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Mark 14-16 Priority

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: The Priority of Mark 14-16 From: Bruce Here again, I break off a piece of previous discussion (under a separate
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 16, 2006
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: The Priority of Mark 14-16
      From: Bruce

      Here again, I break off a piece of previous discussion (under a separate
      thread name) so as to isolate one theme which may have its own circle of
      interest.

      BRUCE [Previously]: 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 this Urmarkus might be
      thought to have begun.

      RON [Responding}: 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.

      BRUCE [Current Comment]: Let's dodge the red herring term Urmarkus and go
      back to the question. If the whole of Mark was the work of an afternoon (and
      I can easily write the whole thing out within that time), then it scarcely
      matters what page was scribally first; there is no explicatory power in the
      idea. It is only consequential if for some significant length of time, Mk
      14-16 were all there was of Mark. I then look for signs of the beginning of
      that satisfactory and free-standing text, elided in our present text, but
      still visible.

      In previous "Synoptic" discussion, I and others found such an elided
      beginning in Luke 3:1, to wit:

      3:1. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate
      being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his
      brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachontis, and
      Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, [2] in the High Priesthood of Annas and
      Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zecharaiah in the
      wilderness, [3] and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching
      a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. . .

      That is sonorous in the extreme, it situates the following story with
      excruciating clarity in the chronology of the Roman Empire and in the reigns
      of its collaborationist rulers in Palestine, and then, having established
      its time frame, it slowly moves into the John the Baptist story. Great
      dignity and power. Is it suitable to begin the story of Jesus with the story
      of John? Absolutely; Mark does. Is it suitable to begin a Gospel with a
      chronological placing statement? Absolutely, Like 1:5 does (the beginning of
      our Luke, minus its prolegomena). Then Luke 3:1 lacks nothing, either in
      form or substance, that we have a right to expect of the beginning of a
      Gospel. It has all the credentials, it makes all the right moves, and we are
      accordingly invited to accept it as the original beginning of Luke, a
      beginning later overridden by the framing material of our Luke 1-2, but
      still visible in the received text.

      When I call for a plausible "point at which [this alleged prior state of
      Mark] might be thought to have begun, it is signs like this I am looking
      for. Ron doesn't provide any. Let us see if Mark provides any. First, we
      need to clarify the hypothesis, which has been advanced in various forms.

      Grant, The Gospels, Their Origin and Their Growth (1957) 78f provides a
      summary of the Mk 14-16 proposal. He notes that "the basic pre-Markan
      Passion Narrative has been reconstructed by a number of modern scholars,"
      and he proceeds to name Dibelius, Bultmann, Lietzmann, Klostermann, R H
      Lightfoot, Olmstead, Goguel, Klausner, and Vincent Taylor. "As usually
      constructed," says Grant of this activity, "it contained the following
      verses: Mark 14;1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18a, 21-27, 29-31, 43-53a; 15:1-15, 21,
      22, 24a, 25-27, 29a, 32b-37, 39. In other words, this model ends exactly
      where I would also propose to end the Markan story: with the testimony of
      the Roman soldier as to the Sonship of Jesus, "Truly this man was a Son of
      God." What is convincing to me about this ending is that it so beautifully
      matches the testimony of God on the same subject, at the beginning of Mark
      in 1:11 "Thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am well pleased." Now THERE is
      an outline for a Gospel that anyone would be proud to have thought of. But
      without the beginning of the Gospel in Mk 1, the power of that ending seems
      to me mostly muted; largely latent. It has no resonance, and it looks to me
      very much as though it was meant to have resonance; in fact, to include,
      between it and its furthest point of resonance, the whole message of Mark.

      I thus find the idea that Mk 14-16 (now of course reduced to Mk 14:1-15:39)
      was at one point the whole story of Mark, containing the whole message of
      Mark, to be unattractive, since that proposal makes no use of structural
      signals that the text seems to be giving.

      However, perhaps that grander idea came to Mark at some subsequent time. Let
      us see whether the proposed beginning of the Markan core qualifies, by the
      above standard, as itself a valid beginning. Grant gives us license to take
      Mk 14:1 as that beginning, and there we read:

      "It was now two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread.
      And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by
      stealth, and kill him, [2] for they said, Not during the feast, lest there
      be a tumult of the people."

      Medias in res. Not acceptable as a beginning, unless perhaps the beginning
      of a New Yorker story. Also, who is this "him" that people are, for no
      unstated reason, seeking to arrest and kill? Jesus? Maybe, but that name has
      not been mentioned, that person has not been introduced, and no cause of
      justice has been provided. This is the maximally unprepared beginning. As an
      ancient production, I suggest, it will not do.

      If, then, Mark originally wrote Mk 14-15:39 and then stopped, and was for a
      time content with what he had written, 14:1 cannot very plausibly have been
      the beginning of that text. The original beginning can only have been
      elided, overwritten, or otherwise swamped in the course of adding the rest
      of our Mark.

      So to me, the Mk 14-15:39 thesis fails at both ends: it fails no note a
      literary signal that is there at the end of the text, and it also fails to
      provide the sort of literary signal that, if the theory were true, we would
      expect at the beginning of the text. It misconstrues the connectivity, both
      positive and negative, of Mk 14-15:39.

      EXCURSUS

      The summary by Grant does not posit the existence, in this proposed Markan
      core, of all our present Mk 14-16. In addition to all that comes after
      15:39, his outline (p79) brackets the following passages as not originally
      present:

      14:3-9 [The Anointing at Bethany]
      14:12-16 [The Preparation for the Passover]
      14:18b-20 [The Disciples' Questioning [of the identity of the Betrayer]
      14:28 [Jesus' Prediction of his Resurrection and Appearance in Galilee]
      14:32-42 [Jesus in Gethsemane]
      14:53b [The Council Assembles]
      14:55-65 [Jesus' Trial Before the Sanhedrin]
      14:54, 66-72 [Peter's Denials]

      15:16-20 [The Mocking by the Soldiers]
      15:23 [Jesus is Offered Wine and Myrrh]
      15:24b [Jesus' Garments are Divided]
      15:28 [Interpolated from Luke 22:37 or Isaiah 53:12]
      15:29b-32a [Words of the People; Mocking by the Priests and Scribes]
      15:38 [The Temple Curtain is Torn in Two]

      In other words, the proposed core Mark consisted of exactly 56 verses or
      fragments of verses. It was largely a factual account of Jesus's arrest and
      crucifixion, including Judas's betrayal, plus only the Last Supper scene.
      Incidents that could not have been witnessed by a sympathetic onlooker
      (necessarily also present at the Last Supper) are systematically excluded,
      probably in the interest of verisimilitude. It reduces the Crucifixion story
      to what one witness could have provided. That witness cannot have been
      Peter, since his denials are excluded from the core as here defined. In
      fact, if you take seriously the inclusion of 14:10-11, in which Judas
      secretly approaches the chief priests offering to betray Jesus, the source
      of this narrative can only have been Judas himself.

      Which would require that Judas not expire before the Crucifixion, as he is
      said to do in some variants, but at least sufficiently later that he had
      opportunity to transfer his eyewitness account either to a colleague (John
      Mark, perhaps?) or to an amanuensis (the result coming later into the hands
      of John Mark?).

      No?

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... Bruce, Really? Without a word processor? In uncial Greek letters? Without making a mistake? (For you can t afford to mess up such an important text.) But
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 17, 2006
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        I had written:

        > 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.

        Bruce Brooks replied:

        > Let's dodge the red herring term Urmarkus and go
        > back to the question. If the whole of Mark was the work of an afternoon (and
        > I can easily write the whole thing out within that time),

        Bruce,

        Really? Without a word processor? In uncial Greek letters? Without making a
        mistake? (For you can't afford to mess up such an important text.)

