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[Synoptic-L] Structure of Mark

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Donald Murphy wrote - ... Don, I am interested in the implications of the above for solving the Synoptic Problem. I assume that Mark means the writer of the
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 29, 1999
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      Donald Murphy wrote -
      >...
      >For those who doubt a symbolically theological reason for what Mark
      >is doing, may I ask that you study more specifically Mk 1:2-3. I
      >have come to be deeply impressed by the way Mark interweaves in
      >these two verses, under the figure of "Isaiah," powerful references
      >to Ex 23:20, Mal 3:1, Is 40:3, and again Mal 3:2-3. All of these
      >passages are intimately connected with the theological view that
      >Mark, I suggest, develops throughout his Gospel.
      >...
      Don,
      I am interested in the implications of the above for solving the
      Synoptic Problem. I assume that "Mark" means the writer of the Gospel
      of Mark himself. I understand you to mean that the evangelist Mark
      "interweaves" the OT material from Exodus, Malachi and Isaiah to form Mk
      1.2(b)-3, so that this combination is his own original theologically-
      significant creation which he designed in order to introduce and
      illumine much of his Gospel that follows. In particular, I understand
      you to mean that Mk 1.2(b) is a combination which had not existed prior
      to Mark writing the Gospel of Mark, because he himself fashioned the
      combination of Exodus and Malachi here. Thus, on this view, Mk 1.2(b)
      would appear to be a crucially important combination of wording from
      Exodus and Malachi originated by the writer of Mark himself. On this
      view, Mk 1.2-3 as a whole could be described as
      >
      >"the evangelist's midrashic reflection on Isaiah 40.3 vis-a-vis the
      >good news of Jesus Christ" which "serves as a superscription of and key
      >to the unusual literary composition of Mark".
      >
      My problem with the above is that the same combination of Malachi and
      Exodus occurs, with two additional words appended, in both Mt 11.10 and
      Lk 7.27 (noting, also, in Matthew the personal pronoun EGW as the
      explicit subject implied in the verb APOSTELLW). If the combination of
      words in Mk 1.2(b) was creatively originated by the writer of the Gospel
      of Mark, however, it would appear that the Gospel of Mark must have been
      written before both Matthew and Luke. For if the writer of the Gospel of
      Mark originated the combination, Matthew and Luke must have been
      documentary descendants of his Gospel in order to contain the same
      combination in the same words (with minor additions) as in Mark. The
      implication for the Synoptic Problem, therefore, is that the Augustinian
      Hypothesis and the Modified Augustinian Hypothesis (which each posit
      that Mark was dependent on Matthew) are false, the Griesbach (Two
      Gospel) Hypothesis (which posits that Mark was dependent on both Matthew
      and Luke) is false, and the Jerusalem School Hypothesis (which posits
      that Mark was dependent on Luke) is false. So the idea that the writer
      of the Gospel of Mark himself created the combination of OT texts in Mk
      1.2(b) has enormous consequences for understanding the documentary
      relationship between the synoptic gospels. Would you like to give us,
      therefore, your reasons why you hold that the writer of the Gospel of
      Mark himself created the OT combination found in Mk 1.2(b) ? I expect
      the advocates of the AH, MAH, GH and JSH on Synoptic-L, as well as
      myself, will be particularly interested in this.

      A related difficulty is that some scholars have considered that the
      longer wording of Mt 11.10 // Lk 7.27 is more original than the wording
      of Mk 1.2(b). H. T. Fleddermann, for instance, sets out "four
      considerations (which) show that Mark is secondary to Q", that is to say
      that Mk 1.2(b) is secondary to Mt 11.10 // Lk 7.27. (H. T. Fleddermann,
      "Mark and Q", page 29). Some scholars even give qualified support to the
      idea that Mk 1.2(b) is an early assimilation to the text of Matthew
      11.10, and was originally not in the Gospel of Mark at all (for instance
      B. H. Brancsomb, A. E. J. Rawlinson, V. Taylor, M. D. Hooker.) On this
      view, Mk 1.2(b) is not only secondary to Mt 11.10 // Lk 7.27, but also
      may not even have been included by the evangelist Mark in his Gospel.

      But if the writer of Mark himself constructed the combination of OT
      texts in Mk 1.2(b), then it is the longer wording of Mt//Lk which must
      be secondary, and it cannot be the more original. Moreover if the
      writer of Mark himself wrote the words in his Gospel then it cannot be a
      later addition to the text. So could you also please explain why the
      wording of Mk 1.2(b) appears to be secondary to the wording of Mt 11.10
      // Lk 7.27 ?

      Of course, it may be that in your exposition of the Gospel of Mark you
      are in fact assuming and using a particular documentary hypothesis of
      the relationship between the synoptic gospels. If so, would you kindly
      tell us what it is?

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON

      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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