Re: Provenance of GMark
On Friday March 31, Mahlon Smith posted a reply on the subject "Re: Provenance of Mark" in which he stated, "Therefore, I came to the conclusion some time ago that rather than spin castles in the air I will proceed on the assumption (that) the LA was composed where we have it, as a deliberate construction by the author of the Markan narrative. Can anyone *prove* otherwise?"
Well said! But *why here*? Why not as a final charge to the remnant faithful from some mount of revelation as in GMatt & GLk? Why here?
Etienne Trocme, _The Formation of the Gospel According to Mark_ indicated that in his opinion the Gospel originally ended with the LA; that the Passion Narrative was added later. Willi Marxsen on the other hand _Mark the Evangelist_ took note that the LA was followed immewdiately by the Passion events. (i.e., that it was placed immediately *before* the Passion narrative). Again, why here? It obviously is not a historic tradition, although on the basis of Mark's placement GMatt and GLk have inscribed extensive eschatological material, while GJno has followed with its long personally oriented discourse at the Table. Why does GMark place the LA preciselu where it is?
What does the LA *follow*? To what does it give Closure?
GMark's unhistorical, artfully composed "Passion Week" began with Jesus' arrival at Jerusalem and the "Temple Incident" portrayed between the fig tree course and its lesson, all invoking Jeremiah 7.11-15. There follow six interchanges dealing with: authenticity of John's Baptism, Heir of the Vineyard, Caesar's coin, Question on Resurrection, Shema saying, and Son of David apologetic. In sequence these exchanges echo the second part of the Gospel, from the Death and burial of John through the attestation of a blind Bartimaeus that Jesus is the Son of David.
Once more I urge interpreters to notice the precise thematic structure of the Gospel. Note how it is necessary for the author who has developed his gospel in precise structural order to now build a *catena* to introduce the LA! The LA makes no sense unless it has been introduced in some way. It "fits" the Gospel insofar as it does effect that Closure that has been wanted from the Curse-Cleansing-Lesson triptych on! And that is Why the LA appears at this precise point in GMark!
We should note also that something is lacking in the LA. It *contains* apocalyptic but it is not itself an apocalypse, for it has not one word of judgment in it. Judgment has already occurred! God's condemnation has been demonstrated, not simply prophesied a la Jeremiah. The righteousness of that Judgment has been laid out for all to see. The Remnant Faithful now look forward to the coming of the Son of Man and his gathering of the elect to himself. Mark's aim, as Marxsen elsewhere observes, is not "to tell a story from the past, but to proclaim the Risen Lord." _Introduction to the NT_, p.142. The Lord of Mark's Gospel places us between Easter and the *parousia.* It takes a LA to bring that message home.
Incidentally, Marxsen and Ted Weeden agree that the Gospel's author "was writing in or near Galilee." Marxsen proposed that it "was probably written beyween A.D. 67 and 69." _Intro._ p.143.
Philip B. Lewis, HR, Presbytery of Plains & Peaks