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Re: [XTalk] Markan Geography

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Is Clement of Alexandria also discounted? Summarized in Eusebius, (H.E. 6.14.5-7), it reads ...Mark had this disposition : that when Peter was in Rome
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 31, 2001
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      At 09:20 AM 7/30/01 -0500, Ted Weeden wrote:
      >Robert Raphael wrote Sunday, July 29, 2001 11:29 PM
      > > An possible obstacle to attributing the passion narrative(PN) to the
      > > Mark (GM) is improbability that the GM was written in the vicinity of
      > > Palestine. In this regard I understand that the GM betrays ignorance of
      > > Palestine geography.... In this regard some have suggested
      > > that the GM was composed in Rome....
      > >
      > >
      >My response:
      >... I locate the Markan community in the
      >village region of Caesarea Philippi. On 2/29/00 I posted an essay,
      >"Guidelines for Locating the Markan Community," on X Talk, in which I
      >argued for that provenance, taking into consideration the georgraphical
      >issues you mention.
      >...You are probably aware that many Markan scholars now locate Mark in
      >northern Palestine or southern Syria, as noted in my essay....It is my
      >developing thesis (1) that the Q community, the Matthean community and the
      >Johannnine community are located in same general region of northern
      >Palestine and southern Syria, (2) that Mark knew and used Q correctively,
      >(3) that Matthew and John borrowed from Mark and transformed Mark for
      >their own respective christological/theological purposes, and (4) that one
      >can identify a trajectory in the use of the Son of the Human term ...
      >Ted Weeden
      >Methodological Guidelines for Locating the Markan Community
      >and The Results Obtained from Their Application
      >Markan scholars who have had an interest in trying to pinpoint the
      >location of the Markan community have proposed several diverse
      >geographical settings over the years. Before the 1950's most scholars
      >located the community at Rome . Martin Hengel (STUDIES IN THE GOSPEL OF
      >MARK) is one of the most recent scholars who has advocated strongly for
      >Rome. Since the 1950's the tide of scholarly opinion has begun to shift
      >to locating Mark somewhere in the Syrian or Palestinian region. ...
      >Since the Markan text is our only reliable source (Papias, Anti-Marcionite
      >Prologue, etc., now discounted)...

      Is Clement of Alexandria also discounted? Summarized in Eusebius, (H.E.
      6.14.5-7), it reads
      "...Mark had this 'disposition': that when Peter was in Rome preaching the
      word openly and proclaiming the gospel by the spirit, those present, who
      were many, entreated Mark, as one who had followed him a long time and
      remembered what was said, to record what was spoken; but that after he
      composed the gospel, he shared it with those who wanted it; that, when
      Peter found out about it, he did not actively discourage or encourage
      it..." (Translation by Stephen Carlson in New Test. Stud. 47, p. 118)

      >for information about Mark's community, scholars remain dependent upon the
      >text for offering clues to the community's location. ... Gerd Theissen
      >(THE GOSPELS IN CONTEXT) also senses that the text originates in a rural
      >context and further observes that Mark's calling Lake Gennesaret "the Sea
      >of Galilee" means Mark lacks any realistic understanding of what
      >constitutes a "sea." That must mean, Theissen submits, that his community
      >is located far from the Mediterranean Sea, where there is virtually no
      >awareness of the magnitude of that body of water, legitimately called a "sea."

