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Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan Triplet (3:10 etc)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter On: Jairus Daughter From: Bruce DENNIS: Bruce, I think we are not going anywhere with this. I was
    Message 1 of 25 , Nov 12, 2008
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      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG
      In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter
      On: Jairus' Daughter
      From: Bruce

      DENNIS: Bruce, I think we are not going anywhere with this. I was preparing
      a reply to your other post and saw the one that began, "In response to
      Jeffery Hodges, Dennis had said, in part..." You seemed to be trying to
      look at individual parts to determine some kind of early versus late
      construction of parts of Mark.

      BRUCE: I am looking at the text to see what it up to. One of the signs I try
      to be alert to, in Mark or in any other text, is incongruity of content or
      doctrine. That is no great stretch; to take only the most prominent and
      worrisome instance, many commentators have pointed out that the Christology
      of Mark is inconsistent; that no one theme can represent it. Another sign,
      independent of the first, is indications of narrative inconcinnity. Such
      places deserve attention to see if an insertion hypothesis will account for
      the difficulty. The classic cases of interpolation are probably the ones Ron
      Price agrees with me (and with scores of earlier commentators) in
      recognizing, namely Mk 14:28 and 16:7. To repeat the former case yet again:

      14:27. And Jesus said to them, You will all fall away, for it is written, I
      will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

      14:28. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.

      14:29. Peter said to him, Even though they all fall away, I will not. . .

      The point here is that the very remarkable assurance of Jesus in 14:28 is
      utterly ignored by Peter; instead, he responds with indignation to the
      prediction in 14:27. He behaves as though 14:28 were simply not there, and
      the implication is that when this passage was written, it was in fact not
      there, but was added later, presumably to give extra point to the
      Resurrection, and to show that it, like the Denials, was known in advance.
      That is the pattern that interpolated texts have, in any language. They
      interrupt the context, the context takes no note of them, and the context is
      made more consecutive when they are removed. Exactly the same pattern is
      found in 16:7, try it and see. Of course it is something of a clincher that
      16:7 *refers* to 14:28; the implication is that these two short passages
      were planted in the previous text at the same time, and for the same
      purpose.

      DENNIS: In lieu of an autograph, I'd need more.

      BRUCE: Assuming that our good friends the textual critics have done their
      work well, the autograph would look exactly like the archetype, and both
      would be indistinguishable from the thing in front of us. It is only
      reasonable to suppose that Mark VI (like me after making corrections on my
      conference paper) would make a clean copy before declaring the job done.
      What we have is that clean copy, and all we have to go on are not Mark VI's
      marginalia notes (they have been incorporated into the text), but simply the
      indications in the substance of the text.

      DENNIS: I'm looking at the gospel as a whole, thematically. I'm looking to
      see if those pieces fit. They do.

      BRUCE: If we take the many themes in Mark, and grant them equal standing as
      legitimating authorities, then any given passage will probably be
      reconcilable with one or another of them, and thus will be certified as part
      of Mark. But this evades the prior question. The prior question is whether
      the themes themselves fit each other. Do the Son of Man passages really
      cohere with the Son of God passages? That question and similar ones have
      been argued repeatedly, and at book length. I take those books as a symptom
      that there is something there to discuss.

      The (almost) two thousand years of intense hermeneutic attention to Mark
      have produced various results which are satisfactory to many. It would be
      surprising if they hadn't. Harmonization is the typical task of a commentary
      literature, in all cultures of which I have any experience. It's just that
      the efforts to harmonize and rationalize Mark haven't convinced all of us
      that there is no problem there in the first place. The evidence of
      inconcinnity and inconsistency in the text continues to weigh with some of
      us.

