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Re: [XTalk] Divine men

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  • Rikki E. Watts
    A number of works have addressed this issue: but if I recall correctly .. a. Sharon Dowd s Prayer, Power and the Problem of Suffering SBLDS 105 (Atlanta:
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 4, 2000
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      A number of works have addressed this issue:
      but if I recall correctly ..

      a. Sharon Dowd's Prayer, Power and the Problem of Suffering SBLDS 105
      (Atlanta: Scholars, 1988) has a good introductory section covering these
      issues including a section (somewhat critical I'm afraid on Ted's earlier
      version of his theory and an overview of the rise and demise of the divine
      man theory.
      b. Barry Blackburn's Theios Aner and the Markan Miracle Traditions. A
      Critique of the Theios Aner Concept as an Interpretative Background of the
      Miracle Traditions Used by Mark WUNT 2, 40 (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul
      Siebeck), 1991) has a good section pp.13-96 in which he argues that although
      there are similarities between Jesus and various Hellenistic figures there
      is really no such thing as a theios aner "type" of (the data is far too
      diverse) nor was it used as a technical term during the time of the Gospels'
      composition (nor is son of God a demonstrable equivalent). This however is
      not to exclude the possibility that, because of these figures, some of
      Mark's readers might have found it easier to see Jesus as divine. Blackburn
      concludes however that the idea that Mark's interest in miracles is due to a
      theios aner Christology (as per Ted's earlier thesis) is rather misleading.

      both these works have further bibliography (e.g. Tiede, Gallagher, and
      Holladay).

      Rikk


      Dr. R. E. Watts (PhD, Cantab) Phone (604) 224 3245
      Regent College, Univ. Brit. Col. Fax (604) 224 3097
      5800 University Boulevard
      Vancouver, BC
      CANADA V6T 2E4

      > From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
      > Organization: @Home Network
      > Reply-To: crosstalk2@egroups.com
      > Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2000 14:10:43 -0500
      > To: crosstalk2 <crosstalk2@egroups.com>
      > Subject: [XTalk] Divine men
      >
      > Many posters have noted that part of Ted Weeden's thesis on what Mark is
      > up to rests upon a characterization of Mark's opponents as possessing a
      > "divine man" christology. And if I am not mistaken, Ted himself has
      > noted that he grounds this thesis in the work of D. Georgi who
      > postulated the existence of similar opponents in Corinth. But if memory
      > serves, much work was done in the late seventies/early eighties (of our
      > century) that showed that Georgi was wrong because the idea of the
      > existence in the ancient world of representatives of a type called or
      > known as a THEOIS ANER was a modern scholarly construct. But I cant
      > recall right now (and I'm flying out the door, so I don't have time to
      > look up the relevant sources) who it was who put forth this argument.
      >
      > Anyone else recall?
      >
      > Yours,
      >
      > Jeffrey
      > --
      > Jeffrey B. Gibson
      > 7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      > Chicago, Illinois 60626
      > e-mail jgibson000@...
      > jgibson000@...
      >
      >
      >
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    • Bob Schacht
      ... Thanks for these references, Rikk Bob At 09:23 PM 6/4/00 -0700, Rikki E. Watts wrote: A number of works have addressed this issue: but if I recall
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 4, 2000
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        At 09:23 PM 6/4/00 -0700, Rikki E. Watts wrote:
        A number of works have addressed this issue:
        but if I recall correctly ..

        a. Sharon Dowd's Prayer, Power and the Problem of Suffering SBLDS 105
        (Atlanta: Scholars, 1988) has a good introductory section covering these
        issues including a section (somewhat critical I'm afraid on Ted's earlier
        version of his theory and an overview of the rise and demise of the divine
        man theory.
        b. Barry Blackburn's Theios Aner and the Markan Miracle Traditions. A
        Critique of the Theios Aner Concept as an Interpretative Background of the
        Miracle Traditions Used by Mark WUNT 2, 40 (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul
        Siebeck), 1991) has a good section pp.13-96 in which he argues that although there are similarities between Jesus and various Hellenistic figures there
        is really no such thing as a theios aner "type" of (the data is far too
        diverse) nor was it used as a technical term during the time of the Gospels' composition (nor is son of God a demonstrable equivalent).  This however is not to exclude the possibility that, because of these figures, some of Mark's readers might have found it easier to see Jesus as divine.  Blackburn concludes however that the idea that Mark's interest in miracles is due to a theios aner Christology (as per Ted's earlier thesis) is rather misleading.

        both these works have further bibliography (e.g. Tiede, Gallagher, and
        Holladay).

