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Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 of 28 , Dec 4, 2001
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                    Brian Trafford, December 03, 2001 11:43 PM, wrote:
                    Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark


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

                    My response:

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

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

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

                    My response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

                    Ted Weeden
                  • Ted Weeden
                    Brian Trafford, December 03, 2001 11:43 PM, wrote: Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating of GMark ... My response: There are a number of reasons that I do not think that
                    Message 9 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 10 of 28 , Dec 4, 2001
                      • 0 Attachment
                        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 11 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 12 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 13 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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