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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark as a Pauline gospel (was: THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT)

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  • Jeff Peterson
    Ron, Do you then think that Peter welcomed into his home for a fortnight (Gal 1:18) and recognized as a fellow emissary of Christ (Gal 2:9) someone with whom
    Message 1 of 25 , Apr 10, 2010
      Ron,

      Do you then think that Peter welcomed into his home for a fortnight (Gal
      1:18) and recognized as a fellow emissary of Christ (Gal 2:9) someone with
      whom he fundamentally disagreed about Christ's identity, and that Paul was
      so unperceptive as to engage Peter in halakhic controversy on the premise
      that they were alike believers in Jesus Christ (Gal 2:16�17)? (If so, no
      wonder Paul lost the exchange, as the majority think!)

      Jeff Peterson
      Austin Graduate School of Theology
      Austin, Texas

      On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 4:46 AM, Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > Bruce Brooks wrote:
      >
      > > ..... Michael [Goulder] makes some good
      > > points, but he is at bottom determined to vindicate the Hegelian
      > > opposition between Peter and Paul which Baur saw as the root dynamic
      > > of early Christianity. For me, it's too simple.
      >
      > Bruce,
      >
      > Not for me. Only two religions were involved. We have to explain the
      > emergence of Christianity out of Judaism, and one way to see this is to
      > look
      > at Paul, whose theology led inevitably to a break with Judaism, and Peter,
      > whose theology never took him outside Judaism.
      >
      > > On the alleged Paulinism of Mark, Martin Werner in 1923 did a careful
      > > study, nicely summarized in Frederick Grant, The Earliest Gospel
      > > (1943). In Grant's chapter titled The Theology of Mark, he states
      > > Werner's conclusion thus: "Mark presupposes only the common
      > > Christianity, the generally accepted Christian doctrine, of the
      > > Gentile churches at the middle of the first century."
      >
      > This may well be true, depending on one's precise definition of
      > "Christian".
      > But what Grant and Werner apparently failed to see was that all "churches"
      > (gatherings of people accepting Jesus as the "Son of God") owed their
      > existence to Paul's innovative concept of Jesus as the "Son of God" (Acts
      > 9:20). The "Pauline" nature of Mark may have derived from (Pauline)
      > churches, or perhaps even directly from Paul himself (Phm 24).
      >
      > Ron Price
      >
      > Derbyshire, UK
      >
      > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ron Price
      ... Jeff, I agree that Peter, as a Jew, is unlikely to have welcomed into his home anyone who openly proclaimed a theology which appeared to elevate a human to
      Message 2 of 25 , Apr 10, 2010
        Jeff Peterson wrote:

        > Do you then think that Peter welcomed into his home for a fortnight (Gal
        > 1:18) and recognized as a fellow emissary of Christ (Gal 2:9) someone with
        > whom he fundamentally disagreed about Christ's identity,

        Jeff,

        I agree that Peter, as a Jew, is unlikely to have welcomed into his home
        anyone who openly proclaimed a theology which appeared to elevate a human to
        the status of God. But various factors make this scenario unlikely. Firstly
        at this first meeting, Peter may have known initially only that Paul had
        converted from persecutor to supporter of the Jesus movement. Secondly, not
        knowing much about the young Paul, Peter may have hoped to convince Paul of
        the correctness of the 'Son of Man' theology which the Jerusalem disciples
        had worked out as a reaction to the crucifixion. Thirdly, at this early
        stage in Paul's allegiance to Jesus he may not have formulated his 'Son of
        God' Christology (and here I concede that Acts 9:20, though it captures the
        essence of Paul's theology, may have got the timing of its first
        proclamation wrong).

        > ... and that Paul was
        > so unperceptive as to engage Peter in halakhic controversy on the premise
        > that they were alike believers in Jesus Christ (Gal 2:16–17)?

        I follow RSV, NRSV etc. in taking the quotation to finish at the end of
        2:14, so I don't take this as a direct debate with Peter. The "we" who are
        justified by faith may have included Peter, but only if Peter had accepted
        Paul's theology of 'justification by faith [in Jesus Christ]'. This is
        questionable. At any rate there's no evidence that he *did* accept it, for
        no extant document attributed to Peter is authentic.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • Jeff Peterson
        Ron, I m not convinced by your handling of Gal 1:18 and 2:14ff, but for the moment I ll note only that you omit reference to Gal 2:9, where Paul receives the
        Message 3 of 25 , Apr 10, 2010
          Ron,

          I'm not convinced by your handling of Gal 1:18 and 2:14ff, but for the
          moment I'll note only that you omit reference to Gal 2:9, where Paul
          receives "the right hand of fellowship" from James, Cephas, and John. Are we
          to we suppose that Paul dreamt up his "Son of God" Christology in the period
          between this meeting (ca. 48) and his initial preaching at Thessalonica (ca.
          50; cf. 1 Thess 1:10)? Or that the "pillars" would have failed to find out
          what Paul was telling Gentiles about Christ before endorsing his mission? Or
          that Paul managed to convince Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia of
          their kinship in Christ with the Jerusalem churches (Rom 15:26�27) by means
          of fraud, which he then put them in a position to detect by inviting them to
          visit Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:3�4)? Or that Rome somehow got evangelized by
          missionaries who agreed with Paul, although the church there included
          "apostles" who antedated Paul and his aberrant Christology (Rom 16:7), so
          that Paul can presuppose his "higher" Christology (Rom 8:34)?

          Color me skeptical.

          Jeff Peterson
          Austin Graduate School of Theology

          On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 1:27 PM, Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > Jeff Peterson wrote:
          >
          > > Do you then think that Peter welcomed into his home for a fortnight (Gal
          > > 1:18) and recognized as a fellow emissary of Christ (Gal 2:9) someone
          > with
          > > whom he fundamentally disagreed about Christ's identity,
          >
          > Jeff,
          >
          > I agree that Peter, as a Jew, is unlikely to have welcomed into his home
          > anyone who openly proclaimed a theology which appeared to elevate a human
          > to
          > the status of God. But various factors make this scenario unlikely. Firstly
          > at this first meeting, Peter may have known initially only that Paul had
          > converted from persecutor to supporter of the Jesus movement. Secondly, not
          > knowing much about the young Paul, Peter may have hoped to convince Paul of
          > the correctness of the 'Son of Man' theology which the Jerusalem disciples
          > had worked out as a reaction to the crucifixion. Thirdly, at this early
          > stage in Paul's allegiance to Jesus he may not have formulated his 'Son of
          > God' Christology (and here I concede that Acts 9:20, though it captures the
          > essence of Paul's theology, may have got the timing of its first
          > proclamation wrong).
          >
          > > ... and that Paul was
          > > so unperceptive as to engage Peter in halakhic controversy on the premise
          > > that they were alike believers in Jesus Christ (Gal 2:16�17)?
          >
          > I follow RSV, NRSV etc. in taking the quotation to finish at the end of
          > 2:14, so I don't take this as a direct debate with Peter. The "we" who are
          > justified by faith may have included Peter, but only if Peter had accepted
          > Paul's theology of 'justification by faith [in Jesus Christ]'. This is
          > questionable. At any rate there's no evidence that he *did* accept it, for
          > no extant document attributed to Peter is authentic.
          >
          > Ron Price
          >
          > Derbyshire, UK
          >
          > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ron Price
          ... Jeff, The phrase the right hand of fellowship suggests an amicable agreement, but I think this is misleading. Paul wanted the Galatians to believe that
          Message 4 of 25 , Apr 11, 2010
            Jeff Peterson wrote:

            > I'm not convinced by your handling of Gal 1:18 and 2:14ff, but for the
            > moment I'll note only that you omit reference to Gal 2:9, where Paul
            > receives "the right hand of fellowship" from James, Cephas, and John.

            Jeff,

            The phrase "the right hand of fellowship" suggests an amicable agreement,
            but I think this is misleading. Paul wanted the Galatians to believe that he
            had the backing of the 'pillars' in Jerusalem, so he painted the
            relationship as cosy. But historically speaking, they were at loggerheads.
            The stated agreement amounted to nothing more than a compromise designed to
            avoid future clashes: you keep off our patch, and we'll keep off your patch.
            According to Acts, Paul did not keep his side of the agreement, for he
            continued to preach in synagogues (Ac 18:26; 19:8).

            > Are we
            > to we suppose that Paul dreamt up his "Son of God" Christology in the period
            > between this meeting (ca. 48) and his initial preaching at Thessalonica (ca.
            > 50; cf. 1 Thess 1:10)?

            No. Much closer to the first meeting of Gal 1:18, ca. 37 CE.

            > Or that the "pillars" would have failed to find out
            > what Paul was telling Gentiles about Christ before endorsing his mission?

            No. As implied above, I don't think they endorsed his mission, merely
            tolerated it on the condition that Paul & co. didn't try to convert Jews
            (Gal 2:9).

            > Or
            > that Paul managed to convince Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia of
            > their kinship in Christ with the Jerusalem churches (Rom 15:26–27) by means
            > of fraud,

            The word "saints" here is another bit of 'spin'. As far as Paul was
            concerned, the collection was nominally to help the poor, but his real aim
            was to try to win the approval of the Jerusalem 'pillars', which he felt to
            be necessary in order to legitimize his preaching. There was a degree of
            deception here, but not fraud.

            > which he then put them in a position to detect by inviting them to
            > visit Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:3–4)?

