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Mark Used CG in 15:42-16:1-8,Pt.2-Fatigue in 16:6

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  • Ted Weeden
    Dear Listers, What follows is the second part of my trial thesis that Mark used the Cross Gospel as a source in his composition of Mk. 15:42-16:8.essay. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2002
      Dear Listers,

      What follows is the second part of my trial thesis that Mark used the Cross
      Gospel as a source in his composition of Mk. 15:42-16:8.essay. The first part
      of my thesis was presented on January 28, 2002 on XTalk, and was entitled,
      "Thesis: Mark Used Cross Gospel in Mk.15:42-16:8, Pt. 1" The presentation of
      this thesis was prompted by my response to Karel Hanhart's theory that Mk.15:46
      is a midrash on the LXX texts of Gen, 29:2-3; Isa. 22:16 and 33:16. In the
      first part of my thesis, in a section entitled: "Mark and the Cross Gospel
      :Prolegomena," I stated the reasons why I am convinced that Crossan's theory of
      the Cross Gospel (see his _The Gospel That Spoke_) is a plausible explanation of
      material in the Gospel of Peter that has marks of very early origin in Christian
      tradition, material upon which the author of the Gospel of Peter drew, along
      with the use of the canonical Gospels and other available tradition to create
      his Gospel.

      Using Crossan's theory of the CG as a working hypothesis, I discovered in my
      analysis of apparent parallels existing between CG and Mark's Gospel that (1)
      Mark is dependent on material in CG for the composition of his burial and
      empty-tomb stories, and (2) Markan dependency upon CG seems to give an
      accounting for some of the problematic issues involving the logical consistency
      and the origin of ideas Mark entertained for his composition, which, to my
      knowledge, has not previously been considered.

      I need at this point, before proceeding further, to draw attention to a slight
      misquote of Crossan toward the end of part 1 of my essay. The misquote, which I
      highlight with asterisks in what follows, appears in my paragraph that begins:
      "And, finally, Crossan observes with respect to the agreement between himself
      and Brown concerning the content of this independent narrative source, which
      Crossan contends originated with the Cross Gospel (_Birth_, 493): '*My own
      proposal* _Cross Gospel_ . . . .'" The quote from Crossan should read: "My
      own proposed _Cross Gospel_ . . . ."

      Below, in part two of my thesis, I begin a comprehensive statement of the
      argument for the thesis. I do so by turning my attention to an analytical
      comparison of the parallels that I find existing between CG and Mk. 15:42-16:8,
      along with my rationale for why I think Mark likely used CG as a source in
      compositing his burial and empty-tomb stories. In the unfoldment of my
      argument I will suggest that support for this thesis can be found in the
      following: (1) the evidence of Markan editorial fatigue in 16:4 and 16:6 that
      can be attributed to Mark's dependence on CG, (2) the evidence that Mark likely
      followed the cue of CG by beginning his empty -tomb story with a visit by
      persons to the tomb in the early morning hours of Easter morn, (3) the evidence
      that Mark found in CG the inspiration for ending his own Gospel with imposed
      silence on the Easter story and its message, and (4) the evidence that Mark
      derived from CG the idea for his narrative creation of two young men (one which
      he placed in the empty-tomb and the other he placed in the Garden of

      I turn my attention first to the evidence of Markan editorial fatigue in 16:6
      and then to Markan fatigue in 16:4. Readers of the first part of my thesis
      may remember that I had stated there that I would be addressing what I find to
      be evidence of Markan editorial fatigue in Mk.16:4 and then follow up by
      addressing the evidence for Markan editorial fatigue in 16:6 in part three. I
      have decided to reverse that order.

      I invite critical response to what follows.

      Ted Weeden

      II. Markan Editorial Fatigue in 16:6

      I am strongly drawn to the likelihood that Mark lapsed into editorial fatigue in
      the course of composing his empty-tomb story after having just finished his
      burial story. For the logical consistency of his narrative breaks down at two
      points (16:4, 6) in his empty-tomb story when the information Mark supplies in
      that story is compared to what one would logically expect based upon the
      information Mark supplies us in his burial story.

      What do I mean by editorial fatigue? "Editorial Fatique," as Mark Goodacre
      defines it ("Fatigue in the Synoptics, _NTS_, 1998:45, and see Goodacre's web
      site, www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q/fatigue.htm ), "is a phenomenon that will
      inevitably occur when a writer is heavily dependent on another's work. . . .
      [E]xamples of fatigue [are] unconscious mistakes, small errors of detail which
      naturally arise in the course of constructing a narrative. They are
      interesting because they can betray an author's hand, most particularly in
      revealing to us the identity of his sources." How is it then that I find,
      according to this definition, that Mark has lapsed into editorial fatigue, and
      thereby inflicted narrative inconsistency on his drama, when he penned 16:4 and

      I consider first the evidence for Markan editorial fatigue in the story of the
      empty tomb in 16:6. Editorial fatigue, I submit, manifests itself in 16:6 in
      the invitation the young man in the tomb extends to the women in the course of
      making his resurrection declaration. As part of his resurrection declaration,
      the young man first proclaims HGERQH: OUK ESTIN hWDE ("He [Jesus] is risen; he
      is not here") and then he issues the invitation: IDE hO TOPOS hOPOU EQHKAN
      AUTON ("See the place where they laid him!"). And therein lies what I think is
      evidence of Markan editorial fatigue. In the course of scripting the words of
      this invitation, Mark mistakenly penned EQHKAN AUTON ("*they* laid him") instead
      of EQHKEN AUTON ("*He* laid him") to indicate the act of burial. In penning
      EQHKAN AUTON instead of EQHKEN AUTON Mark has created logical inconsistency in
      his narrative. Logical narrative consistency argues for Mark using EQHKEN
      (third person, singular) in the young man's invitation. For that is the form
      of the verb which he used in the burial narrative when he cited Joseph of
      Arimathea burying Jesus (15:46), namely: KAI EQNKEN AUTON EN MNHMEIWi ("and
      *he* [Joseph of Arimathea] laid him in the tomb"). If only one person buries
      Jesus, as the burial narrative states, then it is inaccurate for the young man
      to declare to the women that more than one person buried Jesus.

      For some commentators what I have identified as a narrative inconsistency is not
      narrative inconsistency at all. For they assume that Joseph of Arimathea did
      not bury Jesus by himself. He had the help of his servants (e.g., Vincent
      Taylor, _The Gospel according to St. Mark_, 602; William Lane, _Commentary on
      the Gospel of Mark_, 580; and Robert Gundry, _Mark_, 987, 992). Lane opines
      (580) that Joseph of Arimathea, "[a]s an eminent person . . . undoubtedly had
      servants who must have attended to many of the details required during the brief
      time between the granting of permission for burial and sunset." "At least,"
      Lane contends, "the removal of the body and the closing of the entrance to the
      tomb Joseph could not have accomplished alone." Consequently, from Lane's
      perspective and others like him, who provide Joseph with servants in their
      reading of the Markan burial story, no rhetorical red flags are raised by Mark's
      use of EQHKAN AUTON in 16:6. The use of EQHKAN AUTON in 16:6 is obviously
      considered consistent with the use of EQHKEN AUTON 15:46, if one reads EQHKEN in
      15:46 as implicitly understood to include Joseph's servant-helpers. In support
      of such an interpretation of that implicit meaning of EQHKEN, Lane posits the
      following (580): "It seems necessary to read the entire verse [15:47] in a
      causative sense, i.e., he caused the body to be taken down from the cross, linen
      cloth to be purchased, and the body prepared for burial."

      However, among those who assume that Joseph had servants to help him in Jesus'
      burial, Robert Gundry does appear to recognize the narrative inconsistency Mark
      has created for himself in his choice of EQHKAN in 16:6. Gundry states (992),
      with respect to Mark's penning of EQHKAN AUTON, "Here, 'they' betrays his [Mark'
      s] hand." But then Gundry reasons away this narrative inconsistency by
      accounting for it on the basis of the following Markan stylistic
      characteristics. First, he notes (992) that "Mark likes indefinite third person
      plural verbs," such as his use of EQHKAN in 16:6. Second, he states, drawing
      the same conclusion as Taylor and Lane, as I noted above, that even though
      "15:46 mentioned only Joseph as putting Jesus in the tomb," he doubtless had
      help" from his servants. And Gundry reasons that to be the case by pointing
      to other incidents in the Markan narrative, in which an act is attributed to a
      single person or single entity. Thus, one can infer that that single person
      or entity must have had the assistance of others in performing the act. The two
      illustrations Gundry offers in support of this reasoning are (1) the reference
      to "Pilate's flogging Jesus in the sense of having him flogged" (15:15), and (2)
      "the Sanhedrin's binding Jesus probably in the sense of having their servants
      bind him" (15:1). With those analogies in mind, it is a logical next step to
      conclude for Gundry, as well as Taylor and Lane, that, despite the fact that the
      "they" in 16:6 "betrays his hand," Mark's depiction of "they," nevertheless,
      is not a case of the break down of narrative logic, but represents an
      assumption, presumably, on Mark's part that his hearers/readers knew that when
      he cited Joseph alone as placing Jesus' body in the tomb, that servants also
      assisted him.

      My problem with this line of argument is that, in my judgment, it is an argument
      that seeks to resolve the problem of EQHKAN AUTON in 16:6 by reading back into
      15:46 what the text does not say. The text says that Joseph EQHKEN Jesus.
      The text of 15:46 does not mention any servants assisting Joseph or that Joseph
      guided the burial in a causative sense, as Lane suggests. And, as for Gundry's
      evidentiary analogies of Pilate and the Sanhedrin support for his presumption
      that Mark does not mean that Joseph buried Jesus alone, the texts again do not
      state that the Sanhedrin turned the task of binding Jesus over to servants---
      and note above that Gundry does add the qualifier "probably" in the case of the
      Sanhedrin (987)--- or that Pilate turned the scourging of Jesus over to others.
      The silence of the texts on this matter does not justify the second-guessing of
      Mark, as to what he implied or meant to be understood, in order to solve the
      issue of, to paraphrase Gundry, the betrayal of Mark by his own hand.

      In hermeneutical matters such as these, with respect to what the text says and
      does not say, the judgment of Mark's contemporaries may be more helpful and
      revealing in resolving the issue of whether Mark's use of EQHKAN AUTON is really
      a case of editorial fatigue or not. To bring to the fore the evidence from
      Mark's contemporaries, namely, Matthew and Luke, I present the following
      comparison of the Markan, Matthean and Lukan versions of the relevant texts.
      First, with respect to the respective texts of the Synoptic authors with regard
      to the description of Joseph's burial of Jesus, consider the following
      comparison of Mk. 15:46; Mt. 27:60; Lk. 23:53:


      I find this parallel comparison to be quite revealing and instructive. It is
      clear that in the case of Mk. 15:46, Luke appropriated Mark verbatim. Matthew
      almost does the same. Matthew substitutes AUTO for AUTON in the Markan
      construction EQHKEN AUTON. because Matthew's focus is on the body rather than
      the person of Jesus (so: according to the earlier depiction by Matthew in 27:59:
      taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in a clean linen shroud"). Matthew also
      introduces the fact that it is Joseph's own new tomb that he places Jesus in,
      and Matthew chooses the term MNMEION for tomb in place of Mark's MNHMA which
      follows Mark in using. But the syntax of both Matthew and Luke is the same as
      Mark's, and the vocabulary is very close to being the same in both Matthew and
      Luke, aside from Matthew's addition of KAINWi AUTOU . It is clear to me that
      Matthew and Luke, in their appropriation of Mk. 15:46 at the point in which
      Joseph is depicted in the actual act of burial, adhered very closely to the
      Markan account.

      Now let us look at parallel comparison of the resurrection declaration and
      subsequent invitation of the young man in the tomb as cited by Mark (16:6),
      Matthew (28:6) and Luke (24: 6; note: 24:6, once considered a highly
      questionable Lukan text, is now included in the eighth revised edition of
      Nestle, and see further on the acceptance of the reading as authentic, Joseph
      Fitzmyer, _The Gospel according to Luke_, 130-131, 1545). For purposes of my
      argument, as will be seen, I treat separately the resurrection declaration and
      the subsequent invitation. Consider below the Synoptic parallel comparison of
      the resurrection declaration:


      It appears once again that Matthew and Luke, in their versions of the
      resurrection declaration, follow fairly closely the Markan account, though they
      do reverse the Markan order of the presentation of the motifs of absence and
      resurrection; and Matthew adds the reminder that Jesus had prophesied his

      Consider now the Synoptic parallel comparison of the young man's invitation to
      the women:

      Lk: [no parallel reference]

