Fw:healing stories and human rights
- Leonard Maluflen challenged me off-list to explain why I believed the feeding of the 4000 had the Gentiles in view. In an earlier contribution I had forwarded my reasons, as already put forward by Nineham and van Goudoever and others. In biblical numerology the number 4 represents the four points of the compass, hence stands for the world ec. etc. The feeding takes place in the Decapolis. The number 7 in 7 baskets refers to the seven nations surrounding Israel (cf. Deut 7,l; Acts 13,19)
I believed he wanted me to answer off-list as well. Apparently this was not the case, since he already set forth his views on Synoptic-L.
----- Original Message -----
From: Karel Hanhart
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004 5:10 PM
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] healing stories and human rights
I plan to send this response also to the Synoptic-L list and to the Crosstalk list. If you do not want your question to be published, please let me know within a few days. KH
Briefly, - merely in outline ! -,
a) the audience of Mark and Matthew consisted of post-70 ecclesias, still under the leadership of first century Jewish (Judean) followers of Jesus. They regarded themselves as belonging to the Judean nation. Mark wrote first. His 'euaggelion' is a revision of an older haggadah now written under the impact of the loss of the capital city, Jerusalem, and the wanton destruction of the temple. The heart of the nation had stopped beating, as it were, a debacle of immense proportion. Mark pondered its meaning, found guidance in the Scriptures such as Isaiah 22 and 33 which dealt with the destruction of the first temple. He rewrote a (now lost) pre-70 'Christian' Passover Haggadah for usage during the season of Pesach (Jewish Passover) and Shabuoth (Jewish Pentecostal harvest season). His audience was only composed of the ecclesia in Rome (or the two ecclesiae he knew best: Alexandria ànd Rome).
b) His theodicy, explaining the traumatic experience of 70, was inspired by Paul's belief that in Christ there is no longer 'ioudaios' or 'hellen'...Gal 3,29. The musterion of Mc 4,11f. refers to the musterion in Rom 11,25. With "the hardening of a part of Israel" Paul had the opponents of Jesus and of his movement in mind and the later opposition to the apostles. The opposition was fueled by succesive high priests of the house of Annas, including Caiaphas and Matthias. The Gospels, however, tell just ONE Passover story concerning the historical developments within Israel (including the crucifixion) leading up to the debacle in 70. Paul had written about this hardening of a PART of Israel to his Roman ecclesia before 70. After 70 Mark radicalized Paul's theory: The text "first the Gospel MUST be preached to all nations (Mk 13,10) is the application of Paul's notion "..until the full number of the nations has come in".
c) Mark sent this post-70 version to the mother ecclesia, after 70 located somewhere in Syria and headed by Matthew, for approval and/or correction. Mark's radically new perspective on the "coming in of the nations" was received by Matthew. Mark's gospel was, of course, backed by the authority of the (martyred) Peter and of Paul. The aforementioned theodicy is the theme of Mark's (and Matthew's) rendition of the suffering of the 'huios tou anthropou' and 'the handing over to the nations (!) of the 'son of man' (Mk 10,33f; par.). The expression 'Son of man' is a corporate term for the "Messiah and the saints of the Most High" of Daniel 7, best translated as the (promised) Human One or the new and last Adam. Thus Mark interpreted Paul's theology concerning the 'why' of the suffering of the 'huios tou anthropou'' or "last Adam.
d) By adopting most of Mark's passion story, including the opened-monument-ending, Matthew demonstrated his approval of Mark's interpretation of the crucifixion. Matthew's gospel was written for all the ecclesiae in the Diaspora, not just for a restricted number of ecclesiae. The "Peter episode" in Matthew (tu es Petrus) reflects positively on Mark's message of the open tomb narrative ("Tell it to Peter" Mk 16,7). However, Matthew tones down certain - to him questionable - features in Mark, in particular the symbolic introduction of Paul's important role in Mark (the neaniskos). Paul's calling and mission (- Matthew may have thought -) were post-crucifixion and should not be introduced into the life of the Messiah. However, the ending of Matthew, "..make disciples of all nations", does not contradict Mark's and Paul's visionary explanation of the delay of the parousia.
