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Re: [XTalk] Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: SBL Report

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  • Rikk Watts
    Dear Bruce... ... Perhaps I ought also to forebear but in all fairness to Tom Shepherd two of the three panelists did in fact remain and then chatted with
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 3, 2008
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      Dear Bruce...
      > virtually none of the panelists except the author, were present. Discussion
      > was less than edifying, and I forbear to report on it.

      Perhaps I ought also to forebear but in all fairness to Tom Shepherd two of
      the three panelists did in fact remain and then chatted with Adela
      afterwards... I know because I was there with him : )

      Oh dear... my sincere apologies about the accent ‹ which probably goes a
      long way to explaining why I barely recognize my paper in your account ; )

      - my points were ..

      a) as expected of Hermeneia, a wealth of background materials (14 parallels
      on 6:31-56 alone) and engagement with continental literature; worthwhile for
      that alone.

      b) given the aim was to have a diversity of responses I would concentrate on
      some of the more introductory/thematic issues (her Interpretation of Jesus
      being the longest section, 40pps, in the Introduction). I noted in advance
      that my caveats ought not be seen as undermining what was a tremendous
      amount of useful work and for that we were grateful.

      c) Adela's approach to authorship seemed eminently reasonable. She concludes
      it is either one of the Marks mentioned in Papias/1 Peter or Act 12f/Col
      4/Philem 23f. I suggested that given the small size of the early Xn
      community and limiting factors such as literacy, lack of identifying
      patronym, etc. probably reasonable to regard them as the one individual.

      d) as far as dating, Adela employed Mark 13, proposing some time close to
      the revolutionary war. I thought this was misreading Mark 13 as though it
      was some kind of history when for me although containing some general
      historical tendencies (increasing national tensions and hostility toward
      Jesus' followers) it consists mainly of prophetic judgment topoi. This is
      why, e.g. the abomination of desolation is so darned tricky to identify
      (BTW: it is a gold standard in the Law, the Prophets and the Writings that
      it is Israel's abominations that lead to Jerusalem's desolation). Given
      Jesus' identity (Adela sees him as a divinized Messiah) Jerusalem's
      rejection of him necessarily entails judgment. But how those judgments
      precisely work out in history is no more Mark¹s concern than it was in the
      prophets before him. This not only has important implications for how one
      interprets Mark 13 but it obviates the need to posit any time close to the
      first Jewish war simply because this neither occasioned the prophecy nor
      inspired its language. Can't recall if she responded to this or not.

      e) given Adela's emphasis on hearing Mark in its first century world, I
      questioned the use of some non-first century terms to define Mark's genre. I
      didn't see why she couldn't stay with a form of historical bioi, even if it
      didn't fit precisely. Also I'm not persuaded that Mark is apocalyptic
      because a) Mark's Jesus has far more parallels with Ps Sol 17, according to
      Adela an older prophetic style eschatology (so also Mark I would argue) and
      b) a few "on the clouds" phrases are insufficient to counter that weight and
      in my view do not indicate that Mark has abandoned history (if that is
      indeed actually what the apocalypticists thought they were doing; see
      Wright). Adela responded by saying that she saw a difference between
      apocalyptic (adj.) and an apocalypse (noun) which is partly true though it
      is interesting that when asked for evidence of apocalyptic in Mark
      proponents invariably point to what are typically genre indicators (language
      such as "son of man," and certain kinds of imagery "on the clouds" etc.).
      She said believed Mark thought we were indeed all going to heaven, though
      I'm not sure how she knows this.

      f) re "euaggelion": I expressed surprise, that Frankemölle's and
      Stuhlmacher's work on the Isaianic background to the word rated only a
      footnote. Particularly given a) that Adela affirms Mark's story was about
      the fulfillment of Israel's scriptures, and b) although Adela mentioned the
      importance of Paul's usage of euaggelion, she did not mention the recent
      work of Hays, Wagner, Beale, Wilk, and others on the importance of Isa,
      espec 40-66, for Paul's gospel (and the broader NT). Don't recall is she
      responded (and of course Adela could not respond to everything).

      g) Adela states that Mark's Jesus was modeled on Israel's past leaders:
      namely, on Moses as teacher and interpreter of the law, Elijah and Elisha as
      wonder-working prophets, and David as anointed king. David is a shoo-in, but
      Jesus as a new Moses seems more Matthean than Markan, and instead of noting
      a couple of isolated parallels, comparing the actual catalogues of Jesus'
      wonders with those of Elijah and Elisha instead shows how dissimilar they
      are. Don't think she responded to this either.

