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Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: [GPG] Beyond the Synoptics - Judas Armed and Dangerous in John 18:3

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  • Michael Zeddies
    I hate to muddy the waters even further :) but I feel compelled to make my own comment on this very interesting discovery. This is my first post here, so I
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 8, 2010
      I hate to muddy the waters even further :) but I feel compelled to make my
      own comment on this very interesting discovery. This is my first post here,
      so I hope I don't overstep the rules and guidelines.

      Let me first say that I strongly encourage Mr. Yoder to pursue this line of
      research, even though his (and Mr. Brooks') conclusions turn out to be
      somewhat different from mine.

      At any rate, this is a marvelous piece of evidence for a hypothesis I have
      been working towards for some years now: that all four gospels derive from
      an earlier version of Mark's gospel, which was not only responsible for the
      chiastic structures still discernible in canonical GMk, both at the pericope
      level, and also perhaps the larger narrative level, but was also responsible
      for the synoptic narrative structure--a Galilean ministry followed by a
      single visit to Jerusalem--as well as most of the Passion Narrative--largely
      followed in GJn, despite his deviations from the Markan narrative in the
      ministry chapters of his gospel.

      The following is going to sound a little baroque, but it is actually rather
      straightforward. Try and bear with it--I will be using Jn 18:3 as a perfect
      illustration of what I'm talking about.

      What I actually think happened is that there were three layers of Mark:

      1) a proto-Mark (pMk), with a narrative structure much more like that found
      in the earlier chapters of GJn;
      2) a deutero-Mark (dMk), in which our familiar Markan narrative was
      developed, and
      3) canonical Mark (GMk), which edited dMk for mostly theological reasons,
      but sometimes for narrative problems ensuing from the theological

      There was also

      2a) a proto-Matthew, derived from 2) dMk, and used by both Matthew and
      Luke. This proto-Matthew is the Q-gospel--it contained the Q material, but
      was also a full-fledged gospel.

      Now, both GJn and GMt prominently feature anti-Semitisms. But GJn shows
      almost no signs of following GMt, so how could this anti-Semitism have
      carried over from one to the other? But it's possible if they shared a
      source, and I argue that source was deutero-Mark. So, John's anti-Semitism
      is actually not original--he is merely following the lead of one of his
      sources: dMk.

      We also see this anti-Semitism reflected in the Gospel of Peter; GPet is
      clearly related to GMt, though there isn't space here to show how. Brown
      describes in Appendix I to *Death of the Messiah* if you'd like to start
      looking into it--suffice it to say that despite Brown's opinion, GPet had to
      be a source of GMt. GPet in turn used dMk as a source, from whence it
      derived its anti-Semitism.

      And, GPet is also how the anti-Semitism of dMk entered GLk in part--because
      Luke used GPet--though Luke was just trying to solve a textual problem he
      faced. Matthew solved it differently, by favoring the Markan language
      here. Luke in general was a bit more deft at splicing his different sources
      together than Matthew was.

      Here's how it works, using the example of Jn 18:3 that you provided:

      --John used primarily 2) dMk here.
      --Matthew used primarily 3) GMk here, though he elsewhere used 2a) dMk via
      --Luke used both 2a) dMk via GPet and 3) GMk here.

      To illustrate:

      --We see how GJn is not familiar with the canonical Markan account; he
      retains older language of a band of soldiers with a leader, in this case
      including the anti-Semitic Judas Iscariot.

      --GMt derives from the canonical Markan account, where Judas has been
      removed as the leader of the soldiers, though Judas does make an
      appearance. The account has been rationalized.

      --GLk, on the other hand, tries to balance the older account (from
      deutero-Mark) with the new one (from canonical Mark). The result is hints
      of language from both.

      See how neatly this explains the differences?

      As for the progression, you see motion from Matthew/Mark's more benign
      Judas, to Luke's more suspect Judas, to John's totally culpable Judas. But
      it turns out it's the other way around:

      --John retains the anti-Semitism of his older sources, because he favors 2)

      --Luke preserves it partially, because he balances the 2a) dMk via GPet
      version with the 3) cleaned-up version of canonical GMk.

      --but it became eliminated in GMk and GMt, because here, Matthew favors the
      3) cleaned-up account of canonical GMk. Matthew does preserve some
      anti-Semitisms elsewhere via 2a) dMk via GPet.

