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[GTh] A question about Logion 114

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  • FMMCCOY@msn.com
    J. S. Chandler: I propose to you that 114 is pre-Markan. I The Contrasts between Th 114 and Mk 16:6-8 The first point I would like to make is that there are a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 11, 2008
      J. S. Chandler:

      I propose to you that 114 is pre-Markan.

      I The Contrasts between Th 114 and Mk 16:6-8

      The first point I would like to make is that there are a number of
      contrasts between this ending to Th and the ending to Mk in 16:6-8.

      Th 114 reads:
      Simon Peter said to them, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy
      of life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her
      male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males.
      For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of
      heaven." Mk 16:6-8 reads: But he (i.e., the young man) says to them
      (i.e., the three women), "Do not be amazed. You seek Jesus the
      Nazarene, the one having been crucified. He was raised (egerthe). He
      is not here. Look, the place where they laid him. But go, tell his
      disciples and Peter, 'He goes before you into Galilee. There you will
      see him, just as he told you.'" And, having gone out, they fled from
      the tomb-for trembling and ecstasy seized them. And they told no one
      nothing-for they were afraid!

      There are at least four major contrasts between these two passages:
      1. In Mk 16:6-8, it is said that Jesus will go before his disciples and
      Peter-and they are all men. In Th 114, Jesus will lead Mary-and she is
      a woman.
      2. In Mk 16:6-8, it is declared that Jesus has risen and that his body
      is no longer present-the clear implication being that he has become a
      living body. In Th 114, Jesus declares that he will make Mary a living
      spirit.
      3. In Mk 16:6-8, Peter looks good. A young man tells the women "But go,
      tell his disciples and Peter.". Here, Peter, although he had been one
      of Jesus' disciples, is differentiated from Jesus' disciples because,
      with the death of Jesus, he has been elevated above them into the unique
      status of being the legitimate successor to Jesus as the earthly head of
      his movement. In Th 114, Peter looks bad, with Jesus rebuking him for
      his position on women.
      4. In Mk 16:6-8, the women look bad, fleeing the tomb and failing to
      tell the disciples and Peter what they were told. In Th 114, Mary, a
      woman, looks good, for Jesus says that he will make her a living spirit.

      I think that there is a fifth major contrast between Mk 16:6-8 and Th
      114 as well-with it implicit in Mk 16:6-8 that the Kingdom is a future
      earthly reality and explicit in Th 114 that the Kingdom is a present
      spiritual reality.

      In particular, I think that Theodore J. Weeden, Sr. is correct in
      thinking that the message of the young man regards the return of the
      risen Jesus to Galilee help inaugurate the Kingdom. In Mark Traditions
      in Conflict (p. 110), he states:
      The announcement "He is not here. See the place where they laid him"
      states unequivocally that Jesus is no longer present on this earthly
      plane of existence. At this point on of Hamilton's insights is right on
      target: "In the place of the presence of the risen Jesus, Mark simply
      and strikingly affirmed his absence." The importance of the angel's
      words for our evangelist could not have been more sharply perceived.
      Jesus is absent! He is absent not just from the grave. He has
      completely left the human scene and will not return until the parousia!
      He has been translated (egerthe) to his Father. There he must await the
      time when the kingdom dawns in power (9:1) and he is re-united with his
      community (13:26-27).

      In this case, there is a fifth major contrast between Mk 16:6-8, where
      the Kingdom is taken to be a future earthly reality that will dawn at
      the time that Jesus returns to earth from heaven, and Th 114, where the
      Kingdom is a present spiritual reality entered by living spirits.

      To a large extent, I suggest, these contrasts between Mk 16:6-8 and Th
      114 reflect differences in thinking between the Hebrews and the
      Hellenists.

      In some past posts, I have proposed that the first followers of Jesus at
      Jerusalem were divided into two main groups--the Hebrews and the
      Hellenists. From the Hellenists comes a tradition that finds reflection
      in the Epistle of James and Th and what I call original John (which is
      our John less 6:1-7:14 and chapter 21). From the Hebrews comes a
      tradition that finds reflection in Mk and John 6:1-7-14 and chapter 21.

      In particular, I suggest, these contrasts between Mk 16:6-8 and Th 114
      reflect differences in thinking between the Hebrews and the Hellenists
      in these two areas:
      (1) Who was the legitimate successor to Jesus as the earthly head of his
      movement? Was it Peter (so the Hebrews) or was it James (so the
      Hellenists)?
      (2) What is the role of women in the Jesus movement? Should they either
      be excluded, at least if they are unmarried (the original position of
      the Hebrews), or else kept in subordination to the men (the fall-back
      position of the Hebrews) or should they have the right, like the men, to
      be empowered (the position of the Hellenists)?

