[Synoptic-L] Thesis: Mark Used Cross Gospel in 15:42 - 16:8
I just read your last note to Layola Gerard, in which you announcied the
final part of your thesis. So I will wait engaging you on it further.
Would you please repeat your last post to me on the subject mentioned
above. I was in the process of annotating it in the "reply" mode, when
it dropped from my screen. My knowledge of computers is rudimentary. I
would like to formulate my exegetical objections further to some of your
Let me say (now that your post is still fresh in my mind) that I
respect the work you did on Mark a good deal. But I wasn't able to read
in Mark an opposition - as you suppose - to Jesus' immediate family and
to the disciples/apostles. It is an important building block in the
structure of your thesis, as I recall. Many will agree with me that Mark
draws a sympathetic picture of Peter, not a hostile one. It is true, the
apostles flee from Gethsemane and Peter, who followed Jesus to the high
priest's court, denied his master. But, when he was reminded through the
cockcrow of his master's prediction, he wept bitterly. Mark, it seems to
me, is telling the story the way he does, because his fellow Christians
suffered persecution first in Jerusalem and later in Rome. John Zebedee
was decapitated, Peter was imprisoned in Jerusalem with the possibility
of meeting with the same fate. I Clement offers early external evidence
that Peter was martyred inn Rome because of his faith. The times under
Nero were dire times.
In persecution and living under a dictatorial regime, the temptation
to deny one is a follower of Jesus, is great and alluring. Belonging to
the Jesus' movement was not devoid of danger, particularly because the
Judean nation, where the rebellion would soon break out, was located on
the Eastern end of the empire and Jesus was executed under the title
"king of the Judeans". So an open display of affiliation with the Jesus'
movement and then - in Mark's language - "denying him" when accused of
it by someone, occurred regularly. Chrisrian Judeans were accused of
having lighted the fire that burned down a section of Rome. The
admonition "let him deny [Gr aparnesastho] himself and take up his
cross" (8,34) reflects a context of at least some degree of danger and
persecution. So also in 10,39 and certainly in 13,9. The master's words
"one of you will deliver me up" is met with a cry of everyone present
"surely not I"; it highlights the possibility of disloyalty. But in
this last case the key verb is 'to deliver up' . The treacherous act of
Iscariot is set off against the minor evil of denial, that can be
forgiven. Hence Peter's tears and the angel's message "tell it to the
eleven and to Peter" (16,7) support the classical understanding of
Peter's role in the Gospel. He is no hero, a fallible human being, yet
saved by his faith in the master, despite his denial. The last emphatic
mentioning of Petermtherefore, is not a malicious remark by Mark,
directed against the Jerusalem community led by Peter, James and John,
as you seem to imply. Or am I wrong?
Read in the light of persecution (light or heavy) first in
Jerusalem and later in Rome, the act of denial [Gr ernesato and
erneito, 14, 68.70], did occur in the days Mark wrote. Note Jesus
admonition to deny [ apernasosthe] and "take up your cross (! ! )".
Thus in his Gospel Mark warned his readers and encouraged them at the
same time: even Simon denied his master, although in the end, he gave
his life for his faith.
Yes, your approach to the Gospel is radically different from mine.
Doesn't it demonstrate the impasse the research on Mark has reached as
prof. Luz noted? However, we should not give up discussing the subject
of the early christian movement as reflected in the Gospels. The issues
are too important for that.
Once I receive your last post to me again I will answer the matter of
the guard that Raymond Brown raised.
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