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Re: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and leaven of Herod

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  • Chuck Jones
    In Mark Herod appears only in relationship to JtB.  The only time he s mentioned in relationship to Jesus is when he fears that Jesus in the reincarnation of
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 22, 2012
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      In Mark Herod appears only in relationship to JtB.  The only time he's mentioned in relationship to Jesus is when he fears that Jesus in the reincarnation of John.

      Interestingly, thought, the Pharisees and Herodians appear in Mk twice, when he first foreshadows J's death in chapter 3 and during the temple debates of passion week.  "The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him" (3:6);  "Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said" (12:13).

      The only agenda the Pharisees and Herodians share in Mk is doing away with Jesus.  I'm not sure how this fits in, but it does not seem coincidental or unimportant.

      Chuck

      Rev. Chuck Jones
      Atlanta, Georgia


      ________________________________
      From: David Mealand <D.Mealand@...>
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 1:22 PM
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and leaven of Herod


       

      Mark M raised a question about the passage in
      Mark warning against the leaven of two groups of
      people. Jeffrey responded by citing his piece in
      JSNT which argues, to my mind with some justice, that
      the context portrays the disciples as resisting
      Jesus' inclusion of Gentiles. His further point
      is that this places them with other sources of
      resistance such as (according to Mk 8.15) Pharisees
      and "Herod" (i.e. Antipas). I am not quite so sure
      about this point, as I can see that these groups can be
      seen as sources of resistance, but objection to
      the inclusion of Gentiles would be an issue that fits
      slightly better with the first group, and not at all so
      well with Herod Antipas, unless I have missed something.

      It could be that the thesis also cited by Jeffrey deals
      further with this point, but I can only see the abstract
      at present.

      So it would seem that, to try to answer the original question,
      the "leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod" might
      then perhaps represent two types of resistance, of which the first
      would be closer to that in the preceding narrative. Or
      we need some further reason to think that Antipas was not only
      hostile (for which we have some evidence) but also resistant
      because of the _inclusiveness_ of the message, at least as
      Mark understands the situation. So I still have some residual
      puzzlement about this curious passage.

      David M.

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

      --
      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
      Scotland, with registration number SC005336.




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Matson, Mark (Academic)
      Jeffrey (and David Meadland also for his helpful comments): Thank you so much for this. Sorry I was delayed in getting a chance to read it. I see that you
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 23, 2012
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        Jeffrey (and David Meadland also for his helpful comments):

        Thank you so much for this. Sorry I was delayed in getting a chance to read it.

        I see that you agree that the pericope 8:14-21 is part of a larger scheme in which the disciples are upraided for their hardness of heart. I have been influenced on this by Mary Ann Tolbert and the way that the sower parable interprets much of at least the first half of the gospel. And in this vein, this pericope is a critical one.

        And I understand, and am attracted to, the idea that much of the "content" of the lack of understanding or willingness to accept by the disciples involves a broader view of mission (to outsiders, in particular for you the Gentiles). I have understood this to be a major issue for the conflict between the historical Jesus and his opponents (centering heavily on my understanding of the temple incident); while I had not read it as a major theme embedded in Mark's narrative, it is intriguing and will give me some further re-reading work.

        What I still don't get is the issue of Herod and Pharisees in this narrative emplotment. Perhaps we can read the Pharisees as particularly interested in Jewish "seperatism." I guess that makes sense, though has Mark developed the Pharisees in that fashion in the gospel (I am concerned here of Mark's specific character development, and what a reader might have been expectedt to bring to the interpretion of 8:15). More difficult for me is the character of Herod. How does "the leaven of Herod" involve a critique of Jesus' Gentile perspective and ministry? Wouldn't the use of Herod here simply have confused the issue?

        mark

        Mark A. Matson
        Milligan College
        http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

        ________________________________
        From: Jgibson [jgibson000@...]
        Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 4:08 PM
        To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: Matson, Mark (Academic)
        Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and Herod

        On 4/19/2012 2:54 PM, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:

        Dear List:

        In a recent Master's thesis defense, I stumbled across a section in Mark that I had not considered before, and frankly am having a bit of a time making sense of it in Mark's narrative flow.

        In Mark 8:15, shortly after the feeding of the 4000, the Pharisees come and argue with Jesus "seeking a sign from heaven and testing him," which request Jesus rejects. He immediately travels with the disciples to the other side, and his discussion with the disciples begins with "Take heed beware (horate blepete) of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." And he then chastises them for their lack of understanding/faith about the feeding of the 5000 and 4000.

        I have always read Mk 8:14-21 as a narrative conclusion to the various "not perceiving/ not understanding / hardening of heart" episodes that begin with the Isaiah quote in Mk 4:12 and make up a big element in Mark's "secrecy / misunderstanding" motif. As such, the passage in 8:14-21 represents the final recognition that the disciples really DON'T get it, just before Peter's tentative proclamation that Jesus is the Christ reclaims the disciples from being written off as hopeless.

        What I had never paid attention to is the passage "leaven of Pharisees and Herod," and in particular the leaven of Herod. What's it doing there?

        I might add that Matthew changes this to "leaven of Pharisees and Saducees," which makes a bit more sense, especially when he interprets this in Mt 16:12 as "the teaching of the Pharisees and Saducees." [though why Jesus should be concerned about their teaching at this point is still somewhat mysterious]. Luke does not have this parallel, since it reports no feeding of 4000, or this conclusion to it, though he does have a floating saying "beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" connected with a (so-called) Q item.

        I am intrigued by the reference to Herod (and not Herodians), and in this particular context. Has anyone worked on this and able to shed any light on what Mark might have been doing here (a) narratively, or (b) with sources / redaction?

        Yes. See my The Rebuke of the Disciples in Mark 8.14-21 (http://jnt.sagepub.com/content/8/27/31.extract) and especially the thesis of J.Ted Blakeley, Incomprehension or Resistance?:The Markan Disciples and the Narrative Logic of Mark 4:1–8:30 (abstract here: http://www.blakleycreative.com/jtb/) that builds upon what I wrote.

        Jeffrey


        --
        ---
        Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. Oxon.
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd
        Chicago, Il.
        jgibson000@...<mailto:jgibson000@...>
      • Matson, Mark (Academic)
        Chuck: Thank you for this thought on the Herod/Pharisees comment in Mark 8:15. I suppose it could be a comment about opposition in the face of miracles.
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 23, 2012
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          Chuck:

          Thank you for this thought on the "Herod/Pharisees" comment in Mark 8:15. I suppose it could be a comment about opposition in the face of miracles. But my question about Herod remains -- why cite Herod? Has he shown himself in the gospel to be a particular opponent of Jesus (or is the opposition to John the Baptist carrying over and by implication/identification attached also to Jesus -- which is perhaps what Mar 6:14-16 is supposed to do)? But it is curious: Herod, while he did kill JohnB, seemed to have been fascinated (positively) with him and the death is attributed more to Herodias and her daughter. So for me Herod doesn't stand out as excercising any particular animus toward Jesus. Maybe fear, but is that a basis for some "leavening" activity of opposition to Jesus?


          Mark A. Matson
          Milligan College
          http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
          ________________________________________
          From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chuck Jones [chuckjonez@...]
          Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 11:36 AM
          To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and Herod

          Mark,

          Here is a personal reflection. I wonder Jesus' comment is similar to GJohn in 4:23-25: "Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people [Jesus didn't believe it; he knew how people are - CJ]. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person."

          Maybe Jesus is saying "our movement may look invincible right now (after the feeding), but the Pharisees (in Galilee) and Herod/the Sadducees (in Judea) will not stop opposing us and have the power to undo everything we are doing--even in the minds of the people."

          Maybe?

          Chuck

          Rev. Chuck Jones
          Atlanta, Georgia




          ________________________________
          From: "Matson, Mark (Academic)" <MAMatson@...>
          To: "Synoptic@yahoogroups.com" <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 3:54 PM
          Subject: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and Herod



          Dear List:

          In a recent Master's thesis defense, I stumbled across a section in Mark that I had not considered before, and frankly am having a bit of a time making sense of it in Mark's narrative flow.

          In Mark 8:15, shortly after the feeding of the 4000, the Pharisees come and argue with Jesus "seeking a sign from heaven and testing him," which request Jesus rejects. He immediately travels with the disciples to the other side, and his discussion with the disciples begins with "Take heed beware (horate blepete) of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." And he then chastises them for their lack of understanding/faith about the feeding of the 5000 and 4000.

          I have always read Mk 8:14-21 as a narrative conclusion to the various "not perceiving/ not understanding / hardening of heart" episodes that begin with the Isaiah quote in Mk 4:12 and make up a big element in Mark's "secrecy / misunderstanding" motif. As such, the passage in 8:14-21 represents the final recognition that the disciples really DON'T get it, just before Peter's tentative proclamation that Jesus is the Christ reclaims the disciples from being written off as hopeless.

          What I had never paid attention to is the passage "leaven of Pharisees and Herod," and in particular the leaven of Herod. What's it doing there?

          I might add that Matthew changes this to "leaven of Pharisees and Saducees," which makes a bit more sense, especially when he interprets this in Mt 16:12 as "the teaching of the Pharisees and Saducees." [though why Jesus should be concerned about their teaching at this point is still somewhat mysterious]. Luke does not have this parallel, since it reports no feeding of 4000, or this conclusion to it, though he does have a floating saying "beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" connected with a (so-called) Q item.

          I am intrigued by the reference to Herod (and not Herodians), and in this particular context. Has anyone worked on this and able to shed any light on what Mark might have been doing here (a) narratively, or (b) with sources / redaction?

          mark
          Mark A. Matson
          Milligan College
          http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
          ________________________________________


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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        • Matson, Mark (Academic)
          Good point, Chuck. But it raises the question of who the Herodians are, and their relationship to Herod. And why this combination of people would want to
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 23, 2012
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            Good point, Chuck. But it raises the question of who the "Herodians" are, and their relationship to Herod. And why this combination of people would want to destroy Jesus. In 3:6, the context is the healing of a man with withered hand on the sabbath. It is curious to me that "Herodians" would have been upset about a sabbath healing; Herod and his followers weren't particularly known for being strict sabbatarians were they?

            Mark A. Matson
            Milligan College
            http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
            ________________________________________
            From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chuck Jones [chuckjonez@...]
            Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 5:28 PM
            To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and leaven of Herod

            In Mark Herod appears only in relationship to JtB. The only time he's mentioned in relationship to Jesus is when he fears that Jesus in the reincarnation of John.

            Interestingly, thought, the Pharisees and Herodians appear in Mk twice, when he first foreshadows J's death in chapter 3 and during the temple debates of passion week. "The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him" (3:6); "Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said" (12:13).

            The only agenda the Pharisees and Herodians share in Mk is doing away with Jesus. I'm not sure how this fits in, but it does not seem coincidental or unimportant.

            Chuck

            Rev. Chuck Jones
            Atlanta, Georgia


            ________________________________
          • Chuck Jones
            Mark, I assume we are to understand in Mark 3 that the Pharisees would need the power and influence of the ruling elite in Jerusalem to get Jesus killed.  I
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 23, 2012
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              Mark,

              I assume we are to understand in Mark 3 that the Pharisees would need the power and influence of the ruling elite in Jerusalem to get Jesus killed.  I think Mk intends irony that the Pharisees would collude with the hated Jerusalem establishment (and it doesn't get more elite than Herod's officials and lackeys) in order to kill Jesus.  I think he also intends irony when the groups join together again to try to trap Jesus in his words.

              The motives of the Jerusalem elite for killing Jesus are alluded a few times in the gospels.  They benefited from law and order prevailing in Judea.  They would have wanted to remove a stand-up comic if said comic had the ability to gather a huge crowd during a festival.  Content didn't matter to them; the potential for social unrest did.

              Chuck

              Rev. Chuck Jones
              Atlanta, Georgia


              ________________________________
              From: "Matson, Mark (Academic)" <MAMatson@...>
              To: "Synoptic@yahoogroups.com" <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 10:07 AM
              Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and leaven of Herod


               
              Good point, Chuck. But it raises the question of who the "Herodians" are, and their relationship to Herod. And why this combination of people would want to destroy Jesus. In 3:6, the context is the healing of a man with withered hand on the sabbath. It is curious to me that "Herodians" would have been upset about a sabbath healing; Herod and his followers weren't particularly known for being strict sabbatarians were they?

              Mark A. Matson
              Milligan College
              http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
              ________________________________________
              From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chuck Jones [chuckjonez@...]
              Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 5:28 PM
              To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and leaven of Herod

              In Mark Herod appears only in relationship to JtB. The only time he's mentioned in relationship to Jesus is when he fears that Jesus in the reincarnation of John.

              Interestingly, thought, the Pharisees and Herodians appear in Mk twice, when he first foreshadows J's death in chapter 3 and during the temple debates of passion week. "The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him" (3:6); "Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said" (12:13).

              The only agenda the Pharisees and Herodians share in Mk is doing away with Jesus. I'm not sure how this fits in, but it does not seem coincidental or unimportant.

              Chuck

              Rev. Chuck Jones
              Atlanta, Georgia

              ________________________________


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