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[Synoptic-L] Matthean and Lukan Dependence on Mark

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  • Ted Weeden
    To Brian Wilson and other Listers: Brian Wilson, on Monday, June 25, 2001 2:02 AM, wrote in response to my ... My response; Thank you, Brian for reading my
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 1 10:06 AM
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      To Brian Wilson and other Listers:

      Brian Wilson, on Monday, June 25, 2001 2:02 AM, wrote in response to my
      essay, "MEN...DE and Markan Priority, Matthean Dependence :

      >Ted,
      >I have read your essay with interest, and agree with much of the
      >analysis and argument.

      >I wonder whether your second conclusion is a non sequitur, however?

      >I strongly agree that the observations you have made are fully
      >consistent with Mark not having used either Matthew or Luke. They are
      >evidence for the non-priority of Matthew, and for the non-priority of
      >Luke. It does not follow from this, however, that Matthew and Luke used
      >Mark. For your observations are also fully consistent with the non-
      >priority of Mark. All three could have used a common documentary source
      >that contained the material found in Mark and in the double tradition.

      >In other words, to reach your second conclusion, you would also need to
      >produce evidence against the non-priority of Mark.

      My response;

      Thank you, Brian for reading my essay and for raising this important issue.
      I apologize for the delay in my response. My observations in the essay may
      appear "consistent with non-priority of Mark, but there is, in my judgment
      incontrovertible evidence of Matthean and Lukan direct dependency on
      canonical Mark. I state this so emphatically because of the analysis of the
      Markan portrayal of the disciples vis-a-vis the Matthean and Lukan portrayal
      of the disciples, an analysis which I published in my _Mark- Traditions in
      Conflict_ (1971/1979). It is there that I have shown that Mark carries out
      a programmatic vendetta against the persona of the Twelve in his Gospel.
      As the Markan drama progresses the disciples are shown to be increasingly
      inept with respect to their understanding of Jesus' teaching and his
      extraordinary powers, an ineptness that turns, when they begin to gain
      better insight, to a rejection of Jesus' christological mission and the
      discipleship which it requires. They exit the Markan drama as
      unrehabilitated apostates, defrocked of their apostolic status (3:14).

      To this Markan portrayal of the disciples, Matthew and Luke respond, in my
      view, by methodically softening and correcting the Markan presentation in
      order to make the disciples less the rogues Mark has turned them into and
      more the persons who grapple with Jesus' christological mission and
      discipleship, and who in the end, though they turn against Jesus in his hour
      of destined christological fate, are, nevertheless, restored to full
      apostolic status via resurrection appearances of the risen Jesus. In order
      to make my case for the fact that Matthew and Luke clearly and intentionally
      engage in sanitizing many of the worst features of the Markan portrait of
      the disciples, as well as adding touches here and there that considerably
      enhance the image of the disciples vis-a-vis Mark's presentation, I draw
      from large- and extensively revised for the purposes of this post---
      portions of my analysis in my _Mark_ , along with additional evidence of the
      Matthean and Lukan restoring the disciples from their denigration by Mark.
      Here is the revised statement of my analysis.

      I. Portrayal of the Disciples Prior to Caesarea Philippi

      From the beginning of their relationship with Jesus, the Markan disciples,
      despite the continuous manifestation of Jesus' messiahship before the
      disciples in countless healings, exorcisms, and nature miracles, are
      amazingly obtuse and obdurate in the course of their involvement in the
      Markan Jesus' messianic drama. Not even in their own miraculous activity,
      to which they are commissioned (3:15; 6:7) and in which they are successful
      ( 6: 13) , do the disciples appear to detect anything significant about
      Jesus and their relationship to him, much less are they at all insightful
      about his true identity. In fact, their amazing and incredulous lack of
      perception appears to increase rather than to diminish. It becomes more
      persistent as the narrative unfolds (1:37; 4:10,13,38-41; 5:31; 6:37,51-52;
      7:17; 8:4, 14-21). This imperceptivity of the disciples is particularly
      astonishing when it is recognized that throughout the Markan Gospel the
      disciples enjoy a special and privileged position with Jesus, a position
      which is open to no one else. They are a select and exclusive group of
      intimate associates (1:16-20; 3:13 ff.), commissioned to convey his message
      and continue his ministry (3:14-15; 6: 7-13), entrusted with secret
      instruction ( 4:11-12, 33-34; 9:30-31), and occasionally appointed as his
      assistants in the performance of miraculous acts (6:37-43; 8:1-10).

      Yet, ironically, according to the Markan narrative, those far less
      acquainted with Jesus appear to respond to him with far greater insights
      than do the disciples. This is not to say that the "outsiders" (4: 11)
      recognized Jesus as the Messiah, but they at least see in Jesus the powers
      and qualities of a great miracle worker. The disciples, despite being
      empowered by Jesus to perform miraculous acts (3:14-15; 6:7), and despite
      the fact that they are successful miracle workers themselves (6: 13) , show
      an inexplicable inability to recognize Jesus' miraculous power. For
      example, in the story of the stilling of the storm ( 4:35-41), the Markan
      disciples do not call out for Jesus to intercede with a supernatural act to
      rescue them, even though he has demonstrated that he is capable of such.
      Rather they are merely dismayed that Jesus does not seem to be concerned
      about their plight. They exhibit no faith in Jesus as one who can save
      them ( 4:40)

      Similarly, in Mark 5:25 ff., the woman with the hemorrhage recognizes at
      first sight Jesus' healing powers, powers so great that even by touching his
      garments a person can be healed (5: 28-29). But the disciples, who have
      accompanied Jesus through all his miraculous ministry, are unaware of this
      power (5:30-31) and respond uncomprehendingly to Jesus' discovery that
      someone has touched his garment to be healed. By contrast, as soon as
      Jesus lands at Gennesaret, people flock to him to be healed ( 6: 53 ff.).
      They recognize him (vv. 54-55) because of his miraculous powers. Even a
      Greek woman (7:24-30) recognizes in Jesus the power of the exorcist.
      Inexplicably, the disciples, in quite the opposite response to "outsiders,"
      are bewildered as to how Jesus will feed four thousand people in the desert
      (8:4), even though he has fed five thousand people by the miraculous
      multiplication of loaves and fishes (6:30-44). And then, almost
      immediately after the feeding of the four thousand, the disciples are
      apprehensive over how they are going to subsist on one loaf of bread during
      their boat journey, despite the fact that Jesus has by that time clearly
      demonstrated that he can satisfy the hunger of nine thousand with just a few
      loaves and fishes (8:14-21). While others swarm to Jesus as a miracle
      worker, the Markan disciples appear strangely oblivious to Jesus' miraculous
      power.

      This Markan presentation of the disciples' unperceptiveness through the
      first half of his drama stands out in sharp contrast to the Matthean and
      Lukan treatment of the disciples at similar narrative moments in the
      relationship of the disciples with Jesus. In practically every instance
      where Mark presents the disciples as dunderheads, Matthew presents the
      disciples as having far more favorably. Whereas in Mark 1:37 Peter and the
      other disciples seek to divert Jesus from his overall purpose (1:38),
      Matthew gives no hint that disciples are not in harmony with Jesus' plans or
      that they fail to understand his mission. Where the disciples are depicted
      in Mark 4: 13 as incapable of understanding the Parable of the Sower, when
      supposedly they are the possessors of the secret meaning of Jesus' teachings
      ( 4: 11), Matthew gives no indication that they have not understood Jesus.
      In fact, after the completion of Jesus parabolic teaching in Mt. 13, the
      Matthean Jesus specifically asks the disciples, "Have you understood all
      this?" And the Matthean disciples answer, "Yes."

      In Mark 4:38-41, as I pointed out, the disciples fail to recognize in Jesus
      the supernatural help which can save them from the perils of a raging sea,
      but in the Matthean parallel the cry of the disciples suggests that it is
      precisely this supernatural help for which the disciples appeal (8:25).
      Similarly, the disciples' misunderstanding and bold reproof of Jesus in Mark
      6:37, when Jesus commands the disciples to feed the hungry multitudes, is
      absent in Matthew's casting of the episode. And in the Matthean parallel
      to Mark 6:51-52, instead of depicting the disciples as astonished and
      uncomprehending, as does Mark, Matthew presents the disciples' response to
      Jesus' walking on water as the evocation of confessional recognition: "Truly
      you are the Son of God." (14:33).

