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Re: [XTalk] Markan "Fabrications"-Essay:Methodology for separating history from fiction, etc.

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  • Ted Weeden
    Stephen, My apologies for my belated reply to your May 29 post. Here is my first installment, a methodological prolegomena to the exegesis of pertinent
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 23, 2000
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      Stephen,

      My apologies for my belated reply to your May 29 post. Here is my first
      installment, a methodological prolegomena to the exegesis of pertinent
      passages to support my theory in the Markan creation of the Petrine denial.
      I begin with a paragraph in your post.

      You wrote in response to my essay:
      > Despite the excellence of the listener-response critical analysis, I
      > felt that the argument that the Petrine denials were a Markan fabrication
      > fell a bit short. Was I missing a premise or something? The argument
      > seems to be: because Mark fashioned the story with top dramatic skill,
      > and because the event of Peter's denial furthered Mark's aims, the whole
      > story is a fabrication. The conclusion appears to me to be a non sequitur.
      > Why can't parts be true and others be invented? How, methodologically
      > do we sift kernals of truth (or tradition) from fiction? I would have
      > preferred to see these issues given some explicit consideration in the
      > paper.
      My response:
      You have asked the crucial methodological question: "How, methodologically,
      do I sift kernals of truth (or tradition) from fiction?" Here is how I go
      about it with respect to the Petrine denial, as well as all of Mk. 14:27-72.
      I begin by asking the question, what in any given Markan passage is based
      upon or derivative of indisputable historical fact? And in answering that
      question, it must be remembered that when we are dealing with authenticating
      the historicity of events, we are not in the realm where empirical tests can
      be applied to provide scientific verification, as is the case with the
      natural sciences. As Raymond Brown puts it (_The Death of the Messiah_,
      22), "[Certitude about historicity] has nothing to do with the certitude of
      mathematics or the physical sciences; it refers to the certitude we have in
      ordinary experience about things we encounter or are reported to us in
      writing or orally. When [in the case of Jesus' crucifixion] we are dealing
      with accounts written over nineteen hundred years ago by noneyewitnesses
      about a death that had occurred some thirty to seventy years before,
      certitude about the historicity of details is understandably infrequent."

      With respect to certitude of the historicity of all the events related to
      the passion and death of the death of Jesus, it is my judgment that we can
      only be historically "certain" about a minimum of bedrock facts. Those
      minimum bedrock facts are these. First, it is virtually an incontestable
      fact that Jesus was crucified via a sentence of Pilate the Roman procurator
      of Judea. The early Christian traditions that address Jesus' death are in
      agreement that Jesus was crucified. The canonical gospels depict Jesus as
      being sentenced by Pilate to death by crucifixion. While Paul never refers
      to Pilate (but see the paulinist statement in I Tim. 6:13) as sentencing
      Jesus to death by crucifixion, he makes abundant references to the fact that
      Jesus was crucified (I Cor. 1:17, 23; 2:2, 8; II Cor. 13:4; Gal. 2:19; 3:1;
      5:11; 6:12, 14). Outside the Christian tradition, the Roman historian,
      Tacitus (_Annals_, 15.44) states that Jesus was crucified by Pilate. The
      Jewish historian, Josephus (_Ant._ xviii. 64) also reports that Pilate
      "condemned [Jesus] to be crucified." Of course, Josephus' report about
      Jesus in _Ant._ xviii. 63-64 has fallen under a cloud of suspicion. It is
      generally recognized that the passage has been redacted by some Christian
      scribe to enhance the presentation of Jesus. While Helmut Koester
      (_Introduction to the New Testament_, II, 14) finds reconstructions of the
      text to "remain uncertain," both Brown (373ff.) and John Dominic Crossan,
      (_The Historical Jesus_,372ff.) have concluded that the reference to Pilate
      condemning Jesus to be crucified is authentic.

      The next bedrock fact is this: Judean temple authorities played a
      significant role in the condemnation that led to Jesus' crucifixion. This
      fact is grounded in the witness of all four canonical gospels, as well as
      Josephus and probably, also, Paul. On the Judean authorities involvement
      in the death of Jesus, Josephus states in the aforementioned Christian
      redacted passage (_Ant._ xviii. 64 ) that Jesus was "accused by men of the
      highest standing amongst us" and that accusation was brought to the
      attention of Pilate, who then condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion. That
      part of the Josephus report both Brown (373ff.) and Crossan (372ff.)
      consider authentic.

      Paul, as I suggested, may yet be a third independent witness for the fact
      that the Judean authorities had responsibility for the death of Jesus.
      Paul declares in I Thess. 2:14f., "For you, brethren, became imitators of
      the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea; for you suffered the
      same things from your own countrymen as they did from *the Jews*, who
      *killed* both *the Lord Jesus* and the prophets...." I say that Paul *may
      yet* be a witness to the Judean authorities having been involved in bringing
      about Jesus crucifixion because this Thessalonian passage has been
      challenged by a number of scholars as being a bogus Pauline passage (for the
      arguments, see Brown, 378ff.). Even if it is genuine-and Brown's arguments
      (379f.) for its authenticity appear persuasive-by his statement Paul cannot
      have meant all Jews killed Jesus. What he obviously meant is that the Judean
      authorities "killed the Lord Jesus." For they alone would have had the
      legal authority to move against Jesus. But there is yet another problem
      with this Pauline witness. During the procuratorship of Pilate the Judean
      Temple establishment did not have the right to execute. That alone was the
      authority of Pilate (see Helmut Koester, _Introduction to the New
      Testament_, 76f., Brown, 363-372). Thus the Judean authorities could not
      have themselves killed Jesus. So Paul's witness, apparently a hyperbolic
      statement anyway, must be accepted with caution.

      Finally, a historical bedrock fact is that, since Jesus was executed by
      decree of Pilate, Jesus, as another indicator of bedrock historical truth,
      must have been in Judea or Samaria when he was arrested. Otherwise, Pilate
      would not have had jurisdiction over him. And given the Judean authorities
      direct involvement, Judea is logically where Jesus was arrested.

      Beyond these bedrock facts of historical truth, we move from historical
      certainty to historical uncertainty and then to history invented by
      Christian tradition. For example, we cannot be historically certain about
      what precipitated Jesus' arrest. It is logical to assume that Jesus must
      have said or done something so provocative, offensive or threatening that
      the religious authorities moved immediately to have him arrested. That
      something may well had to do with his verbal and physical assault on the
      Temple (the Temple saying and the so-called cleansing of the Temple).
      Crossan, for example, has shown convincingly that "an action and equal
      saying involving the Temple's destruction goes back to the historical
      Jesus...." But Crossan "is much less secure about whether that
      action/saying led directly to Jesus' arrest and execution" (359 and cf.
      355-60).