            Paul's attempt to be all things to all people put him in an impossible
            position. They probably did detect Paul's deception, which was compounded by
            his Jewish vow (Ac 21:26), which seemed to nullify all he had preached about
            freedom from the law. As it turned out, Paul's attempt to deliver the
            collection brought his missionary career to an abrupt end.

            > Or that Rome somehow got evangelized by
            > missionaries who agreed with Paul, although the church there included
            > "apostles" who antedated Paul and his aberrant Christology (Rom 16:7),

            I take Rom 16:1-20 to be a letter of commendation sent to Ephesus, not part
            of the original letter to the Romans.

            Ron Price

            Derbyshire, UK

            Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
          • Jeff Peterson
            What evidence is there that Paul and Jerusalem were characteristically at loggerheads outside of Gal 2:11ff.? It s a lot to extrapolate a whole history from
            Message 5 of 25 , Apr 11, 2010
              What evidence is there that Paul and Jerusalem were characteristically "at
              loggerheads" outside of Gal 2:11ff.? It's a lot to extrapolate a whole
              history from one anecdote; on that basis, you could argue that my best
              friend and I were sworn enemies because we once had an argument.

              On the other side, you have the reports of positive relations in Gal 1�2,
              the recognition given Cephas and James in 1 Cor, and the fact that Paul
              continued to make the collection for Jerusalem a priority. I'd take the
              agreement at Jerusalem to be that Paul and Barnabas would conduct their
              mission primarily among Gentiles (though presumably teaching Jews who
              crossed their path), while Jerusalem authorities would direct their efforts
              primarily towards Jews.

              If you don't start where Baur did, with the assumption that conflict drove
              early Christian history, I don't see that the evidence will compel you to
              paint as conflict-ridden a portrait of the early church as he and his
              epigones have.

              Jeff Peterson
              Austin Graduate School of Theology


              On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 5:52 AM, Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:

              >
              >
              > Jeff Peterson wrote:
              >
              > > I'm not convinced by your handling of Gal 1:18 and 2:14ff, but for the
              > > moment I'll note only that you omit reference to Gal 2:9, where Paul
              > > receives "the right hand of fellowship" from James, Cephas, and John.
              >
              > Jeff,
              >
              > The phrase "the right hand of fellowship" suggests an amicable agreement,
              > but I think this is misleading. Paul wanted the Galatians to believe that
              > he
              > had the backing of the 'pillars' in Jerusalem, so he painted the
              > relationship as cosy. But historically speaking, they were at loggerheads.
              > The stated agreement amounted to nothing more than a compromise designed to
              > avoid future clashes: you keep off our patch, and we'll keep off your
              > patch.
              > According to Acts, Paul did not keep his side of the agreement, for he
              > continued to preach in synagogues (Ac 18:26; 19:8).
              >
              >
              > > Are we
              > > to we suppose that Paul dreamt up his "Son of God" Christology in the
              > period
              > > between this meeting (ca. 48) and his initial preaching at Thessalonica
              > (ca.
              > > 50; cf. 1 Thess 1:10)?
              >
              > No. Much closer to the first meeting of Gal 1:18, ca. 37 CE.
              >
              >
              > > Or that the "pillars" would have failed to find out
              > > what Paul was telling Gentiles about Christ before endorsing his mission?
              >
              > No. As implied above, I don't think they endorsed his mission, merely
              > tolerated it on the condition that Paul & co. didn't try to convert Jews
              > (Gal 2:9).
              >
              >
              > > Or
              > > that Paul managed to convince Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia of
              > > their kinship in Christ with the Jerusalem churches (Rom 15:26�27) by
              > means
              > > of fraud,
              >
              > The word "saints" here is another bit of 'spin'. As far as Paul was
              > concerned, the collection was nominally to help the poor, but his real aim
              > was to try to win the approval of the Jerusalem 'pillars', which he felt to
              > be necessary in order to legitimize his preaching. There was a degree of
              > deception here, but not fraud.
              >
              >
              > > which he then put them in a position to detect by inviting them to
              > > visit Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:3�4)?
              >
              > Paul's attempt to be all things to all people put him in an impossible
              > position. They probably did detect Paul's deception, which was compounded
              > by
              > his Jewish vow (Ac 21:26), which seemed to nullify all he had preached
              > about
              > freedom from the law. As it turned out, Paul's attempt to deliver the
              > collection brought his missionary career to an abrupt end.
              >
              >
              > > Or that Rome somehow got evangelized by
              > > missionaries who agreed with Paul, although the church there included
              > > "apostles" who antedated Paul and his aberrant Christology (Rom 16:7),
              >
              > I take Rom 16:1-20 to be a letter of commendation sent to Ephesus, not part
              > of the original letter to the Romans.
              >
              >
              > Ron Price
              >
              > Derbyshire, UK
              >
              > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David Mealand
              One doesn t have to buy into Baur wholesale to see that the evidence for strained relations between Paul and those associated with James/Jacob does not rest on
              Message 6 of 25 , Apr 11, 2010
                One doesn't have to buy into Baur wholesale
                to see that the evidence for strained relations
                between Paul and those associated with James/Jacob
                does not rest on a single incident.

                There is the fractured syntax of Gal.2.3-4 strongly
                suggesting that Paul did make a concession over Titus
                even if not "compelled" to do so, and though it was,
                he says, due to "interlopers" who were
                "pseudadelphoi".

                Even after some agreement was reached
                in Jerusalem, trouble then (Gal 2.11)
                broke out in Antioch when Peter gave in and
                sided with people claiming to come from James/Jacob
                over sharing the community meal with Gentiles.

                There is also the evidence of people Paul calls
                "false apostles" turning up at Corinth whom Paul accuses of
                preaching "another Jesus" offering a "different spirit"
                and a different gospel (2Cor 11).

                Then even if one is cautious about the historicity
                of Acts it would seem that Paul did end up as a
                prisoner on a ship to Rome, after trouble
                arising when things did not go well on his
                arrival in Jerusalem to fulfill his promise.

                On the other hand the main issue seems to have
                been observance rather than belief. Observance
                was a very fraught issue in the period after
                the death of Herod Agrippa. On
                observance Mark seems closer to Paul
                than to his opponents.

                On belief I do wonder
                if they agreed on the term "son of God" without
                exploring its ambiguities in Jewish and Gentile
                contexts.

                David M.



                -------
                David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


                --
                The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
              • Ron Price
                ... Jeff, Firstly, there was disagreement as to who merited the status of apostle . Mark s gospel indicates that twelve men were appointed as apostles. Paul
                Message 7 of 25 , Apr 11, 2010
                  Jeff Peterson wrote:

                  > What evidence is there that Paul and Jerusalem were characteristically "at
                  > loggerheads" outside of Gal 2:11ff.?

                  Jeff,

                  Firstly, there was disagreement as to who merited the status of "apostle".
                  Mark's gospel indicates that twelve men were appointed as apostles. Paul
                  claimed to be an apostle (Gal 1:1 etc.), but this involved a widening of the
                  original meaning, and evidently some of his opponents denied he was an
                  apostle (1 Cor 9:1-2). We can reasonably expect that the original "twelve"
                  would have objected to this watering-down of their status.

                  Secondly there's the sarcasm in "those reputed to be pillars" (Gal 2:9), and
                  also in "these superlative apostles" (2 Cor 11:5; 12:11).

                  Thirdly there's the peculiar treatment of James the brother of Jesus in the
                  NT. In Mark, James has no role in the ministry of Jesus, apart from the
                  deliberate insult implied in 3:31-35. The author of Acts was clearly
                  embarrassed by this, because James suddenly appears as the leading disciple
                  in Ac 12:17 with no explanation as to how he has become leader, for the
                  first volume (Luke), following Mark, had presented Peter as the leading
                  disciple. Bearing in mind the way Mark denigrated Peter (see below), we can
                  only conclude that James had been the leading disciple all along, and Mark
                  air-brushed him out from the story of Jesus' ministry because he was so
                  hated by Mark (and by his hero Paul).

                  Fourthly, critical analysis of Mark shows that he deliberately denigrated
                  Peter, calling him "Satan", and presenting him as falling asleep at
                  Gethsemane and then denying Jesus. It is difficult to see why Mark would
                  have been so critical unless he had been influenced by Paul's own aversion.

                  Fifthly, it's not too difficult to see behind the façade of Acts that James
                  had very little sympathy for Paul when he paid his third and last visit to
                  Jerusalem. James' insistence that Paul went through a Jewish ceremony in
                  connection with the vow was humiliating for someone who had proclaimed a
                  gospel of freedom. You don't do that sort of thing to a buddy.

                  > It's a lot to extrapolate a whole
                  > history from one anecdote;

                  As you can now see, I'm not relying on a single anecdote.

                  > ..... I'd take the
                  > agreement at Jerusalem to be that Paul and Barnabas would conduct their
                  > mission primarily among Gentiles (though presumably teaching Jews who
                  > crossed their path),

                  Wouldn't you think that the agreement meant that Paul should no longer
                  preach in synagogues? If I'd been a Jew, I'd have thought it to be a
                  violation of the agreement, on the basis that one would *expect* to find
                  Jews in synagogues.

                  > If you don't start where Baur did, with the assumption that conflict drove
                  > early Christian history, I don't see that the evidence will compel you to
                  > paint as conflict-ridden a portrait of the early church as he and his
                  > epigones have.

                  A new religion emerges out of an old one, and you don't expect conflict? I'm
                  sure I don't need to give examples of major conflicts *within* Christianity.
                  How much more should we expect conflict between a monotheistic religion and
                  a religion which elevates a man to equality with God; between a religion
                  which has arbitrary dietary laws and a religion which has no dietary laws; a
                  religion in which the superior status of men was entrenched, and a religion
                  in which (in Paul's time) men and women were accorded equal status (Gal
                  3:28).

