A "Rocky" Horror Show
- Jeffery, (and to others I'm boring. This will be my last post for a while. I need to look for rocks and stones in ancient Greco-Roman literature, among other things!)
We can look at the parable of the sower, where the "seeds" were sown on "rocky ground."
If the name "Rocky" meant anything other than dull, it was certainly a case of the author of Mark creating an ironic nickname name for him, one in which the author of Mark used as a horrible medium in which to sow seed, because the seeds would would not grow roots and wither. (4:3-8), explaining it in verse sixteen-seventeen. I think this is important enough to quote: "The second group are the ones sown 'on rocky ground.' Whenever they listen to the message, right away they recieve it happily. Yet they do not have their own 'root' and so are shortlived. When distress or persecution comes because of the message, such a person becomes easily shaken." That pretty well describes "Rock" (and fellow disciples).Even if we go back to the verse of the parable, we read, "Other seed fell on rocky ground where there wasn't much soil, and it came up right away because the soil had no depth. But when the sun came up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered."
(As an aside, if one sees Peter as the "Rocky ground without much soil," one can certainly see how the author was setting up the scene of the three denials, having Rocky blurting out that he wouldn't lose faith, after assurance that Jesus will be raised.Confronted with the fear that Jesus would be killed, "such a person becomes easily shaken." That's why I probably, looking at the book as a whole and not fretting about "source" material or "layers," I wouldn't consider verse 28 an interpolation. It fits the character Peter in the myth.)
I wouldn't be too quick to consider the provenance of Mark's gospel in the midst of first century Judaism. There is good reason to believe it was on the outskirts, if not in the diaspora. There were obvious Greco-Roman influence in the gospel; therefore, if wanted to go that route, maybe that would be the literature we would look toward.
That was a great question... I've started looking for "rock" or "stone" imagery... I've gone through the first three satires of Juvenal so far... No luck. But I believe the imagery in a more abstract way is found in the parable of the sower.
I have probably posted too much and don't want to "wear out my welcome."
Dennis Dean Carpenter
----- Original Message -----
From: Horace Jeffery Hodges
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan Triplet (3:10 etc)
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?
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