Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark's ending (was: Lk 1:5f)

Expand Messages
  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Ending of Mark From: Bruce RON: I don t know what you think was narratively promised but not delivered. If you are
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 2, 2005
      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Ending of Mark
      From: Bruce

      RON: I don't know what you think was narratively promised but not delivered.
      If you are referring to the promises in 14:28 and 16:7, then I understand
      your point, but would answer it by arguing that both these verses were
      interpolated into the text.

      BRUCE: I am referring to them, and I agree that they were interpolated
      (though I note in passing that modern scholarly opinion no longer agrees
      with this position, which formerly had considerable acceptance).

      RON: Anyway you'll have to make a very good case if it's to outweigh the
      overwhelming consensus of recent critical scholars that 16:8 is the original
      ending.

      BRUCE: If the current consensus holds that Mk 16:8 was meant to be the
      ending of Mark, then the current consensus is out of its mind, and I don't
      feel compelled to engage it. As is also the case with the interpolative
      nature of Mk 14:28 and 16:7, a point on which Ron and I are in better
      agreement. To pursue the latter point: Can Ron cite a recent commentary on
      Mark (by recent, I mean within the last 25 years) which even acknowledges
      the problem of these two passages, let alone concludes that they are
      interpolated? I can't. I bet a shiny shilling he can't either (reprints not
      allowed).

      Yet to a philologically aware person, it is obvious that these passages are
      interpolated, and if Ron and I agree on it, it is surely enough for present
      purposes, and we can safely ignore the modern consensus, if such it proves
      to be. But let's not stop with the agreement. Let's explore it. There is
      interesting stuff here, not just material to defend the ending of Mark, but
      something worth investigating for its own sake.

      (1) If Mark at one time existed in a state without 14:28 and 16:7, then in
      that state it anticipated no personal appearances of the risen Jesus, to
      anyone at all, and in any place. That is, there was at that time a doctrine
      of the Resurrection, but no doctrine holding that the Resurrection itself
      was guaranteed by eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus. We know from other Gospel
      material that the enemies of the nascent Christian movement accused its
      members of removing the body of Jesus so as to fake a resurrection. One
      answer the nascent Christians might make was, We have witnesses. The
      interpolations in Mk make, or imply, that further claim.

      Then the text of Mk went through at least this much evolution. And the
      period of that evolution covered the period during which the doctrine of the
      Resurrection was being strengthened by the additional claim of Appearances.
      That's already interesting.

      (2) The second thing that is interesting is that all other Gospels take for
      granted that there were Appearances. They not only imply them, they describe
      them. Mk 14:28 and 16:7 are present for them. They have counterparts of Mk
      14:28 and 16:7, not in a form that suggests an interpolation, but simply as
      part of the story. From this follows another implication: The tradition
      about Appearances of Jesus was solid, a given, not an evolving notion, for
      Mt and Lk. It was one of the things the earlier tradition gave them to work
      with. This is one very convincing piece of evidence that whereas Mk is
      theologically early, and in fact witnesses, in its successive layers, to the
      evolution of theology, Mt and Lk are later; in the present respect, they
      begin where Mk leaves off. Then the theory that Mk is a conflation of Mt and
      Lk is refuted, and why? Because it is not within reasonable probability that
      Mk, in integrating narratively consecutive statements in Mt or Lk, would do
      so in such a way as to *simulate an interpolation* of those passages in his
      own text. The evidence is then overwhelming that the interpolation was made
      into Mk, not into any of the rival Synoptics, and that the Appearance
      stories in Mt and Lk, which are fully presented, not merely anticipated, are
      a further development of the interpolated Mk. The interpolated Mk is
      anterior to Mt and Lk. But it is posterior, as we seem to agree, to the
      uninterpolated Mk.

      RON: Mark is the subtlest of the synoptic authors.

      BRUCE: A modern opinion. My own suspicion (at second hand, to be sure) is
      that he (or is it they) writes clunky Greek, and interpolates clumsily;
      there is a whole recent book on Clumsy Constructions in Mark. Give the lit
      people enough time, and they can make anything seem wonderful; this is the
      primary skill in which lit people are trained. Very nice, but they have no
      business intruding their skill into what ought to be a philological
      discussion.

      RON: His picture of an empty tomb is quite enough to suggest the
      resurrection of Jesus.

      BRUCE: I doubt that any believer of today or any other day would find it
      "quite enough," or would find any other form of subtle suggestion "quite
      enough." Do preachers find it adequate, in presenting the Resurrection to
      their flock, to read to the end of GMk and then stop? I venture to doubt it.
      Certainly the Resurrection is implied; the Empty Tomb has no other logical
      narrative purpose. But the number of preachers who present this implication
      by reading Mark and then stopping is, I should imagine, utterly dwarfed by
      those who present the topic from Matthew and/or Luke (or, let me suggest,
      from an even richer personal conflation of the two).

      The Resurrection is not something to be coyly hinted at. It is a big deal.
      It is something people want to see in front of their eyes. No?

