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Re: [Synoptic-L] Papias & Mark (Again)

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  • Thomas A. Kopecek
    Stephen C. Carlson wrote in response to the ... Let me begin by again reminding Synoptic-L readers that I make no claim to be a NT
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 3, 2001
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      "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote in response to the
      following question I posed:

      >>I was struck, however, by your comment that "Mark's negative portrayal is
      >>oversold (in many respects it is less negative than Matthew's)." Since I'm
      >>less dedicated to keeping up with the flood of material on NT scholarship
      >>than I'm dedicated to trying to follow the Patristic scholarship in which
      >>I'm interested (for which I apologize to the list), I'm curious about why
      >>you (and others on the list as well, if there are others) think Matthew's
      >>portrayal of Peter is more "negative" than Matthew's.
      >
      > I outlined this provocative position of mine in a post I made to
      > Crosstalk on July 18, 1997 but did not receive any response,
      > favorable or critical. Maybe this time will be different. Here
      > is a revised version:
      >
      > ----- snip -----
      > Although many would wonder how can a gospel that has Peter called
      > the rock (Mt16:18) and Peter walking on water (Mt14:28) be more
      > negative than Mark, I think a comparison of the two Gospels bears
      > it out. In these two examples in Matthew, Peter's success is
      > quickly followed by failure. Peter walks on water and sink. Peter
      > is called the "Rock" and then the stumbling block (Mt16:23 SKANDALON
      > *not in Mk* cf. 13:41). The literary effect is to highlight Peter's
      > failure (in Mt compared to Mk).

      Let me begin by again reminding Synoptic-L readers that I make no claim to
      be a NT scholar. The NT is simply a presupposition for the work I do, such
      as it is these days, in the Fathers. But with that disclaimer, let me plunge
      into the deep waters nonetheless.

      I think the real effect of the literary effect of the sinking and skandalon
      is to try to explain the data that occur in Mark. But such an interpretation
      depends on my view of the rest of Stephen's evidence. So to it.

      >
      > In general, this pattern is consistent between the gospels. Matthew
      > lacks Mark's vignette of Peter finding Jesus praying (Mk1:36ff).
      > Matthew lacks Mark's passage in which Peter with James and John are
      > allowed to see the healing of Jairus daughter (Mk5:37).

      Mk 5:37 comes (1) between 4:34-41, especially 40-41 (where Jesus says to his
      disciples, "Have you still no faith," and they respond, "Who is this . . .
      ?") and 6:1-6a, especially 6a (where Jesus is amazed by the lack of faith of
      his kin) and (2) it is the outsider woman with the hemorrhages in 5:34 who--
      unlike the insider three disciples Peter, James, and John at the raising of
      Jairus' daughter (along with the rest of the 12 to whom the secret of the
      Kingdom of God had been revealed)--explicitly is portrayed as having faith.
      Thus, Mk 5:37, in context, is negative in its portrayal of Peter, James, and
      John.

      I think Mt omits it precisely because the reference to the three disciples
      in Mark is negative. Finally, the presence in Mark of Peter, James, and John
      at the raising of Jairus' daughter is a foreshadowing of the transfiguration
      scene in Mark 9:2-13, which is very negative toward the inner core of the
      Three, just as 9:14-29 and 48-41 are negative toward the rest of the
      disciples. Matthew obviously softens Mk's transfiguration story's negative
      portrait of the three.

      > In fact, Mark
      > at 11:21 (withered fig tree),

      The presence in Mark 11:21 of Peter is, in my opinion, negative, for after
      Peter says, "Rabbi, look: the fig tree that you cursed has withered," Jesus
      answers in 11:22, "Have faith in God." Jesus then goes on to talk about not
      doubting and having faith in prayer, which Peter, like the rest of the 12
      mentioned back in 9:27 in a comparable passage, never does in Mark, at least
      as far as I can see (while Jesus prays later on, Peter sleeps, for
      instance). This passage in 11:22 also echoes, as I see it, the stilling of
      the storm passage, "Have you still no faith?"


