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RE: [Synoptic-L] Readable fonts in the analysis of the composition and redaction of the Gospel of Mark

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  • lmbarre@gmail.com
    Bruce, I am gratified that you were able to read the fonts I used to indicate narrative flow and alleged accretions. In this case, it is much easier and more
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 7, 2013
      Bruce,

      I am gratified that you were able to read the fonts I used to indicate
      narrative flow and alleged accretions. In this case, it is much easier and
      more evident to illustrate rather than explain.

      I began with the account of John's death because I think that this is the
      most obvious all of the examples I noted. This is due on the one hand to
      the relative length of the insertion. One reads the material that precedes
      it on the missionary activity of the Twelve and then switches topic to John
      s death. Then, to some dissonance, we are provided with the ending of the
      story that began before the John episode. It's as if, "Right, I guess that
      story was not quite finished." Indeed, the greater the length of the
      insertion, the more reader dissonance is created and the more abrupt is a
      much delayed return to the account. Of all the insertions, this is by far
      the most lengthy.

      6:12 So16 they went out and preached that all should repent. 6:13 They cast
      out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them
      6:30 Then45 the apostles gathered around Jesus and told him everything they
      had done and taught. 6:31 He said to them, “Come with me privately to an
      isolated place and rest a while”

      I have found that pMark is a very concise and coherent writer. For example,
      in this instance, we see how the "done" and "taught" of v 30 nicely
      corresponds to the antecedent description of 6:12. What they "taught"
      corresponds to "they went out and preached . . . ' while casting out demons
      an anointing the sick and healing them corresponds to all that they had
      done." Also the motif of them going with Jesus to an isolated place to
      rests contrasts their busy activities to which Jesus sent them. And again,
      Jesus sent (apostellein) them two by two and thus they are referred to in v
      30 as "apostoloi." Thus, I would cite this as evidence that pMark is uses
      diction quite concisely as I have found throughout my demarcation of pMark.
      Verse 30 can hardly be more verbally integrated with vv 7-12.

      In addition, we find it the expansion two occurrences of the adverb, euthus,
      which is obviously a Markan stylistic marker. It occurs no less than 42
      times out of a total of 59 in the entire NT. In all these ways, the episode
      of the Baptizer's death is strongly indicated to be a Markan insertion.

      My view that PN concluded in 5:39 (rather than 5:38, with the renting of the
      veil), is informed on internal grounds as well as my identification of PN as
      a perfect Aristotelian tragedy. Before and after 5:38, we have the
      connecting link regarding Jesus' last breath. Further, it is one of the
      virtues of Aristotle's ideal tragedy that the use of an Deus ex Machina and
      is to be excluded as it is not "imitation" or realistic as we would say. In
      PN, we have alleged Markan accretions with the prophetic fulfillment's of
      Psalm 22, the supernatural darkness in the 6th hour, and the renting of the
      veil. Further still, the centurion voices an Aristotelian "epiphany" that
      goes to the kerygma of the author as to answering what Jesus was. The plot
      show quite specifically that Jesus, in terms of his own thinking and in that
      of his detractors, that he was not the Messiah as he had so confidently
      pronounced before the Sanhedrin and in response to the the High Priest's
      question. There he backed his claim that the High Priest (and everyone
      else) would see the fulfillment of Dan 7:13-14 and himself supernaturally
      installed as the expected messianic king. As a vindication of his messianic
      claim, it makes little sense that he backs his claim by saying that
      [someday] you will see . . . " On the contrary, the claim has force in that
      it was mean that [at any moment] you shall see . . ." It is this supreme
      contrast that informs his most pathetic complaint, "Why have you forsaken
      me?" and his recorded death, Fate seals the case.

      So PN is scoring two points. He is rejecting Jewish apocalyptic messianism
      in toto but then in the epiphany of the centurion, finds the true assessment
      of this Jesus, in terms of Roman Gentile concepts. He was indeed a uios
      theou. Not in the Markan sense of the "Son of God" but rather in the
      Hellenistic sense of a theios aner, "a son of a god," one among the many
      divine men known from Graco-Roman tradition. So as I interpret PN, the
      centurion's epiphany is essential to the story and voices the opinion of PN,
      put into the mouth of the now *Roman* centurion. The account is fraught
      with dramatic irony or "surprising outcomes." From their perspective, the
      evil Sanhedrin was entirely vindicated that Jesus was a messianic pretender;
      that Jesus was literarily dead wrong about being the Messiah, and that it
      was his own executioner who saw the truth of actually what he was through it
      all. In this way, 15:39 very much serves to resolve the dramatic tension of
      the story.

