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THE BELIEFS OF JESUS

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  • Dennis Goffin
    The fact that Mark does not enumerate all the commandments when Jesus speaks to the rich young man, does not mean that Jesus rejected those he did not bother
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 2, 2010
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      The fact that Mark does not enumerate all the commandments when Jesus speaks to the rich young man, does not mean that Jesus rejected those he did not bother to mention. All it means is that he wished to emphasize the ethical ones. In this, he was merely following the practice of the Prophets, who accentuated the moral at the expense of the ritual. The same consideration applies equally to Pharisaic purity rules. At the end of his life, he still observed the Passover.
      I'm sorry I caused confusion by not joining up blowback. As I understand it, it is an Americanism for 'recoil'.
      Dennis

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jeffrey B Gibson
      ... And you know this how? ... The observance of which has nothing to do with Pharisaic purity rules. Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon) 1500 W.
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 2, 2010
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        On 4/2/2010 4:16 PM, Dennis Goffin wrote:
        > The fact that Mark does not enumerate all the commandments when Jesus speaks to the rich young man, does not mean that Jesus rejected those he did not bother to mention. All it means is that he wished to emphasize the ethical ones.

        And you know this how?
        > In this, he was merely following the practice of the Prophets, who accentuated the moral at the expense of the ritual. The same consideration applies equally to Pharisaic purity rules.

        The observance of which has nothing to do with Pharisaic purity rules.

        Jeffrey

        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Chicago, Illinois
        e-mail jgibson000@...
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: GPG Cc: Synoptic, WSW In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: The Beliefs of Jesus From: Bruce DENNIS: The fact that Mark does not enumerate all the commandments
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 3, 2010
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          To: GPG
          Cc: Synoptic, WSW
          In Response To: Dennis Goffin
          On: The Beliefs of Jesus
          From: Bruce

          DENNIS: The fact that Mark does not enumerate all the commandments
          when Jesus speaks to the rich young man, does not mean that Jesus
          rejected those he did not bother to mention. All it means is that he
          wished to emphasize the ethical ones.

          BRUCE: Not necessarily. People often regard arguments from silence as
          weak or even fallacious, or even as proving the opposite (at least we
          encounter this extreme in Sinology; I can't speak for the rational
          human sciences). Consider, however, that if something does not in fact
          exist, then the only trace it is capable of leaving in the evidence is
          its absence from the evidence.

          Jesus runs through quite a few of the recognizable commandments, plus
          one less canonical one (fraud, which is developed in later Christian
          writings, and thus is not some kind of misprint). All of them are from
          the ethical side of things, and none are from the sacrificial side of
          things. The implication is that Jesus is only interested in the
          ethical side, and is just a little bit creative in that area.

          Of course, inferences of absence need to be tested against other
          evidence where available. So the next question to ask (I feel like I
          am in methodological kindergarten, and for the fourth year in a row,
          having flunked out the previous three years, but anyway) is, what is
          Jesus's stance, either spoken or acted or implied, toward the rules of
          sacrificial piety in the rest of Mark?

          I would say that his record on the sacrificial side is nothing to brag
          about. He violates the Sabbath, more than once, and on at least two
          occasions he has the unspeakable nerve to justify his violation. Does
          he support the Temple sacrificial cult? Not noticeably, since he and
          his team drive out the money changers and victim sellers who alone
          make Temple sacrifices possible for the many. Away from the Temple,
          does he maintain suitable personal purity in his own life? Again, not
          conspicuously: he consorts with unclean and even despised persons, he
          touches lepers, . . .

          All in all, I think we would have to look pretty hard at the Markan
          Jesus to discover an enthusiast for the sacrificial pietistic half of
          the Mosaic code. Korban, anyone?

          Does the list of negatives Jesus recites for the Rich Young Man (not
          that he is necessarily either rich or young, but you know the guy I
          mean) seem to resonate with his conduct and comments elsewhere in
          Mark? Yeah, I would say so. If there is a clear exception, somebody
          will have to point it out to me.

