Ted Weeden wrote:
> Dear Listers,
> Last week, as I was working on my next post on the topic,"The Galilean-NK
> Connection: Alive and Well," I received a post from Karel Hanhart, via
> Synoptic-L, reminding me that I still owed him a reply to his post of May 26,
> 2000, which I promised to respond to as soon as I could find some time.
I promised in return to critique your position. But let me first, briefly, answer
> My response:
> That Mark may have had in mind Gen. 29: 2, 3; Isaiah 22:16; 33:16, is a
> suggestion worthy of consideration. You are correct that there are some
> terminological parallels between the LXX passages you cite and Mk. 15:46. But
> I am not persuaded that Mark scoured the LXX to find terms to piece together, in
> such patch-like fashion, to shape his own narrative of the burial and empty-tomb
> stories, and in the course of doing so, alighted on Gen. 28:2-3; Isa. 22:16;
a) I object to the term "empty tomb story". Taken literally, a youth in a white
[baptismal] robe is in the grave. According to my interpretation, Mark is depicting
here the Pauline metaphor of "being buried with Christ" in baptism in order to rise
b) It probably is a typing error. But Montefiore did not suggest Gen. 28:2-3. He
referred to Gn 29,2.3. So besides the verbal agreement with Isa 22,16 which you
ELATOMHSAS. . . MNHNEION . . . MNHMEION . . . EN PETRA (Isa. 22:16) vis-a-vis
MNHMEIWi . . . LELATOMHMENON EK PETRAS (Mk. 15:46). "
Mark also took over terms from the Jacob story near the well in Gn 29. The shepherds
of Haran conspired against Rachel, sothat she could not draw water for the sheep.
Jacob, however, moved the stone, that covered the well, singlehandedly. The verbal
agreement is in the verb APOKULIO, to roll away, and the words LITHOS [ stone] and
EN MEGAS, the stone "was very large". This ombination is, like the cited text in
Isa 22,16 a hapax. Nowhere else in Tenach do we find this combination of three
Would you maintain that Mark in the final and all important ending of the
crucifixion narrative, used this combination of terms by accident? Is it not the
better policy to start off by asking why he cited these passages ? A midrash is not
a random 'patchwork'. It is a carefully planned system of referring the reader to
passages in scripture, - much like a code -, in order that the reader, struck by the
strangeness of the story - remembers that a situation similar tp the one they find
themslves in, was already encountered in the Torah and the prophets. We should read
Mark on his own terms. Scriptures were holy writ. Jesus and his disciples lived by
them and so did the authors of the gospel.
Exegesis of LXX Isa 22,16 and Hb Isa 22,16 results in the conclusion that the
prophet uses the term mnemeion - monument / sepulcher in a metaphorical sense
meaning the temple. The conclusion finds confirmation by the great Jewish scholar
The women in 16,4 receive a vision near the 'tomb', as in Isa 32,9, of the future
destruction of the temple (anablepsasai). The angel/youth in the tomb dressed in a
white stola (= 'buried with Christ")
is not pointing to a slab of stone in the tomb, where the dead body of jesus was
laid. In that case the angel would have said "idete ton topon". Instead, he says
with a Hebraism "behold, the Place" -Gr. "ide, ho topos" [Hb. lo, ha-maqom]. Now
ha-Maqom is in Hebrew Scriptures and in Jewish lore the Holy Place, JHWH has chosen
to dwell. The women in this vision of the future see to their horror the
destruction of the Holy Place. Hence, their fear and their flight and their absolute
What evidence is there that Mark searches the LXX and pieces terms found in
> various passages together in patchwork fashion?
One piece of evidence is the midrash at the opening of the Gospel. Mark writes "as
it is written by the prophet Isaiah". However, continues by not citing Isaiah, but
Ex 23,20; Mal 3,1. As I see it, Mark in revising a pre-70 passover story beginning
with the joyous; a voice crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way of JHWH, make
his paths straight.." (citing LXX Isa 40,3). The voice is joyous, for it introduces
the 'euaggelion' of Isa 40,9. In the pre-70 version of the story this passages
marked the beginning of Second Isaiah dealing with Israel's weal and woe after the
Babylonian exile. In the original pre-70 version the verb 'euaggelizo' was typical
of the proclamation of salvation through faith in Jesus Messiah in the diaspora, as
But after 70 Jerusalem no longer could be pictured as a messenger of good
tiding. So Mark prefaced the phrases in proto-Mark re. the 'good tidings' from
Jerusalem by deliberate referring to Malachi 3 and the function of the baptism by
> But I do not find the occurrence of such similar terminology in these two
> passages points to a
> dependence of Mark upon Isa. 22:16 for descriptive material of how a tomb is
> fashioned. For archaeological evidence indicates that creating tombs by
> hewing out rock was common in the Palestinian area of Jesus' time (see Jonathan
> Reed, _Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus_, 47, 59f., 134, and John Dominic
> Crossan and Jonathan Reed, _Excavating Jesus_, 237f., 241, 245).
You are quite right. In the haggadah itself (the open-tomb-story} we are dealing
with the burial of Jesus and the discovery of the removal of the very large stone.
The question is; what does this story mean? The metaphor of the opened grave has
been used by Ezekiel, of course. In the vision of the.
"valley of the dry bones" the voice of JHWH is heard, " I am going to open your
graves, o Israel".
The metaphor express the idea of returning to the motherland after the exile. In
the case of Mark the metaphor isn't taken directly from Ezekiel. For in Mark's
situation the context is the very opposite. A new exile has just begun. The author
challenges the readers to search for the right application of the passages cited
to their own situation.
> So Mark,
> whom I place in the village region of Caesarea Philippi (see my essay,
> "Guidelines for Locating the Markan Community," Kata Markon [2/29/00]; XTalk
> [2/29/00; Archives #3913], would have been well aware of this Palestinian
> practice for creating tombs. And, thus, he would not have had to scour the LXX
> to find terminology to fit his compositional needs. He had his own personal
> experience to draw upon.
> I find it a logical stretch to suggest that Mark had to turn to Gen. 29:2-3--- a
> passage that has nothing to do with burial--- to find a a reference to a large
> stone which he needed in his burial narrative to describe how Jesus' tomb was
> sealed. Similarly, to argue that there is an intentional, allusive link in Mk.
> 15:46 to Isa. 33:16 is an even greater logical challenge. Thus, I am not
> persuaded by your argument that Mk. 15:46 is a part of a Markan midrash on the
> unrelated LXX passages of Gen. 29:2-3; Isa. 22:16 and Isa. 33:16.
How the story of Jacob making water available to the herd of sheep of Rachel (Gn
29,2.3) makes perfect sense in the midrash, I will explain in a later post.
regards, your Karel
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