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

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  • 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 1 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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    • 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 2 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 3 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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