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Re: [XTalk] Poor Peter

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  • Jan Sammer
    From: Bob Schacht ... like ... Mark s Peter is well-meaning, if at times lacking in understanding, devoted, if at times lacking in
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 13, 2001
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      From: "Bob Schacht" <r_schacht@...>
      >
      > Poor Peter! So how is it that Peter came to be accepted anyway (by
      > retrojection) as the first pope? If Peter really does have these three
      > strikes against him, how was his place in the leadership of the Church
      > salvaged? And why (on this list) should we care? I'm beginning to feel
      like
      > we're in the CNN Spin Room.
      >
      > Spin control is a basic tool of critical scholarship: we need to know what
      > kind of spin our sources like to put on things, so that we can take that
      > into account when evaluating the historical value of our sources for the
      > life of the historic Jesus. So, if Paul, Mark and Matthew were critical of
      > Peter, how did Peter's legacy survive?

      Mark's Peter is well-meaning, if at times lacking in understanding, devoted,
      if at times lacking in courage. Somehow all the negatives make Peter all the
      more human and congenial to the reader. Had Mark's purpose been to turn
      Peter into a villain, he would surely have chosen more effective ways.
      Perhaps Peter's reputation was such that Mark was unable to attack Peter
      directly, and could only afford to put a negative spin on some of his
      actions. But on balance it is apparent that Mark did not wish to make a
      frontal attack on Peter, though he did want to take him to task for his
      failings. For reasons I have explained in a previous message, it would
      appear that the Mark's real target was James the Just. The most effective
      way to reduce James' authority was to refer to him as little as possible,
      and if at all, in a collective manner, as one of the members of Jesus
      family, whom Jesus himself rejected. I do agree that Mark has an
      anti-Petrine spin, but only to the extent necessary for his pro-Pauline
      bias. I would suggest that it is Peter's wavering on the Gentile mission
      that is held up to ridicule and in a way excused by pointing to Peter's
      failings on previous occasions. Peter is on the right side (i.e., Paul's
      side), but sometimes his courage fails him. Furthermore, (Mark seems to be
      implying) Peter's interpretations of Jesus' message are not necessarily
      authoritative, because on many occasions Peter had failed to understand the
      master's meaning. But all in all, Peter was one of the inner circle and
      Jesus' rebukes of him not made in a hostile spirit. In sum, as far as Mark
      is concerned, Peter was an important part of the gentile mission and a
      useful ally against James, though not beyond criticism and not to be taken
      at his word.

      Jan
    • Thomas A. Kopecek
      ... devoted, ... Peter all the ... turn ... ways. ... Peter ... his ... make a ... his ... would ... effective ... possible, ... Jesus ... pro-Pauline ...
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 13, 2001
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        --- In crosstalk2@egroups.com, "Jan Sammer" <sammer@i...> wrote:

        > Mark's Peter is well-meaning, if at times lacking in understanding,
        devoted,
        > if at times lacking in courage. Somehow all the negatives make
        Peter
        all the
        > more human and congenial to the reader. Had Mark's purpose been to
        turn
        > Peter into a villain, he would surely have chosen more effective
        ways.
        > Perhaps Peter's reputation was such that Mark was unable to attack
        Peter
        > directly, and could only afford to put a negative spin on some of
        his
        > actions. But on balance it is apparent that Mark did not wish to
        make a
        > frontal attack on Peter, though he did want to take him to task for
        his
        > failings. For reasons I have explained in a previous message, it
        would
        > appear that the Mark's real target was James the Just. The most
        effective
        > way to reduce James' authority was to refer to him as little as
        possible,
        > and if at all, in a collective manner, as one of the members of
        Jesus
        > family, whom Jesus himself rejected. I do agree that Mark has an
        > anti-Petrine spin, but only to the extent necessary for his
        pro-Pauline
        > bias. I would suggest that it is Peter's wavering on the Gentile
        mission
        > that is held up to ridicule and in a way excused by pointing to
        Peter's
        > failings on previous occasions. Peter is on the right side (i.e.,
        Paul's
        > side), but sometimes his courage fails him. Furthermore, (Mark
        seems
        to be
        > implying) Peter's interpretations of Jesus' message are not
        necessarily
        > authoritative, because on many occasions Peter had failed to
        understand the
        > master's meaning. But all in all, Peter was one of the inner circle
        and
        > Jesus' rebukes of him not made in a hostile spirit. In sum, as far
        as Mark
        > is concerned, Peter was an important part of the gentile mission
        and
        a
        > useful ally against James, though not beyond criticism and not to
        be
        taken
        > at his word.

