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[Synoptic-L] Jesus and JB in the Pepysian Harmony (Conclusion)

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  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    Dear friends, Here s the last part of my recent analysis of the Pepysian Harmony. All comments are welcome. Best regards, Yuri. The beheading of Jn and the
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 10, 2000
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      Dear friends,

      Here's the last part of my recent analysis of the Pepysian Harmony.

      All comments are welcome.

      Best regards,

      Yuri.


      The beheading of Jn and the feeding of 5000 in PH
      *********************************

      PH comes back to the theme of John the Baptist for the last time in Par.
      48, where the beheading of JB is related. Like in Mt and Mk, this is
      followed immediately by the feeding of the 5000.

      First, let's look at how these two narratives are connected in Mt version.
      After the beheading,

      Mt 14:11
      His head was brought in on a platter and given to the
      girl, who carried it to her mother.
      12
      John's disciples came and took his body and buried it.
      Then they went and told Jesus.
      13
      When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat
      privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the
      crowds followed him on foot from the towns.
      14
      When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had
      compassion on them and healed their sick.
      15
      As evening approached, the disciples came to him and
      said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting
      late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the
      villages and buy themselves some food."

      It is interesting here that, in v 12, John's disciples buried the body, and
      then they went and "told Jesus". And then, in v 15, "the disciples came to
      Jesus". It seems pretty clearly implied in this text that the disciples of
      JB and the disciples of Jesus are all gathered together after the death of
      JB -- indeed if they are not the same people. And then the miraculous
      feeding begins.

      In Mk's version, we have the following version (looking at Mt 14:3-12 vs Mk
      6:17-29, Mt's version is obviously much more concise, and seems original to
      me),

      Mk 6:28
      and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it
      to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.
      29
      On hearing of this, John's disciples came and took his
      body and laid it in a tomb.

      "Laid it in a tomb" seems like a later expansion here. Also, nothing is
      said about John's disciples going to tell Jesus about JB's death. On the
      other hand, as the next verse 30 shows, Mk reports the apostles returning
      to Jesus right after the death of JB, while Mt postpones this return for a
      few verses until his v 15. (Is Mt perhaps doing this to disguise somewhat
      the connection between JB's disciples and Jesus' disciples?)

      Mk 6: 30
      The apostles returned to Jesus and reported to him
      all they had done and taught.
      31
      Then, because so many people were coming and going that
      they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,
      "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get
      some rest."
      32
      So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary
      place.
      33
      But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on
      foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
      34
      When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had
      compassion on them, because they were like sheep without
      a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
      35
      By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples
      came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and
      it's already very late.
      36
      Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding
      countryside and villages and buy themselves something to
      eat."

      For Lk's part, it omits the beheading of JB completely, but, nevertheless,
      has the return of the Apostles in 9:10 -- this comes after Herod's musings
      about JB whom he killed.

      And here's the PH version, that seems quite surprising on the whole. After
      the head of JB was brought out on a "dische", the daughter of Herod
      (unnamed) gave it to her mother,

      "And sche it name [took?] and Gaf it hire moder. And tho [then] comen seint
      Jones deciples and burieden [buried] his body, and afterward comen to Jesu
      and tolden hym hou seint John was ymartired [martyred]."

      Thus, uniquely, what JB's disciples tell Jesus is reported by PH. And then
      PH switches suddenly at this point to Mk's text (Mk 6:30ff) from Mt's text
      that it followed previously,

      "And the apostles hemseluen [themselves] comen and tolden Jesu hou that hij
      [they] hadden wrouGth [done] and ypreched [preached]."

      So, uniquely, the return of JB's disciples is reported right after the
      return of Jesus' disciples. And then, right after this, they all go
      together to the desert, following Mk's version quite closely until v 32,

      "And Jesus badd [told] hem [them] tho [then] alle that hij [they] schulde
      hym folowen priuelich [privately] in to desert.. [omit some verses
      paralleling Mk] ..And Jesus hem tooke alle with hym and duden hem in
      [boarded with them on?] a schippe [ship], and passeden ouer the watere in a
      to a pryue stede [private place] in desert"

      But at this point, PH switches over to Jn's version (Jn 6:3ff). Jesus is
      portrayed on the mountain, perhaps similar to Moses,

      "and went hym vpon a mountayne and satte hym there with his deciples." (pp.
      45-46)

      And later, Jesus descends from the mountain when he sees the multitudes
      that came, bringing with them the sick and the lame (brougGtten alle the
      seeke men and the blynde and the croked with hem), to implore his
      attention, and begins the healings and the feeding.

      Here's Jn's version,

      Jn 6:1
      Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of
      the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias),
      2
      and a great crowd of people followed him because they
      saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.
      3
      Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with
      his disciples.
      4
      The Jewish Passover Feast was near.
      5
      When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward
      him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for
      these people to eat?"

