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Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark

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  • Brian Trafford
    ... anything. I agree that there is no *theological* motive for mentioning Simon, but theology is hardly the only possible motive. The use of known or other
    Message 1 of 28 , Nov 30, 2001
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      --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Michael A. Turton" <turton@e...> wrote:
      > Brian, the mention of Simon is hardly compelling evidence of
      anything. I agree that there is no *theological* motive for
      mentioning Simon, but theology is hardly the only possible motive.
      The use of known or other legendary characters/events/objects/sites
      to lend a tale verisimilitude is common one throughout legendary
      fiction from antiquity down to the present day.

      Hello Michael

      While I agree that it is possible that Mark would have wanted to
      include legendary figures to bolster his own story, we can hardly
      look at Alexander, Rufus, or even Simon as candidates for such
      legendary status. Mark gives no elaboration on these characters, and
      as you yourself noted, Luke, Matthew do not mention Alexander or
      Rufus, and John ignore all of them completely. Clearly none of the
      other authors see these individuals as being in any way important.
      More plausible is the idea put forward by Griffith-Jones (and others)
      that they were members of the community to which Mark was writing,
      and therefore they were known to the readers. No introduction or
      elaboration was needed.

      > The OT has a instances of it. It is just as likely that the writer
      of Mark simply borrowed characters he knew from other Christian
      fiction, and inserted them in his tale of Jesus. When people create
      new myths, they treat old and related ones as a grab-bag from
      which they can draw ideas, as a glance at any writer from Dante to JK
      Rowling shows.

      Such a scenario would be more likely if we knew of other 1st Century
      instances in which Alexander and Rufus are featured. Since they are
      not found anywhere else, we have no reason to suspect that they held
      any kind of special meaning to the readers, beyond the possibility
      that they were members of the community.

      > This argument is bolstered by the fact that both Luke and Matthew
      eliminate Rufus and Alexander, and John eliminates the whole incident.

      Actually, this fact strengthens my own argument, as the absense of
      such minor characters from the story tells us they meant nothing to
      the wider Christian communities represented by the other evangelists.

      > Of course, Mark might also have been writing with an eye toward
      satisfying the gnostics who claimed that it was Simon who got
      executed instead of Jesus.

      This is extremely unlikely, as the document you refer to was written
      several centuries after Mark, and we have no means of determining
      that Mark was even aware of such a belief, let alone that he wished
      to refute it. In any event, the entire Passion Narrative would more
      than answer such a gnostic 'theory' without needing to resort to
      naming Simon's two sons.

      > When I read Mark I often see a highly creative and clever writer,
      struggling with bad greek, trying to navigate the turbulent waters
      between proto-orthodoxy and gnosticism.

      While this is an interesting theory, it does not serve to help date
      the Gospel of Mark, which is the purpose of my essay. Further, if
      you wish to theorize a conflict with gnosticism, it is necessary to
      offer at least some evidence that such a conflict existed, and that
      Mark would have been aware of it.

      > You ask, in another context: how likely is it that a pure invention
      would be put in the Gospels and attributed to Jesus himself?
      >
      > The answer is, of course: 100% likely. If Mark's account that Simon
      > carried the cross is true, that means that John's story that Jesus
      > carried it himself is false.

      Are you saying that it is 100% likely that Mark invented his entire
      story? That strikes me as extreme, even for a sceptic. Nor does the
      fact that John eliminates the reference to Simon automatically make
      the story non-hisotorical. On such a basis you might as well say
      that any time you see two witnesses conflicting in their stories,
      both are making it up, and such a position is ridiculous.

      > And let's not forget, all the extracanonical gospels contain plenty
      of fictions directly attributed to Jesus. Unless they are telling the
      truth, which would make the NT......gotta get me some aspirin.

      Of course, this is a red herring, as we cannot evaluate the
      historicity of a specific pericope in Mark based on the fact that
      later authors attributed ficticious actions to Jesus. Further, I
      hope that you are not suggesting that 3rd and 4th Century documents
      should be used to cast doubt on the veracity of a 1st Century
      document. And again, nothing you have said above relates to the
      central question of dating the Gospel of Mark.

      Thanks for the reply Michael. If you have any questions or arguments
      to make regarding the actual dating of GMark, I would be more than
      happy to entertain them.

      Brian Trafford
    • Michael A. Turton
      ... The issue isn t whether such characters had status in all Christian communities, or were legendary or real. Those are red herrings. The point is that
      Message 2 of 28 , Nov 30, 2001
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        > Hello Michael
        >
        > While I agree that it is possible that Mark would have wanted to
        > include legendary figures to bolster his own story, we can hardly
        > look at Alexander, Rufus, or even Simon as candidates for such
        > legendary status. Mark gives no elaboration on these characters, and
        > as you yourself noted, Luke, Matthew do not mention Alexander or
        > Rufus, and John ignore all of them completely. Clearly none of the
        > other authors see these individuals as being in any way important.
        > More plausible is the idea put forward by Griffith-Jones (and others)
        > that they were members of the community to which Mark was writing,
        > and therefore they were known to the readers. No introduction or
        > elaboration was needed.

        The issue isn't whether such characters had status in all Christian
        communities, or were legendary or real. Those are red herrings. The
        point is that your dating depends on Simon and sons being real people
        taking part in actual events, whereas it is just as likely that Mark has
        borrowed character(s) known to other Christians, and inserted them in
        his own tale. Creative writers do things like that.

        > Such a scenario would be more likely if we knew of other 1st Century
        > instances in which Alexander and Rufus are featured. Since they are
        > not found anywhere else, we have no reason to suspect that they held
        > any kind of special meaning to the readers, beyond the possibility
        > that they were members of the community.

        If we had a copious amount of documents from the first century, you
        might have an argument here. All we know is that two characters occur in
        a passing mention in Mark's gospel. Maybe they are historical figures,
        maybe they are names from a common pool of Christian legends/stories.
        Maybe they are two friends of Mark who he wants to make famous. Maybe
        its a story Mark got fifthhand. Who can be sure? Your argument assumes
        that Rufus and Alexander are historical characters, and then uses that
        assumption to prove a second claim about history. You are simply
        discovering your assumptions.

        I have no trouble believing that "Rufus and Alexander" are names known
        to Mark's audience, although there is no evidence of that other than
        assumptions about how Mark would have written. However, the fact that
        they were known to Mark's audience does not make them historical
        figures, nor does in guarantee that Mark used them in a historically
        accurate way.

        > While this is an interesting theory, it does not serve to help date
        > the Gospel of Mark, which is the purpose of my essay. Further, if
        > you wish to theorize a conflict with gnosticism, it is necessary to
        > offer at least some evidence that such a conflict existed, and that
        > Mark would have been aware of it.

        Actually, it would place Mark somewhat later than the early date you
        keep trying to pin on him.

        > > You ask, in another context: how likely is it that a pure invention
        > would be put in the Gospels and attributed to Jesus himself?
        > >
        > > The answer is, of course: 100% likely. If Mark's account that Simon
        > > carried the cross is true, that means that John's story that Jesus
        > > carried it himself is false.
        >
        > Are you saying that it is 100% likely that Mark invented his entire
        > story? That strikes me as extreme, even for a sceptic.

        I didn't say that. What I said was, it is 100% likely that writers
        invented/borrowed stories/events/sayings and attributed them to Jesus.
        We know this as a fact from the other gospels, canonical and not. I
        also said both the version in Mark and the version in John cannot be
        true.

        >Nor does the
        > fact that John eliminates the reference to Simon automatically make
        > the story non-hisotorical. On such a basis you might as well say
        > that any time you see two witnesses conflicting in their stories,
        > both are making it up, and such a position is ridiculous.

        I did not take a position on who made what up, so can't understand your
        point here. The fact is the two stories conflict and both cannot be
        true. The false one would be an example of making up a story about
        Jesus, something you hint the gospel writers would not do.

        >
        > Of course, this is a red herring, as we cannot evaluate the
        > historicity of a specific pericope in Mark based on the fact that
        > later authors attributed ficticious actions to Jesus. Further, I

        I wasn't making a point about historicity, rather I was pointing out
        that gospel writers of all stripes made up stories and attributed them
        to Jesus. You seem to believe that such an event is unlikely, at least
        in the case of Mark. But if Mark is telling the truth, then John made
        up a story and attributed it to Jesus. Or maybe they both made up a
        story and attributed it to Jesus. In any case, according to John, your
        "most compelling" evidence is false.

        > hope that you are not suggesting that 3rd and 4th Century documents
        > should be used to cast doubt on the veracity of a 1st Century
        > document. And again, nothing you have said above relates to the
        > central question of dating the Gospel of Mark.

        Perhaps. But it certainly relates to the "evidence" you put forth. You
        claimed that the "most compelling" piece of evidence for an early Mark
        is the Simon of Cyrene story. If this chain of assumptions you have
        about Mark, his audience, the historicity of Rufus and Alexander, and
        the historicity of Mark is your strongest argument for an early
        Mark......

        Michael
        --
        http://users2.ev1.net/~turton/Main_index.html
        those who would give up a little freedom to gain a little order will
        lose both and deserve neither." Thomas Jefferson
      • Robert M. Schacht
        ... This is nothing more than partisan hyperbole. How can we really judge this likelihood without resorting to a priori convictions and biases? Yes, there are
        Message 3 of 28 , Nov 30, 2001
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          At 02:35 PM 11/30/01, Michael A. Turton wrote:

          >...You ask, in another context:
          >how likely is it that a pure invention would be put in the Gospels and
          >attributed to Jesus himself?
          >
          >The answer is, of course: 100% likely. ...

          This is nothing more than partisan hyperbole. How can we really judge this
          likelihood without resorting to a priori convictions and biases? Yes,
          there are many *plausible* scenarios involving invention, but how can we
          really weigh their probability with any objectivity?

          Bob


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Michael A. Turton
          ... Bob, we know that the gospels, canonical and extracanonical, attribute events and sayings to Jesus that are obvious inventions. It does not follow from
          Message 4 of 28 , Nov 30, 2001
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            > >
            > >The answer is, of course: 100% likely. ...
            >
            > This is nothing more than partisan hyperbole. How can we really judge this
            > likelihood without resorting to a priori convictions and biases? Yes,
            > there are many *plausible* scenarios involving invention, but how can we
            > really weigh their probability with any objectivity?
            >
            > Bob

            Bob, we know that the gospels, canonical and extracanonical, attribute
            events and sayings to Jesus that are obvious inventions. It does not
            follow from that every word of the gospels is invented. Brian asked how
            likely it was that the gospel writers would invent/borrow things and
            attribute them to Jesus, and the answer is 100% likely, because we know
            it happened. The gospel writers made up stories and attributed them to
            Jesus, perhaps not every one.

            Michael
            --
            http://users2.ev1.net/~turton/Main_index.html
            those who would give up a little freedom to gain a little order will
            lose both and deserve neither." Thomas Jefferson
          • Robert M. Schacht
            ... Michael, Sorry, I read your statement too quickly and I thought you were saying that the likelihood that particular passage itself was invented was 100 %.
            Message 5 of 28 , Nov 30, 2001
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              At 06:41 PM 11/30/01, Michael A. Turton wrote:

              > > >
              > > >The answer is, of course: 100% likely. ...
              > >
              > > This is nothing more than partisan hyperbole. How can we really judge this
              > > likelihood without resorting to a priori convictions and biases? Yes,
              > > there are many *plausible* scenarios involving invention, but how can we
              > > really weigh their probability with any objectivity?
              > >
              > > Bob
              >
              >Bob, we know that the gospels, canonical and extracanonical, attribute
              >events and sayings to Jesus that are obvious inventions. It does not
              >follow from that every word of the gospels is invented. Brian asked how
              >likely it was that the gospel writers would invent/borrow things and
              >attribute them to Jesus, and the answer is 100% likely, because we know
              >it happened. The gospel writers made up stories and attributed them to
              >Jesus, perhaps not every one.
              >
              >Michael

              Michael,
              Sorry, I read your statement too quickly and I thought you were saying that
              the likelihood that particular passage itself was invented was 100 %. I was
              evidently not the only one who jumped to that conclusion. My apologies.

              Bob


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Brian Trafford
              ... I would like to cover off this point first. Michael had previously said: The use of known or other legendary characters/events/objects/sites to lend a
              Message 6 of 28 , Dec 1, 2001
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                --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Michael A. Turton" <turton@e...> wrote:

                > The issue isn't whether such characters had status in all Christian
                > communities, or were legendary or real. Those are red herrings.

                I would like to cover off this point first.

                Michael had previously said:
                "The use of known or other legendary characters/events/objects/sites
                to lend a tale verisimilitude is common one throughout legendary
                fiction from antiquity down to the present day."

                Clearly he is telling us that Alexander and Rufus fit into the mold
                of "legendary characters", yet he has no evidence at all that they
                are legendary. In fact, the scanty evidence we have on these
                individuals (found entirely in Mark 13:21) is that they are not
                legendary. Therefore his speculation is unfounded, and the most
                plausible conclusion is that the brothers are incidental figures
                inteded to help the reader identify who Simone of Cyrene happens to
                be.

                > The point is that your dating depends on Simon and sons being real
                > people taking part in actual events, whereas it is just as likely
                > that Mark has borrowed character(s) known to other Christians, and
                > inserted them in his own tale. Creative writers do things like that.

                Again you have committed a basic fallacy here. Using your criteria
                we might as well reject any report offered by any writer at any time
                about anything. What has what other writers done got to do with what
                Mark has actually done here? Michael's hyper scepticism is
                unwarrented, and would lead to doubting all historical reports about
                everything.

                I said:
                > > Such a scenario would be more likely if we knew of other 1st
                Century instances in which Alexander and Rufus are featured. Since
                they are not found anywhere else, we have no reason to suspect that
                they held any kind of special meaning to the readers, beyond the
                possibility that they were members of the community.

                Micheal replied:
                > If we had a copious amount of documents from the first century, you
                > might have an argument here. All we know is that two characters
                > occur in a passing mention in Mark's gospel.

                Actually, this is my point exactly Michael. Given the casual nature
                of their names being mentioned, we have no reason to speculate that
                they are more than minor, but known figures within the communtity to
                which Mark is writing.

                > Maybe they are historical figures, maybe they are names from a
                > common pool of Christian legends/stories.

                Until you offer evidence of such a thing (something you admit does
                not exist), then you are merely reaching to justify your scepticism.

                > Maybe they are two friends of Mark who he wants to make famous.

                This would be ridiculous of course. Given that all we are told is
                their names, and the name of their father, we have no reason to
                suppose he is merely trying to "make them famous".

                I said:
                > > While this is an interesting theory, it does not serve to help
                date the Gospel of Mark, which is the purpose of my essay. Further,
                if you wish to theorize a conflict with gnosticism, it is necessary to
                offer at least some evidence that such a conflict existed, and that
                Mark would have been aware of it.

                You replied:
                > Actually, it would place Mark somewhat later than the early date you
                > keep trying to pin on him.

                What is missing here is evidence that such a conflict existed, and
                that Mark was aware of it. As this is what I asked from you, do you
                have such evidence?

                Later you said:
                > > > You ask, in another context: how likely is it that a pure
                invention would be put in the Gospels and attributed to Jesus himself?
                The answer is, of course: 100% likely. If Mark's account that Simon
                carried the cross is true, that means that John's story that Jesus
                carried it himself is false.

                I responded:
                > > Are you saying that it is 100% likely that Mark invented his
                entire story? That strikes me as extreme, even for a sceptic.

                > I didn't say that. What I said was, it is 100% likely that writers
                > invented/borrowed stories/events/sayings and attributed them to
                > Jesus.

                And this is yet another misrepresentation of what I said. To recap:

                From my post of http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/message/8572
                I had said:
                "Given the explicit nature of the prophecies (or the Olivet
                Discourse), and the clear fact that they had not been fulfilled
                during the period in question (mid to late 1st Century), how likely
                is it that a pure invention would be put in the Gospels and
                attributed to Jesus himself?"

                Michael replied:
                "You ask, in another context: how likely is it that a pure invention
                would be put in the Gospels and attributed to Jesus himself?
                The answer is, of course: 100% likely."

                I was talking about a specific instance. In other words, how likely
                is it that Mark would have attributed a prophecy to Jesus that had
                not yet been fulfilled? You tried to reword my statement, then
                answered the straw man. Please answer my original question.

                > We know this as a fact from the other gospels, canonical and not. I
                > also said both the version in Mark and the version in John cannot be
                > true.

                And this is a red herring. Concerning the question being discussed,
                it makes no difference if John is true or not. At most you are trying
                to build an argument from silence, when you have not established why
                John would have had to mention Simon, let alone Alexander or Rufus.
                Such an argument is inherently fallacious. We are examining a
                possible dating of GMark, and thus far you have not answered my
                questions, addressed my points, nor offered evidence of your own to
                support an alternative dating.

                > Perhaps. But it certainly relates to the "evidence" you put forth.
                > You claimed that the "most compelling" piece of evidence for an
                > early Mark is the Simon of Cyrene story.

                And this is yet another mistatement. I said, specifically, that Mark
                15:21 was "perhaps the most compelling piece of internal evidence" as
                to the dating of GMark. I went on to explain how this makes it no
                later than a 2nd generation story taking place probably within 20 to
                30 years of the described events. Please do not straw man my
                arguments, and address the points directly.

                > If this chain of assumptions you have about Mark, his audience, the
                > historicity of Rufus and Alexander, and the historicity of Mark is
                > your strongest argument for an early Mark......

                My argument has been that the commonly accepted dating of Mark to c.
                70CE is at best, an upper limit on a date range that could well be 15
                to 20 years earlier than this. Finally, I would remind you that I am
                not assuming the historicity of Alexander and Rufus, but that
                historicity does appear more probable than not. Speculation in the
                absense of any supporting evidence does not change this probability.

                I would appreciate it if, in the future, you addressed my arguments
                directly Michael, and not try to reframe them. This would make
                discussion both simpler, and more productive.

                Thank you,

                Brian Trafford
              • Michael A. Turton
                ... There are at least three plausible conclusions about these characters: 1) they are historical characters that Mark is properly citing (both clauses must
                Message 7 of 28 , Dec 1, 2001
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                  > Clearly he is telling us that Alexander and Rufus fit into the mold
                  > of "legendary characters", yet he has no evidence at all that they
                  > are legendary. In fact, the scanty evidence we have on these
                  > individuals (found entirely in Mark 13:21) is that they are not
                  > legendary. Therefore his speculation is unfounded, and the most
                  > plausible conclusion is that the brothers are incidental figures
                  > inteded to help the reader identify who Simone of Cyrene happens to
                  > be.
                  >

                  There are at least three plausible conclusions about these characters:

                  1) they are historical characters that Mark is properly citing (both
                  clauses must obtain for Brian's claim about them to be plausible).

