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Re: [Synoptic-L] Narrative structure of Mark

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  • Jeff Peterson
    ... The interesting exchange among Brian and Shawn and Stephen has me thinking that it might be helpful to observe that the Synoptic problem is really a
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 30, 1999
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      At 9:18 PM +0100 6/30/99, Brian E. Wilson wrote:
      >[I]n my view, solving the Synoptic Problem comes first, and applying its
      >solution to the synoptic gospels comes second.

      The interesting exchange among Brian and Shawn and Stephen has me thinking
      that it might be helpful to observe that the Synoptic problem is really a
      secondary question in research, the primary inquiry being into the exegesis
      of the Synoptic gospels. An extant gospel, like any surviving artifact of
      antiquity, prompts historians to ask, "What was this for? What did it do?
      What did people do with it? What did it signify to its users, or to those
      among whom it was used?" Historians propose answers to these questions in
      regard to all sorts of artifacts evidencing no clear relation to other
      artifacts, including texts that stand in no demonstrable documentary
      relation to other texts (e.g., Philemon). Historians address such questions
      in essentially the way that Shawn has suggested: i.e., they read the texts.
      (Historians characteristically correlate their readings of single texts
      with readings of other texts, and with "readings" of other relevant data,
      e.g., material culture. Literary critics, in contrast, tend to limit
      themselves to reading one text at a time. Both may have something to learn
      from one another.)

      What's distinctive about the Synoptics (but not entirely unique) is the
      documentary relationship evidently obtaining among these three textual
      artifacts; and an accurate reconstruction of this relationship would
      doubtless aid in the reading of the texts. But I do not understand why
      anything that one Synoptist derived from another should be denied any value
      whatsoever in discerning the signifance of the derivative Synoptic
      narrative. Marcan theology (e.g.) incorporates what AMark had learned from
      Paul or his letters (if anything); it will not due to declare the
      cross/resurrection Pauline and subtract it from the convictions and
      dispositions expressed in the Marcan narrative (which such a procedure
      would obscure beyond recognition). Why should not the principle not hold
      true with a prior Synoptist in relation to his successors and dependents?

      Jeff

      ------------------------------------
      Jeffrey Peterson
      Institute for Christian Studies
      Austin, Texas, USA
      ------------------------------------
    • Mark Matson
      In response to the discussion between Shawn Kelly and Brian Wilson, I ... Mark: As much as I am interested in resolving the Synoptic Problem, I do not think it
      Message 2 of 18 , Jul 1, 1999
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        In response to the discussion between Shawn Kelly and Brian Wilson, I
        couldn't help but jump in with a comment as well:

        > Shawn Kelly replied -
        > >
        > >How can we discern the intention of the flesh and blood author?
        > >
        to which Brian Wilson responded:

        > Shawn,
        > I would suggest that rather depends on your solution to the
        > Synoptic Problem. [snip] .... The intention of the
        > author of Mark could be inferred from his choosing to **omit** some
        > material from Matthew and/or Luke (for instance the Sermon on the Mount
        > or the Sermon on the Plain) and from his choosing to **include** other
        > material, in some cases almost verbatim. Furthermore, the intention of
        > the author of Mark could be inferred from the way in which, on such a
        > solution to the Synoptic Problem, he **edited** the wording of the
        > source material he did choose to include, so revealing his own **style**
        > of writing and his own **theology**. ... [and further] But this interpretation would be contingent on an
        > acceptance of the synoptic hypothesis adopted, so that if the synoptic
        > hypothesis is ruled out, then so also is the interpretation of the
        > Gospel of Mark on which it depends.

        Mark:

        As much as I am interested in resolving the Synoptic Problem, I do
        not think it is a necessary precondition for understanding the
        "intention of Mark" or perceiving the narrative structure of Mark, or
        any of the gospels. That is asking too much, and frankly we might
        never get there. Solutions to the Synoptic Problem may give us some
        additional clarity in understanding issues, may point up some
        emphases as more or less important, but surely we are in a position
        to understand the primary thrust of Mark (or Matthew, or Luke). No?

        Whether Mark drew on a) a previous gospel, or b) collected notes, or
        c) oral tradition, or d) some combination of the above, AMk pulled
        these together into a coherent whole which narrates a story about
        Jesus -- a story which has a rhetorical thrust. And it seems to me
        that precisely this understanding of the central narrative emphases,
        the theology of the writer if you please, must be accommodated in
        the understanding of the synoptic relationship. If we subsequently
        can discern the shape of one or more of these sources behind a
        writer, we can clarify the importance of the various issues reflected
        in the use (or misuse, or modification) of them. But we still have
        an whole narrative that makes sense without that.

        The study of an author, say Shakespeare, is aided by the recognition
        of allusions to mythology or historical reminiscence. But is
        tracking down the exact source of the myth, or the historical
        reference used, a requirement to understand Shakespeare's emphasis?

        What I would suggest is that the Synoptic Problem is but a special
        case of what is ubiquitous in literature: we all rely on previous
        sources for our ideas (either literarily, intertextually, or by
        memory or allusion). But we don't generally require full knowledge
        of sources, of influences, of backgrounds, to understand a piece of
        literature (surely you don't really need to know all of my
        background reading that informed by dissertation to understand it.
        It may be unreadable, but I doubt it is because you don't know all
        the influences it is steeped in). Now the close relationship of the
        Synoptics is more obvious, more insistent. But is it inherently
        different??? I would say no. We begin with understanding an
        author's production on its own terms, then seek to clarify that
        perhaps with understanding the background and influences, but always
        checking that against the "immanent reading."

        And, indeed, if we can perceive a narrative shape and central thrust
        in Mark, and compare that with Matthew and Luke, perhaps we can
        discern evidence of modification, use, or misuse of another. So
        understanding the narrative itself seems to me to be a first order
        business, upon which an understanding of the relationship between the
        gospels is dependent, not prior.

        Mark Matson
        Mark A. Matson, Ph.D.
        Asst. Director, Sanford Institute of Public Policy
        Adjunct Professor of New Testament
        Duke University
        Durham, NC 27713
        (919) 613-7310
      • Brian E. Wilson
        ... Shawn Kelly replied - ... Shawn, I would suggest that rather depends on your solution to the Synoptic Problem. If you accept the Augustinian Hypothesis,
        Message 3 of 18 , Jul 1, 1999
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          Brian E. Wilson wrote:
          >
          >I think it is not possible for "immanent reading" alone to tell us the
          >outline (if any) intended by the writer of a synoptic gospel. What was
          >not intended by the actual flesh-and-blood writer as an outline of his
          >gospel would not, in my view, be an "outline" of that synoptic gospel
          >in any meaningful way.
          >
          Shawn Kelly replied -
          >
          >How can we discern the intention of the flesh and blood author?
          >
          Shawn,
          I would suggest that rather depends on your solution to the
          Synoptic Problem. If you accept the Augustinian Hypothesis, or the
          Griesbach Hypothesis, or the Jerusalem School Hypothesis, or the
          Boismard Hypothesis, or any synoptic hypothesis in which the Gospel of
          Mark is not a documentary ancestor of Matthew or Luke, you can apply
          such a solution to the Synoptic Problem and discern how the author of
          Mark treated his documentary source material. The intention of the
          author of Mark could be inferred from his choosing to **omit** some
          material from Matthew and/or Luke (for instance the Sermon on the Mount
          or the Sermon on the Plain) and from his choosing to **include** other
          material, in some cases almost verbatim. Furthermore, the intention of
          the author of Mark could be inferred from the way in which, on such a
          solution to the Synoptic Problem, he **edited** the wording of the
          source material he did choose to include, so revealing his own **style**
          of writing and his own **theology**.