      >13:3 (private apocalypse),

      Yes, Peter is present, but the point of chapter 13 is "Keep awake!" This
      immediately foreshadows 14:32-34, where Peter, James, and John don't--but
      rather fall asleep. Of course Mt would eliminate the reference to Peter in
      the parallel to Mark 13, precisely to eliminate some of the negative
      portrayal of Peter in Mk--and thus to speak better of him.

      > and 16:7
      > (resurrection to Peter and the disciples) point out Peter by name,
      > but the Matthean parallels lack Peter's name in preference to the
      > disciples. Thus, Mark accords an inner circle status to Peter that
      > is attenuated in Matthew. The last example is important for Peter's
      > credentials as an apostle according to 1 Cor. qualifications of
      > witnessing the risen Christ. Matthew could have added a resurrection
      > story to Peter first as hinted by Mk16:7, but chose to recount an
      > appearance to the Eleven instead.

      I don't see anything in chapter 16 of Mk to be a hint of a resurrection
      appearance to Peter, for the women "said notin' to nobody." It is, rather, a
      very emphatic statement that Jesus' message that he was "leading" the 11,
      especially Peter, to Galilee (14:26ff)--as reported by the young man at the
      tomb (16:7)--never got to Peter and the rest. Mt omits the reference to
      Peter precisely to speak more positively of Peter and the Eleven than Mark,
      I think.


      >
      > In one case, however, the situation (one gospel has "Peter," the other
      > "disciples") is reversed: at Mt15:15 Peter does not understand the parable
      > about what defiles, but in Mk7:17 the disciples as a whole, without naming
      > Peter, do not. In a special-Matthew parable (or Matthean redaction of
      > Q), Peter is told to forgive 77 times (18:21), followed by the parable of
      > the unmerciful servant. There are also curiously pro-Judaic teachings
      > delivered to Peter in Mt but not in Mk: 17:24f. Peter and the Temple
      > Tax, after Mt19:27, those who follow Jesus sit on 12 thrones.

      The more positive portrayal of Peter in Mt agrees with with the Temple Tax
      story in 17:24ff and the eschatological judgment verse in 19:28, in my
      opinion.

      I know I haven't dealt with all of your passages, Stephen, but I'm no NT
      scholar. I'd have to give the others further thought.

      >
      > I hope this helped.

      Not yet. Keep going at me, and maybe you'll be able to convince me. I've
      certainly got an open mind about the matter.

      Tom

      ___
      Thomas A. Kopecek
      Professor of Religion
      Central College, Pella, Iowa 50219
      kopecekt@...

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      Thank you very much for your response. In this message, it is important to keep in mind that my thesis is that Mark s portrayal of Peter is in many respects
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 3, 2001
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        Thank you very much for your response. In this message, it is
        important to keep in mind that my thesis is that Mark's portrayal
        of Peter is in many respects less negative than Matthew. That
        is not to say that Mark is never negative about Peter, only that
        I think on balance that views of Mark's negativity toward Peter
        are overexaggerated. I am using Matthew, which few think is negative
        toward Peter, as a basis for comparison: if Mark is indeed less
        negative than Matthew over Peter, then Mark's remaining negativity
        to Peter should not be considered out of place in the first century,
        before the tendency toward hagiography became more pronounced.

        Now, onto the particular points:

        At 07:39 PM 1/3/01 -0600, Thomas A. Kopecek wrote:
        >"Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote in response to the
        >following question I posed:
        >> Although many would wonder how can a gospel that has Peter called
        >> the rock (Mt16:18) and Peter walking on water (Mt14:28) be more
        >> negative than Mark, I think a comparison of the two Gospels bears
        >> it out. In these two examples in Matthew, Peter's success is
        >> quickly followed by failure. Peter walks on water and sink. Peter
        >> is called the "Rock" and then the stumbling block (Mt16:23 SKANDALON
        >> *not in Mk* cf. 13:41). The literary effect is to highlight Peter's
        >> failure (in Mt compared to Mk).
        >
        >I think the real effect of the literary effect of the sinking and skandalon
        >is to try to explain the data that occur in Mark. But such an interpretation
        >depends on my view of the rest of Stephen's evidence. So to it.

