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8824Re: [Synoptic-L] Pilate and Markan posteriority

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  • Eric Eve
    Dec 12 3:27 AM
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      Leonard Maluf wrote:

      > This is of course possible, though gratuitous. I have given clear examples
      of stories involving Roman governors
      > who are identified only by name. In both cases I gave, these were preceded
      by earlier written stories
      > in which the man had been identified more than once as a governor of a
      Roman province; which apparently
      > accounted for the ability of two different authors to tell a second story
      without belaboring the point.

      Dear Leonard,

      If you wanted a third example, also involving Pilate, Josephus supplies one
      at AJ 18.55; 18.85-87. In the former passage Josephus introduces Pilate with
      the words, "Now Pilate, the procurator [LCL translation; Gk hEGEMWN] of
      Judaea, when he brought his army from Caesarea and removed it to winter
      quarters in Jerusalem, took a bold step in subversion of Jewish practices,
      by introducing into the city the busts of the emperor that were attached to
      the military standards...". In the latter passage Josephus describes a
      disturbance in Samaria caused by a man leading people up Mt Gerizim in
      search of sacred vessels deposited by Moses; when Pilate is introduced into
      the narrative at 18.85 it is with the words, "But before they could ascend,
      Pilate blocked their projected route up the mountain with a detachment of
      cavalry and heavily-armed infantry... Many prisoners were taken, of whom
      Pilate put to death the principal leaders...". At 18.88, Josephus introduces
      a new character into the story, "When the uprising had been quelled, the
      council of the Samaritans went to Vitellius, and man of consular rank who
      was governor of Syria, and charged Pilate with the slaughter of the
      victims." All of this conforms to the same pattern you observed in Matthew
      and Luke.

      I appreciate none of this helps the counter-arguments Ron and I have
      tried/are trying to mount, but in fairness (since I looked up this passage
      in Josephus to see if it conformed to the point you were making) I thought I
      ought to point this out.

      Another question that occurs to me is whether Mark introduces anyone else so
      abruptly. The 'Herodians' (admittedly not an individual) are introduced
      without explanation at 3.6 (but don't feature in Matthew, apart from a
      similarly unexplained reference at Mt 22.16) so it's unlikely that Mark
      could be presupposing that his audience would know who they were simply on
      the basis of familiarity with Matthew. Herod himself is introduced with the
      title 'King' at Mk 6.14, though Mark doesn't tell us what he's king of (just
      as Mt 14.1 doesn't say what Herod was tetrarch of), so this is more explicit
      than Mark's bald 'Pilate' but less explicit than Josephus's 'governor of
      Judaea' (perhaps demanded by the preceding paragraphs in AJ that have been
      describing events outside Judaea); Mt 27.2 likewise doesn't tell us what
      Pilate was governor of, although this seems pretty clear from the context.

      Mark does sometimes introduce lesser characters into his story quite
      abruptly. At 15.21 Simon of Cyrene is introduced as the father of Alexander
      and Rufus, but we are not told who Alexander and Rufus are, and this is not
      something that Mark's audience could have known on the basis of Mt 27.32 or
      Lk 23.26, so this could be taken as evidence that Mark's audience were
      already familiar with traditions not taken from Matthew (which might
      strengthen the case for the possibility of their having access to Pilate's
      identity from another source). Indeed, the fact that Mt 27.32 and Lk 23.26
      introduce Simon of Cyrene into their narratives without the kind of
      explanation provided by Mark, might be taken (on an admittedly somewhat
      loose analogy to your argument) to suggest that their audiences were already
      familiar with the identification provided by the Markan version. Of course
      one could instead argue that the names Alexander and Rufus meant nothing to
      Matthew's and Luke's target audiences, so their was no point in including
      them, but, although this is by no means a water-tight argument, this may be
      easier to explain on the basis of Matthew and Luke omitting details from
      Mark that were no longer relevant than by a posterior Mark adding details
      that were apparently unknown to his sources.

      Matthew and Mark are also both fairly abrupt in their introduction of Mary
      Magdelene and Mary the mother of James into their crucifixion accounts (Mt
      27.56 / Mk 15.40); both Gospels explain them as being among the many
      (previously unmentioned) women who had followed Jesus in/from Galilee, but
      why are these women singled out unless they are of some significance to the
      intended audience (and unless the intended audience knows who James and
      Joseph/Joses are)? Unless I'm missing something, this is equally a problem
      whether Mark or Matthew came first, but this shows that whichever of them
      came first was capable of introducing characters by name without prior
      explanation and not on the basis of a previously extant Gospel. Moreover, I
      think one could argue that Pilate was more likely (or at least just as
      likely) to be well known and readily identifiable as Alexander, Rufus,
      James, Joses or even Mary Magdelene. If either Mark or Matthew could assume
      knowledge of such relatively minor characters in their audience, is it so
      difficult to suppose that either of them could have assumed knowledge of the
      relatively much more prominent governor Pilate?

      I appreciate that this is still not a totally satisfactory reponse; I'm more
      or less thinking out loud here, but it is the best I can do with electrians
      crawling over my office fitting new smoke-detectors!

      Best wishes,

      Eric Eve
      Harris Manchester College, Oxford

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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