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[XTalk] Mark 3:19b-35

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  • Frank McCoy
    ... Matthew s references to Jesus parents, brothers and sisters. To be sure, in Mark 3,21 those who were par autou tried to hold Jesus back by force, thinking
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 30, 2002
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      --- Karel Hanhart <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:

      > At any rate I fail to read hostility in Mark's and
      Matthew's references to Jesus' parents, brothers and
      sisters. To be sure, in Mark 3,21 those who were par
      autou tried to hold Jesus back by force, thinking he
      was out of his mind. Their intention was good, it
      seems, but the result was nihil. Jesus went on
      preaching. Apparently his teaching was of such a
      radical nature ( see the Sermon on the Mount) that his
      family, the uncles, aunt, and cousins had reacted in
      this manner. However, the scribes of Jerusalem didn't
      have such good intentions. They charged him of being
      possessed by Satan. But these were his 'enemies'.
      Should we take them serious, according to Mark? The
      reference to Beelzebul is in my opinion (after
      evaluating its usage in Tenach), to the Roman
      occupying forces and to the evil spirit that led them
      to flagrant injustices. In vs 27 Rome is called the
      'strong man'. Binding the strong man. Peace with them
      would be achieved, as I read the text, if Jesus'
      teaching of non-violent resistance to the injustices,
      would wear them down. His 'impossible' teaching
      required that an open attitude to Roman citizens be
      maintained. Peace would not be achieved by the sword.
      Thisattitude prevailed in the ecclesia and was applied
      by them to Judean-Roman relations. However, Mark was
      writing just after the news, that Jerusalem's leaders
      ignoring this message had revolted. Mark realized what
      the result of the revolt against Rome had been (cmp
      Jeremiah's preaching and fate), as is clear from
      chapter 13.
      >
      > The incident in Mark 3,31ff of Mary and his
      brothers, which ends this pericope, fits best in the
      context of the above approach. There is a certain
      tension between Jesus and his immediate family all
      right. Jesus' teaching had not always been popular -
      so they too got worried like the aunts and uncles. But
      Jesus resolutely calls every one to do the will of
      God; they are his real family. Mark describes this
      tension with his immediate family as only an incident.
      He certainly does not condemn them. To the contrary,
      he honors both his mother and his brother James
      (15,40.47; 16,1) in the climactic ending of his
      Gospel.
      >


      Dear Karel Hanhart:

      Mark 3:19b-35, which you discuss above, is a very
      intriguing passage.

      It begins with Jesus going to his home and the crowd
      coming together again. This crowd coming together
      again was from many different locales: Galilee, Judea,
      Idumea, Perea, Tyre, and Sidon (see 3:7). People from
      the last two locales were (Syro) Phoenicians.

      One of the features of this passage is that every
      statement attributed to Jesus by Mark has a parallel
      in the Q tradition and/or the Thomas tradition:

      1. Mark 3:22-26 and Q29a (11:14-15, 17-18)
      3:22-26 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem
      said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "by the
      prince of demons he excorcises the demons." And
      summoning them, he said to them in parables, "How can
      Satan exorcise Satan? If a kingdom is divided against
      itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a householder
      is divided against itself, that household will not be
      able to survive. And if Satan has risen up against
      himself and is divided, he cannot endure, but is
      finished.
      Q29 But some of them said, "He exorcises demons by
      Beelzebul, the prince of demons." But he, knowing
      their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided
      against itself is laid waste, and house that is
      against house collapses. And if Satan also is divided
      against himself, how will his kingdom endure?"

      2. Mark 3:27, GTh 35 and Q29b (11:21-22):
      3:27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and
      plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong
      man; then indeed he may plunder his house.
      35 It is not possible for anyone to enter the house of
      a strong man and take it by force unless he binds his
      hands; then he will (be able to) ransack his house.
      Q29 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own
      palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than
      he overpowers him and conquers him, he takes away his
      armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.

      3. Mark 3:28-29 and GTh 44 and Q38 (12:10)
      3:28-29 Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven
      the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;
      but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never
      has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.
      44 Whoever blasphemes against the Son will be
      forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy
      Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in
      heaven.
      Q38 And every one who says a word against the Son of
      Man will be forgiven; but the one who blasphemes
      against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

      4. Mark 3:32-35 and GTh 99
      3:32-35 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they
      said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are
      outside, asking for you." And he replied, "Who are my
      mother and my brothers?" And looking around on those
      who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my
      brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother,
      and sister, and mother."
      99 The disciples said to Him, "Your brothers and Your
      mother are standing outside." He said to them, "Those
      here who do the will of My Father are My brothers and
      My mother."

