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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 1,1

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  • Jim Deardorff
    ... One can make sense out of it from the AH viewpoint. There, one sees that AMk was improving upon Matthew 1:1. AMk would obviously have known that the Gospel
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 2, 1999
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      At 08:11 PM 7/2/99 +0300, Sakari Häkkinen wrote:
      >I have some questions concerning the first verse of Mk.
      >1) What does the writer mean by ARXH? Does it simply mean
      >the beginning of the book? In that case he would have called
      >his book a Gospel (EUAGGELION) of Jesus Christ. Or is the
      >book only a beginning of the gospel?

      One can make sense out of it from the AH viewpoint. There, one sees that AMk
      was improving upon Matthew 1:1. AMk would obviously have known that the
      Gospel of Matthew was not a book just about its first portion -- the
      genealogy. That was just the beginning of the book of Matthew. And since AMk
      would not be including the genealogy, he could improve upon Matthew by
      writing in his 1:1 that it was the first portion of a whole gospel, or the
      beginning of the gospel.

      In this manner, "beginning" appears as the first word. It can let the reader
      understand that AMk wasn't making the error that AMt had made. Otherwise, if
      Mark had appeared first, one would indeed not expect AMk to have started out
      with ARCH or any equivalent word in his opening words.

      >2) What do you friends suggest - are the words "Son of God"
      >original or an interpolation? They are missing from some of
      >the oldest and best manuscripts. I know this is an old
      >question (raised by Wrede?), but I would like to ask it
      >anyhow. ...

      My own opinion here is the usual: If "Son of God" had appeared in the first
      edition of Mark, no later reviser or transcriber would plausibly have
      removed it or omitted it.

      >3) E. Schweitzer suggests in his commentary that verses 1-2
      >should be read as one sentence. ... Schweitzer's
      >suggestion is something like: "The beginning of the Gospel
      >of Jesus Christ (Son of God) like it is written in Isaiah,
      >the prophet: ..."

      This seems incorrect because AMk started out, apparently unwittingly, with a
      quote from Malachi, not Isaiah. And, at least according to the
      interpretation given in Mt 11:10, this referred to John, not Jesus; it is
      Jesus who is referred to in Mk 1:1, while John only appears 3 verses later.
      And Schweitzer's view would be inconsistent with the explanation for 1)
      given above.

      Jim Deardorff
      Corvallis, Oregon
      E-mail: deardorj@...
      Home page: http://www.proaxis.com/~deardorj/index.htm
    • Sakari H�kkinen
      Dear friends, thank you for your answers. I noticed from the three first mails that the issue is far from solved. That is what I was looking for. Jeff, ... any
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 3, 1999
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        Dear friends,
        thank you for your answers. I noticed from the three first
        mails that the issue is far from solved. That is what I was
        looking for.

        Jeff,
        > Regarding the textual evidence for Mk 1:1, I am unaware of
        any ms
        > evidence for the omission of the entire verse. In other
        words, the theory
        > that Mk 1:1 is an interpolation is a purely literary,
        non-textual issue.
        Sorry, I did not consider the entire verse as an
        interpolation, just the words "Son of God".
        Thank you for the reference to Ehrman. His suggestion is
        convincing. This is something I have thought. However, I
        have noticed that there are quite many scholars who do
        consider the words original. IMO textual evidence is
        supporting an interpolation, because it is far more
        difficult to explain the omission of such important words.

        John,
        Thank you for your "just some thoughts". I see that you have
        studied the issue deeply. Your statement is similar to
        Scweitzer's, right? Do you know who was the first scholar to
        have read the two sentences as one? The interpretation makes
        sense to me, but it is not widely accepted. Nestle-Aland,
        27th, does not follow this reading, but the more
        "traditional" one.

        Jim,
        does "AH viewpoint" mean the hypothesis that GMt was the
        first written Gospel? Your suggestion that ARCH is meant to
        correct the beginning of GMt does not convince me. Nothing
        in the text supports that. If that were the case, shouldn't
        AMk give at least some clearer hints if not explying his
        critics to GMt?

        To begin a book of this type (new type?) ARCH is not a bad
        first word at all. Genesis begins in LXX by the words EN
        ARCH (like the 4th Gospel). The style of AMk might be here
        more intentional than sometimes has been thought. The word
        ARCH leads the reader/listener to think of the work of God,
        something extraordinary.

        Yours,

        Sakari Hakkinen
        University of Helsinki
        Department of Biblical Studies
        sakari.hakkinen@...
        http://www.helsinki.fi/teol/hyel/henkilo/henkilo.html
      • Brian E. Wilson
        Sakari Hkkinen of the University of Helsinki wrote - ... Greetings, Sakari. What an interesting question! I expect to be at the SBL International Meeting in
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 3, 1999
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          Sakari Hkkinen of the University of Helsinki wrote -
          >
          >I have some questions concerning the first verse of Mk 1.1.
          >What does the writer mean by ARXH? Does it simply mean
          >the beginning of the book? In that case he would have called
          >his book a Gospel (EUAGGELION) of Jesus Christ. Or is the
          >book only a beginning of the gospel?
          >
          Greetings, Sakari.

