> If you have time, could you summarize your reasons for thinking there
> was a proto-Mark?
> I also tend to think there was a proto-Mark. However, the last statistical
> study seemed to limit how much it
> could differ from cannon Mark. It seems Matthew and Luke must have engaged
> in a fair amount
> of omission, for example. Also, if Luke knew and used Matthew some other
> arguments seem
> less effective. I'm left with a handful of features that suggest a
> proto-Mark, but nothing fully convincing.
> Two ideas I'm considering are that cannon Mark might have only a few
> omissions, addition and some minor
> minor rearrangements compared to proto-Mark, or that Mark may be the first
> Greek language gospel,
> but that there may have been a gospel in another language, that was
> available to at least Mark and Luke.
> Dave Gentile
> Riverside, Illinois
> M.S. Physics
> Ph.D. Management Science
> As you may
> know, I argue from the position canonical Mark is a post-70 revision of
> proto-Mark (perhaps including a form of Q).
> Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
> List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
I have little time indeed. As to your musings of a possible proto-Mark in a
different language, I would suggest you first try out a few examples that would
demonstrate this possibility. But I doubt it would work. It would contradict
the fact that throughout the Gospel Mark makes allusions to and ( in a sizable
number of passages) actually cites the Greek Septuagint. This manner of
"searching the Scriptures" in order to interpret the present would not be
possible if proto-Mark were a document in a different language. The readers
wouldn't have been able to make head or tail of it. I cannot do full justice to
your first question in a brief post. But here goes:
1. That Mark was written after the destruction of the temple is clear from his
last midrash in 15,42 - 16,8 on LXX Isa 22,16; 13,16 and Gn 29,2.3. Relatively
few scholars, debating the dating of canoncal Mark are taking in the great
impact of the fall of Jerusalem on the Judean population in the motherland and
throughout the diaspora. It was far worse and with a longer lasting effect than
- say - the fall of Budapest under the Russian tanks in our times. If there
ever was a need for a revision of a document whose author believed the kingdom
of God was at hand, that was the one.
2. In commentaries it is generally admitted (a) that a "mystery" or "secret"
(called by Wilhelm Wrede the Messianic Secret) is conveyed in canonical Mark
and (b) that this "secret" was revealed to the women and (c) that this
"mystery" was first announced in 4, 10-12. It stands to reason that at least
part of this "secret" had something to do with this turn of events.
3. Many believe that 4,10-12 has been inserted in the seed/harvest chapter.
Some say it was inserted by a later copyist, but that is unlikely. Because
features of this 'secret' are found throughout Mark. So it appears Mark himself
was dealing with a pre-70 document in which he was inserting these verses in
it. Since the passage is concerned with the "mystery of the kingdom/kingship of
the mystery may well include the delay of the coming of that kingdom at the
End of time
4. Commentators have noted the hand of a so-called "redactor" with the
introduction of the "twelve" apostoloi next to Mark's mentioning the mathetai.
There is a good article by Ernest Best in ZNW 69 (1978), "Mark's use of the
Twelve" in which he is defending that 'the Twelve' belonged to original Mark.
He doubts that the appointment of the twelve were added by a later 'redactor'.
However, fact of the matter is that the hand of a redactor is found in the
clumsy addition of the dodeka (Twelve) in 4,10 "those around him with the
twelve": the sudden mention of "the twelve" when discussing the future, while
normally Mark mentions disciples with a broader meaning. Especially the
emphatic epithet of Judas "one of the twelve" in chapter 14, his crucial kiss
in Getsemane and the large place Judas' deed receives in the section of the
Last Supper, makes it clear to me that Mark was working with a proto-Mark in
which there was no Judas Iscariot and no mention of the Twelve but a story
about Jesus and his disciples among whom people like Simon, James and John
played a role. There are good reasons that proto-Mark too contained a passion
story. In fact, I concluded for other reasons that Christian Judeans in the
ecclesia had used this pre-70 document for their liturgy of Pesach and the
"first day" (of Shabuot).
5. Stories such as the fate of John the Baptist can be lifted out of the
context without great problems. Mark retained it, I believe, for both the
Baptist and Jesus are the protagonists of his drama and he refers specifically
to John horrible death at the juncture of 1,14.
6. In a former post I already interpreted another midrash at the beginning of
Mark. Quoting Malachi 3 (in a passage on judgment on the temple priest) Mark
doesn't mention the name of the book. It seems to have been inserted by the
author of Mark II in order to alert the readers, used to proto-Mark: 'Here
follows the same story of Jesus' preaching, his Passion, Death and Resurrection
but told now that the temple has been destroyed'. In other words, a post-70
This is far too short. Sometimes I wonder if a fast means of communication
like the internet is suitable for our work. Exegetes ought to do their work
slowly and carefully analysing each passage within the composition as a whole.
It is diffcult to summarize earlier work..
Still, I hope that you have gained a little insight into my thinking.
Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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