        Rikk

        Thanks for these references, Rikk

        Bob
      • David C. Hindley
        ... Mark is up to rests upon a characterization of Mark s opponents as possessing a divine man christology. And if I am not mistaken, Ted himself has noted
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 5, 2000
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          On Sun, 04 Jun 2000, "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...> said:

          >>Many posters have noted that part of Ted Weeden's thesis on what
          Mark is up to rests upon a characterization of Mark's opponents as
          possessing a "divine man" christology. And if I am not mistaken, Ted
          himself has noted that he grounds this thesis in the work of D. Georgi
          who postulated the existence of similar opponents in Corinth. But if
          memory serves, much work was done in the late seventies/early eighties
          (of our century) that showed that Georgi was wrong because the idea of
          the existence in the ancient world of representatives of a type called
          or known as a THEOIS ANER was a modern scholarly construct. But I
          can't recall right now (and I'm flying out the door, so I don't have
          time to look up the relevant sources) who it was who put forth this
          argument. Anyone else recall?<<

          FWIW, John P. Meier cast his vote against the viability of the concept
          that Jesus may have been considered a "divine man" by some parties, in
          _A Marginal Jew_, vol 2, 1994, pp. 595-601. In the footnotes (pp.
          614-616), particularly notes 82-85, he provided a bibliography.

          In fact, Ted's book _Mark--Traditions in Conflict_ (1971) was called
          the "most famous example from the 1970's" of a book that made wide use
          of the term!

          The 20th century books and articles cited were:

          Gail Patterson Corrington, _The "Divine Man"_, 1986
          Ludwig Bieler, _QEIOS ANHR_, 1967
          David Lenz Tiede, _The Charismatic Figure_, 1972
          Carl H. Holladay, "Theos Aner" in _Hellenistic Judaism_, 1977
          Moses Hadas and Morton Smith, _Heroes and Gods_, SBLDS 40, 1965
          Helmut Koester, "One Jesus" in HTR 61, 1968
          Hans Dieter Betz, Jesus as Divine Man" in _Jesus and the Historian_,
          1968
          James M. Robinson and H. Koester, _Trajectories through Early
          Christianity_, 1971

          Of these, Tiede reportedly strongly objected to the idea that there
          was a fixed concept of a "divine man" in the Hellenistic world.

          Meier says that Josephus so designated Moses (Ant. 3.7.7. Sect
          179-180), but related it to his prescription of the arrangement of the
          tabernacle in the wilderness so as to give it cosmic significance.
          There is no connection to Deut. 18:15 that I can see (unless there is
          more to this argument than has come out in the posts so far). Meier
          says that Philo, for his part, does not call Moses a divine man nor
          does he attribute miracle working to those he does.

          Has anyone compared conceptions of Jesus as a miracle worker to the
          "Sophists" whom Josephus blamed for the war with Rome? I thought I'd
          find something in Morton Smith's _Jesus the Magician_ (1978), but it
          eludes me (there ought to be a law about having a subject index <g>)!

          Regards,

          Dave Hindley
          Cleveland, Ohio, USA

          PS: Jeffrey, that darn eGroups interface ate my original version of
          this message yesterday evening! Are they having serious problems with
          that new (and buggy) interface?
        • Ted Weeden
          Rikki Watts wrote in respect to my (Ted Weeden) theory on the divine man ... although ... Gospels ... is ... Blackburn ... a ... misleading. ... My
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 5, 2000
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            Rikki Watts wrote in respect to my (Ted Weeden) theory on the "divine man"
            in response to request for literature:

            > A number of works have addressed this issue:
            > but if I recall correctly ..
            >
            > a. Sharon Dowd's Prayer, Power and the Problem of Suffering SBLDS 105
            > (Atlanta: Scholars, 1988) has a good introductory section covering these
            > issues including a section (somewhat critical I'm afraid on Ted's earlier
            > version of his theory and an overview of the rise and demise of the divine
            > man theory.
            > b. Barry Blackburn's Theios Aner and the Markan Miracle Traditions. A
            > Critique of the Theios Aner Concept as an Interpretative Background of the
            > Miracle Traditions Used by Mark WUNT 2, 40 (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul
            > Siebeck), 1991) has a good section pp.13-96 in which he argues that
            although
            > there are similarities between Jesus and various Hellenistic figures there
            > is really no such thing as a theios aner "type" of (the data is far too
            > diverse) nor was it used as a technical term during the time of the
            Gospels'
            > composition (nor is son of God a demonstrable equivalent). This however
            is
            > not to exclude the possibility that, because of these figures, some of
            > Mark's readers might have found it easier to see Jesus as divine.
            Blackburn
            > concludes however that the idea that Mark's interest in miracles is due to
            a
            > theios aner Christology (as per Ted's earlier thesis) is rather
            misleading.
            >
            > both these works have further bibliography (e.g. Tiede, Gallagher, and
            > Holladay).
            My response:

            Thank you, Rikk, for bringing the literature to the attention of all (and
            to you, too, David as your post just came through). You are right, Rikk.
            The "divine man" construct has been discredited by some. In my posts I am
            still using the nomenclature I used originally in my _Mark-Traditions in
            Conflict_ (1971) to characterize a Greco-Roman ideological orientation
            toward persons who were viewed as distinctively different from other humans.
            I am not sure of a better way to describe the orientation. But I do not
            consider it a construct, in the sense that it is something constructed by
            scholarship. Thus, I felt the need to get this post out to you and other
            Xtalkers, even though I am trying to complete responses to other posts, for
            it is critical that the members of the list understand the first-century
            support for my position.

            After the hardback publication of _Mark_ , I backed off from the use of the
            religio-cultural term "theios aner" because of the challenge to the
            "divine-man" construct mounted by Holladay and others. In my preface to the
            paperback edition, I chose a euphemism, "triumphalist" orientation to
            replace "theios aner." But I have never been happy with that change. So I
            have returned to "theois aner" or "divine man" because it terminologically
            comes as close to what I mean as I can come up with at this moment. In any
            respect, I do not see the term "divine man" as a construct but an
            ideological nomenclature, as unsatisfactory as it may be, for the
            Greco-Roman hero ideological orientation which dominated Hellenistic
            culture. This hero ideological orientation has not been fully appreciated
            in many quarters of NT scholarship. But such an orientation in many ways
            defined Greco-Roman culture of the time and needs to be appreciated for
            having done so. It needs to be appreciated, in particularly, for having
            profoundly affected the orientation of certain early followers in the Jesus
            movement and, specifically, the writers of the canonical gospels and some of
            their sources.

            Gregory Riley, _One Jesus, Many Christs_, has made a fine case for the
            pervasiveness of this hero ideology in Greco-Roman culture and its influence
            on the Jesus movement. I present Riley's case here now. I do so by quoting
            directly and in snippets, scissored and pasted, to give a flowing account of
            the cultural phenomenon that I see confronting the author of Mark. I quote
            directly, citing page references in parentheses, rather than paraphrasing
            because it just takes less time and it also puts the matter in Riley's own
            words. I think that I have been faithful to Riley's presentation, even
            though I have arranged the snippets differently from the way they appear in
            his book. So, now, here is Riley on the Greco-Roman cultural-ideological
            orientation to the hero.

            "We have all but lost the most important and spiritually effective category
            of ancient religious experience. We no longer recognize the essential
            aspect of the story of Jesus that caught the imaginations of those who first
            heard about him....(16)."

            "...Christianity in time won more adherents in the Roman Empire than all the
            traditional state gods and competing cults. It did so for a reason
            overlooked by all but a few scholars and lost to the modern world-the story
            of Jesus, even with its Jewish and Eastern content, fulfilled the most
            important cultural ideals in antiquity, those of the hero, from Achilles on
            down." "[In the Greco-Roman world the] life of the hero in its many
            incarnations was told and retold at gatherings, in plays, in literature, and
            in schools. It served as both entertainment and edification for more than a
            thousand years before and after Christ. Reverence for heroes and later for
            saints, who functioned as protectors and avengers in towns and countryside,
            was the most common form of religious observance in the ancient world" (18).
            "Every home had its *lares*, the heroes of the household, the founding
            ancestors. Every town had its protecting hero, every district and tribe,
            every crossroads, points of land, grove and mountain pass"(59).

