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Essay: re Mark's Inventing Gethsemane Story

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  • Theodore Weeden
    To Bob Schacht and other listers; In my reply to Bob Schacht on 8/3/05 ( Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death Tradition Misrepresents Jesus ), I made the
    Message 1 of 18 , Aug 8, 2005
      To Bob Schacht and other listers;

      In my reply to Bob Schacht on 8/3/05 ("Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death
      Tradition Misrepresents Jesus"), I made the following statement:

      "I find the entire Gethsemane episode to be constructed largely from motifs
      found in the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 (see, for example, the cameo in
      the Jesus Seminar's _The Acts of Jesus_, 150; I have expanded on the
      parallels in motifs in my "Two Jesuses" thesis manuscript). With specific
      reference to Jesus' prayer, (14:36), Jesus' resignation ("not what I will
      but what thou wilt") is an imitation (MIMESIS) of David's resignation in 2
      Sam. 15:25: "If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back
      [to Jerusalem] . . . ; but if he says, 'I have no pleasure in you,' behold,
      here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him." The cup which Jesus
      wishes removed is the cup of death, which I contend was imaged by Mark after
      the Socratic cup of death. Thus, none of the elements of the prayer, in my
      judgment, originate with Jesus, whether in the context of a Gethsemane
      event, which I consider fictive, or otherwise."

      To back up my thesis that Mark created the entire Gethsemane episode *de
      novo*, I present below my comprehensive argument in support for my thesis
      from a section of my manuscript, "Two Jesuses, Jesus of Jerusalem and
      Jesus of Nazareth: Provocative Parallels, Imaginative Imitation," a
      manuscript presented to the 2003 fall meeting of the Jesus Seminar, and
      which will be published in a forthcoming edition of _Forum_.

      Ted Weeden

      Argument in Support of the Thesis that Mark Invented the Gethsemane Episode
      in Its Entirety

      A number of scholars (e.g., John Donahue, John Dominic Crossan, Jesus
      Seminar) have drawn attention to parallels that exist between the Davidic
      saga of 2 Sam. 15-17; 20 and Mark's Gethsemane episode (14:32-50).
      I am convinced that these parallels are not coincidental. Elements from the
      Davidic saga in 2 Samuel were used to create the Gethsemane account.
      And, further still, I am convinced that the Gethsemane account is *solely*
      the creation of Mark himself and has no pre-Markan antecedents. Thus,
      it is my position that Mark, in the course of creating his Gethsemane story,
      quarried motifs from the Davidic saga of 2 Sam.15-17; 20, and transformed
      and transvalued them to produce the following motifs for his story (as
      represented below, the "Davidic" motifs are cited in the order in which they
      appear transformed and transvalued in Mark's Gethsemane account):

      (a) Conspiracy against David (2 Sam.15:1-12)=conspiracy against Jesus (14:1,
      10-11)

      (b) Ahithophel's betrayal of David (2 Sam.15:31;16:20-17:3)=Judas' betrayal
      of Jesus (Mk.14:10f.)

      (c) Ittai's vow of loyality to David (2 Sam.15:21)=Peter's vow of loyalty to
      Jesus (Mk. 14:29)

      (d) David's flight to the Mt. of Olives (2 Sam.15:30)=Jesus' move to Mt. of
      Olives (Mk. 14:26)

      (e) Three commanders accompany David ( 2 Sam.15:19-24)=Jesus "takes" three
      confidants (14:33)

      (f) David's distress (2 Sam. 15:30b)=Jesus' distress (Mk. 14:33-35a)

      (g) David's resigning to God's will (2 Sam.15:25f.)=Jesus' prayer resigning
      to God's will (Mk.14:36)

      (h) Plan for army to attack David (2 Sam.17:1-3)=crowd with swords/clubs
      arrest Jesus (14:43)

      (i) Joab's deceitful kiss of Amasa (//2 Sam. 20:1-10)=Judas' betrayal kiss
      of Jesus (Mk. 14:44f.). [Note: Judas' deceitful kiss of betrayal is
      derived by Mark by combining Absalom's conspiratorial kiss (2 Sam.14:33;
      15:5f ) with the deceitful kiss Joab used to slay Amasa (2 Sam. 20:8-13a)].

      The most compelling evidence that Mark, and Mark alone, *created de novo*
      the Gethsemane story of the passion narrative, as well as the clearest
      indication of how Mark worked methodologically to take a hypotext and mould
      it to fit his own hypertext, is found, in my judgment, in Mark's
      appropriation and transformation of LXX Zech. 13:7 in 14:27 to fit his
      apologetic and polemical purposes. As I reconstruct Mark's compositional
      purpose and methodology with respect to LXX Zech. 13:7, Mark decided that
      before he narrated his Gethsemane account, he needed the authority of
      scriptural prophecy to vouch for the divinely determined inevitability of
      the two *fictive* events Mark was about to reveal to his hearers: namely,
      Jesus' betrayal by Judas into the hands of Jesus' enemies, and Jesus'
      abandonment by the rest of his disciples. So Mark, at the outset of the
      Gethsemane episode, scripturally prepared his hearers/readers for these two
      key created events, in which the disciples utterly reject Jesus, by having
      Jesus quote Zech. 13:7 to his "turncoat" disciples, thus: "You will all fall
      away, hOTI GEGRAPTAI PATAZW TON POIMENA, KAI TA PROBATA
      DIASKORPISQHSONTAI (for it is written, "I will strike the shepherd, and the
      sheep will be scattered"; Mk. 14:27).

      But there is something strange about the way Mark renders Zech. 13:7 in the
      Markan Jesus' quote of that passage. Close examination of the portion of
      the LXX text of Zech 13:7, purportedly being quoted, reveals that the Markan
      Jesus did not quote the LXX version of that text accurately. The LXX
      Zech. 13:7 reads: PATAZATE TOUS POIMENAS KAI EKSPASATE TA PROBATA ("Strike
      the shepherds and draw out the sheep"). But the Markan Jesus quotes LXX
      Zech. 13:7 as PATAZW TON POIMENA, KAI TA PROBATA DIASKORPISQHSONTAI ("I will
      strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered').

      There is a radical difference between the form and even the content of Zech.
      13:7 as it appears respectively in the LXX and in Mark. The LXX renders
      the verb PATASSEIN ("to strike") in the imperative mood, namely PATAZATE
      ("strike"), while Mark uses the verb in the first person, future indicative
      tense, namely PATAZW ("I will strike"). In the LXX version of Zech. 13:7
      the "strike" is against more than one shepherd, namely POIMENAS
      ("shepherds"). But in Mark's version the "strike" is against a singular
      shepherd, namely POIMENA ("shepherd"). In the LXX, following the striking
      of the shepherds, the sheep are drawn out. But in Mark, following the
      striking of the shepherd, the sheep will be scattered. In Mark the act of
      striking leads directly to the scattering of the sheep.

      So what was it that led Mark to quote the Zechariah passage as PATAZW TON
      POIMENA, KAI TA PROBATA DIASKORPISQHSONTAI ("I will strike the shepherd
      and the sheep will be scattered") and thereby depart so from the original
      LXX text? I think the answer is found in Mark's hermeneutical need to link
      his two sources, 2 Sam. 15-17; 20 and Zech. 13:7, in order to have those two
      sources work in harmonious, supportive concert with one another as he used
      them --- 2 Samuel to pattern Judas' delivering Jesus up to his enemies and
      the subsequent flight of the disciples, and Zechariah to provide the
      authority of prophecy for the actualization of the two events --- to create
      his narrative events foreshadowed in scripture. What leads me to think
      that?

      It is clear that Ahithophel's betrayal is Mark's model for Judas' betrayal.
      More than that, it appears that certain details of Ahithophel's plan to do
      away with David and force David's people to flee from him were details Mark
      imitated (*mimesis*) in depicting Judas' "doing away with" Jesus and the
      disciples' abandonment of Jesus which followed. It is important to note
      in this respect how directly Ahithophel's imagining of his attack on David
      influenced Mark's own imagination in both creating Judas' betrayal and the
      flight of the disciples, as well as Mark's reformulation of Zech. 13:7 and
      making it a prophetic foreshadowing of those events. Let me explain.

      According to 2 Sam. 17:2, Ahithophel's plan was to advance at night on David
      with a force of 12,000 and catch David in a dispirited state. Ahithophel
      theorized that by such a surprise attack on David, "I will terrorize him
      (EKSTHSW AUTON), and all the people with him will flee (KAI FEUZETAI PAS hO
      MET' AUTOU) and [then] I will strike the king alone (KAI PATAZW TON BASILEA
      MONWTATON)." Now Ahithophel's plan to do away with David, scatter his
      people and force them into the arms of Absalom never materialized, because
      it was finally rejected by Absalom on the advice of Hushai the Archite
      (!7:1-14). But Mark, nevertheless, saw it as a plan he could use to model
      Judas' conspiratorial betrayal of Jesus, a plan that would materialize
      through Mark's creative imagination. But to give that plan prophetic
      authority Mark needed to bring plan and prophecy into close, harmonious
      conformity to one another. To do so, rather than shaping the plan to the
      prophecy, he rewrote the prophecy of Zech. 13:7 to conform to the two motifs
      of Ahithophel's plan important to Mark for his narrative. Those two
      motifs, again, were the striking of David and the flight of David's people.
      As I have just shown, 2 Sam. 17:2 puts the two motifs in this order, namely
      the flight motif (KAI FEUZETAI PAS hO LAOS hO MET' AUTOU: "and all the
      people who are with him will flee") and the striking motif (KAI PATAZW TON
      BASILEA MONWTATON,: "I will strike the king alone") the reverse order of the
      way the two motifs appear in the Markan Gethsemane account and in the Markan
      rendition of Zech. 13:7.

      But what if the motifs of 2 Sam. 17:2 were switched and put together in this
      way: KAI PATAZW TON BASILEA MONWTATON [KAI] FEUZETAI PAS hO LAOS hO MET'
      AUTOU ("and I will strike the king alone and all the people with him will
      flee")? Arranging the motifs in this way approximates quite closely Mark's
      rewording of Zech. 13:7. In the case of the striking motif of 2 Sam., if
      the term MONWTATON ("alone") is removed, then Mark's rendering of the
      striking motif of Zech. 13:7 almost exactly imitates the wording of the
      motif in 2 Sam., namely PATAZW TON BASILEA ("I will strike the king": 2 Sam.
      17:2) as compared to PATAZW TON POIMENA ("I will strike the shepherd": Mk.
      14:27). The only difference lies in the use of the term BASILEA ("king") in
      2 Sam. and POIMENA ("shepherd") in the Markan quote. But that difference
      fades when it is recognized that POIMENA when applied to David in the Old
      Testament serves as a metaphorical synonym for BASILEA.

      In fact, Ezekiel offers a classic support for the point. In the same
      prophetic context Ezekiel can refer to David both as shepherd and as prince
      or king. Thus Ezek. 34:23f. : "I will set up over them one *shepherd*, my
      servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their
      shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be
      *prince* among them." And then, again, Ezek. 37:24: "My servant David
      shall be *king* (LXX="ruler") over them; and they shall all have one
      shepherd." In fact in Ezek 34:24, in the sentence, "and my servant David
      shall be prince among them," the Hebrew word translated into English as
      "prince" (or "leader" or "chieftain") is translated by the LXX in Greek as
      POIMHN ("shepherd'). So there is precedence for the terms BASILEA and
      POIMENA or POIMHN to be interchangeable synonyms for each other. And
      certainly the shepherd in Zech. 13:7 was understood to be both shepherd and
      king. Howard Kee (-Community of the New Age_,110f.) specifically makes
      the dual meaning of POIMENA in Zech. 13:7 explicit by referring to the
      figure in the passage with the hyphenated term, "shepherd-king."

      So it is not a logical stretch to argue that Mark for his purpose viewed the
      prophecy of the striking of the shepherd in Zech. 13:7 as a synonymous
      equivalent to Ahithophel's plan to strike David. Thus PATAZW TON POIMENA
      ("I will strike the shepherd") and PATAZW TON BASILEA ("I will strike the
      king") are for Mark interchangeable statements referring to the same person.
      Prophecy and planned act, as he has shaped them, cohere and conform to each
      other and are now raised to a new level in their conjoining to propel with
      prophetic inevitability the consummation of the conspiracy against Jesus.
      Ahithophel's unfulfilled plan is finally and fully enacted, though in a
      different time, on a new stage, and with different persons playing the parts
      of betrayer and betrayed. Nevertheless, through the dramatic imagination
      of Mark, the plan is finally executed to completion.

      With respect to the second motif the fleeing of the people and the
      scattering of the sheep. Here, too, are two interchangeable ways of saying
      the same thing. One way states it metaphorically and the other in literal
      reality. And the action of the first motif (striking) propels the action
      of the second (scatter). I account for Mark's wording of the second motif
      in Zech. 13:7, the motif related to the sheep (KAI TA PROBATA
      DIASKORPISQHSONTAI, "the sheep will be scattered"), and its departure from
      the LXX (EKSPASATE TA PROBATA, "draw out the sheep"), as due to Mark's
      interest in making the motif in Zechariah conform more closely with the
      sense of the same motif, the flight of followers, in 2 Sam. 17:2 (FEUZETAI
      PAS hO MET' AUTOU, "all the people with him will flee") and his need to
      depict the flight of the disciples (KAI AFENTES AUTON EFUGON PANTES,
      "leaving him they all fled") in similar way to his model, the flight of the
      people from David in Ahithophel's plan. Thus, in the interest of bringing
      the Zechariah prophecy into harmony and conformity with the motif as
      depicted in Ahithophel's plan, Mark departed from the LXX and crafted the
      second motif along the lines of the motif in 2 Samuel, namely, FEUZETAI PAS
      hO MET' AUTOU, "all the people with him will flee." Thus was produced TA
      PROBATA DIASKORPISQHSONTAI, "the sheep will be scattered."

      Furthermore, when it came to narrating the actual flight of the disciples,
      Mark once again returned to his primary source and depicted the flight of
      the disciples in words which bear a strong resemblance to the statement of
      the motif in 2 Sam. From that passage in 2 Sam. 17:2, FEUZETAI PAS hO
      LAOS hO MET' AUTOU ("all the people with him will flee") Mark produced in
      imitation KAI AFENTES AUTON EFUGON PANTES ("and leaving him they all fled,"
      14:50). [Note: Moreover, the fact that Mark has woven the two passages, the
      envisioned action of 2 Sam. 17:2 and the foreshadowed prophecy of Zech.
      13:7, together with this intent, is suggested by the way in which Mark
      refers to the scriptural authority for both the event of Judas' betrayal and
      the disciples abandonment of Jesus. For following the flight Mark states:
      ALL' h INA PLHRWQWSIN AI GRAFAI ("But let the writings [scriptures] be
      fulfilled'). Notice that he uses the plural GRAFAI ("writings" or
      "scriptures") rather than the singular GRAFH ("writing" or "scripture").
      In other contexts in his Gospel when Mark has used the word GRAFH to refer
      to scripture (12:10, 24), he has used it in the singular (GRAFH). But here
      at the close of the Gethsemane incident it is rendered in the plural
      (GRAFAI). Why? My theory is that Mark uses GRAFH in the plural here as a
      way of demonstrating that two writings have now been fulfilled, "the
      writing" of 2 Sam. 15-17 and Ahithophel's plan against of David, now
      rechoreographed to fit the needs of Jesus' time, and the prophecy of
      Zechariah, now reformulated, to match the fulfillment needed for Jesus'
      time.]

      In summation, then, as I envision it, this is the compositional process Mark
      followed in creating his Gethsemane account for his passion narrative. He
      began by turning to the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17; 20 where he found the
      motifs he need for his fictive creation, particularly the motifs of Judas'
      betrayal culminating in a kiss and the flight subsequent flight of the
      disciples. Both of these motifs were indispensable to him for they were
      necessary to complete dramatically his vendetta against the Twelve
      disciples, a polemical theme that drives his narrative throughout (see my
      _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_ 23-51). Mark found in the plan of Ahithophel
      (17:2), the two motifs he needed in tandem with one another: namely the
      flight motif, FEUZETAI PAS hO LAOS hO MET' AUTOU ("all the people with him
      will flee") and the striking motif, PATAZW TON BASILEA MONWTATON ("I will
      strike the king alone"). But they were in reverse order to what he needed
      narratively, since Judas' "striking" Jesus with a betrayal kiss had to
      precede the flight of the disciples. So Mark just conceptually reversed
      the two motifs he found in Ahithophel's plan.

      But then, knowing that he was creating two fictive incidents in the service
      of his polemic against the Twelve, Mark realized that he needed scriptural
      "cover" to make his fictive accounts of the betrayal of Judas and the flight
      of the disciples appear to have authoritative historical authenticity, on
      the principle: scripture cannot be wrong! So Mark searched for a prophecy
      with which he could introduce his account of the betrayal and flight of the
      disciples which would give those accounts the imprimatur of scripture. I
      surmise that Ahithophel's words PATAZW TON BASILEA ("I will strike the
      king") reminded him of the words in LXX Zech. 13:7, PATAZATE TOUS POIMENAS
      KAI EKSPASATE TA PROBATA ("strike the shepherds and draw out the sheep").
      But that prophecy did not exactly fit his needs as scriptural authority for
      the authenticity of his narrative depiction of Judas' betrayal and the
      flight of the disciples.

      So Mark rewrote PATAZATE TOUS POIMENAS KAI EKSPASATE TA PROBATA turning it
      into PATAZW TON MOIMENA, KAI TA PROBATA DIASKORPISQHSONTAI, ("I will strike
      the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered"), as I outlined above, and
      placed his rewrite of LXX Zech. 13:7 as a quote on Jesus' lips --- further
      insuring the authenticity of what he was about to narrate --- to introduce
      his Gethsemane story. Then, at the end of the story, Mark picked up the
      flight motif of Ahithophel's plan, FEUZETAI PAS hO LAOS hO MET' AUTOU ("all
      the people with him will flee") and transformed and transvalued that flight
      motif into his own depiction of the flight of the disciples, AFENTES AUTON
      EFUGON PANTES ("leaving him they all fled"). Finally, Mark closed his
      Gethsemane narrative with a declaration that the ancient prophecies of the
      scriptures (ALL' hINA PLHRWQWSIN AI GRAFAI ["But let the scriptures be
      fulfilled"], via the prophetic voicing of Jesus to validate that it was
      scripture which was being fulfilled in the betrayal of Judas and the flight
      of the disciples and, most important, to assure his hearers/readers that
      what he had just recounted was "the Gospel truth."
    • Bob Schacht
      ... I continue to object strenuously to the *de novo* characterization. I can see that Mark may have used the Davidic saga to *frame* his story, but I continue
      Message 2 of 18 , Aug 8, 2005
        At 04:25 PM 8/8/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
        >To Bob Schacht and other listers;
        >
        >In my reply to Bob Schacht on 8/3/05 ("Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death
        >Tradition Misrepresents Jesus"), I made the following statement:
        >
        >"I find the entire Gethsemane episode to be constructed largely from motifs
        >found in the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 (see, for example, the cameo in
        >the Jesus Seminar's _The Acts of Jesus_, 150; I have expanded on the
        >parallels in motifs in my "Two Jesuses" thesis manuscript).

        This seems to me to be a more acceptable construction than the following:

        >To back up my thesis that Mark created the entire Gethsemane episode *de
        >novo*,...

        I continue to object strenuously to the *de novo* characterization. I can
        see that Mark may have used the Davidic saga to *frame* his story, but I
        continue to feel that there are elements of the story that were not made up
        *de novo,* which served as the raison d'etre of the thematic development
        that we have. You continue to make a big deal of the idea that how could
        anyone have known what Jesus was saying when he was alone, when you know
        very well that historical sayings can be inserted into a frame such as
        Gethsemane where it is patently impossible for anyone to have heard.

        Sorry, but this is one of my hot button issues about which I suspect vastly
        exaggerated claims.

        Bob

        >

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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Theodore Weeden
        ... Bob, I know that you have great problems with my contention that Mark invents certain parts of his narrative using models from other sources and that in
        Message 3 of 18 , Aug 16, 2005
          Bob Schacht wrote on August 09, 2005:

          > At 04:25 PM 8/8/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
          >>To Bob Schacht and other listers;
          >>
          >>In my reply to Bob Schacht on 8/3/05 ("Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death
          >>Tradition Misrepresents Jesus"), I made the following statement:
          >>
          >>"I find the entire Gethsemane episode to be constructed largely from
          >>motifs
          >>found in the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 (see, for example, the cameo in
          >>the Jesus Seminar's _The Acts of Jesus_, 150; I have expanded on the
          >>parallels in motifs in my "Two Jesuses" thesis manuscript).
          >
          > This seems to me to be a more acceptable construction than the following:
          >
          >>To back up my thesis that Mark created the entire Gethsemane episode *de
          >>novo*,...
          >
          > I continue to object strenuously to the *de novo* characterization. I can
          > see that Mark may have used the Davidic saga to *frame* his story, but I
          > continue to feel that there are elements of the story that were not made
          > up
          > *de novo,* which served as the raison d'etre of the thematic development
          > that we have.

          Bob, I know that you have great problems with my contention that Mark
          invents certain parts of his narrative using models from other sources and
          that in those parts of Mark's narrative neither events nor sayings are
          historically authentic. I would like to know what in the Gethsemane
          episode you think is rooted in historical fact, and not invented by Mark,
          aside from the fact that at some point Jesus was arrested (I think following
          his provocative act in the Temple)?

          > You continue to make a big deal of the idea that how could
          > anyone have known what Jesus was saying when he was alone, when you know
          > very well that historical sayings can be inserted into a frame such as
          > Gethsemane where it is patently impossible for anyone to have heard.

          You are correct. Historically authentic sayings of Jesus can be inserted
          into a narrative frame. What do you think is the historically authentic
          saying of Jesus in the Gethsemane prayer?

          > Sorry, but this is one of my hot button issues about which I suspect
          > vastly
          > exaggerated claims.

          I understand. But it would be helpful to me for you to demonstrate with
          evidentiary support why my claims are exaggerated with respect to the
          Gethsemane episode.

          Regards,

          Ted
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Ted, Methodologically, it is not necessary for me to prove the contrary, or even suggest a contrary. I guess it is your right to say anything you want to,
          Message 4 of 18 , Aug 17, 2005
            At 11:44 AM 8/16/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
            >Bob Schacht wrote on August 09, 2005:
            >
            > > At 04:25 PM 8/8/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
            > >>To Bob Schacht and other listers;
            > >>
            > >>In my reply to Bob Schacht on 8/3/05 ("Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death
            > >>Tradition Misrepresents Jesus"), I made the following statement:
            > >>
            > >>"I find the entire Gethsemane episode to be constructed largely from motifs
            > >>found in the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 (see, for example, the cameo in
            > >>the Jesus Seminar's _The Acts of Jesus_, 150; I have expanded on the
            > >>parallels in motifs in my "Two Jesuses" thesis manuscript).
            > >
            > > This seems to me to be a more acceptable construction than the following:
            > >
            > >>To back up my thesis that Mark created the entire Gethsemane episode
            > *de novo*, >>...
            > >
            > > I continue to object strenuously to the *de novo* characterization. I can
            > > see that Mark may have used the Davidic saga to *frame* his story, but I
            > > continue to feel that there are elements of the story that were not made up
            > > *de novo,* which served as the raison d'etre of the thematic development
            > > that we have.
            >
            >Bob, I know that you have great problems with my contention that Mark
            >invents certain parts of his narrative using models from other sources and
            >that in those parts of Mark's narrative neither events nor sayings are
            >historically authentic. I would like to know what in the Gethsemane
            >episode you think is rooted in historical fact, and not invented by Mark,
            >aside from the fact that at some point Jesus was arrested (I think following
            >his provocative act in the Temple)?

            Ted,
            Methodologically, it is not necessary for me to prove the contrary, or even
            suggest a contrary.
            I guess it is your right to say anything you want to, and to have any
            opinion that you want to. What I am objecting to is your pretense of
            certainty about what can only be a plausible hypothesis. I have no problem
            with your "de novo" claim as a hypothesis. But you are obviously not
            satisfied with any such modest position.

            I suppose I have the same problem with you in this regard that I have with
            Crossan and with Funk and others of your Santa Rosa club of scholars who
            spent years under the banner of "The Jesus Seminar," but who have since
            moved on to a more varied menu of issues. Crossan (and I believe Funk, as
            well) have made plain their predilection for blasting away the grays and
            demanding a Verdict on each question-- Will it be Yes, or No? Black or
            White? (Or in the Jesus Seminar Case, Black and Red is all that they
            initially wanted to allow.) No hedging permitted! He makes this plain in
            the beginning chapters of The Birth of Christianity. The result, I think,
            is scholarly arrogance. You may not *feel* arrogant, but "de novo" claims
            boldly proclaimed, to people not comfortable with the Santa Rosa tendency
            to absolutize every issue, looks arrogant, is perceived (at least by me) as
            arrogant, and sounds arrogant. And my complaint is as much with the
            attitude, or the posture, as much as the method. You seem to prefer this
            mode of discourse. I do not.

            But let us go back to your question:
            >I would like to know what in the Gethsemane
            >episode you think is rooted in historical fact, and not invented by Mark,
            >aside from the fact that at some point Jesus was arrested (I think following
            >his provocative act in the Temple)?

            At the core of the Gethsemane episode is Jesus' realization of impending
            doom, in such Markan hints as "this hour" and "this cup." You make fun of
            this passage, belittling it because, if the framing were taken literally,
            no one could have heard what he said. But unless you also doubt the
            historicity of the Temple Incident (which seems to be the one thing other
            than the arrest and crucifixion that you DO accept as historical), then
            Jesus *had* to know that by this and other things he had placed himself in
            jeopardy. There's also the Threefold Prediction of the passion, which I
            know that you also throw out as unhistorical, and other indications that
            Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem was going to be dangerous. (Do you, by
            the way, reject as unhistorical every single anticipation that going to
            Jerusalem would be dangerous? What do you think, that Jesus went out on a
            simple-minded stroll, not thinking that there would be any strife? What
            planet do you live on?)

            In short, I find it utterly unremarkable that Jesus would have fretted
            about going to Jerusalem *even before he left Galilee.* I am not pleading
            for any great prophetic powers here, just some common sense and a little
            awareness of the politics of his time. After all, within his lifetime, or
            at least shortly before, dozens or hundreds of people had been crucified in
            Galilee for resisting Roman authority. And I would find it utterly
            unremarkable that Jesus did not hide his fretting from his companions.
            Whether it occurred at precisely 3 occasions with the same formula, as
            recited by Mark, is to me a different question, but what may indeed lay
            behind those sayings, later understood and reframed as predictions of the
            passion, was just such fretting. And if the night before the arrest, his
            companions had seen him getting more agitated, and going off to pray while
            showing more agitation than usual (especially in retrospect), I should
            think it utterly unremarkable for them to project onto the Garden scene the
            very frettings that he had already articulated.

