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Audience of Mark

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Crosstalk In Response To: Rikk Watts On: Audience of Mark From: Bruce RIKK: How about the argument that Adela-Yarbro Collins makes for Mark being none
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 22, 2011
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      To: Crosstalk
      In Response To: Rikk Watts
      On: Audience of Mark
      From: Bruce

      RIKK: How about the argument that Adela-Yarbro Collins makes for Mark being
      none other than John Mark, . . .

      BRUCE: It's cute. I am intrigued by her advocacy of the identity of the
      author of gMk and the kid who runs away naked from the arrest of Jesus,
      which had occurred to me independently, but it is nice to have her company.
      And it sort of works. The Passover would have been at his mom's house in
      Jerusalem (claimed by Acts as a sort of HQ for the Jesus leaders in
      Jerusalem as of the year 44, the maid's name was Rhoda), and so on. I would
      be inclined to carry it somewhat further. Correct me if I missed one, but I
      don't think there is anything in gMk, down to and including the execution of
      Jacob Zebedee in c43, that Mark would not have (a) personally witnessed, or
      (b) heard from Peter and/or John Zebedee, not in Rome but in his mom's house
      in Jerusalem in the late 30's and after, or (c) learned from his playmates
      Alexander and Rufus, whose father (unlike Peter and company) probably did
      witness the Crucifixion.

      RIKK: . . . known associate of Paul (Col 4.10; Philemon 24, and the word to
      Timothy to bring Mark with him, 2 Tm 4.11) and Peter (1 Peter 5.12-13,

      BRUCE: All these are to some extent non-Pauline sources, and all of them are
      thus risky material to work from. They are good sources for the gradual myth
      of Peter and Paul (and Mark) at Rome, which as I more or less mentioned
      earlier, was in vigorous growth and wide acceptance by the late 1c, which is
      undoubtedly where Papias picked it up. More than that it seems perilous to
      say.

      RIKK: . . . also with Silvanus,also a colleague of Paul¹s, 1 Thess 1.1; 2
      Thess 1.1; and 2 Cor 1.19;

      BRUCE: Again 2 Thess, which is not a valid source, rather, a revisionist
      document. One needs to discriminate. That Silvanus/Silas was a colleague of
      Paul's seems clear enough. What I find less convincing is the 1Pt claim that
      Peter also knew both Silvanus and Mark. That looks to me like an attempt to
      create a Petrine strand of the DeuteroPauline tradition, and specifically
      like the growth of the Peter and Mark at Rome myth, which was also known to
      1 Clement (c96).

      RIKK: Luke, apparently independently, locates Mark in Jerusalem with Peter,
      Acts 12.12, and with Paul and Barnabas, Acts 12:25; 15.36-41) both of whom
      are closely associated with Gentiles?

      BRUCE: If Acts says it, I am going to have to start worrying about it. I
      have already (not without some pangs) divested myself of the erroneous
      notion that Paul was a Roman citizen, and that he studied with Gamaliel in
      Jerusalem. Now this. Perhaps the maid's name wasn't Rhoda after all. For the
      moment, I am holding to the idea that there was a John Mark, and that his
      mom did have a house in Jerusalem. But I am not sure how close that takes us
      to the desired conclusion.

      RIKK: That there is no identifying modifier (i.e. Mark son of... Mark of
      locale X, etc.)
      suggests that this Mark was well enough known for none to be necessary.
      Since the early Christian movement was relatively tiny Collins' argument
      makes good sense.

      BRUCE: I am not sure how tiny we can be sure it was. During his lifetime,
      Jesus evidently had branches in Capernaum and Jerusalem, and if we try to
      trace the early activities of the major preachers of his message, we seem to
      find that early Christianity preceded Paul not only at Damascus, but at
      Antioch, and at Corinth, and at Alexandria, and perhaps also at Macedonia,
      and Paul seems in Romans to be arguing with Christians who also don't share
      his particular kind of Christian doctrine. The general impression I get is
      of an early and vigorous effort by the immediate followers of Jesus to get
      the message out more widely. The question is, to exactly whom?

