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

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  • Dave Gentile
    Chuck, The constraint I m under is that Bruce has a small group set up to work toward the publication of a book on this idea. So, I ve seen pre-publication
    Message 1 of 54 , Jun 3, 2009
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      Chuck,

      The constraint I'm under is that Bruce has a small group set up to work toward the publication of a book on this idea. So, I've seen pre-publication work which is not ready to be shared. And thus while I can make the general case, the needed specifics are not available.

      Chuck:

      ...imagine for a moment that Mk wrote the book at one sitting using different sources, of varying age. Assume that in order to accomplish his story arch, he needed to move material around from these sources (i.e., he groups a series of power encounters in chs. 4 and 5). Wouldn't it be true that some passages would appear to be older and some younger? And wouldn't the results of your reassembly project be the same? (The time span was in the sources, not Mk.)

      Dave: It would not produce the same results if Mark was grouping similar material together. Let me try to give a visual:

      Original text:

      AA AAAA AAAAA AA AAAA AAAAA AAAA AAAA

      Next:

      BBAA AAAA AABBBAAA AA BBB AAAA AABBBAAA AAAA AAAABB

      Next:

      CBBAA CCC AAAA AABBBAAA ACCA BBB CCC AAAA AABCBBAAA AAAA AAAABBCCC

      Note, none of the old material is lost.

      Mark has not grouped the "C" material together as he might with a source. Also note that at points the C material interrupts older B and A material, and B material interrupts A material. You can see that C was inserted into B, and not the other way around. Then if C seems later than B thematically which in turn seems later than A we have a good idea of what has happened here.

      Chuck:

      > Third, monkeying with sets of pericope, individual pericope, and individual phrases and lines is precisely the synoptic activity we see in Mt and Lk, so I'm not sure why it would be surprising in Mk.


      Dave: In one sense, the same sort of thing is going on in Mark. Mark IS taking an older document (his own) and adding new material. Matthew does this to Mark as well, although Matthew also makes some theologically important changes to the existing material in Mark. (Some would say this is because Matthew is following a "Q" source. I'd say it is because Matthew wants to change it, but in order to get people to buy the changes he attributes the changes to a fictional early source).

      So I would put the gospel development sequence as something like:

      Mark v1 => Mark v2 => Mark v3 => Mark v4 => Mark v5 => Matthew
      Luke then is later and picks up stuff from both Matthew and Mark v4.

      So, yes the process of accretion we see in moving from Mark to Matthew was in place before Matthew got into the picture, it is just that before Matthew, the process happened under the control of the original Markian community, but once Matthew is in the picture that group has clearly lost control of the development of the story. Since the group in control of the text of Mark didn't tend to save old versions, we don't have them available, (unless we start carefully picking through Mark, trying to determine the order things were added).

      Again, some of my reasons for preferring that this accretion process was the work of one author:

      1) We don't have the older texts. While this is possible if the older text had different authors, it is very probable that this would be the case, if this text grew at first in a single community.
      2) The "revision by insertion" pattern where old text is well preserved even in fine detail is not something we see once different authors like Matthew and Luke get hold of it. A community revising its community text might, however, be expected to keep all the old stuff like this.
      3) It is just simpler (and therefore a better hypothesis) if Mark is the work of one author. Many authors is a more complex scenario, and unless the more complex scenario is well supported by the evidence, we should opt for the simpler solution.

      Dave Gentile
      Riverside, IL
    • 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.
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        > 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.
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        > 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.
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        > At least that would be my account of Luke's environment and thought process.
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        > Dave Gentile
        > Riverside, IL
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