          Of course, if you adopt the Two Document Hypothesis, the Farrer
          Hypothesis, the Three Source Hypothesis, the Lagrange Hypothesis, or any
          synoptic hypothesis which holds that the Gospel of Mark was the
          documentary ancestor of both Matthew and Luke, then it is possible to
          affirm that much of the Gospel of Mark expresses the intention of the
          author of the Gospel of Mark in some way. If a commentator on Mark
          explicitly affirms acceptance of a synoptic hypothesis of this kind,
          then I have no problem at all with that commentator interpreting the
          whole of the Gospel of Mark as the creation of its author, and therefore
          indicating the style of writing, and theology, and so on, of the author
          of the Gospel of Mark. But this interpretation would be contingent on an
          acceptance of the synoptic hypothesis adopted, so that if the synoptic
          hypothesis is ruled out, then so also is the interpretation of the
          Gospel of Mark on which it depends.
          >
          >Leaving aside any theoretical reflection on intention (which might be
          >worth pursuing on another occasion),
          >
          I am not sure whether you do leave it aside in what you have written in
          this posting. The "structure" of the Gospel of Mark means, if it means
          anything at all, something intended by the author of the Gospel of Mark.
          >
          >we don't even know who the author was. We know quite literally nothing
          >about the writer of Mark including his or her name) except for that
          >which can be inferred from the text.
          >
          We know that the author of Mark wrote a book which was either the
          documentary ancestor of the Gospels of Matthew and/or Luke or was a
          documentary descendant of Matthew and/or Luke or of a common documentary
          source. This does not mean that we have to resort to an "immanent
          reading" of the Gospel of Mark in despair at ever finding the mind of
          the flesh-and-blood author of the Gospel of Mark himself. It means
          rather that if we take the trouble to solve the Synoptic Problem, then
          we have a real prospect of discovering his approach and his ideas, by
          applying the synoptic solution to the synoptic gospels.
          >
          >We can, however, determine the structure of the Gospel of Mark the same
          >way we would determine the structure of any other text that has ever
          >been written: by reading it.
          >
          Reading the Gospel of Mark is clearly essential for determining any
          structure it may have. It is a necessary condition. But is it a
          sufficient one? An "immanent reading" of the Gospel of Mark by itself
          would tell us nothing of the flesh-and-blood author of the Gospel of
          Mark, and therefore tells us nothing of any "structure" which he may
          have intended. Any apparent "structure" produced by an immanent reading
          of the Gospel of Mark may not even have been constructed by the author
          of the Gospel of Mark himself, but taken over from his source material.
          The writer of the Gospel of Mark himself may not even have noticed a
          "structure" which today's immanent reader "sees". And to settle that
          issue we need at least to solve the Synoptic Problem.
          >
          >What else can give us insight into Mark's intention other than that
          >which can be gleaned from the text?
          >
          I think the phrase "Mark's intention" here is ambiguous. It can mean
          either the intention of the flesh-and-blood author of the Gospel of Mark
          or the intention of a ghostly "assumed author" of an "immanent reading"
          of the Gospel of Mark. I would suggest that the distinction between
          these is crucial, and will not go away. An "immanent reading" of the
          Gospel of Mark does not give us the intention of the author of the
          Gospel of Mark himself, but only of its "assumed author".

          I think the whole question of the structure of the Gospel of Mark is in
          the melting-pot pending a satisfactory solution to the Synoptic Problem.
          What we see the author of the Gospel of Mark to have constructed depends
          on what we see actually happened to make Matthew, Mark and Luke synoptic
          gospels. I would suggest that it is basically a historical question. The
          sceptic is the person who despairs of finding an answer to this
          historical question. I believe it will be answered.

          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
        • Shawn Kelley
          I know I promised a response to Brian s response to my response, but Jeff Peterson and Mark Matson already gave very nice defenses of the literary position-
          Message 4 of 18 , Jul 7, 1999
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            I know I promised a response to Brian's response to my response, but
            Jeff Peterson and Mark Matson already gave very nice defenses of the
            literary
            position- probably better than anything I could have come up with on my
            own. For now let me put out a few ideas on Mark's narrative structure.

            Let me begin by saying that I fully agree with Mark Matson's suggestion
            that we
            turn from unproductive terms like authorial (implied/flesh and blood)
            intention to the more productive terms like the rhetorical thrust of
            Mark's text. I think that Mark's text does provide several clues on how
            it wants to be read. Some of these clues deal directly with the
            question
            of structure.

            Most of what follows is stolen from Mary Ann Tolbert's "Sowing the
            Gospel"
            (Appendix A: The Rhetorical Structure of Mark).

            i) Mark has a general prologue (1:1-13) and can be divided into two
            large sections (1:14-10:52; 11:1-16:8). That is, there is a rather
            sudden and dramatic shift in tone, themes, style of writing, once
            Jesus enters Jerusalem. The story rather naturally divides itself in
            half.

            ii) Mark is fond of the technique of "framing" (I think people on the
            list call it something else: sandwiching?). Here are some examples:
            a) Section one is framed by the call of disciples (1:16-20;
            10:46-52)
            b) The second subdivision of section 2 is framed by women anointing
            Jesus for burial (14:1-11; 16:1-8)
            c) The final subdivision of section 1 is framed by the healing of a
            blind man (8:22-26; 10:46-52).
            In each instance (and there are many more) this technique helps
            group large amounts of material together and helps establish the theme
            for that section of the Gospel: the calling of disciples, the death of
            Jesus, the blindness of the disciples.

            iii) The first part of the Gospel is rather loosely structured, but
            there are geographical markers designed to indicate forward movement of
            the story and designed to group material together. The most important
            one is the Sea of Galilee. Note that each time Jesus either approaches
            or crosses the Sea (1:16; 2:13; 3:7; 4:1; 4:35) new kinds of material
            are introduced (healings, controversies, new kinship, parables).

            iv) Mark has a number of metaphors that are woven throughout the story.
            The most important ones are: seeing/blindness, fear, journeying (towards
            abandonment for Jesus and towards failure for the disciples). These
            metaphors help evaluate the behavior of the characters as they respond
            to Jesus. This too is essential to the movement of the plot, in that
            the failure of certain characters is essential to the overall story.

            v) There are a number of scenes that are grouped in threes: the boat
            trips, the passion predictions, the sleeping in the Garden of
            Gethsemene, Peter's denial. These scenes are designed to comment on
            each other. As a whole they highlight the consistent failure of the
            disciples to listen to Jesus or to understand him.

            vi) There are a number of times that Jesus calls aside Peter, James and
            John for some private moment. The raising of Jairus' daughter
            (6:35ff), the transfiguration (9:2ff), the three Passion Predictions
            {one involving Peter (8:31ff) and one James and John (10:35ff)}, the
            apocalyptic discourse (13:3ff, which also includes Andrew), and the
            Garden of Gethsemene (14: 32).
            We should also recall that they were the first ones called. This has
            the effect of identifying them as leaders and of highlighting their
            increasing inability to understand the themes of death and resurrection
            (which are implicit in almost all of the above scenes). It also helps
            to
            underline the role that their failure plays in increasing the suffering
            of Jesus.

            vii) Some parts of Mark are not tightly plotted (which is not the same
            thing as unplotted), while others are tightly plotted. I would suggest
            in particular that 8:22-10:46 and 14:1-16:8 are especially well
            plotted.
            That is, both sections of the Gospel culminate in a rather dramatic
            sections of narrative that are rather obviously forward moving.

            viii) Most of the important themes are identified in the parable
            chapter, especially in the parable of the Sower and its interpretation.
            Notice how the language and imagery of 4:6, 16-17 reappears in the
            Passion story (see 14:27). The disciples (led by Peter, the rock)
            reflect the behavior of the rocky soil of the parable- the very parable
            that Jesus identifies as the most important off all the parables (4:13).
            The plot and the teaching material are closely intertwined.

            There is enough here to suggest to me that Mark is indeed structured,
            that it does have a plot and themes, and that it is trying to guide the
            way that we receive and read the story. The Gospel hopes to produce
            certain effects upon those who read it. Is that so surprising?

            Shawn Kelley
            Daemen College
          • Mark Matson
            ... I would agree that Mark s gospel falls into a simple two part construction, though I tend to see the break a bit differently. It has always struck me that
            Message 5 of 18 , Jul 8, 1999
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              Shawn Kelley <skelley@...> wrote:

              > i) Mark has a general prologue (1:1-13) and can be divided into two
              > large sections (1:14-10:52; 11:1-16:8). That is, there is a rather
              > sudden and dramatic shift in tone, themes, style of writing, once
              > Jesus enters Jerusalem. The story rather naturally divides itself in
              > half.
              >
              I would agree that Mark's gospel falls into a simple two part
              construction, though I tend to see the break a bit differently. It
              has always struck me that the first part of the gospel focuses on
              whether people, especially the disciples, will understand who Jesus
              was. This section, marked especially by the secrecy motif, ends at
              8:30, following Peter's (finally) confession that Jesus was the
              Christ.

