A case for pMark
To expect that all Gospel sources should have patristic mention is
unreasonable and an argument from silence.
I think you need to address my evidence as it seems to you are trying to
One example of redactional insertion would be almost sufficient to support
the pMark thesis, I have offered eight examples besides other additions to
Note also that a pMark thesis somewhat destabilizes Markan research and will
be psychologically resisted for that reason. I think I have uncovered here
an Achilles heel of sorts. Certainly dogmatic fideists show a strong
tendency to think that all biblical literature is a compositional unity.
But as I maintained, the evidence for pMark is quite strong and probable.
It seems that it is something that has just been overlooked. It happens.
pMark itself is only solidly defined as those texts which form the context
of the alleged additions. One could use these as a literary index to some
extent. On the other hand, it is clear that Mark favors repetition with
the extreme use of the adverb, euthus, the numerous references to amazement
over Jesus, the use of repetition in the thrice repeated prediction of Jesus
suffering, death and resurrection, the many times the obtuseness of the
disciples is portrayed, the repeated naps in Gethsemane, Peter's three-fold
denial, the twice feeding of the multitudes and so on. Note also that in
two of the additions, we have the mature concepts of "the followers of
Christ," and "whenever the Gospel is preached in the entire world."
So if the thesis of pMark is sustained, it will make much difference In how
the Gospel is interpreted, for now we are dealing with two compositions, not
just with one as, is often assumed.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: L M Barré
LMB: I have to say that I think you err not to conclude that we have in
euthus and marker of the Markan redaction.
EBB: Euthus is characteristic of Mark, but whether of redaction (editing of
prior material) or composition (authorial material) I think we cannot say.
There is also the question, not separately examined, of whether euthus is
equally typical of the later material in Mark. The answer according to my
own investigation is: not as much so. But there are also themes and modes in
what I take to be original mark where euthus (immediacy in narrative) would
not apply in any case, and if late Mark is turning to those questions (eg,
how soon will the Second Coming be), then the style change is simply an
artifact of the topic change. The continuing authorship or proprietorship of
the single author (call him Mark or whatever) is not precluded.
LMB: . So also is the much repeated "amazement" motif, which I take as
another indicator of Markan redaction.
EBB: Again, I sort of agree, and have used that test myself, following Dwyer
1996 (though I think it is possible to refine his data set). But again,
there are types of material in Mark that do not invite that motif. It would
take more precision to make "amazement" an indicator of Markan vs
LMB: but also with typical repetition (another Markan stylistic marker), the
thrice predicted passion, death and resurrection.
EBB: I agree with Yarbro Collins that the triplets (and I would add,
including the Passion Predictions) are late in Mark. I would not call them
non-Markan, but they are a device of style which occurred to the late Mark,
and were not present in the relatively straightforward early Mark.
LMB: Let me here add that I think that the ending of Mark is indeed lost and
that the current ending in 16:8 is not deliberate. The reason why it is
noted that the women said nothing, is to prepare for the Great Astonishment,
that Jesus was alive. This would be all the more shocking because they were
unaware of the empty tomb "information" due to the women's silence.
EBB: I agree that 16:8 was not meant to be the end of Mark, and that our
text is artificially abbreviated. Matthew's supplied ending owes details to
other texts, and does not come from his seeing a more complete version of
Mark (there was none in his time), but is a good normal guess at what the
ending might have contained, at least on the circumstantial level.
LMB: In the logic of the story of Mark's redaction, the predicted appearance
in Galilee is not particularly freighted. Where else would they go but home?
Where more appropriate for Jesus to meet up with them?
EBB: I think weight must be given to the pair of interpolations I mentioned
earlier: 14:28 and 16:7. These predict that the disciples will see Jesus in
Galilee. What if the story had continued without those predictions?
Evidently in the way that the insertions predict: they would see Jesus in
Galilee. What then do the predictions add? Simply this: Jesus's
foreknowledge of that event. Without that element, Jesus's appearance would
have been a surprise, not only to the disciples, but to Jesus himself. The
prediction puts him back in control, has him fully anticipating, and thus
fully accepting, the end of his life and its sequel.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst