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Re: [XTalk] Praised woman in Mark

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  • Steph Fisher
    Hi Steve, From memory (books packed in boxes) I think Crossan near the end of WKJ discusses all that - round about page 185 methinks. Best wishes, steph in
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 27, 2006
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      Hi Steve,

      From memory (books packed in boxes) I think Crossan near the end of WKJ
      discusses all that - round about page 185 methinks.

      Best wishes,
      steph
      in transit and turmoil
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "sdavies0" <sdavies@...>
      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 2:06 PM
      Subject: [XTalk] Praised woman in Mark


      > Hi folks
      >
      > How y'all? I hope you're doing fine. I've got a question. It has been
      > observed that in Mark the praised woman who anoints Jesus before his
      > burial, evidently knowing that he won't be there for the anointments at
      > the usual time, J having gone off to Galilee in the meanwhile, knows
      > that Jesus is going to die and rise again. Hallelulia for her. She is
      > to be contrasted to the women who followed J from Galilee and who,
      > clueless, go to anoint the body only to discover it missing. This is
      > taken to be a final attack on Jesus' accompanists, specifically the
      > women among them, who thus far have seemed to be doing right as opposed
      > to the fellas. Now, I thought I got that notion from Ted Weeden's book,
      > but recent of his letters indicate that that's not so. Did I get the
      > idea from Crossan? Did I make it up myself? Can anybody recall
      > instances of somebody discussing such a notion?
      >
      > Steve Davies
      > Professor of Religious Studies
      > College Misericordia
      > (charter member of Crosstalk!)
      >
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    • Bob Schacht
      ... Hey, Steve, welcome back! ... Maybe they weren t so much clueless as overly-influenced by their menfolk, who all had little faith and long mouths, and were
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 27, 2006
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        At 04:06 PM 8/27/2006, sdavies0 wrote:

        >Hi folks
        >
        >How y'all? I hope you're doing fine.

        Hey, Steve, welcome back!

        >I've got a question. It has been
        >observed that in Mark the praised woman who anoints Jesus before his
        >burial, evidently knowing that he won't be there for the anointments at
        >the usual time, J having gone off to Galilee in the meanwhile, knows
        >that Jesus is going to die and rise again. Hallelulia for her. She is
        >to be contrasted to the women who followed J from Galilee and who,
        >clueless, go to anoint the body only to discover it missing.

        Maybe they weren't so much clueless as overly-influenced by their menfolk,
        who all had little faith and long mouths, and were complaining loudly (to
        each other) that all was lost.

        >This is taken to be a final attack on Jesus' accompanists, specifically the
        >women among them, who thus far have seemed to be doing right as opposed
        >to the fellas.

        (see above)

        >Now, I thought I got that notion from Ted Weeden's book,
        >but recent of his letters indicate that that's not so. Did I get the
        >idea from Crossan? Did I make it up myself? Can anybody recall
        >instances of somebody discussing such a notion?

        Perhaps Ted himself will explain.

        Bob


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • John C. Poirier
        Steve, As I read the story in Mark, I have never received the impression that the woman knew that Jesus was going to die soon, or that she intended her
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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          Steve,

          As I read the story in Mark, I have never received the impression that the woman knew that Jesus was going to die soon, or that she intended her anointing of his body in the way that Jesus explained it. Is this a common way of reading this story?

          John C. Poirier


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: sdavies0
          To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 10:06 PM
          Subject: [XTalk] Praised woman in Mark


          Hi folks

          How y'all? I hope you're doing fine. I've got a question. It has been
          observed that in Mark the praised woman who anoints Jesus before his
          burial, evidently knowing that he won't be there for the anointments at
          the usual time, J having gone off to Galilee in the meanwhile, knows
          that Jesus is going to die and rise again. Hallelulia for her. She is
          to be contrasted to the women who followed J from Galilee and who,
          clueless, go to anoint the body only to discover it missing. This is
          taken to be a final attack on Jesus' accompanists, specifically the
          women among them, who thus far have seemed to be doing right as opposed
          to the fellas. Now, I thought I got that notion from Ted Weeden's book,
          but recent of his letters indicate that that's not so. Did I get the
          idea from Crossan? Did I make it up myself? Can anybody recall
          instances of somebody discussing such a notion?

          Steve Davies
          Professor of Religious Studies
          College Misericordia
          (charter member of Crosstalk!)





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jeffrey B. Gibson
          ... Yes, it s from Crossan. I believe it appears in his _Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography_. I would be surprised if he had a longer article on the passage in
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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            sdavies0 wrote:

            > Hi folks
            >
            > How y'all? I hope you're doing fine. I've got a question. It has been
            > observed that in Mark the praised woman who anoints Jesus before his
            > burial, evidently knowing that he won't be there for the anointments at
            > the usual time, J having gone off to Galilee in the meanwhile, knows
            > that Jesus is going to die and rise again. Hallelulia for her. She is
            > to be contrasted to the women who followed J from Galilee and who,
            > clueless, go to anoint the body only to discover it missing. This is
            > taken to be a final attack on Jesus' accompanists, specifically the
            > women among them, who thus far have seemed to be doing right as opposed
            > to the fellas. Now, I thought I got that notion from Ted Weeden's book,
            > but recent of his letters indicate that that's not so. Did I get the
            > idea from Crossan? Did I make it up myself? Can anybody recall
            > instances of somebody discussing such a notion?

            Yes, it's from Crossan. I believe it appears in his _Jesus: A Revolutionary
            Biography_. I would be surprised if he had a longer article on the passage in
            Forum.

            Yours,

            Jeffrey
            --
            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
            1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
            Chicago, Illinois
            e-mail jgibson000@...
          • Mark Goodacre
            Hi Steve, Well I can remember you discussing it on Crosstalk in the early days. I wasn t there from the beginning (like you and Bob), but I can remember
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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              Hi Steve,

              Well I can remember you discussing it on Crosstalk in the early days. I
              wasn't there from the beginning (like you and Bob), but I can remember
              sitting composing an email about that pericope in response to something you
              had written on that pericope early on when I first joined (97ish). Perhaps
              Bob can delve into his personal archive? I don't remember the specifics
              except that I recall sharing what I had thought was an original idea, but
              which turned out to be from Elizabeth Schuessler Fiorenza, viz. that the
              real contrast with Mark 14.3-9 is Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi,
              since there he spectacularly fails to connect "Messiah" and "suffering" and
              is rebuked by Jesus, and now this woman anoints Jesus for his burial, i.e.
              does connect "Messiah" and "suffering" and she is praised by Jesus. I don't
              recall anyone who has made the contrast you are making here, but it's bound
              to be there in the literature somewhere. Susan Miller wrote a whole book on
              women in Mark recently, and it might be worth checking that.

              Cheers
              Mark

              On 27/08/06, sdavies0 <sdavies@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi folks
              >
              > How y'all? I hope you're doing fine. I've got a question. It has been
              > observed that in Mark the praised woman who anoints Jesus before his
              > burial, evidently knowing that he won't be there for the anointments at
              > the usual time, J having gone off to Galilee in the meanwhile, knows
              > that Jesus is going to die and rise again. Hallelulia for her. She is
              > to be contrasted to the women who followed J from Galilee and who,
              > clueless, go to anoint the body only to discover it missing. This is
              > taken to be a final attack on Jesus' accompanists, specifically the
              > women among them, who thus far have seemed to be doing right as opposed
              > to the fellas. Now, I thought I got that notion from Ted Weeden's book,
              > but recent of his letters indicate that that's not so. Did I get the
              > idea from Crossan? Did I make it up myself? Can anybody recall
              > instances of somebody discussing such a notion?
              >
              > Steve Davies
              > Professor of Religious Studies
              > College Misericordia
              > (charter member of Crosstalk!)
              >
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • sdavies0
              ... that the woman knew that Jesus was going to die soon, or that she intended her anointing of his body in the way that Jesus explained it. Is this a common
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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                > As I read the story in Mark, I have never received the impression
                that the woman knew that Jesus was going to die soon, or that she
                intended her anointing of his body in the way that Jesus explained
                it.
                Is this a common way of reading this story?
                >
                > John C. Poirier

                Well, it says: "8 She has done what she could. She has anticipated
                anointing my body for burial. 9 Amen, I say to you, wherever the
                gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be
                told in memory of her."