      And theoretically, what right have we to look at any text "as a whole"
      before we determine that it really IS a whole? The kind of philological
      tests I am proposing are how one makes that determination. To proceed
      without that step is what Yau Ji-hvng (recently quoted) disapproved of. We
      can't know how to make use of a text until we know what sort of text it is,
      and whether it is in one layer or in several. The job of making that
      determination cannot be referred to interpretation; that comes later. The
      preparatory work of seeing whether we have one text or seven, or no text at
      all (in the case of a mediaeval forgery), belongs not to history but to what
      I have called philology. It is a separate step, a necessary if admittedly a
      humble one.

      Take an example from the other end of the Mediterranean. Are the carmina of
      Horace "a whole?" He certainly regarded them as such, as witness his
      peroration at the end of Book III. But then he came back to the job, after
      ten years and a little pressure from Augustus, and wrote more poetry, our
      Book IV. This we know because we know it (the correspondence of Augustus was
      supposedly preserved). But suppose we didn't? Could we still detect anything
      from the text alone? I think we could get at least a hint of the situation,
      starting with the manifest overridden ending that once closed Book III
      (exegi monumentum aere perennius), and continuing, at the deep analysis
      level, with a slightly different way with the Sapphic meter in Book IV than
      is seen in Books I-III. These are not impressions, and not prior agendas,
      they are facts about the text that anyone can rediscover for themselves with
      sufficient application. Those observational facts tend to suggest what, in
      this case, we know from outside evidence to be true.

      DENNIS: The onus on you is to show how they don't fit within the basic book,
      within the themes found in the book. To consider them as interpolations
      because they don't seem logical to you doesn't mean they are interpolated.

      BRUCE: Sorry, that's not how I proceed. If we're going to talk, let's at
      least be talking about the same thing. For what I actually do, please go
      back to the above.

      The nature miracles in Mark don't seem to me "logical," meaning that I
      consider them impossible. That's my personal judgement. But it has nothing
      to do with how the author of Mark regarded them, and it is Mark's take on
      them that I am interested in recovering, to the extent possible. I already
      know what *I* think. What I don't know is what *Mark* thinks (or the several
      Marks successively think).

      But I am working on it.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Dennis Dean Carpenter
      14:27. And Jesus said to them, You will all fall away, for it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. 14:28. But after I am
      Message 2 of 25 , Nov 13, 2008
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        "14:27. And Jesus said to them, You will all fall away, for it is written, I
        will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

        14:28. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.

        14:29. Peter said to him, Even though they all fall away, I will not. . .

        The point here is that the very remarkable assurance of Jesus in 14:28 is
        utterly ignored by Peter; instead, he responds with indignation to the
        prediction in 14:27. He behaves as though 14:28 were simply not there, and
        the implication is that when this passage was written, it was in fact not
        there, but was added later, presumably to give extra point to the
        Resurrection, and to show that it, like the Denials, was known in advance.
        That is the pattern that interpolated texts have, in any language. They
        interrupt the context, the context takes no note of them, and the context is
        made more consecutive when they are removed."

        Dennis: Not necessarily interpolated, if one looks at the attitude of the author toward Peter. (8:32-33, 9:5, 10:28, 14:37, 14:66-72). Then, we have the youth sitting at the tomb, having to remind the women to "tell the disciples, including Prock, he is going ahead of you to Galilee!" In the Gospel of Mark, the author's opinion of Peter is negative - he is portrayed among other things as rather stupid and forgetful. (I think that's the main reason he is nicknamed "Rock," as in "thick as a brick." Is 14:27-29 within the scope of the author's portrayal of this "sidekick?" I believe it is. While it may be an interpolation, Peter's behavior, forgetting what was just said, is very much characteristic of Peter, and pretty much the disciples as a group. Remember, after the first story of the feeding the multitudes, the author portrays them as having forgotten that the protagonist has already magically made the bread and fish multiply. So why is it odd that Peter doesn't "get it?" He rarely does.

        Dennis Dean Carpenter
        Dahlonega, Ga. .





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      • David Cavanagh
        ... My understanding of this and related issues is slightly different. I think we find it all too easy to see the disciples as foolish and slow of
        Message 3 of 25 , Nov 13, 2008
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          Dennis Dean Carpenter wrote:
          >
          > "14:27. And Jesus said to them, You will all fall away, for it is
          > written, I
          > will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.
          >
          > 14:28. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.
          >
          > 14:29. Peter said to him, Even though they all fall away, I will not. . .
          >
          > The point here is that the very remarkable assurance of Jesus in 14:28 is
          > utterly ignored by Peter; instead, he responds with indignation to the
          > prediction in 14:27. He behaves as though 14:28 were simply not
          > there...........
          >











          My understanding of this and related issues is slightly different. I
          think we find it all too easy to see the disciples as foolish and slow
          of understanding. In doing so, we forget that Jesus was essentially
          speaking in "code" or that we have the benefit of hindsight. The Passion
          and Resurrection predictions have undoubtedly been sharpened in the
          light of Easter. When Jesus spoke of the "Son of Man" it would not have
          been clear to the disciples that he was speaking of himself, and in this
          instance it should be remembered that resurrection was expected at the
          end of time......so Peter might have taken Jesus' statement as the
          equivalent of the modern "one day God will set things to rights"
          (expecting that day to still be a long way off). Simplistic? Maybe.......

          David Cavanagh
          Major (The Salvation Army)
          Florence (Italy)



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        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          Dennis, you state, In the Gospel of Mark, the author s opinion of Peter is negative -- he is portrayed among other things as rather stupid and forgetful, and
          Message 4 of 25 , Nov 13, 2008
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            Dennis, you state, "In the Gospel of Mark, the author's opinion of Peter is negative -- he is portrayed among other things as rather stupid and forgetful," and you add, "I think that's the main reason he is nicknamed 'Rock,' as in 'thick as a brick'."
             
            It's true that Peter doesn't give a very good impression in the Gospel of Mark, but that gospel gives no account of him receiving the nickname "Rock," and as you also note, his thickheadedness characterizes "pretty much the disciples as a group." In Matthew, of course, Peter is called "Rock" for a different reason than the one that you give.
             
            At any rate, do you have some evidence for your speculation about the nickname in Mark? Did the nickname "Rock" carry the implication in first-century Judaism that you suggest?
             
            Jeffery Hodges
             

            --- On Thu, 11/13/08, Dennis Dean Carpenter <ddcanne@...> wrote:

            From: Dennis Dean Carpenter <ddcanne@...>
            Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan Triplet (3:10 etc)
            To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008, 11:16 AM

            "14:27. And Jesus said to them, You will all fall away, for it is written,
            I
            will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

            14:28. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.

            14:29. Peter said to him, Even though they all fall away, I will not. . .

            The point here is that the very remarkable assurance of Jesus in 14:28 is
            utterly ignored by Peter; instead, he responds with indignation to the
            prediction in 14:27. He behaves as though 14:28 were simply not there, and
            the implication is that when this passage was written, it was in fact not
            there, but was added later, presumably to give extra point to the
            Resurrection, and to show that it, like the Denials, was known in advance.
            That is the pattern that interpolated texts have, in any language. They
            interrupt the context, the context takes no note of them, and the context is
            made more consecutive when they are removed."

            Dennis: Not necessarily interpolated, if one looks at the attitude of the
            author toward Peter. (8:32-33, 9:5, 10:28, 14:37, 14:66-72). Then, we have the
            youth sitting at the tomb, having to remind the women to "tell the
            disciples, including Prock, he is going ahead of you to Galilee!" In the
            Gospel of Mark, the author's opinion of Peter is negative - he is portrayed
            among other things as rather stupid and forgetful. (I think that's the main
            reason he is nicknamed "Rock," as in "thick as a brick." Is
            14:27-29 within the scope of the author's portrayal of this
            "sidekick?" I believe it is. While it may be an interpolation,
            Peter's behavior, forgetting what was just said, is very much characteristic
            of Peter, and pretty much the disciples as a group. Remember, after the first
            story of the feeding the multitudes, the author portrays them as having
            forgotten that the protagonist has already magically made the bread and fish
            multiply. So why is it odd that Peter doesn't "get it?" He rarely
            does.

