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RE: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12

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  • Dennis Goffin
    Bruce: Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue, Dennis: I contest this. The above statement depends on the argument from silence in my opinionTo:
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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      Bruce: Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue,
      Dennis: I contest this. The above statement depends on the argument from silence in my opinionTo: synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      From: ebbrooks@...
      Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2012 16:38:49 -0400
      Subject: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12


























      To: Synoptic

      On: Mk 8:11-12

      From: Bruce



      I was mentioning a moment ago on another list (but one whose membership

      probably much overlaps with this one, and I should apologize to those

      members for what for them is a second notice) a session on Alpha

      Christianity to be held at 8 Am on Monday 19 November, as part of the SBL

      meeting in Chicago.



      ----------------



      So much for the announcement, and now, what is Alpha Christianity? And what

      has Mk 8:11-12 to do with it all?



      Maurice Goguel, at the end of a long study of the early Christian documents,

      including Mark, concluded that the miracles of Jesus were later tradition,

      but that his healings were early. That may easily be dismissed as liberal

      Protestant wishful thinking (of a kind still widely shared in contemporary

      Christian circles): a wish to accept the ethical Jesus without being saddled

      with the magic Jesus: a Jesus thus entirely historically believable in the

      usual rational sense.



      Goguel did not suspect it, but philological study of Mark actually confirms

      his conclusion (or his wish, whatever it was), since it shows that the

      miracles are often interpolated in context, whereas the healings, by and

      large, are textual bedrock. Not only was Jesus, in this earliest material,

      not a magician in the walking on water sense, but the one supernatural event

      Jesus tried to bring off (the return of God to the recently purified Temple

      of his people Israel) not only failed, but resulted in his execution by the

      Romans.



      One passage in Mark on which Goguel did rely was Mk 8:11-12, where the

      Pharisees are said to ask for a sign (a bit of magic, proving that Jesus was

      speaking with divine authority or approval), *and Jesus refuses them.* For

      Goguel, this passage could not have been written at a time when tales of

      Jesus's miracles were current, and must then be early. To quote him,



      "This saying is certainly authentic, for it could not have been created by

      primitive Christianity, which attached a great importance to the miracles of

      Jesus . . . This leads us to think that Jesus did not want to work marvels,

      that is to say, acts of pure display."



      [Did *anyone* in fact, outside the Gospels, attach great importance to the

      miracles of Jesus? Paul never mentions any, nor do the Apostles, in the huge

      Apostolic literature, ever cite them as proofs of the importance of Jesus;

      all Apostolic miracles, including the ones reported in the Gospels, are

      performed by Apostles, and prove the authenticity of the Apostolic message.

      I return to this thought below].



      Unfortunately for Goguel's argument, Lk 8:11-12 seems to be not early, but

      late. It not only directly follows a spectacular miracle (the feeding of

      4000), but that miracle itself is a pro-Gentile rewrite (as Mark is at pains

      to point out, insisting on the symbology of "seven") of the pro-Israel

      Feeding of 5000 (whose symbology, the twelve baskets, means the care and

      nourishment of Israel, and nobody else). If anything, then, the Pharisee

      scene is part of a late layer in Mark.



      It might even be interpolated in that late layer, and this I think is the

      likely solution of what is evidently a contradiction, between the

      miracle-working Jesus of the 4000 and the sign-denying Jesus of the passage

      immediately following. What does this Pharisee passage actually say? It says

      that no sign will be given to this generation. Both Mt and Lk expand this as

      "no sign except the sign of Jonah." This too is enigmatic, though we may

      accept it provisionally as Mt/Lk's idea of what the Mk passage meant. So

      what is the sign of Jonah? On this, Mt and Lk differ. Mt, probably

      reflecting earlier opinion, says it means three days in the belly of the

      whale, which is a reference to the Resurrection. Lk, as he consistently

      does, plays down an event whose doctrinal form in his time (the Atonement

      version of the Resurrection) was ungrateful to him; he makes it instead

      repentance at the preaching of Jonah, which would exactly correspond to the

      primitive Christian idea of Jesus as a preacher of repentance (that view of

      Jesus occurs in Mk 1:15, where Jesus's whole message is one of repentance

      and belief in the imminent Kingdom).



      I then suggest that the idea of the admittedly cryptic Mk 8:11-12 is that

      the miracle of Jesus' resurrection after his death supersedes and replaces

      any miracles done in his lifetime. This, be it recalled, is exactly the

      position of Paul, who openly refuses to hear of Jesus "after the flesh," but

      only as resurrected. That resurrected Jesus is the whole content of Paul's

      version of Christianity. As he himself repeatedly tells us.



      Is then Mk 8:11-12 a late and interpolated passage in Mark, and

      specifically, is it in agreement with Paul's picture of Jesus, and not with

      the picture of Jesus which we find in the seemingly earlier strata of Mark?

      There can be no direct proof, but it may be relevant that there are other

      passages in Mark, each of them liable to be construed as interpolations, and

      all of them together few in number, where Mark expresses the unmistakably

      Pauline doctrine of the Atonement. (Luke, typically, refuses to repeat these

      passages in his own Gospel, and goes on to portray Paul himself as never

      preaching the Atonement, a colossal act of literary imposture). A plausible

      explanation of this situation is that Mark (or the series of Marks; same

      result) came at the end of the formation process of that Gospel to accept

      the same view of Jesus that we know Paul held.



      On that understanding, Mk 8:11-12 may be, not primitive and evidential for a

      pre-miraculous Jesus, but late and evidential for a post-miraculous Jesus, a

      Jesus like that of Paul, whose lifetime exploits, whatever they were, are

      eclipsed and eliminated by the exploit to which he was only subject: the

      miracle of his rising from the dead.



      If Mark the author (or the last of the series of Marks; same result) came to

      agree with Paul, about Gentiles and the Atonement and other matters, then on

      the basis of that conviction he might have gone off to join Paul in his

      mission to the Gentiles. This would necessarily have been after he had

      reached this theological and missional agreement with Paul, which as we have

      seen was at the end of the process that led to the Gospel of Mark. Luke

      actually shows Mark as leaving Jerusalem to join Paul in Antioch, at the end

      of the Food Consultation meeting in Jerusalem (c44), and going with him to

      preach in Asia Minor.



      [Luke, always catty toward Mark, also records his failure in that

      enterprise, but something must be allowed to the psychology of a rival

      author and theologian].



      There are a number of passages in Mark, not many but some, that show Mark's

      agreement with what is recognizably a Paul position. I have listed four.

      Would anyone care to propose a fifth?



      Meanwhile, I submit that the answer to the old question, Is Mark a Pauline

      Gospel, must be, Yes, in stages, but completely so only at the very end.



      As for the very beginning, given that Mark is a stratified text, the

      Christian tradition witnessed by the earliest strata of Mark is the one Paul

      hated and persecuted, the one that was still within the Law but tampered

      with the Law (Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue, and rejected

      the Pharisaic additions, a position well calculated to inflame that zealous

      Pharisee Saul). It is this early tradition that links up with the other

      primitive Christian documents (James, Didache, the hymn in Philippians 2),

      and it is this rather widely documented tradition to which I have ventured

      to give the name Alpha Christianity.



      The SBL meeting abovementioned is for those who are interested in exploring

      this earliest Christianity. That is what the announcement I began with is

      about.



      Bruce



      E Bruce Brooks

      Warring States Project

      University of Massachusetts at Amherst


















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jgibson
      ... It seems to me that one thing that you and Goguel are overlooking here is that Mark is very careful to distinguish between signs ( ??????) and a miracle
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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        On 9/8/2012 3:38 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
        > To: Synoptic
        > On: Mk 8:11-12
        > From: Bruce
        >
        > I was mentioning a moment ago on another list (but one whose membership
        > probably much overlaps with this one, and I should apologize to those
        > members for what for them is a second notice) a session on Alpha
        > Christianity to be held at 8 Am on Monday 19 November, as part of the SBL
        > meeting in Chicago.
        >
        > ----------------
        >
        > So much for the announcement, and now, what is Alpha Christianity? And what
        > has Mk 8:11-12 to do with it all?
        >
        > Maurice Goguel, at the end of a long study of the early Christian documents,
        > including Mark, concluded that the miracles of Jesus were later tradition,
        > but that his healings were early. That may easily be dismissed as liberal
        > Protestant wishful thinking (of a kind still widely shared in contemporary
        > Christian circles): a wish to accept the ethical Jesus without being saddled
        > with the magic Jesus: a Jesus thus entirely historically believable in the
        > usual rational sense.
        >
        > Goguel did not suspect it, but philological study of Mark actually confirms
        > his conclusion (or his wish, whatever it was), since it shows that the
        > miracles are often interpolated in context, whereas the healings, by and
        > large, are textual bedrock. Not only was Jesus, in this earliest material,
        > not a magician in the walking on water sense, but the one supernatural event
        > Jesus tried to bring off (the return of God to the recently purified Temple
        > of his people Israel) not only failed, but resulted in his execution by the
        > Romans.
        >
        > One passage in Mark on which Goguel did rely was Mk 8:11-12, where the
        > Pharisees are said to ask for a sign (a bit of magic, proving that Jesus was
        > speaking with divine authority or approval), *and Jesus refuses them.* For
        > Goguel, this passage could not have been written at a time when tales of
        > Jesus's miracles were current, and must then be early. To quote him,
        >
        > "This saying is certainly authentic, for it could not have been created by
        > primitive Christianity, which attached a great importance to the miracles of
        > Jesus . . . This leads us to think that Jesus did not want to work marvels,
        > that is to say, acts of pure display."

        It seems to me that one thing that you and Goguel are overlooking here
        is that Mark is very careful to distinguish between "signs" ( ??????)
        and a miracle ( ???????) and never confuses them. You are also
        overlooking the fact that ?????? were part and parcel of prophetic
        action long before Jesus and that call for "signs" to authenticate a
        prophet or other person claiming divine authorization is a thoroughly
        biblical and Jewish one (cf. Paul's comment on the Jewish demand for
        ?????? in 1 Cor. 1:22, the "sign" prophets of Josephus, andO. Linton,
        /?/ST? 19 (1965) 112--29).

        I take it that you have not read J. Gibson, "Jesus' Refusal To Produce a
        'Sign' (Mk 8.11-13)" JSNT? 38 (1990) 37--66. (
        http://jnt.sagepub.com/content/12/38/37.citation).

        Jeffrey

        --
        ___

        Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. (Oxon.)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Chicago, Il 606s6
        jgibson000@...



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic In Response To: Dennis Goffin From: Bruce I had remarked in passing that Jesus accepted only part of the Decalogue. Or as Dennis quotes me, Bruce:
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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          To: Synoptic
          In Response To: Dennis Goffin
          From: Bruce

          I had remarked in passing that Jesus accepted only part of the Decalogue. Or
          as Dennis quotes me,

          Bruce: Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue,

          Dennis: I contest this. The above statement depends on the argument from
          silence in my opinion.

          Bruce: Not quite ex silentio. The positive part of Jesus' preaching about
          the Law seems to be contained in Mk 10:19, addressed to the rich young man,
          and I quote, "You know the commandments: Do not kill, Do not commit
          adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor
          your father and mother."

          That makes six, of which one, Do not defraud, is not in the Decalogue as
          usually cited; it is an innovation of Jesus (albeit one with a scriptural
          precedent). Both Mt and Lk omit the extra "fraud" commandment, presumably as
          a pedantic correction. Mt adds "Love your neighbor as yourself," which comes
          from a different part of Mark, and represents a summary, not a commandment.
          Given the temptation to complete the whole list of Ten, it is noteworthy
          that neither Mt nor Lk do any such thing. They correct Jesus in one detail,
          and Mt adds a summary from elsewhere, but they do not fill in what is
          conventionally called the First Table of the Decalogue: the commandments
          dealing with worship and the sanctity of the Sabbath. The Decalogue as far
          as Jesus acknowledges it concerns man's duty to man, not man's duty to God.

          So far the argument from absence, supplemented by two arguments of failure
          to correct the absence, in writers who have otherwise shown themselves, in
          this passage, quite willing to amend Jesus. By my count, that makes two
          arguments.

          The third argument is positive. Did Jesus simply forget to mention Sabbath
          piety, or did he in fact no preach its observance. On this I should think
          the Markan evidence is overwhelming: there are frequent stories of Jesus and
          his disciples healing, or exorcising, or traveling, or eating, on the
          Sabbath, and in each case Jesus defends these actions as overridden, not by
          a higher God piety, but by a higher human need.

          Evidence that Jesus preached observance of the commandment to observe the
          Sabbath seems monumentally lacking. Am I missing something?

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Frank Jacks
          ... Or could it be simply that the Marcan Jesus teaches a reduced version of the Decalogue? It seems to me quite likely that the version of Christianity in
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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            On 9/8/2012 6:08 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
            > To: Synoptic
            > In Response To: Dennis Goffin
            > From: Bruce
            >
            > I had remarked in passing that Jesus accepted only part of the Decalogue. Or
            > as Dennis quotes me,
            >
            > Bruce: Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue,
            >
            > Dennis: I contest this. The above statement depends on the argument from
            > silence in my opinion.
            >
            > Bruce: Not quite ex silentio. The positive part of Jesus' preaching about
            > the Law seems to be contained in Mk 10:19, addressed to the rich young man,
            > and I quote, "You know the commandments: Do not kill, Do not commit
            > adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor
            > your father and mother."
            >
            > That makes six, of which one, Do not defraud, is not in the Decalogue as
            > usually cited; it is an innovation of Jesus (albeit one with a scriptural
            > precedent). Both Mt and Lk omit the extra "fraud" commandment, presumably as
            > a pedantic correction. Mt adds "Love your neighbor as yourself," which comes
            > from a different part of Mark, and represents a summary, not a commandment.
            > Given the temptation to complete the whole list of Ten, it is noteworthy
            > that neither Mt nor Lk do any such thing. They correct Jesus in one detail,
            > and Mt adds a summary from elsewhere, but they do not fill in what is
            > conventionally called the First Table of the Decalogue: the commandments
            > dealing with worship and the sanctity of the Sabbath. The Decalogue as far
            > as Jesus acknowledges it concerns man's duty to man, not man's duty to God.
            >
            > So far the argument from absence, supplemented by two arguments of failure
            > to correct the absence, in writers who have otherwise shown themselves, in
            > this passage, quite willing to amend Jesus. By my count, that makes two
            > arguments.
            >
            > The third argument is positive. Did Jesus simply forget to mention Sabbath
            > piety, or did he in fact no preach its observance. On this I should think
            > the Markan evidence is overwhelming: there are frequent stories of Jesus and
            > his disciples healing, or exorcising, or traveling, or eating, on the
            > Sabbath, and in each case Jesus defends these actions as overridden, not by
            > a higher God piety, but by a higher human need.
            >
            > Evidence that Jesus preached observance of the commandment to observe the
            > Sabbath seems monumentally lacking. Am I missing something?
            >
            > Bruce
            >
            > E Bruce Brooks
            > Warring States Project
            > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            >
            >
            >

            Or could it be simply that the Marcan "Jesus" teaches a reduced
            version of the Decalogue? It seems to me quite likely that the
            version of Christianity in any of the possible levels/layers in this
            document reflect a "Jesus as remembered" rather than as he was
            ... or at the least, this is a possibility that ought not be ignored (???).

            Frank

            Clive F. Jacks, Th.D. (Union Seminary, New York City)
            Professor of Religion, Emeritus
            Pikeville College
            Pikeville, KY

            [but now happily retired back home in the metro Atlanta area!]
          • Jack Kilmon
            ... From: Frank Jacks Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2012 8:14 PM To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12 ... Or could it be simply
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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              -----Original Message-----
              From: Frank Jacks
              Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2012 8:14 PM
              To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12

              On 9/8/2012 6:08 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
              > To: Synoptic
              > In Response To: Dennis Goffin
              > From: Bruce
              >
              > I had remarked in passing that Jesus accepted only part of the Decalogue.
              > Or
              > as Dennis quotes me,
              >
              > Bruce: Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue,
              >
              > Dennis: I contest this. The above statement depends on the argument from
              > silence in my opinion.
              >
              > Bruce: Not quite ex silentio. The positive part of Jesus' preaching about
              > the Law seems to be contained in Mk 10:19, addressed to the rich young
              > man,
              > and I quote, "You know the commandments: Do not kill, Do not commit
              > adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor
              > your father and mother."
              >
              > That makes six, of which one, Do not defraud, is not in the Decalogue as
              > usually cited; it is an innovation of Jesus (albeit one with a scriptural
              > precedent). Both Mt and Lk omit the extra "fraud" commandment, presumably
              > as
              > a pedantic correction. Mt adds "Love your neighbor as yourself," which
              > comes
              > from a different part of Mark, and represents a summary, not a
              > commandment.
              > Given the temptation to complete the whole list of Ten, it is noteworthy
              > that neither Mt nor Lk do any such thing. They correct Jesus in one
              > detail,
              > and Mt adds a summary from elsewhere, but they do not fill in what is
              > conventionally called the First Table of the Decalogue: the commandments
              > dealing with worship and the sanctity of the Sabbath. The Decalogue as far
              > as Jesus acknowledges it concerns man's duty to man, not man's duty to
              > God.
              >
              > So far the argument from absence, supplemented by two arguments of failure
              > to correct the absence, in writers who have otherwise shown themselves, in
              > this passage, quite willing to amend Jesus. By my count, that makes two
              > arguments.
              >
              > The third argument is positive. Did Jesus simply forget to mention Sabbath
              > piety, or did he in fact no preach its observance. On this I should think
              > the Markan evidence is overwhelming: there are frequent stories of Jesus
              > and
              > his disciples healing, or exorcising, or traveling, or eating, on the
              > Sabbath, and in each case Jesus defends these actions as overridden, not
              > by
              > a higher God piety, but by a higher human need.
              >
              > Evidence that Jesus preached observance of the commandment to observe the
              > Sabbath seems monumentally lacking. Am I missing something?
              >
              > Bruce
              >
              > E Bruce Brooks
              > Warring States Project
              > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              >
              >
              >

              Or could it be simply that the Marcan "Jesus" teaches a reduced
              version of the Decalogue? It seems to me quite likely that the
              version of Christianity in any of the possible levels/layers in this
              document reflect a "Jesus as remembered" rather than as he was
              ... or at the least, this is a possibility that ought not be ignored (???).

              Frank

              Clive F. Jacks, Th.D. (Union Seminary, New York City)
              Professor of Religion, Emeritus
              Pikeville College
              Pikeville, KY

              Jesus' reduced version of the Decalogue and his remarks on the Sabbath could
              also be that he was not a Mosaic Jew but instead an Enochian Jew, a subset
              of late second temple Judaism not frequently discussed. This could be why
              he refers to himself as the Bar Nasha 30 times and never as the Messiah. It
              could also be why his family thought him one brick short of a load. The
              reason brother Ya'qub shows up out of the blue could have been to
              "rehabilitate" him posthumously as the Mosaic Messiah. We have
              Jesus/Yeshua, Ya'qub's (James') Yeshua, Paul's Χριστὸν ἐσταυρωμένον even
              before the Patristics got a shot at him. Will the real Yeshua please stand
              up?

              Jack
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson On: Mk 8:11-12 From: Bruce First, let me be plain: I think Goguel is wrong. I think the passage in question is
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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                To: Synoptic
                In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
                On: Mk 8:11-12
                From: Bruce

                First, let me be plain: I think Goguel is wrong. I think the passage in
                question is late, not early, and that its understanding will best proceed
                from that probability.

                -------------------

                Jeffrey calls attention to his 1990 JSNT article, as a solution to the
                problem of Mk 8:11f. The problem of Mk 8:11, as I see it, is that it refuses
                a sign, not only to the Pharisees who ask one, but to the entire generation.
                This seems to contradict the fact that in Mark, including the passage
                immediately preceding, Jesus is continually doing things that would seem to
                count as signs of his Divine power or approval, from healings to mass
                feedings to walkings on water. His refusal in this case seems to contradict
                his own practice, and in the case of the ban on the entire generation, to
                exceed what is required. Therefore it attracts attention.

                Jeffrey, as I understand it, distinguishes between two senses of "sign," and
                on that basis finds consistency in Mark, and intelligibility in this one
                passage. For reasons previously stated, I think that the goal of finding
                consistency in Mark is illusory in the first place, but there is always room
                for another view.

                The specific word "sign" occurs in Mk in just three passages: (1) this one,
                (2) the Mk 13 apocalypse, where the disciples ask what will be the sign of
                the end, and Jesus answers, warning them at the same time that imposters
                will also produce "signs and wonders" (13:22), and (3) the spurious ending,
                which we need not further consider. It is interesting that both (1) and (2)
                are "verily" passages, where Jesus seems to be giving extra assurance that
                what he says is true. It is also interesting that the denial of a sign to
                "this generation" in 8:11f directly contradicts Jesus' assurance in 13:30
                that "this generation will not pass away" before these things, doubtless
                including the signs that precede them, will occur (cf 9:1). The sign asked
                by the Pharisees is specifically a "sign from Heaven," but so, one would
                think, are the signs described in Mk 13 as preceding the end. If not from
                Heaven, whence?

                Jeffrey argues (p43-45), with more use of Luke than I should have thought
                advisable, since Luke may have his own idea of heavenly validation, that a
                special sense attaches to "sign from heaven," namely "most likely a
                phenomenon which embodied Salvation." I am not convinced that the Septuagint
                examples prove this, or that the context of 8:11 suggests it. It seems to me
                that all signs in Mk, whether or not called that, are events beyond the
                ordinary, which prove that Jesus is speaking and acting with authority that
                is more than human. The Healing of the Paralytic, cited by Jeffrey and
                certainly relevant, is a passage which is more easily understood once it is
                realized that the "forgiveness of sins" bit is interpolated into the rest,
                an original story of healing. In any case, it is the healing, not the
                forgiveness of sins whether or not interpolated, which provokes the
                amazement of the crowd. They glorify God (who they seem to assume is the
                source of this remarkable occurrence), and say, We never saw anything like
                this. A deed of power that carries convincement.

                Another relevant passage, since it brings together the several elements
                already mentioned (including Jesus' impatience with this generation), is the
                disciples' failure to heal the epileptic boy. It is typical of Mark that
                Jesus only works wonders (the nature miracles, I think, alone excepted) in a
                climate of belief that he can in fact do so; his failure at Nazareth is the
                converse that demonstrates the rule, as Mark carefully explains (surely we
                have here Mark's understanding of the miracle process). With the epileptic,
                it is the father who insists that he believes (as the condition for the cure
                of his son), and then says, rather remarkably, "Help thou mine unbelief."
                Jesus proceeds to heal the boy. With what power? The story actually tells us
                this, since the interns, the disciples, ask why they could not do so, and
                Jesus says that this was a particularly tough demon, which could not be
                expelled by anything save prayer. Prayer is Jesus's way of establishing
                contact with God, and again, as with the paralytic, we have the God
                connection made explicit, this time by Jesus and not by the crowd.

                As for the anger against the sinful and adulterous generation (9:19), how is
                that to be explained? I ask because I do not know, save for the sense (the
                opposite of Goguel's sense) that it arises long after Jesus' death, in a
                context of lessening communal belief. The third case of this motif in Mark
                is 8:38 (Whoever is ashamed of Jesus in this adulterous and sinful
                generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of in time to come). What links
                the three seems to be lack of faith, whether of the Pharisees, the father of
                the epileptic (who does his best, however), and the indeterminate faithless,
                who have abandoned Jesus, in 8:38. It is the 8:38 case that perhaps most
                strongly suggests a time well removed from the time of Jesus, when some had
                fallen away, or succumbed to persecution. Mk 13 can also be read that way,
                since its whole reason for being is disciple uncertainty about the date of
                this much expected event. This gives, I like to think, the beginning of an
                explanation, but to my mind it still leaves Mk 8:11f somewhat eccentric, a
                little off the lines which Mark otherwise seems to follow. It is that
                eccentricity which puzzles me, and which I don't find that Jeffrey's
                explanation quite resolves.

                The Pharisees are of course not merely an unbelieving, but a hostile,
                public. The other miracle or sign or remarkable action demanded of Jesus by
                such a public and not supplied by him, if I remember correctly, is the
                demand of the hostile crowd that Jesus come down from the cross. That would
                indeed be a supernatural feat. Jesus does not perform the feat, and it may
                be relevant that not long afterward, Jesus laments that God has forsaken
                him. The language in which Mark reports this is Psalmic, and he surely
                intends a second message by phrasing it that way, but the event itself seems
                to be consistent. Signs of power require not only the belief, as it were
                the psychological cooperation of the beholders, but also the granting of
                power by God. In the Crucifixion scene, both seem to be lacking.

                ---------------

                Jeffrey comes out with "triumphalism" as the key to what Jesus will not do,
                and will refuse to do when asked (p55). The final paragraph (p56) reads:

                "It would seem, then, that the reason the Marcan Jesus refuses to produce a
                'sign' when the Pharisees demand one of him is not because he is, according
                to Mark, opposed to the enterprise of producing 'signs.' Rather, given
                Mark's assumptions concerning the type of 'sign' demanded in this instance
                and what this 'sign' would activate once manifested, it is because in
                producing such a 'sign' Jesus would involve himself in the sort of
                triumphalistic, imperious activities that throughout Mark's Gospel he
                condemns and sets himself against."

                That explanation reaches outside Mark for a definition of Mark's term. I
                have already suggested why I think the distinction is too fine-drawn.

                As for Jesus' dislike of triumphalism, what of his stilling of the storm,
                which prompts the disciples (4:41) to ask what manner of man he may be? What
                of his prediction of himself in Mk 13:26, coming on the clouds with much
                power and splendor, to send out messengers to gather the elect from the four
                corners of the earth? Or if this be thought a slip of the Markan pen, what
                of Jesus' response to the High Priest, "I am, and you will see the Son of
                Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven
                (14:62)."

                If this be modesty, scoop me a double helping of it. And I will be ready
                when the call comes, however suddenly; I have my list of the Elect all
                prepared. No scurrying around at the last moment.

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              • Jgibson
                ... You have misrepresented (or misunderstood) what I deemed triumphalism . Jeffrey -- ___ Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. (Oxon.) 1500 W. Pratt Blvd. Chicago, Il
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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                  On 9/8/2012 8:48 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                  > As for Jesus' dislike of triumphalism, what of his stilling of the storm,
                  > which prompts the disciples (4:41) to ask what manner of man he may be? What
                  > of his prediction of himself in Mk 13:26, coming on the clouds with much
                  > power and splendor, to send out messengers to gather the elect from the four
                  > corners of the earth? Or if this be thought a slip of the Markan pen, what
                  > of Jesus' response to the High Priest, "I am, and you will see the Son of
                  > Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven
                  > (14:62)."
                  >
                  > If this be modesty, scoop me a double helping of it. And I will be ready
                  > when the call comes, however suddenly; I have my list of the Elect all
                  > prepared. No scurrying around at the last moment.

                  You have misrepresented (or misunderstood) what I deemed "triumphalism".

                  Jeffrey

                  --
                  ___

                  Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. (Oxon.)
                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                  Chicago, Il 606s6
                  jgibson000@...
                • E Bruce Brooks
                  To: Synoptic In Response To: Jack Kilmon On: Jesus and the Law From: Bruce Jack: Jesus reduced version of the Decalogue and his remarks on the Sabbath could
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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                    To: Synoptic
                    In Response To: Jack Kilmon
                    On: Jesus and the Law
                    From: Bruce

                    Jack: Jesus' reduced version of the Decalogue and his remarks on the Sabbath
                    could also be that he was not a Mosaic Jew but instead an Enochian Jew, a
                    subset of late second temple Judaism not frequently discussed.

                    Bruce: Enochian gives a name to it; the Minor Prophets give abundant
                    precedent for it; I am not claiming that Jesus thought it up all by himself.
                    I merely point to the abundant and consistent evidence in Mark that this was
                    his position. On the other hand, Jesus in Mark does treat Moses with
                    respect, citing him against certain Pharisaic practices and on other
                    occasions. I would thus be inclined to call him not so much an Enochian as a
                    Reformed Mosaian.

                    Jack: This could be why he refers to himself as the Bar Nasha 30 times and
                    never as the Messiah.

                    Bruce: For anyone to have called himself the Messiah in Roman Palestine
                    would have been equivalent to suicide. Mark shows Jesus consistently
                    avoiding large towns (where the Roman power would have been strongest), and
                    when addressing large crowds, as speaking in guarded and metaphorical terms
                    about his view of the Kingdom and the process by which it would be realized
                    (Mk 4). There is thus little need to explain Jesus' nonuse of the term
                    Messiah. It makes all the sense in the world - the Roman world. On the other
                    hand, Mark clearly shows Jesus planning, and executing, a triumphalist and
                    Davidic entry into Jerusalem, the city where, if anywhere, the promise of
                    God to David would be kept, and being hailed by the crowds in specifically
                    Davidic terms. All this needs to be set over against Jesus's own caution
                    about announcing his program where the Romans could take action against him.
                    (In Jerusalem, as Mark makes clear, he was to some extent protected by the
                    crowds, and vanished to an undisclosed location as soon as the crowds
                    themselves went home. It was the ratting out of that undisclosed location
                    that got him arrested, one night in the absence of the crowds).

                    As for Son of Man, not 30 times in Mark; I make it 12. No fair bringing in
                    the Second Generation Gospels, that way lies philological confusion, as many
                    have demonstrated.

                    "Son of Man" is a symbolic, indeed a Danielic, way of saying "Messiah." The
                    Romans would have had no clue to the symbolism, but Jesus's intended
                    audiences will not have mistaken it. Very efficient. The more one knows
                    about underground movements in our time (the followers of Lenin before the
                    Revolution, the French Resistance before Liberation), the more transparent
                    and familiar all this coding and safe-housing will seem. The situation of
                    the Palestinian Jews is perhaps not readily imagined from the safety of a
                    suburban armchair in an untroubled country.

                    Jack: It could also be why his family thought him one brick short of a load.

                    Bruce: Anyone taking Messianic risks under Roman rule has to be out of his
                    mind, in any reasonable practical sense. If I were of Jesus' family, I would
                    be no less concerned than they seem to have been, for the likely
                    consequences of his program, a concern which, as events proved, was all too
                    justified. (As Mark with remarkable candor - a candor simply too much for
                    the Second Generation Gospels, who eliminate that passage - tells us).

                    Jack: The reason brother Ya'qub shows up out of the blue could have been to
                    "rehabilitate" him posthumously as the Mosaic Messiah.

                    Bruce: Out of the blue is right; neither Luke nor anyone else knows when he
                    decided that the Jesus Thing was after all a good deal, and came aboard. How
                    far aboard? What was Yaqub's idea of Jesus? Paul is witness that he was much
                    more conservative, ritually, than the Jesus Twelve, and when Yaqub took over
                    at Jerusalem (as he seems to have done not long after the Jerusalem
                    Conference attended by Paul), the Jerusalem Christian leadership took a
                    sudden hard line against
                    food laxity, completely reversing previous policy. Then we can at least say
                    that he was a ritual conservative, and that in the food area he definitely
                    reversed the clear practice of Jesus. On the other hand, Yaqub does seem to
                    have preached the Resurrection; Paul speaks of him as a fellow Apostle, and
                    as one who had had his own personal vision of the Risen Jesus. This was
                    probably the condition for membership in the leading circles, and, well, who
                    was Yaqub not to comply? The Jesus thing, beyond all expectation, had proved
                    to be a flourishing business (with branches in Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus,
                    Corinth, Rome, you name it). The movement had firmly disavowed its former
                    Messianic ambition, and was now securely Otherworldly in orientation; there
                    was nothing any more to be feared from Rome. As between an automatically
                    honored place in that movement, and taking up the family carpentry
                    concession in Nazareth, which offered Yaqub more scope?

                    I ask you.

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                    Mark is a tough read. The Markan Jesus is a tough guy; willing and able to
                    beat up on the Temple money changers; his followers in Gethsemane (at night,
                    even!) seem to have been armed. It is obvious enough that a need was felt to
                    revise and indeed expurgate Mark, and to replace the robust Markan Jesus as
                    far as possible with the Mt/Lk Nice Jesus. This was done, not once but
                    twice, by writers of the second generation, and done so well that the Nice
                    Jesus has by now almost entirely occluded the other one. That Other Jesus,
                    however, peeps rather awkwardly through this or that passage in Mark, and at
                    points probably too familiar to be expunged altogether, is also dimly
                    visible in the counterpart passages in Matthew and Luke.

                    Jack: Will the real Yeshua please stand up?

                    Bruce: Discovering Jesus is not so difficult. As Ranke says, we must take
                    the immediate evidence and not the secondary histories. This means
                    jettisoning Matthew and Luke, and attending to Mark.

                    Few there be who are willing to take that step, but that's other people's
                    problem. I merely point out that, on any rational understanding of
                    historical method, Mark is the way to go.
                  • E Bruce Brooks
                    To: Synoptic In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson On: Triumphalism From: Bruce Of my earlier notes on why I found Jeffrey s explanation of MK 8:11f unconvincing, he
                    Message 9 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
                    • 0 Attachment
                      To: Synoptic
                      In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
                      On: Triumphalism
                      From: Bruce

                      Of my earlier notes on why I found Jeffrey's explanation of MK 8:11f
                      unconvincing, he has replied:

                      Jeffrey: You have misrepresented (or misunderstood) what I deemed
                      "triumphalism".

                      Bruce. Mustn't have that. Let's see. I look for that word, and here it is:

                      p55 "Mark has Jesus refuse this demand for a sign because for Jesus to do
                      otherwise would be nothing less than to advocate, initiate, and engage in
                      triumphalism - a type of activity that, according to Mark, was forbidden to
                      Jesus if he wished to remain faithful to the exigencies of his divine
                      commission."

                      n80 continues: "This is especially clear in Mk 8:27-9:1 . . . but it is a
                      theme which permeates Mark's Gospel."

                      Mk 8:27-9:1 contains three distinct segments.

                      In the first *8:27-30), Jesus asks his disciples who people think he is, and
                      accepts Peter's definition of him as the Messiah. I think there is little
                      philological doubt that this is part of the earliest layer of Mark (see my
                      note to Jack Kilmon; too much in Mark survives to testify to a Messianic
                      self-concept, for it to be all some sort of slip of the pen).

                      In the second (8:31-34), Jesus announces that he must die and be raised
                      after three days, and Peter protests. Well he might, since this idea
                      drastically contradicts the previous one. This is the Suffering Servant
                      concept of Jesus, an interpretation of his death that can only have arisen
                      after his death. That it is late in Mark is shown not only by its
                      incompatibility with the preceding, and not only by Peter's violent
                      rejection of it (the same Peter who was comfortable with the Messianic
                      Jesus, only moments before), but by the fact that when all these Passion
                      Predictions are collated and compared, one of them turns out to be clearly
                      interpolated, and if one, then all. Peter's reaction is then emblematic of
                      the fact that the original disciples did not accept the Resurrection theory,
                      and had to be energetically convinced of it. Certain the huge Apostolic
                      literature, down to and including the Clementine Recognitions and Homilies,
                      shows this same Peter preaching endlessly, chapter after chapter and volume
                      after volume, without ever mentioning the Resurrection. There was then a
                      type of Christianity which was not based on the Resurrection, and this huge
                      literature is witness to it. So are early passages in Mark, like the openly
                      Messianic Mk 8:27-30.

                      In the third (8:34-9:1), Jesus sets bearing a personal cross as the
                      condition of discipleship. This means accepting suffering and persecution
                      and death without recanting, without denying Jesus. This would seem to
                      reflect a situation still later in the life of the posthumous Jesus
                      community, when it was in fact subjected to persecutions of this extreme
                      sort. Theologically, it is compatible with the preceding Resurrection piece,
                      and makes a logical development from it, given worsening external
                      conditions.

                      So far the passage supposed to exemplify Jesus's rejection of triumphalism.
                      The word does not occur, and this reader is at a loss as to how it should be
                      applied. What Jesus accepts in the second passage is his fate to be
                      crucified, along with his insistence that he will also be resurrected. In
                      the Gethsemane scene, he is tempted to avoid that fate, but accepts God's
                      seeming wish that he undergo it. The two might be related; they both at any
                      rate imply acceptance of the Crucifixion.

                      I leave it to Jeffrey to fill in the dots if he cares to. But if these
                      passages are what he has in mind, I still have the impression that they
                      relate only tenuously to the Refusal to the Pharisees, with which we began.
                      And I would deny that they show Mark at his most consistent. Given the late
                      nature of the Resurrection material, I would think they rather show Mark at
                      his most faithful as a chronicler of evolving ideas of Jesus in his
                      posthumous movement. It is in this fidelity to a changing reality and a
                      changing theological response to it, and not in the details of his picture,
                      which being accretional is also of necessity internally contradictive, that
                      the consistency of Mark resides.

                      So it looks from here.

                      As to what other material in Mk the puzzling 8:11f most closely relates,
                      that question seems still open.

                      Bruce

                      E Bruce Brooks
                      Warring States Project
                      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                    • Dennis Goffin
                      I cannot quote chapter and verse at the moment, but it is clear to me that the attitude to Sabbath observance in Galilee was a lot less punctilious than among
                      Message 10 of 14 , Sep 9, 2012
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                        I cannot quote chapter and verse at the moment, but it is clear to me that the attitude to Sabbath observance in Galilee was a lot less punctilious than among the Pharisees who were strongest in Jerusalem. Jesus' attitude is consistently to emphasise the spirit of an action over the empty observance and that is true of the Sabbth as well. To define Jesus as having a definite overall attitude towards the Decalogue from the haphazard quotation of various commandments, or, in the case of defrauding, their expansion as is found elsewhere in the Jwish writings, is in my view a step too far, insuffiently warranted by the available evidence.
                        Dennis















                        To: Synoptic

                        In Response To: Dennis Goffin

                        From: Bruce



                        I had remarked in passing that Jesus accepted only part of the Decalogue. Or

                        as Dennis quotes me,



                        Bruce: Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue,



                        Dennis: I contest this. The above statement depends on the argument from

                        silence in my opinion.



                        Bruce: Not quite ex silentio. The positive part of Jesus' preaching about

                        the Law seems to be contained in Mk 10:19, addressed to the rich young man,

                        and I quote, "You know the commandments: Do not kill, Do not commit

                        adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor

                        your father and mother."



                        That makes six, of which one, Do not defraud, is not in the Decalogue as

                        usually cited; it is an innovation of Jesus (albeit one with a scriptural

                        precedent). Both Mt and Lk omit the extra "fraud" commandment, presumably as

                        a pedantic correction. Mt adds "Love your neighbor as yourself," which comes

                        from a different part of Mark, and represents a summary, not a commandment.

                        Given the temptation to complete the whole list of Ten, it is noteworthy

                        that neither Mt nor Lk do any such thing. They correct Jesus in one detail,

                        and Mt adds a summary from elsewhere, but they do not fill in what is

                        conventionally called the First Table of the Decalogue: the commandments

                        dealing with worship and the sanctity of the Sabbath. The Decalogue as far

                        as Jesus acknowledges it concerns man's duty to man, not man's duty to God.



                        So far the argument from absence, supplemented by two arguments of failure

                        to correct the absence, in writers who have otherwise shown themselves, in

                        this passage, quite willing to amend Jesus. By my count, that makes two

                        arguments.



                        The third argument is positive. Did Jesus simply forget to mention Sabbath

                        piety, or did he in fact no preach its observance. On this I should think

                        the Markan evidence is overwhelming: there are frequent stories of Jesus and

                        his disciples healing, or exorcising, or traveling, or eating, on the

                        Sabbath, and in each case Jesus defends these actions as overridden, not by

                        a higher God piety, but by a higher human need.



                        Evidence that Jesus preached observance of the commandment to observe the

                        Sabbath seems monumentally lacking. Am I missing something?



                        Bruce



                        E Bruce Brooks

                        Warring States Project

                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst


















                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Chuck Jones
                        Bruce, In Mark, Jesus motive for healing is compassion.  The reason there was a feeding of the 5,000 is that [a]s [Jesus] went ashore, he saw a great crowd;
                        Message 11 of 14 , Sep 10, 2012
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                          Bruce,

                          In Mark, Jesus' motive for healing is compassion.  The reason there was a feeding of the 5,000 is that "[a]s [Jesus] went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things."  He usually tells the healed not to tell anyone about what happened.  All of this is consistent with Jesus refusing to produce a sign, seems to me.

                          Chuck 

                          Rev. Chuck Jones
                          Atlanta, Georgia


                          ________________________________
                          From: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>
                          To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Saturday, September 8, 2012 9:48 PM
                          Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12


                           
                          To: Synoptic
                          In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
                          On: Mk 8:11-12
                          From: Bruce

                          First, let me be plain: I think Goguel is wrong. I think the passage in
                          question is late, not early, and that its understanding will best proceed
                          from that probability.

                          -------------------

                          Jeffrey calls attention to his 1990 JSNT article, as a solution to the
                          problem of Mk 8:11f. The problem of Mk 8:11, as I see it, is that it refuses
                          a sign, not only to the Pharisees who ask one, but to the entire generation.
                          This seems to contradict the fact that in Mark, including the passage
                          immediately preceding, Jesus is continually doing things that would seem to
                          count as signs of his Divine power or approval, from healings to mass
                          feedings to walkings on water. His refusal in this case seems to contradict
                          his own practice, and in the case of the ban on the entire generation, to
                          exceed what is required. Therefore it attracts attention.

                          Jeffrey, as I understand it, distinguishes between two senses of "sign," and
                          on that basis finds consistency in Mark, and intelligibility in this one
                          passage. For reasons previously stated, I think that the goal of finding
                          consistency in Mark is illusory in the first place, but there is always room
                          for another view.

                          The specific word "sign" occurs in Mk in just three passages: (1) this one,
                          (2) the Mk 13 apocalypse, where the disciples ask what will be the sign of
                          the end, and Jesus answers, warning them at the same time that imposters
                          will also produce "signs and wonders" (13:22), and (3) the spurious ending,
                          which we need not further consider. It is interesting that both (1) and (2)
                          are "verily" passages, where Jesus seems to be giving extra assurance that
                          what he says is true. It is also interesting that the denial of a sign to
                          "this generation" in 8:11f directly contradicts Jesus' assurance in 13:30
                          that "this generation will not pass away" before these things, doubtless
                          including the signs that precede them, will occur (cf 9:1). The sign asked
                          by the Pharisees is specifically a "sign from Heaven," but so, one would
                          think, are the signs described in Mk 13 as preceding the end. If not from
                          Heaven, whence?

                          Jeffrey argues (p43-45), with more use of Luke than I should have thought
                          advisable, since Luke may have his own idea of heavenly validation, that a
                          special sense attaches to "sign from heaven," namely "most likely a
                          phenomenon which embodied Salvation." I am not convinced that the Septuagint
                          examples prove this, or that the context of 8:11 suggests it. It seems to me
                          that all signs in Mk, whether or not called that, are events beyond the
                          ordinary, which prove that Jesus is speaking and acting with authority that
                          is more than human. The Healing of the Paralytic, cited by Jeffrey and
                          certainly relevant, is a passage which is more easily understood once it is
                          realized that the "forgiveness of sins" bit is interpolated into the rest,
                          an original story of healing. In any case, it is the healing, not the
                          forgiveness of sins whether or not interpolated, which provokes the
                          amazement of the crowd. They glorify God (who they seem to assume is the
                          source of this remarkable occurrence), and say, We never saw anything like
                          this. A deed of power that carries convincement.

                          Another relevant passage, since it brings together the several elements
                          already mentioned (including Jesus' impatience with this generation), is the
                          disciples' failure to heal the epileptic boy. It is typical of Mark that
                          Jesus only works wonders (the nature miracles, I think, alone excepted) in a
                          climate of belief that he can in fact do so; his failure at Nazareth is the
                          converse that demonstrates the rule, as Mark carefully explains (surely we
                          have here Mark's understanding of the miracle process). With the epileptic,
                          it is the father who insists that he believes (as the condition for the cure
                          of his son), and then says, rather remarkably, "Help thou mine unbelief."
                          Jesus proceeds to heal the boy. With what power? The story actually tells us
                          this, since the interns, the disciples, ask why they could not do so, and
                          Jesus says that this was a particularly tough demon, which could not be
                          expelled by anything save prayer. Prayer is Jesus's way of establishing
                          contact with God, and again, as with the paralytic, we have the God
                          connection made explicit, this time by Jesus and not by the crowd.

                          As for the anger against the sinful and adulterous generation (9:19), how is
                          that to be explained? I ask because I do not know, save for the sense (the
                          opposite of Goguel's sense) that it arises long after Jesus' death, in a
                          context of lessening communal belief. The third case of this motif in Mark
                          is 8:38 (Whoever is ashamed of Jesus in this adulterous and sinful
                          generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of in time to come). What links
                          the three seems to be lack of faith, whether of the Pharisees, the father of
                          the epileptic (who does his best, however), and the indeterminate faithless,
                          who have abandoned Jesus, in 8:38. It is the 8:38 case that perhaps most
                          strongly suggests a time well removed from the time of Jesus, when some had
                          fallen away, or succumbed to persecution. Mk 13 can also be read that way,
                          since its whole reason for being is disciple uncertainty about the date of
                          this much expected event. This gives, I like to think, the beginning of an
                          explanation, but to my mind it still leaves Mk 8:11f somewhat eccentric, a
                          little off the lines which Mark otherwise seems to follow. It is that
                          eccentricity which puzzles me, and which I don't find that Jeffrey's
                          explanation quite resolves.

                          The Pharisees are of course not merely an unbelieving, but a hostile,
                          public. The other miracle or sign or remarkable action demanded of Jesus by
                          such a public and not supplied by him, if I remember correctly, is the
                          demand of the hostile crowd that Jesus come down from the cross. That would
                          indeed be a supernatural feat. Jesus does not perform the feat, and it may
                          be relevant that not long afterward, Jesus laments that God has forsaken
                          him. The language in which Mark reports this is Psalmic, and he surely
                          intends a second message by phrasing it that way, but the event itself seems
                          to be consistent. Signs of power require not only the belief, as it were
                          the psychological cooperation of the beholders, but also the granting of
                          power by God. In the Crucifixion scene, both seem to be lacking.

                          ---------------

                          Jeffrey comes out with "triumphalism" as the key to what Jesus will not do,
                          and will refuse to do when asked (p55). The final paragraph (p56) reads:

                          "It would seem, then, that the reason the Marcan Jesus refuses to produce a
                          'sign' when the Pharisees demand one of him is not because he is, according
                          to Mark, opposed to the enterprise of producing 'signs.' Rather, given
                          Mark's assumptions concerning the type of 'sign' demanded in this instance
                          and what this 'sign' would activate once manifested, it is because in
                          producing such a 'sign' Jesus would involve himself in the sort of
                          triumphalistic, imperious activities that throughout Mark's Gospel he
                          condemns and sets himself against."

                          That explanation reaches outside Mark for a definition of Mark's term. I
                          have already suggested why I think the distinction is too fine-drawn.

                          As for Jesus' dislike of triumphalism, what of his stilling of the storm,
                          which prompts the disciples (4:41) to ask what manner of man he may be? What
                          of his prediction of himself in Mk 13:26, coming on the clouds with much
                          power and splendor, to send out messengers to gather the elect from the four
                          corners of the earth? Or if this be thought a slip of the Markan pen, what
                          of Jesus' response to the High Priest, "I am, and you will see the Son of
                          Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven
                          (14:62)."

                          If this be modesty, scoop me a double helping of it. And I will be ready
                          when the call comes, however suddenly; I have my list of the Elect all
                          prepared. No scurrying around at the last moment.

                          Bruce

                          E Bruce Brooks
                          Warring States Project
                          University of Massachusetts at Amherst





                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Greg Crawford
                          The language of “sign”, σημεῖον, is interesting in Mark’s Gospel and might be more at home in John’s Gospel. If John is correct in associating
                          Message 12 of 14 , Sep 10, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment
                            The language of “sign”, σημεῖον, is interesting in Mark’s Gospel and might be more at home in John’s Gospel. If John is correct in associating this narrative with the story of Moses and the manna from heaven in the wilderness, the Pharisees’ request for a sign might simply be a request that the sign of the feeding continue day after day, as it did in Moses’ case. First century Jewish peasants may have had as much interest in daily food handouts as did starving people in the desert. If the traditional narrative could not be fully accommodated to Mark’s themes, it may stand out for that reason.



                            Greg Crawford



                            From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chuck Jones
                            Sent: Monday, 10 September 2012 10:42 PM
                            To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12





                            Bruce,

                            In Mark, Jesus' motive for healing is compassion. The reason there was a feeding of the 5,000 is that "[a]s [Jesus] went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things." He usually tells the healed not to tell anyone about what happened. All of this is consistent with Jesus refusing to produce a sign, seems to me.

                            Chuck

                            Rev. Chuck Jones
                            Atlanta, Georgia

                            ________________________________
                            From: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@... <mailto:brooks%40asianlan.umass.edu> >
                            To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Synoptic%40yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Saturday, September 8, 2012 9:48 PM
                            Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12



                            To: Synoptic
                            In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
                            On: Mk 8:11-12
                            From: Bruce

                            First, let me be plain: I think Goguel is wrong. I think the passage in
                            question is late, not early, and that its understanding will best proceed
                            from that probability.

                            -------------------

                            Jeffrey calls attention to his 1990 JSNT article, as a solution to the
                            problem of Mk 8:11f. The problem of Mk 8:11, as I see it, is that it refuses
                            a sign, not only to the Pharisees who ask one, but to the entire generation.
                            This seems to contradict the fact that in Mark, including the passage
                            immediately preceding, Jesus is continually doing things that would seem to
                            count as signs of his Divine power or approval, from healings to mass
                            feedings to walkings on water. His refusal in this case seems to contradict
                            his own practice, and in the case of the ban on the entire generation, to
                            exceed what is required. Therefore it attracts attention.

                            Jeffrey, as I understand it, distinguishes between two senses of "sign," and
                            on that basis finds consistency in Mark, and intelligibility in this one
                            passage. For reasons previously stated, I think that the goal of finding
                            consistency in Mark is illusory in the first place, but there is always room
                            for another view.

