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[HJMatMeth] Re: Date of Q

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  • John Dominic Crossan
    I will take up your comments about Mark first, Jeff, and then return to Q 13:35. I would not say that the grounds for dating Mark to ca. 70 amount to only a
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 29, 2000
      I will take up your comments about Mark first, Jeff, and then return to Q
      13:35. I would not say that the "grounds for dating Mark to ca. 70 amount to
      only a handful of verses in chap. 13." I have, in general, the following
      three reasons for dating Mark in the context of the First Roman War. (1) All
      of chapter 13 represents Mark's explanation of why the destruction of
      Jerusalem and the parousia of Jesus were not coincident events as those whom
      he is criticizing obviously believed. The function of chapter 13 is to
      separate those two events, relegate the destruction of Jerusalem to the
      recent past, and the parousia of Jesus to the imminent future. (2) I
      understand the Barabbas story to be a Markan creation emphasizing that the
      "Jerusalem crowd" chose the wrong savior, the wrong Son of the Father, by
      choosing a bandit leader over Jesus. I see that as referring to the bandit
      leadership in Jerusalem during that same war. (3) The general emphasis
      throughout Mark on persecutions including the parallels between the
      experiences of the Markan Jesus and the Markan Christians: trials--both
      religious and civil, confession vs. betrayal, death in abandonment, and the
      final climax, not of consoling apparitions, but of an empty tomb and a Jesus
      absent pending return). All of those points together are my general evidence
      for dating Mark within the First Roman War.
      Let me return, however, to Q 13:34-35. I consider 13:34-35a to be an oracle
      of Wisdom speaking of her many attempts to appeal to "Jerusalem," her
      rejection again and again, and her final warning that Jerusalem's temple
      will be abandoned (13:35b is, for me, a Christian specification of that
      pre-Christian oracle). In any case, I do not find it adequate evidence to
      locate Q after the destruction of Jerusalem. I would need wider evidence for
      such a conclusion.
      That said, let me rephrase the problem by pondering what is at stake in such
      a dating. As far as I can see, the hierarchy of importance in Q conclusions
      is as follows, for me: (1) The existence of Q as a relatively coherent
      written document, (2) the independence of that document Q from other
      canonical sources (from Mk, for instance), (3) the date and place of Q as
      much more open categories.
      I tend to "place" it at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee from its
      vehement denouncement of those three towns. If somebody wants to move it
      around, I have no particular objections and if they draw important
      conclusions from any relocation, I would prefer to debate those conclusions
      rather than the relocation. Similarly, with regard to "date." Suppose, for
      our present debate, that I accept your chronology of Q as subsequent to the
      destruction of Jerusalem based on 13:34-35 (that's dato non concesso, of
      course) I would have to presume that Q is somewhere far enough off the
      scorched- earth pathway of legionary attack so that it holds no other
      indications of the horrors of the First Roman War. But let's presume all
      that. So what? We now have Mark and Q coming out of the subsequent situation
      of Jerusalem's destruction. So what, once again? I do not accept that
      post-70 dating, but I am not sure what difference it would make. When I see
      that "difference" I may want to debate it rather than the date. It seems to
      me that the questions of existence and independence are still the crucial
      ones with regard to Q.
      >From: Jeff Peterson <peterson@...>
      >To: hjmaterialsmethodolgy@egroups.com
      >Subject: [HJMatMeth] Re: Date of Q
      >Date: Mon, Feb 28, 2000, 12:24 AM

      > When we left the date of Q, Prof. Crossan had written:
      >>I expect far more references to such catastrophic
      >>events than a single possible illusion as in Q 13:34-35.
      > I'm not sure I can agree with the standard you suggest here, as the grounds
      > for dating Mark to ca. 70 amount to only a handful of verses in chap. 13,
      > and scarcely more for Luke (19:41ff; 21:20ff). It's Matthew that differs
      > here, with his interpretation of the fall of Jerusalem as a judgment on his
      > nation, and allusions are a bit more widely distributed in his Gospel; but
      > perhaps Q was just as unconcerned with the destruction as Luke was. My OT
      > teacher John Willis's old rule was "A book is no earlier than the latest
      > event of which it betrays knowledge"; on that standard, if any verse
      > ascribed to Q reflects the fall of Jerusalem, then the document as a whole
      > (or at least its latest stratum) must be judged post-70. So the question
      > shifts to the interpretation of 13:35, on which more below.
      > In itself, and
      >>without any wider context, that sounds to me much more like the standard
      >>(woe-to-Jerusalem type language which was generic rather than specific).
      > "Your house left to you abandoned" seems more specific than that to me --
      > not just a general message of doom for Jerusalem but a description of the
      > temple abandoned and left in ruins, which was precisely the state of
      > affairs following Titus' triumph. But I do think it's here where the
      > question might be fruitfully engaged.
      >>Even granted that, however, it becomes more difficult to say why 50s and not
      >>60s (or for that matter why 50s and not 40s)?
      > Your comments here reminded me of Austin Farrer's comparison of the dates
      > for the Gospels to tipsy revelers, linked arm in arm and moving erratically
      > from one side of the street to the other. It's useful to be reminded of
      > what we do not know with certainty.
      > The seminar has been a delight. Thanks for your thoughtful engagement of so
      > many points of view.
      > Jeff
      > --------------------
      > Jeffrey Peterson
      > Institute for Christian Studies
      > Austin, Texas
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