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Seasonal (Judas)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Repeated From: WSW On: Seasonal Note (Judas) From: Bruce Judas is hot these days, with one bestseller after another ripping off the presses. I
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 15, 2006
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      To: Synoptic
      Repeated From: WSW
      On: Seasonal Note (Judas)
      From: Bruce

      Judas is hot these days, with one bestseller after another ripping off the
      presses. I don't keep up very well with the presses, but it is always
      interesting to be reminded of the older texts, in this case the Gospel of
      Mark. I might call it the oldseller approach. I will here sketch in what I
      have found in the oldseller material, but it takes a certain amount of time,
      so those who are doing something else this morning should delete this note,
      and go back to doing it. Comments from any others, in any form, are most
      welcome.

      JUDAS

      Judas was the betrayer of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark (to which I here confine
      myself) says so thrice, and two of those statements seem to be firmly
      grounded in narrative context, and thus not formally suspect as
      interpolations. That is, the oldest Mark so far available to philology
      accepts and displays that fact. What is less well grounded in the text is
      the notion that Judas was not merely a follower of Jesus, but one of his
      intimate circle. This second claim, this claim of an intimate betrayer, of
      course makes for more exciting reading. It stirs the readership to a higher
      pitch of indignation. But given its textually precarious situation in Mark,
      it probably represents a later legendary expansion. Then Mark is an
      expansion text, not written at one time but containing several stages of the
      growth of legends or traditions among at least one subset of early Christian
      believers. That is the end conclusion. The rest of the note is a rough
      suggestion of how we might reach that end conclusion.

      LAST SUPPER

      This is described in some detail in Mk 14:12-26. I give it below,
      *emphasizing* one term of interest (having to do with the Twelve) and
      indenting the portion to which it is desired to direct attention:

      [12] And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the
      Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, Where will you have us go and
      prepare for you to eat the Passover?
      [13] And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, Go into the city,
      and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,
      [14] and wherever he enters, say to the householder, The Teacher says,
      Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with my disciples?
      [15] And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there
      prepare for us.
      [16] And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he
      had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
      [17] When it was evening, he came *with the Twelve.*

      [18] And as they were at table eating,
      [18b] Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one
      who is eating with me.
      [19] They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after
      another, Is it I?
      [20] He said to them, It is *one of the Twelve,* one who is dipping
      bread in the same dish with me.
      [21] For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to
      that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man
      if he had never been born!

      [22] And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it,
      and gave it to them, and said, Take; this is my body.
      [23] And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them,
      and they all drank of it.
      [24] And he said to them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is
      poured out for many.
      [25] Truly I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine
      until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God
      [26] And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

      INTERPRETATION

      The dramatic questioning in the first part of the Last Supper scene leads to
      one of the most drastic non sequiturs in world literature, since nothing at
      all follows, just the second part of the scene, in which the sacramental
      meaning of that meal is quietly made clear for the early Church. One wonders
      how, if this is a transcript of the event, equanimity was restored. It seems
      to me very probable that providing a canonical precedent and explanation for
      the Eucharist was the reason for including this Last Supper scene in Mark
      (There are many other forefigurings of later tradition in this section of
      Mark, the most obvious of many being 14:9, the Anointing at Bethany). The
      first portion is intrusive in that scene, as is shown not only by the non
      sequitur, but by the fact that both parts of the scene begin with the same
      sentence (a device seen also in other early texts such as the Iliad, as I
      have not space to demonstrate here).

      Then the first part is intrusive. What does it accomplish by intruding? I
      would say: What it adds to the other Judas passages is the claim that Judas
      was not only a follower, but an *intimate* follower, of Jesus.

      JUDAS AND THE TWELVE

      The list of the Twelve is given at 3:13f, and nothing is there recorded of
      them save their names and in some cases their epithets or distinctive
      parentage ("son of Alphaeus"), except in one case, and that is the last
      named of them:

      3:19 And Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

      That unique identification in terms of future fate is problematic. If the
      text at that point were giving us a general preview, we would for instance
      have "Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, who was crucified at Rome" and so on.
      No, only in the last of them; only Judas.

      Still, we have that identification, and it is all the more memorable for
      being not only unique but also darkly forboding. No modern reader is likely
      to forget it. Yet the subsequent text behaves precisely as though its
      readers *were* likely to forget it. Here is how the three relevant passages
      run (I *emphasize* the appositives in question, which I consider to be
      narratively problematic):

      14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, *who was one of the Twelve,* went to the
      chief priests in order to betray him to them.

      14:20 He said to them, It is *one of the Twelve,* one who is dipping
      bread in the same dish with me.

      14:43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, *one of
      the Twelve,* and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, for the chief
      priest and the scribes and the elders.

      I think it will be obvious that in view of 3:19, the identification of Judas
      as "one of the Twelve" in 14:10 is superfluous, and that the further
      identification of Judas as "one of the Twelve" in 14:43 is outrageously
      superfluous. Just how unretentive does Mark think we are? The only excuse I
      can imagine for Mark's belaboring the identification this way is that it had
      to be insisted upon when he wrote, because it was not familiar to his
      intended readers at that time (however irritating it may be to those of us
      who have memorized the text and have it all on instant recall, and accept
      every word of it as canonical). That is, the readership of Mark at that
      point in the evolution of Mark, the not yet canonical Mark, did not regard
      Judas as an intimate follower. It is these passages (and nothing else in
      Mark) that promote him to that status, and we see them laboring mightily to
      accomplish it.

      The implication is that Judas had not been previously included in the
      Twelve, and was added to that group, in 3:19 and in the three passages noted
      above, at a later time.

      THE JUDAS LEGEND

      Why? One explanation ready to hand is that enmities are unifying for any
      movement, so that legends easily grow up around any of that movement's focal
      enemies. This is why atrocity stories play such a large role in the
      propaganda attending the beginnings of wars, and it is why, as I showed at
      AOS some years ago, Szma Chyen was at pains to go through Szma Tan's Shr Ji
      and draw evil mustaches on key portraits of the Chin Dynasty minister Li Sz.
      As for the legend of Judas, it evolves apace, from Mark (where his ending is
      not mentioned) to Matthew (27:03f, where he repents and returns the bribe
      and goes out and hangs himself), and Acts, a sort of continuation of Luke
      (Acts 1:18-19, where Judas rather gruesomely swells up and bursts, being
      denied even such dignity as attends suicide). This is the larger trajectory,
      and it occasions me no surprise to find Mark taking its place early in that
      trajectory. I merely suggest that Mark actually documents not one but two
      stages in that trajectory.

      The probable facts, as we can glimpse them at the early end of the
      trajectory (the core Markan text), are that Judas was a follower but not an
      intimate of Jesus, and betrayed Jesus's location in the Jerusalem area
      (which was evidently being kept secret) so that Jesus could be arrested at
      night. Judas's fate is strictly speaking unknown, probably because it was of
      little interest to the first writers of the Markan text. Those who later put
      their pens to the Markan text took the first steps toward enhancing the
      hateful character of the betrayal, magnifying the enormity of the crime if
      not yet dwelling on its awful retribution. The first few turns of the screw.

      THE TWELVE

      No time to go into this here, or it would lead us to a solution of the whole
      structural logic of Mark, which would be rude. But I note in passing that
      there is a gigantic inconcinnity in Mark which rests on Judas' inclusion in
      the Twelve. As a thousand sermons (three of them directly witnessed by
      myself) have labored in vain to explain away, if Judas were merely a
      disaffected follower, hoping for something else (say, an armed rebellion
      against Rome) which he never got, then his betrayal makes sense: he did not
      really understand Jesus. But if he was not only an intimate, but one chosen
      specifically to go and preach the meaning of Jesus to the Galilean
      countryside, which is the sole function of the Twelve in Mark or elsewhere,
      then his lack of understanding at the end of the story is simply
      incomprehensible. So in making one "improvement" in the dramatic quality of
      its story, the henchmen of Mark have caused themselves, and later preachers,
      incalculable trouble at another part. So it is with stretches of poetry, it
      is hard to improve one place without throwing another place more or less out
      of kilter.

      STRATIGRAPHY OF THE LAST SUPPER

      Anyway, we can always learn something from a sufficiently careful
      archaeology, in this case the archaeology of an ancient text. From signs of
      intrusive material in that text, noted above, we can with reasonable
      assurance conclude that the stratification of the Last Supper is as follows
      (reading down, in defiance of archaeological convention):

      1. The Last Supper Story proper (14:17, 22-26), told for its value as a
      precedent for and interpretation of what in early Christian practice was
      called the Eucharist. Jesus's betrayal by Judas is a different part of the
      same stratum, but it does not figure in the Last Supper story, which as it
      first stood was purely and simply aetiological.

      2. The Last Supper Intrusion, the "dipping bread with me" sequence
      (14:18-21, but without the intrusive "one of the Twelve" phrase), which was
      added as a dramatic addition to that scene and to underscore the villainy of
      Judas. It suggests, without naming Judas, that he was one of those
      present,and thus within the circle of Jesus's followers, rather than an
      enthusiast at a distance. The inconcinnity of that intrusion is manifest.

      3. The imposition of a Twelve layer on the Markan narrative. Eduard Meyer
      (1921) noticed that these passages form a group, which he wrongly attributed
      to a "source" of its own. As was noted at the time Meyer wrote, there can be
      no such source, since the Twelve
      passages taken together are purely parasitic on their Markan embedding, and
      cannot stand alone, or concinvingly represent a text which did stand alone.
      They are (I would add) a Markan addition, and the addition was made in the
      spirit of the (original) Last Supper story in Mark: to provide canonical
      legitimation for the apostolic activities of the early Church leaders. Judas
      was not originally included among the Twelve, and it was not to make him one
      of them that the Twelve were originally sliced into Mark. That extension had
      its own quite intelligible purpose.

      [The Twelve are not, as Meyer would have it, pre-Markan and thus early
      tradition; they are late tradition, albeit dominant for most of later
      Christianity. The early tradition, also preserved but occluded in Mark, is
      that there were Five disciples, who are individually summoned to that
      position by Jesus, one of whom, and the last to be thus chosen, was named
      Levi. This Five tradition survives in several out-of-the-way places; in
      Rabbinic tradition, and also in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter, which by the
      way ends as the Gospel of Mark is evidently trying to end, and the Gospel of
      Mary; note the name Levi rather than the revisionst Matthew in the latter
      two].

      4. The specific inclusion of Judas in the Twelve. This would have required
      emendation of the original list at 3:19, which, of necessity, I assume did
      happen (there are other places in Mark where rewriting rather than simple
      insertion seems to have taken place, though insertion, the easier process,
      is by far the more common). It also led to the "one of the Twelve"
      appositives noted above, which are irritating to a modern reader (who has in
      mind 3:19), but which would have been necessary to overcome the different
      presumptions of contemporary readers (who had not previously regarded Judas
      as occupying so great a position of trust). Passages in this layer are 3:19
      (replacing earlier material whose nature cannot here be conjectured),
      14:10i, 14:20i, and 14:43i (where i stands for a small interpolated phrase
      within a passage).

      CONCLUSION

      By this route, each step of which seems to me philogically implied and
      rationally motivated, both at the local text level and at the larger
      comparative mythology level, we arrive at the present text of Mark, which
      has been often criticized in the otherwise sympathetic commentarial
      literature as confused, inconsistent, and narratively inconcinnitous.
      Underneath the frequently irrational *text,* I venture to suggest that there
      is a perfectly intelligible *text process.*

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... Bruce, I find that your analysis does not sufficiently recognize the creativity of the Markan account, nor the strong desire of its author to denigrate
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 16, 2006
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        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > By this route, each step of which seems to me philogically implied and
        > rationally motivated, both at the local text level and at the larger
        > comparative mythology level, we arrive at the present text of Mark .....

        Bruce,

        I find that your analysis does not sufficiently recognize the creativity of
        the Markan account, nor the strong desire of its author to denigrate both
        the 'twelve' and the family of Jesus. I take all of the passages you
        question to have been part of the original gospel.

        > This second claim, this claim of an intimate betrayer, of
        > course makes for more exciting reading. It stirs the readership to a higher
        > pitch of indignation. But given its textually precarious situation in Mark

        Textually precarious? Please explain.

        > I think it will be obvious that in view of 3:19, the identification of Judas
        > as "one of the Twelve" in 14:10 is superfluous, and that the further
        > identification of Judas as "one of the Twelve" in 14:43 is outrageously
        > superfluous.

        Perhaps it was to distinguish him from the well-known Judas, a brother of
        Jesus (Mk 6:3).

        You will doubtless have heard of the characterization of Mark as a 'passion
        narrative with an introduction'. I have reason to believe that this notion
        can be taken further, and that the author actually wrote what we call
        chapters 14-16 before the rest of the gospel. This would to some extent
        excuse the presence of "one of the twelve" in 14:10 in spite of 3:19.

        > [The Twelve are not, as Meyer would have it, pre-Markan

        But they most certainly are, for Paul mentions the "twelve" in 1 Cor 15:5
        about 15 years before Mark was penned.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Markan Strata From: Bruce Thanks to Ron for being so alert so early. I am not persuaded by his objections, but I
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 16, 2006
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          To: Synoptic
          In Response To: Ron Price
          On: Markan Strata
          From: Bruce

          Thanks to Ron for being so alert so early. I am not persuaded by his
          objections, but I appreciate the clarifying value of having them. Herewith
          my attempt at further clarification:

          RON: I find that your analysis does not sufficiently recognize the
          creativity of the Markan account.

          BRUCE: To me, a baffling objection. Surely the creativity of the Markan
          account is not something objective, to be recognized, but something to be
          discovered. I do not start from any previous position regarding the nature
          of Mark, but ab initio, so the nature of Markan authorship is for me a blank
          space on the worksheet. I conclude, after some investigations not wholly
          reported in my message, that the author(s) of Mark did exercise considerable
          control over their material. Whether the degree and nature of that control
          is properly called "creative" I would rather leave for later (it would seem
          to have to do with whether in their own minds they were reporting or
          improvising). As an interim term, I would call Mark an "authorially active"
          text, certainly not stenography, and not an exercise in scribal precision.

          RON: . . . nor the strong desire of its author to denigrate both the
          'twelve' and the family of Jesus.

          BRUCE: It does not enter into the passages on which I based my message, but
          I would certainly agree that Mark in general is negative on Jesus's family.
          As to the Twelve, and separately toward what the text much more normally
          calls the "disciples," we quickly get into the question of the Messianic
          Secret. Suffice it here to say that, as many before us have noticed, Mark is
          not invariably negative toward the disciples. The Twelve, well, that too is
          mixed up with the Messianic Problem. I can submit a suggestion on that
          problem later, if desired. In the meantime, I think it is easy to show that
          the Markan take on the Twelve is fundamentally positive. Why are the Twelve
          there? Answer: We can best determine that by seeing what they do. What then
          do the Twelve do in Mark? Mobilize to resist the High Priest's gang of thugs
          at the Arrest? No, their designation does not appear in that narrative.
          Chiefly, as 3:13f tells us, to go and preach and heal in the villages of
          Galilee. Do they actually do this? Yes, they are sent out in 6:7-13 and
          return in 6:30-31. Are they criticized on either occasion? Answer : No, they
          are sent out with careful instructions, and they return full of joy at their
          new powers, and Jesus suggests they have earned a good rest. How negative is
          that?

          At maximum, I certainly think it falls far short of "denigration." Please
          reconsider.

          RON: I take all of the passages you question to have been part of the
          original gospel.

          BRUCE: That's your privilege, but to take only one passage, have you given
          full weight to the structural and narrative anomaly in the Last Supper
          scene? I repeat the key portion (Mk 14:16-26) here for convenience:

          [16] And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he
          had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
          [17] When it was evening, he came *with the Twelve.*

          (There follows what I suggest is the interpolation:)

          [18] And as they were at table eating,
          [18b] Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one
          who is eating with me.
          [19] They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after
          another, Is it I?
          [20] He said to them, It is *one of the Twelve,* one who is dipping
          bread in the same dish with me.
          [21] For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to
          that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man
          if he had never been born!

          (and here I think we resume the original Last Supper narrative:)

          [22] And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it,
          and gave it to them, and said, Take; this is my body.
          [23] And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them,
          and they all drank of it.
          [24] And he said to them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is
          poured out for many.
          [25] Truly I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine
          until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God
          [26] And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

          I think it will be agreed that (1) the passage reads perfectly smoothly
          without the material which I have here indented, and that (2) it is
          remarkable that there is no response to what, in 14:20, can only have been
          the identification of the betrayer. The interruptive character of the
          passage (1) and the lack of response to it in the immediate context (2)
          together are normally recognized as strong evidence for interpolation.

          It might just be my impression that the sequence here is uncomfortable. Is
          there any support in antiquity? Not from Matthew, he makes it worse by
          actually identifying Judas by name. But Luke reverses the two, having the
          prototype Last Supper first, followed by the revelation that the betrayer
          was present among them - but then, just as they begin to ask themselves who
          it would be, Luke shifts to another controversy among the disciples: [22:24]
          "A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the
          greatest . . ." It certainly deflects the tension of the betrayal
          revelation, but (as I pointed out earlier, in connection with some Lukan
          shifts of material) only at the cost of introducing further improbabilities.
          Is it really likely that they would pause in trying to discover the
          betrayer, to dispute which of them was the more important?

          I submit that it is not. John seems to agree, since in his version [13:1f]
          Jesus first fulfils the role of a servant, mentioned but not enacted in
          Luke, by washing the disciples' feet. Then comes the identification of
          Judas, and for the first time in the Gospel sequence, it finishes in a
          narratively workmanlike way. John 13:27 "Then after the morsel [which Jesus
          had given him], Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, What you are
          going to do, do quickly. Now no one at the table knew why he said this to
          him. Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling
          him, Buy what we need for the feast, of that he should give something to the
          poor. So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out, and it was
          night."

          There you have an exit of Judas, and an explanation of why there was no
          furore among the other disciples at the discovery that he was the betrayer.
          John never does get around to the proto-Eucharist, but at any rate his Judas
          scene ends, and (by describing the inner thoughts of those present) takes
          some trouble to end, in a narratively convincing and well finished manner. I
          offer this improvement as evidence of a feeling that improvement was early
          felt to be needed.

          BRUCE [Quoted by Ron] . . . This second claim, this claim of an intimate
          betrayer, of course makes for more exciting reading. It stirs the readership
          to a higher pitch of indignation. But given its textually precarious
          situation in Mark . . .

          RON: Textually precarious? Please explain.

          BRUCE: Evidence for interpolation. By "precarious" I mean "not narratively
          secure in context; superfluous, having the formal features normally
          associated with an interpolation, not well integrated into the surrounding
          context." As in the previous example.

          RON [on the identification of Judas as "one of the Twelve" in 14:10, which I
          had claimed was narratively superfluous, and that a similar identification
          shortly thereafter, in 14:42, is not only superfluous, but outrageously
          superfluous]: Perhaps it was to distinguish him from the well-known Judas, a
          brother of
          Jesus (Mk 6:3).

          BRUCE: I am not convinced. Once maybe, but twice? It shows considerable
          authorial insecurity, not normally a trait we are invited to associate with
          the voice behind gMk.

          RON: You will doubtless have heard of the characterization of Mark as a
          'passion narrative with an introduction'. I have reason to believe that this
          notion can be taken further, and that the author actually wrote what we call
          chapters 14-16 before the rest of the gospel. This would to some extent
          excuse the presence of "one of the twelve" in 14:10 in spite of 3:19.

          BRUCE: Not unless the Twelve were somehow introduced, rather than being
          simply mentioned as though people already knew who they were, which is
          precisely how the Twelve mentions (none of them narratively functional, all
          of them narratively dispensable without the slightest damage to concinnity)
          in Mk 14-16 are handled. For this and other reasons, I am not convinced by
          the thought that the core of Mark was its passion narrative, though I admit
          I have run across it in various forms. Mark seems to me to have a lot more
          than that in mind, focal though it doubtless is, and I don't find a point at
          which thus Urmarkus might be thought to have begun. Can Ron or anyone else
          suggest one? An elided beginning?