                  2) they are characters, perhaps in the common/local pool of Christian
                  legend Mark borrowed to lend his story truthfulness (or some variation
                  on the borrowing/inventing theme).

                  3) they are later interpolations, not in the Gospel of Mark that Matt
                  and Luke used, which is why they don't mention Rufus and Alexander.

                  There are other logical possibilities. Given the evidence we have,
                  there is no way to choose between them. It is simply too scanty.

                  > And this is a red herring. Concerning the question being discussed,
                  > it makes no difference if John is true or not. At most you are trying

                  The question being discussed is whether Simon of Cyrene is a historical
                  character! If he is a historical character and Mark is properly using
                  him, why isn't he in John? You bet this basic contradiction is relevant
                  to the discussion at hand. Which account is the correct account, and how
                  can you choose between them?

                  Some commentators argue that Simon cannot be historical because Mark
                  says he was "coming in from the fields/country" and a Jew would not be
                  working on a high holy day. How do you respond to that?

                  Michael
                  --
                • Richard Anderson
                  Brian and Michael et al., greetings: Clearly he is telling us that Alexander and Rufus fit into the mold of ... About 40 years ago N. Avigad wrote an article
                  Message 8 of 28 , Dec 1, 2001
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                    Brian and Michael et al., greetings:

                    Clearly he is telling us that Alexander >and Rufus fit into the mold of
                    >"legendary characters", yet he has no >evidence at all that they are
                    >legendary.

                    About 40 years ago N. Avigad wrote an article about a depository of
                    inscribed ossuaries found in the Kidron Valley in the Israel Exploration
                    Journal wherein he stated that the members of this family belonged to the
                    community of Cyrenian Jews known to have existed in Jerusalem. One of the
                    inscribed ossuaries stated Alexander, son of Simon and Avigad indicated that
                    J.T. Milik had proposed that the tomb in question belonged to the family of
                    the man who helped Jesus carry the cross.

                    I think it is fair to say that these individuals are not legendary
                    characters but real historical figures who inscribed ossuaries provide
                    documentary evidence.

                    Richard H. Anderson
                    Wallingford PA
                    http://www.geocities.com/gospelofluke

                    I am unfortunately a customer of Comcast with internet connection thur
                    Excite.com, a subcontractor of Comcast who filed bankruptcy. I apologize in
                    advance if my service is disconnected and your reply to me is bounced.
                  • Brian Trafford
                    ... Hello Richard, and thank you very much for this information. I am unfamiliar with this article, and was unaware of its existence. I did manage to find a
                    Message 9 of 28 , Dec 1, 2001
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                      --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Richard Anderson" <randerson58@h...> wrote:

                      > About 40 years ago N. Avigad wrote an article about a depository of
                      > inscribed ossuaries found in the Kidron Valley in the Israel
                      > Exploration Journal wherein he stated that the members of this
                      > family belonged to the community of Cyrenian Jews known to have
                      > existed in Jerusalem. One of the inscribed ossuaries stated
                      > Alexander, son of Simon and Avigad indicated that J.T. Milik had
                      > proposed that the tomb in question belonged to the family of
                      > the man who helped Jesus carry the cross.
                      >
                      > I think it is fair to say that these individuals are not legendary
                      > characters but real historical figures who inscribed ossuaries
                      > provide documentary evidence.
                      --------------------------------------------

                      Hello Richard, and thank you very much for this information. I am
                      unfamiliar with this article, and was unaware of its existence. I
                      did manage to find a brief reference to the paper in Raymond Brown's
                      _Death of the Messiah_, Vol. 2, pg. 916, n. 12. Brown refers the
                      reader to a German book by R. Pesche called _Markus_, but I do not
                      read German. I would, of course, be very interested in any additional
                      information on the characters Simon, or his sons.

                      Thank you again,

                      Brian Trafford
                      Calgary, AB, Canada
                    • Michael A. Turton
                      ... Simon and Alexander were common names at the time. We can t even say for certain that Simon came from that community of Cyrenian Jews, much less that he is
                      Message 10 of 28 , Dec 2, 2001
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                        >
                        > About 40 years ago N. Avigad wrote an article about a depository of
                        > inscribed ossuaries found in the Kidron Valley in the Israel Exploration
                        > Journal wherein he stated that the members of this family belonged to the
                        > community of Cyrenian Jews known to have existed in Jerusalem. One of the
                        > inscribed ossuaries stated Alexander, son of Simon and Avigad indicated that
                        > J.T. Milik had proposed that the tomb in question belonged to the family of
                        > the man who helped Jesus carry the cross.
                        >
                        > I think it is fair to say that these individuals are not legendary
                        > characters but real historical figures who inscribed ossuaries provide
                        > documentary evidence.
                        >

                        Simon and Alexander were common names at the time. We can't even say for
                        certain that Simon came from that community of Cyrenian Jews, much less
                        that he is the Simon on that particular ossuarie. The evidence is simply
                        too thin to serve as a foundation for moving the date of Mark.

                        After all, there is a grave of Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera out there
                        too, but nobody seriously believes it is the tomb of the father of
                        Jesus.

                        Michael
                        --
                        http://users2.ev1.net/~turton/Main_index.html
                        "In this time of war against Osama bin Laden and the oppressive Taliban
                        regime, we are thankful that our leader isn't the spoiled son of a
                        powerful politician from a wealthy oil family who is supported by
                        religious fundamentalists, operates through clandestine organizations,
                        has no respect for the democratic process, bombs innocents, and uses war
                        to deny people their civil liberties. Amen."
                        from Boondocks by Aaron McGruder
                      • Mahlon H. Smith
                        ... that ... of ... Thanks for the notice, Richard. But I can accept your conclusion only with an important qualifier. The ossuaries reported by Avigad may be
                        Message 11 of 28 , Dec 2, 2001
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                          Richard Anderson wrote:

                          > About 40 years ago N. Avigad wrote an article about a depository of
                          > inscribed ossuaries found in the Kidron Valley in the Israel Exploration
                          > Journal wherein he stated that the members of this family belonged to the
                          > community of Cyrenian Jews known to have existed in Jerusalem. One of the
                          > inscribed ossuaries stated Alexander, son of Simon and Avigad indicated
                          that
                          > J.T. Milik had proposed that the tomb in question belonged to the family
                          of
                          > the man who helped Jesus carry the cross.
                          >
                          > I think it is fair to say that these individuals are not legendary
                          > characters but real historical figures who inscribed ossuaries provide
                          > documentary evidence.

                          Thanks for the notice, Richard. But I can accept your conclusion only with
                          an important qualifier. The ossuaries reported by Avigad may be taken as
                          evidence that *an* individual named Alexander ben Shim'on actually lived &
                          was known among Cyrenian Jews in the vicinity of Jerusalem. I would not go
                          so far as to call him a "real historical figure" since we know absolutely
                          nothing about anything he himself said or did to influence subsequent
                          history. As far as historical documentation is concerned all we have is one
                          enigmatic reference in Mark 15:21 to a deed done by "Simon of Cyrene" who
                          *may* have been the same person as the *father* of the Alexander whose
                          bones were found in the Jerusalem ossuary. But Shim'on was not so uncommon a
                          Jewish name that there was only one among the community of Cyrenian Jews.
                          Nor was Alexander so rare a name among the Hellenized Jews of North
                          Africa -- I think immediately of Philo's renegade nephew Tiberius
                          Alexander -- that there could only have been one Alexander ben Shim'on among
                          Cyrenian Jews. So it is still a leap of faith to identify the names on the
                          ossuaries (which obviously belonged to real people) with those "individuals"
                          who are alluded to by Mark. So the evidence of the ossuaries in no way
                          documents the actual existence of "these individuals" -- i.e., those
                          mentioned in Mark's text. Much less does it indicate that the Markan claim
                          that a Simon of Cyrene was coopted to carry Jesus cross for him reflects an
                          actual historical event rather than a legend fabricated by unfounded rumor
                          or the pious imagination.

                          Permit me to illustrate this point by reference to two other figures whom
                          the gospels represent as having a far more significant role in the Passion
                          narrative: Caiaphas & Pontius Pilate, both of whom are rightly identified as
                          "historical" persons since (a) they are prominently mentioned not only in Xn
                          but Jewish sources & (b) we have archaeological evidence of their existence
                          & prominence (in the form of Yosef Kayafa's ossuary & the Pilate inscription
                          at Caesarea). Here only the most dogmatic skeptic would deny that the
                          persons reported by the gospels to have played a prominent role in the
                          execution of Jesus were historical individuals. Yet that does not
                          demonstrate that anything the gospels report about Caiaphas or Pilate was
                          historically well-founded other than their official status. On the
                          contrary, all the gospels demonstrate a primitive Xn penchant for reporting
                          things about both men for which there is no identifiable Xn eye-witness &
                          portraying Pilate as treating Jesus in a manner that is virtually impossible
                          to reconcile with either Josephus' description of the man or the fact of
                          Jesus' crucifixion. If the original author of the passion narrative could so
                          freely fictionalize his account of figures who were so publicly notorious
                          among Palestinian Jews & if these fictionalized caricatures could be so
                          readily elaborated on by subsequent gospel writers. Why should one not think
                          that the same sort of unhistorical imagination was at work in portraying the
                          figures who play lesser roles in the PN (e.g., Simon of Cyrene & Joseph of
                          Arimathea)?

                          Thus, the most one can say with relative historical certainty is that the
                          Alexander & Rufus mentioned *seem* to be individuals Mark expects his
                          intended readers would have heard of. But how, where, etc. is all a matter
                          of conjecture, since Mark does not even claim that the father Simon was a
                          resident of the area around Jerusalem. *If* the Alexander referred to by
                          Mark is the same individual whose bones were recovered in the Kidron valley,
                          then we might be justified in concluding that Mark was originally drafted
                          for an audience familiar with residents of the Jerusalem area (a conclusion
                          which those who read my debate with Ted Weeden last year regarding the
                          provenance of Mark might recall I tend to favor). But unfortunately, there
                          is no way to demonstrate the historicity of Mark's off-handed association of
                          this Alexander with the figure whom the PN credits with carrying Jesus'
                          cross (a alleged deed that I find difficult to accept as historical for a
                          variety of reasons). Thus, I would still contend that the Markan story of
                          Simon of Cyrene is more legend than history.

                          Shalom!

                          Mahlon


                          Mahlon H. Smith
                          Department of Religion
                          Rutgers University
                          New Brunswick NJ 08901

                          http://religion.rutgers.edu/mh_smith.html

                          Synoptic Gospels Primer
                          http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/

                          Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
                          http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/
                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Richard Anderson" <randerson58@...>
                          To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2001 9:02 PM
                          Subject: RE: [XTalk] Dating of GMark


                          > Brian and Michael et al., greetings:
                          >
                          > Clearly he is telling us that Alexander >and Rufus fit into the mold of
                          > >"legendary characters", yet he has no >evidence at all that they are
                          > >legendary.
                          >
                          > About 40 years ago N. Avigad wrote an article about a depository of
                          > inscribed ossuaries found in the Kidron Valley in the Israel Exploration
                          > Journal wherein he stated that the members of this family belonged to the
                          > community of Cyrenian Jews known to have existed in Jerusalem. One of the
                          > inscribed ossuaries stated Alexander, son of Simon and Avigad indicated
                          that
                          > J.T. Milik had proposed that the tomb in question belonged to the family
                          of
                          > the man who helped Jesus carry the cross.
                          >
                          > I think it is fair to say that these individuals are not legendary
                          > characters but real historical figures who inscribed ossuaries provide
                          > documentary evidence.
                          >
                          > Richard H. Anderson
                          > Wallingford PA
                          > http://www.geocities.com/gospelofluke
                          >
                          > I am unfortunately a customer of Comcast with internet connection thur
                          > Excite.com, a subcontractor of Comcast who filed bankruptcy. I apologize
                          in
                          > advance if my service is disconnected and your reply to me is bounced.
                          >
                          >
                          >
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                        • Richard Anderson
                          ... I think the point that J.T. Milik made was although both Simon and Alexander were common names in 1st century Palestine, the perplexing similarity of these
                          Message 12 of 28 , Dec 2, 2001
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                            Mahlon, greetings:

                            >So it is still a leap of faith to >>identify the names on the ossuaries
                            >(which obviously belonged to real >people) with those "individuals"
                            >who are alluded to by Mark. So the >evidence of the ossuaries in no way
                            >documents the actual existence of >"these individuals" -- i.e., those
                            >mentioned in Mark's text.

                            I think the point that J.T. Milik made was although both Simon and Alexander
                            were common names in 1st century Palestine, the perplexing similarity of
                            these names with those on the ossuary was more than mere coincidence. Yes
                            you can name other individuals with the name Alexander but can you point to
                            another Alexander in the Cyrenian Jewish community who was the son of Simon.

                            Richard H. Anderson
                            Wallingford PA
                            http://www.geocities.com/gospelofluke

                            I am unfortunately a customer of Comcast with internet connection thur
                            Excite.com, a subcontractor of Comcast who filed bankruptcy. I apologize
                            in advance if my service is disconnected and your reply to me is bounced.
                          • Richard Anderson
                            Mahlon, greetings: One point not made clear by my two earlier posts on the Avigad s article. The 11 ossuaries described by the article were all found within
                            Message 13 of 28 , Dec 2, 2001
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                              Mahlon, greetings:

                              One point not made clear by my two earlier posts on the Avigad's article.
                              The 11 ossuaries described by the article were all found within one chamber.
                              Several of the ossuaries contained names which previously had only been
                              found in Cyrenaica. Avigad concluded this chamber contained the ossuaries
                              of related family members. It is this fact when considered in conjunction
                              with the inscription containing Alexander, son of Simon that led the
                              ultimate conclusion made by J.T. Milik.

                              Richard H. Anderson
                              Wallingford PA
                              http://www.geocities.com/gospelofluke

                              I am unfortunately a customer of Comcast with internet connection thru
                              Excite.com, a subcontractor of Comcast who filed bankruptcy. I apologize
                              in advance if my service is disconnected and your reply to me is bounced.
                            • rconte@voyager.net
                              Kindly forgive me, I m not a church historian by any means, but a manager of a branch of a temporary agency. According to _The Archaeology of the New
                              Message 14 of 28 , Dec 2, 2001
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                                Kindly forgive me, I'm not a church historian by any means, but a manager of a branch of a temporary agency.

                                According to _The Archaeology of the New Testament_ by Jack Finegan, pps 361-363:

                                1. The tomb was found in 1941 by E. L. Sukenik and N. Avigad.
                                2. The tomb contained 11 ossuaries
                                3. All but two have inscriptions, eight in Greek, one in Hebrew, one in both Greek and Hebrew, the one in both languages, the inscription reads "Alexander son of Simon" (in Greek) and in Hebrew says "Alexander (of) Cyrene". There is also an ossuary (number 5) for "Sara (daughter) of Simon of Ptolemais." Finegan concludes that Sara and Alexander are the children of Simon of Cyrene. [I've greatly condensed the arguments, please don't criticise my condensation until you read the original!]
                                4. The conclusion Finegan writes is that "we have here a family burial at least to the extent of two children and a certain Simon, and their place of origin was probably Cyrene. From Acts 6:9 we know that there was a synagogue of Cyrenians in Jerusalem, and in Mk. 15:21 it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus. It is surely a real possibility that this unostentatious tomb was the last resting place of the bones of at least two members of the family of this very Simon. That the members of the family became Jewish Christians is also a likelyhood, for Mark's reference to Alexander and Rufus suggests that they were well known in Christian circles."

                                The original is cited as N. Agigad, "A Depository of Inscribed Ossuaries in the Kidron Valley, in IEJ 12 (1962) pp. 1-12.

                                But why the reference in G of Mark and not the other Gospels? According to one theory, Mark wrote to Roman Christians. Mark describes Simon as the father of Alexander and Rufus, perhaps because this was the Rufus known to the Roman Christians, Ro 16:13 for whom he more especially wrote.

                                I find the evidence compelling that these bones are of the family mentioned in G of Mark, and hence his mention of them is similar to citing a reference to a famous person, a Jew from Cyrene in Jerusalem in the first century, and provides an anchor for the reader. Clearly these osuarries, even if they are as claimed, do not prove the passage in G of Mark is authentic, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, they weigh heavily in that direction.


                                --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Richard Anderson" <randerson58@h...> wrote:
                                > About 40 years ago N. Avigad wrote an article about a depository of
                                > inscribed ossuaries found in the Kidron Valley in the Israel Exploration
                                > Journal wherein he stated that the members of this family belonged to the
                                > community of Cyrenian Jews known to have existed in Jerusalem. One of the
                                > inscribed ossuaries stated Alexander, son of Simon and Avigad indicated that
                                > J.T. Milik had proposed that the tomb in question belonged to the family of
                                > the man who helped Jesus carry the cross.
                                >
                                > I think it is fair to say that these individuals are not legendary
                                > characters but real historical figures who inscribed ossuaries provide
                                > documentary evidence.
                                >
                                > Richard H. Anderson
                                > Wallingford PA
                                > http://www.geocities.com/gospelofluke
                                >
                                > I am unfortunately a customer of Comcast with internet connection thur
                                > Excite.com, a subcontractor of Comcast who filed bankruptcy. I apologize in
                                > advance if my service is disconnected and your reply to me is bounced.
                              • Brian Trafford
                                First of all, thank you to those that have commented on the tomb of Simon and ALexander in Jerusalem. I would agree that it is not possible to say with any
                                Message 15 of 28 , Dec 3, 2001
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                                  First of all, thank you to those that have commented on the tomb of
                                  Simon and ALexander in Jerusalem. I would agree that it is not
                                  possible to say with any certainty that these are the same men
                                  mentioned in Mark, but at the same time, given that Simon is
                                  obviously a Jewish name, while Alexander (and Rufus) are clearly
                                  Roman names, we need not assume that it was excessively common for a
                                  Jewish father to name his sons accordingly. On this basis the weight
                                  of the evidence increases on the side of claiming the two sources
                                  speak of the same individuals, but the evidence is in no way
                                  conclusive.

                                  Now, about Michael's comments:

                                  --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Michael A. Turton" <turton@e...> wrote:

                                  > There are at least three plausible conclusions about these
                                  characters:
                                  {Snip}

                                  Actually, there are virtually unlimited possibilities as to what
                                  happened, and how these names came to appear in Mark's Gospel. But
                                  as with all hypothesis, we tend to favour the simplest explanations,
                                  unless the evidence tells us that this solution cannot be correct.
                                  In this specific instance, accepting that Alexander and Rufus were
                                  minor, but known characters in Mark's community strikes me as both
                                  plausible, and simple. No elaborate and increasingly complex
                                  theories need be advanced. On this basis, historicity is preferred to
                                  non-historicity.

                                  To use a mundane example, if we find a document with a few names
                                  mentioned on it, we can always theorize ad infinitum as to whether or
                                  not these people are real, or if they are using their real names, but
                                  in the absense of actual evidence against their reality, the only
                                  reason to reject this possibility is the need to be sceptical. This
                                  is not good reasoning in my view.

                                  Later I wrote:
                                  > > And this is a red herring. Concerning the question being
                                  discussed, it makes no difference if John is true or not. At most you
                                  are trying

                                  Michael replied:
                                  > The question being discussed is whether Simon of Cyrene is a
                                  > historical character! If he is a historical character and Mark is
                                  > properly using him, why isn't he in John? You bet this basic
                                  > contradiction is relevant to the discussion at hand.

                                  Michael, your straight black and white question is not warranted
                                  here. We do not know why John excluded Simon from his Gospel. Again
                                  we can speculate, but we cannot, and should not, treat this argument
                                  from John's silence as necessarily being a contradiction. Many, like
                                  Raymond Brown, have speculated that it did not fit in with John's
                                  theology to have someone else carry Jesus' cross, so he omitted this
                                  detail. Given that Simon has no significance or role in any other NT
                                  books, this is not a glaring omission on his part.

                                  Remember that my arguments have never questioned the fact that the
                                  evangelists, including Mark, had theological reasons for writing what
                                  they did, and including the details they chose. The question here is
                                  simply one of simplicity, probability and plausiblity. At the end of
                                  the day, the most plausible, probable, and simplest explanation for
                                  the inclusion of Simon and (especially his sons) in Mark's Gospel is
                                  that Mark and his readers knew these people personally.

                                  > Which account is the correct account, and how can you choose
                                  between them?

                                  Evaluating the evidence and using criteria is what historical inquiry
                                  is all about. Using the criteria you have listed in your replies
                                  would leave us knowing nothing about virtually anything in history.
                                  This may be your preferred method, but it is hardly good historical
                                  inquiry. After all, one can always be sceptical about anything. The
                                  trick is to come up with a good hypothesis that accounts for the data
                                  that we do happen to have.

                                  Brian Trafford
                                  Calgary, AB, Canada
                                • L. J. Swain
                                  ... I don t want to appear to be defending the other thesis, but if Mark s CHRONOLOGY (not quite the same thing as his historicity) is correct then ALL the
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Dec 3, 2001
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                                    "Michael A. Turton" wrote:

                                    >
                                    > Some commentators argue that Simon cannot be historical because Mark
                                    > says he was "coming in from the fields/country" and a Jew would not be
                                    > working on a high holy day. How do you respond to that?
                                    >

                                    I don't want to appear to be defending the other thesis, but if Mark's
                                    CHRONOLOGY (not quite the same thing as his historicity) is correct then
                                    ALL the Jews in Mark's account have violated the high holy day.

                                    Larry Swain
                                  • Brian Trafford
                                    ... Mark s CHRONOLOGY (not quite the same thing as his historicity) is correct then ALL the Jews in Mark s account have violated the high holy day. ... Hello
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Dec 3, 2001
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                                      --- In crosstalk2@y..., "L. J. Swain" <larry.swain@w...> wrote:

                                      > I don't want to appear to be defending the other thesis, but if
                                      Mark's CHRONOLOGY (not quite the same thing as his historicity) is
                                      correct then ALL the Jews in Mark's account have violated the high
                                      holy day.
                                      >
                                      > Larry Swain

                                      Hello Larry

                                      I did not answer this particular question because the text does not
                                      say that Simon was working. All it says is that he was "coming in
                                      from the field/country (agros)". From this we cannot assume that he
                                      was breaking some Jewish law.

                                      Brian Trafford
                                      Calgary, AB, Canada
                                    • Ted Weeden
                                      ... My response: Apocalypticists are always predicting events with timetables which turn out to be an embarrassment when the timetables are not met. The Book
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Dec 3, 2001
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                                        Brian Trafford wrote on Friday, November 30, 2001:

                                        > 1) The Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:1-36/Matthew 24:1-51/Luke 21:5-36)
                                        >
                                        > Mark 13:1-2 [snipped]
                                        > A lot of the debate surrounding the dating of the Synoptics hinges
                                        > around whether or not Jesus could have made this prophecy so long
                                        > before the events that led to the actual destruction of Jerusalem and
                                        > the Temple in the Jewish War 66-70CE. [snipped]. [T]he majority
                                        > of scholars argue that Jesus did not make this prophecy, and that it
                                        > was a later addition by Mark, when it became obvious that the Jewish
                                        > revolt would be put down by the Romans, and in traditional Roman
                                        > style, Jerusalem would be leveled, so Mark was not really going out
                                        > on a limb in making this forecast, even if he did make it at the
                                        > beginning of the War (66CE).
                                        >
                                        > There is a serious problem with this argument however, and one that
                                        > leaves those arguing for this relatively late date in a bit of a
                                        > dilemma. If we assume that it was the author that added this prophecy
                                        > later on (when it was relatively safe to do this), why did he also
                                        > then add the other parts of the prophecy that clearly had not
                                        > happened (and have still not happened) by the late 1st Century. Worse
                                        > yet, why would Matthew and Luke put them into their works, especially
                                        > if these prophecies would embarrass Christians, and possibly expose
                                        > Jesus to the charge of false prophecy?

                                        My response:
                                        Apocalypticists are always predicting events with timetables which turn out
                                        to be an embarrassment when the timetables are not met. The Book of
                                        Revelation, as in the case of the Synoptic little apocalypse, has always
                                        been an embarrassment to Christians, particularly for those who have read it
                                        literally, because the world still goes on, its prophecy of the end of the
                                        world notwithstanding.

                                        I am also puzzled by your suggestion that the creation of the prophecies
                                        would have the effect of exposing "Jesus to the charge of false prophecy,"
                                        only for you to state the following a few paragraphs later:
                                        > (d) Finally, we have a cataclysmic prophecy of the end of the world
                                        > found in verses 19-26. If Mark is endorsing such a prophecy, it makes
                                        > very little sense to assume that Mark invented it himself, then
                                        > attributed it to Jesus, especially since it had not come true even by
                                        > the late dates of 80-100 commonly ascribed to Luke and Matthew. It
                                        > seems much more likely that he believed that Jesus had said it
                                        > himself. And if Jesus said these prophecies, then why would he not
                                        > have also said the others?

                                        And still later you state:
                                        > But if one is going to posit the prophecies as
                                        > Marcan inventions, then a plausible explanation needs to be offered
                                        > as to why he would attribute these words to Jesus when they had
                                        > clearly NOT been fulfilled. By contrast, acceptance that the
                                        > prophecy did come from Jesus explains very well why it was included
                                        > in all three of the Synoptics.
                                        > This is why I am more inclined to side with scholars like Michael
                                        > Grant, who argues that it is very probable that these prophecies came
                                        > from Jesus himself.

                                        If the prophecies originated with Jesus, and those prophecies by the time of
                                        writing of Mark, as you propose, had not been fulfilled, does that not
                                        still subject Jesus "to the charge of false prophecy." I have difficulty
                                        seeing how Jesus is any less subject "to the charge of false prophecy" if
                                        the prophecies originated with him than he is if the prophecies have been
                                        falsely ascribed to him. With regard to whether Jesus would have uttered
                                        such prophecies to begin with, I, with many other Jesus scholars, do not
                                        think that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptist and, therefore, I do not
                                        consider the apocalyptic sayings attributed to him to be authentic..

                                        You go on to state:
                                        > Given the explicit nature of
                                        > the prophecies, and the clear fact that they had not been fulfilled
                                        > during the period in question (mid to late 1st Century), how likely
                                        > is it that a pure invention would be put in the Gospels and
                                        > attributed to Jesus himself?

                                        My response:
                                        Much pure invention is put into the Gospels and attributed to Jesus. Most
                                        Jesus scholars today recognize that a number of the sayings attributed to
                                        Jesus are "pure invention" of his followers post facto. Classic examples
                                        of such pure invention, to name some among many of them in the Gospels, in
                                        my view, are the discourse of Jesus in John 13-16 and the prayer in John 17.

                                        You proceed:
                                        > Let's look at the prophecies:
                                        >
                                        > (a) Major wars would break out (Mark 13:8), with "nations rising
                                        > against nation". The Jewish War was quite regional in nature, and
                                        > certainly did not bring on any kind of world wide conflagration
                                        [snipped
                                        > (b) The Gospel must be preached to all nations first (v. 10). None of
                                        > the Evangelists could have believed that all of the nations of the
                                        > world had heard the Gospel even by 80-100CE.

                                        My response:
                                        Mark is not the first early Christian given to hyperbole. Mark and
                                        other Christians at the time the Roman-Jewish War must have felt like their
                                        whole world was either at war or threatened with war (see below on my
                                        location of the Markan community). Likewise with respect to the
                                        evangelization of the world, I consider this again to be Markan hyperbole.

                                        > c) In verse 14 we are told of the `abomination that causes
                                        > desolation' standing where it does not belong". In the words of
                                        > Donald Guthrie, "the key item in the internal evidence is the
                                        > reference in Mark 13:14 to the `abomination that causes
                                        > desolation.' . . . If it be admitted that Jesus himself predicted the
                                        > event, Mark 13:14 would cease to be a crux . . . The phrase used to
                                        > describe the event is of such vagueness . . . that it is even more
                                        > reasonable to assume that it belongs to a time well before the actual
                                        > happenings." (D. Guthrie, _New Testament Introduction_, pg. 86-87.) I
                                        > am aware that some speculate that Mark is thinking about the Roman
                                        > desecration of the Temple in 70, but I think it is far more likely
                                        > that he is referring specifically to the apocalyptic language found
                                        > in Daniel 9:27. Whether this reference originates with Jesus, or
                                        > with Mark, one can hardly use it as a means to date Mark to a post 70
                                        > time frame.

                                        My response:
                                        Are you familiar with Joel Marcus' article, "The Jewish War and the *Sitz im
                                        Leben* of Mark" (_JBL_, 1992: 441-462) and his interpretation of 13:14 and
                                        its historical allusion to the occupation of the Temple by Eleazer and other
                                        Zealots during the winter 67-68 CE, and also the links between Josephus'
                                        account of the time and Mark 13? I think that Marcus' scenario fits well
                                        with the struggle that the Markan community is facing as a result of the
                                        Roman-Jewish War, and I recommend it to you for your consideration. There
                                        are points where I differ with Marcus (e. g., the issue of Davidic
                                        messianism as it is related to Mark, as well as his location of the Markan
                                        provenance, which I note below), but the basic scenario he suggests is
                                        compelling.

                                        > That said, the argument that Mark would have used these images of
                                        > suffering and destruction in the late 60's because of the
                                        > persecutions by Nero after the great fire in 64 has some merit. After
                                        > all, this was the first great mass persecution directed specifically
                                        > at Christians, and it was taking place in the heart of the Empire, at
                                        > what Christians were already coming to see as the "Whore of Babylon".
                                        > Apocalyptic beliefs and literature abounded at this time as well,
                                        > both in the Christian and Jewish communities. And if Mark was written
                                        > in Rome at this time

                                        My response;
                                        As Mahlon Smith has suggested in a post-response to your argument for a
                                        Roman provenance for the Gospel, I find little convincing support for Mark
                                        being written at Rome (see below on Peter as source for Mark), and have
                                        argued instead for the Markan community being located in the village area of
                                        Caesarea Philippi (see my Xtalk essay of 2/29/00 in the XTalk archives,
                                        "Guidelines for Locating the Markan Community," See also Joel Marcus'
                                        article in which he argues against a Roman provenance. Marcus argues
                                        that the Mark community is located in a Hellenistic city and that Mark
                                        wrote just before or after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. I agree with
                                        him that Mark with respect to the dating of Mark and that it is written in
                                        the midst of a Hellenistic environment. He locates the Markan community
                                        at Pella. I think, as I state in my essay, that the text itself gives
                                        significant
                                        clues that the author lives in the village region of Caesarea Philippi.
                                        Caesarea Philippi had a significant observant Jewish ghetto, which could
                                        have been the source of some of the tension between the Markan
                                        Christians and the Jewish ghetto.It also helps account in part for the
                                        anti-Judean position, as well as anti-Temple position, which Mark takes.
                                        I also would argue that the Jerusalem church fled to Caesarea Philippi
                                        as the Roman assault on Jerusalem appeared imminent. The admonition
                                        to flee to the mountains in Mk. 13: 14, in my opinion is a historical
                                        allusion to these Judean Christians who fled to the mountainous region
                                        (Mt. Hermon, etc.) of Caesarea Philippi to avoid the conflagration.

                                        > 3) Peter as Mark's Source
                                        >
                                        > Since even by the most conservative estimates, Mark could be dated to
                                        > as late as 66, it is not inconceivable to imagine that Peter (who
                                        > died c. 65-67) could have been at least one of Mark's sources.
                                        > Certainly the external evidence (found in Papias) supports such a
                                        > belief, and given Peter's obvious high status within the early
                                        > Church, it is very plausible to see him as the main source of one (or
                                        > more) of our earliest Gospels.

                                        My response:
                                        Given Mark's vendetta against Peter and the Twelve, as I have articulated in
                                        my _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, I find it inconceivable that Peter is a
                                        source for Mark. Unless Peter is in to assassination of his own
                                        character, I do not see how it is possible that Peter could be the source
                                        of the negative profile Mark gives him, a profile that Matthew and Luke try
                                        assiduously to correct..

                                        > 4) Simon, Father of Alexander and Rufus
                                        >
                                        > Perhaps the most compelling internal evidence for a probable early
                                        > dating (c. 50-55CE) for Mark comes from his mentioning of "Simon (of
                                        > Cyrene), the father of Alexander and Rufus" (Mark 15:21).

                                        I am agreement with Mahlon's position that, while one cannot prove or
                                        disprove the historicity of the Simon of Cyrene, Alexander and Rufus (Mk.
                                        15:21), I think they may well be literary inventions of Mark, much the same
                                        as Judas (as I have argued in several essays on XTalk and still plan one to
                                        answer critiques of my position) and Barabbas and others likely were. By
                                        the way in a study of the frequency or lack of frequency of names in the
                                        time of Jesus, Margaret Williams, in her essay, "Palestinian Jewish
                                        Personal Names in Acts," in _The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting_,
                                        finds that "Simon" is "[a] perennial favourite with Jews, especially those
                                        in Greek-speaking areas... and the commonest male name by far in 1st-century
                                        Palestine." And she notes with respect to "Alexander " (ALEZANDROS), a
                                        Greek name (contra your statement that it is a Roman name in your 12/3
                                        post), that it was not a name commonly used "among 1st-century Jews despite
                                        its earlier popularity there in aristocratic circles. Most of the
                                        (1st-century) individuals of the name mentioned by Josephus belong to the
                                        royal family and all but one of those occuring on the Jerusalem ossuaries
                                        came from the Diaspora" [She cites Avigad and Sukenik ("Jewish Tomb") at
                                        this point]. She goes on to say: "In the Diaspora, its [the name
                                        "Alexander " ] fortunes were mixed. In Egypt and Cyrene there is only a
                                        scattering of cases and in Greece and Asia Minor not many at any time"
                                        (96f.). Josephus mentions four men with the name "Rufus," none of them
                                        Jews:, namely, a Roman calvary commander, a consul, an Egyptian who is a
                                        soldier in the Roman army, and the Roman procurator of Judea (12-15 CE).
                                        I may have missed it, but what is the date given for the ossuary? I am
                                        assuming first century CE, given your position.

                                        Thank you for stimulating our thinking with your essay.

                                        Ted Weeden
                                      • Ted Weeden
                                        ... My response: Apocalypticists are always predicting events with timetables which turn out to be an embarrassment when the timetables are not met. The Book
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Dec 3, 2001
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                                          Brian Trafford wrote on Friday, November 30, 2001:

                                          > 1) The Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:1-36/Matthew 24:1-51/Luke 21:5-36)
                                          >
                                          > Mark 13:1-2 [snipped]
                                          > A lot of the debate surrounding the dating of the Synoptics hinges
                                          > around whether or not Jesus could have made this prophecy so long
                                          > before the events that led to the actual destruction of Jerusalem and
                                          > the Temple in the Jewish War 66-70CE. [snipped]. [T]he majority
                                          > of scholars argue that Jesus did not make this prophecy, and that it
                                          > was a later addition by Mark, when it became obvious that the Jewish
                                          > revolt would be put down by the Romans, and in traditional Roman
                                          > style, Jerusalem would be leveled, so Mark was not really going out
                                          > on a limb in making this forecast, even if he did make it at the
                                          > beginning of the War (66CE).
                                          >
                                          > There is a serious problem with this argument however, and one that
                                          > leaves those arguing for this relatively late date in a bit of a
                                          > dilemma. If we assume that it was the author that added this prophecy
                                          > later on (when it was relatively safe to do this), why did he also
                                          > then add the other parts of the prophecy that clearly had not
                                          > happened (and have still not happened) by the late 1st Century. Worse
                                          > yet, why would Matthew and Luke put them into their works, especially
                                          > if these prophecies would embarrass Christians, and possibly expose
                                          > Jesus to the charge of false prophecy?

                                          My response:
                                          Apocalypticists are always predicting events with timetables which turn out
                                          to be an embarrassment when the timetables are not met. The Book of
                                          Revelation, as in the case of the Synoptic little apocalypse, has always
                                          been an embarrassment to Christians, particularly for those who have read it
                                          literally, because the world still goes on, its prophecy of the end of the
                                          world notwithstanding.

                                          I am also puzzled by your suggestion that the creation of the prophecies
                                          would have the effect of exposing "Jesus to the charge of false prophecy,"
                                          only for you to state the following a few paragraphs later:
                                          > (d) Finally, we have a cataclysmic prophecy of the end of the world
                                          > found in verses 19-26. If Mark is endorsing such a prophecy, it makes
                                          > very little sense to assume that Mark invented it himself, then
                                          > attributed it to Jesus, especially since it had not come true even by
                                          > the late dates of 80-100 commonly ascribed to Luke and Matthew. It
                                          > seems much more likely that he believed that Jesus had said it
                                          > himself. And if Jesus said these prophecies, then why would he not
                                          > have also said the others?

                                          And still later you state:
                                          > But if one is going to posit the prophecies as
                                          > Marcan inventions, then a plausible explanation needs to be offered
                                          > as to why he would attribute these words to Jesus when they had
                                          > clearly NOT been fulfilled. By contrast, acceptance that the
                                          > prophecy did come from Jesus explains very well why it was included
                                          > in all three of the Synoptics.
                                          > This is why I am more inclined to side with scholars like Michael
                                          > Grant, who argues that it is very probable that these prophecies came
                                          > from Jesus himself.