      That every statement attributed to Jesus by Mark in
      this passage has a parallel in the Q tradition and/or
      the Thomas tradition suggests that these statments
      came to Mark through tradition rather than by being
      made up by him.

      Karel, if I understand you correctly, you suggest that
      Beelzebul refers to the Roman occupiers and an evil
      spirit influencing them to act unjustly, with the
      binding of this strong man being the overcoming of
      them through non-violent resistance.

      There is an alternative interpretation offered by
      Bradley L. Stein in "Who the Devil Is Beelzebul?" (BR,
      Feb., 1977, pp. 43-48). This is that Beelzebul is
      derived from the Phoenician Zbl Bl (Prince Baal).

      In this case, the scribal accusation that Jesus casts
      out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, is
      based on the concept that Satan, the prince of demons,
      had been worshipped by the Caananites and Phoenicians
      as Prince Baal (Zbl Bl).

      In line with this suggestion, Jesus speaks of Satan,
      as Beelzebul, in phraseology that equates him with
      Baal.

      Let us look at the first part of his reply according
      to Mark, "How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom
      is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
      And if a house is divided against itself, that house
      will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up
      against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but
      is coming to an end." (RSV)

      Here, I suggest, Jesus assumes that Satan can be
      spoken of as Prince Baal: who ruled a kingdom and had
      a house. So, one of the Ugarit tablets (Text 68, line
      10) states:
      And Kothat-and-Hasis declared:
      "Did I not tell thee, O Prince Baal (Zbl Bl),
      Nor declare, O Rider of Clouds?
      ' Lo, thine enemies, O Baal,
      Lo, thine enemies wilt thou smite
      Lo, thou wilt vanquish thy foes
      Thou wilt take thine eternal kingdom
      Thine everlasting soveregnty!'"
      Again, another tablet (Text 51:VI:35) states:
      Aliyan Baal rejoices.
      ' My house I have built of silver
      My palace of gold I have made.'

      Next, let us turn to the second part of Jesus' reply
      to the scribes as rendered in the Q tradition, "When
      a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his
      goods are safe; but when one stronger than he
      overpowers him and conquers him, he takes away his
      armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil."

      Here, I suggest, Jesus likens Satan to Baal--a strong
      man who stands, fully armed, within his palace, but
      who can be overcome by even stronger than he, i.e.,
      Mot. So, another tablet (Text 76:II:2-6) states:
      'Lo Baal is in his house
      El-Hadd in the midst of his palace.'
      His bow he takes in his right hand
      Even his arc in his right hand.
      Too, yet another tablet (Text 67:II:6-13) states,
      Aliyan Baal fears him
      The Rider of Clouds dreads him.
      "Depart! Speak to the god Mot
      Declare to El's Beloved, the Hero:
      'The message of Aliyan Baal
      The word of Aliy the Warrior:
      "Hail, O god Mot!
      Thy slave am I
      Yea thine forever."'"
      So, in the second part of his reply to the scribes, I
      suggest, Jesus likens himself to Mot: who, being
      stronger than Baal, can enter Baal's house, where he
      stands fully armed, and enslave him. In this case,
      then, what he is saying is that, rather than being
      possessed by Satan, who can be spoken of as Baal, he,
      by casting out demons, demonstrates that he is like
      Mot: the even mighties one who can enslave Baal.

      In this case, then, there is, in the second part of
      Jesus' response to the scribes, a claim to be a divine
      figure more powerful than Satan.

      Nor is it difficult to determine what kind of divine
      figure he is claiming to be: for, a little earlier in
      the last cited tablet, Mot is referred to as "the
      dearest of El's sons". Since El was the supreme deity
      of the Caananites, this means that Jesus, by likening
      himself to Mot, was implicitly claiming to be a divine
      Son of God.

      Now, while the hypothesis that Beelzebul is Prince
      Baal readily fits with the words attributed to the
      scribes and to Jesus, it does face a major difficulty
      in that Prince Baal is Zbl Bl, while Beelzebul
      reverses this order into Bl Zbl.

      Stein notes that the feminine version of this name in
      the needed order (i.e., zblbl) is found in a Punic
      inscription. This would reflect Tyrian usage--for
      Carthage was founded by Tyre.

