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[Synoptic-L] Temple Cleansing and the Cursing of the Fig Tree in Mk

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Donald Murphy wrote - ... I think Donald has mis-understood what I wrote on 1 June to this List, and my contributions since. In my view the scholarly
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 27, 1999
      Donald Murphy wrote -
      >Brian, it seems to me, both admits to knowing nothing of this Markan
      >scholarship of the sixties and seventies and, a fortiori, to yet later
      >scholarship and, to counter it, simply uses an authority who apparently
      >likewise manifests disappointingly little knowledge about it. I suspect
      >that at least my better students through the years would see this as an
      >ineffective appeal to authority.
      I think Donald has mis-understood what I wrote on 1 June to this List,
      and my contributions since. In my view the scholarly literature on Mark
      is vast. I would hope that any scholar would hesitate to claim to have
      read widely on Mark. I certainly do not make such a claim. I estimate
      that it would take me about three years (at one hour per day) to read
      intelligently those commentaries, articles and books (excluding those
      which I have already read) which Morna Hooker lists in the "select
      bibliography" in her commentary "The Gospel according to St Mark"
      (London, 1991) - a work Donald has stated he has not read himself. And,
      of course, Hooker's list is only a selection consisting, at my count, of
      about 200 titles.

      The "authority who apparently likewise manifests disappointingly little
      knowledge about (Mark)" is presumably the late Robert A. Guelich to whom
      I respectfully referred. His commentary (on the first half of Mark only)
      lists 400 (on my counting) modern authors with references to their use
      in the body of the commentary. If Guelich is disappointingly
      unknowledgeable on Mark, then I can only say I would be very happy
      indeed to be just as unknowledgeable as he was. Incidentally, Guelich
      does not even include Ched Myers in his list of modern authors on Mark!!
      How remiss!! Perhaps Guelich did not read as widely on Mark as Donald?!
      Or perhaps he had a rather different idea of "authority"?!

      To be positive, I have just read Francis Watson 'Toward a Literal
      Reading of the Gospels' which is Chapter 7 in (ed) R. Bauckham, "The
      Gospels for All Christians" (Cambridge, 1998).

      The first section of Watson's chapter analyses 'Sitz im Leben' as a
      *theological construct* in the redaction-critical approach of Marxsen,
      and in the earlier form-critical approach of Bultmann, a construct which
      Watson shows implies a "disjunction between history and Word". The
      second section is entitled 'Against Allegorizing'.

      To me, the interesting feature of the chapter is that it implies that
      the redaction-critical approach of the past three decades has been
      allegorical in its interpretation of the Gospels, that this is partly
      because it assumes that each evangelist wrote for his own "community",
      that such an assumption is false, and that "a future Gospels
      scholarship" would be a new line of departure which would not need to
      look for allegorical interpretations in the supposed "structure" of the
      Gospels (for instance in the encircling of the Cleansing of the Temple
      by the Cursing of the Fig Tree in Mark).

      Watson ends with the words -
      >To interpret the Gospels in abstraction from the truth-claim they
      >everywhere pre-suppose and intend is a sign not of scholarly integrity
      >but of a failure to reckon with the existence of these texts in their
      >primary, literal sense.
      I guess he feels an unease much like mine.

      Best wishes,

      E-MAIL: brian@... HOMEPAGE
      SNAILMAIL: Rev B. E. Wilson,
      10 York Close, Godmanchester, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
      Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK
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