- To: Synoptic
In Supplement To: Previous Thread
On: Mk 13
I am supposed to be superintending an international conference at this
moment, and so can't give the question the research it deserves, but as a
supplement to previous discussion, I did come across one case of a previous
commentator feeling that Mk 13 was intrusive in context. Here is part of the
entry from Sean Kealy: Mark's Gospel, A History of Its Interpretation
(Paulist 1982), p195f, under date of 1968(b):
"Rudolph Pesch wrote Naherwartungen Tradition und Redaktion in Mark 13
(Dusselforf). Like Marxsen Pesch finds chapter 13 of Mark of key importance
and he gives it a similar date [Rome, soon after 70], although he interprets
it quite differently. He finds an elaborate structural pattern in Mark of
six sections, each in three parts with 6 + 2 + 6 pericopae. However, since
chapter 13 does not fit into this carefully ordered plan, Pesch concludes
that it was a later addition which Mark inserted when he was concluding his
gospel. It was so important to Mark that he allowed it to disturb his order.
Originally it was a kind of apocalyptic broadsheet [ie, a separate document,
circulating separately] which derived from the time when Caligula endeavored
to set up his image in the Jerusalem temple. It was revived in Christian
circles during the Jewish war when excited expectations of the coming of
Christ were aroused, expectations which naturally led to a disappointment.
Mark made some changes in this prophecy and inserted it at the most striking
point in his narrative just before the passion story. His aim was to meet a
twofold danger of too enthusiastic a hope and on the other hand the
disappointment of unfulfilled hopes. His aim was to teach watchfulness and a
more cautious hope of the coming parousia (13-37)."
Pesch retained his six-part Markan division scheme in his 1977 two-volume
commentary. The end of the entry identifies the divisions between Pesch's
six Markan sections as 3:6, 6:19, 8:26, 10:52, and 12:44, with Mk 13 still
being regarded as an interpolation, which violates that form.
There are several separable questions which Pesch has bundled here, among
which are (a) the six-part form of Mark, (b) the identification of Mk 13 as
an interpolation (which need not rest on that formal analysis, though the
analysis if valid would assist the identification), and (c) the assumption
that "Mark" is the same person throughout the text formation process.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst