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[Synoptic-L] Matthean and Lukan Dependence on Mark

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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 1 of 17 , Jul 6, 2001
      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 2 of 17 , Jul 7, 2001
        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 3 of 17 , Jul 8, 2001
          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

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • 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 4 of 17 , Jul 8, 2001
            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

            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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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 5 of 17 , Jul 8, 2001
              >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 6 of 17 , Jul 8, 2001
                >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 7 of 17 , Jul 9, 2001
                  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 8 of 17 , Jul 9, 2001
                    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 9 of 17 , Jul 9, 2001
                      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

                      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                    • 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 10 of 17 , Jul 13, 2001
                        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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