                  Ron Price

                  Derbyshire, UK

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                • David Mealand
                  I think Ron is a little hard on James/Jacob. If we wish to construct a historical picture we need to try to look at the events from the points of view of the
                  Message 8 of 25 , Apr 11, 2010
                    I think Ron is a little hard on
                    James/Jacob. If we wish to construct
                    a historical picture we need to try
                    to look at the events from the points of
                    view of the the very diverse participants.

                    After the death of Herod Agrippa Judaea went
                    back to Roman direct rule and took Galilee
                    with it. This understandably increased
                    hostility to Rome, and to those associated
                    with it, and heightened tensions with Gentiles.
                    James/Jacob was at the head of a group who
                    had links with Paul, who was seen as an apostate who
                    associated very freely with Gentiles. Paul
                    is therefore a major embarrassment. James/Jacob
                    understandably tries to moderate Paul's bursts
                    of enthusiasm and limit the damage. It seems
                    that James was widely respected in Jerusalem
                    for his own observant stance, but even he
                    was eventually murdered in an period when there
                    were fanatics who did such things. (We should
                    not have too much trouble understanding this
                    scenario.) So the concerns that James/Jacob
                    had had all along proved not unfounded.

                    I write this not as an upholder of James but
                    as an attempt to read the history from more
                    than one viewpoint given the conflicts of the
                    period in question. Some of the above can
                    be documented, some of it is an attempt at
                    getting a sense of what was going on behind
                    the scenes and so is my subjective interpretation.

                    David M.



                    ---------
                    David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


                    --
                    The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                    Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                  • E Bruce Brooks
                    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Ron Price On: Jacob and Paul From: Bruce I think Ron (himself responding to Jeff Peterson) has it pretty much right. To
                    Message 9 of 25 , Apr 11, 2010
                      To: Synoptic
                      Cc: GPG
                      In Response To: Ron Price
                      On: Jacob and Paul
                      From: Bruce

                      I think Ron (himself responding to Jeff Peterson) has it pretty much
                      right. To me, and I think to many, the Peter/Paul conflict is very
                      much there in the documents. It is not the only one, we should not
                      immediately jump into Hegelian mode, but it is surely on the list, and
                      pretty high on the list. I add what I hope may be some helpful
                      amendments on a couple of later points.

                      RON: Thirdly there's the peculiar treatment of James the brother of
                      Jesus in the NT. In Mark, James has no role in the ministry of Jesus,
                      apart from the
                      deliberate insult implied in 3:31-35.

                      BRUCE: I don't think it is an insult. I think that Mark is recording
                      the opposition of Jesus's family to whatever it was Jesus was
                      undertaking at the time (in my interpretation, a Messianic capitation
                      strike, but that is not strictly necessary for reading the emotional
                      tone of this passage). In that passage, Jacob is not particularly
                      singled out; if anything, Mary comes off as the most outrageous
                      figure: she is named first, and as the responsible adult, she should
                      presumably know better. I don't think we can read more out of it that
                      than, though that is already a very striking datum, and I am glad to
                      have it.

                      RON: The author of Acts was clearly embarrassed by this, because James
                      suddenly appears as the leading disciple in Ac 12:17 with no
                      explanation as to how he has become leader, for the first volume
                      (Luke), following Mark, had presented Peter as the leading disciple.

                      BRUCE: Correction: Jacob does not appear as a leading disciple. He
                      appears simply as a leader. Notice how Jacob may adjudicate, but he
                      never articulates: he never states, he never preaches, he never
                      missionarizes. He contrasts in these ways with everybody else who has
                      a name in this part of Acts. Think about it. And he never has any of
                      those roles in any other tradition about him. Think about that too. He
                      has a special status, but also a special category, that nobody else
                      has, and that nobody else can really explain. His authority rests on
                      different grounds, and on different actions or inactions, than anybody
                      else's.

                      On the main point, it is not only Mark, but the entire Christian
                      tradition in all its forms and byways, that cannot say how Jacob got
                      to be the big deal in the Jerusalem cellgroup of Jesus followers. It
                      is a mystery. What seems to me the likely scenario (known in many
                      other cases, not least the tradition of Confucius) is an initial
                      domination of the posthumous movement by the lifetime disciples, with
                      family connections becoming important later, and perhaps not in the
                      same place. I would thus conjecture two centers: an original Galilean
                      one, in which Peter was the chief figure among the leading Five [sic],
                      and slightly later, merely by the operation of geographical gravity, a
                      more conservative Jerusalem group, in which (and not earlier) Jacob,
                      of whom no non-Jerusalem stories are ever told anywhere, was or
                      shortly became the chief personage.

                      Suppose that to be so; how much of it did Mark know? And if any of it,
                      whose side was he on?

                      RON: Bearing in mind the way Mark denigrated Peter (see below), we can
                      only conclude that James had been the leading disciple all along, and Mark
                      air-brushed him out from the story of Jesus' ministry because he was so
                      hated by Mark (and by his hero Paul).

                      BRUCE: I prefer the two-center hypothesis. Nothing in Mark or
                      elsewhere denies Peter the leading role in what I have called the
                      Galilee center. Nor does Luke take issue with that picture. What Luke
                      is eliminating from the entire story he inherited from Mark is not so
                      much Jacob (who gets his unquestioned, if also unexplained, place in
                      Acts) as the whole Galilee tradition; in this he is merely a stage in
                      what I have called the Jerusalem Trajectory (which, yes, continues
                      normally with an even more systematic elimination of Galilee in gJn).

                      The Jerusalem cellgroup of Jesus followers came into existence, or
                      evolved out of the Jerusalem branch of the Galilee movement, more or
                      less naturally, just because Jerusalem was bigger, and came with all
                      these nationally centrist associations. And I suspect that Jacob came
                      to prominence in that movement as its chief Galilean import, but also
                      by natural gravitational causes and not through any dramatic defining
                      event. If we regard Paul's list of those who had seen the risen Jesus
                      (and some would make it a pre-Pauline catechetical formula, though to
                      me this goes too far), Jacob ranks last, after (1) Peter, (2) The rest
                      of the then supposed inner circle of Twelve, (3) many at the time of
                      Jesus's return to Heaven, and only then, and by himself, (4) Jacob.
                      This is not Luke, and it is not Paul, it is Paul quoting common
                      knowledge or formula at the time. My guess is that the sequence is
                      about right. Jacob had never been a follower of Jesus in the latter's
                      lifetime, and he came to believe in (some version of) Jesus's
                      importance only after many others, beyond the circle of the Jesus
                      intimates, had become convinced of it. I see no trouble with this
                      sequence; on the contrary, it fits (for me) with the best of the
                      remaining evidence, including historical probability.

                      We have the problem of the conversion of Paul, and also that of the
                      conversion of James. I do not think that these two events had anything
                      like the same inner psychological dynamic. There respective
                      experiences or sudden insights brought them out on opposite sides of
                      the doctrinal spectrum of Law Observance. My own suspicion is that
                      Jacob had never at any time left the number of those who held those
                      views. It was simply that a back-movement toward nomism in the early
                      Jesus movement gave him his chance of power.

                      RON: Fourthly, critical analysis of Mark shows that he deliberately denigrated
                      Peter, calling him "Satan", and presenting him as falling asleep at
                      Gethsemane and then denying Jesus. It is difficult to see why Mark would
                      have been so critical unless he had been influenced by Paul's own aversion.

                      BRUCE: On the contrary, it is easy. First, Mark is not anti-Peter. The
                      last word of Mark on Peter is that he was the first person to be
                      informed of the new order of things; the leader of the
                      post-Crucifixion group. How much better can a fallible human being
                      (and there are no other kinds) hope for? Second, what was Mark
                      explaining in the seeming anti-Peter passages? I would say, chiefly
                      the flight of the disciples at the time of the arrest and Crucifixion.
                      This was undoubtedly a fact, and undoubtedly a known fact; it had to
                      be dealt with rather than denied by the later chroniclers of Jesus.
                      That scenario is also presumed in the version of an early form of the
                      Gospel of Peter that was later appended to the previously finished
                      Gospel of John as Jn 21; it does not rest solely on Mark and his
                      revisers. It is not contradicted anywhere. It is told in detail in
                      Mark, but what is also told in detail in Mark is Jesus's PREDICTION of
                      just those events. It is the prediction by Jesus, with or without the
                      background music of OT foreknowledge, which Mark employs and which
                      Matthew reorchestrates, that legitimates the defection of the
                      disciples. Without them (and for that matter, without the perfidy of
                      Judas) the whole Crucifixion would never have come off, and where
                      would the world be then, always assuming (as the late layers of Mark
                      and all layers of Matthew do assume) that the Crucifixion is what
                      makes salvation possible?

                      Peter's fallibility, by no means downplayed in Mark, is part of that
                      story, and a part that was foreseen by the highest authorities, and is
                      thus, to Mark and other writers, sacred in its own special way. How
                      many church windows portray, in an undoubtedly reverential and not
                      ironical context, the scene of Peter in the High Priest's courtyard?
                      Answer: Lots. So the supposed contradiction does not get much
                      empirical confirmation from this and like facts. I end by concluding
                      that there was no contradiction.

                      Otherwise, fine, and thanks to Ron for his own clarifications.

