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Re: [Synoptic-L] Inadvertent retention of polished style in Mark?

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    In a message dated 1/11/2000 11:46:51 AM Eastern Standard Time, M.S.Goodacre@bham.ac.uk writes:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 11, 2000
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      In a message dated 1/11/2000 11:46:51 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      M.S.Goodacre@... writes:

      << I am currently doing a little writing on the Griesbach hypothesis
      and a thought occurs to me.>>

      I am delighted at this. "A little writing on.." presumably involves some
      serious reflection on.., and this cannot but expose to the irresistible
      attractions of the hypothesis itself.

      << It has commonly been held that
      Mark's rough grammar and style is "polished up" by the more
      literary Matthew and Luke. Griesbachians have rightly pointed out
      that this is problematic as an argument in favour of Markan Priority -
      - later writers (e.g. students!) often do not improve on the style of
      the source material copied. But it occurs to me that if Mark is
      consistently roughing up the style of his alleged sources,
      colloquialising Matthew's and Luke's much more polished Greek,
      would we not expect him to retain some of their more polished
      style inadvertently from time to time? >>

      Not if Mark is doing it "consistently", as you say! On a more serious note,
      the following points could be made:

      1. The stylistic difference between Mark, on the one hand, and Matt and Lk on
      the other, is significant, but is often exaggerated in the literature. There
      are many times when Mark actually clarifies an elliptical or otherwise dense
      statement of an earlier Synoptic writer, and in this sense at least, improves
      the style. Compare, e.g., Matt 13:19 and Mark 4:15. The latter is still a bit
      awkward, and has taken some clues from Lk's redaction, but the net result of
      Mark's conflation is less rough I think than is Matt's anakolouthonic text.
      (There is of course here also the indication of lateness in the way Mark uses
      the absolute ton logon as a technical term for the gospel message). Or
      compare the relative elegance of Mark 4:32 (//Matt 13:32) (especially Mk's
      lovely cadence, with kataskenoun in final position). Similarly, I have always
      thought Mk 12:44 has a stylistic advantage over the Lukan parallel, again
      mainly because of the dramatic force of the transposed final element, in
      apposition to panta: holon ton bion autes.

      2. In my version of the Griesbach Hypothesis, Mark's style is intentionally
      colloquial, because aimed at a lower-class and aural audience. It is not
      therefore merely a matter of Mark's own linguistic or literary capacities
      (and I am not even absolutely sure what these were, relative to the other
      evangelists). This adequately explains the "consistent" character of Mark's
      more colloquial language, which is not difficult to achieve, when following
      literary models, but intentionally targeting a lower-class audience. As an
      oral performer (or a writer for oral performance), one immediately and
      instinctively senses when a literary flourish or conceit, however subtle, is
      inappropriate for the entirely new, and pastorally motivated communicative

      3. There are large phrases which Mark has in common with Matt, Lk, or Matt
      and Lk. Are these universally lacking in the "literary polish" considered
      characteristic of the other Synoptic writers? I think this would be difficult
      to maintain.

      << It may be that Griesbachian
      scholars claim that this is the case, but I cannot recall any
      potential examples of it. Are there any? If not, why not?>>

      See 3. above.

      Leonard Maluf
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