      RIKK: The gospel is Koine (not Aramaic), it doesn't look like a translation,
      and if they knew Aramaic as presumably any Galilean Jew would, why explain
      the Aramaic words (3:17; 5:41; 7:11; 7:34; 15:22; 15:34) suggests to me a
      mixed audience, predominantly Greek speaking but with some Jewish expats?

      BRUCE: Well, it looks like a translation to Torrey, but so does almost
      everything else, and I am holding that opinion in abeyance for the time
      being. gMk is undoubtedly written for Greek speakers, at least a significant
      number of whom needed to have the few Aramaic words explained to them. That
      does not yet prove that they were Gentiles. Paul himself, it seems to me, an
      undoubted Jew and a user of the OT in Greek, would have been in the category
      of the Markan target audience. The early missionary effort is likely to have
      worked through synagogues. That Paul had the franchise for Gentiles seems
      highly unlikely to me (so does the same claim made elsewhere for Peter); I
      think they were mixed but that the synagogue, outside Galilee, was the point
      of propagation. Acts thinks so too, but that by itself is not enough to make
      me doubt it. Not yet.

      RIKK: Mark is a Roman name. If this was written to a Jewish community
      wouldn't one expect instead his Jewish name, John, to have instead been
      associated with the document?

      BRUCE: I don't see that this carries much weight. Paul seems to have
      switched to his Greek name when he converted, more or less, and I can
      imagine the same for John Mark. No matter who he was talking to. And of
      course we don't know who attached that name, or that form of the name, to
      that book. It is not billed as the Gospel of Mark, if I recall, but rather
      the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Which, since there was no competition at the
      time it was first written, seems unproblematic to me.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Rikk Watts
      Dear Bruce Before going through this, I appreciate your responding only to the one issue: namely Mark s audience. But I d also be interested in hearing your
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 23, 2011
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        Dear Bruce

        Before going through this, I appreciate your responding only to the one
        issue: namely Mark's audience. But I'd also be interested in hearing your
        response to the question of earlier layers in Mark, in particular, hearing
        by what objective criteria you make your judgments. I'd also like to know
        just who those many commentators are who see Mark's Jesus as disregarding
        the first table of the law and your responses to my questioning your
        evidence (e.g. covet to defraud) in support of this hypothesis.

        Re the question of authorship:

        > BRUCE: It's cute. I am intrigued by her advocacy of the identity of the
        > author of gMk and the kid who runs away naked from the arrest of Jesus,
        > which had occurred to me independently, but it is nice to have her company.
        Hmm.. where exactly does she argue this? I'm familiar with her commentary
        and, unless I'm more decrepit than I thought, I can't see where she says
        anything along these lines either in her section on authorship or on Mark
        14.51-52.

        > (c) learned from his playmates Alexander and Rufus,
        How do you know that Alexander and Rufus were Mark's playmates?

        > BRUCE: All these are to some extent non-Pauline sources, and all of them are
        > thus risky material to work from.
        Wonder if you can clarify why the simple fact of being non-Pauline makes a
        text risky? Why should Paul be different? Or to put it another way, if you
        take Paul as reliable, why not so take them? They all seem to share the same
        ethical commitments.

        > They are good sources for the gradual myth
        > of Peter and Paul (and Mark) at Rome, which as I more or less mentioned
        > earlier, was in vigorous growth and wide acceptance by the late 1c, which is
        > undoubtedly where Papias picked it up. More than that it seems perilous to
        > say.
        How do you know this is a myth?

        > BRUCE: Again 2 Thess, which is not a valid source, rather, a revisionist
        > document.
        How do you know that 2 Thess is revisionist? Revisionist of what and by
        whom?

        > What I find less convincing is the 1Pt claim that
        > Peter also knew both Silvanus and Mark.
        This seems to contradict what you've just argued above concerning Mark where
        you seem to cite Acts for evidence that Mark and Peter knew each other.

