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RE: [Synoptic-L] A case for pMark

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Re: Mark In Response To: Ron From: Bruce I have not inspected the specifics of the Barré proposal. Taking instead the line of development implied
    Message 1 of 44 , Jan 2, 2013
      To: Synoptic
      Re: Mark
      In Response To: Ron
      From: Bruce

      I have not inspected the specifics of the Barré proposal. Taking instead the
      line of development implied by the Yarbro Collins "Pre-Markan Passion
      Narrative," and regarding our present Mark as the other end of that
      particular line, and recalling that my own reconstruction of an accretional
      Mark is in that category (it dovetails with hers, while providing other
      accretional stages), I here respond to Ron's objections as directed at all
      reconstructions of that type.

      RON: This hypothetical underlying narrative seems to me to lack credibility
      because there is no patristic mention of such a document,

      BRUCE: If there was an original form of Mark (not a source, but the earliest
      connected Markan Gospel), then whatever its extent, it has been submerged in
      the later versions, and not preserved as a text in its own right. That the
      Patres (of whom I take it that Clement of Rome, end of 1c, is the earliest)
      had not seen it is thus not surprising. Not even Mark's congregation in
      Alexandria would have seen it. It's like the first version of Tchaikovsky's
      Piano Concerto; it has vanished under the revisions. It is not there any
      more. The adult wholly replaces the previous child in the physical scheme of

      RON: it has no distinguishable literary style (as you appear to have

      BRUCE: One would have to inspect a specific reconstruction to make any firm
      statements. But I doubt if there is anything decisive in this category.
      Thus, if Mark himself oversaw the expansion of the Gospel that now goes
      under his name, then (a) there is no surprise if he retained something of
      his own style in his later additions. Even if (b) we are dealing with, say,
      successive heads of some Palestinian cell group of Jesus followers, each of
      whom supervised one set of additions and expansions to the house version of
      the Jesus story, there is nothing to be wondered at if they maintained at
      least the more obvious features of a style which had already become second
      nature to both readers and hearers in that church. It would have been
      somewhat nonfunctional to have done otherwise. (Some of the known
      deuteroPauline stuff is also, from one viewpoint or another, convincingly
      Pauline - Ephesians has been called the most perfect of all the Pauline
      texts). (c) Actually, Adela Yarbro Collins asked me just that question,
      about six years ago, in a regional SBL meeting a year after my outline
      presentation of an accretional Mark. The answer at that time was that, in
      fact, some of the often cited features of Markan style (the most often
      mentioned of which is the perpetual EUQUS) either vanish, or recede to more
      normal NT frequency of use, in what I have identified as the latest layers.
      Might the style of a writer shed some of its youthful vehemence and
      breathlessness as that writer grows older? So it has often been thought,
      though again there is no basis for a firm expectation either way. What all
      this comes to is that we could account for an accretional text whose style
      stays relatively constant over the 15 years of the process, and we could
      with equal comfort account for an accretional text whose style seems to
      remain very constant over the same period. There is thus no criterion either

      RON: and (I suspect) no clear Sitz im Leben.

      BRUCE: It would depend on specifics, and none seem to be before us. It seems
      to me that the Gospel of Mark as we have it has a very clear Sitz im Leben.
      It was compiled by somebody in Jerusalem, who knew Peter and the other
      leading Jesus followers, but was not altogether clear about the geography of
      Galilee, and who got some of his material from first or close second-hand
      observation (he had friends at the Crucifixion, whom he names, and he and
      his mother may conceivably have witnessed the Baptism, or anyway heard John
      preach). As for why this Gospel was written, it seems to have been written
      to answer the urgent question, arising about 72 hours after the Crucifixion:
      Why did Jesus die? What does his death mean for the movement? For me

      The idea that it took 40 years, or almost two human generations, before that
      question arose among the Jesus followers, strikes me as the least plausible
      notion that ever came down the pike. Texts are written for reasons, and
      crises of faith or followership are surely among the stronger imaginable
      reasons. Mark, even in its final form, looks to me like something with that
      purpose. That the answer to the question to which it first addressed itself
      evolved over the next 15 years is nothing very wonderful (and there is
      outside evidence for it, both textual and anecdotal). The interest of an
      accretional Earliest Gospel, if it can be identified, would thus be extreme,
      since it might register the several stages of evolving Jesus theory during
      the lifetimes of the first followers. This would be a new chapter in the
      long but seemingly indeterminate history of Gospel Study.

      Given the possible benefit, it seems to me that efforts to recover a text
      formation process behind the text of Mark might well be encouraged. Not that
      all the ones so far work out very convincingly. There is always a danger of
      trying to extend a valid insight, like that of von Soden or Wendling or
      Taylor, too far too fast. But what is posterity for, if not to gently
      correct errors and rescue wayward developments from perhaps productive
      initial insights, and turn them back in a better direction?

      Hint from experience, for any who may be inclined to take it up: the life
      and especially the theological metamorphoses of Paul may be one of our best
      hints as to the nature of changing theological ideas among the earliest


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: L M Barré On: pMark From: Bruce LMB: I have to say that I think you err not to conclude that we have in euthus and marker of the
      Message 44 of 44 , Jan 7, 2013
        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: L M Barré
        On: pMark
        From: Bruce

        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
        post-Markan material.

        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
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