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RE: [Synoptic-L] Leaven of Pharisees and Herod

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  • 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 1 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
      ________________________________________


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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 2 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 3 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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