                                          If the prophecies originated with Jesus, and those prophecies by the time of
                                          writing of Mark, as you propose, had not been fulfilled, does that not
                                          still subject Jesus "to the charge of false prophecy." I have difficulty
                                          seeing how Jesus is any less subject "to the charge of false prophecy" if
                                          the prophecies originated with him than he is if the prophecies have been
                                          falsely ascribed to him. With regard to whether Jesus would have uttered
                                          such prophecies to begin with, I, with many other Jesus scholars, do not
                                          think that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptist and, therefore, I do not
                                          consider the apocalyptic sayings attributed to him to be authentic..

                                          You go on to state:
                                          > Given the explicit nature of
                                          > the prophecies, and the clear fact that they had not been fulfilled
                                          > during the period in question (mid to late 1st Century), how likely
                                          > is it that a pure invention would be put in the Gospels and
                                          > attributed to Jesus himself?

                                          My response:
                                          Much pure invention is put into the Gospels and attributed to Jesus. Most
                                          Jesus scholars today recognize that a number of the sayings attributed to
                                          Jesus are "pure invention" of his followers post facto. Classic examples
                                          of such pure invention, to name some among many of them in the Gospels, in
                                          my view, are the discourse of Jesus in John 13-16 and the prayer in John 17.

                                          You proceed:
                                          > Let's look at the prophecies:
                                          >
                                          > (a) Major wars would break out (Mark 13:8), with "nations rising
                                          > against nation". The Jewish War was quite regional in nature, and
                                          > certainly did not bring on any kind of world wide conflagration
                                          [snipped
                                          > (b) The Gospel must be preached to all nations first (v. 10). None of
                                          > the Evangelists could have believed that all of the nations of the
                                          > world had heard the Gospel even by 80-100CE.

                                          My response:
                                          Mark is not the first early Christian given to hyperbole. Mark and
                                          other Christians at the time the Roman-Jewish War must have felt like their
                                          whole world was either at war or threatened with war (see below on my
                                          location of the Markan community). Likewise with respect to the
                                          evangelization of the world, I consider this again to be Markan hyperbole.

                                          > c) In verse 14 we are told of the `abomination that causes
                                          > desolation' standing where it does not belong". In the words of
                                          > Donald Guthrie, "the key item in the internal evidence is the
                                          > reference in Mark 13:14 to the `abomination that causes
                                          > desolation.' . . . If it be admitted that Jesus himself predicted the
                                          > event, Mark 13:14 would cease to be a crux . . . The phrase used to
                                          > describe the event is of such vagueness . . . that it is even more
                                          > reasonable to assume that it belongs to a time well before the actual
                                          > happenings." (D. Guthrie, _New Testament Introduction_, pg. 86-87.) I
                                          > am aware that some speculate that Mark is thinking about the Roman
                                          > desecration of the Temple in 70, but I think it is far more likely
                                          > that he is referring specifically to the apocalyptic language found
                                          > in Daniel 9:27. Whether this reference originates with Jesus, or
                                          > with Mark, one can hardly use it as a means to date Mark to a post 70
                                          > time frame.

                                          My response:
                                          Are you familiar with Joel Marcus' article, "The Jewish War and the *Sitz im
                                          Leben* of Mark" (_JBL_, 1992: 441-462) and his interpretation of 13:14 and
                                          its historical allusion to the occupation of the Temple by Eleazer and other
                                          Zealots during the winter 67-68 CE, and also the links between Josephus'
                                          account of the time and Mark 13? I think that Marcus' scenario fits well
                                          with the struggle that the Markan community is facing as a result of the
                                          Roman-Jewish War, and I recommend it to you for your consideration. There
                                          are points where I differ with Marcus (e. g., the issue of Davidic
                                          messianism as it is related to Mark, as well as his location of the Markan
                                          provenance, which I note below), but the basic scenario he suggests is
                                          compelling.

                                          > That said, the argument that Mark would have used these images of
                                          > suffering and destruction in the late 60's because of the
                                          > persecutions by Nero after the great fire in 64 has some merit. After
                                          > all, this was the first great mass persecution directed specifically
                                          > at Christians, and it was taking place in the heart of the Empire, at
                                          > what Christians were already coming to see as the "Whore of Babylon".
                                          > Apocalyptic beliefs and literature abounded at this time as well,
                                          > both in the Christian and Jewish communities. And if Mark was written
                                          > in Rome at this time

                                          My response;
                                          As Mahlon Smith has suggested in a post-response to your argument for a
                                          Roman provenance for the Gospel, I find little convincing support for Mark
                                          being written at Rome (see below on Peter as source for Mark), and have
                                          argued instead for the Markan community being located in the village area of
                                          Caesarea Philippi (see my Xtalk essay of 2/29/00 in the XTalk archives,
                                          "Guidelines for Locating the Markan Community," See also Joel Marcus'
                                          article in which he argues against a Roman provenance. Marcus argues
                                          that the Mark community is located in a Hellenistic city and that Mark
                                          wrote just before or after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. I agree with
                                          him that Mark with respect to the dating of Mark and that it is written in
                                          the midst of a Hellenistic environment. He locates the Markan community
                                          at Pella. I think, as I state in my essay, that the text itself gives
                                          significant
                                          clues that the author lives in the village region of Caesarea Philippi.
                                          Caesarea Philippi had a significant observant Jewish ghetto, which could
                                          have been the source of some of the tension between the Markan
                                          Christians and the Jewish ghetto.It also helps account in part for the
                                          anti-Judean position, as well as anti-Temple position, which Mark takes.
                                          I also would argue that the Jerusalem church fled to Caesarea Philippi
                                          as the Roman assault on Jerusalem appeared imminent. The admonition
                                          to flee to the mountains in Mk. 13: 14, in my opinion is a historical
                                          allusion to these Judean Christians who fled to the mountainous region
                                          (Mt. Hermon, etc.) of Caesarea Philippi to avoid the conflagration.

                                          > 3) Peter as Mark's Source
                                          >
                                          > Since even by the most conservative estimates, Mark could be dated to
                                          > as late as 66, it is not inconceivable to imagine that Peter (who
                                          > died c. 65-67) could have been at least one of Mark's sources.
                                          > Certainly the external evidence (found in Papias) supports such a
                                          > belief, and given Peter's obvious high status within the early
                                          > Church, it is very plausible to see him as the main source of one (or
                                          > more) of our earliest Gospels.

                                          My response:
                                          Given Mark's vendetta against Peter and the Twelve, as I have articulated in
                                          my _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, I find it inconceivable that Peter is a
                                          source for Mark. Unless Peter is in to assassination of his own
                                          character, I do not see how it is possible that Peter could be the source
                                          of the negative profile Mark gives him, a profile that Matthew and Luke try
                                          assiduously to correct..

                                          > 4) Simon, Father of Alexander and Rufus
                                          >
                                          > Perhaps the most compelling internal evidence for a probable early
                                          > dating (c. 50-55CE) for Mark comes from his mentioning of "Simon (of
                                          > Cyrene), the father of Alexander and Rufus" (Mark 15:21).

                                          I am agreement with Mahlon's position that, while one cannot prove or
                                          disprove the historicity of the Simon of Cyrene, Alexander and Rufus (Mk.
                                          15:21), I think they may well be literary inventions of Mark, much the same
                                          as Judas (as I have argued in several essays on XTalk and still plan one to
                                          answer critiques of my position) and Barabbas and others likely were. By
                                          the way in a study of the frequency or lack of frequency of names in the
                                          time of Jesus, Margaret Williams, in her essay, "Palestinian Jewish
                                          Personal Names in Acts," in _The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting_,
                                          finds that "Simon" is "[a] perennial favourite with Jews, especially those
                                          in Greek-speaking areas... and the commonest male name by far in 1st-century
                                          Palestine." And she notes with respect to "Alexander " (ALEZANDROS), a
                                          Greek name (contra your statement that it is a Roman name in your 12/3
                                          post), that it was not a name commonly used "among 1st-century Jews despite
                                          its earlier popularity there in aristocratic circles. Most of the
                                          (1st-century) individuals of the name mentioned by Josephus belong to the
                                          royal family and all but one of those occuring on the Jerusalem ossuaries
                                          came from the Diaspora" [She cites Avigad and Sukenik ("Jewish Tomb") at
                                          this point]. She goes on to say: "In the Diaspora, its [the name
                                          "Alexander " ] fortunes were mixed. In Egypt and Cyrene there is only a
                                          scattering of cases and in Greece and Asia Minor not many at any time"
                                          (96f.). Josephus mentions four men with the name "Rufus," none of them
                                          Jews:, namely, a Roman calvary commander, a consul, an Egyptian who is a
                                          soldier in the Roman army, and the Roman procurator of Judea (12-15 CE).
                                          I may have missed it, but what is the date given for the ossuary? I am
                                          assuming first century CE, given your position.

                                          Thank you for stimulating our thinking with your essay.

                                          Ted Weeden
                                        • Brian Trafford
                                          Hello Ted Thank you for the response. ... the time of writing of Mark, as you propose, had not been fulfilled, does that not still subject Jesus to the
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Dec 3, 2001
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                                            Hello Ted

                                            Thank you for the response.

                                            --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ted Weeden" <weedent@e...> wrote:

                                            > If the prophecies originated with Jesus, and those prophecies by
                                            the time of writing of Mark, as you propose, had not been fulfilled,
                                            does that not still subject Jesus "to the charge of false prophecy."

                                            Yes it does, and this is exactly my point. As Grant and others
                                            argue, the most plausible explanaition for why Mark and the
                                            evangelists would carefully preserve embarrassing details of what
                                            Jesus said and did is because they were too deeply ingrained in the
                                            Christian memory for them to remove them. On this basis, the sayings
                                            go back to Jesus himself, and the usefulness of using the Olivet
                                            Discourse to date the Synoptics disappears.

                                            > I have difficulty seeing how Jesus is any less subject "to the
                                            charge of false prophecy" if the prophecies originated with him than
                                            he is if the prophecies have been falsely ascribed to him.

                                            Jesus would remain subject to a charge of giving false prophecies in
                                            both scenarios. Under the theory of those that say Mark invented
                                            this prophecy, he is needlessly ascribing an embarrassing non-
                                            fulfilled prophecy to the man he considers to be the Messiah. That
                                            is highly unlikely, and the simpler and more plausible explanaition
                                            is that Jesus did offer these sayings himself, and the community
                                            already knew about them.

                                            > With regard to whether Jesus would have uttered
                                            > such prophecies to begin with, I, with many other Jesus scholars,
                                            > do not think that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptist and,
                                            > therefore, I do not consider the apocalyptic sayings attributed to
                                            > him to be authentic..

                                            This is fine Ted, but the Synoptics clearly portray Jesus as an
                                            apocalytist. Your reasoning here is merely circular. You say Jesus
                                            was not an apocalyptist, so the sayings that make him an apocalyptist
                                            are not historical.

                                            > Much pure invention is put into the Gospels and attributed to
                                            > Jesus. Most Jesus scholars today recognize that a number of the
                                            > sayings attributed to Jesus are "pure invention" of his followers
                                            > post facto.

                                            Most scholars have believed a great many things that are simply false
                                            Ted. Therefore such an appeal to authority and concensus is not a
                                            legitimate argument. We should evaluate each saying in its context,
                                            and make determinations one by one. As you know, I can point to many
                                            scholars that agree with me, so this kind of argument will get us no
                                            where.

                                            Classic examples
                                            > of such pure invention, to name some among many of them in the
                                            > Gospels, in my view, are the discourse of Jesus in John 13-16 and
                                            > the prayer in John 17.

                                            Well, one can hardly use supposed invention in John to justify belief
                                            in invention in Mark on totally different sayings. I could just as
                                            easily say that George Washington never said or did "X" because he
                                            never cut down a cherry tree. I'm sure you can see the fallacy in
                                            such reasoning.

                                            > My response:
                                            > Mark is not the first early Christian given to hyperbole. Mark and
                                            > other Christians at the time the Roman-Jewish War must have felt
                                            > like their whole world was either at war or threatened with war
                                            > (see below on my location of the Markan community). Likewise with
                                            > respect to the evangelization of the world, I consider this again
                                            > to be Markan hyperbole.

                                            But your conclusion here is merely question begging. The Christians
                                            could very well have felt like this at ANY time, so trying to say
                                            that the Jewish War HAD to be the image in the mind of Mark and the
                                            other evangelists is quite poor argumentation. You can argue that
                                            the apocalyptic visions found in Peter's statements in Acts are pure
                                            invention as well, but this is simply more speculation. As Wallace
                                            pointed out, if Peter and other disciples were apocalyptists from the
                                            beginning of their ministry (a posibility we cannot dismiss,
                                            especially given Paul's own apocalyptic tendencies, and we have no
                                            evidence of conflict on this point in the early Church), then we
                                            cannot use your argument in order to ascribe a late date to Mark or
                                            any of the other Synoptics.

                                            > > c) In verse 14 we are told of the `abomination that causes
                                            > > desolation' standing where it does not belong"... but I think it
                                            > > is far more likely
                                            > > that he is referring specifically to the apocalyptic language
                                            > > found in Daniel 9:27. Whether this reference originates with
                                            > > Jesus, or with Mark, one can hardly use it as a means to date
                                            > > Mark to a post 70 time frame.
                                            >
                                            > My response:
                                            > Are you familiar with Joel Marcus' article, "The Jewish War and the
                                            > *Sitz im Leben* of Mark" (_JBL_, 1992: 441-462) and his
                                            > interpretation of 13:14 and its historical allusion to the
                                            > occupation of the Temple by Eleazer and other Zealots during the
                                            > winter 67-68 CE, and also the links between Josephus' account of
                                            > the time and Mark 13? I think that Marcus' scenario fits well
                                            > with the struggle that the Markan community is facing as a result
                                            > of the Roman-Jewish War, and I recommend it to you for your
                                            > consideration.

                                            I am unfamiliar with this work. At the same time, I would not mind
                                            if you would actually address my own argument. Mark uses Hebrew
                                            Scripture more than once in his Gospel. This is a fact. We know for
                                            a fact that the saying "son of man" is found in Daniel, and may well
                                            have inspired Mark (and/or Jesus' own) use of the term. More
                                            importantly, the saying "abomination that causes desolation" is found
                                            in the apocalyptic writings of Daniel 9:27. It is very reasonable to
                                            assume that Mark is quoting from this specific source, just as he
                                            quotes from Psalm 22 in Jesus' death cry for example. I am puzzled
                                            as to why you dismiss such a possibility so readily.

                                            > As Mahlon Smith has suggested in a post-response to your argument
                                            > for a Roman provenance for the Gospel, I find little convincing
                                            > support for Mark being written at Rome (see below on Peter as
                                            > source for Mark), and have argued instead for the Markan community
                                            > being located in the village area of Caesarea Philippi (see my
                                            > Xtalk essay of 2/29/00 in the XTalk archives, "Guidelines for
                                            > Locating the Markan Community,"

                                            This is interesting Ted, but as you will see from my own post, I do
                                            not depend on Mark being written in Rome to advance my argument.
                                            Peter may or may not have stood behind the Gospel, for example, but I
                                            do not accept the persecution of Christians by Nero as a *necessary*
                                            causal factor in Mark's Gospel, and *that* was my reason for bringing
                                            in this argument (largely based on Griffith-Jones). Quite frankly,
                                            location of writing can, at best, have only a peripheral impact on
                                            any debate on dates of the gospels in any case.

                                            {Snip}
                                            > Caesarea Philippi had a significant observant Jewish ghetto, which
                                            > could have been the source of some of the tension between the Markan
                                            > Christians and the Jewish ghetto.It also helps account in part for
                                            > the anti-Judean position, as well as anti-Temple position, which
                                            > Mark takes.

                                            Since I do not accept that Mark is anti-Judean (or at least anti-
                                            Semitic, assuming you mean the same thing by this), then I do not see
                                            the relevance of this argument at all. Further, it is your
                                            speculations that are serving as the very evidence for your
                                            arguments, and this is not sound historical research.

                                            > I also would argue that the Jerusalem church fled to Caesarea
                                            Philippi as the Roman assault on Jerusalem appeared imminent. The
                                            admonition to flee to the mountains in Mk. 13: 14, in my opinion is a
                                            historical allusion to these Judean Christians who fled to the
                                            mountainous region

                                            And I would argue that it is more plausible that Mark is alluding to
                                            Isaiah 17:13 or Zachariah 14:5 where we have similar images of
                                            disaster and fleeing to the mountains. Remember, with apocalyptic
                                            literature we need not look for literalism to find the meaning behind
                                            the text. More often than not, the author wants to draw the readers
                                            attention to other, earlier, well known and respected visions that
                                            are similar in nature. If these are found in Hebrew Scripture (as is
                                            the case with Isaiah and Zachariah), then its appeal to the author
                                            and reader alike is greatly enhanced.

                                            > My response:
                                            > Given Mark's vendetta against Peter and the Twelve, as I have
                                            > articulated in my _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, I find it
                                            > inconceivable that Peter is a source for Mark. Unless Peter is in
                                            > to assassination of his own character, I do not see how it is
                                            > possible that Peter could be the source of the negative profile
                                            > Mark gives him, a profile that Matthew and Luke try
                                            > assiduously to correct..

                                            Since I again reject the very premise of your argument (that Mark had
                                            a vendetta going against Peter and the Twelve), then your argument
                                            carries no real weight here. Quite simply, it is not uncommon for a
                                            person to say that they were foolish in the past, but now have "seen
                                            the light" literally or figuratively. Paul did this himself in his
                                            own letters (1 Cor. 15:9 among others)! Your reasoning here is
                                            especially weak. I see this as a side issue to that of dating GMark,
                                            however, so if you wish to argue this point, I would be happy to do
                                            so in a new thread.

                                            > > 4) Simon, Father of Alexander and Rufus

                                            > I am agreement with Mahlon's position that, while one cannot prove
                                            or disprove the historicity of the Simon of Cyrene, Alexander and
                                            Rufus (Mk. 15:21), I think they may well be literary inventions of
                                            Mark, much the same as Judas (as I have argued in several essays on
                                            XTalk and still plan one to answer critiques of my position) and
                                            Barabbas and others likely were.

                                            And this is the final example of a question begging argument. I do
                                            not see that Judas was an invention, nor, even if he was, would I see
                                            this as having any bearing on this point. The Twelve clearly *were*
                                            legendary, and the arguments that they were not historical can be
                                            made on that basis. NOTHING in the Simon traditions, nor those of
                                            his sons in particular, bear any such legendary elements. As I
                                            explained to Michael previously, to see these as pure invention is
                                            being unnecessarily sceptical, and requires the construction of much
                                            more complex theories to explain their presense. The simple fact of
                                            the matter is that there is no theological motive for Mark to include
                                            this man, and John appears to eliminate references to him because of
                                            the embarrassment it causes. Quite frankly, when I encounter this
                                            kind of scepticism, I am left to wonder what would satisfy the
                                            sceptic. After all, if it embarrassing, the sceptic will argue that
                                            it is probably an invention (see your argument on the Olivet
                                            Discourse), and if it is not embarrassing, it serves a theological
                                            motive, and, again, it is not historical.