            "Their brave exploits and tragic fates gave the term "hero" its most
            important meaning: one who was an example for behavior, admired for courage
            and distinguished deeds"(18). "The stories of the Greek heroes were of ...a
            type, in which destiny or the envy of one god or another often brought the
            downfall of an otherwise blameless victim" (29). "Common to all stories of
            heroes is the test of character....They [heroes] perform remarkable deeds
            and suffer horrible fates" (51). "It is among the heroes that one finds
            virgin births, heavenly portents, so many healings, miracles, battling of
            unjust authorities, divine enemies, innocent suffering or suffering only in
            appearance, resurrection and ascension"(119).

            "[The] choice to die for principle and with honor became one of the most
            famous heroic events to be imitated in the entire tradition. . ... the role
            of the suffering but righteous individual, of the hero, was to be lived by
            everyone regardless of social class" (29). "Many historical individuals,
            when faced with a choice between what would clearly lead to their own deaths
            and some safe but ignominious alternative, made a similar choice: death with
            honor over life and disgrace. Certainly one of the most important of these
            figures was Socrates, one of the most influential philosophical and heroic
            figures in history" (47).

            "In the late fourth and third centuries B. C. [sic] there arose a type of
            literature known as 'aretalogy,' an account (LOGOS) or the wonderful earthly
            deeds (ARETAI) of a god or hero" (80). "Their stories set the models of
            conduct for all levels of society. Emperors and slaves, philosophers and
            common folk molded their lives according to these stories that from birth
            had shaped their mental and spiritual universe"(18). "People of all walks
            of life knew these tales. Most visible to us is how consistently authors
            evaluated and described the lives of characters in literature according to
            them.... The pattern of the life of the hero was almost the only story
            available and the only story with wide acceptance for serious literature in
            the Greco-Roman tradition. Nearly every biography and historical account
            sought to compare the qualities of its subjects against the standards of the
            heroic code" (19).

            "Education in the Greco-Roman world was based in the classics of Greek
            heroic literature and their offspring in Latin. If one was educated at all,
            no matter what the level of competence, one was educated on Homer and the
            heroes" "[For example Xenophon in his _Symposium_ 3.6 states]: 'My father
            was anxious to see me develop into a good man, and as means to this end he
            compelled me to memorize all of Homer.' Lucian in the second century A. D.
            [sic] tells us that schoolmasters gave a student 'books that openly or by
            allegory teach him who was a great hero, who was a lover of justice and
            purity' (Lucian, _ Amores_, 45). Schools enforced the worldview, the
            morals and ethical ideals admired and imitated by ancients essentially by
            requiring every student to learn from the same narrow selection of revered
            heroic texts" (67).

            'Thus the cult of heroes was the single most common and important religious
            aspect of the world of early Christians" (59) "...the story of the children
            of the gods [heroes, who were considered sons of the gods] were paradigms
            for the early Church in its understanding of Jesus" (19)." "For all the
            differences of culture and tradition between Palestine and the Greco-Roman
            world, this was the pattern of the life of Jesus' (18).

            "There is no question that those who wrote the Gospels of the New Testament
            received the same education as other learned men of their culture. If one
            could read or write at all in Greek or Latin, one had learned to do so by
            reading and memorizing and copying the heroic literature. Thus both the
            writers of the Gospels and their readers knew what proper literature was
            supposed to be, what its ideals were, what its main characters were supposed
            to teach, and how its story line was to run-they expected a work like the
            story of Jesus to be the story of a hero"(69). [In this respect, scholars]
            "have long suspected that there existed [areatological accounts] of the
            miracles of Jesus, written [by early Christians] before the composition of
            the canonical Gospels and used by the authors of Mark and John" (80).
            (Riley has in mind here the pre-Markan miracle catenae, I mentioned in my
            post to Ron Price, and the Signs Source which served as a source for John.).

