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[Synoptic-L] Herod's Worries

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic-L In Response To: Leonard On: Herod s Worries (Mk 6:14-16) From: Bruce I had suggested that the singular person causing concern to Herod and his
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 4, 2005
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      To: Synoptic-L
      In Response To: Leonard
      On: Herod's Worries (Mk 6:14-16)
      From: Bruce

      I had suggested that the singular person causing concern to Herod and his
      advisors in Mk 6:14-16 is the singular Jesus of Mk 6:6b, rather than the
      twelvefold disciples of Mk 6:7, and I had taken this as confirming evidence
      for the hypothesis that Mk 6:7-13 are interpolated.

      LEONARD: It occurs to me that the data you point out could well be regarded
      as an example of "fatigue" in Markan editing of Matthew,

      BRUCE: Could I have more detail on this? Fatigue, as I understand it, is the
      resumption of the source following as a lapse in an earlier intention to
      diverge from the source. I don't see how this would apply to the singular
      object of concern in Mk 6:14f-16, which is consistent throughout that
      passage (as also in its Matthean and Lukan parallels).

      LEONARD: or as simply an unfortunate result of Mark's policy of conflating
      the two Gospels of Matthew and Luke. After (if not already during) his
      abbreviated form of Matthew's mission discourse, Mark has moved to Luke's
      text to find mention of the actual going forth of the twelve on mission (and
      later their return). He resumes the story line following Matthew, where
      there has been no actual going forth, preaching or working of miracles by
      the disciples, for the Herod and John the Baptist passage. Thus the
      incoherency in Mark's text that you note.

      BRUCE: Let's see if I can restate this for beginners like myself.

      (1) The conjunction of Jesus's going forth with the advice to the Twelve is
      found only in Mt 9:35 / 10:1f and in Mk 6:6b / 7f. On the hypothesis that
      GMk in general is derivative from GMt and GLk, he can only have picked up
      this sequence by following GMt at this point.

      (2) The conjunction of the Advice to the Twelve with the Sending of the
      Twelve occurs only in Lk 9:5/6 and in Mk 6:12/13. On the above assumption,
      GMk can here only be following GLk, and it then follows that he must have
      shifted to the GLk model sometime in between.

      Where exactly? At the "staff" passage, as abundantly noted in previous
      posts, Mk 6:9 diverges from both, allowing a staff, whereas both Mt/Lk
      forbid it. At Mk 6:10, we have "And he said to them," without precedent in
      either supposed source. The Lukan similarity perhaps begins to outweigh the
      Matthean similarity at approximately Mk 6:11 "and if any place will not
      receive you" (|| Lk 9:5 "and wherever they do not receive you," personalized
      in Mt 9:14 as "and if any one will not receive you or listen to your
      words"). Let's then take this as the transition point. But why should AMk
      make that transition at just this point? What in the Lukan variant would
      have attracted his eye and pen?

      Anyway, we now have AMk on the Lukan track, and we next have the Herodian
      speculations.

      (3) The conjunction of the Sending of the Twelve with the Herodian
      speculations occurs only at Mk 6:13/14f and at Lk 9:7/7f. The Matthean
      parallel is elsewhere, namely at Mt 14:1-2. Leonard, if I read him right,
      suggests that AMk here shifts back to GMt.

      I find this difficult, for the following reasons.

      1. It seems easier to suppose that AMk would continue following GLk rather
      than turning many pages to shift to GMt. A motive for the extra effort would
      have to be shown. None suggests itself to me.

      2. Of the two candidate Markan sources, compared to the Markan text -

      Mt 14:1 - "At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus
      Lk 9:7 - "Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done
      [Mk 6:14] - "King Herod heard of it; for Jesus's name had become known

      - Mk follows Mt in mentioning Jesus's fame, but at the same time he does
      not adopt the feature of GMt which would avoid the seeming reference to the
      disciples, namely, providing a noun object "the fame of Jesus" for Herod to
      hear about, rather than relying on previous context to supply what has
      caused him to worry. Both Mk and Lk rely on previous context to fill in the
      meaning of "all that was done" (Lk) and "it" (Mk).

      It seems, from this skeleton comparison, that AMk does not shift to GMt, but
      rather continues to have both sources in view, taking features from both,
      and in ways that create rather than solve a continuity problem. Singularly
      complicated, and also singularly inept, from the point of view of the
      present problem. Is there a scenario which would rationalize this choice?

      Pending these three clarifications, I can only think that we have here two
      improbables.

      The opposite of the Mark-last position is the Luke-last position, which has
      had some play recently. We might see if motives for choice between sources
      more readily suggest themselves on this alternative hypothesis of the
      relationship. We have, GIVEN GMt and GMk, TO FIND motives for the text of
      GLk as we have it.

      Goulder (1989) takes this section up at 1/428f. I won't here paraphrase. But
      I do note in general that there is explicit support in GLk for a critical
      (that is, sometimes adversative) use of more than one source. The opening of
      that Gospel, the only explicitly authorial one of the three Synoptics, where
      (a) multiple earlier versions of Jesus's career are said to exist, and (b)
      dissatisfaction is implicitly suggested with all of them, otherwise there is
      no reason to embark on a new account. I don't think that there is anything
      like that much support for the alternative Mark-last hypothesis.

      All that needs to be added is a line to pacify Streeter and others who find
      the behavior of ALk on this hypothesis to be incomprehensible, even insane.
      Not if it ALk is in rivalry with AMt, both to show the utility of Markan
      passages or features neglected by AMt, and also to stand apart from the
      innovations and rearrangements which AMt imposed on his Markan source, while
      (to quote Goulder on the passage in question) not disdaining Matthew's
      stylistic improvements on Mark.

      Given the Lukan countenancing of such an intention, I would think we are
      here in a zone of somewhat higher probability.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 7/4/2005 8:14:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... OK, I follow you thus far. ... This is partially correct (though I assume you mean Lk 9:6,
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 4, 2005
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        In a message dated 7/4/2005 8:14:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time, brooks@... writes:

        BRUCE: Let's see if I can restate this for beginners like myself.

        (1) The conjunction of Jesus's going forth with the advice to the Twelve is
        found only in Mt 9:35 / 10:1f and in Mk 6:6b / 7f. On the hypothesis that
        GMk in general is derivative from GMt and GLk, he can only have picked up
        this sequence by following GMt at this point.



        OK, I follow you thus far.


        (2)  The conjunction of the Advice to the Twelve with the Sending of the
        Twelve occurs only in Lk 9:5/6 and in Mk 6:12/13. On the above assumption,
        GMk can here only be following GLk, and it then follows that he must have
        shifted to the GLk model sometime in between.


        This is partially correct (though I assume you mean Lk 9:6, not Lk 9:5-6. It is Mark who then extends his Acta Apostolorum to include two full verses). My other problem with your formulation here is that you speak of the "Sending of the Twelve" as proper to Mark and Luke. This is of course not true at all. In Matthew the apostles are sent out, very explicitly and very clearly, in 10:5 and 6, where they are told to go specifically to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (cf. 9:36). What we do not find in Matt is a narrative comment of the evangelist describing their actual going forth and engaging in this mission, in response to the commissioning words of Jesus.


        Where exactly? At the "staff" passage, as abundantly noted in previous
        posts, Mk 6:9 diverges from both, allowing a staff, whereas both Mt/Lk
        forbid it. At Mk 6:10, we have "And he said to them," without precedent in
        either supposed source. The Lukan similarity perhaps begins to outweigh the
        Matthean similarity at approximately Mk 6:11 "and if any place will not
        receive you" (|| Lk 9:5 "and wherever they do not receive you," personalized
        in Mt 9:14 as "and if any one will not receive you or listen to your
        words"). Let's then take this as the transition point. But why should AMk
        make that transition at just this point? What in the Lukan variant would
        have attracted his eye and pen?



        I assume that Mark had both texts in front of him when he wrote, and you are approximately correct in your determination of when Luke becomes the dominant influence in this passage.


        (3) The conjunction of the Sending of the Twelve with the Herodian
        speculations occurs only at Mk 6:13/14f and at Lk 9:7/7f. The Matthean
        parallel is elsewhere, namely at Mt 14:1-2. Leonard, if I read him right,
        suggests that AMk here shifts back to GMt.


        My statement here was a bit confusing, I admit. If you are going to say that Mark's text remains closer in its formulations to Lk than to Matt for the most part in this passage, I will agree.


        1. It seems easier to suppose that AMk would continue following GLk rather
        than turning many pages to shift to GMt. A motive for the extra effort would
        have to be shown. None suggests itself to me.


