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Mark's more negative portrayal of the disciples.

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    [Crossposted from Synoptic-L, at the request of Jeffrey Gibson.] It is commonly asserted that Mark s more negative portrayal of the disciples compared with
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6 5:17 PM
      [Crossposted from Synoptic-L, at the request of Jeffrey Gibson.]

      It is commonly asserted that Mark's more negative portrayal of
      the disciples compared with Matthew and Luke is an argument for
      Mark's priority. For example, Stein (1987: 65) writes, "If Mark
      was not interested in vilifying the disciple [pace Weeden], in
      which direction it is easier to understand the later writers to
      have moved? Surely Matthew's and Luke's handling of the Markan
      text, with its harder reading, is far more understandable than
      a Markan change of Matthew and/or Luke."

      I was recently reading Dennis R. MacDonald, THE HOMERIC EPICS
      AND THE GOSPEL OF MARK (2000: 23), who observed: "Similarly,
      in Mark, after Jesus himself, the next most admirable characters
      are the disciples. When the earliest evangelist portrays them
      negatively, he does so to contrast their vices with the virtues
      of their Lord, especially his capacity for suffering. Although
      the Twelve may be ciphers for an objectionable theology, they
      surely are foils for a heroic christology that exalts the
      suffering protagonist at the expense of his inept associates."

      If MacDonald is correct in observing that the negative portrayal
      of the disciple plays a positive role in exalting Jesus by
      comparison, then isn't the common criterion of increasing
      reverence of the disciples a reversible and, hence, an unreliable
      indicator of Markan priority?

      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
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