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Interpolations in Mark

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Interpolations in Mark (new title) From: Bruce I suspect that we are talking past each other on one of the main
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 16 7:06 PM
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Interpolations in Mark (new title)
      From: Bruce

      I suspect that we are talking past each other on one of the main
      methodological issues. Let me attempt to clarify the issue; I have renamed
      the thread accordingly. The point I here take up is what to make of the
      Markan narrative discontinuities which I earlier pointed out.

      RON: 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.

      BRUCE: As before, do we start out knowing that Mark has a habit of
      interleaving different stories? I for one don't. I take that assertion as a
      result of modern hermeneutic activity, not as a fact independently known. In
      this experiment, I am intentionally avoiding making any presumptions about
      Mark the person, or Mark the writer (or group of writers, whatever), and
      trying instead to get a hint of things solely from the way the text behaves,
      as directly observed. Who Mark may have been is uncertain, but the text of
      GMk, as it were by definition, surely contains his fingerprints.

      I have pointed to standard signs of interpolation at several points in
      Mark - the lack of consecutiveness between the suspect passage and its
      immediate context, and the improvement of narrative continuity when it is
      removed. Such a situation could in theory also be attributed to the
      unhomogenized mixing in of separate source materials, previously existing
      and combined by the person writing the text at that point. I gather Ron
      prefers that way of reading the same textual symptoms. Meyer, and a few
      others in the early 20c, thought that the mentions of the Twelve all came
      from a Twelve Source, with every other mention of the followers of Jesus
      deriving from a separate Disciple Source. So that option, or something like
      it, has been noticed in the literature. Let's allow it as a possibility.

      But I think that such a view is very difficult to maintain on close
      examination. For one thing, if we reseparate the two from their Markan form,
      the Disciple Source would be a long and more or less consecutive narrative,
      a little less choppy than Mark (since the Twelve-associated inconcinnities
      would come out), but covering most of the Markan ground. In other words, the
      Disciple Source looks a lot like Mark, and except for one detail (the
      Calling of the Twelve and their one episode of preaching), it does
      everything that Mark does. Whereas with the Twelve Source, we notice that
      nearly all of it is appositive phrases are sometimes confusing in Disciple
      context, and that (unless we annex to them large tracts of their context)
      they add nothing of substance to the narrative. The only portions of
      substance are three (out of eleven total uses of The Twelve); the Calling of
      the Twelve, the Sending of the Twelve (both of some length), and the Return
      of the Twelve (a few verses). The Twelve are introduced only for this one
      act, and the rest of the Twelve Layer in Mark is narratively nil.

      So now we have the two options: is the Twelve Source of pre-Markan date, and
      in Mark's view of equal probity with the Disciple Source, or do we have here
      a difference between early and late traditions?

      I proceed to argue for the latter option.

      ARGUMENT AGAINST THE TWELVE AS EARLY TRADITION

      If the Twelve is early tradition, then the disciples engaged in preaching
      during the lifetime of Jesus. I think this is against all probability, and
      nearly all Religionsgeschichte precedent. In most movements, disciples do
      not functionally replace a master until after that master's death. As a
      check on this, we may note that even in Mark, there is not the slightest
      hint of any apostolic activity on the part of the Twelve, save the three
      passages mentioned. They come, they preach, and then they totally subside.
      So the argument for the Twelve as early tradition, or at any rate as
      reflection a plausible early reality, appears to me to be weak. So does the
      argument for a Twelve text ("Source"), since it would consist only of three
      related paragraphs, without other point or purpose. It would be at most an
      anecdote, divided into three by Mark, but not constituting anything more
      connected.

      Take the other side; the idea that the Twelve are not historical, and not
      taken from an old source, but have another origin. What origin could that
      be? I rephrase the question this way, so that it can be answered by
      philological inspection of the text before us: Is there a point or purpose
      to the three Twelve stories in Mark? I note the careful instructions to the
      Twelve on setting out, which in length and prominence wholly outweigh the
      actual results of the mission. As to those results, Mark gives us only the
      sense that the Apostles (sic) were pleased with their new healing powers; no
      sense of mass convincement as such arises, as it often does from stories of
      Jesus's healings in Markan contexts where the word "disciples" is used. The
      content of their preaching is not mentioned.

      Nor could it be, if the content (as was the case with the later Apostolic
      preaching activity) was the Gospel of Jesus, and thus was based on an
      interpretation of the death of Jesus. The death of Jesus had not yet
      happened at this point in the Markan story.

      I would thus say, not from prior ideas, but simply from looking at what the
      text of Mark actually does, that the whole Twelve component in Mark, insofar
      as it has any content at all, is prescriptive and legitimative. It looks to
      the Apostolic period, it legitimizes the actions of certain properly chosen
      persons in pursuing an Apostolic agenda, and it gives them detailed
      instructions (largely amounting to a culture of poverty) for how they behave
      in carrying out that mission. This suggests a prospective, tradition, not a
      report of things done during the lifetime of Jesus. It suggests lateness.

      INDEPENDENT ARGUMENT FOR THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTION OF MARK

      This suggestion, that the Twelve in GMk are prospective rather than
      reportive, would be strengthened if there were any other places in GMk which
      clearly have that same character. Are there such points? I would say, Yes,
      and not a few. Perhaps the most obvious is the deed of the person who is
      later called Mary of Bethany, which is praised in specifically futuristic
      terms: "And truly I say to you, wherever the Gospel is preached in the whole
      world, what she has done will be told in memory of her" (Mk 14:9). Note the
      emphasis ("truly"), note the scale ("whole world"); we are in an age far
      beyond the Galilean Ministry. Again, with the Passover meal proper
      (14:22-25, with another "truly" in the conclusion), it is likely, though
      here less explicit, that we have a template for subsequent observance, and
      not simply a description of a single event. And, to return to explicit
      examples, the predictions for what will happen in the world after Jesus's
      death are the whole content of Mk 13. The concern for the world of the early
      Church seems to me to be manifest at these and other points in GMk.

      This establishes the "legislative/prospective" category, and thus makes it
      at least plausible that the Twelve Apostles also are meant as a
      prescription, as advice in advance, for the later proselytizing of the early
      Church. We know that the Eucharist was observed. We know that GJn for one
      picked up on (and named, which is to say, further developed the theme of)
      Mary of Bethany. Is there any specific confirmation for prescriptive
      function also in the case of the Twelve? Can we see this device in action
      after the death of Jesus? Consider Acts 1:8. Jesus is quoted, not (as in
      GMk) as conferring healing power on his chosen Twelve, but rather as
      promising that this power will come to them in the future: "But you shall
      receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be (sic)
      my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the
      earth" (sic, not just Galilee; compare Mk 14:9 "world"). And the election to
      the vacant place of Judas follows in 1:15-16. The actual coming of power is
      described later in Acts. The guiding idea in this passage is that Apostles
      must have been thoroughly acquainted with Jesus in his lifetime, and there
      must be twelve of them. The actual choice is left not to human deliberation
      but to God (that is, to divination by lot). I think it is a situation of
      this type to which the Twelve passages in Mark look forward.

      If so, then for reasons of general Religionsgeschichte probability, and also
      from the futurist posture of much of the end of GMk, and from what we know
      from other early Christian sources about what the early Church actually did,
      organizationally, with those who would authoritatively carry its message to
      others, I think we are justified in taking the Twelve layer in Mark as
      anticipatory rather than descriptive. This suggests that it is late, not
      early, tradition, and it supports the thought that it was added to an
      already narratively complete and consecutive Mark, rather than that it was
      one of several equally old traditions, previously existing and at one moment
      in time interwoven by Mark.

      EARLY TRADITION

      The idea that the Twelve are late tradition would also be strengthened if we
      could identify a competing and incompatible early tradition.

      So what is the older tradition of the disciples in Mark? I would say, the
      tradition of Five Disciples, these being those whose calling is
      *individually* described in Mark (Simon and Andrew, James and John, and
      finally Levi). It interests me that the Rabbinic tradition as reported by
      Klausner (1925) envisions five disciples rather than twelve, and that
      several of the apocryphal texts (and except for Judas, which whom I tried to
      deal in my earlier message, also for that matter the subsequent Gospel of
      Mark) keep narratively within that circle of Five, no other named disciple
      figuring at all in their narratives. Such names as "Bartholomew," introduced
      with great ceremony in Mk 3:18, never recur in GMk; for that matter,
      Bartholomew recurs in the entire NT only in repetitions of this list, in the
      Synoptics and Acts.

      In the Gospel of Peter, one of those few named disciples is even called Levi
      (not, as in the, to me revisionist, Mk 3:18, "Matthew"). So also in the
      Gospel of Mary.

      To me, this looks like an early tradition, narratively well developed in
      Mark, and visible in certain other parts of early tradition also, which
      however was almost completely occluded by the concept of the Twelve, with
      its attested utility for the early Church as seen in Acts.

      CONCLUSION

      I would thus distinguish the Five and Twelve traditions, not as equally old
      sources for Mark (at some point, namely historical reality, they cannot both
      have been true), but as successive concepts used by the evolving movement in
      the light of the changing needs of different times.

      If the Twelve are indeed a later tradition, then interpolation and not
      interweaving would seem to be the best way to read the narrative
      inconcinnities, which I take as agreed to exist, and which attend every
      instance of Twelve narrative in Mark.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... Bruce, For once we seem to be in agreement. For example, when I presented evidence against your claim to have found discontinuities in the text, you simply
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 17 3:14 AM
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        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > I suspect that we are talking past each other .....

        Bruce,

        For once we seem to be in agreement.

        For example, when I presented evidence against your claim to have found
        discontinuities in the text, you simply ignored it.

        Again, in spite of my indication (referring to Mark's habit of interleaving
        stories) that your claimed interpolations could be simply examples of a
        somewhat unpolished style of writing, you misunderstood my position by
        supposing that I would explain the supposed discontinuities by a mixing of
        source materials.

        Assessing the continuity of a text suspected of interpolations "solely from
        the way the text behaves" sounds good. But without a yardstick by which to
        measure the author's actual degree of consistency, the assessment is doomed
        to failure. Behind Mark's somewhat crude text are subtleties which require
        the application of all available tools if we are to fully understand this
        pioneering masterpiece.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic [Repeating Message sent to Ron only] In Response To: Ron Price On: Interpolations in Mark From: Bruce RON: For example, when I presented evidence
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 17 5:27 AM
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          To: Synoptic [Repeating Message sent to Ron only]
          In Response To: Ron Price
          On: Interpolations in Mark
          From: Bruce

          RON: For example, when I presented evidence against your claim to have found
          discontinuities in the text, you simply ignored it.

          BRUCE: Sorry, I thought I had answered all points so far. The only place in
          the previous exchange which might fit this description, as far as I can see
          on looking back, is the following:

          ME [Quoted by Ron]: 14:20, can only have been the identification of the
          betrayer.

          RON [Previous]: 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.

          BRUCE [Present tense]: I think there is more to it than this. 14:18 does
          what Ron describes; it identifies the betrayer as one of those partaking at
          the meal. 14:20 goes on, it seems to me, to specifically single out the one
          "dipping bread in the same dish with me" (RSV). The earliest commentaries on
          this passage, as I take it, are the other Gospel versions, which leave no
          doubt that Jesus was identified specifically at this point (see again the
          GJn version). This should be sufficient, it seems to me, to provoke a
          considerable reaction in the others partaking at the meal, but there is no
          sign of this in Mark. This is the sort of thing I mean by part of the text
          not responding to what immediately precedes; it is one of the things I mean
          by narrative discontinuity. And in testimony to the possibility that
          contemporaries may also have found this feature unsatisfactory, I seem to
          recall quoting how the other Gospels handle this intrusion of the "betrayal"
          scene into the "Last Supper" scene. GLk handles it by reversing sections, so
          that the Judas part comes last, thus providing an exit for Judas; GJn, by
          not bundling the Judas part into the same pericope as the Last Supper part.
          Those other versions seem to work better as narration. I suggest that this
          is one of the reasons for their diverging from what seems to have been the
          Markan prototype. As it stands, the Markan version needs a little more work.

          RON: Again, in spite of my indication (referring to Mark's habit of
          interleaving stories) that your claimed interpolations could be simply
          examples of a somewhat unpolished style of writing, you misunderstood my
          position by supposing that I would explain the supposed discontinuities by a
          mixing of source materials.

          BRUCE: So it looked to me. If not, what was the point of mentioning
          "interleaving stories?" In any case, abandoning this apparently
          ill-considered application of the Principle of Charity, I now gather that
          you deny discontinuities altogether. Is this so?

          RON: Assessing the continuity of a text suspected of interpolations "solely
          from the way the text behaves" sounds good. But without a yardstick by which
          to measure the author's actual degree of consistency, the assessment is
          doomed to failure. Behind Mark's somewhat crude text are subtleties which
          require the application of all available tools if we are to fully understand
          this pioneering masterpiece.

          BRUCE: Again the Principle of Charity (make the text work if at all
          possible). The trouble is that with sufficient rhetorical skill (and that
          skill has been polished, in Western Civilization, for thousands of years
          now), anything can be made out to be consistent with anything else. As our
          brethren the Philosophers say of their cognate skill, "philosophy is the art
          of giving the same name to different things." The skill, as skill, is
          admirable, but I am not sure it fully acknowledges the specificities of any
          given text. I think it is more appropriate to apply the usual yardstick, by
          which I mean normal standards of inconcinnity. Examples of inconcinnity
          would include mention in passing of persons not previously identified (as in
          Mk 14:1 if it is supposed that this was once the beginning of GMk), failure
          of a consequent text to acknowledge or respond to the antecedent text (as in
          several places previously cited), and so on. By those tests, many have found
          GMk to be problematic in terms of continuity or consistency (notice again
          the many omissions, that is, projected later insertions, that some consensus
          of scholars find in the supposed core Crucifixion narrative, Mk 14-16, as
          previously cited). On the merits as I see them, I am inclined to agree.
          Where, for example, is Levi in Mk 3:13-19? Or in the whole of GMt?

          Just for present reference, and to repeat the request above, and to save me
          time in trying things one at a time, could Ron say if any passage in GMk
          strikes him as not part of the original authorial fabric of GMk?

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Ron Price
          ... Bruce, My RSV has one , not the one here. I think it no more identifies the traitor than 14:18. ... Maybe so, but we re looking at Mark, who finds hints
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 17 12:22 PM
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            Bruce Brooks wrote:

            > I think there is more to it than this. 14:18 does
            > what Ron describes; it identifies the betrayer as one of those partaking at
            > the meal. 14:20 goes on, it seems to me, to specifically single out the one
            > "dipping bread in the same dish with me" (RSV).

            Bruce,

            My RSV has "one", not "the one" here. I think it no more identifies the
            traitor than 14:18.

            > The earliest commentaries on
            > this passage, as I take it, are the other Gospel versions, which leave no
            > doubt that Jesus was identified specifically at this point

            Maybe so, but we're looking at Mark, who finds hints and building up
            dramatic tension much more satisfying than spelling things out.

            > I now gather that you deny discontinuities altogether. Is this so?

            No. I just don't grant them as readily as you appear to do.

            > Just for present reference, and to repeat the request above, and to save me
            > time in trying things one at a time, could Ron say if any passage in GMk
            > strikes him as not part of the original authorial fabric of GMk?

            I am fairly confident that Mk 14:28; 14:61b-64 and 16:7 were not in the
            original text of the gospel, and that there are no other early
            interpolations of a significant size. This conclusion is based on Redaction
            Criticism, and a careful analysis of the structure of the text together with
            some mathematical tools which I have developed.

            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: Interpolations in Mark From: Bruce RON: I am fairly confident that Mk 14:28; 14:61b-64 and 16:7 were not in the
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 17 1:24 PM
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              To: Synoptic
              In Response To: Ron Price
              On: Interpolations in Mark
              From: Bruce

              RON: I am fairly confident that Mk 14:28; 14:61b-64 and 16:7 were not in the
              original text of the gospel, and that there are no other early
              interpolations of a significant size. This conclusion is based on Redaction
              Criticism, and a careful analysis of the structure of the text . . .

              BRUCE: I am leery of making any item in the toolkit into a discipline of its
              own, with proponents and capital letters and all the rest of it. Remembering
              to be aware of the text from the author's point of view is useful. Beyond
              that, I see trouble. Same with all the other "-geschichte." They too readily
              hypostatize.

              Anyway, thanks to Ron for his response, and now we have some material to
              work on. We also have some agreement. I have earlier expressed my own
              adherence to the position that 14:28 and 16:7 are interpolations, and in
              present methodological context it may be relevant to say why.

              First, they produce an inconsecutive context. Peter in 14:29 responds, not
              to anything Jesus says in 14:28, but rather to the prediction of denial in
              14:27. He talks past 14:28 as though it were not there, and I conclude that
              it may not have been there when 14:26 and 14:28 were written. I believe that
              those passages originally stood adjacent to each other. It is the simplest
              proposal that will account for what we see.

              Second, there is the linked passage 16:7, linked because of its overt
              reference to 14:28. Here again we have the same pattern: interruption of
              continuity. It is often said that the women in 16:8 are disobeying the young
              man in white, but given the vocabulary there and in 16:6, it is at least as
              possible that they are reacting with fear in 16:8 to the shocking discovery
              they make in 16:6. The action of 16:8 is then sufficiently motivated by
              16:6, and 16:7 (in the middle) is not so much disobeyed as disregarded. The
              women behave as though 16:7 (with its encouraging news) were not there. Same
              situation.

              Third, the link between the two surely reinforces the fact that each can be
              seen as interruptive. They are severally insecure in context, and jointly
              suspicious as a single phenomenon. The linkage confirms and supports the
              previous diagnosis.

              Fourth, the linkage is stronger yet in that these are the only passages in
              Mark that look to an Appearance of Jesus after his Resurrection. Without
              those passages, that doctrine would not exist, at least as far as Mark is
              concerned. So we seem to be in the realm of doctrinal motivation, and motive
              is always a welcome part of the picture.

              Fifth, it is easy to imagine the specific motive. The whole of the
              surrounding context is basically the Empty Tomb story, and the point of the
              Empty Tomb story was to demonstrate the Resurrection. But as we know from
              Matthew, and in fact from Rabbinical tradition, it was widely claimed by the
              enemies of the Church that Jesus had not risen at all; his disciples had
              merely stolen the body to make it look as though he had risen. All you have
              is a corpse. But in fact there were eyewitnesses to Jesus living and moving,
              like a man of flesh and not a specter, well, that would strengthen the case
              for the claimed Resurrection. I feel it is highly likely that these two
              passages were inserted into Mark to make just that counterclaim. They are
              one side of a contemporary argument, the other side of which is available to
              us in early Jewish tradition, and also visible in the report of Matthew.

              So we have local incongruity to draw our attention, and to confirm that
              impression of trouble, we have the fact that the passages in question can be
              removed from Mark, not only without damage to the remaining text, but with
              positive benefit to its continuity and coherence. We have the two passages
              linked together, by mutual reference and than again by common theme, and we
              have a plausible motive for that theme being inserted into the doctrinal
              repository which (at this point in its existence) is how Mark is functioning
              in its own human context: the voice of right thinking for a particular part
              of the world.

              I don't think it gets much better than this. Anyway, I am glad to find that
              my methods of detection lead in some cases to results which coincide with
              Ron's. I think they strengthen one's faith in those methods.

              RON: . . . together with some mathematical tools which I have developed.

              BRUCE: Fine, if they lead you in the right direction. I find the old tools
              still very useful, and capable of doing a lot of the necessary work. I have
              a few analytical algorithms of my own, as far as that goes. But as I once
              told a lecture audience in Leiden (home of Joseph Scaliger; a special moment
              for me), in the end, the results of any such analysis are going to be
              submitted to the literary judgement of the human audience, and they are
              going to have to be expressed in terms of humanly perceptible features in
              the texts. But if those features are present as confirmation, then whatever
              shortcuts we may devise for own convenience, the features can themselves
              also be used as the discovery tool.

              I have not yet found a mathematical algorithm that gives 100% accurate
              results (just as even the good chess machines can be beaten by a really good
              human). The output, as it seems to me, must always meet the text of literary
              convincement. And in at least some cases, the literary confirmation may
              itself provide an adequate entry point.

              That's where I'm at; working at what look like the adequate entry points.

              Of course, once we identify an Appearances layer in Mark (as I believe I
              have done in the short argument above), the question arises, How secure in
              Mark is the Resurrection layer? That it is insecure, at least in the minds
              of some previous investigators, is already implicit in Grant's summary of Mk
              14-16, which I referred to earlier. But those who would like to have the
              point expounded in real time, however hurriedly, may like to drop in at the
              SBL (New England) meeting this Friday. My panel opens at 1 PM sharp, in
              Sherrill Hall Room 1D, at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge
              Massachusetts. Abstracts and other information available via the SBL web
              site,

              http://www.sbl-site.org/Congresses/Congresses_RegionalMeetings_NewEngland.aspx.

              Bruce

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic In Further Response To: Ron On: Interpolations in Mark From: Bruce Ron has several times stated that in his view, Mk 14:28 and 16:7 are
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 22, 2013
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                To: Synoptic
                In Further Response To: Ron
                On: Interpolations in Mark
                From: Bruce

                Ron has several times stated that in his view, Mk 14:28 and 16:7 are
                interpolations in Mark. I have several times registered my agreement with
                him. The difference between us is that he stops there (I gather that only
                these candidate interpolations fit with his theory of modular composition
                units for Mark). I find that the same evidence is present elsewhere in Mark,
                and draw the same conclusion in those places also. Theory or no theory,
                evidence is still evidence.