          On balance, it looks to me as though the natural inference from the
          absence of sacrificial piety precepts in Jesus's enumeration of the
          Commandments, though it is technically only an inference, is massively
          confirmed, both on the positive and on the negative side, by
          everything else in Mark. To me, that is an actionable level of
          confirmation. I accordingly regard the inference as operationally
          justified.

          Of course Mark may be lying; there are always higher questions. But of
          the consistency of his picture of Jesus, at least in this regard, I
          don't find much to complain of, or to arouse suspicion. His theology
          is all mixed up (whether from textual siltation or some other cause),
          and his formal design is severely compromised by other designs,
          whether superimposed or merely simultaneous. But that apart, I think
          he saw the beliefs of Jesus, in the ethical sphere, with a pretty
          consisent eye.

          No?

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Dennis Goffin
          I agree that the sacrificial cult and purity rules are unconnected observances, but the point I was making was that Jesus consistently emphasized the spirit as
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 3, 2010
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            I agree that the sacrificial cult and purity rules are unconnected observances, but the point I was making was that Jesus consistently emphasized the spirit as against the letter of the Law, as did the Prophets.
            Dennis

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Jeffrey B Gibson
            To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 10:21 PM
            Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] THE BELIEFS OF JESUS



            On 4/2/2010 4:16 PM, Dennis Goffin wrote:
            > The fact that Mark does not enumerate all the commandments when Jesus speaks to the rich young man, does not mean that Jesus rejected those he did not bother to mention. All it means is that he wished to emphasize the ethical ones.

            And you know this how?
            > In this, he was merely following the practice of the Prophets, who accentuated the moral at the expense of the ritual. The same consideration applies equally to Pharisaic purity rules.

            The observance of which has nothing to do with Pharisaic purity rules.

            Jeffrey

            --
            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
            1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
            Chicago, Illinois
            e-mail jgibson000@...





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Dennis Goffin
            Bruce, There is a lack of argument from silence which interests me at the moment. Why do you not deal with Jesus sending his disciples to prepare the Passover,
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 3, 2010
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              Bruce,
              There is a lack of argument from silence which interests me at the moment. Why do you not deal with Jesus sending his disciples to prepare the Passover, which also appears in Mark ?
              Dennis

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: E Bruce Brooks
              To: gpg@yahoogroups.com
              Cc: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com ; WSW
              Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 8:21 AM
              Subject: Re: [GPG] THE BELIEFS OF JESUS



              To: GPG
              Cc: Synoptic, WSW
              In Response To: Dennis Goffin
              On: The Beliefs of Jesus
              From: Bruce

              DENNIS: The fact that Mark does not enumerate all the commandments
              when Jesus speaks to the rich young man, does not mean that Jesus
              rejected those he did not bother to mention. All it means is that he
              wished to emphasize the ethical ones.

              BRUCE: Not necessarily. People often regard arguments from silence as
              weak or even fallacious, or even as proving the opposite (at least we
              encounter this extreme in Sinology; I can't speak for the rational
              human sciences). Consider, however, that if something does not in fact
              exist, then the only trace it is capable of leaving in the evidence is
              its absence from the evidence.

              Jesus runs through quite a few of the recognizable commandments, plus
              one less canonical one (fraud, which is developed in later Christian
              writings, and thus is not some kind of misprint). All of them are from
              the ethical side of things, and none are from the sacrificial side of
              things. The implication is that Jesus is only interested in the
              ethical side, and is just a little bit creative in that area.

              Of course, inferences of absence need to be tested against other
              evidence where available. So the next question to ask (I feel like I
              am in methodological kindergarten, and for the fourth year in a row,
              having flunked out the previous three years, but anyway) is, what is
              Jesus's stance, either spoken or acted or implied, toward the rules of
              sacrificial piety in the rest of Mark?

              I would say that his record on the sacrificial side is nothing to brag
              about. He violates the Sabbath, more than once, and on at least two
              occasions he has the unspeakable nerve to justify his violation. Does
              he support the Temple sacrificial cult? Not noticeably, since he and
              his team drive out the money changers and victim sellers who alone
              make Temple sacrifices possible for the many. Away from the Temple,
              does he maintain suitable personal purity in his own life? Again, not
              conspicuously: he consorts with unclean and even despised persons, he
              touches lepers, . . .

              All in all, I think we would have to look pretty hard at the Markan
              Jesus to discover an enthusiast for the sacrificial pietistic half of
              the Mosaic code. Korban, anyone?

              Does the list of negatives Jesus recites for the Rich Young Man (not
              that he is necessarily either rich or young, but you know the guy I
              mean) seem to resonate with his conduct and comments elsewhere in
              Mark? Yeah, I would say so. If there is a clear exception, somebody
              will have to point it out to me.

              On balance, it looks to me as though the natural inference from the
              absence of sacrificial piety precepts in Jesus's enumeration of the
              Commandments, though it is technically only an inference, is massively
              confirmed, both on the positive and on the negative side, by
              everything else in Mark. To me, that is an actionable level of
              confirmation. I accordingly regard the inference as operationally
              justified.

              Of course Mark may be lying; there are always higher questions. But of
              the consistency of his picture of Jesus, at least in this regard, I
              don't find much to complain of, or to arouse suspicion. His theology
              is all mixed up (whether from textual siltation or some other cause),
              and his formal design is severely compromised by other designs,
              whether superimposed or merely simultaneous. But that apart, I think
              he saw the beliefs of Jesus, in the ethical sphere, with a pretty
              consisent eye.

              No?

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: Beliefs of Jesus From: Bruce DENNIS: the point I was making was that Jesus consistently emphasized the
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 3, 2010
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                To: Synoptic
                Cc: GPG
                In Response To: Dennis Goffin
                On: Beliefs of Jesus
                From: Bruce

                DENNIS: the point I was making was that Jesus consistently emphasized
                the spirit as against the letter of the Law, as did the Prophets.

                BRUCE: There is no consistency in Mark on certain topics; there is
                rather what looks a lot like evolutionary stages mixed in together.
                Any genuine consistencies attributable to Jesus in Mark must usually
                be dug out from the other stuff. They are important when found, but
                they have to be fairly found. I don't find the above result completely
                fair, and here is why.

                There is a place in Mark where Jesus rejects a Mosaic accommodation
                (permission of divorce) and affirms against it what he evidently
                thinks of as the higher ruling on the subject, which comes down to: no
                divorce. Marriage is indissoluble, and has been so since the creation
                of the world. I would call this fidelity to the letter of the law,
                albeit at this particular point it is God's law and not the footnotes
                of Moses, the Mosaic accommodation of human frailty. God was important
                to Jesus, and specifically as an ordainer of how things should go,
                humanwise.

                Did Jesus see himself as the giver of a new law? Certainly at one
                point Matthew represented him that way ("you have heard . . . but I
                say to you . . ."?). But Matthew is inconsistent in his own way, and
                anyway, he is a long way down the pike, what about the early stuff,
                namely Mark? I think the above example goes far to answer Yes for Mark
                as well. Jesus wanted people to return to lawfulness, by repenting of
                their violations of lawfulness and so meriting forgiveness and eternal
                life. But he disputed with the experts, not whether there was law, but
                about exactly what the law did and did not require. He attempted (as I
                read Mark) not to replace the law but to refresh it, to take it out of
                later legalistic quibbles and back to the word of God.

                As he saw it.

                In this, as hardly needs demonstration, he is very much in the spirit
                of the Later Prophets (like Malachi; not the Prophets at large - the
                later you get in Synoptic tradition, it seems to me, the more Isaianic
                the atmosphere becomes), But with his own distinctive spin.

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: GPG Cc: Synoptic In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: The Commandments of Jesus From: Bruce On the subject of how conventional was the piety of Jesus, and
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 3, 2010
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                  To: GPG
                  Cc: Synoptic
                  In Response To: Dennis Goffin
                  On: The Commandments of Jesus
                  From: Bruce\

                  On the subject of how conventional was the piety of Jesus, and which
                  conventions, we also had:

                  DENNIS: There is a lack of argument from silence which interests me at
                  the moment. Why do you not deal with Jesus sending his disciples to
                  prepare the Passover, which also appears in Mark ?

                  BRUCE: If I dealt with everything in one message, (a) the List
                  Managers would at last complain, and (b) it would be a commentary, and
                  Brill would charge you $375 for it.

