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Re: [Synoptic-L] Priority of Mark in response to Leonard Maluf

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    In a message dated 7/3/2005 9:27:54 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Regurgitation indeed. No one ever said that it is impossible to suggest arguments in favor
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 3, 2005
      In a message dated 7/3/2005 9:27:54 AM Eastern Daylight Time, dolfin@... writes:

      Kia Ora,

      Regurgitation on behalf of Markan priority....
      Mark's instructions for the road being minimal and therefore less radical and indicating a later period, is accommodated by the Q hypothesis.  Q is arguably earlier than Mark and contains a more radical set of instructions.  Alternatively Mark without Q advocates can suggest that Matthew's non-acceptance of the staff is either reflecting his distaste for weapons (26.52) or aversion to the image of a wandering cynic.

      Regurgitation indeed. No one ever said that it is impossible to "suggest" arguments in favor of Markan priority. The point is that, when made, they often, as here, smack of special pleading and are in any case far weaker than the contrary arguments in favor of Matthean priority. Your suggestion for the world without Q, for example, is not plausible. It is far more likely that Matthew proscribes the use of a staff simply because it was common for travelers at that time to carry a staff, for whatever reason, and Matthew wishes to stress the radical dependence on God demanded of those traveling with the message of Jesus. If he were trying in this text to make a specific point on the non-violence that is an essential aspect of the teaching of Jesus (not Matthew's "distaste for weapons") he would have to have indicated that more clearly in order to make his point.

      I suggest that the image of "the pastor who is reciting the gospel drama to his Roman flock, with staff in hand and sandals on his feet" is the modern, painted preference.

      I wasn't thinking of any modern paintings, or any paintings at all, when I suggested this. Do you know of some? My point was that Mark was writing his Gospel for a second (as in secondary) moment of Christian leadership involvement: mission comes first, when people have not yet been brought to Christ; pastoral leadership comes second, and is directed to those who are already Christian. So when Mark encounters a passage in a source that has to do with the first moment (mission) he simply fuses the horizon of that discussion with that of his own specific (and later) moment. For the established Christian community it was important that they see their leader as in some sense in continuity with the people Jesus first sent out as his missionaries to the cities of Israel. So Mark adapts the words of Matthew's missionary discourse in order to create that transparency. I assume here (in the form of a partially educated guess) that Christian pastors in late first-century Roman communities wore sandals and carried a staff. All of this is in the realm of speculation and theory, of course, and can never claim a cogency beyond that of a plausible explanation. However, I could, if you wish, give other examples from the triple Synoptic tradition where I think Mark has done exactly the same kind of adaptational editing of older gospel traditions, based on the (new, later) dramatic situation envisioned for his own gospel performance.

      Leonard Maluf
      Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
      Weston, MA
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