        If I wanted to lessen the negativity of Peter in this passage, I
        would omit Jesus' calling Peter "Satan." Matthew did not do that.
        Rather, Matthew called Peter a stumbling block, a reproach lacking
        in Mark. Perhaps this is explaining Mark, or perhaps it is adding
        insult to injury.

        >> In general, this pattern is consistent between the gospels. Matthew
        >> lacks Mark's vignette of Peter finding Jesus praying (Mk1:36ff).
        >> Matthew lacks Mark's passage in which Peter with James and John are
        >> allowed to see the healing of Jairus daughter (Mk5:37).
        >
        >Mk 5:37 comes (1) between 4:34-41, especially 40-41 (where Jesus says to his
        >disciples, "Have you still no faith," and they respond, "Who is this . . .
        >?") and 6:1-6a, especially 6a (where Jesus is amazed by the lack of faith of
        >his kin) and (2) it is the outsider woman with the hemorrhages in 5:34 who--
        >unlike the insider three disciples Peter, James, and John at the raising of
        >Jairus' daughter (along with the rest of the 12 to whom the secret of the
        >Kingdom of God had been revealed)--explicitly is portrayed as having faith.
        >Thus, Mk 5:37, in context, is negative in its portrayal of Peter, James, and
        >John.

        Mark 4:34-41 is not a passage that singles out Peter in any way. It
        is more negative toward the disciples generally than Matthew, but I
        never denied that. Indeed, both are somewhat are negative (cf. Matt
        8:26 "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?"). Thus, Mark 4:34-41
        is not an example of Peter specifically being portrayed more negatively.

        Yes, the woman with the hemorrhages is explicitly portrayed as having
        faith in Mark 5:34, but also in Matt 9:22. In both gospels, the
        disciples come out less favorably by comparison than the woman. Still,
        Peter is not mentioned by name until afterwards at Mark 5:37 where Jesus
        "allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John." The Matthean
        parallel at 9:19 merely says the "disciples" before (not after as in
        Mark) Jesus's praising of the woman. Thus, whatever force may be given
        to the comparison of the woman's faith and the disciples, Matthew comes
        out a bit more negative in that the disciple were mentioned immediately
        before the praise of the woman's faith, whereas the disciple were last
        mentioned 26 verses earlier -- quite a removal from the context.

        The specific naming of Peter, James, and John after the woman's healing
        in this sandwiched story play no other role than to be named as a group
        of people selected by Jesus. Thus, I don't how their mentioning is in
        any way negative.

        >I think Mt omits it precisely because the reference to the three disciples
        >in Mark is negative. Finally, the presence in Mark of Peter, James, and John
        >at the raising of Jairus' daughter is a foreshadowing of the transfiguration
        >scene in Mark 9:2-13, which is very negative toward the inner core of the
        >Three, just as 9:14-29 and 48-41 are negative toward the rest of the
        >disciples. Matthew obviously softens Mk's transfiguration story's negative
        >portrait of the three.

        Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see what is "very negative" in
        the Transfiguration and how Matthew "obviously softens" the "negative
        portrait" of Peter. Both Matthew and Mark state that Peter was afraid
        (Mark 9:6, Matt 17:6) -- I don't think that would be viewed negatively
        under the circumstances.