                  The imputation here (see previous thread) is that Jesus did not reject
                  Temple piety; he merely gave special emphasis to the other stuff. It
                  seems that observance of the Passover is being offered as a
                  refutation. I do not find that the refutation refutes. The Passover,
                  as I understand it (which is not very much, and those versed in these
                  matters are welcome to give a better grounded view), is not Temple
                  piety, it is family piety; it is Jewish national feeling embodied in a
                  ceremony of remembrance. Yes, a lamb was killed to provide the usual
                  meal. That does not mean that the lamb was sacrificed, it just means
                  that lamb was traditional.

                  I would contrast this with literal sacrifice of lambs (or other living
                  things) at the Temple. When the Temple was destroyed, this aspect of
                  Jewish piety simply ceased. The unification of God worship in the
                  early days of Israel, when the many and informal places at which God
                  was sacrificed to were abolished in favor of Zion, did not (as far as
                  my information goes) re-emerge after the year 70. The Samaritans,
                  which had always held out against Jerusalem Unification, kept their
                  distinctive holy places.

                  What God had done in the past for Israel was important for Jesus; he
                  had it in mind that God might yet do something for Israel. The
                  commemoration of God's past deeds on behalf of Israel would have
                  bothered him, as I imagine, not at all; if anything, the contrary.
                  That he saw his disciples' preparation of the Passover during his stay
                  in Jerusalem as a participation in Temple ritual (if that is what is
                  here suggested) doesn't work for me.

                  True, later Evangelists sought to link Jesus's death symbolically with
                  the sacrifice of the lambs for Passover; this underlines the function
                  of Jesus's death as a general Atonement. But gJn in particular does
                  this only by directly contravening the earlier and explicit chronology
                  of Mark. I cannot but think that we have here a later pious
                  embroidery, theologically motivated, and that the theology itself is
                  late theology.

                  gJn appeals very much to some readers; it was meant to. But to read
                  Mark through Johannine eyes does not seem to me a methodologically
                  sound way of reading Mark.

                  A list of points troubling to the reader of Mark, and of their
                  amelioration in John, would be an interesting half hour's work. Can
                  anyone provide a list, or a reference to one? In the interest of
                  keeping Synoptic discourse firmly on Synoptic tracks?

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                • Dennis Goffin
                  I think you have it exactly right,Bruce, with regard to the Passover and I am happy to yield to you on this. In regard to the relative importance or otherwise
                  Message 8 of 11 , Apr 5, 2010
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                    I think you have it exactly right,Bruce, with regard to the Passover and I am happy to yield to you on this. In regard to the relative importance or otherwise that Jesus accorded to the Temple cult, I would quote Jesus' comment in Mk. 12: 34 as an excellent summing up.
                    Dennis
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: E Bruce Brooks
                    To: gpg@yahoogroups.com
                    Cc: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 4:42 PM
                    Subject: [Synoptic-L] Re: [GPG] THE BELIEFS OF JESUS



                    To: GPG
                    Cc: Synoptic
                    In Response To: Dennis Goffin
                    On: The Commandments of Jesus
                    From: Bruce\

                    On the subject of how conventional was the piety of Jesus, and which
                    conventions, we also had:

                    DENNIS: There is a lack of argument from silence which interests me at
                    the moment. Why do you not deal with Jesus sending his disciples to
                    prepare the Passover, which also appears in Mark ?

                    BRUCE: If I dealt with everything in one message, (a) the List
                    Managers would at last complain, and (b) it would be a commentary, and
                    Brill would charge you $375 for it.

                    The imputation here (see previous thread) is that Jesus did not reject
                    Temple piety; he merely gave special emphasis to the other stuff. It
                    seems that observance of the Passover is being offered as a
                    refutation. I do not find that the refutation refutes. The Passover,
                    as I understand it (which is not very much, and those versed in these
                    matters are welcome to give a better grounded view), is not Temple
                    piety, it is family piety; it is Jewish national feeling embodied in a
                    ceremony of remembrance. Yes, a lamb was killed to provide the usual
                    meal. That does not mean that the lamb was sacrificed, it just means
                    that lamb was traditional.