      An interesting feature of Jn's version is also that the Passover timing is
      indicated, so the feeding becomes something like Easter Eucharist.

      A remarkable feature of PH sequence is the very close temporal connection
      between

      1.the death of JB,
      2. JB's disciples coming to see Jesus to inform him about JB's death
      3. the return of Jesus' disciples,
      4. the feeding of the multitudes.

      Mt's version is the only one that comes close to this full sequence, yet
      the temporal connection is veiled by the introduction supplied by Mt
      14:1-2.

      Mt 14:1
      At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about
      Jesus,
      2
      and he said to his attendants, "This is John the
      Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why
      miraculous powers are at work in him."
      3
      Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in
      prison because of Herodias..

      This introduction clearly puts the death of JB into the past, and away from
      the Feeding of the Multitudes. Similar introduction, except longer, is also
      supplied by Mk 6:14-16 with a similar effect. But PH is lacking such an
      introduction -- its account (Par. 48) begins in a grand style with Herod's
      feast that starts at Mt 14:6.

      Also, Mt relocates the feature #3, the return of Jesus' disciples, to
      separate the two groups of disciples somewhat.

      Mk places the return of Jesus' disciples right after the burial of JB. But
      it lacks completely feature #2 (JB's disciples coming to see Jesus) a very
      significant omission.

      As noted before, Lk omits the death of JB altogether, and only has the
      introduction, the musings of Herod.

      Jn's Feeding of the Multitudes lacks any connection to the death of JB. So,
      again, we seem to be observing a determined effort by the editors of both
      Lk and Jn to diminish the connection between JB and Jesus.

      It seems to me that PH in this case preserves the narrative sequence that
      is earlier than all the four canonicals. It is possible that all four
      canonicals were using an account similar to PH to produce their narrative
      sequences.

      What we see in PH is a very close association of JB's disciples with Jesus'
      disciples. JB's status is quite exalted, he's described as "an angel", and
      seemingly even greater than Jesus. So PH seems to represent a textual
      tradition quite similar to the Hebrew Mt. More so than the Greek textual
      tradition of the canonical gospels, it is a tradition strongly influenced
      by Jewish-Christianity, and apparently preserving many very early textual
      and theological features going back to the first century of Christianity.
      This seems like the tradition that was later known as "Ebionite", the
      tradition characterized by low Christology. This, I believe, represents the
      earliest post-Easter beliefs of the Jesus movement.

      The general sense that I get is that in the earliest narratives of the
      miraculous deeds of Jesus the beheading of JB stood as an important turning
      point in the career of Jesus. Perhaps this indicates that the Historical
      Jesus took over JB's movement at that point.

      ==============

      Others of my articles about or relevant to Pepysian harmony as posted to
      Synoptic-L.

      -- Jesus and JB in the Pepysian Harmony (Apr 5, 2000: Part 2; because of a
      technical glitch, this message did not appear in Synoptic-L archives),

      http://www.egroups.com/message/loisy/204

      -- Pepysian Harmony -- a review (Mar 28, 2000: Part 1),

      http://www.egroups.com/message/synoptic-l/4026

      -- early version of Transfiguration? (Mar 11, 2000),

      http://www.egroups.com/message/synoptic-l/3903

      -- Mt 27:52-3, the Tomb Burial, and primitive Mt (Jan 27, 2000),

      http://www.egroups.com/message/synoptic-l/3649

      Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

      Biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - unmoderated

      The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
      equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 4/10/2000 12:43:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time, yuku@globalserve.net writes:
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 10, 2000
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        In a message dated 4/10/2000 12:43:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
        yuku@... writes:


        << Mt 14:11
        His head was brought in on a platter and given to the
        girl, who carried it to her mother.
        12
        John's disciples came and took his body and buried it.
        Then they went and told Jesus.
        13
        When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat
        privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the
        crowds followed him on foot from the towns.>>

        Yuri, is this your own, or a standard translation of Matt 14:13? It is, I
        think, in either case, inaccurate. The participle akousas, modifying ho
        Ieesous, has no direct object ("what had happened"), and its implied object
        is probably what was narrated in 14:1-2. In good biblical-narrative style it
        is the threatening disposition of the local tyrant that causes Jesus to
        "withdraw" (anechooreesen), as the wisemen had from an earlier Herod (2:12),
        and as Jesus' father had from Herod the Great's son Archilaus (2:22). The
        narrative in the intervening verses is, I think, a kind of parenthetical
        flashback.

        <<It is interesting here that, in v 12, John's disciples buried the body, and
        then they went and "told Jesus". And then, in v 15, "the disciples came to
        Jesus". It seems pretty clearly implied in this text that the disciples of
        JB and the disciples of Jesus are all gathered together after the death of
        JB -- indeed if they are not the same people.>>

        This doesn't seem so clear to me. The two sets of disciples are mentioned in
        even closer proximity in Matt 9:14-15, without any hint of amalgamation.

