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Re: Motivation of women in Mark 16 and Matthew 27

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  • K. Hanhart
    On Jan 3 1999 Yuri Kuchinsky wrote: ... Dear Yuri, Clarify will take up too much space and time. Most of my argumentation you may find in my book put out by
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 2, 1999
      On Jan 3 1999 Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

      Hanhart had written :
      > > ... The epilogue [of Mark] is, I think, a midrash
      > > on LXX Isa 22,16 and LXX Isa 33,16. For in the Septuagint "a tomb hewn
      > > from the rock" (22,16), a hapax, appears to be a metaphor for the
      > > temple to be destroyed. Mark may well pit Joseph of Arimatea, the
      > > councilor over against Peter
      > I really don't see why would Mark do this, or how he does this. Perhaps
      > you can clarify.

      Dear Yuri,

      'Clarify' will take up too much space and time. Most of my argumentation
      you may find in my book put out by the Liturgical Press, "The Open Tomb,
      A New Approach". The new approach is based on the premise that after the
      trauma of 70 Mark, a christian 'ioudaios' ('interpreter' of Peter who
      had read Paul's letters) revised an earlier Passover hagadah, used in
      the ecclesia to commemorate Jesus' death and celebrate his resurrection.
      The pre-70 hagada was set in the tone of the prayer 'Maranatha', for
      they expected the coming of the bar-nash in their life time. The delay
      of the Parousia necessitated a revised hagada on the ministry of Jesus
      whose death was regarded as that of the Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5,7).
      In his revision Mark attempted to build a bridge between the
      crucifixion and the (to him recent!) destruction of the Temple some
      forty years later. The cruelty and injustice by the Romans and the
      impious handling of the ancient traditions by the temple priests and the
      Jerusalem elite, would be set aright by God who had raised Jesus from
      the dead.
      The epilogue of the Gospel was inspired by Mark's re-reading of LXX Isa
      22,16 and LXX Isa 33,16 dealing with the destruction of the First
      Temple. You ask how he does this? By cleasrly referring to the text of
      Isa 22" "a tomb hewn from the Rock", and by altering the nickname of
      Simon, "Cephas", into "Petros = Rock" throughout his Gospel.

      > > as Isaiah pitted Somnas (Sebna) overagainst Eljakim. It is worth
      > > following this trail in the absence of another viable interpretation
      > > (except the classical, literal one).
      > The logical interpretation seems to be that Joseph of A had to be found to
      > make the tomb burial story (remotely) possible. How else could they get
      > the body from the authorities?

      You put your finger on the weak link in the chain of argument. However,
      Mark himself gave himself the impossible task of building a literary
      bridge between the crucifixion of a single prophetic figure and the
      national disaster of 70. This mysterious Joseph must somehow be related
      to the death of Jesus and the persecution of the early Christians in
      Jerusalem and also to the destruction of the Temple in 70. Arimathea is
      not a family name. Mark writes "having come from Rama" (15,43, cf Jer
      31,15) thus linking him to the destruction of the temple. Moreover, in
      LXX Isa 22,16 the 'tomb' is a metaphor of the Temple to be destroyed. In
      "story time" Joseph 'dares' to petition Pilate for the 'body of Jesus'.
      This occurs at the onset of the Sabbath, Nisan 16, which is the first
      day of the harvest (Pentecost) on Pharisaic counting of the 50 days.
      The 'body of Jesus' appears to be a metaphor as well. For Pilate does
      not grant him this 'sooma' but a corpse 'ptoma' (15,45). Joseph may
      think he has put a final seal on Jesus' mission by rolling a stone
      before the tomb, but this symbolic burial merely concerns a 'corpse' and
      his socalled funeral would prove to be in vain. Mark, I think is
      applying Paul's metaphor of the ecclesia as the "body" of the living
      Christ to his midrash.
      In "story time" the women have their horrifying vision (anablepsasai,
      16,3) some FORTY HOURS after Jesus' death according to Mark's time
      indicator in 15,33. The implication is, I believe, that the vision
      concerns the disastrous events in 70, hence FORTY YEARS LATER; the women
      are like the women in LXX 32,9 who behold the destruction of Jerusalem.
      They flee the scene in horror (16,8).
      Mark's time indicators are filled with symbolism. In "story time"
      Joseph's frustrated attempt at 'burying Jesus for good' occurs at the
      onset of Nisan 16; and the vision occurs in the early hours of Nisan 17.
      According to the priestly festival calendar that is in the year of the
      crucifixion the correct date for the first of the fifty days of the
      harvest on which the "first fruit" is offered in the temple. It should
      always fall on a Sunday (Lev. 23,11.15).