            What Riley characterizes as the Greco-Roman culture's ideological
            hero-orientation, is what I have in mind when I speak of the "divine-man"
            orientation. It is the Greco-Roman hero who serves as the model for Markan
            opponent's christological orientation, and against which Mark battles in a
            kind of Isaianic suffering-servant hero-orientation when he identifies Jesus
            by a suffering servant christology. I think it is an inescapable reality
            that what Riley has identified is the Greco-Roman *Zeitgeist* which
            infiltrated every corner of the Roman empire including Palestine, with
            perhaps the exception of Judea and Jerusalem. Certainly, as Richard
            Horsley has convincingly shown(_Archaeology, History and Society in
            Galilee_, 43-60), the principle cities of Galilee, Sepphoris and Tiberias,
            were infused with this Greco-Roman culture. As Horsley puts it,
            "...Sepphoris and Tiberias grew into some of the most populous and
            cosmopolitan cities of antiquity, and Galilee became as urbanized as
            anywhere in the Roman empire" (44). The theater at Sepphoris, four miles
            from Jesus' home of Nazareth, Horsley declares, "by itself announced 'Rome!
            '" The theater was undoubtedly a place where the Greco-Roman heroic dramas
            where performed.

            The Hellenistic urbanization of Galilee does not mean that Greco-Roman
            culture also seeped into Nazareth or any of the small villages that ringed
            the Galilean cities. Life in the villages was at least semi-autonomous.
            Ancient village customs and traditions were conserved and maintained, and
            unrelenting hostile simmered and sometimes exploded against the cities, its
            aristocracy and retainers, which exploited and oppressed village peasantry.
            But Greco-Roman culture was clearly in "the air" in Galilee. What is
            important to recognize for both Jesus' own ministry and, particularly, for
            the Jesus movements which followed and made their base in Galilee, is that
            our understanding of the culture and religious climate of Galilee most move
            beyond the old paradigms with which NT scholars have been working. Galilee
            was a much more heterogenous culture than we have thought. And as, Horsley
            declares (8f.), the old essentialist way of seeing things in rather rigid
            categories, such as "Jewish," "Hellenistic," "Jewish vs. pagan (or
            'Christian'), etc., must give way to more fluid conceptualization that takes
            into account the diversity of religious and cultural expression in
            Palestine, especially Galilee, in the late second temple period.

            Riley is quite on target when he says: "There is no question that those who
            wrote the Gospels of the New Testament received the same education as other
            learned men of their culture. If one could read or write at all in Greek or
            Latin, one had learned to do so by reading and memorizing and copying the
            heroic literature. Thus both the writers of the Gospels and their readers
            knew what proper literature was supposed to be, what its ideals were, what
            its main characters were supposed to teach, and how its story line was to
            run-they expected a work like the story of Jesus to be the story of a hero."

            The central importance of Hellenistic education in helping us to understand
            that the way a student thought and learned to write provides an important
            hermeneutical key to interpreting Mark has received little recognition. I
            addressed the importance of this hermeneutical issue thirty years ago in my
            _Mark_. I sought to show there, following H. I Marrou, who wrote the
            highly respected and widely quoted _A History of Education in Antiquity_,
            that Mark could only have been trained to write by being steeped in the
            study of the Greco-Roman heroes in the classroom. His classroom experience
            would have caused him to be preoccupied with paying attention to characters
            in the literature and how an author develops character to influence the view
            of the reader. I theorized that Mark mimicked the literary practice of
            ancient authors with respect to shaping characters in order to convince his
            reader of the correctness of his own christological and discipleship
            position. I have since recognized that it was not for a readership but a
            hearership that Mark, primarily, intended his gospel..

            I think Mark not only knew the Greco-Roman literature with its focus on the
            hero but also mimicked hero literature in the development of his drama. I
            have been attracted to Vernon Robbins thesis, as I indicated, Mark presents
            the story of Jesus through a genre that bears striking similarities to the
            "teacher-disciple-gatherer" genre of Xenophenon's Memorabilia. Just today I
            received yet another Hellenistic "hero" literature angle for the
            interpretation of Mark. Dennis MacDonald has just published a book, _The
            Homer Epics and the Gospel of Mark_, Yale Univ. Press. Having just
            received it, I, obviously, have not been able to read it as yet, though I
            was aware that it was to be published. Dennis had already alerted me to his
            book and his basic thesis. Because Dennis' approach is important to the
            present discussion, I share that thesis now by quoting excerpts from the
            fly-leaf.