                      Bruce

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                    • Ron Price
                      ... Bruce, I was referring to the gospel of Mark as originally written. My case is consistent for, as you know from previous exchanges, I take 14:28 and 16:7
                      Message 10 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                        Bruce Brooks wrote:

                        > First, Mark is not anti-Peter. The
                        > last word of Mark on Peter is that he was the first person to be
                        > informed of the new order of things; the leader of the
                        > post-Crucifixion group. How much better can a fallible human being
                        > (and there are no other kinds) hope for?

                        Bruce,

                        I was referring to the gospel of Mark as originally written. My case is
                        consistent for, as you know from previous exchanges, I take 14:28 and 16:7
                        to be interpolations by a later editor. Thus originally there was no
                        reprieve for Peter.

                        > Second, what was Mark
                        > explaining in the seeming anti-Peter passages? I would say, chiefly
                        > the flight of the disciples at the time of the arrest and Crucifixion.

                        The only independent evidence for the flight is Mark's. Verses 14:27 and
                        14:50 are together very satisfying, presenting a fulfilment of prophecy. But
                        are they historical? With Brandon, I think that they form part of Mark's
                        denigration of the disciples.

                        Here is Brandon's take on Mark's derogatory presentation of the apostles
                        ("Jesus and the Zealots", p.276):

                        They fail to understand their Master's true nature.
                        They lack his miraculous power.
                        They quarrel among themselves over precedence.
                        One of them betrays him.
                        When he is arrested, they all desert him.

                        Ron Price

                        Derbyshire, UK

                        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                      • Jeff Peterson
                        ... Our earliest evidence (1 Cor 15:5–7, 9:5; Gal 1:19; Rom 16:7) distinguishes between the apostles and the twelve, the former group including the
                        Message 11 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                          On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 12:16 PM, Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:

                          > Firstly, there was disagreement as to who merited the status of "apostle".
                          > Mark's gospel indicates that twelve men were appointed as apostles. Paul
                          > claimed to be an apostle (Gal 1:1 etc.), but this involved a widening of
                          > the
                          > original meaning, and evidently some of his opponents denied he was an
                          > apostle (1 Cor 9:1-2). We can reasonably expect that the original "twelve"
                          > would have objected to this watering-down of their status.
                          >

                          Our earliest evidence (1 Cor 15:5�7, 9:5; Gal 1:19; Rom 16:7) distinguishes
                          between "the apostles" and "the twelve," the former group including the
                          latter. Paul never claims membership in the twelve, and he maintains in
                          controversial circumstances (as previously noted) that his apostolate was
                          recognized by the leaders of the messianic mission to Israel (Gal 2:1�10).

                          Secondly there's the sarcasm in "those reputed to be pillars" (Gal 2:9), and
                          > also in "these superlative apostles" (2 Cor 11:5; 12:11).
                          >

                          I don't read these as sarcasm, exactly (disparaging "those worthless
                          Jerusalem apostles") but rather as contrasting the apostles' popular
                          reputation with their divinely appointed task; Paul maintains that his
                          ministry has been a response to the latter rather than a bid for the former.
                          The passages are directed against the apostles' admirers, not against the
                          apostles themselves (as also in 1 Cor 1�4).


                          > Thirdly there's the peculiar treatment of James the brother of Jesus in
                          > the
                          > NT. In Mark, James has no role in the ministry of Jesus, apart from the
                          > deliberate insult implied in 3:31-35. The author of Acts was clearly
                          > embarrassed by this, because James suddenly appears as the leading disciple
                          > in Ac 12:17 with no explanation as to how he has become leader, for the
                          > first volume (Luke), following Mark, had presented Peter as the leading
                          > disciple. Bearing in mind the way Mark denigrated Peter (see below), we can
                          > only conclude that James had been the leading disciple all along, and Mark
                          > air-brushed him out from the story of Jesus' ministry because he was so
                          > hated by Mark (and by his hero Paul).
                          >

                          In fact, this is far from the only thing we can conclude.


                          > Fourthly, critical analysis of Mark shows that he deliberately denigrated
                          > Peter, calling him "Satan", and presenting him as falling asleep at
                          > Gethsemane and then denying Jesus. It is difficult to see why Mark would
                          > have been so critical unless he had been influenced by Paul's own aversion.
                          >

                          The promise that Jesus will reconstitute the Twelve following his
                          resurrection in 14:27�28, and the specific mention of Peter when this
                          promise is repeated in 16:7, counts against this interpretation. Peter is
                          the exemplary disciple who falls and is restored, not the one the narrator
                          despises. [Addendum: I see how you deal with this now; remarkable how
                          interpolations that left no trace in the MS evidence turn out always to
                          favor an interpreter's problematic theory.]

                          Fifthly, it's not too difficult to see behind the fa�ade of Acts that James
                          > had very little sympathy for Paul when he paid his third and last visit to
                          > Jerusalem. James' insistence that Paul went through a Jewish ceremony in
                          > connection with the vow was humiliating for someone who had proclaimed a
                          > gospel of freedom. You don't do that sort of thing to a buddy.
                          >

                          I don't see this at all; Paul's behavior in Acts is entirely consistent with
                          his missionary policy of living like a Jew when among Jews, living as one
                          under the law when in their company (1 Cor 9:20).

                          > It's a lot to extrapolate a whole
                          > > history from one anecdote;
                          >
                          > As you can now see, I'm not relying on a single anecdote.
                          >

                          I'd say you're interpreting evidence that admits of multiple interpretations
                          on the basis of assumptions that deserve to be questioned.

                          > ..... I'd take the
                          >
                          > > agreement at Jerusalem to be that Paul and Barnabas would conduct their
                          > > mission primarily among Gentiles (though presumably teaching Jews who
                          > > crossed their path),
                          >
                          > Wouldn't you think that the agreement meant that Paul should no longer
                          > preach in synagogues? If I'd been a Jew, I'd have thought it to be a
                          > violation of the agreement, on the basis that one would *expect* to find
                          > Jews in synagogues.
                          >

                          There are multiple interpretations of the agreement possible (e.g., "going
                          to the Jews" may mean "preaching throughout Israel," or may mean "directing
                          our efforts to reach Jews," with Paul's efforts directed toward reaching
                          Gentiles, and synagogues a likely place to find Gentiles who might follow
                          Paul when the leadership asked him to excuse himself from their fellowship).
                          Paul's persistence in organizing his collection indicates a fundamental
                          concord with Jerusalem; if a rift had irreparably opened up, why would he
                          keep at this? to buy the pillars off in hopes that they'd come around?
                          Doesn't sound right on either end of that transaction to me.

                          > If you don't start where Baur did, with the assumption that conflict drove
                          > > early Christian history, I don't see that the evidence will compel you to
                          > > paint as conflict-ridden a portrait of the early church as he and his
                          > > epigones have.
                          >
                          > A new religion emerges out of an old one, and you don't expect conflict?
                          > I'm
                          > sure I don't need to give examples of major conflicts *within*
                          > Christianity.
                          > How much more should we expect conflict between a monotheistic religion and
                          > a religion which elevates a man to equality with God; between a religion
                          > which has arbitrary dietary laws and a religion which has no dietary laws;
                          > a
                          > religion in which the superior status of men was entrenched, and a religion
                          > in which (in Paul's time) men and women were accorded equal status (Gal
                          > 3:28).
                          >

                          I didn't mean to suggest that early Christianity was free from all conflict,
                          but that modern NT scholarship has greatly overstated the extent to which
                          conflict on Christology and other basic issues shaped the development of
                          Christian theology. And it seems to me on the basis of 1 Cor (esp. 15:11,
                          9:5, and 3:22) and Gal 1�2, among others, that Paul and Cephas were on the
                          same page on the question of Jesus' identity.

                          Jeff Peterson
                          Austin Graduate School of Theology


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • E Bruce Brooks
                          To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Ron Price On: Mark as Anti-Petrine From: Bruce I had said: BRUCE (before): First, Mark is not anti-Peter. The last word of
                          Message 12 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                            To: Synoptic
                            Cc: GPG
                            In Response To: Ron Price
                            On: Mark as Anti-Petrine
                            From: Bruce

                            I had said:

                            BRUCE (before): First, Mark is not anti-Peter. The last word of Mark
                            on Peter is that he was the first person to be informed of the new
                            order of things; the leader of the post-Crucifixion group. . .

                            RON (now): I was referring to the gospel of Mark as originally
                            written. My case is consistent for, as you know from previous
                            exchanges, I take 14:28 and 16:7 to be interpolations by a later
                            editor. Thus originally there was no
                            reprieve for Peter.

                            BRUCE (now): We both have in mind the Gospel of Mark as originally
                            written, only we have different ideas about what that looked like.
                            Mine is about half as long as Ron's (I think the passages cited are
                            the only interpolations Ron recognizes; there are about a dozen
                            equally obvious cases). Waiving that, what was the end of the Markan
                            story as it stands? Answer: the post-Crucifixion appearance of Jesus.
                            How do I know, given the curtailment of the end of canonical Mark?
                            (For despite learned ingenuity, GAR is no way to end a book). Answer:
                            the Empty Tomb obviously looks forward to a correlate Presence, and
                            other early traditions (which Luke does his best to efface, and almost
                            succeeds) make Peter the recipient of the first Appearance.

                            If so, then what do the interpolated 14:28 and 16:7 add? Precisely the
                            note of prediction. It adds to the dignity of Jesus's death if he had
                            foreseen all: not only his death, but its sequel in his Resurrection.
                            If we merely had a tale of Peter seeing an apparition of Jesus, we
                            could say, well that's HIS imagining. It certainly comes in
                            discordantly after the death of the leader. But if it is all part of a
                            foreseen and thus predetermined and thus inevitable sequence, that is
                            a different story.