      h) a major point of interaction: Adela has therefore three categories for
      Jesus: teacher, prophet, and divinized messiah (see here Collins and
      Collins, KING AND MESSIAH AS SON OF GOD, 2008). I thought, given Hurtado's
      LORD JESUS CHRIST, and Fee's PAULINE CHRISTOLOGY both of which argue for an
      early pre-Markan high christology, and Blackburn's early THEIOS ANER where
      Jesus is assimilated to Yahweh, that she might have added a Jesus as Yahweh
      category. E.g. in Mark's opening sentence and his only editorial citation,
      Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1 in Mk 1:2-3, neither of these have anything at all to do
      with a coming Messiah but instead echo the Exodus' motif of the very
      presence of Yahweh. I then noted that the activities Mark ascribes to Jesus
      have only minimal parallels with first century Messianic hopes, and are
      instead, given his emphasis on Israel's scripture, are far closer to
      Yahweh's deeds at creation/exodus and their prophetic counterparts of new
      creation/new exodus. The latter coheres with Hurtado's and Fee's
      observations: namely we should expect a high Christology in Mark since it
      was already coin of the realm by the time he wrote. Adela of course does not
      like Hurtado's work (and understandably has not yet engaged with Fee),
      claiming to have refuted it. I'm not persuaded that she has. I was hoping to
      engage with her in question time on that issue (I think her two main counter
      arguments fail), and on what I see as Collins and Collins' confusion of
      filial image-of-God language as per Israel (Ex 4:22; Deut 32:18) with
      divine-King image-of-god language as per Egypt; both elements being present
      in the ANE. My point is "son of God" "begotten" was also applied to Israel
      but no one suggests Israel is divine, and the king as God's son is better
      seen as a subset of Israel's kinship designation. Thus the complete lack of
      evidence for cultic veneration of Israel's king and thus no divinized
      Messiah in the Pss (they also misread the role of the names in Isa 9, which
      nor more describe the ontology of the king than they do the preceding three
      parable names in Isa 7-8; and seeing a divinized Messiah in e.g. 1 Enoch is
      I suspect to misread the imagery).

      i) in view of Adela's massive collection of background I texts, I offered
      some supportive comments on Mark's Ideal Authorial Audience (Rabinowitz):
      namely that he almost certainly had one eye on the elite house church
      owner-leaders who would be responsible for teaching those churches. This
      would justify her including a large number of literary allusions of which
      one assumes most of Mark's uneducated audience would have been unaware.

      j) in terms of the commentary itself: I did not see how the mention of Forms
      actually informed her exegesis. Adela responded that they were evidence of
      Mark's oral origins (someone in the audience picked up on this I think) and
      thus explained Mark's less then even narrative. Even so, I couldn't see how
      this actually informed her exegesis once we got to it. But on narrative:
      given her citing of stories of the prophets as a possible precursor to Mark
      (she criticizes Burridge for ignoring them), and having taught same (i.e.
      Former Prophets), it should be noted that these involve highly sophisticated
      narrative and literary techniques. No reason why Mark cannot be similar, as
      many have argued.

      k) I appreciated her seeing Isa 53 behind Jesus' passion predictions, but
      in the pages devoted to the topic was surprised to find only a couple of
      very general sentences, namely, "Jesus gave his life for many," as to what
      it all meant for Mark. There was no comment on how this fulfills Scripture
      (which is what she'd earlier said of Mark), nor why it should come here in
      the gospel (we were promised that structural issues would be addressed
      throughout the commentary). Similarly, given her intention to read Mark from
      a first century perspective, I was surprised there was not even a raised
      eyebrow at Mark's Jesus' revamping of Israel's foundational meal by changing
      the menu and making himself its centre. Surely that must rank as one of the
      most astonishing events of all time: what first century Jew would even dream
      of doing such a thing, let alone imagine that another Jew would even
      consider doing so?

      l) overall then, lots of great info, background etc. and I DO mean that, but
      somehow the sense of Mark's narrative and what he thought about Jesus got a
      bit lost. BUT an enormous amount of work, really, and for that honor where
      honor was due.

      Hope that helps (I apologize again for any incoherence; I'd shared a room
      with a protean snorer and had only got two hours sleep).

    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Crosstalk Cc: GPG In Response To: Rikk Watts On: SBL Session on AYC s Mark From: Bruce Many thanks to Rikk for his authoritative account of his comments on
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 3, 2008
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        To: Crosstalk
        Cc: GPG
        In Response To: Rikk Watts
        On: SBL Session on AYC's Mark
        From: Bruce

        Many thanks to Rikk for his authoritative account of his comments on AYC's
        Mark at the recent SBL. (As mentioned, in addition to other shortcomings, my
        own notes at the time were meant for my own later use, and did not aspire to
        be a transcript of the session as such).

        That session being now as adequately reported as it is likely to be, perhaps
        the next step might be to engage, not that specific commentary, but the
        larger question of Mark. Rikk's notes provide a variety of points from which
        that engagement might begin: points which in his view were incompletely or
        unsatisfactorily dealt with in the commentary, and thus inviting further
        attention by the modern Markan community.


        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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