My pre-Markan PN
- View SourceHere is my pre-Markan PN (14:1-15:39*). It is quite short, missing only the
arrest episode which Mark has replaced.
The pre-Markan Passion Narrative
14:1 Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away ; and the
chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and
kill Him; 2 for they were saying, "Not during the festival, otherwise there
might be a riot of the people." 10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the
twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. 11
They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he
began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time.
[PN arrest episode replaced by Markan version]
53 They led Jesus away to the high priest ; and all the chief priests and
the elders and the scribes gathered together.
55 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain
testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any.
56 For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was
not consistent. The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned
Jesus, saying, "Will you not answer, against what is it that these men are
testifying against You?" 61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the
high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the
Son of the Blessed One?" 62 And Jesus said, "I am ; and you shall see THE
SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF
HEAVEN." 63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, "What further need do
we have of witnesses ? 64 "You have heard the blasphemy ; how does it seem
to you?" And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. 65 Some began
to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and
to say to Him, "Prophesy!" And the officers received Him with slaps in the
16 The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and
they called together the whole Roman cohort. 17 They dressed Him up in
purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; 18 and
they began to acclaim Him, "Hail, King of the Jews !" 19 They kept beating
His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before
Him. 20 After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put
His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.
25 It was the third hour when they crucified Him. 26 The inscription of the
charge against Him read, "THE KING OF THE JEWS." 27 They crucified two
robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 34 At the ninth hour
Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI ?" which is
translated, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" 35 When some of the
bystanders heard it, they began saying, "Behold, He is calling for Elijah."
36 Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and
gave Him a drink, [but the rest said], "Let us see whether Elijah will come
to take Him down." 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.
39 When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way
He breathed His last, he said, "Truly this man was a son of a god!"
Using PN as an index, and other criteria to distinguish Mark from pMark
mentioned previously, I would assign the passages you cite to the Markan
redaction of pMark, not to pMark.
From: Jeff Peterson
Date: 01/02/13 17:42:35
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] A case for pMark
Perhaps I missed this in an earlier message (I'm engaged in the exciting
business of syllabus-writing, so not able to be as attentive to the list as
I'd like), but I was curious if you could state what you see as the Marcan
Jesus' tragic flaw.
While I'm doubtful that the author of Mark had any personal acquaintance
with Greek tragedy or familiarity with Aristotle's analysis thereof, I see
plenty of heuristic value for Marcan exegesis in employing categories drawn
from that analysis. Death resulting from the protagonist's *hamartia*,
however, seems a real surd in Mark's story of the Son of God appointed to
die by the will of his divine Father (cf. 1:11; 8:31; 14:21), and I'd be
interested to see how you'd define that.
All the best,
Austin Graduate School of Theology
On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 4:42 PM, lmbarre@... <lmbarre@...> wrote:
> My analysis of the Passion Narrative (Mark 14:1-15:39*) finds it to be, on
> form-critical grounds, a perfect Aristotelian tragedy as described in his
> Poetics." I mean perfect in terms of realistic portrayal ("imitation),
> characterization of the tragic hero with a fatal hamartia, the importance
> plot, appropriate diction, down to the proper use of vowels, a final
> epiphany, a heavy sense of dramatic irony (surprising outcomes) the hero's
> anagnorisis, peripetia (reversal of fortune) and more. Also, there is much
> to argue that 'eloi 'eloi lama sabachthani is an authentic saying of Jesus
> in spite of two other places where Mark has added "fulfillment's" of Psalm
> 22. I would so far as to argue that the pre-Markan PN is not only
> it is based upon an eye-witness account that was collected by the author
> PN. Here is a summary of the traits of Aristotle's tragic hero from my
> With the original PN isolated (argued elsewhere), especially that it ended
> in Mark 15:39, we may then ask the form-critical question regarding its
> literary genre. My contention is that it is a tragedy, and more
> an Aristotelian tragedy. Evidence for this genre designation is drawn
> of all from Aristotle's Poetics:
> Here again I do need to go into some quite detailed arguments to show that
> original PN does indeed conform to Aristotle's ideal tragedy. They may be
> summarized as parallel in terms of plot, characterization of the tragic
> motifs and diction. Here is a summary of the literary features of a
> Aristotelian tragedy:
> An Aristotelian tragic hero must have four characteristics:
> - Nobleness (of a noble birth) or wisdom (by virtue of birth).
> - Hamartia (translated as tragic flaw, somewhat related to hubris, but
> denoting excess in behavior or mistakes).
> - A reversal of fortune (peripetia) brought about because of the hero's
> tragic error.
> - The discovery or recognition that the reversal was brought about by the
> hero's own actions (anagnorisis).
> As I have said, I can go into much greater detail to show that the PN is
> be generically classified as an (Aristotelian) tragedy. Your denial that
> this is not so needs to engage what arguments I have just advanced.
> Note also that Aristotle's tragic hero was developed in the history of the
> genre. Here is a list of certain refinements and additions to Aristotle's
> original definition of the tragic hero:
> Other common traits as developed in later tragedies:
> Hero must suffer more than he deserves.