      While in the Matthean parallels to Mark 7:17-18; 8:4, 14-21, Matthew appears
      to be in concert with Mark regarding the cognitive deficiencies of the
      disciples, the Matthean disciples failure to understand Jesus is cast with a
      different nuance in two of these parallel passages. For example in the
      case of Mk. 8:4, the disciples' question about how the hungry four thousand
      are to be fed out in the desert, Mark narrates the disciples' question in
      this way: "How can feed these men with bread here in the desert?" The
      Matthean framing of the disciples' question is thus (15:33): "Where are we
      to get bread enough in the desert to feed so great a crowd?" The difference
      in the pitch of the two questions is subtle. The Matthean question does
      not, however, raise the question of "how" (namely, how can we feed?), which
      is a question of capacity or empowerment, as does the Markan question. The
      Matthean question addresses the issue of "where" bread can be found.

      Likewise, in the case of Jesus' exchange with the disciples in the boat
      about bread following the feeding of the four thousand, in both Matthew and
      Mark Jesus appears exasperated over the failure of the disciples to perceive
      and understand (Mk. 8:17-21; Mt. 16:8-11). But the end of this story is
      radically different in Matthew compared to Mark. In Mark the story
      concludes with the impression that the disciples are no more capable of
      understanding at the end than they were when the story began ( 8:21).
      Matthew on the other hand states that they did now understand Jesus (16:12).
      As one moves through the two Gospels to this point, one gets the distinct
      impression that Matthew is trying to sanitize most of the negative features
      Mark gives the disciples in order to present them in a more positive way.

      But it is not just the way that Matthew seems to be air brushing out the
      disciples blemishes found in Mark, Matthew also strokes into his portrait of
      the disciples positive features of the disciples totally lacking in Mark.
      In 10:40, Matthew introduces a statement of Jesus that places the disciples
      in an extremely venerated position. Jesus tells the disciples: "He who
      receives you receives me." In 12:49-50, Matthew presents a parallel
      wording of Mark 3:34-35, in which contrary to Mark, the disciples are
      specifically cited as the true relatives of Jesus, the obedient doers of the
      Father's will. In 13:16-17, Matthew has Jesus pronounce that the
      disciples are privileged to experience things which will only remain obscure
      to outsiders (cf. Mark 4:11ff. which lacks any suggestion that the disciples
      have such a privileged status). Not only does Matthew appear to be
      correcting much of Mark's negative profile of the disciples, but in Matthew'
      s hands the disciples are provided with perspicuity, special privileges and
      special status which elevates them into a revered position, unknown by the
      Markan disciples.

      When one turns to Luke in the corresponding section of the Gospel drama, one
      finds that his portrayal of the disciples vis-a-vis Mark is not unlike that
      of Matthew. Like Matthew, Luke lacks the Markan insinuation ( 4: 13) that
      the disciples remain without understanding after Jesus has informed them
      that they are the possessors of "the secret of the kingdom of God" (Luke 8:9
      ff. ). Luke gives a different accounting of the way in which disciples
      (Peter in Luke) responded to Jesus when he asks concerning who touched him,
      after the woman with the hemorrhage had done so. In Mark (5:31) the
      disciples respond to Jesus' query, "Who was it that touched me?" with a
      curt, if not querulous, rejoinder But in Luke any suggestion of a
      petulant tone in the disciples' (or in Luke's case, Peter's) response is
      absent from the scene. According to the Lukan version, Peter replies to
      Jesus' question only after all have in turn denied touching Jesus. And
      then Peter only intervenes to mediate the conflict between Jesus, who claims
      someone has touched him, and the multitude, who deny that any of them did
      (8:45).

      Moreover, the damaging insinuations about the disciples' capacity for
      discernment in Mark 6:51-52; 7:17-18; 8:4, 14-21 are not to be found in
      Luke. Of course these particular passages appear in the large section of
      Mark (6:45-8:26) which Luke lacks altogether. For whatever reason Luke
      does not have this material, the effect of its absence is that the Lukan
      profile of the disciples is free of the particular negative depictions of
      the disciples found in the Markan material for which there are no Lukan
      parallels.

      Like Matthew, Luke also introduces material which shapes the image of the
      disciples in a positive and complimentary way that is totally lacking in
      Mark. For example, Luke's disciple "call" story ( Luke 5: 1-11), in
      contrast to Mark's story ( 1: 16 ff. ), provides an entirely different
      insight into Peter and his companions in their initial encounter with Jesus.
      In Mark the disciples follow Jesus as a result of his invitation, but there
      is no indication as to what the nature of the disciples' response really
      was. In Luke's account it is clear. Peter has been profoundly moved in a
      religious experience, confesses his sins, and calls Jesus "Lord" as a result
      of the miraculous catch of fish (5:8-9). Similarly, Luke paints in another
      positive glimpse of the disciples when he has Jesus address blessings
      specifically to the disciples (6: 20 ff.), blessings unknown to the Markan
      disciples. What was said in the case of Matthew can also be said in the
      case of Luke. Not only does Luke appear to be correcting much of Mark's
      negative profile of the disciples, but in Luke's hands, at his corresponding
      point to the Markan drama, the disciples, as was the case with Matthew, are
      provided with perspicuity, special privileges and special status which
      elevates them into a revered position, unknown by the Markan disciples.

      II. Portrayal of the Disciples from Caesarea Philippi on

      With the episode at Caesarea Philippi (8:27-33) a sudden change takes place
      in Mark's rendering of the disciples' capacity for discernment. Peter
      experiences a startling revelation: Jesus is the Christ ( 8:29). Any
      assumption, however, that by this confession the Markan disciples have
      received a complete understanding of Jesus' identity is soon proved false by
      the presentation of the disciples subsequently. For with the interchange
      between Peter and Jesus after the confession (8:30-33), it now becomes
      evident that, while identifying Jesus as the Christ, the disciples do not
      have the same understanding of the nature of messiahship as Jesus claims for
      himself. Whatever Peter's concept of messiahship is, it is not Jesus'
      concept. For Jesus, messiahship can be defined only in terms of suffering
      and death. Despite his attempts to spell out clearly the path of authentic
      messiahship ( 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34) and the heavenly voice's confirmation of
      it (9:7), the disciples neither understand (9:32) nor accept this concept of
      a suffering Messiah (8:32).

      Consequently, throughout the rest of the Gospel one finds the disciples and
      Jesus locked in a continuous conflict over the characteristics of authentic
      messiahship and the commitment to suffering discipleship which is demanded
      of the disciples of a suffering Messiah. It is a christological conflict
      that is never resolved. Each time Jesus attempts to explain his position
      on his christological nature the disciples either rebuke him (8:31-32) or
      react in fear, coupled with a lack of understanding (9:5-6, 10,32). Or
      they indicate their misunderstanding of Jesus by seeking and subscribing to
      a type of discipleship which stands in diametric opposition to the type of
      discipleship which Jesus advocates and to which the disciples of a suffering
      Messiah should be committed. This latter factor is seen clearly in
      9:33-35; 10:23-31, 35-45. In 9:33-35, after Jesus for the second time
      defines his messiahship in the nature of a suffering Son of the Human (9:
      31), the disciples become involved in a discussion about their own merits.
      Jesus intervenes and admonishes them against contemplation of personal
      grandeur and stipulates that discipleship means a commitment to servanthood.

      Likewise, in 10:35-45, following Jesus' third statement on his
      christological position (10:33), James and John become involved in a similar
      interest in prestige and honor. Once again Jesus underscores the fact that
      discipleship cannot be measured in terms of power or authority (10:42) but
      in terms of one's dedication to being the servant of all (10:43-44).
      Similarly, in 10:23-31 one detects again the disciples' greater concern for
      personal welfare and reward ( 10:23-28) than for the kind of total
      self-sacrifice which characterizes authentic discipleship (8:34-35) and
      which Jesus demands of his followers (10:21-22). This basic inability of
      the Markan disciples to grasp or accept Jesus' concept of messiahship or its
      corollary, suffering discipleship, becomes reflected more and more in their
      total relationship to Jesus. The conflict over the correct interpretation
      of messiahship widens into a general conflict and misunderstanding in almost
      every area of their relationship with Jesus.

      To illustrate: as Jesus' disciples, the disciples on one occasion are called
      upon to exorcize an unclean spirit, but they prove themselves incapable
      (9:15-18). When Jesus arrives on the scene, he despairs over this
      incapacity of his disciples (9: 19-23) and quickly performs the requested
      exorcism (9:20-27). Since the Twelve still are not in harmony with Jesus
      and his mission, they are excoriated as a faithless group, as much without
      faith now as they were on the storm-tossed sea (4:40), and as unresponsive
      as the people in Jesus' home town (6:4 ff.). On another occasion John and
      the others forbid a man to cast out demons (9:38), which causes Jesus to
      criticize them for their narrowness and interference (9:39-40). In yet
      another episode the disciples refuse to permit children to be brought to
      Jesus. In response to this rejection of the children Jesus becomes
      indignant, rebukes the disciples, and bids the children to come to him
      (10:13-16). Finally, by inserting 14:3-9 between 14:1-2 and 14:10, Mark
      leads his hearers to believe that it was Judas' inability to understand
      Jesus' commendation of the woman's act of anointing that caused him to
      betray Jesus.

