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[Synoptic-L] Narrative structure of Mark

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  • 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 1 of 18 , Jul 1 3:15 AM
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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
    • 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 2 of 18 , Jul 7 7:40 PM
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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 3 of 18 , Jul 8 4:39 AM
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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 4 of 18 , Jul 9 4:11 AM
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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 5 of 18 , Jul 9 7:14 AM
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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 6 of 18 , Jul 9 8:02 AM
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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 7 of 18 , Jul 9 8:18 AM
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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 8 of 18 , Jul 9 8:29 AM
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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
                    New Testament Web Resources
                    Mark Without Q
                    Aseneth Home Page
                  • 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 9 of 18 , Jul 9 8:36 AM
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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
                      >
                      >
                      http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                      > New Testament Web Resources
                      > Mark Without Q
                      > Aseneth Home Page
                      >
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                      >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 10 of 18 , Jul 9 8:44 AM
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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 11 of 18 , Jul 9 8:56 AM
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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
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                        • Maluflen@aol.com
                          In a message dated 7/9/1999 10:08:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time, miser17@epix.net writes:
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jul 13 5:38 PM
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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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