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

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  • 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 1 of 14 , Sep 8 6:14 PM
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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 2 of 14 , Sep 8 6:39 PM
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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 3 of 14 , Sep 8 6:48 PM
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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 4 of 14 , Sep 8 7:00 PM
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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 5 of 14 , Sep 8 7:45 PM
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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 6 of 14 , Sep 8 9:17 PM
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                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 7 of 14 , Sep 9 1:28 AM
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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 8 of 14 , Sep 10 5:42 AM
                  • 0 Attachment
                    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 9 of 14 , Sep 10 7:01 AM
                    • 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]





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • 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 10 of 14 , Sep 10 7:46 AM
                      • 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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