                I assume that when J says that "she has anticipated anointing my
                body for burial" and that, therefore, she deserves uniquely high
                praises, that indeed must be what she intended to do and it wasn't
                some sort of accident. Anointing people for burial some days before
                they actually die is unusual, and whenever I've done it a cascade of
                global praises has not come forth.

                Assuming that Jesus just stays dead, like so many others have, and
                that his body is later anointed in the normal course of events, then
                what the woman does has no particular importance at all. But in
                Mark's narrative the other women quite specifically are said to have
                brought spices so that they might go and anoint him. What to their
                wondering eyes doth appear but some guy who tells them that Jesus
                has gone off to Galilee and they get to return and cash in their
                spices for treats.

                So, who anoints Jesus' body for burial and when seems to be a
                crucial narrative point, one woman is praised for doing it, but in
                order to do it must do so ahead of normal time, and the women who
                don't do it presumably should have known better. I'd like to know
                more about the guy in the tomb; the revised Mark versions denote the
                guy as an angel but in Mark he's just a guy. The guy is in a
                contrasted narrative pair with the women who came to anoint Jesus,
                I'd say. The guy and the praised woman both are anonymous and, I
                think, fully aware of The Truth, to be contrasted with, first, the
                men disciples who represent the Social Gospel, and then the women
                disciples. I think it is literarily a neat bit of business. Jesus'
                named guys contrasted with anonymous woman; Jesus' named women
                contrasted with anonymous guy.

                As for nard being used by a woman to anoint Jesus as Christ, I think
                that point of view is mistaken.

                Steve Davies
              • Jeff Peterson
                Hi Steve, Great to hear from you. Two points on your remarks below, which for some reason I couldn t divide up for comment: 1) It seems to me the story is
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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                  Hi Steve,

                  Great to hear from you. Two points on your remarks below, which for
                  some reason I couldn't divide up for comment:

                  1) It seems to me the story is ambiguous about whether the woman is
                  conscious of all that her action means, and one possible
                  interpretation would be on analogy with John's characterization of
                  Caiaphas as an unwitting prophet 11:51�52; the actor is unaware of
                  the full significance of his/her actions, which is however apparent
                  to the reader who knows the subsequent course of events. The
                  difference between the woman and Caiaphas is that she intends to pay
                  Jesus honor by her action, whereas Caiaphas isn't concerned to relate
                  himself positively to Jesus but to seek the best for the nation; for
                  that reason, believers in Jesus' resurrection can (should) look back
                  on the woman's action as praiseworthy in a way that Caiaphas' isn't.

                  2) The NEANISKOS isn't just a guy, he's a guy clothed in a white
                  STOLH, which in Ezek 10:2, 6-7 LXX designates an attendant of the
                  heavenly court, and he knows that the one the women are seeking has
                  been raised and is preceding the disciples to Galilee; he also knows
                  that Jesus had previously told his disciples this (in 14:28). I don't
                  think it's too much of a stretch to conclude that Mark characterizes
                  him as an angel.

                  Jeff Peterson
                  Austin Graduate School of Theology
                  Austin, Texas



                  On Aug 28, 2006, at 10:42 AM, sdavies0 wrote:
                  >
                  > Well, it says: "8 She has done what she could. She has anticipated
                  > anointing my body for burial. 9 Amen, I say to you, wherever the
                  > gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be
                  > told in memory of her."
                  >
                  > I assume that when J says that "she has anticipated anointing my
                  > body for burial" and that, therefore, she deserves uniquely high
                  > praises, that indeed must be what she intended to do and it wasn't
                  > some sort of accident. Anointing people for burial some days before
                  > they actually die is unusual, and whenever I've done it a cascade of
                  > global praises has not come forth.





                  >
                  > Assuming that Jesus just stays dead, like so many others have, and
                  > that his body is later anointed in the normal course of events, then
                  > what the woman does has no particular importance at all. But in
                  > Mark's narrative the other women quite specifically are said to have
                  > brought spices so that they might go and anoint him. What to their
                  > wondering eyes doth appear but some guy who tells them that Jesus
                  > has gone off to Galilee and they get to return and cash in their
                  > spices for treats.
                  >
                  > So, who anoints Jesus' body for burial and when seems to be a
                  > crucial narrative point, one woman is praised for doing it, but in
                  > order to do it must do so ahead of normal time, and the women who
                  > don't do it presumably should have known better. I'd like to know
                  > more about the guy in the tomb; the revised Mark versions denote the
                  > guy as an angel but in Mark he's just a guy. The guy is in a
                  > contrasted narrative pair with the women who came to anoint Jesus,
                  > I'd say. The guy and the praised woman both are anonymous and, I
                  > think, fully aware of The Truth, to be contrasted with, first, the
                  > men disciples who represent the Social Gospel, and then the women
                  > disciples. I think it is literarily a neat bit of business. Jesus'
                  > named guys contrasted with anonymous woman; Jesus' named women
                  > contrasted with anonymous guy.
                  >
                  > As for nard being used by a woman to anoint Jesus as Christ, I think
                  > that point of view is mistaken.
                  >
                  > Steve Davies
                  >
                  >
                  >



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • sdavies0
                  ... is conscious of all that her action means, and one possible ... apparent to the reader who knows the subsequent course of events. I guess so.... I
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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                    --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Jeff Peterson <peterson@...> wrote:

                    > 1) It seems to me the story is ambiguous about whether the woman
                    is > conscious of all that her action means, and one possible
                    > interpretation would be on analogy with John's characterization of
                    > Caiaphas as an unwitting prophet 11:51–52; the actor is unaware of
                    > the full significance of his/her actions, which is however
                    apparent > to the reader who knows the subsequent course of events.

                    I guess so.... I don't see that the text per se could have been
                    written in order to present ambiguity of this sort. It's not a Markan
                    trait that I know of, while I do think that this sort of ambiguity
                    and double meaning is Johannine. As for Tony's comments, we are
                    clearly dealing with two questions that are becoming a bit confused,
                    one is what happened in the Mark narrative (which, come to think of
                    it, presumes that Mark made it all up whether or not we believe he
                    did, for an author selects his stories and his means of presentation
                    even when the stories are videotapeable) and the other discusses the
                    real-life historical-Jesus event which, if any, I guess, why not,
                    presumably the woman may have been praised even though her own
                    reaction might have been "what the hell is he talking about?"

                    > 2) The NEANISKOS isn't just a guy, he's a guy clothed in a white
                    > STOLH, which in Ezek 10:2, 6-7 LXX designates an attendant of the
                    > heavenly court, and he knows that the one the women are seeking
                    has > been raised and is preceding the disciples to Galilee; he also
                    knows > that Jesus had previously told his disciples this (in
                    14:28). I don't > think it's too much of a stretch to conclude that
                    Mark characterizes > him as an angel.

                    No no no no. Are there other angel-characters doing stuff and saying
                    stuff in Mark? I don't recall one and, if this is the only one, well
                    I think that would strongly indicate that there are none. Are we
                    really entitled to take an OT prooftext as giving the governing
                    meaning of a common Greek word? I don't think so. And 14:28 re: what
                    Jesus told his disciples is directed to the women whom, in the
                    narrative, Jesus didn't tell, which means to me that Mark isn't being
                    real careful here to recall who knows what. If I am right that the
                    woman anointing Jesus is doing so on purpose in the narrative
                    (whatever the case in the realife) she too knows what she can't know.
                    Probably the Arimathean and the guy that killed Jesus fit into the
                    same category, people who seem to get it even though the narrative
                    has given them no way of getting it.

