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Re: [XTalk] Croy and Mark's Ending

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  • Rikk Watts
    I m not sure I d put too much stock on early correctors of Mark. E.g. although admittedly on a smaller scale both Matt and Luke decide to omit Mark s enigmatic
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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      I'm not sure I'd put too much stock on early correctors of Mark. E.g.
      although admittedly on a smaller scale both Matt and Luke decide to omit
      Mark's enigmatic "For everyone will be salted with fire" (9:49). Presumably
      for Mark and his immediate readers it made sense, but for the larger
      audiences which I assume Matt and Luke had in mind it didn't. Likewise, IMO
      Mark's shorter ending is perfect for what he is up to, but without the
      insider knowledge of his immediate audience it doesn't work so well and
      hence the later attempts to "fix" a problem that originally didn't exist.

      Regards

      Rikk Watts (Cantab)
      Regent College, Vancouver




      On 15/2/06 7:09 AM, "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...> wrote:

      > Having reviewed Croy's book for _Teaching Theology and Religion_
      > recently, I am aware of the book's shortcomings, but on its basic point
      > I feel that a couple of the list members have simply engaged in special
      > pleading rather than listen to what Croy (and many others before him)
      > have said. Mark's Gospel, right at the "end", promises that Jesus will
      > be seen, but it does not happen. The women are also told to speak (and
      > not to keep silent), and yet we're told that they did not say anything
      > to anyone. This leaves the question in the mind of the reader of how the
      > author can be telling a story about something that no one was told
      > about!
      >
      > I have nothing against making sense of a text in the form that it
      > stands, but on what basis would one do that if there is much early
      > evidence (two different endings added by scribes, and two more by other
      > Evangelists, as was pointed out) to suggest that even early readers were
      > aware that something was missing? On the same grounds one could argue
      > that the Gospel of Peter should be treated as beginning "But of the
      > Jews" and explain why the author consciously began that way.
      >
      > James McGrath
      >
      >
      > *****************************
      > Dr. James F. McGrath
      > Assistant Professor of Religion
      > Butler University, Indianapolis
      > http://religion.sytes.net
      > *****************************
      >
      >
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    • RAnderson58@comcast.net
      For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it was never
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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        For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the audience to respond, We will tell the story.

        Richard H. Anderson
      • Tony Buglass
        James wrote: ...a couple of the list members have simply engaged in special pleading rather than listen to what Croy (and many others before him) have said.
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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          James wrote:
          ...a couple of the list members have simply engaged in special
          pleading rather than listen to what Croy (and many others before him)
          have said. Mark's Gospel, right at the "end", promises that Jesus will
          be seen, but it does not happen. The women are also told to speak (and
          not to keep silent), and yet we're told that they did not say anything
          to anyone. This leaves the question in the mind of the reader of how the
          author can be telling a story about something that no one was told
          about!
          I have nothing against making sense of a text in the form that it
          stands, but on what basis would one do that if there is much early
          evidence (two different endings added by scribes, and two more by other
          Evangelists, as was pointed out) to suggest that even early readers were
          aware that something was missing?

          OK - I admit it: I haven't read Croy. I never said I had, and it isn't at
          all guaranteed that I will. I was responding to Ken's setting out of the
          issue, in the light of other stuff which I have read - especially Gundry.
          My point concerned the assumptions of the point that Croy was making. If
          Mk.16:8 *was* the end of his gospel, then no matter what Croy thought, or
          those who created alternative endings to Mark, there is little point in
          surmising what might have been in the bit which wasn't there, 'cos it wasn't
          there. If you get my drift.

          The arguments about the ending of Mk.16 have been well-rehearsed, I think,
          but are obviously not conclusive, since clever people line up on both sides
          of the argument. I'm a simple soul, and it looks to me as if there was no
          more to Mark. I know it's an abrupt ending, but that just means it's an
          abrupt ending. All of the hypotheses about what might have happened to
          whatever else he might have written founder on the lack of evidence: there
          are no MSS to show what might have been an original ending. There are
          alternatives, which appear to be derivative. If the original ending was
          lost or damaged, it had to be early enough for there to be no copies, or for
          there to be few enough copies not to have survived. If it were as early as
          that, why didn't Mark rewrite it? Gundry's theory was that there was an
          original ending which was the source of Matthew's tomb-Christophany.
          Matthew is generally accepted to be several years if not decades later than
          Mark - how many copies wold have been made in that time? I can't see it,
          I'm afraid. Metzger is clear that the best manuscript evidence suggests an
          ending at 16:8.