> Hero must be doomed from the start, but bear no responsibility for
> possessing his flaw.
> Hero must be noble in nature, but imperfect so that the audience can see
> themselves in him.
> Hero must have discovered his fate by his own actions, not by things
> happening to him.
> Hero must see and understand his doom, as well as the fact that his fate
> discovered by his own actions.
> Hero's story should arouse fear and empathy.
> Hero must be physically or spiritually wounded by his experiences, often
> resulting in his death.
> Ideally, the hero should be a king or leader of men, so that his people
> experience his fall with him.
> The hero must be intelligent so he may learn from his mistakes.
> Conclusion: The genre of the original PN is a tragedy as defined by
> Aristotle in his Poetics and as later expounded in other tragedies
> descending from an Aristotelian origin.
> I submit that I have offered detailed arguments regarding the
> literary-critical isolation of an original PN and correctly identified its
> genre as (Aristotelian) tragedy.
> With this definition, I have a basis to argue that the PN is based upon an
> eye-witness account. I go further to argue that the eye-witness was a
> historical centurion who served as the source of factual information. Let
> be quick to say that I am not here "cherry-picking" the centurion as the
> probable witness that the author of PN used to compose his tragedy. That
> may rationally determine that the centurion's account is the basis of the
> should not be dismissed because it is often the case that we cannot
> make such a specific determination of a literary source. Let me also clear
> the air that I am not compelled by any ideology which "need" to have an
> eye-witness report regarding the historical Jesus. I very much argue to
> remarkable and unprecedented conclusion and I am fully aware of its
> claim. It seem most grandiose that I should claim that I have concluded
> quest for the essential historical Jesus! I cannot put enough exclamation
> points behind this allegation.
> That the PN is based upon an eye-witness account is argued upon two bases:
> - the probable conclusion that eloi eloi lama sabachthani is an authentic
> saying of Jesus.
> - that the genre of a Aristotelian tragedy aims at above all "imitation"
> what we call "realism."
> While the traditional criteria for isolating authentic sayings of Jesus
> been critiqued in scholarly literature, I would argue that the following
> criteria are, with noted qualification, yet valid:
> - dissimilarity
> - embarrassment
> - orality
> - diction (Aramaic)
> It should be noted that the lama sabachthani is good Aramaic and is
> expressed Jesus' vernacular.
> I have also argued to the conclusion that the above saying is authentic
> That the genre of Aristotlelian tragedy that aims to be "realistic" is
> stated in the Poetics. Indeed, this is a major characteristic of his ideal
> tragedy--"imitation." What it imitates is the actual phenomenon of a
> dimension of human existence. This is the basis of his argument that it
> should inspire not only pity but also "fear." That fear is to be inspired
> among the audience is based the real threat that they may experience a
> possible tragic situation. The "catharsis" consists of the enlightenment
> that a seemingly senseless tragedy has a most profound and most positive
> As for the meaning of the centurion's epiphany, uios theou is not the
> notion of the "Son of God" (1:1) but is rather a Roman, gentile
> literarily rendered as "a son of a god," otherwise known as a theios aner,
> the Hellenistic concept of the "divine man." The debate whether Mark
> portrays Jesus in terms of Hellenistic notions or one based on Old
> characters is both right when we realize that we are dealing with two
> versions of the Gospel. Mark redacted the theios aner presentation into
> that was more from a Jewish perspective.
> LM Barré
> San Diego
> -------Original Message-------
> From: Ronald Price
> Date: 1/2/2013 11:38:23 AM
> To: Synoptic-L
> Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] A case for pMark
> Chuck Jones wrote:
> > Are you saying that Mark free-composed everything in his gospel except
> > (handful of) aphorisms?
> > I'd appreciate hearing more about your thoughts on this.
> Not quite. Mark would have picked up a few simple facts from Paul (if, as
> believe, the author can be equated with the Mark of Phm 24), and perhaps
> conversation with others in the church at Rome, e.g. that Peter was a
> prominent apostle, that Jesus was crucified in or near Jerusalem, that
> Pilate was the governor at the time.
> > He composed the parables, for example?
> Not the aphoristic (short) parables: Lamp, Mustard Seed, Salt, Eye of
> Needle, but most of the others, and certainly the two long parables: the
> parable of the Sower and the parable of the Vineyard, both of which seem
> have been composed specifically with the Christian mission in mind.
> > And all of the scenes, characters and dialogue in the passion narrative?
> The dialogue, yes, apart from the Last Supper dialogue which I think is
> close to what Mark got from Paul. The scenes as presented, yes. But 14:3-9
> was probably based on an actual anointing of Jesus as Messiah, and the
> by Pilate and the crucifixion may include a few genuine details (e.g. the
> inscription on the cross?). Also at least two of the characters, namely
> Judas the betrayer (here I follow Hyam Maccoby), and Joseph of
> Of course the existence of Jesus, Peter and Pilate does not depend solely
> the testimony of Mark's gospel. They are historical characters.
> Ron Price,
> Derbyshire, UK
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