      So also is the problem in making a case for the historicity of the last
      supper. The tradition is certainly there and fixed. Paul witnesses to it
      (I Cor. 11:23ff.) and Mark, followed by Matthew and Luke narrate the event.
      But its historicity has been brought into serious question, at least with
      respect to Jesus' last supper having been planned by Jesus as a
      "Eucharistic" meal to interpret his death to his disciples. The Pauline
      and Synoptic accounts of Jesus actually celebrating such a "Eucharistic"
      meal, as shown by Crossan's study of the last supper traditions (with
      indebtedness to Helmut Koester), can only be fiction historicized. It is
      true that Jesus must have had a last supper with his disciples. But there
      is no credible historical evidence to show that Jesus planned his last
      supper, much less a supper in which he interpreted his pending death to his
      disciples. As Crossan has shown (_The Historical Jesus_, 360-366), the
      earliest tradition about "the supper" in the Didache (10 :2-4) celebrates a
      communal meal in thanksgiving to God for God's holy child or servant Jesus.
      But that celebration does not elevate the elements of the meal into symbolic
      representations of Jesus' body and blood sacrificed for the community in his
      death. The tradition of the last supper arose, as Crossan has shown, out of
      Jesus' ministry-pattern of table- fellowship commensality. That historical
      fact served as the hypothesized theological context out of which the last
      supper tradition developed, a tradition which reading back into a last
      supper the early Christian soteriological meaning of Jesus' death.

      Are there, then, any bedrock historical facts embedded in the passion
      narrative, beyond that which have been cited above? The late Raymond Brown
      would answer with an unequivocal "yes." Brown is a staunch advocate of the
      position that behind all of the events of the canonical passion narratives
      is a historical core of truth derived from the earliest core memory (51).
      He makes that claim via the presupposition that the disciples, even if not
      present for most of these events, would have had a thirst to know what
      actually happened to Jesus from the last supper to his burial. While
      acknowledging that he does not consider the evangelists to have been
      "eyewitnesses of the passion" and does not think that "eyewitness memories
      of Jesus came down to the evangelists without considerable reshaping and
      development, Brown is, nevertheless convinced that "there were eyewitnesses
      and earwitnesses who were in a position to know the broad lines of Jesus'
      passion." Brown presses his argument further, thus: "[Jesus] was
      accompanied in his ministry by a group of disciples known as the Twelve, and
      there is no reason whatsoever to doubt that the arrest of Jesus was the
      occasion of his being separated from them. It is inconceivable that they
      [disciples] showed no concern about what happened to Jesus after the arrest.
      True, there is no Christian claim that they were present during the legal
      proceedings against him, Jewish or Roman; but it is absurd to think that
      some information was not available to them about why Jesus was hanged on a
      cross.... Thus from the earliest days available historical raw material
      could have been developed into a PN extending from the arrest to the burial,
      no matter what form it might receive in the course of evangelistic use and
      how it might have been embellished and added to by Christian imagination"
      (14).

      Brown then proceeds to ferret out evidence for the existence of that
      "historical raw material," as well as identifying a preGospel passion
      narrative that serves as the primary source for the four evangelists
      developing their own passion narratives. The criteria which Brown uses for
      ferreting out this historical raw material and identifying the preGospel
      passion narrative which fleshed out a story-line with this raw material are
      these: multiple attestation, coherence, embarrassment and discontinuity or
      dissimilarity. Of the four criteria Brown places the most confidence in the
      criterion of multiple attestation-which as he says, "I ... invoke most
      frequently"-and the criterion of embarrassment. He does not have the same
      confidence in the criterion of coherence, which he says, "needs to be used
      with extreme care since coherence could explain why [an] incident was
      imaginatively created." He cites, as an example, the case of Peter being
      identified as the one who cut off the ear of the high priest's slave in
      Gethsemane. The name of Peter, Brown muses, could well have been applied
      because it sounds like something "that Peter would do" (18).

      Likewise, with respect to the use of the criterion of discontinuity or
      dissimilarity, Brown says, "This criterion I hesitate to invoke since one
      must allow for creativity" upon the part of the evangelists, as well as in
      the case of those who developed traditions which lie behind the canonical
      gospels. Take for example the so-called Son of Man title. Brown states,
      "There is little evidence in the nonGospel literature of the NT that early
      Christians confessed Jesus as the Son of Man or that there was a set Jewish
      expectation centered on the title.... [T]here is no way of knowing that
      Jesus' usage was not magnified within the development of the Gospel
      traditions, thus giving the title in the written Gospels a frequency and
      applications that are not historical" (19).

      Through the use of the two primary criteria of multiple attestation and
      embarrassment, along with the cautious use of the marginally trustworthy
      criteria of coherence and dissimilarity, Brown has determined that there was
      in fact a preGospel passion tradition which contained historically authentic
      material, a passion tradition which served as the basis for the four
      evangelists composing their own enhanced and theologically slanted versions
      of the passion of Jesus ( 22-35). But then Brown argues that it is an
      exercise in futility to try to reconstruct the passion source which the
      canonical evangelists drew from.

      As Brown puts it at the outset of his magnum opus on the passion, "More of
      the Gospel PNs is likely to have been historical than our methods allow us
      to prove" (17). And again, "[W]e do not have the tools to reconstruct
      *detailed* [Brown's emphasis] preGospel traditions; and so even when the
      existence of preGospel tradition can be detected, I shall practically never
      attempt to be precise about its wording." As a result of the examining the
      proposals of thirty-four scholars with respect to the reconstruction of a
      preGospel tradition, Brown observes (55), "not only are the reconstructions
      different, but there is scarcely one verse that all would assign to the same
      kind of source or tradition. Truly a staggering amount of scholarly energy
      has gone into these reconstructions, some of them detailed to the
      half-verse; and none has won wide, enduring agreement. That fact should
      make us at least skeptical about the possibility of reconstructing the
      preMarcan PN in detail." And earlier on, his observation on the futile
      attempt of reconstructing a pre-Markan passion tradition: "[T]he sharp
      differences among those who try to "determine the contents of a preMarcan PN
      down to the half-verse...is self-defeating, for no theory will ever get wide
      or enduring acceptance" (23).