      With all due respect to you and Thiessen, I find this argument very hard to
      swallow. It virtually requires that the author of GMark be an extremely
      provincial person who traveled little and spoke with no travelers at any
      great length. Palestine is a very small place. By "northern Palestine and
      southern Syria" I assume you must mean somewhere between, say, Tiberias and
      Damascus. But that area is only a few days walk from the Mediterranean Sea.
      Heck, even I, computer potato though I am, could walk from Tiberias to the
      Mediterranean coast in 3 days. Jesus in the Gospels is depicted as covering
      a fair amount of ground by foot: from around the "Sea" of Galilee to the
      Lebanese coast, south to Jerusalem, east to the Decapolis. But your Mark
      must really be a homebody. Surely some of the other Marks must be ruled
      out: No companion of Paul such as John Mark (Acts 12:25; 15:37,39 etc.)
      could have been the author, as he was well-traveled overseas. And somehow
      this poorly traveled homebody who seldom spoke with travelers managed to
      learn to speak and write Greek, so it must have been a Greek city, so this
      hometown boy would not have had to travel very far to learn Greek. No, it
      strains my credulity to think that Mark, whom (when it is convenient) is
      described as a literary genius, becomes a Dodo who doesn't know the
      difference between a lake and a sea.

      I find more convincing Eric Eve's proposal (on the morning of 7/31) that
      Mark's choice of "sea" was a deliberate literary ploy.

      Indeed, much of what you base your assessment of the location of the
      community of Mark might be due to one of Mark's sources. I wish to draw to
      your attention a summary of one of the publications of the late Philip
      Lewis, a member of CrossTalk during the last years of his life, who posted
      the following summary of his theory of a "boat source" for certain sections
      of Mark (CrossTalk 3/7/98) (reference to publication at end of the quote

      >3. If one were to gather all the material in GMark which told of voyaging in
      >a boat except for the Walking on the Sea, itself a resurrection appearance,
      >and the Riddle of the Loaves of Mk.8.14-21 which was a Markan composition
      >requiring a knowledge of both Feedings in the Gospel, one would find that
      >the voyage took Jesus from:
      > a. the pressure of a crowd, (Mk.3.7-12)
      > b. to a teaching from the boat (Mk.4.1) to
      > c. a Feeding of a multitude with "five loaves" and "two fish" (i.e. the
      >Law for the New Age of Pisces)
      > d. to the healing of a Gerasene demoniac, excluding the pigs
      >embelishment, (Mk.5.1-20)
      > e. to Magdala where a woman with a hemorrhage was healed, (Mk.5.24b-34)
      > f. and finally to the conclusion of the voyage now in a ship not a
      > boat, (Mk.4.35-41)
      >with the Stilling of a Storm, presumably debarking at Capernaum.
      >In tracing that voyage as the seams in the Gospel reveal it, one is
      >following Mark's "Boat Source," and observing in the process that the author
      >has dismembered his source so that he can use its event-interpretation - its
      >*haggadoth* - to serve his own thematic purposes. Nevertheless the traces
      >of the voyage can be reconstructed quite easily.
      >4. What have we covered with this tale of a voyage in a "boat" which
      >concludes in a "ship?" E. Schmidt, I think it was in his _Rahmen_, wrote
      >that Ps.107.1-32 was the LITURGY followed in the Temple service as votive
      >offerings were presented at Rosh Hashana, the New Year "time of accounting."
      >The four event-interpretations of GMark's Boat Source are obviously the
      >*haggadoth* narrating the four stages of that Psalm. As a written
      >composition the Boat Source probably began with the *Tishri* introduction
      >recaptured in Mk.1.14-15 (Vs.15 echoes Rosh Hashana, the ten penitential
      >days concluding in Yom Kippur, and the promised Kingdom which lies at the
      >root of the Feast of Booths). Possibly the original List of the Twelve,
      >which has gone through three stages of narration in GMark, was part of the
      >Boat Source as well.
      >The whole of the above, 1 through 4, is a summary of an article entitled
      >"Indications of a Liturgical Source in the Gospel According to Mark" which
      >appeared in _Encounter_, pp.385-394, of the Journal of Christian Theological
      >Seminary, Idianapolis, IN, Vol.39, No.4, in Autumn of 1978. I was the
      >author of the article.

      Now I grant that Lewis was not a scholar on the same level as you are, but
      I find his "boat source" intriguing. Perhaps the author of Mark's boat
      source was your parochial stay at home, and not the same as the compiler of
      the Gospel as a whole.


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