              The second half then deals with the passion, and begins in 8:31 with
              the first prediction of the passion.

              As Tolbert noted, these two halves are interpreted by two
              meta-parables: the parable of the sower for the first movement (that
              of believing/following), and the parable of the vineyard for the
              second. It is significant, I think, that these are the only large
              well developed allegory type parables in the gospel.

              Of course the themes of the first half continue in the second -- the
              obtuseness or obduracy of the disciples continues, notwithstanding
              Peter's confession and notwithstanding God's announcement at the
              mount of transfiguration -- and will reemerge as the dominant issue
              following Jesus' death (will the disciples believe that Jesus is
              risen from the dead?).

              At any rate, I agree with Shawn's basic dileneation of the structure,
              only seeing a shift to the second half more clearly at 8:30.

              > viii) Most of the important themes are identified in the parable
              > chapter, especially in the parable of the Sower and its interpretation.
              > Notice how the language and imagery of 4:6, 16-17 reappears in the
              > Passion story (see 14:27). The disciples (led by Peter, the rock)
              > reflect the behavior of the rocky soil of the parable- the very parable
              > that Jesus identifies as the most important off all the parables (4:13).
              > The plot and the teaching material are closely intertwined.
              >
              > There is enough here to suggest to me that Mark is indeed structured,
              > that it does have a plot and themes, and that it is trying to guide the
              > way that we receive and read the story. The Gospel hopes to produce
              > certain effects upon those who read it. Is that so surprising?

              Yes. Indeed this seems to me to be the overriding theme. Put
              simply, the gospel is as much about the disciples' response to Jesus
              as it is about Jesus himself. How will the disciples respond to
              Jesus? as rocky soil, or as good soil?? The ending of the gospel,
              of course, suggests the former response (rocky soil / lack of faith),
              but the abrupt ending leaves the question open, so there is the
              possibility (implied by the very fact that the gospel is told!) that
              some at least became "good soil". And in this overriding question
              about the disciples' response to Jesus, it is existential in that it
              asks the same question indirectly of the reader. In this regard, it
              is very rhetorical and very deftly constructed.

              Mark Matson


              Mark A. Matson, Ph.D.
              Asst. Director, Sanford Institute of Public Policy
              Adjunct Professor of New Testament
              Duke University
              Durham, NC 27713
              (919) 613-7310
            • Mark Goodacre
              Thanks for the interesting contributions on this thread. One more thought on narrative structure. An element that is not often seen is that there is a clear
              Message 6 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                Thanks for the interesting contributions on this thread. One more
                thought on narrative structure. An element that is not often seen is that
                there is a clear correspondence between the Caesarea Philippi
                episode in 8 and the Anointing in 14.3-9, as follows:
                
                - Peter confesses Jesus as Anointed
                - Woman enacts Jesus as Anointed

                - Peter fails to connect Anointing with Suffering / Death
                - Woman connects Anointing with Suffering / Death (i.e. anoints him
                for his burial).

                - Peter is rebuked in the harshest possible terms for failing to connect
                Anointing with Suffering
                - Woman is commended in the strongest possible terms for
                connecting Anointing with Suffering.

                The impression one gets from 14.3-9 is "bingo!" or "By George, she's
                got it!", strikingly contrasted with Chapter 8. Each section occurs at a
                key moment in the narrative, 8.27-33 as the mid-point, the moment
                when one turns from the miracle-working ministry of Chapters 1-8
                and begins to look towards the Way leading to Suffering, Death,
                Jerusalem; 14.3-9 is the first incident in the Passion Narrative proper
                and an overture to that section of the Gospel as well as an epitome of
                the whole Gospel's Christology.