        >> In fact, Mark
        >> at 11:21 (withered fig tree),
        >
        >The presence in Mark 11:21 of Peter is, in my opinion, negative, for after
        >Peter says, "Rabbi, look: the fig tree that you cursed has withered," Jesus
        >answers in 11:22, "Have faith in God." Jesus then goes on to talk about not
        >doubting and having faith in prayer, which Peter, like the rest of the 12
        >mentioned back in 9:27 in a comparable passage, never does in Mark, at least
        >as far as I can see (while Jesus prays later on, Peter sleeps, for
        >instance). This passage in 11:22 also echoes, as I see it, the stilling of
        >the storm passage, "Have you still no faith?"

        At Mark 11:21, Peter remember about the fig tree and pointed it out to
        Jesus -- and Jesus answer *them* (KAI APOKRIQEIS hO IHSOUS LEGEI *AUTOIS*),
        referring to the disciples (cf. Mark 11:14). However one might view
        Jesus's answer as a rebuke (I don't; I see it as instruction), it is
        done to the disciples generally not to Peter specifically. Matthew,
        on the other hand, has the disciples, not Peter specifically, ask a
        question, which Jesus answered. Thus, I see Mark's mention of Peter
        here as taking a leadership role that is lacking in Matthew.

        >>13:3 (private apocalypse),
        >
        >Yes, Peter is present, but the point of chapter 13 is "Keep awake!" This
        >immediately foreshadows 14:32-34, where Peter, James, and John don't--but
        >rather fall asleep. Of course Mt would eliminate the reference to Peter in
        >the parallel to Mark 13, precisely to eliminate some of the negative
        >portrayal of Peter in Mk--and thus to speak better of him.

        At Mark 13:3, Jesus predicts the Temple's destruction to Peter, James,
        John, Andrew. In the Matthean parallel (24:3) it is to the disciples
        generally. If Matthew wanted to eliminate the negative protrayal of
        Peter falling asleep, would it be more effective to eliminate Matt
        26:40 where that event occurs or to water down Peter's insider status
        37 verses earlier? I think the purpose you have proposed for Matthew
        is just subtle to be realistic.

        >> and 16:7
        >> (resurrection to Peter and the disciples) point out Peter by name,
        >> but the Matthean parallels lack Peter's name in preference to the
        >> disciples. Thus, Mark accords an inner circle status to Peter that
        >> is attenuated in Matthew. The last example is important for Peter's
        >> credentials as an apostle according to 1 Cor. qualifications of
        >> witnessing the risen Christ. Matthew could have added a resurrection
        >> story to Peter first as hinted by Mk16:7, but chose to recount an
        >> appearance to the Eleven instead.
        >
        >I don't see anything in chapter 16 of Mk to be a hint of a resurrection
        >appearance to Peter, for the women "said notin' to nobody." It is, rather, a
        >very emphatic statement that Jesus' message that he was "leading" the 11,
        >especially Peter, to Galilee (14:26ff)--as reported by the young man at the
        >tomb (16:7)--never got to Peter and the rest. Mt omits the reference to
        >Peter precisely to speak more positively of Peter and the Eleven than Mark,
        >I think.

        What about: "there you will see him, just as he told" in 16:7? That
        has to be a hint of a resurrection appearance. At any rate, the
        women's silence is Markan irony, because everybody knows (and knew
        in Mark's audience) that Jesus did indeed appear to Peter and the
        disciples. Thus, the women's failure of silence does not imply
        that Peter and the disciples never got the word and missed out on
        Jesus's resurrection appearance. Matthew improves the matter by
        explicitly reciting a resurrection appear, but I can't see Matthew's
        omission of "Peter" in favor of the disciples as a group to be
        more positive to Peter specifically than Mark.

