10979Re: [XTalk] Mark
- Oct 5, 2002Mark was written to tell about the significance of Jesus. I assume the
existence of Q (or a Q-like document) and the existence of a zillion
questions constantly to be answered by preachers like Mark; these are the
answers that were honed down by the preachers.
Mark has little teaching material; mainly parables, the Jesus apocalypse, and
apothegms (teachings in narrative settings). It is meant to travel or
coexist with a fuller document of the teachings and that must have already
existed in use among the cult (that is, gMk is not a document complete unto
itself because it does not have a full teaching), and that teaching source
was already being quoted and read in the fellowship gatherings of the cult.
Mark gives a fuller and written interpretation of the fulfilled prophesies
from the scriptures common to the other parties of the Jews, and means to
write not a modern biography but only the 'ministry', the cult significant
story, as many of the characters are presented in the OT. He is writing the
book of the Messiah for the new cult, to travel in the same package with Q.
He also writes in order to justify himself; Paul at one point had thought
Mark was a good for nothing - the issue separated Paul and Barnabas - and a
reconciliation of sorts was effected only by Peter shoving Mark down Paul's
throat, but some readers of the letters of Paul may still have mixed feelings
about Mark. Mark writes to show that the apostles too were merely human, and
time and again had let Jesus down.
Mark of course does not equate the significance of Paul, who is merely a
preacher and writer, with Jesus the messiah, but probably figures Paul is
contentious and self-righteous; nevertheless Paul's personal and
philosophical influence on the church as writer and theologian is a fait
accompli. Mark probably does not get out from under the dark cloud Paul put
him in until he manages to send Revelations to the seven churches (assuming
that the gMk is not truncated because of his death before he finished his
gMt's author writes to conflate the two documents into one and to provide a
fuller 'biography'. He values both works (gMk and Q) but sees that the
combination of the two that he writes will be a better document, and he is
successful; gMk and Q both go into a period of decline and disuse in favor of
gMt (maybe how the ending of gMk disappears). For a while gMt is the sole
book of the Messiah in use in the cult.
Luke is not as impressed with gMt as the cult both before and after Luke is.
Luke gathers some further data and writes what to him is a better account.
He has read gMt, unimpressed, and uses much the same genre (birth narratives,
genealogies, gMk/Q mixture) as gMt does - that is, he writes in more the
fuller genre of gMt than of gMk - he writes (so he thinks) a better gMt;
dividing the long speeches into a more polished narrative (so he thinks).
Luke may also be writing in answer, mainly disagreement, to the discrepancies
of gJn though there are also indications that gJn is written partly to
harmonize some things in gMt/gMk/gLk (as for example in the gJn Anointing
It is not a problem why Q disappeared so much as the problem of the
survivability of gMk, but my hypothesis of that gets even further afield and
is best left for another time - the above I assume is enough irritation for
you now. :0)
Peace and Joy,
In a message dated 10/02/2 12:50:25 PM, Bill Arnal wrote:
*WHY* was Mark written? Why write a "biography" of Jesus at all?
(And how's that for a question out of the blue?)
Department of Religious Studies
University of Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0A2>>
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