      Chronologically, the sequence actually runs:

      1) the proto-Markan version, probably not involving Judas at all
      2) the deutero-Mark anti-Semitic original of GJn 18:3, a rewriting of pMk
      3) GPet's version of dMk's anti-Semitic version, whatever it was (btw, this
      is Cerinthus' gospel)
      4) GJn's use of dMk (a reaction to Cerinthus, but retaining the
      5) canonical GMk's cleaned-up version (perhaps to make more sense out of
      dMk's account)
      6) GMt, favoring GMk's account here
      7) GLk, blending GPet's and GMk's accounts

      Fwiw, the Jesus Trajectory, the Baptism Trajectory, the Mary Trajectory are
      all likewise misunderstood, but I'll leave that aside for now :) Basically
      GJn, as some have suspected, preserves traditions more primitive than the

      On a related note, I think the chiastic structure you've identified in GJn
      also derives from dMk. Michael Turton's excellent online
      work<http://www.michaelturton.com/Mark/GMark_index.html>on chiasms in
      Mark indicates that an underlying chiastic structure in the
      Markan gospel was tampered with; my dMk was that chiastic author, and my
      canonical GMk is the redacted version of dMk. I'm quite pleased to discover
      a chiasm here in GJn.

      In fact. I think we already know of dMk; it's the Secret Gospel of Mark. I
      realize this is a highly controversial claim, but it is the solution to a
      myriad of problems. (Fwiw I also think we actually have fragments of pMk,
      but I haven't written on this yet.) An important part of my methodology is
      the principle that we already have all the texts; in other words, I actually
      hypothesize no new gospels. I use only what we already know of, though some
      contents must be guessed at, based on the evidence.

      Still more controversially, I think the evidence shows that this author
      ultimately derived much of his information from a historical source,
      reflected one way or another in what is commonly refered to as the Slavonic
      Josephus (though should be more properly termed the Old Russian Josephus).
      Please note that this is a very different idea than the crazy sort
      promulgated by Robert Eisler many decades ago; I am simply arguing for a
      Greek (not Aramaic) source for the Slavonic Josephus, redacted from
      authentic Josephus (whether Greek or Aramaic) by an early quasi-Christian
      author. Whether the author of pMk used this pseudo-Josepus, or whether both
      were derived from a similar text, is difficult to say. But I think we can
      say with some certainty that they are linked. (BTW, I am not alone in
      arguing for an ancient Greek original of the Slavonic Josephus.)

      Compare John's account to the Slavonic Josephus' version:

      [The Jewish leaders] assembled to the chief priests and said
      "Let us go and inform Pilate what we have heard;
      And they went and informed Pilate
      And he sent and killed many of the people

      No Judas at all--and the language echoes the military assault that is
      incongruously described in GJn. How else can this be accounted for?
      Pseudo-Josephus is obviously not using any canonical gospels. This link may
      also explain the odd detail in Jn 18:6 that the soldiers "fell to the
      ground" (aphlqon eiv ta opisw kai epesan camai).

      Either the canonical account must derive from this account in
      pseudo-Josephus, or from an intermediate but related source. If the latter,
      I argue this source was pMk, but both may have been used.

      I think the anti-Semitic author of dMk, rewriting pMk, simply substituted in
      Judas into 18:3 as a scapegoat ringleader of this attack the followers of
      the pseudo-Josephean prophet (who is unnamed in the text). I strongly
      suspect this same author of dMk invented the character of Judas Iscariot
      from the disciple Judas (whom we now call Jude), who played a role in pMk as
      interlocutor of Jesus (as hinted at in GJn, with the mention of "Judas--not
      Iscariot"). Judas Iscariot represented the Jewish leaders who the dMk
      author believed (for whatever reason) betrayed Jesus.

      I humbly present more details (including fwiw a critique of Carlson and
      Jeffery's work on Secret Mark, as is necessary to defend my hypothesis) on
      my small website Synoptic Solutions <http://synopticsolutions.blogspot.com>,
      where I continue to roll out what I call the Hyper-Synoptic Solution: a new
      solution to the synoptic problem, encompassing not only the synoptics, but
      also GJn and apocrypha as well. Ultimately I will be connecting the
      synoptics to Josephus, and further on to history.

      Readers' comments and criticism there are more than welcome. I can promise
      many more website posts there on these matters.

      Again, Mr. Yoder, this is an excellent finding, whatever conclusions it
      leads to.


      Michael T. Zeddies
      Ann Arbor, MI
      Amateur scholar

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