                                            Out of curiousity, what is the criteria you use to decide that
                                            anything in the Gospels is probably historical? Or do you simply
                                            rule all of it to be an invention?

                                            > By the way in a study of the frequency or lack of frequency of
                                            names in the time of Jesus, Margaret Williams, in her
                                            essay, "Palestinian Jewish Personal Names in Acts," in _The Book of
                                            Acts in Its Palestinian Setting_, finds that "Simon" is "[a]
                                            perennial favourite with Jews, especially those in Greek-speaking
                                            areas...and the commonest male name by far in 1st-century
                                            Palestine."

                                            Yes, I am aware of this, and the name Simon is, in fact, very common
                                            in the NT as well. I have never disputed this point.

                                            > And she notes with respect to "Alexander " (ALEZANDROS), a
                                            > Greek name (contra your statement that it is a Roman name in your
                                            > 12/3 post),

                                            You are correct. My apoligies. Alexander is, indeed Greek, and as
                                            you note, Rufus is Roman. You help to make my actual point below
                                            however...

                                            > that it was not a name commonly used "among 1st-century Jews despite
                                            > its earlier popularity there in aristocratic circles. Most of the
                                            > (1st-century) individuals of the name mentioned by Josephus belong
                                            > to the royal family and all but one of those occuring on the
                                            > Jerusalem ossuaries came from the Diaspora" [She cites Avigad and
                                            > Sukenik ("Jewish Tomb") at this point]. She goes on to say: "In
                                            > the Diaspora, its [the name "Alexander " ] fortunes were mixed.
                                            > Egypt and Cyrene there is only a scattering of cases and in Greece
                                            > and Asia Minor not many at any time" (96f.). Josephus mentions
                                            > four men with the name "Rufus," none of them Jews:, namely, a Roman
                                            > calvary commander, a consul, an Egyptian who is a soldier in the
                                            > Roman army, and the Roman procurator of Judea
                                            > (12-15 CE).

                                            Agreed, and this, in my view, strengthens the argument for the
                                            historicity of the names Alexander and Rufus found in Mark. In the
                                            ossuary we have a known "Alexander, son of Simon" dating from the 1st
                                            Century, and *if* such a name was not common, then it is more
                                            probable that the tomb is that of the man mentioned in Mark. As
                                            Mahlon argues, it is the rarity of the name Pantera that leads him to
                                            believe it is likely to be the same person referred to in the anti-
                                            Christian propaganda. On this basis, the rarity of the name
                                            Alexander, son of Simon in Jewish ciricles would make it more
                                            probable that the man in the tomb and the one in the Gospel are the
                                            same person.

                                            > I may have missed it, but what is the date given for the ossuary?
                                            I am assuming first century CE, given your position.

                                            Just an FYI, but I did not raise this argument originally, Richard
                                            and Bob did, but given your arguments, and Mahlon's, I would say that
                                            we can be more confident that Mark is talking about the man buried in
                                            the tomb outside Jerusalem. Even your belief that Mark was written
                                            near Jerusalem would strengthen this argument. Personally I am
                                            agnostic as to where Mark wrote his Gospel, but I accept that his
                                            audience certainly included non-Jews.

                                            > Thank you for stimulating our thinking with your essay.

                                            You're welcome Ted. And thank you for your response.

                                            Be well,

                                            Brian Trafford
                                            Calgary, AB, Canada
                                          • Jan Sammer
                                            ... In terms of the Stecchini thesis that the gospel accounts of the Passion are based on a dramatic performance, the indication that Simon was coming into the
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Dec 3, 2001
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                                              > "Michael A. Turton" wrote:
                                              >
                                              > >
                                              > > Some commentators argue that Simon cannot be historical because Mark
                                              > > says he was "coming in from the fields/country" and a Jew would not be
                                              > > working on a high holy day. How do you respond to that?
                                              > >
                                              In terms of the Stecchini thesis that the gospel accounts of the Passion are
                                              based on a dramatic performance, the indication that Simon was coming into
                                              the city from the country (Luke) means that he had entered the stage from
                                              the left and was moving towards the right. In the ancient Greek and Roman
                                              theater the left was the direction of the country and the right the
                                              direction of the city.

                                              As far as the names Simon, Alexander and Rufus are concerned, it should be
                                              noted that the first is a typically Jewish name, the second a typically
                                              Greek name and the third a typically Latin name. Luke and John report that
                                              the inscription on the cross was written in three languages. John states
                                              that Pilate wrote the inscription. It seems more likely that Simon was
                                              understood to have written it at Pilate's instructions; being a Jew with two
                                              sons, one having a Greek name and one having a Latin name, he was understood
                                              as having adequate linguistic skills to execute the inscription in the three
                                              languages.

                                              In terms of the literary construction, Simon's precise identification serves
                                              a dual purpose. Firstly, establishing his identity and credentials was
                                              important since he was understood to be a witness to the crucifixion; in the
                                              play he acted as a messenger on the stage reporting the details of the
                                              crucifixion, which was understood to be taking place offstage to the left.
                                              Secondly, the names of his sons and his origin from Cyrene explain how a
                                              local peasant who happened to be passing by had the requisite linguistic
                                              skills to execute the trilingual inscription. Thus I see sufficient literary
                                              reasons to explain the character. That does not necessarily mean, of course,
                                              that he was a wholly fictional character.

                                              Jan Sammer
                                            • Ted Weeden
                                              Brian Trafford, December 03, 2001 11:43 PM, wrote: Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark ... My response: There are a number of reasons that I do not think that
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Dec 4, 2001
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                                                Brian Trafford, December 03, 2001 11:43 PM, wrote:
                                                Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark


                                                > > If the prophecies originated with Jesus, and those prophecies by
                                                > the time of writing of Mark, as you propose, had not been fulfilled,
                                                > does that not still subject Jesus "to the charge of false prophecy."
                                                >
                                                > Yes it does, and this is exactly my point. As Grant and others
                                                > argue, the most plausible explanaition for why Mark and the
                                                > evangelists would carefully preserve embarrassing details of what
                                                > Jesus said and did is because they were too deeply ingrained in the
                                                > Christian memory for them to remove them. On this basis, the sayings
                                                > go back to Jesus himself, and the usefulness of using the Olivet
                                                > Discourse to date the Synoptics disappears.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > > With regard to whether Jesus would have uttered
                                                > > such prophecies to begin with, I, with many other Jesus scholars,
                                                > > do not think that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptist and,
                                                > > therefore, I do not consider the apocalyptic sayings attributed to
                                                > > him to be authentic..
                                                >
                                                > This is fine Ted, but the Synoptics clearly portray Jesus as an
                                                > apocalytist. Your reasoning here is merely circular. You say Jesus
                                                > was not an apocalyptist, so the sayings that make him an apocalyptist
                                                > are not historical.

                                                My response:

                                                There are a number of reasons that I do not think that Jesus was an
                                                apocalypticisit. I will list them but not expand upon them, unless you wish
                                                further argumentative support in a subsequent post. I do not think that
                                                the apocalyptic sayings attributed to Jesus can stand up to the usual
                                                criteria applied to make judgments with regard to the authenticity of those
                                                sayings as original to Jesus. The four criteria widely applied by many
                                                Jesus scholars are multiple attestation, discontinuity, embarrassment and
                                                coherence. When I consider Mark 13, particularly 13:5-27, with respect to
                                                the criterion of multiple attestation, virtually nothing in that complex of
                                                sayings is multiply attested as originating with Jesus. The
                                                interdependence of the Synoptics, however you resolve the Synoptic Problem,
                                                rules out multiple attestation existing among the Synoptics. There is no
                                                other independent source, that I am aware of, outside the Synoptics that
                                                attibutes any of the sayings of 13:5-27 directly to Jesus. The discourse
                                                of 13:5-27 fails the test for authenticity according to the criterion of
                                                multiple attestation.

                                                With respect to the criterion of discontinuity, that criterion argues that
                                                authenticity is evident if a saying is neither coherent with Judaism and
                                                Jewish perspective at the time nor coherent with the particular
                                                theological/christological interests of early Christian communities. Mk
                                                13:5-27 fails this test for authenticity because it is clear that the early
                                                church had an apocalyptic agenda (you acknowledge that the Synoptic writers
                                                and Paul were apocalypticists) and thus its apocalyptic perspective coheres
                                                with the kerygmatic perspective of early Christians. The discourse of Mk
                                                13:5-27 also fails the test for authenticity with respect to the criterion
                                                of embarrassment, the criterion you seem to be using when you replied to my
                                                statement that Jesus is subject to the charge of false prophecy whether the
                                                words originated with Jesus or were placed in his mouth by a Christian
                                                prophet. Here is my statement and your response:

                                                > > I have difficulty seeing how Jesus is any less subject "to the
                                                > > charge of false prophecy" if the prophecies originated with him than
                                                > > he is if the prophecies have been falsely ascribed to him.
                                                >
                                                > Jesus would remain subject to a charge of giving false prophecies in
                                                > both scenarios. Under the theory of those that say Mark invented
                                                > this prophecy, he is needlessly ascribing an embarrassing non-
                                                > fulfilled prophecy to the man he considers to be the Messiah. That
                                                > is highly unlikely, and the simpler and more plausible explanaition
                                                > is that Jesus did offer these sayings himself, and the community
                                                > already knew about them.

                                                My response:

                                                You acknowledge that the Synoptic writers are apocalypticists. An
                                                apocalypticist never allows himself to be embarrassed by his prophecy for he
                                                constructs his prophecy such that he predicts history from the point of view
                                                of someone in the past by putting his prophecies on the lips of some revered
                                                figure or visionary (the author of Revelation is an exception to this
                                                practice). The apocalypticist always places himself at some mid point of
                                                the history to be prophecied. Thus he gains credibility by being able to
                                                cite actual events of history which have already transpired from the time of
                                                his historic mouthpiece to his own time. The hearer or reader of the
                                                prophecy assumes that the antecedent mouthpiece, the revered figure, is
                                                truly clairvoyant, for he has accurately recounted the events of history at
                                                least up to the time of the apocalypticist (and the time of apocalypticist's
                                                contemporaenous audience) who has generated the prophecy for his historic
                                                mouthpiece. But then when the apocalypticist comes to providing prophecy
                                                for his historical mouthpiece for the future beyond the time of the
                                                apocalypticist, the prophecy of that future becomes quite general and rather
                                                vague with respect to what events are to be anticipated. The
                                                apocalypticist at that point avoids the embarrassment of predicting
                                                something that does not come true in the immediate future. And it is only
                                                the immediate future from his own historic point of reference that the
                                                apocalypticist is concerned about. For he is trying to speak only to the
                                                existential conditions and raise the hopes of his contemporaries and not
                                                some future generation who may subsequently be embarrassed because the vague
                                                future of the apocalypticist never materialized.

                                                Thus no charge really can be made against Jesus for false prophecy, whom I
                                                view as the mouthpiece for Mark's apocalyptic predictions. All the events
                                                that the Markan Jesus predicts up to 13:24 are events that many scholars
                                                have recognized as having parallels with the history of the time from Jesus
                                                to 70 CE. Many commentaries cite such parallels. I call your attention
                                                to Joel Marcus' article, which I mentioned in my last post, and also for a
                                                scholar with a different perspective, I point you to John Meier's _A
                                                Marginal Jew_, II:344ff. Finally with respect to the criterion of
                                                coherence, the apocalyptic orientation in 13:5-27, in particular, does not
                                                cohere with Jesus' orientation in sayings which are judged tobe
                                                authentic to Jesus. I think, particularly of the parables. I just do not
                                                find any apocalyptic thread running through the parables. Thus, since the
                                                discourse of Mk.13:5-27 fails to pass the test of authenticity, according to
                                                the criteria of multiple attestation, discontinuity, embarrassment and
                                                coherence, I not consider that discourse to have originated with the
                                                historical Jesus.

                                                > > Much pure invention is put into the Gospels and attributed to
                                                > > Jesus. Most Jesus scholars today recognize that a number of the
                                                > > sayings attributed to Jesus are "pure invention" of his followers
                                                > > post facto.
                                                >
                                                > Most scholars have believed a great many things that are simply false
                                                > Ted. Therefore such an appeal to authority and concensus is not a
                                                > legitimate argument. We should evaluate each saying in its context,
                                                > and make determinations one by one. As you know, I can point to many
                                                > scholars that agree with me, so this kind of argument will get us no
                                                > where.

                                                > > Classic examples
                                                > > of such pure invention, to name some among many of them in the
                                                > > Gospels, in my view, are the discourse of Jesus in John 13-16 and
                                                > > the prayer in John 17.
                                                >
                                                > Well, one can hardly use supposed invention in John to justify belief
                                                > in invention in Mark on totally different sayings. I could just as
                                                > easily say that George Washington never said or did "X" because he
                                                > never cut down a cherry tree. I'm sure you can see the fallacy in
                                                > such reasoning.

                                                My response at this point was to a question you asked in your post, namely:

                                                > Given the explicit nature of
                                                > the prophecies, and the clear fact that they had not been fulfilled
                                                > during the period in question (mid to late 1st Century), how likely
                                                > is it that a pure invention would be put in the Gospels and
                                                > attributed to Jesus himself?

                                                My reference to the Johannine inventions of the Jesus discourse and prayer
                                                was cited as an example of the fact that pure inventions have been "put in"
                                                to the Gospels, John being a gospel. I could have cited Synoptic examples
                                                of pure Christian invention that are not authentic to Jesus, such as the
                                                allegorical interpretation of the Parable of the Sower.

                                                >
                                                > > My response:
                                                > > Mark is not the first early Christian given to hyperbole. Mark and
                                                > > other Christians at the time the Roman-Jewish War must have felt
                                                > > like their whole world was either at war or threatened with war
                                                > > (see below on my location of the Markan community). Likewise with
                                                > > respect to the evangelization of the world, I consider this again
                                                > > to be Markan hyperbole.
                                                >
                                                > But your conclusion here is merely question begging. The Christians
                                                > could very well have felt like this at ANY time, so trying to say
                                                > that the Jewish War HAD to be the image in the mind of Mark and the
                                                > other evangelists is quite poor argumentation. You can argue that
                                                > the apocalyptic visions found in Peter's statements in Acts are pure
                                                > invention as well, but this is simply more speculation.

                                                Are you suggesting that the Petrine statements in Acts are authentic to the
                                                historical Peter and not inventions of Luke? If so, you and I have
                                                radically different understandings of the rhetorical conventions Luke used
                                                in order to communicate the points of his theologized history? Many Lukan
                                                scholars have made a compelling case for Luke composing de novo the speeches
                                                in Acts. Their work,in my judgment, is not "simply more speculation."

                                                As Wallace
                                                > pointed out, if Peter and other disciples were apocalyptists from the
                                                > beginning of their ministry (a posibility we cannot dismiss,
                                                > especially given Paul's own apocalyptic tendencies, and we have no
                                                > evidence of conflict on this point in the early Church), then we
                                                > cannot use your argument in order to ascribe a late date to Mark or
                                                > any of the other Synoptics.
                                                >
                                                > > > c) In verse 14 we are told of the `abomination that causes
                                                > > > desolation' standing where it does not belong"... but I think it
                                                > > > is far more likely
                                                > > > that he is referring specifically to the apocalyptic language
                                                > > > found in Daniel 9:27. Whether this reference originates with
                                                > > > Jesus, or with Mark, one can hardly use it as a means to date
                                                > > > Mark to a post 70 time frame.
                                                > >
                                                > > My response:
                                                > > Are you familiar with Joel Marcus' article, "The Jewish War and the
                                                > > *Sitz im Leben* of Mark" (_JBL_, 1992: 441-462) and his
                                                > > interpretation of 13:14 and its historical allusion to the
                                                > > occupation of the Temple by Eleazer and other Zealots during the
                                                > > winter 67-68 CE, and also the links between Josephus' account of
                                                > > the time and Mark 13? I think that Marcus' scenario fits well
                                                > > with the struggle that the Markan community is facing as a result
                                                > > of the Roman-Jewish War, and I recommend it to you for your
                                                > > consideration.
                                                >
                                                > I am unfamiliar with this work. At the same time, I would not mind
                                                > if you would actually address my own argument. Mark uses Hebrew
                                                > Scripture more than once in his Gospel. This is a fact. We know for
                                                > a fact that the saying "son of man" is found in Daniel, and may well
                                                > have inspired Mark (and/or Jesus' own) use of the term.

                                                Now I am not sure of the point you are making. Maybe I have missed
                                                something or misunderstood you. It was my impression that you are
                                                ascribing to the historical Jesus *all* of the Jesus-discourse in Mk. 13.
                                                On the otherhand, as I have stated, I would ascribe Mk. 13 to Mark, with him
                                                drawing upon Christian material and adding his own redactional touches. But
                                                here you indicate that the "Son of the Human" saying from Daniel "may well
                                                have inspired Mark to use the term. It appears to me here that you think
                                                it is possible that Mark borrrowed from Daniel, and thus the saying of
                                                Mk. 13:26 could possibly be attributed to Mark.

                                                More
                                                > importantly, the saying "abomination that causes desolation" is found
                                                > in the apocalyptic writings of Daniel 9:27. It is very reasonable to
                                                > assume that Mark is quoting from this specific source, just as he
                                                > quotes from Psalm 22 in Jesus' death cry for example. I am puzzled
                                                > as to why you dismiss such a possibility so readily.
                                                >
                                                > > As Mahlon Smith has suggested in a post-response to your argument
                                                > > for a Roman provenance for the Gospel, I find little convincing
                                                > > support for Mark being written at Rome (see below on Peter as
                                                > > source for Mark), and have argued instead for the Markan community
                                                > > being located in the village area of Caesarea Philippi (see my
                                                > > Xtalk essay of 2/29/00 in the XTalk archives, "Guidelines for
                                                > > Locating the Markan Community,"
                                                >
                                                > This is interesting Ted, but as you will see from my own post, I do
                                                > not depend on Mark being written in Rome to advance my argument.
                                                > Peter may or may not have stood behind the Gospel, for example, but I
                                                > do not accept the persecution of Christians by Nero as a *necessary*
                                                > causal factor in Mark's Gospel, and *that* was my reason for bringing
                                                > in this argument (largely based on Griffith-Jones). Quite frankly,
                                                > location of writing can, at best, have only a peripheral impact on

                                                It strikes me that the provenance of a writing may have a good deal to do
                                                with the dating of the writing, if the events occuring in that location
                                                cohere with internal clues in the Gospel. It is my own methodological
                                                presupposition that an early Christian author writes out of the necessity
                                                to address certain existential exigencies which confront him or his
                                                community. I think it is safe to say that how and what he writes is
                                                colored by his attempt to address that which confronts him or his
                                                commmunity. Thus, it is that in the coloration of the narrative lie the
                                                internal textual clues as to the author's provenance and the plausible
                                                dating for the document. For example, when Luke intentionally revises Mk.
                                                13:14, updating its historical allusion to conform more closely to actual
                                                history, to read in his Gospel: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by
                                                armies, then you know that its desolation has come near" (21:20), that is a
                                                pretty clear clue that Luke writes at the earliest around 70 CE. I think
                                                Mark also offers such internal clues as to his location. Those clues serve
                                                as some of the evidence for my locating Mark's community in the village
                                                region of Caesarea Philippi.