        But your task would be even more difficult. To simulate what Mark did, I
        have reason to believe that you'd have to *compose* the text, not just copy
        it. For although I believe he had a detailed plan - sections and
        sub-sections with an appropriate number of pages (sic) allocated to each -
        nothing was written out except a sayings source in a different language and
        perhaps a copy of the Jewish scriptures for reference.

        > then it scarcely matters what page was scribally first; there is no
        > explicatory power in the idea.

        May I remind you that I raised the idea in a previous posting to help
        explain the presence of "one of the twelve" in 14:10. For on my hypothesis
        3:19 had not yet been composed when 14:10 was penned.

        > It is only consequential if for some significant length of time, Mk
        > 14-16 were all there was of Mark. I then look for signs of the beginning of
        > that satisfactory and free-standing text, elided in our present text, but
        > still visible. .......
        > When I call for a plausible "point at which [this alleged prior state of
        > Mark] might be thought to have begun, it is signs like this I am looking
        > for. Ron doesn't provide any.

        Not surprisingly, for I don't think Mk 14-16 was ever intended to stand
        alone.

        > Let us see if Mark provides any.

        So you won't find any such signs, and your demolition of the idea of 14-16
        or 14:1-15:39 as a pre-Markan passion narrative fits well with my own
        conclusions.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic [Ditto] In Response To: Ron Price On: Mark 14-16 Priority From: Bruce Again, I feel in need of clarification: RON: For on my hypothesis 3:19 had
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 17, 2006
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          To: Synoptic [Ditto]
          In Response To: Ron Price
          On: Mark 14-16 Priority
          From: Bruce

          Again, I feel in need of clarification:

          RON: For on my hypothesis 3:19 had not yet been composed when 14:10 was
          penned.

          RON: I don't think Mk 14-16 was ever intended to stand alone.

          BRUCE: I fail to see how these statements sort together. If 14:10 has the
          form it does because it needs to identify someone as "one of the Twelve" in
          the absence of 3:19 in previous context, then there must, or so it seems to
          me, have been a moment when a reader of 14:10 was not also a reader of 3:19.
          In that moment, the phrase "who was one of the Twelve" in 14:10 is doing
          work that it would not need to do if 3:19 existed, and that identification
          in 14:10 now looks superfluous only because 3:19 is present for us, as it
          was not for the original readers of 14:10. No?

          I think it would help (in case anybody is following all this, and if not, it
          would still help me) if Ron would state, not as a response but de novo, just
          what he thinks Mk 14-16 did, and what status it had vis-a-vis its readers,
          when 3:19 (and presumably everything else in Mk 1-13) was not yet present.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Ron Price
          ... Bruce, No. I am proposing that the gospel of Mark was produced over a period of several days, but with what we call chs. 14-16 written first. None was
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 17, 2006
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            I had written:

            > on my hypothesis 3:19 had not yet been composed when 14:10 was penned.
            > .......
            > I don't think Mk 14-16 was ever intended to stand alone.

            Bruce Brooks replied:

            > I fail to see how these statements sort together. If 14:10 has the
            > form it does because it needs to identify someone as "one of the Twelve" in
            > the absence of 3:19 in previous context, then there must, or so it seems to
            > me, have been a moment when a reader of 14:10 was not also a reader of 3:19.
            > In that moment, the phrase "who was one of the Twelve" in 14:10 is doing
            > work that it would not need to do if 3:19 existed, and that identification
            > in 14:10 now looks superfluous only because 3:19 is present for us, as it
            > was not for the original readers of 14:10. No?

            Bruce,

            No. I am proposing that the gospel of Mark was produced over a period of
            several days, but with what we call chs. 14-16 written first. None was
            published till the whole had been completed. When writing 14:10 he inserted
            what turned out to be an unnecessary qualification "who was one of the
            twelve", because he forgot that he intended to list the twelve earlier in
            the gospel in what we now call 3:14-19.

            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: Mark 14-16 Priority From: Bruce RON: I am proposing that the gospel of Mark was produced over a period of several
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 17, 2006
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              To: Synoptic
              In Response To: Ron Price
              On: Mark 14-16 Priority
              From: Bruce

              RON: I am proposing that the gospel of Mark was produced over a period of
              several days, but with what we call chs. 14-16 written first. None was
              published till the whole had been completed. When writing 14:10 he inserted
              what turned out to be an unnecessary qualification "who was one of the
              twelve", because he forgot that he intended to list the twelve earlier in
              the gospel in what we now call 3:14-19.

              BRUCE: I don't see the point of the assumption. If Mark had his tale in mind
              from the beginning, what would he gain by writing it backwards? And
              separately, what do WE gain by thinking that he did so? There can have been
              no growth in his conception over just a few days.

              E Bruce Brooks
              Warring States Project
              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            • Ron Price
              ... Bruce, As I am not an author, I have no idea. ... If we conclude that Mark wrote 14:1ff. before the rest, then it would merely confirm the view that Mark
              Message 6 of 16 , Apr 18, 2006
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                Bruce Brooks wrote:

                > If Mark had his tale in mind
                > from the beginning, what would he gain by writing it backwards?

                Bruce,

                As I am not an author, I have no idea.

                > And separately, what do WE gain by thinking that he did so?

                If we conclude that Mark wrote 14:1ff. before the rest, then it would merely
                confirm the view that Mark is a passion story with an introduction. We might
                then read 1-13 with a new perspective.

                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: Mark 14-16 Priority From: Bruce I had asked, what do we gain as readers by thinking that Mark wrote Mk 14-16 a few
                Message 7 of 16 , Apr 18, 2006
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                  To: Synoptic
                  In Response To: Ron Price
                  On: Mark 14-16 Priority
                  From: Bruce

                  I had asked, what do we gain as readers by thinking that Mark wrote Mk 14-16
                  a few days earlier (this is Ron's specification) than the rest of the book?

                  RON: If we conclude that Mark wrote 14:1ff. before the rest, then it would
                  merely confirm the view that Mark is a passion story with an introduction.
                  We might then read 1-13 with a new perspective.

                  BRUCE: What new perspective? Anyone of elementary capacity can see that Mark
                  leads up to the Crucifixion. What is interesting, namely the idea that Mark
                  ends with the passion story (and not with the Appearances and the Ascension
                  afterward) is not gained by the notion that Mk 14-16 were written a few days
                  earlier than the rest. It is instead brought into focus by the notion (my
                  own, with previously cited precursors in the mid-20c) that Mk, unlike all
                  the other Gospels which do run on past that point, originally ended at
                  15:39, with the death of Jesus. The Markan narrator gives the Roman
                  soldier's constitutive comment, and then the curtain comes down; end of
                  story. We are left with that, and nothing else, ringing in our ears.

                  It could be beautifully staged.

                  Given that insight, coupled with a few more which I hope to be squeezing
                  into 20 minutes this Friday, we can see that Mark is focused differently
                  than any other Gospel (there is no sign of extension in the other texts, as
                  there is in Mark), and also focused more archaically, since the Resurrection
                  did come to play a hugely important part in later Christian thinking. It is
                  one more way we can see (the Galilean focus, against the Jerusalemizing of
                  the parallel accounts, is another) that Mark really is the oldest of the
                  four; the least well connected to what became the Church orthodox position.

                  And this fact in turn then makes sense of the many signs that Mark was the
                  template for all later efforts in this line, including that of John, which
                  is Synoptic precisely in those final days.

                  One test of a good theory is that it organizes other data than the data it
                  was based on; that it is in the technical sense fruitful. Here in
                  apple-blossom season, I suggest that the ending of Mk at 15:39 (with other
                  details elsewhere in Mk) is such a fruitful theory.

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                • Ron Price
                  ... Bruce, Nice idea. But it has to be wrong. What about the threefold repetition of the prediction of Jesus death and resurrection? The narrative requires
                  Message 8 of 16 , Apr 19, 2006
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                    Bruce Brooks wrote:

                    > ....... Mk, unlike all
                    > the other Gospels which do run on past that point, originally ended at
                    > 15:39, with the death of Jesus.

                    Bruce,

                    Nice idea. But it has to be wrong. What about the threefold repetition of
                    the prediction of Jesus' death and resurrection? The narrative requires the
                    passion story to describe the former and 16:1-6,8 to testify to the latter.

                    (The lack of fulfilment of the promise in 16:7 is one of the reasons why the
                    verse must be taken as an interpolation.)

                    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: Mark 14-16 Priority From: Bruce I had suggested, following Grant (mentioned earlier with references), that at one
                    Message 9 of 16 , Apr 19, 2006
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                      To: Synoptic
                      In Response To: Ron Price
                      On: Mark 14-16 Priority
                      From: Bruce

                      I had suggested, following Grant (mentioned earlier with references), that
                      at one point early in its evolution, the Gospel of Mark had its outer limits
                      at 1:4 and 15:39. We then had:

                      RON: Nice idea. But it has to be wrong. What about the threefold repetition
                      of the prediction of Jesus' death and resurrection? The narrative requires
                      the passion story to describe the former and 16:1-6,8 to testify to the
                      latter.

                      BRUCE: We are all familiar from childhood with the idea that the death and
                      resurrection of Jesus were predicted in advance, by himself. But if we put
                      aside what we know as children, and approach the text afresh, I think we
                      will be surprised at how few are the passages which predict the death, and
                      how much fewer, and for the most part, how exiguous, are those which predict
                      the Resurrection. Of the latter, subject to correction by the learned, I
                      find just six, in addition to the Empty Tomb narrative itself. They are: (a)
                      Three tag ends on death predictions, all phrased identically, and all of
                      which could be excised without damage to those predictions (8:31b, 9:31b,
                      10:34b). I think it will be admitted that these are so insubstantial that,
                      by themselves, they would not be effective as establishing the doctrine.
                      Also: (b) Three short passages, all of them liable to be understood as
                      interruptive in context, and thus as later additions to context (9:9-10,
                      14:57-59, 15:29b), on which see below. The Empty Tomb narrative does not
                      count in this list; it is the thing whose predictedness we are examining.

                      I don't think anybody will be reflectively disposed to argue that much
                      weight can be put on the tag end passages. It will be noted that all come
                      within Son of Man passages, and that Son of Man passages otherwise (for the
                      most part) definitely associate themselves with the death of Jesus, but not
                      his Resurrection.

                      As for the three others, on which I think any stronger case for Resurrection
                      predictions as integral to Mark must rest, I think that by the tests
                      previously used (which as the same as those long standard in the criticism
                      of Classical texts), it will be seen that all are to some degree intrusive
                      in context, and thus suspect. For instance:

                      Mk 9:9-10 in Context (the Transfiguration on the Mountain).

                      9:4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking
                      to Jesus
                      9:5 And Peter said to Jesus, It is well that we are here . . .
                      9:6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.
                      9:7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud,
                      This is my beloved Son; listen to him.
                      9:8 And suddenly looking around, they no longer saw any one with them . .
                      .

                      [9:9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell
                      no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man should have risen from the
                      dead].
                      [9:10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising
                      from the dead meant]

                      9:11 And they asked him, Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must
                      come?

                      And so on, continuing with a warning that Elijah too was handled roughly in
                      his time. 9:11 connects with 9:8, and asks about Elijah, whom they have just
                      seen. It does not attempt to reduce the bafflement into which 9:9-10 lead
                      them, in attempting to understand the evidently new idea of rising from the
                      dead. Then the picture here, even with the material which now comes between
                      the vision of Elijah and the question about Elijah, is of disciples familiar
                      with the prediction of death, but unfamiliar with the prediction of
                      Resurrection. It would seem that the two were separable. In any case, the
                      Resurrection bafflement interrupts the Elijah sequence, as it need not have
                      done, and I accordingly class it as an intrusion.

                      The other two short passages are the related Destroy the Temple and In Three
                      Days Restore It theme, which is usually taken to refer to the Third Day
                      Resurrection doctrine. Both those passages are clearly interruptive in
                      context, in the usual sense that the surrounding text reads more smoothly,
                      more concinnitously, when they are removed. Examples:

                      Mk 14:57-59: False Witnesses

                      14:56 For many stood up and bore false witness against him
                      14:57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying
                      14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple . . .
                      14:59 Yet not even so did their testimony agree
                      14:60 And the High Priest stood up in their midst and asked Jesus, Have
                      you no answer . . .

                      (The repetition of "stood up and bore false witness" is suggestive of a new
                      beginning; 14:56 leads adequately to 14:60).

                      Mk 15:29b: Jeering of the Crowd [WH omit 15:28 as a scribal addition]

                      15:27 And with him they crucified two robbers . . .
                      15:29a And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying,
                      15:29b Aha, you who would destroy the Temple and build it in three
                      days,
                      15:30 Save yourself, and come down from the cross.
                      15:31 So also the chief priests mocked him . . . saying, He saved others,
                      he cannot save himself.

                      (The mocking of the chief priests in 15:31 better echoes that of the
                      passersby in 15:30 if 15:29 is not present).

                      These are surely pretty thin. In fact, the whole catalogue of Resurrection
                      predictions is pretty thin, when taken by itself. On the other hand, the
                      Death predictions are solider in context, and on average more sonorous in
                      substance. Their repetition in not always very distinctive form becomes
                      eventually wearing, but one cannot say that they are not present, and at
                      least in some places, reasonably well incorporated, in the Markan text.

                      I suggest that longtime readers of Mark have so strongly associated the
                      themes of Death and Resurrection that they tend to regard either as implying
                      the other. It is for that reason that I have separated the two, above, to
                      show how little the Resurrection predictions amount to on their own. Of
                      course the Empty Tomb narrative is substantial, but we were discussing the
                      Predictions. I don't find them to be either weighty in aggregate, or
                      narratively convincing as individual bits of text.

                      It is to be noted that though the Empty Tomb (Resurrection) narratives
                      proper become very elaborate in the later Gospels, and not less so in some
                      of the Apocryphal Gospels (eg, the Gospel of Peter), the predictions are
                      still left pretty low key.

                      Respectfully suggested,

                      Bruce

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                    • Ron Price
                      ... Bruce, So now you want to dismiss as interpolations all six predictions of the resurrection plus the whole account of the empty tomb. Not only are the
                      Message 10 of 16 , Apr 19, 2006
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                        I had written:

                        > What about the threefold repetition
                        > of the prediction of Jesus' death and resurrection? The narrative requires
                        > the passion story to describe the former and 16:1-6,8 to testify to the
                        > latter.

                        Bruce Brooks replied:

                        > ....... I think we
                        > will be surprised at how few are the passages which predict the death, and
                        > how much fewer, and for the most part, how exiguous, are those which predict
                        > the Resurrection. Of the latter, subject to correction by the learned, I
                        > find just six, in addition to the Empty Tomb narrative itself. They are: (a)
                        > Three tag ends on death predictions, all phrased identically, and all of
                        > which could be excised without damage to those predictions (8:31b, 9:31b,
                        > 10:34b). I think it will be admitted that these are so insubstantial that,
                        > by themselves, they would not be effective as establishing the doctrine.
                        > Also: (b) Three short passages, all of them liable to be understood as
                        > interruptive in context, and thus as later additions to context (9:9-10,
                        > 14:57-59, 15:29b) .......

                        Bruce,

                        So now you want to dismiss as interpolations all six predictions of the
                        resurrection plus the whole account of the empty tomb.

                        Not only are the reasons for this wholesale dismissal too subjective. But
                        thereby you would destroy the gospel's optimistic thread. If the original
                        end was a dead son of God (15:39), Mark's readers would have been left with
                        no hope.

                        Your analysis is, how can I say it, hopelessly flawed.

                        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: Resurrection From: Bruce I don t want to get decoyed into solving the whole problem of Christian origins on this one
                        Message 11 of 16 , Apr 19, 2006
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                          To: Synoptic
                          In Response To: Ron Price
                          On: Resurrection
                          From: Bruce

                          I don't want to get decoyed into solving the whole problem of Christian
                          origins on this one page, but short of that, and bearing in mind that the
                          way to solve little problems is sometimes to see them in large perspective,
                          let me do what I quickly can with Ron's objections.

                          RON: So now you want to dismiss as interpolations all six predictions of the
                          resurrection plus the whole account of the empty tomb.

                          BRUCE: As noted, lots of people in the past (some subset of Dibelius,
                          Bultmann, Lietzmann, Klostermann, R H Lightfoot, Olmstead, Goguel, Klausner,
                          Vincent Taylor, and Fred Grant, who summarizes all this), want to
                          reconstruct the pre-Markan passion narrative without the Empty Tomb segment.
                          They also want to omit Mary of Bethany, and a bunch of other stuff. Go argue
                          with them. My version of this position is that the core Crucifixion
                          Narrative is not pre-Markan, but rather early Markan. That is, I allow for
                          growth as taking place not in a series of prior documents, but under the
                          continuous supervision of whoever we imagine as in charge of the Mark text
                          production operation. On the evidence, some of it cited previously, and some
                          of it indeed at points on which Ron agrees (14:28, 16:7), I consider Mark to
                          be a growth text. The two views, the source theory of Dibelius at al, and my
                          own accretional text theory, are up to a point functionally equivalent. I
                          think my version is more efficient and also more revealing. The reader may
                          judge.

                          It is not good form to characterize my argument as a "dismissal" of the
                          Empty Tomb sequence. In agreement with several of my fellow beings, and
                          probably for analogous reasons, though I haven't looked them all up (I know
                          that at least Fred Grant is aware of the inconsecutivity argument, and uses
                          it against 14:28 and 16:7), I identify that sequence as philologically
                          insecure in Mark; not only it but the predictions of it which are spotted at
                          various places in the previous chapters. There are reasons for doing so;
                          reasons which can be described to other beings. It is not an emotional act,
                          or a rejection without examination of evidence, as the word "dismiss" tends
                          to imply. Such words as "dismiss" really don't belong in scholarly
                          discourse.

                          RON: Not only are the reasons for this wholesale dismissal too subjective.

                          BRUCE: Not subjective; objective and I put them on line. There is evidence.
                          Some may regard the evidence as otherwise interpretable. But to them I would
                          point out: If we take several sequences in Mark, and consider whether there
                          are troubles at the periphery, troubles with the Sitz im Text, with each of
                          them in turn, I think that we will find that the answers are Yes in some
                          cases, and No in others. That is, various threads of the Markan fabric are
                          more and less well woven in. Some are extremely loose, little more than cat
                          hairs on a sweater. Others are in grain, or in weave, however one says that.
                          That difference, to me, is an observation of consequence. In these notes, I
                          choose to follow out the consequences. And I don't particularly care where
                          they may lead; I have nothing at stake one way or the other. I just want to
                          see (to the extent that one can see) what Mark is up to. The imputation of
                          intentionality is inaccurate.

                          RON: But thereby you would destroy the gospel's optimistic thread. If the
                          original end was a dead son of God (15:39), Mark's readers would have been
                          left with no hope.

                          BRUCE: This is what is technically called an argumentum ad misericordiam, an
                          appeal not to do something, not because it is wrong, but because of sad
                          consequences if one does it. Such arguments are fallacious in principle;
                          they take us out of the realm of argument altogether, and put us in an
                          empathy context. Suppose we make that shift; I would next ask: Does the
                          empathy appeal have merit? That is, are the sad consequences really as sad
                          as is here implied? For whatever relevance the question may possess, I think
                          not, and I will take a little time to say why.

                          The position seems to be that Christianity without the Resurrection is a
                          hopeless Christianity. I would take that as a philologically useful
                          statement in just this sense: it helps to make intelligible the reason why
                          the Resurrection Doctrine was added to the Christian story in the first
                          place. Do I need to explain? Perhaps I should anyway.

                          Over the course of the Pauline letters, taken chronologically, it has been
                          noted that the emphasis on the immediate Coming of Jesus dwindles. This, I
                          venture to suggest (and not for the first time in the commentarial
                          literature) was because the credibility of the immediate Coming of Jesus was
                          itself dwindling, as years passed, and more of the original converts died,
                          and the whole proposition got to look more iffy, even self-refuting. As is
                          well known, to this day, thousands of years later, that proposition is still
                          in the universe's in-box. So Paul was no doubt tactically well advised to
                          shift his ground, or rather, to recognize that it had shifted under him.
                          Hence we get, not by him invented, but by some process moved by the same
                          situation, the Doctrine of the Resurrection. Originally, until the passage
                          of time had called it into being, there was no such thing. What the Doctrine
                          of the Resurrection did, functionally, was to substitute an immediate event
                          (a Rising after Three Days) for an event which could no longer credibly be
                          represented as imminent (the Return in Judgement, at the Right Hand of
                          Power, and all the rest of it). It was a functional substitution, a shift in
                          the locus of belief. You as an early Christian can believe that Jesus was
                          crucified; your enemies remind you of it daily. You can also come to believe
                          (under sufficient pressure to fill the previous category of belief with
                          analogous material) that Jesus triumphed over death, and returned to bodily
                          life, complete with scars in hands and feet, and capable of wearing clothes
                          and walking from one place to another, and eating fish just like you and me.
                          That is the content of the Resurrection. It links with the West Asian
                          tradition of the Dying and Reviving God, and so on. It would have echoed in
                          the minds of the Gentile converts especially, who had long been exposed to
                          that typology of belief. It was an easy sell. Of course it meant that the
                          appeal of Christianity would now be chiefly to the Greek Mystery
                          Cult-exposed world of the West Asian Gentiles, and less to its original
                          audience, the Jews. And do you know what? That is exactly what happened.
                          Christianity became a non-Jewish religion.

                          So the later history implied by the idea of a nonoriginal Resurrection
                          Doctrine did take place, and to that extent, the scenario I propose is
                          validated in the laboratory of observable experience.

                          Now, how about the time before the Resurrection Doctrine came to exist? Was
                          Christianity at that time a doleful and hopeless thing, dreary of prospect
                          and limited in the present to mourning its own failure? Not a bit of it, and
                          for this too there is evidence. Go back to John the Baptist. Was he
                          preaching a gospel of doom? No, one of salvation, and how was salvation to
                          be gained? By repentance, and by following the Mosaic law in its purity.
                          Taking the evidence of Mark on the whole, how was salvation to be gained in
                          the view of Jesus? By repentance, and by following the Mosaic law in its
                          purity. As to what the Mosaic law in its purity might require, as distinct
                          from the thousand provisions of conduct that the scribes and Pharisees had
                          devised in the years since Moses, well, there are in Mark whole series of
                          encounter stories whose whole point is to show Jesus rejecting the later
                          accretions, and going back to the Mosaic code as he understood it. As to the
                          requirement of repentance, what was the content of Jesus's own preaching?
                          That is coyly unspecified at most of the points in Mark at which we would
                          expect to find it. But there is one point, in the doctrinal evolution of
                          which several stages are attested in Mark, at which this question may be
                          submitted for an answer. We rephrase the question this way: What was the
                          content of the preaching of the Twelve Apostles, when Jesus
                          anachronistically sent them out? The answer to that question is not
                          subjective, it is not speculative, it is available straight from antiquity
                          at Mk 6:12-13, and I quote: "So they went out and preached that men should
                          repent, and they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were
                          sick, and healed them."