            Dennis Dean Carpenter
            Dahlonega, Ga. .





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          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter On: Mk 14:28 From: Bruce Dennis, you are not engaging my point. Instead, you are explaining the
            Message 5 of 25 , Nov 13, 2008
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              To: Synoptic
              Cc: GPG
              In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter
              On: Mk 14:28
              From: Bruce

              Dennis, you are not engaging my point. Instead, you are explaining the
              passage by reference to a holistic interpretation.

              Which is fine with me. You have previously indicated that you are satisfied
              with your holistic view of Mark, and it's not my intention to disturb
              anyone's equanimity. Those who are satisfied with Mark are perfectly
              welcome, as far as I am concerned, to go on being satisfied with Mark. These
              little notes of mine meant only for those who think that Mark may contain
              difficulties of one sort or another which have not so far been
              satisfactorily resolved by previous scholarship. Others are warmly
              encouraged to ignore them.

              I reply below pro forma, in case any Markanly dissatisfied persons on the
              list may be interested.

              Bruce

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

              I will do the rest of this as a Q and A on my immediately previous diagram
              of Mk 14:28 in context.

              Q: Not necessarily interpolated, if one looks at the attitude of the author
              toward Peter. (8:32-33, 9:5, 10:28, 14:37, 14:66-72).

              A: The interpolation is signaled simply by the fact that Peter in 14:29 does
              not respond to 14:28 (the promise of Resurrection, which one would expect
              might engage his attention) but rather to 14:27. He ignores 14:28.

              As for the position of Peter in the text of Mark, it is sometimes very
              positive (as at 8:30, where Peter is the only one to recognize Jesus as the
              Messiah) and sometimes very negative (as at 8:33, where Jesus calls him
              "Satan"). Peter in Mark runs the gamut from +10 to -10. Can't the author of
              this text, assuming the text to be a unitary production and thus to *have* a
              single author, can't that author make up his mind whether Peter is a good
              guy or a bad guy?

              Nor is Peter the only hard case for Markan consistency. Take Herod. We hear
              in Mark fulminations against the Herodians, and warnings about "the leaven
              of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod," and what this means we don't
              know, but obviously it is bad. Herod killed John, and he has his agents
              watching Jesus; and the Pharisees are conspiring with the Herodians how to
              kill Jesus. So far, we have no trouble identifying the guys in the bad hats.
              But then in addition to all this, we have an extended narrative of John in
              prison, and Herod in that narrative is portrayed this way: "for Herod feared
              John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When
              he heard him, he was much perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly." (Mk
              6:20). Reminds me (doesn't it you?) of the appearances of Paul before
              various sympathetic governors, who as the story has it, would have released
              him, or been converted by him, save for the opposition of this or that
              discontented and hostile party.

              Anyway, here is Herod, the confused but willing listener to the Gospel. Does
              Mark know which side he is on, or does he not? Is he a blithering idiot, or
              is something else going on here? I have seen enough of the world not to rule
              out the Blithering Idiot option incontinently, but perhaps the other
              possibility deserves exploration first. I have been trying to conduct just
              that sort of exploration.

              Q: Then, we have the youth sitting at the tomb, having to remind the women
              to "tell the disciples, including Prock, he is going ahead of you to
              Galilee!"