        > BRUCE: If Acts says it, I am going to have to start worrying about it.
        But you didn't in your first paragraph when you cited Acts without
        hesitation or justification as evidence concerning Mark's "mom's house" etc.

        > RIKK: That there is no identifying modifier (i.e. Mark son of... Mark of
        > locale X, etc.)
        > suggests that this Mark was well enough known for none to be necessary.
        > Since the early Christian movement was relatively tiny Collins' argument
        > makes good sense.
        >
        > BRUCE: I am not sure how tiny we can be sure it was. During his lifetime,
        > Jesus evidently had branches in Capernaum and Jerusalem, and if we try to
        > trace the early activities of the major preachers of his message, we seem to
        > find that early Christianity preceded Paul not only at Damascus, but at
        > Antioch, and at Corinth, and at Alexandria, and perhaps also at Macedonia,
        > and Paul seems in Romans to be arguing with Christians who also don't share
        > his particular kind of Christian doctrine. The general impression I get is
        > of an early and vigorous effort by the immediate followers of Jesus to get
        > the message out more widely. The question is, to exactly whom?
        I'm not sure how this obviates the argument: one can have Christian
        communities at these centers and still have a relatively tiny number of no
        more than say 7000 or 8000 by the time Mark wrote. But you've not interacted
        with the scholarship on these numbers. Who are you relying on for your
        projections? (Out of interest, how do you know that there were Christians in
        Corinth before Paul?) No comment on the absence of a modifier?

        > RIKK: The gospel is Koine (not Aramaic), it doesn't look like a translation,
        > and if they knew Aramaic as presumably any Galilean Jew would, why explain
        > the Aramaic words (3:17; 5:41; 7:11; 7:34; 15:22; 15:34) suggests to me a
        > mixed audience, predominantly Greek speaking but with some Jewish expats?
        >
        > BRUCE: Well, it looks like a translation to Torrey,
        Torrey's theory did make a bit of a splash when it first appeared in the
        first half of last century, enough to receive treatment both in e.g. JTS and
        HTR. But it's hardly won the day‹his reviewers being quite critical. So what
        exactly in their criticisms do you not find convincing?

        > but so does almost everything else,
        "everything else"? To what does this refer? The rest of the NT?

        > and I am holding that opinion in abeyance for the time
        > being. gMk is undoubtedly written for Greek speakers, at least a significant
        > number of whom needed to have the few Aramaic words explained to them.
        > That does not yet prove that they were Gentiles. Paul himself, it seems to me,
        > an
        > undoubted Jew and a user of the OT in Greek, would have been in the category
        > of the Markan target audience. The early missionary effort is likely to have
        > worked through synagogues. That Paul had the franchise for Gentiles seems
        > highly unlikely to me (so does the same claim made elsewhere for Peter); I
        > think they were mixed but that the synagogue, outside Galilee, was the point
        > of propagation. Acts thinks so too, but that by itself is not enough to make
        > me doubt it. Not yet.
        I think you've misread me here. On this particular point I was responding to
        your apparently favorable comment that some recent studies argue for a
        Galilean not Roman gospel. This is negative argument, i.e. against a
        Galilean provenance, not intended on its own to argue for a Gentile one;
        though I think a mixed Gentile/Jewish audience would make good sense of the
        data. We do have one NT document that seems to require an almost entirely
        Jewish Christian congregation‹Hebrews‹and we can see the kinds of things
        they were wrestling with. Mark just doesn't look like this, which suggests
        to me that he is writing to a mixed Jewish-Gentile audience. So I'm not
        rejecting the Jewish elements but I can't see good reason to deny that
        Gentile Christians are in view as well.