      Indeed, as noted above, the crowd that re-assembles in
      3:19 did include some people from Tyre.

      So, I suggest, the reversal of the Caananite zblbl
      into blzbl reflects a Tyrian background--with the
      Tyrians present with Jesus and the scribes at the
      house perhaps speaking about Bl Zbl shortly before the
      scribes made their accusation against Jesus.

      In Mark 3:19b-35, right before the Beelzebul episode,
      some people, apparently family or friends, accuse
      Jesus of being crazy.

      Karel, you suggest that they thought Jesus crazy
      because of the radical nature of his teachings, as in
      the Sermon on the Mount.

      This is certainly possible, but, in light of above, I
      think it more likely that it is because Jesus was, at
      least implicitly, claiming to be a divine Son of God.

      Note that, according to Mark, shortly before this,
      some unclean spirits had declared Jesus to be Son of
      God and he had ordered them to be quiet (3:12). I
      doubt that this is historical, but it perhaps
      indicates that, Mark knew, even this early in his
      ministry Jesus was at least implicitly acknowledging
      himself to be a divine Son of God and to possess, as
      such, power over all demons.

      Let us look at the close to 3:19b-35, "And a crowd was
      sitting about him; and they said to him, 'Your mother
      and your brothers are outside, asking for you.' And he
      replied, 'Who are my mother and my brothers?" And
      looking around on those who sat about him, he said,
      "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the
      will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.'"

      Karel, you say that this reflects a certain tension
      between Jesus and his family.

      I think it is more serious than this, for the
      implication. ISTM, is that Jesus rejected his mother
      and his brothers because they were not doing the will
      of God. Further, since Mark has this incident occur
      immediately after the scribes from Jerusalem are
      revealed to be evil people, the further implication,
      ISTM, is that Jesus' mother and brothers were, as
      respects the Law, listening to what the evil Jerusalem
      scribes had to say about it rather than obeying God's
      will as respects it. In the viewpoint of Mark, God's
      will as respects the Law is that the dietary
      ordinances are to be ignored (7:19).

      I suggest, then, that Mark wrote 3:19b-35 at a time in
      which relations between the Markan community and the
      Jerusalem Church (where Jesus' mother and brothes
      resided after the crucifixion--see Acts 1:14) were
      highly strained, perhaps even ruptured, because the
      members of the Jerusalem Church, led by Jesus' brother
      James, were, in accord with the injunctions of the
      scribal authorities in Jerusalem, strictly adhering to
      the dietary ordinances of the Law; while the Markan
      community believed these scribal authorities in
      Jerusalem are evil people whose opinions, thus, should
      be rejected and that God's will is that these dietary
      ordinances ought to be ignored. Perhaps it was
      around the time of the incident at Antioch, i.e., c.
      50 CE--for this would fit in with other evidence,
      which I have outlined in some earlier posts, that Mark
      wrote his gospel around that time-frame.

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA






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    • Andrew Lloyd
      ... Frank, are we to take it then that you don t believe Mark records historical incidents, i.e. an occasion in which some of Jesus family come to restrain
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 30, 2002
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        --- In crosstalk2@y..., Frank McCoy <silvanus55109@y...> wrote:
        > I suggest...that Mark wrote 3:19b-35 at a time in
        > which relations between the Markan community and the
        > Jerusalem Church (where Jesus' mother and brothe[r]s
        > resided after the crucifixion--see Acts 1:14) were
        > highly strained, perhaps even ruptured, because the
        > members of the Jerusalem Church, led by Jesus' brother
        > James, were, in accord with the injunctions of the
        > scribal authorities in Jerusalem, strictly adhering to
        > the dietary ordinances of the Law; while the Markan
        > community believed these scribal authorities in
        > Jerusalem are evil people whose opinions, thus, should
        > be rejected and that God's will is that these dietary
        > ordinances ought to be ignored. Perhaps it was
        > around the time of the incident at Antioch, i.e., c.
        > 50 CE--for this would fit in with other evidence,
        > which I have outlined in some earlier posts, that Mark
        > wrote his gospel around that time-frame.
        >
        > Frank McCoy
        > 1809 N. English Apt. 17
        > Maplewood, MN USA

        Frank,

        are we to take it then that you don't believe Mark records
        historical incidents, i.e. an occasion in which some of Jesus'
        family come to restrain him and an occasion in which "the scribes
        who came down from Jerusalem" accused Jesus of being demon
        possessed, something we can posit without the interesting but
        largely unprovable assertions you have made? It seems to me that
        your response, some of which I have appended above, says more about
        gospel writers and their assumed situations than the historical
        Jesus. Of course, there is no case to be made for insensitivity to
        an author's situation or his (or her) purposes. However, how does
        the type of reconstruction you have provided impact upon historical
        Jesus study as opposed to avoiding it?