      I have tremendous respect for Brown's careful scholarship, but I find his
      argument for a preGospel passion tradition constructed upon historically
      perceived authentic facts to be flawed. First of all, he begins with the
      assumption that the disciples would have wanted to know exactly what
      happened to Jesus after his arrest. That may be what would be normally
      expected of us today but what evidence is there to suggest that same
      "curiosity that killed the cat' was operative among the followers of Jesus
      in the first century? In fact, based upon a review of our extant
      traditions and documents prior to the Synoptics, I find very little evidence
      of early Christians wanting to know about the facts of the events of the
      passion of Jesus. For example, Paul seldom refers to what might be called
      "facts" about Jesus in his epistles to his various congregations. In fact,
      he only speaks of two traditions that he has passed down and those to the
      church at Corinth. The traditions are, of course, the tradition about the
      last supper (I Cor. 11:23-26) and the creed of I Cor. 15:3-5a, along with
      appendage of the witnesses of the resurrection (5-8).

      In fact, if we are to take Paul at his word in his letter to the Galatians,
      he studiously avoided the exercise of modern curiosity with respect to
      dependency upon human agency for the content of the gospel he preached. He
      claims he did not get his gospel from human beings but rather through a
      direct "revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:13). Now, we of course must
      allow for a bit of hyperbole here on Paul's part in the service of his
      polemic against his opponents at Galatia. Yet, Paul seems to suggest he
      did not need the help of the disciples to fill in the blanks on his
      knowledge of "the historical Jesus." In his first encounter with Peter,
      Paul does tells us that he spent fifteen days with Peter. But he
      forthrightly states that he saw none of the other apostles, except James,
      Jesus' brother(Gal. 1:18f.). It does not sound like Paul was sufficiently
      curious to interview the other apostles in order to be filled in about what
      "the facts" were about Jesus.

      There is no evidence that Paul was concerned to know all the details about
      the historical Jesus. Paul seemed to be more concerned about the meaning of
      Jesus' life and death, rather than the details of his life and death. Nor
      do I find any other writers of the New Testament, outside of Mark, Matthew,
      Luke and John, evidencing an interest in the facts about Jesus, aside from
      the most minimal information relevant to their kerygmatic, soteriological
      and apologetic purposes. Thus, there is no historical evidence to indicate
      that the disciples had the need to know exactly what happened to Jesus,
      aside from the most minimal facts, namely that he was arrested and
      crucified.

      I also find Brown's use of the criterion of embarrassment to be suspect as a
      result of the way in which he applies it to prove historicity. In pointing
      out the usefulness of applying the criterion of embarrassment for
      discovering what are historical facts, Brown declares:
      "If something reported about Jesus was embarrassing to the early church, the
      early preachers or the evangelists are not likely to have invented it. That
      Judas, one of the Twelve , gave Jesus over to his enemies, that (most of)
      the disciples did not remain with Jesus during the passion, and that Peter
      denied him were all embarrassing to early Christians. Consequently, it is
      argued that these elements, which are also multiply attested, are likely to
      have been historical. While there may be truth in that, one must always
      allow that it could have been useful to develop one or the other scene of
      failure as a theological illustration. For instance, it seems embarrassing
      to have Jesus as he faced death praying to be delivered from the cup or the
      hour; yet one of the goals of the description may have been to teach
      Christians that facing death constitutes a trial that may challenge even
      sincere commitment" (18). And then in a footnote Brown opines, "Determining
      what was embarrassing in the PNs becomes less subjective if we begin with
      items fastened on by Jewish or pagan polemic against the plausibility of
      Christianity. The flight of the disciples, denials by Peter, betrayal by
      Judas, and Jesus' prayer for deliverance were all objects of scorn in such
      polemic' (18, n. 25).

      I have problems with this argumentation for the following reasons. First,
      I see no evidence of Paul being concerned about creating embarrassment for
      the early church communities in the face of a possible Jewish or pagan
      polemic against the Jesus movement. Paul certainly was unreserved in his
      attack upon Peter in Antioch for Peter's duplicity with respect to first
      eating with the circumcised and then refusing to eat with them when the
      James party arrived in town. Talk about embarrassment, Paul publicly
      chastised Peter for his duplicity twice, once in Antioch and again in his
      letter to the Galatians (Gal. 2:11). In his visceral attack upon Peter,
      Paul did not seem to be concerned about creating any future embarrassment
      for the church with respect to the revered image of Peter or Christian
      solidarity.

      Nor did Paul seem to care about embarrassing the church when he ventilated
      his hostility against the so-called "super apostles" who Paul felt where
      undermining his ministry at Corinth. Paul attacked these Christian leaders
      as "false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of
      Christ" (II Cor. 11:13). These opponents of Paul, on the other hand, were
      just as debasing of Paul. They said in their discrediting of Paul, "His
      letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his
      speech of no account" (II Cor. 10:10). That is a pretty stunning rebuke of
      someone who considered his preaching was what evoked faith in Christ in his
      listeners and led to the establishment of his churches. Similarly, Mark
      does not seem to be concerned about saving the church from embarrassment
      before its Jewish and pagan despisers in his denigration of Peter and the
      rest of the twelve disciples throughout his gospel.

      Second, Paul's letters and at least Mark and Matthew's gospel were written
      for local community consumption and not, apparently, for wider distribution
      such that the gospels would come into the hands of those in the Greco-Roman
      and Jewish world who took it upon themselves to ridicule Christians.
      Third, most of the public ridicule of Christians arose in the second century
      and later when the Christian movement grew more prominent in public
      awareness. I hardly thing that Paul and Mark-being the apocalypticists
      that they were and expecting the end of the world in their life time, as
      they did (cf. Mark 9:1; 13:30)-ever thought that their "embarrassing,"
      written attacks upon members of the Christian community would last beyond
      their own day. Besides, in the heat of their polemics against their
      opponents, they probably could care less about whether their attacks upon
      fellow Christians would affect the favorable ratings of the Jesus movement
      in the public opinion polls of the time.

      Brown's primary pillar for proving historicity of the passion events is the
      criterion of multiple attestation. Even the efficacy of the criterion of
      embarrassment, as Brown noted in the above quote, is dependent to some
      extent on the evidence supported by multiple attestation. But when it comes
      to the predictions of betrayal and denial, the event of betrayal and denial,
      the "trials" of Jesus (before Judean authorities and before Pilate),
      securing multiple attestation is totally dependent upon the Johannine
      independency of the Synoptics. For Brown accepts Markan priority, though
      somewhat modified to account for the few points at which Matthew and John
      disagree against Mark (44).

      Brown, as noted cannot, produce any other attestation for these particular
      passion events, outside of his claim for Johannine independency. While he
      is convinced that there is a preGospel passion narrative behind the passion
      narratives of the gospels, he himself acknowledges that there are only
      traces of such preGospel passion material in the passion narratives. He
      thinks it is futile, as noted in the quotes above, to try to reconstruct
      such a narrative because all the previous attempts have failed to produce a
      "textuality" or "orality" that can find any widespread support among
      scholars. Certainly, nothing of material substance even close to that
      reconstructed in the case of the Q gospel has been "unearthed" in the
      efforts to reconstruct a pre-Markan passion narrative. Thus in the final
      analysis, sans an actual, testable preGospel passion narrative, all Brown
      has to hang his claim for the historicity of the predictions of betrayal and
      denial, the events of betrayal and denial, and the Jewish and Roman trials
      of Jesus is a criterion of multiple attestation dependent upon the Johannine
      independency of the Synoptics for its efficvacy. Moreover, Brown's
      insistence that there is a preGospel passion narrative which just cannot be
      reconstructed sounds like special pleading for something that in fact never
      existed. It is like those who have claimed that "bigfoot" is a real, live
      creature, because they think they have occasionally caught sight of him and
      have seen indentions in the ground that they can only account for as the
      footprints of their imagined "bigfoot."

      I think what Brown thinks he has caught glimpses of and seen what seems to
      be evidence of the "footprints" of what he has imagined but, in reality, is
      not a preGospel passion narrative at all. The "footprints" Brown has seen
      are nothing more than "indentations" of the Markan passion-ccreated almost
      out of "whole cloth" by Mark-which appears in different and reworked guise
      in the other gospels, particularly in the Gospel of John and, to a lesser
      degree, the Gospel of Luke. What I am positing, and that which I shall seek
      to make a case for is this. The fourth evangelist was dependent for his
      passion narrative upon Mark, but, however, not just Mark. I will also
      posit and seek to show the fourth evangelist's dependency to a lesser extent
      on Luke and, perhaps, even Matthew. I will further seek to show that Mark,
      and Mark, alone created the predictions of the betrayal and denial, as well
      as creating the narrative persona of Judas as betrayer. In addition I will
      seek to show that Mark created the Gethsemane story and the Petrine denial
      de novo, and with inspiration of the Cross Gospel, created the trials of
      Jesus before the Jewish and Roman authorities. To begin to establish the
      methodology for demonstrating the plausibility of these theories, I begin
      with Helmut Koester and then turn to the work of John Dominic Crossan on the
      passion narratives and finally to the newly published work of Dennis
      MacDonald, _Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark_.

      Helmut Koester states his view of the events of the passion and death of
      Jesus in this way ("Apocryphal and Canonical Gospels," _HTR_, 73:127f.): "In
      the beginning there was only the belief that Jesus' suffering, death, and
      burial, as well as his resurrection, happened 'according to the Scriptures'
      (I Cor 14:3-4). The very first narratives about Jesus' suffering and death
      would not have made the attempt to remember what actually happened." In
      contrasting Koester's position, as well as his own position, to Brown,
      Crossan uses the terms "history remembered" and "prophesied history." By
      "history remembered" Cross means that, as we have seen Brown postulate, the
      disciples possessed a core memory of the actual facts about what happened to
      Jesus with respect to the various events of his passion. From those
      remembered facts the pre-Gospel passion narrative was created into a story
      of history remembered (_The Birth of Christianity_, 478f.) By "prophesied
      history" Crossan means the effort of the various Jesus movements to match
      Old Testament prophecies with what they apologetically and soteriologically
      imagined happened to Jesus in his passion and death and the theological
      reason for what happened, as well as structuring the resultant "history" of
      Jesus according to the biblical pattern of the innocent, righteous one being
      vindicated before his enemies by God (cf. _Historical Jesus_, 367-383,
      _Birth_, 479. By "prophesied history," however, Crossan does "not mean the
      apologetical or polemical use of biblical texts as prophecies about Jesus,
      as if such texts were uniquely and exclusively pointing to Jesus the future
      Messiah. *Prophecy* [Crossan's emphasis] historicized means that Jesus is
      embedded within the biblical pattern of corporate persecution and communal
      vindication. Such texts may point particularly or especially to Jesus, but
      at least originally, they did not point privately or exclusively to him"
      (521).

      Not surprisingly, Crossan characterizes the hermeneutic of Brown, with
      respect to the passion narratives, as history remembered (520) and he
      characterizes his and Koester's view on the development of the passion
      narratives as prophesied history (521) . Crossan presents two reasons for
      being opposed to Brown's view of the passion narratives as history
      remembered:
      "The first reason is negative, against the position of *history remembered*
      (Crossan's emphasis), and it reverts to the problem of sources. If there
      were, from the beginning, a detailed passion-resurrection story or even just
      a passion narrative, I would expect more evidence of it than is currently
      extant. It is totally absent from the Life Tradition [Q, the Gospel of
      Thomas and Didache; see _Birth_,415], and it appears in the Death Tradition
      [e.g.,Paul and the gospels; see _Birth_, 415] as follows. On the one hand,
      outside the gospels, there are no references to those details of the passion
      narrative. If all Christians knew them, why do no other Christians mention
      them? On the other hand, within the gospels, everyone else copies directly
      or indirectly from Mark. If one story was established early as history
      remembered, why do all not "copy" from it rather than depend upon Mark? Why
      do Matthew and Luke have to rely so completely on Mark? Why does John,
      despite his profound theological innovation, depend so completely on
      synoptic information? The negative argument is not that such a
      history-remembered narrative *could* [Crossan's emphasis] not have happened.
      Of course it *could* [Crossan's emphasis]. The argument is that we lack
      the evidence for its existence; and, if it existed, we would expect some
      such evidence to be available.

      "The second reason is positive, for the position of *prophecy historicized*
      [Crossan's emphasis]. The individual units, general sequences, and overall
      frames of passion-resurrection stories are so linked to prophetic
      fulfillment that the removal of such fulfillment leaves nothing but the
      barest facts, almost as in Josephus, Tacitus, or the Apostles Creed. By
      *individual units* [Crossan's emphasis] I mean such items as these: the lots
      cast and garments divided from Psalm 22:18; the darkness at noon from Amos
      8:9; the gall and vinegar drink from Psalm 69:21. By *general sequences*
      [Crossan's emphasis] I mean such items as these: the Mount of Olives
      situation from 2 Samuel 15-17; the trial collaboration from Psalm 2; the
      abuse description from the Day of Atonement ritual in Leviticus 16. By
      *overall frames* [Crossan's emphasis] I mean narrative genre of innocence
      vindicated, righteousness redeemed, and virtue rewarded. In other words, on
      all three narrative levels-surface, intermediate, and deep-biblical models
      and scriptural precedents have controlled the story to the point that
      without them nothing is left but the brutal fact of the crucifixion itself."