      RON: He avoids presenting any of the original disciples as seeing the risen
      Jesus, for this would add to their status, contravening his persistent
      denigration of Peter et al..

      BRUCE: There were other options available to Jesus for Appearances,
      including his own mother. And as far as poor Peter is concerned, I think
      that the weight of even contemporary opinion is in favor of the idea (at
      least I have seen it expounded at length) that the command to tell the
      disciples *and Peter* is favorable to Peter, without taking anything away
      from Jesus himself. Many seem to have taken the line that the criticism of
      the disciples for their little understanding, in Mk, is to be reconciled at
      the end, in what they are pleased to call the Parousia. The other Gospel
      accounts that run beyond Mk do seem to take things that way. I can't quite
      see Mk 16, either with or without the interpolations, as intending to keep
      Peter (or the rest of them) at arm's length forever. I see it as looking
      forward to something good, which is more likely than not to involve the
      disciples favorably. There is an air of reconciliation, at all levels, at
      the end of Mark. I can't think that the author, at that point, seriously
      intended to exclude the Twelve from that rather upbeat conclusion.

      RON: Of course, as we know, later generations did try to plug what they saw
      as an omission (Mk 16:9-20 etc.), but all such later additions can be shown
      to be inauthentic.

      BRUCE: Indeed. But that is not a refutation. I cite these later addenda not
      as evidence for the actual lost section of Mark, which I agree is lost, but
      rather as a sign that early users of Mark were discontented with Mark as it
      stood. These are the earliest literary critics of whom we have record, and I
      must say that I greatly prefer their sense of it to the opinions of modern
      literary critics. I think they are closer to the needs and expectations of
      the time, and I agree with them that the present ending of Mark needs work
      before it can be called satisfactory, in any but the most subtle sense.

      A critic of the modernist fiction that the old New Yorker was then running
      gave this formula for writing a New Yorker story: write a good story with a
      beginning, a middle, and an end, and then tear off the beginning and the end
      and send the rest in. Jaded moderns do indeed love the nonobvious. My own
      guess is that the ancients wanted to know how the story came out. This, Mark
      conspicuously does not give them.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... Bruce, Or it could be that you don t really understand its reasoning. ... This is your right, though I m not sure it s possible to discuss the
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > If the current consensus holds that Mk 16:8 was meant to be the
        > ending of Mark, then the current consensus is out of its mind,

        Bruce,

        Or it could be that you don't really understand its reasoning.

        > and I don't feel compelled to engage it.

        This is your right, though I'm not sure it's possible to discuss the
        interpolations without taking a stance on the ending.

        > As is also the case with the interpolative
        > nature of Mk 14:28 and 16:7, a point on which Ron and I are in better
        > agreement. To pursue the latter point: Can Ron cite a recent commentary on
        > Mark (by recent, I mean within the last 25 years) which even acknowledges
        > the problem of these two passages, let alone concludes that they are
        > interpolated? I can't. I bet a shiny shilling he can't either (reprints not
        > allowed).

        Your bet looks quite safe. What a strange discipline this is, when an
        insight gained in one generation can be lost in the next!

        > (1) If Mark at one time existed in a state without 14:28 and 16:7, then in
        > that state it anticipated no personal appearances of the risen Jesus, to
        > anyone at all, and in any place. That is, there was at that time a doctrine
        > of the Resurrection, but no doctrine holding that the Resurrection itself
        > was guaranteed by eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus.

        I must stop you there. The original uninterpolated Mark was written ca. 70
        CE, 15 years or so after Paul had penned 1 Cor 15:3-7. This does not prove
        you are wrong, but it does seem to prove that your argument as stated above
        is wrong.

        > The interpolated Mk is anterior to Mt and Lk. But it is posterior,
        > as we seem to agree, to the uninterpolated Mk.

        Agreed.

        >> Mark is the subtlest of the synoptic authors.

        > A modern opinion. My own suspicion (at second hand, to be sure) is
        > that he (or is it they) writes clunky Greek, and interpolates clumsily;
        > there is a whole recent book on Clumsy Constructions in Mark. Give the lit
        > people enough time, and they can make anything seem wonderful; this is the
        > primary skill in which lit people are trained. Very nice, but they have no
        > business intruding their skill into what ought to be a philological
        > discussion.

        One doesn't have to be highly skilled in a language in order to convey
        subtlety in meaning.

        >> His picture of an empty tomb is quite enough to suggest the
        >> resurrection of Jesus.

        > I doubt that any believer of today or any other day would find it
        > "quite enough," or would find any other form of subtle suggestion "quite
        > enough." Do preachers find it adequate, in presenting the Resurrection to
        > their flock, to read to the end of GMk and then stop? I venture to doubt it.

        I think we're basically in agreement here. "He has risen" in 16:6 is clear.

        > The Resurrection is not something to be coyly hinted at. It is a big deal.
        > It is something people want to see in front of their eyes. No?