                    Steve
                  • Theodore Weeden
                    Bob Schacht wrote on ... [snip} ... the ... [snip] Now, I thought I got that notion from Ted Weeden s book, ... Bob: Perhaps Ted himself will explain. Ted: I
                    Message 9 of 10 , Aug 29, 2006
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                      Bob Schacht wrote on

                      Steve Davis wrote:

                      >I've got a question. It has been
                      >observed that in Mark the praised woman who anoints Jesus before his
                      >burial, evidently knowing that he won't be there for the anointments at
                      >the usual time, J having gone off to Galilee in the meanwhile, knows
                      >that Jesus is going to die and rise again. Hallelulia for her. She is
                      >to be contrasted to the women who followed J from Galilee and who,
                      >clueless, go to anoint the body only to discover it missing.

                      [snip}

                      >This is taken to be a final attack on Jesus' accompanists, specifically
                      the
                      >women among them, who thus far have seemed to be doing right as opposed
                      >to the fellas.

                      [snip]

                      Now, I thought I got that notion from Ted Weeden's book,
                      >but recent of his letters indicate that that's not so. Did I get the
                      >idea from Crossan? Did I make it up myself? Can anybody recall
                      >instances of somebody discussing such a notion?

                      Bob:

                      Perhaps Ted himself will explain.

                      Ted:

                      I am somewhat reluctant to respond to Steve and the topic of this thread
                      because I am behind in responding to Rikk Watts, you (Bob), and Brian
                      Trafford on responses to me a month old. It has been a very busy month,
                      with family visits and a major speaking engagement with has taken much time
                      to prepare for. I, also, have spend a great deal of time during extensive
                      research and thinking in response to Rikk's last post to me. That time has
                      been spent on only one of the issues which he has raised with me. I hope
                      soon to post an extensive essay, in only very partial response to Rikk,
                      showing that John has used Mark, alone, as his source for Judas and his
                      betrayal. I will respond to other issues Rikk raised later, as well as
                      answer later posts from Brian and you.

                      Steve, with regard to your query, I think the response of the woman must be
                      seen within the context of the way in which Mark portrays women in his
                      Gospel, as well as the way in which he has placed rhetorical emphasis in
                      14:1-11, of which 14:3-9 is the centerpiece. !6:8b aside for the moment,
                      women in Mark's drama serve as models for appropriate, intuitive responses
                      to the Markan Jesus and manifestations of the suffering-servant ideology he
                      advocates. In this narrative capacity the women exist dramatically as
                      positive foils to the chosen Twelve and their dense, dissident, and
                      disassociative response to Jesus and his suffering-servant ideology. These
                      female positive foils to the Twelve are (1): Peter's mother-in-law
                      (1:29-31), (2) the woman with hemorrhage (5:25-34), (3) the Syro-Phoenician
                      woman (7:24-30), (4) the poor widow (12:41-44), (5) the anointing woman
                      (14:3-9), and (6) Jesus' Galilean women followers, particularly the named
                      trio of women, Mary Magdalene, the mother of Joses, Salome (15:40-41, 47,
                      16:1). With the exception of the trio, all these women are nameless,
                      perhaps intentionally so.

                      A.. Woman with Hemorrhage

                      To be more specific now, as a positive foil to the Twelve, the woman with
                      the hemorrhage instinctively recognizes that Jesus possesses extraordinary
                      supernatural powers, such that even his clothing, by its attachment to him,
                      has the power to heal her, where previous physicians have failed. She
                      stands in mark contrast to the Twelve who do not have a clue as to why Jesus
                      should query regarding who touched him after feeling "that [healing] power
                      had gone forth from him" because of the woman's touch of his garments. The
                      denseness of the Twelve, their imperceptivity vis-à-vis the woman's
                      perceptivity is even more striking, since she perceives Jesus'
                      miracle-working power the first time she encounters him, whereas the Twelve
                      have been with Jesus all along in his miracle-working ministry, yet are not
                      instinctively aware of what has transpired and what has prompted Jesus'
                      question.