          As to others feeling something was missing - why did they think that?
          Because Mt & L were in circulation, and they did have "the next bit"? So
          why does that prove that Mark *must* have had it? It certainly sugegsts he
          could have, but in the face of more evidence, that's as far as we can go.
          If he didn't, then we need to account for the reasons why, and that's been
          the puzzle for a lot of folk. The silence of the women has been interpreted
          by some (eg Goulder) to argue that there were no resurrection appearances,
          and Matthew and Luke made them up. On the other hand, Mark doesn't say they
          *never* told anyone, does he? And would it matter if they hadn't - the
          appearance-tradition in 1 Cor.15 predates Mark, doesn't mention the women,
          but has a number of folk who saw him and presumably passed on the good news.
          Which might have encouraged the women to say their piece?

          Who knows? There have been lots of attempts to argue why Mark couldn't have
          ended there, and others to argue that he did end there, and therefore this
          is what he was trying to say. I like Rikk's word "enigmatic" - it's one of
          those words we use when we really mean "difficult to understand why he did
          it that way!" But until anyone can come up with a good explanation of the
          MSS evidence, I have to go with the enigma.

          Cheers,
          Rev Tony Buglass
          Superintendent Minister
          Upper Calder Methodist Circuit
        • Gordon Raynal
          ... Hi Richard, If I might add to this... endings like this are invitations to beginnings/ new beginnings and/ or continuings. The end of the story isn t
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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            On Feb 15, 2006, at 11:14 AM, RAnderson58@... wrote:

            > For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the
            > proposal put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I
            > lent but it was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical
            > device to get the audience to respond, We will tell the story.
            >
            > Richard H. Anderson
            >
            Hi Richard,
            If I might add to this... "endings" like this are invitations to
            beginnings/ new beginnings and/ or continuings. "The end of the story"
            isn't about some satisfying conclusion from the author, but about
            living the story out... a part of which has to do with telling...
            sometimes, but more importantly showing such a story in the community's
            and one's life. Such as this shows up in the likes of James saying,
            "If any think they are religious and do not bridle their tongues, but
            deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless." Ep. James 1:26.
            Read/ performed in community such a story as this dramatic/ comedy
            invites and sustains participation. Lots of novels and in the modern
            world a number of really good movies in one way or another use this
            strategy. It is a quite powerful if righty done. Again, Matthew got
            it and added another dimension to help those who didn't quite get it!

            Gordon Raynal
            Inman, SC
          • Bob Schacht
            ... I am intrigued by this suggestion. Is there any parallel in Hellenistic or Jewish theater or literature for this type of rhetorical device? Bob Schacht ...
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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              At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
              >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal
              >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
              >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
              >audience to respond, We will tell the story.
              >
              >Richard H. Anderson

              I am intrigued by this suggestion. Is there any parallel in Hellenistic or
              Jewish theater or literature for this type of rhetorical device?

              Bob Schacht




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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • peterson@austingrad.edu
              ... I find this precise suggestion implausible but pointing in the right direction. It s implausible because auditors in Christian communities ca. AD 70 are
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                > At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
                > >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the
                > proposal
                > >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
                > >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
                > >audience to respond, We will tell the story.

                I find this precise suggestion implausible but pointing in the right
                direction. It's implausible because auditors in Christian communities ca.
                AD 70 are going to know that in fact the story was told; they will have
                been catechized along the lines of 1 Cor 15:1-11: Christ died, was raised,
                and commissioned apostles to proclaim his impending royal advent. Those
                apostles established and nurtured churches (whose members established yet
                more), and that's how people came to be reclining in a triclinium or
                standing in an atrium hearing this story rehearsed (perhaps in greater
                detail than they had heard it before Mark was written, but in recognizable
                outline).