        Most Christians want to see that. But Mark has his own agenda .......
        >> He avoids presenting any of the original disciples as seeing the risen
        >> Jesus, for this would add to their status, contravening his persistent
        >> denigration of Peter et al..

        > There were other options available to Jesus for Appearances,
        > including his own mother.

        Mark's agenda included a requirement to explain why no one had heard of this
        story about an empty tomb which he had just composed. He hit on the idea of
        presenting the women as not saying anything to anyone. That's why (he was
        implying) no one had heard this story before. But it did limit his scope for
        describing resurrection appearances.

        > And as far as poor Peter is concerned, I think
        > that the weight of even contemporary opinion is in favor of the idea (at
        > least I have seen it expounded at length) that the command to tell the
        > disciples *and Peter* is favorable to Peter,

        Of course it is. But we agree that this verse wasn't present in the original
        Mark. So, far from disproving my statement about Mark denigrating Peter et
        al., it provides a motive for the interpolation, namely the rehabilitation
        of Peter!

        > I can't quite see Mk 16, either with or without the interpolations, as
        > intending to keep Peter (or the rest of them) at arm's length forever.

        Then you don't seem to have perceived the depth of Mark's opposition to
        Peter. He has Jesus call Peter "Satan" (Mk 8:33). He invents the story of
        Peter's denial (see _The Acts of Jesus_, p.149), thus showing Peter as the
        very antithesis of what Jesus demanded in his disciples ("let him deny
        himself" Mk 8:34). Without 14:28 and 16:7, Mark's Peter is left thoroughly
        discredited. Why was Mark so critical? Because he accepted Paul's theology
        of Jesus as the Son of God (15:39) and rejected the Petrine theology of
        Jesus as merely the Jewish Messiah (8:29). To put it another way, Mark's
        gospel was the first ever written apologia for the superiority of
        Christianity over Judaism.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Date of Mark From: Bruce RON: I must stop you there. The original uninterpolated Mark was written ca. 70 CE, 15
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
          To: Synoptic
          In Response To: Ron Price
          On: Date of Mark
          From: Bruce

          RON: I must stop you there. The original uninterpolated Mark was written ca.
          70 CE, 15 years or so after Paul had penned 1 Cor 15:3-7. This does not
          prove you are wrong, but it does seem to prove that your argument as stated
          above is wrong.

          BRUCE: The c70 dating for Mk, as far as I can see, rests wholly on
          identifying Mk 13 with the rest of Mk, and of dating Mk 13 to the
          destruction of the Temple. I have previously noted that Kloppenborg's
          argument (latest JBL) for the latter link strengthens an already strong
          case. But it doesn't follow that Mk 13 implicates the rest of Mk. On the
          contrary, Mk 13 is very likely to be an Anhang, hung onto a rather specious
          "by the way" narrative link at Mk 13:1. Then the date of the rest of Mk,
          apart from Mk 13, is an open question. It is surely earlier, but how much
          earlier we don't automatically know.

          But Ron's mention of 1 Cor 15:3-7 may help. That passage lists among core
          beliefs the ideas that interpolated Mk possessed: not only Resurrection, but
          Appearances. Paul manages to get himself on the list of the Appearances. The
          date of 1 Cor is usually taken as c55. I think it unlikely that Mark copied
          the doctrine from Paul (rather, Paul uses the Appearances clause of the
          doctrine to authenticate and authoritize himself). Then the doctrines
          reflected in the interpolated Mk (that is, Mk with 14:28 and 16:7, but
          without Mk 13, which I take to be an update of the year c71) must have
          crystallized sometime before the year 55. How far before is a question that
          does not appear from the 1 Cor evidence.

          What I think the 1 Cor evidence does show is that the theology reflected by
          Mk plus 14:28 and 16:7 was well established before the year 55. That's good
          to know. It also establishes that the Little Apocalypse was added to Mk
          after the Appearances prediction. That's good to know too. Beyond adding
          specificity, for which I am grateful, I don't think that it unseats the
          scenario I earlier offered.

          With that clarification, the picture now looks like this:

          Early Mk (no Apocalypse, no Appearances)
          Before 55
          Interpolated Mk (adding Mk 14:28, 16:7, with Appearances)
          Later than previous, but still before 55
          The Original Markan community later withered
          Updated Mk (adding Mk 13, Apocalypse)
          Probably 71; the text of Mk alone survived

          On a further point of Markan agenda:

          RON: So, far from disproving my statement about Mark denigrating Peter et
          al., it provides a motive for the interpolation [of 16:7], namely the
          rehabilitation of Peter!

          BRUCE: I would rather see Mk as ending in a mode of reconciliation
          generally, not least that of reconciling God and Man through the sacrifice
          of Jesus. That Peter would be left out seems unlikely to me. 16:7 to my eye
          (others read it otherwise) simply acknowledges that Peter had a special
          place in the disciple group. What real world situation that refers to would
          take more work than would be appropriate for this short message.