        [Yuri, commenting on Mark's text:]

        << "Laid it in a tomb" seems like a later expansion here. Also, nothing is
        said about John's disciples going to tell Jesus about JB's death. On the
        other hand, as the next verse 30 shows, Mk reports the apostles returning
        to Jesus right after the death of JB, while Mt postpones this return for a
        few verses until his v 15.>>

        I think it is inaccurate to speak of the "return" of [Jesus'] disciples in
        Matt. In Matt, the disciples were sent out many chapters ago (9:35 -- 11:1),
        and at the conclusion of the "sending out" discourse, the disciples don't go
        anywhere. Thus their "approaching" Jesus in Matt 14:15 is not a "return".

        [....]

        << But at this point, PH switches over to Jn's version (Jn 6:3ff). Jesus is
        portrayed on the mountain, perhaps similar to Moses,

        "and went hym vpon a mountayne and satte hym there with his deciples." (pp.
        45-46)>>

        Perhaps both Jn and PH are conflating here with the other feeding story in
        Matt (cf. Matt 15:29ff).

        << And later, Jesus descends from the mountain when he sees the multitudes
        that came, bringing with them the sick and the lame (brougGtten alle the
        seeke men and the blynde and the croked with hem), to implore his
        attention, and begins the healings and the feeding.>>

        Yes, just as in Matt 15:30-31. Yuri, does PH have a feeding of the four
        thousand, with parallels to these Matthean verses there?

        [...]

        << It seems to me that PH in this case preserves the narrative sequence that
        is earlier than all the four canonicals. It is possible that all four
        canonicals were using an account similar to PH to produce their narrative
        sequences.>>

        I'm not even sure Brian Wilson will buy this conclusion from the evidence you
        presented.

        <<What we see in PH is a very close association of JB's disciples with Jesus'
        disciples. JB's status is quite exalted, he's described as "an angel", and
        seemingly even greater than Jesus.>>

        Isn't JB described as "my angel" already in Matt 11:10 p ?

        Leonard Maluf
      • Yuri Kuchinsky
        ... (Conclusion) ... object ... it ... (2:12), ... This is a standard translation, Leonard. New International Version (NIV). Others are also quite similar. ...
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 11, 2000
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          > From: Maluflen@...
          > To: Synoptic-L@...
          > Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Jesus and JB in the Pepysian Harmony
          (Conclusion)
          > Date: Monday, April 10, 2000 8:05 PM
          >
          > In a message dated 4/10/2000 12:43:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
          > yuku@... writes:
          >
          >
          > << Mt 14:11
          > His head was brought in on a platter and given to the
          > girl, who carried it to her mother.
          > 12
          > John's disciples came and took his body and buried it.
          > Then they went and told Jesus.
          > 13
          > When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat
          > privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the
          > crowds followed him on foot from the towns.>>
          >
          > Yuri, is this your own, or a standard translation of Matt 14:13? It is, I

          > think, in either case, inaccurate. The participle akousas, modifying ho
          > Ieesous, has no direct object ("what had happened"), and its implied
          object
          > is probably what was narrated in 14:1-2. In good biblical-narrative style
          it
          > is the threatening disposition of the local tyrant that causes Jesus to
          > "withdraw" (anechooreesen), as the wisemen had from an earlier Herod
          (2:12),
          > and as Jesus' father had from Herod the Great's son Archilaus (2:22). The

          > narrative in the intervening verses is, I think, a kind of parenthetical
          > flashback.

          This is a standard translation, Leonard. New International Version (NIV).
          Others are also quite similar.

          > <<It is interesting here that, in v 12, John's disciples buried the body,
          and
          > then they went and "told Jesus". And then, in v 15, "the disciples came
          to
          > Jesus". It seems pretty clearly implied in this text that the disciples
          of
          > JB and the disciples of Jesus are all gathered together after the death
          of
          > JB -- indeed if they are not the same people.>>
          >
          > This doesn't seem so clear to me. The two sets of disciples are mentioned
          in
          > even closer proximity in Matt 9:14-15, without any hint of amalgamation.

          A matter of interpretation, of course. But they are certainly very closely
          associated in PH.

          > [Yuri, commenting on Mark's text:]
          >
          > << "Laid it in a tomb" seems like a later expansion here. Also, nothing
          is
          > said about John's disciples going to tell Jesus about JB's death. On the
          > other hand, as the next verse 30 shows, Mk reports the apostles
          returning
          > to Jesus right after the death of JB, while Mt postpones this return for
          a
          > few verses until his v 15.>>
          >
          > I think it is inaccurate to speak of the "return" of [Jesus'] disciples
          in
          > Matt. In Matt, the disciples were sent out many chapters ago (9:35 --
          11:1),
          > and at the conclusion of the "sending out" discourse, the disciples don't
          go
          > anywhere. Thus their "approaching" Jesus in Matt 14:15 is not a "return".