e) In Mark's dramatic presentation of Jesus' passion and crucifixion (the passover plot), concerning the tragic turn of events in the life of the Messiah (foreshadowing the tragedy in 70 for the nation as a whole), two successive historical episodes overlap. The mission, passion and death of Jesus as Israel's Passover lamb is clearly recounted in retrospect of the following apostolic period that ended in the Roman-Judean war.
f) Both Mark and Matthew offer a Passover Haggadah of Israel and its Messiah (one tragic story with two overlapping periods) in the liturgical setting of Pesach and Shabuoth. According to Paul's and Mark's theodicy of the 'handing over of the Messiah and his people' to the nations God was able to turn the evil (crucifixion and temple destruction) to good (the full number of the nations will "come in" and "all Israel will be saved) . The above arguments (a - f) explain why Matthew adopted Mark and followed the order of Mark in the feeding story of the 4000 (the nations). [My interpretation of Paul's and Mark's
theodicy is a deliberate variant of K.Barth's analysis which still had anti-Judean overtones].
g) Luke"s audience was not esoteric but exoteric. He had a broad Hellenistic audience in mind. His readers were hardly able to understand the Matthean and Markan overlap of Pesach and Shabuoth. For in one Passover Haggadah Mark and Matthew told the story of the mission of the Messiah and the mission of his apostles, thereby repeatedly referring to sacred scripture by means of a midrash.
For the sake of a chronological order and to clarify the Judean approach of his sources, Luke wrote two books: one concerning the Messiah and his passion on Pesach, and one concerning the mission of the apostles initiated on Shabuoth (Pentecost). This Lukan effort offers, I believe, a reasonable explanation why he deviated from Mark's order, precisely at the point where "Jesus journeying inside and outside of Galilee" begins (Mark 6,1 - 9,,50 - W.G.Kuemmel, Introduction p. 61). Luke tried to deal with the mission to the nations in his Acts as best he could with Peter preaching in Jerusalem and Paul journeying on behalf of the nations. Therefore Luke does not have a feeding of the four thousand in his gospel. Mark had added the four thousand, for he wanted to present Jesus as the one providing the spiritual food of the Torah to the nations. In stead of Jesus'' journeying inside and outside of Galilea", Luke had a different geographical design as Conzelmann discovered (cf Acts 1,8). Luke's "travel narrative" in his gospel was meant to instruct the disciples and to prepare them for future missionary work and for debates with opponents. Luke presented Jesus' journey as one long pilgrimage for the Messiah's Pesach in Jerusalem. Thus Luke's deviation from Mark's (and Matthew's) order led to Luke's remarkable ,"On the way to Jerusalem Jesus 'diercheto dia meson Samareias kai Galilaias" (17,11}.
Indeed, this is all too brief,
----- Original Message -----
To: k.hanhart@... ; Synoptic-L@...
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] healing stories and human rights
In a message dated 2/24/2004 10:15:22 PM Pacific Standard Time, k.hanhart@... writes:
We have exchanged our differences concerning the Griesbach hypothesis
before. I have called on the listers backed by Mark Goodacre to debate the
arguments put forward by Wallace and Steiner in favor of Markan priority. Alas,
the pro-Griesbachians have not offered strong counterarguments deflating
I have not based my conclusions on the Matthean version of the feeding
of the 4000. You apparently believe that particular version would prove
No, Karel, I meant exactly what I said in the original post. I am genuinely interested to know what you think, and why, of the feeding of the 4000 in Matthew. I don't have a strong opinion on the matter myself, and I don't see the solution as demonstrative of any particular source hypothesis, at least not in any a priori sense. If you choose to evade the question, that is fine, but don't assume I have an ulterior motive in asking the question beyond what I actually asked for. Thanks.
Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
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