                The reaction of such a second-generation readership to the Marcan ending
                would not be, "Was this message ever proclaimed?" but "How came the
                message to be proclaimed?" Readers catechized in the way Paul says was
                universal in the first generation would say, "Ah, the disciples were
                faithful after all; the women overcame their fear and told them, and the
                disciples must indeed have seen the risen Lord in Galilee, just as the
                angelic young man said they would. They were willing to risk sharing
                Jesus' fate and continued even when he was no longer on the scene to
                proclaim the kingdom as he had."

                Such a response would be pertinent to the situation of many
                second-generation readers in the wake of the outbreak of open state
                persecution in the imperial capital, the passing of one generation of
                leadership (James in 62, Peter and Paul in 64), and the appearance of the
                desolating sacrilege spoken of by Daniel and the Lord, which portended the
                tribulation preceding Christ's royal advent. "God used the fallible and
                imperfect disciples we see accompanying Jesus to establish the community
                in which we have learned to surrender our life for the sake of Christ and
                his gospel; he can use us to consummate his purposes if we will remain
                steadfast and overcome our fears, as we know the first generation of
                disciples learned to do."

                Something like that is the effect I suggest Mark composed his gospel to
                have. I expect it's a rather unfashionable reading in (inter alia) taking
                the church universal rather than the Marcan community narrowly conceived
                as the interpretive milieu. As I'm in the process of writing this up for
                publication I would appreciate criticism of this summary all the more.

                (c) Jeff Peterson
                Austin Graduate School of Theology
                Austin, Texas
              • RAnderson58@comcast.net
                The name Main Author:of the book and author is Tolbert, Mary Ann, 1947- Title:Sowing the gospel : Mark s world in literary-historical perspective / Primary
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                  The name
                  Main Author:of the book and author is
                  Tolbert, Mary Ann, 1947-
                  Title:Sowing the gospel : Mark's world in literary-historical perspective /
                  Primary Material:Book
                  Publisher:Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1989.
                  Richard H. Anderson


                  -------------- Original message --------------
                  From: Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...>

                  > At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
                  > >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the proposal
                  > >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
                  > >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
                  > >audience to respond, We will tell the story.
                  > >
                  > >Richard H. Anderson
                  >
                  > I am intrigued by this suggestion. Is there any parallel in Hellenistic or
                  > Jewish theater or literature for this type of rhetorical device?
                  >
                  > Bob Schacht
                  >

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Jeff, Good to see your thoughts on this. However, I wonder if you might be reading a bit too much of later praxis into the 70 C.E. scene? 1 Cor 15 is a
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                    At 10:17 AM 2/15/2006, peterson@... wrote:
                    > > At 06:14 AM 2/15/2006, RAnderson58@... wrote:
                    > > >For the reasons set forth by James McGrath, I have felt that the
                    > > proposal
                    > > >put forth, by someone whose name escape me, and whose book I lent but it
                    > > >was never returned, that the ending was a rhetorical device to get the
                    > > >audience to respond, We will tell the story.
                    >
                    >I find this precise suggestion implausible but pointing in the right
                    >direction. It's implausible because auditors in Christian communities ca.
                    >AD 70 are going to know that in fact the story was told; they will have
                    >been catechized along the lines of 1 Cor 15:1-11: Christ died, was raised,
                    >and commissioned apostles to proclaim his impending royal advent.

                    Jeff,
                    Good to see your thoughts on this. However, I wonder if you might be
                    reading a bit too much of later praxis into the 70 C.E. scene? 1 Cor 15 is
                    a good basis, but do we really know how widespread, or how uniform, this
                    catechesis was? I'm just a bit skeptical when I see statements about what
                    auditors in Christian communities ca. AD 70 are "going to know." Surely the
                    resurrection was a core doctrine for Paul, but wasn't he always a bit fuzzy
                    on exactly what it meant?

                    > Those apostles established and nurtured churches (whose members
                    > established yet
                    >more), and that's how people came to be reclining in a triclinium or
                    >standing in an atrium hearing this story rehearsed (perhaps in greater
                    >detail than they had heard it before Mark was written, but in recognizable
                    >outline).
                    >
                    >The reaction of such a second-generation readership to the Marcan ending
                    >would not be, "Was this message ever proclaimed?" but "How came the
                    >message to be proclaimed?" Readers catechized in the way Paul says was
                    >universal in the first generation would say, "Ah, the disciples were
                    >faithful after all; the women overcame their fear and told them, and the
                    >disciples must indeed have seen the risen Lord in Galilee, just as the
                    >angelic young man said they would. They were willing to risk sharing
                    >Jesus' fate and continued even when he was no longer on the scene to
                    >proclaim the kingdom as he had."

