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

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  • 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 1 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 2 of 14 , Sep 10, 2012
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        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 3 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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