                About two years ago I was going to write this up and half-way
                through my research on it found much the same thing in Schuessler
                Fiorenza, _In Memory of Her_ so abandoned the plan. What she
                had also seen was the other element I had hoped to work out, the
                fascinating contrast between the disciples called at the beginning of the
                Gospel and the women following at the end. Named male disciples at
                the beginning are called to follow and later to serve and then fail to do
                both. Named female disciples at the end are said to have succeeded
                in "following" and "serving" Jesus, from Galilee to the cross.

                Mark
                --------------------------------------
                Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                New Testament Web Resources
                Mark Without Q
                Aseneth Home Page
              • Mike Parsons
                Reply to: Re: [Synoptic-L] Narrative structure of Mark Mark wrote: Named male disciples at the beginning are called to follow and later to serve and then
                Message 7 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                           Reply to:   Re: [Synoptic-L] Narrative structure of Mark
                  
                  
                  Mark wrote:
                  Named male disciples at
                  >the beginning are called to follow and later to serve and then fail to do
                  >both. Named female disciples at the end are said to have succeeded
                  >in "following" and "serving" Jesus, from Galilee to the cross.
                  >
                  . . . but ultimately themselves fail because rather than following the young man's command to "go and tell" they run away in fear and trembling. E.S. Malbon argues in her CBQ piece, "Fallible followers," that in the end EVERYONE fails in their attempt to follow Jesus.

                  Mikeal Parsons
                • Stevan Davies
                  ... Ahh, I think you have one. Or you can have the other. But you can t have both. If the point of the Anointing woman is that she knows that J must be
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                    > From: "Mark Goodacre"
                    >

                    > - Woman is commended in the strongest possible terms for
                    > connecting Anointing with Suffering.
                    >
                    > Named female disciples at the end are said to have succeeded
                    > in "following" and "serving" Jesus, from Galilee to the cross.

                    Ahh, I think you have one. Or you can have the other. But
                    you can't have both.

                    If the point of the Anointing woman is that she knows that J
                    must be anointed beforehand, good for her. But then the
                    women coming to anoint Jesus after he's dead don't get it
                    and hence haven't "followed" or whatever in the right way.

                    If they, on the other hand, have done the right thing in
                    coming to the tomb in blissful ignorance of the problems
                    that resurrections cause for anointers, the Anointing woman
                    hasn't really done anything special.

                    Steve
                  • Mark Goodacre
                    ... I agree that this is a toughie. I wish I knew why Mark spoils it all by the women failing at the end, when they have done so well in Chapter 15, where
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                      On 9 Jul 99, at 10:02, Stevan Davies wrote:

                      > > From: "Mark Goodacre"
                      > >
                      > > - Woman is commended in the strongest possible terms for
                      > > connecting Anointing with Suffering.
                      > >
                      > > Named female disciples at the end are said to have succeeded
                      > > in "following" and "serving" Jesus, from Galilee to the cross.
                      >
                      > Ahh, I think you have one. Or you can have the other. But
                      > you can't have both.
                      >
                      > If the point of the Anointing woman is that she knows that J
                      > must be anointed beforehand, good for her. But then the
                      > women coming to anoint Jesus after he's dead don't get it
                      > and hence haven't "followed" or whatever in the right way.

                      I agree that this is a toughie. I wish I knew why Mark spoils it all by
                      the women failing at the end, when they have done so well in Chapter
                      15, where Mark seems to make such a point of following + serving. I
                      seem to remember that Shuessler Fiorenza fudges it and doesn't really
                      come to terms (to my mind) with the failure at the end of the Gospel.
                      >
                      > If they, on the other hand, have done the right thing in
                      > coming to the tomb in blissful ignorance of the problems
                      > that resurrections cause for anointers, the Anointing woman
                      > hasn't really done anything special.

                      Yes -- I see what you mean. And yet Mark does appear to project a
                      future in which the Anointing Woman of Chapter 14 is commended
                      (future tense), so the case remains that she has special and has got the
                      thing right.

