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The Women's Silence at the End... Was Re: [XTalk] Question on Croy and Mark's Ending

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  • J. Ted Blakley
    Gordon, I apologize at the outset because I do not have much time to interact with your whole post, but I think there is something missing in your presentation
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 15, 2006
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      Gordon,
      I apologize at the outset because I do not have much time to interact
      with your whole post, but I think there is something missing in your
      presentation of Mark's plot that needs to be considered. You wrote...

      Now to Mark's plot. At the outset of Jesus activity he tells the demon
      who knows who he is to hush up and not blab (1:25). At the healing of
      the deaf man in Mark 7 he orders that they tell no one (7:36). After
      Peter's messianic confession in 8:30, "and he sternly ordered them not
      to tell anyone about him." And after the Transfiguration and that
      heavenly testimony to Jesus' true identity where the Father said,
      "...listen to him!", Jesus again said to not blab (9.9) Peter, of
      course, will go on to proudly say he'll never deny his Lord and we know
      how well that turns out:)! But at the very end... the women hear the
      angelic testimony... are terrified and flee in silent terror. Finally,
      finally in this plotting someone actually "gets it" and obeys the
      admonitions of the heritage and Mark's Jesus. Running is silence into
      the world when understood in terms of this heritage and this story arc
      are anything but unsatisfactory or somehow a negative theology. Per
      good old Eccl. 3... there's a "time to keep silence and a time to
      speak" (Eccl. 3:7). Mark's ending rightly ends on that time to
      faithfully keep silence.

      Noticeably absent is the fact that in the end the women are told explicitly
      to "go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to
      Galilee... (16:7). I think this command
      And given that the young man is presented as a reliable character in Mark, I
      see no reason to believe that what Mark is presenting the reader with is
      that the women in failing to do what the young man commands are in fact
      following Jesus' earlier commands to silence or certain aspects of Jewish
      tradition (this is what I take your "obeys the admonitions of the heritage
      and Mark's Jesus" to suggest). If we were to question the young man's
      command, then we would need to question his assessment of the empty tomb,
      i.e., that Jesus has been raised.

      Another element that I think needs to be considered is how the commands to
      silence work in Mark. Jesus exercises absolute authority over unclean
      spirits. When he commands them to silence, they are silent (this also
      includes the silencing of the sea in Mark 4:35-41). When it comes to human
      characters, however, Jesus' authority is not presented as absolute. He
      commands the leper to say nothing to anyone, but instead he talks about it
      openly with the result that Jesus can no longer go into towns but must stay
      out in the country (1:44-45). Jesus commands the Gerasene demoniac to (1) Go
      home to your friends and tell them (2) how much the Lord has done for you;
      and the man (1) goes throughout the Decapolis and proclaims (2) how much
      Jesus had done for him (5:19-20). You make reference to 7:36 where Jesus
      charges the people in general (not the deaf mute in particular) to tell no
      one but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. Of
      course, there is the command to silence following the raising of Jairus'
      daughter, which is presummably obeyed (6:43). Interestingly, three of the
      disciples are present and what we do find in Mark is that Jesus' commands to
      silence are always followed by the disciples (so this might give your
      argument about the women some leverage but I don't think enough to support
      your argument).

      While there is not time to explore the implications, I think the silence of
      the women needs to be understood with reference to the larger plot, as you
      have suggested, but with an eye to the different responses characters make
      to Jesus' commands to silence (unclean spirits, minor characters, male
      disciples). What is of course unique about the women's silence at the end
      and must be figured into the final analysis is that (1) it follows a
      command, not to silence but, to proclamation and (2) it is not a command
      given by Jesus but by the young man, who I think from a narrative
      perspective is reliable and so probably should not be pitted against Jesus.

      Sincerely,
      Ted

      --
      ========================================================================
      J. Ted Blakley
      Ph.D. Candidate -- New Testament, The Gospel of Mark
      University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK

      Email 1: jtb1@...
      Email 2: jtedblakley@...

      Online CV: www.blakleycreative.com/jtb
      Hebrew 2 Hub: www.blakleycreative.com/jtb/Hebrew.htm
      ========================================================================


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Gordon Raynal
      ... Hi Ted, Thanks for your note. First, of course, I d ask you to think about what is most telling ??? Second and in light of this I want to point you the
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 15, 2006
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        >
        > While there is not time to explore the implications, I think the
        > silence of
        > the women needs to be understood with reference to the larger plot, as
        > you
        > have suggested, but with an eye to the different responses characters
        > make
        > to Jesus' commands to silence (unclean spirits, minor characters, male
        > disciples). What is of course unique about the women's silence at the
        > end
        > and must be figured into the final analysis is that (1) it follows a
        > command, not to silence but, to proclamation and (2) it is not a
        > command
        > given by Jesus but by the young man, who I think from a narrative
        > perspective is reliable and so probably should not be pitted against
        > Jesus.
        >
        >
        Hi Ted,
        Thanks for your note. First, of course, I'd ask you to think about
        what is "most telling"???

        Second and in light of this I want to point you the troubles not only
        with words (reporting news), but also with even seeing the resurrected
        Jesus. Matthew immediately deals with one trouble with verbal reports
        (the report of the guard and that news could be easily manipulated),
        but also the problems with seeing in that some of the disciples see and
        nevertheless "doubt" (Mt. 28:17). Notably "the Great Commission"
        proclamation is about baptizing and commandment observation. For
        Matthew that, you might say, is what is "most telling" of and about
        resurrection faith. In regards to Luke, one way he raises the trouble
        with words/ reports is in 24:11. In that lovely Emmaus story that will
        follow, those 2 on the road have the resurrected Jesus with them all
        day long. Interesting "their eyes were kept from recognizing him," but
        their ears weren't in such fine tune either:)! Across this day Jesus
        "...beginning with Moses and all the prophets... interpreted to them
        the things about himself in all the scriptures." A pretty dense couple
        of disciples, eh:)! And when did they "get it?" And of course John
        has that famous Thomas poking and prodding story. But sticking with
        Mark, his Jonah like ending I would suggest does show the faithfulness
        to not only Jesus, but also this angelion. Out of the faithfulness the
        words would later come... the stories be told that did lift up and
        uphold persons/ communities.

        Lastly for now, as I said in my other post today, the ending of the
        story is found in the hearer(s). This sort of ending is filled with a
        keen tension. For one hearer after hearing the whole might ask the
        question, "well then how did we get this story?" And that would lead
        to one sort of conversation about how the testimony/ story telling came
        to be. (One can imagine that there might be a few historical critics
        in the crowd:)!) But actually there's really not much "tension" in
        that. Ending a story like this really focuses on other kinds of
        tensions that are about the matters belief and practice that have been
        brought up through the body of the story. Back to this heritage and to
        end on the whole issue of when and how and in what way to open one's
        mouth (ye olde "time to keep silence and time to speak" quandary), for
        the early community after the RJ War this was a huge concern in all
        manner of ways and in relationship to all manner of people. I dare say
        discussions about the hows and whys and wherefores of faithful
        proclamation are just the sort of conversations that spun out of an
        ending like this. How to be "most telling" in the world then and ever
        afterwards is rather at the core of what this literature is all about.

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC
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