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

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  • 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 1 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Frank Jacks
      Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2012 8:14 PM
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 8:11-12

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

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

      Frank

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

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

      Jack
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson On: Mk 8:11-12 From: Bruce First, let me be plain: I think Goguel is wrong. I think the passage in question is
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
        On: Mk 8:11-12
        From: Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Jgibson
        ... You have misrepresented (or misunderstood) what I deemed triumphalism . Jeffrey -- ___ Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. (Oxon.) 1500 W. Pratt Blvd. Chicago, Il
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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          On 9/8/2012 8:48 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
          > As for Jesus' dislike of triumphalism, what of his stilling of the storm,
          > which prompts the disciples (4:41) to ask what manner of man he may be? What
          > of his prediction of himself in Mk 13:26, coming on the clouds with much
          > power and splendor, to send out messengers to gather the elect from the four
          > corners of the earth? Or if this be thought a slip of the Markan pen, what
          > of Jesus' response to the High Priest, "I am, and you will see the Son of
          > Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven
          > (14:62)."
          >
          > If this be modesty, scoop me a double helping of it. And I will be ready
          > when the call comes, however suddenly; I have my list of the Elect all
          > prepared. No scurrying around at the last moment.

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

          Jeffrey

          --
          ___

          Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. (Oxon.)
          1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
          Chicago, Il 606s6
          jgibson000@...
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Synoptic In Response To: Jack Kilmon On: Jesus and the Law From: Bruce Jack: Jesus reduced version of the Decalogue and his remarks on the Sabbath could
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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            To: Synoptic
            In Response To: Jack Kilmon
            On: Jesus and the Law
            From: Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            I ask you.

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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

            Jack: Will the real Yeshua please stand up?

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

            Few there be who are willing to take that step, but that's other people's
            problem. I merely point out that, on any rational understanding of
            historical method, Mark is the way to go.
          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: Synoptic In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson On: Triumphalism From: Bruce Of my earlier notes on why I found Jeffrey s explanation of MK 8:11f unconvincing, he
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 8, 2012
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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 6 of 14 , Sep 9, 2012
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                I cannot quote chapter and verse at the moment, but it is clear to me that the attitude to Sabbath observance in Galilee was a lot less punctilious than among the Pharisees who were strongest in Jerusalem. Jesus' attitude is consistently to emphasise the spirit of an action over the empty observance and that is true of the Sabbth as well. To define Jesus as having a definite overall attitude towards the Decalogue from the haphazard quotation of various commandments, or, in the case of defrauding, their expansion as is found elsewhere in the Jwish writings, is in my view a step too far, insuffiently warranted by the available evidence.
                Dennis















                To: Synoptic

                In Response To: Dennis Goffin

                From: Bruce



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

                as Dennis quotes me,



                Bruce: Jesus taught a reduced version of the Decalogue,



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

                silence in my opinion.



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

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

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

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

                your father and mother."



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                conventionally called the First Table of the Decalogue: the commandments

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

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



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

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

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

                arguments.



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

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

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

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

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

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



                Evidence that Jesus preached observance of the commandment to observe the

                Sabbath seems monumentally lacking. Am I missing something?



                Bruce



                E Bruce Brooks

                Warring States Project

                University of Massachusetts at Amherst


















                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Chuck Jones
                Bruce, In Mark, Jesus motive for healing is compassion.  The reason there was a feeding of the 5,000 is that [a]s [Jesus] went ashore, he saw a great crowd;
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 10, 2012
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                  Bruce,

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

                  Chuck 

                  Rev. Chuck Jones
                  Atlanta, Georgia


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Greg Crawford
                  The language of “sign”, σημεῖον, is interesting in Mark’s Gospel and might be more at home in John’s Gospel. If John is correct in associating
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 10, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    The language of “sign”, σημεῖον, is interesting in Mark’s Gospel and might be more at home in John’s Gospel. If John is correct in associating this narrative with the story of Moses and the manna from heaven in the wilderness, the Pharisees’ request for a sign might simply be a request that the sign of the feeding continue day after day, as it did in Moses’ case. First century Jewish peasants may have had as much interest in daily food handouts as did starving people in the desert. If the traditional narrative could not be fully accommodated to Mark’s themes, it may stand out for that reason.



                    Greg Crawford



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





                    Bruce,

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

                    Chuck

                    Rev. Chuck Jones
                    Atlanta, Georgia

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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





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

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

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



                      Jeffrey


                      --
                      ___

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