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11367Re: [XTalk] Jesus, James et al and Their Observant Parents

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  • Ted Weeden
    Nov 1, 2002
      Ron Price wrote on Friday, November 01, 2002:

      > Ted Weeden wrote:
      > >I. Jesus' Family: Basic Facts
      > > .....
      > >(1) Jesus had a mother ...


      > > whose name was Mary (Mk. 6:3; ...
      > But we only have Mark's word for this. In first century Judaism the
      > usual identification of a person was in the form "x son of y". So I
      > doubt whether Mark would have known the name of Jesus' mother, in which
      > case he could easily have invented a name. You may think it *probable*
      > that her name was Mary, but I don't see how you can label it as a "basic
      > fact".

      Ron, your caution here is well taken with respect to the use of the term
      "basic fact."

      > >(5) Jesus, at one point, severed ties with his family or at least
      > >disassociated himself from his family (Mk. 3:31-35; GTh 99; voted pink by
      > >Jesus Seminar [FJS, _Acts_, 73]; ...
      > Most of the Jesus Seminar folk appear to be under the impression that
      > GTh was independent of Mark, and no doubt their pink vote reflects the
      > consequent belief that the disassociation is multiply attested. I have
      > challenged GTh's independence on this list (3 Aug 2001). If GTh is
      > discounted, we only have Mark's word for the disassociation. Also there
      > is a clear motive.

      You are correct. A very high percentage of JS Fellows do hold to GTh's
      independence of the canonical Gospels. I have printed out your post of
      8/3/02 and plan to examine your argument. If you are right, it would
      remove one of the sources used in the consideration of multiple attestation
      of a Jesus saying. I am increasingly drawn to the position that Mark knew
      directly or indirectly, and if that be the case, we would have to remove yet
      one more source used for gaging multiple attestation. We shall soon have
      no basis upon which to make any judgment with respect to multiple

      > Mark was a supporter of Paul, and Paul had been at
      > loggerheads with James, Jesus' brother.

      I do not think that Mark was a *supporter* of Paul. I do not think that
      the writer of Mark knew Paul, though there are similarities in their
      theological orientation, though Mark departs radically from Paul in Mark's
      view that the risen Jesus is absent from the earthly stage until the final
      eschatological event when, and only then, is Jesus exalted into
      transcendental glory (see my _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, 124-37).

      > >(6) Jesus' family, at one point, thought that he, because of his conduct
      > >his public ministry, was out of his mind, i.e. demon-possessed (Mk. 3:
      > >voted pink by the Jesus Seminar [FJS, _ Acts_, 73]; and see Werner
      > >_The Kingdom in Mark_, 25f., and Steve Davies' XTalk post, "Mk 3:21"
      > >[Crosstalk2, April 19, 2002]), and moved to intervene against him. Mahlon
      > >Smith ("Israel's Prodigal Son,"453, n. 63) cites the fellows of the Jesus
      > >Seminar voting pink on the issue of "Jesus' brothers . . . not [being] in
      > >sympathy with him." That particular dimension of the family's view of
      > >Jesus, however, may perhaps be a Markan motif created by Mark as part of
      > >Mark's polemic against the family .....
      > Yes, Mark conducted a polemic against Jesus' family. What baffles me
      > is why, having seen this possibility, you seem happy to take material
      > which plausibly belongs to this polemic (see the paragraph below), class
      > it as a "basic fact", and build an intricate argument on top of it.

      I am ambivalent on this issue. It is not clear to me, as I stated in the
      section of my developing monograph which I posted, whether Mark capitalizes
      on a historically accurate datum here to push his own anti-family polemic or
      creates his anti-family polemic out of whole cloth.
      > > ..... It does appear that Jesus' family,
      > >for whatever reason, chose not to be associated with Jesus or have
      > >to do with his public ministry, at least there is no indication in the
      > >Synoptic Gospels that the family aligned itself with Jesus' vision or
      > >kingdom-cause;
      > The other synoptic writers were strongly influenced by Mark. They toned
      > down Mark's polemic, e.g. by omitting: "When his family heard it they
      > went out to restrain him" (Mk 3:21), but they stopped short of writing
      > Jesus' family back into active involvement in his ministry. This would
      > have introduced a fundamental and blatant contradiction of Mark which
      > would have undermined the reliability of the synoptics in the eyes of
      > their first century readers. Instead Matthew and Luke rehabilitated
      > Jesus' family in more subtle ways such as presenting birth stories in
      > which Mary and Joseph are heroes.

      I do not find Matthew or Luke concerned about contradicting Mark for fear of
      undermining Mark's reliability or credibility. Just consider how Matthew
      and Luke, independently, completely rewrite the ending of Mark, particularly
      16:8, and turn a negative ending of "silence" and "disobedience" into a
      positive ending of "proclamation" and "obedience."

      > > and the evangelist John, if his comment is historically
      > >accurate, states explicitly that Jesus' brothers did not believe in him
      > >(7:5).
      > I don't believe this comment is historically accurate. The
      > 'Evangelist' John (though not the author of John 21) was, in Goulder's
      > terminology, an "ultra-Pauline". He followed Mark in painting a negative
      > picture of the original disciples.

      I do not think that one can place much confidence in the Gospel of John as a
      reservoir of historicity. I did qualify my reference to John with "*if*."

      Thank you, Ron, for your helpful feedback.

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