              A: I don't know about "having to." The youth, appearing miraculously, and
              being supernaturally well informed about what Jesus has previously said (in
              14:28!) to his disciples, tells the women that Jesus has risen, and then he
              goes on to add that they should let the disciples and Peter know that Jesus
              will be waiting for them in Galilee. To this second bit of rather remarkably
              good news, they respond not with joy (unless you go with the Matthean
              rewrite, which I do not recommend, but with fear and awe, at the evidence
              and the confirming report that Jesus has risen from the dead, and is no
              longer in the realm of the dead. That is, they react to the youth's words
              *up to and including 16:6.* With the 16:7 Galilee detail, as has been
              repeatedly mentioned and endlessly hashed over, they do nothing. This may be
              their stupidity, though nothing in the previous narrative makes them
              anything other than solicitous and devoted, or it may be that the 16:7
              comment about Galilee was never made to them, in the narrative in which they
              originally figured.

              Suppose we elect to try out the latter option, just as a mental exercise.
              Then there immediately vanishes, dare I suggest, the old problem of the
              women's "disobedience." The women, on that assumption, are not disobedient.
              They react perfectly appropriately to the cosmic event which they have just
              come up against.

              Q: In the Gospel of Mark, the author's opinion of Peter is negative - he is
              portrayed among other things as rather stupid and forgetful. (I think that's
              the main reason he is nicknamed "Rock," as in "thick as a brick." Is
              14:27-29 within the scope of the author's portrayal of this "sidekick?" I
              believe it is.

              A: No. See next.

              Q: While it may be an interpolation, Peter's behavior, forgetting what was
              just said, is very much characteristic of Peter, . . .

              A: Unfortunately, not all the time (see above). The portrait of Peter in
              Mark is radically inconsistent. Where he is seen as stupid, we may be
              reminded of his other stupid moments. Where is is insightful, we may be
              reminded of his general leadership among the group. In general, I think it
              is methodologically unsound to use an inconsistent whole to justify the
              inconsistent details. As to this particular detail (to repeat once again),
              the problem with Peter and 14:28 is not that he misunderstands it, it is
              that he does not react to it at all. It is not a source of confusion to him,
              it simply doesn't exist for him.

              Q: . . . and pretty much the disciples as a group.

              A: We have now changed the subject, but I am willing to admit that the
              disciples as a group also have consistency problems.

              Q: Remember, after the first story of the feeding the multitudes, the
              author portrays them as having forgotten that the protagonist has already
              magically made the bread and fish multiply.

              A: That particular passage gets us into the famous "doublet" problem with
              the Two Feedings (not to mention the Two Spit Healings, and other seeming
              duplications that cluster in this part of the text. It would be a long
              digression to take up that problem now, and I ask leave to defer it to a
              separate message. Instead, let's return to Peter.

              Q: So why is it odd that Peter doesn't "get it?" He rarely does.

              A: The point of 14:28 is not that Peter does not understand about the
              Appearance in Galilee, but that he does not even hear the sentence in which
              that Appearance is announced. The narrative fails to connect with itself.
              This is what folks mean by the word "inconcinnity."

              When the striking 14:28 (which Peter does not misunderstand, but simply
              ignores) is removed, we have a perfectly coherent and consecutive narrative,
              in which Peter *does* respond to what Jesus says, and with a rather likeable
              indignation at the prediction of his later defection. That restored
              narrative goes like this:

              RESTORATION
              And Jesus said to them, You will all fall away, for it is written, I will
              strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. Peter said to him,
              Even though they all fall away, I will not. And Jesus said to him, Truly, I
              say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me
              three times. But he said vehemently, If I must die with you, I will not deny
              you. And they all said the same.

              Isn't that simple, dramatic, effective, and narratively consistent? Wouldn't
              it be nice if all the Markan story were this straightforward and coherent?

              Well, maybe it was, at one time, before some of these interruptions and
              insertions and geographically haywire meanderings were stuck into the text.

              It is that possibility that I am pursuing with this series of notes. For
              those who may be interested. To the others, my apology for the interruption,
              and my best wishes of the season.

