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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark 14-16 Priority

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  • 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 1 of 16 , Apr 18 3:33 PM
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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 2 of 16 , Apr 19 1:10 AM
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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 3 of 16 , Apr 19 4:55 AM
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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 4 of 16 , Apr 19 1:24 PM
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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 5 of 16 , Apr 19 5:59 PM
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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 6 of 16 , Apr 20 10:38 AM
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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 7 of 16 , Apr 20 2:15 PM
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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 8 of 16 , Apr 21 2:59 AM
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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 9 of 16 , Apr 21 4:51 AM
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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 10 of 16 , Apr 22 7:34 AM
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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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