        Andrew Lloyd
        Nottingham, England
      • Karel Hanhart
        ... From: Frank McCoy To: Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2002 7:41 PM Frank, I am sending my reply also to
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 1, 2002
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Frank McCoy <silvanus55109@...>
          To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2002 7:41 PM

          Frank,
          I am sending my reply also to the Synoptic-L list since it is also
          a synoptic problem.


          > --- Karel Hanhart <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:
          >
          > > At any rate I fail to read hostility in Mark's and
          > Matthew's references to Jesus' parents, brothers and
          > sisters. To be sure, in Mark 3,21 those who were 'par
          > autou', his relatives, tried to hold Jesus back by force, thinking he
          > was out of his mind. Their intention was good, it
          > seems, but the result was nihil. Jesus went on
          > preaching. Apparently his teaching was of such a
          > radical nature ( see the Sermon on the Mount) that these
          > relatives, the uncles, aunts, and cousins had reacted in
          > this manner. However, the scribes of Jerusalem didn't
          > have such good intentions. Their attack goes to the heart
          of the pericope: is Jesus' teaching beneficial? They charged
          him of being possessed by Satan. But these were his 'enemies'.
          > Should we take them serious, according to Mark? Certainly
          not.
          The reference to Beelzebul is in my opinion (after
          > evaluating its usage in Tenach), to the Roman
          > occupying forces and to the evil spirit that led them
          > to flagrant injustices. In vs 27 Rome is called the
          > 'strong man'. Binding the strong man. Peace with them
          > would be achieved, as I read the text, if Jesus'
          > teaching of non-violent resistance to the injustices,
          > would wear them down. His 'impossible' teaching
          > required that an open attitude to Roman citizens be
          > maintained. Peace would not be achieved by the sword.
          > This attitude prevailed in the ecclesia and was applied
          > by them to Judean-Roman relations. However, Mark was
          > writing just after the news, that Jerusalem's leaders
          > ignoring this message had revolted. Mark realized what
          > the result of the revolt against Rome had been (cmp
          > Jeremiah's preaching and fate), as is clear from
          > chapter 13.
          > >
          > > The incident in Mark 3,31ff of Mary and his
          > brothers, which ends this pericope, fits best in the
          > context of the above approach. There is a certain
          > tension between Jesus and his immediate family all
          > right. Jesus' teaching had not always been popular -
          > so they too got worried like the aunts and uncles. But
          > Jesus resolutely calls every one to do the will of
          > God; they are his real family. Mark describes this
          > tension with his immediate family as only an incident.
          > He certainly does not condemn them. To the contrary,
          > he honors both his mother and his brother James
          > (15,40.47; 16,1) in the climactic ending of his
          > Gospel.
          > >
          >
          >
          > Dear Karel Hanhart:
          >
          > Mark 3:19b-35, which you discuss above, is a very
          > intriguing passage.
          >
          > It begins with Jesus going to his home and the crowd
          > coming together again. This crowd coming together
          > again was from many different locales: Galilee, Judea,
          > Idumea, Perea, Tyre, and Sidon (see 3:7). People from
          > the last two locales were (Syro) Phoenicians.

          >
          > One of the features of this passage is that every
          > statement attributed to Jesus by Mark has a parallel
          > in the Q tradition and/or the Thomas tradition:

          <snip>
          >
          > Karel, if I understand you correctly, you suggest that
          > Beelzebul refers to the Roman occupiers and an evil
          > spirit influencing them to act unjustly, with the
          > binding of this strong man being the overcoming of
          > them through non-violent resistance.
          >
          > There is an alternative interpretation offered by
          > Bradley L. Stein in "Who the Devil Is Beelzebul?" (BR,
          > Feb., 1977, pp. 43-48). This is that Beelzebul is
          > derived from the Phoenician Zbl Bl (Prince Baal).
          >
          Yes, I am aware of Stein's interpretation. However,
          The name of the (false) "god of Ekron", Baal-zebub,
          is rather prominent in the first chapter of 2 Kings.
          The king of Samaria called on him in vain.
          Elijah, the prophet, was sent by IHWH whose
          will prevailed.
          1) The term Be-elzebul is so much like Baal-zebub, that
          it appears to be a nickname, an epithet showing contempt
          for a would be god. This would fit Caesar Tiberius who in the East
          was already worshiped like a (false) god.
          2) In Mt 10.25 Beelzebul is the name of the 'master of
          the house'. This master is "maligned" with the name Beelzebul.
          Jesus fears that they will malign "those of his household
          all the more". This too would fit Caasar. The temptation to
          throw off the yoke of the Romans was a real one - the
          succesful Maccabean revolt was a shining memory in
          the mind of the people.
          3. The context deals with the admonition not
          to fear those who kill the body. The death sentence
          was pronounced by the Romans and their legions were
          wreaking death (cf Mk 5,1-10). But Jesus suggests that in
          the end the injustice will come to light (Mt 10,26).
          The teaching of non-violent resistance in the Sermon
          on the Mount would be in line with the argument in
          Mt 10,24ff.
          Shouldn't we prefer Matthew's line of thought than
          the Phoenician name in which moreover the order is
          reversed: zbl-bl?
          Jesus wasn't an ordinary exorcist - but with his teaching
          he did counteract evil ideas that poisoned the mind of people.
          I certainly cannot go along with your suggestion that
          Jesus considered himself to be like MOT, as you suggested below.

          coredially

          Karel

          Frank wrote:
          > In this case, the scribal accusation that Jesus casts
          > out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, is
          > based on the concept that Satan, the prince of demons,
          > had been worshipped by the Caananites and Phoenicians
          > as Prince Baal (Zbl Bl).
          >
          > In line with this suggestion, Jesus speaks of Satan,
          > as Beelzebul, in phraseology that equates him with
          > Baal.
          >
          > Let us look at the first part of his reply according
          > to Mark, "How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom
          > is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
          > And if a house is divided against itself, that house
          > will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up
          > against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but
          > is coming to an end." (RSV)
          >
          > Here, I suggest, Jesus assumes that Satan can be
          > spoken of as Prince Baal: who ruled a kingdom and had
          > a house. So, one of the Ugarit tablets (Text 68, line
          > 10) states:
          > And Kothat-and-Hasis declared:
          > "Did I not tell thee, O Prince Baal (Zbl Bl),
          > Nor declare, O Rider of Clouds?
          > ' Lo, thine enemies, O Baal,
          > Lo, thine enemies wilt thou smite
          > Lo, thou wilt vanquish thy foes
          > Thou wilt take thine eternal kingdom
          > Thine everlasting soveregnty!'"
          > Again, another tablet (Text 51:VI:35) states:
          > Aliyan Baal rejoices.
          > ' My house I have built of silver
          > My palace of gold I have made.'
          >
          > Next, let us turn to the second part of Jesus' reply
          > to the scribes as rendered in the Q tradition, "When
          > a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his
          > goods are safe; but when one stronger than he
          > overpowers him and conquers him, he takes away his
          > armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil."
          >
          > Here, I suggest, Jesus likens Satan to Baal--a strong
          > man who stands, fully armed, within his palace, but
          > who can be overcome by even stronger than he, i.e.,
          > Mot. So, another tablet (Text 76:II:2-6) states:
          > 'Lo Baal is in his house
          > El-Hadd in the midst of his palace.'
          > His bow he takes in his right hand
          > Even his arc in his right hand.
          > Too, yet another tablet (Text 67:II:6-13) states,
          > Aliyan Baal fears him
          > The Rider of Clouds dreads him.
          > "Depart! Speak to the god Mot
          > Declare to El's Beloved, the Hero:
          > 'The message of Aliyan Baal
          > The word of Aliy the Warrior:
          > "Hail, O god Mot!
          > Thy slave am I
          > Yea thine forever."'"
          > So, in the second part of his reply to the scribes, I
          > suggest, Jesus likens himself to Mot: who, being
          > stronger than Baal, can enter Baal's house, where he
          > stands fully armed, and enslave him. In this case,
          > then, what he is saying is that, rather than being
          > possessed by Satan, who can be spoken of as Baal, he,
          > by casting out demons, demonstrates that he is like
          > Mot: the even mighties one who can enslave Baal.
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