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • Chuck Jones
              I m not sure how this fits in, but I would like to point out that the two miracles we are discussing are numbers 2 and 3 in a set of 4 miracles that Mark
              Message 6 of 25 , Nov 13, 2008
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                I'm not sure how this fits in, but I would like to point out that the two miracles we are discussing are numbers 2 and 3 in a set of 4 miracles that Mark has placed within a single day.
                 
                In Mk, chs 4 and 5 create "A Day in the Life of Jesus," starting with an entire day of teaching.  Jesus wants to get away and rest, but is interrupted 4 times.  First, he stops a sea storm, second, he is confronted with a legion of demons, third a multi-decade chronic illness, and, fourth, death itself.
                 
                This is a series of power encounters against the great fears and uncontrollables of the pre-modern world in which Jesus prevails in every case.  (The construct of a single day ends with the begining of ch. 6.  Jesus never did get to rest.)
                 
                Rev. Chuck Jones
                Atlanta, Georgia

                --- On Wed, 11/12/08, Dennis Dean Carpenter <ddcanne@...> wrote:

                From: Dennis Dean Carpenter <ddcanne@...>
                Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan Triplet (3:10 etc)
                To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 5:31 PM






                Bruce, I think we are not going anywhere with this. I was preparing a reply to your other post and saw the one that began, "In response to Jeffery Hodges, Dennis had said, in part..." You seemed to be trying to look at individual parts to determine some kind of early versus late construction of parts of Mark. In lieu of an autograph, I'd need more. I'm looking at the gospel as a whole, thematically. I'm looking to see if those pieces fit. They do. The onus on you is to show how they don't fit within the basic book, within the themes found in the book. To consider them as interpolations because they don't seem logical to you doesn't mean they are interpolated.

                Let's use this interpolation logic in the Markan story of the fig tree. He curses it, then he leaves to have a temple incident, then he comes back and it has withered. A logic of interpolation would have the temple incident as an interpolation. Of course, I don't know of anyone who believes that. We look at it symbolically.

                We have a ruler of a synagogue with a dying 12 year old daughter. On his way to heal her, he is touched by a woman with a 12 year discharge. She is healed. The daughter has died. Jesus touches her and she is now alive. He tells them to feed her. We have the number twelve, we have touching of the unclean, we have healing in both stories. More importantly, we have a synagogue ruler who wasn't concerned about ritual purity. We have a Jewish believer who is a "ruler." That is indeed not that common. Maybe this part was interpolated. How often are the priests and scholars dealt with favorably in Mark? No, it seems to me that this whole section, as a block, was an example of the enlightenment of the believers (Jairus and the woman).

                Actually, there is another way to present your case, if you look at the Greek in the block. There seems to be an important difference, though I'm just beginning my Greek "voyage."

                Dennis Dean Carpenter
                Dahlonega, Ga.



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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Dennis Dean Carpenter
                Yeah, and in the section just before four, he can not even get a bite to eat. Interpolation or another one of those darned interruptions! Dennis Dean
                Message 7 of 25 , Nov 13, 2008
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                  Yeah, and in the section just before four, he can not even get a bite to eat. Interpolation or another one of those darned interruptions!
                  Dennis Dean Carpenter


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Chuck Jones
                  To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2008 2:37 PM
                  Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan Triplet (3:10 etc)


                  I'm not sure how this fits in, but I would like to point out that the two miracles we are discussing are numbers 2 and 3 in a set of 4 miracles that Mark has placed within a single day.

                  In Mk, chs 4 and 5 create "A Day in the Life of Jesus," starting with an entire day of teaching. Jesus wants to get away and rest, but is interrupted 4 times. First, he stops a sea storm, second, he is confronted with a legion of demons, third a multi-decade chronic illness, and, fourth, death itself.

                  This is a series of power encounters against the great fears and uncontrollables of the pre-modern world in which Jesus prevails in every case. (The construct of a single day ends with the begining of ch. 6. Jesus never did get to rest.)