      Of course behind Crossan's thesis of prophesied history is his example, par
      excellence, the reconstruction of an early passion narrative found embedded
      in the Gospel of Peter which was created as prophesied history to explain
      and interpret the death of Jesus according to the paradigm of God's
      innocent, righteous one being vindicated after his death by God before his
      persecutors. The Cross Gospel is the end, narratological result
      (_Historical Jesus_, 383) of a process which began first, in the absence of
      information about what happened to Jesus, with an attempt to understand the
      meaning of Jesus' death. Second, that led to an interest in prophecy for
      meaning and "an intense search of the Scriptures, similar to Qumran. That
      search produced "verse and images each of which could be applied to the
      passion as a whole but not, of course, to its individual details. for no
      such details existed in their memories. Third, those individual scriptual
      connections and specific prophetic fulfillments could be organized into a
      coherent and sequential story" (375). All of that led to the Cross Gospel
      and then to the passion narrative Mark, followed by the rest of the
      canonicals (376). The end, narratological result was that prophecy became
      hidden in narrative, a narrative was told and history was invented (372).

      While his reconstruction of the Cross Gospel has not received much support,
      as Crossan notes (_Birth of Christianity_, 486), I am persuaded now by his
      arguments for its pre-Markan existence. What I find most interesting about
      the reconstructed text is that in a gospel devoted to God's vindication of
      the innocent, righteous Jesus before his enemies, there is no hint of the
      fact that Jesus was betrayed by an insider and denied by his leading
      disciple, in fact there was a tradition, historically based or not, that
      Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied. My hypothesis is that the creator(s)
      of the Cross Gospel were unaware of the betrayal and denial components of
      Jesus' passion. And for good reason: Mark, again in my judgment, created
      both de novo. The only glitch in such a theory is if John is independent
      of Mark. If that were the case, then it might suggest that there was a
      tradition independent of Mark which knew of both the betrayal and the
      denial, a tradition that John drew upon. If such were the case, it would
      not necessarily substantiate the historicity of the betrayal and denial.
      But it would be a significant blow to my hypothesis that Mark created both
      betrayal and denial on his own. It would also give some credence to Brown's
      position that there was a pre-Gospel passion tradition, even though it
      cannot be reconstructed from the present canonical texts.

      Thus the case for Markan creation of the betrayal and denial rests on
      whether it can be shown that John was dependent upon Mark. I have not read
      all the arguments for Johannine dependency on Mark, which I must do. But
      from what I have gathered from Crossan's presentation of the arguments for
      and against, I surmise the following. A growing number of scholars envision
      at least some Johannine dependence upon Mark, particularly in the passion
      narrative section. Crossan accepts Maurit Sabbe's basic position, in
      contrast to Brown, "that," as Crossan puts it, "the combination of direct
      dependence and literary creativity is the best explanation for John's
      relationship to the other three gospels." Crossan' support of Sabbe;s
      position is qualified, however. Cross declares that he agrees with Sabbe
      against Brown on Johannine dependency on Mark with respect to the passion
      narrative, though he is "*not yet* [Crossan's emphasis] convinced about the
      dependency of the miracle-discourse sections.

      Crossan presents two reasons he accepts Sabbe's position on the Johannine
      dependency on Mark's passion narrative. First, in opposition to Brown's
      dismissal of dependency on the basis of "dozens of inexplicable changes of
      order and words," if John were in fact using Mark, Crossan suggests an
      explanation for these inexplicable changes is that John "could be literarily
      dependent but filtered through distant memory, repeated liturgy, profound
      meditation, literary and theological creativity, or all above."
      Unfortunately, in my judgment, in defending his position against Brown, it
      sounds to me like Crossan is now special pleading. I do no find his defense
      convincing.

      The second reason that Crossan aligns himself with Sabbe on Johannine
      dependency upon the Markan passion narrative is the pattern of intercalation
      which John uses with respect to his sandwiching the trial of Jesus in
      between, what I call, the trial of Peter, in a similar way as Mark does. I
      agree with Crossan at this point but I do not think he has made a convincing
      case as yet for Johannine dependency on Mark with respect to Mark 14:53-72.
      He has not explained in the course of his argument what motivated John to
      alter the Markan passage in significant ways. I cannot go into depth on
      this matter at this point. But will in a future post.

      Suffice it to say that I think that Sabbe and Crossan are right about the
      Johannine dependency on the Markan passion narrative, but they have not
      adequately answered Brown's formidable questions as to why (1) John would
      have used only 50% of the Markan passion in the actual passion narrative and
      then scattered the other 50% over the rest of his gospel (33), and (2) why
      John makes those inexplicable changes of order and words. The recent work
      of Dennis MacDonald (_The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark_) has
      provided me a way to understand (1) why John only used 50% of the Markan
      passion narrative in his narration of his passion narrative, (2) why John
      scattered the other 50% of the Markan passion narrative over the rest of his
      gospel, and (3) why John makes those inexplicable changes in order and
      wording of his Markan passion source. MacDonald has done this for me
      without having as his focus the question of Johannine dependency on Mark.
      For MacDonald's interest is not Johannine dependency on Mark but Markan
      dependency on the Homeric epics.

      The reason MacDonald has been helpful to me on the issue of Johannine
      dependency when his interest is on the Markan dependency on Homer is (1) the
      work he has done in understanding how a first century author was taught to
      write and (2) the methodological criteria he has developed for identifying
      Markan dependency on the Homeric epics. It is those criteria that has led
      me into an understanding of what John was doing with Mark as least as far as
      Mark's passion narrative is concerned. I turn now to MacDonald's important
      contribution.

      With respect to Greco-Roman education developing writers, I quote the
      following snippets from MacDonald with my own interlaced paraphrases of his
      words. Thus:
      "Students in ancient schools learned to write largely through *mimesis* or
      its Latin equivalent, *imitatio.*" Homer was the ancient writer par
      excellence who all students in Greco-Roman education were taught to imitate
      (4). "Prose authors imitated the Odyssey more frequently than any other
      book of the ancient world." "Imitations of Homer, especially the Odyssey,
      appeared also in Jewish prose. The author the book of Tobit borrowed
      extensively from the epic.... The writings of Josephus display several
      possible imitations of the epics, and in some cases one suspects that he
      expected his readers to detect and appreciate his free adaptations" (5).

      "Texts discussing rhetorical imitations frequently mention the practice of
      occulting or disguising one's reliance on a model, for servile imitation
      could lead to charges of boorish pedantry and even of plagiarism. These
      disguises included altering the vocabulary, varying the order, length, and
      structure of sentences, improving the content, and generating a series of
      formal transformations. Although students usually imitated a single work,
      the experienced author borrowed from many...." (5) "According to Seneca,
      such apian authors [skilled in drawing the best from other authors] should
      'blend those several flavours into one delicious compound that, even though
      it betrays its origin, yet it nevertheless is clearly a different thing from
      that whence it came.' One achieves the height of imitation, however, when
      'the true copy stamps its own form upon all the features which it has drawn
      from what we may call the original' so that 'it is impossible for it to be
      seen who is being imitated'" (6: quoted from Seneca_Epistle_84. 3-5 and
      8-9.).

