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[XTalk] Mk.1.4-5

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  • Philip B. Lewis
    The Gospel reading was Mk.1.1-8 from which the speaker selected John s preachung of a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He attempted to
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 7, 1999
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      The Gospel reading was Mk.1.1-8 from which the speaker selected John's
      preachung of "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." He
      attempted to equate this with "the gospel of hope," in spite of Acts 19.4-7
      and Paul's offering a re-baptism in order to receive the Holy Spirit.

      I had been struck upon re-reading the passage the past week (while trying
      to activate a stubborn computer) by Mark's statement that *"there went out
      to (John) all the country of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem,"* and
      that John was specifically described as being costumed like an Elijah, the
      prophet who had struggled against the apostosies of the northern kingdom
      (which was to include Galilee).

      Something more than "tradition" is at work here. In large part Mark is
      insisting that we be aware of the vast difference between John and Jesus.
      At the same time, he is sketching a Galilean's disdain for Judeans.
      Whether or not John actually practiced "a baptism of repentance for the
      forgiveness of sins," or whether Mark has put that construction on the
      theological viewpoint of "those of John's baptism," may be argued. Did
      John actually go about dressed in camel skin with a leather girdle? Or did
      Mark deck him out in the prophetic regalia in order to accentuate the
      differences between Galilean and Judean religious practice?

      John, of course, fell victim to the Ahab and Jezebel of his day. He died
      and his disciples took his body away and buried it. Jesus fell victim to
      the perfidy of a Temple hierarchy. On his death, though his body was
      entombed by a sympathetic Joseph, it would not stay put; according to Mark.
      "He has risen and gone before you...into Galilee." And where else would a
      faithful Galilean go?

      Philip
    • Philip B. Lewis
      What s more, as I pursue this matter further, a good deal of stuff attributed to GMark just ain t so. For example, it is often said uncritically by the most
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 7, 1999
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        What's more, as I pursue this matter further, a good deal of stuff
        attributed to GMark just ain't so. For example, it is often said
        uncritically by the most critical of crosstalkers that Mk.1.2 is a
        conflation of Ex.23.20 and Mal.3.1. The opening phrase is indeed directly
        from Exodus - though its Greek is more like an oral citation than a literal
        copying of the LXX. But search Malachi from kiver to kiver, if you will,
        and see if you find the word KATASXEUASEI (I'm doing it from memory). You
        won't. It just isn't to be found anywhere in the LXX except the Servant
        Poems of Isaiah where it or its cognates renders the Hebrew BARAH.
        "create", etc. It is a word of limited use and is the more meaningful as a
        result.

        IF GMark in any form has been used as a source by the writers of Matt., Lk
        and John, then it is utterly ridiculous to read back into GMark the
        constructions of later Gospels. This is just one of several indicators IMO
        that Mk and Q were contemporaries, with the collector of QA2 material
        borrowing from GMark and Mark borrowing from Q2.

        Philip
      • Nathan McGovern
        ... I doubt it. ... If you re saying that Mark wanted to distinguish between the two, making Jesus the prophet from the north and making John the prophet
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 7, 1999
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          Philip Lewis wrote:

          >Something more than "tradition" is at work here. In large part Mark is
          >insisting that we be aware of the vast difference between John and Jesus.
          >At the same time, he is sketching a Galilean's disdain for Judeans.
          >Whether or not John actually practiced "a baptism of repentance for the
          >forgiveness of sins," or whether Mark has put that construction on the
          >theological viewpoint of "those of John's baptism," may be argued. Did
          >John actually go about dressed in camel skin with a leather girdle?

          I doubt it.

          >Or did
          >Mark deck him out in the prophetic regalia in order to accentuate the
          >differences between Galilean and Judean religious practice?