      The peculiarly Markan character and intensity of this Markan theme of the
      denigration of the disciples is even more profoundly underscored when one
      discovers the way in which Matthew and Luke profile the disciples in
      passages parallel to Mark. For the most part Jesus' disciples fare far
      better in Matthew's hands than they do in Mark's. There is no Matthean
      depiction of the disciples compared to the uncomplimentary Markan depiction
      of the disciples in Mk. 9:5-6, 10, 32, 38-41. In Mark's narration of the
      scene in 9:33-37 he obviously focuses on the egocentric interests of the
      disciples in personal greatness. In the Matthean parallel (18:1-5) the
      disciples show know signs of being preoccupied with self-aggrandizement.
      The Matthean disciples' concern is not about who is greatest amongst them,
      as is the case of the Markan disciples, but what Matthean's concern is about
      who is the greatest in the kingdom of God, which is on the surface, at
      least, a legitimate, honest and straightforward matter about the
      characteristics of greatness in the kingdom.

      While Matthew records the conflict between Jesus and the disciples over
      permitting children to come to him ( 19:13-15), as does Mark (10:13-16), the
      Matthean Jesus is not presented as being indignant over the disciples'
      rejection of the children, as is the case with the Markan Jesus. And with
      respect to James and John's question to Jesus about the honored seats in the
      kingdom of God, Matthew offers a markedly differed account from Mark as to
      who initiated the question with Jesus. In Mark's account James and John
      are the ones who pose the question to Jesus; and in doing so they appear
      self-seeking and self-promoting (Mk 10:35 ff. ). In the Matthean version
      the two brothers are innocent of any self-interest. For it is not they who
      ask the question of Jesus but their mother. One can excuse a mother's
      importuning on behalf of her sons (20:20 ff.).

      There are instances in which Matthew appears to be equal to Mark in
      presenting the obstreperous side of the disciples. Matthew certainly
      exposes all the bristling antipathy between Jesus and Peter found in Mark
      8:32-33 (Matt. 16:22 ff.). Yet this sharp interchange, particularly Jesus'
      angry rebuke, does not evince the same sharp edge it has in Mark, because of
      the Matthean Jesus' investiture of Peter ( Matt. 16: 17) just prior to the
      exchange, an investiture the Markan Peter never receives. The discord,
      noted by Mark in 10:23-31, between the disciples and Jesus is also present
      in Matthew. But here again the dissonance is more muted, than it is in
      Mark, as a resulted of Matthew's addition of Jesus' promise that the
      disciples will, because of their faithfulness to him ( Matt. 19:28 ), "sit
      on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" in the new kingdom.
      On the other hand, the intensity of the clash between Jesus and the
      disciples in Mark 9: 17 ff. is no less intense in the Matthean parallel (Mt.
      17:15 ff.). And the Matthean disciples are no less disgruntled people in
      Matthew's presentation of them in Mt. 26:8 than they are in the parallel
      Markan presentation (14:4). In general, however, at these corresponding
      points in the two Gospels, Matthew, as in the earlier sections of the drama,
      appears to be correcting Mark's negative profile of the disciples and
      enhancing their image positively with some well-placed complementary
      "takes."

      When one turns to Luke and his treatment of the disciples in material which
      is parallel to the Markan portrayal, one is tempted to conclude that Luke,
      unlike Matthew, presents a profile of the disciples that basically concurs
      with Mark's negative rating of the disciples' performance
      But such a conclusion would be drawn too hastily. For while it is true that
      Luke underscores the disciples' inability to comprehend the passion
      predictions, he presents a twist on that theme that contrasts sharply with
      the Markan presentation take that the disciples and the disciples alone are
      responsible for their obtuseness in comprehending Jesus' messianic fate
      (9:31f.). From Luke's perspective, God is responsible for their incapacity
      to understand Jesus' commitment to his christological mission. It was
      God's plan that they should fail to understand the meaning or purpose of the
      passion (Luke 9:44f.). God purposely concealed the understanding of Jesus'
      death from them. Thus while Luke agrees with Mark in accenting the
      disciples' failure to comprehend the passion predictions (Luke 9:45; 18:34),
      unlike Mark, Luke exculpates the disciples from any responsibility for their
      failure to understand Jesus.

      There are also other indications that the third evangelist is committed to a
      more enhanced image of the disciples than does his counterpart, Mark. The
      Markan reference to the disciples' obtuseness in Mark 9:10 is absent in the
      Lukan parallel (Lk 9:36). Similarly, the angry retort of the Markan Jesus
      to the disciples for rejecting the children (Mk 10: 14), as it appears in
      Luke (18:16), lacks, as was the case in the Matthean parallel, any
      suggestion that Jesus was indignant because of the disciples response to
      children. Likewise the Lukan version of Mk. 10:23-31 does not present
      itself with the same tarnish on the disciples as is found in the Markan
      parallel. In Luke's account (18: 24-30) the sermonic injunction about the
      handicap of riches is not directed to the disciples, as it is in Mark.
      Moreover, in Luke it is not explicitly the disciples who reply
      incredulously to Jesus' radical position. Peter does chime in at the end
      but only to attest to the faithfulness of the disciples, a faithfulness
      apparently acknowledged by Jesus (18:29-30).

      On three occasions it would appear that Luke, however, is intent on
      presenting a negative depiction of the disciples as Mark is. The disciples
      come off as poorly in Lk. 9:46ff. and 9:49-50 as they do in Mk 9:33 ff. and
      9:38 ff. respectively. Furthermore, Luke introduces a pasage with no
      parallels in Mark in which Jesus renders a stinging rebuke of James and John
      (9:51-55). On the other hand, Luke certainly provides an enhanced veneration
      of the disciples, not found in Mark, by citing the disciples as
      beneficiaries Jesus' special blessings (10:23-24) and by narrating Jesus'
      strong vindication of the disciples in the face of the censuring effort of
      the Pharisees ( Luke 19: 39-40). On the whole, with few exceptions, Luke,
      as is the case with Matthew, gives the strong impression of consciously
      correcting the Markan maligning of the disciples and looking for
      opportunities to include material that venerates the disciples rather than
      denigrates them.

      III. Portrayal of the Disciples after Judas' Betrayal Decision

      With Judas' plans to betray Jesus the conflict between Jesus and the
      disciples in the Markan drama moves finally to a final rupture in their
      relationship. The disciples all ultimately reject Jesus and his
      messiahship. That this is true of all of the disciples and not just the
      traditional villain, Judas, is substantiated by the episode in Gethsemane
      and the incident in the courtyard of the high priest. Despite the fact that
      the disciples assure Jesus of their complete support of him in 14:31, they
      become indifferent and unconcerned about him when put to the test. At one
      of the most critical points in Jesus' life, when he ponders in the garden
      over the fate that awaits him and to which he has committed himself, Peter,
      James, and John remain completely oblivious of and apathetic toward the
      distress and apprehension which has seized Jesus ( 14: 32-42 ).
      Throughout this period of agonizing introspection Jesus implores his special
      confidants to support him by watching and praying, but on each of three
      separate occasions, after admonishing them to remain awake, Jesus finds that
      they have fallen into apostasy, as I have described in detail in my essay,
      "MEN...DE and Markan Priority, Matthean Dependence.".

      Subsequently, Jesus is betrayed by Judas ( 14:43-52) and forsaken and
      abandoned by the rest (14:50). But it is the denial of Peter that
      underscores the complete and utter rejection of Jesus and his messiahship by
      the disciples. Upon the condemnation of the Sanhedrin, Peter completely
      renounces Jesus, adamantly denying that he ever knew him ( 14:66-72). The
      type of messiahship to which Jesus committed himself has now been totally
      rejected by the disciples.

      How do Matthew and Luke treat the Markan picture at this point? Matthew
      narrates Judas' decision to betray (26:14-16), the scenes in Gethsemane
      (Matt. 26:36-46,47-56), and the denial of Peter (26:66-75) in basic concert
      with Mark. The impact is the same as in Mark, and the disciples certainly
      fare no better. However, the disciples do fare better in Luke's hands.
      Just as the disciples' inability to understand Jesus' passion predictions
      was laid to the intention of God, so Judas' betrayal and Peter's denial are
      due to the work of Satan (22:3, 31). According to Luke, Peter and Judas
      are not really responsible for their rejection of Jesus. In fact Luke
      introduces material in his narrative of the Last Supper which clearly
      indicates that the disciples, far from rejecting or abandoning Jesus, are
      singled out by him as those who have been and will continue to be the most
      faithful (22:28 ff.).

      Unlike Mark and Matthew, there is no indication in Luke that the disciples
      lacked empathy with Jesus as he agonized over his impending martyrdom in the
      garden of Gethsemane. In the Lukan narrative instead of three occasions on
      which Jesus finds the disciples sleeping, there is only one, and in that
      case the disciples are found sleeping "for sorrow," presumably for Jesus,
      and not because they are unconcerned about Jesus' fate (22:40-45).
      Moreover, in Luke's narrative the disciples never actually abandon Jesus
      upon his arrest, as they do in Mark and Matthew. Thus, in Luke's mind any
      unfavorable attitude or action by the disciples which occurs during the
      stress of the passion period cannot really be laid at their feet. Such
      out-of-character behavior is due to the work of Satan, whose seduction of
      them lies in the foreknowledge and plan of God. With the exception of
      Judas' and Peter's momentary lapse the Lukan disciples are models of true
      discipleship. In my view, then, Luke gives every appearance of trying to
      remove most of the apostate features which Mark has given to the disciples
      and seeks to put, in lieu of Mark's defaming of the disciples, the best
      possible face of apostolic fidelity on the disciples.

      IV. Portrayal of the Disciples Post-Resurrection

      The final curtain of the Markan drama falls with the disciples having left
      the stage as apostates, and without any suggestion that they will be
      rehabilitated and commissioned to be apostles. The women, who are
      instructed to deliver to the disciples the message of the young man in the
      tomb, run off in silence (16:8). The logic of the narrative conclusion is
      inescapable: the disciples never got the message. So ends the Gospel with
      the disciples cast as apostates who in the end have betrayed, denied and
      abandoned Jesus. But that is, of course, not the way Matthew and Luke
      conclude their Gospels.

      In both their Gospels, contrary to the Markan ending, the women rush from
      the empty tomb not with lips sealed in silence, but with the intent to
      deliver the message of the young man to the disciples as they have been
      mandated to do. Matthew creates a scene immediately following the women's
      departure from the tomb, the intent of which is to underscore the divine
      imperative given to the women and ensure that the women deliver the
      empty-tomb message to the disciples. In that scene the risen Jesus himself
      appears to them and repeats the charge to them to deliver the message to the
      disciples that they should to go to Galilee to see him (28:9-10). Then
      Matthew closes his Gospel with Jesus' appearance to the disciples on a
      mountain in Galilee, where Jesus specifically commissions the disciples as
      apostles. The fallen disciples in the Matthean post-resurrection drama,
      unlike the Markan narrative, are restored to their full status of
      apostleship (28:16-20).

      In Luke's case he also depicts the women, contrary to Mark, as faithfully
      carrying out their mandate to get the empty-tomb message to the disciples.
      And in fact, according to Luke, the women do deliver the message, but the
      disciples dismiss it as an idle tale (24:9-11). Then Luke restores the
      fallen disciples by (1) having it declared at the end of the Emmaus story
      that the risen Jesus did appear to Peter (24:34) and (2) following up that
      announcement with a story of the risen Jesus appearing to the disciples
      (24:36-51). There in that post-resurrection story, as in the case of
      Matthew, Luke has the risen Jesus bless the disciples (24:50), commissions
      them to be the witnesses for all that has transpired and bestows upon them
      the "promise of my Father" (24:48f.).

      In their respective conclusions, Matthew and Luke give the distinct
      impression that they each are rewriting the ending of the Markan story so
      that it ends on a triumphant rather than tragic note with respect to the
      image of the disciples. The fact that Matthew and Luke reverse the
      response of the women from fleeing the empty tomb in fear and in silence to
      departing quickly in joy to tell the disciples (Mt.28:8) or to returning to
      the telling the "eleven and the rest" Lk. 24:9) without any hint of being
      afraid, as Mark tells us, in my judgment is an intentional rewrite of the
      Markan ending by both Matthew and Luke. This rewriting of the Markan
      ending appears even more obvious by the fact that Matthew creates a story in
      which Jesus appears immediately to the women on their journey to the
      disciples and Matthew has Jesus in that incident repeat the empty-tomb
      message that he, Jesus, wants to meet the disciples in Galilee. And then
      both Matthew and Luke follow-up with the resurrection appearances in which
      the fallen disciples are clearly restored as apostles.

      For all of the above reasons, Matthew and Luke give every appearance of
      having appropriated the Markan story about the relationship between Jesus
      and his disciples, and in most cases have made significant positive
      improvements in the Markan negative cast upon the character of the
      disciples. I find the evidence leads to an incontrovertible conclusion:
      Matthew and Luke were directly dependent upon canonical Mark. Moreover,
      the "clincher" for this conclusion is the fact that Matthew and Luke narrate
      in concert with Mark the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter, both
      creations of Mark himself. Space here does not permit me to provide all
      the support for this statement. I have begun to make a case for this in
      several posts in the last year on the XTalk and in my recent essay on
      Synoptic_L and am continuing to pursue the development of that case.
      Suffice it to say that, aside from John, there is no other evidence, not
      even a hint of evidence, prior to Mark that Jesus was betrayed by an
      "insider" named "Judas" or that Peter ever betrayed him. John I am
      convinced was dependent upon Mark for the betrayal and denial, as well as
      much of the rest of John's passion narrative. Mark is responsible for
      creating de novo--- with the help of Old Testament allusions drawn from II
      Sam. 15-17, an assortment of Psalms and Zechariah's prophecy--- the entire
      Gethsemane scene of prayer, betrayal, arrest and abandonment, as well as the
      hearing before the Judean authorities and the denial of Peter.

      Ted Weeden


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    • Brian E. Wilson
      Ted Weeden wrote -- ... Ted, Such an analysis is equally possible on the assumption that all three synoptists used a common source, that Mark most faithfully
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 2 12:11 AM
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        Ted Weeden wrote --
        >
        >there is, in my judgment incontrovertible evidence of Matthean and
        >Lukan direct dependency on canonical Mark. I state this so
        >emphatically because of the analysis of the Markan portrayal of the
        >disciples vis-a-vis the Matthean and Lukan portrayal of the disciples,
        >an analysis which I published in my _Mark- Traditions in Conflict_
        >(1971/1979).
        >
        Ted,
        Such an analysis is equally possible on the assumption that all
        three synoptists used a common source, that Mark most faithfully
        reproduced the wording of the material he selected from this source, and
        that Matthew and Luke independently edited the wording of this material
        more heavily than Mark.

        I would suggest that all that you write is therefore fully consistent
        with Mark not being prior to Matthew and Luke.

        It would seem that you have not given us an argument against the non-
        priority of Mark.

        Best wishes,
        BRIAN WILSON

        E-mail; brian@... HOMEPAGE www.twonh.demon.co.uk

        Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
        > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
        > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
        _

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      • Brian E. Wilson
        Ted Weeden wrote -- ... Brian Wilson replied -- ... Ted Weedon responded -- ... Ted, I could do this, though I would not claim to have incontrovertible
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 2 3:58 PM
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          Ted Weeden wrote --
          >
          >there is, in my judgment incontrovertible evidence of Matthean and
          >Lukan direct dependency on canonical Mark. I state this so
          >emphatically because of the analysis of the Markan portrayal of the
          >disciples vis-a-vis the Matthean and Lukan portrayal of the disciples,
          >an analysis which I published in my _Mark- Traditions in Conflict_
          >(1971/1979).
          >
          Brian Wilson replied --
          >
          >Such an analysis is equally possible on the assumption that all three
          >synoptists used a common source, that Mark most faithfully reproduced
          >the wording of the material he selected from this source, and that
          >Matthew and Luke independently edited the wording of this material more
          >heavily than Mark. I would suggest that all that you write is therefore
          >fully consistent with Mark not being prior to Matthew and Luke. It
          >would seem that you have not given us an argument against the non-
          >priority of Mark.
          >
          Ted Weedon responded --
          >
          >You need to show me or reconstruct for me this "common source."
          >
          Ted,
          I could do this, though I would not claim to have incontrovertible
          evidence for such a source. However, there is no need for me to do as
          you ask. For if you really had "incontrovertible evidence of Matthean
          and Lukan direct dependency on canonical Mark", then you would
          necessarily have incontrovertible evidence ruling out the non-priority
          of Mark. Such incontrovertible evidence would rule out totally the
          Boismard hypotheses. It would be of ***sensational*** significance in
          the study of the synoptic gospels.