      "The most sophisticated form of ancient imitation, however was ZHLOS, or
      *aemilatio*, 'rivalry.' Such emulations announce , albeit subtly, their
      reliance on their model, and the same time attempt 'to speak better.'" For
      example, Mark in using Homer as his hypotext (antecedent text) "was no slave
      to his models; rather, he thoroughly, cleverly, and strategically emulated
      these stories to depict Jesus as more compassionate, powerful, noble, and
      inured to suffering than Odysseus. Though Jesus' death resembled Hector's,
      he returned form the dead leaving an empty tomb. Nearly every episode with
      parallels in the epics displays such theological rivalry." What is involved
      here is the transvaluation of the hypotext (6).

      And then MacDonald makes references to the relation between ancient
      imitations and the "imitation" of Mark by Matthew and Luke:
      "Ancient imitations almost never were as wooden with their sources as
      Matthew and Luke were with Mark and thus require a more generous eye for
      appreciating them" (9). ...." few scholars today doubt that Luke rewrote
      Mark, many parallels between the two works are so weak that interpreters
      have doubted any generic,literary relationship between them at all. Even a
      large number of such weak associations, however, cannot jeopardize the
      general thesis that Luke rewrote Mark. Rather, the opposite is true: the
      clearer examples lend plausibility to the fainter" (9).

      Then MacDonald reflects on the different approaches scholars have taken to
      intertextual referencing:
      "Scholars who study intertextual referencing, such as allusions, parodies,
      and imitations, long have recognized the subjectivity of the enterprise and
      have addressed the problem in several ways. On the one hand are
      philological fundamentalists who require unmistakable markers of dependence,
      such as shared vocabulary, similar genres, and distinctive grammatical or
      poetic constructions. Similarities that do not meet these criteria are
      considered accidental confluences, or topoi. A*topos* is a convention of
      speech or composition, a commonplace. '[R]ather than demanding
      interpretation in relation to a specific model or models,... the *topos*
      invokes its intertextual tradition as a collectivity, to which the
      individual contexts and connotations of individual prior instances are
      firmly subordinate' [quoting Stephen Hinds, _ Allusion and Intertext:
      Dynamics of Appropiation in Roman Poetry, 1998, 34]. In other words, when
      observing similarities between ancient texts, a scholar may dismiss them as
      independent occurrences of a topos rather than investigate them as potential
      evidence of intertextuality. Philological fundamentalists appeal to topoi
      when parallels do not satisfy their rigid criteria, criteria that conform
      neither to ancient discussions of imitation nor to the vast majority of
      actual imitations" (7).

      "Other theorists attempt to test similarities between texts with criteria
      more flexible than those required by the fundamentalists, more consonant
      with rhetorical education, more attentive to the remarkable variety of
      ancient intertextuality, and more sensitive to the delicate interplay
      between occulting and emulative disclosing. Unfortunately, no list of
      criteria, however sophisticated, can altogether clarify the fuzzy logic of
      intertextual referencing. Criteria are tests, not laws' (7).

      MacDonald then proceeds to identify his criteria. They are criteria he has
      developed based upon his work comparing the _Acts of Andrew_ with the
      Homeric epics and "from reading other scholars working on similar problems,
      including those who investigate allusions to Jewish scriptures in the New
      Testament and allusions to classical texts in Latin poetry. [Macdonald in
      ftnt. 32 refers to Richard Hays, _Echoes of Scriptures in the Letters of
      Paul_ and Hinds, _Allusions_, 21-51.]. The criteria are these:
      Criterion of Accessibility
      This criterion "assesses the likeliness that the author had access to the
      hypotext.. The more widespread the proposed target of imitation, the
      stronger the case for imitation.... Many stories in Mark with parallels in
      Homeric epic were commonplace in Greek culture. Homer was in the air that
      Mark's readers breathed" (8).
      Criterion of Analogy
      This criterion "seeks to place the proposed Homeric parallels within a
      tradition of imitation of the same model. The more often ancient authors
      imitated a particular story, characterization, or plot element, the more
      likely the case that Mark did too" (9).
      Criterion of Density
      This criterion "pertains to the volume of contacts between two texts.
      Density is determined by bulk, not by count; parallels between two texts may
      be numerous but trivial, such as 'he said,' 'they went,' 'she replied.' Not
      even a legion of parallels would demonstrate imitation. On the other hand,
      as few as two or three weighty similarities may suffice.
      Criterion of Order
      This criterion "is related to density insofar as it assesses the sequence
      of the parallels. The more often two texts share content in the same order,
      the stronger the case for literary dependence" (8).
      Criterion of Distinctiveness
      "Occasionally two texts contain distinguishing characteristics, such as
      peculiar characterizations, or a sudden, unexpected change of venue, or an
      unusual word or phrase. Some interpreters consider this the best test of
      dependence, 'where a rare word of expression in one passage picks up a
      corresponding rarity in a predecessor passage, serving thus as an
      unequivocal marker or allusion.' [quoting Hinds, 25]. Frequently these
      rarities are flags for readers to compare the imitating texts with their
      models" {reference nt. 35L" Many philologians favor this criterion above all
      others. See, for example, Jeffrey Wills, _Repetition in Latin
      Poetry:Figures of Allusions_, ...15-41; and Kathleen Morgan, _Orvid's Art of
      Imitation: Propertius in the Amores_...3-4"}.
      Criterion of Interpretability, or Intelligibility
      "The Capacity of the proposed hypotext to make sense of the hypertext [the
      text which is dependent upon the hypotext]. This may include the solution
      to a peculiar problem that has eluded other explanations. It also may
      include emulation, or transvaluation. Can one understand why the author
      targeted the particular antecedent and how she transformed it to serve her
      ends? Marcan imitations frequently satisfy this criterion by exalting
      Jesus at the expense of the vices or weaknesses of the heroes in their
      models" (9).

      MacDonald groups the criteria in the following way: "Criteria one and two
      are environmental, having to do with literary activity in the author's
      cultural milieu. Criteria three, four, and five test for similarities
      between two texts, including potential flags of literary dependence. The
      sixth criterion, however, looks for differences between texts as evidence of
      emulation" (9).