                    I would contrast this with literal sacrifice of lambs (or other living
                    things) at the Temple. When the Temple was destroyed, this aspect of
                    Jewish piety simply ceased. The unification of God worship in the
                    early days of Israel, when the many and informal places at which God
                    was sacrificed to were abolished in favor of Zion, did not (as far as
                    my information goes) re-emerge after the year 70. The Samaritans,
                    which had always held out against Jerusalem Unification, kept their
                    distinctive holy places.

                    What God had done in the past for Israel was important for Jesus; he
                    had it in mind that God might yet do something for Israel. The
                    commemoration of God's past deeds on behalf of Israel would have
                    bothered him, as I imagine, not at all; if anything, the contrary.
                    That he saw his disciples' preparation of the Passover during his stay
                    in Jerusalem as a participation in Temple ritual (if that is what is
                    here suggested) doesn't work for me.

                    True, later Evangelists sought to link Jesus's death symbolically with
                    the sacrifice of the lambs for Passover; this underlines the function
                    of Jesus's death as a general Atonement. But gJn in particular does
                    this only by directly contravening the earlier and explicit chronology
                    of Mark. I cannot but think that we have here a later pious
                    embroidery, theologically motivated, and that the theology itself is
                    late theology.

                    gJn appeals very much to some readers; it was meant to. But to read
                    Mark through Johannine eyes does not seem to me a methodologically
                    sound way of reading Mark.

                    A list of points troubling to the reader of Mark, and of their
                    amelioration in John, would be an interesting half hour's work. Can
                    anyone provide a list, or a reference to one? In the interest of
                    keeping Synoptic discourse firmly on Synoptic tracks?

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst




                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Dennis Goffin
                    I have difficulty, Bruce, in seeing Jesus readiness to set aside a Mosaic accommodation as fidelity to the letter of the Law. Instead, I would have said that
                    Message 9 of 11 , Apr 5, 2010
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                      I have difficulty, Bruce, in seeing Jesus' readiness to set aside a Mosaic accommodation as fidelity to the letter of the Law. Instead, I would have said that it echoes a constant theme of his teaching, which is to emphasize the more demanding spirit behind the letter at the expense of mechanical adherence. Incidentally, looking this passage up in Nineham he makes the point that it is an unfelicitous intrusion in a long section on discipleship and therefore possibly a late cuckoo in this particular nest.
                      Dennis
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: E Bruce Brooks
                      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                      Cc: gpg@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 4:27 PM
                      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] THE BELIEFS OF JESUS



                      To: Synoptic
                      Cc: GPG
                      In Response To: Dennis Goffin
                      On: Beliefs of Jesus
                      From: Bruce

                      DENNIS: the point I was making was that Jesus consistently emphasized
                      the spirit as against the letter of the Law, as did the Prophets.

                      BRUCE: There is no consistency in Mark on certain topics; there is
                      rather what looks a lot like evolutionary stages mixed in together.
                      Any genuine consistencies attributable to Jesus in Mark must usually
                      be dug out from the other stuff. They are important when found, but
                      they have to be fairly found. I don't find the above result completely
                      fair, and here is why.

                      There is a place in Mark where Jesus rejects a Mosaic accommodation
                      (permission of divorce) and affirms against it what he evidently
                      thinks of as the higher ruling on the subject, which comes down to: no
                      divorce. Marriage is indissoluble, and has been so since the creation
                      of the world. I would call this fidelity to the letter of the law,
                      albeit at this particular point it is God's law and not the footnotes
                      of Moses, the Mosaic accommodation of human frailty. God was important
                      to Jesus, and specifically as an ordainer of how things should go,
                      humanwise.

                      Did Jesus see himself as the giver of a new law? Certainly at one
                      point Matthew represented him that way ("you have heard . . . but I
                      say to you . . ."?). But Matthew is inconsistent in his own way, and
                      anyway, he is a long way down the pike, what about the early stuff,
                      namely Mark? I think the above example goes far to answer Yes for Mark
                      as well. Jesus wanted people to return to lawfulness, by repenting of
                      their violations of lawfulness and so meriting forgiveness and eternal
                      life. But he disputed with the experts, not whether there was law, but
                      about exactly what the law did and did not require. He attempted (as I
                      read Mark) not to replace the law but to refresh it, to take it out of
                      later legalistic quibbles and back to the word of God.