                      B. Syro-Phoenician Woman

                      Moving on, the Syrophoenician woman, technically an "outsider," per 4:10-11
                      and thus incapable of understanding Jesus, is a stellar example of one who
                      demonstrates great perspicuity in understanding Jesus' riddle about bread
                      being given to dogs in contrast to the "insiders," the Twelve, who cannot
                      understand the meaning of Jesus' parables (4:13) and other teachings
                      (7:14-18), even though as insiders they have been given the "secret" for
                      understanding (4:10). It is no accident that Mark tells the story of the
                      perspicacity of the Syro-Phoenician woman immediately after the episode in
                      which the Twelve are depicted with struggling to understand some far less
                      complex teaching of Jesus than the riddle he responded with at the request
                      of the woman for healing of her daughter.

                      C. Poor Widow

                      Next, the poor widow serves as a positive foil not only to the rich, such as
                      the rich young man (10:17-22), reluctant to give up their riches for the
                      kingdom and eternal life, but, also, of course, the Twelve, who struggle
                      with how any one can be saved, if it is so nigh unto impossible for a rich
                      man to be saved (10:23-26). The poor widow is an exemplification of a
                      person who fulfills the suffering-servant ideology of giving up all one has
                      for God vis-à-vis 8:35f.).

                      D. Galilean Women

                      Next, the Galilean serve as positive foils to the Twelve in that they are
                      present with Jesus in his suffering death on the cross, in contrast to his
                      chosen twelve disciples, all of whom have in one way or another forsaken
                      him. Moreover, note the way in which Mark introduces these women, now late
                      in his narrative. He tells us these women HKOLOUQOUN AUTW KAI DIHKONOUN
                      ("followed him [Jesus] and served him," 15:41). What differentiates these
                      women from the Twelve is that they not only like the Twelve followed Jesus,
                      but also *served* him. Now, I think Mark's use of the verb DIAKONEW has a
                      wider meaning then these women provided material assistance for Jesus (food
                      or whatever: see Lk 8:1-4). Mark uses the verb DIAKONEW ("to serve") and
                      its related substantive DIAKONOS ("servant") very discretely and with
                      distinctive theological meaning. He uses DIAKONEW only in 1:13; 1:31;
                      10:45 and 15:41. He uses DIAKONOS only in 9:35 and 10:43. It is in
                      10:43-45, a passage in which both DIAKONOS and DIAKONEW appear in the same
                      context, that the verb DIAKONEW receives its richest theological meaning.
                      It is there, in his repudiation of the Twelve and their competitive striving
                      for status, that the Markan Jesus declares that he, in contrast to the "lord
                      it over" Gentiles, serves in the christological role of servant, and
                      admonishes his disciple to seek the servant role as their own by serving
                      others, rather than striving for greatness as culturally defined (10:42-45).
                      The same theme is promulgated by Jesus in 9:35, where Mark uses DIAKONOS to
                      underscore the fact that only role that a disciple of a suffering-servant
                      Jesus should emulate, in contrast the Twelve's competitive aspiration for
                      greatness (9:33f.), is that of a servant of all.

                      Thus, in these two passages (9:33-35 and 10:35-35), which follow immediately
                      upon the Markan Jesus' suffering servant messiahship, the terms DIAKONEW and
                      DIAKONOS are specifically used as code words for suffering-servant
                      discipleship. With regard to two other Markan uses of DIAKONEW, aside from
                      15:41, there is reason to believe that Mark foreshadows his technical use of
                      DIAKONEW in 10:45 in both cases. In 1:13, the angels are described as
                      serving Jesus during his period of temptation in the desert. In 1:31,
                      Peter's mother-in-law, in response to Jesus' healing of her, *serves* Jesus,
                      i.e., like a servant to a master. Consequently, given the way in which
                      Mark has used his specific understanding of DIAKONEW in his drama to denote
                      suffering-servant christology and suffering-servant discipleship, his
                      depiction of the Galilean women who followed and served Jesus, including the
                      trio, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and Salome, suggests that
                      they emulated the role of suffering-servant discipleship. They are then
                      depicted as positive dramatic foils in contrast to the Twelve, who resisted
                      the role of suffering-servant discipleship and finally rejected it variously
                      by betrayal, denial and abandonment of Jesus.

