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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark's portrayal of James (was:" On the 3ST")

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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