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Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan fatigue: was response with regard to Mark and the she...

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic-L In Response To: Leonard On: Preaching of the Disciples From: Bruce As part of his reply to John Lupia, Leonard had said: LEONARD: What seems to
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 5, 2005
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      To: Synoptic-L
      In Response To: Leonard
      On: Preaching of the Disciples
      From: Bruce

      As part of his reply to John Lupia, Leonard had said:

      LEONARD: What seems to be implied here, however -- and this is
      significant -- is that what the apostles are envisioned as "preaching" in
      6:12, even if its stated goal is repentance, is really the more familiar
      Christian proclamation: "Christ Jesus .... and him crucified ... the power
      and wisdom of God"... in good Pauline fashion (cf. 1 Cor 1:23 and see Mk
      16:15, the final commissioning to preach in the long ending).

      BRUCE: The long ending of Mark is, I should think, well known to be a later
      supplied item, and it is thus perhaps not evidentially cogent for present
      purposes. I will here ignore it. Otherwise, and overall, this looks to me
      like a harmonizing reading, specifically, an importation of Pauline
      preaching into a passage which really says something else, namely, a John
      the Baptistical preaching of repentance.

      Comparativist Note: We have this sort of thing all the time in the Confucian
      commentarial literature. Confucius says, in the Analects, that he is not a
      sage. The notorious Sung-dynasty commentator Ju Syi (more than a thousand
      years later) notes, Of course Confucius was a sage, he is just being modest.
      The early, more modest Confucius is thus, in one sentence, assimilated to
      the later, aggrandized, all but divine, Confucius.

      The trouble with this and all harmonizing interpretations, from the
      philological point of view, is that they obliterate, and in Ju Syi's case
      the harmonization is meant to obliterate, all the differences and
      inconsistencies within the canonical texts, all the signs of doctrinal
      evolution over time, all the points at which the history of those texts is
      most evident. So, speaking from the philological standpoint, I would much
      prefer to keep "repentance" in this Markan passage as meaning exactly what
      it says. There is, inter alia, a definite schematic association, in GMk as
      we have it, between John and Jesus. Maybe AMk was wrong to weave this into
      his text, but he, or he and his interpolator together, certainly did so.

      Isn't it worth considering, if only for a minute, that the original Jesus
      may have been a preacher much more along John the Baptist lines than we,
      with our heavily Paulinized outlook, are accustomed to think? Herod, for one
      (see previous thread), seems to have had something like that idea. GMk seems
      to give us warrant for thinking so, including his frequent seeking of
      wilderness to refresh himself from the labors of crowd preaching, and his
      remark that only prayer (done, as far as GMk lets us imagine, in solitude in
      remote places) gives power to cast out specially resistant demons. The faith
      of the possessed (in that passage) has nothing to do with it.

      On the assumption (see my earlier note on the aggrandization effect of the
      genealogies, plus and minus, in the Synoptics plus Thomas) that we have the
      chronological sequence

      Mk > Mt > Lk > Thos

      what if anything does the Preaching of the Disciples do, either to
      strengthen or weaken that assumption, at least as to the first three? I
      experiment with this question, hastily, by looking at the Huck/Throckmorton
      lineup (but taken, as per the experiment, in the above order).

      Mk 6:6b And [Jesus] went about among the villages teaching
      Mt 9:35 . . preaching the gospel of the kingdom . . .
      Lk [no direct parallel]

      Mk 6:12 [the disciples] preaching that men should repent
      Mt [no direct parallel]
      Lk 9:6 [the disciples] preaching the gospel

      In these parallels, Jesus' own preaching is not directly described as to
      content, so we have an indeterminate result. The disciples' preaching IS
      described, one way or another, and their teaching is like that of John the
      Baptist in the source here hypothesized as earliest, whereas it is readily
      assimilable to Pauline preaching in the sources here hypothesized as second
      and third.

      I submit that we have here evidence of a change over time, not so much the
      substitution of a Pauline for what I may temporarily call a Johannine
      message, but the gradual obliteration of an old tradition in which Jesus's
      teaching was much closer to John than to Paul. Of this tradition there are
      still unsubmerged traces in the already late and composite GMk, and those
      traces are systematically eliminated or changed in the GMt and GLk rewrites.
      Which, as to this one issue, are thus readily interpretable as regularizing
      and harmonizing enterprises.

      This hypothesis provides an intelligible motive for the differences as from
      the AMt and ALk side; they were concerned to get rid of the obsolete picture
      of Jesus that had still survived, albeit in tatters, in one of their
      sources, and to systematically replace those traces with a homogeneous
      gospel preaching which was closer to, or unproblematically compatible with,
      that of Paul, namely, that of Second Phase Christianity. On the ranking
      opposite hypothesis of source order, namely Mt > Lk > Mk (or its variant, Lk
      > Mt > Mk), what would have been AMk's reason for inserting, in the context
      of a contemporary and thoroughly Paulinized Christianity, an obsolete,
      upsetting, Johannine note? I can't find one, and I count my failure as
      further evidence in favor of the sequence Mk > Mt > Lk. The imputed
      authorial motives in that sequence are more readily framable than are those
      of the alternative possibilities.

      In the ocean of NT scholarship, whose surrounding sands I occasionally and
      inexpertly tread, there must be some paper exploring the John/Jesus
      connection somewhat along these lines. Could some learned person refer me to
      same? I would like to see where this comes out, without doing the actual
      work.

      Thanks in advance,

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst




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