Re: [Synoptic-L] Marks riddle of the loaves and the Twelve 3rd Post
- To: Synoptic [sic]
In Response To: Rick and Chuck
On: Loaves in Boat
I thought there might have been a methodological issue in here:
RICK: On the trip to the other side the disciples become aware that they
have forgotten to take loaves. Note that it is in the plural form of noun
ARTOUS. The point is not that they forgot to bring food; they forgot to
bring the loaves necessary to celebrate the Eucharist.
CHUCK: This is an excellent example of an anachronistic reading. The
Eucharist evolved over multiple decades after Jesus died, and there is no
evidence in Mark of an awareness of a tradition of re-enacting the Last
Supper. Are you suggesting Mark would have his readers believe the
disciples celebrated the Lord's Supper before there was a Last Supper?
BRUCE: Anachronistic indeed, but an anachronistic reading is ruled out only
if we assume the Gospels are transcripts from life, and can be tested
against what could have happened in real time before 33 AD. If the text in
question (here, GMk) is instead late, retrospective, and reinterpretive, it
is quite thinkable that it might have worked in such late symbolism or
Or that such might have been later added to it, by hands unknown. It is
typical of all evolving traditions (including the one the US Supreme Court
presides over) that they are inclined to refer all clarifications and
developments back to the founder, the first stage, the original charter,
whatever. If someone about, oh, say 70 BC, more than a generation after the
facts, was feeling uncomfortable about the lack of a scriptural warrant for
a given observance (here, the Eucharist), then one solution is to provide a
scriptural warrant, and the best possible scriptural warrant is a text
already accepted as authoritative. Hence the popularity of interpolation in
texts perceived as early in the tradition. This is a statement in general.
Whether it applies to GMk requires to be established, but it would be no
surprise to general theory if it did.
We can turn that around. If there are three or thirty texts recognized in a
young tradition, and one of those texts is notably more interpolated than
the others, then the reason might be that the early tradition regarded that
one text as earliest, and thus more authoritative. Early tradition might be
wrong, but its opinion would still be useful to know. On that test, if we
may call it such, which of the Synoptics is the most interpolated, and this
perhaps the one regarded as earliest, in early times?
I haven't got an official list of passages in the Gospels which one or
another commentator has suggested may be interpolated. Has anyone? If so, I
will appreciate a reference. But my personal list of possibles would give
the prize here to GMk, several times over.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst