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

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  • 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 1 of 16 , Apr 19, 2006
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      I had written:

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

      Bruce Brooks replied:

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

      Bruce,

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

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

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

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Resurrection From: Bruce I don t want to get decoyed into solving the whole problem of Christian origins on this one
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 19, 2006
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        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Ron Price
        On: Resurrection
        From: Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        BRUCE: Hopefully not.

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        http://www.umass.edu/wsp
      • Ron Price
        ... Bruce, Regrettably you are invoking people who mostly (if not in entirety) died many decades ago, so I will not be able to take up your challenge! ... The
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 20, 2006
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          Bruce Brooks wrote:

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

          Bruce,

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

          > I consider Mark to be a growth text.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          > The imputation of intentionality is inaccurate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Mark 14-16 Priority From: Bruce RON (of my invitation to dispute matters with Dibelius, Goguel, et al): Regrettably
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 20, 2006
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            To: Synoptic
            In Response To: Ron Price
            On: Mark 14-16 Priority
            From: Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          • Ron Price
            ... Bruce, Setting up your own Web site would give you plenty of space in which to make available your whole hypothesis. ... Are you implying that most of the
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 21, 2006
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              Bruce Brooks wrote:

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

              Bruce,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Ron Price

              Derbyshire, UK

              Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Markan Accretion From: Bruce RON (on contraints of length on the present exchange): Setting up your own Web site
              Message 6 of 16 , Apr 21, 2006
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                To: Synoptic
                In Response To: Ron Price
                On: Markan Accretion
                From: Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Mark Matters (nominally Mark 14-16 Priority) From: Bruce I would like to take this moment to express my thanks to
                Message 7 of 16 , Apr 22, 2006
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                  To: Synoptic
                  In Response To: Ron Price
                  On: Mark Matters (nominally "Mark 14-16 Priority)
                  From: Bruce

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

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

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

                  Thanks to all,

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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