in your Mark II, perhaps we have after all an agreement in
      the making. And if not, then not; we will have to see.

      KAREL: (e) I may add the earlier pre/70 version was written with the
      knowledge of Peter as Papias suggests.

      BRUCE: On p61, one of only two places at which, according to the Index, the
      question of "Mark, John, date and provenance of Gospel of" is discussed, you
      in effect delegate authorship and all kindred questions to Papias. Your
      explicit principle is "Because there is a good deal of uncertainty about the
      Gospel, I have adopted the principle in dubio traditio." And you add, "It is
      a good course to follow." How good a course it is in practice can only be
      tested by subjecting it to practice: by following it out. As far as I can
      see, you simply accept tradition. There is no test of tradition.

      You go on to state "the earliest testimony we have is that of Papias
      (140-150)." I should have thought that the first external witness we have to
      Mark is Matthew, about a century earlier than Papias. But even Papias might
      do as a starting point, as long as one in fact starts from that point, and
      does things that develop, and test, the consequences of starting from that
      point. It seems to me that you take Papias rather as an endpoint; a source
      of assured results. I am afraid I don't see the methodological soundness of
      this. If we are going to accept tradition, we can save ourselves a lot of
      highly laborious book writing, but it is wrong to give to our acceptance the
      same name as would properly describe the results of a philological
      investigation.

      So, Yes, you may add it, but I feel myself free to disregard it. If I bother
      with it, I prefer to investigate it. And frankly, having read the rest of
      what Eusebius says about Papias, and not just this incessantly quoted
      passage, I am that much less inclined to bother with it.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts
    • Karel Hanhart
      ... From: E Bruce Brooks To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com Cc: WSW ; GPG Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 4:38 AM Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Dates in Mark To:
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 19, 2008
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: WSW ; GPG
        Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 4:38 AM
        Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Dates in Mark


        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Karel
        Cc: GPG, WSW
        On: Dates in Mark
        From: Bruce

        Below I'll respond with Karel II

        KAREL: May I point out with reference to the date of writing that
        (a) I date the known edition of Mark approximately 72 CE.

        BRUCE: I know. It's in the subtitle of your book. I didn't miss it. I have
        been commenting on it these many days, and I must confess that I find it
        dubious.

        KAREL: (b) our Nestle edition is, however, a radical revision of an earlier
        document

        BRUCE: Why just Nestle?

        Karel II. I am simply referring to the earliest version we have edited by Nestle. My complaint is that Nestle in his list of references to the Tanakh omits the ones in the opened monumental grave narrative, that Mark composed for his post-70 edition.

        If this present best hypothesis as to the archetype of Mark is in fact a
        "radical revision" of an earlier document, then any statements made about
        that "radical revision" are likely to be misleading for the earlier
        document, and we should accordingly not be talking about the year 72 (which
        I suppose is what you mean in your book by "Mark II"), but about the earlier
        document, presumably "Mark I." But this seems to be impossible, because so
        far as I have found, you nowhere describe Mark I. You are thus operating in
        this conversation with an offstage quantity. Could you post to the list (or
        give page references to a published version of) an outline or summary of how
        you see Mark I?

        Karel II - I wish I were able to offer a neat document of pre-70 gospel by Mark or by someone else which he edited. Indeed an "off stage quantity." It is not my failing - all adherents to the conclusion that the present gospel shows sign of editing fail to com up with the pre-70 document. In fact that is. I think, what your are after in your project. In my book I did - with fear and trembling - list some items that I think belonged to pre-70 Mark.

        --------------------

        KAREL: (c) the earlier document reflected the ecclesia expected the parousia
        was impending. The catastrophic ending of the war made this rethinking and
        reformulating of the meaning of the resurrection necessary in view of the
        delay of the parousia.

        BRUCE: ...To ask the question yet again: Why
        should the destruction of the Temple have produced a crisis of expectation?


        Karel II . Here we part ways I believe. Having lived through WW II and followed world news up till now, I donot doubt a) that most pre-70 Judeans, including the followers of Jesus (Acts 1,6!!) fervently awaited the establishment of the kingdom of David; b) the end of the war with all its violence produced a deep shock in the Land itself and in the diaspora. It seems to me there is somewhat a divide between exegetes who lived under a dictatorial regime and those who havenot shared that experience.

        Bruce: Does Paul, for example, who is continually concerned with future expectations, and with people's increasing anxiety about their nonfulfilment (years before the destruction of the Temple) ever connect the Temple with those expectations? I don't
        recall an instance, but I am quite willing to be informed otherwise. Reference appreciated.

        Karel II For instance. 1 Thessaloninans and especialy 2 Thessalonians 2. I agree with Russels that apocalyptic language is partly subversive language. One doesnot write openly of the Roman oppressor and or of those involved with them.





        KAREL: (d) since one is not able to detect a difference in style or
        vocabulary in sections of our known Gospel, the pre/70 document was probably
        written by John Mark as well. He revised his own document.

        BRUCE: To this "one is not able," and to all statements of similar tendency,
        my reply is, "How hard have you tried?"

        Karel II - I tried years on end; I could not detect hard evidence.

        BRUCE 1. If you mean, for example, that EUQUS "straightway" occurs in all the
        chapters of our Mark, I would be tempted to agree.

        Karel II - I am writing an article both on euthus and on palin, formidable words in the structure of Mark. I cannot go into it here. It is important to know Hebrew and be familiar with Judean thought. Unfortunately I donot know the Arthashastra to which you refer.

        Cordially yours,

        Karel Hanhart


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