            "The author of the earliest gospel was not writing history, nor was he
            merely recording tradition, MacDonald argues. Close reading and careful
            analysis show that Mark borrowed extensively from the _Odyssey_ and the
            _Iliad_ and that he wanted his readers [sic] to recognize the Homeric
            antecedents in Mark's story of Jesus. Mark was composing a prose
            anti-epic, MacDonald says, presenting Jesus as a suffering hero modeled
            after but superior to traditional Greek heroes. Much like Odysseus, Mark's
            Jesus sails the seas with uncomprehending companions, encounters
            preternatural opponents, and suffers many things before confronting rivals
            who have made his house a den of thieves. In his death and burial, Jesus
            emulates Hector, although unlike Hector Jesus leaves his tomb empty....
            And, entire episodes, including the stilling of the sea, walking on water,
            feeding the multitudes, the Triumphal Entry, and Gethsamene." In leafing
            through his book, I note that Dennis has shown Homeric parallels to Markan
            pericopes to support his thesis.

            Now whether MacDonald has made his case, I shall have to see. But the
            important thing for my present point is that here is one more indication of
            a scholar who sees Mark steeped in the Greco-Roman culture and writing out
            of that context because he, as an author, has been educated to write in that
            context. The divine-man orientation, or whatever nomenclature one wishes
            to use to describe this Greco-Roman preoccupation with the ideology of the
            hero, cannot be dismissed so easily as an invalid understanding of the
            profile of Jesus in the first half of the gospel of Mark, and its Isainic
            suffering-servant reverse in the second half. Moreover, being open to
            seeing the influence of Greco-Roman hero tradition allows us to recognize
            Hellenistic literary allusions we have missed before. When Vernon Robbins
            drew attention to the parallels between Xenophon's portrayal of Socrates and
            his followers in _Memorabilia_ and Mark's portrayal of Jesus and his
            disciples in the gospel, it suddenly dawned on me what literary allusion
            Mark was making in framing Jesus' prayer in Gethsamene, with specific
            reference to "the cup." The cup in the prayer has nothing directly to do
            with the cup at the last supper, which is a cup containing "my blood of the
            covenant" (14:24). The cup in the garden prayer is an entirely different
            cup. "The cup" in Jesus prayer is the cup of death. It is the same cup
            from which Jesus asks James and John whether they able to drink (10:38).
            It is the cup of death! And the cup is an allusion to and was suggested to
            Mark, as a metaphor to place on Jesus' lips, by the well-known cup of death
            which Socrates was forced to drink.

            In drawing attention to the Greco-Roman allusions which Mark may have
            utilized, I am not suggesting that Mark is a Gentile because he writes out
            of this Greco-Roman context. I still look upon him as a Galilean Jewish
            Christian. I think he represents a Jewish understanding of a
            suffering-servant Jesus, perhaps characteristic of the more conservative
            orientation of Galilean Jewish village perspective as opposed to a more
            urban Hellenistic orientation toward the Greco-Roman hero.

            In this respect, as I have indicated in previous posts, particularly
            "Guidelines for Locating the Markan Community," I place Mark in a village in
            the region of Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi in that time was a very
            mixed culture. John Wilson, who has been a part of the archeaological dig
            and the reconstruction of life in Banias (first century, Caesarea Philippi)
            notes in a post to me that the Jewish population in Caesarea Philippi around
            the time of Mark was itself quite diverse in its religious perspective.
            There were Babylonian Jews, Itureans who had been converted to Judaism,
            likely an enclave of Judeans who fled Jerusalem for whatever reason, or just
            migrated there. Wilson contends that there was also a "a strong
            Hellenistic-Apocalyptic kind of Judaism in the Banias/Dan area dating from
            at least the 2nd or 3rd Cent. BCE." He goes on to state: "My colleague,
            Vassilios Tzaferis, and other Israeli-based scholars, tend to think that the
            old northern cult associated with Dan entirely died during Persian times and
            that a new cultus developed not based upon it later. I lean toward the
            belief that the sacred associations did continue, somewhat transformed of
            course, but that by the first century these sites had followed a trajectory
            from Ba'al to various Hellenistic syncretistic deities and the old Israelite
            tradition was maintained only in very veiled forms among those Hellenistic
            Apocalyptic Jewish groups...mentioned...." One interesting find in the
            archaeological dig was. The archaeologists found an inscription which, as
            Wilson puts it "has a soldier with a Jewish name, leaving a votive
            offering at the Pan sanctuary [the patron god of Panias/Banias] dedicating
            it to the "god of his fathers."