                  Rev. Chuck Jones
                  Atlanta, Georgia


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                • E Bruce Brooks
                  To: Synoptic Cc: GPG; WSW Not Quite In Response To: Chuck Jones From: Bruce I am not going to interlineate this one (for which nevertheless thanks); I am going
                  Message 8 of 25 , Nov 13, 2008
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                    To: Synoptic
                    Cc: GPG; WSW
                    Not Quite In Response To: Chuck Jones
                    From: Bruce

                    I am not going to interlineate this one (for which nevertheless thanks); I
                    am going to repeat it and then reflect on it. Here is what Chuck said:

                    "I'm not sure how this fits in, but I would like to point out that the two
                    miracles we are discussing are numbers 2 and 3 in a set of 4 miracles that
                    Mark has placed within a single day. / In Mk, chs 4 and 5 create "A Day in
                    the Life of Jesus," starting with an entire day of teaching. Jesus wants to
                    get away and rest, but is interrupted 4 times. First, he stops a sea storm,
                    second, he is confronted with a legion of demons, third a multi-decade
                    chronic illness, and, fourth, death itself. / This is a series of power
                    encounters against the great fears and uncontrollables of the pre-modern
                    world in which Jesus prevails in every case. (The construct of a single day
                    ends with the beginning of ch. 6. Jesus never did get to rest)."

                    MEDITATION I

                    There is a classical Chinese book called Jwangdz; fans of Thomas Merton and
                    perhaps some others will have heard of it. It is very funny, very
                    antigovernmental, very agreeable in parts to certain aspects of our modern
                    sensibility. The prevailing view is that the lower-numbered chapters are
                    earlier, and the higher-numbered ones later, maybe even Han Dynasty (the
                    Empire; the postclassical period). So what parts of it do the Han literary
                    folks like, and thus regard as unquestionably authentic? The lower-numbered
                    chapters? Not in a million years. Rather: the higher-numbered chapters. The
                    ones closest to them in time, and thus the ones closest to their own
                    philosophical sensibilities. The ones that speak most directly to their
                    concerns and condition.

                    It is very natural, once you think of it. The most recent thing, the most
                    evolved, is what most appeals to posterity, whether proximal or remote. I
                    don't quite want to make it a rule, but it is at least a regularity, one
                    that we should not be surprised to meet again.

                    I seem to meet it again in Chuck's appreciation of the miracles in Mk 4-5,
                    and his disinterest in the Sermon By The Sea parables. And why? My a priori
                    suspicion (coming out of a good deal of watching texts and readers at work
                    together, in different parts of the world) would be: Maybe because the
                    miracles are later than the parables. That is Suspicion 1, not yet a proof,
                    but perhaps actionable as a suspicion. Let us entertain it, and see what
                    happens. We can always go back and push the UNDO button and return to the
                    status quo ante, if we find it gets us nowhere.

                    MEDITATION II

                    Suspicion 2 is that in the Four Gospels taken together, we can see a process
                    of progressive divinization of Jesus, through the miraculous birth of
                    Matthew and Luke to the cosmic identity of John. There is thus a perfectly
                    visible and verifiable tendency, over time, for the Jesus community to
                    promote Jesus into the top position. Suspicion 2a is that this process may
                    apply, not just *between* the Four Gospels, but *within* the Earliest
                    Gospel, namely Mark. The accretional theory of Mark, on which I seem to have
                    a copyright as well as sole possession, is also a theory that Mark, the
                    text, was progressively upgraded so as to keep pace with developing ideas in
                    the community to which that text was somehow responsive. (Just like
                    Microsoft automatically upgraded my antivirus software last night, while I
                    wasn't looking, to keep pace with the bad people who think up the viruses.
                    Our modern version of Controversy Stories).

