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  • Dennis Goffin
    I quote below relevant extracts from an article by A Y Collins taken from the Internet. This only seems to muddy the waters. Dennis P s. Apologies for the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2010
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      I quote below relevant extracts from an article by A Y Collins taken from the Internet. This only seems to muddy the waters.
      P s. Apologies for the variation in typeface.

      The most dramatic change Mark made with regard to his source was to add the saying of the

      centurion to the climactic rending of the veil. In the source Jesus is vindicated by the mysterious

      theophany expressed in the account of the rending of the veil of the temple. The splitting of the veil also

      suggests the ascent of Jesus to heaven and the access to God that the death of Jesus makes possible. In its

      new context as part of Mark as a whole, the rending of the veil creates a contrast with the splitting of the

      heavens at the baptism of Jesus. At the baptism God is present and reveals Godself in speech. At the cross,

      however, God is absent and does not speak. The tearing of the veil is thus an ironic theophany. The death of

      Jesus on the cross is accompanied by a real but ambiguous and mysterious theophany, which suggests that

      the will of God is fulfilled in the apparently shameful death of Jesus on the cross............................................ 


      Helmut Koester is certainly right that whatever was written down by early

      Christians "was still part of the realm of oral communication in preaching, instruction,

      and common celebration." When such writings were read aloud they became, in a sense,

      "oral literature." The social setting of the earliest passion narrative may have been

      cultic. I am now inclined to conclude, however, that it was written primarily as a basis for

      preaching and teaching. If its purpose was to persuade, to make the case that Jesus was

      the Messiah in spite of his crucifixion, it was probably addressed to outsiders and

      wavering insiders. Settings of proclamation and instruction would fit this purpose well.

      The authors of the canonical Gospels continued this literary activity in adapting

      the traditional passion narrative to their own multiple and various rhetorical purposes.

      Mark adapted and expanded the earliest written account in writing his Gospel.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: GPG
      Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 7:18 AM
      Subject: [GPG] Re: [Synoptic-L] Early Beliefs (Messiah)

      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG
      In Response To: Dennis Goffin
      On: Development in Mark
      From: Bruce

      DENNIS: You state . . . "the text of Mark ..... portrays a
      developmental Yeshua". We need however to differentiate between
      development undergone by Yeshua and development undergone by the text
      of GMark as view succeeded view. The latter does not necessarily imply
      the former and I would probably dispute that it did.

      BRUCE: Indeed, though I suspect that in the end the two are largely
      compatible, the developmental Yeshu being more clearly seen in the
      original text of Mark, though sufficiently visible still (hence the
      commentarial neglect of Mark, and the commentarial anguish arising
      when Mark is not neglected) in the final Mark.

      To follow out the distinction Dennis wants: The story as Mark tells it
      shows a developmental Yeshua. The layers of the text of Mark show the
      development of doctrine within that part of the early Jesus movement
      subtended by that text. The two are indeed different. But the later
      text layers in Mark were overlaid on the early text layers in Mark,
      and more or less of necessity tended to follow - to augment and not
      wholly to obscure - the Yeshua story told by the earliest Mark.

      Though material is moved around in the imitators of Mark, and though
      John recasts the Yeshua story de novo, the basic "order" of events in
      Mark is preserved in all. Nor could it be greatly otherwise; a Yeshua
      story that began with the Crucifixion and ran to the seaside at
      Capernaum would be an absurdity, and manifestly so.

      One thing that is conspicuously changed in the later attempts to get
      Yeshua down on paper is the consistency of doctrine, which (given its
      complex origins) is spotty and thus unsatisfactory in Mark. Here
      again, John is most radical. Look, for example, at the Baptism
      Trajectory: the decreasing prominence given to Yeshua's baptism in the
      successive Gospels Mark > Matthew > Luke > John. Right?

      As to the development of Yeshua in Mark, even the familiar canonical
      Mark of our own day, as it stands without any reconstructive
      interference, consider the following:

      In Mark, the message taught by Yeshua is phrased in a way that makes
      it indistinguishable from that just attributed to John the B: a gospel
      of repentance and forgiveness (Mk 1:14-15). Those words, and that
      implication, are avoided in the later Gospels.

      In Mark, at 3:2of, 3:31f, a break occurs between Yeshua and his
      previous supporters; his friends think him crazy, and he refuses any
      longer to acknowledge his mother and his brothers. It implies a change
      of previous doctrine and/or plan. That passage is famously omitted by
      the later Gospels.

      In Mark, the phrase Son of Man is on the whole not used by Jesus of
      himself save in the last half of the text (beginning at 8:31). This
      distribution is blurred in the subsequent Gospels, and is completely
      effaced in John, the last of the Gospels.

      There is more, but that should suffice for a test run.


      Now we might return to the enigmatic words of the dimwit Papias. He
      complained of the taxis "order" of Mark, though he did defend Mark as
      at least not wrong, albeit incomplete and, apparently, deficient in
      "taxis." The simplest meaning of taxis is probably the one usually
      attributed to it in Luke's prologue: the historical sequence.

      The naive reader, taking Papias in this way, is liable to be baffled.
      Mark tells a perfectly intelligible historical story of Yeshua. What
      is the problem?

      It has been variously urged, and I think correctly urged, that what
      Papias has in mind as a better treatment of Yeshua is the Gospel of
      John; we notice his ties to the Johannine community. Well, John is by
      a mile the least developmental of the Gospels. Not only does the story
      not imply a developmental Yeshua, it has Yeshua from the very outset
      preach a nondevelopmental idea of himself. The naive reader is likely
      to find John's interminable and identical reiterations boring. That is
      my own reaction. But for someone like Papias, who is determined to
      hear (and preach) nothing but a single approved view of Yeshua and his
      significance, John is likely to be the only good Gospel. One still
      hears today the phrase "John got it right." From a certain
      perspective, he did. And Papias, I submit, saw things from that

      But from that perspective, the trouble with taxis in Mark is precisely
      *that he has it;* that he shows the late idea of Yeshua emerging
      gradually from the early idea of Yeshua.


      The difference between the thoroughly accreted Mark (our canonical
      Mark) and the original core narrative of Mark, as best I can presently
      reconstruct it (proceeding on lines quite parallel to those employed
      by Adela Yarbro Collins to the Markan Passion Narrative, but applied
      consistently to the whole text of Mark), is that the core narrative of
      Mark follows the early idea of Yeshua through to a narratively
      consistent conclusion, without interference from the later overlays
      whose purpose is to change the theological (and, incidentally, the
      biographical) Tendenz of Mark into something else: something
      presumably more acceptable to the community whose views the later Mark
      either reflects or creates.

      That Markan patchwork, though evidently successful to a degree (or
      Mark would have perished early, and we would not now be discussing
      it), does not wholly conceal its own inconsistencies, or leave wholly
      unasked the various questions which are likely to arise on a
      consecutive reading. This, quite thinkably, was one motive for the
      later recasting and indeed replacement of Mark in the esteem of
      several of the later Jesus communities - quite different communities,
      as the sometimes contrary social affinities of Matthew and Luke
      attest, but at some level agreed on the wish for something more
      consistently reverential, and more doctrinally sound, than Mark had
      over the years proved to be.

      Respectfully suggested,


      [E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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