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Re: [XTalk] Re: Geography Error in Mark 11:1

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  • Zeba Crook
    James, Thanks for this, and sorry for the delay. I ve been thinking a lot about your words. When I got your response, I thought, I understand now what you
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 11, 2004
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      James,

      Thanks for this, and sorry for the delay. I've been thinking a lot
      about your words. When I got your response, I thought, "I understand
      now what you mean," and I did not disagree. In theory I can agree that
      too much can be made of very little. But it does seem to be the nature
      of our discipline that often we have very little to work with, and yet
      our work must go on. You compared our field to secular history, I
      think, but I cannot believe we are the only field that has to make
      significant arguments out of insignificant details.

      But I have recently been writing on redaction criticism for a lecture,
      and was reminded how much of our discipline is based on attention to
      tiny detail. Matthew leaves a word out or adds a word to Mark, and we
      assume he did so deliberately. Again, we are faced with the dilemma you
      bring up: is the change deliberate (and therefore probative of
      something), or it is absentminded/thoughtless (and therefore probative
      of nothing).

      In the end, I think it is the plausibility of the argument that carries
      the greater weight, and not the significance of the detail (or data),
      and on that matter I think you are quite right that the inversion of
      town names and Mark's other geographical "issues" are more likely errors
      than theological arguments.

      Cheers,

      Zeb
      --

      Zeba A. Crook

      Assistant Professor

      Religion and Classics

      2a Paterson Hall

      Carleton University

      1125 Colonel By Drive

      Ottawa, Ontario

      K1S 5B6

      613-520-2600, ext. 2276

      www.carleton.ca/~zcrook




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Bob Schacht
      ... I have no opinion about Mark 11:1 regarding the significance of the inversion of the town names. However, regarding the issue of matters of details such as
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 11, 2004
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        At 06:57 AM 8/11/2004, Zeba wrote:
        >James,
        >
        >... In theory I can agree that too much can be made of very little. But
        >it does seem to be the nature of our discipline that often we have very
        >little to work with, and yet our work must go on. ...
        >
        >... I have recently been writing on redaction criticism for a lecture,
        >and was reminded how much of our discipline is based on attention to
        >tiny detail. Matthew leaves a word out or adds a word to Mark, and we
        >assume he did so deliberately. Again, we are faced with the dilemma you
        >bring up: is the change deliberate (and therefore probative of
        >something), or it is absentminded/thoughtless (and therefore probative
        >of nothing).
        >
        >In the end, I think it is the plausibility of the argument that carries
        >the greater weight, and not the significance of the detail (or data),
        >and on that matter I think you are quite right that the inversion of
        >town names and Mark's other geographical "issues" are more likely errors
        >than theological arguments.


        I have no opinion about Mark 11:1 regarding the significance of the
        inversion of the town names. However, regarding the issue of matters of
        details such as these, all conclusions are weak unless they fit a pattern.
        Thus, in the matter of inverted town names, we must ask questions such as,
        Does the author of Mark do this elsewhere? Does the author normally show
        care for geographical order? Is the author known to make theological points
        about geographical details?

        If there are no patterns such as these to go by, and if the town inversion
        in Mark 11:1 is sui generis, then basically we are in no position to judge
        what the author meant, or did not mean, by the inversion.

        IMHO, of course.
        Bob

        Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
        Northern Arizona University
        Flagstaff, AZ

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Zeba Crook
        Bob Schacht wrote:
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 11, 2004
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          Bob Schacht wrote:

          <<If there are no patterns such as these to go by, and if the town
          inversion in Mark 11:1 is sui generis, then basically we are in no
          position to judge what the author meant, or did not mean, by the inversion>>

          Bob,
          I would alter this only to say that the absence of patterns makes any
          argument speculative, but that we are still free to speculate, or to set
          up speculalative experiments: let us assume Mark knew his geography:
          can any sense be made of the inversion. We are in a position to judge,
          just not with certainty.

          Cheers,

          Zeb

          --

          Zeba A. Crook

          Assistant Professor

          Religion and Classics

          2a Paterson Hall

          Carleton University

          1125 Colonel By Drive

          Ottawa, Ontario

          K1S 5B6

          613-520-2600, ext. 2276

          www.carleton.ca/~zcrook




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jacob Knee
          Just an initial report on the British New Testament Conference which took place in Edinburgh 2 - 4 September. If you have never been BNTC is an annual meeting
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 4, 2004
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            Just an initial report on the British New Testament Conference which took
            place in Edinburgh 2 - 4 September.

            If you have never been BNTC is an annual meeting of NT scholars largely from
            British universities, doctoral students, and a few interested amateurs (like
            me). It is relatively small (this year, I guess, around 175) - so it has a
            friendly and informal feel - with papers that are usually of high quality.

            There are 3 main speakers (this year Tom Wright, Bart Ehrman and Judith
            Lieu) along with smaller seminars focussed on more specific areas of the
            discipline. (For more details on this years program see
            http://www.ntgateway.com/bnts/)

            Tom Wright kicked things off with a feisty and provocative overview of
            perspectives on Paul - the old perspective, the new perspective and what he
            called the 'fresh' perspective (which included the emphasis on Paul and
            narrative, and the political Paul - amongst others). He gave a swingeing
            glance at Stephen Westerholm's recent book on Paul (Perspectives Old and New
            on Paul: The "Lutheran" Paul and His Critics) criticisng it for getting both
            old and new perspectives wrong. He noted in particular, I think, the lack of
            attention to the Reformed 'old perspective' on Paul, criticised Westerholm
            for labelling Cranfield a Lutheran and noted the absence of any discussion
            of 'imputed righteousness'. He reminded people that the new perspective took
            the form it did as a corrective reaction against the view that Judaism was a
            religion of 'works righteousness'.

            Tom was then around for much of the rest of the conference - goodness only
            knows where he finds time or energy to do all the things he does. One
            seminar took the chance to review with him his latest book on the
            resurrection. I attended one of its sessions. Prof. Larry Hurtado - gave a
            sympathetic and thought provoking paper. He said he was in basic agreement
            with Tom on many issues - but it would be boring just to say that - so had
            decided to pick out a couple of things which he wanted to hear more about
            from Tom. In particular he pointed to Tom's repeated emphasis on 'cognitive
            phenomena' - beliefs about Jesus or their verbal expression - but with
            apparently little to say about religious experience or practice. Wright's
            response was that he couldn't cover evrything in his book (which is already
            700+ pages long) and was sympathetic to Hurtado's work on cultic devotion to
            Jesus - and saw their work as, in many places, dovetailing together.

            In questions Tom was pushed a little on whether it might not help his work
            (which is explicitly an apologetic for the resurrection) if he were not to
            be open to distinguishing, even a little, elements in the resurrection
            narratives that probably are legendary. Mark Goodacre gave the example of
            the holy ones rising from the tombs in Matthew - widely thought to be
            Matthew's own addition to the crucifixion/resurrection story. But even here
            Tom was not prepared to give ground - he said all sorts of things were
            possible and that he wouldn't like to rule out that God could raise the dead
            in the way Matthew indicated. He went on to explain that the context into
            which his book is written are debates with some scholars in the USA - and
            that if he gave any ground, he opened the door to every aspect of the
            resurrection narratives been called legendary (by those he debates with in
            the States). I found it fascinating (and surprising) to see the extent to
            which not just the form but the content of his work is determined by those
            he debates with in the USA and also wondered whether it was a tactical error
            - since in his debates in the USA it presumably opens him to the (false, I
            think) charge that he is, in fact, a crypto-fundamentalist.

            I'll report more in the next day or two - but just a comment on delivery of
            papers. Reading from papers at conferences just does not work. By all means
            print it out - let your audience take it away or have it before hand - but
            have mercy on us - please do not just read it out! The best speakers -
            Wright, Ehrman - were people who knew what they wanted to say - had a clear
            argument to make - highlighted the most important points - included some
            jokes - gestured trowards but didn't get bogged down in the detail - and
            kept eye contact with their audience. Doing a written paper for a journal or
            a chapter in your thesis and delivering a spoken argument at a conference
            (or as a teacher) are very different skills. Your paper may be the most
            ground breaking research the world of NT has ever known - but if your
            audience is asleep (or wishing they were asleep) - no one is going to know
            about all your hard work.

            Best wishes,
            Jacob Knee
            (Cam, Glos.)
          • John E Staton
            Jacob, Sounds like a good conference. Wish I had been there. Went to a conference in May where Wright s sparring partner, Jimmy Dunn was speaking. He used
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 5, 2004
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              Jacob,
              Sounds like a good conference. Wish I had been there. Went to a
              conference in May where Wright's sparring partner, Jimmy Dunn was speaking.
              He used Powerpoint to great effect. I remember a remarkable animated scroll
              illustrating a lecture on the "New Perspective" (one area where Dunn and
              Wright agree, I believe).

              Best Wishes
              JOHN E STATON
              Penistone, Sheffield UK
              www.jestaton.org
              jestaton@...
            • James Ernest
              Thanks to Jacob Knee for this 3-part posting--very useful. ... James D. Ernest, Ph.D., Editor Baker Academic +1 616 891 5625 (office) jernest@BakerAcademic.com
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 8, 2004
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                Thanks to Jacob Knee for this 3-part posting--very useful.

                --------------------------------
                James D. Ernest, Ph.D., Editor
                Baker Academic
                +1 616 891 5625 (office)
                jernest@...
                http://www.BakerAcademic.com
                --------------------------------
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