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Mark's portrayal of James (was:" On the 3ST")

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  • Ron Price
    ... Bruce, What is so implausible is that Mark presents Peter as the leading follower of Jesus, yet it is clear from both Galatians and Acts that within 10
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 11, 2007
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      Bruce Brooks wrote:

      > ....... What's so unnatural about the situation that Mark purports to report?
      > I don't think it is inherently implausible.

      Bruce,

      What is so implausible is that Mark presents Peter as the leading follower
      of Jesus, yet it is clear from both Galatians and Acts that within 10 years
      of the crucifixion the undisputed leader was James.

      > ..... however developed and elaborated the Jacob tradition may
      > eventually have become, and even Jacob's fans admit that some of it may be a
      > bit exaggerated, that tradition didn't develop so as to give Jacob a role
      > outside of the second phase of the Jesus movement (or the third, if you
      > count the lifetime ministry as the first). I find this reticence
      > significant.

      I can't comment on this because I don't understand what you mean by "outside
      of the second phase".

      > 3. Also, what does the legendary tradition of Jacob actually say about his
      > beliefs? As I recall, that he was hyperpious, and in a specifically Temple
      > variety of piety. That he wore out his knees demonstrating his hyperpiety in
      > public. Where in the Gospels, or in any other credible source, is Jesus
      > portrayed this way? Nowhere. Instead, his objections to the orthodox piety
      > of his day, including its conspicuous public manifestations in during
      > prayer, are magnified, made much of, given ample Gospel room, and made the
      > reason, or at any rate the political reason, why Jesus met the end he did.
      > Is this too to be ascribed to original or inherited Markan denigration? I
      > can't think so.

      Again I don't follow you. In any case "legendary tradition" is irrelevant
      for those like me who are only interested in the history.

      > But if, against all this, we after all imagine Jacob to have been a believer
      > and fellow worker already in the Galilee period, what would have been Mark's
      > reason for saying otherwise?

      Because Mark promoted the gospel of Paul (which became Christianity) and
      James promoted a sect of Judaism (which sect eventually fizzled out).

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: Various On: Jacob From: Bruce [Unlike most E-lists of which I have experience, Synoptic is set so that the REPLY button gets you
      Message 2 of 11 , Dec 11, 2007
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        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Various
        On: Jacob
        From: Bruce

        [Unlike most E-lists of which I have experience, Synoptic is set so that the
        REPLY button gets you the sender of that message, not the list as a whole;
        with Synoptic you have to use REPLY ALL. Some responses meant for the list
        get lost that way, evidently including the recent response of Lance Beard,
        to which Ron Price replied at least in part, or none of us would have known
        of it, since it did not reach Synoptic and was not distributed by Synoptic.
        It seems to have only reached Ron. I keep getting tripped up in just this
        way myself. Perhaps the list organizers might like to reconsider that
        choice. / Bruce]

        RON [to Lance, who had questioned the "denigration" criterion as applied to
        Mark]: Let's consider a legal analogy. If witness A denigrates the character
        of witness B, do you believe witness A? No fair-minded person would do so
        without trying to find other evidence bearing on the case. And if there is
        no other evidence, the fair-minded person would surely be forced to suspend
        judgment, in other words, treat witness A's testimony as unreliable, that
        is, the testimony cannot be relied upon to be true.

        BRUCE: This amounts to the rule that only favorable testimony is inherently
        credible. I find it neither personally prudent nor legally recognized. If
        only positive testimony were acceptable before the bar, no criminal would
        ever be convicted. There are things in this world that one cannot honestly
        nicemouth. And do we allow Paul to denigrate himself, as he so frequently
        does, both in Luke's descriptions and in his own writings? If so, then what
        becomes of the rule which it is here proposed to apply to Mark's negative
        testimony about Jacob? There may be specific objections to Mark on this
        point, but I think that, as a general principle, the proposed rule cannot
        possibly stand.

        RON [here and below replying to me]: What is so implausible [about Mark's
        portrayal of Jacob] is that Mark presents Peter as the leading follower of
        Jesus, yet it is clear from both Galatians and Acts that within 10 years of
        the crucifixion the undisputed leader was James.

        BRUCE: Not parallel. Mark does not discuss events after the Crucifixion.
        Acts does. It may stand as agreed that within 10 years of the Crucifixion
        Jacob was important in the Jerusalem Church. But a lot can happen in ten
        years, and Acts itself portrays Peter as being at first the leading figure
        at Jerusalem, only later (and by a process about which Acts says exactly
        nothing) to be supplanted in that role by Jacob. Galatians does not deal
        with the Church, except by way of persecution, prior to the conversion of
        Paul, so again there is no competing testimony. Acts has its problems as a
        text, including a highly schematized narrative agenda, but so far as it
        goes, it puts the ascendancy of Jacob well after the founding of the
        Jerusalem Church. This is consistent with the idea that Jacob was a late
        comer to faith in his brother. If a late comer, even within the period after
        the Crucifixion, then not a believer during Jesus's life, which is what Mark
        is saying.