            So Caesarea Philippi fits well as a place where Mark would have experienced
            the intersection and the blending of his Galilean Jewis/Israelite
            background, multi-facted Judaism and the predominant culture of his day, the
            Greco-Roman culture of the empire. I am trying to complete my case for
            Caesarea Philippi vs. Judea (Mahlon Smith's preference) and get it to
            Mahlon, hopefully, soon.

            Before ending this post, I would like to return to the issue of Gecro-Roman
            education in how it sheds light upon some aspects of the NT and the Gospel
            of Mark, in particular. A recent book by Teresa Martin (_Literate
            Education in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds_) has some important things
            for us to ponder. Among other aspects, Martin points out that Hellenistic
            education was a very controlling process with the teacher in total control
            of how a student learned. "The child is...a site where processes take place
            and knowledge is transferred from teacher to pupil, and the pupil's identity
            as a child or adolescent is minimized" (246). One of the primary goals of
            Hellenistic education was to produce in the student habit-forming analytical
            skills imposed by the teacher, "until the teacher can be assured that the
            pupil has thoroughly absorbed his principles of analysis" (253). The intent
            was to produce intellectual conformity to the teacher, and thus this
            imposing of the teacher's habits on the students "produced intellectually
            conservative students who would go on reproducing those habits of mind for
            the rest of their lives" (254). To achieve this, for the student to be
            educable, he/she must have along with the facility for memory, speech and
            reason, the facility for imitation.

            Imitation was absolutely essential at every stage of a student's learning.
            From the beginning of his/her education a student is taught that he/she
            must imitate his/her teacher. Martin notes that imitation, oddly, is not an
            active faculty but a reactive faculty, until late in the education process.
            Moreover, she states: "Unlike the subjects of many modern studies, ancient
            pupils do not imitate what they do not grasp and learn by doing it:
            absorption comes first, imitation afterwards and grasping some indefinite
            time later" (p. 252). From the beginning the teacher "controls what is or
            is not imitated by the pupil.... Gradually, by repetition, a habit of mind
            or body is established in the pupil until he/she is able to behave or think
            independently in the manner of his/her teacher...."

            What this suggest to me is that in the Hellenistic world literary
            propositions that might be elicited, let alone accepted, were controlled by
            the teacher in a way totally foreign to our post- modern world. The
            student was just not free to entertain any proposition, no matter how
            interesting to his mind, if it did not conform to the propositions
            acceptable to his teacher. This "proposition control" adds new meaning to
            the frequent admonition of the early Christian teachers (Paul and other
            authors) to their students (their congregations) to imitate them in their
            beliefs and faith (Cor. 4:16; 11:1; Phil. 3:17; I Thess. 1:6; II Thess. 3:7;
            Heb. 6:12; Jn 3:11) or in some cases God or Christ.

            For me, it has profound implications for the interpretation of the Gospel of
            Mark. Throughout the gospel, as I see it, Jesus seeks to get his students
            (the disciples) to imitate him. Jesus uses repetition over and over again
            in Mark (as would a Hellenistic teacher) to get his students to learn their
            lessons (Markan view of christology and discipleship). Note the three
            almost identical passion predictions (8:31; 9:31; 10:33f.) and the corollary
            proclamations on discipleship that follow each of the predictions (8:34-38;
            9:33-37; 10:35-45). Notice how Jesus also tutors his students in 8:14-21 on
            the proper understanding of the two feedings. The reader/hearer would then
            likely see that the disciples failed because they did not imitate Jesus,
            much less grasp his teaching. Note also that Peter, as I have noted in a
            past post, denies Jesus three times, the corresponding, reactive and
            repetitive response to the passion predictions and Jesus' teaching of
            discipleship--therein underscoring, ironically through repetition, Peter's
            refusal to imitate Jesus. Thus, these insights from Martin, I contend,
            further support Mark's effort to debunk the disciples in their narrative
            role as surrogates for anti-Markan christology and discipleship.

