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Prophecy Historicized or History Scripturized?

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  • Mark Goodacre
    In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my SBL Historical Jesus section paper Prophecy Historicized or History Scripturized?
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 26, 2001
      In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my
      SBL Historical Jesus section paper "Prophecy Historicized or
      History Scripturized? Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion
      Narrative" on the web. (It's in Word format -- I'm afraid I haven't had
      time to convert to HTML. Let me know if that causes problems for
      anyone and I'll put it up in RTF or something else.) URL is:

      http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc

      I'd be grateful for any comments ahead of my attempts to work up
      for publication.

      Many thanks
      Mark
      -----------------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
      Birmingham B15 2TT
      United Kingdom

      http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
      Homepage
      http://NTGateway.com
      The New Testament Gateway
    • Bob Schacht
      ... Thanks, Mark! Perhaps I ll be able to give it a good read during the next week.... I m looking forward to it. Bob ... [Non-text portions of this message
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 26, 2001
        At 11:55 PM 11/26/01 +0000, you wrote:
        >In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my
        >SBL Historical Jesus section paper "Prophecy Historicized or
        >History Scripturized? Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion
        >Narrative" on the web. (It's in Word format -- I'm afraid I haven't had
        >time to convert to HTML. Let me know if that causes problems for
        >anyone and I'll put it up in RTF or something else.) URL is:
        >
        ><http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc>http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc
        >
        >I'd be grateful for any comments ahead of my attempts to work up
        >for publication.
        >
        >Many thanks
        >Mark

        Thanks, Mark! Perhaps I'll be able to give it a good read during the next
        week....
        I'm looking forward to it.
        Bob

        >-----------------------------
        >Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
        > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
        > Birmingham B15 2TT
        > United Kingdom
        >
        ><http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre>http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goo
        >dacre
        > Homepage
        ><http://NTGateway.com>http://NTGateway.com
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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Bob Schacht
        ... Mark, In Denver, you asked if anyone had used History Scripturized on CrossTalk before you did. I checked my files, and I cannot find anything earlier
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 26, 2001
          At 11:55 PM 11/26/01 +0000, you wrote:
          >In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my
          >SBL Historical Jesus section paper "Prophecy Historicized or
          >History Scripturized? Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion
          >Narrative" on the web. ...

          Mark,
          In Denver, you asked if anyone had used "History Scripturized" on CrossTalk
          before you did. I checked my files, and I cannot find anything earlier than
          your introduction of the term on Sun, 10 Dec 2000 23:35:30 -0800. It came
          up again for a round of discussion on June 28 of this year, but that was
          about it. So, the credit is all yours, so far as I can see!

          Bob



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jack Kilmon
          ... From: Mark Goodacre To: ; Sent: Monday, November 26, 2001 5:55 PM Subject:
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 27, 2001
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Mark Goodacre <M.S.Goodacre@...>
            To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>; <Synoptic-L@...>
            Sent: Monday, November 26, 2001 5:55 PM
            Subject: [XTalk] Prophecy Historicized or History Scripturized?


            > In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my
            > SBL Historical Jesus section paper "Prophecy Historicized or
            > History Scripturized? Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion
            > Narrative" on the web. (It's in Word format -- I'm afraid I haven't had
            > time to convert to HTML. Let me know if that causes problems for
            > anyone and I'll put it up in RTF or something else.) URL is:
            >
            > http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc
            >
            > I'd be grateful for any comments ahead of my attempts to work up
            > for publication.

            Outside of a few minor spelling and syntax "bumps" which I am sure you have
            caught, this is one of the most interesting and provocative papers I have
            read
            in the HJ field for a while. It not only deserves to be published but if
            the model
            is applied thoughout the NT rather than just the PN, I see a great
            opportunity
            for a book. There is one area I would like to see further developed and
            that
            is the "raw" material remaining after the scriptural midrashing is peeled
            away.
            How do we determine what is historical vs what the hagiographer created? I
            wouldn't be surprised if there is a JS-type of model that could offer a
            probablility
            scale for the "stuff left over."
            Personally, I think this could be a milestone paper in HJ models that could
            take us beyond
            Crossan. My hat is off to you, Mark. This is going to be one of those
            papers that
            has everyone saying "Yeeesh, why didn't I think of that?"

            Jack
          • Frans-Joris Fabri
            ... From: Mark Goodacre To: ; Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 12:55 AM
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 28, 2001
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Mark Goodacre" <M.S.Goodacre@...>
              To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>; <Synoptic-L@...>
              Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 12:55 AM
              Subject: [XTalk] Prophecy Historicized or History Scripturized?


              > In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my
              > SBL Historical Jesus section paper "Prophecy Historicized or
              > History Scripturized? Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion
              > Narrative" on the web. (It's in Word format -- I'm afraid I haven't had
              > time to convert to HTML. Let me know if that causes problems for
              > anyone and I'll put it up in RTF or something else.) URL is:
              >
              > http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc
              >
              > I'd be grateful for any comments ahead of my attempts to work up
              > for publication.
              >
              > Many thanks
              > Mark

              No problem at all with Word-Format. Quite the contrary.
              Reading the essay I was quite impressed. What I can't agree with is that you
              seem to say that those parts that are left after sorting out 'Profecy
              Historicized' will most probably be 'History Scripturized'. Why should the
              details Mark got knowledge of not be taken from just 'stories' or from his
              own making up of a story all around the 'Profecy'-bits?

              So I fully agree with the 2 (from much more competent persons on the matter
              than I am) comments I found in the mailbox this morning.

              Frans-Joris Fabri

              excerpts:

              Jack Kilmon:

              There is one area I would like to see further developed and that
              is the "raw" material remaining after the scriptural midrashing is peeled
              away.
              How do we determine what is historical vs what the hagiographer created? I
              wouldn't be surprised if there is a JS-type of model that could offer
              aprobablility
              scale for the "stuff left over."

              Bob Schacht:

              Here we arrive at the weakest point in your paper, because you do not really
              deal with the possibility that the residue of Mark 15:21-30 (which you use
              to illustrate), after one removes the scriptural allusions, might contain
              Markan invention as well as historical residue. How can we tell the
              difference here, between historical residue, and the storyteller's art? I'm
              sure that others will catch you up on that point.
            • FMMCCOY
              ... Dear Mark Goodacre: I would love to see a discussion between you and Crossan in this forum because I think that an interchange of ideas between the two of
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 29, 2001
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: Mark Goodacre <M.S.Goodacre@...>
                > To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>; <Synoptic-L@...>
                > Sent: Monday, November 26, 2001 5:55 PM
                > Subject: [XTalk] Prophecy Historicized or History Scripturized?
                >
                >
                > > In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my
                > > SBL Historical Jesus section paper "Prophecy Historicized or
                > > History Scripturized? Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion
                > > Narrative" on the web. (It's in Word format -- I'm afraid I haven't had
                > > time to convert to HTML. Let me know if that causes problems for
                > > anyone and I'll put it up in RTF or something else.) URL is:
                > >
                > > http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc
                > >
                > > I'd be grateful for any comments ahead of my attempts to work up
                > > for publication.
                >

                Dear Mark Goodacre:

                I would love to see a discussion between you and Crossan in this forum
                because I think that an interchange of ideas between the two of you on this
                very important subject would be enlightening to all of us.

                There are several points that I hope you will consider before attempting to
                work up your paper for publication.

                POINT 1 PROPHECY ACTUALIZED

                It seems to me that, as respects the gospel passion narratives of Jesus, we
                might have a three ring circus of history scripturized, prophecy
                historicized, and prophecy actualized. By prophecy actualized, I mean the
                fulfilling of some Old Testament passages in the passion of the real Jesus
                of history.

                If this is so, then is it not overly-simplistic to limit discussion to a two
                ring circus of prophecy historicized and history scripturized?

                POINT 2 NOT EVERYTHING SHOULD BE TAKEN LITERALLY

                I suggest that there are times when the gospel passion narratives are not
                meant to be taken literally.

                A case in point is Crossan's argument that Mark's darkness from noon to 3:
                PM is a good example of scripture historicized. A fundamental, but
                unstated, premise of his argument is that Mark's darkness from noon to 3 PM
                was intended by Mark to be taken literally.

                I think it more likely that Mark did not write his narration of the darkness
                at noon with a passage from Amos, or any other Old Testament passage either,
                in mind. This is because, I think, it is most likely that this darkness at
                noon was not intended by Mark to be taken literally.

                Here is an excerpt from my post of 30-7-01 titled "Tomb of Christ"--in which
                post I argue that Mark, although he notes that Jesus observed the Passover
                on Thurday evening, knew that the official Passover was the next day:

                Even Mark provides evidence that Jesus was crucified on the eve of the
                official Passover.

                Particularly important is Mark 15:33, "And being come the sixth hour (i.e.,
                noon), darkness came over all the earth until (the) ninth hour (i.e., 3
                P.M.)."

                Some think that this refers to a literal darkness over the whole earth for
                three hours. This is implausible because there are no records in any
                secular sources of such a miraculous event. Also, in John, there is no
                literal darkness during this period in Jerusalem, much less elsewhere.

                Another possibility is that it is a spiritual darkness: the "hour" when
                Satan and his forces of darkness appear to be on the edge of an overwhelming
                victory. However, in this case, why does the darkness begin at noon rather
                than at 9 A.M.--when, according to Mark 15:25, Jesus was lifted up on the
                cross?

                Yet another possibility is given by the Jesus Seminar in The Acts of Jesus
                (p. 157), "This image was probably suggested by Amos 8:9 where on the day of
                judgment the Lord will make the sun go down at noon and will darken the
                earth in broad daylight." This explains why the darkness begins at noon.
                However, it doesn't explain why it ends at 3 P.M. Also, Mark mentions no
                setting of the sun. So I think this explanation unlikely to be true.

                I suggest that the darkness from noon to 3 P.M. is a legal fiction. As I
                work for a legal services company, I am quite familiar with legal fictions.

                In Exodus 12:6, it is said, the paschal victims must be sacrificed "between
                the two evenings" It was legally determined that the first "evening" begins
                at noon. In The Gospel According to John (p. 883), Raymond E. Brown states,
                "By casuistry 'evening' was interpreted to begin at noon when the sun began
                to decline,..".

                When, though, does this first "evening" end? This is the key question,
                since the sacrificing of the victims must take place between the two
                evenings, i.e., after this first evening is over, but before the second (and
                real) evening begins.

                Philo thought that the first "evening" lasts only a brief instant: making
                noon, in effect, the lawful time to begin the slaughter. So, in Special
                Laws II (145), he declares that the salughter takes place "from noon to
                eventide."

                However, in The Wars of the Jews (Book VI, Chapt. IX, Sect. 3), Josephus
                speaks "of that feast which is called the Passover, when they (i.e., the
                temple priests) slay their sacrifices from the ninth hour (3 P.M.) till the
                eleventh (5 P.M.)." He lived in Jerusalem, so this information is accurate.
                Therefore, the Jerusalem Sanheidrin must have decreed that the first
                "evening" ends at 3 P.M.

                I suggest, then, that Mark declares that there was darkness over the earth
                from noon to 3 P.M. because, he knew, Jesus was crucified on the eve of the
                official Passover: when it was, according to the Jerusalem Sanheidrin, the
                first "evening" from noon to 3 P.M..

                This also explains why, in Mark 15:34-37, Mark has Jesus dying right after 3
                P.M.. Since this is when it became lawful to sacrifice the victims, Mark
                does this to symbolically signify that Jesus dies as a type of sacrificial
                lamb or goat.

                POINT 3 THE EXAMPLE OF THE TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

                In the DSS, certain passages from the prophets are taken to have been
                fulfilled in events concerning the Teacher of Righteousness. As far as I
                know, most scholars do *not* think that the Qumran group invented incidents
                in the life of the Teacher of Righteousness in order to have him fulfill
                prophecy. So, it appears, the Qumran group practiced history scripturized
                rather than prophecy historicized when it came to their mysterious founder,
                the Teacher of Righteousness.

                If so, then the expectation, I would think, is that the early Christians
                would have followed this Jewish precedent and, so, have practiced history
                scripturized rather than prophecy historicized when it came to their
                founder, i.e., Jesus.

                This perhaps puts the burden of proof on those, like Crossan, who maintain
                that early Christians practiced prophecy historicized rather than history
                scripturized when it came to Jesus' passion.

                POINT 4 THE SONS OF SIMON OF CYRENE

                I think you are correct in pointing out that Mark's mention of Alexander and
                Rufus, the two sons of Simon of Cyrene, is damaging to Crossan's argument.

                In some posts to XTalk, I have presented evidence that Mark was written c.
                50 CE at Rome.

                I find it significant that, judging by Romans 16:13, there was, c. 55 CE, a
                person in the Roman Church named Rufus. I suggest that he is the Rufus who
                was a son of Cyrene and that he was a member of the Roman Church when Mark
                wrote his gospel there c. 50 CE.

                POINT 5 MARK 14:49

                In Mark 14:49, Mark has Jesus declare, "But (it is) that may be fulfilled
                the scriptures."

                I think that, Mark 14:49 reveals, Mark believed that the
                passion of Jesus involved the fulfillment of scripture. If so, then he had
                an obvious motive for resorting to the the technique of historicizing
                prophecy in his narration of the passion of Jesus. Therefore, I take it as
                evidence in favor of Crossan's argument that most of Mark's passion
                narrative is prophecy historicized.

                POINT 7 EVEN-HANDED OR NOT?

                I think you are absolutely correct in seeing a complex inter-play between
                history and prophecy through time and with there being both prophecy
                historicized and history scripturized.

                However, I think you go too far in asserting, "The pervasive presence of
                non-Scriptural elements combined with the extensive evidence of historical
                events retold in the light of the Scriptures confirms that the strongest
                conclusion will be a balanced one." In particular, I do not think that you
                prove, in your short paper, the *pervasive* presence of non-Scriptural
                elements in the gospel passion narratives. Also, it is perhaps stretching
                the point to say that, in your short paper, you demonstrated that there is
                *extensive* evidence of historical events retold in the light of the
                Scriptures.

                I suspect that Crossan would concede that he over-did it when he said that
                80% of the gospel passion narratives consist of prophecy historicized, but
                maintain that, in the case of the gospel narratives of Jesus' passion, we
                do not find an even-handed balance between prophecy historicized on one hand
                and history scripturized and non-Scriptural elements on the other hand but,
                rather, an imbalance heavily weighted towards prophecy historicized--with
                at least 60%, possibly even as high as 75%, being prophecy historicized.

                How would you respond to such a line of reasoning?

                Regards,

                Frank McCoy
                1809 N. English Apt. 17
                Maplewood, MN USA 55109
              • Ken Olson
                ... had ... Mark, Thanks very much for making your paper available to us. The following response has grown from two comments into something of a monster.
                Message 7 of 8 , Dec 2, 2001
                  On November 26, 2001, Mark Goodacre wrote:

                  > In response to requests, I have temporarily placed a draft of my
                  > SBL Historical Jesus section paper "Prophecy Historicized or
                  > History Scripturized? Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion
                  > Narrative" on the web. (It's in Word format -- I'm afraid I haven't
                  had
                  > time to convert to HTML. Let me know if that causes problems for
                  > anyone and I'll put it up in RTF or something else.) URL is:
                  >
                  > http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc
                  >
                  > I'd be grateful for any comments ahead of my attempts to work up
                  > for publication.

                  Mark,

                  Thanks very much for making your paper available to us. The following
                  response has grown from two comments into something of a monster.
                  Also, it may be difficult to follow for those not familiar with the
                  original paper.

                  Best Wishes,

                  Ken

                  I think you make a number of good points about the assumption that
                  anything in the passion narrative that is based on a scriptural
                  allusion is, _ipso facto_, fictional.
                  You seem to be largely in agreement with what Joel Marcus says on this
                  point: "OT texts have had an influence on the formation of the
                  passion narrative, presumably from its earliest stages. On the other
                  hand, the extreme position that the narrative in its entirety has been
                  created out of the OT is unwarranted" (Marcus, 213). Marcus
                  continues: "It is probably best, then, to adopt a nuanced position:
                  the early Christians remembered certain details about Jesus' death
                  because they believed them to have been prophesied in the Scriptures.
                  Once having made the connection with the Scriptures, however, they
                  discovered other, related OT passages that, in their view, _must_ have
                  been fulfilled in his death as well--and so they created narratives in
                  which they _were_ fulfilled" (Marcus, 213).

                  You go beyond Marcus in arguing that in some places where there are
                  scriptural allusions in the passion narrative, the evidence for
                  historicity is especially strong. This is what I want to examine in
                  this post.

                  First, you give the example of Mark 15.40-41. Despite the fact that
                  the beginning of these verses is an allusion to Ps. 38.11, Crossan
                  argues that the presence of the women at the crucifixion is likely to
                  be historical: "Their existence and names in 15.40-41 are pre-Markan
                  tradition, but their criticism in 15.47-16.8 is Markan redaction. In
                  other words, the inclusion of women observing the burial and visiting
                  the tomb is no earlier than Mark, but the inclusion of women watching
                  the crucifixion is received tradition. But is the latter historical
                  fact? My best answer is yes, because the male disciples had fled; if
                  the women had not been watching, we would not know even the brute fact
                  of crucifixion (as distinct, for example, from Jesus being summarily
                  speared or beheaded in prison)" (Crossan, BC, 559).

                  If Crossan is correct here, then historicity and OT allusion are not
                  mutually exclusive. However, one who wished to argue that they are
                  mutually exclusive could save his position by being _more_ skeptical
                  about the presence of the women at the crucifixion. Crossan
                  introduces his opinion with: "My best answer is.", suggesting he is
                  not entirely confident in his judgment here. Additionally, the reason
                  he gives is weak. If Jesus was publicly crucified, then it would have
                  been easy to obtain information on the "brute fact of the crucifixion"
                  even if none of Jesus' own followers were present. In fact, it is
                  somewhat difficult to see why someone who holds Crossan's particular
                  source-critical presuppositions accepts the presence of the women at
                  the crucifixion at all. In the Gospel of Peter, Mary Magdalene and
                  her friends are mentioned only in the empty tomb story, not at the
                  crucifixion or the burial. Crossan's reconstructed Cross Gospel
                  contains no mention of the women at all (Crossan, WKJ, 223-227).

                  The use of verbs of seeing in Mk. 15.40, 15.47, 16.4, and 16.5,
                  suggests that the women are intended to function as witnesses for the
                  death, burial, and empty tomb of Jesus. Indeed, the narrator is
                  taking great care to establish that the women were witnesses to each
                  of these events individually. On the other hand, the statement that
                  "they said nothing to anyone" in Mk. 16.8 makes me wonder at what
                  point in the transmission of the tradition the women were first used
                  as witnesses. It seems to me this statement may be the narrator's way
                  of explaining to the audience why they had never heard this particular
                  part of the story before (much like the book that has been kept sealed
                  until the end in Daniel 12.4).

                  Regarding the names of the women, I sympathize with Crossan when he
                  says: "I have given up trying to imagine why Mark names the women so
                  differently in each case" (Crossan, WKJ, 182). I have not yet read
                  Theissen's argument on why we should accept that the references were
                  clear to Mark's audience, so I will not respond to it here. But
                  Crossan makes the point that the invention of names is not difficult
                  (Crossan, 176-77) and at least some of the evangelists, canonical or
                  non-canonical, accomplished it. Also, even if the names of the women
                  were shown to be historical or traditional, one could still argue that
                  their presence in the passion narrative is not.

                  THREE WAYS IN WHICH THE INTERACTION MODEL CAN BE SEEN TO BE MORE
                  PLAUSIBLE THAN THE "PROPHECY HISTORICIZED" MODEL

                  In this section, I'll look at your reasons A, B, and C. At this
                  point, I'd like to draw attention to the words of Raymond Brown about
                  the difficulty of providing evidence of historicity in the passion
                  narrative: "With rare exceptions there is little implausibility in
                  what is described, so that one may speak of general verisimilitude.
                  Nevertheless what is described fits in closely with the interests of
                  the evangelists; otherwise they would not have included it.
                  Conformity with the theology and dramatic organization of a Gospel
                  does not establish creation by the evangelist, but makes historicity
                  extremely difficult to prove" (Brown, 1192).

                  (A) elements that have no Scriptural precedent are juxtaposed with
                  those that have;
                  This is true, but the conclusion that "The fact that the earliest
                  Christians were immersed in the Hebrew Bible simply means that history
                  interacted with Biblical reflection" still seems to oversimplify the
                  issue. There are many stages and types of mediation between the
                  events and the reports of the events contained in the passion
                  narratives. History (which I take here to mean something like: the
                  attempt to represent "what actually happened" in words) and biblical
                  reflection are by no means the only two factors at work here. I think
                  it is reasonable to assume that the tradition about Jesus' crucifixion
                  was retold and reinterpreted many times before Mark (or whatever we
                  take to be the first written passion narrative), just as it was
                  afterward, and biblical reflection influenced the tradition in many
                  different stages. Crossan suggests a four-stage model for the
                  development of the passion (Crossan, WKJ, 219-20). Also, biblical
                  reflection is only one of several influences involved in shaping the
                  tradition. Crossan believes there were apologetic, theological,
                  polemical and narrative influences as well (Crossan, WKJ, 98-100).

                  Liturgical needs are also likely to have been present. You raise the
                  possibility, citing Goulder, that the tradition about Jesus may have
                  been passed down in a liturgical setting. If this is the case, then
                  liturgical requirements may have altered the tradition as much as they
                  preserved it. Goulder himself draws attention to the fact that the
                  events in Mark's passion narrative seem to occur at three-hour
                  intervals. This seems highly artificial. Goulder contends:
                  "something is at work other than a straightforward desire to
                  communicate the times at which the events took place" (Goulder, 149).
                  If he is correct, this casts doubt on the historicity of "the third
                  hour", one of the non-scriptural elements present in Mk. 15.21-15.30.
                  Outside of that particular passage, one might well wonder if other
                  parts of the passion narrative, such as the sequence in which Last
                  supper is followed by an all-night prayer vigil, might have been
                  shaped by liturgical concerns as well.

                  Further, the presence of elements not derived from scripture alongside
                  elements that are derived from scripture does not logically show that
                  any elements of either type are non-fictional. It would, in fact, be
                  very hard to write a narrative using only scriptural elements (unless
                  one was just retelling Bible stories). The evangelists might have
                  included other fictional elements, or traditional, even historical,
                  elements for a variety of reasons. This would not show that the
                  scriptural elements were non-fictional. [I suspect I may not have not
                  entirely grasped your point here].

                  (B) several key criteria in Historical Jesus research are satisfied in
                  relation to elements both with and without Scriptural precedents;

                  I have three criticisms here:

                  (B1) The first is a nit-pick. It seems to me that "against the
                  grain" and "embarrassment" are different scholars' names for the same
                  criterion and thus not "several" (compare Sanders, 304-05; Meier,
                  168-71). Your argument about the titulus could probably be adapted to
                  fit under Meier's "criterion of rejection and execution" (Meier, 177).
                  It's reasonable to assume that if the Romans crucified Jesus, there
                  was indeed some charge against him. That still leaves us with the
                  problem of deciding whether the actual charge recorded in the gospels
                  is history or verisimilitude.

                  (B2) While some criteria may support the historicity of the titulus,
                  the criterion of "against the grain", at least as defined by Sanders,
                  is not one of them. Sanders says: "A passage or theme is shown to be
                  historically reliable if it is directly against what the evangelists
                  wished to be so" (Sanders, 304-5).

                  I have a hard time accepting that the claim that Gentiles called
                  Jesus, albeit mockingly, "King of the Jews" is against what Mark
                  wished to be so. If Mark were trying to play down the charge, it
                  seems inexplicable that he should have employed it five times in the
                  chapter (15.2, 9, 12, 15, 26), with an additional occurrence on the
                  lips of the Jews in the Jewish form "King of Israel" (15.32). Royal
                  christology is a major theme of Mark's passion narrative. Morna
                  Hooker observes: "Mark presents the crucifixion of Jesus almost as
                  though it were an enthronement: Jesus has been hailed by the crowds
                  as he entered Jerusalem (11.1-10), anointed (by a woman!--14.5-9),
                  proclaimed to the people by Pilate (15.9, 12), and saluted as king by
                  the soldiers (15.17-19). Now he is enthroned on the cross, with an
                  inscription telling the world who he is" (Hooker, 371-72). Similarly,
                  Dibelius says: "even the Roman governor himself is made to preach the
                  Gospel: he has the inscription that was placed over the crossbeam
                  announce that Jesus is "the King of the Jews "- the Messiah"
                  (Dibelius, 425). The inscription of the charge against Jesus seems to
                  be very much "with the grain" of Mark's passion narrative.

                  I find Brown's counterargument lame. He claims: "That the title 'the
                  King of the Jews' is completely a Christian invention is implausible,
                  since it never appears as a Christian confession" (Brown, 968). He
                  claims further: "The use of the designation by the magi in Matt. 2.2
                  does not contradict this, for that occurs before they are enlightened
                  by information from the scriptures. The magi, like Pilate, have
                  recognized a certain truth about Jesus, but in 2.2 are scarcely
                  depicted as Christians" (Brown, 968 n. 2). Are we to assume, then,
                  that the use of the title in Mt. 2.2 is not a Christian invention
                  because it is not a Christian confession? Did the magi really show up
                  and ask Herod, who certainly considered himself to be King of the
                  Jews, "Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?" and thus
                  implicitly deny the legitimacy of Herod's rule to his face? I know
                  there are those who accept this to be the case, but I suspect that
                  they are now relatively few in the academic community.

                  Brown seems to be using an inappropriate definition of "Christian
                  confession" here. If Pilate and the magi are testifying to, in
                  Brown's words, "a certain _truth_ [emphasis mine] about Jesus" (i.e.,
                  that Jesus is the "King of the Jews", and hence the Messiah) then they
                  are making Christian claims even if they are not themselves Christians
                  and the claim is not expressed in typically Christian language.
                  Projecting one's own beliefs onto others and making the opposition
                  witnesses to their truth is a very common literary device. In this
                  case, Mark gives the title in a form appropriate to the ethnicity of
                  the speakers. He has the Romans calling Jesus "King of the Jews" and
                  the Jews calling Jesus "King of Israel." That this is within the
                  range of verisimilitude that we might expect from an early Christian
                  author can be confirmed by looking at the Gospel of Peter. Peter
                  assigns the mockery and the titulus to the Jews rather than to the
                  Romans and changes the title used from "King of the Jews" to "King of
                  Israel" in both cases.

                  I do not mean to suggest that the charge against Jesus is
                  _necessarily_ a Markan addition, but rather that Brown was correct
                  when he said that verisimilitude coinciding with the interests of the
                  evangelists makes claims of historicity very hard to prove--harder
                  than Brown allows for in this case.

                  (B3) In his discussion of the criterion of embarrassment, Meier
                  argues that Jesus' cry of dereliction "My God, my God, why have you
                  forsaken me?" (Mk. 15.34, citing Ps. 22.1) would not have been at all
                  embarrassing to the early Christians. He says: "The OT psalms of
                  lamentation regularly address forceful complaints to God; their
                  strong--to our ears irreverent--address to God expresses neither doubt
                  nor despair, but the pain of one who fully trusts that a strangely
                  silent God can act to save if he so chooses. The very bitterness of
                  the complaint paradoxically reaffirms the closeness the petitioner
                  feels to this God he dares confront with such boldness" (Meier, 171).
                  Meier concludes: "the criterion of embarrassment, taken in isolation,
                  cannot establish the historicity of these words."

                  On a somewhat different tack, Morna Hooker argues: "Commentators who
                  insist that Jesus (or Mark) must have had the rest of the psalm (with
                  its message of hope) in mind fail to grasp the significance of Mark's
                  picture of Jesus as utterly desolate. Jesus now experiences the most
                  bitter blow which can befall the religious man: the sense of having
                  been abandoned by God. Mark reminds his readers of the horror of
                  Jesus' sufferings; not for a moment does he sentimentalize the cross.
                  This is true obedience to God's will (14.36)--what Paul describes as
                  being 'obedient to death, even death on a cross' (Phil. 2.8)" (Hooker,
                  375). Despite some apparent tension between them, I think Meier's and
                  Hooker's views are not incompatible. Mark is depicting Jesus as
                  obedient to God's will even to the extent of dying alone and abandoned
                  (though vindicated after death).

                  On the other hand, Marcus argues in favor of the Mk./Mt. form of Jesus
                  last words: "It is difficult . . . to imagine that the church would
                  have placed Ps 22:1 on the lips of the dying Jesus if the verse had
                  not originally belonged there, since Jesus' use of this psalm verse
                  created major difficulties . . . The church probably would not have
                  created such problems for itself; rather, the cry of dereliction was
                  simply too securely rooted in the tradition about Jesus' death to be
                  dislodged" (Marcus, 213).

                  I have difficulties with Marcus' position. First, Marcus' main piece
                  of evidence that Jesus' cry of dereliction was indeed a problem for
                  early Christians is that "another Gospel writer, Luke, found these
                  words so distasteful that he changed them to something that was in his
                  eyes more edifying" (Marcus, 213). This directly contradicts Marcus
                  assertion that "the cry of dereliction was simply too securely rooted
                  in the tradition about Jesus' death to be dislodged." Luke and John
                  seem to have felt free to change it. If Mark and Matthew kept it,
                  this could be because they felt more bound by the traditions they
                  received than did the other two evangelists (a proposition of which I
                  am not convinced, especially with regard to Mark) or because it fit
                  their own aims better. If the latter, then the criterion of
                  embarrassment does not apply here.

                  A second and related point is that Marcus is basing his views on what
                  Mark would have found embarrassing on what Luke and other later
                  Christians found embarrassing. When Marcus says, "The church probably
                  would not have created such problems for itself" he seems to be
                  suggesting that the gospels were created by a monolithic entity called
                  "the church." Redaction criticism has shown that this is not the
                  case. Mark's interests are not identical with Luke's, and what
                  embarrasses Luke does not necessarily embarrass Mark. Mark may,
                  without knowing or without caring, have created material that others
                  found embarrassing. Evidence of what embarrasses Mark himself should
                  be sought within Mark's gospel. I think Meier and Hooker,
                  particularly Hooker, make a good case for the cry of dereliction
                  fitting with Mark's purposes. Again, this does not prove that the cry
                  of dereliction was a storyteller's creation, but it does call into
                  question the assertion that it was not.

                  (C) the narrative is framed by the names of apparent witnesses about
                  whom we know little else (Mark 15.21 and 15.40-41).

                  Two comments here. First, the identification of characters by means
                  of their children is not uncommon in the OT, though such usage does
                  generally seem to presuppose that the children are known.

                  Second, you say: "The implied reader of Mark's story finds the
                  mention of Alexander and Rufus telling. Perhaps they were known to
                  the readers of Mark's Gospel; perhaps they were the source of some of
                  Mark's knowledge of Jesus' Passion." I'm with you on the first part
                  of this statement. The unexplained mention of Alexander and Rufus
                  might well imply that Mark's audience knew their names. The second
                  part seems highly speculative. We have no idea what Mark's audience
                  knew about Alexander and Rufus. They could have been members of
                  Mark's audience who could confirm the truth of the story. They could
                  equally well have been itinerant missionaries who visited, or even
                  founded, Mark's community some time ago and had since moved on, or
                  martyrs that died in the persecution to which Mark's gospel is
                  responding, or a number of other things. Mark might have desired to
                  link the first man who took up the cross and followed Jesus to any of
                  these. (Yes, I know the "following Jesus" is not made explicit in
                  Mark). We can not assume that Mark's audience had Alexander and Rufus
                  available for comment.

                  CONCLUSION

                  I think you're right to argue that the passion narratives demonstrate
                  an interaction of tradition and scriptural reflection where one does
                  not clearly precede the other in all cases. I would add that there
                  are other factors at work. It may well be mistaken to believe that
                  all of the scriptural allusions in the passion narrative are fictional
                  additions to the tradition. On the other hand, the evidence that any
                  of the incidents in the passion narrative formed from scriptural
                  allusions really are historical is not particularly strong.

                  REFERENCES
                  Brown, Raymond E., _The Death of the Messiah, From Gethsemane to the
                  Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels_ ,
                  2 vols. (ABRL, New York: Doubleday, 1994).
                  Crossan, _Who Killed Jesus? Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in
                  the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus_ (San Francisco: Harper, 1995).
                  Crossan, John Dominic, _The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What
                  Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus_ (San
                  Francisco: Harper, 1998).
                  Dibelius, Martin, _Jesus_, trans. F. C. Grant & C. B. Hedrick
                  (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1949); available online at:
                  http://www.religion-online.org/cgi-bin/relsearchd.dll/showchapter?chap
                  ter_id=1323
                  Goulder, Michael D., _Luke: A New Paradigm_ (JSNTSS 20; Sheffield:
                  Sheffield Academic Press, 1989, 1994).
                  Hooker, Morna D., _The Gospel According to Mark_ (BNTC; Peabody,
                  Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1991).
                  Marcus, Joel, "The Old Testament and the Death of Jesus: The Role of
                  Scripture in the Gospel Passion Narratives," in John T. Carroll and
                  Joel B. Green, _The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity_ (Peabody,
                  Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1995) 205-233.
                  Meier, John, _A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus_, vol.
                  1 (ABRL; New York: Doubleday, 1991).
                  Sanders, E. P. and Margaret Davies, _Studying the Synoptic Gospels_
                  (Philadelphia: TPI, 1989).

                  Kenneth A. Olson
                  Graduate Teaching Assistant
                  Department of History
                  2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
                  University of Maryland
                  College Park, MD 20742
                  kaolson@...

                  I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything - T.H. Huxley


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Mark Goodacre
                  In November 2002, I uploaded temporarily a draft of my SBL Historical Jesus Section paper, Prophecy Historicized or History Scripturized: Reflections on the
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 5, 2002
                    In November 2002, I uploaded temporarily a draft of my SBL Historical
                    Jesus Section paper, "Prophecy Historicized or History Scripturized:
                    Reflections on the Origin of the Crucifixion Narrative" (it's still
                    at http://ntgateway.com/ProphHist.doc). In December Ken Olson sent
                    to the list a first class critique of the paper. Unfortunately, a
                    horrendous work schedule during January made it impossible for me to
                    get back to this until now, for which apologies. However, since
                    Xtalk has once again returned to the topic of the Passion Narrative,
                    and especially Crossan's take on it, perhaps the timing of my reply
                    to Ken is appropriate.

                    On 2 Dec 2001 at 14:43, Ken Olson wrote:

                    > I think you make a number of good points about the assumption that
                    > anything in the passion narrative that is based on a scriptural
                    > allusion is, _ipso facto_, fictional.

                    Thank you. I would regard this as one of the primary methodological
                    points that the paper is attempting to make.

                    > You seem to be largely in
                    > agreement with what Joel Marcus says on this point:

                    [Quotation snipped.] Yes; indeed I read Marcus's article after
                    having written my first draft of the paper and was happy to find that
                    he touches on the same essential point, though without developing it,
                    hence my footnoting of his article in support of the thesis. (Always
                    nice to have scholars of Marcus's calibre on one's side!).

                    > You go beyond Marcus in arguing that in some places where there are
                    > scriptural allusions in the passion narrative, the evidence for
                    > historicity is especially strong. This is what I want to examine in
                    > this post.

                    Yes, though the point of doing this was simply to illustrate the case
                    for an interactive model using examples where the case for
                    historicity is stronger. It is obviously easier to argue a thesis
                    like mine by focusing on cases where historicity is strong.
                    Moreover, I would like to repeat that I do think that "prophecy
                    historicized" was indeed a key factor in the creation of the various
                    Passion Narratives. What I am disputing is that it played the major,
                    decisive, controlling role that Crossan thinks it played. In my
                    view, a model in which tradition interacted with scripture makes
                    better sense of the data.

                    > First, you give the example of Mark 15.40-41. Despite the fact that
                    > the beginning of these verses is an allusion to Ps. 38.11, Crossan
                    > argues that the presence of the women at the crucifixion is likely to
                    > be historical:

                    [Quotations snipped.] Yes, I found it interesting that one of the
                    few points where Crossan sees historicity in the Passion Narrative
                    (though only in _Birth of Christianity_ and not in _Who Killed
                    Jesus?_ or _The Cross that Spoke_ or _The Historical Jesus_ --
                    perhaps he is mellowing in his old age?) is here, where the
                    scriptural allusion is pretty striking. I actually agree with him
                    about the historicity of this note, but what is so interesting is
                    that there is clear Scriptural allusion in the same place that
                    Crossan admits historicity, i.e. the process here -- retelling the
                    historical event using Scriptural wording -- appears to be the
                    reverse of what Crossan assumes as his overarching explanation for
                    the Passion.

                    > If Crossan is correct here, then historicity and OT allusion are not
                    > mutually exclusive. However, one who wished to argue that they are
                    > mutually exclusive could save his position by being _more_ skeptical
                    > about the presence of the women at the crucifixion. Crossan
                    > introduces his opinion with: "My best answer is.", suggesting he is
                    > not entirely confident in his judgment here.

                    Yes, one could be more sceptical than Crossan here but in the end one
                    has to work on the basis of the author's stated opinion. Here I'd
                    rather go with Crossan's "best answer" than his worst! However, I
                    agree with you that the reasons given here by Crossan are not
                    particularly strong, and I give my own reasons for finding
                    historicity plausible here. But aside from that, the importance is
                    to show that on Crossan's own terms, attempting to utilize what he
                    finds convincing, the overarching case is problematic.

                    > Additionally, the reason
                    > he gives is weak. If Jesus was publicly crucified, then it would have
                    > been easy to obtain information on the "brute fact of the crucifixion"
                    > even if none of Jesus' own followers were present. In fact, it is
                    > somewhat difficult to see why someone who holds Crossan's particular
                    > source-critical presuppositions accepts the presence of the women at
                    > the crucifixion at all. In the Gospel of Peter, Mary Magdalene and
                    > her friends are mentioned only in the empty tomb story, not at the
                    > crucifixion or the burial. Crossan's reconstructed Cross Gospel
                    > contains no mention of the women at all (Crossan, WKJ, 223-227).

                    See above. But, yes, I quite agree about the oddity of this note
                    given his presuppositions.

                    > The use of verbs of seeing in Mk. 15.40, 15.47, 16.4, and 16.5,
                    > suggests that the women are intended to function as witnesses for the
                    > death, burial, and empty tomb of Jesus. Indeed, the narrator is
                    > taking great care to establish that the women were witnesses to each
                    > of these events individually. On the other hand, the statement that
                    > "they said nothing to anyone" in Mk. 16.8 makes me wonder at what
                    > point in the transmission of the tradition the women were first used
                    > as witnesses. It seems to me this statement may be the narrator's way
                    > of explaining to the audience why they had never heard this particular
                    > part of the story before (much like the book that has been kept sealed
                    > until the end in Daniel 12.4).

                    The latter is also Michael Goulder's explanation of Mark 16.8, as you
                    may know. "I've never heard this empty tomb story before. How come
                    no-one has ever told the story from the women's perspective?" "Well,
                    because they didn't tell anybody, for they were afraid." It does
                    indeed make one wonder if the literary function of 16.8 is to speak
                    to an audience more familiar with what everyone had received as of
                    first importance as in 1 Cor. 15.3-4. But thank you for the
                    interesting point about the verbs of seeing and their use here. The
                    genius of Mark is his weaving of those traditional materials to serve
                    his literary purpose.