      Perhaps it is not quite needless to say that PN, so interpreted, is . . .
      problematic. The "theological" differene between the genre of PN (and
      pMark) is one of a searing, Aristotelian tragedy, while Mark has radically
      reinterpreted the account as a divine comedy, with the former, I should
      think, being the more historically-based interpretation of what Jesus was.
      Nor does it help matters that Aristotle argues that tragedy is the superior
      genre to comedy and even to Homeric epic. So in Mark, we have present the
      two masks of drama, comedy and tragedy and it would appear that we are to
      consider a choice between either Mark 15:39 or John 3:16. Perhaps in some
      larger perspective can incorporate both, but to me it seems that the comedic
      Jesus, beloved as he is, is so much yada yada.

      LM Barré
      -------Original Message-------

      From: E Bruce Brooks
      Date: 1/7/2013 2:43:52 AM
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Readable fonts in the analysis of the composition
      and redaction of the Gospel of Mark


      To: Synoptic (GPG)
      Re: Markan Formation According to L M Barré
      From: Bruce

      Thanks for the several efforts to transmit a readable version of this highly
      formatted proposal (identifying 10 later insertions in Mark). The one that
      worked completely for me was:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblical_scholarship/message/260

      My own reconstruction of accretional Mark was shared as a handout with
      SBL/NE 2006 (Adela Yarbro Collins' partly confirmatory commentary came out
      the following year), and with an SBL session as a complete pamphlet in 2008.
      A later version was shared with the GPG study group a couple years ago. The
      present or 2012 version is the fourth, and continued inspection and
      discussion of the evidence continues (some of this stuff is not as easy as
      one would like). I here, more or less inevitably, comment on the Barré
      version from the standpoint of my own reconstruction, and the conclusions
      thereunto appertaining.

      My basic comment is one of general agreement: (1) Mark is obviously a
      stratified text; I would make it continually stratified or "accretional."
      (2) The identification of interpolations is the obvious place to start to
      recover Mark, since the evidence for interpolation is relatively objective,
      despite some difficult cases. One good recent treatment of the technique for
      detecting interpolations is pages 15-90 of William O Walker Jr,
      Interpolations in the Pauline Letters (Clark 2001); at least two abridged
      versions of this material were later published, and our Project is currently
      in discussion with the author pursuant to a third version, meant for a
      general philological public and intended for the Project's journal, Warring
      States Papers.

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/journal/index.html

      The year being still new, I might mention that in addition to Sinological
      Libraries (its main focus and audience), the journal is committed to a
      considerable second emphasis on New Testament studies, and those in that
      field with powers of recommendation are invited to consider mentioning it to
      their library.

      SOME COMMENTS ON BARRÉ

      #1. The Death of John the Baptist (Mk 6:14-29). This is admittedly a
      stylistically deviant piece, but is it actually an interpolation? If it is
      removed, the Return of the Twelve might be thought to follow somewhat
      abruptly.


      My sense is that this is not a Christian piece, but a Johannine
      one: it is a defense of John much like the ones that Luke (in Acts) was
      later to write for Paul, and was probably their inspiration. It probably
      arose in John circles, and was borrowed by aMk [the author of Mark, without
      prejudice as to actual identity] for his story. But at what stage? John had
      been dead for at least a year when Jesus was killed, and it probably took at
      least a few months before aMk began to compose a biographical apologia for
      the Jesus movement. This extreme scenario probably gives enough time for the
      legend to have arisen, become known to Mark, and incorporated into his
      original Gospel.

      #2. The Beelzebul Accusation (Mk 3:22-30). Correctly identified. Notice that
      the burden of the interpolation is to increase the sense of the hostility
      toward Jesus, not just of the Pharisees, but of the Jerusalem-connected
      Pharisees. This Jerusalem motif applies to several of the Markan
      interpolations, and means that gMk during its formation process reflected
      the deepening hostility between the nascent Jesus movement and the Jerusalem
      authorities.

