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Re: [XTalk] Croy and Mark's Ending

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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