          RON [to my assertion that the Twelve "are not, as Meyer would have it,
          pre-Markan"]: But they most certainly are, for Paul mentions the "twelve" in
          1 Cor 15:5 about 15 years before Mark was penned.

          BRUCE: This dating of Mark rests solely on Mk 13, and I am not convinced
          that Mk 13 is integral to Mark, or for that matter that Mk 13 has to refer
          to the events of the year 70. Taking Mark as a whole, there are signs of
          pre-Pauline doctrine and practice in the Pauline literature, and signs of
          some of those same beliefs and practices may also be found in Mark. I think
          this situation (whose stratigraphy it would be wearisome to argue for at
          this point) suggests a time-depth and not a single authorial moment in Mark,
          and also suggests that the early point of the time depth reaches back to a
          period earlier than Paul.

          The key position here, I suppose, is whether it is possible to detect strata
          in Mark (permitting the separation above argued for, and also underlying my
          previous Judas and Twelve suggestions). And I further imagine that the
          possibility of detecting interpolations is fundamental to the identification
          of strata. Let me close with an example of an interpolation in Mark, one
          which affects a key moment in the history of the Twelve, in fact, it more or
          less comprises the only significant episode in that history (the rest is
          phrases). If this is interpolated, then the Twelve as a whole are also
          liable to consideration as a late element in Mark. As noted, one test of an
          interpolation is that it is isolated in context; the surrounding text does
          not take narrative note of it; the following passage looks right past it to
          respond to something else. OK? Now here is my example.

          Mk 6:6 And he [Jesus] went about the villages teaching.
          Mk 6:7 And he called to him the Twelve, and began to send them [etc]
          Mk 6:12 . . . So they went and preached that men should repent
          Mk 6:13 And they case out many demons, and . . .
          Mk 6:14 King Herod heard of it, for . . .

          For what? For the rumor of the Twelve fanning out over the countryside in
          teams, stirring up the populace? Not a bit of it: "for Jesus' name had
          become known. Some said, John the Baptizer . . ."

          See? Herod and his spies in the countryside completely ignore the
          missionarizing of the Twelve, and concentrate instead on the teaching of
          Jesus, back in 6:6. That is, he (and his staff) behave as though Jesus were
          all they had to deal with, and as though the Twelve did not exist.

          I suggest that when this passage was written, the Twelve did not exist, and
          that they were added only later, producing the feat of official inattention
          which Mk 6 in its present form presents to our puzzled gaze.

          For that matter, is the Calling of the Twelve any more secure in context?
          Jesus has been healing, and ordering the demons "not to make him known."
          Then there is a digression (3:13-19) when the public is suddenly not
          present, Jesus goes up into the hills, and there selects (presumably from a
          larger company who have followed him) the Twelve. These being enumerated, we
          have 3:19 "and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Then he went home."

          3:20, "And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat."
          3:21 "And when his friends heard it, they went out to seize him, for they
          said, He is beside himself."

          Crazy. And for what? For choosing twelve followers in a remote location? Not
          likely. What the friends will have heard of is his trafficking with demons,
          as recounted in 3:12 and preceding, and there said to be in the public
          domain. Then the effort of his friends to have Jesus committed follows
          naturally on the demon episodes there mentioned, but is not well motivated
          by the Calling of the Twelve which now comes between the two. The
          implication for a text critic is that the Calling originally did not come
          between the two, but was a later addition.

          Mark is in narrative modules, any of which can be rearranged without much
          loss. The join of the typical Module A to the following Module B is zero.
          But in the above cases, where an action is said to be consequent on a
          preceding action, we have a claimed linkage. In both cases, the more
          reasonable linkage is with the event preceding the Twelve episode, not with
          that episode itself. That such situations regularly arise with the Twelve
          episodes (and most of the Twelve mentions in Mark are mere appositive
          phrases, not episodes at all) is, to my mind, strong evidence that these
          passages as a set are not integral to Mark, and not original in Mark.