      #3. The Unknown Exorcist (Mk 9:38-41). I would rather make it Mk 9:38-40,
      since 9:41, for better or worse, seems to relate to the original question of
      the disciples. I agree with Loisy that this person, not one of the Jesus
      circle but propagandizing in a compatible direction, represents Paul. In
      support, as Loisy did not go on to point out, the whole progress of the
      gradual acceptance of the Gentile Mission, like the deepening hostility of
      and toward the Jerusalem Jewish Establishment, is contained in Mark; it has
      at least five distinct stages. This would be about the second (the first is
      when the issue is ignored entirely).

      #4. Not Fasting (Mk 2:19b-20). Both this and 2:21 can be thought of as
      responsive to the challenge of the disciples of John and the Pharisees. Is
      the former an interpolation? Or is the second an illustration of the first?
      The first amounts to a statement that after Jesus has been killed, the Jesus
      movement will take up what had previously been the exclusively Johannine
      practice of baptism. This we know they did, but when? I would distinguish
      two types of Christian observances: (1) those modelled on Jewish or
      Johannine precedent, and (2) those original to Christianity. Among the
      latter, the Eucharist of course has connections with the Jewish Passover.
      That both occurred fairly early can be seen in the careful prescriptions of
      the Didache. I would think of Mk 2:19b-20 as the Words of Institution for
      Christian Baptism, just as there are Words of Institution for the Eucharist
      (and they get more specific as we move into the later Gospels). My own guess
      would be that the adoption of Johannine baptism, as well as Johannine
      fasting, occurred relatively early in the post-Jesus days, and do not (at
      this writing) feel required to take this passage as a later addition.

      #5. The Woman of Bethany (Mk 14:3-9). Correctly identified, and genuinely
      interruptive. This is a Christian legend, and is virtually identified as
      such by aMk. it has to do with concern over the unceremonious treatment of
      Jesus' body after his execution. To that extent, it is somewhat in
      complementation with the Women at the Tomb, who are also concerned, but in a
      much grander context, to supply the missing anointing of the body. Then the
      Bethany legend probably arose before the Empty Tomb legend. That the Empty
      Tomb story IS a legend has been, to my satisfaction, demonstrated by Yarbro
      Collins 2007, and earlier by Peter Kirby:

      http://depts.drew.edu/jhc/Kirby_tombcase.pdf

      (2002).But here as with the Defense of John, how long does it take for these
      legends to arise? A pious legend in connection with the Columbine High
      School Massacre (this is a kind of thing we have in the US; persons from
      other areas are asked to forgive the local reference) can be shown to have
      come into existence within 24 hours after the event itself. Need creates
      prose, and collective psychological need is among the most insistent types
      of need.

      #6. Trial Before the High Priest. With considerable support from Yarbro
      Collins and others, I consider the first or Sanhedrin trial to be an entire
      fiction, inserted (I would add) to direct increasing guilt for Jesus' death
      toward the Jews, and away from the Romans. (The same tendency may be seen in
      the later Gospels of Luke and John; see the article by Keith Yoder in v1 of
      the above journal; there will be another in v2).

      #10. The Rending of the Veil (15:38). I agree rather with Adela, that this
      was the original ending of the Gospel. Notice that the verb for "rend" or
      "rip" is the same as that used for the opening of the Heavens at Jesus'
      Baptism, at the beginning rather than the end of the Gospel. This is
      probably an intentional framing element for the original story. Then comes a
      second and later ending, where no act of God (in rending the veil from
      above), but a witness of Man, is the final word about Jesus' death. Why?
      Because the witness, and the acceptance, of Rome in the person of the
      centurion in charge was a major PR benefit to the Christian movement, and
      one it was continually anxious to secure (much of the NT literature has this
      purpose). The Centurion's Witness is the counterpart of the increasing
      concern of aMk (and of all the NT writers) to deflect blame for Jesus' death
      from Rome, and put it instead on the Jews. For which, see above. When
      several proposed additions to a text turn out to have the same rationale,
      the proposal is correspondingly strengthened.

      It will be noted that in several of the above comments, my sense of gMk as
      accretional affects my reading of the evidence in particular cases. For me,
      it is not a question of "Does this passage belong or not" (which is how we
      ask it if there are only two textual stages), but at least sometimes "to
      which later state of the Markan community does this passage belong?"
      Thus I sometimes find that a passage is stylistically anomalous but still
      original to the narrative, and at other times that a passage is earlier than
      another, but still itself interpolated.