            Moreover, further support for this being the way the first readers/hearers
            would have read/heard Mark's derogatory casting of the disciples may be
            found in the reference of the first-century rhetoritician Quintilian (see
            his INSTITUTIO ORATORIA I.I.I-2) to a common belief in his day that many
            people are naturally unteachable because they lack the ability to understand
            and thus "waste the time and effort expended on them by the slowness of
            their intellects." Quintilian argues, however, that such a phenomenon is
            rare (See Morgan, 244ff.). Whether Quintilian is right or wrong about the
            number of unteachable, it does strike me that Mark's portrayal of the
            disciples as dense and incapable of understanding Jesus (versus the
            outsiders like the Syrophoenician women) might well have struck the
            reader/hearer as drawing attention to their uneducability, which places
            them, according to Quintilian in the category of sub-human (Martin, 247f.).
            So Mark's coup de grace against the disciples and, particularly, Peter!

            Ted
          • Rikki E. Watts
            Ted, Thanks for your response. Rikk
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 6, 2000
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              Ted,

              Thanks for your response.

              Rikk
            • Bob Schacht
              Ted, Once again, thanks for a very interesting essay. Just a few questions: ... and I shall snip your snippets in order to concentrate your summary on my ...
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 6, 2000
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                Ted,
                Once again, thanks for a very interesting essay.
                Just a few questions:

                At 11:04 PM 6/5/00 -0500, Ted Weeden wrote:


                Thank you, Rikk,  for bringing the literature to the attention of all (and
                to you, too, David as your post just came through). You are right, Rikk.
                The "divine man" construct has been discredited by some. ... I
                have returned to "theois aner" or "divine man" because it terminologically
                comes as close to what I mean as I can come up with at this moment. ...
                 
                This hero ideological orientation has not been fully appreciated
                in many quarters of NT scholarship.  But such an orientation in many ways
                defined Greco-Roman culture of the time and needs to be appreciated for
                having done so.  It needs to be appreciated, in particularly,  for having
                profoundly  affected the orientation of certain early followers in the Jesus movement and, specifically, the writers of the canonical gospels and some of their sources.

                Gregory Riley, _One Jesus, Many Christs_, has made a fine case for the
                pervasiveness of this hero ideology in Greco-Roman culture and its influence
                on the Jesus movement.  I present Riley's case here now.  I do so by quoting directly and in snippets, scissored and pasted, to give a flowing account of the cultural phenomenon that I see confronting the author of Mark.  ...

                and I shall snip your snippets in order to concentrate your summary on my point of inquiry:


                "We have all but lost the most important and spiritually effective category of ancient religious experience.....(16)."

                "...Christianity in time won more adherents in the Roman Empire than all the traditional state gods and competing cults.  It did so for a reason
                overlooked by all but a few scholars and lost to the modern world-the story of Jesus, even with its Jewish and Eastern content, fulfilled the most important cultural ideals in antiquity, those of the hero, from Achilles on down." ...

                What Riley characterizes as the Greco-Roman culture's ideological
                hero-orientation, is what I have in mind when I speak of the "divine-man"
                orientation. 

                OK, let me break it off here. Several questions:
                Is Riley's hero-orientation more or less the same point Joseph Campbell is making in Hero with a Thousand Faces?
                If not, what is the difference?
                Or do you consider Campbell a hopeless popularizer?
                Campbell emphasizes the Hero as Myth, and promotes an elevated understanding of myth. Is this also true of Riley?

                It seems to me that Riley covers too much ground in his compilation of hero literature, so that the term begins to lose meaning. Specifically, it causes problems for me in your use of theos aner. For example, included in the catalog was Socrates. Certainly, his last months can be painted in heroic strokes, but does that make him a theos aner?

                Is your basic point that Greek cultural influences prompted the Gospel writers to seek to clothe Jesus in the mythos of the Greek Hero? Or is it only certain kinds of Greek heroes that are appropriate?

                The advantage, I think, in this line of reasoning is that the heros of Greek myth were divinities. Roman emperors helped to blur the line between man and god by claiming divinity for themselves. And the abundant quotes from Riley seem to underscore that local heroes were accorded a similar status. I had not previously heard that the Greek hero mythos straddled quite so thoroughly the boundary between human and divine, in a way that we no longer do. This helps place the claims for Jesus' divinity in a better  cultural context.

                That is all I have time for now. But many thanks for taking your time to write this essay.

                Bob
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