      > I'm not sure if the parallel with the displacing of Shebna, and the
      > promotion of Eliakim in Isaiah 22:15-25 will work here.

      It works, I think, for Simon Peter became with all his failings the
      apparent head of the ecclesia, according to Mark. It is promised by the
      angel in 16,7. The enigma would be solved if we could know the identity
      of the mysterious Joseph (who in "story time" follows the Pharisaic
      counting of Shavuoth - who "came from Rama" and breaks the Sabbath laws
      by "buying" linen). The midrash is highly complex. But Mark makes it
      very clear that this Joseph is in his eyes an evil person. He is a
      'bouleutes', eminent member of the Council. In his time he played a role
      in "the plot" (sumboulion) "to kill Jesus" (3,6). In fact he wanted to
      put a seal on it. If I'm right this Joseph must be somehow related to
      the persecution of the christians (Acts 12,1) in "real time" and be "in
      real time"a contemporary of Mark, a person of great eminence who could
      be cast opposite Simon Peter.

      > > We
      > > both agree that the "early morning" of Mark 16,2 is Niesan 17.
      > Yes, the earliest version of the empty tomb story would have been on 14th
      > + 3 days = 17th. But later different versions were also tried.

      Here I disagree. Therefore, I prefer to call it the 'open tomb', not the
      empty tomb story. Mark is not handing on a known tradition concerning
      Jesus' grave. He is conveying of message of hope to a community in
      despair after 70, based on his faith in the risen Messiah. His "raised
      after three days" is, I believe, half of a world-week; Mark wanted to
      explain the delay of the parousia. The term "after three days"
      symbolically stands for half-way to the End, "after six days" the
      apotheosis of the Transfiguration will follow. For the Transfiguration
      scene was the original ending of the pre-70 Gospel.

      > The Sadduccee first day of Shabuoth was not fixed according to the lunar
      > calendar. It was celebrated from the first Sunday after Passover, this
      > falling on a variety of possible dates, to the Sunday 50 days later.

      No, according to Lev 23,11 it must be the day after the Sabbath after
      Pesach; not "a variety of possible dates". Pesach and Shavuoth are also
      Spring festivals and both are related to the offering of firstlings and
      first fruit.

      > > The important question is WHEN and WHY was the official festival
      > > calendar for the harvest ritual in the temple changed from the
      > > priestly to the Pharisaic interpretation of Lv 23,11.15?
      > But how do we know it was changed? How do our texts reflect the Temple
      > rituals in the 1st c?

      I already pointed to Mishna Menachot 10:3 and the Boethusian
      controversy, dealing with Nisan 16 or the Sunday after Pesach in an
      earlier post.

      > I'm quite pessimistic that analysis of the endings of the gospels can
      > provide many valid insights about the priority of any gospel. This is
      > because I believe that the endings (as well as the beginnings) were the
      > most heavily edited and changed parts of the gospels.

      I am distinguishing between a pre-70 Mark I and a heavily revised
      post-70 Mark II.

      > > Cf 1 Cor 16,2.8 - Paul wants the Corinthians to lay aside gifts only
      > > during these seven weeks, and not during 52 Sundays in a year).
      > I don't quite see how this is derived from this text.

      Paul himself sets a time limit in 1 Cor 16,8. He apparently wants to
      present this 'contribution for the saints" on the (fiftieth) day of

      >> ...the first day of Pentecost - it became our Easter Day.
      > Yes, eventually. But originally the Easter Day was the same as the Jewish
      > Passover.

      In pre-70 days the early christians must have celebrated Passover with
      the 'ioudaioi'
      in the night of Nisan 15, following the slaughtering of the lambs on
      Nisan 14.
      But "on the third day" - that is Nisan 17, - a Sunday! in the year of
      Jesus' death
      according to the Synoptics - they also rejoiced in his resurrection as
      "first fruit".

