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RE: [Synoptic-L] A case for pMark

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: David Inglis On: A Case Against Mark From: Bruce I think David has said what is called for in this case (where the list managers
    Message 1 of 44 , Jan 4, 2013
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: David Inglis
      On: A Case Against Mark
      From: Bruce

      I think David has said what is called for in this case (where the list
      managers may be, I can't imagine), but perhaps a note of agreement would not
      come amiss.

      DAVID: I find this kind of ad hominem attack very distasteful, as it
      suggests that unless you have a specific list of qualifications and/or
      experience in a particular field then there is nothing you can bring to the
      table that has any value, and hence there is no point in even examining your

      BRUCE: Agreed. Whatever may be the value of the proposal in question, this
      hostile mode of receiving it poisons discussion. If the proposal is to be
      ultimately rejected, this is not the right reason for rejecting it. As
      manager of several E-lists over the past 15 years, I have found this to be
      generally true. The great danger in any such list is the "stopper" remark,
      which tends to shut down discussion; specifically, by inhibiting any
      positive comment or constructive criticism. But the whole rationale of an
      E-list is to have discussion. Violations of tone, which might seem to some a
      mere frill and frippance, are thus of the essence in these contexts. Not
      only distasteful, but destructive.

      DAVID: To me this is blatantly ridiculous, since it is often the ‘out of the
      box’ thinking that is exactly what is needed to break a ‘log jam,’ and very
      often it is ONLY those people outside the mainstream (who may well have
      non-traditional qualifications and/or experience) who can advance the
      thinking in any particular field.

      BRUCE: Very true, and those with experience of the physical and medical
      sciences will not need to be told how true. It is almost a cliché in such
      fields that innovation often comes at the edges, not at the center, of a
      body of thought and practice. The crossover participant, the mathematician
      sitting in on the lecture of a mathematician from a different branch of
      mathematics - these are often the people who can make connections, or see
      possibilities, which were not apparent to those more conventionally familiar
      with the subject. See the classic work by Beveridge, The Art of Scientific
      Investigation, passim.

      On a more humble note, it is surely of no consequence to the lightbulb user
      whether Tom Edison had a degree in electrical engineering. The only thing
      that counts is if the lightbulb lights up when you turn it on. On the whole,
      it seems to. End of parable.

      More generally, one might ask, are the conventional certifications of some
      discipline both necessary and sufficient to the achievement of results in
      that discipline? Every academic department will say Yes, but that is merely
      because all academic departments were founded on that supposition. As it
      happens, we can test this proposal against results. Take a simple matter,
      the Synoptic Problem (to determine the sequence, and relationships, of the
      Three Gospels). On this problem, for nigh on two thousand years, whole
      phalanxes of unimpeachably conventional and spectacularly certified persons
      have brought their powers to bear. With what result?

      I will tell you with what result. At the present moment, not only is there
      no functioning consensus about the Synoptic Problem (not even on the
      presumably selective Synoptic list), but the professional organization (SBL)
      is even giving program space to the Johannine Prioritists. This is as near
      as one needs to get to no result at all. I ask you, in all seriousness, Was
      there ever a more sustained and conspicuous failure? It seems to me that,
      given this track record, the right posture for the conventionally certified
      is not the sort of thing that David has criticized, but something more
      penitential, with a generous measure of sackcloth and ashes.


      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
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        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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