                          The repentance part is pure inherited John the Baptist, no more and no less.
                          The healing part is Jesus's particular wrinkle as the inheritor of John's
                          mission. Go figure: He did not have the charisma of dwelling in the wilds
                          like John, eating found but Kosher food. Jesus ate and drank with unclean
                          persons, since, as he said, that was where the gospel of repentance needed
                          to be preached with special urgency. So he lacked that prophetic persona,
                          and what did he substitute to make himself effective in that Johannine role?
                          Charismatic healings.

                          It has been said that I dismiss "all six predictions" of the Resurrection.
                          The word "all" is an attempt to magnify the enormity of this proposal. The
                          attempt fails. Let those who care for accuracy in adjectives perform this
                          experiment: Take a pink marker and go through a fresh Xerox of Mark, and
                          pink in the six predictions in question. You will find that some of them are
                          mere half sentences, but pink them in anyway. Now take a yellow marker and
                          yellow in every passage referring to repentance, to the pure Mosaic code as
                          against the contaminated "practices of the fathers," every charismatic
                          healing, the whole Twelve layer, whatever else you find that is strictly
                          compatible with this worldview. Then spread out your pages, take them in at
                          a glance (a perfectly proper recommendation; this after all is the Synoptic
                          list), and report back to the rest of us on the laboratory question: Which
                          color predominates?

                          I bet a shiny nickel it is not the paltry and exiguous six Resurrection
                          predictions. If such should indeed be the case, then the message of Jesus,
                          as recorded in a considerable amount of perfectly clear Markan prose, is not
                          Jesus himself (if you want to hear Jesus talking about himself endlessly, go
                          read John). The message of Jesus that predominates in Mark is exactly what
                          Mk 1:14 calls it: The Gospel of God.

                          Now of course it did happen that the gospel of the Church at one point did
                          become what the superscription of Mark calls it (1:1): The Gospel of Jesus.
                          That shift, that substitution of Jesus for God in the traditional Redemption
                          of Israel scenario, did indeed occur. The Jewish authorities seem to have
                          been scandalized by it, and given their presuppositions, one can perhaps see
                          their point. Anyway, the shift from man to God in Jesus is no secret. Even
                          in my tiny library, there is more than one book on just this subject, the
                          divinization of Jesus. The operative question, the point of interest, is,
                          When did the shift occur? On the evidence of the two phrases just quoted, it
                          occurred sometime within the timeframe subtended by Mark, since Mark
                          contains both pre-Resurrection material and post-Resurrection material. (The
                          latter, I repeat, and anyone can verify it, is of no great extent, and is
                          insecurely anchored in the text, and is thus late. Indeed, in terms of
                          Markan accretion, it is almost last-minute, and it was destined to be much
                          more fully developed in later Gospels, canonical and otherwise, but still,
                          there it is). Then not only is Mark accretional, and not only is early
                          Christian doctrine developmental, but for a certain period of time, the two
                          processes ran in parallel, with Mark (or its proprietors) observing how the
                          winds of doctrine were blowing, and including as much of the resulting
                          weather report as it felt called upon to do.

                          The large picture is surely something like that, and my contribution to the
                          subject is not to point out the divinization of Jesus as a big deal in the
                          early history of the Jesus movement, that has been done already, but to
                          point out that Mark is a witness to that transition.

                          Now I return to the idea of "hopelessness" without the Resurrection. Can we
                          imagine Christianity without the Resurrection, and if so, what was its
                          emotional tenor? In the first place, it was a Christianity with salvation,
                          so that it was fundamentally hopeful. John already promised salvation for
                          those who repented and believed in the promise of God, and is not salvation
                          hopeful? People would rather go to the other place, the realm of fire and
                          work? Not likely. And John couldn't even do charismatic healings, so your
                          hope is grounded on his ascetic ways, his Green credibility. Then comes
                          Jesus making the same offer, but with demonstrations of healing power;
                          demonstrations that the powers up top are with him, and that he is doing
                          their work. Talk about hopeful! As the synagogue auditors and the healing
                          witnesses in Mark repeatedly say, We never saw the likes of this!

                          That's not hopeful? On the contrary, it is not only hopeful, it is
                          excitingly hopeful, frantically hopeful, door-bustingly hopeful; the mobs
                          impelled by that hope were so numerous and so insistent that the charismatic
                          healer couldn't even eat his lunch in peace; they were coming in the
                          windows, moved by hope, wanting to redeem the promise of hope. How much hope
                          does it take, in one little text, to give an impression of hope to a modern
                          reader?

                          That is early Christianity as pictured by Mark, and with nary a hint of
                          Resurrection on the horizon, just Jesus recommending repentance, and healing
                          the sick and the disabled as an example of what following that
                          recommendation would do for you.

                          But that is early Christianity as portrayed by mark, and Mark is after all
                          just some writer. How about outside Mark?

                          There is outside testimony also. It happens that we have surviving documents
                          dating from the period of pre-Resurrection Christianity. Joseph Fitzmyer, in
                          my opinion, has done very good work in pointing to several of these
                          survivals; this is especially in his article The Resurrection of Jesus
                          Christ According to the New Testament (included in the expanded version of
                          his collection To Advance the Gospel, Eerdmans (and Dove) 1998; the first
                          edition was in 1981). The most interesting is in, or rather is embedded in,
                          Philippians 2:5-11. It is an early hymn. It speaks of the exaltation of
                          Jesus, his glorification. It delights in the same; it is not in the least
                          gloomy. But it does not speak of the Resurrection.

                          That Paul himself believed almost exclusively in the Resurrection as the
                          foundation of all Christian faith is manifest, as he himself says in 1 Cor
                          15:4. But that's Paul. What we have, if Fitzmyer is right (as I am persuaded
                          he is), is then these two parallel developments:

                          1. Development In The Churches Attested by Paul
                          a. Glorification but no Resurrection (hymn preserved in Philippians)
                          b. Resurrection as essential (Paul in his own voice)
                          2. Development In The Doctrines Reflected in Mark
                          a. Salvation but no Resurrection (the parts marked in yellow, cf supra)
                          b. The Resurrection Interpolations (pink)

                          Please to note: the development attested by the Pauline literature, and that
                          attested by the Markan compendium, are the same development. 1a > 1b = 2a >
                          2b.

                          The a's and b's are surely different in content, but I think it will be
                          observed that both are hopeful.

                          RON: Your analysis is, how can I say it, hopelessly flawed.

                          BRUCE: Hopefully not.

                          E Bruce Brooks
                          Warring States Project
                          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                          http://www.umass.edu/wsp
                        • Ron Price
                          ... Bruce, Regrettably you are invoking people who mostly (if not in entirety) died many decades ago, so I will not be able to take up your challenge! ... The
                          Message 12 of 16 , Apr 20, 2006
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                            Bruce Brooks wrote:

                            > As noted, lots of people in the past (some subset of Dibelius,
                            > Bultmann, Lietzmann, Klostermann, R H Lightfoot, Olmstead, Goguel, Klausner,
                            > Vincent Taylor, and Fred Grant, who summarizes all this), want to
                            > reconstruct the pre-Markan passion narrative without the Empty Tomb segment.
                            > They also want to omit Mary of Bethany, and a bunch of other stuff. Go argue
                            > with them.

                            Bruce,

                            Regrettably you are invoking people who mostly (if not in entirety) died
                            many decades ago, so I will not be able to take up your challenge!

                            > I consider Mark to be a growth text.

                            The more complicated the proposed steps in this growth, the more evidence
                            you would require to substantiate this hypothesis.

                            > Such words as "dismiss" really don't belong in scholarly discourse.

                            My use of the word in the phrase "dismiss as interpolations" seemed fair to
                            me. But following your clarification it now seems that you are referring to
                            multiple editions of Mark. So perhaps I should have written: "designate as
                            absent from earlier edition(s)".

                            If this is what you mean, then I must point out that what you are proposing
                            is a hypothesis which has no close analogy in any modern scholarly
                            commentary of Mark with which I am familiar. This doesn't prove it's wrong.
                            But it does mean that you will require a great deal of evidence to make a
                            credible case.