            I notice with interest how *little* Jesus' "prayer" in Gethsemane actually
            says. And if Mark thought to dress up the situation by framing it in a bit
            of prophetic imagery, fine. But to say he made up the whole thing from
            start to finish is to me a vast overstatement that goes far beyond what you
            can actually demonstrate. All you have, Ted, is an interesting hypothesis.
            Don't try to make more of it than that.

            At least, that's my take on the Gethsemane situation.

            Bob Schacht





            > > You continue to make a big deal of the idea that how could
            > > anyone have known what Jesus was saying when he was alone, when you know
            > > very well that historical sayings can be inserted into a frame such as
            > > Gethsemane where it is patently impossible for anyone to have heard.
            >
            >You are correct. Historically authentic sayings of Jesus can be inserted
            >into a narrative frame. What do you think is the historically authentic
            >saying of Jesus in the Gethsemane prayer?
            >
            > > Sorry, but this is one of my hot button issues about which I suspect
            > > vastly
            > > exaggerated claims.
            >
            >I understand. But it would be helpful to me for you to demonstrate with
            >evidentiary support why my claims are exaggerated with respect to the
            >Gethsemane episode.
            >
            >Regards,
            >
            >Ted
            >
            >
            >
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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • rbs58@comcast.net
            Bob Schacht wrote: But unless you also doubt the historicity of the Temple Incident (which seems to be the one thing other than the arrest and crucifixion that
            Message 5 of 18 , Aug 21, 2005
              Bob Schacht wrote: But unless you also doubt the
              historicity of the Temple Incident (which seems to be the one thing other
              than the arrest and crucifixion that you DO accept as historical), then
              Jesus *had* to know that by this and other things he had placed himself in
              jeopardy.

              Bob,
              Assuming the historicity of the Temple incident, is it possible that the incident was not inherently such as to put Jesus in jeopardy before the Jewish authorities?
              I have been reading "The Death and Trial of Jesus" by Haim Cohn, in an effort to understand the Jewish perspective on the events of the Passion.
              Cohn makes what seems to me to be a reasonable assumption that the traders were acting in some way as to violate the sanctity of the Temple, in other words stepping beyond what should have been allowed in conducting their legitimate, authorized business.
              Cohen writes, "The only grievance that the authorities could possibly have entertained - in the sound perception of the author of the Gospel According to John - was that Jesus had acted witout formal authority or competence: he should have lodged a complaint with the powers-that-be and asked that proper steps be taken by them."
              Their questioning of his authority is consistent in the gospels. Cohen suggests that such questioning, while portrayed in the gospels as an attempt to discredit Jesus, might more reasonably be understood as being earnest inquiry to discern the divine will.
              Thank you,
              Richard Smith
              Chattanooga, TN

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Well, I suppose anything is possible. ... Well, I m all for that. ... I m not sure how all this adds up. If the religious authorities didn t like what the
              Message 6 of 18 , Aug 21, 2005
                At 04:42 AM 8/21/2005, rbs58@... wrote:
                >Bob Schacht wrote: But unless you also doubt the
                >historicity of the Temple Incident (which seems to be the one thing other
                >than the arrest and crucifixion that you DO accept as historical), then
                >Jesus *had* to know that by this and other things he had placed himself in
                >jeopardy.
                >
                >Bob,
                >Assuming the historicity of the Temple incident, is it possible that the
                >incident was not inherently such as to put Jesus in jeopardy before the
                >Jewish authorities?

                Well, I suppose anything is possible.

                >I have been reading "The Death and Trial of Jesus" by Haim Cohn, in an
                >effort to understand the Jewish perspective on the events of the Passion.

                Well, I'm all for that.

                >Cohn makes what seems to me to be a reasonable assumption that the traders
                >were acting in some way as to violate the sanctity of the Temple, in other
                >words stepping beyond what should have been allowed in conducting their
                >legitimate, authorized business.
                >Cohen writes, "The only grievance that the authorities could possibly have
                >entertained - in the sound perception of the author of the Gospel
                >According to John - was that Jesus had acted witout formal authority or
                >competence: he should have lodged a complaint with the powers-that-be and
                >asked that proper steps be taken by them."
                >Their questioning of his authority is consistent in the gospels. Cohen
                >suggests that such questioning, while portrayed in the gospels as an
                >attempt to discredit Jesus, might more reasonably be understood as being
                >earnest inquiry to discern the divine will.

                I'm not sure how all this adds up. If the religious authorities didn't like
                what the traders were doing, they probably didn't need Jesus to fix
                things-- unless maybe the traders were being protected by Roman Patrons.

                So, why does Cohen think they wanted Jesus crucified?

                Bob


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ernest Pennells
                [Richard Smith, on Essay: re Mark s Inventing Gethsemane Story (NOT)] ... writes, The only grievance that the authorities could possibly have entertained -
                Message 7 of 18 , Aug 22, 2005
                  [Richard Smith, on Essay: re Mark's Inventing Gethsemane Story (NOT)]
                  >I have been reading "The Death and Trial of Jesus" by Haim Cohn,... Cohen
                  writes, "The only grievance that the authorities could possibly have
                  entertained - in the sound perception of the author of the Gospel According
                  to John - was that Jesus had acted without formal authority or competence:
                  he should have lodged a complaint with the powers-that-be and asked that
                  proper steps be taken by them."<

                  I am not familiar with Haim Cohn's publication, Richard, but there are some
                  interesting links with A.E. Harvey's work on GJohn:

                  Harvey bases 'Jesus on Trial: A Study in the Fourth Gospel' upon
                  "STARTLING" differences between biblically prescribed legal process and that
                  which we are familiar with in Western Societies, with its roots in Roman
                  law. He maintains that the biblically prescribed process was in use in NT
                  times, and he uses it as a lens though which confrontations in GJohn are
                  scrutinised, with illuminating effect.

                  Key points in his description of Jewish legal process are: 1). that no
                  formally constituted court was necessary for a trial to take place; 2). the
                  witnesses to a breach of law had both the right and the obligation to
                  prosecute infractions; 3). witnesses also fulfilled the role we would
                  ascribe to judge, jury and executioner; 4). the informality of
                  proceedings could lead to ambiguity as to who was prosecuting whom - the
                  tables cold be turned as a case proceeded.

                  ISTM that these insights should be used to evaluate Synoptic accounts of
                  Jesus' assault upon the temple authorities when he arrives at Jerusalem.
                  People often object that an attack upon the traders should have led to
                  immediate arrest and prosecution. The absence of charges are brought
                  against Jesus regarding this incident violates our instinctive assumption
                  that this was a breach of the peace which should be dealt with accordingly.

                  The fact is that the synoptic account DOES portray charges accompanying this
                  incident. What confuses a modern reader is the reversal of our
                  expectations. Jesus is not the defendant, but the plaintiff. With
                  prophetic boldness he lays charges against the traders, drawing upon
                  Jeremiah's description of abuse of the first temple.

                  The response attributed to the authorities is not arrest (as we expect) but
                  a call for Jesus to declare the authority upon which he acts. This matches
                  Harvey's emphasis upon the status and integrity of witnesses as principle
                  factor shaping the outcome of proceedings. Where we expect attention to
                  focus upon evidence - establishing the facts - the biblical emphasis is upon
                  reliability of witnesses. Closely aligned with this are issues of agency
                  (authority). An agent was only culpable if he departed from his employers
                  instructions. Otherwise, it was the employer was responsible.

                  In response to a challenge on authority Jesus would have the option of
                  swearing an oath, calling God as his witness. This recourse for a solitary
                  witness could be decisive but also had the attendant risk that an oath
                  deemed false constitutes blasphemy, punishable by death. Rather than
                  accept that risk, Jesus counters by calling upon his rivals to declare
                  whether John's baptism was from heaven or from men. Their prevarication on
                  that issue leaves them with no grounds for objecting to Jesus' refusal to
                  call upon God as his witness. They are not just embarrassed, they are at
                  risk of facing a charge of having disobeyed God if they concede that John's
                  call (which they ignored) was from heaven.

                  Harvey cites the classic example of Daniel and Susanna for an emphasis upon
                  the integrity of witnesses being a decisive factor in proceedings. Having
                  laid initial charges against traders, Jesus advances his complaint with the
                  parable of wicked vintners, indicting the temple authorities collectively:
                  they are usurpers who have betrayed a trust originally from God; they have
                  ignored his prophet (John); they plot to murder his son; their just reward
                  is death. Their credibility as witnesses is dismissed. They look for cause
                  to arrest him.

                  A demonstration against the sale of livestock might be taken as sacrilege if
                  it were seen as directed against the sacrificial system itself. There is no
                  hint of any such development in the tradition.

                  A demonstration against money changers might be taken as rebellion against
                  the temple tax, or against the idolatrous image on the Tyrian shekel which
                  was the mandatory coin of payment. These twin lines of thought emerge
                  strongly. Whereas a counter-charge of tax rebellion relating to temple dues
                  is one that the accused would not dare raise against Jesus, because that
                  would invite a further charge of idolatry for trading Melkart's image;
                  shifting ground to a potential charge of tax rebellion against Caesar was an
                  attractive option arising from his demonstration. It was Jesus who had
                  dramatically raised the issue of taxes, by scattering its coinage. But
                  Jesus turns attention from the image on the Tyrian coin to the image on the
                  denarius.

                  His actions clearly rejected acknowledging Melkart: to the astonishment
                  (THAUMAZO) of his provocateurs his words endorsed tribute to Caesar!
                  THAUMAZO is variously translated as amazed (RSV); marveled (RSV);
                  dumbfounded (SV); speechless (The Message). Clearly this was not the
                  answer they expected or hoped for. Matthew says his adversaries left Jesus
                  and went away. Luke says they were silenced. Those who argue that Jesus'
                  rejected taxes to Caesar ask us to believe that at the point where they have
                  elicited a compromising statement, his opponents are dumbfounded, silenced
                  and slink away.

                  The twin positives: render to Caesar, render to God; follow from the
                  description that Jesus has established for the temple authorities. He has
                  discounted them as loyal to God. Quite the contrary. The unspoken reality
                  is that they owe allegiance to Caesar from whom their authority actually
                  derives. He puts the onus upon them to deny loyalty to Caesar or God; or
                  to claim loyalty to both. Dumbfounded indeed! The dilemma is theirs, not
                  his. This is so on two counts: First, as a Galilean, his tax liability
                  (if any) is to Antipas, not Caesar. Also, it is the temple hierarchy who
                  get their authority from Caesar, not Jesus.

                  The Sadducees, as aristocratic priests, represent the elite among the
                  temple authorities, so that their testimony should carry maximum weight.
                  They are written off in the most devastating manner as ignorant of both
                  scripture and the power of God, in response to their classic conundrum of
                  the much married, oft widowed, but persistently barren woman.

                  The end conclusion is that nobody dared ask Jesus any more questions. He
                  has defeated his opponents in the arena of biblically prescribed justice.
                  Thereafter, the prosecution of Jesus proceeds along alien lines: betrayal,
                  covert arrest, interrogation, prisoner abuse, political compromise, and
                  pagan summary sentence.

                  Regards,

                  Ernie Pennells
                  Samaa el Maadi Tower No 2B
                  Level 12 Apartment 4
                  28 Corniche el Nil
                  Cairo, Egypt
                  Tel: (20-2)526 6383 Mobile 0121001490
                  http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html
                • Theodore Weeden
                  ... Bob, my apologies for this belated reply. With regard to my de novo claim, I do present it as a hypothesis. Very things are a certainty when we are
                  Message 8 of 18 , Sep 9, 2005
                    Bob Schacht wrote on Wednesday, August 17, 2005:

                    > At 11:44 AM 8/16/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                    >>Bob Schacht wrote on August 09, 2005:
                    >>
                    >> > At 04:25 PM 8/8/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                    >> >>To Bob Schacht and other listers;
                    >> >>
                    >> >>In my reply to Bob Schacht on 8/3/05 ("Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox
                    >> >>Death
                    >> >>Tradition Misrepresents Jesus"), I made the following statement:
                    >> >>
                    >> >>"I find the entire Gethsemane episode to be constructed largely from
                    >> >>motifs
                    >> >>found in the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 (see, for example, the cameo
                    >> >>in
                    >> >>the Jesus Seminar's _The Acts of Jesus_, 150; I have expanded on the
                    >> >>parallels in motifs in my "Two Jesuses" thesis manuscript).
                    >> >
                    >> > This seems to me to be a more acceptable construction than the
                    >> > following:
                    >> >
                    >> >>To back up my thesis that Mark created the entire Gethsemane episode
                    >> *de novo*, >>...
                    >> >
                    >> > I continue to object strenuously to the *de novo* characterization. I
                    >> > can
                    >> > see that Mark may have used the Davidic saga to *frame* his story, but
                    >> > I
                    >> > continue to feel that there are elements of the story that were not
                    >> > made up
                    >> > *de novo,* which served as the raison d'etre of the thematic
                    >> > development
                    >> > that we have.
                    >>
                    >>Bob, I know that you have great problems with my contention that Mark
                    >>invents certain parts of his narrative using models from other sources and
                    >>that in those parts of Mark's narrative neither events nor sayings are
                    >>historically authentic. I would like to know what in the Gethsemane
                    >>episode you think is rooted in historical fact, and not invented by Mark,
                    >>aside from the fact that at some point Jesus was arrested (I think
                    >>following
                    >>his provocative act in the Temple)?
                    >
                    > Ted,
                    > Methodologically, it is not necessary for me to prove the contrary, or
                    > even
                    > suggest a contrary.
                    > I guess it is your right to say anything you want to, and to have any
                    > opinion that you want to. What I am objecting to is your pretense of
                    > certainty about what can only be a plausible hypothesis. I have no problem
                    > with your "de novo" claim as a hypothesis. But you are obviously not
                    > satisfied with any such modest position.

                    Bob, my apologies for this belated reply. With regard to my "de novo"
                    claim, I do present it as a hypothesis. Very things are a certainty when we
                    are reconstructing the historical past. I usually qualify such claims with
                    "in my judgment" or "from my perspective," qualifying phrases which I intend
                    to suggest that I am not making assured, incontestable claims. I indicated
                    the same in my post to you of 8/8 and I quote from it, setting off the
                    qualifying phrases with double astericks:

                    "I **find** the entire Gethsemane episode to be constructed largely from
                    motifs found in the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 (see, for example, the
                    cameo in the Jesus Seminar's _The Acts of Jesus_, 150; I have expanded
                    on the parallels in motifs in my "Two Jesuses" thesis manuscript). With
                    specific reference to Jesus' prayer, (14:36), Jesus' resignation ("not what
                    I will but what thou wilt") is an imitation (MIMESIS) of David's resignation
                    in 2 Sam. 15:25: "If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me
                    back [to Jerusalem] . . . ; but if he says, 'I have no pleasure in you,'
                    behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him." The cup
                    which Jesus wishes removed is the cup of death, which I contend was
                    imaged by Mark after the Socratic cup of death. Thus, none of the
                    elements of the prayer, **in my judgment**, originate with Jesus, whether
                    in the context of a Gethsemane event, which I consider fictive, or
                    otherwise."

                    "To back up **my thesis** that Mark created the entire Gethsemane episode
                    *de novo* . . . "

                    Bob, I do not find that my rhetoric represents, as you put it, my "pretense
                    of certainty." I stated that I was presenting "my thesis," i.e., my
                    plausible hypothesis. Please help me understand how my rhetoric here comes
                    across as a "pretense of certainty." In any event, whatever confidence I
                    evince in presenting such hypothetic claims regarding the authenticity of
                    the Gethsemane prayer as being plausible is based upon what I consider,
                    again in my judgment, to be the cogency of my argumentation based upon
                    peruasive, again in my judgment, evidentiary support.

                    I do not deny that Jesus may well have entertained the possibility of his
                    death in his confrontation with the Jerusalem Temple cult, particularly when
                    he engaged in the provocative act in the Temple, which I hold as likely
                    historical. But I do not find any evidence elsewhere in the Jesus
                    tradition, aside from Jn 17 (which is widely held by scholars to *not* be an
                    authentic prayer of Jesus) that suggests that Jesus offered a prayer to God
                    regarding his divine commission to accept martyrdom as part of his divinely
                    ordained purpose. In fact, as I have pointed out in my reply to Rikk Watts
                    that Martin Hengel has indicated that there is no theology of martyrdom in
                    the Old Testament which could have served as the catalyst and ideational
                    orientation for the Jesus prayer in Gethsemane. A theology of martyrdom,
                    according to Hengel, did not enter Judaic theology until 2 Maccabees and,
                    particularly 4 Maccabees. And I know of nothing in the Jesus tradition to
                    suggest that Jesus was acquainted with the theology of martyrdom in either
                    of those works. Hengel has made a convincing case, from my perspective,
                    that the ideology of martyrdom was a Greek construct which imaged certain of
                    its heroes as voluntarily sacrifcing themselves in death as an atonement for
                    family, friends and their native city. There is no precedence in the Old
                    Testament for prophets being martyred, and the only Old Testament depiction
                    of a vicarious, atoning death is Isa. 53 (see _Atonement_, 8-12, 19-20).

                    Moreover, Hengel notes interestingly (23), that in the Greek classical
                    period "[o]ne fixed ingredient of almost all traditions is that the
                    voluntary sacrifice [of the martyred hero] did not rest on a man's
                    own decision, but followed the divine demand of an atoning sacrifice to
                    deliver the people, the land or a family, which was given by a seer or an
                    oracle, often that of Delphi." I would suggest that it was this "fixed
                    ingredient" that influenced Mark in his framing of the passion prediction of
                    8:31, to suggest that Jesus was under a divine directive to die [DEI], and I
                    would also suggest that the same ingredient influenced Mark in his scripting
                    of Jesus' Gethsemane prayer in which Jesus acknowledges that it is God's
                    will that he die a sacrificial death. That, along with the other evidence I
                    presented in my post "[XTalk] Essay: re Mark's Inventing Gethsemane
                    Story" (8/8/05), leads me to conclude that the Jesus' prayer is Mark's
                    creation and not based upon any prayer of Jesus which may have been
                    passed on via the oral tradition. If you have evidence of such from the
                    oral tradition, I would appreciate knowing what it is.

                    > I suppose I have the same problem with you in this regard that I have with
                    > Crossan and with Funk and others of your Santa Rosa club of scholars who
                    > spent years under the banner of "The Jesus Seminar," but who have since
                    > moved on to a more varied menu of issues. Crossan (and I believe Funk, as
                    > well) have made plain their predilection for blasting away the grays and
                    > demanding a Verdict on each question-- Will it be Yes, or No? Black or
                    > White? (Or in the Jesus Seminar Case, Black and Red is all that they
                    > initially wanted to allow.) No hedging permitted! He makes this plain in
                    > the beginning chapters of The Birth of Christianity. The result, I think,
                    > is scholarly arrogance. You may not *feel* arrogant, but "de novo" claims
                    > boldly proclaimed, to people not comfortable with the Santa Rosa tendency
                    > to absolutize every issue, looks arrogant, is perceived (at least by me)
                    > as > arrogant, and sounds arrogant. And my complaint is as much with
                    > the attitude, or the posture, as much as the method. You seem to prefer
                    > this mode of discourse. I do not.

                    It has not been my experience in the Jesus Seminar meetings I have attended
                    for the last nine years that Fellows have ever been pressed to make a
                    definitive judgment "Red or Black." All votes (red, pink, gray and black)
                    are recorded and weighted according to a formula which then suggests how
                    as a group present and voting Fellows would ascribe a saying or deed or
                    Jesus as red, pink, gray, or black. That "consensus" vote is then reported
                    out. There have even been occasions when a previous decision on a Jesus
                    saying or act has been questioned due to new evidence, and a new vote has
                    been taken based upon the cogency of that evidence, sometimes reflecting a
                    change in the consensus on that particular saying or act. If some members
                    of the Jesus Seminar come across as arogant, that is not the character of
                    decision making in the JS meetings. I do not see the decisions of the JS
                    meetings to be an attempt to absolutize any issue upon which Fellows are
                    voting.

                    > But let us go back to your question:
                    >>I would like to know what in the Gethsemane
                    >>episode you think is rooted in historical fact, and not invented by Mark,
                    >>aside from the fact that at some point Jesus was arrested (I think
                    >>following his provocative act in the Temple)?
                    >
                    > At the core of the Gethsemane episode is Jesus' realization of impending
                    > doom, in such Markan hints as "this hour" and "this cup." You make fun of
                    > this passage, belittling it because, if the framing were taken literally,
                    > no one could have heard what he said. But unless you also doubt the
                    > historicity of the Temple Incident (which seems to be the one thing other
                    > than the arrest and crucifixion that you DO accept as historical), then
                    > Jesus *had* to know that by this and other things he had placed himself in
                    > jeopardy.

                    If you found that I was making fun of the passage, I am sorry that you took
                    it that way. I was merely raising the question of narrative logic, a
                    question which is often posed in narrative criticism. As I indicated above,
                    I think it it is plausible that Jesus recognized that his life might well be
                    put in jeopardy in opposing the Temple cult via his provocative act in the
                    Temple. But we cannot know what Jesus' inner thoughts were, and unless you
                    can show me evidence to the contrary, I do not find anywhere in the Jesus
                    tradition where Jesus ruminates upon his fate except in the Markan passion
                    predictions, Mk. 10:45 (the ransom saying), and the Gethsemane prayer, all
                    of which I ascribe to Mark for reasons I have advanced.

                    > There's also the Threefold Prediction of the passion, which I
                    > know that you also throw out as unhistorical, and other indications that
                    > Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem was going to be dangerous. (Do you, by
                    > the way, reject as unhistorical every single anticipation that going to
                    > Jerusalem would be dangerous? What do you think, that Jesus went out on a
                    > simple-minded stroll, not thinking that there would be any strife? What
                    > planet do you live on?)

                    Again, I think it is plausible that Jesus' entertained the possibilty of his
                    death due to his course of action in the Temple. But I do not know of any
                    instance in which Jesus, apart from the passages whose authenticity I
                    dispute, shared such anticipation regarding his possible death with his
                    disciples.

                    > In short, I find it utterly unremarkable that Jesus would have fretted
                    > about going to Jerusalem *even before he left Galilee.* I am not pleading
                    > for any great prophetic powers here, just some common sense and a little
                    > awareness of the politics of his time. After all, within his lifetime, or
                    > at least shortly before, dozens or hundreds of people had been crucified
                    > in Galilee for resisting Roman authority.

                    I do not find Jesus anywhere resisting Roman authority. It was the Temple
                    cult, in my view, which Jesus attacked. I find no indisputable evidence
                    that historical Jesus anticipated that he would be crucified as a Roman
                    punishment for his attack upon the Temple cult.

                    > And I would find it utterly
                    > unremarkable that Jesus did not hide his fretting from his companions.
                    > Whether it occurred at precisely 3 occasions with the same formula, as
                    > recited by Mark, is to me a different question, but what may indeed lay
                    > behind those sayings, later understood and reframed as predictions of the
                    > passion, was just such fretting. And if the night before the arrest, his
                    > companions had seen him getting more agitated, and going off to pray while
                    > showing more agitation than usual (especially in retrospect), I should
                    > think it utterly unremarkable for them to project onto the Garden scene
                    > the very frettings that he had already articulated.

                    Again, the evidence I have marshalled indicates to me, as I have articulated
                    in a number of posts, that Jesus was summarily arrested as a result of his
                    provocative act against the Temple cult, was taken to Caiaphas who delivered
                    him to Pilate with the charge of thievery. And Pilate crucified him for
                    thievery, the customary Roman capital punishment for thievery (see Martin
                    Hengel's _Crucifixion_). Thus, there could not have been, in my judgment,
                    a "last" supper which Jesus had with his disciples subsequent to the Temple
                    incident and Jesus' arrest. And likewise Jesus would not have had an
                    opportunity following that supper to go to Gethesmane, pray and then be
                    arrested there.

                    > I notice with interest how *little* Jesus' "prayer" in Gethsemane actually
                    > says. And if Mark thought to dress up the situation by framing it in a bit
                    > of prophetic imagery, fine. But to say he made up the whole thing from
                    > start to finish is to me a vast overstatement that goes far beyond what
                    > you can actually demonstrate. All you have, Ted, is an interesting
                    > hypothesis.
                    > Don't try to make more of it than that.

                    I stand by the evidence that I have presented in my "Two Jesuses" thesis as
                    well as the many posts I have presented on XTalk since the first of this
                    year. I present it as a hypothesis. I think I have made a persuasive
                    argument for the hypothesis. Obviously, you do not find that to be the
                    case, and there are others who will also not find the argument for my thesis
                    persuasive. But some, on the other hand, have found my thesis persuasive.
                    The fact that at least you find my thesis "interesting" is yet a high
                    compliment. Alfred North Whitehead once said, if I may paraphrase him,
                    that the most important thing about a proposition is not that it be true or
                    false, but rather that it be interesting.

                    > At least, that's my take on the Gethsemane situation.

                    And I appreciate your take. It causes me to reflect upon my own take to
                    see if I have failed to consider all possible factors in arriving at my
                    thesis.

                    Thank you for engaging me in dialogue.

                    Best,

                    Ted
                    Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.,
                    Retired
                    Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, 1964
                  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                    Has anyone heard from Ed Tyler? Wasn t he evacuating from southern Louisiana? Jeffery Hodges University Degrees: Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley (Doctoral
                    Message 9 of 18 , Sep 9, 2005
                      Has anyone heard from Ed Tyler?

                      Wasn't he evacuating from southern Louisiana?

                      Jeffery Hodges



                      University Degrees:

                      Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                      (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                      M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                      B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

                      Email Address:

                      jefferyhodges@...

                      Blog:

                      http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

                      Office Address:

                      Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                      Department of English Language and Literature
                      Korea University
                      136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                      Seoul
                      South Korea

                      Home Address:

                      Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                      Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                      Sinnae-dong 795
                      Jungrang-gu
                      Seoul 131-770
                      South Korea
                    • Ed
                      Hi, Jeffery and list! I decided to stay put and devote time to volunteer relief. Spent much of last week cutting up fallen trees so they could be removed, but
                      Message 10 of 18 , Sep 9, 2005
                        Hi, Jeffery and list!

                        I decided to stay put and devote time to volunteer relief. Spent much of
                        last week cutting up fallen trees so they could be removed, but also worked
                        with a local community college to start up an ad hoc 8-week semester for
                        students who were displaced by Katrina. Most rewarding, but I sure wish we
                        didn't have to do it. Can't say as I recommend sitting through a hurricane,
                        either, for that matter. Nest time, I'm going to Kansas City.

                        Baton Rouge was hit but not devastated, and has become Louisiana's largest
                        city. Having almost tripled in population, it is likely to *stay*
                        Louisiana's largest city for some time. We still have about 30,000 people
                        without electricity, though; (down from about 500,000) and unfortunately
                        many of the reception sites for evacuees are in the area without power. LSU
                        is one large triage unit, with medevac flights and ambulances still coming
                        in daily with distressing frequency. New Orleans has got all the press, but
                        St. Bernard and Plaquemine parishes are also wiped out.

                        Thanks for asking! I've recently come across a couple of anthropological
                        items that I think the list will find interesting but it will probably be a
                        few weeks before I can get around to posting.

                        best to all

                        Ed

                        Lee Edgar Tyler
                        Director of Global Studies


                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Horace Jeffery Hodges" <jefferyhodges@...>
                        To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 6:29 PM
                        Subject: [XTalk] Off-Topic Query


                        > Has anyone heard from Ed Tyler?
                        >
                        > Wasn't he evacuating from southern Louisiana?
                        >
                        > Jeffery Hodges
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > University Degrees:
                        >
                        > Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                        > (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                        > M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                        > B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
                        >
                        > Email Address:
                        >
                        > jefferyhodges@...
                        >
                        > Blog:
                        >
                        > http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
                        >
                        > Office Address:
                        >
                        > Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                        > Department of English Language and Literature
                        > Korea University
                        > 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                        > Seoul
                        > South Korea
                        >
                        > Home Address:
                        >
                        > Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                        > Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                        > Sinnae-dong 795
                        > Jungrang-gu
                        > Seoul 131-770
                        > South Korea
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                        >
                        > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
                        > crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        > List managers may be contacted directly at:
                        > crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • Gordon Raynal
                        Good to hear you re okay and doing what is really important work! Blessings, Gordon Raynal Inman, SC
                        Message 11 of 18 , Sep 9, 2005
                          Good to hear you're okay and doing what is really important work!
                          Blessings,
                          Gordon Raynal
                          Inman, SC
                          On Sep 9, 2005, at 9:20 PM, Ed wrote:

                          > Hi, Jeffery and list!
                          >
                          > I decided to stay put and devote time to volunteer relief. Spent much
                          > of
                          > last week cutting up fallen trees so they could be removed, but also
                          > worked
                          > with a local community college to start up an ad hoc 8-week semester
                          > for
                          > students who were displaced by Katrina. Most rewarding, but I sure
                          > wish we
                          > didn't have to do it. Can't say as I recommend sitting through a
                          > hurricane,
                          > either, for that matter. Nest time, I'm going to Kansas City.
                          >
                          > Baton Rouge was hit but not devastated, and has become Louisiana's
                          > largest
                          > city. Having almost tripled in population, it is likely to *stay*
                          > Louisiana's largest city for some time. We still have about 30,000
                          > people
                          > without electricity, though; (down from about 500,000) and
                          > unfortunately
                          > many of the reception sites for evacuees are in the area without
                          > power. LSU
                          > is one large triage unit, with medevac flights and ambulances still
                          > coming
                          > in daily with distressing frequency. New Orleans has got all the
                          > press, but
                          > St. Bernard and Plaquemine parishes are also wiped out.
                          >
                          > Thanks for asking! I've recently come across a couple of
                          > anthropological
                          > items that I think the list will find interesting but it will probably
                          > be a
                          > few weeks before I can get around to posting.
                          >
                          > best to all
                          >
                          > Ed
                          >
                          > Lee Edgar Tyler
                          > Director of Global Studies
                          >
                          >
                          > ----- Original Message -----
                          > From: "Horace Jeffery Hodges" <jefferyhodges@...>
                          > To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                          > Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 6:29 PM
                          > Subject: [XTalk] Off-Topic Query
                          >
                          >
                          >> Has anyone heard from Ed Tyler?
                          >>
                          >> Wasn't he evacuating from southern Louisiana?
                          >>
                          >> Jeffery Hodges
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >> University Degrees:
                          >>
                          >> Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                          >> (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic
                          >> Texts")
                          >> M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                          >> B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
                          >>
                          >> Email Address:
                          >>
                          >> jefferyhodges@...
                          >>
                          >> Blog:
                          >>
                          >> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
                          >>
                          >> Office Address:
                          >>
                          >> Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                          >> Department of English Language and Literature
                          >> Korea University
                          >> 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                          >> Seoul
                          >> South Korea
                          >>
                          >> Home Address:
                          >>
                          >> Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                          >> Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                          >> Sinnae-dong 795
                          >> Jungrang-gu
                          >> Seoul 131-770
                          >> South Korea
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >> The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                          >>
                          >> To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
                          >> crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          >>
                          >> To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to:
                          >> crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          >>
                          >> List managers may be contacted directly at:
                          >> crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
                          >>
                          >>
                          >> Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                          >
                          > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
                          > crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          >
                          > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to:
                          > crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          >
                          > List managers may be contacted directly at:
                          > crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
                          >
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • Bob Schacht
                          ... Ed, Thanks for your swift reply. I am greatly relieved to hear that you re OK. Thanks to Jeffery for thinking to ask. Everyone has to live somewhere, and
                          Message 12 of 18 , Sep 9, 2005
                            At 03:20 PM 9/9/2005, Ed wrote:
                            >Hi, Jeffery and list!
                            >
                            >I decided to stay put and devote time to volunteer relief. ...
                            >Thanks for asking! I've recently come across a couple of anthropological
                            >items that I think the list will find interesting but it will probably be a
                            >few weeks before I can get around to posting.
                            >
                            >best to all
                            >
                            >Ed

                            Ed,
                            Thanks for your swift reply. I am greatly relieved to hear that you're OK.
                            Thanks to Jeffery for thinking to ask.
                            Everyone has to live somewhere, and there's no place I know of this side of
                            the Great Beyond that is immune from disasters. Here in Hawaii, we don't
                            often have hurricanes but they do happen (last one was called Iniki, about
                            14 years ago, and it devastated one of the neighbor islands). We
                            occasionally get hit with a tsunami, but not often. There is an awful lot
                            of water around here, and I'm glad it's staying put (for the time being, at
                            least).

                            Thanks for writing, Ed, and I'll look forward to those anthropological
                            tidbits when you have the time.

                            Bob in HI


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                            Ed, good to hear that you re healthy and helping. I had thought of you often and wondered if you were okay, but I wasn t at a computer at the times that I
                            Message 13 of 18 , Sep 9, 2005
                              Ed, good to hear that you're healthy and helping. I
                              had thought of you often and wondered if you were
                              okay, but I wasn't at a computer at the times that I
                              thought of you.

                              That's not much of an excuse, is it?

                              I, too, look forward to the anthropological posts.

                              Jeffery Hodges

                              --- Ed <leeedgartyler@...> wrote:

                              > Hi, Jeffery and list!
                              >
                              > I decided to stay put and devote time to volunteer
                              > relief. Spent much of
                              > last week cutting up fallen trees so they could be
                              > removed, but also worked
                              > with a local community college to start up an ad hoc
                              > 8-week semester for
                              > students who were displaced by Katrina. Most
                              > rewarding, but I sure wish we
                              > didn't have to do it. Can't say as I recommend
                              > sitting through a hurricane,
                              > either, for that matter. Nest time, I'm going to
                              > Kansas City.
                              >
                              > Baton Rouge was hit but not devastated, and has
                              > become Louisiana's largest
                              > city. Having almost tripled in population, it is
                              > likely to *stay*
                              > Louisiana's largest city for some time. We still
                              > have about 30,000 people
                              > without electricity, though; (down from about
                              > 500,000) and unfortunately
                              > many of the reception sites for evacuees are in the
                              > area without power. LSU
                              > is one large triage unit, with medevac flights and
                              > ambulances still coming
                              > in daily with distressing frequency. New Orleans
                              > has got all the press, but
                              > St. Bernard and Plaquemine parishes are also wiped
                              > out.
                              >
                              > Thanks for asking! I've recently come across a
                              > couple of anthropological
                              > items that I think the list will find interesting
                              > but it will probably be a
                              > few weeks before I can get around to posting.
                              >
                              > best to all
                              >
                              > Ed
                              >
                              > Lee Edgar Tyler
                              > Director of Global Studies

                              University Degrees:

                              Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                              (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                              M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                              B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

                              Email Address:

                              jefferyhodges@...

                              Blog:

                              http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

                              Office Address:

                              Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              Department of English Language and Literature
                              Korea University
                              136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                              Seoul
                              South Korea

                              Home Address:

                              Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                              Sinnae-dong 795
                              Jungrang-gu
                              Seoul 131-770
                              South Korea
                            • Jim West
                              ... I second Gordon s comments! Best Jim -- Jim West, ThD Biblical Studies Resources - http://web.infoave.net/~jwest Biblical Theology Weblog -
                              Message 14 of 18 , Sep 10, 2005
                                Gordon Raynal wrote:
                                > Good to hear you're okay and doing what is really important work!
                                > Blessings,
                                > Gordon Raynal
                                > Inman, SC
                                > On Sep 9, 2005, at 9:20 PM, Ed wrote:
                                >
                                >


                                I second Gordon's comments!

                                Best

                                Jim

                                --
                                Jim West, ThD

                                Biblical Studies Resources - http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
                                Biblical Theology Weblog - http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com

                                Non ergo fidem confirmare potest ulla creatura -- Huldrych Zwingli
                              • Stephen C. Carlson
                                ... Same here! Stephen Carlson -- Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@mindspring.com Weblog:
                                Message 15 of 18 , Sep 10, 2005
                                  At 08:24 AM 9/10/2005 -0400, Jim West wrote:
                                  >Gordon Raynal wrote:
                                  >> Good to hear you're okay and doing what is really important work!
                                  >> On Sep 9, 2005, at 9:20 PM, Ed wrote:
                                  >
                                  >I second Gordon's comments!

                                  Same here!

                                  Stephen Carlson

                                  --
                                  Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                                  Weblog: http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
                                  Author of: The Gospel Hoax, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481
                                • Bob Schacht
                                  ... Ted, Thank you for your polite and gracious reply to my intemperate rant. I do appreciate it when you present it as a hypothesis, and when it appears to be
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Sep 10, 2005
                                    At 06:21 AM 9/9/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                                    >Bob Schacht wrote on Wednesday, August 17, 2005:
                                    >
                                    > > Ted,
                                    > > Methodologically, it is not necessary for me to prove the contrary, or
                                    > > even suggest a contrary.
                                    > > I guess it is your right to say anything you want to, and to have any
                                    > > opinion that you want to. What I am objecting to is your pretense of
                                    > > certainty about what can only be a plausible hypothesis. I have no problem
                                    > > with your "de novo" claim as a hypothesis. But you are obviously not
                                    > > satisfied with any such modest position.
                                    >
                                    >Bob,
                                    >With regard to my "de novo" claim, I do present it as a hypothesis.
                                    >Very [few?] things are a certainty when we are reconstructing the
                                    >historical past.

                                    Ted,
                                    Thank you for your polite and gracious reply to my intemperate rant.
                                    I do appreciate it when you present it as a hypothesis, and when it appears
                                    to be more than a mere technicality.

                                    >I usually qualify such claims with "in my judgment" or "from my
                                    >perspective," qualifying phrases which I intend to suggest that I am not
                                    >making assured, incontestable claims.

                                    I appreciate that when I see it.

                                    > I indicated
                                    >the same in my post to you of 8/8 and I quote from it, setting off the
                                    >qualifying phrases with double astericks:
                                    >
                                    >"I **find** the entire Gethsemane episode to be constructed largely from
                                    >motifs found in the Davidic saga of 2 Sam. 15-17

                                    "Find" does not seem to me to be a "qualifying" word. How can you "find"
                                    something that's not there? "See" would be a better verb in this situation,
                                    because we are well aware of mirages and other visual hallucinations. Or
                                    better yet, the stock phrase "It seems to me...."

                                    >... With specific reference to Jesus' prayer, (14:36), Jesus'
                                    >resignation ("not what I will but what thou wilt") is an imitation
                                    >(MIMESIS) of David's resignation
                                    >in 2 Sam. 15:25:

                                    The verb "is" in this context looks a lot like a statement of fact rather
                                    than a hypothesis. "Looks like" would have been more palatable (to me).

                                    >... The cup which Jesus wishes removed is the cup of death, which I
                                    >contend was
                                    >imaged by Mark after the Socratic cup of death. ...

                                    "Contend" is quite acceptable in a "qualified" statement.



                                    >"To back up **my thesis** that Mark created the entire Gethsemane episode
                                    >*de novo* . . . "
                                    >
                                    >Bob, I do not find that my rhetoric represents, as you put it, my "pretense
                                    >of certainty." I stated that I was presenting "my thesis," i.e., my
                                    >plausible hypothesis. Please help me understand how my rhetoric here comes
                                    >across as a "pretense of certainty."

                                    I appreciate your concern. In my rant, I exaggerated the extent of your
                                    "pretense." I attempted to show above why, despite your initial
                                    presentation, your choice of words *during* your presentation made it seem
                                    to me like your initial caution was a mere formality. However, maybe that's
                                    just me.