        > RIKK: Mark is a Roman name. If this was written to a Jewish community
        > wouldn't one expect instead his Jewish name, John, to have instead been
        > associated with the document?
        > BRUCE: I don't see that this carries much weight. Paul seems to have
        > switched to his Greek name when he converted, more or less, and I can
        > imagine the same for John Mark.
        wow... that's a golden oldie and I suspect originally based on a somewhat,
        hmm, "straightforward" reading of Acts no less‹Paul nowhere in his letters
        indicates that he was ever called Saul. But even if Acts was trying to imply
        that Paul changed his name, why does Luke insist on calling him Saul even
        after Paul has converted, in e.g. Antioch (Acts 13) where Paul is clearly a
        Christian? I though it was generally agreed that Paul did not actually
        switch at all, but simply uses the Greek form of his Latin name because
        that's what one does in when in non-Jewish territory.

        > No matter who he was talking to. And of
        > course we don't know who attached that name, or that form of the name, to
        > that book. It is not billed as the Gospel of Mark, if I recall, but rather
        > the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Which, since there was no competition at the
        > time it was first written, seems unproblematic to me.
        Indeed we do not know who attached the name (has anyone suggested that we
        did?), but we do have MSS evidence of its form (see Collins). I'm not sure
        the issue of attaching names is a matter of competition (I assume you mean
        other gospels). Having more than one Christian book in one's possession
        (e.g. a copy of one of Paul's letters) would be enough warrant to attach a
        label of some kind in order to distinguish between them. Indeed, anyone who
        could afford a copy of Mark would most likely already possess other books
        and this alone would suffice. It seems highly likely then that a name-tag
        was attached to this gospel from the very earliest. That the only name in
        the tradition is Mark, that he requires no modifier, that the community is
        relatively small and thus with a limited pool of individuals who had the
        authority, knowledge, and wherewithal to produce such a work, implies that
        he was well enough known. The only individual in the NT tradition is the
        Mark so noted. Since there is no hard evidence to suggest these are
        fictional references (an assertion to the contrary does not constitute
        actual evidence) I think Collins' suggestion is eminently sensible: in this
        early smallish community it was the Mark who was an associate of both Peter
        and Paul (probably beginning from the earliest days in Jerusalem) who wrote
        the gospel that bears his name.

        As to whom, the audience is clearly Greek speaking. Given the make-up of the
        early church and several features of Mark, it seems reasonable to suppose
        that this was a mixed Jewish-Gentile audience. That Matt and Luke,
        apparently written to broader audiences (Bauckham) drop Mark's latinisms
        suggests Mark's audience is more limited and less sensitive. Since Latin was
        more dominant in the West than the East, it seems to me that the traditional
        destination of Rome is the best option.

        >
        > Bruce
        >
        > E Bruce Brooks
        > Warring States Project
        > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
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        > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
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      • RSBrenchley@aol.com
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 24, 2011
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          <<Indeed, anyone who
          could afford a copy of Mark would most likely already possess other books
          and this alone would suffice. It seems highly likely then that a name-tag
          was attached to this gospel from the very earliest. That the only name in
          the tradition is Mark, that he requires no modifier, that the community is
          relatively small and thus with a limited pool of individuals who had the
          authority, knowledge, and wherewithal to produce such a work, implies that
          he was well enough known. The only individual in the NT tradition is the
          Mark so noted.>>

          OK, but if so, why are Matthew, Luke and John not differentiated? John, in
          particular, was an especially common Jewish name in its assorted variants.

          Regards,

          Robert Brenchley
          Birmingham UK


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Joseph Codsi
          Hello everyone, I have a question about the possible influence of Paul s Christology on Peter s. What book would you recommend to read about this question?
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 24, 2011
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            Hello everyone,

            I have a question about the possible influence of Paul's Christology on
            Peter's. What book would you recommend to read about this question? Your
            suggestions will be welcome.

            Joseph Codsi
            Seattle


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • jgibson000@comcast.net
            ... Do we know what Peter s Christology was? Are you assuming that 1 Peter is actually from Peter? Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon) 1500 W. Pratt
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 24, 2011
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              On 1/24/2011 7:13 PM, Joseph Codsi wrote:
              > Hello everyone,
              >
              > I have a question about the possible influence of Paul's Christology on
              > Peter's. What book would you recommend to read about this question? Your
              > suggestions will be welcome.
              >
              Do we know what Peter's Christology was?

