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Re: Weeden on GTh 61

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  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    ... I call this a basic historical background, Mike. If this is not clarified, then we might as well give up historical study of early Christianity
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 4, 2000
      On Fri, 31 Mar 2000, Michael Grondin wrote:

      > At 01:03 PM 03/30/00 -0500, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
      > >Reading Ted's analysis make me wonder about what's going on on Crosstalk
      > >nowadays. Posters there seem to spend huge amounts of time arguing, and
      > >authoring interminable posts about what seems like straws in the wind.
      > >Such as if Mk was written in northern Israel or in southern Israel? As if
      > >there's any hope of ever determining this for sure...
      > Well, now, Yuri, as I've said before, things that interest you may not
      > interest other folks, and vice versa. Myself, I find text-critical
      > issues quite interesting, and certainly much more susceptible of
      > resolution than the wide-ranging and ill-defined historical issues you
      > favor.

      I call this a basic historical background, Mike. If this is not clarified,
      then we might as well give up historical study of early Christianity

      > (Talking about "interminable posts", have you made any headway yet in
      > convincing anyone that Xianity was almost entirely Jewish prior to
      > 150?)

      At least prior to 100. That's my position.

      > Actually, I found the Crosstalk discussion of Weeden's ideas
      > quite stimulating and productive, especially as I had not previously
      > encountered the view that Mark was written in the East.
      > >The truth most likely is that it [Mark] was written over a 100 years,
      > >possibly in the West, by a dozen hands with influences coming from
      > >different places, and based on different sources.
      > Hmm. And during that 100 years was never disseminated to others, so
      > that we might find a copy of any one of its early versions?

      Disseminated to Matthew and to Luke, who based their gospels on proto-Mk,
      as Koester maintains!

      > "Possibly in the West"? OK, but also possibly in the East, so what's
      > the point of saying that? And how many major redactions do you suppose
      > there might have been in that extremely long 100-year period? Two?
      > Six? Twenty? Fifty?

      At least 3.

      > If this is "the truth most likely" to you, I'm afraid I don't share
      > your sense of historical probability. And I think I know the source of
      > the difference in our senses. If I may say so, you (or your sources)
      > seem to have fallen victim to the not-uncommon malady one might call
      > "historical time distortion", i.e., the subconscious feeling that
      > somehow 100 years back then didn't count for anywhere near as much as
      > it does today,

      Don't see it.

      > in the sense that not much could have been done in relatively "short
      > periods" like a year or two, or even ten or twenty.

      But we know the canonicals were written by religious Jews. Remember
      "biblical prophesy historicized"? They could not change their views on a

      > So in your mind it took five generations to write Mark.

      Not to write but to re-write.

      > Geez, you'd think they would've gotten tired of working on it. Or
      > turned out something a little better. But wait! Maybe they did! Maybe
      > what we now know as Mark is really Mark, the first generation, and
      > Matthew is Mark, the 2nd generation, etc. That would account for those
      > 100 years, maybe. But wait again - I'd better stop - I'm getting a
      > headache.

      From trying to accomodate the real history of the movement to your
      preconceptions of what it "should have been"?

      > >Speaking about Ted's piece, what are his speculations really based on?
      > >He's using some apocryphal inferences about who the daughter of Herod was,
      > >while forgetting all about the Salome that actually _is_ attested as a
      > >close disciple of Jesus?
      > According to Ted's thesis, as I understand it, the "close disciple"
      > Salome is a Markan creation whose name was chosen so as to make her
      > symbolic of the actual Herodian Salome.

      Well, this is a huge speculative assumption right from the start!

      > As you say, the actual Salome is not mentioned in Mark, presumably so
      > as not to confuse the symbolism.

      You're already assuming you know who "the actual Salome" was.

      > Since you yourself believe that Mark was subject to many hands over a
      > long period of time, I'm sure you can appreciate that it cannot have
      > been just a simple little non-metaphorical story. But you can find out
      > more about this by consulting Ted's original piece on Crosstalk, or by
      > writing to Ted himself.
      > >> Jesus said: "Two will rest on a bed. The one will die, the other will
      > >> live." Salome said: "(So) who are you, man? You have gotten a place
      > >> on my couch as a <stranger> and you have eaten from my table." Jesus
      > >> said to her: "I am he who comes from the one who is (always) the same.
      > >> I was given some of that which is my Father's." "I am your disciple!"
      > >> Therefore I say: If someone becomes <like> (God), he will become full
      > >> of light. But if he becomes one, separated (from God), he will become
      > >> full of darkness.
      > >
      > >So where do we get any indication that this is not a reference to the
      > >Salome of Mk, who is one of close and true disciples of Jesus?
      > Already you're begging the question, since Ted believes that the
      > Salome of Th 61 IS the Salome of Mk - he just doesn't agree with you
      > that the Salome of Mk is a real, non-symbolic person.

      But maybe she was exactly who Mk says she was. Why should I not take Mk on
      his word here?

      > In any case, hold on, cuz Ted is about to answer your question in the
      > passage you quote immediately following, but then proceed to ignore:
      > >> That a very interesting and strange exchange between Jesus and Salome.
      > >> Unlike all other characters in Thomas, she does not question Jesus
      > >> with sincere intent to be taught by him. She interrogates him in a
      > >> very confrontational matter: "So who are you man?" And what she
      > >> confronts him about is that he has crashed her party. She is clearly
      > >> cast as someone of means ("my couch" and "my table'). She speaks with
      > >> a sense of authority to back up her confrontational assertiveness. She
      > >> sounds like her own barroom bouncer, demanding to know what right he
      > >> has to crash her party. It fits an elite profile of a woman in courtly
      > >> setting with courtly authority.
      > >>
      > >> Moreover, GT 61 seems to have some redactional seams suggesting that
      > >> this passage has been reworked or inserted. Salome's surprising
      > >> declaration, "I am your disciple," indicating a sudden conversion to
      > >> discipleship,
      > >
      > >Why "sudden"? Mk indicates that she's one of the close and true disciples
      > >of Jesus.
      > Now you see, you've not only ignored Ted's argument,

      Not ignoring it. I just think it has little basis in fact. Why should we
      not assume that Mk knows Salome as perhaps one of wealthy
      disciples/sponsors of Jesus?

      How do we know what was Herod's daughter's name, anyway? Apparently we
      know this from Josephus who names her in passing, without saying she had
      anything to do with JB's death. At some point probably this became an
      apocryphal Christian story. It would be interesting to find out when the
      daughter of Herod first gets named in Christian tradition.

      > but forgotten your own original question as well. You asked him to
      > tell you why the Salome of Th 61 is different from the "surface"
      > Salome of Mk, and when he does so,

      I don't think he does. He doesn't even appear to consider this
      possibility. All GOT references to Salome can be explained by there having
      been a real Salome who was a wealthy disciples/sponsor of Jesus. Then Mk
      and GOT are in accord.

      What if it was merely coincidental that the daughter of Herod was also
      named Salome? If so, then this coincidence may have been used as a late
      smear against Salome who was an actual disciple of Jesus. Just a


      > >The only interesting thing that I see in this GOT passage that, I agree,
      > >is quite possibly corrupt, is Salome's direct question, "So who are you
      > >man?" This seems to support the view that early disciples of Jesus did not
      > >think of him as Christ. In other words, supporting the view that low
      > >christology was normative earliest christology of the movement.
      > There's an interplay between hypothesis and data, as you know.
      > Unfortunately, you ignore the interpretation of the data in Th 61
      > presented by Ted (namely that Salome speaks like a person of means and
      > power, not like a humble disciple).

      So maybe she was an unhumble disciple?

      > This seems to indicate that you are over-interested in your hypothesis
      > and under-interested in any data in Thomas, which places the
      > objectivity of your assessments in question.

      And then again, GOT may have known of Salome, a real disciple of Jesus,
      and created this whole incident only to stress the view that early
      disciples of Jesus did not think of him as Christ, and thus to make an
      important theological point?

      Or Mk may have read GOT at some late point, and included Salome in Mk as
      just another disciple of Jesus that he needed to beef up his accounts of
      Crucifixion and Resurrection?

      Just two more speculative possibilities...

      Now, this is how I see this whole problem. Mt and Mk had this early story
      about the beheading of JB as involving the feast and the unnamed daughter
      of Herod. This sounds like a fairy tale, anyway, that doesn't have to have
      any historical basis, and probably didn't. Herod killed JB because he
      considered him too dangerous, and the story was added later as a great

      But the actual naming of the daughter as Salome was probably done later
      apocryphally, and on the basis of Josephus. This may have been a later
      attempt to cast doubt on an actual disciple of Jesus. Such a general
      tendency is clear anyway in later traditions. So it is possible that the
      daughter's name was not used until much later, well after both Mk and GOT
      were already written.

      To introduce some historical realism to this whole problem, keep in mind
      that the young daughter of Herod, the high princess, simply could not
      become a disciple of Jesus in the few months between the beheading of JB
      and the Crucifixion. The historical possibility of this is zero. So the
      similarity in names can be merely a coincidence.

      Now, to cast doubt on my own theory, and probably to complicate things
      even further, it is my view that the two mentions of Salome in Mk 15:40
      and 16:1 are both part of the latest redaction of Mk. Because I consider
      anything that has to do with the Tomb Burial as late redaction. (Also I
      looked up in the Pepysian Harmony, which tends to preserve a lot of early
      stuff, but Salome is not there!)

      When a later editor of Mk was adding Salome to these passages he may have
      been motivated by various reasons. He may have borrowed Salome from GOT?
      But the whole thing is too complicated and speculative anyway, so I'd
      rather leave it at this...



      Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

      What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may
      reflect on them, and know their outcome; or declare
      to us the things to come -=O=- Isaiah 41:22
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