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Re: [XTalk] The Markan Sanhedrin's view of Israel in exile

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Jeffrey, You write as if the Sanhedrin was a known fact of Mark s time. Is this so certain? I seem to remember some previous debate on XTalk about the
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 7, 2003
      At 02:47 PM 10/7/2003 -0500, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
      >With apologies for cross posting -- but I'd really like to engage as
      >many minds as possible as quickly as possible on the question below.
      >
      >
      >Recent writers on the Gospel of Mark (not to mention certain ones on the
      >HJ) have been arguing that Mark presents Jesus' preaching and ministry
      >as grounded in the fundamental assumption that Israel is in exile.
      >Assuming for arguments sake (and FWIW, I think it is a good assumption
      >given the new exodus themes presented in the prologue of GMark) that
      >this is the case, should/can we also assume that those whom Mark
      >portrays as Jesus' opponents, especially those who for him make up the
      >Sanhedrin, **share** this view?...

      Jeffrey,
      You write as if the Sanhedrin was a known fact of Mark's time. Is this so
      certain? I seem to remember some previous debate on XTalk about the
      historicity of the Sanhedrin, for example, with respect to the "trial" of
      Jesus. There is a good chance that for most of the gospel writers, the
      Sanhedrin with which they were familiar in the late First Century was being
      anachronistically extrapolated back half a century into a period for which
      the Sanhedrin, as an institution, was still in its formative stages. Of
      course, as the earliest of the Gospels, by most accounts, Mark would have
      been closer to the institution of the Sanhedrin as it existed in the
      lifetime of Jesus, but still not the same. In Jesus' day, "scribes" may
      indeed have been a more accurate term than "Sanhedrin," but in Mark's day,
      does it really make more sense to think in terms of the Sanhedrin?

      Of course, Mark may have written ambiguously, referring to both the early
      historical proto-Sanhedrin at the same time that he was addressing (in
      other passages?) the Sanhedrin as it existed in his own day, without
      differentiating between them. Yet obviously, the Sanhedrin of Jesus' day
      would not have been much concerned with the Israel in Exile theme.
      Consequently, in this context, Mk 12:35-37 is rather confusing. These
      verses, as many others, are doing double duty, both as a quasi-historical
      account taking place in the 30s, and as Markan interpretation in the light
      of the issues of his day.

      I'm getting rather confused here, but my point is this: Your opening salvo
      on this subject seems to write about the Sanhedrin as if it were some fixed
      and known quantity that did not change significantly from the time of Jesus
      to the time when Mark was writing his gospel. What I am encouraging you to
      do is to think about how the two may have evolved over that span of time,
      and furthermore how the class of "Scribes" had themselves evolved, and what
      relationship the scribes had with the Sanhedrin, in both generations.

      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Note please that I am NOT dealing with historical questions. I m dealing with what Mark presents in his story of Jesus. And in his story, scribes (along
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 7, 2003
        Bob Schacht wrote:

        > I'm getting rather confused here, but my point is this: Your opening
        > salvo
        > on this subject seems to write about the Sanhedrin as if it were some
        > fixed
        > and known quantity that did not change significantly from the time of
        > Jesus
        > to the time when Mark was writing his gospel. What I am encouraging
        > you to
        > do is to think about how the two may have evolved over that span of
        > time,
        > and furthermore how the class of "Scribes" had themselves evolved, and
        > what
        > relationship the scribes had with the Sanhedrin, in both generations.
        >

        Note please that I am NOT dealing with historical questions. I'm dealing
        with what Mark presents in his story of Jesus. And in his story, scribes
        (along with elders and chief priests) are constituent members of a
        judicial body that he presents as condemning Jesus and that he calls
        (accurately or not) the Sanhedrin.

        Does this help?

        In any event, it's obvious that for Mark (whatever the historical
        reality may have been) John believes that Israel is in exile. It's
        obvious too that for Mark, Jesus believes that Israel is in exile. The
        question I'm asking is whether or not **Mark** presents those he
        presents as members of the (imagined?) body that he calls the Sanhedrin
        as sharing this view.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey.



        >
        > Bob Schacht
        > Northern Arizona University
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
        Chicago, IL 60626

        jgibson000@...