          What an interesting question! I expect to be at the SBL International
          Meeting in Helsinki before many days. My tentative thoughts on the
          fascinating point you raise here are as follows -

          The word ARXH can mean "origin" or "explanation of" or "principle of".
          W. Marxsen considers that ARXH should be understood as "origin" (or even
          "principle"), echoing the opening words of LXX Genesis 1.1 - EN ARXH...
          .

          I would suggest that Mk 1.1 is to be understood as "The ORIGIN of the
          good news of Jesus Christ". That is to say, the author of Mark knows
          that he is producing a book to be read by (and to) Christians - people
          who have already accepted the EUAGGELION. They already believe in Jesus
          as the Christ sent by God and crucified and risen for them in the
          purposes of God. They already belong to the people of the way who follow
          Jesus the Christ of God. But such believers would have wanted to know
          more about Jesus before he was crucified. What was he like? What did he
          do? Where did he go? Who was this Jesus who had been crucified? Why did
          the authorities want him put away? What did he teach about God? What did
          he say in his prayers? What were his attitudes to marriage? What did he
          expect of his disciples? And so on, and so on. So Mark could have meant
          in Mk 1.1, to answer the question of Christian believers - "Where did
          the good news of Jesus crucified and risen BEGIN?" "What is the ORIGIN
          of the EUAGGELLION of IHSOUS XRISTOS - the origin, that is, of the
          KHRYGMA which they had already heard and to which they had already
          responded in faith?" So, on this view, the contents of the book Mark
          wrote are the origin of the good news already proclaimed to his readers,
          and already accepted by them.

          On this understanding, of course, the word EUAGGELION in Mk 1.1 does not
          refer forwards to the book about to be written by Mark, but points
          backwards to the proclamation - KHRYGMA - of the good news of God at
          work through Jesus, - the proclamation which the readers had ALREADY
          accepted. I think it is quite likely that in the Gospel of Mark the word
          "EUAGGELION" nowhere refers to a written record, but always refers to
          oral proclamation. It was only later that the word "EUAGGELION" was
          given the secondary meaning of a written account of Jesus.

          On this view, also, Mark wrote his book not in order to set out the full
          EUAGGELION in writing, but to give a "historical" background to the
          EUAGGELION for his readers. C. F. D. Moule considered that the Synoptic
          Gospels were NOT intended to present the full Christology and the full
          Christian theology of their writers. He suggested that "it is more
          reasonable to assume that the Synoptic Gospels were intended to be
          ancilliary to, and only a part of, the full Christian kerygma." Maybe he
          was right. The synoptic gospels were perhaps produced as suitable
          packages of teaching material intended to give the historical BACKGROUND
          to the Christian KHRYGMA of Jesus crucified and risen in the purposes of
          God, and not to be an exposition of the full KHRYGMA itself.

          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
        • Jim Deardorff
          ... Yes, AH stands for the Augustinian hypothesis. ... There are a lot of places in Mark where it shows dependence upon Matthew. Some of these are improvements
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 3, 1999
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            At 10:14 AM 7/3/99 +0300, Sakari Häkkinen wrote:
            >Dear friends,
            >thank you for your answers. I noticed from the three first
            >mails that the issue is far from solved. That is what I was
            >looking for. ...

            >Jim,
            >does "AH viewpoint" mean the hypothesis that GMt was the
            >first written Gospel?

            Yes, AH stands for the Augustinian hypothesis.

            >Your suggestion that ARCH is meant to
            >correct the beginning of GMt does not convince me. Nothing
            >in the text supports that.

            There are a lot of places in Mark where it shows dependence upon Matthew.
            Some of these are improvements over Matthew, some others are attempted
            improvements that weren't given careful consideration. Most of them show
            dependence in other ways.

            Mt 1:1 could obviously be improved, as AMt's book wasn't a genealogy. The
            genealogy was just the beginning of Matthew. So AMk can be seen as having
            improved upon Matthew here.

            >If that were the case, shouldn't
            >AMk give at least some clearer hints if not explying his
            >critics to GMt?

            There are many indications that AMk did not wish his gospel or EUAGGELION to
            appear to be dependent upon Matthew. So, AMk did not come out and say that
            his gospel depended upon Matthew. He made his gospel look quite different by
            being much shorter, writing it in Greek not Hebrew or Aramaic, adding many
            dualisms or redundancies, making it pro-gentile, etc. Thus one may keep
            one's eyes open for the clues or hints that this is what happened, and then
            one finds them.

            >To begin a book of this type (new type?) ARCH is not a bad
            >first word at all. Genesis begins in LXX by the words EN
            >ARCH (like the 4th Gospel). The style of AMk might be here
            >more intentional than sometimes has been thought.

            Yes, that's why it can be seen as an improvement over Matthew, from the AH
            viewpoint.

            Jim Deardorff
            Corvallis, Oregon
            E-mail: deardorj@...
            Home page: http://www.proaxis.com/~deardorj/index.htm
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