                    I look at those miracles in Mk 4-5, and I see a conspicuous mixture. There
                    are rather humble healings (with mutterings in Aramaic, and a personal
                    touch, and advice to the parents to see that the patient gets something to
                    eat). There are also grand exorcisms, where Jesus is not besought, but
                    actually worshipped (Mk 5:6) by the sufferer, and where the possession is
                    not by one demon, no, that would be piddling, but by Two Thousand Demons,
                    who after a fully reported contest of wills are sent into an equal number of
                    pigs, and are ironically drowned in the sea. Here Jesus is not picking the
                    wax out of some hard of hearing person's ear, he is mastering supernatural
                    beings with his own superior supernatural power. And that is not enough to
                    wow the audience? Very good, we can improve on it. Over here is Jesus
                    speaking words of rebuke, not to demons, but to Nature Itself, and Nature
                    Itself meekly obeying, so that the dazzled disciples ask, What sort of a guy
                    IS this, anyways?

                    I trust that the steady ratcheting up of the power level will be obvious. If
                    Jesus can command Nature, what is he doing in the same chapter bringing
                    little girls out of comas, when a command to Nature will so much more
                    dazzlingly make his point? Let him call down fire and rain, or if they are
                    already there, let him bid them cease. Never mind this aches and pains
                    stuff. Answer, he would NOT be doing so, any more than the Dean of the
                    Medical School still takes Saturdays off from his job to prescribe aspirins
                    for the neighborhood children. No, the human probability is that we are here
                    confronted with several additive (but haphazardly placed) layers of
                    successively more grandiose persona construction.

                    MEDITATION III

                    People seem not to get the hang of the idea of using textual signs of
                    interpolation as a guide to layering in a text. 100 years ago, it would have
                    been second nature for anyone humanistically educated, but apparently it is
                    no longer 100 years ago. Tsk. Julius Wellhausen, thou shouldst be living at
                    this hour. We therefore have no empirical, fine-grained evidence to support
                    our previous suspicions, or at least no empirical, fine-grained evidence
                    that is evident to all parties. There, as it might be, is the end of our
                    imaginings.

                    But wait: sooner or later it is going to occur to somebody with an hour and
                    a half and a pencil on their hands (say, in the airport, in these ever more
                    difficult days) to ask, What if we separate out on paper all the Really
                    Cosmic Miracles, and on another sheet the Masterful Exorcisms, and on still
                    another the Country Doc Healings? Would each of those three bodies of
                    material, thus arbitrarily defined, have ANY OTHER DISTINCTIVE FEATURES? CAN
                    THEY BE CODEFINED?

                    They would. They can. But I am not saying how. Not until Monday the 24th, at
                    7 AM in the Sheridan Conference Room. See you there, and bring your sheets
                    of airport paper with you. AND your pencil.

                    MEDITATION IV

                    Meanwhile, as a final note of sympathy for the working man: If we take out
                    the aggrandizing additions to these two chapters, does Jesus have a more
                    nearly normal day? The very question assumes that Mark meant to represent it
                    as a day, and I think this may be doubted. Look at the end of the Sermon By
                    The Sea, 4:33 "With many such parables he spoke the Word to them, as they
                    were able to hear it." I think this suggests that the foregoing parables are
                    after all not a transcript of a single sermon, but a sample of Jesus's
                    preaching, conveniently collected into one place. As though to say, "Here is
                    the kind of thing Jesus used to say tpo the crowds when he was speaking to
                    them." Mark likes to group things: teaching parables, conflict stories, and
                    the like. It is this characteristic, I suspect, which gets people like
                    Papias down on him for having no real time sequence, over much of his
                    Gospel, just a sort of arrangement of material classified by type.
                    Convenient, and usable, but without narrative force.

                    Papias, as I understand from Eusebius, was one of history's all-time
                    weirdos, but not even weirdos are wrong all the time. Some of them have a
                    rather developed, even an acute, literary sense. Their hints are thus
                    sometimes worth taking, just like everybody else's.

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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