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RE: [Synoptic-L] Mark's dependence on Paul

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Yes. And therefore, his knowledge was indirect, not direct. Since your point-counterpoint goes on in the same manner, I ll let you have the last word. Bob
    Message 1 of 25 , Oct 13, 2011
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      At 04:15 AM 10/13/2011, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
      >To: Synoptic (GPG)
      >In Response To: Bob Schacht
      >On: Paul and Atonement
      >From: Bruce
      >
      >BOB: Paul had virtually no direct knowledge of the person of Jesus of
      >Nazareth.
      >
      >BRUCE: According to 2Cor 5:16 and other places, Paul was aware of knowledge
      >of Jesus "after the flesh," but determined not to pay attention to it;
      >everything for Paul is in Jesus's death. What I get here is not exactly
      >ignorance but resistance. He does not accept what the direct-knowledge
      >people say about Jesus during his lifetime....

      Yes. And therefore, his knowledge was indirect, not direct. Since
      your point-counterpoint goes on in the same manner, I'll let you have
      the last word.

      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University




      >BOB: He was traveling among people who, likewise, had no direct knowledge
      >of Jesus.
      >
      >BRUCE: Depends how far Jesus traveled, and how far the Jesus missionaries
      >had traveled, before Jesus's death. My impression (from Mark) is that the
      >range went well into Syria, quite possibly Damascus though less likely
      >Antioch. Ignoring the Jerusalem-centered career of Paul as a Lukan fiction
      >(undertaken for the best of reasons, but still a fiction), it is not
      >necessarily impossible that Paul's first persecutions were among people who
      >had been reached by those with direct knowledge of Jesus before his death.
      >
      >BOB: Furthermore, Jesus did not leave behind a "Guide to my crucifixion and
      >resurrection: meaning and interpretation." The closest thing we have any
      >inkling of is the Markan tradition, repeated a number of times-- e.g. Mark
      >8, "31 And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many
      >things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes,
      >and be killed, and after three days rise again."
      >
      >BRUCE: Problem is that one of those predictions is interpolated, which
      >impugns the whole set. If we follow out the implications, it means that
      >Jesus's death was unexpected by him and his followers. There is a good deal
      >of evidence in support; I have previously referred to Yarbro Collins (whose
      >reconstruction of the original Passion Narrative lacks a Burial and
      >Resurrection narrative altogether, also Peter Kirby's study of the earliest
      >tradition of Jesus's death. Then just as the Markan predictions of Jesus's
      >resurrection are textually secondary, so is the Markan account of Jesus's
      >resurrection. They are not biographical facts, they are later church
      >theories, put into Mark's narrative as facts, but not what Mark originally
      >reported as facts. Mark's gospel ended triumphantly, to be sure, but it was
      >not that kind of triumph.
      >
      >BOB: IIRC, that's about all that Jesus had to say, according to our sources,
      >about his own death and resurrection.
      >
      >BRUCE: I agree, and I note that it comes to nothing. Jesus had no
      >presentiment of his death. It suited later believers to think that he had,
      >but that is a different question.
      >
      >BOB: So, I rather imagine that Paul had a good many discussions with many
      >people about the meaning of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
      >
      >BRUCE: The big event here, I would think, is the impression of Peter and
      >after him a few others, that Jesus had appeared to them after his death,
      >giving them assurance that he was, if not still alive "after the flesh" at
      >least operative in the world. Mk 14:28 and 16:7 make Jesus predict that this
      >vision will occur, but again, these happen to be the two most obvious
      >interpolations in Mark, accepted by many as such, though not everyone cares
      >to explore the implications very far. The implications are that the
      >reappearance of Jesus was unexpected by those who had that vision, just as
      >Jesus's death was unexpected by himself.
      >
      >As for Paul, he himself confines his knowledge to a vision of his own, plus
      >a few days, later on, with Peter. We should not imagine Paul as at first
      >curious about Jesus; rather, according to his own account, he hated Jesus
      >and all that his early followers stood for, as an offense against Jewish
      >doctrine, and sought to kill them all he could. It was his experience of the
      >vision, however you visualize it (and Paul visualizes it rather differently
      >than Luke, a thing we have come to expect from Luke), that turned him
      >around. More or less literally.
      >
      >BOB: Furthermore, I suspect that the idea of the atonement took shape and
      >evolved during Paul's lifetime, as he tried to make sense of Jesus' life
      >and death (and resurrection.)
      >
      >BRUCE: Not Paul, but the Jesus followers after Jesus's unexpected death. And
      >in several stages. First no resurrection, then the idea of a resurrection,
      >and probably quite a bit later, the reading of an Atonement idea into the
      >resurrection (the sacrificial interpretation of Jesus's death).
      >
      >BOB: And, of course, Paul was not alone in this effort.
      >
      >BRUCE: He was not part of it; see above. And among the Jesus followers, some
      >stood apart from it, and were content to continue to follow Jesus as a
      >John-the-Baptist style guide to salvation.
      >
      >BOB: . . . But I doubt that Jesus had such conversations with Peter or his
      >brother James, unless it was at the "first Apostolic Conference" in
      >Jerusalem.
      >
      >BRUCE: Agreed that no such conversations were held, by anybody, during
      >Jesus's lifetime. The problem with which any such conversations dealt did