                            Mark adds these touches, then in order to crank up his previous story
                            up to that more convincing level. Give the guy credit, he keeps trying.

                            BRUCE (before): Second, what was Mark explaining in the seeming
                            anti-Peter passages? I would say, chiefly the flight of the disciples
                            at the time of the arrest and Crucifixion.

                            RON (now): The only independent evidence for the flight is Mark's.
                            Verses 14:27 and 14:50 are together very satisfying, presenting a
                            fulfillment of prophecy. But are they historical? With Brandon, I
                            think that they form part of Mark's denigration of the disciples.

                            BRUCE (now): The evidence for the flight of the disciples is Mark's
                            Gethsemane scene. The evidence for their flight all the way back to
                            Galilee is lost to us because of the missing last leaf in Mark, but
                            the destination can be waived; it is on record in Mark that the
                            disciples abandoned Jesus in his moment of need and danger. This does
                            not speak well for them. But if their disaffection was only momentary,
                            then after all they - and their temporary lapse of courage - are part
                            of the grand plan, and everything is emotionally OK. Or such was the
                            hope behind this layer (not the earliest, by any means) of Mark.

                            As for Brandon, Schmandon. It would be very easy to explain Mark if
                            all of it were negative toward Peter. Unfortunately, there are many
                            other passages, conveniently ignored by Brandon, where Peter has the
                            role of trust, and also the role of maximum insight. First to be
                            called, first to be listed when disciples are selected to accompany
                            Jesus on some special errand. It is these internal contradictions
                            (another set involves the relation of Jesus to his original audiences)
                            that make Mark a little harder to figure out than the methods of a
                            Brandon will accommodate.

                            As I have recurringly said, Brandon, to my eye, is right about one
                            particular set of often overlooked data: the suspiciousness of the
                            Jerusalem arrangements, and their suggestion of a planned effort to do
                            something or other with a small and dedicated group of people in
                            Jerusalem. Indeed so. I give it a point. Two points. But not all of
                            Mark is that simple. It too is indicative, but not (unfortunately) of
                            the same things.

                            The trouble with Mark is that solving his layercake and thus
                            internally inconsistent Gospel requires more than one good idea.

                            Bruce

                            E Bruce Brooks
                            Warring States Project
                            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                          • Dennis Goffin
                            I agree that there is more to research than just Markan Hellenism versus Jacobite Judaism. I, for one, would like to see an in depth study of John the
                            Message 13 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                              I agree that there is more to research than just Markan Hellenism versus Jacobite Judaism. I, for one, would like to see an in depth study of John the Baptist, Alexandria and Apollos since this was also an important stream of belief and practice. Brandon is not the only one to find Mark downgrading Peter, since Trocmé and Goulder do too. I must confess also that I find Bruce's attachment to a supposedly important Galilean church difficult to substantiate on the basis of the anathematization of three Galilean towns and Galilee's inclusion in a list presumably, in my view, merely for completeness in order to cover the whole of Israel and Judaea. Since each of the Gospels was written to press a particular point of view in opposition to other views, I cannot but agree with Goulder that instances which reflect unfavourably, in Mark, on the family of Jesus are there precisely for that purpose. I agree, however, that there is more than a simple dialectic to be considered. I wonder, for example, who it was who sent Peter and John to Samaria in Acts 8:14. Why should James/Jacob not already have been a dominant voice, deciding who should be sent as emissaries, as he does later on ? If Mark is not anti-Petrine, all I can say is, that with friends like Mark, Peter needs no enemies.
                              Dennis











                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: E Bruce Brooks
                              To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                              Cc: GPG
                              Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 8:32 PM
                              Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark as a Pauline gospel



                              To: Synoptic
                              Cc: GPG
                              In Response To: Ron Price
                              On: Jacob and Paul
                              From: Bruce

                              I think Ron (himself responding to Jeff Peterson) has it pretty much
                              right. To me, and I think to many, the Peter/Paul conflict is very
                              much there in the documents. It is not the only one, we should not
                              immediately jump into Hegelian mode, but it is surely on the list, and
                              pretty high on the list. I add what I hope may be some helpful
                              amendments on a couple of later points.

                              RON: Thirdly there's the peculiar treatment of James the brother of
                              Jesus in the NT. In Mark, James has no role in the ministry of Jesus,
                              apart from the
                              deliberate insult implied in 3:31-35.

                              BRUCE: I don't think it is an insult. I think that Mark is recording
                              the opposition of Jesus's family to whatever it was Jesus was
                              undertaking at the time (in my interpretation, a Messianic capitation
                              strike, but that is not strictly necessary for reading the emotional
                              tone of this passage). In that passage, Jacob is not particularly
                              singled out; if anything, Mary comes off as the most outrageous
                              figure: she is named first, and as the responsible adult, she should
                              presumably know better. I don't think we can read more out of it that
                              than, though that is already a very striking datum, and I am glad to
                              have it.

                              RON: The author of Acts was clearly embarrassed by this, because James
                              suddenly appears as the leading disciple in Ac 12:17 with no
                              explanation as to how he has become leader, for the first volume
                              (Luke), following Mark, had presented Peter as the leading disciple.

                              BRUCE: Correction: Jacob does not appear as a leading disciple. He
                              appears simply as a leader. Notice how Jacob may adjudicate, but he
                              never articulates: he never states, he never preaches, he never
                              missionarizes. He contrasts in these ways with everybody else who has
                              a name in this part of Acts. Think about it. And he never has any of
                              those roles in any other tradition about him. Think about that too. He
                              has a special status, but also a special category, that nobody else
                              has, and that nobody else can really explain. His authority rests on
                              different grounds, and on different actions or inactions, than anybody
                              else's.

                              On the main point, it is not only Mark, but the entire Christian
                              tradition in all its forms and byways, that cannot say how Jacob got
                              to be the big deal in the Jerusalem cellgroup of Jesus followers. It
                              is a mystery. What seems to me the likely scenario (known in many
                              other cases, not least the tradition of Confucius) is an initial
                              domination of the posthumous movement by the lifetime disciples, with
                              family connections becoming important later, and perhaps not in the
                              same place. I would thus conjecture two centers: an original Galilean
                              one, in which Peter was the chief figure among the leading Five [sic],
                              and slightly later, merely by the operation of geographical gravity, a
                              more conservative Jerusalem group, in which (and not earlier) Jacob,
                              of whom no non-Jerusalem stories are ever told anywhere, was or
                              shortly became the chief personage.

                              Suppose that to be so; how much of it did Mark know? And if any of it,
                              whose side was he on?

                              RON: Bearing in mind the way Mark denigrated Peter (see below), we can
                              only conclude that James had been the leading disciple all along, and Mark
                              air-brushed him out from the story of Jesus' ministry because he was so
                              hated by Mark (and by his hero Paul).

                              BRUCE: I prefer the two-center hypothesis. Nothing in Mark or
                              elsewhere denies Peter the leading role in what I have called the
                              Galilee center. Nor does Luke take issue with that picture. What Luke
                              is eliminating from the entire story he inherited from Mark is not so
                              much Jacob (who gets his unquestioned, if also unexplained, place in
                              Acts) as the whole Galilee tradition; in this he is merely a stage in
                              what I have called the Jerusalem Trajectory (which, yes, continues
                              normally with an even more systematic elimination of Galilee in gJn).

                              The Jerusalem cellgroup of Jesus followers came into existence, or
                              evolved out of the Jerusalem branch of the Galilee movement, more or
                              less naturally, just because Jerusalem was bigger, and came with all
                              these nationally centrist associations. And I suspect that Jacob came
                              to prominence in that movement as its chief Galilean import, but also
                              by natural gravitational causes and not through any dramatic defining
                              event. If we regard Paul's list of those who had seen the risen Jesus
                              (and some would make it a pre-Pauline catechetical formula, though to
                              me this goes too far), Jacob ranks last, after (1) Peter, (2) The rest
                              of the then supposed inner circle of Twelve, (3) many at the time of
                              Jesus's return to Heaven, and only then, and by himself, (4) Jacob.
                              This is not Luke, and it is not Paul, it is Paul quoting common
                              knowledge or formula at the time. My guess is that the sequence is
                              about right. Jacob had never been a follower of Jesus in the latter's
                              lifetime, and he came to believe in (some version of) Jesus's
                              importance only after many others, beyond the circle of the Jesus
                              intimates, had become convinced of it. I see no trouble with this
                              sequence; on the contrary, it fits (for me) with the best of the
                              remaining evidence, including historical probability.

                              We have the problem of the conversion of Paul, and also that of the
                              conversion of James. I do not think that these two events had anything
                              like the same inner psychological dynamic. There respective
                              experiences or sudden insights brought them out on opposite sides of
                              the doctrinal spectrum of Law Observance. My own suspicion is that
                              Jacob had never at any time left the number of those who held those
                              views. It was simply that a back-movement toward nomism in the early
                              Jesus movement gave him his chance of power.

                              RON: Fourthly, critical analysis of Mark shows that he deliberately denigrated
                              Peter, calling him "Satan", and presenting him as falling asleep at
                              Gethsemane and then denying Jesus. It is difficult to see why Mark would
                              have been so critical unless he had been influenced by Paul's own aversion.