                                                Jerusalem appeared imminent. The
                                                > admonition to flee to the mountains in Mk. 13: 14, in my opinion is a
                                                > historical allusion to these Judean Christians who fled to the
                                                > mountainous region
                                                >
                                                > And I would argue that it is more plausible that Mark is alluding to
                                                > Isaiah 17:13 or Zachariah 14:5 where we have similar images of
                                                > disaster and fleeing to the mountains. Remember, with apocalyptic
                                                > literature we need not look for literalism to find the meaning behind
                                                > the text. More often than not, the author wants to draw the readers
                                                > attention to other, earlier, well known and respected visions that
                                                > are similar in nature. If these are found in Hebrew Scripture (as is
                                                > the case with Isaiah and Zachariah), then its appeal to the author
                                                > and reader alike is greatly enhanced.
                                                >
                                                > > My response:
                                                > > Given Mark's vendetta against Peter and the Twelve, as I have
                                                > > articulated in my _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, I find it
                                                > > inconceivable that Peter is a source for Mark. Unless Peter is in
                                                > > to assassination of his own character, I do not see how it is
                                                > > possible that Peter could be the source of the negative profile
                                                > > Mark gives him, a profile that Matthew and Luke try
                                                > > assiduously to correct..
                                                >
                                                > Since I again reject the very premise of your argument (that Mark had
                                                > a vendetta going against Peter and the Twelve), then your argument
                                                > carries no real weight here.

                                                Have you read my argument in _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_ (20-51)? If you
                                                have, I would like to know why you reject it, and if you have not, I would
                                                like to know why you reject the argument out of hand without having engaged
                                                it and the evidence I have marshalled to support it.


                                                > > > 4) Simon, Father of Alexander and Rufus
                                                >
                                                > > I am agreement with Mahlon's position that, while one cannot prove
                                                > or disprove the historicity of the Simon of Cyrene, Alexander and
                                                > Rufus (Mk. 15:21), I think they may well be literary inventions of
                                                > Mark, much the same as Judas (as I have argued in several essays on
                                                > XTalk and still plan one to answer critiques of my position) and
                                                > Barabbas and others likely were.
                                                >
                                                > And this is the final example of a question begging argument. I do
                                                > not see that Judas was an invention, nor, even if he was, would I see
                                                > this as having any bearing on this point. The Twelve clearly *were*
                                                > legendary, and the arguments that they were not historical can be
                                                > made on that basis. NOTHING in the Simon traditions, nor those of
                                                > his sons in particular, bear any such legendary elements. As I
                                                > explained to Michael previously, to see these as pure invention is
                                                > being unnecessarily sceptical, and requires the construction of much
                                                > more complex theories to explain their presense. The simple fact of
                                                > the matter is that there is no theological motive for Mark to include
                                                > this man, and John appears to eliminate references to him because of
                                                > the embarrassment it causes. Quite frankly, when I encounter this
                                                > kind of scepticism, I am left to wonder what would satisfy the
                                                > sceptic. After all, if it embarrassing, the sceptic will argue that
                                                > it is probably an invention (see your argument on the Olivet
                                                > Discourse), and if it is not embarrassing, it serves a theological
                                                > motive, and, again, it is not historical.
                                                >
                                                > Out of curiousity, what is the criteria you use to decide that
                                                > anything in the Gospels is probably historical? Or do you simply
                                                > rule all of it to be an invention?

                                                See above with respect to the criteria I have articulated for determining
                                                what authentically originates with Jesus and what does not appear to


                                                >>Margaret Williams, in her
                                                >>essay, "Palestinian Jewish Personal Names in Acts," in _The Book of
                                                >> Acts in Its Palestinian Setting_, finds that "Simon" is "[a]
                                                >> perennial favourite with Jews, especially those in Greek-speaking
                                                >> areas...and the commonest male name by far in 1st-century
                                                >> Palestine."
                                                >
                                                > Yes, I am aware of this, and the name Simon is, in fact, very common
                                                > in the NT as well. I have never disputed this point.
                                                >
                                                > > And she notes with respect to "Alexander " (ALEZANDROS), a
                                                > > Greek name (contra your statement that it is a Roman name in your
                                                > > 12/3 post),
                                                >
                                                > You are correct. My apoligies. Alexander is, indeed Greek, and as
                                                > you note, Rufus is Roman. You help to make my actual point below
                                                > however...
                                                >
                                                > > that it was not a name commonly used "among 1st-century Jews despite
                                                > > its earlier popularity there in aristocratic circles. Most of the
                                                > > (1st-century) individuals of the name mentioned by Josephus belong
                                                > > to the royal family and all but one of those occuring on the
                                                > > Jerusalem ossuaries came from the Diaspora" [She cites Avigad and
                                                > > Sukenik ("Jewish Tomb") at this point]. She goes on to say: "In
                                                > > the Diaspora, its [the name "Alexander " ] fortunes were mixed.
                                                > > Egypt and Cyrene there is only a scattering of cases and in Greece
                                                > > and Asia Minor not many at any time" (96f.). Josephus mentions
                                                > > four men with the name "Rufus," none of them Jews:, namely, a Roman
                                                > > calvary commander, a consul, an Egyptian who is a soldier in the
                                                > > Roman army, and the Roman procurator of Judea
                                                > > (12-15 CE).
                                                >
                                                > Agreed, and this, in my view, strengthens the argument for the
                                                > historicity of the names Alexander and Rufus found in Mark.

                                                I think that is information that does tend to strengthen your argument.

                                                Ted Weeden
                                              • Ted Weeden
                                                Brian Trafford, December 03, 2001 11:43 PM, wrote: Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark ... My response: There are a number of reasons that I do not think that
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Dec 4, 2001
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  Brian Trafford, December 03, 2001 11:43 PM, wrote:
                                                  Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark


                                                  > > If the prophecies originated with Jesus, and those prophecies by
                                                  > the time of writing of Mark, as you propose, had not been fulfilled,
                                                  > does that not still subject Jesus "to the charge of false prophecy."
                                                  >
                                                  > Yes it does, and this is exactly my point. As Grant and others
                                                  > argue, the most plausible explanaition for why Mark and the
                                                  > evangelists would carefully preserve embarrassing details of what
                                                  > Jesus said and did is because they were too deeply ingrained in the
                                                  > Christian memory for them to remove them. On this basis, the sayings
                                                  > go back to Jesus himself, and the usefulness of using the Olivet
                                                  > Discourse to date the Synoptics disappears.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > > With regard to whether Jesus would have uttered
                                                  > > such prophecies to begin with, I, with many other Jesus scholars,
                                                  > > do not think that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptist and,
                                                  > > therefore, I do not consider the apocalyptic sayings attributed to
                                                  > > him to be authentic..
                                                  >
                                                  > This is fine Ted, but the Synoptics clearly portray Jesus as an
                                                  > apocalytist. Your reasoning here is merely circular. You say Jesus
                                                  > was not an apocalyptist, so the sayings that make him an apocalyptist
                                                  > are not historical.

                                                  My response:

                                                  There are a number of reasons that I do not think that Jesus was an
                                                  apocalypticisit. I will list them but not expand upon them, unless you wish
                                                  further argumentative support in a subsequent post. I do not think that
                                                  the apocalyptic sayings attributed to Jesus can stand up to the usual
                                                  criteria applied to make judgments with regard to the authenticity of those
                                                  sayings as original to Jesus. The four criteria widely applied by many
                                                  Jesus scholars are multiple attestation, discontinuity, embarrassment and
                                                  coherence. When I consider Mark 13, particularly 13:5-27, with respect to
                                                  the criterion of multiple attestation, virtually nothing in that complex of
                                                  sayings is multiply attested as originating with Jesus. The
                                                  interdependence of the Synoptics, however you resolve the Synoptic Problem,
                                                  rules out multiple attestation existing among the Synoptics. There is no
                                                  other independent source, that I am aware of, outside the Synoptics that
                                                  attibutes any of the sayings of 13:5-27 directly to Jesus. The discourse
                                                  of 13:5-27 fails the test for authenticity according to the criterion of
                                                  multiple attestation.

                                                  With respect to the criterion of discontinuity, that criterion argues that
                                                  authenticity is evident if a saying is neither coherent with Judaism and
                                                  Jewish perspective at the time nor coherent with the particular
                                                  theological/christological interests of early Christian communities. Mk
                                                  13:5-27 fails this test for authenticity because it is clear that the early
                                                  church had an apocalyptic agenda (you acknowledge that the Synoptic writers
                                                  and Paul were apocalypticists) and thus its apocalyptic perspective coheres
                                                  with the kerygmatic perspective of early Christians. The discourse of Mk
                                                  13:5-27 also fails the test for authenticity with respect to the criterion
                                                  of embarrassment, the criterion you seem to be using when you replied to my
                                                  statement that Jesus is subject to the charge of false prophecy whether the
                                                  words originated with Jesus or were placed in his mouth by a Christian
                                                  prophet. Here is my statement and your response:

                                                  > > I have difficulty seeing how Jesus is any less subject "to the
                                                  > > charge of false prophecy" if the prophecies originated with him than
                                                  > > he is if the prophecies have been falsely ascribed to him.
                                                  >
                                                  > Jesus would remain subject to a charge of giving false prophecies in
                                                  > both scenarios. Under the theory of those that say Mark invented
                                                  > this prophecy, he is needlessly ascribing an embarrassing non-
                                                  > fulfilled prophecy to the man he considers to be the Messiah. That
                                                  > is highly unlikely, and the simpler and more plausible explanaition
                                                  > is that Jesus did offer these sayings himself, and the community
                                                  > already knew about them.

                                                  My response:

                                                  You acknowledge that the Synoptic writers are apocalypticists. An
                                                  apocalypticist never allows himself to be embarrassed by his prophecy for he
                                                  constructs his prophecy such that he predicts history from the point of view
                                                  of someone in the past by putting his prophecies on the lips of some revered
                                                  figure or visionary (the author of Revelation is an exception to this
                                                  practice). The apocalypticist always places himself at some mid point of
                                                  the history to be prophecied. Thus he gains credibility by being able to
                                                  cite actual events of history which have already transpired from the time of
                                                  his historic mouthpiece to his own time. The hearer or reader of the
                                                  prophecy assumes that the antecedent mouthpiece, the revered figure, is
                                                  truly clairvoyant, for he has accurately recounted the events of history at
                                                  least up to the time of the apocalypticist (and the time of apocalypticist's
                                                  contemporaenous audience) who has generated the prophecy for his historic
                                                  mouthpiece. But then when the apocalypticist comes to providing prophecy
                                                  for his historical mouthpiece for the future beyond the time of the
                                                  apocalypticist, the prophecy of that future becomes quite general and rather
                                                  vague with respect to what events are to be anticipated. The
                                                  apocalypticist at that point avoids the embarrassment of predicting
                                                  something that does not come true in the immediate future. And it is only
                                                  the immediate future from his own historic point of reference that the
                                                  apocalypticist is concerned about. For he is trying to speak only to the
                                                  existential conditions and raise the hopes of his contemporaries and not
                                                  some future generation who may subsequently be embarrassed because the vague
                                                  future of the apocalypticist never materialized.

                                                  Thus no charge really can be made against Jesus for false prophecy, whom I
                                                  view as the mouthpiece for Mark's apocalyptic predictions. All the events
                                                  that the Markan Jesus predicts up to 13:24 are events that many scholars
                                                  have recognized as having parallels with the history of the time from Jesus
                                                  to 70 CE. Many commentaries cite such parallels. I call your attention
                                                  to Joel Marcus' article, which I mentioned in my last post, and also for a
                                                  scholar with a different perspective, I point you to John Meier's _A
                                                  Marginal Jew_, II:344ff. Finally with respect to the criterion of
                                                  coherence, the apocalyptic orientation in 13:5-27, in particular, does not
                                                  cohere with Jesus' orientation in sayings which are judged tobe
                                                  authentic to Jesus. I think, particularly of the parables. I just do not
                                                  find any apocalyptic thread running through the parables. Thus, since the
                                                  discourse of Mk.13:5-27 fails to pass the test of authenticity, according to
                                                  the criteria of multiple attestation, discontinuity, embarrassment and
                                                  coherence, I not consider that discourse to have originated with the
                                                  historical Jesus.

                                                  > > Much pure invention is put into the Gospels and attributed to
                                                  > > Jesus. Most Jesus scholars today recognize that a number of the
                                                  > > sayings attributed to Jesus are "pure invention" of his followers
                                                  > > post facto.
                                                  >
                                                  > Most scholars have believed a great many things that are simply false
                                                  > Ted. Therefore such an appeal to authority and concensus is not a
                                                  > legitimate argument. We should evaluate each saying in its context,
                                                  > and make determinations one by one. As you know, I can point to many
                                                  > scholars that agree with me, so this kind of argument will get us no
                                                  > where.

                                                  > > Classic examples
                                                  > > of such pure invention, to name some among many of them in the
                                                  > > Gospels, in my view, are the discourse of Jesus in John 13-16 and
                                                  > > the prayer in John 17.
                                                  >
                                                  > Well, one can hardly use supposed invention in John to justify belief
                                                  > in invention in Mark on totally different sayings. I could just as
                                                  > easily say that George Washington never said or did "X" because he
                                                  > never cut down a cherry tree. I'm sure you can see the fallacy in
                                                  > such reasoning.

                                                  My response at this point was to a question you asked in your post, namely:

                                                  > Given the explicit nature of
                                                  > the prophecies, and the clear fact that they had not been fulfilled
                                                  > during the period in question (mid to late 1st Century), how likely
                                                  > is it that a pure invention would be put in the Gospels and
                                                  > attributed to Jesus himself?

                                                  My reference to the Johannine inventions of the Jesus discourse and prayer
                                                  was cited as an example of the fact that pure inventions have been "put in"
                                                  to the Gospels, John being a gospel. I could have cited Synoptic examples
                                                  of pure Christian invention that are not authentic to Jesus, such as the
                                                  allegorical interpretation of the Parable of the Sower.

                                                  >
                                                  > > My response:
                                                  > > Mark is not the first early Christian given to hyperbole. Mark and
                                                  > > other Christians at the time the Roman-Jewish War must have felt
                                                  > > like their whole world was either at war or threatened with war
                                                  > > (see below on my location of the Markan community). Likewise with
                                                  > > respect to the evangelization of the world, I consider this again
                                                  > > to be Markan hyperbole.
                                                  >
                                                  > But your conclusion here is merely question begging. The Christians
                                                  > could very well have felt like this at ANY time, so trying to say
                                                  > that the Jewish War HAD to be the image in the mind of Mark and the
                                                  > other evangelists is quite poor argumentation. You can argue that
                                                  > the apocalyptic visions found in Peter's statements in Acts are pure
                                                  > invention as well, but this is simply more speculation.

                                                  Are you suggesting that the Petrine statements in Acts are authentic to the
                                                  historical Peter and not inventions of Luke? If so, you and I have
                                                  radically different understandings of the rhetorical conventions Luke used
                                                  in order to communicate the points of his theologized history? Many Lukan
                                                  scholars have made a compelling case for Luke composing de novo the speeches
                                                  in Acts. Their work,in my judgment, is not "simply more speculation."

                                                  As Wallace
                                                  > pointed out, if Peter and other disciples were apocalyptists from the
                                                  > beginning of their ministry (a posibility we cannot dismiss,
                                                  > especially given Paul's own apocalyptic tendencies, and we have no
                                                  > evidence of conflict on this point in the early Church), then we
                                                  > cannot use your argument in order to ascribe a late date to Mark or
                                                  > any of the other Synoptics.
                                                  >
                                                  > > > c) In verse 14 we are told of the `abomination that causes
                                                  > > > desolation' standing where it does not belong"... but I think it
                                                  > > > is far more likely
                                                  > > > that he is referring specifically to the apocalyptic language
                                                  > > > found in Daniel 9:27. Whether this reference originates with
                                                  > > > Jesus, or with Mark, one can hardly use it as a means to date
                                                  > > > Mark to a post 70 time frame.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > My response:
                                                  > > Are you familiar with Joel Marcus' article, "The Jewish War and the
                                                  > > *Sitz im Leben* of Mark" (_JBL_, 1992: 441-462) and his
                                                  > > interpretation of 13:14 and its historical allusion to the
                                                  > > occupation of the Temple by Eleazer and other Zealots during the
                                                  > > winter 67-68 CE, and also the links between Josephus' account of
                                                  > > the time and Mark 13? I think that Marcus' scenario fits well
                                                  > > with the struggle that the Markan community is facing as a result
                                                  > > of the Roman-Jewish War, and I recommend it to you for your
                                                  > > consideration.
                                                  >
                                                  > I am unfamiliar with this work. At the same time, I would not mind
                                                  > if you would actually address my own argument. Mark uses Hebrew
                                                  > Scripture more than once in his Gospel. This is a fact. We know for
                                                  > a fact that the saying "son of man" is found in Daniel, and may well
                                                  > have inspired Mark (and/or Jesus' own) use of the term.

                                                  Now I am not sure of the point you are making. Maybe I have missed
                                                  something or misunderstood you. It was my impression that you are
                                                  ascribing to the historical Jesus *all* of the Jesus-discourse in Mk. 13.
                                                  On the otherhand, as I have stated, I would ascribe Mk. 13 to Mark, with him
                                                  drawing upon Christian material and adding his own redactional touches. But
                                                  here you indicate that the "Son of the Human" saying from Daniel "may well
                                                  have inspired Mark to use the term. It appears to me here that you think
                                                  it is possible that Mark borrrowed from Daniel, and thus the saying of
                                                  Mk. 13:26 could possibly be attributed to Mark.

                                                  More
                                                  > importantly, the saying "abomination that causes desolation" is found
                                                  > in the apocalyptic writings of Daniel 9:27. It is very reasonable to
                                                  > assume that Mark is quoting from this specific source, just as he
                                                  > quotes from Psalm 22 in Jesus' death cry for example. I am puzzled
                                                  > as to why you dismiss such a possibility so readily.
                                                  >
                                                  > > As Mahlon Smith has suggested in a post-response to your argument
                                                  > > for a Roman provenance for the Gospel, I find little convincing
                                                  > > support for Mark being written at Rome (see below on Peter as
                                                  > > source for Mark), and have argued instead for the Markan community
                                                  > > being located in the village area of Caesarea Philippi (see my
                                                  > > Xtalk essay of 2/29/00 in the XTalk archives, "Guidelines for
                                                  > > Locating the Markan Community,"
                                                  >
                                                  > This is interesting Ted, but as you will see from my own post, I do
                                                  > not depend on Mark being written in Rome to advance my argument.
                                                  > Peter may or may not have stood behind the Gospel, for example, but I
                                                  > do not accept the persecution of Christians by Nero as a *necessary*
                                                  > causal factor in Mark's Gospel, and *that* was my reason for bringing
                                                  > in this argument (largely based on Griffith-Jones). Quite frankly,
                                                  > location of writing can, at best, have only a peripheral impact on

                                                  It strikes me that the provenance of a writing may have a good deal to do
                                                  with the dating of the writing, if the events occuring in that location
                                                  cohere with internal clues in the Gospel. It is my own methodological
                                                  presupposition that an early Christian author writes out of the necessity
                                                  to address certain existential exigencies which confront him or his
                                                  community. I think it is safe to say that how and what he writes is
                                                  colored by his attempt to address that which confronts him or his
                                                  commmunity. Thus, it is that in the coloration of the narrative lie the
                                                  internal textual clues as to the author's provenance and the plausible
                                                  dating for the document. For example, when Luke intentionally revises Mk.
                                                  13:14, updating its historical allusion to conform more closely to actual
                                                  history, to read in his Gospel: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by
                                                  armies, then you know that its desolation has come near" (21:20), that is a
                                                  pretty clear clue that Luke writes at the earliest around 70 CE. I think
                                                  Mark also offers such internal clues as to his location. Those clues serve
                                                  as some of the evidence for my locating Mark's community in the village
                                                  region of Caesarea Philippi.

                                                  Jerusalem appeared imminent. The
                                                  > admonition to flee to the mountains in Mk. 13: 14, in my opinion is a
                                                  > historical allusion to these Judean Christians who fled to the
                                                  > mountainous region
                                                  >
                                                  > And I would argue that it is more plausible that Mark is alluding to
                                                  > Isaiah 17:13 or Zachariah 14:5 where we have similar images of
                                                  > disaster and fleeing to the mountains. Remember, with apocalyptic
                                                  > literature we need not look for literalism to find the meaning behind
                                                  > the text. More often than not, the author wants to draw the readers
                                                  > attention to other, earlier, well known and respected visions that
                                                  > are similar in nature. If these are found in Hebrew Scripture (as is
                                                  > the case with Isaiah and Zachariah), then its appeal to the author
                                                  > and reader alike is greatly enhanced.
                                                  >
                                                  > > My response:
                                                  > > Given Mark's vendetta against Peter and the Twelve, as I have
                                                  > > articulated in my _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, I find it
                                                  > > inconceivable that Peter is a source for Mark. Unless Peter is in
                                                  > > to assassination of his own character, I do not see how it is
                                                  > > possible that Peter could be the source of the negative profile
                                                  > > Mark gives him, a profile that Matthew and Luke try
                                                  > > assiduously to correct..
                                                  >
                                                  > Since I again reject the very premise of your argument (that Mark had
                                                  > a vendetta going against Peter and the Twelve), then your argument
                                                  > carries no real weight here.

                                                  Have you read my argument in _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_ (20-51)? If you
                                                  have, I would like to know why you reject it, and if you have not, I would
                                                  like to know why you reject the argument out of hand without having engaged
                                                  it and the evidence I have marshalled to support it.


                                                  > > > 4) Simon, Father of Alexander and Rufus
                                                  >
                                                  > > I am agreement with Mahlon's position that, while one cannot prove
                                                  > or disprove the historicity of the Simon of Cyrene, Alexander and
                                                  > Rufus (Mk. 15:21), I think they may well be literary inventions of
                                                  > Mark, much the same as Judas (as I have argued in several essays on
                                                  > XTalk and still plan one to answer critiques of my position) and
                                                  > Barabbas and others likely were.
                                                  >
                                                  > And this is the final example of a question begging argument. I do
                                                  > not see that Judas was an invention, nor, even if he was, would I see
                                                  > this as having any bearing on this point. The Twelve clearly *were*
                                                  > legendary, and the arguments that they were not historical can be
                                                  > made on that basis. NOTHING in the Simon traditions, nor those of
                                                  > his sons in particular, bear any such legendary elements. As I
                                                  > explained to Michael previously, to see these as pure invention is
                                                  > being unnecessarily sceptical, and requires the construction of much
                                                  > more complex theories to explain their presense. The simple fact of
                                                  > the matter is that there is no theological motive for Mark to include
                                                  > this man, and John appears to eliminate references to him because of
                                                  > the embarrassment it causes. Quite frankly, when I encounter this
                                                  > kind of scepticism, I am left to wonder what would satisfy the
                                                  > sceptic. After all, if it embarrassing, the sceptic will argue that
                                                  > it is probably an invention (see your argument on the Olivet
                                                  > Discourse), and if it is not embarrassing, it serves a theological
                                                  > motive, and, again, it is not historical.
                                                  >
                                                  > Out of curiousity, what is the criteria you use to decide that
                                                  > anything in the Gospels is probably historical? Or do you simply
                                                  > rule all of it to be an invention?

                                                  See above with respect to the criteria I have articulated for determining
                                                  what authentically originates with Jesus and what does not appear to


                                                  >>Margaret Williams, in her
                                                  >>essay, "Palestinian Jewish Personal Names in Acts," in _The Book of
                                                  >> Acts in Its Palestinian Setting_, finds that "Simon" is "[a]
                                                  >> perennial favourite with Jews, especially those in Greek-speaking
                                                  >> areas...and the commonest male name by far in 1st-century
                                                  >> Palestine."
                                                  >
                                                  > Yes, I am aware of this, and the name Simon is, in fact, very common
                                                  > in the NT as well. I have never disputed this point.
                                                  >
                                                  > > And she notes with respect to "Alexander " (ALEZANDROS), a
                                                  > > Greek name (contra your statement that it is a Roman name in your
                                                  > > 12/3 post),
                                                  >
                                                  > You are correct. My apoligies. Alexander is, indeed Greek, and as
                                                  > you note, Rufus is Roman. You help to make my actual point below
                                                  > however...
                                                  >
                                                  > > that it was not a name commonly used "among 1st-century Jews despite
                                                  > > its earlier popularity there in aristocratic circles. Most of the
                                                  > > (1st-century) individuals of the name mentioned by Josephus belong
                                                  > > to the royal family and all but one of those occuring on the
                                                  > > Jerusalem ossuaries came from the Diaspora" [She cites Avigad and
                                                  > > Sukenik ("Jewish Tomb") at this point]. She goes on to say: "In
                                                  > > the Diaspora, its [the name "Alexander " ] fortunes were mixed.
                                                  > > Egypt and Cyrene there is only a scattering of cases and in Greece
                                                  > > and Asia Minor not many at any time" (96f.). Josephus mentions
                                                  > > four men with the name "Rufus," none of them Jews:, namely, a Roman
                                                  > > calvary commander, a consul, an Egyptian who is a soldier in the
                                                  > > Roman army, and the Roman procurator of Judea
                                                  > > (12-15 CE).
                                                  >
                                                  > Agreed, and this, in my view, strengthens the argument for the
                                                  > historicity of the names Alexander and Rufus found in Mark.

                                                  I think that is information that does tend to strengthen your argument.

                                                  Ted Weeden
                                                • Bob Schacht
                                                  ... Thanks, Ted, for taking the time to respond in detail to Brian. I have a problem with your characterization of apocalypticists quoted above because it
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Dec 4, 2001
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                                                    At 10:47 PM 12/4/01 -0600, Ted Weeden wrote:
                                                    >...An apocalypticist never allows himself to be embarrassed by his
                                                    >prophecy for he
                                                    >constructs his prophecy such that he predicts history from the point of view
                                                    >of someone in the past by putting his prophecies on the lips of some revered
                                                    >figure or visionary (the author of Revelation is an exception to this
                                                    >practice). The apocalypticist always places himself at some mid point of
                                                    >the history to be prophecied. Thus he gains credibility by being able to
                                                    >cite actual events of history which have already transpired from the time of
                                                    >his historic mouthpiece to his own time. ... The
                                                    >apocalypticist at that point avoids the embarrassment of predicting
                                                    >something that does not come true in the immediate future. And it is only
                                                    >the immediate future from his own historic point of reference that the
                                                    >apocalypticist is concerned about. For he is trying to speak only to the
                                                    >existential conditions and raise the hopes of his contemporaries and not
                                                    >some future generation who may subsequently be embarrassed because the vague
                                                    >future of the apocalypticist never materialized....

                                                    Thanks, Ted, for taking the time to respond in detail to Brian.
                                                    I have a problem with your characterization of apocalypticists quoted above
                                                    because it assumes that they are calculating rational actors rather than
                                                    visionaries. Some writers may wish to pass themselves or others off as
                                                    prophetic in the calculating, rational way that you describe, but others
                                                    are visionaries who don't bother to calibrate whatever it is that they feel
                                                    impelled to say. It is later writers who sort out the prophetic voices
                                                    according to whether their visions were perceived to bear some truth, or
                                                    maybe to pass on a vision yet to be fulfilled.

                                                    I am mixing apocalyptic with prophetic voices here, and recognize that one
                                                    can believe in apocalyptic messages without being at the same time
                                                    prophetic. That is, one can accept the apocalyptic visions expressed by
                                                    others, and can pass along one's own interpretation of them. But I felt
                                                    that you might be missing the boat on the apocalyptic messengers here.

                                                    Bob
                                                  • Octavian Baban
                                                    Dear Ted, I always read with great interest your thoroughly argued comments on NT and varia. As I was parsing the recent GMark thread, my attention was drawn
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Dec 4, 2001
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                                                      Dear Ted,

                                                      I always read with great interest your thoroughly argued comments on NT
                                                      and varia. As I was parsing the recent GMark thread, my attention was drawn
                                                      to your evaluation of Luke's rhetorics, i.e.

                                                      >[...] Are you suggesting that the Petrine statements in Acts are authentic
                                                      to the
                                                      > historical Peter and not inventions of Luke? If so, you and I have
                                                      > radically different understandings of the rhetorical conventions Luke used
                                                      > in order to communicate the points of his theologized history? Many
                                                      Lukan
                                                      > scholars have made a compelling case for Luke composing de novo the
                                                      speeches
                                                      > in Acts. Their work,in my judgment, is not "simply more speculation."
                                                      >

                                                      Rhetorics does not suppose, apparently, first and foremost creating
                                                      arguments, or speeches, de novo, but rather reporting them in a form that
                                                      suits the argument of the presenter (the rhetor). Somewhat dissimilar to
                                                      Tacitus, for example, it could be argued that Luke does not invent speeches
                                                      "from scratch", yet he rather reconstructs them in a credible way,
                                                      condensing them and reporting them according to the literary practice of
                                                      mimesis (imitation), with a certain dramatical touch (not far removed from
                                                      the style of helenistic historians such as Theopompus of Chios, Phylarchus,
                                                      Ephorus, Duris of Samos; B. Witherington iii takes them into consideration,
                                                      for example, in his recent commentary on Acts, _The Acts of the Apostles. A
                                                      Socio-Rhetorical Commentary_, Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1998, n. 114, p.
                                                      31). If not exactly intending to leave us with the ipssisima verba of their
                                                      heroes, such historians would still attempt to convey a genuine
                                                      reconstruction of the past (although, quite often, a partisan one). Of
                                                      course, there is a question to ask, here: how close is Luke to such
                                                      historians, in ideology and his actual style?

                                                      Returning to rhetorical habits of apocalypticists, are the apostolic
                                                      apocalypticists succumbing to the temptation of creating things de novo? It
                                                      would be interesting to remember the Early Church reluctance in accepting
                                                      John's Apocalypse. Would the first Christians have accepted Mark's
                                                      apocalyptic speeches attributed to Jesus, if there would not have been ways
                                                      of connecting in a credible way his reconstructions to Jesus' actual
                                                      utterances?

                                                      Tavi Baban





                                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                                      From: Ted Weeden <weedent@...>
                                                      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                                                      Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2001 6:47 AM
                                                      Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark
                                                    • Ted Weeden
                                                      ... authentic ... used ... speeches ... Phylarchus, ... consideration, ... A ... their ... Thank you, Tavi, for raising this issue with me. When I made the
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Dec 5, 2001
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                                                        Octavian Baban wrote on Wednesday, December 05, 2001:

                                                        > As I was parsing the recent GMark thread, my attention was drawn
                                                        > to your evaluation of Luke's rhetorics, i.e.
                                                        >
                                                        > >[...] Are you suggesting that the Petrine statements in Acts are
                                                        authentic
                                                        > to the
                                                        > > historical Peter and not inventions of Luke? If so, you and I have
                                                        > > radically different understandings of the rhetorical conventions Luke
                                                        used
                                                        > > in order to communicate the points of his theologized history? Many
                                                        > Lukan
                                                        > > scholars have made a compelling case for Luke composing de novo the
                                                        > speeches
                                                        > > in Acts. Their work,in my judgment, is not "simply more speculation."
                                                        > >
                                                        >
                                                        > Rhetorics does not suppose, apparently, first and foremost creating
                                                        > arguments, or speeches, de novo, but rather reporting them in a form that
                                                        > suits the argument of the presenter (the rhetor). Somewhat dissimilar to
                                                        > Tacitus, for example, it could be argued that Luke does not invent
                                                        speeches
                                                        > "from scratch", yet he rather reconstructs them in a credible way,
                                                        > condensing them and reporting them according to the literary practice of
                                                        > mimesis (imitation), with a certain dramatical touch (not far removed from
                                                        > the style of helenistic historians such as Theopompus of Chios,
                                                        Phylarchus,
                                                        > Ephorus, Duris of Samos; B. Witherington iii takes them into
                                                        consideration,
                                                        > for example, in his recent commentary on Acts, _The Acts of the Apostles.
                                                        A
                                                        > Socio-Rhetorical Commentary_, Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1998, n. 114, p.
                                                        > 31). If not exactly intending to leave us with the ipssisima verba of
                                                        their
                                                        > heroes, such historians would still attempt to convey a genuine
                                                        > reconstruction of the past (although, quite often, a partisan one). Of
                                                        > course, there is a question to ask, here: how close is Luke to such
                                                        > historians, in ideology and his actual style?

                                                        Thank you, Tavi, for raising this issue with me. When I made the statement,
                                                        "Many Lukan scholars have made a compelling case for Luke composing de novo
                                                        the speeches in Acts, I had in mind a Lukan scholar like Hans Conzelmann who
                                                        states with respect to Luke's speeches in Acts as follows (_Acts of the
                                                        Apostles_, xliiif. ):

                                                        "Luke follows the general example of ancient historiography by inserting
                                                        'speeches' into his narrative.... Luke shapes his speeches in a *completely
                                                        independent manner, corresponding to his conception of his work as a whole*
                                                        [emphasis: mine].... These are *not abbreviated versions of actual speeches
                                                        but are literary creations* [emphasis:mine]; the same practice was followed
                                                        in other literature of the time.... [T]he speeches do not attempt to
                                                        reflect the individual style of the speaker, but rather the substantial
                                                        unity of early Christian (i.e., normative) preaching; note that Luke has
                                                        Peter speak in the same Pauline manner.... [T]hey are designed specifically
                                                        as sermons directed to Jews...and thus represent Luke's historical
                                                        reflections on the difference between the time of the earliest church and
                                                        the time when he writes... [T]hey are ... constructed... according to a
                                                        literary scheme, albeit a primitive one. Thus we can *recognize in the
                                                        speeches the specifically Lukan theology with its understanding of
                                                        Christology, Scripture, promise and fulfillment, and the pattern of
                                                        salvation---repentance---baptism* [emphasis: mine]."

                                                        Thus, Tavi, when I state that Luke composes the speeches de novo, I am
                                                        stating essentially what I find Conzelmann states in the above quote:
                                                        namely, all the speeches in Acts are literary creations of Luke, composed by
                                                        Luke to push his own theological and christological agenda. Nothing in the
                                                        content of the speeches nor their style bears any trace of an actual and
                                                        authentic utterance of the respective historical figures upon whose lips
                                                        Luke places his independently crafted and stylistically uniform discourses.
                                                        That sounds like invention "from scratch" to me. And invention "from
                                                        scratch" does not necessarily mean, in my view, that Luke has not drawn upon
                                                        Christian resources to formulate his speeches, but rather invention "from
                                                        scratch" means one cannot "scratch their surface" and find beneath anything
                                                        that goes back directly and originally to the historical figures Luke
                                                        features in his theologized history.

                                                        > Returning to rhetorical habits of apocalypticists, are the apostolic
                                                        > apocalypticists succumbing to the temptation of creating things de novo?
                                                        It
                                                        > would be interesting to remember the Early Church reluctance in accepting
                                                        > John's Apocalypse. Would the first Christians have accepted Mark's
                                                        > apocalyptic speeches attributed to Jesus, if there would not have been
                                                        ways
                                                        > of connecting in a credible way his reconstructions to Jesus' actual
                                                        > utterances?

                                                        I think you are dealing with two different issues here. Your reference to
                                                        the Early Church's reluctance to accept Revelation is an issue of canon,
                                                        namely, what is considered orthodox Christian scripture and what is not.
                                                        The issue of canon only began to raise its head with Marcion, some fifty
                                                        years after John penned his apocalypse. When John wrote he was not
                                                        concerned with whether his apocalypse would be acceptable to any other body
                                                        of Christians but his own community. He certainly was not concerned with
                                                        whether he was writing something that would be recognized as canonical by
                                                        future generations.

                                                        With respect to the issue regarding the first Christians accepting Mark's
                                                        apocalyptic speeches if there was no apparent connection between the
                                                        substance and orientation of the Markan apocalypse and actual utterances of
                                                        Jesus, I would venture the following. The early church was, as I see it,
                                                        constantly reshaping and adding to the oral tradition, and, in the course of
                                                        doing so, producing material that has no direct link to the historical
                                                        Jesus. With respect to narratives which the church created, and which are
                                                        inauthentic portrayals of Jesus, I would suggest the birth stories, the
                                                        feeding of 4,000 and 5,000 people, walking on water, etc. I do not think
                                                        that the inventors of that material worried about whether or not they were
                                                        being faithful to the historical evidence regarding Jesus. And I doubt
                                                        that early Christians who heard those stories pondered whether the stories
                                                        were historically verified or verifiable accounts and, thereby, could be
                                                        trusted as authentical portrayals of the historical Jesus.

