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Re: [Synoptic-L] Interpolations in Mark

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Interpolations in Mark From: Bruce RON: I am fairly confident that Mk 14:28; 14:61b-64 and 16:7 were not in the
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 17, 2006
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Interpolations in Mark
      From: Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Further Response To: Ron On: Interpolations in Mark From: Bruce Ron has several times stated that in his view, Mk 14:28 and 16:7 are
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 22, 2013
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        To: Synoptic
        In Further Response To: Ron
        On: Interpolations in Mark
        From: Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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