          I find persuasive the idea that Mk is generally opposed to everyone who
          later had a high role in the Jerusalem church, including Peter. That is, it
          was originally a Galilean gospel and also (what does not follow
          automatically) an anti-Jerusalemite gospel. Just how far church history had
          gone, and what degree of abandonment of that position might have transpired,
          when 14:28 and 16:7 were added, would require the separation of more early
          layers of Mk, if there are any, and if they can be detected. I save any such
          attempt for a future occasion.

          Except to note that the Confession of Peter, and a few other passages in Mk,
          which were probably part of Mk before 14:28 and 16:7 were added, are
          distinctly favorable to Peter (with Jacob and John, no way). They might then
          show a rapprochement of AMk with the idea of Peter, sometime relatively
          early in the sequence. Time will perhaps tell.

          For now, thanks to Ron for his alert reading of my previous suggestions. It
          all helps.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Tony Buglass
          Bruce wrote: What I think the 1 Cor evidence does show is that the theology reflected by Mk plus 14:28 and 16:7 was well established before the year 55.
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
            Bruce wrote:
            What I think the 1 Cor evidence does show is that the theology reflected by
            Mk plus 14:28 and 16:7 was well established before the year 55.

            Joachim Jeremias (Eucharistic Words of Jesus, p.102f) argues that the paradosis in 1 Cor.15:3f is of Aramaic origin, modified in a Hellenistic environment. If that is so, it takes the appearances tradition back into a much earlier strata, which would show that such theology was well established by perhaps the end of the 40s or even earlier. If the Little Apocalypse refers to the so-called Caligula crisis, it is possible therefore to argue for a much earlier dating of (completed) Mark.

            Cheers,
            Rev Tony Buglass
            Superintendent Minister
            Upper Calder Methodist Circuit
            ----------

            No virus found in this outgoing message.
            Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
            Version: 7.0.298 / Virus Database: 267.11.8 - Release Date: 27/09/2005


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ron Price
            ... Bruce, Here I must disagree. Mk 13 is no interpolation. Is it the KAI that concerns you? Many new pericopae are introduced by KAI in Mark. Anyway your
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
              Bruce Brooks wrote:

              > ....... Mk 13 is very likely to be an Anhang, hung onto a rather specious
              > "by the way" narrative link at Mk 13:1.

              Bruce,

              Here I must disagree. Mk 13 is no interpolation. Is it the KAI that concerns
              you? Many new pericopae are introduced by KAI in Mark. Anyway your comment
              above is not enough evidence for an interpolation.

              > ....... I would rather see Mk as ending in a mode of reconciliation
              > generally, not least that of reconciling God and Man through the sacrifice
              > of Jesus. That Peter would be left out seems unlikely to me.

              But not to me. Mark knew that Peter had been (and had remained) a Jew, in
              theology, worship and culture. Mark wanted his readers to leave the old
              wineskin of Judaism behind (2:22) and follow the gentile-welcoming gospel of
              Paul. Therefore he believed that Peter had to be discredited.

              Ron Price

              Derbyshire, UK

              Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic In Response To: Tony Buglass On: Date of Mark From: Bruce Tony suggests, following Joachim Jeremias, that the theology of Mk may be from the end
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
                To: Synoptic
                In Response To: Tony Buglass
                On: Date of Mark
                From: Bruce

                Tony suggests, following Joachim Jeremias, that the theology of Mk may be
                from "the end of the 40s or even earlier." I am much inclined to agree (55
                was merely a terminus ante quem). The barrier to doing so is Mk 13, which is
                hard to get rid of as a reference to the events of 70. I think Kloppenborg's
                additional argument (latest JBL; let me know if you find a refutation) makes
                this inescapable. I thus don't think that Jeremias's Caligula scenario for
                this passage, which I earlier found attractive also, will now work.
                (Refutations of Kloppenborg welcome; I still like the Caligula
                interpretation myself).

                Pending such refutation, this means that the idea can only be saved by
                distancing Mk from Mk 13. That was precisely the opinion of several of the
                earlier commentators. Rawlinson, for example, after long reflection,
                acknowledged that the chapter had to be regarded as composite. Branscomb
                said of the whole, "Isolated from its setting, it makes complete sense -
                better sense, in fact, that in its present position." Grant (following
                Taylor and others) attempted to separate the Jewish Apocalypse source
                document ("not necessarily to be attributed to Jesus") from material more
                directly relevant to the Jesus tradition, and later concludes "This
                apocalyptic warning was later incorporated by Mark in his gospel. . ." To
                avoid begging the question, we might depersonalize that, as "This
                apocalyptic warning was later incorporated in GMk."