          The Twelve are late tradition, textually exiguous in Mark, and also
          narratively nonfunctional in Mark. If we excise all of them, we do zero
          damage to the integrity of the Markan narrative. I think that the case for
          their superfluity is very strong.

          Thanks anyway to Ron for his suggestions; it is always a pleasure to have an
          excuse to look once more at the ancient texts. Anything to keep the day's
          newspaper at bay for another hour.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Ron Price
          ... Bruce, Well, no. Your proposed original text omits at table , which in Mk 14:18 helps to set the scene for what follows. ... Again, no. It merely says
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 16, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Bruce Brooks wrote:

            > .....to take only one passage, have you given
            > full weight to the structural and narrative anomaly in the Last Supper
            > scene? I repeat the key portion (Mk 14:16-26) here for convenience:
            >
            > [16] And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he
            > had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
            > [17] When it was evening, he came *with the Twelve.*
            >
            > (There follows what I suggest is the interpolation:)
            >
            > [18] And as they were at table eating,

            > ...........
            > [22] And as they were eating .......

            > I think it will be agreed that (1) the passage reads perfectly smoothly
            > without the material which I have here indented,

            Bruce,

            Well, no. Your proposed original text omits "at table", which in Mk 14:18
            helps to set the scene for what follows.

            > ..... 14:20, can only have been the identification of the betrayer.

            Again, no. It merely says that the betrayer is one of those partaking in the
            meal. The betrayer is not thereby identified. Check any decent commentary if
            you doubt me.

            I wonder if you've taken into account Mark's known habit of interleaving
            different stories. If he can do that, he can certainly interleave subtexts
            of the same story, and I can see why you might mistake them for
            interpolations.

            > I am not convinced by
            > the thought that the core of Mark was its passion narrative, though I admit
            > I have run across it in various forms. Mark seems to me to have a lot more
            > than that in mind, focal though it doubtless is, and I don't find a point at
            > which thus Urmarkus might be thought to have begun.

            I am not proposing an Urmarkus. I am merely supporting the idea, stimulated
            by Marxsen's suggestion that Mark composed his gospel backwards, that
            chs.14-16 were penned (just) prior to chs. 1-13.

            > This dating of Mark [ca. 70] rests solely on Mk 13, and I am not convinced
            > that Mk 13 is integral to Mark, or for that matter that Mk 13 has to refer
            > to the events of the year 70. Taking Mark as a whole, there are signs of
            > pre-Pauline doctrine and practice in the Pauline literature, and signs of
            > some of those same beliefs and practices may also be found in Mark.

            It needs a carefully worked out methodology to be able to distinguish
            between evidence for interpolations and evidence for the author's use of
            earlier sources. Many commentators have failed to distinguish properly
            between these.

            > The key position here, I suppose, is whether it is possible to detect strata
            > in Mark .....

            Indeed.

            > ....... Mk 6:14 King Herod heard of it, for . . .
            >
            > For what? For the rumor of the Twelve fanning out over the countryside in
            > teams, stirring up the populace? Not a bit of it: "for Jesus' name had
            > become known. Some said, John the Baptizer . . ."
            >
            > See? Herod and his spies in the countryside completely ignore the
            > missionarizing of the Twelve, and concentrate instead on the teaching of
            > Jesus, back in 6:6.

            You've read too much into it. The focus on Jesus here is simply because Mark
            wants to raise the question of Jesus' role (6:14-16) as a suitable
            introduction to the story of John the Baptist's death (6:17-29).

            > .................
            > 3:20, "And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat."
            > 3:21 "And when his friends heard it, they went out to seize him, for they
            > said, He is beside himself."
            >
            > Crazy. And for what?

            It doesn't matter *why* they're crazy. However it does matter *who* is
            crazy. OI PAR AUTOU here is better translated as "his family". Mark has
            succeeded, despite the clumsiness of the narrative, in running down Jesus'
            family (of whom James was the most prominent member).

            Overall you seem to be expecting in the finished gospel a degree of detailed
            literary finesse which the author of Mark's gospel simply couldn't (or
            didn't want to) provide.

            Ron Price

            Derbyshire, UK

            Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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