          Would you please tell us what is the incontrovertible evidence you have
          that rules out the non-priority of Mark?

          So far, the arguments you have given all seem to rule out only the non-
          priority of Matthew and the non-priority of Luke.

          Best wishes,
          BRIAN WILSON

          E-mail; brian@... HOMEPAGE www.twonh.demon.co.uk

          Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
          > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
          > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
          _

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        • Ted Weeden
          To Brian Wilson: Brian, I am trying to understand what you find is missing in my argument for the Matthean and Lukan dependence on canonical Mark, which
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 3 6:04 AM
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            To Brian Wilson:

            Brian,

            I am trying to understand what you find is missing in my argument for the
            Matthean and Lukan dependence on canonical Mark, which argument concludes
            that canonical Mark is chronologically prior to Matthew and Luke. In my
            post I provided evidence that I find makes the incontrovertible case for the
            Matthean and Lukan dependence on canonical Mark. On July 2 you wrote:

            [Brian]

            Such an analysis is equally possible on the assumption that all three
            synoptists used a common source, that Mark most faithfully reproduced
            the wording of the material he selected from this source, and that
            Matthew and Luke independently edited the wording of this material more
            heavily than Mark. I would suggest that all that you write is therefore
            fully consistent with Mark not being prior to Matthew and Luke. It
            would seem that you have not given us an argument against the non-
            priority of Mark.

            Then I wrote:

            [Ted]

            You need to show me or reconstruct for me this "common source."

            To which you responded

            [Brian]

            I could do this, though I would not claim to have incontrovertible
            evidence for such a source. However, there is no need for me to do as
            you ask. For if you really had "incontrovertible evidence of Matthean
            and Lukan direct dependency on canonical Mark", then you would
            necessarily have incontrovertible evidence ruling out the non-priority
            of Mark.

            My response:

            In a court of law, as well as in the court of scholarly judgment, decisions
            our made on the basis of evidence submitted. So far in the case of
            Matthean and Lukan dependency on canonical Mark, I have produced evidence
            in my post, "Matthean and Lukan Dependence on Mark," that I judge
            incontrovertibly establishes Markan literary priority and Matthean and Lukan
            dependence on canonical Mark. Unless evidence is introduced to the
            contrary which is substantial enough to challenge seriously the evidence I
            have submitted, then the case for Markan priority and Matthean and Lukan
            dependence on Mark remains incontrovertible. To my knowledge in our
            exchanges you have not presented any evidence that would countervail the
            evidence I have submitted. Have I missed something? If so, please point
            me to it.

            Yours,

            Ted






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          • Brian E. Wilson
            Ted Weeden wrote -- ... Ted, What you have missed is that although your arguments do indeed rule out the priority of Matthew and do indeed rule out the
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 3 11:35 AM
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              Ted Weeden wrote --
              >
              >In a court of law, as well as in the court of scholarly judgment,
              >decisions our made on the basis of evidence submitted. So far in the
              >case of Matthean and Lukan dependency on canonical Mark, I have
              >produced evidence in my post, "Matthean and Lukan Dependence on Mark,"
              >that I judge incontrovertibly establishes Markan literary priority and
              >Matthean and Lukan dependence on canonical Mark. Unless evidence is
              >introduced to the contrary which is substantial enough to challenge
              >seriously the evidence I have submitted, then the case for Markan
              >priority and Matthean and Lukan dependence on Mark remains
              >incontrovertible. To my knowledge in our exchanges you have not
              >presented any evidence that would countervail the evidence I have
              >submitted. Have I missed something? If so, please point me to it.
              >
              Ted,
              What you have missed is that although your arguments do indeed rule
              out the priority of Matthew and do indeed rule out the priority of Luke,
              they do not rule out the non-priority of Mark. They therefore do not
              establish Markan Priority incontrovertibly.

              To take one typical argument you use in your essay --
              >
              >In their respective conclusions, Matthew and Luke give the distinct
              >impression that they each are rewriting the ending of the Markan story
              >so that it ends on a triumphant rather than tragic note with respect to
              >the image of the disciples. The fact that Matthew and Luke reverse the
              >response of the women from fleeing the empty tomb in fear and in
              >silence to departing quickly in joy to tell the disciples (Mt.28:8) or
              >to returning to the telling the "eleven and the rest" Lk. 24:9) without
              >any hint of being afraid, as Mark tells us, in my judgment is an
              >intentional rewrite of the Markan ending by both Matthew and Luke.
              >
              In a nutshell, the argument is that since Mark has the more original
              version of the story, (Matthew and Luke each substituting a more
              triumphant note in place of the tragic tone of what is found in Mark),
              therefore Matthew and Luke had the text of Mark before them and
              intentionally altered this to produce their own versions of the story.

              Now if Mark has the more original version, then it is clear that Mark
              did not depend on either Matthew or Luke. For Mark could hardly have
              produced a more original version from less original ones. The priority
              of Matthew and the priority of Luke are therefore both ruled out. This
              part of your argument is flawless.

              But it simply does not follow that because Mark has the more original
              version therefore Matthew and Luke had a copy of Mark in front of them
              and altered what they found in Mark. If Matthew and Luke both used
              another source, then Mark could have done the same. To arrive at the
              conclusion that Matthew and Luke each used Mark, you must show that all
              three synoptic gospels are not independent documentary descendants of
              the same documentary source. In other words, you must rule out the
              possibility that no synoptic gospel is prior to the other two. This you
              have not done. This part of your argument is flawed logic.

              For the possibility remains that no synoptic gospel is the documentary
              descendant of any other synoptic gospel, as Boismard maintains, for
              instance.

              On the evidence you have presented, it is possible that neither Matthew
              nor Luke depended directly on Mark. The evidence you adduce is
              consistent with Mark having been written last.

              It is therefore untrue that you have presented "incontrovertible"
              evidence that Matthew and Luke depend on Mark. To show incontrovertibly
              that Matthew and Luke used Mark you would have to present evidence to
              rule out incontrovertibly the possibility that no synoptic gospel is the
              documentary descendant of any other. This you have not done. None of the
              arguments in your essay does this.

              If you have such evidence, then I would be very interested to know what
              it is.

              Incidentally, the court-room analogy (used above) fails because it
              assumes that an argument from the evidence produced can be knocked down
              only by adducing counter-evidence. This is not so. An argument from the
              evidence produced can also be knocked down by showing that the argument
              uses flawed logic, without any counter-evidence being put forward.

              Best wishes,
              BRIAN WILSON

              E-mail; brian@... HOMEPAGE www.twonh.demon.co.uk

              Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
              > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
              > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
              _

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            • Ted Weeden
              ... (Snipped text) ... My response: Brian, given all the extant sources that we have, I have presented empirical evidence that on its own merits
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 5 3:25 PM
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                Biran Wilson wrote Tuesday, July 03, 2001:

                > Ted,

                > What you have missed is that although your arguments do indeed rule
                > out the priority of Matthew and do indeed rule out the priority of Luke,
                > they do not rule out the non-priority of Mark. They therefore do not
                > establish Markan Priority incontrovertibly.

                (Snipped text)

                > Now if Mark has the more original version, then it is clear that Mark
                > did not depend on either Matthew or Luke. For Mark could hardly have
                > produced a more original version from less original ones. The priority
                > of Matthew and the priority of Luke are therefore both ruled out. This
                > part of your argument is flawless.
                >
                > But it simply does not follow that because Mark has the more original
                > version therefore Matthew and Luke had a copy of Mark in front of them
                > and altered what they found in Mark. If Matthew and Luke both used
                > another source, then Mark could have done the same. To arrive at the
                > conclusion that Matthew and Luke each used Mark, you must show that all
                > three synoptic gospels are not independent documentary descendants of
                > the same documentary source. In other words, you must rule out the
                > possibility that no synoptic gospel is prior to the other two. This you
                > have not done. This part of your argument is flawed logic.
                >
                > For the possibility remains that no synoptic gospel is the documentary
                > descendant of any other synoptic gospel, as Boismard maintains, for
                > instance.
                >
                > On the evidence you have presented, it is possible that neither Matthew
                > nor Luke depended directly on Mark. The evidence you adduce is
                > consistent with Mark having been written last.
                >
                > It is therefore untrue that you have presented "incontrovertible"
                > evidence that Matthew and Luke depend on Mark. To show incontrovertibly
                > that Matthew and Luke used Mark you would have to present evidence to
                > rule out incontrovertibly the possibility that no synoptic gospel is the
                > documentary descendant of any other. This you have not done. None of the
                > arguments in your essay does this.
                >
                > If you have such evidence, then I would be very interested to know what
                > it is.

