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Re: [Synoptic-L] On The Earliest Markan Narrative

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  • Dennis Dean Carpenter
    So far for today. The end suggestion is that Mark began as a homiletic apologia, around the year 31, with continuous adjustments and enrichments over the next
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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      "So far for today. The end suggestion is that Mark began as a homiletic apologia, around the year 31, with continuous adjustments and enrichments over the next decade, and also came to exist as a circulating document precisely in the year 40, with some unmistakable predictions after the event being added in the next few years."

      Ted Weeden Sr. has proposed twenty-four parallels between the portrayal of Jesus of Ananias, found in Josephus' War of the Jews, as well as common symmetry in the order of the motifs. This wouls suggest that portions of the Passion story were influenced by Josephus, placing a date of closer to 80 for this tale.

      If one goes to the prophecy in chapter 13, it tells the story Josephus did about the demolishion of the temple, the destruction in Jerusalem and the diaspora that happened during and as the Romans were returning from the first Roman Jewish war.

      As a whole, the book seems very well structured in a chiastic fashion. Within the chiastic structure of the whole, one finds smaller (chiastic) units. The book as a whole also seems to be a long parable about how, though the messiah was rejected and Israel destroyed because of it, "God is salvation" and will return.

      When I enter into the first century world of Mark, I wander into a shell shocked city, possibly Caesara Philippi, after the Romans have practiced a scorched earth policy on Palestine and diapsoran populations on the "way" back. When I enter the world of Mark, free from the name "Mark" and the second, third century traditions associated, I see diasporan Jews cying "Why?" I see the Gospel of Mark as an attempt to understand this. I have no compelling reason to view any of this, other than a few locations and a few names (Pilate, Herod, etc.) as historical.

      Dennis Dean Carpenter
      Dahlonega, Ga.











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    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter On: Earliest Markan Narrative From: Bruce DENNIS: Ted Weeden Sr. has proposed twenty-four parallels between
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter
        On: Earliest Markan Narrative
        From: Bruce

        DENNIS: Ted Weeden Sr. has proposed twenty-four parallels between the
        portrayal of Jesus of Ananias, found in Josephus' War of the Jews, as well
        as common symmetry in the order of the motifs. This would suggest that
        portions of the Passion story were influenced by Josephus, placing a date of
        closer to 80 for this tale.

        BRUCE: That has its attractions, but what does it do to Synoptic Gospel
        chronology in general? For one thing, it seems to put the Gospels about
        where the very late dating of Acts would accommodate them, which is fine if
        you accept that argument. But all NT datings interdepend. Aren't there
        problems elsewhere?

        DENNIS: As a whole, the book seems very well structured in a chiastic
        fashion. Within the chiastic structure of the whole, one finds smaller
        (chiastic) units.

        BRUCE: Chiasms are extremely easy to discover in almost any text, including
        the Carmina of Horace, both with and without Book 4. Some of them are
        probably artifacts of analysis rather than effects of composition. Some of
        the genuinely authorial ones, in turn, are probably just the author having
        fun with his own material (I know the feeling myself). What would escape
        that solipsistic level, and be perceptible in performance?

        I have to doubt that a chiastic design would have been apparent or cogent
        for a hearer or reader unless the performance or the silent reading
        comprised the whole text. So of any proposed chiastic text, we may ask the
        question, Is continuous performance in fact practical? Final Mark, where the
        ABA form is not so apparent (it is rather ABA Coda) takes about an hour to
        perform, and that is not necessarily a practical matter, though it has been
        done. First Mark (as I have suggested it) is about half that, and thus
        enters the realm where integral performance is routinely thinkable. How is
        that realm defined? Much musical and literary evidence (including the
        genuine folk material collected by Parry) goes to show that 20 minutes or a
        little more is about the comfort limit for an audience attending to a
        consecutive performance. Somewhere in there, the performer and the audience
        both tend to need a break before resuming. In that sense, it would seem that
        the proposed First Mark is a much more functionally chiastic text than Final
        Mark.

        DENNIS: The book as a whole also seems to be a long parable about how,
        though the messiah was rejected and Israel destroyed because of it, "God is
        salvation" and will return.

        BRUCE: "Though" is exactly it. The implied Resurrection ending of Final Mark
        does bring the previous Rejection of Israel plot to a much more satisfying
        conclusion. I have previously suggested that this was one reason for its
        addition, not only to the text but to the theological evolution which, as it
        seems to me, the text mirrors.