                              BRUCE: On the contrary, it is easy. First, Mark is not anti-Peter. The
                              last word of Mark on Peter is that he was the first person to be
                              informed of the new order of things; the leader of the
                              post-Crucifixion group. How much better can a fallible human being
                              (and there are no other kinds) hope for? Second, what was Mark
                              explaining in the seeming anti-Peter passages? I would say, chiefly
                              the flight of the disciples at the time of the arrest and Crucifixion.
                              This was undoubtedly a fact, and undoubtedly a known fact; it had to
                              be dealt with rather than denied by the later chroniclers of Jesus.
                              That scenario is also presumed in the version of an early form of the
                              Gospel of Peter that was later appended to the previously finished
                              Gospel of John as Jn 21; it does not rest solely on Mark and his
                              revisers. It is not contradicted anywhere. It is told in detail in
                              Mark, but what is also told in detail in Mark is Jesus's PREDICTION of
                              just those events. It is the prediction by Jesus, with or without the
                              background music of OT foreknowledge, which Mark employs and which
                              Matthew reorchestrates, that legitimates the defection of the
                              disciples. Without them (and for that matter, without the perfidy of
                              Judas) the whole Crucifixion would never have come off, and where
                              would the world be then, always assuming (as the late layers of Mark
                              and all layers of Matthew do assume) that the Crucifixion is what
                              makes salvation possible?

                              Peter's fallibility, by no means downplayed in Mark, is part of that
                              story, and a part that was foreseen by the highest authorities, and is
                              thus, to Mark and other writers, sacred in its own special way. How
                              many church windows portray, in an undoubtedly reverential and not
                              ironical context, the scene of Peter in the High Priest's courtyard?
                              Answer: Lots. So the supposed contradiction does not get much
                              empirical confirmation from this and like facts. I end by concluding
                              that there was no contradiction.

                              Otherwise, fine, and thanks to Ron for his own clarifications.

                              Bruce

                              E Bruce Brooks
                              Warring States Project
                              University of Massachusetts at Amherst





                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Ron Price
                              ... Bruce, The loose-leaf format is fortunately not common in the NT. Our extant John s gospel is the mess that results when an author uses such a sloppy
                              Message 14 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                                Bruce Brooks wrote:

                                > ..... The evidence for the flight of the disciples is Mark's
                                > Gethsemane scene. The evidence for their flight all the way back to
                                > Galilee is lost to us because of the missing last leaf in Mark,

                                Bruce,

                                The loose-leaf format is fortunately not common in the NT. Our extant John's
                                gospel is the mess that results when an author uses such a sloppy format. My
                                web site untangles the mess, revealing a somewhat shorter but much more
                                consistent original.

                                A scroll doesn't have 'leaves' to lose.

                                There remains the codex form, of which indeed Mark was the pioneer NT user.
                                I can show that he used a 10-sheet, 40-page codex, ending at 16:8. There is
                                nothing missing in the extant text. 16:8 is definitely where Mark planned to
                                end his gospel.

                                Ron Price

                                Derbyshire, UK

                                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                              • Ron Price
                                ... Jeff, Our earliest direct evidence is indeed all from Paul s letters. But this means that we have only one side of the argument. The question is whether we
                                Message 15 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                                  Jeff Peterson wrote:

                                  > Our earliest evidence (1 Cor 15:5–7, 9:5; Gal 1:19; Rom 16:7) distinguishes
                                  > between "the apostles" and "the twelve," the former group including the
                                  > latter. Paul never claims membership in the twelve, and he maintains in
                                  > controversial circumstances (as previously noted) that his apostolate was
                                  > recognized by the leaders of the messianic mission to Israel (Gal 2:1–10).

                                  Jeff,

                                  Our earliest direct evidence is indeed all from Paul's letters. But this
                                  means that we have only one side of the argument. The question is whether we
                                  can trust everything that Paul writes on this very sensitive topic. I don't
                                  believe we can. To the original disciples, the "twelve" and the "apostles"
                                  were synonymous.

                                  > The promise that Jesus will reconstitute the Twelve following his
                                  > resurrection in 14:27–28, and the specific mention of Peter when this
                                  > promise is repeated in 16:7, counts against this interpretation. Peter is
                                  > the exemplary disciple who falls and is restored, not the one the narrator
                                  > despises. [Addendum: I see how you deal with this now; remarkable how
                                  > interpolations that left no trace in the MS evidence turn out always to
                                  > favor an interpreter's problematic theory.]

                                  What I think remarkable is how many moderately liberal biblical scholars
                                  become fundamentalists when it comes to posited interpolations which left no
                                  trace in the MSS. Here, my posited interpolations explain at a stroke two
                                  mysteries which no one has been able to explain satisfactorily by any other
                                  means:
                                  (1) Why did Mark, who had invariably presented the women in his narrative
                                  in a good light, suddenly in 16:7-8 present them as wilfully disobeying the
                                  express command of Jesus their Lord?
                                  (2) Bearing in mind that Mark delighted in fulfilment of prophecy (e.g.
                                  1:2-4; 14:27,50), how could he have resisted extending his narrative to show
                                  the fulfilment of 16:7b if this text had been in the original archetype?

                                  > I didn't mean to suggest that early Christianity was free from all conflict,
                                  > but that modern NT scholarship has greatly overstated the extent to which
                                  > conflict on Christology and other basic issues shaped the development of
                                  > Christian theology. And it seems to me on the basis of 1 Cor (esp. 15:11,
                                  > 9:5, and 3:22) and Gal 1–2, among others, that Paul and Cephas were on the
                                  > same page on the question of Jesus' identity.

                                  Here again you quote only Paul, and therefore only see the issue from his
                                  point of view. But there is earlier indirect evidence from another source,
                                  namely the synoptic gospels. I have reconstructed the 'logia' produced by
                                  the the Jerusalem Jesus movement. It shows where James, Peter etc. stood on
                                  a range of issues. It is set out on the web page below. I invite you to
                                  compare its style, background, outlook and theology with that of Paul's
                                  letters. If my reconstruction is anywhere near correct, then it will have to
                                  be admitted that its editor Matthew (representing James & Peter) on the one
                                  hand, and Paul on the other hand, were singing from rather different hymn
                                  books.

                                  Ron Price

                                  Derbyshire, UK

                                  http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_sQet.html
                                • E Bruce Brooks
                                  To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Ending of Mark From: Bruce We can perhaps avoid getting tangled in the merits of Ron s and my different
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                                    To: Synoptic
                                    In Response To: Ron Price
                                    On: Ending of Mark
                                    From: Bruce

                                    We can perhaps avoid getting tangled in the merits of Ron's and my
                                    different reconstructions of the text, and indeed the page format, of
                                    Mark. The point at issue was whether the disciples' flight was part of
                                    extant Mark. I had said:

                                    BRUCE: The evidence for the flight of the disciples is Mark's
                                    Gethsemane scene.

                                    And I think that will still suffice for the point at issue. It was
                                    part of the evidence for negative material about the disciples in
                                    Mark, and it seems that in any case Ron and I agree that there is such
                                    material in Mark.

                                    The other point at issue was whether there are also passages in Mark
                                    favorable to Peter. There being no rebuttal, I think that conclusion
                                    will now stand.

                                    Then so does the mixed nature of Mark, and the impropriety of picking
                                    out only one strand of Markan opinion or advocacy, and characterizing
                                    the whole of Mark from it.

                                    Whole thing needs a fresh start.

                                    Bruce

                                    E Bruce Brooks
                                    Warring States Project
                                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                                  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                                    ... I do agree with this in general, Dennis. But I wonder how far we can press it? Some thoughts: 1. While I think each gospel is by nature rhetorical
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                                      Dennis wrote:
                                      >Since each of the Gospels was written to press a particular point of view in opposition to other views, I cannot but agree >with Goulder that instances which reflect unfavourably, in Mark, on the family of Jesus are there precisely for that >purpose.

                                      I do agree with this in general, Dennis. But I wonder how far we can press it? Some thoughts:

                                      1. While I think each gospel is by nature rhetorical (advancing a particular perspective, and often perhaps in rebutting some variant perspective), how far would you want to propose this for the "first gospel?" If the purpose of the first gospel was mostly evangelistic, as opposed to didactic or dogmatic, would the rhetorical thrust really be focused around or against some "other thought" that existed? I can see this perhaps in some vague way (e.g., opposing a view that Jesus was a Davidic Messiah), but not sure the first gospel would have been entered into writing with a host of specific issues to oppose.

                                      2. Which then brings me to the level of specificity that such an "oppositional rhetoric" might operate. Are we to think that every item which seems important to Mark has a corresponding social reality that it is constructed to oppose? I see where you go with Jesus's family... there is certainly an issue here. Does this mean, though, by the miracle of mirror-reading, that Jesus's family (and so read James) had a power structure in the church that needed to be opposed? What then do we do with all the disciples who are treated as having "no faith" "lacking understanding" and "hard hearted?" Are we to assume then that the gospel is written in opposition to all of them? [I guess that is the tone of much of this conversation, but it kind of baffles me]

                                      3. But this also assumes that narrative units don't have a more complex way of involving the reader/hearer by identification and by plot design, mechanisms that are often subtle. [and here I would suggest that the suspended ending of Mark 16:8 is precisely what works in the narrative structure of Mark, as shown by many scholars. But that is an aside for Bruce]

                                      4. What seems to lurk behind this "oppositional rhetoric" and its more conventional tool the mirror reading, is the idea of compositional communities. But what if (as Bauckham has suggested in the book already referenced by Jeff Peterson, Gospels for all Christians) the gospels and Mark in particular was written more for external distribution, not for internal polemics. Granted there is still a "particular perspective," but it may be to present one's particular view of the gospel to a larger audience, not to press a point of internal power struggle.