                    I don't think so. There were probably lots of "must haves," but probably
                    not much uniformity among them. The conclusions you write as definite would
                    have been questions, and would have provided an opportunity for the elders
                    of the community to answer those questions according to what they had seen
                    and heard.


                    >Such a response would be pertinent to the situation of many
                    >second-generation readers in the wake of the outbreak of open state
                    >persecution in the imperial capital, the passing of one generation of
                    >leadership (James in 62, Peter and Paul in 64), and the appearance of the
                    >desolating sacrilege spoken of by Daniel and the Lord, which portended the
                    >tribulation preceding Christ's royal advent. . . .

                    Your sentence starts out well, but ends with too much back-reading.

                    Here's another alternative: Mark had, indeed, material for a longer ending.
                    However, he had spoken to enough elders to know that others had different
                    experiences of the resurrection, and his own material was not definitive
                    enough, or had not been widely accepted. I suspect he stopped, not because
                    he didn't "know" what happened, but because he knew that there were too
                    many different accounts already, and none were definitive.


                    >Something like that is the effect I suggest Mark composed his gospel to
                    >have. I expect it's a rather unfashionable reading in (inter alia) taking
                    >the church universal rather than the Marcan community narrowly conceived
                    >as the interpretive milieu. As I'm in the process of writing this up for
                    >publication I would appreciate criticism of this summary all the more.

                    I wonder if the shorter ending has anything to do with the Markan Secret?

                    Bob Schacht
                    University of Hawaii

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • peterson@austingrad.edu
                    ... Paul says that Christ s death and resurrection was the substance of the gospel taught by every authority ( apostle ) who claimed a personal commission by
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 15, 2006
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                      > Good to see your thoughts on this. However, I wonder if you might be
                      > reading a bit too much of later praxis into the 70 C.E. scene? 1 Cor 15
                      > is
                      > a good basis, but do we really know how widespread, or how uniform, this
                      > catechesis was?

                      Paul says that Christ's death and resurrection was the substance of the
                      "gospel" taught by every authority ("apostle") who claimed a personal
                      commission by the risen Christ in the first generation of the church's
                      existence ("whether I or they, so we teach and so you believed"). He
                      states this (1) as the predicate of an argument he wants to win with those
                      who deny a general resurrection; (2) as a reminder of what he had taught
                      in the course of founding the Corinthian ekklesia, ca. AD 51, which he in
                      turn had received at his entry into the ekklesia, ca. 35; (3) one chapter
                      before inviting his converts to visit the Jerusalem church, either with or
                      without him accompanying them (16:1-2); (4) in a rhetorical situation in
                      which his authority is challenged on multiple fronts, so that to make a
                      readily falsfiable assertion would be to invalidate his authority.

                      If Paul knew that the faith of Peter and James and other Judean
                      authorities didn't center on Jesus' death and resurrection, then he was a
                      fool to put his converts in touch with them having maintained that it did.
                      And if he knew of venerable communities not committed to a resurrected
                      Christ whose representatives the Corinthians might have encountered or
                      heard of, he would have needed to say somewhere in chap. 15, "Now I know
                      there are followers of Jesus who are iffy on his resurrection, but they're
                      completely wrong and servants of Satan and you better stay the heck away
                      from them." That he doesn't suggests that he was unaware of such; and in
                      that case what reason do we have for supposing their existence?

                      The only teaching about Christ we have any positive evidence for in the
                      first generation is centered on his death and resurrection; and Mark
                      indeed presupposes this throughout his narrative, with the shadow of the
                      cross following over the narrative probably as early as 1:2-3 ("your way"
                      = "the Lord's way" = the way Jesus travels to to Zion, the cross, and the
                      emptied tomb), but certainly by 2:20, the resurrection is prefigured no
                      later than 5:41-42 (probably already in 1:31 and 2:9-12), and of course
                      the death-resurrection sequence becomes a major expectation in the
                      narrative in chaps. 8-10.