        >> In one case, however, the situation (one gospel has "Peter," the other
        >> "disciples") is reversed: at Mt15:15 Peter does not understand the parable
        >> about what defiles, but in Mk7:17 the disciples as a whole, without naming
        >> Peter, do not. In a special-Matthew parable (or Matthean redaction of
        >> Q), Peter is told to forgive 77 times (18:21), followed by the parable of
        >> the unmerciful servant. There are also curiously pro-Judaic teachings
        >> delivered to Peter in Mt but not in Mk: 17:24f. Peter and the Temple
        >> Tax, after Mt19:27, those who follow Jesus sit on 12 thrones.
        >
        >The more positive portrayal of Peter in Mt agrees with with the Temple Tax
        >story in 17:24ff and the eschatological judgment verse in 19:28, in my
        >opinion.

        In Matt 17:24-27, Peter's misunderstanding of Jesus's obligation to pay
        the tax is corrected by a miracle. Positive or negative? Beat me. The
        judgment verse in 19:28 is more positive of the 12 disciples, but, as to
        Peter specifically, nope.

        >I know I haven't dealt with all of your passages, Stephen, but I'm no NT
        >scholar. I'd have to give the others further thought.

        Please do, I'm looking forward to it.

        Stephen Carlson
        --
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
        "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • Thomas A. Kopecek
        ... I ve just begun to work on your analysis of the Patristic or external evidence for the authorship of the second gospel, Stephen. What you call Clement s
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 11, 2001
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          "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:

          > At the turn of the third century, Clement of Alexandria related the
          > following etiology of Mark's gospel (Eus., HE 6.14.5-7):
          >
          >>He said that those gospels with genealogies were published openly, 6 but
          >>Mark had this procedure: when Peter was in Rome preaching in public the word
          >>and proclaiming the gospel by the spirit, those present, who were many,
          >>entreated Mark, as one who followed him for a long time and remembered what
          >>was said, to record what was spoken; but after he composed the gospel, he
          >>shared it with anyone who wanted it; 7 when Peter found out about it, he
          >>did not actively discourage or encourage it;
          >
          > Thus, Clement stated that Mark was asked to write a gospel because
          > he was an associate of Peter and would remember what Peter preached.
          > What was explicit in Jerome is only implicit in Clement. Clement's
          > remarks did not expressly say that the contents of Mark's gospel
          > comprised the preaching of Peter, only that Mark knew what Peter
          > preached. Clement's apology for the limited publication of the
          > Second gospel, in contrast to the wide publication of Matthew and
          > Luke, however, requires that Mark's gospel did contain Peter's
          > preaching. Even so, Clement's concession that Peter did not
          > endorse Mark's gospel is significant: it presupposes a tradition
          > in which the gospel of Mark was disconnected from Peter.

          I've just begun to work on your analysis of the Patristic or "external"
          evidence for the authorship of the second gospel, Stephen. What you call
          Clement's "concession" has me a bit puzzled. I suspect I'm not so puzzled
          with your reconstruction as I am with Clement's comment, so I need to look
          around a little more to see if I can make so more sense of it (and, thus,
          your interpretation of it).

          For while Clement is careful about the connection between Peter and Mark,
          Justin in Dialogus cum Tryphone 106:3--without mentioning Mark
          specifically--clearly thinks the second gospel is simply Peter's "memoirs."
          Surely the autou following apomnemoneumasin has Petron as its antecendent
          rather than auton (= Jesus), as the ANF has it. (Sorry: I don't know how to
          employ the fancy set of transliteration conventions I see on NT lists.) This
          is supported by the parallel reference to the "memoirs of the apostles" in
          106:1: 106:1 requires the autou in 106:3 to be a possessive genitive rather
          than an objective genitive. Since the data Justin cites in 106:3 are only in
          Mark's gospel and not in Mt and Lk, the apostle responsible for the data is,
          in Justin's mind, Peter--with no qualifications.

          This evidence from Justin obviously is neutral in deciding the topic we are
          discussing. Yet what it shows is that the connection between Peter and the
          second gospel wasn't nuanced in all circles ca. 165, as you are suggesting
          it was even by Clement later and by Irenaeus before him. So the trajectory
          may be a bit more messy than you suggested in your initial post which sorted
          out the external evidence. On the other hand, given the context in Justin's
          Dialogue, perhaps one ought not to expect any qualifications. Would that be
          the way you would argue?