      As a result, I suggest, the positive image of Peter and the negative
      image of the women in Mk 16:6-8 reflect the pro-Hebrew stance of the
      Markan group, while the negative image of Peter and the positive image
      of women in Th 114 reflect the pro-Hellenist stance of the Thomasine
      group.

      However, these contrasts also reveal another area of dispute between the
      Markan and Thomasine groups. That is, there is a dispute between them
      over whether the Kingdom is a future earthly reality to be bodily
      entered or a present spiritual reality to be entered as a spirit/soul.
      This is why there is an emphasis on the bodily resurrection of Jesus and
      (implicitly) the future coming of the Kingdom in Mk 16:6-8, while there
      is an emphasis on Mary entering the Kingdom as a living spirit/soul in
      Th 114.

      In any event, that there appear to be three major doctrinal contrasts
      between Mk 16:6-8 and Th 114 is quite remarkable. Further, since each
      passage is only three units long (Mk 16:6,7,8 and Th 114.1,2,3) and
      occurs at the very end of the gospel in which it appears, it is
      difficult to maintain that this is mere coincidence. Rather, it
      appears, one of them is intended to be a refutation of the other.

      II. An Indication that Mk 16:6-8 is a Refutation of Th 114

      The second point I would like to make is that there is an indication
      that Mk 16:6-8 is intended to be a refutation of Th 114.

      It is said in Mk 16:1:
      And, having passed the Sabbath, Mary the Magdalene and Mary the mother
      of James and Salome bought spices in order that, having come (to the
      tomb), they might anoint him (i.e., Jesus).

      Here, we learn, the women who, in Mk 16:6-8, flee the tomb and fail to
      deliver the divinely inspired message to the disciples and Peter are
      Mary the Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome.

      In this regard, it is noteworthy that, in Th, we find:
      A man named James in Th 12
      A woman named Mary in Th 21
      A woman named Salome in Th 61
      A woman named Mary in Th 114.

      This is truly remarkable, given that, besides Jesus, only seven people
      are named in Th, i.e., Thomas, Matthew, Peter and these four people.

      Almost surely, then, this can be no coincidence! Rather, it appears,
      the four people named in Mk 16:1 are these four people named in Th 12,
      21, 61 and 114--with:
      1. The James of Th 12 being the son of the Mary of Th 21 and this Mary
      of Th 21 being the Mary the mother of James of Mk 16:1.
      2. The Salome of Th 61 being the Salome of Mk 16:1.
      3. The Mary of Th 114 being Mary the Magdalene of Mk 16:1.

      In this case, since the James of Th 12, who is called James the
      Just/Righteous, is a brother of Jesus, the person called Mary the mother
      of James in Mk 16:1 is none other than Mary the mother of Jesus.

      In this case, further, one of the primary objects of Mk 16:6-8 is to
      show that the three women named in Th were unworthy of being given any
      responsibilities because they proved their inability to handle
      responsibility by failing to convey the divine message they heard to the
      disciples and Peter.

      Further, by emphasising that one of the women who miserably failed to
      handle responsibility was the mother of James, this reflects negatively
      on James (the leader of the Hellenists), thereby making Peter (the
      leader of the Hebrews)look all the better in 16:6-8.

      III. This Explains a Major Problem

      Mk 16:6-8 has no proof of Jesus' resurrection, just an empty tomb and an
      unproven assertion by a young man. Further, it gives us a very unhappy
      ending in that the women do not say anything to anyone, so that the
      disciples and Peter remain in ignorance and, presumably, fail to go to
      Galilee.

      To say this least, this perception of an inadequate and unhappy ending
      to Mk has been a major problem from the time of Matthew and Luke until
      now.

      As a result:
      1. Matthew and Luke perceived the need to radically change it and to add
      accounts of appearances of the risen Jesus
      2. Several attempts were made by early Christians to add an appendix to
      Mk, thereby giving it an ending on a happy note by narrating how the
      risen Jesus appeared to some others. 3, Further, in modern times, the
      argument is frequently raised that the ending of Mk got torn off an
      early copy of it and all we possess are copies of this manuscript with
      its missing ending. In this case, there was an ending to Mk that was
      satisfactory, but it has been lost. For example, this is point 7 of
      this e-mail on April 9th by E Bruce Brooks on the Synoptic-L list:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Synoptic/message/1041

      On April 10th, Ron Price responded by stating, "You're supporting a
      dying cause. Nowadays most scholars recognize, correctly, that Mark
      intended to end at 16:8." See:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Synoptic/message/1042

      However, this problem disappears if the purpose of Mk 16:6-8, as
      suggested above, is polemical, i.e., to try to refute three major
      theological beliefs found in Th 114 and related passages. In this case,
      for its original purpose, it is a quite satisfactory ending.

      Frank McCoy
      St Paul, MN 55119
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