          If you're saying that Mark wanted to distinguish between the two, making
          Jesus the prophet from the north and making John the prophet Elijah, the
          crusader against northern prophets, then I don't see what you mean. Why
          would Mark (or his source) intend John to be a crusader *against* northern
          apostasy when he is supposedly a messenger preparing the way *for* a
          northerner, Jesus? Maybe I've just misunderstood.

          I think that the reason Mark (or more likely, his source) decks John out in
          camel's hair and a leather belt is that it is very important to him to
          demonstrate that John was Elijah. This was very important in demonstrating
          that Jesus is the Messiah, as it was generally believed that the Messiah
          would be preceded by Elijah.

          Shalom,

          Nathan

          Nathan McGovern
          Franklin and Marshall College
          nm_mcgovern@...
        • Davies
          ... I think it s pretty unlikely that Mark thought it was all that big a deal because Mark never actually mentions it. A line saying John was Elijah would
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 7, 1999
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            Nathan McGovern wrote:
            > I think that the reason Mark (or more likely, his source) decks John out in
            > camel's hair and a leather belt is that it is very important to him to
            > demonstrate that John was Elijah.

            I think it's pretty unlikely that Mark thought it was all that big
            a deal because Mark never actually mentions it. A line saying "John
            was Elijah" would have been a lot more effective, don't you think?

            Steve
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... But doesn t he do just this in Mk 9, after the transfiguration? Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson 7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A Chicago, Illinois 60626 e-mail
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 7, 1999
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              Davies wrote:

              > Nathan McGovern wrote:
              > > I think that the reason Mark (or more likely, his source) decks John out in
              > > camel's hair and a leather belt is that it is very important to him to
              > > demonstrate that John was Elijah.
              >
              > I think it's pretty unlikely that Mark thought it was all that big
              > a deal because Mark never actually mentions it. A line saying "John
              > was Elijah" would have been a lot more effective, don't you think?
              >

              But doesn't he do just this in Mk 9, after the transfiguration?

              Jeffrey


              --
              Jeffrey B. Gibson
              7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
              Chicago, Illinois 60626
              e-mail jgibson000@...
            • Philip B. Lewis
              In his Dec.7 reply to my post on Mk.1.4=5 Nathan McGovern wrote: I think that the reason Mark (or more likely, his source) decks John out in camel s hair and a
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 8, 1999
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                In his Dec.7 reply to my post on Mk.1.4=5 Nathan McGovern wrote:

                I think that the reason Mark (or more likely, his source) decks John out in
                camel's hair and a leather belt is that it is very important to him to
                demonstrate that John was Elijah. This was very important in demonstrating
                that Jesus is the Messiah, as it was generally believed that the Messiah
                would be preceded by Elijah.


                My question, Nathan: Can you substantiate your statement that "it was
                generally believed that the Messiah would be preceded by Elijah"?

                Apart from canonical Gospel accounts (i.e., from Matt.on in the 1st
                century) what evidence is there that there was any general belief that
                Messiah would come after Elijah had prepared the way for him?

                It strikes me that we are always ready to read back later interpretations -
                in this case Matthew's elaborate chacterization - into a preChristian
                historical context. That's as indefensible as treating ALL people of
                semitic extraction as if they were "Jews" and therefore subject to
                explanation as Rabbinical Judaism presents them. After all, there were
                Qumran sectarians, sadducees, pharisees, am ha-aretz folk, Zadokites, etc.
                in the whole complex of Palestinian life. And Richard Horsley has required
                us to try to figure out what Galileans were like.

                Why should anyone appeal to the precedent of Elijah the Tishbite who
                crossed the Jordan into the kingdom of Israel, never setting foot so far as
                I can tell in Judah, to take his stand for God? And is it not significant
                that when John the Baptizer preached it was an audience made up of people
                from Judea and Jerusalem who went out to hear him and repent? That
                Galilean outlander, Jesus, ALSO went to be baptized by John. But he
                appears to have been the exception.

                Is Mark telling us real history as he composes this story which hinges,
                after all as Steve Davies has noted, on the spiritual endowment of Jesus?
                I think so, and respect Mark for telling it as he has.

                Some day we are going to come around aand understand Gospel imagery for
                what it is - imagery that conveys what different individuals visualized as
                the Jesus of history. NONE of the writers had seen him personally. Each
                painted his/her portrait using his own brush.

                Philip

                Philip Lewis, HR Presby Plains & Peaks
                574=B Sawmill Cove
                Cottonwood AZ 86326
              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                ... But this is not an answer. What is being called for is evidence that shows what you think should be the case, given your assumptions, really **was** the
                Message 7 of 10 , Dec 9, 1999
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                  Nathan McGovern wrote:

                  > Philip B. Lewis wrote:
                  >
                  > >My question, Nathan: Can you substantiate your statement that "it was
                  > >generally believed that the Messiah would be preceded by Elijah"?
                  > >
                  > >Apart from canonical Gospel accounts (i.e., from Matt.on in the 1st
                  > >century) what evidence is there that there was any general belief that
                  > >Messiah would come after Elijah had prepared the way for him?
                  >
                  > I admit that I can't *prove* that there was a first century belief in
                  > Elijah being the messiah's harbinger, but I do know that this is an element
                  > of not only Christian, but also Jewish belief. Perhaps someone with more
                  > knowledge of the Jewish tradition than myself would be able to prove (or
                  > disprove) that this belief had arisen before or during the first century.
                  >
                  > If I had to guess, however, based on what I do know, I would stick to my
                  > statement that there was a belief that the messiah would be preceded by
                  > Elijah. The Malachi prophecy rather explicitly states that Elijah will be
                  > sent before "the day of the LORD comes." Assuming that "the day of the
                  > Lord" would have had messianic connotations to Jewish readers in the first
                  > century, it seems reasonable, to me at least, that the passage would have
                  > been interpreted to mean that Elijah would precede the messiah.
                  >

                  But this is not an answer. What is being called for is evidence that shows what
                  you think should be the case, given your assumptions, really **was** the case.
                  Can you point to any particular text or set of texts from groups or voices
                  representative of 1st century points of view which actually show that Malachi was
                  interpreted in the way you think it must have been interpreted and/or express the
                  belief in an Elijah figure as a forerunner of the Messiah? Does it appear at
                  Qumran, in the Pss of Solomon, in any of the testamentary/apocalyptic literature
                  contemporary with the NT?

                  You say that the idea of "Elijah being the messiah's harbinger" was definitely
                  an element of Jewish belief. What is you **textual** evidence that this was
                  indeed the case?

                  Yours,

                  Jeffrey
                  --
                  Jeffrey B. Gibson
                  7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
                  Chicago, Illinois 60626
                  e-mail jgibson000@...
                • Jack Kilmon
                  ... I believe 4QarP states that I shall send you Elijah before.... There may also be a reference to this in CD. I ll check when I get home. Jack --
                  Message 8 of 10 , Dec 9, 1999
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                    "Jeffrey B. Gibson" wrote:

                    > Nathan McGovern wrote:
                    >
                    > > Philip B. Lewis wrote:
                    > >
                    > > >My question, Nathan: Can you substantiate your statement that "it was
                    > > >generally believed that the Messiah would be preceded by Elijah"?
                    > > >
                    > > >Apart from canonical Gospel accounts (i.e., from Matt.on in the 1st
                    > > >century) what evidence is there that there was any general belief that
                    > > >Messiah would come after Elijah had prepared the way for him?
                    > >
                    > > I admit that I can't *prove* that there was a first century belief in
                    > > Elijah being the messiah's harbinger, but I do know that this is an element
                    > > of not only Christian, but also Jewish belief. Perhaps someone with more
                    > > knowledge of the Jewish tradition than myself would be able to prove (or
                    > > disprove) that this belief had arisen before or during the first century.
                    > >
                    > > If I had to guess, however, based on what I do know, I would stick to my
                    > > statement that there was a belief that the messiah would be preceded by
                    > > Elijah. The Malachi prophecy rather explicitly states that Elijah will be
                    > > sent before "the day of the LORD comes." Assuming that "the day of the
                    > > Lord" would have had messianic connotations to Jewish readers in the first
                    > > century, it seems reasonable, to me at least, that the passage would have
                    > > been interpreted to mean that Elijah would precede the messiah.
                    > >
                    >
                    > But this is not an answer. What is being called for is evidence that shows what
                    > you think should be the case, given your assumptions, really **was** the case.
                    > Can you point to any particular text or set of texts from groups or voices
                    > representative of 1st century points of view which actually show that Malachi was
                    > interpreted in the way you think it must have been interpreted and/or express the
                    > belief in an Elijah figure as a forerunner of the Messiah? Does it appear at
                    > Qumran, in the Pss of Solomon, in any of the testamentary/apocalyptic literature
                    > contemporary with the NT?
                    >
                    > You say that the idea of "Elijah being the messiah's harbinger" was definitely
                    > an element of Jewish belief. What is you **textual** evidence that this was
                    > indeed the case?

                    I believe 4QarP states that "I shall send you Elijah before...." There may also
                    be a reference to this in CD. I'll check when I get home.

                    Jack

                    --
                    ______________________________________________

                    taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

                    Jack Kilmon
                    jkilmon@...

                    http://www.historian.net

                    sharing a meal for free.
                    http://www.thehungersite.com/
                  • Michael Burer
                    ... may also ... See also Sirach 48:10: Scripture records that you are to come at the appointed time to allay the divine wrath before it erupts in fury, to
                    Message 9 of 10 , Dec 9, 1999
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                      > I believe 4QarP states that "I shall send you Elijah before...." There
                      may also
                      > be a reference to this in CD. I'll check when I get home.
                      >
                      > Jack

                      See also Sirach 48:10: "Scripture records that you are to come at the
                      appointed time to allay the divine wrath before it erupts in fury, to
                      reconcile father and son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob." Prior context
                      references Elijah and his earthly life directly. Sirach was composed in
                      Hebrew c. 180 BC and translated into Greek c. 132, so this reference is
                      definitely in the ballpark.

                      Michael Burer
                      Ph.D. Student
                      Dallas Theological Seminary
                    • Nathan McGovern
                      ... I admit that I can t *prove* that there was a first century belief in Elijah being the messiah s harbinger, but I do know that this is an element of not
                      Message 10 of 10 , Dec 9, 1999
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                        Philip B. Lewis wrote:

                        >My question, Nathan: Can you substantiate your statement that "it was
                        >generally believed that the Messiah would be preceded by Elijah"?
                        >
                        >Apart from canonical Gospel accounts (i.e., from Matt.on in the 1st
                        >century) what evidence is there that there was any general belief that
                        >Messiah would come after Elijah had prepared the way for him?

                        I admit that I can't *prove* that there was a first century belief in
                        Elijah being the messiah's harbinger, but I do know that this is an element
                        of not only Christian, but also Jewish belief. Perhaps someone with more
                        knowledge of the Jewish tradition than myself would be able to prove (or
                        disprove) that this belief had arisen before or during the first century.

                        If I had to guess, however, based on what I do know, I would stick to my
                        statement that there was a belief that the messiah would be preceded by
                        Elijah. The Malachi prophecy rather explicitly states that Elijah will be
                        sent before "the day of the LORD comes." Assuming that "the day of the
                        Lord" would have had messianic connotations to Jewish readers in the first
                        century, it seems reasonable, to me at least, that the passage would have
                        been interpreted to mean that Elijah would precede the messiah.

                        Shalom,

                        Nathan

                        Nathan McGovern
                        Franklin and Marshall College
                        nm_mcgovern@...
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