                      That the rhetorical point in 15:41 is emphatically upon the women's servant
                      role is underscored by the Markan DNA rhetorical technique of using a
                      two-step progression throughout his drama, a two-step progression in there
                      is a repetitive character in a narrative description (see David Rhoads,
                      _Reading Mark_, 74), as in the case of the conjoining of two clauses in
                      stating that the women "followed him and served him." The first step in
                      this progression is the clause "followed him." The second step in the
                      progression is the clause "served him." In such Markan rhetorical two-step
                      progression, the second step refines further and more explicitly the meaning
                      of the more general statement in the first step, with the second step
                      representing the rhetorical emphasis which Mark intended his hearers/readers
                      to give special attention to (see Rhoads, 74). Thus, Mark, in the two-step
                      progression depicting the Galilean women's relationship to Jesus, is
                      intentionally underscoring, in contrast to the obstinate Twelve, that these
                      women fulfilled the role of suffering-servant discipleship in their
                      relationship to Jesus.

                      E. The Trio

                      With respect to the trio of women, Mary Magdalene, the mother of Joses, and
                      Salome, Mark elevates them to a celebrative status as positive foils to the
                      apostate Twelve by having them be the primary and only witnesses of the
                      three foundational kerygmatic events represented creedally in the creed of 1
                      Cor. 15:3-5, namely that Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised again on
                      the third day. These three women, in the Markan drama, alone vouch for
                      the empirical reality of all three of the creed's kerygmatic events. The
                      Twelve in their apostasy exit the drama and are absent from any of these
                      events. Furthermore, the rhetorical force of 16:8b, I still contend,
                      indicates that the remaining eleven of the Twelve, sans Judas, never
                      received the news of the resurrection of Jesus. I will be glad to speak to
                      this more fully, contra the interpretations of others that Mark does imagine
                      the eleven experiencing the post-crucified Jesus, a la 14:28. I am
                      convinced that Mark conceives of the time from Jesus' burial to the final
                      event in which he returns glorified, as a period in which the resurrected
                      Jesus is absent (see John Dominic Crossan, "Empty Tomb and Absent Lord," in
                      _The Passion in Mark_, ed. W. Kelber, 135-152). Thus, from Mark's point of
                      view, there were no post-resurrection appearances, contra the creed of 1 Cor
                      15:3-5. All we have as evidence of the resurrection is an empty tomb and
                      the message of the young man in the tomb that Jesus is raised from the dead.
                      What Mark has in mind in 14:28 is the appearance of the end-time appearance
                      of the exalted Jesus (13:24-27), returning to his community of followers in
                      Galilee, Mark's eschatological Mecca. It is then that Peter and the
                      eleven will see him, not before (see my _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_,
                      106-117).

                      F. The Anointing Woman

                      Returning now to the story of the woman anointing Jesus, what I have sought
                      to underscore here is the fact that in the Markan drama women exemplify true
                      discipleship a la suffering-servant discipleship. They and only they
                      instinctively and intuitively respond to Jesus, have the perspicacity to
                      understand him and the commitment to follow him faithfully from his ministry
                      in Galilee to his death, attend to his burial and have an epiphany, via the
                      young man (angel?) in the tomb of his resurrection. Women, throughout the
                      drama, are positive foils to the apostate Twelve in their faithful following
                      and serving Jesus. I think the woman who anointed Jesus is cut out of the
                      same cloth of Markan rhetorical composition. Let me explain.