                                    >...I do not deny that Jesus may well have entertained the possibility of his
                                    >death in his confrontation with the Jerusalem Temple cult, particularly when
                                    >he engaged in the provocative act in the Temple, which I hold as likely
                                    >historical. But I do not find any evidence elsewhere in the Jesus
                                    >tradition, aside from Jn 17 (which is widely held by scholars to *not* be an
                                    >authentic prayer of Jesus) that suggests that Jesus offered a prayer to God
                                    >regarding his divine commission to accept martyrdom as part of his divinely
                                    >ordained purpose. In fact, as I have pointed out in my reply to Rikk Watts
                                    >that Martin Hengel has indicated that there is no theology of martyrdom in
                                    >the Old Testament which could have served as the catalyst and ideational
                                    >orientation for the Jesus prayer in Gethsemane. A theology of martyrdom,
                                    >according to Hengel, did not enter Judaic theology until 2 Maccabees and,
                                    >particularly 4 Maccabees. And I know of nothing in the Jesus tradition to
                                    >suggest that Jesus was acquainted with the theology of martyrdom in either
                                    >of those works.

                                    This paragraph may be taken as an exemplar of another difference in our
                                    perspectives dictated perhaps by differences in our training. As an expert
                                    in literary analysis, to you its only real if it was written down, and
                                    survived for our analysis. You concede the existence of a non-written
                                    reality, but in effect, methodologically, it might as well never have
                                    existed. On the other hand, I was trained in the anthropology of
                                    semi-literate societies, and was taught to think about what does not make
                                    it into the documents.

                                    > There is no precedence in the Old Testament for prophets being martyred,

                                    Really? I suppose it depends on what you consider "martyred". Of course,
                                    the poor dears stopped writing after they were stoned to death or otherwise
                                    killed. You will probably ask for *literary* evidence of the execution of
                                    prophets. I turn first to Josephus, who shows that the Romans did not
                                    hesitate to destroy anyone whom they thought was a threat to their rule.
                                    Furthermore, Josephus is full of descriptions of intra-Jewish strife, with
                                    lethal effect.
                                    2 & 4 Maccabees also seems relevant to me, even if you can't detect its
                                    **literary** fingerprints in the surviving record of the life of Jesus.

                                    So I'd turn the question around: What makes you think that prophets enjoyed
                                    any particular protection?

                                    > and the only Old Testament depiction
                                    >of a vicarious, atoning death is Isa. 53 (see _Atonement_, 8-12, 19-20)....

                                    Not all martyrdoms involve atonement. This also bugs me about your
                                    argument. A question about whether or not Jesus anticipated his execution
                                    during his trip to Jerusalem turns into a theological argument about
                                    atonement. I don't like this kind of escalation of what's at stake. To me,
                                    they're different issues. Please don't pile issues on my claims that have
                                    no part in my argument. In fact, the "martyrdom" is a piling on, too. I
                                    only claimed that Jesus might reasonably have foreseen his own death; I
                                    didn't say anything about either martyrdom or atonement!!!

                                    I have no position on whether Jesus thought his death would be atoning; in
                                    fact, I would tend to agree with you that atonement was probably not part
                                    of the original Jesus program. Later, you asked:

                                    > >>... But let us go back to your question:
                                    > >>I would like to know what in the Gethsemane
                                    > >>episode you think is rooted in historical fact, and not invented by Mark,
                                    > >>aside from the fact that at some point Jesus was arrested (I think
                                    > >>following his provocative act in the Temple)?
                                    > >
                                    > > At the core of the Gethsemane episode is Jesus' realization of impending
                                    > > doom, in such Markan hints as "this hour" and "this cup." You make fun of
                                    > > this passage, belittling it because, if the framing were taken literally,
                                    > > no one could have heard what he said. But unless you also doubt the
                                    > > historicity of the Temple Incident (which seems to be the one thing other
                                    > > than the arrest and crucifixion that you DO accept as historical), then
                                    > > Jesus *had* to know that by this and other things he had placed himself in
                                    > > jeopardy.

                                    Let me pause here to note that "placing himself in jeopardy" is not the
                                    same as seeking martyrdom, or anticipating that one's death would be
                                    "atoning". I never said anything about either.


                                    >If you found that I was making fun of the passage, I am sorry that you took
                                    >it that way.

                                    OK, perhaps I misread your tone. I apologize for that.

                                    > > ...There's also the Threefold Prediction of the passion, which I
                                    > > know that you also throw out as unhistorical, and other indications that
                                    > > Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem was going to be dangerous. (Do you, by
                                    > > the way, reject as unhistorical every single anticipation that going to
                                    > > Jerusalem would be dangerous? What do you think, that Jesus went out on a
                                    > > simple-minded stroll, not thinking that there would be any strife? What
                                    > > planet do you live on?)
                                    >
                                    >Again, I think it is plausible that Jesus' entertained the possibilty of his
                                    >death due to his course of action in the Temple. But I do not know of any
                                    >instance in which Jesus, apart from the passages whose authenticity I
                                    >dispute, shared such anticipation regarding his possible death with his
                                    >disciples.

                                    This again is argument from literary exclusion: If it wasn't written down,
                                    then no matter how reasonable, it didn't happen. Actually, it *was* written
                                    down. You just reject the authenticity of what was written about this.
                                    If it didn't happen exactly the way the disputed passages said, I take the
                                    disputed passages as an indication that some such anticipation was indeed
                                    shared. I don't know why you think this is so unreasonable.

                                    > > In short, I find it utterly unremarkable that Jesus would have fretted
                                    > > about going to Jerusalem *even before he left Galilee.* I am not pleading
                                    > > for any great prophetic powers here, just some common sense and a little
                                    > > awareness of the politics of his time. After all, within his lifetime, or
                                    > > at least shortly before, dozens or hundreds of people had been crucified
                                    > > in Galilee for resisting Roman authority.
                                    >
                                    >I do not find Jesus anywhere resisting Roman authority. It was the Temple
                                    >cult, in my view, which Jesus attacked. I find no indisputable evidence
                                    >that historical Jesus anticipated that he would be crucified as a Roman
                                    >punishment for his attack upon the Temple cult.

                                    Let's look at this in context: with respect to a fatal outcome, what he had
                                    to fear was stoning by the Jews, or crucifixion by the Romans. Weren't
                                    those the usual fatal outcomes? And was it also not widely known that the
                                    Jewish leaders could arrest someone, and then hand him over to the Romans
                                    as a danger to the state?
                                    It seems not unreasonable to me that Jesus might well have understood that
                                    Jewish authorities might conspire with Roman authorities to squelch someone
                                    who they considered a threat to the Temple Cult. Let's not parse the
                                    legalese too finely here, if marginally legal scenarios are credible.

                                    >...Again, the evidence I have marshalled indicates to me, as I have
                                    >articulated
                                    >in a number of posts, that Jesus was summarily arrested as a result of his
                                    >provocative act against the Temple cult, was taken to Caiaphas who delivered
                                    >him to Pilate with the charge of thievery. And Pilate crucified him for
                                    >thievery, the customary Roman capital punishment for thievery (see Martin
                                    >Hengel's _Crucifixion_). Thus, there could not have been, in my judgment,
                                    >a "last" supper which Jesus had with his disciples subsequent to the Temple
                                    >incident and Jesus' arrest. And likewise Jesus would not have had an
                                    >opportunity following that supper to go to Gethesmane, pray and then be
                                    >arrested there.

                                    You pose quite a one-two punch. First, only literary evidence is
                                    admissible. Second, what literary evidence survives can be dismissed as
                                    unhistorical. Using this combination punch, no wonder you come to so many
                                    minimalist conclusions.

                                    Judgments differ. Let us consider the situation: You grant the historicity
                                    of the Temple Incident. You also grant that Jesus was not immediately
                                    arrested. So what do you expect their mood was that evening? To continue as
                                    if nothing had happened??? I submit that they had every reason to be
                                    fearful, and whether or not they had a ritualized "Last Supper", they had
                                    reason to fear that it might be the last supper that they would have
                                    together. And Jesus, the active agent in the Temple Incident, would have
                                    the most to fear. So the "evidence" from our texts that you dismiss as
                                    unhistorical may not have happened *exactly* as written, but I think you
                                    often throw out the baby with the bathwater.

                                    >...The fact that at least you find my thesis "interesting" is yet a high
                                    >compliment. Alfred North Whitehead once said, if I may paraphrase him,
                                    >that the most important thing about a proposition is not that it be true or
                                    >false, but rather that it be interesting.
                                    >
                                    > > At least, that's my take on the Gethsemane situation.
                                    >
                                    >And I appreciate your take. It causes me to reflect upon my own take to
                                    >see if I have failed to consider all possible factors in arriving at my
                                    >thesis.
                                    >
                                    >Thank you for engaging me in dialogue.

                                    Thank you for your patient response to my rant. I hope that I have
                                    clarified my objections in a useful way.

                                    Bob

                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Theodore Weeden
                                    ... And thank you, Bob. I apologize for my delay in responding to your points in this post. [snip] ... There is no question in my mind that early Christian
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Sep 23, 2005
                                      Bob Schacht wrote on September 10, 2005:

                                      > At 06:21 AM 9/9/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                                      >>Bob Schacht wrote on Wednesday, August 17, 2005:

                                      >> > Ted,
                                      >> > Methodologically, it is not necessary for me to prove the contrary, or
                                      >> > even suggest a contrary.
                                      >> > I guess it is your right to say anything you want to, and to have any
                                      >> > opinion that you want to. What I am objecting to is your pretense of
                                      >> > certainty about what can only be a plausible hypothesis. I have no
                                      >> > problem
                                      >> > with your "de novo" claim as a hypothesis. But you are obviously not
                                      >> > satisfied with any such modest position.

                                      >>Bob,
                                      >>With regard to my "de novo" claim, I do present it as a hypothesis.
                                      >>Very [few?] things are a certainty when we are reconstructing the
                                      >>historical past.

                                      > Ted,
                                      > Thank you for your polite and gracious reply to my intemperate rant.
                                      > I do appreciate it when you present it as a hypothesis, and when it
                                      > appears
                                      > to be more than a mere technicality.

                                      And thank you, Bob. I apologize for my delay in responding to your points
                                      in this post.

                                      [snip]

                                      >>...I do not deny that Jesus may well have entertained the possibility of
                                      >>his
                                      >>death in his confrontation with the Jerusalem Temple cult, particularly
                                      >>when
                                      >>he engaged in the provocative act in the Temple, which I hold as likely
                                      >>historical. But I do not find any evidence elsewhere in the Jesus
                                      >>tradition, aside from Jn 17 (which is widely held by scholars to *not* be
                                      >>an
                                      >>authentic prayer of Jesus) that suggests that Jesus offered a prayer to
                                      >>God
                                      >>regarding his divine commission to accept martyrdom as part of his
                                      >>divinely
                                      >>ordained purpose. In fact, as I have pointed out in my reply to Rikk
                                      >>Watts
                                      >>that Martin Hengel has indicated that there is no theology of martyrdom in
                                      >>the Old Testament which could have served as the catalyst and ideational
                                      >>orientation for the Jesus prayer in Gethsemane. A theology of martyrdom,
                                      >>according to Hengel, did not enter Judaic theology until 2 Maccabees and,
                                      >>particularly 4 Maccabees. And I know of nothing in the Jesus tradition to
                                      >>suggest that Jesus was acquainted with the theology of martyrdom in either
                                      >>of those works.
                                      >
                                      > This paragraph may be taken as an exemplar of another difference in our
                                      > perspectives dictated perhaps by differences in our training. As an expert
                                      > in literary analysis, to you its only real if it was written down, and
                                      > survived for our analysis. You concede the existence of a non-written
                                      > reality, but in effect, methodologically, it might as well never have
                                      > existed. On the other hand, I was trained in the anthropology of
                                      > semi-literate societies, and was taught to think about what does not make
                                      > it into the documents.

                                      There is no question in my mind that early Christian orality which
                                      promulgated Jesus sayings and Jesus acts preceded early Christian
                                      Gospel-textuality which promulgated the Jesus tradition (i.e., textual Q,
                                      Thomas, the canonical Gospels). I hold it to be quite unlikely that the
                                      promulgation of the oral Jesus tradition would have ceased to be a medium
                                      for rehearsing and spreading the Jesus tradition once textuality became a
                                      rhetorical medium for that tradition. That is, the oral Jesus tradition did
                                      not die once the textual Jesus tradition was born. But how long that oral
                                      tradition survived separately and independent of Gospel-textuality is hard
                                      to know. The issue at this point, over which we differ, as I see it, is to
                                      what extent an author such as Mark was dependent upon both written sources
                                      and oral sources in shaping his passion prediction, specifically with
                                      respect to the case in point, namely the Gethsemane incident. In general,
                                      I think that Mark was dependent upon some oral sources, for example the
                                      parables of Mk 4. But it is not easy to identify where he is drawing upon
                                      such sources and not "freelancing" himself (more on this below). I, also,
                                      am of the judgment that Mark wrote in the idiom of orality so that when his
                                      Gospel was aurally performed in his community, it was experienced by his
                                      hearers as oral proclamation, not as written text. The fact that Mark
                                      composes with the oral medium in mind explains why many scholars have
                                      considered him to be rhetorically unaccomplished and pedestrian, even
                                      clumsy, in his style compared to other Greco-Roman writers.

                                      The issue of identifying where Mark may have used oral sources in his Gospel
                                      is extremely complex and fraught with methodological problems. Unlike
                                      where Mark has drawn upon written sources - (i.e., in my judgment, the David
                                      saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 for his Gethsemane episode; the story of Jesus son of
                                      Ananias for his Jewish and Roman hearings of Jesus; and passages from Psalm
                                      22 for Mk. 15:24, 29-32, 37, and Ps . 69:21, Prov. 31:6 and Isa. 53:12 for
                                      Mk. 15:36, as well as Amos 8:8 for Mk. 15:33 for the composing of his
                                      crucifixion - it is difficult to identify were Mark is directly dependent
                                      upon oral sources, except for the parables, certain aphorisms (see the Jesus
                                      Seminar's _The Five Gospels_, 549-553), and likely some of what the form
                                      critics have identified as apophthegms (Bultmann) or paradigms (Dibelius).
                                      Even given the currency of the Jesus oral tradition at the time Mark wrote,
                                      there is still the problem of determining how much of that tradition still
                                      contains authentic Jesus sayings and acts. As you know I think that Jan
                                      Vansina, Werner Kelber, and James C. Scott have shown that in oral societies
                                      oral tradition underwent considerable transformation and evolution, often at
                                      the sacrifice of preserving historically authentic content, in order to
                                      cause the oral tradition to conform to a society's "present" consciousness
                                      of its self-constructed identity and its need to have its oral tradition to
                                      account for existential exigencies and meet emerging existential needs. I
                                      take Vansina's declaration (_Oral Tradition as History_) seriously that that
                                      a historian must be armed with a healthy skepticism (197), if not outright
                                      suspicion (107f.; 123), when trying to assess the historical reliability of
                                      oral traditions. For a tradition can be considered "true" in an oral
                                      culture but the tradition may not be factual. "One cannot just assume that
                                      truth means faithful transmission of the content of a message. The
                                      historian must be on guard: he cannot assume anything on this score, but
                                      must elucidate it for the culture he studies" (130).

                                      Thus, in applying to the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane Vansina's advice for
                                      skepticism, I am led to the conclusion that Jesus did not pray that prayer
                                      for the following reasons: (1) the Gethsemane episodes shows convincing
                                      evidence, in my judgment, that it is modeled after the Davidic saga, as I
                                      have noted above and in my XTalk posts, (2) the Jesus prayer seems to
                                      imitate David's wrestling with God's will on the Mt. of Olives in that saga,
                                      and (3) it is widely known that ancient historians, as early it appears with
                                      Herodotus, and certainly with Thucydides, invented speeches for their
                                      characters. With respect to (3), Mark must have been trained in Greek
                                      rhetoric in order to be literate in Greek, and thus he would have known the
                                      rhetorical conventions of inventing speeches for characters. That does not
                                      mean that Jesus may not have ruminated on the possibility of facing death in
                                      his opposition to the Judean Temple establishment, but there is no evidence
                                      that I am aware of in the Jesus tradition, aside from the Gethsemane,
                                      incident that he did so.

                                      >> There is no precedence in the Old Testament for prophets being
                                      >> martyred,
                                      >
                                      > Really? I suppose it depends on what you consider "martyred". Of course,
                                      > the poor dears stopped writing after they were stoned to death or
                                      > otherwise
                                      > killed. You will probably ask for *literary* evidence of the execution of
                                      > prophets. I turn first to Josephus, who shows that the Romans did not
                                      > hesitate to destroy anyone whom they thought was a threat to their rule.
                                      > Furthermore, Josephus is full of descriptions of intra-Jewish strife, with
                                      > lethal effect.
                                      > 2 & 4 Maccabees also seems relevant to me, even if you can't detect its
                                      > **literary** fingerprints in the surviving record of the life of Jesus.

                                      > So I'd turn the question around: What makes you think that prophets
                                      > enjoyed
                                      > any particular protection?

                                      On my statement which you cite above, I was drawing upon Hengel. In
                                      contrast to the way Greeks and Romans tended to eulogize their dead heroes
                                      as martyrs, Hengel observes (_The Atonement_, 7f.) that for the Jews death
                                      was treated "without reservation [as] God's judgment and mystery; even in
                                      the case of a Jonathan, the friend of David who is portrayed in such
                                      sympathetic terms, or so God-fearing a king as Josiah . . . . Even the
                                      heroic end of Samson, the Hebrew Heracles, who takes vengeance on his
                                      enemies by his own death (Judg. 16.26-30), seems like an alien body in
                                      ancient Israel. True, there are some references to individual prophets who
                                      are killed (Jer. 26.20ff.; II Chron. 24.20ff.) or persecuted, along with the
                                      Deuteronomistic accusations of the murder of the prophets in Israel (cf.
                                      Neh.9.26) but there is no real report of a prophetic martyrdom, far less any
                                      hints of a 'theology of martyrdom. The theme of the murder of the prophets
                                      serves as a basis for God's judgment on his people; there is still no
                                      interest in the dying prophets themselves and in the circumstances of their
                                      deaths."

                                      Now, whether you agree with Hengel or not, that is his position. However, I
                                      am not wedded to it. And I am not inclined to make a strong case in
                                      support of his position. Hengel does acknowledge that the theology of
                                      martyrdom did enter Jewish consciousness as a result of Hellenistic
                                      influence, and he sees the first evidence in 2 and 4 Maccabees, which I cite
                                      in my original post and you cite above..

                                      >> and the only Old Testament depiction
                                      >>of a vicarious, atoning death is Isa. 53 (see _Atonement_, 8-12,
                                      >>19-20)....

                                      > Not all martyrdoms involve atonement. This also bugs me about your
                                      > argument. A question about whether or not Jesus anticipated his execution
                                      > during his trip to Jerusalem turns into a theological argument about
                                      > atonement. I don't like this kind of escalation of what's at stake. To me,
                                      > they're different issues. Please don't pile issues on my claims that have
                                      > no part in my argument. In fact, the "martyrdom" is a piling on, too. I
                                      > only claimed that Jesus might reasonably have foreseen his own death; I
                                      > didn't say anything about either martyrdom or atonement!!!

                                      I agree with you that "not all martyrdoms involve atonement." In my
                                      original post I was only drawing attention to Hengel's observation that
                                      Greco-Roman writers often depict their heroes as a martyred to atone for
                                      family, friends, native city, or even philosophical truth. But the Old
                                      Testament does not link a hero's death as atoning, with the exception of
                                      Isa. 53. Only with 4 Macc, Hellenistic Jewish document strongly influenced
                                      by Hellenistic ideology with respect to martyrdom serving as atonement) does
                                      Judaism, aside from Isa. 53, entertain the thought that a Jewish hero can
                                      choose martyrdom as an atonement for others.

                                      > I have no position on whether Jesus thought his death would be atoning; in
                                      > fact, I would tend to agree with you that atonement was probably not part
                                      > of the original Jesus program. Later, you asked:

                                      >> >>... But let us go back to your question:
                                      >> >>I would like to know what in the Gethsemane
                                      >> >>episode you think is rooted in historical fact, and not invented by
                                      >> >>Mark,
                                      >> >>aside from the fact that at some point Jesus was arrested (I think
                                      >> >>following his provocative act in the Temple)?
                                      >> >
                                      >> > At the core of the Gethsemane episode is Jesus' realization of
                                      >> > impending
                                      >> > doom, in such Markan hints as "this hour" and "this cup." You make fun
                                      >> > of
                                      >> > this passage, belittling it because, if the framing were taken
                                      >> > literally,
                                      >> > no one could have heard what he said. But unless you also doubt the
                                      >> > historicity of the Temple Incident (which seems to be the one thing
                                      >> > other
                                      >> > than the arrest and crucifixion that you DO accept as historical),
                                      >> > then
                                      >> > Jesus *had* to know that by this and other things he had placed himself
                                      >> > in
                                      >> > jeopardy.

                                      > Let me pause here to note that "placing himself in jeopardy" is not the
                                      > same as seeking martyrdom, or anticipating that one's death would be
                                      > "atoning". I never said anything about either.

                                      We are in agreement on this point.

                                      >>If you found that I was making fun of the passage, I am sorry that you
                                      >>took
                                      >>it that way.

                                      > OK, perhaps I misread your tone. I apologize for that.

                                      Thank you.

                                      >> > ...There's also the Threefold Prediction of the passion, which I
                                      >> > know that you also throw out as unhistorical, and other indications
                                      >> > that
                                      >> > Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem was going to be dangerous. (Do you,
                                      >> > by
                                      >> > the way, reject as unhistorical every single anticipation that going to
                                      >> > Jerusalem would be dangerous? What do you think, that Jesus went out on
                                      >> > a
                                      >> > simple-minded stroll, not thinking that there would be any strife? What
                                      >> > planet do you live on?)
                                      >>
                                      >>Again, I think it is plausible that Jesus' entertained the possibilty of
                                      >>his
                                      >>death due to his course of action in the Temple. But I do not know of
                                      >>any
                                      >>instance in which Jesus, apart from the passages whose authenticity I
                                      >>dispute, shared such anticipation regarding his possible death with his
                                      >>disciples.
                                      >
                                      > This again is argument from literary exclusion: If it wasn't written down,
                                      > then no matter how reasonable, it didn't happen. Actually, it *was*
                                      > written
                                      > down. You just reject the authenticity of what was written about this.
                                      > If it didn't happen exactly the way the disputed passages said, I take the
                                      > disputed passages as an indication that some such anticipation was indeed
                                      > shared. I don't know why you think this is so unreasonable.

                                      Due to the length of this post, and since you have problems with the length
                                      of my posts, I would like to respond to your objection to my disputing that
                                      the passion predictions originated with Jesus in my forthcoming reply to Joe
                                      Codsi's post of 9/14. Joe addresses the issue of the passion predictions
                                      with me in that post. In my reply to him, I, hopefully, will address your
                                      objection here.

                                      >> > In short, I find it utterly unremarkable that Jesus would have fretted
                                      >> > about going to Jerusalem *even before he left Galilee.* I am not
                                      >> > pleading
                                      >> > for any great prophetic powers here, just some common sense and a
                                      >> > little
                                      >> > awareness of the politics of his time. After all, within his lifetime,
                                      >> > or
                                      >> > at least shortly before, dozens or hundreds of people had been
                                      >> > crucified
                                      >> > in Galilee for resisting Roman authority.
                                      >>
                                      >>I do not find Jesus anywhere resisting Roman authority. It was the Temple
                                      >>cult, in my view, which Jesus attacked. I find no indisputable evidence
                                      >>that historical Jesus anticipated that he would be crucified as a Roman
                                      >>punishment for his attack upon the Temple cult.
                                      >
                                      > Let's look at this in context: with respect to a fatal outcome, what he
                                      > had
                                      > to fear was stoning by the Jews, or crucifixion by the Romans. Weren't
                                      > those the usual fatal outcomes? And was it also not widely known that the
                                      > Jewish leaders could arrest someone, and then hand him over to the Romans
                                      > as a danger to the state?
                                      > It seems not unreasonable to me that Jesus might well have understood that
                                      > Jewish authorities might conspire with Roman authorities to squelch
                                      > someone
                                      > who they considered a threat to the Temple Cult. Let's not parse the
                                      > legalese too finely here, if marginally legal scenarios are credible.

                                      It is *possible* that Jesus linked the two forms of execution in his
                                      *possible* rumination about his fate should he attack the Temple cult, as he
                                      did in his provocative act against the Temple.

                                      >>...Again, the evidence I have marshalled indicates to me, as I have
                                      >>articulated
                                      >>in a number of posts, that Jesus was summarily arrested as a result of his
                                      >>provocative act against the Temple cult, was taken to Caiaphas who
                                      >>delivered
                                      >>him to Pilate with the charge of thievery. And Pilate crucified him for
                                      >>thievery, the customary Roman capital punishment for thievery (see Martin
                                      >>Hengel's _Crucifixion_). Thus, there could not have been, in my
                                      >>judgment,
                                      >>a "last" supper which Jesus had with his disciples subsequent to the
                                      >>Temple
                                      >>incident and Jesus' arrest. And likewise Jesus would not have had an
                                      >>opportunity following that supper to go to Gethesmane, pray and then be
                                      >>arrested there.

                                      > You pose quite a one-two punch. First, only literary evidence is
                                      > admissible. Second, what literary evidence survives can be dismissed as
                                      > unhistorical. Using this combination punch, no wonder you come to so many
                                      > minimalist conclusions.

                                      I do not dismiss the possibility of oral evidence. But I do not find any
                                      trace of it in the Markan passion narrative. If you find traces of it, I
                                      would appreciate you drawing them to my attention and articulating your
                                      methodology for how you identify such traces. Without convincing evidence
                                      of oral tradition behind Mark's passion narrative account, I do not know,
                                      except via an argument from silence, how one can argue for existence of such
                                      as a Markan source for his passion narrative. My conclusions, which you I
                                      describe as "minimalist," are based upon what I believe is sound
                                      historical-critical investigation and methodological rigor. Given the fact
                                      that ancient writers, including respected historians, are known for creating
                                      fictive accounts in the interest of their own ideological agenda (see,
                                      e.g.., Samuel Byrskog, _Story a History, History as Story_, 200ff., and
                                      Lovejay Alexander, AFact, Fiction and the Genre of Acts,@ _NTS_, 44 [1998],
                                      380-399). As Alexander puts it (385f.), by the first century CE,
                                      historical writing Asuffered from a fundamental failure to distinguish
                                      >fact= from >fiction.= Despite continuing devotion to >truth= as a
                                      historical ideal, the genre of history in the hellenisitic and Roman periods
                                      laboured under a set of operating assumptions which effectively blurred the
                                      distinction between >fact= and >fiction.= . . . [B]y the first century CE
                                      history as genre was as much concerned with fiction as with fact B or, more
                                      damaging still, . . . >historians and their readers had lost the ability to
                                      distinguish between the two.@ Herodotus made the distinctly post-modern
                                      discovery that beliefs and traditions are >facts= in their own right, even
                                      if things they report are not. The critical historian may doubt that X
                                      exists or Y happened, but it remains a fact that A believes B or that the
                                      story (logos)exists B that X exists or Y happened. The historian is
                                      therefore free to include any number of fanciful or marvelous reports of
                                      monsters and miracles, provided that they are bracketed with the ubiquitous
                                      'so they say . . .'"

