[Synoptic-L] KURIOS as Christological Argument for Markan Priority
- In a message dated 10/5/1999 10:59:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< At 11:30 AM 10/5/99 -0500, Steven Craig Miller wrote:
'Lord' (in a religious sense) and so I find it impossible to assume that
>Mark intentionally omitted all references to Jesus as 'Lord' (in aThis argument might prove too much. IF Mark held that Jesus was
>religious sense) from his sources.>
'Lord' (in a religious sense) and IF this view of Mark's should
affect his writing, then it is very difficult to hold that Mark
would have written his gospel at all, whether first, second, or
third, with so little references to Jesus' being addressed as
I think this is a good point. But there is more that could be said on this
issue. One might argue in fact that Mark trumps all the other Synoptic
evangelists in the use of the term kyrios as a reference to Jesus in that he
alone has Jesus himself use the term, in the absolute, with reference to
himself. (This does not even quite occur in Matt 22:41-46 pars., since there
"the Messiah", in the third person, is the explicit subject of the
The passage I am referring to is Mark 5:19. The term kyrios is fairly secure
here in the textual tradition, although some texts read "theos". The only
problem then would be the interpretive question as to who is the referent
here: God or Jesus. The following points make it likely that in Mark's
intention the reference is to Jesus himself as "the Lord":
1. The larger context of the words uttered by Jesus is a section of Mark's
Gospel in which the identity of Jesus, as one possessed of divine powers, is
beginning to emerge into clear consciousness. In Mark 4:41, e.g., after
Jesus' "silencing" of the storm (esiopa, v. 39, a Markanism added to the
text, and not found in the parallels), the question is raised: "Who is this
one, for the wind and the seas are obedient to him" (as Lord?). Note too that
the disciple are filled with "great fear" in the presence of this mysterious
and powerful person.
2. In 5:15, the people come to see Jesus, after having heard of the great act
of liberation he has wrought, and they too are filled with "fear", when they
"come to Jesus", and see the man who had had the legion sitting down,
clothed, and in his right mind. Once again, the divine power that inspires
"fear" is associated directly with Jesus within this story.
3. The man who had been possessed, and who now becomes a "preacher", seems to
interpret Jesus' words as a reference to Jesus himself. He goes out to the
whole of the Decapolis and proclaims "what Jesus has done for him", in strict
parallel with the phrase Jesus had used "what the Lord has done for you..".
One should not, therefore, be mislead here by the text of Luke, or by the
"correction" of Mark's text by later scribes. Mark himself seems to intend in
this passage an identification of Jesus as "the Lord", in the absolute.
Furthermore, one should not miss the inferential implication of the adverbial
"kai" present only in Mark's form of the common synoptic saying found in Mk
2:28. The adverbial kai implies: Jesus is "Lord" in the absolute, i.e., in
respect to all things; but this means that he is Lord EVEN of the Sabbath.
- Brian Wilson wrote --
>Leonard Maluf replied --
>I would suggest that it does not take much imagination or ingenuity to
>work out very convincing reasons for what Mark did if he used Matthew,
>or for what Matthew did if he used Mark.
>Often true, in individual cases. But overall, the view of Matt re-
>Judaizing an originally Jewish-Christian tradition that has previously
>been substantially un-Judaized by Mark is difficult. One should only
>assume such a tortuous line of development for very good reasons.
>Those usually supplied in support of the relative priority of Mark do
>not fit the bill.
Your argument seems to me to be that, if we assume the Farrer
Hypothesis (or similar), (1) Mark must have un-Judaized his source
material and (2) Matthew must then have re-Judaized this source
material, and that this is "tortuous" and therefore unlikely. What are
the grounds for either (1) or (2), however?
With respect to (1), it is conceivable that Mark un-Judaized none of his
source material, but faithfully used the source material available to
him, however un-Judaic it might be. If Mark wrote first, we cannot
distinguish between tradition and redaction in the Gospel of Mark. If we
had a method for making such a distinction, we would immediately be able
to use it to tell whether Matthew used Mark, or Mark used Matthew, and
the synoptic problem would be solved in a flash. On the Farrer
Hypothesis (or similar), not only do we not know which material Mark un-
Judaized, but we do not even know that he un-Judaized any source
material at all.
With respect to (2), on the Farrer Hypothesis (or similar) since half
the Gospel of Matthew is non-Markan material, it would seem that Matthew
has combined un-Judaic Mark with Judaic source material of some kind(s).
This is neither overall un-Judaizing nor overall Judaizing. It is
So, on the Farrer Hypothesis (or similar), there is no tortuous
development of un-Judaizing followed by re-Judaizing. There is only
conflating of Judaic and un-Judaic material. This would have been very
understandable bearing in mind that Christian communities such as those
at Rome, Antioch in Syria, Corinth and so on, were an intermingling of
Gentile and Jewish Christians, and that the writer of the Gospel of
Matthew would have realized that his book could be copied and circulated
widely to such "mixed" assemblies within weeks of it being written.
The question remains whether it is possible for the advocate of the
Griesbach Hypothesis to give an irreversible directional indicator
showing that Matthew did not use Mark. The alternative question is
whether the advocate of the Farrer Hypothesis (or similar) can give an
irreversible indicator to show that Mark did not use Matthew. I doubt
that either can do this.
EM brian@... HP www.twonh.demon.co.uk TEL+44(0)1480385043
Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE18 8EB,UK
> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot_
> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".