                            Another problem I have with this conversation is that I seem to be aiming at
                            a moving target because your hypothesis has not (unless I've missed
                            something) been set out in full detail. How many editions of the gospel do
                            you think there were? Which additions/changes were made at which stages?

                            >>Not only are the reasons for this wholesale dismissal too subjective.

                            > Not subjective; objective and I put them on line. There is evidence.

                            Let me put it another way. The judgement that the six resurrection
                            prophecies were additions to a previous text is too subjective. The vast
                            majority of people looking at the same evidence would disagree with your
                            judgement here.

                            > In these notes, I choose to follow out the consequences.
                            > And I don't particularly care where
                            > they may lead; I have nothing at stake one way or the other. I just want to
                            > see (to the extent that one can see) what Mark is up to.

                            That is also my own approach, so I agree with you in this instance.

                            > The imputation of intentionality is inaccurate.

                            Again I think you're a little too sensitive. I merely think that the reasons
                            you provide are inadequate, and your judgement is wrong in designating these
                            particular passages as 'late additions to the text'.

                            >> But thereby you would destroy the gospel's optimistic thread. If the
                            >> original end was a dead son of God (15:39), Mark's readers would have been
                            >> left with no hope.

                            > This is what is technically called an argumentum ad misericordiam, an
                            > appeal not to do something, not because it is wrong, but because of sad
                            > consequences if one does it. Such arguments are fallacious in principle

                            I thought my meaning was obvious. Let me spell it out. No one would have
                            bothered writing a gospel ending in the premature and miserable death of a
                            hero who felt he had been abandoned by God (15:34), and thus with no hope.
                            How could the author have expected it to find acceptance? In any case,
                            without hope it would not have been a "gospel" (= "good news"). This
                            argument is not "fallacious in principle".

                            > Over the course of the Pauline letters, taken chronologically, it has been
                            > noted that the emphasis on the immediate Coming of Jesus dwindles. This, I
                            > venture to suggest (and not for the first time in the commentarial
                            > literature) was because the credibility of the immediate Coming of Jesus was
                            > itself dwindling, as years passed, and more of the original converts died,
                            > and the whole proposition got to look more iffy, even self-refuting. As is
                            > well known, to this day, thousands of years later, that proposition is still
                            > in the universe's in-box. So Paul was no doubt tactically well advised to
                            > shift his ground, or rather, to recognize that it had shifted under him.
                            > Hence we get, not by him invented, but by some process moved by the same
                            > situation, the Doctrine of the Resurrection.

                            This idea doesn't work. For already in his first known letter Paul mentions
                            the resurrection of Jesus (1 Thess 1:10).

                            > It has been said that I dismiss "all six predictions" of the Resurrection.
                            > The word "all" is an attempt to magnify the enormity of this proposal.

                            It was your list in the first place. It was you who assigned all six to an
                            earlier edition. So I don't see how you can quibble about my use of the word
                            "all" unless you want to exempt specific members of the six, which you have
                            not done.

                            > That Paul himself believed almost exclusively in the Resurrection as the
                            > foundation of all Christian faith is manifest, as he himself says in 1 Cor
                            > 15:4. But that's Paul. What we have, if Fitzmyer is right (as I am persuaded
                            > he is), is then these two parallel developments:
                            >
                            > 1. Development In The Churches Attested by Paul
                            > a. Glorification but no Resurrection (hymn preserved in Philippians)
                            > b. Resurrection as essential (Paul in his own voice)
                            > 2. Development In The Doctrines Reflected in Mark
                            > a. Salvation but no Resurrection (the parts marked in yellow, cf supra)
                            > b. The Resurrection Interpolations (pink)
                            >
                            > Please to note: the development attested by the Pauline literature, and that
                            > attested by the Markan compendium, are the same development. 1a > 1b = 2a >
                            > 2b.

                            I am not at all persuaded by the parallel as stated. No one knows the origin
                            of the Philippian hymn, so there is no evidence that it was ever
                            representative of the churches attested by Paul. Nor am I convinced that the
                            items you marked yellow form a coherent group. Nor am I convinced that the
                            text in which are embedded what you call the "Resurrection Interpolations"
                            ever had a separate existence without them.

                            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: Mark 14-16 Priority From: Bruce RON (of my invitation to dispute matters with Dibelius, Goguel, et al): Regrettably
                            Message 13 of 16 , Apr 20, 2006
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                              To: Synoptic
                              In Response To: Ron Price
                              On: Mark 14-16 Priority
                              From: Bruce

                              RON (of my invitation to dispute matters with Dibelius, Goguel, et al):
                              Regrettably you are invoking people who mostly (if not in entirety) died
                              many decades ago, so I will not be able to take up your challenge!

                              BRUCE: Well, you could dig up their arguments, and refute them on-line. Littera
                              scripta manet.

                              RON (on my claim that Mark is a growth text): The more complicated the proposed
                              steps in this growth, the more evidence you would require to substantiate this
                              hypothesis.

                              BRUCE: Granted. And unfortunately, the whole Four-Gospel Synoptic Problem does
                              cohere. A solution satisfying all difficulties would be the only fully
                              satisfactory one. I have previously argued for some elements in what I am coming
                              to see as that solution, eg, evidence for interpolation and transposition in
                              Luke. I think that, given the scale on which a proper proposal would have to be
                              made, together with the List Masters' recommendation that the standard Synoptic
                              communication should be six lines long,that piecemeal process is the only
                              allowable one. If discussing one piece brings up another piece, then that can be
                              taken up in turn. As seems to be happening here. I can't imagine any other
                              practicable procedure.

                              RON: My use of the word in the phrase "dismiss as interpolations" seemed fair to
                              me. But following your clarification it now seems that you are referring to
                              multiple editions of Mark. So perhaps I should have written: "designate as
                              absent from earlier edition(s)".

                              BRUCE: I don't like the word "edition," which brings a lot of assumptions, or
                              anyway envisionments, with it. It suggests reopening after an interval. And it
                              suggests some "editor" operating at a certain distance from the text, whereas I
                              see the proprietors of Mark as those who also possessed and used it. For a
                              start, I assume that Mark was generally in growth mode, open to such amendments
                              and extensions as its proprietors thought suitable, from time to time.

                              RON: If this is what you mean, then I must point out that what you are proposing
                              is a hypothesis which has no close analogy in any modern scholarly commentary of
                              Mark with which I am familiar. This doesn't prove it's wrong. But it does mean
                              that you will require a great deal of evidence to make a credible case.

                              BRUCE: The requirement of evidence would exist whether or not the proposal
                              coincided with previous ones. Previous ones would make the citation of evidence
                              a little more compact, but one would still need to argue why one relies on X and
                              not on Y and Z, so the space requirement goes back up after all. I figure it is
                              cheaper to argue de novo, from observable facts, and cite agreements as they
                              occur (I did take something of a shortcut with Fitzmyer, though in a real book I
                              would need to set out at more length just what it was that Fitzmyer found (that
                              Lightfoot et al had missed). It's hard to make a book short. At any rate, unless
                              someone can go Ron one better and cite a previous theory of the same type, I
                              guess I don't have an excuse to discard the book MS itself.

                              It does seem, as far as I have been able to discover, that the accretional or
                              growth text model is new to this field, as it was also new to the classical
                              China field, the Homeric field, and the classical Sanskrit field. And it also
                              seems to have the ability to resolve problems not solvable with more
                              conventional models of texts and text formation, among them the situation where
                              text A seems to be both earlier and later than Text B. These situations abound
                              in the classical Chinese area, and they seem to be not necessarily unheard of in
                              NT also, as witness the frequently reiterated claim that in the material which
                              they have in common against Mark (the Major Agreements), Matthew and Luke take
                              turns having the earlier form (Harnack et al). This requires examination (I have
                              always felt that Farrer dealt with some of the seemingly more difficult cases),
                              but if there is a residue of pairs which seem to have the atypical aetiology
                              Luke > Matthew, then the accretional text model would offer an alternative to an
                              immediate and otherwise more or less inevitable Q-type hypothesis. And so on.
                              The thing is theoretically interesting, and may have practical advantages also.
                              We shall see.