                                      It really goes to some fundamental ways of reading the documents.

                                      mark



                                      Mark A. Matson
                                      Academic Dean
                                      Milligan College
                                      423-461-8720
                                      http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
                                    • E Bruce Brooks
                                      To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: Galilee From: Bruce DENNIS: Brandon is not the only one to find Mark downgrading Peter, since Trocmé
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Apr 12, 2010
                                        To: Synoptic
                                        Cc: GPG
                                        In Response To: Dennis Goffin
                                        On: Galilee
                                        From: Bruce

                                        DENNIS: Brandon is not the only one to find Mark downgrading Peter,
                                        since Trocmé and Goulder do too.

                                        BRUCE: Of pulling many authors off the shelf there is no end. Keeping
                                        for the moment to the text and not to various shades of exegesis,
                                        however selected, the question, as I have been trying not too
                                        successfully to point out, is not whether at SOME point Mark says
                                        things unflattering to Peter, but whether he does so at ALL points.
                                        Oppositional scenarios are fine, but they need to take all the data
                                        into consideration. It may be that there is more than one opposition
                                        in the picture, or that some oppositions are truer of one part of the
                                        picture than of another. That might make the resulting theory less
                                        tidy to some tastes, but hey, life can be like that. It's one of the
                                        chances we take, in doing history. And I think the scholar is
                                        committed in advance to truth over taste. So says Ranke, and I can
                                        only agree.

                                        Mencius (actually one of his successors, 50 years later) has a
                                        wonderful bit of advice for the reader of ancient texts: "Don't louse
                                        up the meaning of the line by your reading of one word; don't louse of
                                        the meaning of the text by your reading of one line." Meaning: read
                                        from large to small, not from small and then run away with it.

                                        DENNIS: I must confess also that I find Bruce's attachment to a
                                        supposedly important Galilean church difficult to substantiate on the
                                        basis of the anathematization of three Galilean towns and Galilee's
                                        inclusion in a list presumably, in my view, merely for completeness in
                                        order to cover the whole of Israel and Judaea.

                                        BRUCE: Take it or leave it; it's a free world (especially in some
                                        places). But with the understanding that if you leave it, you lose
                                        out. What is helpful here is to go a step beyond the previous advice:
                                        One should not just read the whole text, but read the whole SERIES of
                                        texts. There is a Jerusalem Trajectory in the four Gospels, with each
                                        in turn making Galilee of less importance (and Jerusalem of more
                                        importance) in the story of Jesus. These are among the largest-scale
                                        Tendenzes in the canonical texts. I suggest they not be ignored. All
                                        of them without exception (from Mary to Judas and back again) give the
                                        sequence

                                        Mk > Mt > Lk [Ac] > Jn

                                        All these are advocacy texts, like everything else in or out of the
                                        canon, and the thing which they advocate has its local peculiarities,
                                        but it is also subject to some very general evolutionary tendencies in
                                        the early Jesus movement. Here, I suggest, is the master context for
                                        reading any single text, or any single line, in that literature.

                                        Of course, that takes some work. Personal work. If one prefers not to
                                        do one's own thinking, or at least not to do it with assist from only
                                        one corner of the exegetical spectrum, there are several books on the
                                        Galilee matter, one classic being that of Lohmeyer (a little
                                        schematic, but in the right direction), and another being that of
                                        Elliott-Binns (a mere pamphlet, really, and in English too, if German
                                        is too much to ask). People these days have very much bought into the
                                        Acts view of things, but the Acts view of things is itself part of the
                                        above-mentioned Tendenz, and an elementary task of reading is to
                                        correct for Tendenzes. In the light of what we know or can easily
                                        discover about these texts, taking the Gospels (and Acts) as
                                        transcripts of reality is not sound procedure.

                                        Why is Jesus made to curse Chorazin and Bethsaida in Mt 11:21, and
                                        then Capernaum all by itself in Mt 11:23? There is no hint of this in
                                        Mark (in Mark, all the bad guys come from Jerusalem: Mk 3:22, 7:1,
                                        both narratively gratuitous), and by the Trajectory agruments, Mark is
                                        earlier. Then the cursing of Matthew (given Mark, it can't reasonably
                                        be attributed to Jesus) must have its place in the Matthean scheme, at
                                        some point where it differs from the Markan scheme (or schemes).

                                        Then the point for a careful reading is to determine the Sitz im
                                        Matthew of this hatred of Galilee and its pretensions (for which
                                        pretensions, see again Mt 11:23).

                                        I still think there is more work, and more reflection, needed here.

                                        Respectfully suggested,

                                        Bruce

                                        E Bruce Brooks
                                        Warring States Project
                                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                                        [For an attempt to follow out the Mencian reading precept in real
                                        life, those with decent libraries may like to consult E Bruce Brooks
                                        and A Taeko Brooks, Word Philology and Text Philology in Analects 9:1,
                                        in Bryan W Van Norden (ed), Confucius and the Analects: New Studies,
                                        Oxford 2002].
                                      • Dennis Goffin
                                        Mark Wrote: I am not sure the first gospel would have been entered into writing with a host of specific issues to oppose. In this connection, I am indebted
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Apr 13, 2010
                                          Mark Wrote: I am " not sure the first gospel would have been entered into writing with a host of specific issues to oppose."
                                          In this connection, I am indebted to Jeffrey B. Gibson for drawing my attention to the article by Craig Evans on the Priene Calendar Inscription. This article makes clear that 'evaggelion' and 'divi filius' were common usage in respect of the emperors and therefore would naturally come to the mind of a Hellenist Jew living at the crossroads of the ancient world and subject to all its intellectual cross currents as the Jews were. That even Judaism was not able to withstand these influences, is made clear by the infiltration of Persian concepts into latter day apocalypticism. The fact that we have no similar documents that antedate Mark does not, in my view, exclude the possibility that they may have existed, nor is it necessary for such to have existed for Mark to be polemical, since, from the first, there seems to have been a multiplicity of viewpoints, as witness the case of Apollos. The interesting thing about Mark is that it is much more difficult to know where he is coming from and Bruce's work in this direction is a whole new ball game.
                                          Dennis
                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: Matson, Mark (Academic)
                                          To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                                          Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 11:20 PM
                                          Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Mark as a Pauline gospel




                                          Dennis wrote:
                                          >Since each of the Gospels was written to press a particular point of view in opposition to other views, I cannot but agree >with Goulder that instances which reflect unfavourably, in Mark, on the family of Jesus are there precisely for that >purpose.

                                          I do agree with this in general, Dennis. But I wonder how far we can press it? Some thoughts:

                                          1. While I think each gospel is by nature rhetorical (advancing a particular perspective, and often perhaps in rebutting some variant perspective), how far would you want to propose this for the "first gospel?" If the purpose of the first gospel was mostly evangelistic, as opposed to didactic or dogmatic, would the rhetorical thrust really be focused around or against some "other thought" that existed? I can see this perhaps in some vague way (e.g., opposing a view that Jesus was a Davidic Messiah), but not sure the first gospel would have been entered into writing with a host o
                                          f specific issues to oppose.
                                          2. Which then brings me to the level of specificity that such an "oppositional rhetoric" might operate. Are we to think that every item which seems important to Mark has a corresponding social reality that it is constructed to oppose? I see where you go with Jesus's family... there is certainly an issue here. Does this mean, though, by the miracle of mirror-reading, that Jesus's family (and so read James) had a power structure in the church that needed to be opposed? What then do we do with all the disciples who are treated as having "no faith" "lacking understanding" and "hard hearted?" Are we to assume then that the gospel is written in opposition to all of them? [I guess that is the tone of much of this conversation, but it kind of baffles me]

                                          3. But this also assumes that narrative units don't have a more complex way of involving the reader/hearer by identification and by plot design, mechanisms that are often subtle. [and here I would suggest that the suspended ending of Mark 16:8 is precisely what works in the narrative structure of Mark, as shown by many scholars. But that is an aside for Bruce]

                                          4. What seems to lurk behind this "oppositional rhetoric" and its more conventional tool the mirror reading, is the idea of compositional communities. But what if (as Bauckham has suggested in the book already referenced by Jeff Peterson, Gospels for all Christians) the gospels and Mark in particular was written more for external distribution, not for internal polemics. Granted there is still a "particular perspective," but it may be to present one's particular view of the gospel to a larger audience, not to press a point of internal power struggle.

                                          It really goes to some fundamental ways of reading the documents.

                                          mark

                                          Mark A. Matson
                                          Academic Dean
                                          Milligan College
                                          423-461-8720
                                          http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm




                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • E Bruce Brooks
                                          To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Mark Matson On: Motive and Method in Mark From: Bruce MARK: If the purpose of the first gospel . . . BRUCE: Suggested
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Apr 13, 2010
                                            To: Synoptic
                                            Cc: GPG
                                            In Response To: Mark Matson
                                            On: Motive and Method in Mark
                                            From: Bruce

                                            MARK: If the purpose of the first gospel . . .

                                            BRUCE: Suggested convention: "first Gospel" is ambiguous. In NT usage,
                                            that phrase normally means "first canonical Gospel = Matthew," but for
                                            many who have examined the Synoptic question it all too readily
                                            suggests "Mark." I suggest using the specific names "Matthew" and
                                            "Mark," for maximum comfort and minimum confusion, and foregoing
                                            synonyms.