              Are you assuming that 1 Peter is actually from Peter?

              Jeffrey

              --
              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
              1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
              Chicago, Illinois
              e-mail jgibson000@...
            • Rikk Watts
              Dear Robert, I was running through my emails ditching lots of stuff ‹ it gets overwhelming sometimes ‹ and realized that I missed this. My sincere
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 29, 2011
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                Dear Robert,

                I was running through my emails ditching lots of stuff ‹ it gets
                overwhelming sometimes ‹ and realized that I missed this. My sincere
                apologies...

                Re Kata Markon, without modifier

                I should think the same principle applied to Matt et al. Keith Hopkins,
                ³Christian Numbers and Its Implications² Journal of Early Christian Studies
                6 (1998) 184-226, if my notes are correct, suggests that by 100, there were
                probably only 7000 Christians. He suggests 30% would be adult males, thus
                some 2100, of whom only 20%, 420, could read but say only 2% were literary
                sophisticates, i.e. 42 (!). Of that lesser number, we would need to have
                someone in a community of sufficient wherewithal and of sufficient personal
                standing and literary ability to produce a gospel. This strikes me as not
                being a large pool, in which case one might expect such an individual to be
                sufficiently well known not to require any modifier. Just it would apply to
                Mark so also to John, Matthew, and Luke. I.e. no matter how common such
                names might have been in the larger environment, in the early Christian
                world the pool was almost miniscule by comparison. To the extent that Matt,
                Lk, and John were written earlier than 100 the numbers would be
                proportionately less.

                Indeed, the very fact that Johanan was such a common Jewish name only makes
                the absence of any further identifier even more perplexing, UNLESS the above
                explanation is obtains; i.e. none was needed because whoever delivered or
                copied the document knew exactly which Matt, Lk or John was in view.

                Best

                Rikk

                BTW: thanks for that info on the coins. Very helpful in all kinds of ways.

                > From: <RSBrenchley@...>
                > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                > Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 17:55:05 -0500 (EST)
                > To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Audience of Mark
                >
                > <<Indeed, anyone who
                > could afford a copy of Mark would most likely already possess other books
                > and this alone would suffice. It seems highly likely then that a name-tag
                > was attached to this gospel from the very earliest. That the only name in
                > the tradition is Mark, that he requires no modifier, that the community is
                > relatively small and thus with a limited pool of individuals who had the
                > authority, knowledge, and wherewithal to produce such a work, implies that
                > he was well enough known. The only individual in the NT tradition is the
                > Mark so noted.>>
                >
                > OK, but if so, why are Matthew, Luke and John not differentiated? John, in
                > particular, was an especially common Jewish name in its assorted variants.
                >
                > Regards,
                >
                > Robert Brenchley
                > Birmingham UK
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                >
                > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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              • RSBrenchley@aol.com
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 1, 2011
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                  <<I should think the same principle applied to Matt et al. Keith Hopkins,
                  ³Christian Numbers and Its Implications² Journal of Early Christian Studies
                  6 (1998) 184-226, if my notes are correct, suggests that by 100, there were
                  probably only 7000 Christians. He suggests 30% would be adult males, thus
                  some 2100, of whom only 20%, 420, could read but say only 2% were literary
                  sophisticates, i.e. 42 (!). Of that lesser number, we would need to have
                  someone in a community of sufficient wherewithal and of sufficient personal
                  standing and literary ability to produce a gospel. This strikes me as not
                  being a large pool, in which case one might expect such an individual to be
                  sufficiently well known not to require any modifier. Just it would apply to
                  Mark so also to John, Matthew, and Luke. I.e. no matter how common such
                  names might have been in the larger environment, in the early Christian
                  world the pool was almost miniscule by comparison. To the extent that Matt,
                  Lk, and John were written earlier than 100 the numbers would be
                  proportionately less.>>

                  Thanks for the figures. If the church was that size - and I agree what
                  evidence we have suggests it was pretty insignificant - then yes, they
                  probably would have known who the writers were. That doesn't imply that they're
                  mentioned anywhere in the NT though!