                    > Regarding the names of the women, I sympathize with Crossan when he
                    > says: "I have given up trying to imagine why Mark names the women so
                    > differently in each case" (Crossan, WKJ, 182).

                    Yes, I sympathise too.

                    > I have not yet read
                    > Theissen's argument on why we should accept that the references were
                    > clear to Mark's audience, so I will not respond to it here.

                    In a way, this is what is attractive about Theissen's argument, which
                    builds from the obscurity of the references to argue that the target
                    audience must have been familiar with the names. That's a weak
                    summary of his view, though, so do have a look at the article.

                    > But
                    > Crossan makes the point that the invention of names is not difficult
                    > (Crossan, 176-77) and at least some of the evangelists, canonical or
                    > non-canonical, accomplished it. Also, even if the names of the women
                    > were shown to be historical or traditional, one could still argue that
                    > their presence in the passion narrative is not.

                    Agreed on the latter point. This has clearly happened with other
                    names in the tradition, e.g. Peter. I also agree about the invention
                    of names in general. But it is weak for Crossan to appeal to the
                    general case when discussing the specific case here (of Simon of
                    Cyrene, if I remember correctly). What is so striking about the way
                    the crucifixion narrative is framed is that both 15.20-21 at one end
                    and 15.40 at the other feature names of witnesses, some of who are
                    identified by means of their children's names, Alexander and Rufus /
                    mother of [James the less and] Joses. This very unusualness of the
                    feature -- identifying characters by means of the names of their
                    children -- makes invention implausible.

                    Next, Ken, you quote Raymond Brown to the effect that "Conformity
                    with the theology and dramatic organization of a Gospel does not
                    establish creation by the evangelist, but makes historicity extremely
                    difficult to prove" (Brown, 1192). I quite agree.

                    > (A) elements that have no Scriptural precedent are juxtaposed with
                    > those that have; This is true, but the conclusion that "The fact that
                    > the earliest Christians were immersed in the Hebrew Bible simply means
                    > that history interacted with Biblical reflection" still seems to
                    > oversimplify the issue.

                    Agreed too, especially if one reads "simplify" for "oversimplify",
                    but necessarily so. One of the things I've had to grapple with in
                    putting this paper together is the difficulty that I cannot deal with
                    the many important issues that need to be discussed when one is
                    dealing with the Passion Narrative. And several who have heard it /
                    read it have said, "But what about other elements -- it's not just
                    history and Scripture, is it?" And of course I agree. I've now come
                    to the conclusion that the only way to deal with all the many
                    elements properly will require a book, and it is a book I'd quite
                    like to write. In the paper the issue I am trying to tackle is
                    simple: will "prophecy historicized" do as a category that explains
                    the Passion Narrative in an overarching fashion? And my answer is
                    that it will not.

                    > There are many stages and types of mediation
                    > between the events and the reports of the events contained in the
                    > passion narratives. History (which I take here to mean something
                    > like: the attempt to represent "what actually happened" in words) and
                    > biblical reflection are by no means the only two factors at work here.
                    > I think it is reasonable to assume that the tradition about Jesus'
                    > crucifixion was retold and reinterpreted many times before Mark (or
                    > whatever we take to be the first written passion narrative), just as
                    > it was afterward, and biblical reflection influenced the tradition in
                    > many different stages. Crossan suggests a four-stage model for the
                    > development of the passion (Crossan, WKJ, 219-20). Also, biblical
                    > reflection is only one of several influences involved in shaping the
                    > tradition. Crossan believes there were apologetic, theological,
                    > polemical and narrative influences as well (Crossan, WKJ, 98-100).

                    Agreed.
                    >
                    > Liturgical needs are also likely to have been present. You raise the
                    > possibility, citing Goulder, that the tradition about Jesus may have
                    > been passed down in a liturgical setting. If this is the case, then
                    > liturgical requirements may have altered the tradition as much as they
                    > preserved it. Goulder himself draws attention to the fact that the
                    > events in Mark's passion narrative seem to occur at three-hour
                    > intervals. This seems highly artificial. Goulder contends: "something
                    > is at work other than a straightforward desire to communicate the
                    > times at which the events took place" (Goulder, 149). If he is
                    > correct, this casts doubt on the historicity of "the third hour", one
                    > of the non-scriptural elements present in Mk. 15.21-15.30. Outside of
                    > that particular passage, one might well wonder if other parts of the
                    > passion narrative, such as the sequence in which Last supper is
                    > followed by an all-night prayer vigil, might have been shaped by
                    > liturgical concerns as well.

                    Also agreed. Cf. my Goulder and the Gospels, Part 3 for my
                    conclusion that there is likely to have been a liturgical origin for
                    the Passion Narrative. I'd add here that, as with the prophecy
                    historicized, one has to be careful to see influence going in only
                    one direction, from the liturgy to the Passion Narrative. I'd prefer
                    to see the process as interactive. It's one of the reasons no-one
                    could actually remember, by the end of the first century, whether
                    Jesus had been crucified on the day of Passover or the day before --
                    narrative has got so bound up with liturgy that it's no longer
                    possible to remember what came first.
                    >
                    > Further, the presence of elements not derived from scripture alongside
                    > elements that are derived from scripture does not logically show that
                    > any elements of either type are non-fictional.

                    Absolutely, but it does serve to show the weakness of Crossan's case
                    that the narrative is driven through with "prophetic fulfilment" such
                    that the removal of it leaves us only with the bare facts a la
                    Josephus or Tacitus.

                    > It would, in fact, be
                    > very hard to write a narrative using only scriptural elements (unless
                    > one was just retelling Bible stories). The evangelists might have
                    > included other fictional elements, or traditional, even historical,
                    > elements for a variety of reasons. This would not show that the
                    > scriptural elements were non-fictional. [I suspect I may not have not
                    > entirely grasped your point here].

                    Agreed also. I am basically reacting to Crossan's claim that the
                    narrative is made up almost entirely of prophecy historized.

                    > (B) several key criteria in Historical Jesus research are satisfied in
                    > relation to elements both with and without Scriptural precedents;
                    >
                    > I have three criticisms here:
                    >
                    > (B1) The first is a nit-pick. It seems to me that "against the
                    > grain" and "embarrassment" are different scholars' names for the same
                    > criterion and thus not "several" (compare Sanders, 304-05; Meier,
                    > 168-71).

                    Agreed -- you are absolutely right! Thank you. Indeed, I notice
                    when I teach this that I do treat these as the same criterion. I
                    have adjusted the latest version of the paper to correct this
                    mistake.

                    > Your argument about the titulus could probably be adapted to
                    > fit under Meier's "criterion of rejection and execution" (Meier, 177).
                    > It's reasonable to assume that if the Romans crucified Jesus, there
                    > was indeed some charge against him. That still leaves us with the
                    > problem of deciding whether the actual charge recorded in the gospels
                    > is history or verisimilitude.