        [I had noted the lack of positive testimony for Jacob as an early member of
        the Jesus movement]:

        RON: I can't comment on this because I don't understand what you mean by
        "outside of the second phase".

        BRUCE: Sorry, let me rephrase. The first phase of Christianity is the
        preaching of Jesus during his lifetime. No witnesses, in or out of the NT,
        give Jacob a place in the movement at this time.

        The second phase of Christianity is the time of the Galilee-based movement,
        recently bereft of its founder, and presumably under the leadership of the
        Twelve or their institutional predecessors. This would presumably have been
        the time of Peter, of whom the Gospels repeatedly speak in what amounts to
        the future tense. Again, no testimony whatever locates Jacob as a member,
        never mind a leader, of the movement at this time.

        The third phase of Christianity is the founding and growth and domination of
        the Jerusalem Church, and the corresponding eclipse of Galilee. The
        influence of the original disciples (whether twelve or another number) would
        probably have waned at this period, and other leadership would probably have
        emerged. Acts shows Peter precisely as waning during this period, and coming
        to be subject to the central leadership of Jacob (who comes on the scene
        entirely unexplained). This is exactly where all traditions known to me,
        uncontradicted, place Jacob: a sudden leader in a movement which has already
        evolved considerably from its roots.

        Again, I see nothing in this to contradict or impugn the witness of Mark as
        to events during Jesus's lifetime.

        Let it be noted as well that the whole tone of Mark, a tone which if
        anything is more strongly emphasized in the later Gospels, is the separation
        between family, success, conventional life in all aspects, and the Way of
        Jesus. One must renounce family, abandon possessions, "hate" one's wife or
        other close connections, and set out on the road with no provisions, never
        looking back, without so much as honoring the most elemental claims of
        filial piety (burying your father). If the Jesus movement had been dominated
        from the beginning by Jesus's immediate family, would the movement itself
        have been described this way? It's not impossible, nothing is impossible,
        but would it be one's first choice on the midterm quiz?

        [I had also mentioned some of the tales told of Jacob]:

        RON: Again I don't follow you. In any case "legendary tradition" is
        irrelevant for those like me who are only interested in the history.

        BRUCE: With Jacob, to mention nobody else here discussed, there seems to be
        nothing *but* legendary tradition: stories (not always mutually consistent)
        of his death at the hands of the hardliners in Jerusalem, tales of his
        tremendous piety and constant praying. Granted that these as they stand are
        inventions, like nearly everything else in the texts we are considering (for
        example, Acts and Galatians famously differ about some details of the
        Apostolic Compromise), I think it useful to note that all the inventions
        concerning Jacob seem to run in one way. And that way is toward a kind of
        conspicuous Temple piety which, if we believe anything the Synoptics tell
        us, Jesus fundamentally opposed.

        If in fact (as Mark invites us to assume) Jacob did not follow Jesus in
        Jesus's lifetime, and if (as Mark does not exactly say, but as would be
        consistent with what he *does* say) Jacob disapproved of Jesus's stance on
        one or another points of doctrine or practice, what might have been those
        points? Jesus was a wonder-worker; nothing of the kind is recorded of James;
        he dealt only with what was psychologically familiar. Jesus lamented over
        Jerusalem, and was in fact killed there; Jacob seems to have had his whole
        career there; he was a centrist. Jesus deplored showoff praying; Jacob was a
        showcase prayer. If after Jesus's death his movement was eventually taken
        over by people who were more respectful of the Law, of the Temple center,
        and of the psychologically normal (Acts records marvelous events of many
        persons, but never of Jacob, who is not even an Apostle and never expounds
        doctrine; he is rather simply a leader), then Jacob is just the sort of
        person we might expect to find at the helm, with headquarters in Jerusalem,
        and with the authority of kinship to challenge Peter and company, who (see
        again Acts for one reconstruction) have only the authority of prior
        acquaintance, and possession of the Holy Spirit, a thing which all new
        believers receive at baptism, and is thus nondistinctive.

        I thus find Acts, by and large, to be entirely compatible with what Mark
        says and implies. The Jerusalemizing tendency of Matthew, who moves to
        restore in every iota the Law that Jesus had sought to radically simplify,
        is a credible way station toward that development. Against this, what can be
        offered in support of the idea that Jacob was an early adherent of Jesus?

        [I had asked, If Jacob had been an early follower of his brother, what would
        have been Mark's reason for saying otherwise?]

        RON: Because Mark promoted the gospel of Paul (which became Christianity)
        and James promoted a sect of Judaism (which sect eventually fizzled out).