                  Regards,

                  Robert


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Rikk Watts
                  Five minutes... and I must really get back to work... ... Sorry to be so forthright, but I should have thought that this was exactly what it implies. : ) I
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 1, 2011
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                    Five minutes... and I must really get back to work...

                    > if the church was that size - and I agree what
                    > evidence we have suggests it was pretty insignificant - then yes, they
                    > probably would have known who the writers were. That doesn't imply that
                    > they're mentioned anywhere in the NT though!

                    Sorry to be so forthright, but I should have thought that this was exactly
                    what it implies. : )

                    I mean, if I was in a movement of this size where they were two Marks, one
                    significant enough to be associated with Peter (at least according to Luke
                    and 1 Peter), and the other who wrote the gospel, and perhaps even a third
                    who was connected with Paul, I think I'd want to know which Mark we (because
                    we are still small enough with sufficient peripatetic links to be a "we")
                    were talking about. If they were different folks, why do neither the gospel
                    nor the other materials who speak of Mark feel any concern to indicate that
                    these are different people? I can't believe that it was because they all
                    operated in splendid isolation and complete ignorance of one another. Did
                    the writer of Acts really not know about Mark's gospel? I find that hard to
                    believe. This is not a big movement. How many "Marks" of this caliber could
                    there be? The most straightforward and obvious answer (at last to me) is
                    they don't differentiate between them because they believed these Marks to
                    be the one person for the simple reason that they were. If they are not,
                    then someone would need reasonably to explain how a movement such as this
                    could get confused. Somewhere there would need to be a near universal lapse
                    of memory and that within their own lifetimes.

                    I'd need some pretty compelling evidence and a good alternative explanation
                    of the social dynamics of a relatively knit first generation "cult" movement
                    (who are small enough for their relatively small cadre of leaders still to
                    bump heads over their different opinions) to be persuaded otherwise.

                    For the record, nothing in my work on Mark nor my views of its content are
                    dependent on authorship; they are, if you will, author neutral. So I don't
                    have any bets riding on this. (I'm not much on conspiracy theories either).

                    Rikk

                    Ok.. I'm off now for another day or so.. apologies and thanks for your
                    indulgence.

                    > From: <RSBrenchley@...>
                    > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2011 17:54:57 -0500 (EST)
                    > To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Audience of Mark
                    >
                    > <<I should think the same principle applied to Matt et al. Keith Hopkins,
                    > ³Christian Numbers and Its Implications² Journal of Early Christian Studies
                    > 6 (1998) 184-226, if my notes are correct, suggests that by 100, there were
                    > probably only 7000 Christians. He suggests 30% would be adult males, thus
                    > some 2100, of whom only 20%, 420, could read but say only 2% were literary
                    > sophisticates, i.e. 42 (!). Of that lesser number, we would need to have
                    > someone in a community of sufficient wherewithal and of sufficient personal
                    > standing and literary ability to produce a gospel. This strikes me as not
                    > being a large pool, in which case one might expect such an individual to be
                    > sufficiently well known not to require any modifier. Just it would apply to
                    > Mark so also to John, Matthew, and Luke. I.e. no matter how common such
                    > names might have been in the larger environment, in the early Christian
                    > world the pool was almost miniscule by comparison. To the extent that Matt,
                    > Lk, and John were written earlier than 100 the numbers would be
                    > proportionately less.>>
                    >
                    > Thanks for the figures. If the church was that size - and I agree what
                    > evidence we have suggests it was pretty insignificant - then yes, they
                    > probably would have known who the writers were. That doesn't imply that
                    > they're
                    > mentioned anywhere in the NT though!
                    >
                    > Regards,
                    >
                    > Robert
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------
                    >
                    > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                    >
                    > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    >
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                    >
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