                            The specific word "sign" occurs in Mk in just three passages: (1) this one,
                            (2) the Mk 13 apocalypse, where the disciples ask what will be the sign of
                            the end, and Jesus answers, warning them at the same time that imposters
                            will also produce "signs and wonders" (13:22), and (3) the spurious ending,
                            which we need not further consider. It is interesting that both (1) and (2)
                            are "verily" passages, where Jesus seems to be giving extra assurance that
                            what he says is true. It is also interesting that the denial of a sign to
                            "this generation" in 8:11f directly contradicts Jesus' assurance in 13:30
                            that "this generation will not pass away" before these things, doubtless
                            including the signs that precede them, will occur (cf 9:1). The sign asked
                            by the Pharisees is specifically a "sign from Heaven," but so, one would
                            think, are the signs described in Mk 13 as preceding the end. If not from
                            Heaven, whence?

                            Jeffrey argues (p43-45), with more use of Luke than I should have thought
                            advisable, since Luke may have his own idea of heavenly validation, that a
                            special sense attaches to "sign from heaven," namely "most likely a
                            phenomenon which embodied Salvation." I am not convinced that the Septuagint
                            examples prove this, or that the context of 8:11 suggests it. It seems to me
                            that all signs in Mk, whether or not called that, are events beyond the
                            ordinary, which prove that Jesus is speaking and acting with authority that
                            is more than human. The Healing of the Paralytic, cited by Jeffrey and
                            certainly relevant, is a passage which is more easily understood once it is
                            realized that the "forgiveness of sins" bit is interpolated into the rest,
                            an original story of healing. In any case, it is the healing, not the
                            forgiveness of sins whether or not interpolated, which provokes the
                            amazement of the crowd. They glorify God (who they seem to assume is the
                            source of this remarkable occurrence), and say, We never saw anything like
                            this. A deed of power that carries convincement.

                            Another relevant passage, since it brings together the several elements
                            already mentioned (including Jesus' impatience with this generation), is the
                            disciples' failure to heal the epileptic boy. It is typical of Mark that
                            Jesus only works wonders (the nature miracles, I think, alone excepted) in a
                            climate of belief that he can in fact do so; his failure at Nazareth is the
                            converse that demonstrates the rule, as Mark carefully explains (surely we
                            have here Mark's understanding of the miracle process). With the epileptic,
                            it is the father who insists that he believes (as the condition for the cure
                            of his son), and then says, rather remarkably, "Help thou mine unbelief."
                            Jesus proceeds to heal the boy. With what power? The story actually tells us
                            this, since the interns, the disciples, ask why they could not do so, and
                            Jesus says that this was a particularly tough demon, which could not be
                            expelled by anything save prayer. Prayer is Jesus's way of establishing
                            contact with God, and again, as with the paralytic, we have the God
                            connection made explicit, this time by Jesus and not by the crowd.

                            As for the anger against the sinful and adulterous generation (9:19), how is
                            that to be explained? I ask because I do not know, save for the sense (the
                            opposite of Goguel's sense) that it arises long after Jesus' death, in a
                            context of lessening communal belief. The third case of this motif in Mark
                            is 8:38 (Whoever is ashamed of Jesus in this adulterous and sinful
                            generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of in time to come). What links
                            the three seems to be lack of faith, whether of the Pharisees, the father of
                            the epileptic (who does his best, however), and the indeterminate faithless,
                            who have abandoned Jesus, in 8:38. It is the 8:38 case that perhaps most
                            strongly suggests a time well removed from the time of Jesus, when some had
                            fallen away, or succumbed to persecution. Mk 13 can also be read that way,
                            since its whole reason for being is disciple uncertainty about the date of
                            this much expected event. This gives, I like to think, the beginning of an
                            explanation, but to my mind it still leaves Mk 8:11f somewhat eccentric, a
                            little off the lines which Mark otherwise seems to follow. It is that
                            eccentricity which puzzles me, and which I don't find that Jeffrey's
                            explanation quite resolves.

                            The Pharisees are of course not merely an unbelieving, but a hostile,
                            public. The other miracle or sign or remarkable action demanded of Jesus by
                            such a public and not supplied by him, if I remember correctly, is the
                            demand of the hostile crowd that Jesus come down from the cross. That would
                            indeed be a supernatural feat. Jesus does not perform the feat, and it may
                            be relevant that not long afterward, Jesus laments that God has forsaken
                            him. The language in which Mark reports this is Psalmic, and he surely
                            intends a second message by phrasing it that way, but the event itself seems
                            to be consistent. Signs of power require not only the belief, as it were
                            the psychological cooperation of the beholders, but also the granting of
                            power by God. In the Crucifixion scene, both seem to be lacking.

                            ---------------

                            Jeffrey comes out with "triumphalism" as the key to what Jesus will not do,
                            and will refuse to do when asked (p55). The final paragraph (p56) reads:

                            "It would seem, then, that the reason the Marcan Jesus refuses to produce a
                            'sign' when the Pharisees demand one of him is not because he is, according
                            to Mark, opposed to the enterprise of producing 'signs.' Rather, given
                            Mark's assumptions concerning the type of 'sign' demanded in this instance
                            and what this 'sign' would activate once manifested, it is because in
                            producing such a 'sign' Jesus would involve himself in the sort of
                            triumphalistic, imperious activities that throughout Mark's Gospel he
                            condemns and sets himself against."

                            That explanation reaches outside Mark for a definition of Mark's term. I
                            have already suggested why I think the distinction is too fine-drawn.

                            As for Jesus' dislike of triumphalism, what of his stilling of the storm,
                            which prompts the disciples (4:41) to ask what manner of man he may be? What
                            of his prediction of himself in Mk 13:26, coming on the clouds with much
                            power and splendor, to send out messengers to gather the elect from the four
                            corners of the earth? Or if this be thought a slip of the Markan pen, what
                            of Jesus' response to the High Priest, "I am, and you will see the Son of
                            Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven
                            (14:62)."

                            If this be modesty, scoop me a double helping of it. And I will be ready
                            when the call comes, however suddenly; I have my list of the Elect all
                            prepared. No scurrying around at the last moment.

                            Bruce

                            E Bruce Brooks
                            Warring States Project
                            University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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                          • Jgibson
                            ... If this is the case, and I an extremely doubtful that it is, why would Jesus refuse the request? And how would such a request be something that probes
                            Message 13 of 14 , Sep 10, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On 9/10/2012 9:01 AM, Greg Crawford wrote:
                              > The language of “sign”, σημεῖον, is interesting in Mark’s Gospel and might be more at home in John’s Gospel. If John is correct in associating this narrative with the story of Moses and the manna from heaven in the wilderness, the Pharisees’ request for a sign might simply be a request that the sign of the feeding continue day after day, as it did in Moses’ case. First century Jewish peasants may have had as much interest in daily food handouts as did starving people in the desert. If the traditional narrative could not be fully accommodated to Mark’s themes, it may stand out for that reason.

                              If this is the case, and I an extremely doubtful that it is, why
                              would Jesus refuse the request? And how would such a request be
                              something that probes and examines Jesus' faithfulness as Mark says it
                              does? Why would Jesus label the request as something that exhibits the
                              faithlessness of the wilderness generation faithlessness, since a
                              request to keep on giving manna is the exact opposite of the grumbling
                              against manna that the wilderness generation engaged in?

                              Leaving aside the fact that the language of "sign" in Mark is not the
                              same as it is in John, I don't think you've thought your claim through.



                              Jeffrey


                              --
                              ___

                              Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. (Oxon.)
                              1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                              Chicago, Il 606s6
                              jgibson000@...
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