        DENNIS: When I enter into the first century world of Mark, I wander into a
        shell shocked city, possibly Caesara Philippi, after the Romans have
        practiced a scorched earth policy on Palestine and diapsoran populations on
        the "way" back. When I enter the world of Mark, free from the name "Mark"
        and the second, third century traditions associated, I see diasporan Jews
        crying "Why?" I see the Gospel of Mark as an attempt to understand this. I
        have no compelling reason to view any of this, other than a few locations
        and a few names (Pilate, Herod, etc.) as historical.

        BRUCE: I think a more mixed view is a better description of the whole. As
        von Soden long ago pointed out, large tracts of Mark are extremely sunny.
        They have Jesus preaching openly to large and enthusiastic crowds, Jesus
        healing many, Jesus commanding the forces of nature, everything going well.
        Nowhere in this material does Jesus curse his disciples, or intentionally
        hide his message from his hearers. Then, as von Soden also pointed out, you
        also have the other and gloomier part, the secretive Jesus, the abusive
        Jesus, the impatient Jesus. The problem of Mark, as von Soden thus expressed
        it, is to explain what these two types of material are doing in there
        together. The tension demands some sort of resolution in the reader's or
        hearer's mind. Wrede made a good beginning. More recently, I have suggested
        how I see this demand being met, in each successive layer, and most
        successfully (as above noted) in Layer 3 and subsequent.

        That Mark (or as I would put it, Mark Layer 1) exists to answer the question
        Why, is very much my sense also. But the question Why surely relates to the
        arrest and execution of Jesus, to which the book devotes so much detail and
        with which (in its original form) it climactically ends, and not to
        devastation in the countryside, which to my eye at least, except for the
        atypical predictions of Mk 13, the book does not depict at all.

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Tony Buglass
        Dennis: This wouls suggest that portions of the Passion story were influenced by Josephus, placing a date of closer to 80 for this tale. Alternatively, it
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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          Dennis: "This wouls suggest that portions of the Passion story were influenced by Josephus, placing a date of closer to 80 for this tale. "

          Alternatively, it might suggest that Josephus is dependent on Mark. Or that both are dependent upon another prototype. Surely any such hypothesis has to be finessed in the light of other evidence.

          Cheers,
          Rev Tony Buglass
          Superintendent Minister
          Upper Calder Methodist Circuit.



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        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Tony Buglass On: Church Supervision From: Bruce Excellent point about Josephus. But what I really wanted to ask about was not the message so much as this
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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            To: Tony Buglass
            On: Church Supervision
            From: Bruce

            Excellent point about Josephus. But what I really wanted to ask about was
            not the message so much as this part of the signature block:

            Superintendent Minister
            Upper Calder Methodist Circuit.

            What does that involve, and how often? My grandfather was, well, not quite a
            circuit rider, but a minister in the Methodism of a hundred years ago, but I
            would rather have contemporary data. What, in 2009, are the duties of a
            Superintendent Minister, and how do they interact with those of the Resident
            Ministers, if any?

            Pardon my administrative ignorance, but it strikes me as relevant to a note
            I was considering posting on the situation in the 1c.

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          • Tony Buglass
            Hi, Bruce British Methodism is organised differently from US Methodism. Our churches are organised into Circuits, which are in turn organised into Districts,
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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              Hi, Bruce

              British Methodism is organised differently from US Methodism. Our churches are organised into Circuits, which are in turn organised into Districts, which in turn report to Conference (which meets annually). Each Circuit is run by the team of ministers and local preachers; the team is led by the Superintendent minister, who is also in pastoral charge of some of the churches (unlike our District Chairs, who are usually not in pastoral charge). This Circuit is relatively small (10 churches, 2 ministers, and about a dozen local preachers), occupying a valley running up into the Pennines from Halfax, West Yorkshire. We are currently considering joining up a few small circuits to form a larger one of some 30 churches. I am in pastoral charge of 5 churches, and in addition have a handful of District responsibilities and a chaplaincy to the local squadron of the Air Training Corps (think of a cross between Scouts and Royal Air Force). My responsibilities in the churches are the same as any minister: preaching, teaching, pastoral oversight, management, etc. In addition, as superintendent, I oversee the work at circuit level: I chair the Circuit Meeting, Local Preachers Meeting, and some of the Circuit Teams; I am also legally the Chair of the Managing Trustees of every church in the circuit, including those looked after by my colleague.

              That's the structure. Personally (to link it to biblical studies and stuff) I see it as a close parallel to the episcopal structure behind 1 Tim.3 - the superintendent is the episkopos over the team of presbyteroi and laos. I prefer that as a model of episcopacy to the post-Constantinian diocesan model, or the UM model, which makes the bishop a much more distant figure. Or so it appears to me!