                                                        With respect to sayings, I doubt that the early Christians questioned
                                                        whether Jesus followed up his parables with allegorical interpretations of
                                                        them. The "invented" allegorical interpretations spoke so well to the
                                                        current existential situations and needs the church was facing that they
                                                        were accepted as originating with Jesus. Likewise, my guess is that early
                                                        Christians in Mark's time and thereafter never questioned whether Jesus
                                                        actually prayed the prayer that all three of the Synoptics record him
                                                        variously praying in Gethsemane, even though it is obvious no one could have
                                                        heard that prayer to preserve for the oral tradition, since Jesus was alone,
                                                        with only three sleeping disciples at a distance, and no recording
                                                        machines or video cameras were present to capture that prayer for
                                                        Christian posterity. The prayer is a fabrication, an invention of the
                                                        later
                                                        church, and I would argue an invention of Mark *de novo*. But until
                                                        more recent times what Christians would have ever raised the issue as
                                                        to whether the prayer can be traced to an actual utterance of Jesus?

                                                        Ted Weeden

















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                                                      • bjtraff
                                                        I am going to have to do a fair bit of snipping in order to keep this post to a manageable size. I hope that it will remain comprehensible. ... complex of ...
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Dec 5, 2001
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                                                          I am going to have to do a fair bit of snipping in order to keep this
                                                          post to a manageable size. I hope that it will remain comprehensible.

                                                          --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ted Weeden" <weedent@e...> wrote:

                                                          > Â…When I consider Mark 13, particularly 13:5-27, with respect to
                                                          > the criterion of multiple attestation, virtually nothing in that
                                                          complex of
                                                          > sayings is multiply attested as originating with Jesus. The
                                                          > interdependence of the Synoptics, however you resolve the Synoptic
                                                          Problem,
                                                          > rules out multiple attestation existing among the Synoptics.
                                                          > There is no other independent source, that I am aware of, outside
                                                          > the Synoptics that attibutes any of the sayings of 13:5-27 directly
                                                          > to Jesus. The discourse of 13:5-27 fails the test for
                                                          > authenticity according to the criterion of multiple attestation.

                                                          I would agree that multiple attestation does not apply when
                                                          considering the Olivet Discourse only appears in the Synoptics.
                                                          (Small aside but I reject any definition of "Q" that includes
                                                          material found in Mark. I know this is a separate issue, and do not
                                                          wish to side track the discussion further, but wanted to clarify my
                                                          position, given your later qualification of your own statement to
                                                          Bob).

                                                          > With respect to the criterion of discontinuity, that criterion
                                                          > argues that authenticity is evident if a saying is neither coherent
                                                          > with Judaism and Jewish perspective at the time nor coherent with
                                                          > the particular theological/christological interests of early
                                                          > Christian communities.

                                                          I do not think that this particular criteria is useful in determining
                                                          the authenticity of *any* of the sayings or acts of Jesus. I do not
                                                          think we can divine the theological motivations of the early
                                                          Christian community with sufficient certainty to make this a useful
                                                          tool. More often than not, the conclusions drawn from this criteria
                                                          simply beg the question, and betrays the prejudices of the exegete
                                                          more than casting significant light on what Jesus may or may not have
                                                          said.

                                                          > Mk 13:5-27 fails this test for authenticity because it is clear
                                                          > that the early church had an apocalyptic agenda (you acknowledge
                                                          > that the Synoptic writers and Paul were apocalypticists) and thus
                                                          > its apocalyptic perspective coheres with the kerygmatic perspective
                                                          > of early Christians.

                                                          What I will say here is that the argument for dating GMark does not
                                                          depend on absolute authenticity of the Olivet Discourse per se, so
                                                          much as that it reflects Jesus' own thoughts. In other words, if he
                                                          were to read it himself, would he have rejected it? Given the clear
                                                          apocalyptic message of the early church (as found in Paul's writings,
                                                          as well as those of the Gospels, Jude, the Petrine letters, and the
                                                          Apocalypse/Revelation), I think we presume too much if we try to use
                                                          the apocalyptic quality of the discourse to date the Synoptics late.
                                                          Certainly Paul would not have had a problem with the Olivet
                                                          Discourse, and he was writing in the 50's and early 60's. Based on
                                                          the probability that Paul's apocalyptic views do not stir any
                                                          controversy with James, Peter and the rest of the disciples, there is
                                                          no reason to suppose that Mark's recording of the prophecies in the
                                                          50's or early 60's would have been all that surprising.

                                                          Now, the reason I think that these beliefs dated back to Jesus
                                                          himself is due first to the fact that the earliest known sources from
                                                          Christians do have this view. Given that no explicit link can be
                                                          made between Mark and Paul, for example, we can say with considerable
                                                          confidence that the early church was apocalyptic, and since there was
                                                          no apparent opposition to this world view within the church, we can
                                                          assume that the view originated not with Jesus' followers, but with
                                                          Jesus himself.

                                                          Secondly, I think that the apocalyptic Jesus is very likely because
                                                          the known later writings of the Church continued to use apocalyptic
                                                          literature, like Paul's letters and the Synoptics as authoritative.
                                                          The only reason for them to accept that such sources were
                                                          authoritative, even as they were clearly embarrassing to the Church
                                                          tells us the traditions were very old, and widely accepted. The fact
                                                          that later Gospels, like Luke and Matthew did not remove the
                                                          apocalyptic sayings attests further to probable authenticity. For
                                                          example, if Matthew and Luke were writing in the 80's or even later,
                                                          then their reasons for including seemingly failed prophecies like the
                                                          Olivet Discourse becomes even more problematic. Given that both
                                                          Matthew and Luke had no problem removing other Marcan material they
                                                          found embarrassing tells us that they easily could and would have
                                                          done this.

                                                          I wrote:
                                                          > > Jesus would remain subject to a charge of giving false prophecies
                                                          > > in both scenarios. Under the theory of those that say Mark
                                                          > > invented this prophecy, he is needlessly ascribing an
                                                          > > embarrassing non-fulfilled prophecy to the man he considers to be
                                                          > > the Messiah. That is highly unlikely, and the simpler and more
                                                          > > plausible explanaition is that Jesus did offer these sayings
                                                          > > himself, and the community already knew about them.
                                                          >
                                                          > My response:
                                                          >
                                                          > You acknowledge that the Synoptic writers are apocalypticists. An
                                                          > apocalypticist never allows himself to be embarrassed by his
                                                          > prophecy for he constructs his prophecy such that he predicts
                                                          > history from the point of view of someone in the past by putting
                                                          > his prophecies on the lips of some revered figure or visionary (the
                                                          > author of Revelation is an exception to this practice).

                                                          First, it is a curious argument to say that a group *always* does a
                                                          thing, even as one acknowledges that one clear member of that group
                                                          did *not* do that thing.

                                                          Second, if Mark is drawing on known earlier apocalyptic sources (like
                                                          Daniel for example), then it becomes highly problematic to use those
                                                          sayings that depend on this source in order to date the text. Mark
                                                          uses Daniel, but he could have done so literally any time after
                                                          Daniel was written (2nd Century BCE). To make the events of 66-70CE
                                                          the most probable specifics behind the Olivet Discourse simply begs
                                                          the question. Paul was already predicting final disaster in the 50's
                                                          if not earlier. Why could Mark not also be doing such a thing? For
                                                          that matter, why couldn't Jesus himself? As you agree that Mark is
                                                          probably drawing on Christian sources even earlier than himself, then
                                                          I do not see why we should not say simply that they did come from
                                                          Jesus.

                                                          > ...And it is only the immediate future from his own historic point
                                                          > of reference that the apocalypticist is concerned about. For he
                                                          > is trying to speak only to the existential conditions and raise the
                                                          > hopes of his contemporaries and not some future generation who may
                                                          > subsequently be embarrassed because the vague future of the
                                                          > apocalypticist never materialized.

                                                          My apologies for snipping so much Ted, and I do get your point. My
                                                          question, given the fact that we know apocalyptical material was
                                                          circulating in this period, not only from Paul (and presumably
                                                          Peter), but also from the Qumran community, and all of these sources
                                                          were speaking in the 50's or even earlier, why reject the idea that
                                                          Mark and/or Jesus was speaking in a similar vein and at a similar
                                                          period of time? Jesus would have found an audience for apocalyptic
                                                          sayings in the 30s'. Paul certainly did in the 40's and 50's. So
                                                          did Peter. Surely Mark would have found a ready audience for his
                                                          message, even if he wrote in the 50's, long before the Temple
                                                          actually was destroyed.

                                                          > Thus no charge really can be made against Jesus for false prophecy,
                                                          > whom I view as the mouthpiece for Mark's apocalyptic predictions.
                                                          > All the events that the Markan Jesus predicts up to 13:24 are
                                                          > events that many scholars have recognized as having parallels with
                                                          > the history of the time from Jesus to 70 CE. Many commentaries
                                                          > cite such parallels.

                                                          Yes, I am aware of this fact. At the same time, there is no reason
                                                          to think that the prophecies *must* be connected to the destruction
                                                          of Jerusalem and the Temple. The sayings are simply too vague to
                                                          argue with certainty. For evidence of this, we need only examine how
                                                          differently you view the internal evidence, vs. how Grant or Griffith-
                                                          Jones interpret the same passages. In other cases, like the
                                                          encirclement of Jerusalem, one need look no further than Jeremiah and
                                                          Isaiah (see for example Jer. 52:12-14). In fact many of the images
                                                          found in Mark 13 can be traced back to past prophecies from Hebrew
                                                          Scriptures, including especially descriptions of the destruction of
                                                          Jerusalem.

                                                          > Finally with respect to the criterion of coherence, the apocalyptic
                                                          > orientation in 13:5-27, in particular, does not cohere with Jesus'
                                                          > orientation in sayings which are judged tobe authentic to Jesus. I
                                                          > think, particularly of the parables. I just do not find any
                                                          > apocalyptic thread running through the parables.

                                                          This is circular reasoning. One cannot declare all apocalyptic
                                                          saying as non-authentic, then use this as justification for the
                                                          belief that Jesus was not an apocalyptic prophet. The fact is that
                                                          the early Christianity was heavily apocalyptic, and we have no reason
                                                          to reject that this belief came from its founder, namely, Jesus
                                                          himself.

                                                          > My reference to the Johannine inventions of the Jesus discourse and
                                                          > prayer was cited as an example of the fact that pure inventions
                                                          > have been "put in" to the Gospels, John being a gospel. I could
                                                          > have cited Synoptic examples of pure Christian invention that are
                                                          > not authentic to Jesus, such as the allegorical interpretation of
                                                          > the Parable of the Sower.

                                                          The question of whether or not Jesus said exactly word for word any
                                                          specific saying is far less interesting than whether or not it
                                                          represented his overall world view and theology. Once again,
                                                          focussing on the narrow question of when Mark could have come to
                                                          attribute sayings to Jesus, like the Olivet Discourse and other
                                                          apocalyptic sayings, there is no reason to reject an early over a
                                                          later date. As I argued previously, the only question is whether or
                                                          not Jesus would have been comfortable with the specific saying. And
                                                          in the question of dating Mark, specifically, even if Mark invented
                                                          the saying completely out of whole cloth (something I find to be
                                                          extremely unlikely), it lines up with theology already being spread
                                                          in the 40's and 50's, and therefore could easily be dated to this
                                                          period.

                                                          What becomes more difficult to understand is why authors writing long
                                                          after the immediate crisis had passed, and the end of the world had
                                                          not been realized, would have included such sayings in their works.
                                                          I will get into that question in greater depth when we move on to a
                                                          discussion of the later Synotics. Very briefly, I would argue that
                                                          these works were either from a similarly early date (early 60's for
                                                          example), or that the tradition was so old and so well known, that
                                                          they could not be excluded from Matthew and Luke.

                                                          > Are you suggesting that the Petrine statements in Acts are
                                                          > authentic to the historical Peter and not inventions of Luke?

                                                          No, I am not saying this at all. What I am saying is that the
                                                          writings of the early Church most probably reflected the beliefs of
                                                          the members of that Church, and especially of its leadership. Thus,
                                                          Luke may or may not be inventing speeches (and I happen to think in
                                                          many cases he was doing exactly that), but those speeches reflect the
                                                          thoughts, beliefs and theology of the men speaking them. On that
                                                          basis, finding apocalyptic statements in a Gospel dating to the 50's
                                                          is hardly surprising. Mark may well have been that Gospel.

                                                          > Now I am not sure of the point you are making. Maybe I have missed
                                                          > something or misunderstood you. It was my impression that you are
                                                          > ascribing to the historical Jesus *all* of the Jesus-discourse in
                                                          > Mk. 13.

                                                          I believe that Mark 13 closely parallels Jesus' own thoughts. More
                                                          importantly, given the fact that the early Church (c. 40's and 50's)
                                                          was apocalyptic, then we need not date Mark late because it contains
                                                          these apocalyptic writings. Finally, ascribing them to the
                                                          destruction of Jerusalem in 70CE is not certain, given the vagueness
                                                          of the sayings. We could just as easily see Jesus and/or Mark taking
                                                          them from Hebrew Scriptures, and their own beliefs as to the
                                                          approaching end of the world.

                                                          > On the otherhand, as I have stated, I would ascribe Mk. 13 to Mark,
                                                          > with him drawing upon Christian material and adding his own
                                                          > redactional touches. But here you indicate that the "Son of the
                                                          > Human" saying from Daniel "may well have inspired Mark to use the
                                                          > term. It appears to me here that you think it is possible that
                                                          > Mark borrrowed from Daniel, and thus the saying of Mk. 13:26 could
                                                          > possibly be attributed to Mark.

                                                          Whether we ascribe the final sayings to Mark or Jesus, there is no
                                                          question that they could have been penned early. The debate over the
                                                          autheticity of the sayings themselves then becomes a side issue. But
                                                          the reason I accept that they belong to Jesus' own belief system is
                                                          that the early documents from Christianity reflect this world view
                                                          themselves, and it is very reasonable to ascribe this early and wide
                                                          spread belief amongst Christians to the idea that they came from the
                                                          founder of their movement. (Yes I am aware of the argument that Q
                                                          contains no apocalyptic views, but I take a very dim view of most Q
                                                          scholarship, especially what has been produced more recently. My
                                                          opinions on this question closely follow those of Donald Akenson as
                                                          found in _Saint Saul: Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus_,
                                                          especially his appendix outlining his objections to what he called
                                                          the "Q Industry".)

                                                          > It strikes me that the provenance of a writing may have a good deal
                                                          > to do with the dating of the writing, if the events occuring in
                                                          > that location cohere with internal clues in the Gospel. It is my
                                                          > own methodological presupposition that an early Christian author
                                                          > writes out of the necessity to address certain existential
                                                          > exigencies which confront him or his community.

                                                          I certainly do not reject the idea that the evangelists were writing
                                                          to communities, and that they were keeping the needs of that
                                                          community in mind when authoring their works. What I reject is that
                                                          we can have much confidence (a) in where the Gospel was specifically
                                                          authored (see how many different locations are proposed for Mark
                                                          alone as proof), and (b) from this dubious conclusion as to place of
                                                          writing to extrapolate a probable date. From my original post you
                                                          will note that I was arguing against Griffith-Jones' use of Rome as
                                                          the probable location of Mark's Gospel, and especially the specific
                                                          incidence of Nero's persecutions of 65-66CE. I found his
                                                          argumentation to be excessively speculative, and going beyond the
                                                          available evidence. Quite simply, I find all such arguments to date
                                                          to be excessively speculative, and therefore unreliable in giving us
                                                          a firm dating for the Gospels. Even today we have no more of a
                                                          consensus as to where Mark was written, and if anything, as your
                                                          posts, as well as Steven's and Mahlon's shows, we appear to be
                                                          growing further away from such a consensus on this question, not
                                                          closer to one.

                                                          > I think it is safe to say that how and what he writes is
                                                          > colored by his attempt to address that which confronts him or his
                                                          > commmunity.

                                                          I agree. Where I differ is in the level of confidence we can have as
                                                          to which specific community, and which specific events the
                                                          evangelists were writing to. I am far more sceptical of our ability
                                                          to determine such things with any kind of certainty or confidence.

                                                          > Thus, it is that in the coloration of the narrative lie the
                                                          > internal textual clues as to the author's provenance and the
                                                          > plausible dating for the document. For example, when Luke
                                                          > intentionally revises Mk. 13:14, updating its historical allusion
                                                          > to conform more closely to actual history, to read in his
                                                          > Gospel: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you
                                                          > know that its desolation has come near" (21:20), that is a pretty
                                                          > clear clue that Luke writes at the earliest around 70 CE.

                                                          For myself, I would argue that Luke is drawing even more strongly
                                                          from Hebrew Scripture, and especially accounts of the Assyrian and
                                                          Babylonian attacks on Jerusalem, than he is on specific historical
                                                          events. Again, the evangelists are simply too vague to be confident
                                                          as to what they are addressing in these verses. This is why I
                                                          directed your attention to similar verses found in Isaiah and
                                                          Zachariah.

                                                          > I think Mark also offers such internal clues as to his location.
                                                          > Those clues serve as some of the evidence for my locating Mark's
                                                          > community in the village region of Caesarea Philippi.

                                                          And Mahlon uses those clues to point to Judaea, while Steven and
                                                          Robin-Griffith Jones use them to point to Rome.

                                                          I wrote:
                                                          > > Since I again reject the very premise of your argument (that Mark
                                                          > > had a vendetta going against Peter and the Twelve), then your
                                                          > > argument carries no real weight here.

                                                          Your replied:
                                                          > Have you read my argument in _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_ (20-
                                                          > 51)? If you have, I would like to know why you reject it, and if
                                                          > you have not, I would like to know why you reject the argument out
                                                          > of hand without having engaged it and the evidence I have
                                                          > marshalled to support it.

                                                          I will read these posts, but they have no bearing on the question of
                                                          dating GMark for the reasons I have already given.

                                                          {Snip arguments on Simon and Alexander}
                                                          I then wrote:
                                                          > > Agreed, and this, in my view, strengthens the argument for the
                                                          > > historicity of the names Alexander and Rufus found in Mark.

                                                          You replied:
                                                          > I think that is information that does tend to strengthen your
                                                          argument.

                                                          Thanks again for your reply Ted, and for your time and thoughts.

                                                          Be well,

                                                          Brian Trafford
                                                          Calgary, AB, Canada
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