                My response:

                Brian, given all the extant sources that we have, I have presented
                empirical evidence that on its own merits incontrovertibly points to the
                conclusion that Matthew and Luke were directly dependent upon Mark. You
                argue for the non-priority of Mark based so far in our exchanges, upon an
                unsupported hypothesis that there was a source prior to Mark which Mark,
                Matthew and Luke used in composing their Gospels. I cannot be persuaded
                that such a source ever existed, unless you can produce it, and using
                recognized tests for empirical verification, show me incontrovertibly that
                Mark was dependent upon it. All you have indicated is that there is a
                possibility that such a source existed. All kinds of possibilities can be
                imagined. Because they are "real" in our imagination does not make them
                real in the empirical world of recognized rules or principles for
                verification. From my vantage point the ball is in your court to produce
                such a hypothetical source to support your claim for the non-priority of
                Mark. Until you do so, all the empirical evidence that we have which can
                be tested according to verifiable means, in my view, argues, again based
                upon the evidence I have offered in my essay, for the priority of Mark and
                the dependence of Matthew and Luke upon Mark.

                Yours,

                Ted



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              • Ted Weeden
                ... John, It does not help to advance scholarly dialogue or contribute to the spirit of colleagiality among scholars to dismiss summarily and curtly a
                Message 7 of 17 , Jul 5 3:27 PM
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                  John Lupia wrote Tuesday, July 03, 2001:

                  > Ted,

                  > Rev. Brian Wilson is far from being alone about your lack of evidence.
                  >You have none.

                  John,

                  It does not help to advance scholarly dialogue or contribute to the spirit
                  of colleagiality among scholars to dismiss summarily and curtly a scholar's
                  presentation of evidence for a thesis without even engaging the scholar
                  sufficiently to indicate why the evidence provided should be dismissed out
                  of hand. In doing so, you close the door on dialogue.

                  Yours,

                  Ted



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                • Brian E. Wilson
                  Ted Weeden wrote -- ... Ted, I am not sure that we have any extant sources. For how do we know which document is a source for any other? On the Griesbach
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jul 6 4:46 AM
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                    Ted Weeden wrote --
                    >
                    >given all the extant sources that we have, I have presented empirical
                    >evidence that on its own merits incontrovertibly points to the
                    >conclusion that Matthew and Luke were directly dependent upon Mark.
                    >
                    Ted,
                    I am not sure that we have any extant sources. For how do we know
                    which document is a source for any other?

                    On the Griesbach Hypothesis, for instance, Matthew and Luke are sources,
                    but Mark is not a source. On the Two Document Hypothesis, Mark and Q
                    are sources whereas Matthew and Luke are not. I would suggest that the
                    assumption that we have extant sources is confused and confusing. It may
                    be that none of the documents we have are sources. Why should they be?
                    According to Boismard, no synoptic gospel is a source of the others.
                    >
                    >You argue for the non-priority of Mark based so far in our exchanges,
                    >upon an unsupported hypothesis that there was a source prior to Mark
                    >which Mark, Matthew and Luke used in composing their Gospels.
                    >
                    I am not arguing for the non-priority of Mark. I am arguing that you are
                    assuming that the non-priority of Mark is ruled out by your
                    "incontrovertible evidence", and that this assumption has not been
                    justified. I think we should consider one documentary hypothesis at a
                    time. Otherwise confusion reigns. Throughout this thread I have been
                    considering your arguments for your hypothesis.
                    >
                    >I cannot be persuaded that such a source ever existed, unless you can
                    >produce it, and using recognized tests for empirical verification, show
                    >me incontrovertibly that Mark was dependent upon it.
                    >
                    If you are arguing that no such source ever existed, then please let us
                    know what the argument is. What evidence do you have to support the idea
                    that there was no hypothetical documentary source prior to all three
                    synoptic gospels? If you are not arguing that such a source ever
                    existed, then I am not sure what you saying here. Surely you are not
                    saying that your mind is simply closed on the issue?
                    >
                    >All you have indicated is that there is a possibility that such a
                    >source existed.
                    >
                    What I have indicated is that if your argument is to be shown to be
                    valid you need to rule out the possibility that such a source existed.
                    We are considering your hypothesis and your arguments.
                    >
                    >All kinds of possibilities can be imagined. Because they are "real"
                    >in our imagination does not make them real in the empirical world of
                    >recognized rules or principles for verification.
                    >
                    Agreed. As with the possibility that one synoptic gospel was prior to
                    the others, or the possibility that a hypothetical Q was used by Matthew
                    and Luke.
                    >
                    >From my vantage point the ball is in your court to produce such a
                    >hypothetical source to support your claim for the non-priority of
                    >Mark.
                    >
                    In this thread I have not been advocating the non-priority of Mark. I
                    have been considering the assumption you have made concerning the non-
                    priority of Mark. I have been trying hard to understand what your
                    vantage point is. It seems that you assume, without any attempt to
                    justify, that one synoptic gospel must be prior to the others, and that
                    you then claim that the observed data is "incontrovertible evidence" for
                    this assumption, when it is fully consistent with no synoptic gospel
                    being prior to any other. Surely your argument hinges on whether you can
                    indeed show that one synoptic gospel must be prior to the others. What
                    basis do you have for this assumption? I think that unless you can come
                    up with an answer to this question, not only is the ball still in your
                    court, but it has not even once crossed the net.

                    Best wishes,
                    BRIAN WILSON

                    >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/

                    Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
                    > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
                    > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
                    _

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                  • Ted Weeden
                    ... Brian, my use of the term source was probably injudicious. I should have used the term texts. Thus, my argument is based upon the fact that we have
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jul 7 8:05 AM
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                      Brian E. Wilson wrote July 06, 2001:

                      > I am not sure that we have any extant sources. For how do we know
                      > which document is a source for any other?
                      >
                      > On the Griesbach Hypothesis, for instance, Matthew and Luke are sources,
                      > but Mark is not a source. On the Two Document Hypothesis, Mark and Q
                      > are sources whereas Matthew and Luke are not. I would suggest that the
                      > assumption that we have extant sources is confused and confusing. It may
                      > be that none of the documents we have are sources. Why should they be?
                      > According to Boismard, no synoptic gospel is a source of the others.

                      Brian, my use of the term "source" was probably injudicious. I should have
                      used the term "texts." Thus, my argument is based upon the fact that we
                      have only three extant texts, Matthew, Mark and Luke, that show remarkable
                      similarity in structure, content, even verbatim, at times, etc. Thus there
                      is good reason to consider that there is a direct literary relationship
                      amongst them that is not accidental. My essay was intended to argue that
                      there is very strong evidence that two texts, Matthew and Luke, used Mark as
                      a source. Perhaps my use of the term "incontrovertible evidence" was a bit
                      over zealous on my part. There are probably only two incontrovertible
                      things in life, as they say, death and taxes. My attempt was to suggest
                      that the evidence I offered provides compelling reason, absent any other
                      extant evidence to the contrary with reference to the specific patterning of
                      the portrayal of the disciples in the three, that Mark was prior to Matthew
                      and Luke and that the latter two used Mark as a source. I am not arguing
                      from the perspective of any other linquistic or rhetorical
                      perspective---only the issue of characterization as it pertains to the
                      disciples in the three Gospels.
                      .
                      (Snipped text)

                      You go on to state:

                      > In this thread I have not been advocating the non-priority of Mark. I
                      > have been considering the assumption you have made concerning the non-
                      > priority of Mark. I have been trying hard to understand what your
                      > vantage point is. It seems that you assume, without any attempt to
                      > justify, that one synoptic gospel must be prior to the others, and that
                      > you then claim that the observed data is "incontrovertible evidence" for
                      > this assumption, when it is fully consistent with no synoptic gospel
                      > being prior to any other. Surely your argument hinges on whether you can
                      > indeed show that one synoptic gospel must be prior to the others. What
                      > basis do you have for this assumption?