                What is convincing about the position that Mk 16:7 is an interpolation?
                Perhaps the easiest point to see is that the people in 16:8 (the women) look
                right past the encouraging note in 16:7, and react instead to the terrifying
                spectacle in 16:6. That is, they behave as though 16:7 were simply not
                there. The inference is that, when 16:6 and 8 were written, 16:7 was in fact
                NOT YET there. That is, it was inserted later.

                What is convincing about the position that Mk 14:28 is an interpolation?
                Perhaps the easiest point to see is that Peter in 14:29, among the
                disciples, looks right past the encouraging note in 14:28 and reacts instead
                to the prediction of flight in 14:27 - and responds with an affirmation of
                loyalty. That is, he is behaving as though 14:28 was simply not there. The
                inference is that, when 14:27, 29 were written, 14:27 was in fact NOT YET
                there. That is, it was inserted later.

                Now comes the fork in the road. We can put Mark back on the shelf, and go to
                sleep (always a temptation, at the hot time of the year), or we can turn a
                few more pages. If perchance the latter . . .

                What is convincing about the position that Mk 6:7-13 (the sending of the
                Twelve) is an interpolation? Perhaps the easiest point to see is that Herod
                in 6:14 looks about his realm, and sees, not gangs and squads of agitators
                going up and down the land, sowing sedition and disturbing the people, but
                Jesus only, as was described in 6:6b, "And he [Jesus] went about among the
                villages teaching." That is, Herod is behaving as though the sending of the
                Twelve in 6:7-13 was simply not there. The inference is that, when 6:6 and
                14 were written, 6:7-13 was in fact NOT YET there. That is, it was inserted
                later.

                I trust the method of recognition will be both familiar and obvious. We now
                have three interpolations, in return for the slightest effort with the text
                of Mark.

                The import of the third one, though, is tremendous. It means that the tale
                of the Twelve is not integral to Mark, but was added later. And if the
                Sending of the Twelve was added later, so must have been the closely
                associated Calling of the Twelve, and the Return of the Twelve, neither of
                which makes sense without the Sending passage. Eduard Meyer long ago
                (Urgeschicthe des Christentums 1/264-299, no less; this as in 1921) noticed
                that the Twelve passages were exiguous in Mark, and proposed a Twelve Source
                upon which Mark drew in including that material. But multiple sources worked
                together in a single composition do not leave signs like those we see with
                the Twelve. No, the Twelve material is later, not earlier, than the rest of
                the Markan narrative up to that point. On that point, Meyer needs to be
                corrected. Having corrected him, we move on.

                At some point, the idea of a special group called the Twelve had become
                common Christian parlance. Paul in 1 Cor (mid Fifties) speaks as though it
                were familiar knowledge. What our Mark investigation tells us was that there
                was a time, during the formation process of Mark, when this institution of
                the Twelve had not yet been created, AND THAT THE EARLIER PARTS OF MARK WERE
                WRITTEN, AS A CONTINUOUS NARRATIVE, BEFORE THAT INSTITUTION EXISTED. The
                interpolated Twelve passages were a way of updating Mark's story to take
                account of this important, and authoritative, new development.

                That is mere arithmetic. We now have three results, namely:

                (1) The institution of the Twelve had a definite beginning.
                (2) That beginning was before Paul in 1 Cor, but after its appearance in
                Mark.
                (3) Then the earlier part of Mark, the part into which the Twelve material
                was inserted, is before that appearance, and, a fortiori, before Paul's
                mention of it.

                Then Early Mark > Twelve > 1 Cor, and the earliest NT text is no longer 1
                Thess, or any other Pauline document, it is Mark. It follows that we have to
                stop misreading Mk 13:14 as a prediction of Titus (70); it is instead (as
                attention to the OT reference will show) a prediction of Caligula (40).

                Or as I have said on another occasion, desecration does not equal
                destruction.

                Isn't this fun? By solving the easy little puzzles of the Markan text, we
                are recovering whole gobs of lost early church history. I can't help
                wondering, what would happen if we continued to look at Mark for further
                signs like the above?

                But as I earlier mentioned, it's hot. So here an end.

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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