      In the case of the invitation, in which EQHKAN AUTON appears in the Markan
      text, Matthew and Luke take radically different tacks with respect to the Markan
      text from what they took with respect to the Markan depiction of Joseph's burial
      of Jesus and the resurrection declaration. They each part company from Mark
      with respect, as I see it, to the critical issue of the Markan use of EQHKAN
      AUTON. Luke just omits the Markan invitation to the women, thereby excising
      EQHKAN AUTON from Mark's text as he draws upon Mark for his own narrative.
      Matthew, while preserving the Markan invitation as invitation, nevertheless,
      cannot accept it, apparently, in its Markan form. He finds it necessary to
      reinforce the invitation with an initial invitational imperative DEUTE ("come"),
      then follows Markan wording closely, with some modification (substituting IDETE
      for Mark's IDE), until he comes to the clause at issue: EQHKAN AUTON. At that
      point he rejects Mark's EQHKAN AUTON and replaces it with his own EKEITO ("he
      [Jesus] lay"), thereby shifting the focus or emphasis from the act of "laying
      Jesus" to Jesus' prone position once he was placed in the tomb.

      The fact that Matthew and Luke chose to follow Mark in Mark's use of EQHKEN
      AUTON in the burial story, but then, with apparent intentionality, chose not to
      follow Mark in Mark's use of EQHKA AUTON in 16:6--- taking their own different
      compositional routes in departure from Mark--- suggests to me that they
      recognized that Mark was betrayed by his own hand, causing a lapse in narrative
      consistency. It was a lapse neither Matthew nor Luke wished to replicate in
      their own narrative.

      What about Mark's other canonical partner, John? Does he, too, give any clues
      as to his view of Mark's use of EQHKAN AUTON in 16:6? I ask this question
      because I am among a growing number of New Testament scholars who now are
      convinced that John, along with Matthew and Luke, also used Mark as a source.
      For those who follow this argument and hold that John wrote independent of Mark,
      the following comparison of the Johannine burial and empty-tomb stories with
      Mark's will have no merit, one way or the other, as far as the cogency of my
      argument for the presence of Markan editorial fatigue in his penning of EQHKAN
      AUTON in 16:6. But for those who do hold that John was dependent upon Mark, I
      present the following comparison of the relevant Johannine and Markan texts.

      It is striking that the Johannine burial and empty-tomb accounts, like Matthew
      and Luke, avoid incorporating Mark's narrative inconsistency with respect to the
      inherent contradiction between the burial story and the empty-tomb story as to
      how many persons actually buried Jesus. Whether or not that was a conscious
      decision on John's part to do so, it is not possible to tell. Be that as it
      may, while John's empty-tomb story is radically different from the Markan story,
      he does curiously cite the same Markan clause, EQHKAN AUTON, in his own
      empty-tomb story. In the Johannine version of that story, EQHKAN AUTON is
      placed upon the lips of Mary Magdalene in her distressed declaration to the
      risen Jesus, whom she as yet does not recognize. Here is how the text reads
      (20: 13): KAI OUK OIDA POU EQHKAN AUTON ("I do not know where *they* laid him
      [the dead Jesus]." In this distressed declaration, John agrees with Mark that
      more than one person buried Jesus. But his empty-tomb story is not plagued
      thereby, as is Mark's, with narrative inconsistency at this point in the
      Johannine narrative. For John avoids creating narrative inconsistency in his
      story of the empty-grave story, in having Mary Magdalene declare OUK OIDA POU
      *EQHKAN AUTON*, by scripting a burial story in which not one, but two persons
      bury Jesus, namely, Joseph of Arimathea, who is joined in the burial process by
      Nicodemus. Together they take Jesus' body, and after binding "it in linen
      cloths with spices" (19:40), "they laid Jesus (*EQHKAN* TON INSOUN) in the tomb
      (19: 42).

      It may well be that John added Nicodemus to his burial story for reasons other
      than interest in ironing out the logical inconsistency in the Markan narrative.
      It is striking, nevertheless, that his wording of declaration of Mary Magdalene
      in his empty-tomb story is so close to the young man's wording in the Markan
      empty-grave story.

      In any event, particularly with respect to the comparison of Matthean and Lukan
      parallels to the Markan texts in question, I think there is significant evidence
      that Matthew and Luke viewed Mark's use of EQHKAN AUTON in Mk.16:6 as a
      compositional error and sought to correct it (Matthew) or decided not to
      appropriate the Markan EQHKAN AUTON of 16:6 (Luke). The fact that each in
      different ways excised Mark's EQHKAN AUTON when they drew upon the Markan text
      suggests that they saw Mark's use of EQHKAN AUTON as a compositional error.
      But how, it may be ask, can I logically leap then to the conclusion that that
      compositional error is evidence of Markan editorial fatigue. For Mark's
      penning of EQHKAN AUTON to be considered an error caused by editorial fatigue,
      there must be evidence that there was a text from which Mark was copying which
      led him, mistakenly, to lapse into editorial fatigue and thereby create
      narrative inconsistency when he linked his burial story with his empty-tomb

      I find that evidence in CG. Mark's editorial fatigue was the result of his
      focus on his source text CG and not staying clearly focused on the way he was
      shaping the story in his own text. On what basis do I draw that conclusion?
      Let me explain.

      The clause EQHKAN AUTON appears once in CG 6:21 and EQHKAN appears alone in
      8:32. Here, with EQHKAN AUTON set off by asterisks, is the Greek text--- (in
      all instances below the Greek text of CG [The Gospel of Peter] is that cited by
      M. G. Mara's _√Čvangile de Pierre_, 1973)--- of CG 6:21, which immediately
      follows upon the citation of the death of Jesus: KAI TOTE APESPASAN TOUS

      When I compare the relevant portion of CG 6:21, in which EQHKAN AUTON occurs,
      with the portions of Mk.15:46 and 16:6 in which EQHKAN AUTON appears, a striking
      resemblance emerges among the three texts. Consider this parallel arrangement:


      I submit that that comparison manifests signs of dependency. Both texts deal
      with a stage in the burial process. CG describes the beginning of the process
      which will lead finally to Jesus' entombment. Jesus' dead body is taken down
      from the cross and laid on the earth, later to be buried in a sealed tomb (8:32;
      and see below). Mk. 15:45, Josephus' securing of Jesus' body from the
      centurion, is close to being analogous to the initial step toward burial in CG
      6:21. Mk. 15:46 cites the latter process in CG 8:32. The vector of
      dependency, I argue, flows from CG to Mark and not the reverse. The error in
      Mk.16:6 is more easily explained as a result of Mark using CG than in CG using
      Mark. See below for my theory of why Mark made the error. But first let us
      consider the relevance of CG 8:32 to the present discussion, regarding the
      Markan error in 16:6 as due to Markan editorial fatigue which occurred in the
      course of Mark mining his source CG for ideas for his narrative.

      Here, with EQHKAN set off by asterisks, is the Greek text of CG 8:32: KAI
      (Note: Crossan suggests that TAFOS, rather than MNHMA, may have been CG's term
      for tomb. Thus, per Crossan, the author of the Gospel of Peter is responsible
      for the redactional substitution in the text. For Crossan's argument on this
      probability, see _Spoke_, 26f.). Consider this parallel arrangement of CG 8:32
      and Mk 15:46 (with the verses split for comparative purposes and a section of CG
      8:32 describing all those who sealed the tomb, rendered above, excised for
      purpose of the comparison):


      Now I submit that that is an amazing similarity in vocabulary and syntax. And
      both CG 8:32 and Mk. 15:46 describe the sealing of Jesus' tomb.

      Here is my theory for the origin of what I think points to an editorial fatigue
      on the part of Mark as he drew upon his CG source to compose both his burial
      story, which I will explore in full in a subsequent part of my essay, and his
      empty-tomb. Mark was drawing heavily on his CG source for ideational material
      for both stories. He was moving back and forth in his CG mining ideas as he
      composed. My guess is that as he was scripting the young man's invitation to
      the women, he had a lapse in attention caused by coming under the "spell" (more
      about that in part 3 to follow) of the drama of CG. As a result he, unaware of
      his error, penned EQHKAN AUTON as he scripted the young man's invitation
      instead of EQHKEN AUTON, which logically corresponded to his EQHKEN AUTON in
      his story of Joseph's burial of Jesus. Note that in the CG story there are
      many who take Jesus and EQHKEN AUTON on the earth (6:21) and there are many who
      are involved in completing the burial process by sealing the door of the tomb
      with a stone (8:32). Those "many" became the in fortuitous "they" in the
      Markan young man's invitation to the women in the tomb.

      To follow: "Mark Used CG in 15:42-16:8, Pt. 3-Fatigue in 16:4"

      Ted Weeden
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