              Hope that helps,
              Cheers,
              Rev Tony Buglass
              Superintendent Minister
              Upper Calder Methodist Circuit

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            • Dennis Dean Carpenter
              Bruce stated: I think a more mixed view is a better description of the whole. As von Soden long ago pointed out, large tracts of Mark are extremely sunny.
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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                Bruce stated: "I think a more mixed view is a better description of the whole. As
                von Soden long ago pointed out, large tracts of Mark are extremely sunny.
                They have Jesus preaching openly to large and enthusiastic crowds, Jesus
                healing many, Jesus commanding the forces of nature, everything going well.
                Nowhere in this material does Jesus curse his disciples, or intentionally
                hide his message from his hearers. Then, as von Soden also pointed out, you
                also have the other and gloomier part, the secretive Jesus, the abusive
                Jesus, the impatient Jesus. The problem of Mark, as von Soden thus expressed
                it, is to explain what these two types of material are doing in there
                together. The tension demands some sort of resolution in the reader's or
                hearer's mind. Wrede made a good beginning. More recently, I have suggested
                how I see this demand being met, in each successive layer, and most
                successfully (as above noted) in Layer 3 and subsequent."

                Dennis replies: That is an interesting way to look at it. Wouldn't another way of stating that be, "Why would a human being have different emotions at different times?" Whether 'tis the author of Mark or the character of Jesus, I find not "problem of Mark" that requires an interpolation explanation, especially if the hero of the story is caught between (supernatural) destiny and fate. Looking for a perfectly consistent Jesus within the gospels is one of the major flaws I have seen in modern scholarship that I have read. Humans aren't consistent in their emotions and neither are characters, even heroes of stories nor their authors.

                Anyway, it sounds like a faxcinating way to look at that gospel. Can't wait to read the findings.

                Dennis Dean Carpenter
                Dahlonega, Ga.

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              • E Bruce Brooks
                Tony, Thanks much; that does help. But let me see if I am reading you right. You have Supervisory responsibilities for all 10 churches in your circuit. You
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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                  Tony,

                  Thanks much; that does help. But let me see if I am reading you right. You
                  have Supervisory responsibilities for all 10 churches in your circuit. You
                  also have Pastoral responsibilities for 5 of the churches. So all the
                  regular preaching in those 5 churches is done by you. Do I correctly infer
                  that in the other 5 churches, there are "local ministers" who do some of the
                  preaching, but that you occasionally preach there also? And do you exert any
                  supervision over the preaching that the local ministers do?

                  Sorry to be slow, but the information is appreciated.

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                • Tony Buglass
                  I don t have to preach in all 5 churches every week - that would get a bit silly! We have local preachers - lay preachers - who take services. They are very
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 17, 2009
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                    I don't have to preach in all 5 churches every week - that would get a bit silly! We have local preachers - lay preachers - who take services. They are very important members of the circuit team, we couldn't function without them. They are trained and accredited by the church, and answerable to the circuit through the Local Preachers' Meeting. As superintendent, I organise the preaching rota for all the churches on a quarterly plan - churches and preachers give me their requests and availability for the period in question, and I put them together. I don't tell the preachers what to preach, they are free to select their own subject, follow the lectionary or not.

                    Hope that helps,
                    Cheers,
                    Rev Tony Buglass
                    Superintendent Minister
                    Upper Calder Methodist Circuit

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                  • Dennis Dean Carpenter
                    To say that Josephus was dependent on Mark would require some explanation. Josephus writes at length about the religious sects of Palestine. Unless one wants
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jan 18, 2009
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                      To say that Josephus was dependent on Mark would require some explanation. Josephus writes at length about the religious sects of Palestine. Unless one wants to speculate that the Essenes were the prototypical Christianity, we find nothing but a highly, if not completely, interpolated statement about a Jesus and a mention of the brother of Jesus. That's it.

                      But, you are correct about another prototype for Josephus. Jesus son of Ananias probably had roots, according to Ted Weeden Sr, in Jeremiah, which was a huge influence on Josephus. (He considered himself a "modern day Jeremiah," it seems. The evidence is found in Wars of the Jews and in Life.) One also finds a deep connection between the gospeleers and Jeremiah. (Mark's inspiration for the narrative of the cleansing of the temple came from Jeremiah, for instance.)

                      Dennis Dean Carpenter
                      Dahlonega, Ga.

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Tony Buglass
                      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Saturday, January 17, 2009 10:30 AM
                      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] On The Earliest Markan Narrative


                      Dennis: "This wouls suggest that portions of the Passion story were influenced by Josephus, placing a date of closer to 80 for this tale. "

                      Alternatively, it might suggest that Josephus is dependent on Mark. Or that both are dependent upon another prototype. Surely any such hypothesis has to be finessed in the light of other evidence.

                      Cheers,
                      Rev Tony Buglass
                      Superintendent Minister
                      Upper Calder Methodist Circuit.

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