        I've not read through all the previous posts last May about the
        Peter/Paul/James issue, but is there something in the text of Mark
        that is directly pertinent to "Peter's wavering on the Gentile
        mission" and something in the text of Mark that is directly pertinent
        to establishing Peter as "an important part of the gentile mission"?

        If so, is it connected with the fact that Peter in Mark never
        received the message that Jesus was leading the disciples, and
        especially Peter, beyond Jerusalem to Galilee (14:28 and 16:7)?

        Tom

        ___
        Thomas A. Kopecek
        Professor of Religion
        Central College, Pella, IA 50219
        kopecekt@...

        ****

        ***
      • Bob Schacht
        ... I don t think that Weeden s extensively posted thesis about GMark said that Mark s purpose was to turn Peter into a villain, and I don t think anyone s
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 14, 2001
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          At 01:35 AM 1/14/01 +0100, Jan Sammer wrote:
          >... Had Mark's purpose been to turn Peter into a villain, he would surely
          >have chosen more effective ways.

          I don't think that Weeden's extensively posted thesis about GMark said
          that Mark's purpose was to turn Peter into a villain, and I don't think
          anyone's really arguing that.

          >Perhaps Peter's reputation was such that Mark was unable to attack Peter
          >directly, and could only afford to put a negative spin on some of his
          >actions.
          >But on balance it is apparent that Mark did not wish to make a
          >frontal attack on Peter, though he did want to take him to task for his
          >failings.

          This sounds closer to Weeden's thesis, as I understand it.

          >For reasons I have explained in a previous message, it would
          >appear that the Mark's real target was James the Just. The most effective
          >way to reduce James' authority was to refer to him as little as possible,
          >and if at all, in a collective manner, as one of the members of Jesus
          >family, whom Jesus himself rejected.

          Can you remind me of the date of this message? And is your analysis based
          on evidence in GMark itself, or on external evidence? How do you refute
          Weeden's evidence that Peter was the target? (It is not sufficient to
          merely express the opinion that Mark's target was someone else.)

          > I do agree that Mark has an anti-Petrine spin, but only to the extent
          > necessary for his pro-Pauline bias. I would suggest that it is Peter's
          > wavering on the Gentile mission that is held up to ridicule and in a way
          > excused by pointing to Peter's failings on previous occasions. Peter is
          > on the right side (i.e., Paul's side), but sometimes his courage fails him.

          Peter was also the man in the middle: with James and the circumcision party
          on his right, and Paul on his left, he was in a difficult spot: He could
          never satisfy one without bringing scorn from the other. So he gets hit in
          various ways from both sides.

          > Furthermore, (Mark seems to be implying) Peter's interpretations of
          > Jesus' message are not necessarily authoritative, because on many
          > occasions Peter had failed to understand the master's meaning.

          Peter is hardly unique among the disciples in this respect.

          >But all in all, Peter was one of the inner circle and Jesus' rebukes of
          >him not made in a hostile spirit. In sum, as far as Mark is concerned,
          >Peter was an important part of the gentile mission and a useful ally
          >against James, though not beyond criticism and not to be taken at his word.
          >
          >Jan

          I'd like to see more evidence to support your opinions. If you've presented
          the *evidence* before, I'd appreciate learning the date(s) of your post(s).

          thanks,
          Bob


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