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[XTalk] Re: abomination of desolation

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  • Tony Buglass
    ... (thus explaining the masculine ESTHKOTA). Whether this particular interpretation is correct or not, I do not think it is at all possible to interpret
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 27, 2000
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      Nathan McGovern wrote (Seems like ages ago!):

      >My personal suggestion is that it refers to Titus entering the Temple
      (thus >explaining the masculine ESTHKOTA). Whether this particular
      interpretation is >correct or not, I do not think it is at all possible to
      interpret the apocalypse as >referring to the Caligula crisis. To do so
      would require one to assume that its >author was 1) incredibly paranoid and
      2) inclined to falsify the events of 30AD >to 40 AD.

      Interesting suggestion - and it does explain the masculine participle, and
      fit the apocalypse into the context for which it is intended in Mk.13.
      However, I wonder if this is another of those *either-or* arguments which
      should really be *both-and*
      Consider the hypothesis:

      1) The apocalypse was originally written in the early stages of the
      Caligula crisis, when it really looked as if the legions would enforce the
      placing of the statue in the Temple - such apocalyptic imagery would then
      have been entirely appropriate to the carnage which would have followed.
      It isn't unusual to see apocalyptic anticipate the *worst-case scenario*
      and then be proven wrong - so the outcome of the Maccabean War wasn't as
      anticipated by the Book of Daniel, and the great persecution anticipated by
      Revelation didn't happen - at least, not under Domitian.

      2) The (unfulfilled) apocalyptic tradition was available to Mark when he
      was writing his gospel, and was appropriate material to put into the mouth
      of Jesus as an apparent warning to Jerusalem. Prophetic and apocalyptic
      traditions were often recycled and adapted to a new situation. The
      participle (hypothetically neuter in the original) could have been adapted
      by Mark to refer to Titus as Nathan suggests.

      As I say, this is hypothesis, and I have no evidence to support it. I
      offer it as an alternative to dismissing the link with the Caligual crisis,
      in the light of the way Ist C writers apparently used and recycled
      prophetic or apocalyptic traditions. It does mean that the writer need not
      be considered incredibly paranoid, rather that he used a source which arose
      at a time when the worst was not impossible. Nor need he be seen as
      falsifying events, but re-interpreting and re-applying traditions in a
      time-honoured fashion.

      Tony Buglass
      Pickering Methodist Circuit
      abuglass1@...
    • Nathan McGovern
      ... This seems like a definite possibility, insofar as it helps explain why chapter 13 does not seem to be something that Mark simply made up from scratch.
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 27, 2000
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        Tony Buglass wrote:

        >Nathan McGovern wrote (Seems like ages ago!):
        >
        >>My personal suggestion is that it refers to Titus entering the Temple
        >(thus >explaining the masculine ESTHKOTA). Whether this particular
        >interpretation is >correct or not, I do not think it is at all possible to
        >interpret the apocalypse as >referring to the Caligula crisis. To do so
        >would require one to assume that its >author was 1) incredibly paranoid and
        >2) inclined to falsify the events of 30AD >to 40 AD.
        >
        >Interesting suggestion - and it does explain the masculine participle, and
        >fit the apocalypse into the context for which it is intended in Mk.13.
        >However, I wonder if this is another of those *either-or* arguments which
        >should really be *both-and*
        >Consider the hypothesis:
        >
        >1) The apocalypse was originally written in the early stages of the
        >Caligula crisis, when it really looked as if the legions would enforce the
        >placing of the statue in the Temple - such apocalyptic imagery would then
        >have been entirely appropriate to the carnage which would have followed.
        >It isn't unusual to see apocalyptic anticipate the *worst-case scenario*
        >and then be proven wrong - so the outcome of the Maccabean War wasn't as
        >anticipated by the Book of Daniel, and the great persecution anticipated by
        >Revelation didn't happen - at least, not under Domitian.
        >
        >2) The (unfulfilled) apocalyptic tradition was available to Mark when he
        >was writing his gospel, and was appropriate material to put into the mouth
        >of Jesus as an apparent warning to Jerusalem. Prophetic and apocalyptic
        >traditions were often recycled and adapted to a new situation. The
        >participle (hypothetically neuter in the original) could have been adapted
        >by Mark to refer to Titus as Nathan suggests.

        This seems like a definite possibility, insofar as it helps explain why
        chapter 13 does not seem to be something that Mark simply made up from
        scratch. Take these examples:

        1. In the first section of Jesus' discourse, the sentence, "And to all the
        nations it is first necessary to proclaim the good news," seems to
        interrupt a different line of thought. The sentence immediately preceding
        it talks about being made to stand before religious and secular
        authorities, and the one immediately following it talks about not worrying
        about what to say in these situations. The latter sentence seems directly
        connected to the former, far more than either one seems to be related to
        the statement that the good news must be proclaimed to all TA EQNH.

        2. In the second section, the "abomination of the desolation" section,
        Jesus says, "And if not curtailed had Lord the days, not saved would be
        every flesh." Now, clearly the use of the semitic idiom "flesh" for
        "person" does not conclusively prove that the passage comes not from Mark
        but a semitic source (especially considering semitic features in his
        writing style), I think that it is possible that it does come from such a
        source. If memory serves me, this is the only example of Mark's use of the
        idiom.

        3. The next section, the son of Man section, ties directly in with Jesus'
        testimony in his Sanhedrin trial, and it is certainly a culminating moment
        in one of the major themes in Mark's gospel. I'm sure it didn't originate
        entirely with Mark, but I think it likely that he inserted it here.

        4. The first sentence in the fourth section (the fig tree comparison),
        when taken by itself, is just an aphoristic statement. Mark seems to have
        added the rest (or at least the third and fourth sentences) to explain this
        aphorism.

        5. Finally, the parable about staying awake in the last section, aside
        from being an excellent prelude to the agony at Gethsemane, can be
        understood in a variety of ways apart from the context of chapter 13. For
        all I know, it could have originally been simply referring to that
        unexpected visitor death!

        So, in short, I think that it is very well possible that Mark created what
        we now call chapter 13 of his gospel by compiling and adapting pieces from
        different sources. Perhaps a prophecy that had predicted an unfortunate
        outcome to the Caligula crisis was among them. I really don't know.

        Nathan McGovern

        Nathan McGovern
        Franklin and Marshall College
        nm_mcgovern@...
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