                Against Mk 31 are the slenderness of its attachment to the main narrative,
                the consecutiveness of that narrative without it (in the sense that neither
                the end of Mk 12 nor the end of Mk 13 provides a narrative transition to Mk
                14:1), the fact of its length, far beyond any other presumptive speech unit
                in GMk, its close relation to Jewish apocalyptic literature, and its
                intended, if cryptic, contemporary reference ("let the reader understand").
                This is not Jesus talking to his disciples in the past, it is AMk talking to
                his audience in the present day. Compare the ostensible Jesus remark to his
                disciples, "I say it to you, and I say it to all." This is without precedent
                in the rest of Mk. The text at all levels, the editorial voice and the
                purported Jesus voice, is here directly addressing the people of a later age
                than that of Jesus. The whole stance seems to me presentist rather than, as
                in the rest of Mk, conventionally retrospective.

                Bruce
              • Ron Price
                ... Bruce, In the NT I ve identified 16 foreign interpolations which have virtually no textual support (half of them in John s gospel). By foreign I mean
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 4, 2005
                  Bruce Brooks wrote:

                  > .......the idea can only be saved by
                  > distancing Mk from Mk 13. That was precisely the opinion of several of the
                  > earlier commentators. Rawlinson, for example, after long reflection,
                  > acknowledged that the chapter had to be regarded as composite.

                  Bruce,

                  In the NT I've identified 16 foreign interpolations which have virtually no
                  textual support (half of them in John's gospel). By 'foreign' I mean penned
                  by someone other than the author and who had a different viewpoint.

                  Every one of these is a literary unity apart from the stitching visible in a
                  couple of cases. Thus in my experience NT interpolations are not composite.

                  > ..... Grant (following
                  > Taylor and others) attempted to separate the Jewish Apocalypse source
                  > document ("not necessarily to be attributed to Jesus") from material more
                  > directly relevant to the Jesus tradition, and later concludes "This
                  > apocalyptic warning was later incorporated by Mark in his gospel. . ." To
                  > avoid begging the question, we might depersonalize that, as "This
                  > apocalyptic warning was later incorporated in GMk."

                  So what? This apocalyptic material was not the whole of Mk 13. It consisted
                  of verses 7-8, 14-20 and 24-27. Moreover such scholars never regarded these
                  verses as having been interpolated. They saw them as sources which AMk had
                  utilized. In other words their evidence weighs against your case, not for
                  it.

                  > Against Mk 31 are the slenderness of its attachment to the main narrative,
                  > the consecutiveness of that narrative without it (in the sense that neither
                  > the end of Mk 12 nor the end of Mk 13 provides a narrative transition to Mk
                  > 14:1),

                  So you admit that removing ch.13 doesn't improve the transition.

                  > ..... the fact of its length, far beyond any other presumptive speech unit
                  > in GMk,

                  But it includes characteristic terms such as "gospel", "fig tree", and a
                  reference to cock crowing.

                  > its close relation to Jewish apocalyptic literature,

                  Not surprising for a document with a Jewish background produced in the
                  aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple.

                  > and its
                  > intended, if cryptic, contemporary reference ("let the reader understand").
                  > This is not Jesus talking to his disciples in the past, it is AMk talking to
                  > his audience in the present day.

                  Indeed it is. So ch.13 can't be an interpolation, at least not a 'foreign'
                  interpolation as defined above.

                  > Compare the ostensible Jesus remark to his
                  > disciples, "I say it to you, and I say it to all." This is without precedent
                  > in the rest of Mk.

                  Hardly. It's not at all dissimilar to the saying(s): "He who / If any man /
                  has ears to hear, let him hear" in Mk 4:9,23.

                  > The text at all levels, the editorial voice and the
                  > purported Jesus voice, is here directly addressing the people of a later age
                  > than that of Jesus. The whole stance seems to me presentist rather than, as
                  > in the rest of Mk, conventionally retrospective.

                  Not so. Apart from the Mk 4 references above, there is, e.g. 2:22 where AMk
                  presents the old wineskin of Judaism as being incapable of holding the new
                  wine of Christianity - quite inconceivable as a statement of the historical
                  Jesus.

                  Ron Price

                  Derbyshire, UK

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                • E Bruce Brooks
                  To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Mk 13 From: Bruce This corner of the discussion does not look like it is going to emerge in an agreement among the
                  Message 8 of 9 , Oct 4, 2005
                    To: Synoptic
                    In Response To: Ron Price
                    On: Mk 13
                    From: Bruce

                    This corner of the discussion does not look like it is going to emerge in an
                    agreement among the principals, but it may be useful to clarify alternatives
                    for those listening in, not least myself.

                    RON: In the NT I've identified 16 foreign interpolations which have
                    virtually no textual support (half of them in John's gospel). By 'foreign' I
                    mean penned by someone other than the author and who had a different
                    viewpoint. / Every one of these is a literary unity apart from the stitching
                    visible in a couple of cases. Thus in my experience NT interpolations are
                    not composite.