                      As he saw it.

                      In this, as hardly needs demonstration, he is very much in the spirit
                      of the Later Prophets (like Malachi; not the Prophets at large - the
                      later you get in Synoptic tradition, it seems to me, the more Isaianic
                      the atmosphere becomes), But with his own distinctive spin.

                      Bruce

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst




                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • E Bruce Brooks
                      To: GPG Cc: Synoptic In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: Beliefs of Jesus (Law) From: Bruce For context, let me recall that I had said this about the Markan
                      Message 10 of 11 , Apr 5, 2010
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                        To: GPG
                        Cc: Synoptic
                        In Response To: Dennis Goffin
                        On: Beliefs of Jesus (Law)
                        From: Bruce

                        For context, let me recall that I had said this about the Markan
                        Jesus's attitude to the Jewish Law:

                        BRUCE: There is a place in Mark where Jesus rejects a Mosaic accommodation
                        (permission of divorce) and affirms against it what he evidently
                        thinks of as the higher ruling on the subject, which comes down to: no
                        divorce. Marriage is indissoluble, and has been so since the creation
                        of the world. I would call this fidelity to the letter of the law,
                        albeit at this particular point it is God's law and not the footnotes
                        of Moses, the Mosaic accommodation of human frailty. God was important
                        to Jesus, and specifically as an ordainer of how things should go,
                        humanwise.

                        DENNIS (previously, responding): I have difficulty, Bruce, in seeing
                        Jesus' readiness to set aside a Mosaic accommodation as fidelity to
                        the letter of the Law.

                        BRUCE (now): I think you are ignoring my qualification. Jesus's
                        concern at this point is with the law of divorce. He does not say
                        there is no law. He says there is a law, and he then gives a reason
                        why the specific Mosaic provision on divorce is an accommodation
                        rather than God's will (and he proceeds to cite, in support of that
                        brief, material from Genesis expressing God's will in the matter. Note
                        that to Jesus, Genesis may also have counted at Mosaic; some Aramaists
                        would even say that there was in this time no Pentateuch; only the One
                        Book of the Law, a book indivisibly Mosaic in its current acceptation,
                        just as all the Psalms were spoken of as Davidic).

                        [In terms of discussion to follow, let me note that my exposition here
                        is not easily distinguishable from what Nineham, top of p261, reports
                        as the interpretation of "most commentators." In this case, I am glad
                        to have their company].

                        BRUCE (resuming): Notice that neither here nor any other place does
                        Jesus reject Moses. He makes an exception in this instance. He
                        supports the idea that law governs in these cases, and he generally
                        accepts Moses in the narrow sense as representing that law. Anybody
                        who has read higher court proceedings will be familiar with the
                        general rhetorical situation.

                        DENNIS: Instead, I would have said that it echoes a constant theme of
                        his teaching, which is to emphasize the more demanding spirit behind
                        the letter at the expense of mechanical adherence.

                        BRUCE: That looks to me like a summary sense of Jesus, gained from a
                        composite of Gospel passages. It it applies to the present specific
                        case, please show how.

                        DENNIS: Incidentally, looking this passage up in Nineham he makes the
                        point that it is an unfelicitous intrusion in a long section on
                        discipleship and therefore possibly a late cuckoo in this particular
                        nest.

                        BRUCE: If the passage is textually late, then for present purposes, we
                        should ignore it in favor of those that are textually early. To judge
                        Nineham's remark, we would need to (1) see his argument for this
                        particular passage, (2) see what other passages, if any, he would
                        identify as late additions, and (3) see what conclusion he (or failing
                        himself, we) would draw from that list of addenda about the early
                        Markan image of Jesus.

                        MK 10:1-12

                        To make a beginning on answering the first part, Nineham identifies
                        the whole of Mk 10:1-12 as ill placed and interruptive: "seems to have
                        little connection with what precedes or what follows" (with mention,
                        in 259n, of Wellhausen's comment as unsatisfactory, with which I would
                        agree). Of course, there is a lot in Mark of what that could be said;
                        Mark is rhetorically choppy.

