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[XTalk] Re: re: Provenance of Mark

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  • Ted Weeden
    Mahlon et al. Correction. The paperback edition of my_Mark--Traditions in Conflict_ came out in 1979. The only difference between the original (1971) and the
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 29, 2000
      Mahlon et al.

      Correction. The paperback edition of my_Mark--Traditions in Conflict_ came
      out in 1979. The only difference between the original (1971) and the
      paperback is the preface to the paperback edition. In that preface I respond
      to the criticisms of my QEIOS ANHR profile of Mark's opponents and my
      position that Mark is opposed to miracle working as a dimension of
      christology. Briefly, on the former, I state that whether you call the
      opponents' christology a QEIOS ANHR christology or not, it is still a
      triumphalist christology founded upon a miracle-working Jesus. And the
      discipleship its proponents (the Markan opponents) advocate is a
      triumphalist, miracle-working imitation of their miracle-working Jesus.

      On the second criticism, I argue that Mark is written as a parable. He
      introduces the miracle-working view of his opponents; and, then, as is
      characteristic of Jesus' parabolic methodology, Mark turns the tables on his
      hearers and introduces a suffering-servant christology and discipleship,
      which is diametrically opposed to the triumphalist christology of Mark's
      opponents. The christology and discipleship are dramatically represented by
      the disciples serving as surrogates of Mark's opponents.

      For those who argue that Mark, by introducing Jesus as a miracle-working
      Christ to begin with, must have some affinity for that representation of
      Jesus--though muted by suffering servant christology-- I responded
      essentially in this way. Any paraboler when he/she introduces intially a
      worldview, which he/she then undercuts with an opposing world view, does
      lend some legitimacy to the world view he/she opposes by giving it its time
      on the parabolic "stage." Thus, while Mark opposed triumphalist
      christology and discipleship-- featured in his opponents' view of Jesus as a
      miracle worker-- and introduced such a christology and discipleship in his
      drama to undermine it, Mark unwittingly gave his opponents' position
      narrative legitimacy. In this respect, ironically, the text as text can be
      viewed as presenting a syncretistic christology (Jesus the miracle-working
      suffering servant) that is in critical tension with the christology of its
      author. In that regard the literary critics are right. The Markan text
      does have a life of its own, quite apart from its actual author. But it
      only has such a separate life and thus a perspective in tension with Mark,
      if it is viewed and reflected upon as a modern, sophisticated reader can and
      might read it. For such a reader has the luxury the first hearers did not
      have. The reader can read retrospectively, keeping both the view of Jesus as
      miracle worker in the first half of the gospel and the view of Jesus as a
      suffering servant in the second half some complementary balance. What I am
      saying is that reading retrospectively tends to destroy the parabolic
      effect of the aural experience of the gospel orally performed. A
      retrospective reading can easily lead the mind into producing a
      synchretistic resolution of the tension created by two opposing
      christological views of Jesus in the gospel drama.. The first hearers'
      experience is quite the opposite. Those first hearers experience the
      narrative unfolding sequentially, so that, at the critical moment at
      Caesarea Philippi (when the "true and authentic" christology and
      discipleship, from Mark's point of view, is introduced), the authentic
      christology replaces the inauthentic christology/discipleship of the
      opponents in the hearers' aural perception. The first hearers hear that
      the triumphalist christology and discipleship of Mark's opponents must be
      disdained, abandoned and replaced by a suffering servant christology and
      discipleship. Without the luxury of paging back or stopping to reflect and
      ponder what has been read, first hearers are not in the position, as is a
      contemporary reader, to create a syncretistic resolution of the conceptual
      tension caused by the author's parabolic methodology for debasing his
      opponents' position. That is why we need, as I indicated in any earlier
      post, a hearers-response criticism and not a readers-response criticism in
      order to understand how the first hearers may have heard the parabolic
      effect which Mark intended when he composed his gospel drama. Only a
      hearers response criticism can appreciate at full face values Mk. 16:8 as
      Mark's final coup de grace against his opponents' position. When the women
      run from the tomb and say nothing to anyone, failing thereby to deliver the
      young man's message to the disciples, I think the first hearers know that
      Mark's opponents have been discredited. For the apostate disciples who
      betrayed, denied and forsook Jesus according to the hearing of the drama,
      were never rehabilitated. Thus the opponents' authority for their position,
      the disciples, is totally discredited.

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