                                      Now, since Mark is not writing history as such - and thus would not feel
                                      bound to the canons of Hellenistic historiography - but rather an apologia
                                      for the cross, one, I think, must approach the Markan narrative with a
                                      healthy hermeneutic of suspicion about the factual basis of Mark's narrative
                                      accounts. Thus, I approach the Markan narrative as one in which its
                                      historicity must be reasonably (not just plausibly) shown rather than to
                                      assume its historicity unless it can be proven otherwise.

                                      The caution that Vansina avers with respect to trusting the historicity of
                                      oral tradition I think applies to textuality of the first century,
                                      particularly the Gospels.

                                      If I may interject a personal note here: I think all of us in our
                                      interpretation of Christian documents, particularly canonical documents, do
                                      so with certain biases. For those of us who are committed to the Christian
                                      faith, and particularly brought up and spiritually nurtured by that faith
                                      (as I have been), I think we want to give the Gospel writers, for example,
                                      the benefit of the doubt and want them to have told it "like it was,"
                                      because that supports the foundation of faith. I, for example, would like
                                      to believe as a person of faith, that Jesus prayed the Gethsemane prayer,
                                      for that fits into my faith picture of Jesus. However, as a historian
                                      seeking to be rigorous in applying the methodology of historical criticism
                                      and being logically persuaded by its results, as I have come to terms with
                                      them, I must concede, for all the reasons I have previously stated, that
                                      Jesus did not pray that prayer in Gethsemane, and I can find no evidence of
                                      him having prayed such a prayer elsewhere. Is such a prayer consistent
                                      with the historical Jesus I have reconstructed via the application of the
                                      methodology of historical criticism? Yes. But I cannot claim as a
                                      historian that Jesus prayed the prayer. What Vansina observes (107), with
                                      regard to oral societies' idealization of its heroes, I think applies as
                                      well to Gospel textuality: namely, "Suspicions should be aroused as soon as
                                      characters conform to ideal types. . . . Given human nature, the chances
                                      are that the message is not to be trusted." In Gethsemane, the Markan
                                      Jesus, in my view, does conform to the ideal type according to which
                                      Christian faith has always portrayed him. Thus, my hermeneutic of
                                      suspicion leads me to conclude that the Gethsemane prayer is a fictive
                                      creation of Mark in his idealization of Jesus as an obedient suffering
                                      servant of God. If that for you is throwing out the baby with the bath
                                      water, as you put it below, I cannot honestly and with integrity do
                                      otherwise.

                                      > Judgments differ. Let us consider the situation: You grant the historicity
                                      > of the Temple Incident. You also grant that Jesus was not immediately
                                      > arrested. So what do you expect their mood was that evening? To continue
                                      > as
                                      > if nothing had happened???

                                      What I said above is that "Jesus was *summarily arrested* as a result of his
                                      provocative act against the Temple cult." "Summarily" means "directly and
                                      promptly," or to use your term, he was "immediately" arrested. Thus, if he
                                      was immediately arrested, there could not have been any "Last Supper" after
                                      the Temple incident (as I have submitted, and you quote above from my post).
                                      With his arrest, Jesus was headed for execution as a thief, in the scenario
                                      I propose. Thus, the Last Supper cited by Paul and Mark, from my
                                      perspective, is a fictive creation of post-Easter Hellenistic-Jewish
                                      Christians (as I have proposed in recent XTalk posts on the thread,
                                      "Hellenists Originated the Death Tradition") as an apologia for the death of
                                      Jesus as a salvific death of atonement.

                                      > I submit that they had every reason to be
                                      > fearful, and whether or not they had a ritualized "Last Supper", they had
                                      > reason to fear that it might be the last supper that they would have
                                      > together. And Jesus, the active agent in the Temple Incident, would have
                                      > the most to fear. So the "evidence" from our texts that you dismiss as
                                      > unhistorical may not have happened *exactly* as written, but I think you
                                      > often throw out the baby with the bathwater.

                                      Of course, once arrested Jesus had "the most to fear." I have addressed
                                      the issue of the baby and the bathwater above.

                                      Regards,

                                      Ted
                                      Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
                                      Fairport, NY
                                      Retired
                                      Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
                                    • Bob Schacht
                                      ... [snip] In general, we agree on your prologue about the general principles, complexity of the problem, etc. ... I get lost in this sentence. I think there
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Sep 26, 2005
                                        At 01:49 AM 9/23/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                                        >Bob Schacht wrote on September 10, 2005:

                                        [snip] In general, we agree on your prologue about the general principles,
                                        complexity of the problem, etc.

                                        In this prologue, you wrote:

                                        > Unlike where Mark has drawn upon written sources - (i.e., in my
                                        > judgment, the David saga of 2 Sam. 15-17 for his Gethsemane episode; the
                                        > story of Jesus son of
                                        >Ananias for his Jewish and Roman hearings of Jesus; and passages from Psalm
                                        >22 for Mk. 15:24, 29-32, 37, and Ps . 69:21, Prov. 31:6 and Isa. 53:12 for
                                        >Mk. 15:36, as well as Amos 8:8 for Mk. 15:33 for the composing of his
                                        >crucifixion - it is difficult to identify were Mark is directly dependent
                                        >upon oral sources, except for the parables, certain aphorisms (see the Jesus
                                        >Seminar's _The Five Gospels_, 549-553), and likely some of what the form
                                        >critics have identified as apophthegms (Bultmann) or paradigms (Dibelius).

                                        I get lost in this sentence. I think there may be a close parenthesis
                                        missing; perhaps it belongs instead of the dash after the word
                                        "crucifixion"? If we put it there, we are still in agreement on the main
                                        line of argument, although not necessarily on the first parenthetical
                                        elaboration. I agree with most of the rest of your prologue,
                                        although we might disagree on how much skepticism is "healthy"! Then we
                                        finally arrive at application:

                                        >Thus, in applying to the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane Vansina's advice for
                                        >skepticism, I am led to the conclusion that Jesus did not pray that prayer
                                        >for the following reasons: (1) the Gethsemane episodes shows convincing
                                        >evidence, in my judgment, that it is modeled after the Davidic saga, as I
                                        >have noted above and in my XTalk posts, (2) the Jesus prayer seems to
                                        >imitate David's wrestling with God's will on the Mt. of Olives in that saga,
                                        >and (3) it is widely known that ancient historians, as early it appears with
                                        >Herodotus, and certainly with Thucydides, invented speeches for their
                                        >characters. With respect to (3), Mark must have been trained in Greek
                                        >rhetoric in order to be literate in Greek, and thus he would have known the
                                        >rhetorical conventions of inventing speeches for characters. That does not
                                        >mean that Jesus may not have ruminated on the possibility of facing death in
                                        >his opposition to the Judean Temple establishment, but there is no evidence
                                        >that I am aware of in the Jesus tradition, aside from the Gethsemane,
                                        >incident that he did so....

                                        I note here your careful(?) language that "Jesus did not pray THAT prayer"
                                        (emphasis added). On that basis, I have to concede your argument-- but not
                                        the implication(?) that Jesus did not pray ANY prayer in that situation.
                                        This same methodological difference is involved in most of our
                                        disagreements. I consider it likely that in this situation, as elsewhere,
                                        Mark has some historical fragment of information that he considers
                                        important, but lacks essential elements for story-telling. Many of the
                                        points that you enumerate could then be used to build a story around the
                                        historical kernel available to Mark. The weakness in my position is that I
                                        am not in the position at this time to identify that historical kernel.

                                        Your implication seems to be that there is NOTHING WHATSOEVER about this
                                        event that was historical, and that Mark made the whole thing up from
                                        scratch (de novo). This certainly is an easier strategy than trying to find
                                        the historical needle in the narrative haystack. I also note here your
                                        suggestion elsewhere(?) that Jesus was, contrary to all our written
                                        sources, arrested immediately after the Temple incident, thereby mooting
                                        the entire Gethsemane sequence, as you explained later on in your post.

                                        [much snipping]
                                        Later, you observed:

                                        >If I may interject a personal note here: I think all of us in our
                                        >interpretation of Christian documents, particularly canonical documents, do
                                        >so with certain biases. For those of us who are committed to the Christian
                                        >faith, and particularly brought up and spiritually nurtured by that faith
                                        >(as I have been), I think we want to give the Gospel writers, for example,
                                        >the benefit of the doubt and want them to have told it "like it was,"
                                        >because that supports the foundation of faith. I, for example, would like
                                        >to believe as a person of faith, that Jesus prayed the Gethsemane prayer,
                                        >for that fits into my faith picture of Jesus. However, as a historian
                                        >seeking to be rigorous in applying the methodology of historical criticism
                                        >and being logically persuaded by its results, as I have come to terms with
                                        >them, I must concede, for all the reasons I have previously stated, that
                                        >Jesus did not pray that prayer in Gethsemane, and I can find no evidence of
                                        >him having prayed such a prayer elsewhere. Is such a prayer consistent
                                        >with the historical Jesus I have reconstructed via the application of the
                                        >methodology of historical criticism? Yes. But I cannot claim as a
                                        >historian that Jesus prayed the prayer. What Vansina observes (107), with
                                        >regard to oral societies' idealization of its heroes, I think applies as
                                        >well to Gospel textuality: namely, "Suspicions should be aroused as soon as
                                        >characters conform to ideal types. . . . Given human nature, the chances
                                        >are that the message is not to be trusted." In Gethsemane, the Markan
                                        >Jesus, in my view, does conform to the ideal type according to which
                                        >Christian faith has always portrayed him. Thus, my hermeneutic of
                                        >suspicion leads me to conclude that the Gethsemane prayer is a fictive
                                        >creation of Mark in his idealization of Jesus as an obedient suffering
                                        >servant of God. If that for you is throwing out the baby with the bath
                                        >water, as you put it below, I cannot honestly and with integrity do
                                        >otherwise.

                                        The problem I have with this reasoning is that you proceed immediately from
                                        "Jesus did not pray THAT prayer" (emphasis added) to the position that
                                        Jesus did not pray ANY prayer at Gethsemane. That's what I meant by
                                        throwing out the baby with the bath water. I don't really think that
                                        intellectual rigor requires such a leap. (Oops, I'm mixing my metaphors.)


                                        > > Judgments differ. Let us consider the situation: You grant the historicity
                                        > > of the Temple Incident. You also grant that Jesus was not immediately
                                        > > arrested. So what do you expect their mood was that evening? To continue
                                        > > as if nothing had happened???
                                        >
                                        >What I said above is that "Jesus was *summarily arrested* as a result of his
                                        >provocative act against the Temple cult." "Summarily" means "directly and
                                        >promptly," or to use your term, he was "immediately" arrested. Thus, if he
                                        >was immediately arrested, there could not have been any "Last Supper" after
                                        >the Temple incident (as I have submitted, and you quote above from my post).
                                        >With his arrest, Jesus was headed for execution as a thief, in the scenario
                                        >I propose. Thus, the Last Supper cited by Paul and Mark, from my
                                        >perspective, is a fictive creation of post-Easter Hellenistic-Jewish
                                        >Christians (as I have proposed in recent XTalk posts on the thread,
                                        >"Hellenists Originated the Death Tradition") as an apologia for the death of
                                        >Jesus as a salvific death of atonement.

                                        This technique of disregarding text evidence to suit your hypothesis (used
                                        elsewhere as well as here) strikes me as being awkward and a little too
                                        glib. Does the text interfere with your claim of Jesus' immediate arrest?
                                        No problem! call it unhistorical, and invent a scenario that invalidates
                                        the text! You seem to be as creative as you think Mark is. I could maybe
                                        swallow a fly, and even a sparrow or two. But I feel like I'm also being
                                        asked to swallow a goat, a horse, and a camel. Its too much for me to absorb.

                                        My points of historicity may be summarized, loosely, as these:
                                        * Jesus was not arrested immediately after the Temple Incident. There
                                        is no evidence for that.
                                        * The hours following the Temple Incident were tense, especially for
                                        Jesus. It did not take much in the way of prophetic thinking to see what
                                        was likely to happen next-- not in detail, but in terms of fatal outcome.
                                        His choices were few: Attempt to flee or hide, or fight, or submit.
                                        Fighting would probably mean not only his own death, but the death of all
                                        the disciples who fought with him, who in any case were only lightly armed.
                                        The evidence (provided in Mark and accepted by the other Gospels) that he
                                        withdrew to a familiar place indicates a decision not to flee or hide, but
                                        that decision would still naturally involve a great deal of anxiety.
                                        * Some aspects of the general content of prayers Jesus may have made
                                        earlier, in the company of his disciples, may have been adapted from the
                                        oral tradition and transferred to enhance the plausibility of the scenario.
                                        * Gethsemane may indeed have been known as a gathering place for Jesus
                                        previously, and so provided a plausible setting for those fateful hours.
                                        * In attempting to provide a narrative frame for these hours, and the
                                        outcome, Mark may have borrowed from the sources you cite, in order to
                                        "fill in" details that he lacked.

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

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