                      Perhaps too we should say that it is implied that the women of
                      Chapters 15+16 did ultimately do the right thing in that the readers
                      know of the news of the resurrection? But that answer never seems
                      that satisfactory, and rather lessens the impact of 16.8. As Mike
                      Parsons writes:

                      > . . . but ultimately themselves fail because rather than following the
                      > young man's command to "go and tell" they run away in fear and
                      > trembling. E.S. Malbon argues in her CBQ piece, "Fallible followers,"
                      > that in the end EVERYONE fails in their attempt to follow Jesus.

                      I find myself, in the end, in sympathy with this reading.

                      Mark
                      --------------------------------------
                      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                      Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                      http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                      New Testament Web Resources
                      Mark Without Q
                      Aseneth Home Page
                    • Mark Goodacre
                      I meant to refer also to this new, on-line article in my previous message. I came across it earlier this week: Marie Sabin, Women Transformed: The Ending of
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                        I meant to refer also to this new, on-line article in my previous message. I came
                        across it earlier this week:

                        Marie Sabin, "Women Transformed: The Ending of Mark is the Beginning of
                        Wisdom", _Cross Currents_, Summer 1998, Vol. 48 Issue 2

                        http://www.crosscurrents.org/sabin.htm

                        It makes as good a case as can be made that 16.8 does represent an up-beat,
                        optimistic ending / new beginning, e.g. she translates "they were filled with awe"
                        (reverence) rather than "for they were afraid. But she still cannot get away from
                        "they said nothing to anyone" in direct contradiction to the command in 16.7.

                        Mark
                        --------------------------------------
                        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                        Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                        University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                        Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                        http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
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                      • Mike Parsons
                        Reply to: Re: [Synoptic-L] Narrative structure of Mark but wait a minute, mark. is the annointing woman the exception or but one of a number who get it
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                                   Reply to:   Re: [Synoptic-L] Narrative structure of Mark
                          
                          
                          but wait a minute, mark. is the annointing woman
                          the exception" or but one of a number who get "it right" (depending on what 'it' is). the friends of the paralytic, the widow with her mite, etc., that is, all those minor characters who display some positive traits and who are commended explicitly or implicitly by Jesus and/or the narrator (the reps of the 'good soil,' so Tolbert, Rhoads/Michie). this of course assumes some gap-filling on the interpreter's part. after all, these characters disappear after their 'fifteen lines of fame" and are very different from those more developed (disciples, women, religious authorities, political authorities)--all of whom do, as malbon points out, seem ultimately to fail. do these minor characters actually undermine malbon's point or rather serve to highlight it? in other words, given what we know about the developed characters in Mark, are we to assume that contrary to them, these minor characters did continue to 'get it' or are we to assume they did not (that is failed in some way)? this is a case of gap-filling, of course, and seems very complex to me. while i understand that to 'project' these characters beyond the text is a treacherous thing to do, it seems to me the positive reading of the annointing woman (and others) depends on this very act. to be sure, the Markan Jesus encourages us to go beyond the text in his claim that this deed will be remembered everytime the gospel is proclaimed, but it is, after all, this particular deed and not the woman herself (or her subsequent actions, about which we know nothing) which will be remembered.
                          mikeal
                          Mark Goodacre wrote:
                          Mark Goodacre wrote:

                          >On 9 Jul 99, at 10:44, Stevan Davies wrote:
                          >
                          >> > From: "Mark Goodacre"
                          >>
                          >> > Mark does appear to project a
                          >> > future in which the Anointing Woman of Chapter 14 is commended
                          >> > (future tense), so the case remains that she has special and has got the
                          >> > thing right.
                          >> >
                          >> > > . . . but ultimately themselves fail because rather than following the
                          >> > > young man's command to "go and tell" they run away in fear and
                          >> > > trembling. E.S. Malbon argues in her CBQ piece, "Fallible followers,"
                          >> > > that in the end EVERYONE fails in their attempt to follow Jesus.
                          >> >
                          >> > I find myself, in the end, in sympathy with this reading.
                          >>
                          >> No you aren't. See above.
                          >
                          >Sorry -- thanks for pointing out my lack of clear thinking. I suppose I
                          >meant that I am in sympathy with the idea that the women in Chapter
                          >16 have failed too. But the woman in 14.3-9 is the exception -- she
                          >has to be: "wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world . . ."
                          >and that has not yet happened. So she stands out. Not everyone fails.
                          >
                          >Mark
                          >--------------------------------------
                          >Dr Mark Goodacre
                          mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                          > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                          > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                          > Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
                          >
                          >
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                          >Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 15:56:16 +0000 (GMT)
                          >From: Mark Goodacre <
                          M.S.GOODACRE@...>
                          >Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Narrative structure of Mark
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                        • Stevan Davies
                          ... No you aren t. See above. Steve
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                            > From: "Mark Goodacre"