        BRUCE: That seems indeed to be the large historical movement, though I am
        not sure that Mark is well summarized as "promoting the gospel of Paul." As
        to how well founded or exiguous the Pauline touches in Mark may be, that is
        probably best treated in a separate discussion. But do these final outcomes
        provide a sufficient basis for impugning the early situation implied by
        Mark? To me, they are consistent with it. On all the evidence available to
        us, Jacob disagreed with the Jesus movement as Jesus himself was leading it.
        That fact would admit the possibility that Mark's description was accurate
        for Jacob in Jesus's lifetime. No?

        I see Jacob as a Jimmy-come-lately, an opportunist, and with respect to
        conventional Temple piety, a recidivist and fanatic. Paul, to me, differs
        only in his rejection of Temple piety, the point at which Acts and Galatians
        agree in showing the two at odds. Paul, by his own account, is a Temple
        fanatic, a Temple zealot, who at one dramatic moment turned around 180
        degrees, applying the same temperament to the opposite side of the question
        at issue. The Gospel record taken together does not disguise the fact that
        Paul was originally the most virulent of the Jesus movement's early
        opponents (that is, during its days in Galilee, and for once, Acts slips up
        and actually mentions the word "Galilee"). Why must we doubt that same
        record when it also suggests that Jacob was not one of the movement's early
        adherents?

        Bruce
      • Ron Price
        ... Bruce, This is a deviation which does not address the point I was trying to make. The fact is that you and many others believe witness A (Mark) who
        Message 3 of 11 , Dec 12, 2007
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          I wrote:

          > RON [to Lance, who had questioned the "denigration" criterion as applied to
          > Mark]: Let's consider a legal analogy. If witness A denigrates the character
          > of witness B, do you believe witness A? No fair-minded person would do so
          > without trying to find other evidence bearing on the case. And if there is
          > no other evidence, the fair-minded person would surely be forced to suspend
          > judgment, in other words, treat witness A's testimony as unreliable, that
          > is, the testimony cannot be relied upon to be true.

          Bruce Brooks replied:

          > This amounts to the rule that only favorable testimony is inherently
          > credible.

          Bruce,

          This is a deviation which does not address the point I was trying to make.
          The fact is that you and many others believe 'witness A' (Mark) who
          denigrates the character of 'witnesses B & C' (James & Peter) in spite of
          the absence of any evidence from the defendants. To me this seems unfair and
          likely to lead to a misreading of history.

          > ..... Acts itself portrays Peter as being at first the leading figure
          > at Jerusalem,

          This is true. But we should remember that the first part of Luke-Acts was
          dependent on Mark, and 'Luke' somehow had to blend the pre-eminence of Peter
          taken from Mark with his knowledge that James was the undisputed leader of
          the Jesus movement in Jerusalem. Fortunately for historians the blending
          process was rather crude, leaving the clue of the sudden and unexplained
          supremacy of James.

          > The second phase of Christianity is the time of the Galilee-based movement,
          > recently bereft of its founder, and presumably under the leadership of the
          > Twelve or their institutional predecessors. This would presumably have been
          > the time of Peter, .....

          I see no evidence of such a phase. Exactly what events are supposed to have
          occurred in this phase?

          > Let it be noted as well that the whole tone of Mark, a tone which if
          > anything is more strongly emphasized in the later Gospels, is the separation
          > between family, success, conventional life in all aspects, and the Way of
          > Jesus. One must renounce family, abandon possessions, "hate" one's wife or
          > other close connections, and set out on the road with no provisions, never
          > looking back, without so much as honoring the most elemental claims of
          > filial piety (burying your father). If the Jesus movement had been dominated
          > from the beginning by Jesus's immediate family, would the movement itself
          > have been described this way?

          I suggest that abandoning one's family is by implication only advocated if
          the rest of one's family declines to follow Jesus. At least that's the way
          I've always understood it.

          > ..... I think it useful to note that all the inventions
          > concerning Jacob seem to run in one way. And that way is toward a kind of
          > conspicuous Temple piety which, if we believe anything the Synoptics tell
          > us, Jesus fundamentally opposed.

          If there is some truth in the story of Jesus ejecting the moneylenders from
          the Temple, and there probably is, then it indicates to me his desire to
          restore correct temple procedures, not to abandon them altogether. The
          synoptic 'prediction' by Jesus of the destruction of the temple is dependent
          on Mark's testimony and was made after the event.

          > .....
          > I thus find Acts, by and large, to be entirely compatible with what Mark
          > says and implies. The Jerusalemizing tendency of Matthew, who moves to
          > restore in every iota the Law that Jesus had sought to radically simplify,
          > is a credible way station toward that development. Against this, what can be
          > offered in support of the idea that Jacob was an early adherent of Jesus?

