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Re: [XTalk] Croy and Mark's Ending

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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