                      I'm just a bit skeptical when I see statements about what
                      > auditors in Christian communities ca. AD 70 are "going to
                      > know." Surely the
                      > resurrection was a core doctrine for Paul, but wasn't he always a bit
                      > fuzzy
                      > on exactly what it meant?

                      In 1 Cor 15:35ff, Paul is perhaps a bit unclear or paradoxical on the
                      nature of Christ's resurrection body (although in light of work like Dale
                      Martin's in THE CORINTHIAN BODY I think the charge of unclarity is
                      overdone; a "PNEUMATIKOS body" is a body composed of PNEUMA or rarified
                      etherial matter and freed from corruption for eternal existence). But he
                      is quite clear that Christ, after being executed as an enemy of the Roman
                      order, received from God a glorified postmortem existence in which he
                      commissioned emissaries (the aforementioned "apostles") to announce his
                      exaltation and empowered his followers with his Spirit. While hard to
                      believe, that claim doesn't seem fuzzy to me.

                      Dissent from death-resurrection as founding mythos does enter the
                      Christian community in the second generation, but I can't see evidence for
                      it earlier than the opponents in 1 John (or maybe in some passages of the
                      Gospel). In the absence of evidence, and given Paul's insistence that this
                      teaching was uniform in the first generation, I don't see a reason to
                      think otherwise. (Note that this is not a claim to absolute doctrinal or
                      ecclesiastical uniformity in the golden age of the church; it's a claim
                      that Jesus' death and resurrection was the central cult narrative in the
                      first generation.)

                      Jeff Peterson
                      Austin Graduate School of Theology
                      Austin, Texas
                    • Stephen C. Carlson
                      ... Well, the entire point of Croy s book is to reopen the issue of whether Mark 16:8 was the author s ending of the gospel. One thing the textual critics are
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 16, 2006
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                        At 09:50 AM 2/15/2006 +0000, Tony Buglass wrote:
                        >I think Croy is doing what a lot of others have done, and working around
                        >what he thinks Mark "must have been", rather than accepting that what we
                        >have is what Mark is, and looking for literary and theological reasons for
                        >the ending.

                        At 04:28 PM 2/15/2006 +0000, Tony Buglass wrote:
                        >OK - I admit it: I haven't read Croy. I never said I had, and it isn't at
                        >all guaranteed that I will. I was responding to Ken's setting out of the
                        >issue, in the light of other stuff which I have read - especially Gundry.
                        >My point concerned the assumptions of the point that Croy was making. If
                        >Mk.16:8 *was* the end of his gospel, then no matter what Croy thought, or
                        >those who created alternative endings to Mark, there is little point in
                        >surmising what might have been in the bit which wasn't there, 'cos it wasn't
                        >there. If you get my drift.

                        Well, the entire point of Croy's book is to reopen the issue of
                        whether Mark 16:8 was the author's ending of the gospel. One
                        thing the textual critics are good for reminding us is that the
                        "Mark as we have it" is not necessarily the "Mark as it is/was."
                        To ask whether and for whom Mark ended at 16:8 is text-critical
                        question that cannot be avoided.

                        Magness refers to the mutiliation issue in an interesting way
                        as follows (p. 11): "Third, even if we should accept the theory
                        of damage or loss or mutilation or suppression, we must again
                        affirm that, at least for those who read Sinaiticus or Vaticanus,
                        Mark did end at 16:8 and they had to made sense of the Gospel
                        on that basis."

                        This is an astute observation, because, regardless of whether
                        Mark originally ended at 16:8, it did end right there for the
                        people who produced and read those codices. So, Magness is
                        right to probe what does it mean for Mark to end at 16:8.

                        However, I've been intrigued by C. Kavin Rowe's article in the
                        latest JSNT ("History, Hermeutics and the Unity of Luke-Acts")
                        making the point that, for most early Christians, Luke and Acts
                        were not read as a literary unity; rather, Luke was read as part
                        of a fourfold gospel collection, and Acts did circulate separately.
                        Similarly, the people who produced Sinaiticus and Vaticanus did
                        not read Mark in a vacuum, the way we exegetes like to interpret
                        Mark, because Mark had been part of that gospel collection for at
                        least a hundred years. Their reading of a Mark that ends at 16:8
                        would be different from the one who did not have the benefit of
                        Matthew and Luke and John, would it not?

                        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
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