8725[Synoptic-L] Re: Beelzebul controversy
- Oct 1, 2002In a message dated 10/1/2002 2:20:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time, eric.eve@... writes:
Fair enough, but so far as I can see you have provided no explanation why a
late Mark should add EXEI four times to the Matthean/Lukan text, and I fail
to see why the mere presence of this word indicates the direction of
redaction without further ado. If the point is that EXEIN is more
characteristic of Markan than of Matthean style, then one would surely
expect to find it used more often in Mark than in Matthew whatever the
direction of redaction (this is surely a mere tautology). Even if Matthew
(or Luke) had no aversion to EXEIN per se, he (or they) might prefer to
avoid its over use, and in any case I believe I have shown that none of the
changes a later Matthew would have made to an earlier Mark need an aversion
to EXEIN to explain them. Why should a later Mark go to the trouble to add a
relatively colourless word like EXEI to an earlier text?
"[H]e (or they) might prefer to avoid its over use". My point here is that both Evangelists, on the hypothesis of Markan priority, not only avoid the over use of EXEI but avoid its use entirely when it occurs four times in their source. Not impossible, as you have well shown, but improbable. And Mark does not go to any trouble to add the word EXEI. It simply comes to him instinctively, (after the first time, Mark probably just uses the word three other times because he tends to repeat a word once used) as a byproduct of his late expansions on the text.
By 'very Markan' do you mean 'these very phrases found in Mark'? or 'these
phrases, which are very Markan'? I suspect you mean the former but what your
argument goes on to show is perhaps the latter, in that "phrases [that] have
the nature of clarifying expansions" are typical of Mark's style as a whole;
I'm not convinced that this particular Markan characteristic 'would be
typical of a later author', or why it should be. If you have amassed
evidence (or have access to evidence amassed by someone else) that redactors
of earlier texts typically add clarifying expansions in the way Mark does,
then you may have an important argument here; otherwise isn't it simply
typical of Mark, whenever he wrote?
Your guess at the beginning of this paragraph was right. I do think the argument based on clarifying expansions is strong, but I have not personally done a lot of foot work in building up the case. There are, of course, two distinct steps to this argument: the first is to show that many Markan phrases in fact have this character, and the second to demonstrate that this feature is typical of a later redactor, and that it would be highly untypical of later writers to remove the resulting clarification altogether. I have previously referred to this as an ontological argument for Markan posteriority: where the Markan material is by its very nature late in character (because more developed, more conceptually mature). But more work needs to be done here.
An additional argument is that in Mk 3:24-26 one finds at least three modal
propositions (remember, in Minor Logic, the difference between, say, the
statement "Satan's kingdom will not stand" and "Satan's kingdom CANNOT
stand": the "mode" of impossibility?), signified by the use of the verb
DUNASQAI (actually four times in these Markan verses!), that are also not
found in the parallels to these verses in either Matthew or Luke. Now a
modal proposition is an intensification (Mark is upping the ante here),
which would fit well with a later dramatic redaction of earlier material.
The reverse process, and especially the reverse process repeated by two
later authors in three or four places within three verses, is difficult in
the extreme to fathom. This is one other example, and there are probably
more, that point to a late redaction of this material by Mark.
Thirdly, to get to your substantive point, I wonder if the modal 'cannot' is
so obviously an intensification on the simple 'will not'.
One ought not imagine Tony Blair speaking the Queen's English here. In English the future tense can become emphatic (or "intense") by an emphasis placed on the "helping verb":WILL, as in "Saddam Hussein's aggression WILL not stand". The Greek future does not have this compound feature. Of course Matthew's text already implies that Satan's kingdom cannot stand (if Satan is in fact the principle of Jesus' driving out of Satan). The point is that Mark is bringing the implicit in this text to the explicit level, which is a naturally late mental progression, with difficulty imagined moving in the other direction, especially four times in three verses, and by two distinct authors.
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