        You are right, although it is clear that -- while following Lk here as his primary source -- Mark at least found the parallel passage in Matt 14 before beginning to write, and allowed it to influence his formulations, especially in 6:14. This was simply SOP for Mark, so no special motive is needed here.


        2. Of the two candidate Markan sources, compared to the Markan text -

        Mt 14:1 - "At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus
        Lk 9:7 - "Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done
        [Mk 6:14] - "King Herod heard of it; for Jesus's name had become known

        - Mk follows Mt in mentioning Jesus's fame, but at the same time he does
        not adopt the feature of GMt which would avoid the seeming reference to the
        disciples, namely, providing a noun object "the fame of Jesus" for Herod to
        hear about, rather than relying on previous context to supply what has
        caused him to worry. Both Mk and Lk rely on previous context to fill in the
        meaning of "all that was done" (Lk) and "it" (Mk).


        There is no '"it" in the Greek text of Mark. But the reference is vague and general, and to the preceding gospel narrative of the deeds of Jesus in both, yes.


        It seems, from this skeleton comparison, that AMk does not shift to GMt, but
        rather continues to have both sources in view, taking features from both,
        and in ways that create rather than solve a continuity problem.


        As I said above, I agree with you that Mark would have both gospel sources in view at this point in his redaction, on the Griesbach hypothesis. I also think you correctly describe the result of Mark's editing here, and in the process perhaps strengthen the case for Mk 6:7-13 as an interpolation, if one assumes Markan priority. In its more immediate context, the object-less verb AKOUEIN in Mk 6:14 refers back to verses like 6:2 and even 5, rather than to the immediately preceding verse.


        The opposite of the Mark-last position is the Luke-last position, which has
        had some play recently. We might see if motives for choice between sources
        more readily suggest themselves on this alternative hypothesis of the
        relationship. We have, GIVEN GMt and GMk, TO FIND motives for the text of
        GLk as we have it.

        Goulder (1989) takes this section up at 1/428f. I won't here paraphrase. But
        I do note in general that there is explicit support in GLk for a critical
        (that is, sometimes adversative) use of more than one source. The opening of
        that Gospel, the only explicitly authorial one of the three Synoptics, where
        (a) multiple earlier versions of Jesus's career are said to exist, and (b)
        dissatisfaction is implicitly suggested with all of them, otherwise there is
        no reason to embark on a new account. I don't think that there is anything
        like that much support for the alternative Mark-last hypothesis.



        (a) "Multiple versions of Jesus's career" are not said to exist in the opening verses of Luke, which speaks rather of the many who have "undertaken to set in order an account of things which have been brought to fulfillment in our midst". This could as well refer to the authors of the OT books which Luke believes speak of Jesus (24:27, 44), and of which we know for certain that Luke made abundant use throughout his Gospel and especially in his first two chapters. Your (b) implies that Luke begins his phrase with a concessive (although), whereas he actually begins with a causal conjunction (inasmuch as). It was not so much general dissatisfaction with Matt that inspired Luke to rewrite the gospel story as the awareness that the Gospel message needed to be updated to encompass and address the important new moment of the Pauline mission.

        Leonard Maluf
        Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
        Weston, MA
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic-L In Response To: Leonard On: Mark s Authorial Motives From: Bruce In a scenario previously provided by Leonard, I had noted three points at which
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 4, 2005
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          To: Synoptic-L
          In Response To: Leonard
          On: Mark's Authorial Motives
          From: Bruce

          In a scenario previously provided by Leonard, I had noted three points at
          which the posited skipping of AMk from one of his sources to the other
          seemed to me awkward and/or unmotivated, and to that extent unconvincing,
          and had asked for clarification. Leonard in his answer doesn't provide those
          clarifications. His response at one point (and seemingly meant for all) was:

          LEONARD: You are right, although it is clear that -- while following Lk here
          as his primary source -- Mark at least found the parallel passage in Matt 14
          before beginning to write, and allowed it to influence his formulations,
          especially in 6:14. This was simply SOP for Mark, so no special motive is
          needed here.

          BRUCE: No, seriously, I think the choices must be explained, as Goulder has
          tried to do for ALk, which he conceives as occupying the same third position
          you assign to AMk.

          Take any doctoral student, give him (let's suppose) any two Synoptics, and
          ask him to explain the third Synoptic in terms of the author of the third
          making a joint summary of the other two, that author being allowed to omit
          as well as to include, and being allowed a certain amount of leeway for the
          introduction of words, story elements, and even whole segments not in either
          of the two, and I bet he could do it. But surely the plausibility of that
          demonstration (or of a demonstration of either of the other alternate
          possibilities of this type) would rest on how reasonable, now imaginably
          motivated, how authorially or editorially intelligible, those various moves
          were. No?

          To say, as Leonard here seems to, that unexplained alternation between, and
          alteration of, two sources is SOP for the third author, seems somehow too
          easy. For this reader, it makes of that Gospel what Chomsky makes of the
          grammar of a language: a closed box whose workings are not available to
          analysis, and which does what it does because it does it.

          I can't imagine that this is what Leonard intends, and at the risk of
          calling for repetition of matters earlier explained, could I ask for a short
          summary of his idea of AMk as an author (theologian, anthologist, whatever
          is most appropriate)? Without something of the sort, I don't find myself
          presently able to evaluate Leonard's suggestions about Mark's treatment of
          his two sources.

          With thanks in advance,

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst


          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 7/4/2005 11:25:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... This is not quite fair. Although I agree that my statement about the importance of parallel
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 5, 2005
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            In a message dated 7/4/2005 11:25:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time, brooks@... writes:

            LEONARD: You are right, although it is clear that -- while following Lk here
            as his primary source -- Mark at least found the parallel passage in Matt 14
            before beginning to write, and allowed it to influence his formulations,
            especially in 6:14. This was simply SOP for Mark, so no special motive is
            needed here.

            BRUCE: No, seriously, I think the choices must be explained, as Goulder has
            tried to do for ALk, which he conceives as occupying the same third position
            you assign to AMk.

            Take any doctoral student, give him (let's suppose) any two Synoptics, and
            ask him to explain the third Synoptic in terms of the author of the third
            making a joint summary of the other two, that author being allowed to omit
            as well as to include, and being allowed a certain amount of leeway for the
            introduction of words, story elements, and even whole segments not in either
            of the two, and I bet he could do it. But surely the plausibility of that
            demonstration (or of a demonstration of either of the other alternate
            possibilities of this type) would rest on how reasonable, now imaginably
            motivated, how authorially or editorially intelligible, those various moves
            were. No?

            To say, as Leonard here seems to, that unexplained alternation between, and
            alteration of, two sources is SOP for the third author, seems somehow too
            easy. For this reader, it makes of that Gospel what Chomsky makes of the
            grammar of a language: a closed box whose workings are not available to
            analysis, and which does what it does because it does it.


            This is not quite fair. Although I agree that my statement about the importance of parallel passages, and its SOP character, may sound a bit too convenient and, more importantly, somewhat of an a priori observation, I assure you that it is not the latter. I have discovered by empirical means that whether or not this would correspond to modern sensibilities or procedures, Luke, e.g., is always and extremely conscious of what I would call "parallel places", or topoi, in his wide-ranging source material. His writing always shows an influence of a fairly complete set of biblical (and often also classical) parallels on a given topic. This applies both to his use of OT topoi, and to his treatment of "topics" found in the Matt (and, by the way, provides strong confirmation of his knowledge of the latter). The example of this I usually use as an illustration is Goulder's treatment of Lk 1:25, the verbalized reaction of Elizabeth to her conception in old age. As Goulder rightly notes, this Lukan text shows the influence of no fewer than three OT texts in which mothers respond verbally to a miraculous birth. Goulder does not generalize in situ (as far as I remember), but this is indeed not a unique case, but rather SOP for Luke (as I have discovered by empirical study), namely to have present to himself a fairly comprehensive set of parallel passages on a given topic when he wishes to write on that topic. This may sound strange to a modern but seems to have been quite standard procedure in antiquity. And this is why it does not surprise me that Mark always shows some awareness of a topic as treated in the other of the two gospels of which he is currently following one more closely. It is not a question of "unexplained alternation" between sources, but simply the habit of a writer, trained in the sensitivities of the age, to show an awareness of a full range of existing treatments of a given topic when he/she comes to write on it. It also follows from these observations that one of the most important things to do when trying to understand a Gospel unit in depth is to identify as precisely as possible the topic therein treated.

            Leonard Maluf
            Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
            Weston, MA
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