                      It is clear that Mark has carefully composed 14:1-11, which begins with the
                      Judean cultic authorities seeking a way to apprehend Jesus and put him to
                      death and ends with Judas supplying the missing ingredient to their plan,
                      someone who can deliver Jesus into their hands without the general public's
                      knowledge. It is clear, in my judgment, that Mark has composed this
                      passage using his framing technique, in which a story rhetorically is
                      interrupted by the inclusion of another story before the previous story is
                      brought to conclusion. The purpose of this framing technique is to draw
                      attention to the interior story and its point (see David Rhoads, Donald
                      Michie, _Mark as Story_, 51). Thus, in this rhetorical scenario, the
                      first story is the story of the plot of the cultic authorities and Judas'
                      role in that plot, namely, 14:1-2, 10-11. That story is interrupted by the
                      inclusion within it of the story of the anointing of Jesus by the woman.
                      Within the story of plot and betrayal, then, Mark is drawing his attention
                      specifically to the interior story of the anointing to be interpreted within
                      the framework of the plot-betrayal story.

                      The unexpected appearance of the woman, unidentified by name, as are all of
                      Mark's woman, with the exception of the trio mentioned above, and her lavish
                      act of devotion to Jesus creates disdain of her act and repudiation of her
                      personally by certain unnamed who were present. We are not told what her
                      own motivation was for performing the act. We are left to Jesus to
                      interpret it. He interprets it as her recognition of his forthcoming death
                      and her desire, absent of any other way to identify and empathize with him,
                      to anoint his body prior to the traditional anointing at the time of his
                      death. Thus, like the other women in Mark's drama, this woman is in sync
                      with Jesus and what he faces. She is intuitively and instinctively
                      empathic with Jesus as crucifixion looms before him. She, like the widow
                      woman earlier, has sacrificed her material possessions, and symbolically
                      herself, to buy an exorbitantly expensive perfume as the only fitting
                      sacrificial way by which she can demonstrate her empathic oneness with
                      Jesus. Recognizing her inner motivation and the reason for her "wasting,"
                      as the grumblers at the scene aver, an extraordinary amount of money for
                      such an extravagant act, Jesus praises her and pronounces the highest
                      approbation upon her of any person in the Markan drama: namely, wherever the
                      Gospel is preached what she has done will be told in memory of her.

                      Mark with great rhetorical skill depicts her, as in the case of other woman,
                      as a celebrated positive foil to the apostate disciples, and does so through
                      the framing technique. He accomplishes this foil motif in the case of the
                      anointing woman, by beginning the story of the plot against Jesus, but then
                      breaking it off to pick up the story of the anointing. His breaking off of
                      the plot story at that point creates a measure of suspense in the mind of
                      Mark's first hearers. There desire to know what the cultic authorities are
                      going to do to apprehend Jesus is frustrated by Mark turning to another
                      story. The hearers are left hanging, and their curiosity with regard to
                      what happened next is unsatisfied. With the conclusion of the story of
                      anointing, Mark returns to the conclusion of the plot-betrayal story which,
                      now by virtue of Mark's rhetorical tour de force, stands in sharp bold
                      relief and contrast to the story of the anointing. For Mark's hearers are
                      led from the empathic sensitivity of a woman to the plight of Jesus, via her
                      extraordinary sacrifice of money on Jesus' behalf, to the dastardly deed of
                      one of Jesus' twelve disciples, betraying him for to fill his own pockets
                      with money. By the way, not surprising, I think it is probable that Mark
                      created the story of the anointing for its dramatic effect as stated.

                      Finally, I have often wondered, given the esteemed role of women in Mark's
                      Gospel, the fact that they turn out to be true disciples of
                      suffering-servant Jesus, whether Mark may not have been a woman, and we
                      should call the Gospel not the "Gospel of Mark" but the "Gospel of Marcia."

                      Ted Weeden
                      Fairport, New York
                      Retired
                      Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
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