      METHODOLOGICAL PS

      I do not wish to end with the impression that the Walker Evidences are a
      complete list for world philology. There are at least two more that have
      force in this area. One is formal interruption: a passage which violates the
      form of the piece in which it appears. This is especially important with
      stanzas or lines added to a long poem, or with new sayings breaking a
      pattern of pairing in which the old sayings were arranged. Both are very
      common in early Chinese texts; less so in Mediterranean ones. As one
      Mediterranean example, we have the theologia crucis half-line which Paul
      added to the pre-Pauline hymn which he otherwise quotes in Philippians 2
      (see Lohmeyer's reconstruction).

      Another is that when two passages directly conflict, by giving different
      accounts of the same thing, or providing alternate and incompatible
      explanations, one is probably an interpolation. The Woman at Bethany might
      be thought to come under this head, since that method of anointing Jesus'
      body is different than the one pursued in the Empty Tomb story. (The fact
      that both these stories turn out to be interpolations does not spoil the
      principle: the one interpolation is earlier than the other).

      A second example is the two reasons given in Mk 2 to excuse the disciples
      plucking grain on the Sabbath. One (Mk 2:27) is that the Sabbath was made
      for man, not man for the Sabbath (that is, all Sabbath rules are suspended).
      The other (Mk 2:28) is that the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath,
      which presents Jesus as the Davidic Messiah (notice the story of David told
      in2:25-26), who personally overrules the Sabbath, but on a particular
      occasion. The two arguments are both cogent, on their own terms, but we
      don't need two of them. Of them, posterity prefers the universalistic 2:27.
      Given 2:25-26 (not to mention the fact that Jesus was put to death by the
      Romans precisely as a pretender to a Davidic type of rulership), the Davidic
      explanation is more continuous in context. Then 2:27 must be a later
      addition, reflecting the complete cessation of Jewish piety rules that we
      tend to associate with Pauline Christianity. See the above note on the
      progressive acknowledgement of Paul in the successive layers of gMk,
      including my sense of the Strange Exorcist passage.

      We can follow this principle into even deeper water, by revisiting another
      of the above examples, but this is probably enough for one Monday morning.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic (GPG) In Response To: L M Barré On: Some Suggested Markan Interpolations From: Bruce [I think the list protocol recommends NOT attaching previous
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 7, 2013
        To: Synoptic (GPG)
        In Response To: L M Barré
        On: Some Suggested Markan Interpolations
        From: Bruce

        [I think the list protocol recommends NOT attaching previous messages, since
        it leads to long files. If so, I venture to agree with that recommendation /
        EBB]

        LMB: I began with the account of John's death because I think that this is
        the most obvious all of the examples I noted. This is due on the one hand
        to the relative length of the insertion. One reads the material that
        precedes it on the missionary activity of the Twelve and then switches topic
        to John s death.

        BRUCE: Not exactly. The larger sequence of items seems to be:

        6:6b. Jesus goes about the country preaching
        6:7-13 Jesus sends the Twelve to go about the country preaching
        6:14-16. Herod thinks that Jesus is John redivivus
        6:17-29. Explanation of Herod's previous murder of John
        6:30. Return of the Twelve

        Herod at 6:14 looks past the Twelve, tramping all over his country, and
        reacts only to the preaching of Jesus. That is, he ignores the Sending of
        the Twelve. This is exactly what happens in the most obvious and most widely
        acknowledged of all Markan interpolations: 14:28 and 16:7 (someone in the
        following passage responds to something of the previous passage, entirely
        ignoring the thing in the middle). Then the chief lesson to be drawn from
        this material is that the Sending of the Twelve is an interpolation. Since
        the Twelve contradict the idea of Five Disciples (the ones which are called
        individually in Mark; see my SBL presentation of some years back), those two
        accounts of the selection of an inner circle cannot both be true. Of them,
        the seeming interpolation is highly likely to be a later improvement in the
        story.]

        LMB: Then, to some dissonance, we are provided with the ending of the story
        that began before the John episode.

        EBB: The dissonance is exactly the problem. The ideal situation with an
        interpolation is that when it is removed, the rest of the text closes up
        seamlessly, like a healed wound. This does not obtain in all cases, since
        there may have been smoothing at the edges by the interpolator. But the case
        is stronger if that feature is present. It is not present in this case.

        LMB: It's as if, "Right, I guess that story was not quite finished."

        EBB: The John story, if present, helps to make the sequence smoother. If
        absent, it reveals a lack of finish. If we take the John piece as original
        (albeit stylistically aberrant, given its outside origin), then our account
        gives a smoother text. This is an advantage.