          Tom

          ___
          Thomas A. Kopecek
          Professor of Religion
          Central College, Pella, IA 50219
          kopecekt@...


          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... I think it is a close call on whether the AUTOU in 106:3 is subjective ( his [scil. Peter s] memoirs ) or objective ( memoirs of him [scil. Jesus ). Both
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 13, 2001
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            At 10:19 PM 1/11/01 -0600, Thomas A. Kopecek wrote:
            >For while Clement is careful about the connection between Peter and Mark,
            >Justin in Dialogus cum Tryphone 106:3--without mentioning Mark
            >specifically--clearly thinks the second gospel is simply Peter's "memoirs."
            >Surely the autou following apomnemoneumasin has Petron as its antecendent
            >rather than auton (= Jesus), as the ANF has it. (Sorry: I don't know how to
            >employ the fancy set of transliteration conventions I see on NT lists.) This
            >is supported by the parallel reference to the "memoirs of the apostles" in
            >106:1: 106:1 requires the autou in 106:3 to be a possessive genitive rather
            >than an objective genitive. Since the data Justin cites in 106:3 are only in
            >Mark's gospel and not in Mt and Lk, the apostle responsible for the data is,
            >in Justin's mind, Peter--with no qualifications.

            I think it is a close call on whether the AUTOU in 106:3 is subjective
            ("his [scil. Peter's] memoirs") or objective ("memoirs of him [scil.
            Jesus"). Both seem to fit the context. Justin does use the genitive
            plural as a subjective genitive earlier, but, on the other hand, except
            for 106:3, Justin never attributes a memoir to a single person. For
            the remainder of this post, I'll assume that you are correct.

            >This evidence from Justin obviously is neutral in deciding the topic we are
            >discussing. Yet what it shows is that the connection between Peter and the
            >second gospel wasn't nuanced in all circles ca. 165, as you are suggesting
            >it was even by Clement later and by Irenaeus before him. So the trajectory
            >may be a bit more messy than you suggested in your initial post which sorted
            >out the external evidence. On the other hand, given the context in Justin's
            >Dialogue, perhaps one ought not to expect any qualifications. Would that be
            >the way you would argue?

            As evident from 1 Apol. 66.3 (hOI ... APOSTOLOI EN TOIS GENOMENOIS hUP'
            AUTWN APOMNHMONEUMASIN, hA KALEITAI EUAGGELIA "the ... apostles in the
            memoirs by them, which are called gospels"), also Dial. 100.1, the
            term "memoir" was adopted by Justin in his works, ostensibly to non-
            Christians, probably because they would not be familiar with the use
            of EUAGGELION ("gospel", "good news") to signify a genre.

            Even apart from Dial. 106.3, Justin's usage in referring to "apostles"
            is a fudge. He used Luke several times (so Massaux), who was not
            an apostle. I don't Justin had an intention of getting into the fine
            distinctions for Trypho over who wrote which memoir. Justin never
            that I'm aware of explicitly attributed any of the memoirs for Trypho
            or in his Apologies, and the implicit attribution at Dial. 106.3 is
            the closest he got.

            Even so, Justin may not mess the trajectory up too much. Papias
            (I believe by inference) attributed the contents of Mark's gospel
            to Mark's memory of what Peter remembered and said. Thus, Mark's
            writing down (even if years laters) of what Peter said would
            constitute in some sense Peter's memoirs, especially in an apology
            where making the distinction would complicate things. I don't
            think we can press Justin to assert, as Clement was the first to
            indicate, that Peter was actually alive when Mark wrote down what
            Peter remembered. So, Justin in fact gives us no more than what
            Papias or Clement gives us.

            Stephen Carlson
            --
            Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
            Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
            "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
            List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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