      In a future post, I will make a case for the Johannine dependency of Mark,
      not just in the passion narrative segment but in other places in his gospel
      where John has "scattered" elements of the Markan passion narrative. I
      will build my case using MacDonald's criteria. It is my thesis that the
      reason we have not adequately understood the way John uses and responds to
      Mark is because we have not sufficiently recognized, much less understood,
      how John emulated and transvalued the Markan text and Markan theology and
      christology for his own purpose, in other words how John took Mark and
      transformed at least parts of it to serve his own ends. Among the passages
      of John pregnant with signs of Johannine emulation and transvaluation of
      Mark, passages which will draw my special attention in addition to the
      Johaninne passion narrative, are John 12:23-31 and 13:21-38. My theory, as
      a result of analysis of these passages, following MacDonald's criteria, is
      that John not only used Mark but John's primary purpose in using Mark was to
      "correct" what John considered to be the ill-conceived, mistaken christology
      of Mark.

      Ted
    • Robert M. Schacht
      Ted, Many thanks for another thoughtful post! It will take a while to digest it all, but I do have a few preliminary comments. ... So far, so good.. ... I will
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 25, 2000
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        Ted,
        Many thanks for another thoughtful post! It will take a while to digest it all, but I do have a few preliminary comments.

        At 09:33 AM 06/23/00 , Ted Weeden wrote:
        Stephen,

        My apologies for my belated reply to your May 29 post.   Here is my first
        installment, a methodological prolegomena to the exegesis of pertinent
        passages to support my theory in the Markan creation of the Petrine denial.

        So far, so good..

        You have asked the crucial methodological question: "How, methodologically,
        do I sift kernals of truth (or tradition) from fiction?"  Here is how I go
        about it with respect to the Petrine denial, as well as all of Mk. 14:27-72.
        I begin by asking the question, what in any given Markan passage is based
        upon or derivative of indisputable historical fact?   And in answering that
        question, it must be remembered that when we are dealing with authenticating
        the historicity of events, we are not in the realm where empirical tests can
        be applied to provide scientific verification, as is the case with the
        natural sciences.   As Raymond Brown puts it (_The Death of the Messiah_,
        22),  "[Certitude about historicity] has nothing to do with the certitude of
        mathematics or the physical sciences; it refers to the certitude we have in
        ordinary experience about things we encounter or are reported to us in
        writing or orally. When [in the case of Jesus' crucifixion] we are dealing
        with accounts written over nineteen hundred years ago by noneyewitnesses
        about a death that had occurred some thirty to seventy years before,
        certitude about the historicity of details is understandably infrequent."

        I will refer to the argument above as "Part One". You now turn to what I will call "Part Two":

        With respect to certitude of the historicity of all the events related to
        the passion and death of the death of Jesus, it is my judgment that we can
        only be historically "certain" about a minimum of bedrock facts.  Those
        minimum bedrock facts are these.  First, it is virtually an incontestable
        fact that Jesus was crucified via a sentence of Pilate the Roman procurator
        of Judea. ...

        The next bedrock fact is this: Judean temple authorities played a
        significant role in the condemnation that led to Jesus' crucifixion. ...

        ...Finally, a historical bedrock fact is that, since Jesus was executed by
        decree of Pilate, Jesus, as another indicator of bedrock historical truth,
        must have been in Judea or Samaria when he was arrested.   Otherwise, Pilate
        would not have had jurisdiction over him.  And given the Judean authorities
        direct involvement, Judea is logically where Jesus was arrested.

        Beyond these bedrock facts of historical truth, we move from historical
        certainty to historical uncertainty and then to history invented by
        Christian tradition.

        Here a little cloud appears on my horizon. Rather than a dichotomy, you propose a trichotomy which wanders from your original thesis of certainty/uncertainty. You are now en route to shifting the focus from the methodology for historical certainty/uncertainty to an (unannounced) methodology for discerning the difference between historical uncertainty and history invented by Christian tradition. At this point, I am less clear on what your methodology is. I now bypass your long critique of Brown to arrive at your next point:

        ... What I am positing, and that which I shall seek
        to make a case for is this.  The fourth evangelist was dependent for his
        passion narrative upon Mark, but, however, not just Mark.   I will also
        posit and seek to show the fourth evangelist's dependency to a lesser extent
        on Luke and, perhaps, even Matthew.   I will further seek to show that Mark,
        and Mark, alone created the predictions of the betrayal and denial, as well
        as creating the narrative persona of Judas as betrayer.   In addition I will
        seek to show that Mark created the Gethsemane story and the Petrine denial
        de novo, and with inspiration of the Cross Gospel, created the trials of
        Jesus before the Jewish and Roman authorities.   To begin to establish the
        methodology for demonstrating the plausibility of these theories, I begin
        with Helmut Koester and then turn to the work of John Dominic Crossan on the
        passion narratives and finally to the newly published work of Dennis
        MacDonald, _Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark_.

        Ok. Above you "posit" a bunch of things, and now promise to establish a methodology for *demonstrating plausibility*.
        I'm afraid that we need much more than plausibility. We recently had some trouble on this list with Yuri Kuchinsky, whose debating tactic was to assert plausibility, and then claim that, in essence, if something might have happened then it must have happened. Now, your argumentation is far better than Yuri's, and proceeds on much sounder footing, but plausibility is still only plausibility. There are many alternatives that are plausible. They are a dime a dozen. What we need is an objective methodology for choosing among plausible alternatives.

        ...  My hypothesis is that the creator(s) of the Cross Gospel were unaware of the betrayal and denial components of
        Jesus' passion.   And for good reason: Mark, again in my judgment, created
        both de novo.   The only glitch in such a theory is if John is independent
        of Mark.  If that were the case, then it might suggest that there was a
        tradition independent of Mark which knew of both the betrayal and the
        denial, a tradition that John drew upon.   If such were the case, it would
        not necessarily substantiate the historicity of the betrayal and denial.
        But it would be a significant blow to my hypothesis that Mark created both
        betrayal and denial on his own.  It would also give some credence to Brown's
        position that there was a pre-Gospel passion tradition, even though it
        cannot be reconstructed from the present canonical texts.

        Thus the case for Markan creation of the betrayal and denial rests on
        whether it can be shown that John was dependent upon Mark.   I have not read
        all the arguments for Johannine dependency on Mark, which I must do.   But
        from what I have gathered from Crossan's presentation of the arguments for
        and against, I surmise the following.

        I have to confess that I am disappointed that rather than dealing with Stephen Carlson's argument for independence of the critical passages from GJohn, you sidestep dealing with his evidence by next reviewing a parallel opposing argument from Crossan that deals with different issues. Furthermore, you pick an argument that you yourself find unsatisfactory:

         ...Unfortunately, in my judgment, in defending his position against Brown, it
        sounds to me like Crossan is now special pleading.  I do no find his defense convincing.

        ... I do not think he has made a convincing case as yet for Johannine dependency on Mark with respect to Mark 14:53-72.
        He has not explained in the course of his argument what motivated John to alter the Markan passage in significant ways.   I cannot go into depth on this matter at this point.   But will in a future post.