          My interpretation of the evidence is that the logia was edited by Matthew
          under the authority of James, and we can therefore compare what the logia
          teaches with what we know about James from Acts and Galatians. As I
          mentioned earlier in this exchange, the two are entirely compatible. They
          are especially close regarding attitude to the law and to the poor. As the
          majority of the sayings probably go back to Jesus, the outlook of James is
          closely linked to that of Jesus via the logia.

          > ..... On all the evidence available to
          > us, Jacob disagreed with the Jesus movement as Jesus himself was leading it.
          > That fact would admit the possibility that Mark's description was accurate
          > for Jacob in Jesus's lifetime. No?

          "possibility" yes. "likelihood" no.

          > ..... The Gospel record taken together does not disguise the fact that
          > Paul was originally the most virulent of the Jesus movement's early
          > opponents (that is, during its days in Galilee, and for once, Acts slips up
          > and actually mentions the word "Galilee"). Why must we doubt that same
          > record when it also suggests that Jacob was not one of the movement's early
          > adherents?

          The canonical gospels were written to promote what came to be known as
          Christianity, and the later ones were all dependent on Mark. Paul converted
          to a recognizably Christian viewpoint and his past was forgiven. James
          remained a Jew and therefore retained a fundamentally different theology. In
          the competitive environment of the birth of his new faith, Mark could not
          forgive James: to have done so would have cast doubt on the validity of the
          faith he was trying to promote (Mk 1:1).

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
          Could someone direct me to a website with transliteration tables? I ve been Googling around without finding any standard, professional ones. Jeffery Hodges
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 2, 2008
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            Could someone direct me to a website with transliteration tables? I've been Googling around without finding any standard, professional ones.

            Jeffery Hodges


            University Degrees:

            Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
            (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
            M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
            B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

            Email Address:

            jefferyhodges@...

            Blog:

            http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

            Office Address:

            Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
            School of English, Kyung Hee University
            1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
            Seoul, 130-701
            South Korea

            Home Address:

            Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
            Sangbong-dong 1
            Jungnang-gu
            Seoul 131-771
            South Korea

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Joseph Weaks
            I m guessing you mean Greek transliteration schemes? Here are some options: The suggested transliteration scheme for the B-Greek e-list:
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 2, 2008
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              I'm guessing you mean Greek transliteration schemes?

              Here are some options:
              The suggested transliteration scheme for the B-Greek e-list:
              http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/transliteration.txt

              The full tables of the Text Criticism e-journal:
              http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/TC-translit.html

              The description further of BetaCode Greek
              http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/OM/Beta-codes.html

              I would also encourage you to have a look at the very well done
              transliteration work by OakTree:
              http://www.accordancebible.com/resources/pdf/fonts.pdf
              specifically with their Rosetta font designed just for Greek/Hebrew
              transliteration.

              Rev. Joseph A. Weaks
              Minister, Raytown Christian Church
              Ph.D. Candidate, Brite Divinity School, TCU


              On Jan 3, 2008, at 12:25 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

              > Could someone direct me to a website with transliteration tables?
              > I've been Googling around without finding any standard, professional
              > ones.
              >
              > Jeffery Hodges
            • Horace Jeffery Hodges
              Greek, thank, but also: Transliterating Greek, Hebrew, Coptic, etc. I had that in the subject heading, but I can imagine that it s not so obvious that I
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 2, 2008
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                Greek, thank, but also:

                "Transliterating Greek, Hebrew, Coptic, etc."

                I had that in the subject heading, but I can imagine that it's not so obvious that I wouldn't be overlooked. (Also Syriac.)

                Jeffery Hodges

                Joseph Weaks <j.weaks@...> wrote:
                I'm guessing you mean Greek transliteration schemes?

                Here are some options:
                The suggested transliteration scheme for the B-Greek e-list:
                http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/transliteration.txt

                The full tables of the Text Criticism e-journal:
                http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/TC-translit.html

                The description further of BetaCode Greek
                http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/OM/Beta-codes.html

                I would also encourage you to have a look at the very well done
                transliteration work by OakTree:
                http://www.accordancebible.com/resources/pdf/fonts.pdf
                specifically with their Rosetta font designed just for Greek/Hebrew
                transliteration.

                Rev. Joseph A. Weaks
                Minister, Raytown Christian Church
                Ph.D. Candidate, Brite Divinity School, TCU


                On Jan 3, 2008, at 12:25 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

                > Could someone direct me to a website with transliteration tables?
                > I've been Googling around without finding any standard, professional
                > ones.
                >
                > Jeffery Hodges


                Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
                Yahoo! Groups Links






                University Degrees:

                Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

                Email Address:

                jefferyhodges@...

                Blog:

                http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

                Office Address:

                Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                School of English, Kyung Hee University
                1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
                Seoul, 130-701
                South Korea

                Home Address:

                Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
                Sangbong-dong 1
                Jungnang-gu
                Seoul 131-771
                South Korea

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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