                      Brian, my mind is not closed to any possibilities. Among the wildest of
                      all, if I may submit, would be that the centurion at the cross wrote the
                      Gospel of Mark. He is the only human in the drama who confesses that Jesus
                      is the Son of God, the title given to Jesus in 1:1. Since the author does
                      not identify himself, any one remotely associated or acquainted with the
                      events of Jesus' public ministry could be the author. One, in one's
                      wildest imagination could argue that the centurion who wrote the Gospel, we
                      call the Gospel of Mark, was, in fact, the same centurion whose slave was
                      healed by Jesus in Mt.8:5-13/Lk. 7:1-10, and, as a result of that healing,
                      he became a "closet disciple" following Jesus from the distance when he
                      could. That centurion was well-versed in Judaism of the day, for the
                      "elders of the Jews ... came to Jesus...saying, "...he loves our nation, and
                      he built us our synagogue" (Lk. 7:4f.). And Jesus said of him, "Truly, I
                      say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith" (Lk.7:10). He
                      showed the faith of a true disciple.

                      Thus, the hypothesis would proceed, the centurion was so moved by Jesus'
                      suffering-servant death, that he later decided to write his Gospel about
                      Jesus to expose how the other disciples where "turn-coats," all of them
                      having turned against Jesus and abandoned him. Moreover, unlike any one
                      else who was a follower of Jesus, he, alone, was at the cross with Jesus
                      when he died. Knowing that Jesus' death was inevitable, in fact ordained
                      by God (DEI: 8:31), this centurion wanted to be there at the cross when
                      Jesus died to give whatever support he could to Jesus in his suffering. He
                      asked Pilate for the assignment to oversee the crucifixion. Unable to save
                      Jesus from his death, the centurion, nevertheless, ordered his soldiers to
                      relieve Jesus' pain by giving Jesus "wine mingled with myrrh (Mk. 15:23).
                      And at Jesus' death, it was he who made the first public confession to Jesus
                      as the Son of God in the hearing of all (15:39).

                      It was this centurion, the author of Mark, in this wild imagination, who was
                      at the tomb on Easter morning and observed (a la Crossan's Cross Gospel/
                      Gospel of Peter) the stone rolled away, the heavenly young man entering the
                      tomb, to usher the risen Jesus out, and then returning to await the visit of
                      the women, etc., etc., etc. All that is within the range of possibility.
                      But how would such a hypothesis ever be tested? Without some verifiable
                      evidence, some extant document, it only remains a wild theory that the
                      centurion at the cross was a secret disciple who wrote the Gospel of Mark.
                      As wild as the theory is, it is in the widest ranges of possibilities of
                      being true.

                      Your theory, that the Synoptic Gospel writers had a pre-Synoptic source upon
                      which they were dependent, is far from being a wild possibility, as I have
                      imagined in the above scenario. But it still remains only a possibility
                      until some tangible evidence can be offered to move the theory from the
                      realm of the possible to the realm of the probable, a realm where accepted
                      empirical tests can be used to verify its reality. Thus, I would argue,
                      while I concede the *possibility* of such a source, I rule out its
                      probability until I can be presented convincing, verifiable evidence of its
                      reality. I am open to being presented such evidence and ready to be
                      convinced against what I now find compelling evidence to the contrary.

                      You conclude with this:

                      > I think that unless you can come
                      > up with an answer to this question, not only is the ball still in your
                      > court, but it has not even once crossed the net.

                      I want to apologize to you, if you experienced my comment, "the ball is your
                      court," in my reply as being disrespectful of you. It is not what I
                      intended.

                      Yours,

                      Ted



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                    • Maluflen@aol.com
                      In a message dated 7/7/2001 11:48:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time, weedent@atw.earthreach.com writes:
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jul 8 3:48 AM
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                        In a message dated 7/7/2001 11:48:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                        weedent@... writes:

                        << My attempt was to suggest that the evidence I offered provides
                        compelling reason, absent any other extant evidence to the contrary with
                        reference to the specific patterning of the portrayal of the disciples in the
                        three, that Mark was prior to Matthew and Luke and that the latter two used
                        Mark as a source. I am not arguing from the perspective of any other
                        linguistic or rhetorical perspective---only the issue of characterization as
                        it pertains to the disciples in the three Gospels. >>


                        At the risk of repeating argumentation that has taken place several times on
                        this list in the past, I would like to react to this argument that has been
                        allowed to pass relatively unchallenged here in the last few weeks of
                        discussion. I should preface my comments by saying that I was away for three
                        weeks, without good access to Internet, in the latter part of June and early
                        July, and I have not yet gone back to read especially Weeden's lengthy
                        interventions (attached files, etc.) on this topic, which I still hope to do
                        when I have time.

                        On the basis of several of Ted's recent posts that I have read, I would say
                        that this particular argument in favor of Markan priority is one that I am
                        delighted to see given such prominence by Ted, because I think it is
                        especially weak. I would make two points: 1. I think Ted exaggerates the
                        difference between the portrayal of the Twelve in Mark and in the other
                        Synoptics, especially Matthew; and 2. Even allowing that the difference is as
                        great as Ted says it is, as an argument in favor of Markan priority it is
                        still scarcely incontrovertible or strong. I would concede, still allowing
                        for the moment that Ted's subjective evaluation of the difference in
                        presentation between Mark and the other Synoptics regarding the disciples is
                        accurate, that one could make something of an argument for Markan priority
                        here, based on the overall tendency of historical development, which was in
                        the direction of greater veneration and honor given to the Twelve Apostles in
                        the great church. However, it should be remembered that the Gospels are
                        roughly contemporary documents, and so an argument based on this tendency of
                        a temporally evolving church history is weak to the extent that other factors
                        could well have motivated a relatively "late" Mark to highlight the negative
                        aspect of the portrayal of the disciples found in his sources. It is usually
                        the "understanding" of the disciples that is criticized by Jesus in Mk, and
                        some modern scholars have rightly pointed out that this emphasis has the
                        effect of highlighting the divinity (mysterious, incomprehensible) of Jesus:
                        so this motif would be at the service of a high Christology in Mark. I have
                        also argued that Mark is a moralistic Gospel in the sense that the author
                        uses older material, originally written as legitimation of Jesus as Israel's
                        Messiah, for more parochial, pastoral, moral purposes. The disciples become
                        representatives of contemporary disciples of Jesus and their failures become
                        transparent of weaknesses in discipleship that Mark perceives in the Roman
                        Christians he is writing to, who are weak in the face of growing persecution
                        from the side of the State. As for my first point, the extent to which the
                        difference between Mark and the other Synoptics is exaggerated, I would refer
                        to a number of interventions I made on this list two or three years ago in
                        dialogue with Yuri Kuchinsky (perhaps someone who knows his/her way around
                        the archives of Synoptic-L could help me here).

                        Leonard Maluf

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                      • Michael Grondin
                        ... Is it your position, then, that the Christology of Mark is higher than that of Matt and/or Luke? If not, then of what import is this observation? But if
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jul 8 6:03 AM
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                          Leonard Maluf wrote:
                          >It is usually
                          >the "understanding" of the disciples that is criticized by Jesus in Mk, and
                          >some modern scholars have rightly pointed out that this emphasis has the
                          >effect of highlighting the divinity (mysterious, incomprehensible) of Jesus:
                          >so this motif would be at the service of a high Christology in Mark.

                          Is it your position, then, that the Christology of Mark is higher than that
                          of Matt and/or Luke? If not, then of what import is this observation? But
                          if so, do you have some supporting arguments for that position?

                          Mike

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                        • Steve Black
                          ... I think it may be at this very point where Markan priority commends itself the loudest. If Mark s work were taken in isolation from Mt & Lk, it becomes
                          Message 12 of 17 , Jul 8 7:53 AM
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                            >Leonard Maluf wrote:
                            >>It is usually
                            >>the "understanding" of the disciples that is criticized by Jesus in Mk, and
                            >>some modern scholars have rightly pointed out that this emphasis has the
                            >>effect of highlighting the divinity (mysterious, incomprehensible) of Jesus:
                            > >so this motif would be at the service of a high Christology in Mark.

                            I think it may be at this very point where Markan priority commends
                            itself the loudest. If Mark's work were taken in isolation from Mt &
                            Lk, it becomes more apparent just how different his Christology is.

                            The *least* consequential detail would be a Jesus *not* born of a
                            virgin. From there we enter the abrupt (as abrupt as Mk's ending!)
                            beginning of his story.

                            I believe it would be easier to argue for an adoptionist Christology
                            from Mk 1:1-9 than any other. We need go no farther than this same
                            three verses to also suggest that Mk did not see "sinlessness" as an
                            attribute necessary for the Christ. John's baptism is statement for
                            repentance for sin - which Mk has Jesus participate in without ado.
                            Matt's (3:13-17) changes "tidy this up" by turning it into a (one
                            interpretation) statement of Consolidation of the Christ with the
                            sinful human race.

                            Given Markan priority, we have a situation where Mark does not
                            emphasis or consider Christ's sinlessness. Without Markan priority,
                            we have an even more strange situation of Mark knowing about it
                            (through Matt, etc) and intentionally calling it into question. We
                            would have a Mk who knew of the Virgin birth, and now intentionally
                            suppresses it.

                            I could go on, but I need go no farther than nine verses into Mark to
                            illustrate how strange his book becomes if it is dependant upon Mt!
                            --
                            Peace

                            Steve Black
                            Vancouver, BC


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                          • Steve Black
                            ... I just wanted to write that I found your wildest imagination post rather fun. -- Peace Steve Black Vancouver, BC Synoptic-L Homepage:
                            Message 13 of 17 , Jul 8 9:20 AM
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                              >Ted wrote
                              >
                              >Brian, my mind is not closed to any possibilities. Among the wildest of
                              >all, if I may submit, would be that the centurion at the cross wrote the
                              >Gospel of Mark. He is the only human in the drama who confesses that Jesus
                              >is the Son of God, the title given to Jesus in 1:1. Since the author does
                              >not identify himself, any one remotely associated or acquainted with the
                              >events of Jesus' public ministry could be the author. One, in one's
                              >wildest imagination could argue that the centurion who wrote the Gospel...
                              >
                              >

                              I just wanted to write that I found your "wildest imagination" post rather fun.
                              --
                              Peace

                              Steve Black
                              Vancouver, BC


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                            • Emmanuel Fritsch
                              Leonard argues : # 2. Even allowing that the difference is as great as Ted says it is, # as an argument in favor of Markan priority it is still scarcely #
                              Message 14 of 17 , Jul 9 5:31 AM
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                                Leonard argues :

                                # 2. Even allowing that the difference is as great as Ted says it is,
                                # as an argument in favor of Markan priority it is still scarcely
                                # incontrovertible or strong.

                                Ted has recently aknowledged it, when writing (Sat, 7 Jul 2001 10:45) :

                                # However, with respect to the various portrayals of the disciples, if
                                # either Matthew or Luke (as you contend) were shown to be prior to
                                Mark
                                # and that Mark was dependent upon both or either one of them, then my
                                # case for Mark's systematic vendetta against the disciples would have
                                # a compelling boost. If such were the case, then the fact that, for
                                # example, Mark fails to provide the disciples a resurrection
                                appearance,
                                # as do Matthew and Luke, as well as ends his Gospel with sealed lips
                                of
                                # silence (as I have just noted) rather than evangelistic proclamation
                                # and missional mandate, would leave the inescapable conclusion, in my
                                # judgment, that Mark" purpose in his profiling of the disciples was to
                                # intentionally "defrock" the "Twelve."

                                So, if I well understood, the phenomenon pointed out by
                                Ted would better fit with Markan posteriority than priority.

                                a+
                                manu

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                              • Maluflen@aol.com
                                In a message dated 7/9/2001 8:25:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time, emmanuel.fritsch@ign.fr writes:
                                Message 15 of 17 , Jul 9 12:20 PM
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                                  In a message dated 7/9/2001 8:25:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                                  emmanuel.fritsch@... writes:

                                  << Leonard argues :

                                  # 2. Even allowing that the difference is as great as Ted says it is,
                                  # as an argument in favor of Markan priority it is still scarcely
                                  # incontrovertible or strong.

                                  Ted has recently acknowledged it, when writing (Sat, 7 Jul 2001 10:45) :

                                  # However, with respect to the various portrayals of the disciples, if
                                  # either Matthew or Luke (as you contend) were shown to be prior to Mark
                                  # and that Mark was dependent upon both or either one of them, then my
                                  # case for Mark's systematic vendetta against the disciples would have
                                  # a compelling boost. If such were the case, then the fact that, for
                                  # example, Mark fails to provide the disciples a resurrection appearance,
                                  # as do Matthew and Luke, as well as ends his Gospel with sealed lips of
                                  # silence (as I have just noted) rather than evangelistic proclamation
                                  # and missional mandate, would leave the inescapable conclusion, in my
                                  # judgment, that Mark" purpose in his profiling of the disciples was to
                                  # intentionally "defrock" the "Twelve."

                                  So, if I well understood, the phenomenon pointed out by
                                  Ted would better fit with Markan posteriority than priority. >>


                                  Perhaps so, but I still don't think Ted's conclusions are validly drawn
                                  (i.e., even from the supposition of a late Mark). Ted fails to raise the
                                  question of whether the portrayal of the historical disciples is in any sense
                                  a primary objective of Mark at all, whether positive or negative. Though I
                                  hold myself that Mark was the third Synoptic Gospel written, I still do not
                                  read the evidence the way Ted does. I think the portrayal of the disciples in
                                  Mark is completely subordinate to a message about Jesus, or at the most, the
                                  disciples in Mk serve to represent weaknesses and foibles in the Christians
                                  Mark is addressing. Mark need not be making any statement at all about the
                                  Twelve apostles as such. They may simply have a representative function in
                                  the story -- either representing Jewish Christianity generally, or, more
                                  probably, the "disciples" of Jesus to whom Mark is addressing this Gospel as
                                  a logos parakleseos. I also see a perfectly possible allusion, in the final
                                  verses of Mark, to the by then well-known story of the rehabilitation of the
                                  disciples, and in particular of Peter, after a period of weakness and denial
                                  (16:7). One is not, I think, supposed to treat the highly stylized and
                                  functional ending (16:8) with full logical seriousness, as though the reader
                                  were expected to believe in the end that the disciples of Jesus never heard
                                  the message of the Resurrection, because the women were too afraid to speak.
                                  Conventions of dramatic composition are at work in this abrupt ending; they
                                  follow their own laws and elicit their own proper emotions.

                                  Leonard Maluf

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                                • Maluflen@aol.com
                                  In a message dated 7/8/2001 9:05:09 AM Eastern Daylight Time, mgrondin@tir.com writes: ... Is it your position, then, that the Christology of Mark is higher
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Jul 9 12:30 PM
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                                    In a message dated 7/8/2001 9:05:09 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                                    mgrondin@... writes:

                                    << Leonard Maluf wrote:
                                    >It is usually
                                    >the "understanding" of the disciples that is criticized by Jesus in Mk, and
                                    >some modern scholars have rightly pointed out that this emphasis has the
                                    >effect of highlighting the divinity (mysterious, incomprehensible) of
                                    Jesus:
                                    >so this motif would be at the service of a high Christology in Mark.

                                    Is it your position, then, that the Christology of Mark is higher than that
                                    of Matt and/or Luke? If not, then of what import is this observation? But
                                    if so, do you have some supporting arguments for that position?>>

                                    I don't think that it can be said generally that Mark has a higher
                                    Christology than Matthew or Luke, but in a limited sense, yes, and in
                                    particular with reference to the issue being here discussed. Let me put it
                                    this way: in Matthew, at least some of the references to Jesus as God's son
                                    do not present Jesus directly as a divine figure at all: e.g., in Matt 2:15,
                                    the allusion to Jesus as God's son identifies him directly with Israel (not
                                    with God) in the Exodus. On the other hand, I don't know of any references to
                                    Jesus as God's son in Mark which do not intend to present Jesus as belonging
                                    strictly to the divine world. In this limited sense Mark could be said to
                                    have a higher Christology than Matthew. In other respects, of course,
                                    Matthew's Christology is also extremely high, and Mark's is sometimes
                                    interpreted (perhaps incorrectly) as being "low".

                                    Leonard Maluf

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                                  • Brian E. Wilson
                                    Ted Weeden wrote (in reply to Brian Wilson) -- ... Ted, You could try looking at my home-page (recently updated). Best wishes, BRIAN WILSON ... Rev
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Jul 13 1:56 PM
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                                      Ted Weeden wrote (in reply to Brian Wilson) --
                                      >
                                      >Your theory, that the Synoptic Gospel writers had a pre-Synoptic
                                      >source upon which they were dependent, is far from being a wild
                                      >possibility, as I have imagined in the above scenario. But it still
                                      >remains only a possibility until some tangible evidence can be offered
                                      >to move the theory from the realm of the possible to the realm of the
                                      >probable, a realm where accepted empirical tests can be used to verify
                                      >its reality. Thus, I would argue, while I concede the *possibility* of
                                      >such a source, I rule out its probability until I can be presented
                                      >convincing, verifiable evidence of its reality. I am open to being
                                      >presented such evidence and ready to be convinced against what I now
                                      >find compelling evidence to the contrary.
                                      >
                                      Ted,
                                      You could try looking at my home-page (recently updated).

                                      Best wishes,
                                      BRIAN WILSON

                                      >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/

                                      Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
                                      > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
                                      > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
                                      _

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