      > I think it is quite significant that the women are the first witnesses of
      > the resurrection in Mt.
      > > Now does Matthew elaborate on and clarify the Markan story? Or
      > > vice versa - does Mark abbreviate Matthew?

      Matthew elaborates, clarifies and corrects Mark (there is no 'neaniskos'
      in Matthew and no 'Salome')
      He clarifies because he lets the angel appear the very moment Nisan 15
      turns to Nisan 16 on the eve after the Sabbath. The reader is thus
      alerted to the Pharisaic-Boethusian controversy with its bitter
      memories, I believe, of the persecution under Herod Agrippa (cf Acts
      12,1; Mark 3,6).

      > As already noted above, I think Passion narratives are in a class by
      > themselves. They are the most elaborated and edited. I don't think it's
      > possible to find many clues to the solution of the Synoptic problem there.
      > > The Gr. participle "terountes" (of the guard in Mt) is also the
      > > technical term for "observing" a feast day. In that case it is their
      > > duty to hinder 'the observance of Nisan 17' as the beginning of the
      > > harvest of the resurrection, as the Christians were proclaiming it on
      > > the Day of Pentecost.
      > Whose duty is to "hinder"? I don't quite understand.

      In "story time" the guards are told on the Sabbath they must make sure
      that 'no resurrection' takes place on the "third day" (cf Mt 16,21), so
      they must keep guard until the following Tuesday. In "real (liturgical)
      Christians were proclaiming Jesus' resurrection on the Sunday following
      Pesach in defiance of the forceful introduction of Nisan 16 by Herod
      The agricultural symbolism of seed and harvest apparently was applied
      to the history of Jesus and his movement by the early Christians (f.i.
      Mark 4, 1 Cor 15, 4.20.37).
      Whatever motivated Agrippa to officially change the dates of Pentecost
      is not clear. It is clear that Mark interpreted this as a direct attack
      on christian observance (Mark 3,6).

      > > These calendrical problems, which seem to be so insignificant,
      > They are very significant.

      >> It would become highly relevant if indeed Herod Agrippa had the official
      > > calendar changed for religio/political reasons in opposition to Peter
      > > and the apostles who kept proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus on the
      > > Temple square and perhaps opposed his policies as well.
      > I don't think Peter and friends were in any position to influence how and
      > when Temple ceremonies were observed. They were not so influential.

      Perhaps not. But, as you also said, Samaritan chronology coincided with
      the christian
      calendar. Also Qumranites seemed to have adhered to the "day after the
      Sabbath". The opposition to Herod was perhaps stronger than you infer.

      Best regards,

      Karel - 's-Hertogenbosch
    • K. Hanhart
      ... Dear David, The terms old priestly calendar and the Pharisaic calender with regard to Shavuoth are frequently used. 1. There is no dispute re. the fact
      Message 2 of 14 , Feb 7, 1999
        David C. Hindley wrote:
        > Message text written by INTERNET:K.Hanhart@...
        > >Jan Van Goudoever does explain the difference between
        > the old priestly calendar and the Pharisaic calendar for the beginning
        > and ending of Shavuoth.<
        > >What do you think?<
        > Now it appears that everything boils down to the a possible change in officially sanctioned practice, similar to the difference in inerpretation regarding when to slay the passover lamb. It is still the same lunar calendar.

        Dear David,
        The terms old priestly 'calendar' and the Pharisaic calender with regard
        to Shavuoth are frequently used.
        1. There is no dispute re. the fact that the Boethusians defended the
        priestly calendar and that at some time the dates of Shavuoth were
        replaced by the Pharisaic counting of the fifty days. The temple then
        still stood and in the Talmud the Pharisaic counting of the Omer
        beginning with Nisan 16 still prevails. The question is WHEN the
        official celebrations began on Nisan 16 which is not necessarily a
        Of course,thare were other halakhic controversies in the First Century
        between Boethusians and Pharisees.
        2. This is no small matter. For the burial took place at the onset of
        Nisan 16. Nothing happend thereafter. For the women. however, the "first
        day" of Shavuoth, Nisan 17, is filled with the promise of the Messianic
        harvest to come as Jesus rose from the dead, as the first fruit.

        Greetings, your KAREL
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