                    BRUCE: I would feel that most "interpolations" in the Gospels, the Pericope
                    Adulterae always excepted, are actually text growth under the original
                    auspices, not additions from outside that process (which is what I take Ron
                    to mean by "foreign"). That they are not on the whole composite, but
                    seemingly through-composed, I would entirely agree.(By the way, Ron, if you
                    would care to share your current list either on or off-list, I would be most
                    interested to see it). It then follows that Mk 13 (as a proposed
                    interpolation) is exceptional. I think it IS exceptional, and that its tone
                    and character are exceptional too.

                    RON: This apocalyptic material was not the whole of Mk 13. It consisted of
                    verses 7-8, 14-20 and 24-27. Moreover such scholars never regarded these
                    verses as having been interpolated. They saw them as sources which AMk had
                    utilized. In other words their evidence weighs against your case, not for
                    it.

                    BRUCE: As for my "case," I am content for the moment to make it on the
                    evidence, rather than dip into the library, or Neirynck, for a history of Mk
                    13 criticism. The division of Mk 13 into two strands has been variously
                    attempted, with results which seem to diverge around a pretty well agreed
                    core. I rather like Taylor's (in an appendix to his commentary), since he
                    seems to find a difference of Semitic character between the strands he
                    separates. He himself is somewhat disconcerted to find that his proposed
                    original stratum is less Petrine than the other. I don't have a Petrine
                    scenario, and am prepared to look with equanimity on the idea of a Jesuine
                    adaptation of some current bit of Jewish Apocalyptic literature, the result
                    being cemented into TMK (the text of Mk as of that moment, not yet our GMk)
                    for a particular reason.

                    RON: So you admit that removing ch.13 doesn't improve the transition.

                    BRUCE: I am not sure that "admitting" is the right verb, since opposing
                    counsel at the Synoptic Bar had not demanded it. I had noticed it
                    voluntarily. There is no transition between Mk 12 and Mk 14, either with or
                    without Mk 13 in place. It just jumps to the next thing. Mk is written in
                    blocks, and anything stuck in between two blocks will give that result. Only
                    an interpolation into a flow, such as 14:28 and 16:7, will (in the less
                    skillful cases) interrupt that flow sufficiently to provide evidence of its
                    extraneousness. I would call these latter two passages classic cases of
                    interpolation, in that the interpolator has made all the mistakes possible
                    in adding them. Thus they are easy to find. More skillful interpolations,
                    with literary smoothing at one or both ends, or those placed between blocks
                    of prior narrative, are going to be harder to find, and harder to argue. But
                    we can't expect interpolators to be always unskillful. My Sinological
                    colleagues and I are engaged at this moment (and I admit that I am stealing
                    this moment from them, for a topic way beyond the Gobi, which is
                    reprehensible on my part) in tweezing out the additions of known author B
                    from the original writings of known author A in a gigantic text, the
                    earliest comprehensive Chinese history. As far as we have gone (and assuming
                    our identifications so far to be correct), B is not always equally careful.
                    He will interpolate a line, or a paragraph, or add a whole chapter. Those,
                    except the last, can usually be detected in the hoped-for classic way. But B
                    will also rewrite, or partially rewrite, the historian's evaluation at the
                    end of an A chapter, and that is harder to detect, other than thematically.
                    So it goes. It just happens, a matter of my ill luck, that authors A and B
                    were both highly trained elite readers and writers, skilled in text assembly
                    and conflation, working within the Palace precincts of the Emperor's
                    establishment; the best there was. Author B in particular is venerated to
                    this moment as a master of Chinese literary style. He knows his business,
                    and sometimes his addenda are quite adroit. It raises the bar quite a bit.
                    But such things do happen.

                    Whoever added John 21 to the previous TJN also did his work well, not
                    interrupting a flow,but instead fixing on a clear break (in fact, the end of
                    the previous text) for his location. He not only imitated, he improved on,
                    the ending of Jn 20. He left a very satisfying construct indeed. I would
                    consider that the interpolation is still manifest, but not with the classic
                    evidences, and thus doubtless not convincing even to the philologically
                    attuned. How many NT-engaged people at this moment really dispense with Jn
                    21, in teaching or preaching John? I would guess, very few. And the
                    adroitness of the join probably helps produce that wide acceptance.

                    RON [in response to the unusual length of Mk 13]: But it includes
                    characteristic terms such as "gospel", "fig tree", and a reference to cock
                    crowing.

                    BRUCE: Sure. Those are among the reasons why I wouldn't call it "foreign."
                    It is Jewish Apocalyptic boilerplate, but customized for the position into
                    which it was meant to be inserted. The interpolator knew the rest of Mk very
                    well. He may well have written part of it, and was here concerned to update
                    it. Not to sabotage it.

                    RON [on the Jewish Apocalyptic motif]: Not surprising for a document with a
                    Jewish background produced in the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem
                    and its temple.

                    BRUCE: I agree entirely. I think it is very expectable under the most
                    readily imaginable circumstances. But this is only to say that the
                    interpolation was responsive to the times in which it was crafted and
                    inserted. I should suppose that the same was true of every interpolation, in
                    any text. Interpolations are not idle, they are done for reasons, and the
                    reasons are always contemporary, and the materials used tend to be in part
                    contemporary also.