        LMB: . . . Indeed, the greater the length of the insertion, the more reader
        dissonance is created and the more abrupt is a much delayed return to the
        account. Of all the insertions, this is by far the most lengthy.

        EBB: Mk 13 is perhaps somewhat longer, not to mention the Empty Tomb sequel.
        But an interpolation can be any length. The point here, I think, is that the
        reader dissonance arises from taking the John piece out, not from putting it
        in. See above.

        LMB: . . . In addition, we find it the expansion two occurrences of the
        adverb, euthus, which is obviously a Markan stylistic marker. It occurs no
        less than 42 times out of a total of 59 in the entire NT. In all these
        ways, the episode of the Baptizer's death is strongly indicated to be a
        Markan insertion.

        EBB: Euthus is not unique to Mark, though he obviously uses it a lot. That
        the Death of John as we have it has passed under the hand of Mark is true on
        either account. This is not quite the same as saying that it is an
        insertion.

        LMB: My view that PN concluded in 5:39 (rather than 5:38, with the renting
        of the veil), is informed on internal grounds as well as my identification
        of PN as a perfect Aristotelian tragedy. Before and after 5:38, we have the
        connecting link regarding Jesus' last breath. Further, it is one of the
        virtues of Aristotle's ideal tragedy that the use of an Deus ex Machina and
        is to be excluded as it is not "imitation" or realistic as we would say.

        EBB: Euripides does not always follow what Aristotle thinks is a perfect
        tragedy (I seem to recall that Aristotle had Sophocles chiefly in mind). But
        the idea that Mark has Aristotle in mind surely requires prior
        demonstration. Some have thought he had Homer in mind. The unspoken
        assumption is that Mark regarded Jesus' death as a tragedy. I don't think
        the text itself bears this out. Mark has contrived to make the seeming
        defeat of Jesus' death into a triumph. The question is: exactly what kind of
        triumph? This question may not lead to an Aristotelian answer, but I
        recommend it none the less on that account.

        It is, I think, agreed on all sides that Psa 22 is all over the Crucifixion
        account, and is meant to be heard in the background (movie music; what my
        cinema friends call nondiegetic) as an aid to understanding the foreground
        narrative. Accepting that, what does Psa tell us, not about Jesus, but about
        Mark's interpretation of Jesus' life and death?

        LMB: In PN, we have alleged Markan accretions with the prophetic
        fulfillment's of Psalm 22, the supernatural darkness in the 6th hour, and
        the renting of the veil. Further still, the centurion voices an
        Aristotelian "epiphany" that goes to the kerygma of the author as to
        answering what Jesus was. The plot show quite specifically that Jesus, in
        terms of his own thinking and in that of his detractors, that he was not the
        Messiah as he had so confidently pronounced before the Sanhedrin and in
        response to the the High Priest's question. There he backed his claim that
        the High Priest (and everyone else) would see the fulfillment of Dan 7:13-14
        and himself supernaturally installed as the expected messianic king. As a
        vindication of his messianic claim, it makes little sense that he backs his
        claim by saying that [someday] you will see . . . " On the contrary, the
        claim has force in that it was mean that [at any moment] you shall see . .
        ." It is this supreme contrast that informs his most pathetic complaint,
        "Why have you forsaken me?" and his recorded death, Fate seals the case.
        So PN is scoring two points. He is rejecting Jewish apocalyptic messianism
        in toto but then in the epiphany of the centurion, finds the true assessment
        of this Jesus, in terms of Roman Gentile concepts. He was indeed a uios
        theou. Not in the Markan sense of the "Son of God" but rather in the
        Hellenistic sense of a theios aner, "a son of a god," one among the many
        divine men known from Graco-Roman tradition.

        EBB: I note the translation "a son of a god," and disagree with it. I think
        the intention is to mirror the claim of God in the Baptism scene, repeated
        in the presumption of God in the Transfiguration scene (respectively, the
        beginning and precise middle of the story). It is to give Roman authority to
        the view of Jesus held at that point by the Markan narrative (the Markan
        view of Jesus would evolve somewhat in the later history of the Markan
        narrative; this is the whole point of an accretional text - to keep
        theologically and otherwise current with the times).

        I don't think that gMk at this point was a Greco-Roman Gospel. See my
        previous comment, to the effect that the acceptance of Paul and the Gentile
        Mission came gradually during the Markan text formation process, and
        expresses itself more and more positively as the text continues to update
        itself.

        So suggested,

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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