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Re: [XTalk] GOSPEL (OF THE KINGDOM) OF GOD

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Crosstalk In Brief Response To: Gordon Raynal On: Mark and Stuff From: Bruce GORDON: Thus the differences will continue and continue. BRUCE: Indeed, but
    Message 1 of 48 , Jan 19, 2011
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      To: Crosstalk
      In Brief Response To: Gordon Raynal
      On: Mark and Stuff
      From: Bruce

      GORDON: Thus the differences will continue and continue.

      BRUCE: Indeed, but not because there is no answer.

      Gordon has listed the areas of our difference. I comment briefly:

      a.) the dating and relationship of sources.

      I find Mark to be the earliest Gospel, and with support from Daniel as
      quoted in Mk 13, I notice that Mark or one of its later contributors was
      excited by the Caligula threat of desecration in the summer of 40, a threat
      which exactly parallels the situation which the writer of Daniel (alluded to
      in Mk 13) had in mind. There is no reason to connect this with the
      destruction of the Temple in 70, an event which Luke is the first to
      describe realistically. Given the fairly evident relative order of the
      Synoptics, plus the fact that Matthew takes Mark's Caligula reference over
      without changing it, we then reach as a best first approximation:

      Early Mark
      The Summer of 40
      Later Mark (Mk 13 is a late addition)
      Matthew
      The Summer of 70
      Luke

      And a few more things like that. No chronology is valid unless it
      consistently accounts for all the data, including Titus, and I concede that
      there are some loose ends in my chart at this moment. The chronology which I
      presented (in two pieces, at two sessions) at SBL needs adjustment after
      further study. But I find that in general it holds up pretty well. I look
      for future adjustments rather than future radical rearrangements, but of
      course time will tell.

      GORDON: I understand Mark to be a narrative creation from some 40 to 50 or
      so years after Jesus, . .

      BRUCE: A lot of people think that, and would agree with that sentence. But
      do they realize what they are saying? They are saying that Jesus died, and
      years passed and another generation grew up, (25 years) and then another
      generation came along (15 to 25 years more), and only then, not within the
      lifetimes of the first followers but only then, did it occur to anyone to
      ask, "By the way, this Jesus fella, what was he like? What did he do? How
      did he die, exactly?" And at that point, when all the memories were either
      dead or dim, and all the trails were cold, somebody sat down to write out
      the answer. I frankly find this preposterous. The question to which Mark is
      the answer (all else is revisionism) is very likely to have been asked
      immediately after the news of Jesus's death got back home to Galilee.

      b.) where to find the mission agenda and what the actual mission agenda was

      I don't know where Gordon is getting his mission agenda, since he hasn't
      said. I get mine from the beginning of Mark, which is where we would expect
      an author to put it. Besides that initial statement of what Jesus was
      preaching (repentance and forgiveness and the Kingdom of God), it is
      conspicuous that the Markan narrative is interrupted at several points in
      which Jesus, out of nowhere, predicts his own death. This is received by his
      disciples with disbelief and rejection, and the rejection is met by Jesus
      with curses. I somehow get the impression that this was not the usual
      content of Jesus's preaching, and that, on the contrary, it was a new
      element added later, so much later that Mark could not with a straight face
      represent the disciples as accepting it (let alone preaching it; compare the
      Sending of the Twelve, which itself is rather late in the text) during
      Jesus's lifetime. Mark makes it sufficiently clear that it was only after
      Jesus's death that this second idea got going, and nobody, least of all
      Luke, contradicts this. See also my earlier note about the place where Jesus
      is made to deny his own teaching to the Galilean crowds. Here, as I may have
      said before, we have a text in conflict with itself, and of the two parties
      to that conflict, the one I want at this moment is the earlier party.

      c.) the genre of Mark and how Mark utilized his sources to create his
      narrative of Jesus, the anointed.

      This presupposes all sorts of things, starting with the idea that Mark
      himself knew nothing about Jesus, and was dependent on "sources," texts or
      their equivalent which we do not now possess, and of which Mark as it stands
      gives no hint (whereas the prologue to Luke gives ample hints). As I think I
      showed earlier, or was that on another list, everything in Mark that is not
      these interruptive self-denials by Jesus, that is, everything circumstantial
      in Mark, could have been known either directly to John Mark of Jerusalem
      (his mom's house was evidently a rendezvous for the Jesus people, probably
      including Jesus), or learned from Peter (in the living room of that house,
      not in Rome), or from his friends Rufus and Alexander, whose father had
      witnessed the Crucifixion in a big way. Mark, then or later, is also open to
      legends, like the Johannine myth of John the Baptist (which quite possibly
      gave Luke the idea for Acts, or anyway for the speeches of Paul in Acts),
      and the Christian devotional myth of the Woman of Bethany, which Mark
      self-identifies as something celebrated in later times. Those bits stand out
      stylistically, and they stand out substantively, from the rest of the story.
      That these had sources in the usual sense of established stories which Mark
      then took over and used, I do not doubt. But the amount of this kind of
      stuff in Mark seems very limited otherwise. No?

      If there is anything else equally clear, I would be glad to know about it.

      The genre of Mark? I should think that is obvious: Mark is not a life of
      Jesus, in either a modern or a Greco-Roman sense, it is an apologia for the
      death of Jesus. It relates Jesus's teachings not as part of a portrait of
      the man (as a biography would), but as part of the scenario for the
      opposition that he aroused, and which (as Mark sees it) caused his untimely
      and unanticipated death. (Of course, Jesus's Davidic enterprise was very
      high-risk anyway, as Mark again makes clear in excruciating detail,
      including where they got the donkey, and what the password was, etcetera
      etcetera).

      So no, I don't hold with Luke that Jerusalem was the beginning of
      Christianity (Galilee was, no matter how vigorously Luke may curse the three
      Galilean churches), and I don't hold with Paul that Paul was the first
      Christian (I think a couple of hundred Galilean villagers were, including
      little Sophie and her parents). I think that before Luke there was Mark, and
      that before Paul there was Jesus. Is this actually a radical idea?

      I go with the earliest evidence when I can find it, and in both these cases,
      I think that there *is* such evidence, and that I and others can indeed work
      with it. If they care to.

      So recommended,

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • RSBrenchley@aol.com
      Message 48 of 48 , Jan 30, 2011
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        <<Ariel, D.T., A Survey of Coin Finds in Jerusalem,
        Liber Annuus 32, 1982, pp 273-326.

        Unless we have an old print copy in the pre-1985 stack here,
        the data for denarii in Jerusalem is out of reach
        just now, so, at least for the time being, I'll just shift to your
        view that there weren't that many around in the city.

        David M.>>

        I'm having trouble getting hold of it as well, so I'll have to go by
        memory, unfortunately. I did contact Ariel himself, but he's got nothing beyond
        a single paper copy. While it's not strictly on topic, I do have H Gitler's
        'A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF NUMISMATIC EVIDENCE FROM EXCAVATIONS IN JERUSALEM'
        (Liber Annuus 1996), which covers bronze coinage from the city. No
        imperial bronze is recorded from before the 4th Century, after the abolition of
        the provincial mints, and their replacement with imperial ones.

        Regards,

        Robert Brenchley
        Birmingham UK


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