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[Synoptic-L] GMark, Gentile Christianity, & Loisy Misrepresented?

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    I see from recent postings to the GThomas List that a Synoptic-L correspondent has (once again) used a post on another topic as a spring board for promoting a
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 17, 2000
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      I see from recent postings to the GThomas List that a Synoptic-L correspondent has (once again) used  a post on another topic as a spring board for promoting a thesis that is not only dear to his heart, but which reputedly has the authority of A. Loisy behind it -- namely,  that
      all the [sic] four canonicals were originally entirely Jewish in their early versions, and they were still so back in 100 CE.
      (for the full text, see http://www.egroups.com/message/gthomas/3000?&start=2984)

      Having learned to be a bit suspicious of how accurately our correspondent reproduces the views of other scholars he has appealed to when, in support of other of his pet theories, he has claimed that these scholars have said what he claims they have said, I decided to have a look myself at what Loisy said -- at least with respect to GMark-- to see if Loisy could indeed be invoked to support the thesis at hand. Curiously, after doing this, four things in the quotation above struck me as sheer misinterpretation, if not misrepresentation, of Loisy's views.

      Loisy did indeed argue that our canonical GMark was created from a "proto Mark" and that it has the form we now know it as having because of the work of a "later" redactor. But

      (a) it is questionable whether Loisy believed that this "proto Mark" was, as our  correspondent asserts, "entirely Jewish" (what ever that question begging expression actually means) since Loisy saw the substance of it, which he characterized as a

      ... collection of notes which originally recorded the essential facts of the Galilean mission and the messianic venture concentrated on Jerusalem, with its culmination at Golgotha (Ev. selon Marc, 19),
      as ultimately going back to reminiscences of Peter who as a Galilean would not necessarily have embraced the Judaism of the Temple elites in Jerusalem.

      (b) according to Loisy, the creation of GMark was not simply a matter of **adding** material to "proto Mark". Loisy believed that the redactor of GMark also **subtracted** material in "proto Mark" -- interestingly, in an attempt to cover up the political activity of Jesus. What was removed was much of the chronological and topographical order that was present in "proto Mark" (on this, see Sean Kealy (_Mark's Gospel: A History of Its Interpretation_, 103);

      (c) along with Bacon, Gougel, Branscomb and others of his contemporaries, Loisy dated  the final redaction of GMark -- that is to say the completion of GMark **in the form in which we know it**-- NOT to the second century CE, but no later than the 8th decade of the first century, and as early as 75 CE.

      (d) in Loisy's view the redactor of GMark was a thorough-going **Paulinist** who sought to defend, in the heat of a long standing and on going controversy, the authority of Paul and the Pauline churches, with their predominantly if not entirely Gentile composition, over against the authority of Jerusalem, Indeed, according to Loisy, the "author" of GMark, was, if not **the** pre-eminent disciple of Paul, then someone who was "in any case a great admirer, or better still, a great partisan of S. Paul. His Gospel may be described as Pauline, and a deliberately Pauline interpretation of the primitive tradition" (_Les Evangiles Synoptiques_ Vol. 1, 116). So according to Loisy,  not only is "gentile" material included in GMark much earlier than our correspondent would have us believe. But if we are to accept Loisy's views on the "authorship", purpose, and date of the redaction of GMark, then the issue that precipitated and necessitated the inclusion of such material was one that was felt within the church far earlier than our correspondent claims it became important.

      Now there is always the chance that I've misrepresented or misunderstood Loisy on these matters. So I'd be grateful for corrections, so long as those making them give specific quotations from Loisy's works which show that I have.

      But in the meantime, assuming that I have not done so, it would then seem that if our  correspondent still wishes to maintain his thesis on Gospel composition and late Gentile inclusion in the early Church, he must let go of the claim that he has Loisy backing him up.


      Jeffrey Gibson
      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...

    • Mark Goodacre
      I would like to call for an immediate halt to the thread GMark, Gentile Christianity, & Loisy Misrepresented? It is not Synoptic-L policy to encourage
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 18, 2000
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        I would like to call for an immediate halt to the thread "GMark,
        Gentile Christianity, & Loisy Misrepresented?" It is not
        Synoptic-L policy to encourage potentially aggressive
        argument here over a post to a different E-List. Please do
        not post anything to Synoptic-L on this topic.


        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        Dept of Theology
        University of Birmingham Fax.: +44 (0)121 414 6866
        Birmingham B15 2TT Tel.: +44 (0)121 414 7512

        The New Testament Gateway
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