                    RON [to the idea that MK 13 is not Jesus talking, but AMk addressing his
                    readers in the present day]: Indeed it is. So ch.13 can't be an
                    interpolation, at least not a 'foreign'
                    interpolation as defined above.

                    BRUCE: I have already agreed that it is not foreign. I see it as an integral
                    interpolation, and as part of a larger process by which the proprietors of a
                    closely held text updated that text to be responsive to current needs. One
                    thing that is salient about Mk 13 is that it steps out of the usual Markan
                    pattern of narrating events in the past, and openly addresses the present.
                    To the extent that this is different from the texture of the rest of the
                    book, it helps to mark it as atypical, and thus as possibly extraneous. An
                    add-on. It's well done, but in this feature it displays a failure to sustain
                    the previous rhetorical position of the text. That is part of its intensity,
                    but it is also one of the traits by which its special textual character can
                    be recognized.

                    RON [on the thought that "I say it to you and I say it to all" in Mk 13 is
                    different in kind from Jesus's remarks elsewhere]: Hardly. It's not at all
                    dissimilar to the saying(s): "He who / If any man / has ears to hear, let
                    him hear" in Mk 4:9,23.

                    BRUCE: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" can be plausibly taken as
                    addressed to the crowd within the story. It is congruent with the thought,
                    which is the burden of more than one parable in GMk, that the Word will be
                    offered to many, but not accepted by all. Only those able to comprehend it
                    will accept it. We modern readers may well decide to take it as addressed to
                    us (and we may make a similar decision with respect to nearly every other
                    speech in GMk), but this is not rhetorically necessary in the original, or
                    explicitly warranted by the original. I think that the Mk 13 case is
                    different in kind, since there are no hearers narratively present in Mk 13
                    who might constitute the balance of Jesus's "all" here, and so the "all"
                    *must* in Mk 13 be construed as "everybody." It is this narratively
                    unexcused "everybody" that, to my eye at least, is the point of difference.
                    The point of manifest presentism, the thing that cannot be rhetorically
                    accounted for within the narrative. And I would thus put it with the
                    narrator's aside "Let the reader understand" elsewhere in Mk 13. But the
                    latter passage, in a pinch, ought by itself to adequately attest the
                    presentism of Mk 13.

                    RON [on the claimed "presentist" stance of Mk 31 in contrast to the rest of
                    GMk]: Not so. Apart from the Mk 4 references above, there is, e.g. 2:22
                    where AMk presents the old wineskin of Judaism as being incapable of holding
                    the new wine of Christianity - quite inconceivable as a statement of the
                    historical Jesus.

                    BRUCE: My sense of it is roughly the same as in the previous point, but
                    perhaps with a difference. In Mk 2:22, the new doctrine is being seen as new
                    *to the other people within that story.* It is, so to speak, historically
                    new. The crowds several times refer to Jesus's preaching as "a new
                    teaching," not as the standard textbook admirably expounded. The question at
                    2:22 is how compatible this teaching is with the standard textbook. This (as
                    it seems to me) is a point on which our extant GMk is not wholly at one with
                    itself. In the Greatest Commandment question, entire compatibility with
                    previous tradition is asserted. In the many "conflict stories," the
                    conclusion is different. Mk 2:22 would seem to go with the "clean break"
                    strand in the text, rather than with the "no difference" strand. My personal
                    guess is that these groups or stories represent different strata in the
                    text, all of them being earlier than anything we have been recently
                    concerned with.

                    I wouldn't go so far as to say that 2:22 is historically inconceivable, but
                    I do suspect (as of this moment) that it represents a later stage in the
                    evolution of the idea of Jesus than some of the rest of its neighbors. It is
                    somewhat getting ahead of things to say so here, but my private guess is
                    that Strauss and Schweitzer were pretty near right, and that the Gospels,
                    even Mk, don't take us very close to the historical Jesus. They represent,
                    and especially Mk represents, an onion-like process of adding layers of
                    interpretation on top of any remembered Jesus words or events. They are, and
                    Mk especially is, an anthology of early theology. It is only by asking: What
                    is all this theology operating with? that we can hope (in my completely
                    uncertified opinion) to get a clue as to what actually went on, in the
                    Galilee and Jerusalem of times long gone.

                    This is a complicated way of saying that I agree in a way with Ron about Mk
                    2:22, but feel that this doesn't necessarily support his side of our current
                    disagreement about Mk 13. I will end on that note, and with a word of thanks
                    to Ron for his carefully put points. It is a pleasure to have an opportunity
                    to engage a text as a text, with someone who has considered that text
                    carefully. In my case, a guilty pleasure, but I still want to express my
                    appreciation to Ron, Leonard, and a few others in recent weeks for the
                    opportunity to incur that guilt.

                    Back now to work at my proper desk, in the hope of assuaging a little of the
                    guilt. (Our international conference on the other matter I mentioned
                    convenes in just 48 hours and 6 minutes, and but for this conversation I
                    would be somewhat further along with my contribution to it).