                              RON: Another problem I have with this conversation is that I seem to be aiming
                              at a moving target because your hypothesis has not (unless I've missed
                              something) been set out in full detail.

                              BRUCE: See above, on the impropriety of setting out my hypothesis in full
                              detail; it would be against the rules, and would overload not a few mailboxes.
                              It would in any case be improper for anyone to monopolize the Synoptic screen to
                              that extent. Given those limitations, I think the path of progressive discovery,
                              raising related questions only when they suggest themselves in the course of
                              discussion, is the only possible one.

                              RON: How many editions of the gospel do you think there were? Which
                              additions/changes were made at which stages?

                              BRUCE: I don't see editions; I see stages in a continuous process. The talk
                              tomorrow at Cambridge (through the wonders of color television, I am actually
                              writing this from Cambridge) will present six layers, and this is only because
                              the rules of that medium limit me to twenty minutes. Nor do I guarantee that
                              those are the only ones; on the contrary, it is obvious that there are others.
                              There is a lot going on in Mark. Interesting text.

                              RON (on my finding that the Resurrection predictions are insecure in Markan
                              context): Let me put it another way. The judgement that the six resurrection
                              prophecies were additions to a previous text is too subjective. The vast
                              majority of people looking at the same evidence would disagree with your
                              judgement here.

                              BRUCE: That is the chance one takes. I am also prepared to find a lot of people
                              in disagreement. Today, I spent the afternoon browsing commentaries in the
                              Andover-Harvard library (a sort of vacation from my usual poverty of resource),
                              and I must say, the average commentary (based now on hundreds and not handfuls)
                              is highly wary of what action consequences will be drawn, in the present tense
                              from any decision one might come to about the meaning of some passage in one of
                              the Gospels. The solemnity of the pulpit was, on average, never very far away.
                              That's perfectly understandable, but it's not the climate in which a
                              philological problem can be approached and solved as such, and the only thing a
                              practical philologist can to is shrug it off. The residue of philological
                              disagreement I am prepared to consider, and I am also prepared to be wrong or
                              improvable at this or that point. The difficulties are great. But disagreement
                              as such doesn't strike me as a serious objection, if the text in question is a
                              sacred one (or even a culturally enshrined secular one, as is the case with the
                              parallel Chinese situation). It goes with the territory.

                              RON (on what he called the "hopelessness" of my Markan construction and its
                              implications for early Christianity): I thought my meaning was obvious. Let me
                              spell it out. No one would have bothered writing a gospel ending in the
                              premature and miserable death of a hero who felt he had been abandoned by God
                              (15:34), and thus with no hope. How could the author have expected it to find
                              acceptance? In any case, without hope it would not have been a "gospel" (= "good
                              news"). This argument is not "fallacious in principle".

                              BRUCE: The good news is that God offers salvation, and that the death of Jesus
                              (as of the Markan core I am here identifying; there were Markan stages before
                              the formation of that core) was part of that offer. The only thing of which a
                              prospective Christian might have been uncertain is whether or not Jesus was
                              really God's envoy in the matter, if he was fully accredited to make those
                              promises; in a word, if he really was the Son of God. I think I covered this,
                              but please note that God himself is quoted as saying so, at the beginning of
                              Mark (1:11), and by the end of Mark, the Sonship of Jesus is manifest to a
                              secular eyewitness, the Roman soldier. How much testimony do you need? The
                              purpose of Mark at these points (precisely the beginning and end of his Gospel,
                              and no more emphatic positioning exists in any text) is not to preach the
                              doctrine of Jesus, but at affirm and acclaim that Jesus was the Son of God. So
                              also says every supernatural being along the way, and so reaffirms God in the
                              middle of the story, with a cloud for emphasis (note the Mosaic overtone; we are
                              back in the times of Moses, and God is speaking again direct to man). God does
                              not go on to dictate the terms of the New Kingdom, instead he delegates it to
                              Jesus ("This is my beloved Son, LISTEN TO HIM"). What he says, goes. Again, the
                              names of the eyewitnesses are carefully recorded, and they were presumably among
                              those who actually carried on the preaching of the Jesus gospel in the early
                              years after his death.

                              So what is missing? An offer of eternal life, direct from God as mediated by his
                              accredited agent on the planet. Signed and witnesses. As to how Jesus came to be
                              glorified in Heaven, whether by direct ascent from the Cross or in some other
                              way, that is a small detail. Or would have seemed so in the early days of the
                              movement.

                              RON (on the substitution of a Three-Day resurrection belief for the increasingly
                              implausible Second Coming anticipation): This idea doesn't work. For already in
                              his first known letter Paul mentions the resurrection of Jesus (1 Thess 1:10).

                              BRUCE: I said that, or equivalent. For Paul, the Resurrection and indeed the
                              Appearances are vital to his faith, and to his certification as an Apostle. My
                              suggestion is that the early part of Mark goes behind Paul; it is pre-Pauline.

                              RON (on the Glorification > Resurrection development in the Markan community and
                              also in the pre-Pauline Gentile community plus the Pauline community): I am not
                              at all persuaded by the parallel as stated. No one knows the origin of the
                              Philippian hymn, so there is no evidence that it was ever representative of the
                              churches attested by Paul.

                              BRUCE: Fitzmyer thinks so, and he thinks so precisely because the implied
                              theology is not that of Paul. Paul is here quoting some bit of early Christian
                              devotional poetry, for effect, and for purposes of present argument, we don't
                              need to identify which church did its devotional singing in that way. Philippi
                              would be a very likely guess, but it doesn't matter. Only the sequence of
                              pre-Pauline Glorification Theology, being replaced by Pauline Resurrection
                              Theology, is germane to the present crux.

                              [I can't deal with objections to the coloring problem, since peoplea are waiting
                              for the public computer. Best wishes to Ron, and apologies to everybody else],

                              Bruce

                              E Bruce Brooks
                              Warring States Project
                              University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                            • Ron Price
                              ... Bruce, Setting up your own Web site would give you plenty of space in which to make available your whole hypothesis. ... Are you implying that most of the
                              Message 14 of 16 , Apr 21, 2006
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                                Bruce Brooks wrote:

                                > I think that, given the scale on which a proper proposal would have to be
                                > made, together with the List Masters' recommendation that the standard
                                > Synoptic communication should be six lines long,that piecemeal process is
                                > the only allowable one. If discussing one piece brings up another piece,
                                > then that can be taken up in turn. As seems to be happening here. I can't
                                > imagine any other practicable procedure.

                                Bruce,

                                Setting up your own Web site would give you plenty of space in which to make
                                available your whole hypothesis.

                                > ....... I don't like the word "edition," which brings a lot of assumptions, or
                                > anyway envisionments, with it. It suggests reopening after an interval. And it
                                > suggests some "editor" operating at a certain distance from the text, whereas
                                > I see the proprietors of Mark as those who also possessed and used it. For a
                                > start, I assume that Mark was generally in growth mode, open to such
                                > amendments and extensions as its proprietors thought suitable, from time to
                                > time.

                                Are you implying that most of the readers belonged to the group which
                                produced the gospel? My understanding of Christian communities in the first
                                century is that they would have been very eager to acquire any writing
                                concerning their Lord, so copies would have been made and spread relatively
                                quickly to the major churches throughout the Roman Empire. In such a
                                scenario, "growth mode" would have introduced more confusion than clarity.

                                > It does seem, as far as I have been able to discover, that the accretional or
                                > growth text model is new to this field, as it was also new to the classical
                                > China field, the Homeric field, and the classical Sanskrit field.

                                Glad to see this admission. For I was about to point out that I don't see
                                any evidence for it in the history of Jewish texts.

