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Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark

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  • 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 1 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
      --
    • 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 2 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
      • 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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
                        • 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 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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