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Geoff Hudson
        ... From: Bob Schacht [mailto:bobschacht@infomagic.net] Sent: 07 October 2003 22:56 To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [XTalk] The Markan Sanhedrin s
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 9, 2003
          -----Original Message-----
          From: Bob Schacht [mailto:bobschacht@...]
          Sent: 07 October 2003 22:56
          To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [XTalk] The Markan Sanhedrin's view of Israel in exile

          Bob wrote:
          Of course, Mark may have written ambiguously, referring to both the early
          historical proto-Sanhedrin at the same time that he was addressing (in
          other passages?) the Sanhedrin as it existed in his own day, without
          differentiating between them. Yet obviously, the Sanhedrin of Jesus' day
          would not have been much concerned with the Israel in Exile theme.
          Consequently, in this context, Mk 12:35-37 is rather confusing. These
          verses, as many others, are doing double duty, both as a quasi-historical
          account taking place in the 30s, and as Markan interpretation in the light
          of the issues of his day.
          ******

          Bob,

          Would you amplify what you mean by the double duty of Mk.12:35-37? I am
          particularly interested in the possible interpretations of verse 37.

          Geoff
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Geoff, First of all, my comment requires the assumption that Mark is actually writing about an historical incident-- which is by no means certain. In fact,
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 11, 2003
            At 01:10 PM 10/9/2003 +0100, you wrote:

            >-----Original Message-----
            >From: Bob Schacht [mailto:bobschacht@...]
            >Sent: 07 October 2003 22:56
            >To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
            >Subject: Re: [XTalk] The Markan Sanhedrin's view of Israel in exile
            >
            >Bob wrote:
            >Of course, Mark may have written ambiguously, referring to both the early
            >historical proto-Sanhedrin at the same time that he was addressing (in
            >other passages?) the Sanhedrin as it existed in his own day, without
            >differentiating between them. Yet obviously, the Sanhedrin of Jesus' day
            >would not have been much concerned with the Israel in Exile theme.
            >Consequently, in this context, Mk 12:35-37 is rather confusing. These
            >verses, as many others, are doing double duty, both as a quasi-historical
            >account taking place in the 30s, and as Markan interpretation in the light
            >of the issues of his day.
            >******
            >
            >Bob,
            >
            >Would you amplify what you mean by the double duty of Mk.12:35-37? I am
            >particularly interested in the possible interpretations of verse 37.
            >
            >Geoff

            Geoff,
            First of all, my comment requires the assumption that Mark is actually
            writing about an historical incident-- which is by no means certain. In
            fact, the Jesus Seminar rates the saying as Black (not historical.) The
            text contains a reference to Psalm 110, vs. 1 (NRS):

            1 The LORD says to my lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies
            your footstool."

            Mark 12 (NRS):
            35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes
            say that the Messiah is the son of David?
            36 David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, 'The Lord said to my
            Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet." '
            37 David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?" And the large
            crowd was listening to him with delight.

            The first possible ambiguity comes in vs. 35: was it the scribes of Jesus'
            day who were making the claim about the Messiah, the scribes of Mark's day,
            or both? Or was it Mark putting words in the mouth of the scribes without
            regard for anything they had actually said?

            Vs. 36 contains the quote from Psalm 110:1
            Vs. 37, which you ask about, refers only secondarily to something allegedly
            said by the scribes, referring to Vs. 35, and seems to hold no new
            information about the scribes, so I wonder why you want to focus on it.

            Vs. 35 is interesting because in a way it is an unsurprising claim that
            might be made by any Jew of the First Century, whether a contemporary of
            Jesus, or a contemporary of Mark. But it might contain a hidden argument
            against Jesus as Messiah, the missing part of the argument being that Jesus
            was not the son of David. Indeed, historically, one might envision a
            progression something like the following:
            (a) The disciples put forward the claim that Jesus is the Messiah.
            (b) The scribes counter that whereas the Tanakh proclaim that the Messiah
            will be the son of David, Jesus was not. In fact, if you want to stretch
            things here, some of them may have thrown in the added calumny that Jesus
            was a Mamzer.
            (c) Mark counters the scribes by reporting, modifying, or making up this
            pericope about Jesus that is intended to deflate the importance of the
            lineage of the Messiah. Note that if correct, this would then mean that
            Mark was indulging in psuedo-history at this point.
            (d) Matthew and Luke each use a different tactic, reconstructing a Davidic
            geneology of Jesus (accurately or not).

            There is an added element here that builds on the confusing opening clause
            of Psalm 110, which leaves unexplained who the two Lords in question were.
            Since the psalm's author is presented as David (see superscription to the
            psalm), "my Lord" would then seem to be David's Lord, but the psalm seems
            to describe the messiah. If so, the conundrum as described by Mark in his
            words attributed to Jesus leads to contradictions. But this opens more
            possible ambiguities: were the authorship of Psalm 100 and the association
            of the person described in the Psalm as the messiah known to be positions
            held by the scribes of Jesus' day, by the scribes of Mark's day, or both?
            Or neither?

            What any of this might have to say regarding "Israel in exile" (Jeffrey's
            original question), I have no clue.

            Does this answer your question?
            Bob Schacht, Ph.D.
            Northern Arizona University


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