          Yes, I suppose you're right, so I stand corrected. If we go only by the
          canonical Mt the disciples don't really leave after 11:1, and it's
          difficult to speak about "the Return of the Disciples" in this passage.
          Nevertheless, in Mk and Lk "the Return of the Disciples" is quite obvious
          in this place of the narrative, so most biblical commentators, assuming the
          priority of Mk, also label this scene in Mt as "the Return of the
          Disciples".

          But perhaps this constitutes a difficulty for the standard Matthean
          priority theories? Because it may appear to a casual observer that Mk and
          Lk in this case preserve the original sequence, while in Mt this sequence
          was padded up and expanded with more teaching scenes where the disciples
          keep appearing?

          And still the important point remains that the disciples of Jesus are
          closely associated with JB's disciples in this passage in Mt.

          > << But at this point, PH switches over to Jn's version (Jn 6:3ff). Jesus
          is
          > portrayed on the mountain, perhaps similar to Moses,
          >
          > "and went hym vpon a mountayne and satte hym there with his deciples."
          (pp.
          > 45-46)>>
          >
          > Perhaps both Jn and PH are conflating here with the other feeding story
          in
          > Matt (cf. Matt 15:29ff).

          Thanks for pointing out that this parallel of Jn 6:3ff and Matt 15:29ff.
          It's possible that here Jn is based on Mt, or on Mt's source. But PH
          narrative and sequence still seem earlier.

          Now it looks to me like Mt may have used some early material from the first
          feeding, as preserved better in PH, for the second feeding.

          Both Lk and Jn have only one feeding. So it may seem probable that
          originally, in the earliest narratives, there was only one feeding of 5000,
          and that the feeding of 4000 was added only to Mt and to Mk as later
          expansions reflecting the opening to the Gentiles.

          True, as you can see below, PH also has a second feeding. So we cannot
          speak of PH as entirely a very early document representing only the
          earliest material. PH seems to represent a mixed collection with some very
          early materials, and some materials that were added later. But this is
          pretty obvious on the surface of things, seeing that PH has the infancy
          narratives which were probably not a feature of the earliest Jesus
          traditions.

          > << And later, Jesus descends from the mountain when he sees the
          multitudes
          > that came, bringing with them the sick and the lame (brougGtten alle the
          > seeke men and the blynde and the croked with hem), to implore his
          > attention, and begins the healings and the feeding.>>
          >
          > Yes, just as in Matt 15:30-31. Yuri, does PH have a feeding of the four
          > thousand, with parallels to these Matthean verses there?

          Yes, PH has the second feeding in Par. 54. It is very short and using Mt
          15:32-39a, along with Mk 8:1-10a. But it's not using Mt 15:30-31.

          > << It seems to me that PH in this case preserves the narrative sequence
          that
          > is earlier than all the four canonicals. It is possible that all four
          > canonicals were using an account similar to PH to produce their
          narrative
          > sequences.>>
          >
          > I'm not even sure Brian Wilson will buy this conclusion from the evidence
          you
          > presented.

          Well, I'm not sure what Brian thinks. Perhaps he may like to make his views
          known? But one of the maxims of textual criticism is "brevior lectio
          potior" (the shorter reading is preferable). From this point of view, PH is
          clearly preferable.

          > <<What we see in PH is a very close association of JB's disciples with
          Jesus'
          > disciples. JB's status is quite exalted, he's described as "an angel",
          and
          > seemingly even greater than Jesus.>>
          >
          > Isn't JB described as "my angel" already in Matt 11:10 p ?

          Septuagint has "hAGGELON", and the standard translation is "messenger".
          Vulgate has angelum,
          hic enim est de quo scriptum est
          ecce ego mitto angelum meum
          ante faciem tuam qui praeparabit
          viam tuam ante te

          So it is possible that PH had been Vulgatised in this passage.

          Now, in regard to the historicity of the whole incident of the beheading of
          JB, Hans Radax posted to Loisy-L a passage from Josephus indicating that JB
          was killed at the frontier "Black Fortress" of Machaerus, and that Herod
          may have been there at the time while on a military expedition against
          Arabs. But if he was on a military expedition, would he have taken his
          family including also his young daughter with him? So this whole incident
          does not really seem historical in so far as the daughter's role is
          concerned. While Herod probably did kill JB, the dancing daughter may seem
          like an embellishment. But this may be a very early embellishment going to
          the earliest stratum of the narrative.

          Best wishes,

          Yuri.

          Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

          Biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - unmoderated

          The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
          equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
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