                    Yes, agreed. We have a similar problem with the blasphemy charge
                    earlier in the Passion Narrative. As Dennis Nineham -- and no doubt
                    others -- point out, this charge could have been inferred by those
                    framing the story.
                    >
                    > (B2) While some criteria may support the historicity of the titulus,
                    > the criterion of "against the grain", at least as defined by Sanders,
                    > is not one of them. Sanders says: "A passage or theme is shown to be
                    > historically reliable if it is directly against what the evangelists
                    > wished to be so" (Sanders, 304-5).

                    Indeed, though I think in _Jesus and Judaism_ Sanders does support
                    the historicity of the titulus; I don't recall on what grounds.

                    > I have a hard time accepting that the claim that Gentiles called
                    > Jesus, albeit mockingly, "King of the Jews" is against what Mark
                    > wished to be so. If Mark were trying to play down the charge, it
                    > seems inexplicable that he should have employed it five times in the
                    > chapter (15.2, 9, 12, 15, 26), with an additional occurrence on the
                    > lips of the Jews in the Jewish form "King of Israel" (15.32).

                    This is an excellent point -- thank you. It shows how useful it is,
                    as I tell students all the time, to keep reading the text and not to
                    take the scholars' statements for granted! I've read and re-read
                    Mark 15 and the more I look at it, the more convinced I become of
                    your point and the less I become of the standard view. So I think
                    that this section of the paper should be dropped.

                    > Royal
                    > christology is a major theme of Mark's passion narrative.

                    [Quotations from Hooker snipped]. I quite agree. What I would say is
                    that it's a good case of Mark having skilfully and creatively
                    reworked traditional materials to create his wonderfully dark Passion
                    Narrative with its marked sense of dramatic irony. The mocking, the
                    crown of thorns, the centurion's confession and so on, these all add
                    to the richness of this enthronement / coronation of "Christ
                    crucified", surely the key to Mark's Christology. Though Mark's
                    genius is to work these traditional materials in the service of his
                    literary and theological agenda, I don't doubt that many of these
                    were traditional materials. But yes, it is difficult to make a clear
                    case for the historicity of "King of the Jews" on the basis of the
                    "against the grain" criterion. While my guess would be that this is
                    historical, it is difficult to argue strongly either way. I agree
                    that Brown's counter-argument is weak.

                    On the question of the cry of dereliction, you make some further
                    useful points, and I am grateful for the references to Meier and
                    Hooker; the Marcus one I'd already consulted. You may ultimately be
                    able to convince me on this one too, but not yet. In regard to
                    Marcus, I think one can have a resilient tradition witnessed in Mark
                    and Matthew, a tradition that is then dropped in Luke and John
                    because of "embarrassment" or whatever one wants to call it. It
                    seems to me that the baptism of Jesus by John is like this --
                    explicit in Mark and Matthew, at best implied by Luke and absent from
                    John. That's what's happening here with the cry of dereliction, the
                    ruggedly authentic tradition making it into Mark and Matthew but not
                    surviving into Luke or John.

                    Further, we have some help from 15.34a, "Eloi, Eloi . . ." alongside
                    the Greek quotation from the Psalm. This presumably puts us into the
                    pre-Markan tradition -- I don't think anyone thinks that Mark
                    composed the "Eloi, Eloi . . ." While the cry has a function in
                    Mark's darkly ironic Passion Narrative (cf. especially Hooker), it is
                    less straightforward to imagine it functioning this way in the pre-
                    Markan tradition. Moreover, the different form of the cry in Gospel
                    of Peter 5.19 shows that it need not necessarily have had that
                    "scripturized" Psalm 22 form for it still to be recognisably that
                    same cry. It looks to me like the scriptural element is the element
                    that caused the tradition to endure for as long as it did, right up
                    until Matthew is writing in the 70s/80s, but not beyond that,
                    certainly not in Luke or John, who compose more serene words from the
                    cross. Meier's points about the lament psalms are well taken, but
                    they presuppose that the cry in the pre-Markan tradition would
                    necessarily have had that precise Psalm-ic wording and that the
                    hearers would have effectively "heard" an allusion to the Psalm in
                    its entirety.

                    > (C) the narrative is framed by the names of apparent witnesses about
                    > whom we know little else (Mark 15.21 and 15.40-41).
                    >
                    > Two comments here. First, the identification of characters by means
                    > of their children is not uncommon in the OT, though such usage does
                    > generally seem to presuppose that the children are known.

                    That's an interesting point, but for it to be telling in this
                    context, we'd need to explain why here in Mark the practice re-
                    emerges.

                    > Second, you say: "The implied reader of Mark's story finds the
                    > mention of Alexander and Rufus telling. Perhaps they were known to
                    > the readers of Mark's Gospel; perhaps they were the source of some of
                    > Mark's knowledge of Jesus' Passion." I'm with you on the first part
                    > of this statement. The unexplained mention of Alexander and Rufus
                    > might well imply that Mark's audience knew their names. The second
                    > part seems highly speculative.

                    Yes, they are the "perhaps" bits. I think that where our
                    alternatives are to speculate or go ignorant, informed speculation
                    can be a virtue.

                    > We have no idea what Mark's audience
                    > knew about Alexander and Rufus. They could have been members of
                    > Mark's audience who could confirm the truth of the story. They could
                    > equally well have been itinerant missionaries who visited, or even
                    > founded, Mark's community some time ago and had since moved on, or
                    > martyrs that died in the persecution to which Mark's gospel is
                    > responding, or a number of other things. Mark might have desired to
                    > link the first man who took up the cross and followed Jesus to any of
                    > these. (Yes, I know the "following Jesus" is not made explicit in
                    > Mark). We can not assume that Mark's audience had Alexander and Rufus
                    > available for comment.

                    I agree with much of this, and I suppose my "perhaps"s could have
                    included
                    these also. My point is that we need to take seriously this element
                    in Mark's
                    narrative and it seems to me that your suggestions here all do that.

                    > I think you're right to argue that the passion narratives demonstrate
                    > an interaction of tradition and scriptural reflection where one does
                    > not clearly precede the other in all cases. I would add that there
                    > are other factors at work. It may well be mistaken to believe that
                    > all of the scriptural allusions in the passion narrative are fictional
                    > additions to the tradition. On the other hand, the evidence that any
                    > of the incidents in the passion narrative formed from scriptural
                    > allusions really are historical is not particularly strong.

                    I agree with almost all of this conclusion. Only the last sentence
                    I'd stand
                    back from. The case for the historicity of several of the elements
                    is strong, but I am grateful especially for your causing me to
                    rethink the titulus.

                    Mark
                    -----------------------------
                    Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                    Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                    University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                    Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                    http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                    http://NTGateway.com
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