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                  • E Bruce Brooks
                    To: Synoptic In Response To: Dave Gentile On: Mark s Ending From: Bruce Dave has raised some interesting points. I diverge somewhat in how I see the logic of
                    Message 9 of 9 , Oct 4, 2005
                      To: Synoptic
                      In Response To: Dave Gentile
                      On: Mark's Ending
                      From: Bruce

                      Dave has raised some interesting points. I diverge somewhat in how I see the
                      logic of the question, and it may be helpful to offer that view as part of
                      the conversation.

                      DAVE: I don't think that the current ending of Mark is original, but it may
                      not be that Mark originally ended at 16:8 either.

                      BRUCE: By "current ending" I take it Dave means Mk 16:9f, which is omitted
                      or italicized in most recently critical editions. Let's start by agreeing
                      that Mk 16:9f is not part of the discussion.

                      DAVE: An earlier version of Mark may have contained an ending which is now
                      totally lost. For some theological reason, it was removed very early, and
                      then much later the current ending was added.

                      BRUCE: That is, there was originally something in the place now occupied by
                      Mk 16:9f, and that this was removed. The current MK 16:9f (if I understand
                      Dave rightly) would be a later suppletion, posterior to the time Mk was (I
                      conclude on other evidence) seen by Mt and Lk. I go back to this in a
                      moment. First, the remainder of Dave's position:

                      DAVE: But just because we don't believe Mark's current ending is original,
                      does not mean we must automatically conclude that it originally ended with
                      the empty tomb. The only argument I can see that one might make in the way
                      of evidence for such a lost ending is that the later authors certainly
                      seemed to agree that a key narrative event was missing.

                      BRUCE: I think, and have previously urged, that the later attempts to supply
                      an ending for Mk (the traditional Mk 16:9f, the Freer Ending) are excellent
                      evidence for a sense that Mk ought not to end so up in the air as it does;
                      the sense among people not that far removed from the Gospel formative period
                      that Mk 16:8 is a funny way to end a Gospel.

                      Accepting that early agreement as a welcome support for some modern
                      impressions, including my own, we next need to ask: Assuming the original
                      end of Mk, the thing originally in the place now occupied by Mk 16:9f, was
                      intentionally and not accidentally removed from an earlier state of Mk, is
                      16:8 a credible artifact of that process? I would think that it is
                      excessively abrupt, and that an intentional deletion would have left a more
                      complete sentence.

                      If so, then the possibility of accidental damage re-emerges. This is where I
                      think the scenario which I earlier proposed makes sense. If the damage was
                      accidental, why was not the missing material at once supplied? My suggestion
                      was: because Mk, at the point it came to be used by Mt and/or Lk,, was no
                      longer part of a live tradition, but instead a relic of a formerly live
                      tradition. Neither the [most recent] author of the book, nor the community
                      whose beliefs the book either reflected or inculcated, was available to
                      provide the missing information. The physical GMk was all there was. My
                      suggestion for filling out that scenario (there may well be other
                      possibilities) was that Mk was the Gospel of an early Galilean Christian
                      group, perhaps suppleted with Mk 13 as late as 71 by someone anxious to
                      update the work's prophetic power, but that what was left of the group and
                      of the text-proprietor set within that group was eliminated by the
                      repressions in conjunction with the years 70-73. Pella. What might credibly
                      have been imagined to have survived that disaster would be just a slightly
                      damaged text of GMk, with its ending torn off by circumstance (rather than
                      theological odium), and supplied as an unprovenanced object to the later
                      Synoptists, its original community being no longer able to be queried about
                      what might have lain beyond Mk 16:8, or about any other matter.

                      If intentional, why was not the nature of the intention known to the
                      Synoptists operating only a few years later? If accidental, well, that seems
                      to me to offer possibilities if we are thinking of the years of the early
                      70's.

                      Just a suggestion. But it does seem to me to meet what I take to be the
                      data, the situational givens, in the problem.

                      On the other hand, if it can be shown that Mk 13 can after all be entirely
                      construed as responsive to the Caligula situation, rather than to the Titus
                      situation, then even Mk 13 can be old within Mk, and there is no necessity
                      to posit an addition much later, in the 70's. Then all the more, GMk might
                      be an old, and uncontexted, object as of the Synoptic composition fervor
                      following the events of 70-73.

                      Myself, I like it better, and would be glad to see a strong Caligula
                      argument for Mk 13. To that end: Would someone care to summarize and refute
                      Kloppenborg's latest argument (his chief contribution is the Evocatio Deorum
                      motif)? Or for that matter, to summarize and support Hendrika Roskam's? (see
                      JBL v124 #3, 553f). I agree with the JBL reviewer that she has the better of
                      it as against Incigneri's Roman scenario for Mk, but I also agree that her
                      position needs a little more work.

                      Bruce

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst




                      BRUCE:
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.