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
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
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 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