                            > Mark does appear to project a
                            > future in which the Anointing Woman of Chapter 14 is commended
                            > (future tense), so the case remains that she has special and has got the
                            > thing right.
                            >
                            > > . . . but ultimately themselves fail because rather than following the
                            > > young man's command to "go and tell" they run away in fear and
                            > > trembling. E.S. Malbon argues in her CBQ piece, "Fallible followers,"
                            > > that in the end EVERYONE fails in their attempt to follow Jesus.
                            >
                            > I find myself, in the end, in sympathy with this reading.

                            No you aren't. See above.

                            Steve
                          • Mark Goodacre
                            ... Sorry -- thanks for pointing out my lack of clear thinking. I suppose I meant that I am in sympathy with the idea that the women in Chapter 16 have failed
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jul 9, 1999
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                              On 9 Jul 99, at 10:44, Stevan Davies wrote:

                              > > From: "Mark Goodacre"
                              >
                              > > Mark does appear to project a
                              > > future in which the Anointing Woman of Chapter 14 is commended
                              > > (future tense), so the case remains that she has special and has got the
                              > > thing right.
                              > >
                              > > > . . . but ultimately themselves fail because rather than following the
                              > > > young man's command to "go and tell" they run away in fear and
                              > > > trembling. E.S. Malbon argues in her CBQ piece, "Fallible followers,"
                              > > > that in the end EVERYONE fails in their attempt to follow Jesus.
                              > >
                              > > I find myself, in the end, in sympathy with this reading.
                              >
                              > No you aren't. See above.

                              Sorry -- thanks for pointing out my lack of clear thinking. I suppose I
                              meant that I am in sympathy with the idea that the women in Chapter
                              16 have failed too. But the woman in 14.3-9 is the exception -- she
                              has to be: "wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world . . ."
                              and that has not yet happened. So she stands out. Not everyone fails.

                              Mark
                              --------------------------------------
                              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                              Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                              University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                              Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                              New Testament Web Resources
                              Mark Without Q
                              Aseneth Home Page
                            • Maluflen@aol.com
                              In a message dated 7/9/1999 10:08:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time, miser17@epix.net writes:
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jul 13, 1999
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                                In a message dated 7/9/1999 10:08:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                                miser17@... writes:

                                <<
                                Ahh, I think you have one. Or you can have the other. But
                                you can't have both.

                                If the point of the Anointing woman is that she knows that J
                                must be anointed beforehand, good for her. But then the
                                women coming to anoint Jesus after he's dead don't get it
                                and hence haven't "followed" or whatever in the right way.

                                If they, on the other hand, have done the right thing in
                                coming to the tomb in blissful ignorance of the problems
                                that resurrections cause for anointers, the Anointing woman
                                hasn't really done anything special.
                                >>

                                Steve, you do know the real explanation for the above:

                                (1) In Matt, the first Gospel written, the woman in Chapter 26 does the
                                anointing for Jesus' burial, and the women at the tomb come merely to look,
                                not to anoint.

                                (2) Luke, writing second, has transformed the story in Matt 26 into the story
                                of a sinful woman in Lk 7, who washes Jesus' feet with her tears. Thus, Jesus
                                has not been anointed for his burial in Luke, so the women have to bring
                                spices and ointments to the tomb for this purpose.

                                (3) Mark, writing third, has followed Matt in his account of the woman who
                                anoints Jesus for his death in Mk 14, but he then follows Luke more closely
                                for his account of the women at the tomb, without noting the resulting
                                inconcinnity.

                                Leonard Maluf
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