                                > And it also
                                > seems to have the ability to resolve problems not solvable with more
                                > conventional models of texts and text formation, among them the situation
                                > where text A seems to be both earlier and later than Text B.

                                There are many such texts in the synoptics (but I would emphasize the clause
                                "seems to be" in the sentence above). However I think your model is
                                unnecessarily complex for the available data.

                                > These situations abound
                                > in the classical Chinese area, and they seem to be not necessarily unheard of
                                > in
                                > NT also, as witness the frequently reiterated claim that in the material which
                                > they have in common against Mark (the Major Agreements), Matthew and Luke take
                                > turns having the earlier form (Harnack et al). This requires examination (I
                                > have
                                > always felt that Farrer dealt with some of the seemingly more difficult
                                > cases),
                                > but if there is a residue of pairs which seem to have the atypical aetiology
                                > Luke > Matthew, then the accretional text model would offer an alternative to
                                > an
                                > immediate and otherwise more or less inevitable Q-type hypothesis.

                                If you mean an early sayings source, then I don't see why you would wish to
                                find an alternative to it.

                                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 Accretion From: Bruce RON (on contraints of length on the present exchange): Setting up your own Web site
                                Message 15 of 16 , Apr 21, 2006
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                                  To: Synoptic
                                  In Response To: Ron Price
                                  On: Markan Accretion
                                  From: Bruce

                                  RON (on contraints of length on the present exchange): Setting up your own Web
                                  site would give you plenty of space in which to make available your whole
                                  hypothesis.

                                  BRUCE: I have a web site. But neither that nor any other would allow the present
                                  conversation, which I for one have found very helpful. If I have enough to do a
                                  web site from, I would surely be better advised to turn it into a book and be
                                  done with it. Web sites are merely one way of fiddling on the road to oblivion,
                                  with neither fame nor feedback. It is the feedback that I am here in search of,
                                  and I thank Ron again for providing so much of it.

                                  RON: (on my proposal that Mark was not an "edition" but a text in growth mode):
                                  Are you implying that most of the readers belonged to the group which
                                  produced the gospel? My understanding of Christian communities in the first
                                  century is that they would have been very eager to acquire any writing
                                  concerning their Lord, so copies would have been made and spread relatively
                                  quickly to the major churches throughout the Roman Empire. In such a
                                  scenario, "growth mode" would have introduced more confusion than clarity.

                                  BRUCE: Anyone who understands the early Christian communities is way ahead of
                                  me. As far as I know, all we have about them is inferences from the texts. My
                                  plan is to first see what the texts are up to, and only then see what that might
                                  imply as to their proprietorship or audience. I do find, and have mentioned,
                                  that the order in which some validations of belief seem to have been added to
                                  Mark corresponds in general with what we can see as a plausible need of the
                                  faithful of the time, considered at large. Beyond that I don't care to go at
                                  this point in the investigation. I think that much research on ancient texts has
                                  been poisoned by trying to visualize their authors at the outset, and I would
                                  tend to feel the same about efforts to envision their audiences, unless somehow
                                  we have independent information on that before we start out. I don't think we
                                  have this information for Mark. A few years ago two competing books came out,
                                  both from Brill, one arguing that Mark was a Roman Gospel, the other that it was
                                  a Galilean Gospel. Surely these people and their editors missed nothing as to
                                  firmly known facts about the Markan audience. Then nothing is firmly known about
                                  the Markan audience.

                                  RON (on my acceptance of novelty for the philological concept of the growth
                                  text): Glad to see this admission. For I was about to point out that I don't see
                                  any evidence for it in the history of Jewish texts.

                                  BRUCE: I don't know OT, but my impression is that the whole analytical impetus
                                  for Biblical (sic) texts came from Gunkel and the Genesis doublets. I would have
                                  to look into the literature a bit to see if no suggestion of a growth text as
                                  against a conflated text had ever been made. Can anyone provide an example, or
                                  give assurance that there is none to be found?

                                  As for NT, I point out that students of the Synoptic Problem have tended to find
                                  it necessary to posit growth somewhere within the system. On the whole (the
                                  proto-Luke enthusiasm of the early middle 20c perhaps excepted, and that
                                  exception no longer applies), they seem to have been more comfortable referring
                                  that growth to the noncanonical or conjectural texts (such as Q, for which I
                                  have seen not less than four stages of growth or evolution posited) than to the
                                  canonical ones. In that context, my suggestion amounts to the idea that the
                                  canonical texts have not necessarily always secondary to earlier and more
                                  authentic sources, but may themselves have possessed the capacity to evolve, and
                                  to generate, or bear early witness to, developments in Christian thinking of
                                  which, on the conventional view, they are merely late and thus inauthoritative
                                  repositories.

                                  RON (on Text A being both earlier and later than Text B): There are many such
                                  texts in the synoptics (but I would emphasize the clause "seems to be" in the
                                  sentence above). However I think your model is unnecessarily complex for the
                                  available data.

                                  BRUCE: A theory must be complex enough to plausibly accommodate the available
                                  data. If the data are complex (and for the earliest Christian decades, this
                                  would surprise me not at all), then the theory will be complex. Exactly how
                                  complex is certainly a discussable matter.

                                  RON (on my thought that the relative priority of Matthew and Luke in the Double
                                  Tradition material may not be as evenly divided as has been said): If you mean
                                  an early sayings source, then I don't see why you would wish to find an
                                  alternative to it.

                                  BRUCE: I don't mean anything; I don't start with any assumptions. If there is
                                  material common to (say) Matthew and Luke and if the directionality between
                                  elements of that material turns out not to be unidirectional, then the
                                  indication would be that both are drawing, with local variation, on a common
                                  earlier source. Whether that source consists of sayings or stories, and whether
                                  it would contain unifying narrative elements such as the John the Baptist
                                  material, I can't at this point say; I haven't gotten to that point in my own
                                  investigation of the matter. I merely remark that, if such a source does turn
                                  out to be implied, and if the implied source does turn out to contain all those
                                  things, then it is not a sayings source, it is a Gospel.

                                  E Bruce Brooks
                                  Warring States Project
                                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                                • E Bruce Brooks
                                  To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Mark Matters (nominally Mark 14-16 Priority) From: Bruce I would like to take this moment to express my thanks to
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Apr 22, 2006
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                                    To: Synoptic
                                    In Response To: Ron Price
                                    On: Mark Matters (nominally "Mark 14-16 Priority)
                                    From: Bruce

                                    I would like to take this moment to express my thanks to Ron Price, and to
                                    acknowledge the value of his detailed comments and critiques during the
                                    Judas/Mark conversation of recent days. I found them very helpful in
                                    clarifying issues and suggesting solutions, and my final presentation at
                                    SBL/NE undoubtedly benefited from them, both in detail and in organization.

                                    The topic hasn't attracted general interest on this list, however, and so
                                    with thanks as well to other list members for their patience during what
                                    must have been a tedious few days, I will drop the larger issues into which
                                    the original small Judas matter was threatening to expand. There is just one
                                    suitably tiny thread which it seems to me is left hanging from the
                                    interchange, and I will raise that point in a separate message, under a new
                                    subject heading.

                                    So, the sun has set on SBL/NE 2006. If someone who was present would care to
                                    report on the proceedings to the larger group, I hope they will feel free to
                                    do so. Kloppenborg's take on Q and James might be interesting to some, and
                                    it would be especially fruitful, in my own opinion, to hear about the
                                    philological aspects of the OT sessions, which, by diabolically clever
                                    program design, the NT people were prevented from attending. The questions
                                    of text evolution raised (I gather) in the first instance by Gunkel for OT
                                    seem still to be alive and fruitful there, and it will surprise no one if I
                                    suggest that, to me at least, their potential for NT remains to be fully
                                    realized.

                                    Thanks to all,

                                    Bruce

                                    E Bruce Brooks
                                    Warring States Project
                                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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