                        Looking for the moment only at the passage in question, my first
                        thought would be that it reminds me of 4:10-20. And why? Because in
                        both cases, a saying of Jesus is followed by a private session with
                        the disciples, in which Jesus clarifies or expands (or whatever) his
                        more public remark.

                        I would think that these disciple asides had the purpose of updating
                        an earlier bit of text whose relevance to community needs had waned.
                        If we look at the specific possible interpretive addendum 10:10-12,
                        what do we find? Is it a clarifying expansion, as an integral view of
                        the passage would expect, or does it go into new territory, as might
                        also be the case?

                        I would say, It goes into new territory, though admittedly still legal
                        interpretation territory. For it is here that we get the remarkable
                        prohibition of a woman divorcing her husband, a saying that greatly
                        exercises the commentators. It is widely thought (on what grounds I am
                        not prepared to judge) that this second provision is meaningless in
                        Jewish law, where only the husband could divorce, and slightly more
                        sensible in terms of Gentile law.

                        If so, then the hypothesis of a 10:10-12 addendum to 10:1-9 has this
                        much support: it might thinkably be a reflection of the movement of
                        the area subtended by Mark from strictly Jewish to at least partly
                        Gentile context.

                        So, OK, that hypothesis is perhaps meaningful, but is there anything
                        that would support it? I would answer, Yes, there are a couple of
                        places in Mark that can more or less plausibly be said to be
                        Gentile-aware. I inventoried the possible Gentile Mission references
                        in an earlier message. In the wider group of passages that seem to
                        deal in some way (to my eye, almost always a grudging way) with the
                        presence of Gentiles and their social and legal expectations, I might
                        mention the Syrophoenician Woman and the Gerasene Demoniac, both on
                        Gentile soil and neither leading to acceptance of the person by Jesus.

                        It seems to me that these three (and others might be added) do not
                        make the Gospel of Mark or any part of it Pauline, but they do catch
                        it in the act of accepting a Gentile reality as part of what the
                        Gospel of Mark is concerned to deal with, take a stand on, give its
                        readers a guideline about.

                        Then might there be a late and Gentile-aware set of intrusions into Mark?

                        In a word or two, Yes, there might indeed.

                        Bruce

                        E Bruce Brooks
                        Warring States Project
                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                      • E Bruce Brooks
                        To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: Jesus and the Temple Cult From: Bruce DENNIS: In regard to the relative importance or otherwise that
                        Message 11 of 11 , Apr 5, 2010
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                          To: Synoptic
                          Cc: GPG
                          In Response To: Dennis Goffin
                          On: Jesus and the Temple Cult
                          From: Bruce

                          DENNIS: In regard to the relative importance or otherwise that Jesus
                          accorded to the Temple cult, I would quote Jesus' comment in Mk. 12:
                          34 as an excellent summing up.

                          [Mk 12:32-34]: "you are right, Teacher; you have truly said that He is
                          one, and there is no other but He, [33] and to love Him with all the
                          heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and
                          to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt
                          offerings and sacrifices." [34]And when Jesus saw that he answered
                          wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And
                          after that no one dared to ask him any question.

                          BRUCE: This is a question about the most important ("first")
                          commandment. It enjoins love of God (not piety toward God, and
                          specifically, not sacrificial piety toward God) and love of neighbor.
                          In other words, the answer sneaks in two commandments, albeit linked
                          in a previously existing text or prayer.

                          This seems to me to be essentially what I have called the Minor
                          Prophet position, and I am on record as crediting the Original
                          Historical Jesus with holding that position. It seems we have an
                          agreement here too.

                          As to the first of these clauses implying, and thus bringing back in,
                          the whole Temple/Sabbath complex of duties, I think that is only the
                          position of Judaizing Matthew ("These you ought to do, without
                          neglecting the others"). I don't think it is a valid position to
                          attribute to the Markan Jesus. At any of his developmental stages.

                          Bruce

                          E Bruce Brooks
                          Warring States Project
                          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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