                                            MARK: . . . was mostly evangelistic, as opposed to didactic or
                                            dogmatic, would the rhetorical thrust really be focused around or
                                            against some "other thought" that existed?

                                            BRUCE: That question assumes a purpose which we do not begin by
                                            knowing, as a way to decide questions whose answers we also don't
                                            know. I think the logic of such an approach is faulty. I would urge
                                            instead that we can best detect the purpose or purposes of a text, not
                                            by assuming anything at all, but by examining the text. And we have
                                            some bases for doing so, as well as some precedents for recognizing
                                            the dominant purpose of a such texts as have a dominant purpose. For
                                            instance, the two halves of the Didache, the minor letters such as 1
                                            Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Acts of Philip, are all useful
                                            contrastive specimens. They show us somewhat purer samples of what
                                            might have been going on in any less obvious or less simple text. From
                                            them, we can begin to acquaint ourselves with at least some of the
                                            possibilities, including polemical, parenetic, and so on. The doctor
                                            who can recognize tuberculosis and pneumonia has a better chance of
                                            sizing up the situation of a patient who, in fact, has both.

                                            As for "mostly," well, that is a quantitative judgement, which I
                                            should think must follow on previous qualitative judgements: what
                                            purposes can we detect in this text? And then comes, Which (if any)
                                            was the main one?

                                            So much for texts which we may call primary. There are also secondary
                                            texts, like the Pastorals in their present form (I here follow
                                            Harrison). They were evidently written chiefly in order to insert into
                                            the already accepted and authoritative pronouncements of Paul some
                                            strictures against earlier Pauline practices, such as women talking in
                                            church. I think that Winsome Munro goes too far to posit a similar
                                            insertion in 1 Peter, but be that as it may, the purpose of the texts
                                            that do this is to alter an existing canon of communal behavior.
                                            There's another category, albeit a subversive one. But we need not be
                                            too hard on the Pastoral fakers; most texts that have a purpose at all
                                            could probably be said to intend to subvert existing opinion, or lack
                                            of opinion.

                                            Presumably all the possible purposes of texts have been worked out,
                                            and provided with examples, and all I have to do to unconfuse myself
                                            on this point is to consult that list. Could someone give me a
                                            reference to it?

                                            MARK: . . . not sure the first gospel would have been entered into
                                            writing with a host of specific issues to oppose.

                                            BRUCE: Nobody with any sense is "sure" of anything, in the cloudy year
                                            2010, but meanwhile, one does one's best. My own hunch, based on some
                                            experience with texts in one place or another, is that texts are
                                            mostly written for reasons. What the issue or issues may have been in
                                            the case of, say, Matthew (we need not call them a "host" until we
                                            know more about the text) needs work. I don't think we can say a
                                            priori that there will be one, or two, or seven (see the Letters to
                                            Seven Churches in Revelation). Or none. Or anything. We need to look
                                            at the text, which, if anything, will contain the answer. Expectations
                                            about the answer don't have any weight at all. They just get in the
                                            way; they darken counsel, they inhibit technique, they polarize in
                                            advance of anything to get polarized about. Not recommended.

                                            MARK: Are we to think that every item which seems important to Mark
                                            has a corresponding social reality that it is constructed to oppose?

                                            BRUCE: To my eye at least, lots of things seem to be important to
                                            Mark. He doesn't oppose all of them. He is positive toward quite a
                                            few. For instance, he is concerned, at some points, to demonstrate the
                                            power of Jesus (what other purpose can readily be seen behind the
                                            Stilling of the Waves?). Probably he thought it was important that
                                            people know that. That's not oppositional, except in the universal
                                            sense that all teaching is opposed to ignorance. As for the things he
                                            DOES oppose, presumably he thought they were both real and current, or
                                            why would he bother?

                                            I don't know how to distinguish "social" reality from any other kind,
                                            but real enough to be concerned about. The Epistle of Jacob would
                                            presumably not bother to chide its recipients about snobbing the poor
                                            man among them, unless this was really happening, no?

                                            MARK: I see where you go with Jesus's family... there is certainly an
                                            issue here. Does this mean, though, by the miracle of mirror-reading,
                                            . . .

                                            BRUCE: I, for one, can do without these snide passing
                                            characterizations. Let's start over, if we may, and I will rephrase
                                            the question in less distracting terms:

                                            MARK: I see where you go with Jesus's family. There is certainly an
                                            issue here. Does this mean, though, that Jesus's family (and so read
                                            James) had a power structure in the church that needed to be opposed?

                                            BRUCE: Tilt. It is not given that "Jesus's family" in Mark must be
                                            decoded to mean "Jacob." Is that reading indicated? That is the
                                            question, and we can only go to the text to find out. To put that
                                            question in a form in which philology can answer it, I propound it
                                            thus: How does one naturally read that sentence? I don't know about
                                            modern exegesis, but I am tempted to invoke the aid of an earlier
                                            commentator, namely Jesus in the next line. What he does is this: He
                                            proceeds to define who his "family" are. He would seem to me making
                                            the point that his real family are not his blood kin, but his fellow
                                            doers of God's will. I will venture to quote Jesus here:

                                            "[And looking around him, at those who sat about him, he said] Here
                                            are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is my
                                            brother, and sister, and mother." [Mk 3:24-25]

                                            Here, it would seem (subject to correction), is a validation of the
                                            new family, the righteous believers in God's promise, those who have
                                            accepted the Good News. (There are other passages in Mark, if
                                            confirmation were needed, that confirm this sense of the community).

                                            Of course these cannot be believers in Jesus's Resurrection, since
                                            that has not happened yet. I should say that they are one of our few
                                            firsthand glimpses of a Galilean believer community, with Jesus (by
                                            his own account) one of its members, all of them knit together by a
                                            common belief about God. Exactly what that was, we might wish we know.
                                            But that it was about God and not about Jesus himself, Jesus is here
                                            telling us. I don't know how much higher or more inward eyewitness
                                            authority we can expect on this point.

                                            If so, then the reading of the passage as an attack on the Jerusalem
                                            splinter group will not stand. The "new family" reading has used up
                                            the material. Nothing is left over to interpret another way.

                                            And if we WERE to single out one of the named persons in this passage
                                            against whom to imagine the whole comment of Jesus to be directed, it
                                            would probably not be any of his brothers, let alone his sisters, but
                                            his mother. Does this justify an interpretation that Mark is here
                                            opposing an early growth of the Marian cult? Nope. For the reason
                                            above stated: Jesus is not opposing one family member; he is
                                            redefining "family." And when we have said that, we have said all that
                                            the passage entitles us to say. Done.

                                            MARK: What then do we do with all the disciples who are treated as
                                            having "no faith" "lacking understanding" and "hard hearted?" Are we
                                            to assume then that the gospel is written in opposition to all of
                                            them? [I guess that is the tone of much of this conversation, but it
                                            kind of baffles me]

                                            BRUCE: Well, bafflement is a fair enough response to Mark or to any
                                            serious conversation about it; Mark can be a baffling Gospel. Until we
                                            come to realize that it opposes at some points what it praises or
                                            accepts at other points. It not only has a lot of enemies, it has them
                                            at different places.

                                            That is, Mark as we meet it on the page is simply gibberish, unless we
                                            do one of two things (or more, but at this moment I can only think of
                                            two): (1) Ignore some of the data, and so get a consistent Mark, and
                                            that Mark can be anything one likes, as long as one ignores the right
                                            sets of contrary data; or (2) Collate the points at which Mark seems
                                            to take the SAME view of things, and then separately collate the
                                            points as which he seems to take a DIFFERENT view of those things, and
                                            see what kind of sense those two defined data sets may make. I can't
                                            speak for anybody else, but (2) is more or less what I am trying to
                                            do. Naturally I recommend the same to others.

                                            And how does one do that? Well, take the poor disciples. At some
                                            points in Mark, three of them are treated as privileged intimates;
                                            they are chosen (and others are specifically left behind) to be
                                            present at the healing of Jairus' daughter, and the same three are
                                            similarly chosen to witness the scene at which Jesus (with Moses and
                                            Elijah) is transfigured, and at a few other places. There is no
                                            suggestion that they interfere with the healing by raising objections
                                            in the one case, or spoil the vision by refusing to credit it in the
                                            other; quite the contrary. They have, on any reasonable reading of the
                                            respective passages, full acceptance by Jesus and full understanding
                                            of what they witness in his company, on both those occasions.

                                            So far so good? OK, now we proceed.

                                            There are other passages where we DO find the disciples berated as
                                            being "hard of heart" (sometimes by Jesus, sometimes by the narrative
                                            voice) and as lacking understanding; even as being afraid to ask
                                            questions that might clear up their lack of understanding.

                                            So does Mark celebrate or oppose the disciples? Evidently both, but
                                            (and here is where it gets interesting) at different places. The next
                                            thing to do is to examine the respective places, and see just what it
                                            is the disciples are privy to when they are treated favorably, and
                                            what it is they cannot understand when they are said not to understand.

                                            We have a weekend coming up, ideal for such an investigation, and we
                                            have a lot of lead time left before the weekend starts, ideal for
                                            emptying the mind of prior ideas, so as to be open to what the text of
                                            Mark is actually doing, when we finally pick it up on the weekend.

                                            I will stop here in order to close with that action proposal, which is
                                            warmly recommended for anybody interested in finding out what, or what
                                            things, Mark, or conceivably a succession of persons who had their
                                            hand in the formation of the text of Mark, is (or are) up to.

                                            Respectfully suggested,

                                            Bruce

                                            E Bruce Brooks
                                            Warring States Project
                                            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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