        I hope so, and I hope you will deal more directly with the evidence for Johannine independence assembled by Stephen. I will look forward to your post. Next, you turn to a new approach that seems compelling:

        ...  The recent work
        of Dennis MacDonald (_The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark_)  has
        provided me a way to understand (1) why John only used 50% of the Markan
        passion narrative in his narration of his passion narrative, (2) why John
        scattered the other 50% of the Markan passion narrative over the rest of his
        gospel, and (3) why John makes those inexplicable changes in order and
        wording of his Markan passion source.   MacDonald has done this for me
        without having as his focus the question of Johannine dependency on Mark.
        For MacDonald's interest is not Johannine dependency on Mark but Markan
        dependency on the Homeric epics.

        The reason MacDonald has been helpful to me on the issue of Johannine
        dependency when his interest is on the Markan dependency on Homer is (1) the
        work he has done in understanding how a first century author was taught to
        write and (2) the methodological criteria he has developed for identifying
        Markan dependency on the Homeric epics.  It is those criteria that has led
        me into an understanding of what John was doing with Mark as least as far as
        Mark's passion narrative is concerned.   I turn now to MacDonald's important
        contribution....

        Thank you for the extensive and fascinating material from MacDonald (which I have snipped). His "criteria" are interesting, and I look forward to seeing how useful they are.

        In a future post, I will make a case for the Johannine dependency of Mark,
        not just in the passion narrative segment but in other places in his gospel
        where John has "scattered" elements of the Markan passion narrative.   I
        will build my case using MacDonald's criteria.  It is my thesis that the
        reason we have not adequately understood the way John uses and responds to
        Mark is because we have not sufficiently recognized, much less understood,
        how John emulated and transvalued the Markan text and Markan theology and
        christology for his own purpose, in other words how John took Mark and
        transformed at least parts of it to serve his own ends.  Among the passages
        of John pregnant with signs of Johannine emulation and transvaluation of
        Mark, passages which will draw my special attention in addition to the
        Johaninne passion narrative, are John 12:23-31 and 13:21-38.   My theory, as
        a result of analysis of these passages, following MacDonald's criteria, is
        that John not only used Mark but John's primary purpose in using Mark was to
        "correct" what John considered to be the ill-conceived, mistaken christology
        of Mark.

        Ted


        I look forward to your sequel on these subjects. I hope that your future posts will carry us beyond plausibility.
        In Part One above, you decry certainty apart from a few "bedrock facts". I hope that, when you arrive at the end of Part Two, with your promised argument in support of your thesis, that you will remember Part One, and not claim more for your thesis than your assessment of "certainty" in Part One allows.

        Thanks,
        Bob

        Robert M. Schacht
        Robert.Schacht@...
      • Stephen C. Carlson
        ... [...] ... Thanks for your comments, Bob. I didn t want to respond to Ted s post immediately because (a) I had to order MacDonald s book and read it first,
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 1, 2000
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          At 07:55 PM 6/25/00 -0700, Robert M. Schacht wrote in response to Ted Weeden:
          > I hope so, and I hope you will deal more directly with the evidence for
          >Johannine independence assembled by Stephen. I will look forward to your
          >post. Next, you turn to a new approach that seems compelling:
          [...]
          >Thank you for the extensive and fascinating material from MacDonald (which I
          >have snipped). His "criteria" are interesting, and I look forward to seeing
          >how useful they are.

          Thanks for your comments, Bob. I didn't want to respond to Ted's
          post immediately because (a) I had to order MacDonald's book and
          read it first, (b) it looked like there was going to be a part II,
          and (c) Ted was going to be away for two weeks, so I wanted to be
          more contemporaneous.

          I would to clarify a few points in Ted's part I, because I fear
          that the discussion may be getting off-track. First, I am not
          so interested now in whether Peter's denial was a historical
          fact or whether it was a Christian invention. No, the issue I
          am attending is the subject of Ted's essay: whether "Mark", the
          author of the second fabricated the Petrine denial. It is not
          enough to say we can't prove the denial was historical, therefore
          it is a fabrication. No, I want to address the argument that
          "Mark" was the culprit.

          Because the Petrine denial exists in John, if not in a pre-Johannine
          source, the case for "Mark" being the originator of that tradition
          depends on one's solution to the Johannine question. As far as I am
          aware, this is an issue that enjoys no real consensus and the pendulum
          has rocked back and forth a couple times even in this twentieth century.
          Therefore, the case for "Mark" being the source of denial tradition
          is necessarily contingent on a particular resolution to the Johannine
          question.

          As for MacDonald's book, which I have recently been reading, I'm
          afraid that it is of little help in aiding the debate. Basically,
          MacDonald finds Homeric allusions under every rock and concludes
          that Mark is an emulation of the Odyssey. The thesis relies on
          rather attentuated parallels and does not ultimately stand up to
          scrutiny -- especially the kind of scrutiny and standards of proof
          that the Thomasine independence party demands.

          When we consider the issue of literary connections with the synoptics
          separately for Thomas and John, we run the real danger of inconsistent
          standards. High standards are applied to show that Thomas is independent;
          low standards are applied to show that John is dependent (e.g. Crossan's
          argument for John's dependence on Mark for the denial that Weeden relies
          on), forgetting that Patterson's case for Thomas's independence is to
          compare it to John's assumed INdependence.

          Finally, I believe that any charge of fabrication must be able to
          account for the reception of the fabricated tradition in other
          communities, who must not have previously heard of it. Maybe this
          will be addressed in part II.

          Stephen Carlson
          --
          Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
          Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
        • Ron Price
          ... Stephen, Not necessarily. For if it can be shown that Mark invented the denial story (and I believe the case for this is strong), then the Johannine
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 2, 2000
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            Stephen Carlson wrote:

            >Because the Petrine denial exists in John .......
            >the case for "Mark" being the source of denial tradition
            >is necessarily contingent on a particular resolution to the Johannine
            >question.

            Stephen,

            Not necessarily.

            For if it can be shown that "Mark" invented the denial story (and
            I believe the case for this is strong), then the Johannine
            question will have been answered. For John must then be dependent
            on Mark.

            Ron Price

            Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

            e-mail: ron.price@...

            Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Why must ? Please clarify. What seems evident to you is not at all evident to me. Bob
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 2, 2000
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              At 09:33 AM 7/2/00 +0100, Ron Price wrote:
              ... if it can be shown that "Mark" invented the denial story (and
              I believe the case for this is strong), then the Johannine
              question will have been answered. For John must then be dependent
              on Mark.


              Why "must"? Please clarify. What seems evident to you is not at all evident to me.
              Bob
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