      >not arise until after Jesus's death. Nor is it necessarily valid to imagine
      >a "democratic" model of Jesus theory, as arising from the reasoning together
      >of people on the same authority level. The resurrection was, for a short
      >time, an idea held only by Peter, later by a few other select persons, but
      >all of them persons having stature in the movement, not just some Eddie from
      >Chorazin. I think we are on statistically better ground in imagining these
      >doctrines as arising among persons of some authority in the movement. As far
      >as the Resurrection goes, the finger of anecdotal evidence seems to point to
      >Peter. Which makes it that much more logical that the early Paul would seek
      >him out for a first-hand account of that experience.
      >
      >BOB: In other words, although Paul may have had a role in shaping the
      >debate, I doubt that it sprung fully formed from his forehead.
      >
      >BRUCE: Paul did not invent the Resurrection, a concept which arose among
      >Jesus's early followers already in the early Thirties. We have not so far
      >succeeded in finding anyone but Paul who held the Atonement interpretation
      >of Jesus's death, but we have pushed its emergence back behind his first
      >literary leavings, and thus into the Forties. This, as it happens, coincides
      >with the probable date at which at least one of the two places in Mark which
      >reflect that doctrine entered the text of Mark, namely, the middle Forties.
      >So either Paul thought of it, or someone else about that time thought of it.
      >
      >Who might have thought of it? Someone with a deep sense of the meaning of
      >sacrifice, that is, the idea that an evil in one place can translate into a
      >good in another place. No one familiar with soldierly tradition will find
      >this at all strange, but we seem not to be dealing here with soldiers; more
      >likely priests. The priests were especially thick in Jerusalem, and it may
      >be that the doctrine arose among the Jesus followers in Jerusalem; they
      >would also have been the ones to benefit most from it, in terms of authority
      >contests with others of light and leading in the movement, especially the
      >Galilean leaders. Also consider the tourist trade: On Mark's account, both
      >the preaching of Jesus and the reappearance of Jesus took place Galilee, but
      >as to the DEATH of Jesus, well, on that the Jerusalemers have an absolute
      >monopoly. The more the DEATH of Jesus can be developed as central to the
      >meaning of Jesus, the more the Jerusalemers stand to acquire standing as
      >those on the scene. That is speculative (though not unreasonable). What
      >about confirmation? Do we see hints in the record of conflicts of authority
      >between Jerusalem and Galilee? Wow, do we ever; both Luke and Matthew (and
      >who copied from whom it is not now necessary to adjudicate) make Jesus side
      >with the Jerusalemers, and curse the churches of Galilee, above all the
      >probably leading church of Capernaum. So yes, there was an authority war.
      >And Matthew and Luke, in some order, were on the Jerusalem side of it.
      >
      >If the idea arose in Jerusalem, then Paul of Tarsus, whose activities were
      >confined to the north, did not invent it. If he did not invent it, it must,
      >when it reached him, have been very agreeable to his sensibilities. Since
      >Paul was a strict Pharisee, the idea of sacrifice, though perhaps not at the
      >surface of his consciousness, will have been underneath there somewhere, a
      >unifying concept ready to be activated by a sufficient stimulus. I here wish
      >to suggest that contact with the Jerusalem Atonement idea may have been that
      >stimulus. Now, have we any grounds for thinking that Paul visited Jerusalem
      >sometime in the middle Forties? Yes, we do. Paul dates just such a visit,
      >and identifies it as dealing with questions of doctrine, in the fourteenth
      >year of his conversion. Now, these figures have caused endless worry among
      >the Paul researchers; they cannot quite be made to jibe with reason or with
      >other evidence. I suggest that they can be reconciled if we regard Paul as
      >having (a little inaccurately, but in order not to postdate by too much the
      >revelations to Peter and the Twelve) inwardly dated his vision of Jesus to
      >the year of Jesus's death, 30. If so, then his doctrinal visit to Jerusalem
      >will have been in the year 44. Again, we have a convergence of evidence for
      >the Atonement doctrine, both Pauline and Markan, in the middle Forties.
      >
      >BOB: But most of the analysis taking place here is based on literary
      >sources, so we will probably never know the details of how the doctrine of
      >the atonement developed and came into being. I think the differences between
      >Mark and Paul indicates that the early Christians were kicking the idea
      >around, but had not yet put the idea in writing.
      >
      >BRUCE: I think its first appearance in writing is the late interpolations in
      >Mark already referred to. Now we can notice that Mark (according to
      >persistent anecdotal tradition) was a Jerusalemer. Certainty in detail is
      >not available in these matters, but I think we have a general chronology
      >that pretty much works. Then the idea arose in Jerusalem, and existed there
      >by 44. Mark, who had not originally held it, came to be impressed byh it,
      >and stuck it in at a couple places in his previously written Gospel, one of
      >the places being necessarily written shortly after 44. Paul, who visited
      >Jerusalem in 44, may have picked it up at that time.
      >
      >As for names and faces, there is more to be done with the exact sequence of
      >things before and after the execution of Jim Zebedee, but perhaps not very
      >conveniently in this message.
      >
      >Bruce
      >
      >E Bruce Brooks
      >University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      >
      >Copyright C 2011 by E Bruce Brooks
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >------------------------------------
      >
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