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Re: [Synoptic-L] The Time Depth of Mark

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  • Dave Gentile
    Chuck, On the other hand you have not seen the numerous (quite numerous) examples where the text reads with more continuity both in theme and form when part of
    Message 1 of 54 , Jun 2, 2009
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      Chuck,

      On the other hand you have not seen the numerous (quite numerous) examples where the text reads with more continuity both in theme and form when part of the text is removed. Having seen those, I judge it very unlikely the text was written all at once.

      In addition, once you have identified these insertions and start grouping things into layers there are similarities one can observe between things in the same layer, both of theme, and in small bits of style. This of course reinforces the conclusion. Limited resources would not produce these effects.

      Think for example of the list of names and ships and captains sailing for Troy in Homer. I listened to this on audio once while walking. I think I might have finished my walk and they were still reading it. No one sat down and wrote this all at once, it (almost certainly) grew through repeated telling. Good storytellers (sometimes in competition) extended the list to fit their audience.

      Once all the seams are pointed out, Mark strongly suggests a very similar process was at work. Without seeing the seams of course, you would have no reason to believe this.

      Dave Gentile
      Riverside, IL




      Dave Gentile
      Riverside, IL


      --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:
      >
      > Dave,
      >  
      > My assumption is that a synoptic author used sources and had precious little physical writing material available to him.  It is not unlikely at all that our Mk is literally a first-and-only draft.  I've re-read term papers I wrote during all-nighters.   Believe me, with more time and subsequent drafts they would get better (in every category Bruce mentioned), not worse.
      >  
      > Chuck
      >
      > --- On Tue, 6/2/09, Dave Gentile <gentile_dave@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > From: Dave Gentile <gentile_dave@...>
      > Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] The Time Depth of Mark
      > To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 1:35 PM
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      > Chuck,
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      > For my part, it is hard to see how any other process than a single author (individual or corporate) over time could produce the features Bruce refers to.
      >
      > If it was done at a single point in time, we would not expect the sort of things we see. On the other hand, if it was rewritten wholesale by another individual, we'd again expect something much smoother (say a Matthew or Luke).
      >
      > For awhile I had in mind the "copyist" who just slipped things in. But these are not tiny insertions, nor are we at a late enough date where copyists are likely to be relevant. Any copies people have at this very early stage probably come from the author himself. Only if the text is being passed from one hand to the next over time, could things be added, but the author would still be around (we'd assume) to say "I didn't add that". In short it takes some time for the text to move beyond the author's control.
      >
      > So none of the above 3 options really works too well for me. Better, is one author over time expanding things for his own purposes or for the purposes of his group. He does not want to remove old stuff, which everyone in the group now knows by heart, so he just expands the story by adding extra parts which fit with the concerns of his day. This process seems to me to be at the cusp of an oral/written process. He is expanding the story in the same way a good oral story-teller might do, but he just happens to also be writing it down as well.
      >
      > Dave Gentile
      > Riverside, IL
      >
      > --- In Synoptic@yahoogroup s.com, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@ ...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Bruce,
      > >  
      > > First, How would time fix these things?  If  Mk was written in three days or thirty years, the final editor allowed all of these things to pass.
      > >  
      > > Second, in the manuscript record we have available to us, NT scriptures tend to get better over time rather than worse, scribes notice things such as you have observed and "fix" them.
      > >  
      > > Third, I'm not sure the synoptic process could produce the sort of document you describe.
      > >  
      > > Rev. Chuck Jones
      > > Atlanta, Georgia
      > >  
      > >  
      > >  
      > >
      > > From: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@>
      > > Subject: [Synoptic-L] The Time Depth of Mark
      > > To: Synoptic@yahoogroup s.com
      > > Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 11:38 AM
      > >
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      > > To: Synoptic
      > > In Unsolicited Reply To: Chuck Jones
      > > On: The Time Depth of Mark
      > > From: Bruce
      > >
      > > We had a statement and a counterquestion. I here give a merely personal
      > > answer to the question.
      > >
      > > DAVE (on Mark): For my part, I still tend to think the text developed over a
      > > longer period of time (although willing to be convinced of the contrary), .
      > > . .
      > >
      > > CHUCK: I'm curious what would persuade you otherwise?
      > >
      > > BRUCE: Dave can give his own answer, whenever he likes. My own prerequisites
      > > for concluding that Mark has a single date of composition (never mind what
      > > that date might be) would include things like these:
      > >
      > > 1. A constant style, whatever the nature of that style (at present, however
      > > one may define the typical verbal and formal traits of Mark, there are whole
      > > stretches of the text that do not display those traits).
      > >
      > > 2. A coherent theology, whatever the content of that theology (at present,
      > > there are many theologies, creating a situation which has been widely
      > > noticed in the commentarial literature).
      > >
      > > 3. A single set of formal signals identifying the beginning, the middle, and
      > > the end of the text (at present, there are three such sets).
      > >
      > > 4. A concinnitous narrative (at present, the narrative is continually
      > > interrupted by what, in any secular text, or in the sacred text of some
      > > religion not our own, say the Mahabharata, would be routinely interpreted as
      > > signs of interpolated passages).
      > >
      > > 5. A consistent affinity stance (with Peter, for instance, the stance of
      > > Mark is such as to lead some, eg Papias, to suppose that Mark took his text
      > > down from Peter's dictation, and others, eg Matthew, to class Mark as
      > > anti-Petrine and to labor, in his own writings, to present a more favorable
      > > picture).
      > >
      > > Little things like that.
      > >
      > > Bruce
      > >
      > > E Bruce Brooks
      > > Warring States Project
      > > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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    • Dave Gentile
      Chuck, But there might be something of a common selection factor at work in what Luke would choose to use and what might survive. If Luke thinks a written
      Message 54 of 54 , Jun 10, 2009
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        Chuck,

        But there might be something of a common selection factor at work in what Luke would choose to use and what might survive. If Luke thinks a written account is important enough to copy, then he and others might think this account is worth preserving. On the other hand, if Luke thinks another existing account is trivial nonsense worth ignoring, then others may also be so inclined in which case we are not surprised that it failed to survive 2000 years of history.

        So the question is not so much about contemporary accounts. We know for example that some later non-canonical accounts exist, and anybody can take pen to paper and write something, if they are so inclined, at any time. The question is really about accounts that from Luke's point of view are historical or at least of value enough to Luke that he would think them worthy of being copied, but yet are lost to us.

        Returning to a point from a previous note:

        New jokes are composed everyday. Old ones get passed around, but every so often you hear a new one. Could not the same be true of stories of Jesus? If this were the case the collection would be larger each time someone wrote them down. I think we can see this process at work. Early Mark has a small collection. This collection grows as Mark grows. Down the road we see a larger collection in Matthew, and a little farther along a still larger collection in Luke.

        P.S. While I am also enjoying the conversation, I now have actual work to do. Thus at some time soon expect me to either drop out of conversation for awhile, or at least have diminished output…

        Dave Gentile
        Riverside, IL




        Dave Gentile
        Riverside, IL




        --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dave,
        >  
        > I mention Lk's reference to make a single, narrow point.  Many accounts existed, new or old.  Whether Lk used them or not, almost all of these accounts *did not survive and are no longer extant.*  This means that *most* of the written accounts of Jesus did not survive.  Which means one is taking no leap at all--quite the opposite--if one concludes there was a Q, or an M source, or an L source, or a Mk source.
        >  
        > I hope this makes sense.
        >  
        > Rev. Chuck Jones
        > Atlanta, Georgia
        >
        > --- On Wed, 6/10/09, Dave Gentile <gentile_dave@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > From: Dave Gentile <gentile_dave@...>
        > Subject: [Synoptic-L] Re: The Time Depth of Mark
        > To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2009, 12:26 PM
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        > Chuck wrote: Also, separately, how do you square your model with Lk's own mention that many have produced written accounts of Jesus? His comment has been, in fact, fundamental to me in my thinking on this stuff.
        >
        > Dave: I think the question of how many accounts Luke is aware of and how many accounts Luke thinks are wroth considering enough to copy are two separate questions. If Luke thinks the guy in the rival congregation in the next town just wrote a gospel yesterday, this will count towards those "many" who have undertaken this but won't count as a written source for Luke.
        >
        > I see this in his attitude towards Matthew and Mark. He sees Mark as an old source that has been around for awhile and he will largely copy it. Matthew? Well, that's a newcomer on the scene. He would not even bother with it except for the fact that it has a claim to a providence of an interview with the disciple Matthew. Thus the gospel of Matthew will be worth extracting things from, but not copying. The proto-John guys who just wrote their gospel yesterday? They will be ignored.
        >
        > At least that would be my account of Luke's environment and thought process.
        >
        > Dave Gentile
        > Riverside, IL
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